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The bearing of these discussions upon the assumed scientific teachings of the Bible was severely felt. Unable to argue down the facts which geology was every day accumulating, the church fell back on her divine authority. Physical science was denounced as heretical, infidel and anti-christ; and the objections urged against the assumed teachings of the Bible were dismissed with the pious reflection that "with God all things are possible;" that the ways of God are inscrutable; and that all these different strata, with their fossils and footprints, their water-marks and fire-marks, and all the various proofs of gradual and long-continued formation, might have been created in their present shape and circumstances, by the word of the Almighty.

The controversy that had raged with such fury upon the Continent, now passed into England. Hutton published, in 1788, his "Theory of the Earth," in which the fact of gradual formation was fully recognized. The opposition which his doctrines met was exceedingly rancorous, the more so, on account of the feverish excitement and alarm which the infidel writings of Voltaire and others had created. It is to this discussion that Cowper alludes:

"Some drill and bore

The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn,
That he who made it, and revealed its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age."*

But the worthy cardinals could not put Hutton and Playfair in a dungeon, and force them to recant, as their prototypes did Galileo. In spite of clerical anathemas, and lay opposition, the new science gained ground; and on moral as well as scientific grounds, the difficulties between it and the Bible demanded a more rational solution.

Dr. Chalmers, when a young man, in 1804, brought forward a very plausible hypothesis, which won at that time many supporters, and was afterward adopted by Dr. Buckland, in his

*The Task, book iii, "The Garden."

Bridgewater Treatise, namely, that the various changes which geology reveals as having taken place on the earth's surface, may be referred to the convenient period of chaos; while the fitting up of the world in its present style, with the now existing animals and plants, was the work of six literal days. But the records of the rocks show, beyond all possibility of doubt, that plants and animals which now exist, existed long before the creation of Adam, and that the chaotic period cannot be brought down to within a week of man's existence.*

But perhaps the most curious, visionary, and imbecile attempt to avoid the issue, was that of Dr. John Pye Smith, which virtually regards the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, as comprised in that "part of Asia, lying between the Caucasian ridge, the Caspian sea, and Tartary, on the north, the Persian and Indian seas, on the south, and the high mountainous ridges which run at considerable distances, on the eastern and western flank."†

Unable to deny or wrest the language of the rocks, it occurred to some reflecting minds to see what they could do with that of Holy Writ. Following now the order of thought in this direction,-for we do not mean to limit this enumeration strictly to chronological sequence,-when the pressure of scientific objections to the assumed chronology of Moses first began to be felt, some of the Hebrew expositors sought to relieve it by an adroit rendering of the verb in the ninth verse from the imperfect into the pluperfect tense. This allowed a day and a half, instead of a single day, for the disposition of the waters of the universal ocean, and for the formation of the dry land. Whiston, actuated by a strong desire to make his system harmonize with the account in Genesis, assumed each day

*The continuation of marine forms from the tertiary to the present time, are not the strongest evidences of this; for, as marine, it may be suggested that they would readily survive any general cataclysm, or overwhelming of the dry land. But many existing land animals, as the Musk Ox, and the Auroch, and even some tamed to the service of man, as Bos longifrons, were cotemporaneous with wilder and larger forms in the pliocene. Compare Hugh Miller's "Two Records," pp. 20, 21, and "Testimony of the Rocks," p. 10.

+ Scripture and Geology, Lecture VII, Part II. Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan., 1859. Art. III.

to be equivalent to one year.* Descartes, on the principle that "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years," assumed six thousand years as the period occupied by the creation. Others, such as Michaelis, considered the first three days, that is, before the creation of the sun, as periods of indefinite length, but the last three as ordinary days of twenty-four hours.

But all these theories, besides being arbitrary and groundless, failed to meet the demands of genuine science. The mind was compelled to admit the fact that the creation of the world occupied vast and unknown periods of time. Geology and Genesis seemed thus at issue.

The whole force of biblical scholarship and critical acumen was now brought to bear upon the word "day." The whole Bible was explored, to determine its usage; and the felicitous discovery was made, that the Hebrew word, translated "day," was capable of a variety of meanings, among others, that of an indefinite period of time. Abundant instances were adduced to support this new position. Analogies were found in almost every language; and, by many minds, the question was regarded as forever settled. But, unfortunately, the inexorable logical connection, "the evening and the morning," still remains, and will not yield. Explanation, to be perfect, must go back of this. The word "day," when used alone, may be indefinite; but when in connection with the words "evening" and "morning," how can it be regarded as meaning other than twenty-four hours? It is customary to apply the term "man" to a pawn on the chess-board; but that is no warrant to construe the phrase "man is immortal," as predicating immortality of pawns.

But one of the most elaborate arguments for the indefinite sense of the word "day," in this connection, is that of Professor George Bush, in his Notes on Genesis. The amusing ingenu

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*"A New Theory of the Earth; wherein the Creation of the World in Six Days, the Universal Deluge, and the General Conflagration, as laid down in the Holy Scriptures, are shown to be perfectly agreeable to Reason and Philosophy." 1696. Whiston was one of the first who ventured to propose that the text of Genesis should be interpreted differently from its ordinary acceptation, so that the doctrine of the earth having existed long previous to the creation of man, might no longer be regarded as unorthodox. . . . . Locke pronounced a panegyric on his theory." Lyell's Principles of Geology, pp. 32, 33.

ity with which it is constructed, is a sufficient reason for noticing it in this enumeration: the fact that Professor Bush's Notes have done more than any other commentary to shape the popular opinions in our country, upon this general subject, is an additional reason for calling attention to his argument. His first step is to give to the Hebrew numeral, translated "first," in the expression "the evening and the morning were the first day," the signification of "certain, peculiar, special, Latin quidam." In support of this, he cites, among other passages, Daniel viii, 3, where the same word is used in the sense of the indefinite article: "Then I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before me a ram." Now this ram was a strange beast. According to the account, he had two horns, of unequal hight; and hence the Professor reasons that the indefinite article should rather be translated a certain, a peculiar ram. Having assumed this uncalled for rendering, he jumps at once to the conclusion that the word in Genesis, instead of meaning the first day, means rather "a certain, a special, a peculiar day, a day sui generis; in other words, a period of time of indefinite length,"—that is, taking this rendering in the enumeration of days in their order, instead of first, second, third, and so on, we are to read, peculiar, second, third, or sui generis, second, third, and so on. The expression, "the evening and the morning," is interpreted as meaning "a series or succession of evenings and of mornings," being an unprecedented use of these words in "a collective sense." Having thus taken the first day out of its logical connection with the other six, in order to give it this unnatural and preposterous rendering, his next step is to restore it, with this rendering, to its place in the narrative, in order, by the logical connection, to force this rendering upon the other six:-" and so of the subsequent days of the creative week."*

One cannot wonder at the absurdities of infidelity, when the writers of the Church are guilty of such sophistry, irrele vancy, and imbecility of argument.

Others, seeing the impossibility of effecting a plausible reconciliation, by taking such unwarrantable liberties with the

Bush's Notes on Genesis, pp. 31, 32.

language of the text, have sought to avoid the issue, by maintaining some convenient theory with regard to the whole book of Genesis, or, at least, the document concerning the creation. Thus, Professor Baden Powell, in his article on "Creation," in Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, considers that the language of Genesis is poetical, and is to be interpreted with all allowances for poetical license. Paulus regards the first chapter of Genesis as simply a philosopheme respecting the manner in which the creation might have taken place, not intended to be understood as a literal fact. Eichhorn asserts that the whole history of the creation was fabricated by Moses, for the purpose of establishing his peculiar religious institutions. Knapp regards the account in Genesis as the record of a pictorial representation, and, as such, not to be regarded as literally and exactly true. This view was afterward expanded and illustrated by Hugh Miller, and is now, perhaps, the most favorite hypothesis that has hitherto been presented. Regarded simply as an hypothesis, and notwithstanding the bungling use of it by many writers, it is still a sufficient answer to the objections of infidelity against the religious teachings of the narrative. We shall have occasion to allude to this hereafter.

Passing over numerous other theories, mystical, symbolical, fanciful, &c., all current at the present day, and representing different degrees of information and sagacity, the most recent, and, considering the present light upon the subject, the most feeble proposition hitherto presented, is that of Mr. C. W. Goodwin, M. A., in his Essay on the Mosaic Cosmogony; namely, that we regard this account of the creation "as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith, as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's universe," *—that is, ignore the results of modern science; abandon all that has been done to reconcile the Bible narrative with that of nature, and return to the old idea of Paulus!

The reconciliation-theories thus cited, are extracted from a perfect chaos of writings on the subject. We have selected

* Recent Inquiries in Theology, p. 277.

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