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3. In this way we already obtain a glimpse into the relation of multiplicity to unity in the idea of the world.
An antinomy here meets us. If multiplication of the life of love in the universe is a good thing, nay, the final cause of a world outside God, then an absolutely unlimited number of living beings seems requisite, a consequence of which would be an infinite host of worlds, successive or simultaneous. But, on the other hand, the interests of reason require a unity of the many, and it is part of the world's excellence for its various members through mutual want and supply to form a perfect organism, so that the notion is inadmissible of the world consisting of many totalities absolutely out of relation to each other. The solution of the antinomy is as follows. An absolutely unlimited number of personalities, destined for the true spirit-life, is unthinkable; for then must even the same individuals have had power to repeat themselves, in order that the very number might be infinitely great. But this would be no infinite enrichment of the life of love, but without use and aim. The number, therefore, is not to be considered absolutely unlimited; it is limited by the end in view. Only such spiritual personalities are created as are able by reciprocity of giving and receiving to subserve the life of love, every one having something distinctive. Thus the end of God's creative love and wisdom cannot be a poor infinity of countless individuals, but only that the complement of possible individualities considered as capable of special excellence may be filled up. But while multiplicity is thus obtained in the world, i.e. a limited one, unity amid this multiplicity, despite its power of growth, is secured. As certainly as the end is a definite one, does it require a definite complement. A perfect organism must neither be burdened by a too-much nor suffer from a too-little, but is an unbroken although progressive cycle, in which everything has its place, and each exists for each. To the universe as the subject of
. love it pertains that its members are all destined for each other, love being only able to manifest itself in this way. Consequently love, as it is the causal principle of the origin of the world, so is it by essential nature the bond of unity in the living world. The particular members, which are themselves in turn relative totalities, can of course only be different
by one having something which the other lacks. But wherein one has no productiveness, it may still have receptiveness in respect to others. Thus these defects are no hindrance to the unity of the spirit of love, which may govern in every member, nay, by mutual intercourse convert even defects into an instrument of living, reciprocal communion, in which each member may regard all as its own. Thus, through the idea of the organism-despite its progressive nature—whose soul is love, and which the world is meant to exhibit, it comes to pass that the world is a limited, not excessive multiplicity, and at the same time a unity. But that the world may be an ethical organism, God destines it to be an image of Himself, as well of His perfections as of His triune character, and this in such a manner that, through His existence in it, through His selfcommunication, it may be a perfect image of Him, a likeness of God realized in cosmical form.? If the world-idea has a share in representing the Trinity, as the above-quoted numerous analogies ($ 30, 3) may indicate, still more is this capable of proof with respect to self-conscious spiritual and ethical beings. And in this is implied withal a participation of the world in all perfections, physical, spiritual, and ethical. But these various endowments can by no means be implanted in the world forthwith in perfectly realized unity in the way in which they are united in God. The world's perfection and unity will exist at first as a rudiment, that by means of freedom it may grow to that ethical organism which, while different from God, is also united with Him. These rudiments will differ in different members, accordingly as one or the other divine perfection forms for the individual as such the dominant or representative one. But still all in a certain sense accessible to all.3 Further, these various endowments will, in
1 1 Cor. ii. 23.
2 Gen. i. 26. 3 Origen derives diversity from freedom, from differences of moral conduct. But this would involve the possibility of one and the same thing repeating itself an infinite number of times. He then tries to check unlimited diversity by limiting the divine knowledge ; but, on the other hand, according to the Leibnitzian principium indiscernibilium, what is not different in itself must be taken as identical. Thomas v. Aq. says better: Sapientia Dei is causa distinctionis rerum propter perfectionem universi, ita et inaqualitatis. Only he takes these diffcrences not in qualitative, but merely in a quantitative sense, the lower stages as defectus in Being, which is for him synonymous with evil. God is for him absolute Being. Here, therefore, is an unsuppressed strain of 1 Summa 1. 9, 46, Art. 2. Hence in conclusion he merely reckons it credibile, not scibile or demonstrabile, that the world had a beginning.
the first instance, be external to each other, but so constituted that, by virtue of the idea of organism pervading them all, they form relative worlds, e.g. the world of nature, of art, of philosophy, of morality, which again are connected by secret inner bonds, nay, together form one system, the organism of the entire progressive world, which, like a reflected orb of splendour, is the living mirror of the one divine Sun,
Observation 1.-Is it consonant with the idea of love for the imperfect, which the world still is in comparison with God, to spring from the perfect? As the world can only be comprehended from the standpoint of the perfect, and the existence of more than one absolute is inconceivable, either there can be no world at all or only one not absolute, i.e. one destitute of self-existence (Ascität). But such a world may still be receptive of all other divine perfections, nay, on the ground of God's self-existence represent self-existence ($ 33); and if at first it is necessarily imperfect, in order that scope may be left for the free play of self-determination, even this, again, is neither evil nor a contradiction, but part of the world's excellence.
Obscrvation 2.—What has been said suggests the thought of God not having created the world at once uno actu. Nay, the rise of relative worlds may still be going on, at least as respects the shaping of new world-orbs.
4. The question respecting the eternity or temporal character of creation and the age of the world is not dealt with in Holy Writ. Just as little has it been expressly formulated in the doctrine of the Church. It is therefore to be investigated on purely dogmatic lines. The supposition of an eternal creation a parte ante, or the non-commencement of the world, has usually been disclaimed in the Church. In the early Church, Origen and some of his disciples are almost the only exceptions. Yet even Thomas v. Aq. says that God is an eternally sufficiens causa mundi; and the sufficiens causa must apparently have always carried with it its effectus, provided as here nothing external hinders.? Quenstedt says emphatically, that Pantheism or Emanationism, the basis of which is the conception of God in His essence as bare existence, not as primarily moral. Cf. Landerer, Thomas v. Aq. in Herzog's Encycl.: “God's will in his view is nothing but self-active intellectus, which, again, is itself existence."
in the supposition of God having created eternally no wrong idea of God is implied. God was always able to create if He willed, but He did not always will. On the other hand, the
, non-commencement of the world has been maintained in various forms in modern theology." The eternity of the world is usually rejected on the ground that it endangers the dependence of the world on God, and that the world is thus brought too near God. And as matter of fact, every one must allow that if the world is eternal like God, this leads to dualism, or a confounding of God and the world. But, on the other hand, it is to be remembered that the dependence of the world on God is not bound up with its longer or shorter duration, but with the fact of its determination by God. An unlimited duration of the world is accepted at once by every one with reference to the future, nay, this is even called the eternity of the world; but its absolute dependence on God is not thereby called in question. It is unpractised reasoning which, for the purpose of keeping God and the world apart, and the latter in absolute dependence on God, seeks a point of support in the notion of time lying midway between God's existence and that of the world. But this point of support we must be able to dispense with, because we are unable to posit time before the world. There is no time without something contained in it. If, therefore, time existed apart from the world, God must exist in time. Nor does the causal relation require a temporal, but merely a logical pre-existence of the cause to the effect. Time, indeed, is no mere subjective notion. It is the standard for measuring the succession of the individual in its reciprocal relations. This standard is borrowed, at least now, from the relation of the central body of our solar system to our planet. But what is to be the standard for the world as a unity? There was no time apart from the world. We may say with Augustine: Mundus non in tempore sed cum tempore factus est. Were we to say that God created in time, in a definite moment of time, this would be equivalent to supposing an eternal, independent
Quenstedt, L.C. p. 420, Observ. 2. ? So Schleiermacher, Martensen, and others. Rothe supposes at least a noncommencement of the matter disposed by God, from which again in further course the world issued.
time side by side with God or before God, so that by such creation in time, time itself would be directly excepted from dependence on God, since God would be eternally encompassed by it, nay, dependent on it. Accordingly, we are bound to maintain that no actual time can be posited before the world, and that, therefore, it cannot be said that there was a time when the world was not,-a proposition, of course, not to be interpreted as if it meant that the world is eternal in the same sense as God. On the contrary, little as our time existed before the world, and certainly as God is to be conceived primarily in His pure eternity in the simultaneity of all the moments of His absolute life, not in their succession, and certainly further, as there is in Him no temporal, but absolutely existent life, so certainly His eternal world-idea includes the necessity of gradual progress, succession, and therefore possible time, and along with the idea of the creaturely also the idea of time as the standard for measuring the successive movements of the creaturely. When, therefore, the world comes into actual existence, actual time comes into existence. The actual world is preceded by merely possible time; of course not in a temporal sense, else must time have existed before time, but in a logical sense. From the point of view of actual time, merely possible time can only be mentally represented under the image of the past, and the same is true of the eternal world-idea and God's eternity in relation to the world's actual existence. But the truth embodied in this image, to be mentally conceived, is the logical relation which keeps God and the world apart in the most positive manner-namely, that midway between God's being and that of the world lies in a logical respect the merely possible world and time, i.e. the world and time conceived as non-existent, or that the world
1 As Rohmer conceives time and space in the light of eternal primal powers encompassing God. Quite different, nay, the opposite of this, is the view of Weisse (Philos. Dogmatik, $ 493–498), who posits time eternally in God, and supposes that infinite time, like infinite space, is a power of the divine lise. They do not form a power above God, but are eternally vanquished by his æviternitas and perfection, so that, as they exist in God, they have nothing in common with our time and space (see $ 19,3). This is an hypothesis, applicable in reference to modern Christological Kenotism, not to be rejected in the abstract, provided only it holds by the view that in the divine Essence everything is simultaneous, although internally to be so distinguished that it may be revealed in temporal association.