Page images
[ocr errors]

Again, that he may be fully understood (for we would not, knowingly, misrepresent), we quote from the following page:

“It is enough for us to learn, without doing any violence to the language of the account, that the production of the vegetable and animal races are set forth as having been originally a púcus, or growth - a growth out of the earth, and by and through the earth ; in other words, a nature with its laws, stages, successions, and developments.

" There was a previous nature in the earth, whether it had been in operation for twenty-four hours, or twenty-four thousand years. We may compare this to a stream flowing on and having its regular current of law or regulated succession of cause and effect. Into this stream, we may say, there was dropped a new power, supernatural, yet not contra-natural, or unnatural, varying the old flow and raising it to a higher law and a higher energy, yet still in harmony with it. New causations, or new modifications of causation, arise; and, after the successions and steps required, be they longer or shorter, a world of vegetation is the result of this chain of causation in the one period, and through an analogous if not similar process, an animal creation arose in another. Our mode of argument may be denounced as metaphysical, and yet it is but the analysis of a common thought which every man, who examines his own mind, will find that he has in connection with the words nature, growth, etc.; or the terms that, in all languages, grow out of roots corresponding to those that are here employed in this plain narrative of the Bible."

In the following chapter, he arrives at the profounder conclusion, which we did not discuss in our former review, that spiritual entities preceded material forms. The reader will find the views, at large, in the work; we cite only two or three passages.

Speaking of the principle sustained, he says:

“ It is neither more nor less than the essential act of faith, as Paul sets it forth, Heb. 11: 3, in which we believe that “the worlds (Tous aiūvas, the æons or ages) were brought out, in order, by the word of God ; so that the things that are seen were made (or generated] from things that do not appear(ex qalvojévwv). That is, the outward or phenomenal entities were generated born or (yeyovévai) from the invisible, immaterial, vital powers, principles, laws, otepMatindi hóyot, spermatic words or ideas, call them what we will, which are, themselves, the first and immediate creations of the Divine Word going forth, before any new agency of nature, whether the universal or any particular nature (p. 224).

1 We leave it to others to criticize the liberty taken with the Greek version in transposing εκ and μη in the phrase “εκ μη φαινομενων.

Then, on a following page, in the same chapter: “ To apply all this to our present argument, we would say, with all reverence, that here, in the works of the third and fifth days, or in the production of life from the earth, the “ unseen things that are understood,” are the created ideas, or types, the divine seminal powers which are anterior, in time as well as in order of existence, to all natural or outward manifestation ” (p. 230).

" However progressive and natural the after-production from the earth, the creation of these seminal types or principles was wholly supernatural, immediate, divine. We do not hesitate to use here the sublime expression of Plato ; for we regard it as akin to the thought which Paul presents, in the Eleventh of Hebrews: “God is the Maker of types (TÛV tútwr). He is the architect of ideas;" but not as barren thoughts or speculative theorems. Along with the law and constitutive of it, there is the plastic or formative power, the ruling or directing energy. This, there is no absurdity in saying, was put in the earth to grow; for it means, that by a new power, then given, the earth was made to bring it forth or out, that is, give it birth in outward material form. This was the genesis of the first vegetation" (p. 231).

“ There is a spiritual reality — shall we shrink from using the term ? or, at least, an immaterial entity, in all, even the lowest forms of vegetable as well as animal organization. *** Call it law, idea, power, principle, whatever we may, it is a reality, a high reality, the highest reality connected with the material organization ; and this it is which God made before the tree was in the earth,” etc. (p. 232.)

Finally, he shows in another chapter how man, as regards his “physical nature,” might have conformed to the development theory of species from species. We cited his cautious statement in our review. On the next page of the “ Cosmology” (p. 249), he adds : —

“ From an old organism, there might thus have been made a new man. On this head, however, the Bible gives us no distinct information. We can merely say, it seems to imply an immediate formation, even of the material nature, as though man were altogether a new thing, wholly severed from all physical connection with any previous states of being; still the language is not inconsistent with the other supposition. In fact, the mention of earth as the material from which the body was made, would appear to intimate some use of a previous nature, together with the laws, the growths, the affinities, the established on-goings, of such previous nature.”

Again, on page 251, he says, as he has cited in his recent Letter, that the creation of woman suggests another origin for man's physical nature ; but he does not use the fact to

point an argument against the development theory. On the contrary, he aims to take off the edge of the argument which the creation of Eve suggested to his mind; for he continues directly on with the sentence:

“ Still, however formed, there is a deep significance in the phrase "from the dust of the earth.” High as may be our celestial parentage, we have an earthly mother. The most touching appellations, in all languages, are expressive of the idea. Man “is of the earth, earthy.” He is Adam, he is homo, humus, humilis. If he has a spiritual life that connects him with the higher worlds, he has also an animal, and even a vegetable life, that links him with all below."

Then, as if to relieve the pious mind, that had been accustomed to higher thoughts of man's origin, he admits the doubt, and adds a word of comfort, as follows: "Be it, then, when it may and how it may, it is the inspiration of the higher rational life that is the true beginning [his own italics] of our distinctive humanity.”

Now, why this long disquisition on the development theory, in an exegetical work illustrating a portion of the Bible ? Why does the author continue dallying with the subject, until he has suggested that man's body might have been a brute's corpus ennobled? Simply to present, as he states, an “hypothetical argument,” in which he meant only to say, “ If the Scriptures had clearly taught it, there would be nothing monstrous or incredible in the view ?" Would it not be more natural for a disbeliever in the theory to say, Since neither the Bible nor nature teach it, the view is both monstrous and incredible?

In fact, the cyclical view of nature, with its spiritual entities and the theory of development, constitutes the fundamental idea of the work, to which all about days and time is subordinate. To the absorption of the author's mind with this idea, may be attributed the negligent way in which he follows the record in Genesis, giving prominence to those points that bear on the theory, and quite overlooking much that ought to have been brought out in an exposition of the Mosaic narrative, or the true scriptural cosmology.

Science shows, with regard to plants and animals, that God

instituted types; that is, his purpose or plan of creation, embraced certain type-ideas; and that these type-ideas had expressions in entities, when represented in material forms, such as plants and animals. Of any previous existence of created types as spiritual entities, from time to time developed, it tells us nothing. On the contrary, it declares as plainly as it can, that the type-ideas were only purposes in the great unfolding plan of the omniscient Creator, with whom there could be no after thought.

In illustration we direct attention, for a moment, to the Vertebrate type. Consider the range of animals : fishes, reptiles, birds, quadrupeds, man ; and conceive, as far as possible, of the type-idea for the vertebrate section of the animal kingdom. This type-idea has been viewed by science, in the light both of existing species and geological history. It has been shown to be represented by a consecutive series of vertebræ, having a brain at the anterior extremity, a bone-sheathed cavity along the back for the great nervous cord, and a larger cavity below, ventrally, for the viscera; and involving in its successive expressions in material forms, modifications of these parts according to a predetermined plan embracing in its purpose systems of subordinate types: these modifications corresponding to variations through coalescence or multiplication in the number of vertebræ, variations of length, form, etc., in their processes and appendages, and analogous variations also of other parts in the typestructure.

The vertebrate type-idea was expressed first in fishes ; then in amphibians, reptiles, birds; then in quadrupeds; and finally in man, the last of the series, the succession taking place according to a system, as mentioned in my former Article. Geology declares, unequivocally, that the new forms were new expressions, under the type-idea, by created material forms, and not by forms educed or developed from one another. It also teaches that the first expression of the type-idea, that is, the Devonian fish, suggested a view of the type very inferior to that we now gather from the great range and diversity of existing vertebrates; and our modern species

express a view far below that which the mind derives from the whole series of vertebrate creations in the grand unfolding plan of past time. Thus we learn, from geological history, that in the succession of events, step followed step in progressing order, and ever-rising harmony and grandeur. The material manifestations of the type-ideas were successively made in the progress of creation.

But as to spiritual entities preceding by a period of time the material manifestations, we gather no hints, either from nature's teachings, or the Bible reasonably understood. They are obviously a product of ambitious mind, revolving upon itself, and imagining that, in the movement, it is making progress; and all such efforts of the mind can only produce "elephants." The author denies a knowledge of science, denounces its laws, and the result is, as might have been expected, a clumsy fifth wheel that nature disowns.

In striving to fasten upon the Bible a false development theory, and the idea of nature as a nursing mother, is not the Scriptural Cosmology” anti-scriptural ?

This is the third way in which the influence of the work is plainly infidel.

Had any man of science propounded, in a scientific treatise, the very same view of nature, and the same development theory of species from species, admitting the Deity near by, that there might be, at times, " a sudden flashing in of the extraordinary," and also to plant generic germs or spiritual entities, and raise nature from the decay to which she tends, denunciations would have assailed him from every direction. These views have come from one writing as a Biblical student; and even religious Journals, claiming to be guardians of sacred truth, have been so led away, as to abuse science for exposing the doctrines of the author.

The influence of the work in the country we, therefore, pronounce to be largely infidel; infidel through its denunciations of truth and of truthful men; infidel through its teaching that error is the unavoidable end of science ; infidel through its theory of nature and its degrading and degraded development theory.

« PreviousContinue »