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266. The manner in which the beasts of the field, and creeping things were formed at first, has been a troublesome question; and no one has been able satisfactorily to decide it, and perhaps never will. The Bible says; the earth brought them forth; but further than this, it gives us no definite information. So far as this relates to the smaller animals, the insects, for example, there may not seem to exist the same difficulty as attends the creation of the larger species. The reason is, that we witness the same thing, or something analagous to it, at the present time; and we can the more readily suppose the same process at the outset. But concerning the larger animals; the lion, the tiger, the elephant, &c., we derive from the present no light as to the mode of their creation at the first. Perhaps they have advanced to their present size from very small beginnings." Perhaps they have. Perhaps at first they were mere animalcules, such as are now generated in the summer's sun, and have advanced, in the progress of ages, to their present stature. This does
not remove the difficulty. It only changes it to a different position. Nature alone can no more produce a small animal, than a large one. It can no more generate life in the microscopic animalcule, than in the ox or the elephant. It can no more produce the result, by having ages for the work, than it can in the twinkling of an eye. We must associate a God with nature, to explain existing facts; and even then the exact mode of operation may not be rendered certain.
267. There is one argument for the progressive theory. It is the argument of analogy. All else in the creative process, seems to have been gradual and exceedingly slow. The condensation of the planets, the deposition of strata, and doubtless other processes, required long ages for this completion. Why not the same be true of the vegetable and animal productions? That God could create the world at once, and could fill it with inhabitants, with a single word, is not to be doubted. He has power enough to do this; but as he has not chosen this mode in other productions and processes, why should we suppose vegetable and animal life an exception to his ordinary method?
But, though we adopt the progressive theory, the idea sometimes put forth, that an animal or a vegetable of one kind, may have risen up from one of a different or inferior order, has no analogy or good sense to support it. Every plant and animal is made "after its kind ;" and however long the time in producing them, the kinds must have been separate and distinct.
268. The passage now before us, brings to view the creation of land animals. Of course after their creation we may suppose them to have shared the fate common to all animal and vegetable existences before them. They must have perished, and left their bones to rot upon the plains, or to be buried in the earth, or to be sunk in the water. This has been done; and according to the Mosaic theory, they may be expected to be found in the earth, in the order laid down in the record. On this point what do Geologists say?
Bakewell : "The co-existence of land animals, at the period when most of the secondary series were de
posited, is proved by the occasional occurrences of terrestrial fossil plants, and the bones of fresh water and amphibious reptiles." Jameson: "The bones of mammiferous land quadrupeds, are found only above the coarse limestone, which is above the chalk." The limestone and chalk are down as far as the transition strata. It is not until you get above these, says Professor Jameson, that land animals are found. Vegetables, and marine animals, we have seen, may be found lower. They should be; for according to the Bible record, they were formed first. Cuvier has nearly the same language as Jameson. So has Buckland. Sir H. Davy says: "The remains of quadrupeds of extinct species occur next above those of birds and oviporous reptiles. . . It is only in the loose and slightly consolidated strata of gravel and sand, and which are usually called diluvial formations, that the remains of animals, such as now people the globe, are found." Bakewell, p. 7, 562.
269. The Bible tells us that man was created last. How does the testimony of Geologists agree with this statement? We have the satisfaction of knowing that they all agree with the Bible account; not because they are glad to be found on the side of divine revelation, for some of them are not; but because facts compel them to give in their testimony in its favor. The few we shall quote will represent the declarations of the many. Jameson: "Man is found nowhere except at the surface." Bakewell : "The absence of human bones in the stratified rocks, or in the undisturbed beds of gravel or clay, indicate that man, the most perfect of terrestrial beings, was not created till after those great revolutions which buried many different orders, and entire genera of animals, deep under the present surface of the earth." Cuvier : "It is a fact, that, as yet, no human bones have been discovered among fossil remains."
270. Thus, all through the Bible account of creation there is the most perfect agreement with facts as they exist in the earth. It is the business of Geologists to search out these facts, and bring them before the world. They have done so; and the result has been astonishingly in favor of the Bible account. On this point, Cu
vier, the great French Naturalist, whom we have several times quoted, says: "The books of Moses show us that he had very perfect ideas respecting several of the highest questions of Natural Philosophy. His Cosmogony. . . . is exactly the same as that which has been deduced from Geological considerations." Professor
Silliman, of Yale College, one of the best instructed naturalists of this country, speaks as follows: — "The order of the physical events, discovered by Geology, is substantially the same, as that recorded by the sacred historian." Bakewell, 562, 17, 554, 538.
271. I would add that many of the earlier events, recorded in the Bible, are found imperfectly represented in the traditions of pagan nations. The most remarkable instance of this kind, relating to the creation of the world, is the account given in the Institutes of Mena, which Sir William Jones regards as nearly as ancient as the writings of Moses. The account of the six days of the creation, as there given, so obviously resembles that given in Genesis, that it is scarcely possible to doubt its being derived from the same patriarchal communication. There is a particular description given of the term "day," and it is expressly stated to be a period of several thousand years a comment on the Mosaic use of that term, of no small importance, when its antiquity is considered. The sixth day of creation closes up the creative work. A few remarks on the whole subject will close the discussion.
272. (1.) It is worthy of notice, as an occasion of admiration, that the order of creation is the most natural of any that could have been devised. Everything is made at its proper time. Removing the superincumbent vapor from the earth's surface, allowing the light to shine down on the face of the deep, was the first work. The cooling process to which the earth was then subject would induce this state of things. An atmosphere is next in order. There is now a place for it; and it is needed to help carry on the subsequent work. Then a separation takes place between the dry land and water. Without this, vegetable and animal life, as it now exists, could not be. All that followed this separation, required it; nor was a different order possible. In other words, the
plants and animals required the dry land and water; but the latter did not require the former. Again: The vege table kingdom occupies the only place that could have been properly assigned it. Before this, it could not exist; it was indispensable afterwards. It required all that went before, the light, the atmosphere and the dry land; but it did not require anything that followed. Then comes the creation of animals. Where else could they have been placed?-not till there was light; not till there was an atmosphere; not till there was dry land; not till there was vegetation. Man is made last, to crown the work, as the most perfect of the creation, to have dominion over, and make use of all the rest. I would add another consideration. At first the temperature of the earth was not adapted to its present inhabitants, nor indeed to inhabitants of any kind. Neither was the atmosphere in a condition to subserve the purposes of the subsequent vegetable and animal creation. The high temperature filled it with too much mist or vapor; but at length, being removed by a diminution of temperature, there would arise a rich and luxuriant vegetation, such as we find to have been the case, from the first vegetable relics found in the earth. Under the state of things then existing, such vegetation could exist before the animals. And at length, when the temperature and the purity of the atmosphere, would admit of animals of some sort, it might still require a considerable period for the condition of things to be suited to such animals as now are, and especially to man.
273. (2.) There is supposed to be a discrepancy between the Bible account and the facts of Geology in regard to the creation of vegetables, and the creation of animals; the latter being placed subsequent to the former by the Bible, while Geology seems to regard them as cotemporary, both being found on a common level in the earth's crust. We remark in regard to this matter, that the point here involved is not a settled question among Geologists; and until it becomes so, no argument can be drawn from it.
Besides, we are to consider that vegetable relics may have existed on the surface of the dry land, long before