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was on the dry land died," Genesis vii. 19-22. As the waters of the globe were wholly inadequate to cover its whole surface to such a depth, if the hills and mountains continued to maintain their elevation, it is manifest that they must have been depressed to near the general line of the lands, and the whole body of the continents and islands carried down to a level with the bottom of the seas; or else the surfaces on which the seas rested must have been elevated to the line of the continents and islands. Whether the hills and mountains of the antediluvian globe equalled in height those that now stud the surface of the earth, we have no means of knowing.* The present system of mountains and hills must indisputably, therefore, have received at least their main upheaval since the flood reached its height; and probably most of them, at the period when the continents and islands on which they rise were elevated to their present position, and the waters of the deluge again thrown back into the seas and oceans which now surround them.
The advocates of the geological theory, however, assign our present mountains and hills a far earlier date, and assert that many of them at least have existed through a vast series of ages. The supposition that they were thrown up from the sea at so late an epoch as the deluge, they reject as little better than a solecism. They are thus again in conflict with the sacred record. No hypothesis can reconcile them; no artifice—if the theory is held to be true—can shield the text from the discredit of a consummate error.
* "If we suppose the elevation of one part to be compensated by the depression of another, the ocean level will vary merely as the quantity of land above its surface. If we suppose all the dry land to sink till it be submerged, it will cause the ocean to rise about 250 feet."—Phillips's Guide to Geol. p. 49.
Such are the proofs that this great doctrine of modern speculative geology presents, at every step, the most direct and absolute contradiction to the history God has given us of the creation and deluge. If that doctrine be true, the record in Genesis cannot be. They are at an infinite distance from each other in respect to each of the acts by which God accomplished the six days' work. The sacred record ascribes the creation of the heavens and earth to the first of the six days. The theory asserts that they had then existed through an immeasurable round of ages. The inspired history assigns the creation of light to the first day. The theory affirms that the sun had then existed and shone on the earth through an incalculable series of years. The Bible testifies that God created the atmosphere on the second day. The theory asserts that it had before enveloped the globe through periods whose duration we cannot estimate. The sacred history relates that the seas were first formed, and dry land made to appear on the third day after the creation of the earth. The theory declares that they had existed through innumerable ages anterior to that epoch. The sacred history teaches that on the fourth day the earth first received that adjustment to the sun, moon, and stars, by which they determine the succession of seasons and years, and the variations of the days and nights. The geological theory assigns that arrangement to an immeasurably earlier date. The inspired record refers the creation of plants to the third day, the creation of fish and fowls to the fifth, and the creation of land animals to the sixth. The theory declares that record to be contradicted by the relics that lie buried in the strata of the earth, and affirms that they were created at an epoch incalculably earlier, and flourished through a vast tract of ages that intervened, to the time of the six days' creation. And finally, the Bible represents that at the deluge the whole earth was overspread by the ocean, which implies that the mountains and hills were depressed, and near a level produced between the bed of the ocean and the continents and islands. The geological theory controverts that representation, and maintains that the present mountains and hills were formed at an epoch immeasurably more remote. They are thus, on all these subjects, in the most open and undisguised antagonism. Had it been the object of its
authors to devise a theory, in conflict in every element with the inspired history, they could not have formed one more conspicuously and absolutely of that character. Strauss's hypothesis respecting the facts of Christ's birth, ministry, miracles, death, and resurrection, is not more at antipodes with the gospel narrative, than this is with the record God has given of the creation and deluge. The great postulates on which it proceeds—that the earth anterior to the six days' creation was reduced to a "wreck," mountains and hills obliterated from its bosom, the light of the sun extinguished, the atmosphere annihilated, the earth deprived of its inclination to the ecliptic, and races of vegetables and animals that had inhabited it exterminated—are equally inconsistent with the axioms of the science. Like Buffon's hypothesis respecting the origin of the solar system, and Whiston's theory of the cause of the deluge, they are at war alike with the principles of geology and the laws of nature, and could never have been entertained, had their advocates duly considered the assumptions which they involve, and the embarrassments in which they entangle them.
The fancy, then, that the theory has been reconciled, or is reconcilable with the Mosaic record, must be abandoned. The verification of their postulates, which is necessary in order that they may proceed on them as facts, they can never accomplish. They might as well attempt, by chemistry and mechanics, to bring the antipodes into our hemisphere, as to bring their fancied record of the rocks into unison with that of Genesis. They might as well undertake to compress the universe into the dimensions of the earth, as to attempt to shrink their fabulous ages into harmony with the six days of the creation.
There is no consistent medium, therefore, between the rejection of their theory and the rejection of the Bible. Geologists and their disciples must, indeed, on their principles, abandon the hypothesis on which they have proceeded, and discard the inference of a prior existence of the vegetables and animals, which they have mistaken for a scientific deduction—as they are as inconsistent with the maxims of geology as they are with allegiance to the volume of inspiration.
On the other hand, the believers in revelation, and expositors of the sacred word especially, must adhere, in the interpretation of the inspired history, to the laws of philology, and receive and maintain the narrative of the creation as of absolute truth and authority; and they surely cannot need more ample means than are furnished by the foregoing considerations to shield it from the imputations which have been cast on it by the geological theory.