King's Business - 1915-04



conceived of as a kind of living or­ ganism with a social consciousness, a civilizing force sufficient to supply the universal human need, and offering scientific solution for every problem ethical and sociological. In one word, the Soteriology of the modern may be briefly comprehended in this say­ ing: “Salvation is salvation of the body ; not of the soul, and the way of salvation material conditions and a higher social life.” The advance of science—especially biological and so­ cial science—has been accompanied by a displacement of the very idea of a soul which allows of its salvation by redemption and the cultivation of the body. Development- of the body and the amelioration of physical condi­ tions has become the modern evangel. It finds its climax in the teaching of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose ideas so colored the stream of German thought that he became, according to Menck­ en, his prominent biographer, the prophet and embodiment of those hab­ its of thought dominant among the thinking men of fhe world to-day. (I have often said of late that I am not astonished at the philosophy of Nietzsche, but that I am astonished at the influence of Nietzsche). The teaching of Nietzsche centered in the body. “I am body, entirely body and nothing more. ‘Soul’ is only the name of something in the body. That which is called flesh and body is of such incalculably greater importance that the rest is nothing more than a small appurtenance.” What Nietzsche meant exactly by the “Superman” is a conundrum which some of his biographers give up, but apparently it was the culminating evolution of man­ kind from species to super-species. Hé apparently Had an idea of developed manhood to be obtained by breeding, just as you would breed prize horses and-—pigs. But it is all of the earth, earthly; of thè body, bodily. And the

ultimate goal of life is apparently for man to be the finest of animals. A SAD CONCEPTION. There is something unspeakably sad in the Nietzsche conception of life, and his frenzied and vicious denial of anything like supernatural help and human need, that it reminds one of the famous apothegm of the great Dutch theologian Van Oosterzee, that “the man who disowns his need of deliverance remains as much a stran­ ger to the microcosm within him as he is to the macrocosm around him and above him.” The Christianized form of this is a kind of modern version of the old Salvation by Works theorem. It is that the ordinary man’s case is not serious, or his heart in any true sense desperately wicked. Those who have been in the last gutter of sin may need something more than a civ­ ilizing salvation, but the average man needs but a little culture and a little more culture, and he will by charac­ ter-building secure his ultimate salva­ tion. When we turn from this to Bible doctrine we are struck with the deep gulf fixed between the two. According to St. Paul (and, by the way, Nietzsche says of St. Paul that he was one of the worst of men; a liar of the worst kind; a pandering anarchist; an appalling imposter, who forged and distorted and falsified the Christ he invented) ; man is of God but has fallen; sin entails a separation from God, and incapability of return­ ing; its results are ruin to character, failure of life, fear of death, condem­ nation in judgments and its dessert, the wrath of God. And the first need of man is rehabilitation, and though man is helpless and hopeless in him­ self, has no righteousness, no power, yet God in Christ has done for us what we could not do; has gained for us what we could not gain, and now confers by grace through faith that life gift which is at once his justifica-

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