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Volume 27 - Page 179 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
appears to the senses solid and unchanging is in reality as surely passing as the swiftly
flowing river. In this he anticipates modern science with its waves and electrons.
In Ecclesiastes we read:--
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that
which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun" (Eccles. 1: 9).
Heraclitus speaks of fire as a principle that underlies all "change" or "becoming"; fire
that for ever extinguishes itself and again rekindles, an all-consuming, all-transmuting,
all-vivifying element. The two processes of extinction and ignition in this fire-power
alternate, according to Heraclitus, in perpetual rotation with each other. "In stated
periods the world resolves itself into primal fire, in order to re-create itself out of fire
One cannot avoid comparing the teaching of Heraclitus with the testimony of the
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store,
reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men . . . . . The
heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.
Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Pet. 3: 7-13).
In Heraclitus' teaching, however, there is nothing to be looked for but a "perpetual
rotation"; in Peter's teaching, there is a goal and an end in view. Moreover, the whole
passage in Peter's epistle is not the development of a philosophical theory, but the
fulfillment of a promise, the promise of the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The
passage is introduced by the words of the scoffer: "Where is the promise of His
coming?" (II Pet. 3: 4).
Rotations of never-ending time in the philosophy of Heraclitus are "days" in the
teaching of Peter, "the day of the Lord" and "the day of God", days intimately associated
with a Person. The personal note constitutes the essential difference between all
philosophy at all times, and the testimony of Scripture. The glory of the Word of God is
that the fullness of the Godhead is not an abstraction, but dwells "bodily" in the Lord
Jesus Christ. The Word of Life has been "seen" and "handled".
We do indeed, with Heraclitus, see a world of change, but, by the grace of God, we
also see "Him Who changes not". Philosophy may turn our attention to change and
decay, but God along illuminate the darkness with the light that shines in the face of
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens
are the work of Thine hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest . . . . . Thou art the
same . . . . . Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever" (Heb. 1: 10-12;