Quotes (15)

Does reason show the First Cause to be one or plural? If one: whence the strong tendency to polytheism? This may be explained in part by the craving of the common mind for concrete ideas. We may add the causes stated by Turretin: That man’s sense of weakness and exposure prompts him to lean upon superior strength: That gratitude and admiration persuade him to deify human heroes and benefactors at their deaths: And that the copiousness and variety of God’s agencies have suggested to the incautious a plurality of agents. Hodge (Theol. P. I. Ch. 3.) seems to regard Pantheism as the chief source of polytheism. He believes that pantheistic conceptions of the universe have been more persistent and prevalent in all ages than any other. “Polytheism has its origin in nature worship: . . . . and nature worships rests on the assumption that nature is God.”

But I am persuaded a more powerful impulse to polytheism arises from the co-action of two natural principles in the absence of a knowledge of God in Christ. One is the sense of weakness and dependence, craving a superior power on whom to lean. The other is the shrinking of conscious guilt from infinite holiness and power. The creature needs a God: the sinner fears a God. The expedient which results is, the invention of intermediate and mediating divinities, more able than man to succor, yet less awful than the infinite God. Such is notably the account of the invention of saint-worship, in that system of baptized polytheism known as Romanism.

– R.L. Dabney
1820 – 1898

Quotes (11)

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” —2 Tim. 1:13

“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”—Titus 1. 9.

But let us not forget that this testimony for the “form of sound words which we have heard of” the apostles must be borne “in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” Unhallowed is that zeal for the truth which is animated merely by rivalry, or the spirit of party, which is not founded in solemn convic­tion, the result of faithful study and earnest prayer, which con­tends for wrath, and not for conscience’s sake. The apostle here teaches us, in two words, what is that spirit of orthodoxy which God requires. It values revealed truth because it has humbly received it with adoring reverence, as the gift and trust of infinite wisdom and love, and because it sees in those doc­trines the instruments of glory to God and endless blessing to blind, erring man; yea, to our enemies and opposers. Let us, then, while we hold fast to the pattern of sound words, ever study to do it in faith and love.

– R.L. Dabney

1820 – 1898