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52 BIRTH OF THE UNIVERSE.
and production is governed, shows conclusively that every form of matter must be derived from some primitive substance. But there is no germ of being in absolute nonentity from which any thing could be created; and hence where there are no elements, essences, or forces to constitute a source of production, it is evident there can be nothing produced. In view of the absurdity manifested in the prevalent theory on this subject, we might well exclaim with an ancient writer: “O ye whose hearts are pure ! how could something arise out of nothing ” The theories which have been taken into consideration in this review, represent the extremes into which all minds are liable to fall, which are unenlightened by the true principles of Reason and the divine revelations of Nature. On the one hand, the agency of Deity is discarded, because the essence of which his being is composed is not visible to the eye, and so matter is supposed to be the only real God; and on the other hand, the Deity is endowed with an omnipotent power which acts in direct violation of all law, and with absolute independence as respects all the necessities of being, creating an illimitable Universe from nothing, and speaking into existence all matter from an empty void. Does it not appear rational that the real truth should occupy a middle ground between these extremes, and that it should harmonize and justify, so to speak, the relations that exist between God and matter? If so, this truth will recognize God as the original germ of being, and all material creations as the productions evolved therefrom. And it will be seen, in this view of the subject, that the Philosophy of Creation is only the philosophy of growth, expansion, and birth, which is beautifully and perfectly illustrated by every sprouting plant and unfolding flower.
In contemplating, therefore, the spiritual and indivisible substance which is ultimated in the Divine Soul, it is proper to recognize this as the primary source of all existing materials, —that is to say, the essential and inherent elements of all present forms, were contained undeveloped in the great original germ. It may be accordingly assumed that in this mighty vortex of unparticled matter, the real constituents of all existing formations have had an existence from eternity. Dwelling in the depths of this primitive substance, yet inherently blended with the moving mass, were the germinal elements of the gross earth, water, air, electricity, magnetism, and spirit. Hence in the long lapse of ages, when that stage of creation had been reached in which the existing Universe was brought forth in its sublime order, these inherent elements gradually assumed a more distinct form and being, and ultimately occupied their appropriate positions and relations to each other, as denoted by their different degrees of refinement. That which is, therefore, is a development from that which was ; and so beauty, life, and form are but the ultimated thoughts of God, whose being comprehends the Eternal Past. In the beautiful language of Akenside,
“Ere the radiant sun
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling globe,
C H A P T E R IV.
HAVING previously arrived at the conception that the primitive origin of the Universe is to be traced to the Divine Mind, as the perfect and concentrated essence of all being, it is proper to investigate the principle on which the various external forms of Creation have been produced. The sentiment has been quite generally entertained that God created the heavens and the earth by the direct and special action of his own will—that, at some particular point in the eternity of time, He was moved by a desire to create worlds and systems as they exist in the present constitution of Nature, in accordance with which He suddenly put forth the divinegnergies which had until this time slumbered in the depths of his own being, and labored during a period of six days for the accomplishment of the design conceived. This view of the subject is one which has been derived by theological teachers from the traditional account of creation contained in the Primitive History. It will, however, be readily perceived by the free mind, that a blind reverence for authority in this instance has essentially interfered with the operations of human reason. Indeed it has been boldly asserted by the advocates of this theory, that reason is carnal—utterly unsafe and unreliable as a guide to truth; and it should not, therefore, be esteemed a matter of wonder that, by the force of such a conviction, many irrational and even absurd conclusions have been entertained. The principle of Divine Action as represented in the popular teachings, is apparently analogous to that on which an earthly mechanic would proceed to erect a building of wood or stone. It is supposed that Deity, in the construction of the Universe, acted as a personal and sentient being, possessed of a free and uncontrolled will; and that, in the beginning, by a special application of omnipotent power, He called forth the glorious forms of light and life from the dark bosom of Chaos. But there are some difficulties that arise in taking this view of the subject, which are worthy of a candid consideration. If God be, strictly and literally, a personal being, corresponding in figure and outline with the human form, and if He created the fabric of material Nature as a special act and by the exercise of his own free will, then the inquiry arises, what special incitement could have produced the desire at any particular point of time more than another, to create the revolving worlds and people them with living forms? It should be noticed that Deity had already lived an eternity before the act of creation is supposed to have commenced. During this inconceivable period, was there no action on the part of God?—did He slumber in the depths of surrounding darkness?—did He then have no desire to create and fashion the beautiful forms that were subsequently ushered into being ?—and was He contented to remain in solitude and inaction while ages on ages rolled away?