2. That the knowledge of God?s existence answers the second criterion of necessity , will be seen by considering:

A. That men, under circumstances fitted to call forth this knowledge, cannot avoid recognizing the existence of God. In contemplating finite existence, there is inevitably suggested the idea of an infinite Being as its correlative. Upon occasion of the mind?s perceiving its own finiteness, dependence, responsibility, it immediately and necessarily perceives the existence of an infinite and unconditioned Being upon whom it is dependent and to whom it is responsible.

We could not recognize the finite as finite, except, by comparing it with an already existing standard ? the Infinite. Mansel, Limits of Religious Thought, lect. 3 ? ?We are compelled by the constitution of our minds to believe in the existence of an Absolute and Infinite Being ? a belief which appears forced upon us as the complement of our consciousness of the relative and finite.? Fisher, Journ. Chr. Philos., Jan. 1883:113 ? ?Ego and non-ego, each being conditioned by the other, presuppose unconditioned being on which both are dependent. Unconditioned being is the silent presupposition of all our knowing.? Perceived dependent being implies an independent; independent being is perfectly self-determining; self-determination is personality; perfect self-determination is infinite Personality. John Watson, in Philos. Rev., Sept. 1893:113526 ? ?There is no consciousness of self apart from the consciousness of the single Reality presupposed in both.? E. Caird, Evolution of Religion, 64-68 in every act of consciousness the primary elements are implied: ?the idea of the object, or not-self; the idea the idea of the subject, or self; and the idea of the unity which is presupposed in the difference of the self and not-self, and within which they act and react on each other.? See Calderwood, Philos. Of Infinite, 46, and Moral Philos., 77; Hopkins, Outline Study of Man, 283-285; Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:211.

B. That men, in virtue of their humanity, have a capacity for religion. This recognized capacity for religion is proof that the idea of God is a necessary one. If the mind upon proper occasion did not evolve this idea, there would be nothing in man to which religion could appeal.

?It is the suggestion of the Infinite that makes the line of the far horizon, seen over land or sea, so much more impressive than the beauties of any limited landscape.? In times of sudden shock and danger, this rational intuition becomes a presentative intuition, ? men become more conscious of God?s existence than of the existence of their fellow men and they

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment