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SECTION LXV.

2. The body mediates the relation of the objective world to the personal spirit, through the senses; and this mediation, as being established by the divine creative will, is a truthful one. On the other hand, the body mediates the active relation of the spirit to the objective world, and, in subserving the spirit, it thereby mediates the morally-essential dominion of the spirit over nature, and is, hence, the necessary and adequate organ of the moral spirit in its relation to the external world,—and not that of nature for its dominion over the spirit.

If the created spirit has surety of ability for knowing the truth, this of itself implies that the knowledge mediated by the senses must be real and true,—that sense-impressions per se do not deceive us. “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them” [Prov. xx, 12]; but God is a God of truth; and the solemn exhortation: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things!” [Isa. xl, 26], is at the same time a guarantee of the reliableness of the senses. If the senses deceive us, then God deceives us. Just as without faith in God there is no morality, so also, without confidence in the truthfulness of the divinely established world-order—which of course includes the vital relations of creatures to each other—a complete morality is impossible. Man cannot be under obligation to be truthful, if creation is not so. The matter is therefore not so morally indifferent as at first glance it might seem. If God is to be seen in his works [Rom. i, 20] then must these works speak truthfully to us. If sense-impressions have only subjective truth, then they have none at all, and hence no worth whatever,—then we sustain no moral relation to the objective world, inasmuch as under such circumstances it would have for us no existence. There could then be no further question save of a moral duty of man to himself or to God. Skepticism on this point is therefore no 64less anti-moral than impious. Deceptions growing out of false judgments as to per se true sense-impressions, must of course not be confounded with the deception of sense-impressions themselves; it is not the eye that sees the sky touch the earth at the horizon, it is only a premature judgment that leads to this deception. Real sense-deceptions spring of disease, but disease does not exist in a state of moral purity.

The spirit is to dominate over nature, not directly, however, by a mere magic-working will, but by the instrumentality of its own dominated body. The destination to this domination is expressed even in the build of the human body: erect, with upturned look, with hands planned for the most manifold activity, the human body bears upon it the impress as well as the reality of dominating power. While Materialism subordinates spirit to nature, the Christian worldview subordinates nature to spirit; and as the spirit is entirely master over its body, so is it likewise master over nature by means of the body. A childish, morally-unripe spirit cannot, it is true, dominate nature at the will of its irrational whims,—but we speak here only of the rational spirit, and in this sphere the words, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” have no application; in normal man the flesh is also willing and strong. Even as through the senses nature is open and unlocked for the cognizing spirit, so is it also through the bodily organs for the volitionating spirit. If the facts seem otherwise in the present reality of things, if the body is no longer an absolutely obedient medium for the dominion of the spirit over nature, but on the contrary is much oftener a mere instrument of nature for her dominating over the spirit, this is simply because the right and primitive relation has been disturbed, and has given place to the enfeebling influence of sin.

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