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an adequate antecedent. It is, in short, a recognition of the fact that there is in the natural an element which is supernatural, and that the things which meet the eye have not owed their being to " things which do appear."
This brings us to the second alternative—that which proposes to regard the world as having had its origin in a spontaneous accident; in other words, as having come by chance. Over this alternative we need spend no time, because the conclusion to which it points is transparent on the very surface; it is professedly the announcement of a miracle. It is admitted by Professor Huxley that to believe in the spontaneous generation of life is an act of faith. He himself professes to have that faith ; but he candidly acknowledges that he has it in direct contradiction to all the facts of present experience — that if spontaneous generation ever happened, it must have occurred under conditions which no longer exist. The belief that life at one time arose spontaneously from dead matter, is itself the belief that dead matter at one time possessed a power which it does not now possess; in other words, a power which, in relation to the present system of things, is strictly supernatural. To admit that at any time matter possessed such a power, or to assert that at any moment there was introduced into the universe a single chance movement, is to destroy at one sweep the whole doctrine of evolution. The doctrine of evolution cannot be held consistently by any one who is willing to concede that at any solitary moment of the infinite past there was a single intervention of the hand of chance. Professor Huxley may hold, by what he calls an act of philosophic faith, that there was one moment in which life sprang up spontaneously, but in so doing he has committed himself to the guidance of faith for ever. That one moment, if it ever existed, has destroyed all the moments of scientific evolution. It has broken that chain which professed to be an infinite and an irrefragable chain. It has introduced into the universe, midway in its career, a new and unheard-of element—an element unlike all that has preceded it, and unaccounted for by aught that has accompanied it. It has introduced it suddenly, unexpectedly, without cause or adequate antecedent, by what is equivalent to a creation out of nothing, which yet at the same time is a creation without hands. The amount of faith in the supernatural required for such a belief as this is simply appalling. The man who can embrace it must have a special gift of faith. It is the acceptance of a doctrine which is confessedly contrary to all scientific experience and avowedly opposed to all mental intuition; and, what renders the case more illogical still, it is the acceptance of a doctrine which is pronouncedly supernatural, with a view to avoid the supernaturalism of another creed which is far less pronounced than its own.
For this leads us to the third of those forms of solution by which it has been proposed to account for the existence of the universe ; it is that which regards the visible order of things as the result of a spiritual and creative Intelligence. This is the view which is commonly considered as the distinctively supernatural explanation. We have seen that this is a grand mistake. We have seen that every attempt either to explain the origin of the universe or to leave its origin unexplained, must alike end in the recognition of a supernatural element. We now go on to make good what we have already suggested that so far from being the distinctively supernatural explanation, this theory of a creative Intelligence is quite the least supernatural of the three attempted solutions. It involves a miracle indeed, but not a miracle of the same class as that involved by the others. The doctrine that the world has existed from eternity, and the doctrine that the world has sprung into existence spontaneously, are alike beliefs which involve a violation of the law of nature as now established. But the doctrine that this world owes its origin to the work of a higher creative Intelligence does not involve a violation of the law of nature ; it is only a miracle of transcendence. We are aware that this is the very point which has frequently been made a subject of dispute. Mr Herbert Spencer, as Kant had done before him, labours to show that the conception of a supreme Intelligence is just as unthinkable as any of those other conceptions by which man has attempted to account for his own being. We shall try to represent as clearly and as strongly as possible the line of argument by which this charge of unthinkableness has generally been supported.
We start, it is said, with the notion that every existence must have a cause. We come, on this ground, to the conclusion that the world cannot be eternal, and that therefore there must be some infinite Intelligence to account for those wonderful phenomena which we see around us. So far all is well. But the moment we have found this Cause for our physical universe, we immediately proceed to violate that very principle of causality by which we profess to have found Him. We started with the assumption that every existence must have a cause, and on the strength of that assumption we concluded that the world must have a Creator. But, now that we have found the Creator, we do not go on to ask what has caused Him; nay, instead of that we start a new assumption—that His existence is self-existent; in other words, that His being is without a cause. The theologian is here charged with the most flagrant breach of logic. He is asked why he affirms a principle of causality in order to find a God, and then denies it in order to make his God eternal. If he is willing to arrest the principle of causality at any place or time, why should he not arrest it in the universe itself? If there can be a God without a cause, why should there not be a world without a cause? If the theologian is willing in the highest sphere of existence to deny the necessity that existence must have a cause, wherefore should he not be willing to carry down this principle of denial into its lower and subordinate spheres; why should he not be content to say that the visible order is itself self-existent?
We have stated the argument as strongly as we can in order that it may have all the force which belongs to it. But now we have to point out that, plausible as the reasoning is, it is built upon a mistake. It is quietly taken for granted at the beginning that the fundamental principle of the theologian is, every existence must have a cause. We must emphatically deny that this is a principle either of theology or of metaphysics. The principle is, not that every existence must have a cause, but that every change must have a cause. If the world in which we live were merely an existence, we should not be warranted in concluding that there must be a principle underlying it. Our reason for concluding that there must be such a principle is the testimony of our experience that the world