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Creation and Its Records by B.H. Baden-Powell

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record, it is difficult to account for this, and still more for the
absence of intermediate forms (particularly suitable for preservation)
of the _Cetaceae_. The Zeuglodons from Eocene down to Pliocene, the
Dolphins in the Pliocene, and the _Ziphoids Catodontidae_, and
_Balaenidae_ in the Pliocene, are all fully developed forms, with no
intermediate species.

[Footnote 1: The series is thus (Nicholson, p. 702):--1.
_Eohippus_--Lower Eocene of America; fore-feet have four toes and a
rudimentary thumb or pollex. 2. _Orohippus_ (about the size of a
fox)--Eocene. 3. _Anchitherium_--Eocene and Lower Miocene; three toes,
but 2 and 4 are diminutive. 4. _Hipparion_--Upper Miocene and Pliocene;
still three toes, but 3 more like the modern horse and 2 and 4 still
further diminished. 5. _Pliohippus_--later Pliocene, very like Equus. 6.

Mr. Mivart remarks, "There are abundant instances to prove that
considerable modifications may suddenly develop themselves, either due
to external conditions or to obscure internal causes in the organisms
which exhibit them.[1]" If it is not so, granted to the full the
imperfection of the Geologic record, but remembering the cases where we
_do_ find intermediate forms; we ask why should they not be preserved in
other cases? If they ever existed we should surely see _more_ changing
forms; not only such as are more or less uncertainly divided species,
but whole orders running one into another. No evidence exists to show
that any bird has gradually passed into an animal, nor a carnivorous
beast become ruminant, or _vice versa._

[Footnote 1: P. 112] [Transcriber's note: Chapter VIII]

The analogy of changes that are known will not bear extension enough to
prove, even probably, any such change.

Surely if our conclusion in favour of a Divine Design to be attained,
and a Providential Intelligence directing the laws of development, is no
more than a belief, it is a probable and reasonable belief: it certainly
meets facts and allows place for difficulties in a way far more
satisfactory than the opposite belief which rejects _all_ but
"secondary" and purely "natural" causes.

So clear does this seem to me, that I cannot help surmising that we
should never have heard of any objection to Divine creation and
providential direction, if it had not been for a prevalent fixed idea,
that by "creation" _must_ be meant a final, one-act production _(per
saltum)_ of a completely developed form, where previously there had been
nothing. Such a "creation" would of course militate against _any_
evolution, however cautiously stated or clearly established. And no
doubt such an idea of "creation" was and still is prevalent, and would
naturally and almost inevitably arise, while nothing to the contrary in
the _modus operandi_ of Creative Power was known. What is more strange
is that the current objection should not now be, "Your _idea of
creation_ is all wrong," rather than the one which has been strongly
put forward (and against which I am contending), "There is no place for
a Creator."

(5) This is the only other _general_ point that remains to be taken up
in connection with the theory that all living forms are due to the
gradual accumulation of small favourable changes without creative
intervention. The objection is that we cannot obtain the inconceivably
long time required for the process of uncontrolled and unaided

I am not here concerned to argue generally for the shortness or longness
of the periods of geological time; let us, for the purposes of argument,
admit a very wide margin of centuries and ages; but _some_ limit there
must be. The sun's light and heat, for one thing, are necessary, and
though the bulk of combustible material in the sun is enormous, there
must be some end to it. Sir William Thomson has calculated (and his
calculations have never been answered) that on purely physical grounds,
the existence of life on the earth must be limited to some such period
as 100 millions of years; and this is far too short for uncontrolled

We know from fossils, that species have remained entirely unaltered
since the glacial epochs began, and how many generations are included
even in that! If no change is visible in all that time, how many more
ages must have elapsed before a primitive _Amoeba_ could have developed
into a bird or a Mammal?

In Florida Mr. Agassiz has shown that coral insects exist unchanged,
and must have been so for 30,000 years.

When we remember also the enormous destruction of life that takes place,
supposing that in a given form a few creatures underwent accidental
changes which were beneficial and likely to aid them--still what chances
were there that the creatures which began to exhibit the right sort of
change should have died before they left offspring! the chances against
them are enormous: and the chances have to be repeated at every
successive change before the finally perfected or advanced creature took
its place in the polity of nature. Moreover, there is the chance of
small changes being lost by intercrossing: our own cattle-breeders have
most carefully to select the parents, or else the favourable variety
soon disappears.

How then, seeing the power of stability which at least some forms are
found to exhibit--seeing too the enormous chances against the survival
of the particular specimens that begin to vary, and the further chances
of the loss of variety by intercrossing; how can we get the millions of
millions of years necessary to produce the present extreme divergence of
species? The fact is that the force of this objection is likely to be
undervalued, from the mere difficulty of bringing home to the mind the
immeasurable time really demanded by uncontrolled evolution.

Nor is the question of time left absolutely to be matter of belief or
speculation. For here and there in the geological records of the rocks,
we _have_ certain intermediate forms--or forms which we may fairly argue
to be such. But looking at the very considerable differences between the
earlier and the later of these forms--differences greater than those
which now separate well-defined species, it seems questionable whether
any of the divisions of Tertiary time, taking all the circumstances into
consideration, could be lengthened out sufficiently to accomplish the

At any rate, if any particular example be disallowed, the general
objection must be admitted to be weighty.

Now the intervention of any system of created designs of animal
form--however little its details be understood--and the production of
variations under _divine guidance_ which would lead more directly to the
accomplishment of such forms as the complicated flowers of orchids above
described, would unquestionably tend to shorten the requisite time.
There would, by a process of reasoning easily followed, be an immediate
reduction of the ages required, within practicable limits, though the
time must still remain long. More than that is not necessary. The
Ussherian chronology is not of Divine revelation, though some persons
speak of it as if it was. There is not the shadow of a reason to be
gleaned from the Bible, nor from any other source, that the commencement
of orderly development, the separation of land and water, earth and sky,
and the subsequent provision of designs for organic forms of life and
the first steps that followed the issue of the design, began six
thousand years ago, or anything like it. It can be shown, indeed, that
_historical_ man, or the specific origin of the man spoken of as Adam,
dates back but a limited time; and it is calculable with some degree of
probability how far; but that is all. We are therefore in no difficulty
when ample time is demanded; but we are in the greatest straits when the
illimitable demands of a slowly and minutely stepping development,
perpetually liable to be checked, turned back, and even obliterated,
have to be confronted with other weighty probabilities and calculations
regarding the sun's light and heat, and the duration of particular
geologic eras.



We now approach a special objection which always, has been (and I shall
be pardoned, perhaps, for saying _always will be_) the _crux_ of the
theory of unaided, uncreated evolution--the advent of reasoning, and not
only reasoning, but self-conscious and God-conscious MAN.

Here again the lines of argument are so numerous, and the details into
which we might go so varied, that a rigid and perhaps bald selection of
a few topics is all that can be attempted.

But I may remark that naturalists are far from being agreed on this part
of the subject. Agassiz rejects the evolution of man altogether. Mr. St.
G. Mivart, while partly admitting, as every one else now does, the
doctrine of evolution, denies the descent of man. Mr. Wallace, the great
apostle of evolution, opposes Darwin, and will have none of his views on
the descent of man; and Professor Huxley himself says that, while the
resemblance of structure is such that if any "process of physical
causation can be discovered by which the genera and families of ordinary
animals have been produced, the process of causation is amply sufficient
to account for the origin of man," still he admits that the gulf is vast
between civilized man and brutes, and he is certain that "whether _from_
them or not, man is assuredly not _of_ them."

The first difficulty I shall mention is, however, a structural one.
Supposing that an ape-like ancestor developed into man, on the
principles of natural selection; then his development has taken place in
a manner directly contrary to the acknowledged law of natural selection.
He has developed backwards; his frame is in every way weaker; he is
wanting in agility; he has lost the prehensile feet; he has lost teeth
fitted for fighting or crushing or tearing; he has but little sense of
smell; he has lost the hairy covering, and is obliged to help himself by
clothes.[1] If this loss was ornamental it is quite unlike any other
development in this respect, since no other creature has the same; for
ornamental purposes the fur becomes coloured, spotted, and striped, but
not lost. It is easy to reply that man being _intelligent_, his brain
power enables him to invent clothes, arms, implements, and so forth,
which not only supply all deficiencies of structure, but give him a
great superiority over all creatures. But how did he get that
intelligence? By what natural process of causation (without intelligent
direction) is it conceivable that, given a species of monkey, all at
once and at a certain stage, structural development should have been
retarded and actually reversed, and a development of brain structure
alone set in? Nor, be it observed, has any trace of _man_ with a
rudimentary brain ever been discovered. Savages have brains far in
excess of their requirements, and can consequently be educated and
improved. The skull of a prehistoric man found in the Neanderthal near
Dusseldorf is of average brain capacity, showing that in those remote
ages man was very much in capacity what he is at present.

[Footnote 1: It is remarkable that the loss of the hairy covering is
most complete when it is most wanted: the back, the spine, and the
shoulders are in nearly all races unprotected; and yet the want of a
covering from the heat or cold is such that the rudest savages have
invented some kind of cloak for the back.]

It must, however, be admitted that the special difficulties of the
origin of man are not purely structural. We do not know enough of the
Divine plan to be able to understand why it is that there is a certain
undeniable unity of form, in the two eyes, ears, mouth, limbs and organs
generally of the animal and man. Moreover, much is made of the fact, as
stated by a recent "Edinburgh Reviewer," that "the physical difference
between man and the lowest ape is trifling compared with that which
exists between the lowest ape and any brute animal that is not an
ape.[1]" This fact no doubt negatives the idea put forward by Bishop
Temple and others, that if there was an evolution of man, it must have
been in a special branch which was foreseen and commenced very far back
in the scale of organic being. For the structural difference might not
require such a separate origin; while the mental difference, affording
objections of a different class, will not allow of _any_ such evolution
at all. That there is _some_ connection between man and the animal
cannot be denied, and consequently, in the absence of fuller
information, very little would be gained by insisting on the purely
_physical_ development question. The Bible states positively that the
man Adam (as the progenitor of a particular race, at any rate) was a
separate and actual production, on a given part of the earth's surface.
All that we need conclude regarding that is that there is nothing known
which entitles us to say, "This is not a fact, and therefore is not
genuine revelation."

[Footnote 1: No. 331, July, 1885, p. 223.]

Moreover, as to the question of the possibility of human development
generally, there are certain considerations which directly support our
belief. For example, directly we look to the characteristic point, the
gift of intellect, we can reasonably argue that the action of a Creator
is indispensable. The entrance of consciousness and of reason, however
elementary, marks something out of all analogy with the development of
physical structure, just as much as the entrance of Life marked a new
departure in no analogy with the "properties" of inorganic matter.

From the first dawn of what looks like _will_ and _choice_ between two
things, and something like a _reason_ which directs the course of the
organism in a particular way for a particular object, we have an
altogether new departure. The difficulty commences at the outset, and
even in the animal creation; it is merely continued and rendered more
striking when we take into consideration the higher development of
intellect into power of abstract reasoning, self-consciousness and

It is perfectly true that the difference between the "instinct" of
animals and the reason and mind of man, is one of degree rather than
kind. As Christians, we have no objection whatever to a development of
reason from the lowest reason solely concerned with earthly and bodily
affairs to the highest powers searching into deep and spiritual truths.
But such a development, though it is parallel to a physical
development--as spiritual law appears to be always parallel (as far as
the nature of things permits) to physical laws--still is a development
which cannot under any possible circumstances dispense with an external
spiritual order of existence, and one which cannot be physically caused.
Nor is it conceivable that man should develop a consciousness of God,
when no God really exists externally to the consciousness.[1]

[Footnote 1: For our consciousness of God is obviously very different
from a figment of the imagination, or the sort of reality experienced in
a dream. This is not the place to develop such an argument, but it seems
to me more than doubtful whether we can even _imagine_ something
_absolutely_ non-existent in nature. When the artist's imagination would
construct, e.g., a winged dragon, the concept is always made up of
_parts which are real_--eyes like an alligator, bat-wings, scales of a
fish or crocodile, and so forth. All the members or parts are real, put
together to form the unreal. I do not believe that any instance of a
human conception can be brought forward which on analysis will not
conform to this rule.]

The main objection, then, that I would press is, that admitting any
possibility of the development of man from a purely physical and
structural point of view, admitting any inference that may be drawn
fairly from the undoubted connection (increasingly great as it is as we
go upwards from the lower animal to the ape) between animals and man,
that inference never can touch the descent of man as a whole; because no
similarity of bodily structure can get over the difficulty of the mental
power of man. We have to deal not with a part of man, but with the
whole. The difficulty cannot be got over by denying _mind_ as a thing
_per se_; for all attempts to represent mind as the _mere_ product of a
physical structure, the brain, utterly fail.

Nobody wishes to deny what Dr. H. Maudsley and others have made so plain
to us, that mind has (in one aspect, at any rate) a physical basis--that
is, that no thought, imagination, or combination of thought, is known to
us _apart from_ change and expenditure of energy in the brain. Nor can
we, by any process of introspection or observation of other subjects,
separate the mind from the brain and ascertain the existence of "pure
mind," or soul, experimentally. But still, there is no possibility of
getting the operations of mind out of mere cell structure, unless an
external Power has added the mind power, as a faculty of His endowing;
then He may be allowed to have connected that faculty ever so
mysteriously with physical structure; we are content. And I must insist
on the total failure of all analogy between the development of bones or
muscles and the development of mind; and even if we grant a certain
stage of instinct to have arisen, we are still in the dark as to how
that could develop into intellect such as man possesses, including a
belief in God. On this subject let us hear Professor Allman. Between a
development of material structure and a development of intellectual and
moral features, the Professor says, "there is no conceivable analogy;
and the obvious and continuous path, which we have hitherto followed up,
in our reasonings from the phenomena of lifeless matter to those of
living form, here comes suddenly to an end. The chasm between
_unconscious_ life and _thought_ is deep and impassable, and no
transitional phenomena are to be found by which, as by a bridge, we can
span it over.[1]"

There can be _life_ or _function_ without _consciousness_ or _thought;_
therefore, even if we go so far as to admit that life is only a property
of protoplasm, there can be no ground for saying that _thought_ is only
a property of protoplasm.

[Footnote 1: British Association Address.]

"If," says Professor Allman, "we were to admit that every living cell
were a conscious and thinking thing, are we therefore justified in
asserting that its consciousness with its irritability is a property of
the matter of which it is composed? The sole argument on which this view
is made to rest is analogy. It is argued that because the life
phenomena, which are invariably found in the cell, must be regarded as a
property of the cell, the phenomena of consciousness by which they are
accompanied must also be so regarded. The weak point in the argument is
the absence of all analogy between the things compared: and as the
conclusion rests solely on the argument from analogy, the two must fall
to the ground together."

Try and assign to matter all the properties you can think of, its
impenetrability, extension, weight, inertia, elasticity, and so forth,
by no process of thought (as Mr. Justice Fry observes in an article in
"The Contemporary Review [1]") can you get out of them an adequate
account of the phenomena of mind or spirit. We just now observed that
consciousness, thought, and so forth, are never exhibited apart from the
action of the brain; some change in the brain accompanies them all. We
do not deny that. But it is obvious that thought being manifested in the
presence of cerebral matter or something like it, is a very different
thing from thought being a _property_ of such matter, in the sense in
which polarity is the property of a magnet, or irritability of living

[Footnote 1: October, 1880, p. 587.]

To all this I have seen no answer. The way in which the opponents of
Christian beliefs meet such considerations appears to be to ignore or
minimize them, so as to pass over to what seems to them a satisfactory
if not an easy series of transitions. If Life is after all only a
"property" of matter, then given life, a brain may be produced; and as
mind is always manifested in the presence of (and apparently
indissolubly united with) brain structure, it is not a much greater leap
to accept _life_ as a property of _matter_ than it is to take _thought_
as a property of a certain _specialized physical structure_. It is true
that the distance is great between the instinct of an animal and the
abstract reasoning power of a Newton or a Herbert Spencer; but (as we
are so often told) the difference is of degree not of kind, and as the
brain structure develops, so does the power and degree of reason. As to
the difference in man, that he is the only "religious" animal--the one
creature that has the idea of God--that is a mere development of the
emotions in connection with abstract reasoning as to the cause of
things. No part of our mental nature is more common to the animal and
the man than the emotional; and if in the one it is mere love and
hatred, joy and grief, confidence and fear, in the other the emotions
are developed into the poetic sense of beauty, or the awe felt for what
is grand and noble; and this insensibly passes into _worship_, the root
of the whole being fear of the unknown and the mysterious. That is the
general line of argument taken up.

Even accepting the solution (if such it maybe called) of the two first
difficulties--life added spontaneously or aboriginally to matter, and
thought and consciousness added to organism--still the rest of the path
is by no means so easy as might at the first glance appear. Development
in brain structure certainly does not always proceed _pari passu_ with a
higher and more complex reasoning. In actual fact we find high
"reasoning" power, quite unexpectedly here and there, up and down the
animal kingdom. Some _insects_, with very little that can be called a
brain at all, exhibit high intelligence; and some animals with smaller
brains are more docile and intelligent than others with a much larger
development. The ape, in spite of his close physical approach to the
structure of man, and his still greater relative distance from the other
animal creation, is not superior (if he is not decidedly inferior) in
reason or intelligence to several animals lower down in the scale.

Savages, again, have a brain greatly in excess of their actual
requirements (so to speak). Hence the mere existence of brain, however
complex, does not indicate the possession of mental power.

There is reason to believe that all thought and exercise of the mind--in
fact, every step in the process of "Education," whereby an ignorant
person is brought at last to apprehend the most abstract
propositions--is accompanied by some molecular (or other) change. So
that a person who has been carefully educated has the brain in a
different state from that of an exactly similarly constituted person
whose brain has been subjected to no such exercise. But even if this
action could be formulated and explained, it would not follow that
thought is the _product_ of the molecular change; or that, _vice versa_,
if we could artificially produce certain changes, in the brain, certain
thoughts and perceptions would thereon coexist with the changes, and
arise in the mind of the subject forthwith. And if not, then no process
of physical development accounts for grades of intellect; we have only
mind developing as mind. But the theory of evolution will have nothing
to do with any development but physical; or at any rate with mental
development except as the result of physical: it knows nothing of pure
mind, or spiritual existence, or anything of the sort.

In the nature of things we can have neither observation nor experiment
in this stage. We cannot by any process develop the lower mind of an
animal into the higher mind of man, and prove the steps of the
evolution.[1] It is important to remember that the power of _directing
the attention by a voluntary process of abstraction_, is one that
distinctively belongs to man. It is an effort of will, of a kind that no
animal has any capacity for. By it alone have we any power of abstract
reasoning, and it is intimately concerned with our self-consciousness
and memory, and with our language. I am quite aware that animals possess
something analogous to a language of their own; they can indicate
certain emotions and give warning, and so forth, to their fellows. But
that language could never develop into human language, or the animal
will (such as it is) ever rise to a human will, or animals become
endowed with self-consciousness, unless they could acquire the power of
voluntarily abstracting the mind from one subject or part of a subject
and fixing the attention on another. We cannot formulate any process of
change whereby the lower state could pass on to or attain to the higher
in this respect.

[Footnote 1: We can of course follow the sort of mental development
which is traceable when we consider the origin of our own sagacious and
faithful dogs in the wild prairie dog: but this development is always in
contact with the mind of man, and is, as it were, the result of man's
action, as man's development in mind and soul is the result of God's

Therefore again we conclude that the higher reason is a gift _ab

If we take a step further to the "spiritual" or "moral" faculties of
man, we have the same difficulty intensified, if indeed it does take a
new departure. To examine the question adequately would require us to go
into the deep waters of psychology; and here we should encounter many
matters regarding which there may be legitimate doubt and difference of
opinion, which would obscure and lead us away from our main line of

This I would willingly avoid. But it is quite intelligible, and touches
on no dangerous ground, when we assert that there is a distinct
ascent--an interval again raising developmental difficulties, directly
we pass from the intellectual to the moral. We may wonder at the high
degree of intelligence possessed by some animals; but we are unable to
conceive any animal possessing a power of abstract reasoning, having
ideas of beauty (as such), or of manifesting what we call the poetic
feeling. And still more is this so when we look at the further interval
that lies between any perception of physical phenomena, any reasoning in
the abstract, or investigation of mathematical truth, and the
overmastering sense of obligation to the "moral law," or the action of
the soul in its instinctive possession of the conception of a Divine
Existence external to itself. It is because of this felt difference that
we talk of the "spiritual" as something beyond and above the "mental."

The distinction is real, though we must not allow ourselves to be led
too far in attempting to scan the close union that, from another point
of view, exists between the one and the other.

In a recent number of "The Edinburgh Review,[1]" the author complains of
Bishop Temple thus: "He uses the word spiritual in such a way that he
might be taken to imply that we had some other faculty for the
perception of moral truths, in addition to, and distinct from, our
reason." And the writer goes on to make an "uncompromising assertion of
reason as the one supreme faculty of man. To depreciate reason (he says)
to the profit of some supposed 'moral' illative sense, would be to open
the door to the most desolating of all scepticisms, and to subordinate
the basis of our highest intellectual power to some mere figment of the

[Footnote 1: July, 1885, p. 211, in the course of the article to which I
have already alluded.]

On the other hand, some writers (claiming to derive their argument from
the Scriptures) have supposed they could assert three distinct natures
in man--a spiritual, a mental (or psychic), and a bodily. Now there is
no doubt that, rightly or wrongly (I am not now concerned with that),
the Bible does distinctly assert that a "breath of lives" [1] was
specially put into the bodily form of man, and adds that thereby "man
became a living soul." But it is also stated of the animal creation that
the breath of life was given to them,[2] and animals are said to have a
"soul" (nephesh).[3] So that neither in the one case nor the other have
we more than the two elements: a body, and a life put into it; though of
course the man's "life" (as the plural indicates, and other texts
explain) was higher in kind than that of the animal.

[Footnote 1: The plural of excellence appears to mark something superior
in the spirit of man over that of the animals. Also compare Job xxxiii.
4, "The breath of the Almighty hath given me life," with Isa. xlii. 5
and Zech. xii. 1.]

[Footnote 2: Though not in the plural of excellence. See Gen. vi 17,
vii. 22, &c.]

[Footnote 3: Gen. i. 20, margin of A.V.]

St. Paul, it is true, speaks of the "whole spirit, and soul, and
body.[1]" But our Lord Himself, in a very solemn passage (where it would
be most natural to expect the distinction, if it were absolute and
structural, to be noticed), speaks of the "soul and body" only.[2]

The fact is that we are only able to argue conclusively that, besides
the physical form, we have a non-material soul, or a self. And our Lord,
whose teaching was always eminently practical, went no further. We are
conscious of a "self"--something that remains, while the body
continually grows and changes.

There was in _Punch_, some time ago, a picture of an old grandfather,
with a little child looking at a marble bust representing a child. "Who
is that?" asks the little one; and the old man replies, "That is
grandfather when he was a little boy." "And who is it now?" rejoins the
child. One smiles at the picture, but in reality it conceals a very
important and a very pathetic truth. Nothing could well be greater than
the outward difference between the grey hairs and bowed figure and the
little cherub face; and yet there was a "self"--a soul, that remained
the same throughout. In Platonic language, while the [Greek: eidolon]
perpetually changes, the [Greek: eidos] remains. We have, therefore,
evidence as positive as the nature of the subject admits that we are
right in speaking of the _body and the soul, or self_. And as we cannot
connect the higher reasoning, and, above all, conscience and the
religious belief, as a "property" of physical structure, we conclude
that the Scripture only asserts facts when it attributes both to the
soul, as a spiritual element or nature belonging to the body. Man is
essentially one;[3] but there is both a material and a non-material, a
physical and a spiritual element, in the one nature. But, being a
spiritual element, that part of our nature necessarily has two sides (so
to speak). It has its point of contact with self and the world of sense,
and its point of contact with the world of spirit and with the Great
Spirit of all, from whom it came. _Because_ of that higher "breath of
lives" given by the Most High, man possesses the faculty of
_consciousness of God_ (i.e., the higher spiritual faculties), besides
the consciousness of self, or merely intellectual power regarding self
and the external world. Therefore, when an Apostle desires to speak very
forcibly of something that is to affect a man through and through, in
every part and in every aspect of his nature, he speaks of the "whole
spirit, soul, and body." To sum up: all that we know from the Bible is
that God gave a "soul" (nephesh) to the animals, in consequence of which
(when united to the physical structure) the functions of life and the
phenomena of intelligence are manifested. So God gave a non-material,
and therefore "spiritual," element to human nature; and this being of a
higher grade and capacity to that of the animal world, not only in its
union with physical structure, makes the man a "living soul"--gives him
an intelligence and a certain reason such as the animals have, but also
gives him, as a special and unique endowment; the consciousness of self
(involving--which is very noteworthy--a consciousness of its own
limitations) and the consciousness of God. Hence man's power of
improvement. If the man cultivates only the self-consciousness and the
reason that is with it, the Scriptures speak of him as the "natural or
psychic man;" if he is enabled by Divine grace to develop the higher
moral and spiritual part of his nature, and to walk after the Spirit,
not after the flesh, he is a "spiritual man."

[Footnote 1: 1 Thess. v. 23.]

[Footnote 2: Matt. x. 28.]

[Footnote 3: The well-known argument of St. Paul regarding the
resurrection in 1 Cor. xv. (ver. 45, &c.) is well worthy of
consideration in this connection. He deals with man as _one whole_;
nothing is said about a man being (or having) a spirit separate from his
soul and his body, and that spirit being given a higher body than it had
upon earth; but of the whole man, soul _and_ body, being raised and
changed into a man, also one whole, with a more perfect body--a body
more highly developed in the ascending scale of perfection. I do not
forget the passage where the same Apostle (2 Cor. v. 6) speaks of being
in the body, and absent from the Lord; and of being "clothed upon;" but
this does not in any way detract from the importance of the treatment of
the subject in the First Epistle.]

It is idle to speculate whether the "nephesh" of the animals, or the
"living self" of the man, is an entity separate from the body, and
capable of existing _per se_--of its own inherent nature--apart from
it. We do not know that animal forms are the clothing of a lower-graded
but separate spiritual form, or that such an animal soul or spirit can
exist separately from the body; and we do not _know_ (from the
Bible)--whatever may be the current language on the subject--that man's
spirit is in its nature capable of anything like permanent separate
existence.[1] Man is essentially one; and when the physical change
called death passes over him, it does not utterly obliterate the whole
being. The non-material element is not affected any more than it is by
the sleep of every night; and the man will be ultimately raised, not a
spiritual or immaterial form, but provided, as before, with a body, only
one of a higher capacity and better adapted to its higher
environments--the "spiritual body" of St. Paul, in a word. The original
union of mind and matter is, on any possible theory, mysterious; and the
separation of them for a time is neither less so, nor more. All this is
perfectly true, whether the non-material element in man's nature is
_necessarily_, inherently and _by nature_, immortal or not--a question
which I do not desire to enter on.

Hence it is that a certain element of truth is recognized in the protest
of the Edinburgh Reviewer. On the other hand, as we have not only
intelligence, emotions (which are possessed in lower degree by animals),
self-consciousness, the power of abstract reasoning, and the higher
faculties of the imagination,[2] but also the consciousness of God and
the commanding sense of right and wrong; and seeing that the last-named
are different in kind from the former, we give them a separate name, and
speak of the moral or spiritual nature or capacity of man, as well as
the intellectual or mental. Some (by the way) choose "moral" to include
both, holding that ethical perceptions arise out of (or are intimately
connected with) our sense of God. Others would make a further
distinction, and confine "moral" to the (supposed) bare ethical
perception of duty or of right and wrong, and add "spiritual" to
distinguish the highest faculty of all, whereby man holds communion with
his Maker and recognizes his relation to Him.

[Footnote 1: This remark does not, of course, in any way touch the
question whether the spiritual part of a man is conscious in the
interval between death and resurrection, or whether it can be made
sensible in any way whatever to living persons.]

[Footnote 2: The poetic sense, the perception of the beautiful, &c.]

Whether this further distinction is justified or not, there is a
distinction between the moral and the purely intellectual; and we are
justified in using different terms for things that are _practically_
different. This the Edinburgh Reviewer seems to have forgotten.

It was necessary to my argument to enter on this somewhat lengthy
examination of the spiritual nature of man, because, while we
acknowledge the unity of man, we are compelled to recognize in his
religious sense and aspirations and capacities something quite
disparate--something that we could not get by a natural process of
growth from such beginnings of reason as are observed in the lower

I am aware that Dr. Darwin conceived that the religious feeling of man
might have grown out of the natural emotions of fear,[1] love,
gratitude, &c., when once men began to question as to the explanation of
the phenomena of life, and to ascribe the forces of nature to the
possession of a spirit such as he himself was conscious of: and with
much more positive intent, Mr. H. Spencer has also, after most
painstaking inquiries, formulated what he conceives to be the origin of
religious belief in man. He refers us to the early belief in a "double"
of self, which double could be projected out of self, and remained in
some way after death, so as to become the object of fear, and ultimately
of worship. When this ancestor-worship resulted in the worship of a
multitude of "genii" (whose individuality, as regards their former
earthly connection, is more or less forgotten), then the idea of
attaching the numerous divinities or ancestor-souls to the ocean, the
sky, the sun, the mountains, and the powers of nature, arises; whence
the poetic systems of ancient polytheistic mythology. Gradually men
began to reason and to think, and they refined the polytheism into the
"higher" idea of one great, central, immaterial all-pervading power,
which they called God.

[Footnote: 1 See the "Descent of Man," vol. i. p. 68 (original edition).
But it is right to state that the subject is not treated in any way
whatever so as to argue that the religious belief is a fancy, or
development of fancy, with no God and no facts about God behind it.]

Mr. Spencer, in effect, concludes that this "God" is only man's own
idea of filling up a blank, of explaining the fact that there must be an
ultimate first cause of whatever exists, and there is also a great
source of power of some kind external to ourselves.[1]

I am not going here to enter on any special argument as to the validity
of these theories in their relation to the direct question of the nature
and existence of God. What we are here concerned with is, whether they
enable us to exclude the idea of a gift and a giver of spiritual or
mental (we will not quarrel about terms) nature to man, and whether, by
any fair reasoning from analogy, we can suppose man's reason and his
"_sensus numinis_" to arise by the mere stages of natural growth and
development. Dr. Darwin's supposition takes no notice of the moral law
and its influence; indeed he adopts[2] the view that conscience is no
sense of right and wrong, but only the stored up and inherited social
instinct, a sense of convenience and inconvenience to the tribe and to
the individual, which at last acts so spontaneously and rapidly in
giving its verdict on anything, that we regard it as a special sense. It
would of course be possible to expend much time and many words in
argument on this subject. There is not, and never will be, any direct
evidence as to the origin of conscience; and as that sense (like any
other power of our mental nature) is capable of being educated, evoked,
enlightened, and strengthened, and may also by neglect and contradiction
deteriorate and wither away, there is ample room for allowing a certain
part of the theory.[3] But many people who examine their own conscience
will feel that the description certainly does not suit them; there are
many things which conscience disapproves, of which no great evil
consequences to themselves or any one else are felt. Conscience is
constantly condemning "the way that seemeth good unto a man."
_Ultimately_ no doubt, there is real evil at the end of everything that
conscience warns a man against; but not such as "inherited experience"
is likely to recognize. Is it, for instance, the experience of the mass
of men, as men, that the "fleshly mind is death, but the spiritual mind
is life and peace"? Is not rather the world at large habitually putting
money-making, position-making, and the care of the things of the body,
of time, and of sense, in the first place; and is not the moral law
perpetually warning us that the fashion of the world passes away, and
that what seems gold is in reality tinsel? As far as the condemnation
that conscience passes on the broad evils which affect society--"thou
shalt not steal," "thou shalt not lie," or so forth--no doubt it is
supported by the transmitted sense of inconvenience; but who has told it
of the evil of things that do not affect our social state? and who has
changed the inconvenient, the painful, into the _wrong_? It is one thing
to instinctively avoid a theft or a falsehood, even if the first origin
of such instinct were the fear of consequences or the love of
approbation; it is quite another--the inward condemnation of something
which "the deceitfulness of sin" is able to excuse, and which the world
at large would regard as permissible or at least venial. Even if
inherited use has its full play, there is still a something wanted
before the one can be got into (or out of) the other. Why, again, are
savages prone to imagine natural phenomena to be caused or actuated by
"spirits"? Surely it is because there _is_ consciously a spirit in man,
and a Higher Power, even God, outside, who exists, though man in his
ignorance has many false ideas regarding Him.

[Footnote 1: It is not necessary to my immediate argument, and therefore
I do not press it into the text (though I should be sorry to seem to
forget it for a moment), to urge that St. Paul draws a clear distinction
between the intellectual faculties and the higher spiritual ones, when
he assures us that the clearest intellect alone cannot assimilate the
truths of religion. For the spiritual faculties have been in man
grievously deadened and distorted (to say the least of it), so that his
intellectual faculties, bright and highly developed as they may be, will
always prove insufficient for the highest life in the absence of the
"grace of God." It is exactly analogous to the case of a man whom we
might suppose to have his sense of sight, touch, &c., distorted, and he
himself unable to correct them by aid of the senses of others. However
acutely he might exercise his reason, he would be continually wrong in
his conclusions. See 1 Cor. ii., the whole, but specially vers. 14, 15.]

[Footnote 2: "Descent of Man," vol. i. p, 70.]

[Footnote 3: The attempt (already alluded to) to separate moral and
spiritual, to imagine something that is ethical, apart from the
religious idea, has lent some strength to these ideas of the moral
sense; but in fact, the moral sense is _inseparably_ connected with the
idea of God, and His approval and disapproval. The idea of God may be
obscured and lost, but conscience is the surviving trace of it; the
circumference that accounts for the broken arc.]

It is an objection of the same order that applies to the other theory
(Mr. Spencer's). There can be little doubt that in many respects it is
true: as an account of all _human_ systems of religion it is adequate
and natural; but it breaks down hopelessly when we try to use it to
explain how the conception of God originated in the mind. Just as there
is a felt difference--not of degree or in form, but essential and
radical in its nature--between the _undesirable_ and the _wrong_, so
there is a difference between the idea of a mysterious thing towards
which apprehension or awe is felt, and the conception of God. Granted
that man believed in his own spirit or double, and attributed similar
immaterial motor powers as a cause for the wind and waves, and so forth;
granted that he at last "refined" this into the belief in one Spirit
whose power was necessarily great and varied--the origin is still
unexplained. How did man get the idea of a personal spirit or double--no
such thing, _ex hypothesi_ existing? How did he get to formulate the
idea of a _God_ when he had simplified his group of many spirits into

If man is created with a consciousness of his own inner-self, _as a
self_, he is able naturally to imagine a like self in other beings; if
he has an idea of God innate in him, he can assimilate the truth when it
is at last presented to his mind; and that is why he feels that it _is_
a refinement; a rising from the lower to the higher (because from
falsehood to truth), to let the many gods give place to the One God. If
the idea of God has been obscured, and the power of its apprehension
deadened, the man can only grope about helplessly, fashioning this
explanation of nature and that--all more or less false, but all dimly
bearing witness to the two absolute facts, that there is an inner
non-material self, and an external non-material God.

If then there are insuperable difficulties in connecting thought with
matter by any process of unaided development, there are also great
difficulties, even when thought in a rudimentary form is given, in
conceiving it developed into man's reason, or man's religious belief, by
any known process of "natural" causation.



There are, however, some other matters connected with the history of man
on the globe, unconnected with psychological development, but which
demand notice, as making the argument against an undesigned, unaided
development of man a cumulative one. It is urged that whatever may be
thought of the connection of man with the animal creation, at any rate
the received Christian belief regarding the origin of man--especially
his late appearance on the scene--is contrary to known facts, and that
we have to mount up to a vast geologic antiquity to account for what is
known from exhumed remains in caves and lake dwellings, and the like.

Now no one pretends that the history of man is free from doubt and
difficulty, but the doubt and difficulty are not confined to the
"orthodox." For the inferences to be drawn from the exhumed remains are
equally doubtful whatever views be adopted.

I shall not go into great length on this subject, partly because some
recent popular tracts of Canon Rawlinson, Mr. R.S. Pattison, and others,
have already made the ordinary reader familiar with the main outlines of
the subject; and still more because, be the views of archaeologists what
they may, it is impossible for any rational person to contend either
that they can be reduced to anything like unity among themselves, or
that they lead to any conclusion favourable to the belief in the
self-caused and undesigned evolution of man.

It may be regarded as known, that at the dawn of history, mankind was
passing through what may be called a Bronze age, in which weapons of
bronze were used before tools of iron were invented. But this age was
preceded by one in which even bronze was unknown. Stone implements, and
some of bone and horn, were alone used. It is also well ascertained that
there were two _widely divided_ stone ages. The latter, distinguished by
the polishing of the stones, is described as the _neolithic_; the
former, in which flint and other hard stone fragments were merely
chipped or flaked to an edge, is called the _palaeolithic_.

It is hardly contended that the neolithic age could have been more than
four or five thousand years ago. There is always the greatest difficulty
in fixing any dates because from the nature of the case written records
are absent, and the stages of growth in the history of peoples overlap

We know that sharp flakes of stone were still used for knives in the
time of Moses and Joshua. We are not out of the stone age yet, as
regards some portions of the globe; and it is quite possible that parts
of the earth, not so very remote, may have been still in the midst of a
stone age when Assyria, Chaldaea, and Egypt were comparatively highly

It is also fairly certain that between the neolithic or smooth-stone
age, and the palaeolithic, certain important geological changes took
place, though those changes were not such as to have demanded any very
great length of time for their accomplishment.

The palaeolithic stone implements are found in river gravels and clays,
along the higher levels of our own Thames Valley, that of the Somme in
France, and in other places. They are also found at the bottom of
various natural caverns.

No human bones have been found as yet with the implements, but the bones
of large numbers of animals have. And it seems certain that the men who
made the implements were contemporaries of the animals, because in the
later part of the age, at any rate, they drew or scratched likenesses of
the animals on bone. Among these representations are figures of the
_mammoth_ an extinct form well known to the reader by description and
museum specimens of remains.

The animals contemporary with these primeval men were the mammoth,
species of rhinoceros and hippopotamus, the "sabre-toothed" lion, the
cave-bear, the reindeer, besides oxen, horses, and other still surviving

In his address to the British Association in 1881 Sir John Lubbock
called attention to the fact that these animals appear to indicate both
a hot and a cold climate, and he referred to the fact (known to
astronomers) that the earth passes through periods of slow change in the
eccentricity of its orbit, and in the obliquity of the ecliptic. The
result of the latter condition is, to produce periods of about 21,000
years each, during one-half of which the Northern hemisphere will be
hotter, and in the other the Southern. At present we are in the former

But the obliquity of the ecliptic does not act alone; the eccentricity
of the orbit produces another effect, namely, that when it is at a
minimum the difference between the temperatures of the two hemispheres
is small, and as the eccentricity increases, so does the difference. At
the present time the eccentricity is represented by the fraction .016.
But about 300,000 years ago the eccentricity would have been as great as
.26 to .57. The result, it is explained, would have been not a uniform
heat or cold, but extremes of both; there would probably have been short
but very hot summers, and long and intensely cold winters.

This, Sir John Lubbock thought, might account for the co-existence of
both hot and arctic species, like the hippopotamus and rhinoceros on the
one hand, and the musk-ox and the reindeer on the other.

But such considerations really help us little. In the first place, it is
only an assumption that the fossil hippopotamus _was_ an animal of a hot
climate--it does not in any way follow from the fact that the now
existing species is such; nor if we make the assumption, does it explain
how, if the hot summer sufficed for the tropical hippopotamus, it
managed to survive the long and cold winters which suited the arctic

Moreover, no such calculations can really be made with accuracy: we do
not know what other astronomical facts may have to be taken into
consideration, nor can we say when such "periods" as those which are so
graphically described, began or ended.

In this very instance, we know that the mammoth only became extinct in
comparatively recent times, since specimens have been found in Siberia,
with the hair, skin, and even flesh, entirely preserved. Granted that
the intense cold of the Siberian ice effected this, it is impossible to
admit more than a limited time for the preservation--not hundreds of
thousands of years. Professor Boyd Dawkins is surely right in stating
that the calculations of astronomy afford us no certain aid at present
in this inquiry.

As regards the geological indications of age, the best authority seems
to point to the first appearance of man in the post-glacial times: that
is to say, that the gravels in which the palaeolithic implements are
found were deposited by the action of fresh water after the great
glacial period, when, at any rate, Northern Europe, a great part of
Russia, all Scandinavia, and part of North America were covered with
icefields, the great glaciers of which left their mark in the numerous
scoopings out of ravines and lake beds and in the raising of banks and
mounds, the deposit of boulders, and the striation of rocks _in situ_,
which so many districts exhibit.

The few instances in which attempts have been made, in Italy or
elsewhere, to argue for a pliocene man (i.e. in the uppermost group of
the tertiary) have ended in failure, at least in the minds of most
naturalists competent to judge.

One of the most typical instances of the position of the implement age
has been discovered by Fraas at Shuessenried in Suabia; here the remains
of tools and the bones of animals (probably killed for food) were found
in holes made in the glacial _debris_.

But here, again, it is impossible to say when this glacial age
terminated, and whether man might not have been living in other more
favoured parts while it was wholly or partially continuing.

In Scandinavia no palaeolithic stone implements have been found, from
which it may be inferred that the glacial period continued there during
the ages when palaeolithic man hunted and dwelt in caves in the other
countries where his remains occur.

The best authorities do not suppose that the men _originated_ in the
localities where the tools are found; and there is so little known about
the geology of Central Asia (for example) that it is impossible to say
whether tribes may not have wandered from some other places not affected
by the glaciation we have spoken of.

Again, the gravels and brick earths containing the tools are just of the
kind which defy attempts to say how long it took to deposit and arrange

It may be taken as certain, that after the one age ceased and the first
men appeared, the beds in which their relics occur have been raised
violently, and again depressed and subjected to great flushes and floods
of water. The caves have been upheaved, and the gravels are found
chiefly along the valleys of our present rivers, but at a much higher
level, showing that there was both a higher level of the soil itself and
a much greater volume of water.

The Straits of Dover were formed during this period.

But none of these changes required a very long time; and if we can trace
back the later stone age, which shows remains of pottery and other
proofs of greater civilization, to the dawn of the historic period not
more than 4000 or 5000 years ago, there is nothing in the nature of the
changes which, as we have stated, intervened between the palaeolithic
and neolithic periods, that need have occupied more than a thousand or
two of years. Upheavals of strata and disruptions may be the work of
but a short time, or they may be more gradual. And as to the effect of
water, that depends on its volume and velocity; no certain rule can be
given. Our own direct experience shows that very great changes may take
place in a few hundred years.

"The estuaries," remarks Mr. Pattison,[1] "around our south-eastern
coast, which have been filled up in historical times, some within the
last seven hundred years to a height of thirty feet from their
sea-level, by the gradual accumulation of soil, now look like solid
earth in no way differing from the far older land adjoining. The
harbours out of which our Plantagenet kings sailed are now firm,
well-timbered land. The sea-channel through which the Romans sailed on
their course to the Thames, at Thanet, is now a puny fresh-water ditch,
with banks apparently as old as the hills. In Bede's days, in the ninth
century, it was a sea-channel three furlongs wide."

[Footnote 1: "Age and Origin of Man"--Present-Day Tract Series.]

Thus we are in complete uncertainty as to the date of the palaeolithic
man, or as to the time necessary to effect the changes in the surface of
the earth which intervened between it and the later stone ages. But
there is nothing which conflicts with the possibility that the whole may
have occurred within some 8,000 years.

For the supposition of Mons. Gabriel Mortillet that man has existed for
230,000 years, there is neither evidence nor probability. His theory is
derived from an assumption that the geologic changes alluded to occupied
an immense time; and the further assumption (if possible still more
unwarranted) that the old race which used the chipped stone tools
remained stationary for a very long period, and very gradually improved
its tools and ultimately passed into the neolithic stage when the art of
pottery became known, however rudely.

But, in point of fact, we are not required by our belief in Scripture to
find any date for the origin of man, at least not within any moderate
limits (not extending to scores of thousands of years). The Bible was
not intended to enable us to construct a complete science of geology or
anthropology, and the utmost that can be got out of the text is that a
date can be _suggested_ (not proved) for one particular family (that of
Adam) by counting up the generations alluded to in Holy Writ before the
time of Abraham. But these are manifestly recorded in a brief and
epitomized form; nor do all the versions agree. We may well believe that
a watchful Providence has taken care of the record of inspiration, but
we know it has been done by human and ordinary agency. The Bible is
God's gift to his Church, and the Church has been made in all ages the
keeper of it. Now in the matter of early dates and numbers, an unanimous
version has not been kept. According to the construction adopted in the
Septuagint, the creation of Adam would go back 7,517 years, while the
Vulgate gives 6,067 years. Dr. Hale's computation makes 7,294 years,
and the Ussherian 5,967;[1] the Samaritan version is, I believe, further
different from either.

As it is, the facts show nothing inconsistent with an approximation to
these several periods.

As to any absolute date for the appearance of man as a species, no
calculation is possible, because of a certain doubt, which no one can
pretend to resolve, as to whether the Scriptures do assert the creation
of _all_ mankind at any one period. If, owing to more positive
discoveries in the future compelling us to put further back the date of
man's first appearance upon earth, we have to suppose a beginning before
the time of Adam, we are reminded that there is an allusion in the sixth
chapter of the book called Genesis to "the sons of God" and the
"daughters of men." Now this passage cannot conceivably refer to angels;
nor can we ignore its existence, however doubtful we may feel as to its

[Footnote 1: I take these figures from Mr. R.S. Pattison.]

[Footnote 2: The text which speaks of God making "of one blood all
nations for to dwell on the face of the earth," would naturally apply to
the races existing when the speaker uttered the words: it would be as
unreasonable to press such a text into the service of _any_ theory of
the creation of man, as it was absurd for the Inquisition to suppose
that the Psalmist, when asserting that God had made the "round world so
fast that it could not be moved," was contradicting the fact of the
earth's revolution round the sun.]

It can hardly be denied that such a text opens out the _possibility_ of
an earlier race than that of Adam; in that case the creation of Adam
would be detailed as the creation of the direct progenitor of Noah,
whose three sons still give names (in ethnological language) to the main
great races of the earth, with whom exclusively the Bible history is
concerned, and especially as the direct progenitor of that race of whom
came the Israelites, and in due time the promised seed--the Messiah. I
do not say this _is_ so, nor even that I accept the view for my own
part; I only allude to the possibility, without ignoring any of the
difficulties--none of which, however, are insuperable--which gather
round it.

It is certainly a very remarkable fact that all about this region in
which the Semitic race originated, traditions of Creation somewhat
resembling the account in Genesis, the institution of a week of seven
days, and a Sabbath or day of rest from labour, existed from very early
times; and with these traditions, a belief in distinct races, one of
which owned a special connection with, or relation to, the Creator. Here
I may appeal to the work of Mr. George Smith and his discoveries of
tablets from the ancient libraries of Assyria. Originally, the country
to which I have alluded consisted of Assyria in the centre and Babylonia
to the south; while to the east of Assyria was a country partly plain
and partly hill, which formed the "plain of Shinar" and the hills beyond
occupied by Accadian tribes, from whose chief city, Ur, Abraham, the
forefather of the Jews, emigrated. The Assyrian documents are copies of
Babylonian originals, but the Babylonian kingdom itself was a Semitic
one founded on the ruins of an earlier population, the inhabitants of
the plain of Shinar and the mountains beyond. Some time between 3000 and
2000 B.C. the Semitic conquerors of Babylonia took possession of the
plains, and some time later conquered also the Accadian mountaineers.
The Babylonians possessed and translated the old Accadian records: the
Assyrian tablets are mostly, but not all, copies, again, of the
Babylonian transcripts. The celebrated "Creation tablets," which contain
an account closely corresponding to Genesis, are among those which were
not copied from Accadian originals; and they do not date further back
than the reign of Assur-bani-pal, the Sardanapalus of the Greeks; who
reigned in the seventh century B.C. They may therefore be derived from
the Bible, not the Bible from them. It would seem from some earlier
(Accadian) tablets, that a different account of the Creation existed
among them. But though it is doubtful how far the Accadians had
preserved this account, or at least had others along with it, _they had
a seven days week_ and _a Sabbath_. All this points to _one_ original
tradition, which specified days of creation and a Sabbath, though it got
altered and distorted, so that the true account was preserved as one
among many local variations. This goes to prove the immense antiquity of
the story, which is not affected by the fact that the actual inscription
of it which we at present have, dates only about 670 B.C. The point
here, however, interesting in the legends, is that they contained the
idea of a special connection of one particular race with the Creator,
and of other races, or of one other race, besides.

As far as the possibility of bringing forward the history of mankind as
any aid to the theory of Evolution is concerned, I might have very well
let the subject alone, or even noticed it more briefly than I have done.
For, in truth, there is no _evidence_ whatsoever, and all that the
denier of creation can resort to is a supposed analogy and a probability
that the peculiarities of man could be accounted for in this way or in
that. But the main purpose of my brief allusion is to introduce the fact
that, as far as any evidence to the contrary goes, we have an absolutely
sudden appearance of man on the scene, and no kind of transitional form.
Not only so, but there is no trace of any gradual development of man
when he did appear. There was the first palaeolithic man; then a
considerable geologic perturbation of the earth's surface, resulting in
the upheaval of the cliffs in which the caves of remains occur, and in
the alteration of the gravel beds in which the human remains are found;
and then the neolithic age, with its evidently greater civilization (as
evidenced by pottery, &c.) connected with early and traditional, but
still with recent, history; but no trace of any development of one race
into the other.

The absence of all progressive change is forcibly indicated by the
measurements of ancient skulls, which, though not found along with the
flint tools, have been found elsewhere. It has been fully shown that
they differ in no respect from the skulls of men at the present day;
while the skulls of the apes most nearly anthropoid, or allied to the
human form, remain as widely separated in brain-capacity as ever.[1]

Thus the fact remains, that no intermediate form between the ape and the
lowest man has been discovered, and that there is nothing like any
progressive development in the races of man. These facts, taken together
with what has been brought forward in the last chapter, show how
completely the theory of the descent of man breaks down; how utterly
unproved and untenable is the idea that he should have been evolved by
natural causes and by slow steps from any lower form of animal life.

[Footnote 1: The gorilla has a brain size of 30.51 cubic inches; the
chimpanzee and ourang-outang (in the males) from 25.45 to 27.34 inches.
According to Dr. J. Barnard Davis the average of the largest class of
European skulls is 111.99, that of the Australian 99.35 cubic inches.]



It will naturally be asked, "If there is all this objection to some
parts of the theory of Evolution, or to that theory in an extreme or
absolute form, how is it that it has been so eagerly accepted in the
ranks of scientific men?"

The answer is, in the first place, because the theory of Evolution is to
a great extent true. When men speak of controversy with the Evolutionist
and so forth, they of course mean such as insist on carrying the
doctrine to a total and even virulent denial of any Divine control at
all. And it must, I think, be admitted that much of the theological
opposition offered to the doctrine was aimed at _this_ aspect of it. At
first, men zealous for what they believed to be Divine truth, did not
discriminate; they saw that the then new idea of evolution was, in many
branches of its application, still very poorly proved, and they
conceived that it could not be accepted apart from a total denial of
religion. We have grown wiser in the course of time: misconceptions
have been swept away; and everybody may be content with the assurance
that there is no necessary connection even, far less any antagonism,
between evolution and the Christian faith at all. We may admit all that
is known of the one without denying the other. Where the controversy has
to be maintained is, that some will insist (like Professor Haeckel) in
carrying evolution beyond what evidence will warrant; and not only so,
but will insist on polemically putting down all religion on the strength
of their improved theories. If "Evolutionists" complain of the treatment
they have received at the hands of "Theologians," they will at least, in
fairness, admit that there has been some misconception, some error on
both sides. What we maintain is, that evolution (i.e., here, as always,
unlimited, uncontrolled evolution) still fails to account for many facts
in nature; that we are still far from holding anything like a complete
scheme in our hands; there may be _limits_ to the wide circle of
progressive changes, to the results of development, of which we are
ignorant; and there is, above all, in that most important of all
questions--the descent of man--an absolute want of proof of animal
_descent_ (i.e., in any sense which includes the "soul" or spiritual
faculties of man). Hence that evolution in no way clashes with an
intelligent Christian belief. In saying this, I would carefully avoid
undervaluing the services which the evolution theory has rendered, and
is rendering, to science. Even in its first form as a mere hypothesis,
it was an eminently suggestive one; there was from the first quite truth
enough in it to make it fruitful, and many working hypotheses have been
immensely useful in science, which have in the end been very largely
modified. Before Darwin's wonderfully accurate mind and marvellous skill
in collecting and making use of facts, turned the current of natural
science into this new channel, men seemed to be without an aim for their
naturalist's work. The _savant_, for example, procured an animal
evidently of the cat tribe, and another species like a polecat. He knew
as a fact that the feline teeth had a certain structure, and that the
dental formula of the viverrine animals is different. Here, then, he
could distinguish and perhaps name the species; but what more was to be
done? All natural history as a study seemed to end in classifying and
giving long names to plants and animals. The Evolution theory at once
gave it a new object. Why is the dental formula of the _viverrinae_
different? What purpose has the long spur in the flower of _Angraecum_,
or the marvellous bucket of _Coryanthes_, the flytrap of _Dionaea_, the
pitcher of _Nepenthes_? What is the cause, what is the purpose, what is
the plan in the scheme of nature, of these structures? Under the
stimulus of such questions naturalists woke up to new views of
classification, to new experiments, inquiries, and to research for facts
and the explanation of facts, in all quarters of the globe. No wonder
that science rose, under such an impulse, as a butterfly from its
chrysalis. But some will not be satisfied with any scheme the parts of
which are separated, or which admits of anything unknown or
unexplainable. They want to unite all into one grand and simple whole,
which glorifies their own intelligence, and does not force them to
humble patience and waiting for more light. And then the fatal enmity of
the human heart--which is a plain fact, an undeniable tendency--delights
to get rid of the idea of God's Sovereignty, the humbling sense that
everything is at His absolute disposal, and nothing could be but as He
wills it. It seems so satisfactory to eliminate all external mysterious
power, to make the whole "_totus teres atque rotundus_"--having started
the great machine of being _somehow_ to see it all expand and unroll
of itself and advance to the end.

Imagination leaps the chasms, minimizes the difficulties, passes from
the possible to the certain, from the "may have been" to the "must have
been" and to "it was so," and, fascinated with the _completeness_ of its
scheme, commences to denounce and revile as ignorant and unscientific
all that would, calmly appeal to evidence, and confess ignorance, or at
least a suspended judgment, in any stage where the evidence is negative
or incomplete.

It has been well observed that "men are so constituted that completeness
gives a special kind of satisfaction of its own, and a habit of
specially regarding the general uniformity of nature begets a desire to
assume its absolute and universal uniformity."

There _is_ a great mystery underlying life and the plan in which the
animal form, the organs of sight, hearing, and the rest, run through the
whole creation: and, given a mystery, there is always ample room for
speculation. Taking firm hold of the facts of development and variation,
the extreme evolutionist is carried away with the idea of having the
same principle throughout: he is impatient of any line or any check; he
is therefore prepared to ignore all difficulties, to hope
against hope for the discovery of to him necessary--but, alas,
non-existent--intermediate forms, till at last he comes to deny, not
only his God, but his own soul, as a spiritual and supra-physical

[Footnote 1: Those who want a specimen of the way in which extreme
evolutionists will _romance_ (it can be called nothing else) will do
well to read Dr. Haeckel's "History of Creation," only they must be on
their guard at every step. The author constantly states as facts (or,
perhaps, with an impatient "must have been") the existence of purely
hypothetical forms, of which there is _no kind_ of evidence. To such
ends does the love of completeness lead!]

Such extremes are no part of true science, and have neither helped the
progress of knowledge, nor advanced the condition of mankind. But, on
the other hand, let us hear no more of a sweeping condemnation of the
theory of Evolution as a whole; let us beware of any insistence
on, or assumption of, the supposed fact that God created
separately--ready-made and complete--all known animal forms, bringing
them up from the ground, like the armed men in the Greek legend, from
the dragon's teeth.

We have no more right to dogmatize and assume a scheme of creation from
a popular and long-accepted interpretation of the Bible, than the
evolutionist has to ignore the palpable evidences of Divine guidance and
design, and construct a theory or organic being which ignores both.




We have now completed the first portion of our inquiry: there remains
the second, which, to a large class, at any rate, will appear of not
less importance. For the Scriptures, which they have been taught to
trust, contain a brief but direct and positive statement regarding
Creation, as well as numerous other less direct allusions to the
subject, all (as far as I know) in unquestioned harmony with the first.

Is the account in the Book of Genesis true? It is necessary to answer
this question, because, even if a general belief in an Almighty Author
and Designer of all things is shown to be reasonable, still the
Scripture ought surely to support the belief; and it would be strange
if, when we came to test it on this subject, we found its professed
explanations would not stand being confronted with the facts.

No one will, I think, deny that the question is important. Writers of
the "anti-theological" school still continue to insist on the falsity of
the Mosaic narrative, as if the error was not yet sufficiently slain,
and was important enough to be attacked again and again. And
theological writers, down to the most modern, continue to explain the
text in one way or another;--besides, _they_ admit the importance, under
any circumstances. I do not forget that there is a school of thought,
which is distinctly Christian in its profession, but does not allow the
importance. It would regard the narrative as addressed to Jews only, and
therefore as one which does not concern us. If that was all, it would
not be needful for me to discuss the position. But it has been held, not
only that the narrative does not concern us, but _also_ that it is
certainly inaccurate.

This view I cannot adopt: it seems not quite fair to ourselves, and not
quite fair to the Jews. Let me explain what I mean. If we have nothing
to do with the narrative, let us abstain _equally_ from defending it
_or_ pronouncing it wrong--that is for ourselves. As to the Jewish
Church, a little more must be said. Let us admit, at any rate for
argument's sake, that the separation between the Jewish formal and
ceremonial religion and Christianity is as wide as can be wished. Nor
would I undervalue the importance of insisting on pure Christianity, as
distinct from Judaism. And, further, let us (without any question as to
ultimate objects) regard the narrative as primarily addressed to Jews,
and let us admit that it may have been unimportant, for the purpose of
the first steps in Divine knowledge, that any account should be given of
Creation beyond the primary fact that all idolatrous cosmogonies were
false, and that the Unseen God of Israel alone made the heavens and the
earth "in the beginning." Why should the Jews have received that truth
through the medium of a story of which the whole framework was false,
and nothing but the moral true? The framework, moreover, is one so
plainly _professing to be fact_, that it was certain to be received as
such by a simple people. It seems to me that there is something very
suspicious, something repugnant to notions of truth and honest dealing,
in the possible communication of underlying Divine truth through the
medium of stories, which are not stories on the face of them, but
profess and pretend to be statements of fact and authoritatively made.

But, further, it cannot be denied that, whatever allowance may have to
be made under the early Jewish dispensation for the ideas and weaknesses
of a semi-barbarous people, whatever "winking" there may have been "at
times of ignorance," the main object was, by a gradual revelation,[1] by
a system of typical ordinances and ceremonies, to lead up to the full
spiritual light of the Christian dispensation. Everything written, said,
or done, was a step--however small an one--always tending in the one
direction, according to the usual law of Evolution. The Christian
believer may then look back to the early stages as imperfect
foreshadowings and dim illustrations of the whole truth; but he would, I
should think, on any ordinary principles, be shocked to find truth
developed out of positive error. And should the error have been
discovered, as it now is[2] (in the view of these I am contending
against), this discovery might have arrested the further development of
Divine truth altogether. If Moses, or whoever wrote the Book of
Genesis--we will not cavil at that--was allowed to compose his own
fancies or beliefs on the subject of Creation, _and to state them as
Divine fact_ (no matter that the reader at the time was not able to find
out the error), would not grave suspicion attach to whatever else he put
forward? Who could tell that, on any other subject, the plainest and
most direct statement of fact was not equally a fancy, only embodying or
enshrining (under the guise of its errors) some real Divine facts? If
Genesis i. is unreliable, we have a case of a writer going out of his
way to add to certain truths, which might easily have been stated by
themselves, a number of positive declarations, _as of Divine authority_,
regarding facts, which are not facts.

[Footnote 1: I am not aware of any authority, living or dead, who has
gone so far as to deny that God's revelation to the Jewish Church was in
any way connected with Christianity; that it was not even a stage of
progress, or preparatory step towards the kingdom of Christ.]

[Footnote 2: And was _sure to be_ sooner or later, when a science of
Biology and Palaeontology became possible.]

The great truths that God is really the Maker and Author of all things,
and that man has a spiritual being, and so forth, surely _gain nothing_
from being conveyed to the world in the folds of a fable. And when it
is not in a confessed fable, but a fable put forth as fact--"God said,"
"God created," "it was so"--not only is there no gain, but our sense of
fitness and of truth receive a shock. A parable is always discernible as
a parable, a vision as a vision. When our Lord, for example, tells us of
the ten virgins, we do not suppose Him to be revealing the actual
existence of ten such maidens, wise and foolish. We know that He is
reading a lesson of watchfulness. But looking at the Genesis narrative,
who could suppose it to be a parable? If sober, unmistakable statement
of fact is possible, we surely have it here, in intention, at least.

The plan of teaching truth in an envelope of error is _per se_ difficult
to conceive. But how much worse is it when we consider--what criterion
does mankind possess for disinterring and distinguishing the elements of
truth? If in religion we had only to do (as some would perhaps contend)
with obvious enforcements of common morality and kindness, there might
be a possibility of getting over the difficulty, because man would
possess some kind of criterion whereby to distinguish what was
fictitious, by the simple process of considering whether any given
statement bore on morals or not. Such a test would not indeed go very
far, because the human race is by no means agreed on all moral
questions; nor does it always find it easy to say what is, and what is
not, directly or indirectly connected with morals. But, in fact, the
scope of religion cannot be so confined: and then the difficulty
returns; for a revelation that tells us anything of the nature of God
and His method of government, of the nature of our own being and of a
future state, must necessarily go beyond our own ethical knowledge and
powers of judging, or it would not be a revelation. Supposing that the
revelation regarding such vital subjects is occasionally conveyed
through the medium of erroneous statements, where in any given case
would be the certainty as to what was Divine truth, and what not so?

This argument applies equally to another school of thinkers, who do not
care to tell us what the narrative in itself means: who believe that God
did not do what He is said to have done in Genesis, and yet who hold
that the narrative is in a sense inspired, and that we may learn from it
the great facts that God (and none other) originated all things--that
man has a spiritual element in his nature, and that woman is equal in
nature, but subordinate in position, to man, and so forth. Not only is
enlightened judgment, even, inadequate to pronounce with certainty on
how much is true; but the strange feeling still remains, if God designed
to teach us these truths only, why was it not possible to enable the
writer[1] to state them without the (purely gratuitous) error? The
sufferance of such a strange and unnecessary mixture of error seems
rather like that "putting to confusion" of the human mind, which we feel
sure the Great Teacher would never willingly perpetrate.

[Footnote 1: For on the supposition stated, there _is_ a revelation in
the text. Nor could any class of believer deny this. It is entirely
unnecessary to define the kind and extent of insphation. But "all
Scripture is '_theopneustos_'"--I leave the word purposely untranslated
(2 Tim. iii. 16); that surely means that the Divine Spirit exercised
_some kind_ of continuous control over the writers.]

Nor, again, can the narrative be got over by saying it is a poetic side
or aspect of the facts, and not to be taken literally. If any one knows
exactly what this means, and can tell us always how to translate the
matter into plain language, it is to be wished that he would enlighten
the world as to the process. But even if such process exists infallibly
and universally, still, one would suppose, the narrative must, to begin
with, be unmistakable poetry. And here, again, the narrative bears every
mark of an intention to state facts, not poetic aspects of facts. Nor
can we take the narrative as belonging to a familiar class in Scripture
where a dream is used as a vehicle of communication. In those cases
there is really no room for doubt; the visible facts themselves are
obviously designed only to typify or represent some other facts.

The events stated in Genesis are not of this class. Those, therefore,
who would be content with getting over the narrative without caring for
its details, can, I must suspect, have hardly given adequate attention
to the form and to the contents of the narrative as it stands. Not only
are the statements positive, but, taking any interpretation whatever of
them, they are not nearly imaginative enough to suit the purpose.

They have an obvious amount of relation to fact which has never been

If the narrative is purely human even (and that the school we are
considering do not aver), how did the writer come to be accurate even to
that extent? Take only the order of events. I admit it does not
correspond with the geologic record in the way commonly asserted; yet it
has a very remarkable relation to that sequence.

Now, in any case, the writer could have had no knowledge of any kind _of
his own_ on the subject: how did he hit on this particular
arrangement?[2] It is a mere matter of calculation on the well-known
rules of permutation and combination to realize in how many different
ways the same set of events could have been arranged; the number is very

And he could derive no assistance from any similar existing narrative.
If we conclude from the Assyrian discoveries that a non-biblical but
similar narrative existed, still it is certain that the principal one we
as yet have is so late in date, that it is more likely to be derived
from the Bible than the Bible from it. And though, on referring to the
earlier tablets, we find traces of the same narrative, it is so obscured
by idolatrous and false details, that the Bible writer must have had to
make a virtually new departure to get his own simple narrative. A
re-revelation would be required. As to all other cosmogonies, Egyptian,
Indian, and Buddhistic, nothing can be more opposed in principle and in
detail than they are to the severe and stately simplicity and directness
of the Mosaic.

[Footnote 1: Not even, for example, by Professor Haeckel.]

[Footnote 2: How, for example, did the writer come to introduce the
adjustment of hours of daylight and seasons in the _middle_, after so
much work had been done? How did he come to place _birds_ along with
fish and water monsters, and not separately?]

We cannot, then, account for the narrative on human grounds; nor can we
suppose that any inspiring control would have given the author so much
truth, and yet allowed so much error.

All this points to only one of two possible conclusions: either the
narrative is not inspired at all, and is a mere misleading story, into
which the name of God is introduced by the author's piety--and so really
teaches us nothing, since it is not revelation; _or_ the narrative is,
as a whole, divinely dictated, and must be true _throughout_, if we can
only arrive by due study at its true meaning. That part of it is, or may
be, true, even on the most cursory study, is not denied; that it is
_all_ true will appear, I think, in the sequel.

But there is a shorter and simpler reason why the rejection of the
narrative in Genesis would be a direct blow to Christian faith. The
plain truth is that it can hardly be denied, by any candid student of
the New Testament, that our Lord and His apostles certainly received the
early chapters of Genesis as of Divine authority. This has always been
perceived by the whole school of writers opposed to the Faith. They
therefore continue to attack these early revelations, and rejoice to
overturn them if they can, because they are aware that hardly any
chapters in the Bible are more constantly alluded to and made the
foundation of practical arguments by our Lord and His apostles.

If these chapters can be shown to be mythical, then the Divine knowledge
of our Lord as the Son of God, and the inspiration of His apostles, are
called in question. In the New Testament, especially, there are repeated
and striking allusions to Adam, the temptation of the woman by the
Serpent, and the entrance into the world of sin and death. Our Lord
Himself places the whole argument of His teaching on marriage and the
permissibility of divorce on Genesis ii. 24 (_cf_. St. Matt. xix. and
St. Mark x.). In St. John viii. 44 our Lord clearly alludes to the
Edenic narrative when He speaks of the tempter as a "manslayer ([Greek:
anthropoktonos]) from the beginning." Still more remarkable is the
argument of St. Paul in Romans v.; altogether based as it is on the
historical verity of the account of the Fall; and other allusions are to
be found in 1 Cor. xi. 8, in 2 Cor. xi. 3, in the Epistle to the
Ephesians, and elsewhere. In short, there are at least sixty-six
passages in the New Testament, in which the first eleven chapters of
Genesis are directly quoted or made the ground of argument. Of these,
six are by our Lord Himself, two being direct quotations;[1] six by St.
Peter, thirty-eight by St. Paul, seven by St. John, one by St. James,
two by St. Jude, two by the assembled apostles, three by St. Luke, and
one by St. Stephen.

[Footnote 1: St. Matt. xix. 4; St. Luke xvii. 27; and perhaps we might
add a third--St. Matt. xxiii. 35.]

We cannot, in fact, possibly avoid the conclusion that our Lord and His
apostles admitted the Divine origin and historical truth of these

Therefore, we are bound as Christians to accept them, and that without
glossing or frittering away their meaning, when we have arrived, by just
processes, at what that meaning really is.

The fact just stated further warns us against accepting an indefinite
interpretation which, while it acknowledges the truth of the general
conclusion, still virtually, if not in so many words, allows that the
details may be wholly inaccurate.



Passing, then, to a consideration of the explanations of the narrative
that may be or have been given at various times, I would first call
attention to the fact, that it seems in many instances to have been the
distinct purpose of Divine inspiration to allow the meaning of some
passages to be obscure; perhaps among other reasons, that men might be
compelled to study closely, to reason and to compare, and thus to become
more minutely acquainted with the record. Especially in a case of this
sort, where the world's knowledge of the facts would necessarily be
gradual, was it desirable that the narrative should be confined in
scope, and capable of being worked out and explained by the light of
later discoveries; because, had the narrative really (as has long been
supposed) been revealed to tell us what was the actual course of
evolution of created forms on earth, it would not only have occupied a
disproportionate space in the sacred volume, but would have been
unintelligible to the world for many centuries, and would have given
rise to much doubting and false argument, to the great detriment of
men's spiritual enlightenment. It would have diverted men's minds from
the great moral and conclusion of the whole (and here it is that the
"moral" or conclusion is so important) to set them arguing on points of
natural science.

The Bible was never intended (so far we may agree with all the schools
of thought) to be a text-book on biology or geology. We need rather to
be impressed with the great facts of God's Sovereignty and Providence,
and to know definitely that all the arrangements of our globe and all
forms of life are due to Divinely-created types. This is exactly secured
by the narrative as it stands; but such a purpose would not be served by
a narrative which, while it contained these great facts, had them
enwrapped in a tissue of unnecessary and false details. And therefore it
is, if I may so far anticipate my conclusion, that the narrative has no
direct concern with how, when, and where, the Creation slowly worked
itself out under the Divine guidance which is still elaborating the
great purpose of the "ages"; it confines our attention to what God, the
great Designer, did and said in heaven, as preliminary to all that was
to follow on earth. The former was not a proper subject for revelation,
because man would in time come to learn it by his studies on earth; but
the latter all ages could only learn--the first as well as the
latest--from a Divine Revelation.

Again, let me address a few words to those who are tempted, half
unconsciously perhaps, to think that any lengthy prelude and "elaborate"
explanation of Genesis must condemn the narrative _a priori_, or be
derogatory to the dignity of Revelation. Why the narrative should be
brief and concise I have just suggested. That it needs explanation of
_some_ sort is inevitable, because it _must_ be put into human language;
and directly such language is employed, we come upon such terms as "let
there be," "he created," and "days," which do not always call forth the
same ideas in all minds.

It will not have escaped the attention of any earnest student, that
Scripture has several different methods of describing things so as to
reveal them to men. This, a moment's reflection will enable us to
expect. However high and wonderful the things to be stated are, in order
to be brought within reach of human understanding _they must be
expressed in terms of human thought and experience_; and these are
imperfect and essentially inadequate. Hence it is, that many truths have
to be brought before us in special or peculiar ways.

How, for instance, are we told of the temptation and fall of man? How
are we to understand what was meant by the Tree of Life or the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil, or by the Serpent speaking and beguiling
Eve? We are at a great loss to give a precise explanation, though the
practical meaning is not difficult.

The facts may be none the less true, though from their transcendental
character it may have been necessary to put them down in mysterious,
possibly even in merely allegorical, language. Another instance of this
might be given in the account of Satan in the presence of the Lord as
described in the Book of Job, or of the lying Spirit described by
Micaiah when prophesying before Ahab. It maybe that these narratives
describe to us transactions in a world beyond our own, which _could_
only be conveyed to us in figures or in imperfect form. When St. Paul
was caught up into the third heaven, he "heard unspeakable things" which
it was not _possible_ for him to utter--the medium of expression was
wanting. Divine or mysterious things have, then, to be described in
peculiar language which is not always easy to understand. Nor, having
respect to the varying requirements of the different ages, or the
circumstances of the time and of the inspired writer, is it easy to
understand why any particular form of communication was selected, though
doubtless if we knew more we should see a good reason for it. This gives
us one class of Scripture passages--of methods of revelation. On the
other hand, there are in Scripture many facts of the highest import, and
in themselves of transcendent magnitude, which are yet capable of being
stated without any possibility of our interpreting or understanding the
narrative in more ways than one. When it is stated that Christ Jesus
rose from the dead, we know beyond all reasonable doubt what is meant.
The fact may be true or false, but the narrative of the fact needs no
explanation; there are no terms which need expansion--which could bear
more than one possible meaning, and which could be used accordingly in
one sense or another. This instances a second class. Again, we can bring
forward yet another class of Scripture revelations, namely, passages
which are necessarily understood with reference to certain other matters
which are unexpressed but are taken for granted, or in which the words
used may bear more than one meaning, or a meaning which is uncertain or
obscure. If the unexpressed matter can be supplied without doubt, then
all ages will agree in the interpretation; and if the terms can (by
reference to context or otherwise) be explained, the same result
follows: if not, then in interpreting the narrative, each age will _make
its own assumption_ regarding the terms used, on the basis of such
knowledge as it possesses. It follows, then, inevitably, that if the
state of knowledge varies, the interpretation will be different
according to the different standard of knowledge, according to which the
necessary assumptions are made. And yet all the while the authority of
the passage itself is not touched. As it is unquestionable that such
different classes of passage do occur in Scripture, it is merely a
question of criticism whether any given passage is of this class or
that, and whether its terms do admit of or require explanation. It is no
doubt possible to make mistakes and to err by refusing the direct
meaning, and giving to the terms an assumed meaning for which there is
no real necessity.[1] We have always to be on our guard against giving
special meanings to words where they are not required; but granted that
caution, there undoubtedly are passages in which either the terms
themselves are not plain, or in which they may really have a meaning
different from the ordinary one.

[Footnote 1: As, for example, where persons desirous to get over the
plain reference to Baptism in St. John iii. 5, try to explain away the
term "water" to mean something metaphorically but not actually water.]

To descend from the general to the particular, it is obvious that the
account of Creation in Genesis i., ii. is in such a form that we must
assume our own ideas of the term "day" therein employed, and also those
to be attached to "created" and similar terms.

In early times, no one would take "day" to mean anything else but an
earth day of the ordinary kind, and no one would question whether or not
the whole existing animals and plants, or their ancestors, appeared on
earth in six such days, or whether anything else was meant. Again, by
the time St. Augustine was writing, a little more knowledge of nature
and a little more habit of reasoning about the origin of things was in
the world, and that knowledge led people to suppose that creation meant
only the making of things "out of nothing," but that it would take
longer than six times twelve hours, so that "days" might mean "periods."

And people imagined for a long time that--taking for an example the
work in the middle of the narrative--there was a time when the earth
emerged from the tumult of waters, that it then got covered with plants,
the waters remaining barren of life; but that when the plants had come
up all over the ground, then the waters all at once became full of all
sorts of sea-shells, fish, and monsters of the deep, and so on.

They did all this, by naturally _assuming_ that the terms "creation,"
"day," &c., meant what the _existing state of knowledge_ at the time

At the present day, one would have supposed that every one must feel
that while the term "day" might or might not admit of explanation,
certainly _creation_ (i.e., terms implying it) did require very great
care in interpreting, and very great consideration as to what they
really meant But however that may be, we have here a passage which
_must_ have an explanation; and which must have an explanation that
depends on the state of knowledge.

The utility of Revelation is not negatived by this necessary result of
the employment of human language in describing the facts. It was _not_
necessary before, that all should be understood; it may be now
increasingly necessary in the purposes of God that it should be. At any
rate the fact is so, that in former days people did not possess the data
for knowing fully what creation meant, and certainly they do now possess
it to a very much greater extent at least. Always men could learn from
the narrative what it always was important for them to learn, namely,
God's Sovereignty and Authorship. It is in this way that the value of
the _general_ teaching of the narrative comes out, and not by trying to
allow a mixture of truth and falsehood in Revelation. All is and always
was true; but _all_ the truth was not equally extractable at all times.

Again: the dignity of the old written Revelation is not compromised
because God has virtually given a further revelation in His works,
i.e., by enabling man to know more about the rock-strata and the
succession of life on the earth. That is what it really comes to. It
should never be forgotten that the book of Nature _is_ a revelation.

The _works_ of God, if interpreted truly, are evidence of the same
nature as the _word_ of God if interpreted truly. God has created man
and his reason. It is impossible to suppose that it can be unrighteous
reasoning in God's sight, to derive from the facts of nature any
legitimate conclusion to which those facts point. It is childish to
believe that God created ready-made--if I may so speak--rocks with
fossils in them, marks of rain-drops showing which way the wind blew at
the time, foot-prints of birds, animals with remains of the prey they
had been feeding on, in their stomachs, and so forth. It is perfectly
reasonable and right to conclude certainly, that those creatures were
once living beings; that the surface of the earth was once a soft
sediment which received the impression of the rain-drops as they fell;
and that stratified rocks were deposited out of lakes and seas, as we
see alluvial strata deposited at the present day. It is impossible,
therefore, that (if we are not misled by appearances) any
well-ascertained fact can be contrary to the truth of God as explained
by Revelation. If we are not sure of the facts of nature, we must wait
patiently till further knowledge enlightens us, and must not hastily
conclude that the Bible is wrong. The repeated corrections which
successive years have compelled us to make in conclusions which were
once firmly accepted and proclaimed as "truths of science," should teach
us caution in this respect.

Nor, lastly, is it any reproach to the Church, as keeper of the Divine
Revelation, that its opinion of certain passages should vary with the
growth of knowledge. It would be hardly necessary to make this obvious
remark but for the fact that it has been reproached against Christian
belief, that science is contrary to the Bible, and that the Church has
ever had to confess itself wrong, after having persecuted people for not
following its peculiar views. It is, indeed, unfortunate that a blind
zeal for God has led, in the past, to persecution; the Church failing to
see that such men as Galileo and Bruno never denied God at all, nor did
their discoveries really contradict the Word. But persecution is not a
sin peculiar to the Church; it is a sin of human nature.

It is also true that Christian views may be wrong, but the fault is in
the views, not in the Bible.

Scientific men, of all people, should be the last to complain of
_change_ in views, seeing that what was science two hundred years ago is
now (much of it) exploded nonsense.

There is no harm whatever in changing our views about the meaning of
difficult passages--provided we never let go our hold on the central
truth, and put the error to our own account, not saying that the Word
itself is wrong.

It may, in this connection, be at once observed that any particular
explanation, or that one which I propose presently to suggest, of the
first chapters of Genesis, may not commend itself to the reader, and yet
the general argument I have adduced will hold good notwithstanding.

All that I care to contend is, that science does not contradict a
syllable of the narrative on _one_ possible interpretation, and that
changes in view as to interpretation are no arguments against the truth
of the passage itself.



Returning, then, to the narrative in the Book of Genesis, I think we may
take it as clear that the passage stands in such a concise and condensed
form, that it is obviously open to _be interpreted_. Further, that we
should not be surprised if the interpretation at the present day, with
our vastly increased knowledge of Nature, is different from what it was
in earlier times.

I make no apology for repeating this so often, because it is really
amazing to see the way in which "anti-theological" writers attack what
_they suppose_ to be the interpretation of the narrative, or what some
one else supposes to be such, and seem to be satisfied that in so doing
they have demolished the credibility of the narrative itself.

If you choose to assume that Creation as spoken of by the sacred writer
means some particular thing, or even if the mass of uneducated or
unreflecting people assume it and you follow them, I grant at once that
the narrative can be readily made out to be wrong.

Permit me, then, to repeat once more, that the narrative is in human
language, and uses the human terms "created," "made," and "formed," and
that these terms _do_ (as a matter of fact which there is no gainsaying)
bear a meaning which is not invariable. Hence, without any glossing or
"torturing" of the narrative, we are under the plain obligation to seek
to assign to these terms a true meaning _with all the light that modern
knowledge_ can afford.

Now (having already considered the school of interpretation which
declines to attend to the exact terms) we can confine our attention to
two classes of interpreters. One explains the term "days" to mean long
periods of time; the other accepts the word in its ordinary and most
natural sense, and endeavours to eliminate the long course of
developmental work made known to us by palaeontological science, and
supposes all that to have been passed over in silence; and argues that a
final preparation for the advent of the man Adam was made in a special
work of six days.

All the well-known attempts at explanation, such as those of Pye-Smith,
Chalmers, H. Miller, Pratt, and the ordinary commentaries, can be placed
in one or other of these categories.

Now, as regards both, I recur to the curious fact (already noted) that
it seems never to enter into the conception of either school to inquire
for a moment what the sacred writer meant by "created"--God
"created"--God said "let there be." It _is_ curious, because no one can
reasonably say "these terms are obvious, they bear their own meaning on
the surface;" a moment's analysis will scatter such an idea to the
winds. Yet the terms _are_ passed by. The commentators set themselves
right earnestly to compare and to collate, to argue and to analogize, on
the meaning of the term "days;" the other term "created" they take for
granted without--as far as I am aware--single line of explanation, or so
much as a doubt whether they know what it really means!

The interpretation that I would propose to the judgment of the Church is
just the very opposite. It seems to me that the word _day_ as used in
the narrative needs no explanation; it seems to me that the other does.
As regards the term "day," it is surely a rule of sound criticism never
to give an "extraordinary" meaning to a word, when the "ordinary" one
will give good and intelligible sense to a passage. And looking to the
fact that, after all, when the days of Genesis _are_ explained to mean
periods of very unequal but possibly enormous duration, that explanation
is not only quite useless, but raises greater difficulties than ever, I
should think it most likely that the "day" of the narrative should be
taken in the ordinary sense. But of this hereafter.

On the other hand, with regard to the terms "creation,[1]" "created,"
"Let there be," and so forth, I find ample room for the most careful
consideration and for detailed study before we can say what is meant.
Even then there remains a feeling of profound mystery. For at the very
beginning of every train of reflection and reasoning on the subject, we
are just brought up dead at this wonderful fact, the existence of
_matter_ where previously there had been _nothing_. The phrase "created
_out of_ nothing" is of course a purely conventional one, and, strictly
speaking, has no meaning; but we adopt it usefully enough to indicate
our ultimate fact--the appearance of matter where previously there had
been nothing. Nor is the difficulty really surmounted by alleging such a
mere _phrase_ as "matter is eternal," for we have just as little mental
conception of self-existent, always--and _without beginning_--existent
matter, as we have of "creation out of nothing."

[Footnote 1: The entire silence of commentators regarding the doubtful
meaning of "creation" is so surprising, that I have had the greatest
difficulty in persuading myself that the explanation I propose is new.
Yet certainly I have never come across it anywhere.]

The human mind has always a difficulty when it is brought face to face
with something that is beyond the scope not only of its own practical,
but, even of its theoretical or potential ability.

The "creation," therefore, of matter by a Divine Power is matter of
_faith_, as I endeavoured to set forth in the earlier pages of this
little work; but it is _reasonable_ faith, because it can be supported
by sound reasoning from analogy and strong probability.

All our attention, then, I submit, should be directed to understanding
what is "creation" in the sacred narrative.




Sec. 1. _Objections to the Received Interpretations_.

Taking the narrative as it stands, we find it to consist of two parts.
First, a general statement, of which no division of time is predicated,
and which is unaccompanied by any detail. Second, there is an account
seriatim of certain operations which are stated to have been severally
performed one on each of six days.

As regards the first portion, we have no definite knowledge of
scientific truth with which to compare the narrative. It is obviously
necessary for some Divine teacher to tell us authoritatively that God
originated and caused the material earth, and the systems of suns and
stars which men on the earth's surface are able to discern in the

We are consequently informed that in the beginning--there is no
practical need for defining further--"God created the heavens and the
earth." Here the question arises whether the Hebrew "bara," which is a
general term, alludes to the first production of material, or to the
moulding or fashioning of material already (in terms) assumed to exist.
I think that the conclusion must be that the best authority is in favour
of the idea of absolute origination of the whole;--the bringing the
entire system into existence where previously there was a perfect blank.
But even if the secondary meaning of "fashioned" or "forged" be allowed,
we have still an intelligible rendering. For in that case the first
origination of matter is tacitly assumed by the term itself, and the
statement would be, that the matter of the future cosmos so existing,
the Divine Artificer fashioned or moulded it into the orderly fabric it
has come to be.

The narrative then at once refers to our earth, with which, and with its
inhabitants, the whole volume is to be in future directly concerned.
"The earth was (or became) without form and void (chaotic), and darkness
was on the face of the deep (or abyss)."

We have no positive knowledge of what the first condition of terrestrial
matter was, apart from Revelation. The remarkable discoveries that the
spectroscope has enabled, and the facts learned from the physical
history of comets and meteorites, can do no more than make what is known
as the "nebular hypothesis" highly probable. But it is amply sufficient
for our purpose to point out, that if it is true that matter originated
in a nebulous haze to the particles of which a spiral rotatory motion
had been communicated, and if (confining our attention to one planet
only) that attenuated matter gradually aggregated in a ring or rings,
and then consolidated into a solid or partly solid globe, then the
results are briefly, but adequately and sublimely, provided for by the
form of the Mosaic statement.

Matter thus aggregating would have developed an enormous amount of heat,
and there would have been a seething mass of molten mineral matters,
with gases and other materials in the form of vapours, which would have
gradually cooled and consolidated. Vast masses of water would in time be
formed on one hand, and solid mineral masses on the other; the latter
would contract as cooling progressed, causing great upheavals and
depressions and contortions of strata. And before the advent of
life-forms, it is not difficult to conceive that the first state of our
globe was one which is intelligibly and very graphically described as
being "without form and void." Nothing more than that, can, from actual
physical knowledge, be stated.[1]

It is also stated that this confused elemental state of our earth was
accompanied at first by darkness. Material darkness that is--for the
potentiality of light and order was there; the SPIRIT OF GOD "moved" (or
brooded) upon the face of the abyss. This presents no difficulty of
interpretation, and may therefore be passed over for the present.

[Footnote 1: It would be hardly necessary (but for some remarks in the
course of the Gladstone-Huxley controversy) to observe that the term
"void" does not imply vacuity or emptiness, as of _substance,_ but
absence of defined form such as subsequently was evolved.]

Practically, indeed, there has been no grave difficulty raised over this
first portion. And if it is argued (on the ground of what I have already
in general terms indicated) that the term "created" will, on my own
interpretation, get us into difficulties, I reply that here, in its
position and with the context, there is no room for doubt, for clearly
the word implies _both_ the great primary idea of the Divine design or
plan formulated in heaven, _and_ the subsequent result in time and
space.[1] This will become more clear when I have further explained the

[Footnote 1: And of course if the true sense be "fashioned" or
"moulded," the question does not arise.]


But from this point the narrative commences to be more precise, and to
exhibit a very singular and altogether unprecedented division of
creative work into "days."

Now I have already indicated my doubt whether we ought to import any
unusual meaning to explain this term.

In the first place, the objection that till the movements and relations
of the sun to the earth were ordained there would be no _measure of a
day_ will not stand a moment's examination. Nor will the further
objection sometimes made, that even with the sun, a day is a very
uncertain thing: for example, a day and a night in the north polar
regions are periods of month-long duration, quite different from what
they are in England, or at Mount Sinai. Obviously, a "day" with
reference to the planet for which the term is used, means the period
occupied by one rotation of the planet on its own axis. The rotation of
the earth is antecedent to anything mentioned in the narrative we are
considering. In the nature of things, it would have been coeval with the
introduction of the _prima materies_--at least if any nebular hypothesis
can be relied on. The "day" would be there whether it were obscured by

Book of the day: