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it was simply a change of attitude towards the old creation on the part of man. God had pronounced everything to be good after its kind, and the animal nature after its kind was therefore also good. It implied, indeed, the absence of holiness; but the absence of holiness was natural to it, and so did not make it bad. But when the Divine breath was breathed into man's nostrils, the animal nature which was left within him became merely his lower being. The only course natural for him, the only course which would render him good after his kind, was to follow the dictates of the spiritual ; his kind was spirit. In becoming an animal again, he sank into sin : the old materialism which had been sinless in him as dust of the ground, and which was still sinless in the other products of that dust, became thenceforth to him an element of corruption; the change of mental attitude transformed the evolutionary bias of the old object, and imparted a downward impulse to that which originally had indicated only an upward tendency.
It is here that St Paul steps in with a remarkable theological statement, which has too much bearing on our present subject to be passed over in silence. He tells us that the fall of Adam was not merely the judgment on a primitive individual, but an event which influenced the whole of humanity,—“In Adam all die.” This statement receives its illustration and its corroboration in
that law of heredity which is one of the factors in the process of evolution—the law according to which like begets like. We do not forget that besides the law of heredity there is another, and in some sense a contrary factor—that principle of concomitant variation by which like does not beget exactly like. One might be disposed to ask St Paul whether this principle of concomitant variation could not of itself have altered the verdict “in Adam all die "-whether the offspring, in its gradual deviation from the parental type, might not by a process of merely physical evolution have attained again to the measure of the stature of the perfect man. But we are quite sure that in this respect at least Mr Herbert Spencer would give his verdict with the Apostle of the Gentiles. Let us remember that in the view of Mr Spencer the prime agent in the process of evolution is the Force called inscrutable. Now the supposition of St Paul is, that in the fall of man this Divine Force was withdrawn from his moral life, and ceased for a time to have any influence over him. Once concede such a supposition, and the conclusion becomes scientifically inevitable. Where could concomitant variation be looked for when there had ceased to be an agent acting concomitantly in the moral life of man? Surely in this case the only possible agency must have been simple heredity, propagation of the old element of sin, the production of
like by like? The only escape from such a difficulty was to be sought in a second interposition of that primal Force which had constituted at the outset the glory of man.
Now it is the doctrine of the old faith that when the fulness of the time was come—when the stage of mental evolution was ripe—such an interposition did actually and historically appear. No believer in the philosophy of Mr Herbert Spencer can affirm that such a doctrine is scientifically incredible. He who recognises the existence of a Power which, in spite of its inscrutability, can manifest itself in the universe in general, and in every part of the universe in particular, ought to have no scruple in recognising the possibility of the fact that the same Power should manifest itself in the conscious soul of a living being. But the point we have now to consider is, not the credibility of the doctrine, but its relation to that other doctrine of evolution which is sometimes supposed to be its denial. And here we are specially called to observe the parallel between the evolutionary relation of the first and that of the second Adam. We have seen how in the first Adam the breathing of the Divine Spirit into the human organism was really a breaking of the Divine rest. The breath of the Spirit, by uniting itself to the dust of the ground, became voluntarily the heir to a nature lower than its own; all the imperfections of all the previous stages of evolution were laid upon it in the moment of its inbreathing. In striking analogy with this is the description given by the New Testament of that greater and more abiding inbreathing which is known to us as the Christian incarnation. Here again the Divine life empties itself-pours out a stream of its being to fertilise anew the being of the creature. Here again this stream of the Divine life condescends to blend with the soil as it actually was, to touch its impurities, to be coloured by its contact. The new life which has come down from heaven, comes down no longer like the first Adamic life upon a merely imperfect being; it descends now upon a sinful being. It incorporates with itself an organism which is morally corrupt, a personality which is perverted, a vitality which is stained. It becomes heir to its unfulfilled responsibilities, to the consequences of its many and long declensions, to its pains, to its penalties,—to that which, although coeval with the existence of matter, has become to the human soul the greatest of all penalties—death; it suffers in and for the sins of the world.
Let it be remembered that we are here looking at Christian doctrines only in so far as they touch the line of evolution. We want to determine whether that touch is one of harmonious contact or one of hostile collision. When we have determined this point, we have said all that at present it lies within our province to say. No one will therefore imagine that we have intended the foregoing remarks as a theory of the Christian doctrine of atonement; we have intended them simply as an indication of that point where the Christian doctrine of atonement forms a line of intersection with the scientific doctrine of evolution. What we say is, that the Christian doctrine of atonement depends for its validity on the uninterrupted continuance of the law of mental evolution. Let us suppose that, before the second advent of the Divine Spirit on humanity, there had come to humanity an interruption of that law of heredity by which sin had propagated sin. Let us suppose that human nature had been suffered, by one of those leaps or paroxysms which evolution repudiates, to ascend out of its state of corruption into a state of incorruption,- what would have been the consequence as regards that spiritual advent? It would certainly not have rendered impossible the Christian incarnation, but it would have rendered impossible that doctrine of the Christian atonement which teaches that the new life bore the penalty of the sins contracted by the old. That penalty could only be borne on the supposition that the new life came into a humanity which had not been magically nor even supernaturally transformed, but which was still subject to that great principle of evolution whereby the sins of