include in it also the positive idea of moral rightness. God is holy in that he is the source and standard of the right.
E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 80 ? ?Holiness is moral purity, not only in the sense of absence of all moral stain, but of complacency in all moral good.? Shedd, Dogm. Theology, 1:362 ? ?Holiness in God is conformity to his own perfect nature. The only rule for the divine will is the divine reason; and the divine reason prescribes everything that is befitting an infinite Being to do. God is not under law, nor above law. He is law. He is righteous by nature and necessity? God is the source and author of law for all moral beings.? We may better Shedd?s definition by saying that holiness is that attribute in virtue of which God?s being and God?s will eternally conform to each other. In thus maintaining that holy being logically precedes holy willing, we differ from the view of Lotze, Philos. of Religion. 1:39 ? ?Such will of God no more follows from his nature as secondary to it, or precedes it as primary to it than. in motion, direction can be antecedent or subsequent to velocity.? Bowne, Philos. of Theism, 16 ? ?God?s nature = a fixed law of activity or mode of manifestation But laws of thought are no limitation, because they are simply modes of thought-activity. They do not rule intellect, but only express what intellect is.?
In spite of these utterances of Lotze and of Bowne, we must maintain that, as truth of being logically precedes truth of knowing and as a loving nature precedes loving emotions, so purity of substance precedes purity of will. The opposite doctrine leads to such utterances as that of Whedon (On the Will, 316): God is holy, in that he freely chooses to make his own happiness in eternal right. Whether lie could not make himself equally happy in wrong is more than we can say? Infinite wisdom and infinite holiness consist in, and result from, God?s volition eternally.? Whedon therefore believes, not in God?s unchangeableness, but in God?s unchangingness. He cannot say whether motives may not at some time prove strongest for divine apostasy to evil. The essential holiness of God affords no basis for certainty. Here we have to rely on our faith, more than on the object of faith; see H. B. Smith, Review of Whedon, in Faith and Philosophy, 355-399. As we said with regard to truth, so here we say with regard to holiness, that to make holiness a matter of mere will, instead of regarding it as a characteristic of God?s being, is to deny that anything is holy in itself. If God can make impurity to be purity, then God in himself is indifferent to purity or impurity, and he ceases therefore to be God. Robert Browning, A Soul?s Tragedy, 223 ? ?I trust in God ? the Right shall be the Right And other than the Wrong, while He endures.? P.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?