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specting the geological evidence of a general deluge, as we shall see further on.
It is true that some twenty years ago there was no extravagance or absurdity in supposing that the appulse of a comet to the earth, and especially its collision with our globe, would produce a terrific effect upon its fluid portions and even solid parts. But from more recent observations it appears certain, that some comets, and probably all, consist of matter so attenuated, that were our globe to come into direct collision with one, it is doubtful whether we should be conscious of it. They have probably “no more solidity or coherence than a cloud of dust, or a wreath of smoke," " through which the stars are visible with no perceptible diminution of their brightness."* These discoveries, admitted now by the ablest astronomers, have doubtless given the final quietus to this cometic theory of the deluge ; though we perceive that some geologists on the continent of Europe still cling to this hypothesis.
Another hypothesis that has been very much in vogue, and has received the support of several able geolorists, supposes the sea and land to have changed places at the delure ; that the former continents were deluged by being sunk beneath the ocean, while our present continents were raised at the same time. It was adopted by Hooke in his work on earthquakes. “ During the great catastrophe,” he says, “there might have been a changing of that part which was before dry land into sea by sinking, and of that which was sea into dry land by raising, and marine bodies might have been buried in sediment beneath the ocean, in the interval between the creation and the deluge.”+ These views, with the exception of that part which deposites the fossiliferous strata between the creation and the deluge, were adopted and defended towards the close of the last century by M. De Luc, professor of Philosophy and Geology at Göttingen. More recently this hypothesis, just as it was described by Hooke, has been defended with no small ability of certain kind, and with the most dogmatic assurance, by Granville Penn. He assumes as demonstrated truth, that “ there
l'ewell's Bridgewater Treatise, p. 152, 1.333. Philadelphia 1833. ¢ liooke's Posthumous Works, p. 410, s printer loy Lyell.
I Letters on the Physical llistory of ile Earili. By J. 1. De Luc, F. R. S. With Introductory Remarks, etc. by Rev. ll. De La Fite. London 1831. (See Leller 6.)
Trealist, '. 1.12, 1.7. Plilailelphia 1833.
Remarks, etc, by Rev. II. De La Fite. rical evidence of a general deluge, as we shal eine twenty years ago there was no extruz
in supposing that the appulse of a comer * cially its collision with our globe, u ould po et upon its fluid portions and even solid part: ent observations it appears certain, that some bly all, consist of matter so attenuated, that ome into direct collision with one, it is doub-uld be conscious of it. They have probety or coherence than a cloud of dust, or - through which the stars are visible with De on of their brightness."* These discore by the ablest astronomers, have doubles etus to this cometic theory of the deluge;
that some geologists on the continent d this hypothesis. is that has been very much in vogue, and port of several able geolorists, supposes the
changed places at the deluge; that the re deluged by being sunk beneath the ent continents were raised at the same d by Hooke in his work on earthquakes. tastrophe,” he says, “there might hare t part which was before dry land into sea
which was sea into dry land by raising at have been buried in sediment beneath wal between the creation and the de
with the exception of that part which us strata bets een the creation and the nd defended towards the close of the wuc, professor of Philosophy and Geolze recently this hypothesis, just as
has been defended with no small abilith the most dormatic assurance, by mes as demonstrated truth, that “there -rks, p. 410, iis quoted by Lyell
. listory of the Earili.
have been two and only two, general revolutions in the substance and circumstances of this globe; so that all effects discoverable, or appearances discernible which are truly attributable to general revolutions, must find their causes in those binary revolutions or in the period of time intervening between them.”* He then attempts to show that the remains of tropical animals and plants were drifted into the northern hemisphere in the period between the creation and the deluge, and deposited so as to form the fossiliferous strata of our present continents. At the deluge, he maintains that the earth that then was, was literally destroyed, or sunk beneath the waters, while our present continents were lifted up. These views have been lately echoed by Fairholme in a smaller work more adapted to general circulation. Both of these writers belong to Great Britain ; the work of the latter only, has been reprinted in this country.
The works of Penn and Fairholme above alluded to, furnish the best example of physico-theology modernized, that we have seen. They were compelled to pay so much deference to the advanced state of science at the present time, as to knock off some of the Hutchinsonian protuberances; yet they have not gone into the core of the system to make any reformation there. Their works are distinguished, in the first place, by great positiveness of opinion. Where the ablest geologists hesitate and wait for further light, they cut the knot at once. And yet it is quite clear from the books themselves, (we have no other means of judging,) that their knowledge of geology is mostly literary ; that is, obtained by reading. The relative importance of facts is so often presented by them in such a manner, as to betray at once their want of practical acquaintance with the subject. Nay, this is shown by their very positiveness on many points, which all working geologists know to be quite problematical. Secondly, these works are distinguished by very great severity and intolerance towards the leading geologists of the last half century. A powerful attempt is made to exhibit the Mosaical and mineral geologies as at variance in their fundamental principles; so that the one or the other must be abandoned. And
* A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies. By Granville Penn, Esq. In two Volumes, 8vo. Second Edition. London 1835. (See Vol. 2.)
† General View of the Geology of Scripture, etc. By George Fairholme, Esq. 1 vol. 12mo. Philadelphia 1833. (See chap. 6 et seq.)
By J. A. De Lucy
in doing this, they have sadly misapprehended the views of geologists. Because the latter have imputed the changes in the earth's condition to secondary causes, they are charged with atheism; and Mr. Penn says, “it is manifest that the mineral gcology, considered as a science, can do as well without God, (though in a question concerning the origin of the earth,) as Lucretius did."** Now such a sweeping charge would never have been made, had he not entirely misunderstood the geologists, or had he been practically familiar with the structure of the earth's crust. For they have only referred to second causes those changes which no man thoroughly acquainted with them would regard as miraculous, any more than he would the existence of such a city as London, or Paris. And they have had no idea of doing without God, because they suppose the world to have had an earlier origin than Mr. Penn admits. For at whatever period it began to exist, it would alike require infinite power and wisdom to create and arrange it; although it may be true that some French writers have talked of the “eternal march of nature ;" and one of them (Fourcroy) ranks the “ creation of the world among the pious fictions invented by the authors of certain religious chronicles.”+ But geologists, with scarcely an exception, have decidedly and boldly opposed such views. So that even did their views lead to atheism, it ought not to be insinuated that they are actually atheists, when in fact, the greater part of them are not even infidels.
The course which Penn and Fairholme have taken, will inevitably produce among pious men, not familiar with science, a prejudice against it, and a jealousy of its cultivation. Nay, the tendency of the very title of Mr. Penn's work is calculated to array science against revelation. How disastrous such a result would be, let the painful history of the past testify. Thirdly, these works are distinguished by the adoption of very extravagant theories, and very great distortion of geological facts, as well as of the language of Scripture. They suppose the primary rocks to have been created just as we find them, for the original framework of the globe. The secondary rocks they maintain were deposited between the creation and the deluge ; and the tertiary strata along with the diluvial by the deluge. This theory of course requires us to suppose that the antediluvian continents
Comparative Estimate, Vol. 1. p. 122. f De Luc's Letters on Geology, p. 274.
have sadly misapprehended the views of çe the latter have imputed the changes in the secondary causes, they are charged wi
. Penn says, “it is manifest that the minea as a science, can do as well without Girl
concerning the origin of the earth.) a ow such a sweeping charge would never
he not entirely misunderstood the gener n practically familiar with the structura
For they have only referred to secret vhich no man thoroughly acquainted wi miraculous, any more than he would the y as London, or Paris. And they have without God, because they suppose ty 7 earlier origin than Mr. Penn admit
it began to exist, it would alike require om to create and arrange it; although i French writers have talked of the “ eter
and one of them (Fourcroy) ranks the among the pious fictions invented by the us chronicles.”+ But geologists, with ave decidedly and boldly opposed such
their views lead to atheism, it ought hey are actually atheists, when in fact,
are not even infidels. The course we have taken, will inevitably produce iliar with science, a prejudice against ultivation. Nay, the tendency of the work is calculated to array science lisastrous such a result would be, let past testify. Thirdly, these works pption of very extravagant theories
, geological facts, as well as of the hey suppose the primary rocks to e find them, for the original frameecondary rocks they maintain were on and the deluge; and the tertiary I by the deluge. This theory of
that the antediluvian continents
were sunk beneath the ocean at the deluge, and our present ones were then raised above the waters. Now none but a geologist can know what absurdities must be received, and what distortions made of facts, before such opinions can be embraced. They answered well enough for the times when physico-theology was in its glory ; because then it was only a few generalities, and these very misty, that were known: and at this day they can be embraced, without a suspicion of their absurdity, by those who know but few of the details of geology. Yet to the geologist they appear a thousand times more extravagant and opposed to facts than any opinions that have been entertained by the cultivators of this science, and which Penn and Fairholme so violently oppose. What can be more absurd, for instance, than to maintain that the tertiary strata were deposited by Noah's deluge; or that the organic remains of a tropical character in high latitudes were originally drifted thither from between the tropics; or that limestone caverns, containing the remains of tropical aniinals, should have been produced by desiccation, or the expansive energy of gases resulting from their putrifaction!
But these hypotheses require scarcely less perversion of the sacred records. The favorite and fundamental position taken by these authors, is, that the antediluvian continents were sunk at the time of the deluge, and new ones raised from the deep. And to prove this they lay great stress, and with no little plausibility, upon the language of God's threatening, Gen. 6: 13: The end of all flesh is come before me, and behold I will destroy them with (or and, nx, the earth ; also upon the declaration of Peter, (2 Pet. 3: 7.) the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished - unwheto. To destroy any thing may mean, to annihilate it. But such cannot be the sense in these passages; for man suffered only temporal death, and even the material part of him did not cease to be. The word may also imply, to ruin in some respects; and since we are certain that the earth was not extirpated by the deluge, we must resort to the history of that event in Genesis, to ascertain how far the destruction extended. The account of the flood there given, is exceedingly simple and intelligible. It seems hardly possible for a sensible man to misunderstand it, unless his judgment is warped by some favorite theory. By long rain and the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, or sea, the waters are represented as gradually rising over the dry land until all the
1. p. 122. y, p. 274.
high hills under the whole heavens, are covered. Then they decreased continually, until the tops of the mountains appear; and at length, the whole surface is drained and dried. Every part of the description conveys the idea impressively, that it was the waters that rose over the earth and then withdrew; and no intimation is given, that the land previously inhabited was engulfed, and new continents brought up from the deep. Furthermore, in the second chapter of Genesis we have a particular account of the situation of the garden of Eden; and a part of the four rivers proceeding from the garden, are the same as now exist on the globe. Indeed, we must either deny that this description is a part of the Bible, or admit that Eden was situated upon existing continents. The former alternative has been adopted by Penn and Fairholme, and that too, upon mere conjecture, without the shadow of any evidence from ancient writers. They presume that Gen. 2: 11, 12, 13, and 14, are an interpolation; words originally written as a gloss upon the margin, and foisted into the text by some transcriber. Tyis is a truly bold step for men who are so sensitive when geologists presume, not to strike out, but to give a more extended signification than the common one, to the first verse of Genesis. This, in the matter of interpretation, is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
We might add here, that all the facts in geology, when rightly understood, are opposed to the idea that there has been an interchange of land and sea, except some limited examples, resulting from earthquakes and volcanoes, at so recent a period as the Noachian deluge. As we have already remarked, all the supposed evidences of such an exchange, merely show that some time or other, the land constituted the bed of the ocean. And still more opposed to geology, is the idea that the fossiliferous rocks were deposited between the time of man's creation, and the deluge. In respect to the primary rocks, also, every geologist knows that there is nearly, or quite as much evidence, of their having resulted from secondary causes, as exists in regard to the secondary and tertiary strata. We have now before us, for example, specimens of as distinct conglomerated, or pudding-stone, as is furnished by any secondary or tertiary stratum, and obtained from some of the oldest primary rocks in New England. We are compelled, therefore, both by correct geology, and by Scripture, to conclude that sea and land did not change places at the deluge of Noah.
A writer, however, of much higher scientific character than