Shadow of the Third Century, a Revaluation of Christianity

By Alvin Boyd Kuhn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
GREAT PAN IS DEAD

The exigencies of the study demand that notice be taken of that great cry that has gone up in Christian books in their exultation over the displacement of the ancient Pagan religions by Christianity: Great Pan is dead! It is supposed to imply that the end of Paganism and the beginning of a new world era of sane and rational human understanding had been brought to pass under the benign influence of Christian truth. In its underlying implications the cry, swelling out over the world with the death of naturalism and the advent of a supernatural or divine age for humanity, is supposed to have announced the end of a period, as it were, of the world's infancy, in which it had naively believed that Nature was the God that ruled the universe under the natural law, with no place for the interposition of the benevolent will of Divine Intelligence to effect its personal work of Paternal Love.

Pantheism predicated the presence of God in all things, and thus drew the mind of man outward to reckon with him in all his works. Opponents argue that this was to demean the Supreme by making him coequal in stature with his creation. God was no greater than his works; God was in fact his world, which carried his full expression and was the garment of his being. The ancient man could worship God without lifting his eyes above the earth, its grass and trees; for nature was the living manifestation of God, embodying his life and energies. God was resident in every oak, pine, flower, bush, hill, spring and vale, in the sunshine and the rain. The Pagan needed to look no farther off than the visible world of earth, sea and sky, for God was omnipresent in all these. Therefore there was no spirituality, no metaphysical conceptuality, in the Pagan systems. Paganism, worshipping Pan as its God, worshipped the material universe.

With the coming of the divine Babe in Bethlehem a new era of human conception was ushered in, so Christianity has asserted. The

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