« AnteriorContinuar »
infer that a mass so many thousand feet in thickness must have required an immense series of ages anterior to its historical periods for its growth; yet the whole must be regarded as the product of a modern portion of the tertiary epoch."—Lyell's Principles, pp. 404, 405.
These writers thus not only assert the existence of continents and mountains countless years anterior to the date of the creation recorded in Genesis, but they refer the present mountains of the earth, both such as are volcanic and those that consist mainly of granite, to that distant period. Their theory is, accordingly, in open antagonism to the inspired history of the third day's creation; and the contradiction which it offers to it is not slight, but as vast as the mountains themselves are that rear their rocky masses into the heavens, and the plains and vales that slope from their sides to the ocean. If their views are correct, the Mosaic record which exhibits the earth as submerged beneath the ocean till the morning of the third day, and its first dry land as then produced by the removal of the waters into seas, cannot be. No more palpable and irreconcilable contradiction between two statements can be conceived.
How now do the geological and theological writers who maintain the consistency of their theory with the account God has here given of the creation of the world, extricate themselves from this difficulty? Not a solitary allusion is made by them to it, so far as we are aware! They seem to have assumed, as in respect to the creation of the atmosphere, that if allowed to intercalate a vast tract of ages between the epoch of the first and of the second verses, their harmony with the narrative that follows is of course established. "What a beautiful verification, again, of the claim which some of them put forth to an exclusive right and competence to treat of the subject! A more unfortunate position than that which they occupy cannot well be imagined. Let them interpose as many ages as they please betwixt the periods of the first and second verses, and it can contribute nothing towards reconciling their theory with the fact made known to us in this passage, that at the commencement of the third day there were no mountains or hills on the face of the earth, nor lands of any description above the level of the ocean. If all the mountains, hills, and dry lands of the present continents and islands were formed either then or since that epoch, as the record God has given of their origin testifies, then indisputably they cannot have been formed in the remote and indeterminable ages to which geologists refer them. It cannot be pretended that, after having existed through the vast periods ascribed to them, they were at the Mosaic epoch depressed beneath the ocean, and raised again to their former position on the third day. No intelligent geologist will venture on a supposition so wholly irreconcilable with the nature of the primitive masses of which the mountains consist, and the condition of the strata that are superposed on them. Such a movement would have dislocated and broken to fragments those of the latter, which now, although bent and contorted in many forms, are continuous, and conform in their curves to the outline of the primitive rocks on which they repose. The whole condition both of those primitive masses and the strata which they uphold, forbids the idea that they have undergone more than one elevation above the lands by which they are surrounded.
Here, then, we have again the most unanswerable proofs, and on the vastest scale, of the irreconcilableness of the geological theory and the history in Genesis of the creation of the world. "No chemistry or mechanics can save the system from this dilemma. It were discreditable to attempt to reconcile representations so diametrically the opposites of each other. The supposition that the mountains of the earth were formed in the fabulous ages to which geologists refer them, must be renounced, or the inspiration and truth of the record God has given us of the origin of the world must be rejected.
Their theory is irreconcilable, also, with the creative acts of the fourth day.
"And God said, let there be lights in the firmainent of the heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day," v. 1419.
Writers on geology differ in their views of the import of this act. Some suppose that the light created on the first day, was either the ether, which is by many thought to be the medium of its perceptibility, or light that exists or is made perceptible independently of the sun, like that which is sometimes evolved from bodies by chemical action that pro duces combustion; and that the creative act here recorded was the investiture of the sun with its lightgiving atmosphere. But that is inconsistent with the characteristics and offices of the light created on the first day. As that light constituted morning, and was followed by evening; as there was a division instituted between it and the night, that was the same as now subsists between day and night; and as the illumination which it caused was called day, and with the night that preceded it, occupied the period of a revolution of the earth on its axis, it is plain that it must have been the light that now constitutes day, and the light therefore of the sun.
Others suppose the effect of the divine fiat was merely the dispersion of vapors or clouds that had accumulated in the atmosphere, and obscured or hidden the sun. But that implies that the office to which the sun, moon, and stars were assigned, was to be exercised only in fair weather; as otherwise they must have filled it as fully before the fiat, as they could afterwards, when they were hidden by clouds. It is irreconcilable, also, with the representation that they were set for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years; not for the mere periods in which they might happen to shine on the earth without obstruction. It was a great and permanent change that was wrought, not merely a purification of the atmosphere from exhalations that might have arisen from natural causes, and been immediately followed by fresh mists and clouds.
Others regard the fiat of the Creator as merely annunciatory of the office which the heavenly orbs were to fill towards the earth; not as causing a change of their relations to one another, or to the earth, or of the earth's relations to them.
That is equally inconsistent with the passage, which