13Science reverses the evidence of the senses in theology, on the same principle that it does in astronomy. Popular theology makes God tributary to man, coming at human call; whereas the reverse is true in Science. Men must approach God reverently, doing their own work in obedience to divine law, if they would fulfil the intended harmony of being.
The principle of music knows nothing of discord. God is harmony’s selfhood. His universal laws, His unchangeableness, are not infringed in ethics any more than in music. To Him there is no moral inharmony; as we shall learn, proportionately as we gain the true understanding of Deity. If God could be conscious of sin, His infinite power would straightway reduce the universe to chaos.
If God has any real knowledge of sin, sickness, and death, they must be eternal; since He is, in the very fibre of His being, “without beginning of years or end of days.” If God knows that which is not permanent, it follows that He knows something which He must learn to unknow, for the benefit of our race.
Such a view would bring us upon an outworn theological 14platform, which contains such planks as the divine repentance, and the belief that God must one day do His work over again, because it was not at first done aright.
Can it be seriously held, by any thinker, that long after God made the universe, — earth, man, animals, plants, the sun, the moon, and “the stars also,” — He should so gain wisdom and power from past experience that He could vastly improve upon His own previous work, — as Burgess, the boatbuilder, remedies in the Volunteer the shortcomings of the Puritan’s model?
The Jehovah of limited Hebrew faith might need repentance, because His created children proved sinful; but the New Testament tells us of “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God is not the shifting vane on the spire, but the corner-stone of living rock, firmer than everlasting hills.
As God is Mind, if this Mind is familiar with evil, all cannot be good therein. Our infinite model would be taken away. What is in eternal Mind must be reflected in man, Mind’s image. How then could man escape, or hope to escape, from a knowledge which is everlasting in his creator?
God never said that man would become better by learning to distinguish evil from good, — but the contrary, that 15by this knowledge, by man’s first disobedience, came “death into the world, and all our woe.”
“Shall mortal man be more just than God?” asks the poet-patriarch. May men rid themselves of an incubus which God never can throw off? Do mortals know more than God, that they may declare Him absolutely cognizant of sin?
God is commonly called the sinless, and man the sinful; but if the thought of sin could be possible in Deity, would Deity then be sinless? Would God not of necessity take precedence as the infinite sinner, and human sin become only an echo of the divine?
Such vagaries are to be found in heathen religious history. There are, or have been, devotees who worship not the good Deity, who will not harm them, but the bad deity, who seeks to do them mischief, and whom therefore they wish to bribe with prayers into quiescence, as a criminal appeases, with a money-bag, the venal officer.
Surely this is no Christian worship! In Christianity, 16man bows to the infinite perfection which he is bidden to imitate. In Truth, such terms as divine sin and infinite sinner are unheard-of contradictions, — absurdities; but would they be sheer nonsense, if God has, or can have, a real knowledge of sin?