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FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES.

Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Genius
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
Heredity
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Immortality
Individual Development
Individuality
Intuitions Of Reality
Irritability
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Mysticism
Natural Selection
Naturalism
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Parallelism
Personality
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Self-consciousness
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Underivability
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
Weismannism
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook



The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature








(2 and 3). The "dependence" of all things is the second requirement of
religion, without which it is altogether inconceivable. We avoid the words
"creation" and "being created," because they involve anthropomorphic and
altogether insufficient modes of representation. But throughout we have in
mind, as suggested by Schleiermacher's expression already quoted, what all
religion means when it declares nature and the world to be creatures.
The inalienable content of this idea is that deep and assured feeling that
our nature and all nature does not rest in its own strength and
self-sufficiency, that there must be more secure reasons for nature which
are absolutely outside of it, and that it is dependent upon, and
conditioned through and through by something above itself, independent,
and unconditioned. "I believe that God has created me together with all
creatures." (Luther.)

This faith seemed easier in earlier times, when men's eyes were not yet
opened to see the deep-lying connectedness of all phenomena, the
inexorableness of causal sequences, when it was believed that, in the
apparently numerous interruptions of the causal sequences, the frailty and
dependence of this world and its need for heavenly aid could be directly
observed, when, therefore, it was not difficult to believe that the world
was "nothing" and perishable, that it had been called forth out of
nothing, and that in its transient nature it carried for ever the traces
of this origin. But to-day it is not so easy to believe in this
dependence, for nature seems to show itself, in its inviolable laws and
unbroken sequences, as entirely sufficient unto itself, so that for every
phenomenon a sufficient cause is to be found within nature, that is, in
the sum of the antecedent states and conditions which, according to
inevitable laws, must result in and produce what follows.

We have already noted that this is most obviously discernible in the world
of the great masses, the heavenly bodies which pursue their courses from
everlasting to everlasting, mutually conditioning themselves and betraying
no need for or dependence upon anything outside of themselves. Everything,
even the smallest movement, is here determined strictly by the dependence
of each upon all and of all upon each. There is no variation, no change of
position for which an entirely satisfactory cause cannot be found in the
system as a whole, which works like an immense machine. Nothing indicates
dependence upon anything external. And as it is to-day so it was
yesterday, and a million years ago, and innumerable millions of years ago.
It seems quite gratuitous to suppose that something which does not occur
to-day was necessary at an earlier period, and that everything has not
been from all eternity just as it is now.

We saw that naturalism is attempting to extend this character of
independence and self-sufficiency from the astronomical world to the world
as a whole. Shall we attempt, then, to oppose it in this ambition, but
surrender the realm of the heavenly bodies as already conquered? By no
means. For religion cannot exclude the solar system from the dependence of
all being upon God. And this very example is the most conspicuous one, the
one in regard to which the whole problem can be most definitely
formulated.

Astronomy teaches us that all cosmic processes are governed by a
marvellous far-reaching uniformity of law, which unites in strictest
harmony the nearest and the most remote. Has this fact any bearing upon
the problem of the dependence of the world? No. It surely cannot be that a
world without order could be brought under the religious point of view
more readily than one governed by law! Let us suppose for a moment that we
had to do with a world without strict nexus and definite order of
sequence, without law and without order, full of capricious phenomena,
unregulated associations, an inconstant play of causes. Such a world would
be to us unintelligible, strange, absurd. But it would not necessarily be
more "dependent," more "conditioned" than any other. Had I no other
reasons for looking beyond the world, and for regarding it as dependent on
something outside of itself, the absence of law and order would assuredly
furnish me with none. For, assuming that it is possible at all to conceive
of a world and its contents as independent, and as containing its own
sufficient cause within itself, it would be quite as easily thought of as
a confused lawless play of chances as a well-ordered Cosmos. Perhaps more
easily; for it goes without saying that such a conglomeration of
promiscuous chances could not possibly be thought of as a world of God.
Order and strict obedience to law, far from being excluded, are required
by faith in God, are indeed a direct and inevitable preliminary to
thinking of the world as dependent upon God. Thus we may state the
paradox, that only a Cosmos which, by its strict obedience to law, gives
us the impression of being sufficient unto itself, can be conceived of as
actually dependent upon God, as His creation. If any man desires to stop
short at the consideration of the apparent self-sufficiency of the Cosmos
and its obedience to law, and refuses to recognise any reasons outside of
the world for this, we should hardly be able, according to our own
proposition, to require him to go farther. For we maintained that God
could not be read out of nature, that the idea of God could never have
been gained in the first instance from a study of nature and the world.
The problem always before us is rather, whether, having gained the idea
from other sources, we can include the world within it. Our present
question is whether the world, as it is, and just because it is as it is,
can be conceived of as dependent upon God. And this question can only be
answered in the affirmative, and in the sense of Schiller's oft-quoted
lines:


The great Creator
We see not--He conceals himself within
His own eternal laws. The sceptic sees
Their operation, but beholds not Him,
"Wherefore a God!" he cries, "the world itself
Suffices for itself!" and Christian prayer
Ne'er praised him more, than does this blasphemy.


God's world could not possibly be a conglomeration of chances; it must be
orderly, and the fact that it is so proves its dependence.

But while we thus hold fast to our canon, we shall find that the assertion
of the world's dependence receives indirect corroboration even in regard
to the astronomical realm, from certain signs which it exhibits, from
certain suggestions which are implied in it. We must not wholly overlook
two facts which, to say the least, are difficult to fit in with the idea
of the independence and self-sufficiency of the world; these are, on the
one hand, the difficulties involved in the idea of an eternal machine, and
on the other the difficult fact of "entropy." We have already compared the
world to a mighty clock, or a machine which, as a whole, represents what
can never be found in one of its parts, a perpetuum mobile. Let us
however leave aside the idea of a perpetuum mobile, and dwell rather on
the comparison with a machine. It seems obvious that in order to be a
machine there must be a closed solidarity in the system. But how could a
machine have come into existence and become functional if it is driven by
wheels, which are driven by wheels, which are again driven by wheels ...
and so on unceasingly? It would not be a machine. The idea falls to pieces
in our hands. Yet our world is supposed to be just such an infinitely
continuous "system." How does it begin to depend upon and be sufficient
unto itself? But further. It is a clock, we are told, which ever winds
itself up anew, which, without fatigue and in ceaseless repetition,
adjusts the universal cycles of becoming, and disappearing, and becoming
again. It seems a corroboration of the old Heraclitian and Stoic
conception, that the eternal primitive fire brings forth all things out of
itself, and takes them back into itself to bring them forth anew. Even
to-day the conception is probably general that, out of the original states
of the world-matter, circling fiery nebulae form themselves and throw off
their rings, that the breaking up of these rings gives rise to planets
which circle in solar systems for many aeons through space, till, finally,
their energy lessened by friction with the ether, they plunge into their
suns again, that the increased heat restores the original state and the
whole play begins anew.

All this was well enough in the days of naively vitalistic ideas of the
world as having a life and soul. But not in these days of mechanics, the
strict calculation of the amount of energy used, and the mechanical theory
of heat. The world-clock cannot wind itself up. It, too, owes its activity
to the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy. And, since
movement and work take place within it, there is in the clock as a whole
just as in every one of its parts, a mighty process of relaxation of an
originally tense spring, there is dissipation and transformation of the
stored potential energy into work and ultimately into heat. And with every
revolution of the earth and its moon the world is moving slowly but
inexorably towards a final stage of complete relaxation of her powers of
tension, a state in which all energy will be transformed into heat, in
which there will be no different states but only the most uniform
distribution, in which also all life and all movement will cease and the
world-clock itself will come to a standstill.

How does this fit in with the idea of independence and self-sufficiency?
How could the world-clock ever wind itself up again to the original state
of tension which was simply there as if shot from a pistol "in the
beginning"? Where is the everlasting impressive uniformity and constancy
of the world? How does it happen that the world-clock has not long ago
come to a standstill? For even if the original sum of potential energy is
postulated as infinite, the eternity that lies behind us is also infinite.
And so one infinity swallows another. And innumerable questions of a
similar kind are continually presenting themselves.





Next: The Contingency Of The World

Previous: Evolution And New Beginnings



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