« AnteriorContinuar »
willing being in the same sense that man is such, only infinitized to all human conception. If this inquiry be answered in the affirmative, then it might be made to appear that God has been eternally engaged as a mechanic in molding the elements of Chaos into a harmonious and perfect structure ; but if a negative answer is to be returned, then it is evident that some different principle must be involved in the creation of material forms. It is well known that the mass of theological teachers will be moved to defend the affirmative side of this question. The prevailing opinion among this class has been that God is simply a man made infinite, possessing the same general form, endowed with the attribute of free-will, and exercising his power in any manner, or toward any end, which may be in accordance with his desire; and indeed so far has this conception been carried in the minds of some philosophers, that Deity has been mentally endowed with all the parts'and organs that belong to the human structure, including hands, feet, lungs, heart, &c. While, according to the catechism of some sects, God is a spirit possessed of neither body nor parts, He is at the same time addressed and conceived of as a personal being, who is capable of acting by the same impulses and desires that move the human heart,—and so omnipotent has he appeared in the exercise of his individual sovereignty, that he has beeu quite commonly represented as creating the universe out of absolute nothing.
In sustaining the hypothesis that God is possessed of a distinct personality corresponding with the human* body, the prominent argument employed is that man, as an ultimate production, must have been formed in the likeness of the Creator—that the chief design of God in creation was to reproduce Himself in a finite form, in accordance with the expression of the Primitive Record, "Let us make man in our own image," and that, therefore, it should be inferred that a true representative of the Divine structure may be seen in the human constitution. It must be conceded that there is much external plausibility in this reasoning; and to minds revolving in the sphere of signs and symbols, the conception herein presented will naturally appear to be the true reality. If Deity be regarded as a Creator in correspondence with the prevailing philosophy, who, from an impulse of love and wisdom, molds the plastic elements of chaos to suit his will, it might be supposed that he would form the highest and most perfect work of his Universe in the express image of his own person; or, again, if He be regarded as a Father, according to the prevalent theological conception, then it might be imagined that, by virtue of the established laws of reproduction, the divine likeness would be impressed upon the child; and in either case it would seem evident that Deity is an infinite Man, presenting the same general outlines as those of the human form, and carrying on the process of creation on a similar principle to that on wliich an earthly architect or mechanic would construct a building.
There are, however, some difficulties that seem to oppose this view of the subject; and these relate chiefly to the special or personal acts and movements which, by inference, are herein, attributed to the Divine Being. If, for instance, the Deity is to be considered as a person possessed of the power of volition, and having a body corresponding with the human form, then we are justified in presuming that he would manifest the power of voluntary motion, making use of the several members of his vast organism in molding and governing external forms, and in passing from point to point through the ininite realm of space. It can not be supposed that the natural movements of the Divine Body would be restrained, or that it would be compelled to remain stationary, while it is possessed of the very faculties which would naturally result in motion. Then, if it be allowed that Deity does by volition exercise the members of his own body in the manner supposed, without which exercise they could be of no possible use, it follows that, in the act of locomotion, the Universe must be left at times destitute of his sustaining presence, or else that its movements must be irregular and special as the dictates of the will itself, the result in either case being contrary to the fixed and established order of Nature. Indeed the very supposition that Deity is simply an infinite Man, acting on principles corresponding to those that govern the human being, would make all his movements appear angular, arbitrary, and personal, in opposition to the more sublime conceptions which are derived from the settled order and undisturbed harmony of the universal constitution of things.
But, aside from these considerations, it is not necessary to conclude that Deity presents the form and outlines of the human body, in admitting the fact that man has been created in his likeness. In a general sense it may be said that all the productions of Nature bear the likeness of God, inasmuch as they are the emanations of his spirit and are impregnated with his divine essence. But this likeness does not consist in the external shape or form of any of these productions, but in that interior nature through which alone they sustain their relation with the creative Mind. And so the divine image in man can not properly be presumed to consist in the members of the ex ternal body—in the bones and muscles of the physical system —but it is to be sought in the very bosom of that unseen and indwelling spirit, which is the legitimate child of the Spirit. Father. It may be true that the spirit does itself correspond in outline with the human form, because this was the mold througli which it was concentrated and born; but it does not thence follow that the spirit formed in this mold is an exact representative of the Divine Person, since this in itself is not the highest and most perfect creation, but contains within its depths a germ of more refined essence than that which composes the spiritual body, on which germ the purity and intelligence of the spirit are entirely dependent, and in which alone can be found the true image and likeness of the Divinity. As the Supreme Soul is composed of the most interior and refined essence of matter, comprehending the highth and depth of all substance, we may safely and rationally conclude that the perfect image or reflection of that Soul, can exist only in the most interior and refined portion of the human spirit, from which reason and intelligence proceed.
As a confirmation of this conclusion, it should be noticed that the human body is simply a link in the chain of physical being—that it is an unfolding from the undeveloped and less perfect productions of the earth, partaking in many respects of the same nature, powers, and functions which belong to inferior creations; so that, from the very position which it occupies, and from the likeness which it has by necessity to the lower forms of Nature, in which are represented only imperfect degrees of development, the human body can not be in itself, as a whole, the perfect and express image of the Divine Person. The lower portions of the human structure are apparently only superior unfoldings from the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and are evidently constructed as they are for the purpose of carrying on the vital functions, and thus creating a medium through Which the spirit can manifest its movements. These members of the body, therefore, are not necessary, except in the sense here mentioned, to the existence or action of intelligence, and hence should not be regarded as representing essential parts of the Divine Mind. .
It is true that the human body is an ultimate production of Nature, and as such must comprehend in some manner the likeness of the Being from whom it was evolved; but let it be remembered that this same body, while it comprehends numerous links of unfolding, has itself an ultimate as presented in the human brain, and that within this brain are contained those spiritual essences in their most concentrated form, which constitute the germ of the soul. It is only, therefore, within the spirit-brain—the perfected flower of the human constitution—that we can rationally expect to find the real image of the creative Soul. We are accordingly justified in concluding, on the very ground that man does in the most exalted sense reflect the Divine likeness, that God is not a personal being whose organization corresponds with the external form of the human being as a whole—that He is not indeed an infinite man, having such a body as is only necessary to protect the weakness of the earthborn spirit, but that He is represented, as to both form and essence, in the highest, purest, and most interior portion of the spiritual structure, which is the germ of the soul itself;—and in the light of this fact, it will be easy to perceive that Deity" did not create the systems of worlds as a mere mechanic, by the action of a special desire, the exercise of an external force,