The Order of Nature
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Philosophy of Montaigne
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Site Contents

Considered in Reference to

The Claims of  Revelation

 By

The Rev. Baden Powell, M.A.

London, 1859

ESSAY I:
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE PROGRESS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE, AS BEARING ON RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

I.  THE PHYSICAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE ANCIENTS AND OF THE MIDDLE AGES.

    1. First Ideas, vague, imaginary, and mystical: out of these Science elicited: but wanting in Connection and Sequence
    2. Ancient Cosmogonies and other physical Speculations wholly ideal:  Conception of “Cosmos:” ancient Theism
    3. Relations of early Christianity to the prevalent Philosophy
    4. Medieval Philosophy, deductive and verbal: connected with Theology
    5. Early Speculations on Natural Theology: physical Belief

 

II.  THE EPOCH OF COPERNICUS, GALILEO, AND BACON.

 

    1. Theory of Copernicus: confirmed by Observations of Tycho: Calculations of Kepler, and Discoveries of Galileo.  The First Triumph of the inductive Philosophy
    2. Antagonism of the inductive and the theological Spirit
    3. Progress of Opinion: Montaigne: Skepticism
    4. Bacon: his Philosophy and Theology: Union of Inductive and Deduction: Reason and Faith distinct
    5. Des Cartes: his System founded on Theology, and purely deductive: hence it failed
    6. Advance in Freedom of Opinion: Hobbes, Sir T. Browne, Boyle, Pascal: speculative  Theories of the 17th Century

 

III.  THE PERIOD FROM NEWTON TO LAPLACE

 

    1. Nature and Value of the Newtonian Discoveries: Influence, direct and indirect
    2. Philosophy of Leibnitz: metaphysical, yet advancing physical Truth
    3. Origin of Geology in theological Cosmogonies
    4. Progress of cosmical Speculation
    5. Philosophy of Locke: Advance of positive Views
    6. Theistic Speculations and Skepticism
    7. Progress of the Idea of universal Law:  Berkeley, Butler, Views of Miracles: Middleton, Hume: Theory of Causation

 

  1. THE PERIOD FROM LAPLACE TO THE PRESENT TIMES

 

    1. Completion of Theory Gravitation: Clairault, Lagrange, and Laplace: Stability of the Planetary System
    2. Philosophy and Skepticism in France
    3. Later Researches: Unity of Sciences
    4. Chemistry: Advance from Mysticism: Phlogiston
    5. Geology: Emancipation from theological View
    6. Progress of Discovery: Development of the Idea of “Cosmos” by Humboldt
    7. Natural History and Physiology: vital Principle: Origin of Species: lingering Remains of Mysticism
    8. Sir H. Davy: Epoch in Chemistry: theological Views, Modern Pantheism
    9. Rationalistic Theories of Miracles
    10. Positivism: first Principles sound: faulty in some Details: inapplicable to Religion
    11. Recent Natural Theology: Ersted
    12. Extensions and Prospects of Physical Science
    13. Inductive Laws of Moral Order
    14. Ethnology and Archaeology

 

CONCLUSION

 

Influences of Science on Moral Progress: Independence of Faith

 

NOTE: on Recent Bible Philosophy: Reviews of H. Miller, etc.: “Omphalos:” Archdeacon Pratt

 

ESSAY II:
NATURE AND REVELATION.

 

  1. THE ORDER OF NATURE AS BEARING ON THEOLOGY IN GENERAL

 

    1. Essential Point of all Inductive Philosophy; universal and perceptual Order
    2. Apparent Limitations of Science only provisional, dependent on Progress of Discovery.  –Nature unlimited: no Supernatural in Science
    3. Causation: no Antagonism of first and second Causes
    4. Argument of Design: narrow Views. – Hume’s Objection: wider View: Reason in Nature, distinct from Theory of Origin
    5. Cosmo-Theology; Inferences very limited. –Moral and metaphysical Arguments not more advanced: both imply Order
    6. Omnipotence in Nature: higher Theism beyond Science
    7. Idea of Creation not from Science: Succession of Species not miraculous: Metaphysical Argument.  –Idea of Creation from Revelation

 

  1. THE NATURAL AND THE SUPERNATURAL

 

    1. Imagined interruptions in the Order of Nature: extraordinary and marvelous Events not interruptions: Disbelief in occurrence of Miracles at the present day
    2. Belief in former Times: Magic and Witchcraft: Apparitions: Marvels not Miracles
    3. Supposed Spiritual Influences: Inductive Examination of Marvels: Neglect of it: Mysteries in Nature, especially Life: not real Mysteries: extraordinary Physical Influences still natural
    4. Marvels in History: possible Explanations by Natural Causes; or by supposing Narratives fictitious

 

  1. REVELATION AND MIRACLES.

 

    1. Impressions apart from Reason: Spiritual Influence not at variance with Physical Truth
    2. Revelation, in itself, distinct from external Miracles: Hume’s Objection on this Point
    3. Alleged Necessity of Miracles for Propagation of Christianity
    4. Evidential Argument: value of Testimony: Fact, Matter of Testimony; Miracle, of Opinion
    5. Antecedent Credibility: Hume’s Argument: Conclusion not dependent on Experience, but on Reason and cosmical Order
    6. Different Grounds of Belief in different Ages: Philosophical Theism does not support Interruption of Nature: Skepticism, ancient and modern: Miracles, as parts of a greater System: various Opinions

 

ESSAY III:
ON THE RATIONALISTIC AND OTHER THEORIES OF MIRACLES

 

  1. INTRODUCTION: GENERAL NATURE AND OBJECT OF RATIONALISTIC THEORIES OF MIRACLES

 

    1. Difficulties of the Historical Criticism of the Gospels
    2. Divines admit some Explanations from Natural Causes, or from Critical Considerations

 

  1. NATURALISTIC THEORY OF PAULUS AND OTHERS

 

    1. Explanation of Miracles from Natural Cause, and as extraordinary Events misapprehended or exaggerated
    2. Particular Instance in the New Testament Miracles
    3. General Remarks: many improbable Coincidences supposed unsatisfactory as a complete Explanation

 

  1. THE MYTHIC THEORY OF STRAUSS

 

    1. Woolston’s Speculations acknowledged by Strauss
    2. Strauss’s Preliminary View of the Nature of Origin of Myths: his Application of it to the Gospels: Critical Examination of the Origin and Composition of the Narratives: their Discrepancies and fragmentary Character
    3. Instances of the Mythic Interpretation applied in Detail

       a.

      

 

    1. Remarks on this Theory: Objection from the early Belief in the Reality of the Events by Friends and Enemies: Doctrinal Object and Application Admitted: Strauss’s Doctrinal View mystical and unsatisfactory

 

  1. THE SUBJECTIVE THEORY OF FEUERBACH

 

    1. His general Theory of Religion, as derived solely from Internal Conceptions mistaken for Outward Realities: Hence the Belief in Miracles derived from Internal Impressions
    2. Difficulty in applying such an Explanation to particular Cases

 

  1. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY OF EWALD

 

    1. So named as descriptive of what seems the Author’s Principle: Meaning obscure; but seems to imply Power of Mind or Spirit over matter; in some Parts naturalistic

 

  1. THE DOCTRINAL THEORY OF NEANDER

 

    1. Miracles regarded as subordinate Accompaniments of a Supernatural System of Revelation
    2. In some Respects apparently Mythical Sense allowed:  Miracles as Objects of Faith; relative to the Parties addressed: Subjective: General Remarks: much left unexplained

 

CONCLUSION

 

None of the Theories satisfactory as complete Solutions; Each in some Respects worthy of Consideration: Appeal to Broad Principles; Uniformity of Nature; Faith in Christian Doctrine

 

ESSAY IV:
THEOLOGICAL VIEWS OF MIRACLES

 

  1. MIRACLES OF THE CHURCH, MODERN AND ANCIENT

 

    1. Disposition of some to regard extraordinary Events as Miracles
    2. Case of an alleged modern Miracle: Grounds of Belief and Disbelief
    3. The Miracles of Port Royal
    4. The Miracles of Ecclesiastical History:  Arguments for and against, taken up entirely on Doctrinal Grounds
    5. Argument from Parallelism with Scripture Miracles tells either way

 

  1. GENERAL ARGUMENTS FROM THE BELIEFS IN MIRACLES

 

    1. Formal Arguments of the old evidential Schools now discredited by Orthodox Divines: Internal Evidence and Spiritual Conviction upheld
    2. This accords with Representations of the New Testament; and with the common Grounds of Belief popularly admitted: Miracles regarded as Objects not Evidences of Faith

 

CONCLUSION

 

GENERAL RELATIONS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH TO PHYSICAL TRUTH

 

  1. Physical Language of Scripture conformed to the Ideas of the Age: some Instances considered: do not affect essential Doctrines
  2. Great Miracles merged in Mysteries of Faith; spiritualized by the Apostles; and in the Teaching of the Church

Books & Essays By & About Professor Baden Powell, Father of Lord Baden-Powell

 

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

First Ideas ] Idea of Cosmos ] Relations of early Christianity ] Disputes verbal ] Writings of Sebonde ] Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon ] Inductive & Theological ] Philosophy of Montaigne ] Bacon (RAW TEXT) ] IV-SOURCE ] Natural History ] Modern Pantheism ] Rationalism ] Positivism ] Recent Natural Theology ] Celebrity of Hobbes (RAW) ] Conclusion ]

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