New Foundation Fellowship

Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

All Things Come By or Through Nature? This Month's Fox Reading and Discussion Call

Saturday, during our reading and discussion of Fox's Journal (See Works of Fox, Vol. 1, pp. 83-86)  an opening began growing in my mind concerning Fox's temptation.

"All things come by nature," said the tempter. And, as is usually the case, the lie is coated with enough "fact" to make it easy to swallow the poison. 

First of all we need to establish a working definition of what nature is. My definition, that which was opened to me, is nature is the vehicle by which God works. There are, obviously, avenues not open to the manipulation to man, but that does not make them any less "nature". Thus Fox could say that he saw the "virtues" in the creatures and could see how the three professions purporting to cure the maladies of humanity were deceptions because they did not see the virtues. 

Here we get to the poison of the temptation. If we follow the stream back up the course of creation, where does it stop? If we declare that nature is the headwater, we have created an idol, a false god. The true voice which Fox heard saying, "There is a living God who made all things," was not a declaration about the avenue through which all things were made but about the source. Nature is not the headwater, merely the outflow.

If our eyes are filled with nature, and go back no further, we cannot see the virtues of the creation any more than could the physicians, priests, and lawyers of Fox's day. The debate and furor over evolution vs. creation is just a smoke screen to mask the true issue. The critical matter is not whether natural selection and survival of the fittest played a role in the origin of the species. The critical matter is "Where are the headwaters?" As long as the tempter can keep your mind engaged in the struggle over the smokescreen, so you will also not see the virtues in the creatures nor understand how to work under Christ to set creation back in its course. The first thing in that work, and always the first thing is to come to the headwaters, to come into that dialogic relationship with our Creator where we learn from Him. "In the beginning was the Word...all things were made by Him." Just as the Word was a creational being in the beginning, so He is a re-creational being now. All things are restored to its rightful order by returning to this one who speaks things into being, into order. It is this that gives us the power, the virtue, to become a child of God.

Views: 92

Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 3rdMo. 15, 2016 at 13:17

Thanks, Ellis.  I think your metaphor of God as the headwater and Nature as the stream is a good one. It's typically human to mistake the created things of Nature for God, in meetings often seen in the assumption that human thought is inspired. 

I find Fox's statement interesting that "the natures and virtues of the creatures were so opened to [him]" that he considered practicing medicine "for the good of mankind"(85). The statement underscores God's benevolence (good will) in creating nature, every creature with its particular virtue or power; our human virtue is a special one: to know God. One tends to think of this as solely spiritual or non-material well-being (I suppose this is the Greek influence and bias), but Fox speaks of  physical well-being when he considers practicing "physic." That there would be no line of separation between the two—spiritual and physical—again underscores God's benevolence in creating and concern for our entire personhood. 

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of New Foundation Fellowship to add comments!

Join New Foundation Fellowship

The NFF exists to preach the Christian Message that was proclaimed by the Early Friends. Christ has come to teach his People himself

Visit Our Literature Site

To find New Foundation Fellowship books and materials, go to our literature site. Items for  download can be found on our Downloads page. There is a small charge for downloaded items.

Want to join this New Foundation Web Site?

Please note also that this site is primarily a means for the New Foundation Fellowship to preach the Gospel, and an online community for established New Foundation Workers.

If you are thinking of signing up, may we please direct you to this note, before signing up?

Allistair Lomax, on behalf of the site working committee

NFF Events

Please Note

Blocked Email Domains

Created by Allistair Lomax 7thMo 26, 2013 at 11:13am. Last updated by Allistair Lomax 7thMo 26, 2013.

The 'Do-Not-Reply' Note

Created by Allistair Lomax 7thMo 28, 2011 at 9:38pm. Last updated by Allistair Lomax 12thMo 29, 2018.

Contact Address for New Foundation Fellowship

Created by Allistair Lomax 5thMo 25, 2011 at 8:11pm. Last updated by Allistair Lomax 3rdMo 8, 2013.

© 2023   Created by Allistair Lomax.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service