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authority, and is assented to and defended by some professed friends of revelation. The latter class in their attempts to reconcile the Scriptures to this theory show how completely it infatuates them. They consider it the height of presumption to question the truth of the theory, or to doubt of its being firmly established; while they seem to find no difficulty in adopting the most derogatory and preposterous interpretations of the language of inspiration, by which all pretence of certainty as to its meaning is exploded ; and to help out their hypotheses miraculous interpositions are introduced with familiarity.
There is a class of men, says Doct. John Pye Smith, in his work entitled “ Scripture and Geology,” “ who affirm without hesitation, that there is a real and insuperable discrepancy, between the demonstrated facts of (geological] science, and the unambiguous declarations of the Mosaic writings. The two leaders in this course are Mr. Babbage, and Professor Baden Powel”—both of whom he reports as professed friends of Christianity.“ The former of these philosophers thinks himself compelled to resort to a desperate kind of hypothesis. "He is of opinion that we cannot so depend upon our ability to construe the ancient Hebrew language, as to be sure that we have correctly interpreted the archaic documents before us. Thus, to speak the plain truth, an opening is male, for treating the written records of the creation as if they had no existence.”
“ The second of these distinguished mathematicians and philosophers goes further. He has no difficulty in admitting the perfectly intelligible character of the commencement of Gencsis, and the fourth commandment; but he considers it incumbent upon him to maintain, in both cases, that the statement was not intended for an Historial Narrative." The re, presentation, he thinks, is made in the language of figure and poetry, or of dramatic action ; the meaning being veiled in the guise of apologue and parable.'
Doctor Buckland in his endeavour (Bridge, water Treatise, chap. 2) to reconcile the first chapter of Genesis with this theory, after announcing it as his opinion that the first verse refers to the creation of the material elements of the heavens and earth at a time long antecedent to the operations of the first day, and that millions of millions of years may have occupied the indefinite interval, observes : “ that the second verse may describe the condition of the earth on the evening (i. e. the commencement) of the first day. This first evening may be considered as the termination of the indefinite time which followed the primeval creation announced in the first verse, and as the commencement of the first of the six succeeding days, in which the earth was to be fitted up and peopled in a manner fit for the reception of mankind." The chaotic stateof the earth mentioned in the second verse, "may be geologically considered as designating the wreck and ruins of a former world. At this indeterminate period of time, the preceding undefined geological periods had terminated, a new series of events commenced, and the work of the first morning of this new creation was the calling forth of light from a temporary darkness which had overspread the ruins of the ancient
earth.”—“If we suppose all the heavenly bodies and the earth, to have been created at the indefinitely distant time, designated by the word beginning, and that the darkness described on the evening of the first day, was a temporary darkness, produced by an cumulation of dense vapours, 'upon the face of the deep,' an incipient dispersion of these vapours may have re-admiued light to the earth upon the first day, whilst the exciting cause of light was still obscured; and the further purification of the atmosphere upon the fourth day, may have caused the sun and moon and stars to re-appear in the firmament of heaven, to assume their new relations to the newly modified earth and to the human race."
Now it is obvious to remark, that all these hypothetical statements, and others nut here quoted, are rendered necessary solely by the assumption that the creation announced in the first verse refers to an antecedent period indefinitely remote. That assiiniption renders it necessary to suppose a miracle by which the work of the preceding interminable period, the whole process of stratification and
deposit of fossils, was rendered null and void, the earth being brought into such a state of chaos and confusion as to require to be remodelled and fitted up for the reception of mankind. It is, however, quite certain that no such miracle occurred; for the stratifications and fossil deposits, alleged to have taken place during the supposed millions of millions of years, remain, at present, in the same state and the same relative position, in which, even by the argument of the geologists themselves, to prove their antiquity, they were originally deposited. Their argument, if it proves any thing, proves that, since these deposits were made, no chaos, no state of wreck and ruin, or remodelling of the earth has taken place. A chaos and reconstruction would surely have deranged the leaves of the petrified book, and rendered the reading of it an impossibility. Moreover, that part of their argument, which goes to show that the object of those stratifications, which are supposed to have occupied such a waste of years, was to bring the earth into a condition fit for the habitation of man, is at war