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self-origination (self-existence), although merely on the basis of God's ever-present, sustaining omnipotence.


1. Ecclesiastical Doctrine has not treated this idea at length, although the Catechism distinguishes preservation from creation. In connection with the Flood, the 0. T. depicts preservation in contrast with creation in specially vivid colours, and speaks of God's breath preserving the world." In the N. T. the divine Principle manifested in the Son is also conceived as the Preserver. But in a teleological relation also, the Word made Flesh is the world's Preserver. The sinful world is preserved for Christ's sake and on His account." He is the immoveably fixed, living centre, alone able to stand security to divine wisdom and love for the world's excellence. The efficiency of secondary causes is already involved in the idea of creation, which is only completed in the institution of such causes.

In its very nature it looks forward to the idea of conservation. What our God has created, that will He also preserve." On this account, in Gen. i. each order of living plants is so made as to have its seed in itself. This has also a meaning in the spiritual sphere. Paul calls himself a co-worker with God, a father who begot the Christians in Corinth, a mother who bore them."

2. The world is not absolutely or originally self-constituting life (sich selbst setzendes Leben). In its existence it is and remains an effect, not constituting itself, and never attaining to the power of absolutely constituting itself. The opposite notion of the world as regards its substance preserving itself as a whole apart from God, and being an absolutely self-sustaining dynamico-mechanical organism, would be deistic in character, even supposing the rights of the divine government to be reserved. God alone has self-existence in the absolute

The world can only reflect God's eternal life-process


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Ps. civ. 29, cxlvii.; Job xxxviii. ff. - John i. 4: “In Him was life;" Col. i. 17: “By Him all things consist;" Heb. i. 3: “He sustains all things by the word of His power;" Acts xvii. 25-28. 3 Col. i. 13 ff.

4 John vii. 38; Matt. xxviii. 19 f. 51 Cor. iv. 14 ff. ; Gal. iv. 19; Rom. x. 14, 17; Eph. iv. 11.

© Even Rothe, Theol. Ethik, ed. 2, 1. 215-222, $ 54, despite his opposition to the common notion of preservation, admits that God might at any moment destroy the entire mass of living creatures, as regards both the material and physical

in creaturely form, and in the way of creaturely derivation one from another, on the basis of God's continuous preserving volition. Were it absolutely self-constituting life, it would

. be God, no longer the world. On the other hand, were it merely constituted, it would not be an image of God, because not self-constituting, but finished once for all. On the contrary, we see at once that it is designed to form such an image, especially if we look at the living portion of the world, for whose sake the rest exists. Here, however, the apparently simple idea of conservation presents a difficulty. If the finite is constituted, it is constituted as a force able in its degree to maintain and manifest itself as causality. Nothing would be constituted, if the constituted were not constituted as a causal force. But how is it consistent with this, that God is also without intermission the cause of this causation ? Does not finite causality, if really such, exclude divine ? And conversely, must not the finite remain inherent in the divine and be a mere illusion, if in conservation also the divine cause be treated as real ? And this difficulty becomes still more acute in the case of the living creature, to which of necessity a power of self-constitution must be ascribed. For the question then arises: How can continuous divine causality consist with this? It seems altogether superfluous. If one is treated as real, the other seems to become mere illusion. Were it said, tinuance or self-constitution of finite things is mediated for the individual only through the general world-idea conducive thereto, and the co-ordination of the many is the work of God the Preserver, there is no doubt truth in this, and we are reminded of the fact that the proper object of conservation is not the individual as such, but the world. But the main question would only be pushed farther back; for the question arises, Does the world conserve or maintain itself as a whole without further assistance from God's conserving energy? Is it, as the theories of a world-soul suppose, self-sufficient as a unity once constituted ?

Are we to agree with those who discern the very glory of God's creative power in the fact of His having created something that no longer needs His help aspect (p. 221), and only ascribes absolute, self-determining indestructibility to what he calls “spirit,” only, however, in virtue of the divine element appropriated by it, which has drawn the material into indissoluble unity with itself.

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in the way that a machine still needs its master? Or must we assent to those who in the interest of religion elect to decline ascribing to nature power of its own, or even self-constitution?

3. The latter view we cannot accept, because this would be to revoke the idea of creation, and transform the creative relation of cause and effect into the category of accident and substance, or even of identity; for if the ostensibly created is without real force of its own, then the divine cause has really effected nothing. A real creature only exists, provided it exists as really distinct from the cause. Consequently, in the interest of the creation-idea itself, it is important for the divine act of constitution to give rise to something having separate existence, and not remaining inherent in the divine conception and volition, which are merely at first a determination (Bestimmtheit) in God Himself. And thus must creative activity itself produce that which is destined to permanent existence and able to become the object of conservation. But yet, on the other hand, God must be participant in conservation; for were the world so cut off from God as no longer to need His continuous influence, and to possess absolutely in its state of separation from God the ground of its continued existence, then at least as a whole it would possess absoluteness like God, although originally existing through God. And if such independence of God, no longer standing in need of Him, were part of its complete character as created, it were a second God, and place for religion there were none. But it is no part of the world's perfection to be God, its glory is community of life with God. Had God so constituted it as to surrender Himself entirely to its power, He would have fallen away from Himself. Two Absolutes being inconceivable, self-existence cannot belong to the world in the sense that it no longer needs God in order to its existence, and therefore in a state of separation from God finds in itself simply and solely the power of continuance or perpetual selfdeterinination. Self-existence in this sense, be it said for the last time, belongs only to God. The following, then, is our conclusion: Neither must continuous divine activity be excluded, nor the agency of the created in its own conservation. Were the latter wanting, the unity of the world would be in peril; for if the separate parts of the world do not act as causes, they do not influence each other, they are disconnected, and each and all are only willed by God in an atomistic way, without connection with the rest. In this case no organism, no cosmos is willed. And not less, conversely, would the world be no world, if it carried its basis of life within itself, or drew its power of self-conservation solely from itself.

4. But in what way can the two elements, both of which are equally necessary in thought, be reconciled ? Only thus, that in the creative will itself what pertains to conservation is already involved, namely, that what is created is created a secondary causal power, and that the creative will is already directed to conservation ; and this in such a manner as to employ the action of secondary causes for the ends of its conserving will, and consequently to embody it as an efficient factor in the latter. Since God wills the world not merely for an existence moment by moment, which would have to commence afresh every moment, but for a continuance in identity with itself, He also wills its causality in perpetual living connection with Himself; or, in other words, wills the divine Concursus, consisting in this, that every moment God wills the world to be self-reproductive, and confers upon its several structures a power of self-conservation. His will remains the constantly renewed, perennial, living ground of the world's possibility, so that the world would cease to exist and act, were His will to withdraw itself from its existence and capacity for being a secondary cause. The divine causality, thus conceived, is the higher unity, comprehending under it creation and conservation as two elements, neither of which can be imagined without the other. Conservatio ingreditur ipsum decretum creationis.

5. We saw ($ 34, 6) that even during the course of the world's existence a place must be left for creative causality, and that therefore the idea of conservation is not alone dominant during the world's history. But how does this newlyoccurring phenomenon of creation chime in with conservation, which requires the co-operation of secondary causalities with God ? The possibility of the entry of new elements into the world's course was formerly based upon the pregnant, divine world-idea, which, so far from being altered by what is new, is preserved intact by its very means. The point before us now is DORNER.-CHRIST. Doct. II.


to guard not merely the conservation of the world-idea, but of the actual world, from disturbance by really new elements. This is done by means of two propositions. First, by distin

. guishing productive from medial causality (causa medians). In the world, as once established, there must be the capacity for all that succeeds, even for the phenomena of new creative acts. This is implied in the unity of the world. ductive capacity is one thing, receptive another; e.g. Nature has productive capacity for the conservation of its species, but only receptive for the origin of the human race. Were even the latter wanting — vital receptivity—then what is new would be no part of the world-organism. But if in the already existent there is at least receptiveness for the new, the world-order remains undisturbed despite the new. Nay, only in this case would contradiction arise in the world with its vital receptiveness—if the latter condition were left without satisfaction. SECONDLY, the new element can only enter into the world for the purpose of becoming thenceforth the object of conservation. With these two precautions there is no fear of danger to the idea of conservation from newlyoccurring phenomena. The earlier is rather corroborated by the later under a new aspect, that of receptiveness, while the new is incorporated with the circle of conservation which enlarges itself in harmony with the eternal world-idea. The motive, on the ground of which the one creative will is pleased apparently to resolve itself as it were into several acts, is nothing but respect for the rights of secondary causes. For this is the divine law, that only through the spontaneous agency of the potencies already established are new receptivities evolved ;' and similarly, the new phenomena, emerging in the world-order set on foot, are of such a kind as to presuppose the spontaneous activity of the established world, e.g. Christianity presupposes the operation of conscience. The new awaits or finds its point of connection in the results evolved by the productivity of the already settled order, which latter is receptiveness awakened on the side directed to the totality of the world-idea. Thus is the world able to remain one, firmly cohering in all its members and ideas, despite the differences, not merely of degree, which it carries in its bosom.

But pro

1 Cf. H. Ritter's minor treatises, Paradora, 1867, p. 97 ff.

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