To dream of a waterfall, foretells that you will secure your wildest desire,and fortune will be exceedingly favorable to your progress.... Read more of Waterfall at My Dreams.caInformational Site Network Informational

   Home - Occult Lessons - Clairvoyance - Goths - Reading the Crystal - Mysticism - Supernatural Metals - Stonehenge - Naturalism - Witch Craft - History of the Devil - Crystal Gazing


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 Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
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
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
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
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

The World And God

The world and nature are marvellous in their being, but they are not
"divine"! The formula "natura sive deus" is a monstrous misuse of the
word "deus," if we are to use the words in the sense which history has
given to them. God is the Absolute Being, perfect, wholly independent,
resting in Himself, and necessary; nature is entirely contingent and
dependent, and at every point of it we are impelled to ask "Why?" God is
the immeasurable fulness of Being, nature is indeed diverse in the
manifoldness of her productions, but she is nevertheless limited, and her
possibilities are restricted within narrow limits. God is the
unrestrained, and everlasting omnipotence itself, and the perfect wisdom;
nature is indeed mighty enough in the attainment of her ends, but how
often is she obstructed, how often does she fail to reach them, and how
seldom does she do so perfectly and without mistakes? She shows wisdom,
indeed, cunning in her products, subtlety and daintiness, taste and
beauty, all these often in an overwhelming degree, yet just as often she
brings forth what is meaningless, contradictory and mutually hurtful,
traverses her own lines, and bewilders us by the brutality, the
thoughtlessness, and purposelessness, the crookedness, incompleteness, and
distortedness of her operations. And what is true of the world of external
nature is true in a far greater degree of the world of history. Nature is
not a god, but a demigod, says Aristotle. And on this, Pantheism with its
creed, "natura sive deus," makes shipwreck. The words of this credo
are either a mere tautology, and "deus" is misused as a new name for
nature; or they are false. It is not possible to transfer to nature and
the world all the great ideas and feelings which the religious mind
cherishes under the name of "God."

strange, mysterious, and marvellous, indicating God, and pointing, all
naturalism and superficial consideration notwithstanding, as we have seen,
to something outside of and beyond itself. Religion demands no more than
this. It does not insist upon finding a solution for all the riddles of
theoretical world-lore. It is not distressed because the course of nature
often seems to our eyes confused, and to our judgment contradictory and
unintelligible at a hundred places and in a hundred respects. On the
contrary, that this is the case is to religion in another aspect a strong
stimulus and corroboration. "The world is an odd fellow; may God soon make
an end of it," said Luther, and thus gave a crude but truly religious
(Aristot. "De Divin. in Somn.," c. ii.). It is part of the very essence of
religion, as we have seen, to read in the pages of nature, insufficiency,
illusion, and perplexities, and to be made thereby impatient and desirous
of penetrating to the true nature of things. Religion does not claim to be
directly deducible out of a consideration of nature; it demands only the
right and freedom to interpret the world in its own way. And for this it
is sufficient that this world affords those hints and suggestions for its
convictions that we have seen it does afford. To form clear ideas in
regard to the actual relations of the infinite to the finite, and of God
to the world, and of what religion calls creation, preservation, and
eternal providence, self-revelation in the world and in history, is hardly
the task of religion at all, but rather pertains to our general
speculative instinct, which can only satisfy itself with the help of
imagination. Attempts of this kind have often been made. They are by no
means valueless, for even if no real knowledge can be gained by this
method, we may perhaps get an analogue of it which will help us to
understand existence and phenomena, and to define our position, as well as
to give at least provisional answers to many pressing questions (such, for
instance, as the problem of theodicy).

If we study the world unprejudiced by the naturalistic interpretation, or
having shaken ourselves free from it, we are most powerfully impressed by
one fundamental phenomenon in all existence: it is the fact of evolution.
It challenges attention and interpretation, and analogies quickly reveal
themselves which give something of the same trend to all such
interpretations. From stage to stage existence advances onwards, from the
world of large masses subject only to the laws of mechanics, to the
delicately complex play of the forces of development in growth and other
vital processes. The nature of the forces is revealed in ever higher
expression, and at the same time in ever more closely connected series of
stages. Even between the inorganic and the organic there is an
intermediate stage--crystal formation--which is no longer entirely of the
one, yet not of the other. And in the organic world evolution reveals
itself most clearly of all; from the crudest and simplest it presses
onwards to the most delicate and complex. In the corporeal as in the
psychical, in the whole as in each of its parts, there are ever higher
stages, sometimes far apart, sometimes close together. However we picture
to ourselves the way in which evolution accomplishes itself in time, we
can scarcely describe it without using such expressions as "nature
advances upwards step by step," "it presses and strives upwards and
unfolds itself stage by stage."

And it is with us as it was with Plato; we inform the world with a soul,
with a desire and endeavour which continually expresses itself in higher
and higher forms. And it is with us also as with Fichte; we speak of the
will which, unconscious of itself, pours itself forth in unconscious and
lifeless nature, and then on this foundation strives forward, expressing
its activity in ever higher developments, breaking forth in life,
sensation, and desire, and finally coming to itself in conscious existence
and will. The whole world seems to us a being which wills to become,
presses restlessly forward, and passes from the potential to the actual,
realising itself. And the height of its self-realisation is conscious,
willing life.

This outlook is lofty and significant, it supplies a guiding clue by which
the facts of life and nature can be arranged. The religious outlook, too,
when it wishes to indulge in speculation, can make use of this guiding
thread. It will then say: God established the world as "a will to
existence, to consciousness, to spirit." He established it, not as
complete, but as becoming. He does not build it as a house, but plants it,
like a flower, in the seed, that it may grow, that it may struggle upwards
stage by stage to fuller existence, aspiring with toil and endeavour
towards the height where, in the image of the Creator, as a free and
reasonable spirit capable of personality, it may realise the aim of its
being. Thus the world is of God, that is, its rudiments came from God,
and it is to God, in the purpose of likeness to God. And it is imbued
with the breath of Godhead which moves in it and impels it onwards, with
the logos of the everlasting Zeus of whom Cleanthes sings, with the spirit
of Jehovah whom Isaiah and the Psalmist praise, and whom the poet of the
Creation figuratively paints; the divine breath is in everything that
lives, from grass to flower, from animal to man. But it is implanted as
becoming. And in regard to this, religion can say of the whole world what
it says of man. For man, too, is not given as a finished product, either
as regards the genus or the individual, but as a rudiment, with his
destiny to work out, in historical becoming, by realising what is inherent
in him. We call this freedom. And an adumbration of such freedom, which is
the aim of self-realisation, would help us to penetrate deeply into the
nature of things. Many riddles and apparent contradictions could be fitted
in with this view of things: the unity of the world, and yet the
gradations; the relationship of all living creatures, the unity of all
psychical life, and yet the uniqueness of the rational spirit; causal
concatenation, yet guidance by means of the highest ideas and purposes;
the tentativeness, illogicalness, and ineffectiveness of nature,
unconsciously pressing forward along uncertain paths, yet the directness
and purposefulness of the main lines of evolution in general. This
God-awakened will to be lies at the roots of the mysteries of development
in all living creatures, of the unconscious purposiveness of instinctive
action, of the gradually ascending development of psychical life and its
organ. Operating in crystals and plants purely as a formative impulse and
"entelechy," it awakes in the bodies of animals more and more as "soul."
Then it awakes fully in man, and in him, in an entirely new phase of real
free development, it builds itself up to spirit. It resembles a stream
whose waves flow casually and transiently in animal consciousness, and are
soon withdrawn again, to break forth anew at another place, in the
personal spirit, where they attain to permanent indissoluble form, since
they have now at last attained to self-realisation, and fulfilled the
purpose of all cosmic existence, the reflecting of the eternal personality
in the creature. But it is only in human history that what was prepared
for in natural evolution is completed.

The riddle of theodicy thus becomes easier, for what surrounds us in
nature and history has not come direct from the hand of eternal wisdom,
but is in the first place the product of the developing, striving world,
which only gradually and after many mistakes and failures works out what
is inherent in it as eternal idea and aim. We see and blame its mistakes,
for instance in our own human structure. We see the deficiencies in the
historical course of things. But when we find fault we do not see that
evolution and self-realisation and freedom are more worthy of praise than
ready-made existence incapable of independent action.

This principle of development, wherever it is regarded as "world-soul" or
as "will" or as the "unconscious," is frequently, through pantheism and
the doctrine of immanence, made equivalent with the object of religion,
with God. This is an impossible undertaking. We cannot worship what only
reaches its full development in ourselves. But that we can worship, and
that it is only in the feeling of complete dependence that the full depth
of what is developing within us to conscious life reveals itself, proves
better than anything else that God is above all "World-will." It was more
than allegory when Plato in Timaeus set the "eternal father and creator of
the world" above all soul and psyche. And it was religion that broke
through when Fichte in his little book, "Anweisung zum seeligen Leben,"
set being before becoming, and God above the creatures struggling towards
self-realisation. Religion knows in advance that this is so. And calm
reflection confirms it. All that we have already learnt of the dependence,
conditionedness, and contingent nature of the world is equally true of a
world "evolving itself" out of its potentiality, of a will to existence,
and of an unconscious realising itself. No flower can grow and develop
without being first implicit in the seed. Nothing can attain to
"actuality," to realisation, that was not potentially implied in the
beginning. But who originated the seed of the world-flower? Who enclosed
within it the "tendencies," the "rudiments" which realise themselves in
evolution? Invariably "the actual is before the potential" and Being
before Becoming. A world could only become if it were called to become by
an everlasting Being. God planting the world-flower that it might radiate
forth in its blossoms His own image and likeness, is an allegory which may
well symbolise for religion the relation between God and the world. And
thus it is possible to draw the outline of a religious outlook on the
world, into which the results of world-lore could well be fitted. This
frame was constructed by Plato on the basis of a religious study of
things, and after Plato it was first definitely outlined in Fichte's too
much forgotten but unforgettable books "Bestimmung des Menschen" and
"Anweisung zum seeligen Leben," and it is thus a new creation of the great
German idealism and its mighty faith. And it is not easy to see why it
should be abandoned, why we should give it up in favour of an irreligious,
semi-naturalistic outlook on the world.

One thing, however, must be kept constantly in mind: even such an
interpretation of the world as this is poetry, not knowledge. There is a
poetry of the will to live, of the unconscious, which is struggling
towards existence, but there is no philosophy. There are only analogies
and hints of what goes on at the foundations of the world. In particular,
the unconscious creative impulse in all living organisms, this "will"
towards form, its relationship with instinct and the relationship of
instinct to conscious psyche, afford us a step-ladder of illustrations,
and an illustration of the step-ladder of the "will towards existence,"
which invite us to overstep the bounds of our knowledge, and indulge in
our imagination. We can say nothing of pre-conscious consciousness and
will, we can at best only make guesses about them. We cannot think
definitely of a general world-will, which wills and aspires in individual
beings; we cannot picture to ourselves the emergence of the individual
"souls" of animals and man from a universal psyche. Imagination plays a
larger part here than clear thinking. And for our present purpose it must
be clearly borne in mind that religion does not require any speculative
construction of theories of the world. But "you shall know that it is your
imagination which creates the world for you."(108) And if a speculative
construction be desired, it will always be most easily attained along
these lines, and will in this way come nearest to our modern knowledge of
nature. We must remember, too, that the objections which may be urged
against this form of speculation are equally applicable against any other.
For the origin of the individual psyche, the graduated series of its
forms, the development of one after the other, and of that of the child
from that of its parents, are riddles which cannot be solved by any
speculative thinking. Monadology, theories of the pre-existence of the
soul, creationism, or the current traducianism--which to-day, with its
partly or wholly materialistic basis, is just as naive as the older--all
reveal equal darkness. But the speculation we have hinted at, if it gives
no explanation, at least supplies a framework for many questions which
attract us, and do so even from the point of view of religion: for
instance the collective, diffuse, and almost divisible nature of
consciousness in the lower stages, its increasing and ever more strict
centralisation, the natural relationship of the psychical in man to the
psychical in general, and yet its incommensurability and superiority to
all the world.

But let us once more turn from all the poetical and imaginative
illustrations of the relation of God to the world, which can at best be
only provisional, and only applicable at certain points, to the more
general aspect of the problem. Religion itself consists in this: believing
and experiencing that in time the Eternal, in the finite the Infinite, in
the world God is working, revealing Himself, and that in Him lies the
reason and cause of all being. For this it has names like creation,
providence, self-revelation of God in the world, and it lives by the
mysteries which are indicated under these names. The mysteries themselves
it recognises in vague or naive forms of conception long before it
attempts any definite formulation. If dogmatics begin with the latter,
some form or other of the stiff and wooden doctrines of concursus, of
influxus ordinarius and extraordinarius usually develops with many
other subtleties, which are nothing more than attempts to formulate the
divine influence in finite terms, and to think of it as a force along with
other forces. Two series of causes are usually distinguished; the system
of causes and effects within the world, according to which everything
natural takes place, the "causae secundariae"; and in addition to these
the divine causality co-operating and influencing the others, ordering
them with gentle and delicate pressure, and guiding them towards their
true end, and which may also reveal itself as "extraordinaria" in
miracles and signs. This double operation is regarded as giving rise to
all phenomena, and in it consists guidance, dispensation, providence, and
natural revelation.

This kind of conception is extremely primitive, and is unfavourable to
religion itself, for in it mystery is done away with and arranged
according to rubric, and everything has become quite "simple." Moreover,
this doctrine has a necessary tendency to turn into the dreaded "Deism."
According to the deistic view, God made the world in the beginning, and
set the system of natural causes in motion, in such a way that no farther
assistance was given, and everything went on of itself. This theory is
incredibly profane, and strikes God out of the world, and nature, and
history at a single stroke, substituting for Him the course of a
well-arranged system of clockwork. But the former theory is a very
unsatisfactory and doubtful makeshift as compared with that of deism, for
it is impossible to see why, if God arranged these causae secundariae, He
should have made them so weak and ineffective that they need all these
ingenious concursus, influxus, determinationes, gubernationes, and
the like. Both theories are crude fabrications of the dogmatists, and they
have nothing left in them of the piety they were intended to protect, nor
do they become any better in this respect, however many attempts are made
to define them. Religion possesses, without the aid of any stilted and
artificial theories, all the things we have named above, and especially
and most directly the last of them, namely, the experience of the
revelation and communication of the Divine in the great developments and
movements of spiritual and religious history. And it finds its
corroboration and justification and freedom not by way of dogmatics but of
criticism. It is impossible to distinguish artificially two sets of
causes, and to give to the world what is alleged to be of the world, and
to God what is alleged to be of God. But it is permissible to point to the
insufficiency of our causal study in general, and to the limits of our
knowledge. Even when we have established it as a fact that all phenomena
are linked together in a chain of causes we are still far from having
discovered how things actually come to pass. Every qualitative effect and
change is entirely hidden from us as far as the cause of its coming about
and its real and inner nature are concerned. Every effect which in kind or
quantity goes beyond its cause (and we cannot make anything of the domain
of living forms, of the psychical and of history without these), shows us
that we are still only at the surface. Indeed, even mechanical action,
often alleged to be entirely intelligible, such as the transference or
transformation of energy, is, as we have seen, a complete riddle. In
addition, all causality runs its course in time, and therefore partakes of
all the defects and limitations of our views of time. And finally we are
guided by the Kantian antinomy regarding the conditions of what is
"given." It destroys the charm of the "purely causal" point of view by
showing that this in itself cannot be made complete and is therefore
contradictory. Moreover, in the phenomena of life, and in the fact that
consciousness and will control our corporeal processes, and yet can hardly
be thought of as a cause "co-operating" with other causes, we found an
analogy, if a weak and obscure one, of the relation that a divine
teleology and governing of the world may bear to mundane phenomena. Thus
mystery remains in all its strength and is not replaced by the surrogate
of a too simple and shallow dogmatic theory. In confessing mystery and
resting content with it we are justified by reflection on the nature and
antinomy of our knowledge.

All this is true also of what religion means by creation. In the feeling
of complete humility, in its experience of absolute dependence and
conditionedness, the creature becomes conscious of itself as a creature,
and experiences with full clearness what it means to be a "creature" and
"created." The dogmatic theory is here again only a surrogate of mystery.
And again critical self-reflection proves a better guide than any theory
of creation, which is quite in its place as a means of expression in
religious discourse and poetry, but is quite insufficient as true
knowledge. That we must but cannot think of this world either as beginning
or as not-beginning is the analogue in knowledge of what religion
experiences in mystery; and that this contingent and conditioned world is
founded in everlasting, necessary, true Being, is the analogue of what
religion possesses and knows through devout feeling, more directly and
clearly than by any thinking, of the relations of God to the world.

Previous: Immortality

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 665