GOVERNMENT OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD
AS FAR as equipment goes anarchy is a condition of affairs that is remarkably easy to set up. All it requires is a people content to live aimlessly, destructively and with what protection an individual can give himself. On the contrary, politically organized social life involves decided difficulties in its establishment and maintenance; for this men must live purposefully, constructively and under a common protective direction. In this matter, our times have not veered to the easy side; anarchy has no general appeal to the twentieth century. Government, on the other hand, may well become the idol before which all men bow. In its roots, the word government implies direction, piloting; we have held fast to that notion of pointing men at some goal, though we have at times gone too far in the manner used to achieve this pointing, even so far as to think it was permissible for a government to take all its citizens by the scruff of the neck to direct their steps.
Its essential postulate
At any rate, it is clear to our minds today that government implies something to be governed, something to be directed; so that, broadly, we mean by government the rule or direction of a community. The essential postulate of government, then, is a community and a community comes into existence precisely because individuals concur in a common end, in contrast to the exclusive pursuit of individual ends in anarchy. Anarchy means lawlessness, while government means law; the defect or collapse of law is the collapse of government, for law is government’s proper act of direction. Anarchy needs no executive or judicial elements for, by nature implying indirection, it has no law to execute, no norm by which to judge; the equivalent of anarchy can be quickly achieved in any government by the simple oversight of the fundamental character of the legislature and the attempt to supplant it by executive or judicial action. For the executive and judicial functions are consequent to law which is the absolutely fundamental and proper act of government.
The primary paralysis, followed by discord and ultimately by open riot, that would result if a dozen onlookers of a chess game were privileged to make all moves along with the players is a faint suggestion of what would be the condition of society if there were no unified direction, no unity in legislation. If the hypothesis be extended a little further to the point where these onlookers and players huddle around a non-existent game, we have some idea of the impossibility of unified government and law without the fundamental unity of a common end among the citizens; for without that unity of end, which is the source of the common life, the root of the community, the brick and mortar that holds society together, there would be no game of politics to be played.
Its proper act
With this conception of government our time, and particularly our country, has no quarrel whatsoever. Perhaps this age will be outstanding in history for its universal acceptance of these fundamental notions of government; certainly never before in the history of the world has there been such a universal championship of government’s proper act of law. As evidence of this we have the naive faith in the power of law which has led us into a kind of mass production of law for a variety of purposes that staggers the mind. We have made use of law for the correction of every kind of evil, economic, financial, physical, moral and social, and this in such meticulous detail as to make ourselves somewhat ridiculous. We do, indeed, believe in law and the power of law. As a last, if perverted, tribute to this championship of government we have the world-wide drift to the absolute in the state, even among nations who fight absolutism.
Our modern almost worshipful attitude towards science is a recognition of the proper act of government in the physical universe and on a world-wide scale. Surely, scientific procedure and scientific knowledge has never been held in higher esteem; we are even willing to go to the length of denying validity to any other procedure or certitude to any other knowledge, reducing all intellectual efforts to the level of science. Yet the goal of science is nothing more than the discovery of law; it seeks to uncover a common way of acting, a community of activity and thus a common end. To put it briefly, science is really a demand, with full assurance, of an order in nature. The highest moments of scientific adventure are those marked by the discoveries of just such laws. Science does not attempt to reach conclusions or offer proofs; its interest is in the universal or common law which tells the story of how things act, that is, it is concerned with a fuller knowledge of the laws of nature.
A modern paradox:
Championship of this conception of government
In ordinary times we would say that law, order, a common way of acting, a common end all bespeak a community and a government of that community But these are no ordinary times. The educated man of today, holding fast to modern tenets, is in the anomalous position of championing cosmic anarchy yet of giving full confidence to a scientific search for the laws that rule that anarchy. He must insist, in an age that puts complete faith in the multiplication of laws and the power of government, that the universe must be lawless, without government since it is without a governor. The world-wide drift to the absolute in political power and state direction has for its basis a philosophy that denies direction to the world, and which upholds the attainment of world progress without direction By some mad paradox, we trace political and social ills to poor direction, poor government; while we trace perfection in the universe to a complete lack of direction, a complete absence of government.
Recognition of proper act of government in the universe
This is hardly an intelligent position. But then our age has had many a bitter quarrel with intelligence and the hard feeling has gone so far that we have decided to disown intelligence or even to prove that there is no such thing; perhaps it is expecting too much to look for intelligence in so bitter an enemy’s camp. This modern absurdity in the face of the order of the world can trace its origins back to that first attack on direction, that first positing of the principles of anarchy in religious circles that has come to be known as the Reformation. If religion could get along nicely without direction, there is after all, no reason for other things to put up with the meddlings of government. What was reformation in religion was scepticism in philosophy, running the whole gamut from humble doubts to bold denials and reaching its smashing climax in our own days when the existence of a faculty capable of valid universal knowledge is hardly taken seriously.
Denial of government in the universe
When the philosophers had finished cutting their own throats and had come to the harmonious conclusion that they could not get anywhere since there was no intellect with which to philosophize, science was ready to step into the breach with definite indications that it, at least, could get somewhere; philosophers immediately rustled to stake out claims in the territory of science; somehow they made science the foundation of philosophy, forgetting that science itself had no foundation except on the condition that the sceptical philosophers were wrong in the first place in rejecting the intellectual foundations of philosophy.
The confusion has become so much a part of modern life that today men can deny world government and uphold world law. In fact, we have become so oblivious of the absurdity of this position that we begin to feel a little superior about it, smiling pityingly on those who assert that if government is necessary for order and progress in the affairs of politics, anarchy is not the answer to order, law and progress in the universe. How droll!
Necessity of government in the world:
It may mean little to the modern that the truth of divine government of the universe is explicitly stated in Scripture and that Christ Himself hammered that truth home; but at least, in the name of rationality, the overwhelming evidence should not be passed over in silence. And the evidence is overwhelming. We saw something of it in the beginning of this book in proving the existence of God. There it was brought out that the fact of irrational creation constantly acting for its own good demands the existence of a directing intelligence; in other words, that the order in the universe demands a supreme governor.
In treating of divine Providence, the three alleged explanations of order in the universe — chance, necessity, some cause within the universe — were examined in detail. Each of the three were rejected: chance because it was not an explanation of order but a statement of the existence of an order which, in a chance case, had been clashed with; necessity because it demanded as much explanation as the order it was advanced to explain; while the fact that the universal order included everything in the universe made it impossible for any natural cause, itself a subject of that order, to explain the existence of the laws to which it bowed. It was in that same chapter on providence that it became evident that the internal finality of things — the order of the ear to sound, of the eye to sight, of the individual to the species and so on — was, too, a created thing demanding further relation to the things around it. In other words, no one creature was an isolated being from this point of views but a part of a universal plan that existed in the mind of the intelligent first cause.
This truth of divine government has been like a haunting melody which a man cannot drive from his mind. It came up again in the examination of creation and evolution when it was brought out that God, as a perfect agent, acted quite differently than do His creatures. We must act to acquire some missing perfection, while God can only act to share His goodness since He has all goodness from eternity; the only possible end He could have, then, in creating must have been Himself, the sharing of His divine goodness, that is, the only goal to which the world could be directed was God Himself. Obviously such a task of direction demanded a supreme governor, a governor commensurate to the end for all the laws laid down would have to have that end in view.
In this chapter the melody is heard again. It cannot be silenced. Nor is this surprising. The fact of order and government in the world is so fundamental that it must arise again and again in any treatment of God or of the world. In this chapter we shall really get down to bedrock, digging deep enough to uncover the relation of the fact of world government to the very first principles of thought and being. Of course the job demands overalls, dynamite, hard labor and plenty of perspiration; but it is a job worth doing.
Principles of the solution
To allay that insidious form of fear which bears the euphemistic name of laziness, it might be well to give this task an air of ease by stating at once that the principles, upon which the proof of the government of the world rests, can be reduced to just two, namely, the principles of sufficient reason and of finality. Both of these are immediately reducible to the first and absolutely fundamental principles of identity and contradiction. Without these latter principles there could be no thought and, indeed, no being.
Taken in the concrete, the principle of sufficient reason is made perfectly clear by the fact that dogs bark and chicken bones are very bad for puppies though bread and milk is an entirely harmless diet for either mongrels or thoroughbreds. In its theoretical form the principle reads like this: “everything that is has a sufficient reason for itself and for the harmony of other things with it, either from its very essence or from something else.” Evidently those things that flow from the very nature of a dog, from the fact that it is a dog, have their sufficient reason in the nature of the dog. In this sense, the principle of sufficient reason is no more than an insistence on the principle of identity: this dog is a dog, this nature is itself, so of course a bark is to be expected from it. The things that do not come from nature itself but from outside cannot have their sufficient reason in the nature. The dog does, in fact, die; clearly, then, its existence did not come from canine nature itself. What does not come from the nature must come from somewhere else, that is, from outside the nature; and to say that the sufficient reason of anything is from outside the nature is no more than asserting the principle of contradiction. In other words, we insist that this dog is not something other than a dog, it is not a dog and a god at the same time, it cannot, at the same time, be a contingent being and a necessary being.
The principle of finality, which has the inestimable merit of brevity though it gives no rest to the world, is: “every agent acts for an end.” A penetrating mind is not necessary to see that this principle is immediately reducible to the principle of sufficient reason; it is, really, no more than a statement of the fact that there is a reason for every action. Every nature has a determined, or specific, effect; thus a dog barks, a man laughs or thinks. There is then a sufficient reason for this constant way of acting, this specific determination whether that reason be from the nature itself or from some one else who communicates it to this nature; if there is not this sufficient reason, then do not be surprised if a dog laughs in your face or your fiance sits back on his haunches and bays at a romantically full moon. A denial of the principle of finality, you see, immediately involves a denial of the principle of contradiction; this lad may be a man and, at the same time, a dog. The effect of barking could exist with no determination or tendency in the cause of all, it could just pop out of a man’s throat for no reason whatever and might change to the chirp of a canary bird just as it passed the soft palate. The same mad story would hold good for the act of which this is an effect, for the faculty which produced this act, and, ultimately, for the nature in which this faculty resides. All would lack determination, yet have it; be what they are and be something different; Alice would have a new wonderland.
In other words, an efficient cause is never a sufficient explanation for an action. The fact that a man throws a brick is by no means the whole story; when the police catch him they will be crude enough to ask a few questions, especially as to why he threw the brick. The fact that a lecturer does deliver a lecture is not a sufficient explanation of his talk; it might, in fact, be difficult at times to come at a sufficient explanation. If one act is placed rather than another (as happens wherever there is such order as we find in the world) then there must be a determination, a reason, an end for that action.
With these fundamental principles clearly in mind, we can advance to an investigation, let us say, of a very young cabbage plant that has just been set out. It spends no time trying to find itself, reading up on vocational guidance or waiting for the mood to strike it; without going off in a corner to sob in self pity, with no search for a soul mate, it promptly drives its roots down for moisture while it reaches for the light and warmth of the sun. Moreover, all the thousands of cabbages set out each year will do exactly the same thing. Here, certainly, we have un intelligent beings acting in a most intelligent way: with constant, orderly effort to attain their greatest perfection and the perfection of their species. Clearly that order comes from the very nature of cabbages; but the determination of the nature does not explain itself, for the nature did not give birth to the determination, it did not exist before the determination. The orderliness of this procedure comes from some one outside that nature. When it is remembered that not only cabbages but all of irrational creation portrays this same orderly action, we have evidence of the existence of an intelligence that guides the whole of that irrational creation.
It may be objected that this does not argue to a world order, but merely to an order within each species; just as an orderly, affectionate family does not necessarily argue to a well governed state, or even to a state that has a moderately decent government. This is the old objection that internal finality does not argue to external finality, the modern illusion that scientific laws governing particular natures can be admitted while it is denied that nature as a whole is going anywhere. Granted that we cannot know the whole of the divine plans with our finite minds, it is impossible to grant order within the species and then deny order to the universe.
Details of the government of the world:
The governor of the universe
In the first place, no creature, no species, is isolated. They bump, clash, embrace, nourish and are nourished: they have relations to one another, which is to say there is an order between them, an order in the whole. This very order of one thing to another is a created thing; it does not exist of itself, does not explain itself, has not sufficient reason for itself within itself. It must, therefore, have that sufficient reason from outside, it must have a final cause outside itself, a goal that is not itself. In plain language, the governor and final end of the universe is something that escapes the universe itself, that is without its limits; that something is God. For, as we have already seen, everything created, everything that has not sufficient reason of itself within itself, falls within the natural or created order; only God. Who is supremely self-sufficient, is outside that order.
The same point might be argued from a different angle by pointing out that the end or goal corresponds to the beginning or the efficient cause. Since God is the cause of the world, He is its final end and the sole possible director or governor of the world to that final end. More simply, every agent acts for an end; the very first, or utterly independent, agent upon whom everything else depends must act for Himself.
Many men have been deceived into thinking the universe is without government because they have overlooked the striking difference between the government of the world and human government or human direction in any form. Just as we cannot pour knowledge into another’s head, so neither can we put a principle of action into any other being; we may train a dog to bark at intruders but we cannot claim to have instilled the bark into the dog. No matter how benign our direction or government may be, it is always a kind of violence, at least in the sense that it is always from the outside; it is never a match for that easy, flowing direction that comes from nature itself. The direction or government of God, however, is not violent even in this sense; it does not come from the outside because His causality, unlike ours, reaches to the depths of being. The particular nature itself is such because of the divine plans and the divine execution of those plans; He does put the bark into the dog. That His direction is followed easily, naturally, from the very principles of nature does not prove there is no government of nature; rather, it is a constant natural parade of the government of God.
The subjects of government
As for subjects, well, no census taking is necessary. It is as impossible to find a creature not subject to that government as it is to find a creature that is utterly sufficient to itself. God is the only self-sufficient being; from Him all depend and to Him all go as to their end. He alone is the governor of the universe; everything in that universe stands in need of His direction to Himself, that is, everything depends upon Him for its nature and for its existence. We shall see this dependence again and more fully in a few moments. Now it is sufficient to point to the universal application of natural laws as an indication of the universality of the government of God. Those laws are the proper act of His government, directing all creatures to the common end of the community which is the universe.
This, of course, does not mean that if a man looks up quickly when he hears a landslide bearing down on him that he can see God slowly straightening up from the effort of putting His shoulder to the mountain. God does not have to move everything that moves in the world by a personally immediate movement any more than the President of the United States has personally to enforce every Federal law. As a matter of fact, the extreme perfection of the government of God is more manifest in His sharing of causality with His creatures. The dictator’s technique, for all its appearance of strength, is a confession of weakness; such a ruler must destroy liberty, he must execute rivals and concentrate all power in his own hands for he is not strong enough to exist otherwise.
Nor is there any danger of some subordinate cause in this divine government exceeding orders and starting a reign of tyranny unknown to the central government. We have already seen, in treating of the knowledge of God and His providence, that no smallest detail escapes Him: indeed, it is because every detail exists in the mind of God that its existence is possible, for everything in the universe is but a reproduction of the model which is the divine ideas. A divine newspaper is an unthinkable thing; not that there need be anything wrong with newspapers, but there is simply nothing going on in the world that is news to God. Even divine patience could not tolerate a newspaper under such circumstances. Neither is there anything happening, in the universe to wreck His carefully laid plans. There is no danger of a coup d’état overthrowing the government of God, for everything in the universe is so utterly dependent upon Him. There is no cause that can impede His action, because there is no cause independent of Him.
Even the case of rebellion on the part of man does not escape the order of divine governments For, while the sinner throws himself outside the divine order to the end of the universe, he hurls himself into the divine order of justice which is no less a part of the plan of the universe. The rebellion of sin itself cannot he complete; for the physical act of sin, since it has real existence, must be traced to the first cause of all reality. It is only the missing palate the defect of order, the hole in the human act, that is the exclusive property of the human will.
Effects of the government of the world:
Coming down to particulars, two effects of this divine government that must be stressed are the conservation of things in existence and the part God plays in the movement of creatures. That the hand of God is necessary for the support of things in existence is a truth of faith abundantly clear from the Scriptures and defined again and again by the Church. Its truth is clear by the power of reason alone; we need only to grasp the meaning of conservation to see its necessity. Taking the word in its most obvious sense, that of continuation of existence, these is no difficulty in seeing that a being is independent of conservation by another insofar as it is independent of an other for its existence. That means that everything in the universe is continued in existence by God.
Understand, this is not a matter of warding off a blow, or snatching a child from under the wheels of an automobile. There are things in this world that do not need touch conservation as this; it is not necessary, for instance, to put a soul in an oxygen tent nor to protect an angel from bombs. This is a question of moment to moment supply of existence somewhat like the question of moment to moment supply of air to a man to sustain his life. As we have seen in an earlier chapter, existence is one of those perfections that are not an integral part of nature, that in themselves have no limitation and that are, consequently, participated, borrowed, from the one source where they are had in their infinite fullness.
Perhaps it could be put more simply by saying that conservation is a continuation of the act of creation which first supplied existence; only that being is independent of all conservation which is independent of creation, which has the fullness of existence by its very nature — not animal existence, not human existence, not angelic existence, but existence without qualification. In other words, only a completely self-sufficient being is independent of conservation by others, that is, God Himself. Everything else that is continues to exist only because its existence is immediately furnished by God.
To ask if God could annihilate a creature is merely to ask if God could cut off the supply of existence of any creature. The answer is obvious. The production of every created thing was a free act on the part of God; of course the continuation of that act of creation is a free act on His part. Annihilation would not demand any special activity on God’s part but merely the cessation of Hid creative activity. In other words, if God were suddenly to become the static thing modern philosophers are willing to tolerate as divinity, the universe would plunge into nothingness.
It is quite another question to ask whether God will annihilate any creature, or all of the universe. We have it on faith that God will not annihilate human souls or the angels. But, putting aside the field-glass of faith and squinting at the question with the naked eye of reason we can get a reasonable view of the probable durability of the physical universe. God, in His dealings with the universe, has not, after all, so much choice; He must act either naturally or supernaturally, that is, He must operate either within the laws of that universe as laid down by Himself or outside those laws. Within the laws, or naturally, God will certainly not annihilate spiritual substances, such as souls and angels, for the very good reason that there is absolutely no natural way in which they can be destroyed, there is no natural force capable of their destruction. As for material things, well, on purely natural grounds it would seem that matter itself remains enduringly as the subject of all change; it is the subject of corruption rather than the object of corruption. But, then, that means little more than maintaining that, on natural grounds, material things would always remain at least potentialities.
Supernaturally, or by operation outside the natural laws, the answer is quite easy. God works miracles to manifest His grace; and annihilation does not manifest grace, in fact, it does not manifest anything, for in itself it is a denial so absolute as to leave not even an echo by which it might be located. It is much more a part of divine power and goodness to preserve or conserve things than to annihilate them by utterly pointless miracles.
The effect of conservation is fairly easy material of investigation, perhaps because it is so far above us; at least it is not complicated by a creature’s action, for existence is the proper effect of God. The effect of God’s government which is His movement of creatures is something else again; for here the creature enters intimately into everything but the miracles of God.
Movement of creatures
Divine power and the effects of created causes
God can, evidently, produce any effect that a created cause can, just as a bishop can produce any of the effects produced by powers he has delegated to a priest. For the causality of every created cause has its roots deep in God; it is a delegation, a participation, a sharing in the divine power. In particular, God can, without a secondary cause, move matter to form, can move bodies, the human intellect and the human will. What was said above about the government of God must be kept well in mind here, namely, that the movement of God in nature does none of the violence to nature that human movement does. Consequently, God cannot force the human will for that is to do violence to it; rather, He moves it freely, according to its nature. We shall see more of this in just a moment.
First we must touch on a type of divine movement that is taken up explicitly in the opening chapters of the second volume of this work. This is movement only in the sense of attraction; it is not the effect of a push or a command but the result of an allure, an enticement, the eager rush inspired by the perfection of goodness. The attraction of everything desirable in this world is only a traveller’s tale of the wonders of the Supreme Good, leaving unsaid the ineffable delights that alone will satisfy the human will’s thirst for the universal good.
So much for the possibility of the action of God in the universe. The actual fact of His movement is the foundation for the first two proofs already given for the existence of God. In its briefest form, the reason for the fact of divine movement amounts to this: the active principles of the created world — the forms of things not only depend on the first cause for their intrinsic natural qualities, their actual existence and conservation in existence, they also depend upon God for their application to action, for that transition from mere potentiality of movement to actual movement. After all, it is not only the nature, the existence and the conservation that are real; the movement to action and the action itself are also real and so must be traced to the source of all reality.
Fact of divine operation in every created agent
This is not to make God the only cause and all created causes mere figureheads, instruments of divine causality; when a burglar strikes his victim over the head, we are quite right in blaming the burglar. Confusion in this matter usually comes from picturing God and the created cause as two horses tugging a heavy load up the steep hill of actions. God and the created cause do not work side by side in tile same order; one is the first cause, the other the second cause, that is, one works through the other. Perhaps this will be more easily understood if we remember that the action of God falls on the created cause rather than on the effect of that cause; the proper effect of God is to move the secondary cause to its actual causing, to change it from a potential to an actual cause then to continue its conservative action of the causality of that created cause.
Necessity of this in general
This divine movement of secondary causes is absolutely universal; which is to say no more than that no reality escapes dependence on the first reality. In things which cannot be moved necessarily by any created causes, such for example, as the human will, this divine movement must be immediate. Something of this has already been seen above where it was pointed out that divine movement not only does not destroy freedom but is the only possible source of it. Certainly, the will must be moved from its potential willing to actual willing if it is ever to make a choice: if it is moved by any set of circumstances, it is not free in the face of those circumstances; if it moves itself, then it is already determined, that is, it is not possessed of that indetermination necessary for freedom. It must be moved but in a way consonant with its freedom; only God can move the will freely.
Necessity in particular — relative to human will
This sounds very obscure; and it should, for it is a mystery, a great mystery. The apparent contradiction involved in it is not, however, difficult to resolve. The resolution is merely a matter of our keeping in mind that nothing real exists without the sustaining hand of God. The will is a reality that must have its sufficient reason in the first cause; the act of the will is also real and must also be reduced to that same source of reality; but the very mode of the act of the will, its freedom, is, too, definitely within the order of the real and, consequently, it is not to be absolved from dependence on God. The same note can be produced by a bird and by an opera singer; the freedom of the latter needs no less explanation than the necessity of the former. The only adequate explanation is God. How can God move the will freely? To understand this it would be necessary to comprehend the divine movement. Remembering that the divine movement is the same as the divine essence, it is clear that such a comprehension of the infinite is beyond the powers of a finite mind. There precisely, in the infinity of the divine movement, lies the mystery of human freedom. And a very good place for it, too.
Divine power and miracles
Over and above the action of God in the physical universe establishing its laws, conserving and fulfilling them, there is another type of action on the part of the divine governor which we have come to call miraculous action. That there is such action, surpassing the established order of nature, can be immediately seen from the numerous accounts of miracles in Scripture: the truth has been solemnly defined by the Church, as, for example, in the Vatican Council: “If anyone says that miracles cannot be performed and therefore the Scriptural accounts of miracles must be relegated to the class of myths and fables, or that miracles cannot be certainly known or the divine origin of the Christian religion be proved by them, let him be anathema.”
As a matter of fact, the possibility of miracles should be beyond dispute from the very nature of the government of the world. God did not tie His own hands by establishing the natural order; and a miracle is nothing more than God’s action outside of the natural order which was freely instituted by Him and entirely subject to Him. Not that God can surprise Himself by a wondrous action exceeding the whole order of nature; we have no business picturing Him as standing back amazed and a little chagrined that He had not thought of such a thing earlier. The eternal knowledge of God includes everything that will ever happen be it natural or miraculous.
From the point of view of the created causes, a miracle is a work of wonder; but seen objectively, it is merely a manifestation of the evident truth that the establishment of the natural order did not exhaust or limit the power of God. That order is dependent on God, not God on the order. The natural order and miraculous works do not stand glaring at each other like irreconcilable enemies. A miracle is not a violation of nature nor a destruction of natural laws; such a thing is an impossibility involving the contradiction of God acting against Himself. The nature of things is left intact by a miracle, it does no injury to natural laws; but through a miracle, a power transcending all the limits of nature makes itself known.
Distinction of eternal law, providence and divine government
For the clarity of the record, it may be worth while, in closing this chapter, to note in passing the interrelation of eternal law, providence and the government of the world. In the second volume of this work the question of eternal law must be gone into thoroughly. Here it is sufficient to point out that eternal law is the first principle from which providence and divine government of the world flow as conclusions. Providence is the plan of God covering every detail of the universe; while the government of the world is no more than the execution of the divine plan. Eternal law and providence are, obviously, in the mind of God, and from all eternity; the government of the world is, of course, in the universe itself, it began with that universe, for its proper work is to direct that universe to its final end, God.
Conclusion: Impossibility of the denial of divine government in the universe:
On modern grounds
From all this, it is evident that the modern denial of government in the world is nothing less than a denial of any end, goal or purpose for the universe; many a philosopher today will explicitly insist on such a denial. Yet modern philosophy’s own efforts seem to be directed desperately at a foundation for unity in the world, efforts that range from pantheism through the organismic philosophies to rank materialism. That is, they agree that the universe is a unity, has some common bond, yet they deny the common bond that ties that universe together, the bond that ties every community together, the bond of a common end. The reduction of the world to matter does not give us unity but disparity; nor is a common origin sufficient to explain the harmonious interaction of the universe.
Certainly, none of the modern theories explain the determined mode of action that rules the universe. This is law and law is the act of government; it is absurd to proclaim the unity of the world, to extol the discovery of its laws, to insist upon the preeminence of science, and, at the same time, to deny government. Government without a common end is a contradiction in terms; if the cosmos is an anarchy with no discoverable laws, then government can be called into question, but not otherwise.
From its consequences
If government be denied by the denial of a common end for the universe, then there is no basis for science or philosophy; there is no reason for the way things happen, for reason, the why of things, is itself a statement of end, of order, of government. Why seek laws if there is no reason for laws and no source of them? Why seek the ultimate causes of things if there is no reason for any cause? The whole intellectual game men have been playing for centuries is the futile amusement of a child. On this basis, attempts at reasonable human life and human activity are an absurdity that approaches the proportions of a cosmic joke. can there be a determined, an ordered, way of living and acting which we call human when there is no goal, no end to such a life, to such activity? Why do this rather than that, why live up to this or that standard, why differentiate between man and a clod of earth unless there be reason for that difference, unless there be determination, order, government?
The denial of the government and finality of the world sounds daring in a classroom or in a book that not too many people will read. But no one has dared to take it out of that academic atmosphere and put it to work in its destructive entirety in the practical details of everyday life except such thoroughly un-academic people as gangsters and military tyrants. Here and there a naively logical student makes a public expression of what he has been so solemnly taught, or actually puts it into practise in a concrete act — and he is crushed under a wave of horror and condemnation coming even from the very institution in which the madness was taught. This madness simply will not, cannot work in everyday life; in fact, it is the destruction of the foundation of all activity. It reduces life to an utterly insane dashing about in a circle whose only termination can be exhaustion.
The truth of divine government
The truth of the divine government of the universe answers all the yearnings which from the beginning of time have sprung from the depths of the human heart: the yearnings for unity, for activity for progress, for accomplishment, for hope, for peace, for perfection, for God. This truth gives the only solid ground for the science we prize so highly today, for philosophy, for ordinary human life. Its denial is a violation of reason, of humanity, which brings crashing to earth everything that humanity prizes. It cannot for an instant he separated from the details of everyday life without immediately ushering in confusion, anarchy, stagnation and ultimately despair. To put it briefly, this truth, as is the way of truth, meets the facts; the facts of the world and of life in the world.
Completion of the picture of God
The truth of divine government completes the picture vaguely outlined by the divine architect in the perfections of the universe. Those shadowy images, those fragile mirrorings of divine perfection, attain a clarity that alone makes them intelligible when we see their relation to the original: when we see which way they point, to what direction they go. It is from this divine harmony of the community which is the universe and its steady progress to its final end that we see God, not as the dull, static being modern philosophers frigidly embrace, but as the living intelligence Whose intense activity penetrates to the last moment of time and to the utmost depths of nature. He is not a cold, uninterested, tyrannical ruler of a world which He has forgotten, but the intimate director of the smallest actions of the world and of men. He is not the infinitely distant and humanly meaningless god that makes the modern shudder and hug himself the tighter, He is the immediately present first cause and prime mover to Whom our destiny will link us in a personal unity for an eternity. He is the governor of the world.