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we have not been able to obtain any organism without the intervention of some sort of previously existing germ.'
229. If we assume the truth of this principle it appears to lead us directly to infer that life is not merely a species of energy, or a phenomenon of matter. For we have seen (Art. 103) that the great characteristic of all energy is its transmutability-its Protean power of passing from one form to another. We may no doubt produce large quantities of electricity by means of an electrified nucleus, but we can do the same without any such nucleus-we can make unlimited steel magnets by the help of one piece of loadstone, but we can do this even more effectually by means of a galvanic battery-we may produce fire from a spark, but we can obtain it without a spark.
Life, however, can be produced from life only, and this law would seem to give an indication that the solution of the mystery is not to be found by considering life as merely a species of energy. It is some time since we gave up the idea that life could generate energy; it now seems that we must give up the idea that energy can generate life.
230. In preceding chapters we have given our readers a sketch of the methods according to which men of science imagine that evolution has been carried out in the universe of energy and in that of life. In both worlds the principle of Continuity requires that in endeavouring to account for the origin of phenomena we shall not resort to the hypo thesis of separate creations, that we shall not pass over from the conditioned to the unconditioned; and
Darwin, Wallace, and their followers have, as we have shown, endeavoured to prove that processes still pursued by nature are sufficient in a great measure, if not entirely, to account for the present development of organised existence without the necessity of resorting to separate creations. Darwin especially imagines that all the present organisms, including man, may have been derived by the process of natural selection from a single primordial germ. When, however, the backward process has reached this germ, an insuperable difficulty presents itself. How was this germ produced? All really scientific experience tells us that life can be produced from a living antecedent only; what then was the antecedent of this germ? Hypotheses have no doubt been started, but we cannot regard them in any other light than as an acknowledgment of a difficulty which cannot be overcome. We appear to have reached an impenetrable barrier similar to that which stood in our way when we contemplated the production of the visible universe. And precisely as we felt compelled by the logic of scientific process to deal with this first barrier, so we must likewise assert for ourselves with becoming reverence a similar freedom of action in dealing with the second. Therefore, if life be one of the things of the universe, if the assumption of a creation of life in time be inadmissible, and if it be contrary to all experience to allow the possibility of the production of life from antecedents not possessing life, we are entitled, even in such a case as the present, to make use of this conclusion derived from experience, and are thus forced to contemplate an antecedent possessing life and giving life to this primordial
germ, an antecedent in the universe, not out of it,conditioned, not unconditioned. Now, what is the meaning of this conclusion? In the first place, it does not mean that the antecedent to the primordial germ must be a like germ, for we know from experience that while life is always produced from life, like is by no means always produced from like. In this case more especially the living antecedent must be in the invisible universe, and therefore altogether different from the germ.
231. If we now turn once more to the Christian system, we find that it recognises such an antecedent as an agent in the universe. He is styled the Lord, and Giver of Life. The third Person of the Trinity is regarded in this system as working in the universe, and therefore in some sense as conditioned. One of His functions consists in distributing and developing this principle of life, which we are forced to regard as one of the things of the universe; just as the second Person of the Trinity is regarded as developing the objective phenomena of the universe. Thus one has entered from everlasting into the universe, in order to develop it objectively, while the other has also entered from everlasting into the universe, in order to develop its subjective elements, life and intelligence.
Thus we read (Gen. i. 2), 'And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters;' implying, we may imagine, a peculiar operation of this Spirit preceding the advent of life into the world. Again, when in the fulness of time, Christ, the developing agent, made
His appearance here, and submitted to the trammels of a human nature, this appearance was preceded by an operation of the same Spirit.
232. It may here be desirable to discuss somewhat fully the position of life in the universe, as we are constrained to view it in virtue of the scientifically established principles of biogenesis.
If then the matter of this present visible universe be not capable of itself, that is to say, in virtue of the forces and qualities with which it has been endowed, of generating life; but if we must look to the unseen universe for the origin of life, this would appear to show that the peculiar collocation of matter which accompanies the operations of life is not a mere grouping of particles of the visible universe, but implies likewise some peculiarity in the connection of these with the unseen universe. May it not denote in fact some peculiarity of structure extending to the unseen?
In fine, to go a step further, may not life denote a peculiarity of structure which is handed over not merely from one stage to another-from the invisible to the visible-but which rises upwards from the very lowest structural depths of the material of the universe, this material being regarded as possessed of an infinitely complex structure such as we have pictured to our readers in a previous part of this chapter (Art. 220).
If we suppose any such peculiarity to accompany life we cannot fail at once to see the impossibility of its originating in the visible universe alone.
233. Again, it is well known to many of our readers that discussions have frequently arisen regarding the
peculiar place and function of life in the universe. What is its relation to energy? it certainly does not create energy-what then does it do?
One way of replying to this question is indicated in the following passage, which we quote at length from an article on 'The Atomic Theory of Lucretius,' in the North British Review for March 1868 :
'It is a principle of mechanics that a force acting at right angles to the direction in which a body is moving does no work, although it may continually and continuously alter the direction in which the body moves. No power, no energy, is required to deflect a bullet from its path, provided the deflecting force acts always at right angles to that path.
'If you believe in free-will and in atoms, you have two courses open to you. The first alternative may be put as follows: Something which is not atoms must be allowed an existence, and must be supposed capable of acting on the atoms. The atoms may, as Democritus believed, build up a huge mechanical structure, each wheel of which drives its neighbour in one long inevitable sequence of causation; but you may assume that beyond this ever-grinding wheelwork there exists a power not subject to but partly master of the machine; you may believe that man possesses such a power, and if so, no better conception of the manner of its action could be devised than the idea of its deflecting the atoms in their onward path to the right or left of that line in which they would naturally move. The will, if it so acted, would add nothing sensible to nor take anything sensible from the energy of the universe. The modern believer in free-will will probably adopt this view, which is certainly consistent with observation, although not proved by it. Such a power of moulding circumstances, of turning the torrent to the right, where it shall fertilise, or to the left, where it shall overwhelm, but in nowise of arresting the torrent, adding nothing to it, taking nothing from it,-such is precisely the apparent action of man's will; and though we must allow that possibly the deflecting action does but result from some smaller subtler stream of circumstance, yet if we may trust to our direct per