220 + 19 pages,
This electronic edition prepared by Dr. David C. Bossard
from original documents in the Dartmouth College Library.
Copyright © 2005 by Dr. David C. Bossard. All rights reserved.
|[vii] In my intercourse with
young men of good education, I have found more of them disquieted in
their minds, if not unsettled in their religious princiiples, by the
results of geological investigation, than by any other difficulties
attending revealed truth.
|[viii, note] The recent
interpretation of the commencement of Genesis -- by which the first
verse is simply supposed to affirm the original creation of all things,
while the second immediately refers to the commencement of the human
economy; passing by those prodigious cycles which geology demands, with
a silence worthy of a true
revelation, which does not pretned to gratify our curiosity as to the
previous condition of our globe, any more than our curiosity as to the
history of other worlds -- was first suggested by geology, though
suspected and indeed anticipated by some of the early Fathers. ...
"The first day's work does not begin till the third verse.... this is no new theory. It was held by Justin Martyr, Basil, Origin, Theodoret, and Augustine -- men who came to such a conclusion without any bias, and who certainly were not driven to it by any geological difficulties." (Biblical Cyclopædia., Art. Creation.)
Professor Hitchcock ... declares that he is not awarre of any new theories of exegesis having been originated by geologists.
|[x] At all stages [geology] has
had reckless advocates, who have opposed their own crude suggestions
about terrestrial pehnomena to the clearrest statements and strongest
proofs of an accredited revelation.
 An apparent discordance between Scripture and science... arises from the fact that a sedimentary deposit of rocks, to the thickness, as is computed, of eight or nine miles, and the appearance and disappearance ... very many races, one after another, ... seem to demand an immense duration of time to account for the phenomena. Whereas, Scripture has been understood to pronounce the world of no greater age than five or six thousand years.
Arguments for the antiquity of the globe (Hitchcock):
| To maintain that rocks
were created just as they are, is a doctrine of very dangerous tendency.
The best expositors of Scripture seem to be now pretty generally agreed that the opening verse in Genesis has no necessary connexion with the verses which follow. They think it may be understood as making a separate and independent statement regarding creation proper, and that the phrase 'in the beginning,' may be expressive of an indefinitely remote antiquity.
In former times, Whiston, Des Cartes, De Luc, and other distinguished men, advocated the position that the days spoken of in Genesis were not periods of twenty-four hours, but of a vast duration. ... Dr. Buckland believes that therre is no sound critical or theological objection to the interpretation of the word 'day,' as meaning a long period, but he thinks that there is no necessity for such an extension in order to reconcile the text of Genesis with physical appearances.... Dr. Pye Smith... thinks the term 'earth' may have a local and restricted sense, and may be designed to express that particular part of our world which God was adapting for the dwelling of man, and the animals connected with him.
There are marked features of accordance between the volumes of nature and of revelation. The Nature of God. The recent creation of man.
|Not a few
are particularly shocked to think that fossil remains should indicate
the ravages of death among the brute creation, at periods anterior to
the fall of man.  The Scriptures ... do not give us the slightest
hint that creatures expire because our first parents pertook of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That brutes die because man has
sinned, has been asserted innumerable times by divines of eminence; but
... the few texts which have been supposed to favor this idea ... have
scarcely even a semblance of giving it any countenance. The death
o animals is a fact in the course of nature... it contradicts neigher
the scriptural narrative or Christian doctrine.
marine remains of animals and vegetables, with which many of the
fossiliferous strata abound, were long referred to this deluge as the
cause of their transportation, and were appealed to as evidence, that
the diluvial waters had overflowed the whole earth. The friends
of revelation were naturally disappointed when this position was
disputed, and the fossils were alleged to have belonged in general to
periods much more ancient, and to have been entombed where they are now
found under other circumstances.
best expositors of Scripture are now generally of opinion that the
flood, though extensive, was local. The language of Scripture certainly
seems, at first sight, most unqualified: 'All the high hills that were
under the whole heaven were covered.' It is certain, however, that
Scripture often uses general language with a restricted signification.
 If we adopt the princiiple which Scripture itself so unequivocally sanctions -- that general terms may be used with a limited sense -- the whole account is simple and consistent. A deluge of great extent inundated the dry land. In respect to men, whom it was designed to punish for their wickedness, it was universal, excepting only Noah and his family, whom it pleased God to spare alive. Along with them were preserved such animals as were most useful to them, and such as were fitted to fulfil the purposes of Providence after the waters should have retired.
me to add, that if geology has its proper evidence, so has Scripture --
ev idence clear, and broad, and varied, which no difficulties affect --
and that the same searching after truth which has led men of scientific
mind to acquiesce in modern geology, has induced many of the more
eminent of their number to own the proof of Scripture to be decisive
and irresistible. The great Cuvier, the father of philosophic geology,
was president of the Bible Society in Paris, and was meditating a
speech for one of its meetings, eulogistic of the Bible, when he was
removed by death. Need I speak of silliman, professor of chemistry in
Yale college, America; of M'Culloch, like the others I have mentioned,
no divine, but a profound geologist, and strong advocate of the
Christian religion? It would be tedious to enumerate such men as
Sedgwick, Conybeare, Buckland, Bakewell, Miller, all enlightened
geologists, and friends of biblical truth.
Nautilus and the Ammonite
Were launched in friendly strife;
Each sent to float, in its tiny boat,
On the wide wild sea of life!
For each could swim on the ocean's brim,
And when wearied its sail could furl;
And sink to sleep in the great sea deep,
In it palace all of pearl!
 When countries have undergone a change of temperature, and races adapted to the former state of climate have died out, they have been succeeded by new orders, most of which could not have lived under the prior condition of things. ... Tribes to which the caloric of past days would have been enfeebling and deadly, are at home and healthful in our frigid atmosphere.
hypothesis is liable to positive and insuperable objections, of which
the following may be stated:--
1. The fossils contained in the different strata do not show a graduated progress fom more rudimentary to more perfect structures. ... The bivalve mollusca of the [lowest fossiliferous rocks] were certainly as complicated, nay, more highly organized, than the greater number of conchifera of the present ocean...The crustacea of the Silurian system were at least as curiously organised as the limuli of the North American coasts...The belemnites and ammonites, turrilites, and other extinct genera of the oolite and chalk, reveal to us an extinct order of cephalopoda larger, more powerful, and more curiously organized, than existing loligines and sepiæ. It is evident, therefore, that the whole notion of a gradual amelioration or enrichment of the animal organisation may be dismissed as a mere illusion of the fancy....
2. There are constituents in the structure of animals which exclude the possibility of transition upwards or downwards
earth is not a wild, abandoned to neglect, or controlled by casualties,
but is governed on a system, in which the several agents fulfil each
some important function, and co-operate in sustaining a collective
each of these agencies accidental? Above all, was their harmonious
co-operation a thing of chance? A glorious divinity must this chance
be, and strong must be the faith of him who credits its marvels. Such a
believer has little pretext for ridiculing credulity.
 A very beautiful example of compensation is derived from the relations of the animal and vegetable kingdoms to the atmosphere. The result of all changes of composition in animal bodies, is to deteriorate the atmosphere, and to render it unfit for supporting the life of sentient beings. Animals, by respiration, are continually throwing carbonic acid into the atmosphere, and indeed the final decomposition of the body after death, tends still further to load the air with unhealthy azotised matters. The purity of air, however, is maintained by the counteracting influence of the vegetable kingdom.
lesson taught us by Modern Geology is the mutability of this world. I
do not speak of its laws, which are strikingly uniform, but of its
constituent matter as moulded by their operation. We have seen that the
sea and the dry land have repeatedly exchanged places. ... [Second]
Modern Geology smiles contempt on the pride of antiquity. ...Our
vaunted race are all the entrants of but yesterday, compared with many
of the irrational tribes which we regard with contempt.
fitness of the earth's crust, including its atmospheric ocean, for the
support of organic beings, depends not on its quiescence, but on its
incessant changes. The hard, undecomposed rock cannot afford food... an
atmosphere of absolute dryness... is scarcely compatible with the
support of life. Consequently rocks must be decomposed and comminuted
to afford an appropriate soil: temperature and moisture must also be
combined in due proportion, that the physical agents may act
beneficially on organized beings. These results are brought about by
the antagonism of various forces.
 Parallel with these unceasing mutations in the inorganic constituents of the earth's crust, we find corresponding mutations in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, whose history constitutes the second division of geology. ... The careful investigation of the remains of former and long-extinct species of plants and animals, has led to the wonderful but incontrovertible fact, that repeatedly whole races and groups of beings have perished, while the earth has again been replenished by new species. ... It is well known that every well-defined region of the globe has its own peculiar creation of plants and animals, which exist in no other division of the earth's surface.
| If we
now inquire whether the history of fossil mollusca afford any evidence
of progressive development, we can reply in the negative. Of all the
divisions of the mollusca, the cephalopoda or cuttle-fish tribe, to
which also the nautilus belongs, are unquestionably the most perfect,
and fully developed. The chambered shells of the cuttle-fish tribe, are
found in great abundance in the Silurian strata. The species are
extremely numerous, belonging to many genera, some of great size and
very complicated structure. .. They become rare in the tertiary
formations, and in our present seas we can only enumerate about three
species of chambered shells. In this case the theory of a progressive
deterioration of the mollusca would be more feasible than that of a
 There are two orders of truths in zoology, one of them, when exclusively pursued, apparently favourable to the doctrines of the transmutationists, and the other, athough equally true, is but rarely insisted on. The gradation of lizards to serpents is of the most impeerceptible kind, and there are animals, regarding which it is difficult to decide towhich division they should belong. The gradation from the frog tribe to fishes is still more remarkable, and animals have been recently discovered of so intermediate a nature as to render it a delicate matter to pronounce whether they are to be referred to the batrachia or to fishes. These facts are apt to carry away the imaginations of young naturalists, especially when the other point of view is neglected. There are groups of animals in which transitions are impossible, and combinations of organs which can never occur. A tiger with cloven hoofs, and still more, a winged serpent, cannot exist. In like manner there are some divisions of the animal kingdom so well defined, and whose differences from all other classes are so great, that we can scarcely imagine a transition to another class. Thus, to take an obvious instance, ther eis no middle term between a vertbral and invertebral animal. ...
 The birds lead to nothing, they graduate into no other class. They stand between mammifers and reptiles. To convert a bird into a mammifer, or even into something intermediate, is inconceivable. ,,,The idea of a mammiferous animal includes not one condition, but many, all inseparable, viz., utero gestation, mammary glands; and these again involve fleshy lips and tongue for suction, an epiglottis to protect the iwndpipe, a diaphragm and abdominal muscles, which are also necessary for the same ends. None of these conditions exist in birds, nor are they compatible with the structure of a vertebrate destined to fly.... On the other side of the birds we find the reptiles; but here also the void between the two groups is deep and wide. Both are oviparous, but the reptiles are cold-blooded, while birds possess the highest temperature of any class of animals....