The Harmony Between Geology and Genesis;
A little natural philosophy, and the first entrance into it, doth dispose the opinion to Atheism; but on the other side, much natural philosophy and wading deep into it will bring about men's minds to religion; wherefore, Atheism seems every way to be joined and combined with folly and ignorance.
The following lecture is published at the request of very many who were unable to hear it, as well as by those who wished for a record of what they had heard. All who may desire fuller information on this subject will find it in Kinn's "Moses and Geology," Warington's "Week of Creation," M'Causland's "Sermons in Stones," Dawson's "Origin of the World," Norman Smyth's "Old Faiths in a New Light," &c. Much of the lecture dealing with the specific objections of Mr. Denton has been necessarily omitted. The writer will be glad to furnish additional information to any one who may desire explanation of the subjects dealt with in the lecture.
E. C. S.
The Harmony Between Geology and Genesis.
he science of Geology has but lately sprung into existence and its infancy, like that of all other systems of human knowledge, was surrounded by a mass of impossible and incongruous theories—theories so absurd and wild that the science was deemed by very many careful thinking men to be unworthy of notice, and geologists were regarded as visionaries. But just as Chemistry took form from the hazy and curious researches of those who sought for the philosopher's stone, and as Astronomy's sun has slowly risen above the fog-banks and weird shadows of Astrology, so has Geology gradually emerged from the errors that surrounded its youth, and has now taken its place as, perhaps, the Queen of all the Sciences. It is remarkable that, just as of old there was supposed to he a conflict between Astronomy and what I shall ask permission to call Revelation in the earlier times when Astronomy was merging from its misty daylight to its glorious sunrise, so now, in the early days of Geology (and we must remember that not a tithe of the problems Geology presents have been yet solved), there is an attempt made to disparage the statements of Revelation by comparing its record with the few facts that Geology has yet brought to light. But no one now uses Astronomy as a weapon against Revelation, and in clearer clays in the future, scientific geologists will pursue their researches into these interesting fields, leaving the student of Revelation to clear away the misconceptions which interfere with the right understanding of the record he has to study—to remove the mass of false interpretation arising from defective translations, and from erroneous systems of Theology and belief built upon these misconceptions of Revelation;—misconceptions which interfere more with the true meaning of Revelation than any one outside the circle of Theological teaching can have any idea of. And here I would ask all readers and thinkers to discriminate carefully page 4 between a revelation and the record of that revelation. Much of the so-called conflict between Religion and Science is due simply to the disregard of this caution. The end is the test of a Divine Revelation, and that is really the glorious warm sun although it rises cold and chill on a winter's morning, shrouded in earthly fog and smoke and mist.
I shall first endeavour to give you some idea of the origin and history of the world, ascending with the latest scientific discoveries. The theory which is usually called "Laplaces theory" may be briefly indicated with regard to the solar system as follows:—The sun, planets, and moons first existed as a vast cloud of gaseous vapour, extending over infinite distances, tremulous with diffused light, electricity, and heat. This began to condense at a certain place where more concentrated influences began to be exerted, and gradually a nucleus formed, which, as it condensed, had a whirling motion imparted to it, and slowly gathered the materials of this fire mist towards these central influences. At length the whole mass partook of this rotary motion, and, as this motion increased, centrifugal force hurled enormous portions of this loosely attached mass to great distances. These were the future planets, which, themselves whirling round on their own axis, again threw off smaller portions of their own substance, which became rings, as in the case of Saturn; or moons, such as Jupiter's or our own. These bodies gradually condensed, and glowed with fiery heat. As they cooled further, their light departed, and at length they grew dark—the smaller losing their light and heat first, while the larger retained it longest. In the solar system we see the smaller bodies, such as the moons of our system, perfectly cold and dead; the next larger bodies (the smaller planets) dying; the earth in middle aye; the young giant planets, Saturn and Jupiter, shining with a dull red glow through their vapours; and the mighty sun flashing with fiery brilliance .
Geology, taking up the story where Laplace leaves it, tells us how, through long ages of immense duration—periods of time of which it has been well said, that a million of years is but the geological twinkling of an eye—gradual changes took place in the cooling earth. At first the liquid interior was surrounded by a solid crust, too hot to allow water to rest upon it, and above the crust vapours of various metals and minerals, with the materials of the ocean, the page 5 water of lakes, rivers, icebergs, glaciers, and all that has now soaked into the rocks, surrounded the fiery lava of the future world. This crust then cooled all round, allowing the water to fall and rest upon it in an universal ocean, and allowing also the deposition of various chemical substances, which were then in a state of chemical decomposition. Out of these materials the acid corrosive rains of that early period formed the early rocks, which were washed hither and thither by the swirling seas, which rushed unimpeded by any shore (for the waters covered the whole earth) while the earth revolved much faster than now dense vapours clouded this universal sea in pitchy darkness, until the vapours thinned and let through the light; then came the first earthquakes, and consequent elevation and subsidence of the crust, so that the dry land appeared. These early elevations were inconsiderable, and over these low shores the tides rushed faster and further than they do now, washing mud into the hollows very rapidly from the swiftly decomposing rocks, which, when again elevated, hardened into solid slates, or sandstones, or what not.
I will give the remainder of the geological story in the words of a scheme I submitted to one of the greatest geologists living, who signed it with his approval.
|1.||The earth was once a globe of fiery matter, covered first with a thin hard crust subject to various undulatory movements. Above the crust was an universal ocean, and surrounding this ocean a dense mass of vapours totally excluding all light.|
|2.||These vapours thinned and allowed a diffused light to pass through them.|
|3.||This light being due to the sun, light and darkness would alternate as the earth revolved, causing day and night, and evening and morning.|
|4.||These vapours now thinned still more, part descending in rain and part rising in the form of one vast unbroken cloud all round the globe, hanging above the air which rested upon the universal sea.|
|5.||The liquid nucleus shrank away from the solid crust, which cracked and fell into ridges and hollows into which the sea flowed, leaving part of the hot crust dry.|
|6.||In the Laurentian rocks abundance of carbon is found (Dawson), showing evidence of plant life, but of too soft a nature to be preserved.|
|7.||In the Lower Devonian Gymnosperms make their first appearance.page 6|
|8.||In the Upper Devonian Trigonocarpum and fleshy fruits first appear. (These all grew as in an universal hothouse under the unbroken cloud, forced upwards by the heat of the earth. No seasons so far.)|
|9.||The clouds at length broke, allowing the sun's light and heat to influence the seasons, while the colder earth could not maintain an universal spring. Trees are then first found with woody rings. When the clouds became thinner the moon appeared, and when they broke, the stars.|
|10.||In the Silurian seas Trilobites and Lingula are found, and throughout the Permian, Oolitic. Tirassic, and Liassic periods there was abundance of marine life. Ammontes, Belemnites in millions, and many others, with ganoid and placoid fishes in great numbers.|
|11.||In the New Red Sandstone the footprints of birds appear for the first, according to Hitchcock, Dana, &c.|
|12.||Then appeared also giant sea lizards. The Ichthysoaurs, Plesiosaurs, Mososaurs, Elasomaurs, and feathered birds.|
|13.||Then upon the land are found the Iguanodon, Dinotherium, Megatherium, Palaeotherium, Machaerodus, Mammoth, and other gigantic beasts of the vertebrate type.|
|14.||Next appear various kinds of cattle—the horse, the ox, the sheep in order.|
|15.||During this period numberless creeping things, insects, beetles, butterflies, &c., appeared.|
|16.||And last of all appeared Man.|
|17.||Since whose appearance no new species have appeared, and the condition of the various plants and animals of the earth remain as they were when he appeared.|
And now, ladies and gentlemen, to go into this matter a little in detail, and compare the Mosaic record, as we proceed, with the scientific record, as far as we know it.
First, let me say that all the phenomena of the material universe, as far as we know, are due simply to two things—matter and force—and these two things are quite sufficient to account for all we know of this material universe. And I believe the future revelation of Science will be that all forms of matter will be found to be the result of one element, and all forces to be derived from one force—many recent discoveries tend that way. The one element I believe to be Hydrogen; the one force, Electricity. Of the origin of matter and force Science confesses herself hopelessly ignorant and I believe she will some day, cheerfully admit that the origin of both is simply God.page 7
You know now how closely light and electricity are connected, and light and heat, electricity and motion. Perhaps you do not know that the word used by Moses, where he says, "God said, let there be light," is almost the word that is used for heat as well, and both these are the result of electricity. I believe, then, that a great expanse of hydrogen filled the universe, and that, at a certain time in the beginning, a permeating impulse rushed through it : a quivering, pervading flow of electricity changed it, and a flush of light like the aurora followed. Do you ask me what that impulse was? I believe it was the breath of God—and in that breath was contained the germs of all life that has been produced since, and by virtue of which we live and move and have our being.
I must pass over rapidly the first history of this universe, merely saying that it is certain there was some such cloud of gaseous material, quivering with electricity and light, which gradually cooled and condensed as I have described.
Let me now bring you to where Moses begins, and show you our earth in the great vast of space, formless and empty, with great billowy masses of cloud surrounding it, and away in the sky the burning haze of the nebulous sun, and the shilling moon, and the countless millions of stars. The heavens and the earth which, as Science says, existed in the beginning, and which Moses says God created in the beginning. Now, it would take me all night, and all next week, and the next ten years, to tell you all that Science teaches about the formation of the world, so I will simply compare those periods which Moses mentions, asking you to remember that it was not Science Moses wanted to teach, but Theology; and as for Moses having left out various things—suppose I said to you, "I am going to describe the places in Europe in order—There's Spain, France Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Prussia, Austria, Poland, Turkey, and Russia." Surely you would not say the account was not correct because I had not named all the rivers on the route; or, if I described the capitals of each country, you would not say I was incorrect because I did not name all the small towns as well! Just so. Moses wanted to teach Theology to prevent his people from worshipping sun and moon and stars, because God made them for man; and so of beasts page 8 and birds—they were all made by God, and all put under man's dominion, and only God was above him, therefore, he must worship God only. And so, under Divine direction, Moses wrote his account of the primitive traditions of the creation of the world, which existed at that time almost universally; and how wonderful it was that he should place the events in their proper order I will show you later—separating them from the mass of error and impossibility of which all other accounts are full.
After its misty, formless, empty state, the earth, says Science, at one time of its history, was a ball of fire covered with several coverings—first, of hard rock, then an universal sea, then a dense mist of hot steam many hundreds of miles in thickness, causing the universal sea to be in the grossest, blackest darkness. Moses says, "Darkness was upon the face of the deep." "Darkness" and "deep" are both correct, says Science. Then, says Science, the cloudy envelope gradually thinned, and much fell in the form of rain, and a dim light slowly diffused over the earth. Moses says, "And God said let there be light, and there was light." "Light" is correct, says Science.
Then the mist rose, and a layer of very much lighter clouds floated in the air, gradually moved upwards, and left the space between these watery clouds and this universal sea comparatively clear. Moses says, "And God said, let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." "Sea water below, cloud water above, air between. Quite right," says Science.
Now, says Science, conies a long period during which, under this universal sea, the Plutonic rocks were formed—such as the granites, and also some of the lavas and the basalts—and when this crust grew hard, the awful forces groaned in captivity and at last burst forth, and then terrific earthquakes upheaved great tracts of land, and formed mighty hollows; after which gradual cooling caused gradual sinking, and so the waters flowed into the hollows, and more and more dry land appeared above the universal sea. What says Moses: "And God said, Let the dry land appear." "It never appeared before : quite right," says Science.
Then, says Science (modern Science, mind you, of the last ten years), upon this universal mud, and under this universal cloud, that still hung unbroken over the earth and permitted only the veiled light of the sun to pass through, page 9 grew a low order of plants, soft and cellular and watery, like marshy, pulpy weeds : of enormous size, but so soft that they could not be preserved whole, but were changed to a pulpy mass and squashed into watery mud, which, in its turn, produced more plants; and so numerous must have been the exuberance of plant life at this time that, in the Laurentian rocks, there are deposits of carbon in the form of graphite of such thickness that, as Dr. Dawson says, there is evidence of a more abundant flora there than even in the coal measures. Some beds, 8 feet thick, contain 20 per cent, of carbon, and other beds 25 feet thick, 30 per cent. Moses says, "And Cod said, Let the earth sprout forth sproutage, (deshè). "Sproutage," says Science, "well, yes, sproutage is all you can call this vegetable mush. Right again!"
Then, says Science, leaving the annuals for a little while, as these layers of carbon grew thicker in the vegetable mould, a higher order of plants appeared—Phaenogams or flowering plants, of a low order; Pymnosperms, with naked seeds, such as the conifers (Dana mentions coniferous woods in the lower Devonian). Moses continues next, "the herbs seeding seed." "Yes," says Science, "seeds were never seen before. Quite right, Moses."
And then, says Science, followed a higher class of flowering plants, with seeds not naked, but covered with a fleshy fruit, like the Ginkgo of Japan eaten to-day (of which the Trigonocarpum is an example), found, as Lyell says, by the bushel. What says Moses : And the fruit tree yielding fruit whose seed is in itself." "Yes, that is true," says Science, "fruit never appeared before. Right again."
During all this time, says Science, the earth was surrounded with dense vapours, in and above the air, which kept out the direct rays of the sun, only allowing a diffused light to come through, while the heat of the interior was so great that there were no seasons, but only a warm, moist continued summer existed. During this time the Placoid and Ganoid fishes swam about in the warm Silurian seas, and the Trilobites, with other crustaceans and a few molluscs, dwelt in the waters, while enormous forests grew with inconceivable rapidity in the dense humid air, gradually clearing it of its carbonic acid (carbonic anhydride) and making it more fit for life. All their beauty, luxuriance, and magnificence we can gain but a dim notion of. They page 10 grew, perhaps, many feet in every twenty-four hours in this universal hot house. Time rolled on—ages, perhaps—and the clouds gradually thinned, and one day there was a break in them, and they rolled nearly away and disclosed the glorious sun, and some time after they were thin enough to allow the moon to be seen; and, when at last they broke, the trembling stars appeared, that were then, for the first time, permitted to see through this dense cloudy envelope. Then began the interchange of the seasons. Then cold air first stopped the luxuriant growth of plants. Then for the first time appeared trees with woody rings, which, as you know, are the result of the alternately slow and fast growth of winter and spring. So that the history of this age is shortly this: The mist subsided, and the sun and moon and stars appeared. The sun first, for his rays alone would clear the vapour; then, long after, the moon might be seen through the thinner clouds; then, last of all, the stars. What says Moses: "And God said, Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years; and God appointed two great luminaries—the greater luminary to rule the day, the lesser to rule the night; and the stars. "Yes," says "Science, the sun never appeared before; there were no seasons before; and the sun appeared first, and then the moon, then the stars." Quite right again.
"And then," says Science, "that bright sun woke nature up into more prolific life than before, and the waters swarmed with new forms of life. The Placoids and Ganoids died, and the Ctenoids and Cycloids took their place. What says Moses : "And God said, Let the waters swarm forth swarmers." "And indeed," says Science, "throughout all this period there were swarms of life in the Permian, Oolitic, Triassic, and Liassic seas. Beautiful Ammonites, millions of Belemnites, and many other forms of marine life." So the record is right again. Then, say some scientists—such as Hitchcock, Deane, Dana, and Lyell—in the New Red Sandstone the footprints of birds appeared for the first time; for the air was clearer now and fowls could live and fly. "And fowl," says Moses, "that may fly above the earth, in the open expanse of the heavens." And now, after the birds, great sea-monsters appeared. The Ichthyosaurs, and the Plesiosaurs, the Mososaurs and Elasmosaurs, reigned in the ocean, with their enormous bodies, and awful eyes as big as your hat, horrible jaws a page 11 fathom long, and fins a yard long, enormous tails, that lashed the sea as they splashed and roared in the waters. "And God," says Moses, "created great sea-monsters," even greater than those crocodiles which the Egyptians ignorantly worship. "Quite right," says Science again, "monsters, indeed; as well as abundance of other animals in the sea, and fowls in the air, as Moses says." So much for the sea.
* *A mastodon's molar tooth weighed 17lbs; he could have had a good deal of toothache.
‖ On the harmony between verses 24 and 25 see pamphlet published by G. E. Ardill, 277 Pitt Street.
There are two very common difficulties about the Mosaic record—one referring to the "firmament," and the other to the "days" of creation. I will first speak of the idea that the Bible speaks of a solid firmament supported on pillars, above which the waters were gathered, and over which God dwelt, and either shut or opened the windows to keep back the rain or let it fall. Now, I observe first that the Bible record says nothing of the kind, and the English word is a mistranslation—just as the Septuagint stereoma is a mistranslation. But the Hebrew rakiah has no such meaning; it means the open expanse in which the birds fly, and the same word is used in that sense further on. Job, indeed, speaks of the "pillars of heaven," but the context clearly shows he merely means the lofty mountains. Rain is called the bottles of heaven, and is said to be poured out of the lattices of heaven. Do you mean to say that you think the Bible means that there are real lattices and real bottles, and do you refuse to read words addressed to and written by the most poetical people on the earth in a metaphorical manner? If any one does, and comes to us in the name of Science with such words, then, ladies and gentlemen, I shall say he is ignorant of the rudiments of Science. The fact is, the idea of solid crystal spheres was much later than the Hebrew cosmogony, and finds no support or countenance in the record. It has been put into it by those who hold the Bible up to ridicule. The waters above the firmament are, of course, the clouds which once contained more than half the sea, and the thick and humid air, expanse, or firmament divided the waters from the waters. Let me read you what Dr. Dawson says about this : "The idea that the Scriptures teach the doctrine of a solid firmament is a modern figment of man, and needs to be exposed as a barefaced imposture."
I come now to the last objection which is worth noticing, and that is about the "days" of creation. Mr. Denton says Science teaches us the world was created during a procession of ages, and that the Bible says all was page 13 done in six days of twenty-four hours each. That the earth was void and dark, and it became light in one day; the firmament came the next day, and next day the waters were gathered back in a heap, as the boy thinks they are who sees the sea for the first time, and thinks it higher than the land. Next day God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, and immediately a green carpet swept round the earth. Then, next day, the sun, and moon, and stars were cut out and stuck in their places in the solid firmament. That next day the fish swam, and the birds flew, and the whales came, and all suddenly, and within the twenty-four hours. And next day all the beasts and all cattle—tigers, bears, elephants, rhinoceri, &c. Then, next day, man appeared on the scene, and set about at once naming this new creation and putting it into its place. And all this wonderful process but took six days of twenty-four hours! "Well, but," says Science, "this won't do. Here are records of millions of ages." Oh, then we'll stretch our days out, say the preachers and teachers; and so, says Mr. Denton, do violence to the record, and take an unwarrantable liberty with the sacred text, which says that there was evening and there was morning each day, and so the days can't be of gum elastic. Well, there are deeper harmonies between the records in the rocky leaves of the earth and those of the Bible, that make us quite fearless about this apparent discrepancy. Many there are indeed, who say, as St. Augustine did 1400 years ago, that as there was no day and night in the first "days" of the earth—for the earth was fiery and gave its own light—so it could not be a day of twenty-four hours measured by sunlight and dark. It is not true, therefore, that theologians have only lately lengthened the days. Others have seen in the inspired record a series of visions. Others have made the days of gum elastic, and stretched them out into infinite periods.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not going to shirk any difficulty. What I want is truth, and if the Bible says six days bounded by evening and morning, I'm not going to say it does not, no matter what happens. I accept the twenty four-hour theory if you like. Oh, hurrah! say our opponents, now we have him; and others say, If you do that you'll run your head against a wall. No, I'm not going to run against a wall; I'm going along by the side of it when I reach it. You can run against it, if you like; or you can stop this page 14 side if you like. There's a gate just a little way from here which I'm going through.
Suppose I add to Shakespeare's seven ages of man in this way:—
All the world's a stage,
And the men and women on it merely players :
They have their exits and their entrances;
And each man in his turn plays many parts,
His acts being Seven Ages.
At first, the infant, muling and puking in the nurse's arms,
The infant's evening dies in night.
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face,
Creeping, like snail, unwillingly to school.
Soon ends the evening of the schoolboy's day.
And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' eyebrow.
That day of madness dies, and
Then a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble, reputation, even in the cannon's mouth.
The eve of glory comes, and then
The justice, in fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,—
And so he plays his part, till that day passes too.
The sixth age shifts into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose—well saved—a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes and whistles in the sound.
Then evening comes again, and in the morn
Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
And so the night of death
Draws down the curtain and the play is o'er.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, suppose some one were to say, Why that is ridiculous, you have made the man only seven days old; for you have spoken of an evening and a morning, and therefore you cannot say your days are not 24 hours long—and how absurd it is to suppose a man could be a baby on Sunday, and a schoolboy on Monday, and a lover on Tuesday, and a soldier on Wednesday, and a judge on Thursday, and a superannuated pensioner on Friday, and an old decrepid man on Saturday. Why you'd tell your page 15 critic to go to a lunatic asylum; or, if he looked hopeful, you might pause to say that although the word "day" in this, as in the Mosaic record, means—only as far as the word itself goes—24 hours, just as death, and day, and life, and bath, mean what they usually do in those lines where Shakespeare speaks of sleep as, "The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath." We take them in their proper relative sense. And so in Scripture : when we come to such expressions as God's arm, God's eye, God's mouth, how do we deal with them? We do not say that "arm" does not mean arm, or "eye," eye, or "mouth," mouth, but we say, while the words themselves are to be taken in the literal sense, the ideas they convey are not to be pressed literally, but only by way of accommodation. The terms arm, eye, mouth are the best human representation of the Divine realities denoted by them. So when we say that "God went down to see," "smelled a savour of rest," "repented," we do not say that "go down" means anything but go down, or "smell" anything but smell, or "repent" anything but repent, yet we do not apply these actions literally to God, but we assert that there were actions having the like relation to His nature which these actions, taken literally, have to our nature. The natures are widely different, and therefore the parrallelism must not be pressed too closely, but still it remains the truest representation of the actual verity which the imperfection of human thought will allow of: and so of the words "created," and "made," and "blessed," and "called," and so also of the word "day." We are to understand that God created all things in such periods of time as might, to man's finite mind, be most fitly represented by six dasy.
"Did man wish to know how God created, he had the image in his own command over his immediate servants. Did he wish to know how God regarded His creation, he had the image in his own satisfied inspection of some finished work. Did he wish to know what God did after creation, he had the image in his own repose after toil. Did he wish to know how long God took to create, he had the image in one of his own weeks of labour. Vast as the universe was, and various as were its inhabitants, he was to regard it as being to God no greater task, no more arduous labour, than a week's work to himself; and just as the busiest week he had ever known was but a small part of his life, so, he might believe, might God look back upon the page 16 creation of the universe as a small and insignificant labour as compared with the work and powers of His existence."
And as to the rest of the Sabbath. Man was placed in the garden of Eden—whatever that means—and was invited to join in and enjoy the rest of God. He rebelled and was sent forth into the world to work; and his physiological frame was such that six clays was exactly the time during which he ought to work, as Science asserts to-day. And then he was allowed a day's rest which he was to keep in memory of the rest he had forfeited—the long day of God's rest, who had worked as man must work. And if man is to enjoy the hallowed rest of his Sabbath Day, he must also work faithfully during the time of six human days of 24 hours, when it was light, as God worked during the six Divine days, measured by the hours marked by the oscillations of the universe.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think I'm through the gate. "Oh, but stop," says an objector, laying hold of my coat tails, "how about Adam's rib and the origin of Eve?" Well, taking the lowest ground, that of the pseudo-scientific objector, I find a harmony, even here, in comparative anatomy and physiology, which is Science too. It is true of the lowest animals—from which, say some scientists, man was developed—that they have not two sexes, but are produced in various ways, some by division of substance (fission), some containing the organs of both sexes in one individual; and it is well known that the two sexes in any animal are merely modifications of each other, the structures of their bodies being exact counterparts, so that the female is merely an inferior male; and in the theory of development it is admitted that it is by special differentiation of the same type that the two sexes were produced, and, therefore, Science teaches—whatever she thinks man's ancestor was—that there was originally only one sex, and the one had been differentiated out of the other.
But I am far from affirming that to be the true explanation of this scene. I believe that Adam, feeling within him the breathings of the Divine Spirit, longed for some one to sympathise with those feelings and found no response or satisfaction in the animal world around him. Seated, perhaps, on some high mountain, and gazing at the animals placidly grazing on the plain or crouching in the bushes, a sense of utter solitude came over him, and he fell into a page 17 "deep sleep" (compare Genesis xv. 12. &c.) and (born of his waking thoughts) it seemed as if God came to him and took from his "side" (which is the meaning of the word—not "rib") a part of himself, instinct with that life of the Spirit which had been breathed into him. Waking, full of these thoughts (and who has not experienced this?), descending the mountain he meets "his high ideal love," and they dwell together in the garden of Eden until their sad and pitiful fall.*
We, the undersigned students of the Natural Sciences, desire to express our sincere regret that researches into scientific truth are perverted by sonic in our own times into occasions for casting doubt upon the truth and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures.
We conceive that it is impossible for the Word of God as written in the book of Nature, and God's Word written in Holy Scripture, to contradict one another, however much they may appear to differ.
We are not forgetful that physical science is not complete, but is only in a condition of progress, and that at present our finite reason enables us only to see as through a glass darkly, and we confidently believe that a time will come when the two records will be seen to agree in every particular.
We cannot but deplore that Natural Science should be looked upon with suspicion by many who do not make a study of it, merely on account of the unadvised manner in which some are placing it in opposition to Holy Writ.
We believe that it is the duty of every scientific student to investigate Nature simply for the purpose of elucidating truth, and that if he finds that some of his results appear to be in contradiction to the written Word, or rather to his own interpretations of it, which may be erroneous, he should not presumptuously affirm that his own conclusions must be right, and the statements of Scripture wrong. Rather leave the two side by side till it shall please God to allow us to see the manner in which they may be reconciled; and instead of insisting upon the seeming differences between Science and the Scriptures, it would be as well to rest in faith upon the points in which they agree.
* Further particulars on this subject and the Pre-Adamite race will be found in the "Debate" published by George Robertson.
I can only say to both scientists and theologians, Wait. To those deluded by false views of Science, who would persuade us to cast away our Bible, I say, No. What is true cannot be the result of what is false. The result of what the Bible describes is the formation of lives and characters which are more true than any the world has ever seen, when judged by the moral standard you would have us accept. Therefore, the teaching of the Bible cannot be false, and to so-called scientific meddlers I say, You are dissecting the dead body of truth, and taking no regard of the spirit which once animated it. Your objections are no new thing. In the century arose Celsus, who boasted himself to be somebody, and said quite as clever and weighty things against the Bible and Christianity as you can say, and Celsus and his system are gone and Christianity is flourishing still. You may stand on the desert of criticism, and cast your pebbles of objection into the river of truth as others sail by, and the splashing water will fascinate those who behold it for a moment, the running ripples will laugh at you as they break towards the shore, but the great broad river will flow on calmly towards the boundless ocean of God's infinite knowledge, whence it came to refresh the soul of man and to carry those who trust themselves to its calm and even current into the peaceful islands of everlasting rest.page break
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