HotFreeBooks.com
God and the World - A Survey of Thought
by Arthur W. Robinson
Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse

[1] The weighing and measuring of the electron were first announced by Professor Thomson to the British Association meeting at Dover, in 1899.

[2] Sir Oliver Lodge.

[3] Sir Oliver Lodge. Life and Matter, p. 28.

[4] Whetham. The Foundations of Science, p. 50.

[5] H. L. Sulman, at the Sir John Cass Institute, November 29th, 1911.

[6] Presidential Address to British Association, 1904.



{76}

CHAPTER VIII

LATER SCIENCE (continued)

We have spoken of what science has recently been doing in the investigation of the constitution of matter; we have now to talk of its researches into the nature of Life.

The discovery that all plant and animal life is developed from living cells was made, as we have already stated, more than seventy years ago. Since then our knowledge of the formation and history of these cells has been continually growing. The size of cells varies, but as a rule they are very minute. They consist of what is termed protoplasm. At one time it was supposed that protoplasm was structureless. Now it is known that the protoplasmic cell contains a nucleus and a surrounding body. Moreover, the nucleus, or small spot in the centre, has within it a spiral structure of a very complicated kind. Every cell is derived from a pre-existing cell by a process of division, the two resulting cells being apparently identical with the parent cell. {77} The cells possess the power of assimilating other cells or fragments of cells. As they grow they move and go in search of food and light and air and moisture. They exhibit feeling, and shrink as if in pain. Spots specially sensitive to vibrations become eyes and ears; and thus the various organs and faculties are evolved under the stimulating influence of environment. The progress, so far as it is physical, can be traced from the lowest blue-green algae right up to man. And all throughout, in so far as their chemical composition is concerned, the constituent elements of the living structure are the same. It is said to be practically impossible to distinguish between the cells of a toadstool and those of a human being.

But when all this has been explained, we have still left one great question unanswered. How is the protoplasm made? Is there any connexion of development to be traced whereby life can be shewn to have arisen from inorganic matter? Protoplasm, under analysis, is found to consist of some of the commonest elements on the earth's surface, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Apart from its very complicated structure, its contents are not hard to provide. And we know that there was a time when it must of necessity have been formed out of that which was not living, {78} for there was a time when our globe was in a state of incandescent heat in which no life that we know could possibly have existed. More than this we cannot say. Sir William Thomson, as President of the British Association in 1871, suggested that a germ of life might have been wafted to our world on a meteorite; but to say that is obviously only to banish the problem to a greater distance.[1]

Huxley had, in 1868, invented the name "Bathybius" to describe the deep-sea slime which he held to be the progenitor of life on the planet. But later on he frankly confessed that his suggestion was fruitless, acknowledging that the present state of our knowledge furnishes us with no link between the living and the not-living.

And so the problem remains. Sir Edward Schaefer, indeed, has laid it down that "we are compelled to believe that living matter must have owed its origin to causes similar in character to those which have been instrumental in producing all other forms of matter in the universe; in other words, to {79} a process of gradual evolution,"[2] but he can throw no further light on the process and its stages.

Sir Oliver Lodge is but speaking the admitted truth when he says that "Science, in chagrin, has to confess that hitherto in this direction it has failed. It has not yet witnessed the origin of the smallest trace of life from dead matter."[3]

No doubt there are many who are hopeful that it may yet be possible to discover a way by which a cell, discharging all the essential functions of life, can be constructed out of inorganic material; or, at least, that it may be possible to frame an intelligible hypothesis as to how this might have been done under conditions which long ago may have been more favourable than our own. But, on the other hand, there are not a few who have quite deliberately abandoned any expectation of the kind. This was made plain by some of the expressions of adverse opinion which were elicited by Sir Edward Schaefer's address. Of these the following may be given as specimens: "The more they saw of the lower forms of life, the more remote seemed to become the possibility of conceiving how life arose."[4]

{80}

"He could not imagine anything happening in the laboratory, according to our present knowledge, which would bring us any nearer to life."[5]

"Living protoplasm has never been chemically produced. The assertion that life is due to chemical and mechanical processes alone is quite unjustified. Neither the probability of such an origin, nor even its possibility, has been supported by anything which can be termed scientific fact or logical reasoning."[6]

"The phenomena of life are of a character wholly different from those which are presented by matter viewed under any other aspect, mechanical, electrical, chemical, or what not. It is beside the question to point to the fact that in Nature 'new elements are making their appearance and old elements disappearing,' for though we may speculate as to the manner of formation of uranium and thorium, and though the production of radio-active matters in Nature at the present time and always seems to be a well-established fact, such phenomena have not even an analogy with those of a living being, however humble."[7]

It cannot be surprising that those who believe {81} the door to be shut, so to speak, in the direction of any theory of development through mechanical and chemical agencies alone, should look elsewhere for the solution of a problem which science is bound to do its very utmost to solve. This is what, as a matter of fact, is happening; and it is of the very deepest interest to observe the nature of the suggested explanation. It is no other than a revived form of the ancient doctrine of a "vital force," which we had imagined to have been finally discarded. There is this difference, however, and it is all-important. The force is not, as formerly supposed, some unique kind of energy; is not, indeed, energy at all. But we shall do best to state the new doctrine in the words of its leading exponents.

Professor Anton Kerner, one of the most distinguished German writers on Botany, in his Natural History of Plants, speaking of the chemical explanation, says: "It does not explain the purposeful sequence of different operations in the same protoplasm without any change in the external stimuli; the thorough use made of external advantages; the resistance to injurious influences; the avoidance or encompassing of insuperable obstacles; the punctuality with which all the functions are performed; the periodicity which occurs with the greatest regularity under constant conditions of environment; {82} nor, above all, the fact that the power of discharging all the operations requisite for growth, nutrition, renovation and multiplication is liable to be lost."

And then he gives his opinion thus: "I do not hesitate again to designate as vital force this natural agency, not to be identified with any other, whose immediate instrument is the protoplasm, and whose peculiar effects we call life."

Sir Oliver Lodge is, perhaps, the most uncompromising advocate of the newer vitalism in England. The following striking quotations will set forth his views:

Life, he maintains, is no more a function of matter "than the wind is a function of the leaves which dance under its influence."[8]

"If it were true that vital energy turned into, or was anyhow convertible into, inorganic energy, if it were true that a dead body had more inorganic energy than a live one, if it were true that 'these inorganic energies' always, or ever, 'reappear on the dissolution of life,' then, undoubtedly, cadit quaestio, life would immediately be proved to be a form of energy, and would enter into the scheme of physics. But, inasmuch as all this is untrue—the direct contrary of the truth—I maintain that life is not a form of {83} energy, that it is not included in our present physical categories, that its explanation is still to seek."

"It appears to me to belong to a separate order of existence, which interacts with this material frame of things, and, while there, exerts guidance and control on the energy which already exists."[9]

"Life does not add to the stock of any human form of energy, nor does death affect the sum of energy in any known way."[10]

"Life can generate no trace of energy, it can only guide its transmutations."[11]

"My contention then is—and in this contention I am practically speaking for my brother physicists—that whereas life or mind can neither generate energy nor directly exert force, yet it can cause matter to exercise force on matter, and so can exercise guidance and control; it can so prepare any scene of activity, by arranging the position of existing material, and timing the liberation of existing energy, as to produce results concordant with an idea or scheme or intention; it can, in short, 'aim' and 'fire.'"[12]

"It is impossible to explain all this fully by the laws of mechanics alone."[13]

"On a stagnant and inactive world life would be {84} powerless: it could only make dry bones stir in such a world if it were itself a form of energy. It is only potent where inorganic energy is mechanically 'available'—to use Lord Kelvin's term—that is to say, is either potentially or actually in process of transfer and transformation. In other words, life can generate no trace of energy, it can only guide its transformation."[14]

"Life possesses the power of vitalising the complex material aggregates which exist on this planet, and of utilising their energies for a time to display itself amid terrestrial surroundings; and then it seems to disappear or evaporate whence it came."[15]

To these voices from Germany or England we can add that of M. Bergson from France. In many respects, as he says, he is at one with Sir Oliver Lodge. If he goes beyond him, it is mainly in these ways. He emphasises the element of Freedom, the power of choice as shewn by every living thing. It appears, he says, "from the top to the bottom of the animal scale," "although the lower we go, the more vaguely it is seen." "In very truth, I believe no living organism is absolutely without the faculty of performing actions and moving spontaneously; for we see that even in the vegetable world, where {85} the organism is for the most part fixed to the ground, the faculty of motion is asleep rather than absent altogether. Sometimes it wakes up, just when it is likely to be useful."

And this is not all. What is specially characteristic of M. Bergson is the insistence that this power of choice is an evidence of Consciousness. "Life," he declares, "is nothing but consciousness using matter for its purposes." "There is behind life an impulse, an immense impulse to climb higher and higher, to run greater and greater risks in order to arrive at greater and greater efficiency." "Obviously there is a vital impulse."[16]

"Life appears in its entirety as an immense wave which, starting from a centre, speeds outwards, and which on almost the whole of its circumference is stopped"—that is, as he explains, by matter—"and converted into oscillation; at one point the obstacle has been forced, the impulsion has poured freely. It is this freedom that the human form registers. Everywhere but in man consciousness has had to come to a stand; in man alone it has kept on its way. Man continues the vital movement indefinitely, although he does not draw along with him all that life carries in itself. On other {86} lines of evolution there have travelled other tendencies which life implied"—the reference is more especially to powers of instinct as distinguished from those of intelligence—"and of which, since everything interpenetrates, man has doubtless kept something, but of which he has kept only a little."[17]

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about M. Bergson's philosophy is his unreadiness to allow that the consciousness, which he says is everywhere at work, has any deliberate purpose in its working. Mr. Balfour has called attention to the unsatisfactoriness of what he described as "too hesitating and uncertain a treatment."[18]

But, in spite of so serious an omission, we may be glad to believe, with our acute statesman-critic, that "there is permanent value in his theories." If they indicate at all the direction in which scientific thinking is to move, we shall soon have travelled a very long distance from the days in which it was imagined that all vital phenomena might be accounted for on merely materialistic and mechanical lines.



[1] "To this 'meteorite' theory the apparently fatal objection was raised that it would take some sixty million years for a meteorite to travel from the nearest stellar system to our earth, and it is inconceivable that any kind of life could be maintained during such a period."—Schaefer.

[2] Presidential Address to British Association, at Edinburgh (1912).

[3] Man and the Universe, p. 24.

[4] Prof. Wager.

[5] Dr. J. S. Haldane.

[6] Dr. A. R. Wallace. Article in Everyman, October 18th, 1912.

[7] Sir William Tilden. Letter to The Times, September 9th,1912.

[8] Life and Matter, p. 106.

[9] Pp. 132, f.

[10] P. 158.

[11] P. 160.

[12] Pp. 164, f.

[13] P. 166.

[14] P. 160.

[15] P. 198.

[16] Lecture at Birmingham, May, 1911.

[17] Creative Evolution, p. 280.

[18] Hibbert Journal, October, 1911.



{87}

CHAPTER IX

LATER SCIENCE (continued)

The leaders of the scientific thought of last century would have been vastly surprised if they could have foreseen the results of the investigations which were to be made into the constitution of matter and the nature of life; but not even these would have amazed them so much as would other investigations that were to be carried out in a yet deeper and more mysterious region of experience. Perhaps it was because science had been so busy about the more external things, that it had seemed to have no time to spare for the thorough consideration of that which is more truly vital to man than the matter which obeys or opposes him, or even than the physical life which enables him to act, in so far as he can, as its master. It was strange that the last thing to be thought of should be his own personality, himself; the innermost workings of his soul.

But if this profoundest problem has been neglected, it is to be neglected no longer. Psychology has {88} already made good its claim to be respectfully regarded as one of the sciences. It is too early to speak with any great certainty of the results that it has achieved, though these are probably more substantial than is commonly supposed.

Anyhow, it will be best that, as before, we should give some characteristic statements of the investigators themselves, rather than attempt to make unauthorised summaries of our own.

And, first of all, Sir Oliver Lodge shall tell us what he understands by the Soul. "The soul is that controlling and guiding principle which is responsible for our personal expression and for the construction of the body, under the restrictions of physical condition and ancestry. In its higher developments it includes also feeling and intelligence and will, and is the storehouse of mental experience. The body is its instrument and organ, enabling it to receive and to convey physical impressions, and to affect and be affected by matter and energy."[1]

How the soul acts by means of the body is thus explained.

"The brain is the link between the psychical and the physical, which in themselves belong to different orders of being."[2]

{89}

"A portion of brain substance is consumed in every act of mentation."[3] "Destroy certain parts of brain completely, and connexion between the psychic and the material regions is for us severed. True; but cutting off or damaging communication is not the same as destroying or damaging the communicator; nor is smashing an organ equivalent to killing the organist."[4]

M. Bergson does not differ from this when he says that, "the soul—essentially action, will, liberty—is the creative force par excellence, the productive agent of novelty in the world." He goes on to speak of the way by which souls have been differentiated and raised to self-conscious existence. "The history of this great effort is the very history of the evolution of life on our planet. Certain lines of evolution seem to have failed. But on the line of evolution which leads to man the liberation has been accomplished and thus personalities have been able to constitute themselves."[5] Like many another, M. Bergson cannot bring himself to believe that death is to be the end of all that has been thus painfully achieved during this process of attainment. "When we see that consciousness is also memory, {90} that one of its essential functions is to accumulate and preserve the past, that very probably the brain is an instrument of forgetfulness as much as one of remembrance, and that in pure consciousness nothing of the past is lost, the whole life of a conscious personality being an indivisible continuity; are we not led to suppose that the effect continues beyond, and that in this passage of consciousness through matter (the passage which at the tunnel's exit gives distinct personalities) consciousness is tempered like steel, and tests itself by clearly constituting personalities and preparing them, by the very effort which each of them is called upon to make, for a higher form of existence?"[6]

But the psychologist has yet more to tell us about the nature of personality. Although helped to distinctiveness of self-conscious expression by means of its experience of the struggle under present material conditions, it is not the whole of it that can be thus expressed. In fact its present physical embodiment is but partially adequate to the task. In other words, "cerebral life represents only a small part of the mental life." "One of the roles of the brain is to limit the vision of the mind, to render {91} its action more efficacious"[7]—more efficacious, that is to say, for such uses as are of value for survival and success under our existing conditions.

It is to Frederick Myers that we have chiefly owed the conception of the subliminal or subconscious mind. The full report of his researches is given in the two volumes of his work on "Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death" (1901). He it was who invented the word "telepathy" to express the fact that mental action can be exerted at a distance. And it was he who brought for the first time the phenomena of clairvoyance and apparitions under thorough examination by the employment of the most exacting tests. Along such lines he was led to the conclusion, now largely accepted, that the conscious self is only a fraction of the entire personality, the fraction being greater or less according to the magnitude of the individual.

By means of this subconscious part of our being we are, he held, brought into touch with one another and are capable of attaining a knowledge which may greatly transcend that which comes to us through our ordinary channels of communication. In the case of genius we watch the emergence of exceptional {92} potentialities, which may serve as the promise and pledge of what the future has in store for us all. One day like some winged insect we shall pass to a condition beyond that of the life we now know, and then we may hope that what we "can regard as larval characters of special service in the present stage of existence," will prove to have been "destined to be discarded, or modified almost out of recognition, in proportion as a higher state is attained."[8]

This recognition of the existence within human nature of such capacities and powers, however imperfectly developed and understood, would greatly help us to deal with many mysteries of experience that have hitherto seemed completely beyond the purview of a strict scientific research. The American psychologist, William James, has done good service to this highest department of critical inquiry in his well-known work on "Varieties of Religious Experience." A single extract may suffice to illustrate his position, and to shew what may yet lie before those who are prepared to press on in the direction in which he was able to point.

"The further limits of our being plunge ... into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely 'understandable' {93} world.... So far as our ideal impulses originate in this region (and most of them do originate in it, for we find them possessing us in a way for which we cannot articulately account) we belong to it in a more intimate sense than that in which we belong to the visible world... When we commune with it, work is actually done upon our finite personality, for we are turned into new men... I call this higher part of the universe by the name of God."[9]



[1] Man and the Universe, p. 78.

[2] P. 91.

[3] Life and Matter, p. 107.

[4] Man and the Universe, p. 93.

[5] Lecture at University College, October, 1911.

[6] Birmingham Lecture, May, 1911.

[7] Bergson. Presidential Address to Society for Psychical Research, May, 1913.

[8] Op. cit., I., p. 97.

[9] Pp. 515, f.



{94}

NOTE

Since the preceding chapters were written, the meeting of the British Association has been held at Birmingham (September, 1913). Its interest was unusually great inasmuch as the President's address and the principal discussions were occupied with the most critical and debatable scientific questions of the present moment. The following extracts will give a general idea of the line taken at the outset by the President, Sir Oliver Lodge.

"Theological controversy is practically in abeyance just now." "It is the scientific allies, now, who are waging a more or less invigorating conflict among themselves, with philosophers joining in." "Ancient postulates are being pulled up by the roots." "The modern tendency is to emphasise the discontinuous or atomic character of everything." "The physical discovery of the twentieth century, so far, is the electrical theory of matter." "So far from Nature not making jumps, it becomes doubtful if she does anything else." "The corpuscular theory of radiation is by no means so dead as in my youth we thought it was." "But I myself am an upholder of ultimate continuity, and a fervent believer in the aether of space."

{95}

"I have been called a vitalist, and in a sense I am; but I am not a vitalist if vitalism means an appeal to an undefined 'vital force' (an objectionable term I have never thought of using) as against the laws of chemistry and physics." "There is plenty of physics and chemistry and mechanics about every vital action, but for a complete understanding of it something beyond physics and chemistry is needed." "No mathematics could calculate the orbit of a common house-fly." "I will risk the assertion that life introduces something incalculable and purposeful amid the laws of physics; it thus distinctly supplements those laws, though it leaves them otherwise precisely as they were and obeys them all."

"The Loom of Time is complicated by a multitude of free agents who can modify the web, making the product more beautiful or more ugly according as they are in harmony or disharmony with the general scheme. I venture to maintain that manifest imperfections are thus accounted for, and that freedom could be given on no other terms, nor at any less cost."

"I will not shrink from a personal note summarising the result on my own mind of thirty years of experience of psychical research, begun without predilection—indeed, with the usual hostile prejudice." "The facts so examined have convinced me that memory and affection are not limited to that association with matter by which alone they can manifest themselves here and now, and that personality persists beyond bodily death."

{96}

Of the debates on the subsequent days those on "Radiation" and "The Origin of Life" were, perhaps, the most remarkable. At the former the point at issue was the amount of truth contained in Planck's "famous hypothesis that energy was transferred by jumps instead of in a continuous stream." Sir Joseph Larmor evidently expressed the prevailing opinion when he said that "some advance in that direction had become necessary, and old-fashioned physicists like himself had either to take part in it or run the risk of becoming obsolete."

For the discussion about "Life," the three sections of Physiology, Zoology, and Botany were combined. Professor Moore stood stoutly for the older views, and "believed that he could demonstrate a step which connected inorganic with organic creation." Then he gave an abstruse and highly technical account of a process by which in "solutions of colloidal ferric hydroxide, exposed to strong sunlight," compounds could be formed similar to those to be found in the green plant. With a proper grouping of molecules it might be imagined how "colloidal aggregates appeared," and eventually "organic colloids" which "acquired the property of transforming light energy into chemical activity." The speakers who followed seemed to be agreed that, even were such "potentially living matter" to be produced, we should have reached, not the discovery of the secret of life, but only the construction of "its physical vehicle." Professor Hartog strongly protested against the notion that there was "a consensus {97} of opinion among biologists that life was only one form of chemical and physical actions which could be reduced in the laboratory." He wished it to be understood that "the preponderance of weight among scientific men" was opposed to such a position.



{98}

CONCLUSION

It is dangerous to generalise; and, when as in this survey we are attempting to indicate broadly the trend of the thought of an age, we have more than ordinary need to be on our guard lest we should sacrifice truth to the desire for a seeming completeness of logical presentation. For fear, then, of misunderstanding, let it be clearly remembered that in what has been said we have had no wish to suggest that all minds have moved at the same pace, or even in the same direction; but only that certain strong tendencies were observable, which gave colour and character to the mental stream at the particular stages in its course. It is with a full sense of the possibility of exaggeration, and of the necessity of holding the balance even, that we shall now make our final attempt to sum up as concisely as possible what we have been able to gather in regard to the thought-movement of the period we have had under review. There can be no danger of misstatement in saying that, all throughout, the chief thoughts of the time were intensely occupied with {99} the greatest of all questions, those about GOD AND THE WORLD. And, further, it has not been difficult to perceive that there have been three distinct stages in the sequence of these thoughts.

In the first stage we can see, as we look back, that the Religious feeling was dominant, while the scientific temper could scarcely have been said to exist; certainly it did not exist upon any extended scale. But, though the desire to be reverent was widespread, we are bound to allow that the ideas about God were somewhat crudely conceived. As a legacy, no doubt, from the Deistic controversies of the preceding century, the general thought did not rise above the notion of a Supreme Mechanist and all-powerful Ruler of all things. The Divine Being was regarded as having originated the universe by a fiat of His will, fashioning its several contents one after another as He pleased, and appointing that each and all should be subjected to the laws He had ordained; always reserving to Himself the right to intervene by some signal display of wisdom and power, when such intervention was required, either to remedy a defect, or yet further to set forth His glory. Men were very ready to admit the idea of the Supernatural, but it was in the merely superficial and popular sense of power working without means, rather than what we now {100} feel to be the far truer sense of superhuman knowledge of means, and power to use them.[1] It followed, and this was the weakest point in the Paleyan system of Natural Theology, that God's action was looked for not in the normal, but in the exceptional processes of Nature. The need of the Divine was only felt when no other explanation was forthcoming; with the result, of course, that as other explanations were found, the necessity for recognising its operation grew ever less and less. And, even apart from such a consequence, the effects of the conception could not be otherwise than injurious to religious faith; for, as it has been truly and reverently observed, "a theory of occasional intervention implies as its correlative a theory of ordinary absence."[2]

As to knowledge of the World, there was scarcely any at all, according in our present understanding of such knowledge. Not everybody, of course, accounted for the existence of fossils by supposing that they were the casts from which the Almighty had designed His creatures, or possibly the Devil's {101} attempts to imitate His works; but the prevailing ideas were of the most primitive kind. Even Paley could give us no better explanation of certain rudimentary anatomical organs, than by suggesting that the creature in whom they were found had been so far constructed before it was decided what its sex should be! We can see that if any real progress in knowledge was to be made, a change of a very radical order had to come. And it did come.

The second stage was Scientific rather than religious. The thought of God occupied a less prominent place in proportion as men's minds were yielded to the attraction of the new studies. This was partly due, as we have already explained, to the fact that causes were found to account for the phenomena which had previously, for the lack of the understanding of such causes, been attributed to the immediate exercise of supernatural power. Partly, also, it was due to a growing distrust of human ability, which resulted from the belief that this was nothing more than a recent development from a lower animal ancestry. A mind thus originated was supposed to be debarred from forming any trustworthy notion of the nature of a First Cause which had operated, if at all, at some point infinitely distant in the long succession of ages.

The main work of this stage was to prosecute {102} research into the elaborated mechanism, or as men soon came to prefer to think of it, the developing growth of the world. And wonderful, beyond all anticipation, was the success which rewarded the pains that were lavishly bestowed upon the inquiry. Small marvel was it that some men's heads were well-nigh turned, and that to many it seemed little less than certain that science had dispensed with the supernatural altogether; and that it only required time, and no great length of time, to secure universal acceptance for the materialistic explanations which were destined, as they supposed, to leave no mysteries of life unsolved. But such persons had reckoned with a too hasty and superficial knowledge of the data involved. Little by little the counter-criticisms produced their effect. The idea of a First and Permanent Cause was shewn to be as indispensable as ever; not, indeed, as an influence to be pushed far back, and to be thought of as acting either once or occasionally. A truer reading of the meaning of what had been discovered led to the grateful acknowledgment that "Darwinism has conferred upon philosophy and religion an inestimable benefit by shewing us that we must choose between two alternatives: either God is everywhere present in Nature, or He is nowhere."[3] {103} So, again, with Design. The earlier notion of the separate manufacture of species and of special adaptations to particular ends had to give way to a larger conception of the growth and gradual correlation of the parts and functions of a stupendous whole. But for the attainment of this mighty result direction and superintendence are even more imperatively needed. As it was often urged with good reason, to make a world right off would not have been so marvellous an achievement as to make that world make itself.

The problem of Beneficence had, as we saw, come to be so entangled with difficulties as to render it the most serious of all the problems which pressed upon the minds and hearts of the men of this second stage of thinking. But here, also, the fears which were at first aroused were found to have been exaggerated; and perhaps it is true to say that before the end of the century there was a general disposition to conclude that with larger knowledge we should get to understand the utility of much that to uninstructed eyes appears to be lavish waste and needless suffering. The obvious fact that science could not go forward without a loyal belief in the rational intelligibility of nature gave justification to a corresponding belief in its ethical intelligibility, even though in this case, as in the other, the {104} complete proofs might not be immediately forthcoming. And there was, further, the possibility—to some it was more than a possibility—that much in the world which looks contrary to goodness is really to be accounted for as the result of a misuse of liberty on the part of powers and forces whose action has most mysteriously been allowed to thwart and to complicate the task of the beneficent Maker of all.

About the third stage it is fitting that we should speak with more hesitation. We are living in it, and are as yet only at its beginning. But we may hazard the prognostication that it will be both Religious and Scientific; and that, "as knowledge grows from more to more," there will be found the "more of reverence" of which our modern poet sings. There is reason to hope that the bitterness of old controversies will not be revived, and that we have before us a time in which Theology and Science will co-operate and no longer conflict. With deepening insight it is becoming plainer than ever that the phenomena of life, and even of matter, are the expressions of a more than physical force. Evolution is a law under which a forward process is moving on, and moving up. There is an impulse of consciousness working from within, and there is a spiritual, as well as a material, environment inviting {105} to correspondence with itself. Freedom and power of choice are admitted to be present in regions where their existence was for long most strenuously denied. Even matter may have its own power of insistence and resistance—how much more mind and will. This consideration may give us a yet clearer clue to the mysteries of failure, miscarriage, and waste. A world that was to produce self-conscious, self-determining personalities needed to have freedom through the whole of its development; and the consequent risk and possible cost were inevitable. Shall we not be led to admire and revere increasingly the wonder of it all, as there grows upon us the sense of the quietness and gentleness, the foresight, and the infinite patience of the Being of beings, who will never obtrude His presence and action upon us, just because He would help us to be our own, not dead but living, selves, and would have us rise with Him to the highest things?

We are far from the end of our learning. There are many enigmas yet to be made plain. We could not wish it otherwise. It has ever been through the narrow gate of difficulty that we have passed into the wider court of truth. We have good cause to be humble, but we have full right to be hopeful. We must not be afraid to face the problems that await {106} us, whatever they may be. We may be confident that we are not to be deceived; but that, under a Guidance that has never failed, we shall at length be brought to see the dawning of the longed-for day,

"When that in us which thinks with that which feels Shall everlastingly be reconciled, And that which questioneth with that which kneels."



[1] This important distinction was carefully drawn by the Duke of Argyll in his Reign of Law (pp. 14, 25), published in 1866.

[2] Aubrey Moore, in one of a series of remarkable articles contributed to the Guardian (January 18th, 25th, February 1st, 1888).

[3] Aubrey Moore, Lux Mundi.



{107}

INDEX

AETHER, 73, 94.

Agnosticism, 32, 46-52.

Aquinas, St. Thomas, 13.

Argyle, George Douglas, Duke of, 37, 100.

Atoms, 21, 71, 72.

Augustine, St., 50.

Avebury, Lord, 58.

BACON, LORD, 14.

Balfour, A. J., 75, 86.

"Bathybius," 78.

Becquerel, A. C., 70.

Beneficence, Divine, 17, 18, 53-67, 103.

Bergson, Henri, 84-86, 89, 90.

Brain, 88, 89, 90.

Bunsen, R. W., 24.

CARLYLE, THOMAS, 63.

Cause, 29.

Cells, The growth of, 77.

Chalmers, Thomas, 19, 20.

Chance, 30, 44, 56.

Consciousness, 85, 89, 90.

Creation, Mosaic account of 39.

Creative power, affirmed by Science, 39.

Cruelty in Nature, 34, 35, 54-67.

Curie, Mme., 70.

DALTON, JOHN, 21.

Darwin, Charles, 24-26, 41-43, 54, 58, 64.

Deserts, Use of, 62.

Design, Argument from, 14-16, 29, 40-45, 103.

Directive power, 44, 83, 106.

Du Bois Raymond, E., 37.

Dysteleology, 35.

EARTHQUAKES, 66.

Electrons, 71.

Energy: Conservation of, 23, 42, 75. Dissipation of, 73.

Evil and Evolution, 64-66.

Evil in Nature, 18, 63-67.

Evolution, Doctrine of, 24, 25, 40, 104.

FARADAY, MICHAEL, 22, 37.

"First Cause," 13, 28, 32, 38, 39, 101, 102.

Freedom, 84, 95, 104, 105.

Future life, 89-92, 95.

GEOLOGY, 23, 39, 70.

Goodwin, Bishop Harvey, 47.

Gore, Bishop, 50, 57.

Gray, Asa, 41, 56.

HAECKEL, E., 29, 30, 31, 35, 40.

Haldane, J. S., 80.

Hartog, Professor, 96.

Heat, Mechanical equivalent of, 23.

Helium, 70.

Helmholtz, H. von, 22.

Herschel, Sir John, 69.

Huxley, T. H., 32, 35, 40, 43, 61, 78.

ICHNEUMONIDAE, 56.

Insensibility of animals, 60, 61.

JAMES, WILLIAM, 92, 93.

Joule, J. P., 23, 37.

KELVIN, LORD, 37, 39, 44, 68, 70, 78.

Kepler, J., 19.

Kerner, Anton, 81, 82.

Kirchhoff, Professor, 24.

Knight, Professor W., 57.

LAMARCK, J. B., 22, 26.

Laplace, P. S., 19.

Larmor, Sir J., 71, 96.

Liebig, J. F. von, 44.

Life: failure to produce out of matter, 79, 80, 96, 97. Meteorite theory of, 78, not a form of energy, 82, 83.

Lodge, Sir Oliver, 71, 79, 82-85, 88, 89, 94, 95.

Lotze, Hermann, 47.

Lyell, Sir Charles, 23.

MATERIALISM, 44, 46.

Matter, Disintegration of, 72.

Maxwell, James Clerk, 22, 37, 68.

Metals, 74.

Mill, J. Stuart, 29, 33, 39.

Molecules, 69, 71, 72.

Monism, 31.

Moore, Aubrey, 48, 100, 102.

Moore, Professor B., 96.

Myers, Frederick W. H., 91.

NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS, 19.

Necessity, 43.

Newton, Sir Isaac, 19.

ORGANS, RUDIMENTARY, 40, 41, 101.

Origin of Species, 25, 39, 40, 55, 56.

Owen, Sir Richard, 27.

PAGET, BISHOP FRANCIS, 52.

Pain, Use of, 58, 59.

Paley, William, 14-19, 100, 101.

Pascal, Blaise, 52.

Pasteur, Louis, 37, 66.

Personality: Divine, 48, 52. Human, 87, 90.

Protoplasm, 23, 76, 77.

Psychical Research, 91, 95.

Psychology, 87, 90-92.

RADIUM, 70, 72.

Religious instinct, 51.

Romanes, G. J., 33-36, 37. 39, 42, 50-52, 57.

Roentgen rays, 70.

SCHAFER, SIR EDWARD, 78.

Schleiden, M. J., 23.

Schwann, T., 23.

Snake poison, 60, 66.

Soul, 87, 88, 89.

Spectrum analysis, 24, 68.

Spencer, Herbert, 32, 33, 47, 49.

Spiritual environment, 93, 104.

Stokes, Sir G. G., 24, 37, 45.

Subconsciousness, 91, 92.

Suffering, Divinely shared, 67, 105.

Sulman, H. L., 74, 75.

Supernatural, The, 99, 100.

Survival: after death, 89-92, 95. of the fittest, 24, 25.

TELEOLOGY, THE WIDER, 40, 45.

Telepathy, 91.

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 54.

Thomson, Sir J. J., 71, 73.

Tilden, Sir William, 80.

Treves, Sir Frederick, 59.

Tyndall, John, 31, 38.

UNBELIEF, DISTRESS CAUSED BY, 35, 36, 50.

VARIATIONS, 25, 26.

Venomous animals, 17, 65, 66.

Virchow, R., 37.

Vitalism, 81-85, 95.

Volcanoes, Use of, 62.

WAGER, PROFESSOR, 79.

Wallace, Alfred Russel, 59-61, 80.

Whetham, W. C. D., 74.



Wyman & Sons Ltd., Printers, London and Reading.



Publications of the

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Modern Substitutes for Traditional Christianity. By the Rev. Canon E. MCCLURE. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. net.

Modern Rationalism. As seen at work in its Biographies. By Canon HENRY LEWIS, M.A. Large Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 4s. net.

God and the Universe. A Physical Basis for Religion and Ethics. By G. W. DE TUNZELMANN, B.Sc., M.I.E.E. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 4s. net.

Christianity and Agnosticism. By HENRY WAGE, D.D., Dean of Canterbury. Demy 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. net.

The Name of God in the Pentateuch. The Base of Biblical Criticism re-examined. A Study introductory and explanatory of Exodus vi. vv. 1 et seq. By Dr. A. TROELSTRA. Translated from the Dutch by Canon EDMUND MCCLURE, M.A. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards, 2s. net.

Is a Revolution in Pentateuchal Criticism at Hand? By the Rev. JOHANNES DAHSE. Translated by Canon EDMUND MCCLURE, M.A., from an Article in the "Neue Kirchliche Zeitschrift," for September, 1912. With a Preface by the Rev. Professor SAYCE, D.D. Small post 8vo. Paper cover. 4s. net.

Is Christianity Miraculous? By Rev. C. H. PRICHARD, M.A. Small post 8vo. Cloth. 2s. net.

Literary Criticism and the New Testament. By the Rev. Canon R. J. KNOWLING, D.D. Second Edition, Revised. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. net.

Messianic Interpretation and other Studies. By the Rev. Canon R. J. KNOWLING, D.D. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. 6d. net.

Rational Necessity of Theism. By the Rev. A. D. KELLY, M.A. Small post 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. net.

Reasons for Faith. And other Contributions to Christian Evidence. By the Right Rev. A. F. WINNINGTON-INGRAM, D.D., Bishop of London. Small post 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. net.

Shall I Believe? By the Rev. G. R. OAKLEY, M.A., B.D. Small post 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. 6d. net.

"Evidence of Things not Seen, The." I. From Nature. II. From Revelation. By J. A. FLEMING, D.Sc., F.R.S. Crown 8vo. Paper cover. 6d. Cloth, 1s.

Virgin Birth and the Criticism of To-day, Our Lord's. By the Rev. Canon R. J. KNOWLING, D.D. Revised Edition. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 1s. 6d. net.

Virgin Birth: A critical examination of the evidences for the Doctrine of the. By THOMAS JAMES THORBURN, M.A., LL.D. Crown 8vo. Cloth boards. 2s. 6d. net.



SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,

LONDON: NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.

THE END

Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse