NEW LIGHT UPON INDIA PHILOSOPHY
Late Editor of “The New Reformer” Madras
The scientific objection to the possibility of birth direct from a divine cause is answered by Dr. Frank Sewall thus: “The manifestations of life as it appears clothed in the various forms of nature, science can deal with. The descent of life into the form, its choosing, its determining this or that particular form, are things beyond all the powers of the scientific lens and laboratory ever to reach. Here we have two authorities only; two witnesses only can enter into this field; Divine Revelation and human reason. It is not that herein any prerogative is denied to science; it is science itself that deliberately lays aside this prerogative when it says: ‘I do not know’” He further says in his Reason in belief, pages 127 and 128: “The possibility of the conception of Christ without the intervention of a human father, present a difficulty only to those minds who are accustomed to reason backward from matter to spirit, or from effect to cause, rather than from spirit to matter, and from cause to effect. If we think first of matter, and of its producing in some utterly unintelligible way life, spirit and form, then we may wonder how there could create itself a new material receptacle which should be the paternal germ of our Lord’s body. But if we think of life as producing all form and all matter. Or of the eternal and only substance emanating in such spheres that we may become sensible of it as matter, then the formation of the paternal part of our Lord’s body is no more miraculous that any other act of direct creative power. The creation of the first man was without a human father. A new soul-form, that of the finite human being, was made, and a new receptacle of divine life was so put into the world. But in the case of the receptacle of the Infinite Divine, and in the body of the Mother it was clothed with a material human body and nature, and this was to be the body and nature, and this was to be the Father Himself when He should, in the process of His redemption, enter gradually into it, and make it His own tabernacle or dwelling, as that of Emanuel—‘God with us.’”
Parthenogenesis, as it is called, is in man a violation of the natural order and contrary to the laws of evolution. It is common in the lower orders of nature, and its occurrence even in the human race, according to the eminent biologist, Prof. G. J. Romanes, would be by no means out of the range of possibility. He says: “Even if a virgin has ever conceived and born a son, and even if such a fact in the human species has been unique, still it would not betoken and reach of physiological continuity.” So says the Epiphany of 21st December, 1907.
Many in the world object to the statement that the One who is infinite may also be finite─that the fullness of deity may stand within the ring of humanity. The Rev. Richard Morris in his Rationality of Incarnation answers the objection as followers: “And truly if the question is to be approached from the standpoint of the finite, the rejection is amply justifiable. . . . The Christian theology approaches the question from the standpoint, not of the finite and of man, but of the Infinite and of God. It is of the very essence of the Christians idea that the incarnation is accomplished by divine act. It is the work of God. From the beginning the Christian Church has been that the God-Man is not a growth out of the original tree of humanity, but a branch grafted upon it; not a human person who has taken to himself the nature of God, but a divine person, who has been taken for Himself the nature of man. Hence the question is, not whether the finite can contain the Infinite, but whether the infinite can contain the finite; not whether man can ascend to the level of Deity, but whether God can condescend to the level of humanity; not what is possible or impossible to man, but what is possible or impossible to God.
“But, it may be urged, that which is logically absurd is indeed impossible to God. If it be intrinsically impossible that one and the same ‘Person’ should unite in Himself infinity and finiteness, Deity and Humanity, the impossibility remains whether the initiative in the union be ascribed to the divine co-efficient or to the human. It matters not in which of its two sides the antithesis of infiniteness and infinity is approached if, after all, the antithesis itself final and absolute. But is it so? The facts of experience seem to indicate the contrary. The combination of infinity with finiteness, so far from being logically absurd and practically impossible, is precisely what we encounter on all hands. Matter, force, time, space, all supply instances of the union of finite quality with infinite divisibility. I do not for a moment adduce this union of finiteness and infinity in, for instance, a particle of dust as a phenomenon parallel or even analogous to their union in the God-Man of Christian theology. The particle of dust is brought forward to establish merely this one point ─ that the antithesis of finiteness and infinity is not so absolute as to preclude the possibility of their meeting in one and the same object. But with the absoluteness of this antithesis there vanishes also the initial objection to the Christian idea on incarnation. There is, then, no prima facie case against the rationality of this idea; and it may safely be presumed that no such case can possibility be made out.”
Though Siva is absolute, He is not prevented from becoming personal at the same time and appearing as Guru and Saviour in the form of man, out of His great love and feeling for the sin and sorrow of mankind, and helping them to get rid of the bondage. In Arcana Cælestia, No. 1990, we read: “The Infinite itself, which is above all heavens, and above the inmost things in man, cannot be manifested except by a Divine Human. Communication of the Infinite with finite beings is not possible in any other way. This is also the reason why, when Jehovah appeared to the men of the Most Ancient Church, and afterwards to those of the Ancient Church after the flood, and also in succeeding times to Abraham and to the prophets, He was manifested to them as a Man.” In Arcana Cælestia, No. 9315, he speaks of the manifestations of the Divine Human before incarnation in these words: “Many of the angels who appeared before the Lord’s coming into the world were Jehovah Himself in human form, that is, in the form of an angel. This appears plainly from the circumstance that the angels who appeared were called Jehovah; as for instance, those who appeared to Abraham who are spoken of in Gen. xviii., that they were called Jehovah may be seen in verses 1, 13, 14, 17, 20, 26, 33. and the angel who appeared to Gideon, who is mentioned in Judges vi., that he also was named Jehovah may be seen in verses 12, 14, 16, 22, 23, 24. Jehovah Himself in the human form, or what is the same thing in the form of and angel, was the Lord. His Divine Human then appeared as an angel, of which the Lord Himself speaks in John viii. 56-58: ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.’ ”
Here a question arises as to what was the nature of the body of the angel in the form of which Jehovah appeared. Did He not then limit Himself in the body of an angel whatever be the nature of that body? If that is believed, then there could be no objection to the fact of Jehovah appearing as Jesus. It might be answered that the body of Jesus is quite different from those of the angels. In any case the question of limitation is important.
Siva’s sports were all in human form of the kind described above in Arcana Cælestia. If Saiva Siddhanta admits, as it does, the possibility of God Siva assuming human form composed of a body which is not human and thus limiting Himself, it must answer the question why God cannot limit Himself in the body of a man. Saiva Siddhanta nowhere says that He cannot do so. On the other hand, there is a stanza in Tirumular one of whose lines when translated runs as follows: “I have discovered Isa who was a fœtus or grew into the womb.” Isa is God. But the same eminent authority in another place says that God can neither have birth nor death. Vaya Sambita also repeats it. From these Mr. H. T. Subba Row, in his Notes on the Bhagavat Gita enters a vigorous protest against the conception of the supreme God having human Avataras (incarnations). All that that statement means is that God is eternal. Besides, birth, and this will contradict the fact that God is One and there is no One superior to Him to give birth to him. He is eternal and cannot die. Krishna in the Bharata Gita, IV. 6-8, says: “Though I am not a being subject to birth and death, and the Lord of born things, I by my wonder-working power enter into prakiti that is mine and am born in a body. Whenever there is a decay of right action and increase of lawlessness, then I make for myself a body, Bharata; for the protection of the well-doers and destruction of ill-doers and the establishment of laws I come to birth age after age.” In the Hindu Avataras (incarnations), the Avatar has one human parent, but the Christian Avatar has one human parents, i.e. the mother. It is quite certain that the body of Jesus was not God. It is quite certain that the body of Jesus was not God. It was matter. Therefore what we called Avataram (incarnation) with reference to him must be with reference to His Spirit.
Swedenborg says in No. 89. 89, True Christian religion: “Now since God did descend, and since He is Order itself, as is there proved, it was necessary, in order for Him actually to become man, that He should be conceived, carried in the womb, born, educated, gradually acquire knowledge and by it be introduced into intelligence and wisdom. For this reason He was as to the human, an infant like other infants, a boy like other boys, and so forth; with this difference alone, that He more rapidly more fully, and more perfectly than others, passed through the different stages of that progress. Luke says: ‘The Child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and increased in wisdom and age, and in favour with God and man.’ (Luke ii.52). . . This took place because it is according to Divine Order that a man should prepare himself for the reception of God; and so far as he so prepares himself for the reception of God; and so far as he so prepares himself God enters into him as into his dwelling-place and habitation, such preparation is effected by means of the knowledge of God and of the spiritual things pertaining to the church, and thus by intelligence and wisdom. For it is a law of order, that so far as a man approaches and draws nigh God, which he must do entirely as of himself, so far God approaches and draws nigh unto him and conjoins Himself to him in his inmost. Jesus also proceeded according to this order, even to union with His Father.” So the indwelling of God in the tabernacle of the assumed human nature was a process that went on gradually; and not until the words were spoken in the Cross, ‘It is finished,’ could it be said that the human body was ready to become henceforth the object of human worship, God in a human form, glorified and divine.”
In Azivilodukkam we read: “The Lord assumes the form of a Guru and removes the afflictions of the world.”