Creation of the World in Six Days,.. The Creation of Light before the Sun,.. The Creation of the Planetary System,.. The Celestial Worlds are inhabited,.. The Angels as the Inhabitants of the Fixed Stars,. The Incarnation of God in Christ, lxxxii 21l. Continuation, lxxxvi. Continluation, lxxxix i The Catastrophe of the End of the World,. Duration of the Present Course of the Earth,.. The Cosmical Consummation, Survey of the State of Geological Science,.. State of the Question, The Bible does not teach that the Earth was formed in Six Days, The Bible does not advert to the Creation of the now petrified Organisms, Death on the Pre-Adamite Earth,..
Origin of the Petrified Organisms The Flora and Fauna of the Primeval World,. The Old Covenant, Prefatory Remarks,. Boundaries and Name of the I-loly Land, The Jordan Valley, I escent of the Covenant People, Calling and Pilgrimage of Abram, Ishmael is cast forth, Marriage of Isaac. The Sons of Isaac, Flight of Jacob to Mesopotamia, His Wrestling with Jehovah,..
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Gem i. In respect of its important bearing upon Theology and science generally, its depth and comprehensiveness, its fundamental character and its wide application, probably few other portions of Holy Writ can bear comparison with it. It also presents a great many points to guide and aid us in our present investigation. This section of the Bible must, therefore, form our starting-point, to which in the course of our enquiries we shall again have frequently to recur. But for our present purpose we must first seek to gain a clear view of the character and import, of the origin, position, and object of this narrative.
Even a cursory perusal of these three chapters of Genesis will convince us that they consist of two distinct sections. The first of these-embracing chs. It is because the results of the Fall are here mentioned, that this portion of Scripture forms the basis of all succeeding sacred history, while its account of the causes of the Fall, at the same time connects it with the a2. Addressing ourselves, in the first place, to those general questions which may be raised on both sections, we postpone the consideration of their mutual relation.
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The first three chapters of Genesis partly treat of events which are beyond the range of human vision and recollection, and partly refer to that first and fleeting hour in the history of mankind, the nature and circumstances of which were entirely different from anything which man presently experiences or beholds. What view are we then to take of this narrative-is it a poetical fiction, a philosophical theory, a tradition, or a piece of history? Poetical fiction under the form of a narrative i. In either case the historical form serves chiefly as a garb; nor does the poet claim for his narrative that it should be regarded as a strict and faithful account of events.
We cannot see any reason why such compositions may not also proceed from a poet who writes under the direction of the Spirit of God, and hence obtain a place in the Scriptures.
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As an instance of this we mention the book of Job, where a historical or legendary subject is poetically elaborated so as to furnish a kind of basis or a framework in which to present the wisdom and knowledge derived by teaching from on high. But the narrative in Genesis is quite other than this.
There the history serves not as the garb or frame, but constitutes the substance. Manifestly what is there recorded is presented as a faithful narrative of real events. This appears from the close of the first section, in ch. Again, the whole cast and connection of the second section proves that it is intended to describe somnething real, and is not merely a poetic fiction or a product of the imagination.
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All the subsequent books of the Bible which refer to these sections treat them in the light in which we have presented them. We may, indeed, conceive that a writer; having other than. Thus, in the narrative of the creation, may not the circumstance that its close forms the basis for the law of Sabbath observance afford a clue to its real character?
May some Jewish sage not have invented the first chapter of Genesis in order to trace this all-important institution to Divine authority, and, the better to secure this object, have represented his fiction as a historical reality? This question of course implies that we regard the writings, the history, and the institutions of the Old Testament as of merely human origin.
But if internal and external grounds, if the witness of the Holy Ghost and the results of study and investigation, have convinced us that another than man's spirit -even the Spirit of God —was concerned in the composition of these books and in the guidance of that history, we shall return an immediate and indignant negative to such a query. When we understand that the history, the teaching, and the prophecies of the Old Testament point to the incarnation of God in Christ, and that in Him they culminate and are fulfilled, we cannot fail to see how that event amply confirmed their truth.
The Mosaic history of creation formed the foundation of that edifice which the apostles of Jesus Christ have completed. It is impossible to believe that the Divine building of Christianity could be founded on a delusion or an imposture, however well intended. Like poetic fiction, philosophical speculation derives its origin, though in a different manner, from its author. Starting from some fact, of whose origin, import, or purpose, neither experience nor history can satisfactorily inform us, speculation attempts, by reflection or suggestion, to fill up the gaps in human knowledge, and not unfrequently presumes to claim absolute certainty for a process of thinking which is so liable to error.
The supposition that our narrative had some such origin has this in its favour, that the origin of the world and of evil, of which it treats, have always been amongst the most important problems discussed by philosophy. But, irrespective of other circumstances, which go against this hypothesis, the fact that this record forms the basis of the whole history of redemption, and that its accuracy is confirmed in the New Testament, is sufficient to show that it must be far other and far higher thanx.
A legend is an orally transmitted account of something that has taken place. Its legitimate province are prehistorical times and events. The period of history commences whenever an eyewitness or cotemporary chronicles for the benefit of posterity what has occurred in his days. Any event not thus recorded, and only transmitted by word of mouth, is called a legend. But a legend may originate in one of two ways.
It may either be traced by unbroken tradition to the time when the event had taken place-in which case it really embodies historical recollections, however these may, in the course of time, have been poetically adorned or transformed; or else the link of tradition has at some period been broken, and the popular mind, which has a " horror vacui," and abundance of poetic invention about it, has supplied a fictitious commencement to that which has really occurred. Naturally, the next generation would then transmit the whole as a legend reaching back to the time when these events had taken place.
The connection between our narrative and the other portions of revelation prevents us from viewing it as a legend in the sense just explained. But this objection does not apply to our first account of the origin of a legend. It is, indeed, absolutely necessary to regard the narrative as a genuine tradition, and as an accurate recollection of primeval times, which had not undergone such transformation as to impair its truthfulness.
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But the mere circumstance of being derived from tradition does not render this impossible. For, even if it were the case that a tradition so unadulterated and truthful were not to be found among other nations, even though they had been incapable of separating the historical underground of a legend from its popular, poetic, or philosophic adornments-we must still claim these distinguishing merits for our narrative, on the supposition that it was derived from tradition.
But even this. Vii hypothesis is not necessary. Granting that the original tradition had become enlarged and adorned among the Jews, yet the record in Gen. If; therefore, our narrative was derived from tradition, this tradition must have been pure and unadulterated, really the same as history in the strict sense of the term , and differing from it only in this, that it came by oral transmission, and not from cotemporary chronicles. As yet we have not had materials to decide whether it really is traditionary, or whether the author of Genesis had derived his information from other sources.
But a closer investigation must settle this enquiry in favour of tradition. Either the author of Genesis had found the substance of his narrative already in existence or it was revealed to him. The latter seems incredible, since the legends of other nations-in the east and west, in the north and south-however different in their religious spirit, agree so remarkably, and often so minutely, with the account in our narrative, that we cannot but trace all these notices to a common source. It can scarcely be supposed that these nations could have derived from the Jews the facts which they all record.
Hence the substance of our narrative cannot, in the last instance, be traced to the author of Genesis, nor even to an Israelite, but must have been drawn from a source to which both the Jews and other nations had access, and which must belong to a period when mankind was not yet divided by varieties of abode and language, of race, of civilization, and of religion. The nations must, before they had parted into separate races, have derived from primeval times these common recollections and legends.
At later periods this common heritage assumed different forms among the peoples, or through priestly tradition, according to the spiritual direction on which, after their separation, they had entered. Still, ita! Only among Israel, where means and capabilities existed for it, was the legend preserved in its pristine purity.
If we are to trace this legend to the period when peoples and tribes were still united, we feel not only at liberty but are even obliged to go back one or two steps further to the time of Noah, and thence to that of Adam. It is, in our opinion, more than likely that this tradition had been handed down from the very earliest time to that of the author of Genesis.
But our record contains twzo sections, each forming a separate account, in which the same events are separately related, each in its own peculiar context. Does this circumstance imply that originally there had been two distinct traditions, derived from separate sources?
We reply in the negative. At most we might infer that the original tradition had assumed a twofold form, perhaps when the book of Genesis was composed, but not that originally there had been two distinct sources of it.
Even if this ray had, during the preceding period, been decomposed by the prism of oral tradition, the original unity would again be restored-possibly, though not necessarily, with the loss of some of the colours —in Noah and Abraham. After that the legend may have formed various concentric or eccentric circles, but this does not imply that they conflicted with one another or with the original tradition. On the other hand we may with equal propriety assume that the original legend had'-been preserved in its pristine form. If the former hypothesis be the correct one, the author of Genesis may really have drawn from two distinct traditions, in order to supplement the one by the other.