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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
ception of free-will, the above theory, involving a power in man beyond that of atoms, would probably be our choice. . . .
'We cannot hope that natural science will ever lend the least assistance towards answering the Free-will and Necessity question. The doctrines of the indestructibility of matter and of the conservation of energy seem at first sight to help the Necessitarians, for they might argue that if free-will acts it must add something to or take something from the physical universe, and if experiment shows that nothing of the kind occurs, away goes free-will; but this argument is worthless, for if mind or will simply deflects matter as it moves, it may produce all the consequences claimed by the Wilful school, and yet it will neither add energy nor matter to the universe.'
234. Now there appears to us to be a very serious objection to this mode of regarding the position of life, unless it be somewhat modified. Let us take one of the visible masses of this present universe, such as a planet. Suppose for a moment that instead of being attracted to a fixed and visible centre of force such as the sun, it is bound to an invisible and vagrant centre, the only condition imposed upon whose irregularities is that it shall always move in such a manner that there shall be neither creation nor destruction of energy.
We have only to imagine for a moment such a universe in order to realise the inextricable confusion into which its intelligent inhabitants would be plunged by the operation of a viewless and unaccountable agency of this nature. No doubt the hypothesis regarding life, which we have quoted above, limits this mode of action to the molecular motions of matter, but if our line of argument has been followed throughout, the reader will probably acknowledge that the superior intelligences of the universe may
have the same appretiation of molecular motions. that we have of those of large masses. Now they would in turn be put to inextricable confusion by the advent of an unperceivable, and, from the nature of the case, irresponsible force entitled will operating towards the deflection of these molecular motions, even although the energy of the universe should remain the same. We think that Professor Huxley and some others who have opposed this mode of regarding the position of life have been somewhat unjustly blamed. They have driven the operation of the mystery called life or will out of the objective universe, out of that portion of things which is capable of being scientifically studied by intelligence, and in so doing they have most assuredly done right. The mistake made (whether by this party or by their adversaries) lies in imagining that by such a process they completely get rid of a thing so driven before them, and that it thus disappears from the universe altogether. It does no such thing. It merely disappears from that small circle of light which we may call the universe of scientific perception.
But the greater the circle of light (to adopt the words of Dr. Chalmers), the greater the circumference of darkness, and the mystery which has been driven before us looms in the darkness that surrounds this circle, growing more mysterious and more tremendous as the circumference is increased. In fine, we have already remarked that the position of the scientific man is to clear a space before him from which all mystery shall be driven away, and in which there shall be nothing but matter and energy subject to certain definite laws which he can comprehend. There are