« הקודםהמשך »
The destiny of man
promise (Acts iii. 21 : compare Acts i. 6; Matt. xvii. 11). The thought lies here perhaps in an undefined shape. In the teaching of St Paul it stands out in magnificent fulness. The earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Rom. viii. 19—23).
The thought expressed in these pregnant words is indeed contained in the Christian conception of man. He is sovereign of the world (Gen. i. 28; comp. ii. 19) and therefore incomplete without his dominion. So much we can see, though we are not yet able to grasp the complete meaning of the truth from our imperfect knowledge of the world and of the interdependence in coexistence or succession of the various parts of which it is composed.
and nature united.
But the general recognition of the reality of the indestructible bond between man and nature opens out new lines for the study of both. In this connexion the promise of the Lord as to the future recompense of His followers (Matt. xix. 29 and parallels), and the language of St Paul (1 Cor. iii. 22, 23) as to the sovereignty of believers gain a fuller meaning
In the Apocalypse the restoration of man and the restoration of nature are placed side by side. The Christian seer uses the language of Isaiah when he portrays the consummation of the work of the Christ.
a new heaven and a new earth’ (Apoc. xxi. 1; Is. lxv. 17; lxvi. 22; comp. li. 16), and adds to the vision a fresh trait: 'and the sea is no more,' the element of restless instability has at length passed away. 'Four living creatures,' the representatives of animate Creation join with 'four and twenty elders,' the representatives of the Church, old and new, in rendering adoration to Him that sitteth on the throne' (iv. 6 ff.). When the living creatures give 'glory and honour' to Him, the elders fall down and worship Him and say ‘Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they
The theory of Evolution were, and were created' (iv. 11). The hymn of nature is crowned by the message of revelation; and for a moment we are allowed to look to the archetypal thought of finite being before time was (noav: comp. Aug. in Joh. c. i. 3 f.). So it is that when the angels sing of the triumphant redemptive work of the Lamb that hath been slain' (v. 12), “Every created thing which is in the heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them' join in the ascription of blessing to Him; 'and the four living creatures said Amen; and the elders fell down and worshipped' (v. 13 f.). The triple homage of the universe is at length complete and harmonious.
It will be obvious how such aspects of nature as those shadowed out in these last visions of the world's re-creation, even as they are indicated in the record of the first creation, fall in with much popular speculation of our own time. Whether the evidence on which theories of evolution are maintained is at present adequate to support the wide conclusions which are drawn from it or not; whether indeed it is likely or not that conclusive evidence on such a subject will ever be accumulated, may be fairly questioned; but there can be no doubt that many independent lines of facts one expression of this idea.
converge towards the general view which represents the whole sum of finite being as united in a continuous whole, of which the parts rise one above another by indefinitely small gradations so as to suggest the conception of an unbroken succession. And such a view, so far from being inconsistent with what the Bible teaches us of the world, does in fact fall in better with its teaching, according to our present knowledge, than the older view which regarded the action of God as manifested intermittingly in successive creative acts, and made sharp and abrupt separations between the different ‘kingdoms' of nature.
If then we feel that the balance of evidence favours the belief in the evolution of life, or more truly of the organisms through which the life reveals itself, according to the action of uniform laws,' we do not lose but gain by the conclusion. The life of the whole world, if we dare so speak, is thus presented to us in a form analogous to that of the life of the individual man.
Little by little our own completed organization grows from the simplest germ by fixed 'laws,' but yet not without God. On this interpretation of the 'becoming' of the world the Microcosm answers to the Macrocosm—man to the Universe-and the mind can rest in moments of loftiest speculation on a reasonable thought of a supreme unity
Man the representative
of all finite being which falls under man's observation.
The Gospel carries this thought of unity into a higher region. Just as man appears to be a representative of the visible creation, so the visible creation appears to represent the whole finite order. When therefore the Word became flesh he fulfilled the purpose of the Father to sum up all things in Christ (év TỘ Xploto), the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth (Eph. i. 10). And, more than this, in consequence of the ravages wrought by sin, it was the good pleasure of the Father through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, whether things upon the earth or things in the heavens (Col. i. 19 f.). Thus we are taught that by the Incarnation all orders of finite being are brought to their consummation in a divine harmony (compare Rom. xi. 36; 1 Cor. iii. 21 ff.; 2 Cor. v. 17 f.; Eph. iii. 9, iv. 10; Phil. iii. 21; 1 Cor. xv. 27 f.).
It is obvious that these passages of Holy Scripture open before us a prospect of mysteries which we cannot distinctly realise. They shew us one side—the divine side—of being. There is also the human side, on which we recognise the