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To destroy that adhesion which united the different parts of the human body together, the atmosphere had undoubtedly a power; and if nothing had been created to counteract its efficacy, no doubt that it must eventually have been dissolved. But to suppose the dissolution of the human body to take place, either through the defect of its own nature, or through an adverse principle in any external cause, while we admit moral evil to be unknown, is to impeach the moral justice of God.
The justice of God could only engage him to prevent death from taking place, the ways and manners must be left to his disposal. He might have created an atmosphere without including within it any noxious qualities, or he might have given such qualities to it and have counteracted their efficacy, without implicating the principles of eternal justice. He might also have formed the body of particles which had no tendencies contrary to one another; or have formed it from those which had an opposite, and have provided for the safety of the body through the medium of some cement which should unite the whole together, without being chargeable with mutability, and without being unjust. These, or a variety of other ways, all equally within the reach of infinite power, the Almighty might have selected, as infinite wisdom might have directed his choice.
But in the midst of these possible theories, we find that he chose to create the human body, under circumstances apparently the least favourable to its continuance, while he provided for its perpetuity on the most immoveable basis. He compounded it of
particles of opposite tendencies, which had been selected from distant elements; and then placed this body under the influence of an atmosphere, capable of dissolving the adhesion through which the different particles which composed it, adhered together. Yet, even under these circumstances, he provided for its safety by the tree of life, the salubrity of which not only counteracted the influence of the atmosphere, but protected the adhesive power which preserved the particles, and renewed the body in perpetual vigour.
Thus then we find, that what tendency soever to dissolution
may be presumed to reside in all compounded bodies, Infinite wisdom had wisely provided for the immortality of man, in the primeval state of things, by an efficacy which must have oyercome, and risen superior to those circumstances on which the objection which we have been examining rests. The tree of life must have placed the human body at a distance which must for ever have prevented the approaches of death, and have ensured to it that immortality which is lost, and can only be attained, when the sea and the grave shall finally restore their dead.
And hence also, on a review of those principles which we have surveyed, the following inferences and conclusions rise before us. While moral evil is presumed to have no existence, no other reason can arise in any subsequent period of duration, why the body should be destroyed, than what must have ex, isted antecedently to its actual creation; for where any given created being continues morally and phy
sically the same, no change whatever can be presumed to have taken place; and certain it is, that no new moral obligation can be presumed to originate in a being that is absolutely perfect, and immutable in all his ways. And if we admit the same moral causes to have been in existence at the primary formation of man, through the active operation of which the human body has been since destroyed, we shall feel ourselves utterly unable to vindicate the divine justice in the creating of man.
For if God be under a moral obligation to destroy the human body, and this obligation arises from the nature of moral justice, (and without this divine goodness must have forbidden the event,) this obligation must have existed from eternity; God must therefore have been under a moral obligation to destroy the body, even in that identical moment in which he called it into being from the dust of the earth. And to suppose God to have chosen to create a body, which he, in that very moment must have been under an obligation to destroy, is to make the choice of God to operate in hostility to moral justice; and that choice which thus operates in hostility to moral justice, must in itself be unjust. But to suppose the fountain head of all justice and perfection to be actuated by a choice which is repugnant to all that is just and perfect, will involve some palpable contradictions; and therefore this choice cannot be applied to God.
But if, on the contrary, no such obligation did exist in God, and no moral cause of destruction could have existed in man, either when he was created or in any subsequent period, while he preserved his rectitude and innocence; and since all natural tendencies to dissolution, and natural causes of destruction, are presumed to be counteracted, it becomes a subject of further inquiry to know whence this moral obligation has arisen. Whatever the cause may be, of this truth we are satisfactorily assured, that it could not have existed in the original state of things, but that it must date its commencement from some subsequent period. And of this we may also be convinced, that to this cause we must attribute all the inroads which have been made on the creation of God, in all its parts, as well as that final dissolution which the human body is destined to undergo.
We may, nevertheless presume with confidence, that as this cause of calamity is but an intruder into the fair empire of creation, when it shall be done away, and be completely banished from the world, then a renovation of all nature shall take place; then, things shall be recalled back to their primeval stations, and death itself shall be no more. Then, moral evil, and those natural effects which have been produced by its innovations, shall cease for ever, and the original energies which called creation into actual existence, re-assuming their stations, shall continue without obstruction to operate through eternity.
ON THE INTRODUCTION OF MORAL EVIL, AND ITS
INFLUENCES ON THE HUMAN BODY; AND ON
THE REMOVAL OF THE TREE OF LIFE.
From the various arguments which have been adduced in the preceding Sections, I conceive that it will be admitted, that a finite being which had been created in a state of moral rectitude, and which God at the moment in which it was created was under no moral obligation to destroy, could not have created that moral obligation, while its nature and tendencies remained the same, and while it continued in the same state in which it was created. And as God, from the immutability of his nature, must be incapable of those imperfections which are implied in such a change as we must suppose, no cause could originate with him, while the creature preseryed its primitive state. For since the existence of the human body must have added to the felicities of life, it appears impossible to conceive that God should destroy this body, without diminishing that portion of happiness which his goodness had originally given ; and which, in this view, he must have made to depend upon the preservation of the material part of man. If, therefore, to suppose that God can, without any adequate