Janet, in his Final Causes, 429 sq. and 490-503, claims that optimism subjects God to fate. We have shown that this objection mistakes the certainty which is consistent with freedom for the necessity which is inconsistent with freedom. The opposite doctrine attributes an irrational arbitrariness to God. We are warranted in saying that the universe at present existing, considered as a partial realization of God?s developing plan, is the best possible for this particular point of time ? in short, that all is for the best. See <450328>Romans 3:28 ? ?to them that love God all things work together for good? <460321>1 Corinthians 3:21 ? ?all things are yours.?
For denial of optimism in any form, see Watson, Theol. Institutes, 1:419; Hovey, God with Us, 206-208; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:419, 432, 566, and 2:145; Lipsius, Dogmatik, 234-255; Flint, Theists, 227-256; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 397-409, and esp. 405 ? ?A wisdom, the resources of which have been so expended that it cannot equal its past achievements, is a finite capacity and not the boundless depth of the infinite God.? But we reply that a wisdom, which does not do that, which is best is not wisdom. The limit is not in God?s abstract power, but in his other attributes of truth, love, and holiness. Hence God can say in
<230504> Isaiah 5:4 ? ?what could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it??
The perfect antithesis to an ethical and theistic optimism is found in the non-moral and atheistic pessimism of Schopenhauer (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung) and Hartmann (Philosophie des Unbewussten). ?All life is summed up in effort, and effort is painful; therefore life is pain.? But we might retort: ?Life is active, and action is always accompanied with pleasure; therefore life is pleasure.? See Frances Power Cobbe, Peak in Darien, 95-134, for a graphic account of Schopenhauer?s heartlessness, cowardice and arrogance. Pessimism is natural to a mind soured by disappointment and forgetful of God: <210211>Ecclesiastes 2:11 ? ?all was vanity and a striving after wind.? Homer: ?There is nothing whatever more wretched than man.? Seneca praises death as the best invention of nature. Byron: ?Count o?er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o?er thy days from anguish free. And know, whatever thou hast been, ?Tis something better not to be.? But it has been left to Schopenhauer and Hartmann to define will as unsatisfied yearning, to regard life itself as a huge blunder and to urge upon the human race as the only measure of permanent relief, a united and universal act of suicide.
G. H. Beard, in Andover Rev., March, 1892 ? ?Schopenhaner utters one New Testament truth: the utter delusiveness of self-indulgence. Life,
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