« הקודםהמשך »
answering to Creation.
Compare John i. 29; iii. 17; vi. 51; John xii. 32 (notice návra XD Latt.).
It does not concern us now to consider how the hope indicated in these passages can be realised. It is probably impossible for man ever to comprehend in the existing order of things how the divine purpose attains its full completion. All that requires to be observed at present is, as I have said, the novelty of this Christian conception of a universal brotherhood, in which a definite fact is treated as the sufficient bond of humanity. And while the thought is unique, it answers to the aspirations of men. There is that in us which points to a vital fellowship, fulfilled personally, as the one issue in which our fragmentary lives can find their consummation. In this respect the Gospel, the record of the new Creation, corresponds with the record of the first Creation. The unity shewn in the beginning is established at the end.
Christianity claims in this way to deal with all men. It claims also to deal with the whole of man. It claims to preserve and to perfect each part in his complex nature. Man, made in the image of God, is an indivisible being. We naturally, or even necessarily, speak of body' and soul' in such a way as to imply that man's
The Gospel reaches to soul is the real self,' complete and separable from his body. Yet careful reflection will shew that such language simply expresses an abstraction. There is undoubtedly an antithesis in man, an organism and something which works through the organism. But the living man, the self, is not a part of this antithesis: he consists in combination of both parts. He can no more conceive himself remaining without the one factor than without the other.
It is not necessary for us to enter on any discussion of the principles of biblical psychology. We may at once admit that, as far as the constitution of man falls within the
of his own observation, we have no more reason to expect to find in the Bible a revealed system of psychology than to expect to find there a revealed system of physics. But Scripture distinctly recognises different elements in man corresponding with his different relations to being, and leads us to look for the preservation of all in the future. It lends no support to the famous utterance of Plotinus, who thanked GOD that “he was not tied to an immortal body." It lends no support to the view that the body as such is a mark of the soul's fall. May the God of peace himself, St Paul writes in his earliest Epistle, sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body
the whole of man.
be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who will also do it (1 Thess. v. 23).
But it is unnecessary to pursue this doctrine in detail so far as it is expressed or implied in isolated texts. The doctrine is essentially characteristic of Christianity as the Gospel of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Christ, the central fact which the Apostles were commissioned to announce, presented the truth of the permanence of the whole sum of human nature as the one sufficient answer to man's questionings as to the future life. The Apostles did not announce any opinion or argument or revelation as to the immortality of the soul: their first message to the Jews on the day of Pentecost was: This Jesus [whom ye crucified] God raised up, whereof (or of whom) we all are witnesses (Acts ii. 32); and the same event was everywhere afterwards set forth as the foundation of warning and hope. No theory was advanced as to the conditions of the new life, or as to the physical continuity of man's spiritual' body with his ‘natural' body. Such questions are evidently beyond the reach of our present faculties. But the whole apostolic Gospel was inspired by the thought that the redemption accomplished through Christ extended to every
The Gospel reaches also part of man: that as Christ rose again, wholly the same and yet wholly changed, so should it be with those who believed in Him: nothing was to be lost in the transition, but all was to be transfigured (2 Cor. v. 1 ff. ; iii. 18; 1 Cor. xv. 35 ff.). The thought thus presented was nowhere anticipated in Jewish or heathen teaching. By binding the seen to the unseen in the unbroken unity of the personal life of the Lord 'who was dead and is alive' the Apostles offered to men a new interpretation of human duty and human destiny. How strange and far-reaching the truth was can perhaps best be seen by comparing the later partial and limited representations of it with the original message; the maimed and mutilated views of the offices of the present life which have found acceptance from time to time, with the type of a complete and glorified offering; the various schemes of a future life which have been sketched by the aid of pious imagination, with the fulness of promise transcending definite thought which is opened in the revelations of the Risen Christ.
The doctrine of the Resurrection which throws a new light on the material' element in man, the part which he has in common with the material universe, necessarily places all creation in a direct connexion with the fulness of man's
to the whole material universe.
hope. The body of man is bound, how closely we are slowly coming to know, with the world in which he lives. The assumption of this body of flesh by the Son of God offers therefore the thought of larger issues of the Incarnation than we apprehend at first. In this respect the message of Christianity corresponds with the earliest teaching of Genesis on the Creation and the Fall. As the whole finite order received the same blessing as man, being pronounced “very good”: as it afterwards shared in the consequences of his sin (Gen. iii. 17 f., comp. v. 29; Is. xxiv. 5, 6); so it is destined to share in the glory of his restoration. This cardinal truth is shadowed out in the word with which the Lord describes the period of His reign: the regeneration (ý maliyyeveolahthe new order which issues from a new birth (compare Rom. viii. 22. ouvwdívei)—when the Son of Man has taken His seat on the throne of His glory (‘His throne of glory' Matt. xix. 28; not in parallels). And at the very beginning of the apostolic work, when the first miracle of healing had revealed the visible power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts iii. 6), St Peter points the people who listened to his interpretation of the sign to the certain coming of those times of the restoration (árokataoTaois) of all things which had been from the first the subject of prophetic W. G. L.