Page images


What were the creative acts of the fifth and sixth days? Are not these irreconcilable with the geological theory, which affirms that the animals and vegetables that are buried in the strata, existed innumerable ages before this epoch? Do not geologists admit that man had no being anterior to the sixth day? Does not the sacred narrative teach with equal clearness, that the beasts of the earth had no existence before that day, nor fish nor fowls before the fifth day, nor vegetables before the third ? Is it not as contradictory to the text, to assert that animals and vegetables had existed millions of years anterior to the six days' creation, as it would be to assert that man had ? Do not geologists indeed admit that the sacred narrative, according to the literal import of its language, is at open war with their theory? By what means then do they attempt to bring them into harmony ? State Dr. Buckland's expedient. State Dr. Hitchcock's. Is not this an explicit admission that the declarations of the sacred text are to be deliberately set aside, in defiance of the laws of language, and the doctrine of the geological theory substituted in their place? Is such an undisguised elevation of the hypotheses of geologists to a higher authority than the word of God, entitled to be dignified with the name of science? Is it anything else than an attempt to fix the brand of falsehood on His word, because it contradicts their speculations? Is not Dr. Hitchcock mistaken in imagining that the language of the history of the creation and other parts of the Scriptures is inconsistent with the real nature of the facts which they respect? Is it not as literally true and proper to say that the sun rises and sets, as it is to say that the earth turns on its axis, so as to produce that apparent motion of the sun? Are not mankind accustomed to express themselves in that manner in regard to all the facts which they perceive by the senses ? Give examples. Do not geologists themselves use similar language in the description of the facts of geology? If the principle of interpretation for which Dr. Hitchcock contends in respect to the language of the senses is

applied to the terms and phraseology of geology, will it not strike the whole of its facts from existence, as effectually as it would those of the sacred text which it is employed to annihilate? Do geologists adhere to their method of interpreting the history of the six days, when they come to the creation of man? Would not consistency reqnire them to? Were human skeletons found intermixed with the fossil animals and vegetables that are imbedded in the strata, which they refer to ages that preceded the creation narrated in Genesis, would not consistency oblige them to assert that man had existed many ages before the creation of Adam and Eve ? Is not their theory of the existence of plants and animals ages before the creation recorded by Moses, unwarrantable by their own principles, as well as contradictory to the sacred word? Show how it is forbidden by their axioms. But is not their theory confuted by the fact that many of the plants and animals that now subsist, are of the same species as those that are buried in the strata, and which geologists affirm had their existence anterior to the creation of the present races ? In what great division of the strata are these fossils principally found ? What species of animal relics are the most numerous? In what countries are they found? Are fossil fish and land quadrupeds also found in those strata ? Specify some of the quadrupeds which are still common. Do geologists refer the formation of the strata in which these animals are buried, to ages long anterior to the Mosaic epoch of the creation? What language does Prof. Owen employ to express his views of their antiquity? To how remote a period does Sir C. Lyell refer bones of the Mastodon found near Niagara ? But beyond this, are there not evidences that certain classes of animals that now exist, have existed at every period from the first strata in which fossils are found? Does not that prove that there ha been an absolute extinction of those races from the period in which they first appear in the strata, to the present time ; and confute the pretence therefore, that the present races of animals are of a wholly different creation, from those that are buried in the strata ? Are there not classes of plants also now existing, that have existed


through every period during which the fossilized strata were forming? Does not that prove that no extermination of vegetables took place between the fossilization of those that are buried in the strata, and the creation of those that now spring from the soil? Is not their theory irreconcilable also with the deluge? Point out the manner in which it contradicts it. Is it not clear then, that this doctrine of geology, is in the most palpable contradiction to the sacred history of the creation and deluge? State the principal points on which they contravene each other. Is there any consistent medium then, between either rejecting their theory, or rejecting the inspiration of the Bible?


The false Theories of Geologists respecting the Sources of the Materials of which

the Strata were formed.

It was the object of the preceding chapters, to show that the theory of the vast age of the world is irreconcilable with the inspired history of the creation; and that the great postulates on which it proceeds, respecting a chaotic condition of the earth, an extinction of light, an annihilation of an atmosphere, an erosion of mountains, a change of the earth’s axis in relation to the ecliptic, and an extermination of vegetables and animals, are unauthorized and incompatible with the principles of geology. We now proceed to show that the theories respecting the mode in which the strata of the earth were formed and brought into the condition in which they now subsist, which geologists make a principal ground of their inference that immense periods must have been occupied in the process, are in like manner mistaken, and inconsistent both with the facts and with the maxims of the science.

That deduction they found—not directly on the strata themselves, but mainly, first, on an assump

tion respecting the sources whence the materials of which they consist were derived ; next, on an hypothesis respecting the forces by which those materials were transported to the places of their deposition, arranged in their several combinations, and thrown into the conditions in which they now exist; and thirdly—which holds but a very subordinate place in their reasonings—on a theory respecting the production and destruction of the vegetables and animals, the relics of which are imbedded in the strata.* As the facts themselves of the science are not the basis directly of their deduction of the period which they assign to the formation of the strata, but hypotheses respecting the causes and processes to which they

[ocr errors]

*" The whole period occupied in the deposition of the fossiliferous rocks must have been immensely long. There must have been time for water to have made depositions more than six miles in thickness, by materials worn from previous rocks, and more or less comminuted ; time enough, also, to allow of hundreds of changes in the materials deposited, such changes as now require a long period for the production of one of them ; time enough to allow of the growth and dissolution of animals and plants often of microscopic littleness, safficient to constitute almost entire mountains of their remains ; time enough to produce, by an extremely slow change of climate, the destruction of several nearly entire groups of organic beings; for although sudden catastrophes may have sometimes been the immediate cause of their extinction, there is reason to believe those catastrophes did not usually happen till such a change had taken place in the physical condition of the globe as to render it no longer a comfortable habitation for beings of their organization. We must judge of the time requisite for these deposits by similar operations now in progress ; and those are in general extremely slow."Hitchcock's Geology of Massachusetts, p. 773.

« PreviousContinue »