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The Christian View of the World in General.


The Idea of the “Weltanschauung.”

Relation of Christianity to world-theories.

General drift and scope of the Lectures.

Objections in limine:—

I. From theology of feeling.

Examination of sentimental theory.

Impossibility of extruding doctrine from Christianity.

II. From the Ritschlian distinction of a “religious” and a “theoretic” view of the world.

Relative justification of this distinction.

Error of the Ritschlian view—Impossibility of sundering faith and reason.


Sketch of the Christian View.—


The Christian View and Its Alternatives.—


Central place of Christ’s Person in His religion.

Method of this Lecture—appeal to history; logical movement in history.

I. History a series of alternatives—the downward movement.


First alternative—A Divine Christ or humanitarianism.

Second alternative—A Divine Christ or Agnosticism.

Third alternative—A Divine Christ or Pessimism.

II. The upward movement from Pessimism to Christ.

Unsatisfactoriness of Pessimism as a theory of existence—it works back to Theism.

The alternative of Pantheism—its degradation to Materialism.

The nobler movement—elevation to Theism.

Theism impels to belief in Revelation.

Recognition in modern systems of idea of Revelation.

Inadequacy of modern theory of Revelation.

Vocation of Israel; Christ the highest Revealer.

Summary—Theism can only secure itself through belief in Christ.


The Pessimism of Scepticism.—


The Theistic Postulate of the Christian View.—


Christianity a theistic system.

The strength of Christian Theism—its connection with Revelation.

This first postulate of the Christian view—how related to modern thought?

I. The negation of the Christian view.

The Agnostic negation—why so regarded?

1. It negates the Christian view of God as self-revealing.

2. The denial of evidence of God’s existence tantamount to denial of His existence.

Mr. Spencer’s admission of the Ultimate Reality or Power; criticism of his view.

Development of the system by Mr. Fiske into Theism.

II. Positive evidence for the Christian view.

1. Concessions of the evolutionary philosophy.

The term “Personal” as applied to God.

2. This theoretic “proofs” for the existence of God—how far valid?

(1) The cosmological argument.

The religious experience corresponding to this proof—the consciousness of absolute dependence.


(2) The teleological or design argument.

Argument against design from evolution.

Two views of evolution: criticism.

Wider form of this argument (order, plan, law, etc.).

(3) The ontological argument.

The Anselmic form and Kant’s criticism.

New form of this argument Rational Realism.

The religious experience corresponding to the teleological and ontological argument’s—sense of the Divine in nature.

III. The moral argument—contrast with theoretic proofs.

God a postulate of the “practical reason.”

Religious experience corresponding to the moral proof.


God as Religious Postulate—


The Postulate of the Christian View or the World in Regard to Nature and Man.


Second postulate of the Christian view: man made in the image of God.

The doctrine of man closely linked with the doctrine of nature.

I. The natural basis—the doctrine of creation.

The consonance of this doctrine with reason: three oppositions—

The opposition of Dualism (Martineau, Mill), etc.

The opposition of Pantheism: logical derivation of the universe (Spinoza, Hegel, etc.).

The opposition of Atheism: self-existence and eternity of the world.

Evidences of a beginning

Difficulties of the doctrine of creation in time.

Proposed solutions of these difficulties.

The motive and end of creation (Kant, Lotze, etc.).

II. The nature of man, and his place in creation: man the final cause of the world.

Man the link between the natural and the spiritual.

Man as bearing the image of God.

The potential infinitude of man’s nature.

Materialism and consciousness—

1.Grosser form of Materialism: mind and brain identified (Moleschott, Vogt, etc.).


2.Newer form of Materialism: Monism (Strauss, Haeckel, etc.).

Ambiguity of the term “matter” in Tyndall, etc.

Refutation of Materialism: matter itself needs thought to explain it.

III. Man as made in the image of God constituted for immortality.

Modern rejection of doctrine of a future life.

If man constituted for immortality, the fact must show itself in his nature and capacities.

1. Universal prevalence of belief in a future state. Spencer’s theory; its inadequacy.

2. Rational grounds for this belief : nature of evidence.



The Postulate of the Christian View in Regard to the Sin and Disorder of the World.—


Third postulate of the Christian view: the sin and disorder of the world. Christianity does not create the problem of natural and moral evil, but helps to solve it.

I. The problem of moral evil: conflict of Christian and modern views.

Respects in which the modern view comes to the support of the Christian view.

Fundamental difference between the Christian and the modern view.

Sin in the Christian view not something natural, necessary, and normal, but the result of a free act of the creature.

Theories of sin opposed to the Christian view—

1. Theories which seek the ground of evil in the constitution of the world.

2. Theories which seek the explanation of evil in the nature of man.

Sin in all these theories made something necessary.

Weakening or destruction of idea of guilt.

Differences between the Christian and the modern view depend on theory of origin.

Theory of man’s original brutishness—relation to narrative of the Fall.

Relation of Christian view to modern theories of the antiquity of man.


Science does not negative the idea of a pure beginning of the race: the Biblical account of primeval man.

II. The problem of natural evil: connection with moral evil.

Natural evil in the inorganic world.

Natural evil in the organic world.

The question altered when we come to self-conscious, rational man.

Connection of natural evil with sin: nature and admissibility of this connection.

The Pauline view: what it implies.

III. Culmination of this problem in the question of the relation of sin to death.

Man created for immortality.

Death the sundering of essential parts of his being: therefore abnormal.

The true immortality is through Redemption, and embraces the resurrection of the body.


The Old Testament Doctrine of Immortality.—


The Central Assertion of the Christian View: The Incarnation of God in Christ.—


Completion of argument in second Lecture.

A priori objection to the Incarnation based on Christ’s lowliness.

I. Testimony of the apostolic age as throwing light on Christ’s own claims.

Modern agreement as to general teaching of New Testament—the Johannine writings.

The Epistles of Paul—

1. The undisputed Epistles—the “ Heavenly Man” theory.

2. The later Epistles — Christology of Philippians, Colossians, etc.

The Epistle to the Hebrews an independent witness.

The doctrine of the Apocalypse as high as John’s or Paul’s (Reuss, Pfleiderer).

The Petrine and Minor Epistles.

Discourses in the Acts.

Conclusion:—The supernatural view of Christ’s Person established in first generation of believers.


II. The testimony of the Gospels—Christ in the Fourth Gospel.

The Christ of the Synoptics also a supernatural Being.

1. The claims of Jesus—the titles “Son of Man,” and “Son of God”—His eschatological claims, etc.

2. Representation of the character of Christ—His sinlessness.

3. The works of Jesus in keeping with His claims.

4. The resurrection of Jesus—the Trinitarian formula, etc.

The Synoptic representation of Christ in keeping with the apostolic estimate of His Person.

Conclusion:—The facts of Christ’s Revelation require the supernatural view of His Person: impossibility of evading this claim.

III. Doctrinal aspects of the Incarnation: proposed reconstructions.

In what sense modern theories ascribe “Godhead” to Christ.

1. Are these theories tenable on their own merits?

2. Do these theories do justice to the facts of Christ’s Revelation?

What is not, and what is, true Incarnation.

3. Consideration of Kenotic theories (Phil. ii. 7).

Relation of preceding discussion to the early Christological decisions.

Advances in modern speculation.

The question of the impersonality of Christ’s humanity.

The Incarnation to be studied in the light of its revealed ends.


The Self-Consciousness of Jesus.—


Higher Concept of God Involved in the Incarnation—The Incarnation and the Plan of the World.—


Recapitulation of defective theories.

I. Higher concept of God involved in the Incarnation—God as triune.

This doctrine the result of an induction from the facts of Revelation.

How far this doctrine is anticipated in the Old Testament.

This doctrine of the Trinity as involving distinctions in the Divine essence.

Objection on this score—“One and Three.”


Drawbacks of the word “Person” need of the expression.

Proof that distinctions of this kind are implied.

Alternative view an economical Trinity.

Relations of the doctrine to rational thought.

Psychological analogies in Augustine and others.

Relation of the doctrine to self-consciousness, etc.

1. The deduction from knowledge.

2. The deduction from love.

3. Deduction from the Divine Fatherhood—God eternally Father.

4. Bearing of the Trinity on God’s relation to the world —safeguard against Deism and Pantheism.

II. The Scripture view brings creation and Redemption into line—consequences of this.

Relation of the Incarnation to the plan of the world.

World there have been an Incarnation had man not sinned.

History of the question.

Strong point against this theory—the constant connection of Incarnation with Redemption.

Difficulty arises from too abstract a view of the Divine plan.

Great weight on this question to be attached to the revealed end—the gathering up of all things in Christ.

Harmony of Scripture with this view—

1. The Scriptures know of only one undivided purpose of God.

2. They assert a direct relation of the Son with creation.

3. They represent Christ as the final cause of creation.

4. God’s purpose actually tends to the unification of all things in Christ.

Summary and conclusion.


The Incarnation and Redemption from Sin.—


Christianity a religion of Redemption.

Special question—The connection of Redemption with the sufferings and death of Christ.

I. Scripture testimony on this subject—the apostolic witness.

Does Christ’s teaching agree with that of the apostles?

Proof that Christ attached a redemptive significance to His death.

Grounds on which the apostolic Church proceeded—

1. The objective facts of Christ’s death, resurrection, etc.


2. Christ’s sayings on the meaning and necessity of His death.

3. The teaching of the Old Covenant as throwing light on Christ’s work.

II. Explanation of the redemptive significance of Christ’s death—theories of Atonement.

Modern desire to connect the Atonement with spiritual laws.

The Atonement considered from the point of view of the Incarnation.

Points taken for granted in all Christian theories of Redemption.

Theories differ as they attach themselves to one or another of these points.

1. Theories of fellowship: Schleiermacher, etc.

2. Theories based on idea of sympathy: Bushnell.

Points in which this theory comes short.

Dr. Bushnell’s later modification of his view.

3. Theories based on idea of vocation: Ritschl.

Theories which recognise an objective element in the Atonement: in what does it consist?

4. Theories based on idea of self-surrender of holy will to God: Maurice, etc.

5. Theories which recognise a relation to guilt: Campbell’s theory of vicarious repentance and confession.

Deeper elements in Campbell’s view—the “Amen” in response to God’s judgment on sin.

Christ’s sufferings viewed as expiatory.

Objections to this view—the innocent suffering for the guilty.

The real question—How should such sufferings become expiatory for others?

Recapitulation and conclusion.


The Incarnation and Human Destiny.—


Necessity of an eschatology.

The Christian view eschatological because teleological.

I. The astronomical objection to Christianity.

The objection a quantitative one.

The bearing of sin on this question.

The issues of Redemption not confined to this planet.


II. Principles of interpretation of eschatological prophecy.

The nearer aim of Christianity—the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.

History has its goal—transition to eschatology proper.

The positive and bright side of the Christian view.

1. The aim of God is conformity to the image of the Son.

2. This includes likeness to His glorious body: the resurrection.

3. The perfecting of the Church carries with it the perfecting of nature.

Pictorial and scenic elements—

1. The personal Advent—how to be interpreted?

The Coming a process in which many elements flow together.

Still, a personal Coming is implied.

1. The general Judgment.

Its certainty.

Parabolic character of descriptions.

III. The dark side of this question—the destiny of the wicked.

Three theories on this subject—

1. Dogmatic Universalism.

2. The doctrine of Annihilation: Conditional Immortality.

3. The doctrine of Eternal Punishment.

Fundamental positions laid down—

1. The principle of certain retribution for sin.

2. Need for distinguishing between what Scripture teaches and subjects on which it is simply silent.

3. A larger calculus needed than we at present possess.

Criticism of theories—

1. Scripture does not warrant dogmatic Universalism.

2. Scripture does not warrant Annihilation.

Theory of “Conditional Immortality” criticised.

3. The theory of Future Probation.

Facts which suggest caution—

(1) Concentration of every ray of exhortation and appeal into the present.

(2) The judgment invariably represented as proceeding on the data of this life.

(3) The silence of Scripture on future probation: limits of the application of 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20; iv. 6.

Result—We have not the elements of a complete solution.



the Idea of the Kingdom of God.

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