Charles Frederick D'Arcy.

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3 lillii.,

God and the
Struggle for Existence







New York : 347 Madison Avenue


PUBLIC li3::ary



Copyright, 19 19, by

The International Committee of

Young Men's Christian Associations

Association Press

Vublishcrs ^^XSSfSHW^ookscllcrs



The Publication. Department
ftA£ Inicmshonal Committei: cfX^u/ifJ/en:

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T^HIS BOOK is furnished
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be very much appreciated.
The^price of this book is
r copy.




I. Introductory .... 7


Fellow of Queeu's College, Oxford, Canon Residentiary

of Hereford

Editor of "Foundations"; "Concerning Prayer";

"Immortality"; "The Spirit"

Author of "Restatement and Reunion"

II. Love and Omnipotence . . 15

By the Most Rev. CHARLES F. D'ARCY, D.D.

Archbishop of Dublin

Author of "A Short Study of Ethics"; "Idealism and

Theology"; "God and Freedom in Human

Experience," etc.

III. The Survival of the Fittest . 65

Author of "Pro Christo et Ecclesia"; "The Practice
of Christianity," etc. Joint Author of "Concern-
ing Prayer"; "Immortality"; "The Spirit"

IV. Power — Human and Divine . 108


V. The Defeat of Pain . . . 154



Hon. D.D. Edin.

Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford; Canon Residen-
tiary of Hereford

"If the gods," said Socrates, "do not The
prefer the good man to the evil, then it of GkS?.^
is better to die than to Hve." Unless we
are convinced that in the last resort the
power behind the Universe is on the
side of righteousness, the mainspring of
endeavour is broken, the lamp of hope is
almost quenched. But during the last
hundred years or so there have been not
a few to whom it has appeared that the
discoveries of modern science have made
the existence of God "an unnecessary
hypothesis." There are many more to
whom the experience of the war has made
it an incredible one.

The problem of evil, the question
whether life has any meaning, the doubt


of the existence of God, are felt with an
unprecedented acuteness by the present
generation — a generation of which it may
be well said that "the iron has entered into
its soul." And those who have drunk the
cup of bitterness to the dregs are apt to
feel a peculiar irritation at the easy opti-
mism of any theology or philosophy which
lightly tries "to justify the ways of God
to man."
Providence To the last generation Providence and
Progress. Progress were both magic words. To the
rehgious, the Universe seemed luminous
of divine purpose ; to the intellectuals, the
doctrine of Evolution through natural
selection implied the automatic necessity
of continuous advance. Rehgion and
Science might be difficult to harmonise,
and the ethics of Christ and those of the
Struggle for Existence might not seem
quite compatible — still, whichever way one
chose to take it, in the last resort this
was a most excellent world. In an age of
unparalleled material comfort, the com-
fortably-minded of either school could
draw comfortable conclusions. The reli-
gious could say, "God's in his Heaven,
all's right with the world" — and if some
things did appear not altogether right,


still they were God's will, and He must
know best. The non-religious were even
better off. The doctrine of progress
through the survival of the fittest gave a
biological justification for doing one's own
sweet will. The religious might feel the
difficulty of reconciling the claims of God
and Mammon, but these others could claim
the authority of science for the view that
individual selfishness is the high-road to
corporate salvation. In Economics it was
laid down as a law of Nature that un-
limited competition between individuals,
each seeking solely his own profit, inevi-
tably redounded to the benefit of all. In
international politics the conclusion could
be drawn that war was a "biological neces-
sity" and that the nation which could crush
all others was the greatest benefactor of
humanity, since the hope of civilisation
lay in the domination of the world by the
strongest power.

To-day the dogma that unlimited com- The Change
petition inevitably leads to the greatest
happiness of the greatest number has
fewer adherents: the doctrine that war
is a necessity for progress has fewer
still. . . .

Facts have refuted them.

in Outlook.


But if facts have refuted the doctrine
that Progress is a mechanical necessity
and internecine struggle the path towards
it, have they not equally refuted the belief
in a Providence that orders all things for
the best? On all sides we hear the cry,
What kind of a God is it who, having the
power to overrule the destinies of man,
could look on unmoved at the events of
the last five years? Surely if ever in his-
tory there was a time clamant for some
special intervention, it has been that which
we have lived through.
The Hope of Modern civiHsation, nominally Chris-
tian, has in practice lived by the ethics of
the struggle for existence ; and by the logic
of that same ethic it seems like to perish —
through war or the class-war. This is the
conclusion which thinking men and women
everywhere are drawing. The only hope
for the future would seem to be a new
social and international morality — a mo-
rality based not on competition but on co-
operation. But if the goodness, the power,
or the existence of God be in doubt,
neither the intellectual justification nor
the emotional dynamic of such an ethic
are particularly obvious. And, if the last
century read the lesson of Biology aright.


is not that ethic necessarily a frail and
artificial thing, since it is built on prin-
ciples which the fundamental nature of
reahty denies?

With these and like problems in their Purpose of
minds the authors of this volume have ^fu^e.
endeavoured to re-examine the facts.
Cross-questioning the Universe in the
light of modern science and human his-
tory, they ask what conclusions a clear-
eyed and impartial investigation will war-
rant — both as regard the nature and
character of the Power behind phenomena,
and the fate, the value, and the hope of the
individual in the scheme of things.

In the following Chapter some prelim- Analysis of
inary questions are raised: Do the facts ^°^*®^^-
justify the inference that there is a God
at all, that there is any kind of intelligent
direction behind the world process? If so,
is this Intelligence beneficent — either in
the sense of broadly "making for right-
eousness" or of caring for the fate of the
individual man? Or do the facts suggest
rather a limited God, beneficent, indeed,
but "cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in"
by some fate or force or nature of things
of which He, like us, is to some extent the
victim? Or, again, is there reasonable


ground for the belief that in Him Love
and Supreme Power can coexist? In
Chapter III. the immd facie view is
accepted, that Nature's apparent aim is
the producing of beings perfectly corre-
sponding with their whole environment,
but that man, though so far Nature's mas-
terpiece, at present very imperfectly so
corresponds. It is then asked, what does
the study of the evolutionary process as a
whole show to be needed to perfect that
correspondence; and, if that process has
a meaning at all, what inference, if any,
must we draw as to the ethical quality and
character of the Power of which ultimately
it is the expression. Chapter IV. is an
enquiry into the nature of Power. It
suggests that in the past power of a low
degree of effectiveness has often been mis-
taken for supreme power, and it questions
how far this error may have vitiated
traditional theology and ethics. The final
Chapter endeavours to face the question
of the suffering and failure of the indi-
vidual. Can we say to the man or woman
weighed down by sorrow, disappointment
or remorse that there is a "way out"? Is
the ultimate nature of things such as to
justify anything like that belief in "Provi-



dence" and "Salvation" which was the
very centre of the old religion?

The thought and labours of not a few of Methodajid
the keenest intellects of our age have been
concentrated on the problems we attack —
and that thought and labour has not been
spent in vain. Some of the questions are
as old as philosophy itself, others are of
comparatively modern origin ; but even on
the oldest, new light has been thrown in
recent years. The authors of this volume
have tried to unify and bring into a small
compass various strands in a widespread
movement in the thought of the day ; and
in working at this task they believe that
on some points they have found something
new to offer and have some things to say
which either have not been said before,
or have been said, but not with the
same balance of emphasis or in the same
connection. But if this is so, it is because
they have made it throughout their first
endeavour to interrogate facts, not to look
for answers which would square with tra-
ditional theology. Some of the answers
suggested are to all intents and purposes
those given by traditional Christianity,
only stated in modern language and re-
lated to modern thought. Others, it should


frankly be admitted, are different. But
it is remarkable tbat in every case where
the facts have seemed to point to a con-
clusion which differs from that given by
the old Theology, that conclusion appears
to be in effect a return to the religion and
philosophy of Christ.

Reculer pour mieux sauter, Chris-
tianity moves forward whenever it goes
back to Christ.



By the Most Rev. CHARLES F. D'ARCY, D.D.
ArchMshop of Dublin

The doubts characteristic of the present The
time set these two Divine attributes, fta^S^
Love and Omnipotence, in the sharpest
antagonism. If God be good, it is said
every day. He cannot be omnipotent, the
world being what it is. If He be om-
nipotent. He cannot be good, for the
same reason. He would surely exert His
almighty power and put things right. It
is an old puzzle ; the difference in its posi-
tion is that more people are thinking about
it now. People who before the war were
never troubled with the malady of thought
have caught the fever of enquiry, and
stand aghast at the discovery of this
ancient problem.

Why do we believe in God? Apart Two Ways
from traditional behef, and putting aside qoI?^^^^
the more academic discussions of the



schools, there are two contrasting ways in
which men have been able to attain to
faith in a Supreme Being worthy of being
called by the great name, God. The first
looks out upon the vast world of creation,
and finds there convincing proof of the
work of mind. The second looks into the
inner experience of the soul, and recog-
nises God by spiritual apprehension. In
modern times, opinion has swung very
remarkably from the former to the latter.
In the eighteenth century, in spite of
shrewd criticism, the conviction prevailed
that the argument from creation to the
Creator was inevitable. "The heavens
declare the glory of God; the firmament
showeth His handy work," sang the
Psalmist; and never were the words so
appreciated as when the discoveries of
astronomy were the most notable achieve-
ments of science. The universe was re-
vealed as a huge mechanism, a vast clock-
work, moving with perfect regularity.
The inference from the watch to the
watchmaker was so striking and simple
that the apologist enjoyed a popular
triumph. Its fruits lasted far into the
nineteenth century.

The Darwinian revolution changed all


that. And with the growth of philosophi-
cal and psychological study came gradu-
ally to hght a new world — ^the world of
inner experience. During the last half-
century, and especially the last genera-
tion, men have been learning to find God
within, rather than without.

The coming of this change can be traced A New
in Tennyson and Browning. We find it creed,
fully developed in the profound study of
the mystics which has marked the last
twenty years. Now we have reached a
position in which this inner experience,
regarded as a revelation of God, has be-
come the inspiration of a fresh and popu-
lar creed. It gives us, we are told, a new
and vivid faith in God as the representa-
tive of our race, the captain of our souls,
leading us in the conflict with evil, sharing
our pains, sympathising with our striv-
ings, using our powers of mind and body
in the struggle against material forces,
and helping us to overcome the difficulties
which beset us.^ This God is a finite
being. He is indeed born of man's spirit-
ual experience. He is a synthesis of the
best that is in us all. From man He
sprang, and with man He will perish. For

^ H. G. Wells. God the Invisille King.


Him, as for us, the great encircling uni-
verse is an alien, intractable and tennbly
mysterious power. From this mysterious
power we had our origin. There dawned,
in the course of natural evolution, by some
inexplicable process, that fitful hght
which we call the mind or soul of man:
strong enough to adapt some portion of
its material environment to its needs, it
was yet not able to gain any true knowl-
edge of its position or secure footing for
its existence. But from our united
thoughts and efforts arose a higher soul,
uniting and representing us all, sharing
our pains and helping us ; but confronted,
as we are, by the same insoluble problems.
This strange but very interesting doc-
trine shows what must happen if we give
up the revelation of God in Nature. And
it is well worthy of note how directly it
leads to polytheistic ways of thought.
Why should this soul of our souls be One
Deity for the whole human race? Why
should not every nation, every distinct
community, have its own deity? On this
theory, the "Old German God" may actu-
ally exist. The genius of ancient Athens
may actually have lived as the divine
Athena. If the League of Nations se-


cures peace on earth it may also create
harmony on Olympus. We are back
among the Homeric gods ; and can breathe
once more the freshness of an early world.
It is specially curious, however, to observe
what happens when we let go our belief
in Nature as a revelation of God. We
find ourselves on a descending slope, slid-
ing down into paganism. This is espe-
cially true in our day. The unity of Na-
ture implies the unity of God. When
Nature was regarded as the scene in which
a multitude of diverse and often opposing
spu^tual powers operated and competed
with one another, polytheistic modes of
thought were inevitably suggested. But
modern science has been teaching more
and more clearly the unity of Nature.
Though that unity is not yet fully demon-
strated, every advance is a step towards
its demonstration. The instructed mind
of the modern man cannot look out upon
the world and believe that he is witnessing
a conflict of capricious finite deities. He
knows that the varied scene is the outcome
of one vast evolutionary process, and
therefore, if he holds it necessary to be-
lieve at all in a spiritual life in or behind
or around the whole, he must beheve in

Reveal God?


that life as possessing a world-embracing
unity. But if Nature has no message
about God, if He be but a synthesis of
psychical elements, a group -soul, arising
out of human society, and perishing when
the group is dissipated, there is no reason
why we should believe in His unity. It is
much more reasonable to believe in a
Does It is surely somewhat surprising that

we so seldom endeavour, in these days, to
gather, by a simple observation of Nature,
and in as undogmatic a manner as possi-
ble, some ideas concerning the character
of the Supreme Power, if such there be.
Perhaps we are influenced still by the im-
pressive argument of Herbert Spencer's
First Principles, in which, after an elabo-
rate demonstration of the contradictions
which may be found in the terms used to
describe the being and attributes of God,
he concluded that the "Power which the
Universe manifests to us is utterly in-
scrutable." This he affirms to be the
"deepest, widest, and most certain of all
facts." Admitting that behind the mani-
fold phenomena of Nature there must be
some Supreme Power, he yet holds as a
positive creed, and as the most indubitable


of all assertions, the doctrine that this
Power is unknowable. Spencer's Agnos-
tic creed, thus presented as the result of
an irresistible philosophical criticism of
the effort to ascend from Nature to God,
has had an enormous influence. It puts
in a formal shape the conclusion which so
many minds have gathered hastily from
the difficulties and perplexities which beset
them as they try to adjust their traditional
creed to the new ideas of science and to
the painful problems of life. The ques-
tion with which we are now dealing is an
instance. The omnipotence of God is not
only difficult to reconcile with His good-
ness, in view of the facts of human experi-
ence, it is itself a conception which involves
contradiction. The fact must be admitted.
Every effort to think out the idea of
omnipotence will be found to end in con-
tradiction. We need not pursue the in-
vestigation: it would lead into mazes of
dialectical discussion, which would but ob-
scure the issue and afford no satisfaction.
But Herbert Spencer fails to note that the
very statement in which he presents his
creed is itself contradictory. The "Power
which the Universe manifests to us is ut-
terly inscrutable." We may well ask. If


not Pe-
culiar to

the Power is manifested, how is it inscrut-
able? It is surely clear that so far as the
Power is manifested, it is not inscrutable.

The truth is that an acute criticism can
always find contradictions in the terms
which express the underlying principles
of all branches of knowledge. This fact
has been amply proved in recent years.
There is no department of science,
whether physical or moral, which cannot
be thus undermined. Theology is not in
any worse case, in this respect, than other
branches of enquiry. But all sciences have
to be continually adjusting their concep-
tions to advancing experience and the
more searching criticism which it brings.
Nor does any science let go its old prin-
ciples, principles which it has found to
work well in the past, until it can success-
fully adjust itself to the altered conditions
in which it finds itself.

We are not, then, to cease to seek God
in Nature, because science has given us
new viev/s of Nature, or because some of
our old conceptions prove difiicult. The-
ology, like science, must ever be prepared
to take up its burden anew, undeterred by
the greatness or difficulty of the task which
lies before it.


Suppose then, assuming, like Herbert chaxacter
Spencer, that there is some great power powe?/^^^
which works in the universe, and keeping
in mind the modern view of creation,
we ask the question, Is it possible to
gather from experience and observation
any clear ideas as to the character of
that Power? As we know a man from
his deeds, we ought surely to be able to
attain to some estimate of the character
of the Supreme Power by considering
the universe, which is the expression of
its activity.

Approaching this question with a reso- Natural
lute determination to escape the influence ®*^ ^*
of customary opinion, and above all keep-
ing clear of traditional dogma, and sur-
veying creation as a whole and without
emphasis on those aspects of it v>^hich are
specially attractive to our desires and
needs, it would appear that the Supreme
Power is much more concerned with the
production of beauty, especially beauty
of form and colour, than with goodness.
Nature produces the beautiful with a
lavishness which finds no parallel in the
works of man; and the beauty of Nature
is not, as in human art, a form added to a
material, which is diverted from its proper


use to serve the artistic purpose. The
beauty of Xature is intrinsic, universal,
penetrating. It springs into being
through the inevitable working of natural
forces. It is as perfect in the little as in
the great, in the snowilake and the struc-
ture of the minutest organism as in the
Alpine peak or the sunset slvy. It is
found in the most irregular heaping to-
gether of fragments, a mountain slope or
a torrent, as in the perfect symmetry of
the blue dome of the sky. If it be urged
that the beauty of Nature is not in the
things themselves but in the cultivated
mind which has learned to appreciate it,
there is the ready answer that here is the
very point of the argument. The fact that
high cultivation of the aesthetic faculties
enables us to see ever more and more
beauty in Nature, is the very reason why
we feel bound to discern in the Power
behind Nature a Being to whom the
beautiful is an end. So far as this part of
our spiritual being is concerned, we dis-
cern that we are akin to the Supreme
Power. We conclude that the beauty of
Nature points to a certain character in the
Supreme. He, shall we say, produces
beauty because He delights in it, and


seemingly prizes it far more than He
prizes goodness/

This inference appears much more in-
evitable when we consider that most of
this beauty is, from the material point of
view, a waste product. It is useless. It
does not help individuals to live or races
to survive. Yet this unnecessary beauty
is poured out with infinite prodigality on
a careless, unseeing creation. In Nature
it is hard to find anything which is truly
ugly. For the ugly, one has to turn to the
works of man.

On the other hand, goodness, in the Goodness
moral sense of the term, makes its appear-
ance only after immense ages. It appears
fitfully, is maintained with difficulty, and
is nearly always very imperfect. Yet
goodness is useful as beauty is not. It is
the cement of societies, enabling men to
unite, and so become far more effective in
their struggle with material forces. If
human society were uniformly good in a
very high degree, there is no doubt that
eugenic principles would prevail, disease
would be very largely eliminated, indus-

^ On the argument from the beauty of Nature and for
a convincing criticism of Kant's objection, see J. H.
Kennedy, Natural Theology and Modern Thought.


trial conditions would be wholly trans-
formed, war would be impossible — the
world would be a very happy place, as we
commonly count happiness. Morality is
therefore a very useful thing, and the won-
der is that an evolutionary process, which
is supposed to depend upon the produc-
tion of the useful, has not brought forth
more goodness.

Now, regarding this problem from the
point of view of those who believe that the
universe is the life-work of a great Su-
preme Spirit, we can see a reason for this
difference. God makes the world beauti-
ful because He loves the beautiful, and
can produce it without the intervention of
finite wills. He has not made the world
good, because goodness can only come
about through the co-operation of finite
wills with one another and with Him.
First, the finite wills have to be produced,
and there can be no goodness in creation
imtil they arise. Secondly, when they are
produced, they have to come into harmony
with one another and with Him. And this
harmony is impossible without a willing
denial of selfish inclinations on the part of
the individual. When this fact is grasped,
the enormous difficulty of the production


of a good world is evident. It takes man
— every man — as well as God, to pro-
duce it.

Regarding the problem from the side of Problem
experience, we learn that only by educa- ° ^^^*
tion and discipHne can men be brought to
overcome their selfish inclinations for the

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