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The Name of God Revealed to Mo828.
If a definite, correct and even critical idea of God is not absolutely necessary to the ordinary worshipper, it certainly is so to the professed theologian, and above all to a theological system. When we have, therefore, a Name of God which has received the divine sanction, and as such has been revealed to man—a Name which is believed by most critics, when properly interpreted, to express the essential nature of the Deity, - it would seem that no subject is worthy of a more careful, critical study than such Name. But few subjects, in fact, lave ever received more earnest attention from Biblical scholars than the Divine Name revealed to Moses; and there is hardly a theological journal of the higher class, which does not contain many a learned paper devoted to the study of this title of Divinity. For ourselves the more thoroughly we have investigated this subject the more profound has grown our interest in it, till we have become convinced, finally, that the Name of God revealed to Moses, properly interpreted, constitutes the basis of all true theism. We regret to say, however, that the views which we have been compelled to adopt respecting the actual import of this name are different fundamentally from those usually held by critics. It is in the belief that these views are worthy at least of a careful consideration, that we undertake to embody them in the present article.
To atte::pt the interpretation of a Divine Name, supposed to express the essential nature of the Deity, without the guidance of any philosophical principles, would not be likely to conduct to any very valuable results; and indeed, it is the general prevalence of certain psychological or philosophical errors, as we think, that has rendered it impossible to arrive at a true interpretation of this revealed Name. Our object will be, then, preliminary to the study of the Name itself, to lay down the philosophical principles which will guide us in our interpretation of it.
I. The so-called Pure-being of the philosophers. I commence with one of the most simple and familiar facts of experience. An object is before me. It is a rose. This rose is red, is fragrant, is beautiful, etc. That which is here affirmed is the simple existence of the rose, and of its various, specific quali. ties. Otherwise stated, this rose is, and each of its qualities is. The same may be said, and with equal truth, of any other object, of every conceivable real object, in the universe - it is, and each of its qualities is.
That which is here affirmed of the object, as expressed by the phrase it is, constitutes the primary act in its cognition ; it is the act of sensation, so-called, or of sensuous intuition. The term is, in the phrase it is, expresses the notion of simple, abstract Being; it is the Pure-being, su-termed of the philosophers. We proceed to the investigation now of some of the chief characteristics of pure-being, as it reveals itself especially in sensation.
(a) That which is here termed pure-being, and which manifests itself through the senses, is not anything imaginary nor hypothetical ; it is something real, actual. If the object itself is a reality, — and it is with such only that we are supposed to deal — then the pure-being also, which is affirmed of it, is real. It is just as real as the object, for it is the reality of the object, or the fact that it is, which constitutes its pure-heing. Indeed, without pure-being, without the fact that it is, the object itself is a pure naught; it has no real existence. To say that the object is, is to say that it has being, that it has Purebeing; for such is the meaning of the term is. Nor is this pure-being merely the same thing as the object.
Although inseperably connected with it, the pure-being affirmed of the object is something more general, since it may be affirmed of all objects alike; and being thus more general, it is for this reason something diffcrent from the object.
(6) The pure-being predicated of any given object, in saying that it is, appertains to the object itself; it is not a product of the mind or Ego (the I); it is not a projection of the mind or Ego into the object. The fact that the object is or has be
ing, is prior to the act of its cognition ; hence the mind or Ego merely recognizes this fact; it does not create it, nor in any sense give rise to it. The here and now (space and time) in which an object appears, are no part of the object itself, nor of its pure-being. To say that an object is, is to make a universal statement, since the same is true of all existent realities. But to say that an object is here and now, is to limit the previous universal statement to a singular, individual one ; for only a single, individual object can possibly exist in the same here and now. These two statements, then, are widely distinguished from each other. The first, the universal statement, only, concerns the fact that the object is, and this constitutes the primary act of its cognition.
(c) The term is, in the phrase it is, although it relates to something existing in the present tense, has not, as here used, merely a temporal signification as opposed to the was and is to be (past and future); but it relates especially to that which is as opposed to the is not; to being as opposed to non-being ; to naught. To fail to make this distinction is to confound pure-being with time. Pure-being comprehends both time and space, for time is and space is ; that is to say, Pure-being expressed by the term is, is cominon to both ; it is thus more general than either, and hence cannot be confounded with either of them. But that which was was then the present, and that which is to be will then be the present, and in either case opposed to the is not or non-being. In other words, substantive pure-being includes in itself all the tenses; it is that which was, and is, and is to be.
(d) Although the object itself is something concrete, that is, has specific qualities, the pure-being affirmed of it is wholly abstract; it is devoid of all qualities, of all qualitative differences and distinctions. The object is, simply ; it has not this or that particular being, but merely being. This is the full extent of our affimation, in the primary act of cognitioil. The notion affirmed is a pure simple, it is being, without any contents or qualities; it is wholly empty, wholly abstract.
(e) The pure-being predicated of any given object is absolutely universal in the sense that it appertains alike to every other object, to all possible realities. Not anything can exist, whether infinite or finite, spiritual or material, of which it may not be said that it is, or has being. In so far, then, pure being is absolutely nniversal.
(f) The pnre-being of one object is the same identical pure being of all. It is not something different with different objects. That alone which could render it different in ope object from itself in another, must be some quality distinguishing it in one from itself in another. But it is devoid of all qualities, of all qualitative differences and distinctions, being wholly abstract. If, then, pure being has nothing to distinguish itself in one object from itself in another, it must be the same identical pure being in all. Not only this, the notion of pure being is expressed by one and the same term, is, in every possible instance of its affirmation, which could not be the case if it was something different in different objects. Thus, pure being is not only universal, as shown under (e), but it is precisely the same pure being, always equal to and identical with itself, throughout the universe.
(9) Since pure being is wholly abstract, it cannot reveal itself to the senses, except in connection with some material object, which is, and lias being. On the other hand, while pure being thus depends on material objects to reveal itself to the senses, it is itself wholly immaterial, is a pure spirituality, and this for the reason that it is wholly abstract.
We have now developed the chief characteristics of pure being as it reveals itself in sensations. As such it presents itself as a universal, spiritual reality, wholly devoid of qualities, and everywhere equal to and identical with itself. But pure being reveals itself not only in sensation, but in various other mental operations or processes, among which we note briefly that
1st. In Explanation or Subsumption, 80-termed. To explain an object, we refer it to or subsume it under a higher category or class. Take here an illustration : What is this object before me? It is, we will suppose, a horse. What, then, is a
horse? It is an animal. But what is an animal? It is an organized being. Then what is an organized being ? Here the notion becomes more general and more abstract at each ascending stage of the process, till the absolutely universal and the wholly abstract is reached, which is pure being itself. Finally the question arises, What is pure being ? No higher category can exist than pure being, for this is wholly abstract and is absolutely universal, and nothing can be more so. The notion at this stage, then, must be referred to its own category; and to the last inquiry above we reply: Pure being is pure being; or Being is Being. That is to say, the notion admits of no further explanation, since its category is that in which the subject and predicate are the same. Pure being slows itself here again as the absolutely self-identical, i.e., Being = Being, is the same as Being. This is the Ultimate Ground and the final explanation of all things. No higher, more abstract, more universal category can be thought.
2d. In Definitions. The process of definition is the exact opposite of explanation or subsumption. To define an object we must add to its most general and abstract notion the various qualities that characterize it. Thus, retaining the same example, we inquire again, What is a horse ? It is pure being. This is its most general and abstract notion, but it is applicable alike to all objects, and thus is a proper definition of none. The horse, then, is pure being plus an organized being, plus an animal, plus a quadruped with solid hoofs. Such is the descending process, on the lowest stage of which we arrive at a definition of the object. In both processes, as will be seen, the notion of pure being is absolutely implicit, as the last ground of the object.
3d. In the Copula. In every mental proposition there must be the subject, the predicate, and the copula connecting them, which is some form of the verb “ to be ;” thus: Man is more tal ; Solomon was king; The storm will be destructive. In other mental propositions the copula is not expressed, but is understood ; thus: Man lives, for man is living ; The king rules, for The king is ruling. Pure being thus reveals itself