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degeneration. There are evidences of lost faculties in the process of evolution. It is a matter of everyday experience that the mere disuse of a mental or bodily power tends materially to impair it, and if persisted in, will ultimately destroy it. That which reveals itself as a principle in the individual life of man, has revealed itself as a fact in the generic life of the universe. The evolution of the universe as a whole has not been interrupted, nay, it may be even said to have been furthered, by the struggles and the regresses of those individual races which constitute its process: nevertheless the fact remains that the regresses have taken place, and that the law of degeneration has alternated with the law of progress.
There is no scientific objection, therefore, to the fact of a human fall, any more than to the fact of an animal fall. The modern doctrine of evolution is perfectly consistent with the ancient faith that man has in a spiritual direction receded from that stage of development which he occupied at an earlier day; has lost by perversion or by disuse, or by both, the possession of a certain faculty which at one time constituted a mark of his distinctive greatness, and brought him into more immediate contact with the powers of a higher life.
But the great question comes to be, What has been the actual effect of this fall of man upon his present condition? Does he occupy by reason of it any position in the world which he would not have occupied if it had not befallen him ?' It is here that we stand upon the threshold of what has always been regarded as one of the greatest questions of antagonism between theology and science., It is averred by those Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments which embody the conclusions of the old faith, that man possesses by reason of the Fall something which he would not have possessed if he had not fallen–the liability to death. It is averred, on the other hand, by modern science, that the liability to death has no historical relation whatsoever either to the Fall or to the existence of man—that death existed in the world millenniums before man was created-nay, that the presence of death was inseparable from the very beginnings of life. Here are two diverse statements; the question is, Are they contradictory statements, or are they simply different points of view from which the same truth may be considered ? If they are contradictory statements, one of them must be erroneous; and in this case we should be compelled to give our verdict in opposition to the old faith. There can no longer be any question of the fact that death was not brought into the world by man. Geology has clearly revealed that, thousands of years before the existence of the human species, generations of living creatures came and passed away, and that they passed away by that precise
method whereby human lives now disappear-the method of death. In the light of such a revelation, it is confidently and pertinently asked with what consistency it can any longer be affirmed that death was simply the punishment of sin, and that it obtained entrance into the world as a result of the fall of man.
There is, however, an ulterior question which here emerges into view. Does it follow, because death was not a result of the Fall, that it had therefore no relation to the Fall? We hold that it does not follow; and we shall endeavour to lay before the reader certain considerations which might enable a man of the old faith still to adhere to this article of his faith, without disparaging the position or denying the conclusions of the modern scientific doctrine.
And first of all, let us consider what is the article of the old faith now under discussion. The
doctrine of the Bible is popularly thought to be, > that death results from the presence of sin. This
is, to say the least, a partial and a one-sided statement. Strictly speaking, the doctrine of the Bible is, that death results from the absence of holiness.1 It will be seen that these two propositions do not amount to the same thing; the former involves the latter, but the latter does not necessarily involve the former. Wherever we see the presence of sin, we see to that extent the absence of holiness; but we may witness the absence of holiness where we have no call to recognise the presence of sin. Both the plant and the animal, for example, reveal the absence of holiness—that is to say, they both reveal a nature of which holiness cannot be predicated; yet it would not be correct to say that either the plant or the animal reveals the presence of sin. St Paul has truly said that sin is not imputed where there is no law; in other words, that there can be no sin where the nature is simply instinctive and uncontrolled by a higher nature. Neither the life of the plant nor the life of the animal is under any such control, and therefore neither the plant nor the animal exhibits the presence of sin. But both of them do exhibit the absence of holiness; in other words, neither of them can be said to be in possession of virtue. It is one thing to be free from a bad nature; it is another, and a very different thing, to be endued with a moral nature. There is a difference, as Augustine points out, between the lifelessness of a stone and the lifelessness of a corpse. The lifelessness of a stone is simple negation ; it is its nature not to live. But the lifelessness of a corpse is privation ; it is the want of something which the body ought to have had, and which it has lost. The two states are spiritually quite different: nevertheless the effect of each is precisely the same; the privation of life and the negation of life are both the absence of life. The illustration seems to us thoroughly to meet the question in hand. The plant and the animal are in relation to holiness in a state of negation; their nature does not extend to moral ideas. The life of the man, on the other hand, is in relation to holiness in a state of privation: we feel instinctively that he wants something which he ought to have, and which it belonged to his original nature to possess; and therefore in his case we count the failure to possess it as a sin. None the less, the plant, the animal, and the man are in this respect precisely in the same position; they are each and all of them liable to death from the absence of holiness. In the two first cases the absence of holiness is the result of nature; in the last it is the result of degeneration : but in each its effect is the same-death.
1 More strictly still, the absence, from the centre of being, of that Divine Life which is the source of all survival.
When the apostle says, “The wages of sin is death,” it now becomes clear that his words need no longer sound as an anachronism. They need no longer be interpreted as in collision with the modern scientific spirit, or with the facts which that spirit has revealed. The apostle says that death is the wages of sin, because he holds death to be the inevitable lot of that animal nature into which man sank by sin. He does not consider it sin in an animal to be an animal; none