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 a
cepting 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


"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.