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The First Solution Of The Cosmic Problem Dualism


The first attempted solution of the cosmic problem is best expressed in
the concept "co-existence." God and the world co-exist. God is, and
the world is; their relation is expressed by an "and." "God and the
world" is the truth, all that man can and need know. This solution is
verbal. It leaves the problem more or less as it finds it. The two
principles remain ultimates; neither is reduced to the other. God
still stands outside the world and the world outside God. Neither can
explain the other. This dualism is the lowest stage of ontological
thought. The thinker sees the problem, only to turn away from it. He
surmises that there is some relation between the two; but he cannot
define it, and it remains ineffectual. This was Plato's early
standpoint. He established the idea as the truth of the thing, but he
failed to find expression for the relation between idea and ideate. He
took refuge in symbolical language, and spoke of the thing as a "copy"
of the idea or as a "participant" in it. But as there was no causation
on the one side or dependence on the other side, all that the earlier
Platonic philosophy achieved was in its ideal world to duplicate the
real. Plato's heaven simply co-exists with the world, and the relation
between them is merely verbal.

This metaphysical idea survived Plato and Plato's system, and passed
into common currency. It found and still finds expression in numerous
speculative and practical systems. In religious ontology we find it in
deism. According to the deist there was once at a definite point of
time a relation between God and the world, the relation of creation.
But, creation finished, the relation ceased. In other words, God
created the world, and then withdrew into Himself, leaving the world to
work out its own salvation. The deist believes in God; but his is a
self-contained God, who does not interfere in the course of things or
continue creating. Such a conception of God is useless for religious
purposes, because it represents Him as out of all relation with the

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