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miracle on one side and the world that is still in process of developnient on the other, that the idea of miracle is able to maintain its independence. Still more conclusively has Rothe demonstrated the necessity of miracle to a living conception of God.)
Side by side with Rothe, the treatises of Jul. Müller and J. Köstlin deserve special notice.
$ 55. Miracles are sensuously cognizable events, not comprehen
sible on the ground of the causality of Nature and the given system of Nature as such, but essentially on the ground of God's free action alone. Such facts find their possibility in the constitution of Nature and God's living relation to it, their necessity in the aim of revelation, which they subserve.
Observation. The definition of miracle given is applicable also to the primary miracle of creation, and on this very account fitted to remind of God's free and yet positive, intimate relation to Nature, which, while lying at the base of its existence, is not abolished by the transition to conservation. That the rights pertaining to the idea of conservation and secondary causalities ( 36), as well as to the unity of the world, need not suffer on account of miracles, it is the object of the following discussion to show.
1. It has been already conceded above, that natural law is not abolished within the limits of the world by miracle, but presupposed by it; for if God produced everything that exists and happens immediately and exclusively, secondary causalities and their connection would be denied; we should simply have divine action, no world, and therefore no natural law.? Certainly it must then be said that God's action has produced nothing. Thus the notion of miracle, although maintaining
* In the above exposition it is not meant to be denied that Schleiermacher is fettered in the pure working out of the idea of miracle by deficiency in clearly distinguishing between God and the world, between Physics and Ethics, and especially by his doctrine of God's unchangeableness (see above, $ 20, 3).
. This view the Arabian philosophers have tried to work out with most consistency; cf. H. Ritter, Geschichte der christl. Philos. vol. iii. p. 734 ff. 3 See above, pp. 153, 47. DORNER.-CHRIST. Doct. II.
the idea of free creative causality, is in no wise hostile in the abstract to that of natural law. All the more hostile, in the opinion of many, is natural law to miracle, and nothing is more common than to hold up before faith in miracle inviolable natural law as a sort of Medusa's head." But cautious thinking should be restrained from too confident language of this kind, by the consideration that talk about the absolute incompatibility of miracle and natural law is in wonderful harmony with the opposite extreme—absolute Supernaturalism, which likewise sets up an Either-Or, “natural law or miracle," while supposing natural law to be abolished, or at least brought to an end and suspended in favour of miracle. Certainly it is as clear as day that a deistic and naturalistic theory of the world precludes miracle a priori. But this theory must deny much else that gives dignity to man, as formerly shown; and here we leave it out of account. Pantheism also must a priori renounce the possibility of miracles, and that because for it everything must be alike divine. The most it can say is: “Everything is miraculous," a coin whose obverse we have already found to be: “Nothing is miraculous," because the distinction between miracle and natural law is not reached so long as the distinction between God and the world is unacknowledged. The Pantheism of development might indeed endeavour to adorn the new element, produced by divine self-evolution, with the name of miracle. But since it is unable to conceive God as absolute, free personality, this new element would remain the mere work of His eternal nature, and be no free act. The foundation of this mode of thinking being cut away by the doctrine of God, we need not allow ourselves to be disturbed by objections having deistic and naturalistic or pantheistic modes of thought as their presupposition. On God's side the possibility of miracle is certified to us both by the absolute dependence of Nature on God and by His intimate relation to it as the perpetual living ground of its possibility. It is otherwise with the objections raised against miracle on the ground of the idea of the world. They might perhaps, indeed, be met by the simple statement that they lie under the necessity of reverting to one of the modes of thought just mentioned and refuted in the doctrine of God, even as in fact they are accustomed to draw their strength from one or other of these. But considering the importance of the matter, we should not grudge labour. Rather, if we are in earnest in acknowledging the actual world as it is, and a law of Nature existing in it, we must take into view as distinctly as possible the objections that may be drawn from its constituent elements.
1 Rothe, ut supra, p. 85 ff. (Theol. Ethik, I. 110 ff.), expresses himself strikingly respecting the essential connection of miracle with the theistic idea of God, in behalf of which he quotes Zeller, Theol. Jahrb. I. 2, p. 285, who, from faith in a transcendence of God, infers that He also manifests His energy in the world (therefore also immanently).—But no less from a miracle-working immanence of God in the world may we infer His transcendence,—not a local one, but a sublime majesty exercising command over itself and Nature.
2. Nature is a reality, endlessly diversified and endowed with powers of self-conservation and self-reproduction. If now it were implied in the idea of Nature that it is the sole reality, if its reality were made questionable by the position that it is not everything, the objection to miracle would have a force amounting to this : “ Miracle is impossible, because by its admission another reality than that of Nature would have to be supposed.” But that the reality of Nature makes no such claim is evinced by the reality of spirit, which, with its boundless ethical and religious import, cannot be a product of Nature, while at the same time it is no potency hostile to nature, but anticipated by it." But we must go farther, and lay down that not merely is it empty assertion, refuted even by experience, that Nature is the sole reality, but Nature is also in itself no finished, eternally uniform, and settled quantity? Not everything in Nature can be derived exclusively from the efficiency of natural forces. Very many and considerable phenomena in it must be traced back to the intervention of free forces, which gradually modify the face of the earth and control Nature by understanding and directing its forces. Nature is plastic to an incalculable degree. Moreover, it has itself a history, and not only a past, when it was otherwise, but a future not to be calculated by us. It is true that the newly discovered law of the equivalence of forces or
See & 23, Transition from Nature to Spirit ; and $ 40, on the Divine Image. 2 We are rightly reminded of this by Rothe, p. 93 f., in opposition to an exaggerated notion of the complete elaboration of the organism in our material world.
the conservation of force has been to some extent so employed as to imply that the Nature known to us is absolutely sufficient of itself for producing out of its own resources everything belonging to its complex, and barred against all new forces, of which it stands in no need. But even empirical science, Palæontology for example, shows that our earth itself did not always exist. On the contrary, there was a time when no organism and life existed upon it, but mechanical, chemical, electrical forces were the only governing powers. That these have produced life upon our earth is to the present moment mere assertion. It is only possible to make creation conclude with the world of mechanism, on the supposition that the vegetative and animal forces are conceived to be inherent as qualitates occultæ in the mechanical from the beginning.
But in this case (unless in opposition to the idea of matter self-existence is ascribed to it; whereas it is referred to creative causality) we should pass over essentially to Augustine's doctrine, according to which everything is supposed to be created at once. If this hypothesis also desired to include a right estimate of the worth of the superior creatures, it would come into collision with its own fundamental tendency, which is, with the assistance of billions of years, to derive all living structures from the simplest, lowest forms. Moreover, spiritual beings, not derivable from Nature, are part of the world's actuality, and they form the strongest experimental proof that Nature and the system of Nature were not really eternally uniform, finished from the beginning and self-sufficing; for there can be no doubt that men did not always exist on the earth. And as little as the emergence of humanity without a new creative act is to be comprehended on the ground of the bare force of Nature, so little are the new rational beings, continually added to our species, to be comprehended on the ground of a conservation of the force of our species. Rather are they an enhancement of this force by divine action ($ 43). On all these grounds it is worse than a Chinese theory, at variance with the truth of history and an oblivion and degradation of the significance of spirit, to suppose that Nature is a mere complex of mechanical forces, abiding eternally the same, and finished from the beginning in such a manner that in these and their exercise everything further was already instituted, and that nothing beside these can claim admittance within its circle.
But as the controversy always turns chiefly upon the relation of miracle to “natural law," we must turn our attention directly to this point, as is done by the more eminent labourers in this field." J. Müller acknowledges a real law of Nature inherent in the world. This is inviolable in reference to everything falling within its sphere. But there is a higher and a lower order of forces, and in reference to what belongs to the former natural law is not a law. Accordingly it cannot involve the exclusion of forces of a higher order, or regard their operation as an intrusion. Since now forces of a higher order occur in miracle, the latter is no dissolution or suspension of the order as a whole; for the forces of the higher and lower orders together form one whole, both are included in the one world-idea, and each operates after its degree and kind. Both too are cognizable, our thought is able to reach the forces of the higher order. Both are transparent on one side, obscure on the other. Nature is transparent and manifest on the side of law, obscure as to the significance of the natural in the vast teleological world-system. Miracle, on the other hand, is obscure on the side on which it forms one whole with the lower order and links itself with natural law, but transparent on its teleological side and its connection with God.-The not quite satisfactory point in this theory lies in this, that it treats the higher and lower orders as two separate totalities or worlds, and fails to place miracle, either in its. basis or constituent elements, in such clear relation to the world of natural law as to make it evident, how the latter readily makes room for it and is able to admit it within itself. But the miracle of which we speak, is a sensuous event within the bounds of Nature, and must, if it is to become reality, assume elements of Nature as its manifestation, so to speak as its garb. It by no means invades the higher order, like a “Supernature” invading Nature, for the purpose of putting itself in its place. On the other hand, Rothe, who
So J. Müller, Lotze, and Köstlin ; in the same way Rothe. * Rothe, ut supra, p. 89 f. “The product of God's miraculous operation is again itself Nature, perfectly homogeneous with the latter, enters into Nature, becomes forthwith an organic ingredient of the same and subject to its law,