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Second Solution Of The Cosmic Problem Monism


The second solution given to the cosmic problem is of special
importance for our thesis. It had a direct influence on monophysitism,
and may be regarded as supplying the metaphysical basis for that
heresy. It represents an advance to a higher stage of thought, just as
monophysitism, which depends on it, is an advance on Nestorianism, and
has always been regarded as a more venial heresy.

The mind finding no satisfaction in dualism advances to monism. The
spectacle of two unrelated ultimate principles impels it to seek and,
if necessary, to invent some mode of reconciling them. Explain it as
we may, the craving for unity, for synthesis, for mediation is radical
in human thought. The mind cannot rest at anything short of it. God
and the world, held asunder conceptually or only nominally united,
constitute a contradiction in excelsis, and, as such, provide an
irresistible motive for further and deeper thought.

As is natural, the swing of the pendulum carries the mind to the
opposite extreme. Co-existence failing to supply the required
solution, the key is sought in identity. God and the world are thought
as identical. The terms are connected by the copula. God is the
world, and the world is God. This is the truth of being, for the
monist. The two principles are merged in one, and the contradiction
solved by an assertion of the identity of the contradictories. Monism
takes two forms. It may be either materialist or spiritual. One term
must be selected as the reality, and the other written off as an
illusion. If the thinker's bent of mind be scientific, he is disposed
to make the material world the only objective reality, and God becomes
simply a working hypothesis or a creation of the subjective mind. It
would be beside our purpose to do more than mention this phase of
monism. Spiritual monism, however, requires lengthier treatment; it is
of vital importance to our subject. In this case the mind takes sides
with God as against the world. God is the reality and the world the
illusion. The world is God, in spite of appearances to the contrary.
As world it has no substantive reality; it has no existence for self.
It is the shadow of God, an emanation from Him, or an aspect of Him.
Like dualism, monism is only a sham solution of the cosmic problem. It
fails to keep prominent the idea of relation. A relation must relate.
If its terms are merged, the relation falls to the ground. A relation
must be such that, while the terms are unified, they are preserved as
realities. It must both unify and keep distinct. To abandon either
God or the world is a counsel of despair. To detract from the reality
of either is treason to fact and tantamount to a shelving of the cosmic

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