J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)
It seems to me that the disputes, between Realists and Nominalists, arose from confounding the acquirement of knowledge by the mere human mind, and the original divine intention and purpose in creation. God created Adam an individual man no doubt, but also eth ha-Adam (the man) - that kind of being, and in His image after His likeness. A child may know man in its father, and gradually generalise, because it has only human sources of knowledge, and humanly; man is only an idea. But the faith that believes in a Creator, knows that God created a kind of being which is that according to His thought. So even with the Church - Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to present it to Himself a glorious Church. Now it was not an idea with no reality, He was going to present it to Himself - it did not exist actually till it is built up of Him. Whether we call an idea in God's mind a reality - which it must be - is a question which man may decide - He calls the things that are not, as though they were. Still, they have reality for faith, according to God's mind who chose to have such a thing, though the mind may learn by abstracting, and so the universal be, as to his learning it, a name - but he would not have it to learn, were it not really an existing thing in the thought and purpose of God. God had a certain purpose about the creation - man - connecting it, redeemed, with His Son. Other creatures have not that place - I say, What is man? and there is an answer, and an answer which will be accomplished. Only there may be thought to be a difference between classes or races, and compound ideas - as a state, a church; but it is not well-founded - only, one is natural order, the other a constituted state of things. But if God had in His mind to have a church, it is a real thing, not merely a name, nor indeed is abstraction needed here - I have only to embrace God's idea of it. So of the state; if it were God's will to group people under authority or government, the thing is a real thing, and the name the name of a reality, though here abstraction may be called for, as He may allow different forms of government, each of which may group men in a state. Men's classes when they are genera (not species), may be fictitious, and merely for convenience, but that is nothing to the purpose if there are definite species.