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Oliver Chase Quick

Chapter I


Our Creed begins by bidding us think of God as our Father and Creator.  Most people, if questioned on the subject, would probably agree that this is the natural point from which to start.  The most fundamental belief in religion, that on which all others are based, is the acceptance of the proposition that our lives proceed and are derived from some great Principle of Good which is the supreme cause of the world, a principle so much vaster and higher than all that is merely human, that we are compelled, even without any very definite idea of what we mean by the word, to give to It, or rather to Him, the name of God.

The general question of God’s existence, as we have already suggested, is an unprofitable one to raise.  After all, religion is a fact, whatever value we attach to it, and even our wildest illusions have some source in the reality from which all our impressions are derived.  The real problem concerns the nature and character which we are to attribute to the Divine Being.

And it is just here that we find ourselves confronted at the very outset by the most threatening and far‑reaching of all obstacles to religious thought.  What do we mean by saying that we believe in a God who made us and all the world?  We know what ordinary people in the old uncritical days meant, or thought they meant, by such a statement of belief.  They thought of God the Father, or rather they imagined Him, as a man, infinitely greater and better than any human being their eyes could behold, yet as one who made the world in somewhat the same way as a man makes his tools or his works of art, and who controls and governs it, more or less as a sovereign controls and governs his people.  The old pictures of the Trinity, in which the Father appears in the guise of a venerable old man, are witnesses to the simple picturesqueness of the ancient faith.  And today we have outgrown it.  We have outgrown it, because the growth of man’s knowledge has so vastly enlarged the world in which he lives, that in it man himself seems now to occupy an infinitesimally tiny place.  The horizons of space and the vistas of time, which man’s science has opened out before him, have so dazed and bewildered his vision, that he seems to himself no more than a wandering atom loosed in a wilderness full of strange and alien shapes which merge into the shadows of an illimitable unknown.  To change the metaphor, the straining meshes of man’s mind can no longer be stretched to enclose the fresh shoals of experiences and ideas which are forcing their way in by every opening.  The net of man’s thought is breaking by the very weight of its own draught.  How can he dare to attribute at all his own puny methods and characteristics to One of Whom he is to think as the origin and controller of the multifarious infinitude of things?  It is from fundamental doubt that all the objections in the name of science and philosophy to the Christian faith in God the Creator really derive their power and their sting.  Man may utter the name of God his Maker with his lips, but the grip of conviction has lost its hold upon his heart.  The meaning of the words is lost in a fog of half‑formed perplexities, and the mind feels itself adrift at the mercy of every shifting wind of new‑fangled doctrine or specious prophecy.  Such is the disease from which spring the very various symptoms of the religious bewilderment of our modern world.  Some in their half‑unconscious despair are tempted towards the spiritual suicide of agnosticism, while others steep themselves in the hardly less fatal narcotic of sentimental emotion, which the more degraded forms of modern religion are only too ready to provide.

Now, if our discussion is to follow the lines we have marked out for it, it is obvious that not much can be achieved in a chapter which takes for its subject only the First Person of the Trinity.  Part of the meaning of the Christian doctrine of God is derived from the fact that it is a close‑knit and indivisible whole.  The Persons of the Trinity are one and inseparable, and it is the self‑revelation of the Father through the Son, witnessed to and interpreted by the Spirit, which gives us our knowledge of the nature and character of God.  To endeavour, therefore, to formulate our ideas about God the Father apart from what we believe about the Son and the Spirit, must be to consider Him apart from the help He has Himself given us for that very purpose.  This is a difficulty which confronts all exponents of the Christian faith.  It is often met by considering, under the title of “God the Father,” the general arguments for the existence of God, as distinct from His revealed character.  In doing so we are supposed to arrive at the conclusions of “natural” as distinct from “revealed” religion, and to find in them some sort of general proof of God’s existence.  This course, however, as we have already suggested, is unsatisfactory and apt to be misleading.  It tends to give the impression that the Creator is a rather vague and shadowy Being, concerning Whom not much can be known beyond the fact that He does, at least very probably, exist.  Thus the meaning of the Christian doctrine of Creation, depends on the character attributed to God by Christian faith, is not really discussed or explained at all.  The method we have sketched for ourselves will lead us along a rather different line.  We shall frankly abandon the attempt to prove anything.  We shall ask instead the question, How, in the present state of human knowledge, can we give to the idea of a Divine Creator its fullest possible significance?  It is obvious that if the idea is to have any real significance at all, we must conceive the creative work of God by the help of human analogies.  Our preliminary task therefore will be to determine in what sense such analogies may still hold good, and even gain a deeper meaning from the criticisms which, as we have seen, threaten to destroy their value altogether.

The old human analogies cannot be maintained in quite the same naïf way as once they were.  We cannot go back to the anthropomorphism which found it possible to depict God the Father as a man with a grey beard.  Yet we may notice at the very outset that the very incompleteness of all human analogies to God may teach a profoundly spiritual lesson, a lesson which the most religious minds of every age have learned for themselves, but which the wider horizons of modern knowledge enable us to enforce with clearer authority.  Humanity and its world must depend in the last resort on some Being other and infinitely higher than themselves.  The moment the importance of this truth emerges, we can begin to trace a possible value in the very bewilderment which, as we saw, the growth of scientific knowledge has produced.  That growth has made man doubt whether God can be conceived at all in human terms.  At least then it is possible that modern thought may ally itself with old religion to teach mankind a new lesson of humility.  If the universe is too great for the categories of merely human thinking to interpret, then we may with the greater reason maintain that the source of it is infinitely more than human, a Being before Whom man does well to abase himself in the dust.

But if that be so, the danger we have to guard against is not merely, nor even perhaps chiefly, excessive adherence to human analogies which represent God in terms of human nature.  We must also beware of seeking to confine Him within the limits of any human experience or thought.  One curious effect of the fundamental perplexities about the universe, to which modern discoveries have given rise, has been to turn man’s thought, as it were, back upon itself, so that it refuses to believe in any reality which cannot be represented simply as an object of man’s own experience or consciousness.  Many of our most advanced teachers in recent years have sought to define the nature of the Deity as a phase of human experience, a form of human consciousness (sometimes termed “cosmic” consciousness), or as the most sublime object of human knowledge.  Such theories sound strangely on the lips of those who assail the anthropomorphism of an older faith.  For obviously we bring down God to our own level far more surely and disastrously, if we think of Him as a mere form or object of our own consciousness, than if we think of Him as though He were another man, of like passions with ourselves.  A God Whom we are really to worship as the Creator of the World must be infinitely beyond and above the capacities of our experience.  “Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me: I cannot attain unto it.”  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts, saith the Lord.”  The impassioned faith of the Old Testament may join hands with the agnosticism derived from modern science against doctrines which seek to comprehend God’s nature within man’s conscious experience, however highly developed and perfected.  Anthropomorphic the language of the Bible at times may be, but at least it provides no support for delusive sophistries which aim at retaining the forms of religious language, while its essential meaning, the dependence of man upon Another Being, is disregarded.

True faith does not really differ from the most rigid agnosticism in declaring that God’s nature is above human powers of apprehension; it parts company with “doubt” only in maintaining that we can know enough to make it our duty to find out more, and that the effort so spent is abundantly worth while.  The believer and the agnostic are like two travellers making their way along the same difficult track.  Both agree that the light is insufficient, but one says it will get better further on, and meanwhile there is at least enough for the next step.  The other throws himself down by the road‑side, declaring that further progress is impossible.  Doubt only becomes a real enemy to faith, when it tends to pass into the paralysing certainty that there is nothing more to be known, and that further effort would be wasted.  The proper function of doubt is to be the servant of faith, a servant which keeps its master humble by pointing to the need for further enquiry and endeavour.[1]  If this is the kind of doubt which modern thought stimulates, its effect cannot be other than helpful to the true cause of religion.

Human analogies, therefore, can never provide anything like an adequate conception of God’s nature; for it transcends all human knowing.  But it does not at all follow that they are valueless, nor that their value is confined to the lessons to be derived from their failure.  There is a wide difference, the importance of which is sometimes ignored, between a false illustration and an illustration which is merely incomplete.  A very imperfect comparison is not the same thing as a wrong one.  Suppose I have been listening to a magnificent symphony played by a great orchestra, and desire to give some idea of it to a friend.  I may whistle or hum a piece of the melody, which, let us say, is the first violin’s part, and, if I am a clever musician, I may similarly render bits of the parts played by other instruments.  My attempt will be hopelessly inadequate, (1) because I cannot reproduce the tone of the instruments, (2) because I can only reproduce the part of one instrument at a time, whereas the whole effect of the symphony depends on the way in which the different parts are combined.  But still my efforts, however ridiculously imperfect, may nevertheless be right as far as they go, and they may serve a useful purpose in enabling my friend to recognise the symphony when he hears it.

May not our human picturings of the creative work of God have a value of a some what similar kind?  We must not expect them to be anything more than hopelessly inadequate.  Each aspect and each aim of God’s creative work will be infinitely greater than anything we can approach.  Moreover, each of our limited ideas can only represent in isolation one tiny fraction of the Divine activity which combines all into a whole.  But once the principle is grasped that an infinite degree of imperfection in representation does not necessarily imply falsehood, it follows that our human similes may nevertheless be not wholly devoid of usefulness and of truth.  The spirit of true scepticism is a spirit of humble enquiry, very different from the petulant pride of childhood which refuses to make any effort the moment it finds complete success to be beyond its reach.

Before, however, we try from a few such analogies to reach some idea of what our creed bids us believe as to the creative work of God, it will be well to dispose of two general objections, which, if they could be upheld, would render our task superfluous:—

(1) It may be urged that human analogies to the Divine creation miss the whole point of the difficulty.  Human creation is not in the real sense creation at all.  At most it is a modification of material already existing; it is all work done on something already created.  But the central difficulty of conceiving a Maker of the whole world lies in the fact that the whole must by force of definition, if created at all, be created out of nothing.  To such creation, human creative efforts can form no analogy whatever.

The effectiveness of this challenge has often been exaggerated.  Are we to say that human acts of creation are in no sense at all acts of creation out of nothing?  Is there nothing in what man creates which was not there before man created it?  Is there nothing genuinely original and new in the discovery of a fresh invention for our use, or in the work of art which holds us spell‑bound by its glorious surprise?  Is the growth of a personality itself merely an unfolding and unrolling of qualities and characteristics which already belonged to it from the beginning of time?  Is there no element of real novelty in the sudden or gradual change and development of character which we so often witness and in our measure assist?  If in truth there is nothing new under the sun, then indeed, so far as our human analogies go, creation remains a meaningless phrase, and so far we have found no help in conceiving the creative activity of God.  But we are hereby taking up a philosophic position which is, to say the least, highly disputable and, prima facie, is in contradiction with the facts of experience.  Clearly, the burden of proof lies with those who defend such a paradoxical doctrine.

On the other hand, if we admit the possibility of real novelty in things and of real origination in our personalities, then creation out of nothing is in principle admitted as conceivable in the only sense which our analogies demand.  All we need mean by God’s creation of the world is that the world took its real and ultimate origin from a creative act of God.  And if our own acts are in their degree really originative and their results really new, then it is by analogy quite conceivable that the whole world, as we know it, arose as a new creation from the originating act of a Divine Being.

(2) A second objection is more widely felt to be serious.  It is urged that natural science is on the way to provide us with an alternative explanation of the world which, when it is completed, will make any belief in a Divine Creator impossible.  It is true that natural science has hitherto left many problems unsolved, the origin of life among them, but still with the help of metaphysical theories, materialistic or vitalistic, which take it for their guide, it is progressing towards their solution, and it is, to say the least, dangerous to base the doctrine of a Divine Creator on a temporary failure of science which may at any moment disappear.

The answer to this second objection involves considerations which are of considerable importance to our subject.

The problem of creation can be put in two ways.  Concerning the creation of anything there are two distinct questions which may be asked.  I may ask, How was it made? or I may ask, Why was it made?  Let us apply these two questions to a common object of human construction, let us say a piano.  I may discover how the different parts of a piano were fitted together, and what each was made of, so that I can understand the whole process of piano‑making; and yet I may be quite unable to give an explanation of why the process should have taken place.  On the other hand I may be quite ignorant of how pianos are constructed, and yet know quite well the reason why they are made.  For the answer to this question why? depends not on the method of manufacture, but simply on the purpose which the piano is intended to fulfill.  The answer to each of the two questions tells us something about the origin of the piano, but it is the answer to the question why? alone which really explains its existence, and this explanation is found not in the study of the mere origin, but in the knowledge of the end which the piano is meant to achieve when it is complete.

These two questions retain, at least in some degree, their distinctness, when they are asked concerning the creation of the world.  They represent roughly the different enquiries of natural science and of religion.  Science is occupied with the study of how the world came to reach its present form.  It carries back its search to the tiniest electrons which constitute matter, the faintest movement of the amoeba in which the mighty river of life first trickled forth; and it tries to grasp and reconstruct the whole process by which our world has grown out of these infinitesimal beginnings.  But as to the why and wherefore of all this, science can directly tell us nothing.  In so far as it remains science, it has never even asked the question.  Even if science could reproduce the whole world as we know it, the question why it was originally produced would still remain unanswered.  And, therefore, a scientific explanation of the world is, in the strict sense, impossible.  The efforts made from the scientific point of view to dispute the belief of religion in a Divine Creator, too often resemble an attempt to prove that music is unreal, on the ground that nothing is learned about it by taking a piano to pieces.  Religious faith, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the question why the world was created.  True, the answer to the question how? is by no means a matter of indifference to it.  The  more science discovers, the more light it throws on the methods of the Creator’s work, and this light must be welcomed and used to the full.  But such knowledge, interesting and important as it is, cannot itself supply any answer to the really vital and universal questions which confront every man coming into the world.  After all, however I and the world around me came to be here, here, in fact, we are, and I cannot be called altogether unreasonable if I maintain that the nature of the methods by which this result was reached does not in itself very vitally concern me.  The question which does and must most vitally concern me, is the question, What am I here for?  What, being here, am I meant to do?  Now, the answer to this question of the purpose of my being and that of the world must obviously involve some view as to origin, more ultimate than any which science can possibly reach.  For, as in the case of the piano, ultimate purpose alone can explain ultimate origin.  To say there is no answer to this fundamental question of purpose, is to assume a position of dogmatic agnosticism, and to leave the world wholly unexplained.  But knowledge of purpose does not necessarily involve knowledge of the method of origin or creation.  The question of method assumes a position of subordinate importance, and can be left for solution to the gradual results of progressive investigation.  St. Augustine formulated the real essence of Christian faith in the Creator when he said “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”  It is because we believe that we are made for God that we assert that God made us, and this faith need not be seriously impaired by a confession of far‑reaching ignorance as to the method and manner of creation which God employed.

The human analogies, therefore, by which we try to reach a clearer faith in God’s creative work, are mainly important, in so far as they suggest to us the purpose for which we and the world exist, and show the dependence of that purpose upon an origin from God Himself.  The help they give us in conceiving the manner of God’s creating activity may be real, but it is of subordinate importance.  In this respect their task is to accept the data which the scientific study of the world provides, and to show how these data may be compatible with the fundamental truths, that the world proceeds from God, and is meant to fulfil His purposes.  Here, then, their suggestions will be entirely tentative and always subject to fresh revision in accordance with the fresh knowledge which scientific enquiry brings to light.  The account of creation given in the first chapters of Genesis, if taken as an account of God’s methods, is entirely primitive and largely misleading.  Science has now taught us differently.  But the religious truth and inspiration of Genesis is not at all thereby affected.  Its permanent value lies in the assertion that the whole created world took its origin from the divine purpose of a righteous God, which it is one day destined to fulfil.

Having thus sketched the function, possible usefulness, and inevitable limitations of human analogies to the Divine creation, let us consider three simple illustrations, and endeavour to draw therefrom a clearer idea of what the creed means when it tells us to believe in God the Father as Maker of the World.

(1) One of the commonest illustrations current in the last century was that of the watchmaker and the watch.  The real value of this analogy from the human craftsman lies in the suggestion that God’s creatures are in a true sense his instruments and tools designed and constructed to serve a purpose outside themselves.  Man is distinguished from the rest of the animal creation by the fact that he is not entirely dependent for achieving the purposes of his life upon the mere adaptation of his own bodily form.  He fashions vessels even to eat and to drink with, trains, ships and aeroplanes to facilitate his locomotion, telephones and books to assist his powers of speech and hearing.  It has been suggested by M. Bergson that the phrase homo faber, rather than the old homo sapiens, best expresses man’s real claim to superiority over the ape.  And faith, noticing the wonderful order in which our world is constituted, and the complicated adjustments which that order involves, has always found part of its explanation in attributing a similar activity of craftsmanship to the Divine Creator.  The most deeply religious of human minds have found at once their humility and their pride in the thought that they are instruments and vessels fashioned and adapted by God for the working out of purposes infinitely wider and more far‑reaching than can be accomplished even by their own perfection.  As man uses that which he makes, so he believes that he and the world are made to be used.  A classic expression of this whole idea is to be found in Browning’s poem, Rabbi ben Ezra.

It is, however, a matter for regret that in the course of controversy the illustration of the watchmaker and the watch should have been raised to a position of exaggerated importance.  The imperfections of the simile, when taken by itself as an account of creation, are obvious, and the superficial appearance which the watch possesses of going by itself when wound up, rendered it peculiarly liable to mislead.

(a) A watch, like other complex pieces of mechanism, is liable to be rendered quite useless by the omission of one tiny constituent part.  If one little wheel is omitted, the watch will not go at all.  And a watch which will not go is like salt that has lost its savour.  It is fit for nothing, and can convey no kind of significant idea to any mind not familiar with working watches.

Hence, those who used this type of simile to interpret God’s work of creation naturally thought of the world as complete from the very first moment when, as it were, it started going.  But science then discovered what we have learned to call the principle of evolution.  We have been taught that the world is the result of a very gradual process of making which is still going on, and is still far from anything which can be called completion.  Hence the inadequacy of the simile of the watch became apparent, and the minds of many, instead of recognising its imperfection and trying to help it out with others of a different kind, were driven into the error of supposing that all such analogies must be utterly false.

(b) An examination of a mere piece of mechanism reveals nothing of the character of him who made it, beyond the inference that he possessed a certain technical skill.  Hence an excessive reliance on this type of simile led people to think of God as a Being too wholly external to His creation, not as really revealed and immanent within it Hence they were led to the form of belief known as deism.  For deism God is a Creator entirely outside the world, who operates upon it only in the form of occasional interferences, more or less analogous to the repairs with which the watchmaker occasionally readjusts the working of the watch.  Much confusion arose from the identification of these interferences with miracles, which were supposed to be the only form of God’s operation upon the world.

(2)  The work of the craftsman is, however, by no means the only form which human creative activity may take.  The work of the artist is to some extent different in kind.  The work of art is not produced merely for some ulterior purpose, which lies outside itself.  Its main purpose is the contemplation of the beauty which is found in itself, apart from its usefulness for other purposes which lie beyond.  If then the simile of the craftsman suggests that the world has been constructed as an instrument for use, the simile of the artist suggests that the world is fashioned as a thing for joyful contemplation, wherein the Creator can see accomplished the beauty which his soul has conceived.  And this analogy will take us a step further, where the first proved most inadequate as a guide to the understanding of the creative work of God.

For (a) a picture or symphony has beauty and meaning even though it be unfinished.  True, preparatory studies for a picture can only be properly appreciated when the whole picture has given them their fulfilment; nevertheless, they may be to some extent admirable and suggestive in themselves, before the final result has been reached.  In the same way, an unfinished symphony has a meaning and value very different from that of an unfinished watch.

(b) Further, a work of art must always reveal and express the mind of the artist.  A picture and a symphony are not things which can be turned out according to pattern by anyone who possesses a certain amount of technical skill.  A real work of art is unique, because a man has expressed therein the aspiration of his soul.  The religion of mediaevalism lives on and speaks to us in the masterpieces of painting and music which it produced.

Thus the analogy of the artist enables us to conceive more clearly a gradual and still unfinished creation which is yet at every stage significant, and to grasp more completely the idea of a world in which the Mind of its Maker is expressed.

(3) Let us now take a third simile from human powers of creation, which leaves behind altogether the material element in our universe.  If we ask within our human world what is the most effective force in the creation of our souls, I suppose we should be bound to reply that it is the influence, and above all the love, of our fellow‑men.  It is a bare matter of fact that it is the love of parent, teacher and friend, which really makes the true character of a man, and enables him to become his true and perfect self, in so far as he succeeds at all in reaching his ideal.  So far at least as appearances go, we are anything but ready‑made personalities from the moment of our birth.  It is the environment, above all the environment of other souls, which draws out of every man what he will one day be, and it is largely in proportion to the goodness and friendliness of that environment that he will attain the true goal of his spiritual growth.  In every moment of our mutual converse we are in a very true sense creating each other.  If, then, we are to think of God as the Creator of souls, we must naturally think of Him also as their Lover.  The creative love of men, whereby in the society of earth we make and determine each other, finds its source and its fulfilment in the Love of God, the ever-present environment of each of us, which makes and determines the development of all.

This analogy, if in love we touch the deepest nature of the Divine Being, is something more even than a simile, and should give us the greatest help of all.  The activity of creative love will find the completion of its purpose in a perfect society of souls, bound each to each by the love of Him who is the origin and controller of the whole.  And we are thus enabled to conceive a form of creation in which the Nature of the Creator can go forth into the creature, in such a way that the creature may itself freely share the Creator’s work.  For in proportion as love creates a soul, it communicates its own living essence to it.  The love of the parent makes the child’s character only through being itself born again in the child.  And if in truth the love of God is creating the world, we can, without dishonour to Him or any assertion of independence for ourselves, claim for ourselves a share in the creative work which in its wholeness flows from Him alone.  It is peculiarly unfortunate that the human analogies under which God the Creator is usually conceived, should be drawn exclusively from man’s powers of creation in the material sphere – creation in the material sphere is neither the only, nor even the highest, form of man’s own creative activity.

We have then briefly sketched three distinct types of creative activity which we may endeavour to combine in order to form some rough idea of what we mean by believing in God as the Creator and Father of us and of the world.  These types of human activity are those of the craftsman, the artist and the lover in the widest sense.  These three types suggest three ways in which the relation between God and His creatures can be expressed in terms of the purpose of the Creator.  The created world may be regarded as an instrument for God’s use, as a work of beauty for his contemplation, and, finally, as a society of souls in which His nature of Love may be fulfilled and reciprocated.  Finally, as regards the method of creation, in affirming that the world was made by God, we do not affirm that it was ready‑made from the beginning.  The work is not complete; we can only judge of its real nature from the ideas which our partial knowledge has given us of what it is still in process of bringing forth.

No effort has been made to estimate the evidence on which this Christian doctrine rests.  All that has been attempted is to clear away certain general objections to its possibility, and to give some determinate idea of its meaning.  Incidentally, however, we have at least indicated the exact relevance of the Christian doctrine of a loving Father and Creator to the deepest and most pressing problem of human life.  The origin of a thing can only be really explained by its purpose.  If, therefore, it is sought to account for the origin of ourselves and of the world, the really urgent question cannot be answered merely by tracing the steps which have brought us where we are, but rather by looking forward to the goal which our experience suggests that we are meant to achieve.  The vital significance of the Christian doctrine of the Creator lies precisely in the fact that it does make clear to us what that goal is, and by what road we must travel to attain it.  And if that doctrine be true, then all the designed order and the wonderfully expressive beauty of our world, and every impulse of the human soul towards perfection, are explained and justified as the earnest of a coming fulfilment.  In that explanation is found the answer to the question of their ultimate source.  The proof, however, in so far as proof is possible, of the Christian doctrine of the Creator’s character, remains a question of evidence.  Do the facts of our world as we know it justify us in concluding that the Christian doctrine is really true?  That is the question for the apologist of the faith.  Our aim is not apologetic.  We desire rather by drawing out the meaning of our faith to arrive at a standpoint from which the bearing of the facts and the kind of evidence which they supply, can be fairly estimated.  And in spite of all that we have said hitherto, the great facts of evil, of suffering and of sin, will seem to many to render the result of an appeal to the whole evidence almost a foregone conclusion.  While such facts remain unexplained, they will say, we cannot believe that the God of Christianity really exists.

At the present stage of the discussion it would be idle to attempt to meet this challenge.  The whole trend of our argument suggests that such answer as we may make to it later will be found by looking towards the future rather than towards the past, to the goal of our development, rather than to its starting‑point.  That is the point of view from which the greatest Christian thinkers have always regarded the problem of evil.  “For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  For by hope were we saved.”  And for that very reason we cannot be in a position to consider the problem of evil at all until we have first turned our eyes to the revelation of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.  There, for the Christian, is the one vital hope, which provides the key, though not yet the full solution, to the whole terrible enigma.  Confronted, therefore, by evil we turn from God manifested through the world as its Creator, to God manifested in the world as its Saviour, in the Person of His Son.


[1]Doubtless servants of this kind are very trying; but it is precisely trying servant that faith needs.


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