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What Reason Has To Say About God





The Athanasian Creed distinguishes between the teaching of the
Catholick Religion and the teaching of the Christian Verity. A
moment's thought shows that many who do not hold the Christian Verity,
i.e. the Truth as revealed in Christ, do nevertheless hold the Truth as
to the Unity of God. For amongst those who believe in The One God are
Jews, Turks and many Hereticks, besides those Agnostics whose
hesitation, about accepting the Revelation in Christ, is united to a
readiness to believe in God. The Belief in One God therefore is more
Universal than the Belief in the Holy Trinity. The word Catholick is
used within the Church of those who hold the doctrine of the Church.
But it may be also used in a more general sense of those who hold the
supreme Truth of Godhead.

In order to illustrate the evidence which has been used concerning this
prime article of the Christian Faith, we might refer to many
interesting books. The {102} following argument is attributed to
Socrates by Xenophon (Mem. 1. iv.).

"We admire great poets--great dramatists--great sculptors and painters:
which is more worthy of admiration--he who makes images without mind
and motion, or he who makes things which live and move and act?

"The latter, if he makes them of purpose. Then purpose is shown by the
obvious usefulness of things: men from the beginning have had the
benefit of senses suited to their environment--eyes to see what is
visible, ears to hear what is audible. Smells are of use because we
have noses; things that we eat are sweet or bitter or agreeable in the
mouth, because we have palates. Then again the eye is a delicate
organ, but is fitted with an eyelid to keep guard over it, eye-lashes
to strain off small particles, eyebrows to carry the sweat away from
it. Further, the ear receives sounds but is never overfull of them:
front teeth are adapted to cutting, back teeth to grinding: the mouth
is near the eyes and nose, which watch over what goes in: these and
other arrangements indicate a Maker, who adapts the organs to their
uses, and has a wise and loving design. Parents love their children
naturally, and naturally people want to live, and dislike death. Hence
the Maker shows that He has a design, and that His design is that His
Creatures shall live.

"Moreover, we have a certain amount of matter, a certain amount of
moisture, while there is a vast amount of those things elsewhere:
similarly we have a certain amount of intelligence. Why then should we
suppose that intelligence is the only thing which {103} is an
exception--the only thing of which we have the whole? why suppose that
all these adaptations have been made, so wonderfully, without a
controlling mind?

"You say you would believe it if you could see the controlling Creator?
But you believe in the existence of your own mind without seeing it: on
that principle, you ought to say that all you do yourself is done by
chance.

"The next question is whether God is too great to require our service?
The answer is that God has shown a special kindness to men, as compared
with other animals. Their upright walk, their possession of hands,
their articulate voices, their superior minds, their powers of
self-protection--and the adaptation of these powers and qualities to
one another, constituting an altogether higher existence--all these
show a special kindness in a wise Creator who has all the qualities and
powers in a far higher degree. By serving one another we learn to know
our friends; by asking advice we find who are wise: so if we make trial
of God, we shall find that He is All-seeing, All-present, and Watchful
over all." This argument does not enter upon the question whether
there is one God or more; but it deals with the previous question of
Godhead; and with all that is implied in 'Maker of Heaven and Earth'.

It must also be observed that (assuming the notion of many Gods to be
excluded, and that our Belief is to be either in One God, or in no
God), the argument of Socrates has gone far towards the Bible
conception of God's Being. Cf. Article 1.





Next: What The Bible Revelation Says About God

Previous: Reason History And Revelation



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