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Q. E. D., or New Light on the Doctrine of Creation by George McCready Price

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demonstrated laboratory facts with the armchair theories that have so
long and so harmfully dominated biological studies. A quotation from him
will not be out of place at this point.

"I may recall in this connection that wingless flies also arose in our
cultures by a single mutation. We used to be told that wingless insects
occurred on desert islands because those insects that had the best
developed wings had been blown out to sea. Whether this is true or not,
I will not pretend to say; but at any rate wingless insects may also
arise, not through a slow process of elimination, but at a single
step.... Formerly we were taught that eyeless animals arose in caves.
This case shows that they may also arise suddenly in glass milk bottles,
by a change in a single factor."[26]

[Footnote 26: "A Critique of the Theory of Evolution," p. 67.]

We need not be particularly concerned here with the theoretical
explanations of these facts offered in terms of the microscopic or even
the infra-microscopic components of the germ cells. Morgan seems to
make out a strong case for the theory that the chromosomes found in the
nucleus are the real ultimate units that carry the hereditary factors.
But he is quite decided in the opinion that these hereditary factors are
fixed, and are not changed from generation to generation either by
environment or by selection.[27] The important thing for us in this
connection is to get a clear idea of the results following from an
application of Mendel's laws to the old, old problem of the origin of
species, incidentally noticing how the theory associated with Darwin's
name now looks in the light of these new facts.

[Footnote 27: In human beings it has been found that the effects of
alcoholism and of syphilis are indeed transmitted according to Mendelian
law, being the two solitary examples of diseased conditions that are
thus transmitted. But they are so plainly pathologic phenomena that
there is little temptation for the advocates of Lamarckianism to use
them as proofs of their theory.]

We have hitherto been considering the results worked out by Mendel with
but one pair of contrasted characters or factors. But Mendel studied the
relation of other characters of the pea, and found among other results
that smooth seeds are dominant to wrinkled seeds, colored seeds dominant
to white, yellow color dominant to green, etc. But when a combination of
_two_ factors in each parent are put into contrast by cross breeding,
two wholly original forms (as they seemed) were sometimes produced, and
it looked as if these new kinds were really analogous to new species.

For example, he crossed tall yellow peas with dwarf green peas, with
the result that the first hybrid generation turned out to be all tall
yellows. However, in the second hybrid generation they split up
according to the law as already stated, modified by the additional
complication brought into the problem by the additional pair of factors.
For out of every sixteen plants there were nine tall yellows, three
_dwarf yellows_, three _tall greens_, and one dwarf green. It is evident
that these tall greens and dwarf yellows are really new forms; and
further experiments proved that they can be separated out or segregated
and grown as pure forms which thereafter breed true. Thus we have a very
important result for the breeder, for it enables him to work to a
definite aim and combine certain desirable characters into a single

The term _mutation_, as already intimated, has been given to this
process of producing new varieties in this way. The kinds so produced
are termed _mutants_, and at first they were hailed by enthusiastic
scientists as "elementary species." De Vries in particular gave much
publicity to this idea; for he thought he had really produced a new kind
comparable in every respect to a true species as produced by nature
among wild plants. But the enthusiasm with which this applied result of
Mendel's Law was at first hailed by biologists has gradually subsided;
for it has been found that though these new forms will breed true under
certain conditions, they are nevertheless _cross-fertile with the
original forms_, and thus the circle can be _completed back again_ by a
return to the parent form, from which the new "species" can again be
produced at will with the same mathematical exactness as before.


Where then are we?

Clearly we have not really produced any new species in any correct sense
of the word. If we have produced new forms that breed true and that are
seemingly just as deserving of the rank of distinct species as many now
listed in scientific books, it only shows that our lists are sadly at
fault, and that they are not all species that are called species. These
experiments merely indicate that _the parent form possesses more
potential characters than it can give expression to in a single
individual form_, some of them being necessarily latent or hidden, and
that when these latent ones show themselves they must do so at the
expense of others which become latent or hidden in their turn. This
_vital elasticity_, as it may be termed, or the vital rebound under
definite conditions, is indeed a prime characteristic of the species
just as it is of the individual; but like that of the individual the
vital elasticity of the species is strictly bounded by comparatively
narrow limits beyond which we have never seen a single type pass under
either natural or artificial conditions. Mutations can be made according
to Mendel's Law; but when we have made them once _we can always be sure
of producing the_ _very same mutants again in the very same way_, as
surely as we produce a definite chemical compound; and when we have made
it _we can always resolve it at will back into its original form_, just
as we can a chemical compound. And so, where is the evolution? or how do
these facts throw any light on the problem of the origin of species, any
more than chemical compounds throw light on the origin of the elements?
Obviously in biology as in chemistry we are only working in a circle,
merely marking time.

And the bearing of these facts on the other problem of the transmission
of acquired characters is quite obvious. Mendelism provides no place for
any such transmission. Mendel's Law is sometimes called the law of
_alternative inheritance_, thus embodying in its name the thought that
offspring may show the characters possessed by one parent or by the
other, but that it cannot develop any characters whatever which were not
manifest or latent in the ancestry. Changes in the environment during
the embryonic stage, it is true, seem sometimes to be registered in the
growing form; but it has never yet been proved that these induced
changes can ever amount to a unit character or genetic factor that will
maintain itself and segregate as a distinct factor after hybridization.
Ancestry alone furnishes the material for the factor, and no amount of
induced change can get itself registered in the organism so as to come
into this charmed circle of ancestral characters which alone seem to be
passed on to posterity.

A quotation from Bateson ought to set this point at rest:

"The essence of the Mendelian principle is very easily expressed. It is,
first, that in great measure the properties of organisms are due to the
presence of distinct, detachable elements [factors], separately
transmitted in heredity; and secondly, that _the parent cannot pass on
to offspring an element, and consequently the corresponding property,
which it does not itself possess_."[28]

[Footnote 28: _Scientific American_ Sup., January 3, 1914.]

Heredity we now see is a method of analysis, and the facts brought to
light by Mendelism help us very much toward an understanding of living
matter. Especially does it help us to understand the complexity
underlying the facts of heredity, which until now have seemed so strange
and capricious. As Professor Punnett of Cambridge remarks:

"Constitutional differences of a radical nature may be concealed beneath
an apparent identity of external form. Purple sweet peas from the same
pod, indistinguishable in appearance and of identical ancestry, may yet
be fundamentally different in their constitution. From one may come
purples, reds, and whites; from another only purples and reds; from
another purples and whites alone; whilst a fourth will breed true to
purple. Any method of investigation which fails to take account of the
radical differences of constitution which may underlie external
similarity, must necessarily be doomed to failure. Conversely, we
realize to-day that individuals identical in constitution may yet have
an entirely different ancestral history. From the cross between two
fowls with rose and pea combs, each of irreproachable pedigree for
generations, come single combs in the second generation, _and these
singles are precisely similar in their behavior to singles bred from
strains of unblemished ancestry_. In the ancestry of the one is to be
found no single over a long series of years; in the ancestry of the
other nothing but singles occurred. The creature of given constitution
may often be built up in many ways, but once formed it will behave like
others of the same constitution."[29]

[Footnote 29: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XVIII, p. 119.]


Vanished at last are the old theories of gradual changes in species
perpetuated and accumulated by natural selection until at last wholly
new forms have in this way been produced. True variations are now seen
to be confined within well-marked and rather narrow limits, within which
ordinary variations may occur, perhaps induced by environment. These
fluctuating variations grade off into one another on all sides, and
their differences _can_ be plotted on a frequency curve; but the very
important thing for us to remember is that these fluctuating variations
_cannot be transmitted._ Beyond these fluctuating variations come the
unit characters or factors, which are distinct from each other, or
"discontinuous," to use the technical term, and which therefore _cannot
be plotted on a frequency curve_. These factors are not modified in the
least by the environment, and their peculiarities are faithfully
transmitted in heredity with all the precision of chemical law. But even
these factors are all within the bounds of the species. There is not a
shred of scientific evidence that either natural or artificial devices
have originated a single genetic factor that was not all the time
potentially latent in the ancestry, capable of being produced at will by
the proper combination.

It is a universal law of living things that all forms left to themselves
tend to degenerate. The necessity for continuous artificial selection in
the sugar beet, in Sea Island cotton, in corn, in Jersey and Holstein
cattle, in trotting horses, proves this universal tendency to
degenerate.[30] Natural selection in a somewhat similar way tends to
postpone this degeneracy by killing off the "unfit," but selection
either artificial or natural cannot originate anything new, and its
results are here displayed merely among the small fluctuating variations
mentioned above. Even among the real genetic factors it may show itself
by allowing some to survive alone; but as no combination of diverse
factors can originate anything really new, its field for operation among
these factors is extremely limited. Among species also it is operative,
killing off some and allowing others to survive. But neither among
fluctuations, among factors, nor yet among species can selection
originate anything new.

[Footnote 30: The following represents the consensus of scientific
opinion regarding the lessons to be drawn from the phenomena of our
improved races of domesticated plants and animals:

"One need not be a pessimist to assert the actual evidence thus far
obtained indicates that the supposed progress made in the improvement of
domesticated animals and plants is nothing more than the sorting out of
pure lines, and thus represents no advancement."--Prof. L.B. Walton,
_Science_, April 3, 1914.]

Nor is there any other method known to modern science by means of which
new factors can be originated which were not potentially latent in the
ancestry. The much heralded new "species" of de Vries and others are now
known to be merely new factors cropping out;[31] for though they remain
constant and breed true, they obey Mendel's Law when crossed with their
parental forms, and hence are merely the result of some new combination
of factors which can be reproduced at will by using the same method of
combination and segregation. The real scientific test for any form
supposed to be a new "species" would be twofold: (1) to show that some
new character had been added which no ancestor ever possessed; and (2)
to show that this new character will breed true under all circumstances
of hybridization and not merely segregate as a unit character or mere
analytic variety after hybridization. It is almost superfluous to say
that no "new species" originating in modern times has ever justified
itself under these tests.

[Footnote 31: Some of our leading biologists are now disposed to grow
somewhat humorous when speaking of this mutation theory of de Vries, as
may be illustrated by the following:

"The mutation theory of de Vries appears accordingly to lag useless on
the biological stage, and may apparently be now relegated to the limbo
of discarded hypotheses.... The present refutation has been undertaken
in the interest of biological progress in this country. It is now high
time, so far as the so-called mutation hypothesis, based on the conduct
of the evening primrose in cultures, is concerned, that the younger
generation of biologists should take heed lest the primrose path of
dalliance lead them imperceptibly into the primrose path to the
everlasting bonfire."--Prof. Edw. C. Jeffrey (Harvard), in _Science_,
April 3, 1914.]

In conclusion it may be remarked that biologists do not claim to have
solved all the problems connected with heredity and variation. But the
general results taught us by Mendelism are now established beyond
controversy. Led by the German biologists, the leading scientists of the
world had already acknowledged that "pure" Darwinism or natural
selection cannot explain the origin of new organs or new forms. And now
Mendelism destroys the other supposed foundation for biological
evolution, by showing that small variations cannot be accumulated into
large differences equal in value to a unit character or a new species.
Thus the whole foundation of biological evolution has been completely
undermined by these new discoveries; and were it not for the wide-spread
credence the evolutionary theory has already received, and the
intellectual momentum it has acquired tending to carry it on by its
inertia into the future, it could be only a very short time now before
the elaborate treatises attempting to orientate with it all the facts of
religion and history would have to be consigned to the shelves labeled,
"Of Historic Interest." For as Bateson remarked in his recent address as
President before the British Association at Melbourne, Australia, the
new knowledge of heredity shows that whatever evolution there is occurs
by loss of factors and not by gain, and that in this way the progress of
science is "destroying much that till lately passed for gospel."[32]

[Footnote 32: In commenting on these views of Bateson, Prof. S.C. Holmes,
of the University of California, well speaks of them as "an illustration
of _the bankruptcy of present evolutionary theory."--Science_, September
3, 1915.]


Let us sum up the situation. We began this chapter with the question,
Have new kinds of plants and animals originated in modern times
comparable in all essential respects with the idea of true species?

The answer of modern science is reluctantly obtained, but it is a
negative. De Vries and others have indeed originated new kinds that were
loudly hailed as new species, and are doubtless as deserving of specific
rank as many already listed for years in the treatises of specialists.
Indeed there is every reason to believe that almost countless numbers of
our taxonomic species have originated from common ancestral originals.
But as these so-called species are now known to be freely or moderately
cross fertile with other related species, their hybrids following the
ordinary laws of Mendelian inheritance, we see that they are not true
species but mere analytic varieties.

In short, we now know that our taxonomic classifications have been
marked off on altogether too narrow lines. This has tended greatly to
confuse the question at issue. But from our enlarged views of the laws
and nature of heredity and variation, as well as from the original
intent of the term _species_ as defined by the great scientist who
originated it, the verdict of an impartial investigator must be that we
have never seen a new species originate by any natural or artificial
method since the dawn of scientific observation.

Here again we find the record of Creation confirmed; for the failure of
the thousands of modern investigators to originate genuine new species
proves that in this respect also Creation is not now going on. And all
the analogies from the origin of matter, of energy, of life, and from
the laws of the reproduction of cells, indicate that we have at last
found rock bottom truth regarding the vexed question of the origin of
species. So far as science can observe and record, each living thing on
earth, in air, in water, reproduces "after its kind."




In all the previous chapters I have not been giving any very new facts
or any discoveries of my own. True, my conclusions from the facts may
seem novel; but in general I have been giving merely facts which are
almost universally acknowledged by educated men. The conservation laws
of matter and of energy, the impassable gulf between the living and the
not-living, the laws governing cell multiplication, are matters of
common knowledge and will be found in the appropriate college text-books
throughout the civilized world. Even the facts which I have presented
regarding variation and heredity are admitted in one way or another by
practically all biologists. But in following our general subject into
the field of geology, I shall be obliged to present some comprehensive
truths and general conclusions which are not so widely acknowledged,
because only recently brought to light. However, as these facts and
conclusions may seem very new and strange to many, I shall endeavor to
build up my argument wholly on the recorded observations of the very
highest authorities rather than on my own unsupported testimony; though
for the sake of brevity I shall be obliged to refer the reader to my
"Fundamentals of Geology" (1913) for some of the details.

One of the great outstanding ideas of geology as usually taught is that
life has been on the globe for many millions of years, that in fact
there has been a graded succession of different types of life in a well
defined invariable order, from the lower and more generalized to the
higher and more specialized. Quite obviously this succession of life was
antagonistic to the former views of a literal Creation; and only on this
supposed fact as an outline has the modern theory of biological
evolution been built up. For if geology cannot furnish the most
unquestionable proof that life has occurred in a very definite and
invariable order, what is the use of talking about the development of
one form of life into another by a gradual process of evolution?

One of the highest scientific authorities in America, Prof. Thomas Hunt
Morgan, of Columbia University, has recently said, "The direct evidence
furnished by fossil remains is by all odds the strongest evidence that
we have in favor of organic evolution."[33] Accordingly we purpose to
examine carefully what this by all odds "strongest evidence" is like.

[Footnote 33: "A Critique of the Theory of Evolution," p. 24.]


As with some of the other facts with which we have had to deal in
previous chapters, a correct understanding of the questions involved
can best be obtained by examining the history of the development of the

The first man with whom we need to concern ourselves is A.G. Werner, a
teacher of mineralogy in the University of Freiberg, Germany. For three
hundred years his ancestors had been connected with mining work, and he,
though possessing little general education, knew about all that was then
known regarding mineralogy and petrology. He wrote no books; but by his
enthusiastic teaching he gathered as students and sent out as
evangelists hundreds of devoted young scientists who rapidly spread his
theories through all the countries of Europe.

"Unfortunately," says Zittel, "Werner's field observations were limited
to a small district, the Erz Mountains and the neighboring parts of
Saxony and Bohemia. And his chronological scheme of formations was
founded on the mode of occurrence of the rocks within these narrow

[Footnote 34: "History of Geology," p. 59.]

Werner had found the granites, limestones, sandstones, schists, etc.,
occurring in a certain relative order in his native country; and he drew
the very remarkable conclusion that this was the _normal_ order in which
these various rocks would invariably be found in all parts of the world,
on the theory that this was the order in which these different rocks had
been formed in the beginning, great layers of these different rocks
having originally been spread completely around the globe one outside
another like the coats of an onion. With this as a major premise, it is
not surprising that he and his enthusiastic disciples "were as certain
of the origin and sequence of the rocks as if they had been present at
the formation of the earth's crust."[35]

[Footnote 35: A. Geikie, "Founders of Geology," p. 112.]

The amusement with which this onion-coat theory is now regarded is
hardly appropriate in view of its universal vogue among geologists about
the beginning of the nineteenth century, and in view of the further fact
that a very similar and only slightly modified substitute theory has
been universally taught for three-quarters of a century _and still
prevails_. The modern form of the theory substitutes onion-coats of
fossiliferous rocks for onion-coats of mineral and lithological
characters; and a brief consideration of this theory is now in order.

About the time that various geologists here and there were finding rocks
in positions that could not be explained in terms of Werner's theory,
William Smith (1769-1839) in England and the great Baron Cuvier
(1769-1832) in France found characteristic fossils occurring in various
strata; and under their teachings it was not long before the fossils
were considered the best guide in determining the relative sequence of
the rocks. The familiar idea of world-enveloping strata as representing
successive ages was not discarded; but instead of Werner's successive
ages of limestone making, sandstone making, etc., these new
investigators taught that there were successive ages of invertebrates,
fishes, reptiles, and mammals, these creatures having registered their
existence in rocky strata which thus by hypothesis completely encircled
the globe one outside another.

It is true that early in the nineteenth century Sir Charles Lyell and
others tried to disclaim this absurd and unscientific inheritance from
Werner's onion-coats; but modern geology has never yet got rid of its
essential and its chief characteristic idea, for all our text-books
still speak of various successive ages _when only certain types of life
prevailed all over the globe_. Hence it is that Herbert Spencer
caustically remarks: "Though the onion-coat hypothesis is dead, its
spirit is traceable, under a transcendental form, even in the
conclusions of its antagonists."[36] Hence it is that Whewell, in his
"History of the Inductive Sciences," refuses to acknowledge that in
geology any real advance has yet been made toward a stable science like
those of astronomy, physics, and chemistry. "We hardly know," he says,
"whether the progress is begun. The history of physical astronomy almost
commences with Newton, and few persons will venture to assert that the
Newton of geology has yet appeared."[37] Hence it is that T.H. Huxley
declares, "In the present condition of our knowledge and of _our
methods_, one verdict,--'_not proven and not provable'--must be recorded
against all grand hypotheses of the palaeontologist respecting the
general succession of life on the globe."[38] And hence it is that Sir
Henry H. Howorth, a member of the British House of Commons and the
author of three exhaustive works on the Glacial theory, declares, "It is
a singular and notable fact, that while most other branches of science
have emancipated themselves from the trammels of metaphysical reasoning,
_the science of geology still remains imprisoned in a priori_

[Footnote 36: "Illustr. of Univ. Prog.," p. 343.]

[Footnote 37: Vol. II, p.580.]

[Footnote 38: "Discourses," pp. 279-288.]

[Footnote 39: "The Glacial Nightmare," Preface, vii.]

And thus the matter remains even to-day, in this second decade of the
twentieth century. _Geology has never yet been regenerated_, as have all
the other sciences, by being delivered from the caprice of subjective
speculations and _a priori_ theories and being placed on the secure
basis of objective and demonstrable fact, in accordance with the
principles of that inductive method of investigation which was
instituted by Bacon and which has become so far universal in the other
sciences that it is everywhere known as the scientific method. In
accordance with this method, theories in all the other sciences are
always kept well subordinated to facts; and whenever unequivocal facts
are found manifestly contradicting a theory no matter how venerable, the
theory must go to make way for the facts. In other words, the
theoretical parts of the various other sciences are always kept revised
from time to time, to keep them in line with the new discoveries that
have been made. There has been no lack of astonishing discoveries of new
facts in geology during the past half century or so, while all the other
sciences have been making such astonishing progress. _But for over
seventy five years geology has not made a single advance movement in its
theoretical aspects_; indeed, in all its important general principles it
has scarcely changed in a hundred years. I shall leave it to the reader
to judge whether this is a case of almost miraculous perfection from the
beginning, or of arrested development.


Of the _three_ general postulates or _a priori_ assumptions of this
curiously out-of-date mediaeval science, namely, (1) Uniformity, (2) the
Cooling globe theory, and (3) the theory of the Successive Ages, the
first two have already been examined and found wanting by other
investigators, and have been allowed to lapse into a sort of honored
disuse, though their memory is still reverently cherished in all the
text-books of the science. The "Challenger" Expedition dissipated most
of the myths that had long been taught regarding the deep waters of the
ocean; and Professor Suess has disposed of the closely related myth
about the coasts of the continents being constantly on the seesaw up and
down. These two discoveries, with others that might be mentioned,
dispose of Lyell's theory of uniformity. Lord Kelvin and the other
physicists dissipated the idea of a molten interior of the earth. Hence,
because these other false hypotheses have already in a measure been
disposed of, as well as for the sake of brevity, I shall here discuss
only the _third_ of the prime postulates of the current system of
geology, namely the theory of Successive Ages. And when we have adjusted
this aspect of the science of geology to the facts of the rocks as made
known to us by modern discoveries, we shall find little in this science
out of harmony with the older view of a literal Creation as taught in
the Bible and as already confirmed by the other branches of science
which we have been examining.

There are _five_ leading arguments against the reality of these
successive ages. Four of them must be dismissed here by a brief summary
of the facts as we know them to-day, referring the reader to the
author's larger work, where detailed evidence is given for each. The
_fifth_ series of facts I shall give here in more detail, though of
course even this must be but an outline of what is given elsewhere.

1. In the earlier days of the theory of successive ages it was taught
that only certain kinds of fossils were to be found _at the bottom_ of
the series, or next to the Primitive or Archaean. This feature of the
theory was demanded by the supposed universal spread of one type of life
all around the globe in the earliest age. But it is now known that the
so-called "oldest" fossiliferous rocks occur only in detached patches
over the globe, while other or "younger" kinds are just as likely to be
found on the Primitive or next to the Archaean. Not only may any kind of
fossiliferous rocks occur next to the Archaean, but even the "youngest"
may be so metamorphosed and crystalline as to resemble exactly in this
respect the so-called "oldest" rocks. On the other hand some of the very
"oldest" rocks may, like the Cambrian strata around the Baltic and in
some parts of the United States, consist of "muds scarcely indurated and
sands still incoherent."[40]

[Footnote 40: J.A. Howe; Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. II, p. 86.
Cambridge Edition.]

All this means that many facts regarding the _position_ of the strata as
well as regarding their _consolidation_ contradict the theory of
successive ages.

2. Many of the rivers of the world completely ignore the alleged varying
ages of the rocks in the different parts of their course, and treat them
all as if of the same age or as if they began sawing at them all at the
same time. This is true of the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Danube in
Europe, the Sutlej of India, and the upper part of the Colorado in
America, not to mention others. The old strand lines around all the
continents act in the very same way, ignoring the varying ages of the
rocks they happen to meet; as is also true of nearly all the great
faults or fissures which are of more than local extent. The ore veins of
the various minerals are about as likely to be found in Tertiary or
Mesozoic as in the Palaeozoic. A very similar lesson is to be learned
from the fossils found lying exposed on the deep ocean bottom; for they
are about as likely to be Palaeozoic or Mesozoic as Tertiary.

From these facts we conclude that practically all the great natural
chronometers of the earth seem to treat the fossiliferous rocks as if
they are _all of about the same age_, completely disregarding the
distinctions in age founded on the fossils.

3. According to the present chronological arrangement of the rocks, very
many genera, often whole tribes of animals, are found as fossils only in
the oldest rocks, and _have skipped all the others_, though found in
comparative abundance in our modern world. Very many others have skipped
from the Mesozoic down, while still others skip large _parts_ of the
series of successive ages.

These absurdities would all be avoided by acknowledging that the current
distinctions as to the ages of the fossils are purely artificial, and
that one fossil is intrinsically just as old or as young as another.

4. It is now known that any kind of "young" beds whatsoever, Mesozoic,
Tertiary, or even Pleistocene, may be found in such _perfect
conformability_ on some of the very oldest beds over wide stretches of
country that "the vast interval of time intervening is unrepresented
either by deposition or erosion"; while in some instances these
age-separated formations so closely resemble one another in structure
and in mineralogical make-up that, "were it not for fossil evidence, one
would naturally suppose that a single formation was being dealt with"
(McConnell); and these conditions are "not merely local, but persistent
over wide areas" (A. Geikie), so that the "numerous examples" (Suess) of
these conditions "may well be cause for astonishment" (Suess).

A still more astonishing thing from the standpoint of the current
theories is that these conformable relations of incongruous strata are
often _repeated over and over again in the same vertical section_, the
same kind of bed reappearing alternately with others of an entirely
different "age," that is, appearing "as if _regularly interbedded"_ (A.
Geikie) with them, in a manifestly undisturbed series of strata.

Here again we have a very formidable series of facts whose gravamen is
directed wholly against the artificial distinctions in age between the
different groups of fossils; and their argument is an eloquent plea that
the fossils are neither older nor younger but all of a similar age.

5. Our last fact demands a somewhat more extended consideration; but it
may be stated in advance briefly as follows:

In very numerous cases and over hundreds and even thousands of square
miles, the conformable conditions specified in the previous fact are
exactly reproduced _upside down_; that is, very "old" rocks occur with
just as much appearance of natural conformability on top of very "young"
rocks, the area in some instances covering many hundreds of square
miles, and in one particular instance in Montana and Alberta covering
about five or six thousand square miles of area.

The first notable example of this phenomenon was discovered at Glarus,
Switzerland, a good many years ago; since which time this locality has
become a classic in geological literature, and has called out many
ponderous monographs in German and French by such men as Heim, Schardt,
Lugeon, Rothpletz, and Bertrand. This example, which was first (1870)
called the Glarner Double Fold by Escher and Heim, is now universally
called a nearly flat-lying "thrust fault," in accordance with the
explanations since adopted of similar phenomena elsewhere. Without
obtruding unnecessary technicalities upon my non-professional readers, I
may quote the words of Albert Heim as to the conditions as now
recognized in these parts:

"These flat-lying faults, of which those at Glarus were the first to be
discovered, _are a universal_ _phenomenon_ in the Northern and Central

[Footnote 41: "Der Bau der Schweizeralpen," p. 17.]

The favorite method of explaining these conditions has slightly changed
within recent years, as already remarked. For whereas the classic
example at Glarus was at first spoken of as a double fold-in from both
sides toward the Sernf Valley, this is now universally spoken of as a
"thrust fault," with the rocks all pushed one way. Incidentally it may
be noted that this very fact that what was long regarded as two
completely overturned folds is now spoken of as one flat-lying thrust
fault, is _prima facie_ evidence that there is here _no physical proof_
of any real overturning of the strata, such as we do find on a very
small scale in true folded rocks. The latter can usually be measured in
yards, feet, or inches; while in this example at Glarus the area
involved would be measured in many miles, and in some very similar
examples to be presently mentioned from America the measurement could
best be made in degrees of latitude and longitude or in arcs of the
earth's circumference. In these larger examples it is manifestly
impossible that there should be any physical evidence sufficient to
indicate a huge earth movement of this character, especially when, as is
usually the case, both the upper and the lower strata are _quite
uninjured in appearance_. No; the fossils are here in the wrong order,
that is all. And so, to save the long established doctrines of a very
definite order of successive life-forms, this theory of a "thrust fault"
is offered as the best available explanation. As Dr. Albert Heim himself
once expressed it very naively in a letter to the present writer, that
the strata over these large areas are in a position manifestly at direct
disagreement with the received order of the fossils, "is a fact which
can be clearly seen,--only we know not yet how to explain it in a
mechanical way."

An example in the Highlands of Scotland was about the next to be
discovered. Here, as Dana says, "a mass of the oldest crystalline rocks,
many miles in length from north to south, was thrust at least ten miles
westward over younger rocks, part of the latter fossiliferous;" and he
further declares, "the thrust planes _look like planes of bedding, and
were long so considered._"[42]

Sir Archibald Geikie and others had at first described these beds as
naturally conformable; and when at length they were convinced that the
fossils would not permit this explanation, Geikie gives us some very
picturesque details as to how natural they look.

The thrust planes, he says, are with much difficulty distinguished "from
ordinary stratification planes, like which they have been plicated,
faulted, and denuded. Here and there, as a result of denudation, a
portion of one of them appears capping a hilltop. One almost refuses to
believe that the little outlier on the summit does not lie normally on
the rocks below it, but on a nearly horizontal fault by which it has
been moved into its place."

Of a similar example in Ross Shire he declares:

"Had these sections been planned for the purpose of deception, they
could not have been more skilfully devised, ... and no one coming first
to the ground would suspect that what appears to be a normal
stratigraphical sequence is not really so."[43]

[Footnote 42: "Manual," pp. 111, 534.]

[Footnote 43: _Nature_, November 13, 1884, pp. 29-35.]

Here again we have unequivocal testimony from the most competent of
observers that there is _no physical evidence whatever_ to lead any one
to say that a ponderous scale of the earth's crust was really pushed up
on top of other portions, as this makeshift theory of "thrust faults"
involves. The _fossils are here in the wrong order_, just as in the case
at Glarus; that is all. The facts seem to be a flat contradiction to the
theory of definite successive ages, and to save the theory this
explanation of a "thrust fault" is invented, though there is absolutely
no physical evidence of any disturbance of the strata.

Our next stopping place is in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of
eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. Here we have the Carboniferous
strata dipping gently to the southeast, like an ordinary low monocline,
_under_ Cambrian or Lower Silurian, one of these so-called faults having
a reported length of 375 miles,[44] while in another instance the upper
strata are said to have been pushed about eleven miles in the direction
of the "thrust."[45] These conditions, we are told, "have provoked the
wonder of the most experienced geologists,"[46] because of the perfectly
natural appearance of the surfaces of the strata affected; or as this
same writer puts it, "The mechanical effort is great beyond
comprehension, but the effect upon the rocks is inappreciable," and "the
fault dip is often parallel to the bedding of the one or the other
series of strata."[47] Which means, in other words, that these "thrust
planes" _look just like ordinary planes of bedding between conformable

[Footnote 44: Bailey Willis, Geol. Survey, Report, Vol. 13, p. 228.]

[Footnote 45: C.W. Hayes, _Bull. Geol. Soc_., Vol. 2, pp. 141-154.]

[Footnote 46: Willis, _op. cit_., p. 228.]

[Footnote 47: Willis, _op. cit_., p. 227.]

The Rocky Mountains furnish examples of many kinds of natural phenomena
on the very largest scale, and those of the sort here under
consideration are no exception to this rule. For here we have an immense
area east of the main divide, extending from the middle of Montana up to
the Yellowhead Pass in Alberta, or over 350 miles long, where the tops
of the mountains consist of jointed limestones or argillites of
Algonkian or pre-Cambrian "age," resting on soft Cretaceous shales.
Often the greater part of the mass of a range will consist of these
"older" and harder rocks, which by the erosion of the soft underlying
shales are left standing in picturesque, rectangular, cathedral-like
masses, easily recognizable as far off as they can be seen. And the
almost entire absence of trees or other vegetation helps one to trace
out the relationship of these formations over immense areas with little
or no difficulty.

In the latitude of the Bow River, near the Canadian Pacific main line,
there is a long narrow valley of these Cretaceous beds some sixty-five
miles long, called the Cascade Trough, with of course pre-Cambrian
mountains on each side. Somewhat further south there are two of these
Cretaceous valleys parallel to one another, and in some places _three_;
while just south of the fiftieth parallel of latitude, at Gould's Dome,
there are actually _five parallel ranges_ of these Palaeozoic mountains,
_with four Cretaceous valleys in between_, one of these valleys, the
Crow's Nest Trough, being ninety-five miles long.

But we ought to take a nearer view of these wonderful conditions. A
convenient point of approach will be just east of Banff, Alberta, near
Kananaskis Station, where the Fairholme Mountain has been described by
R.G. McConnell of the Canadian Survey. The latter remarks with amazement
on the perfectly natural appearance of these Algonkian limestones
resting in seeming conformability on Cretaceous shales, and says that
the line of separation between them, called in the theory the "thrust
plane," resembles in all respects an ordinary stratification plane. I
quote his language:

"The angle of inclination of its plane to the horizon is _very low_, and
in consequence of this its outcrop follows a very sinuous line along the
base of the mountains, and _acts exactly like the line of contact of two
nearly horizontal formations_.

"The best places for examining this fault are at the gaps of the Bow and
of the south fork of Ghost River.... The fault plane here is nearly
horizontal, and the two formations, viewed from the valley, _appear to
succeed one another conformably."[48]

[Footnote 48: Annual Report, 1886, Part D, pp. 33, 34.]

This author adds the further interesting detail that the underlying
Cretaceous shales are "very soft," and "have suffered very little by the
sliding of the limestone over them."[49]

About a hundred miles further south, but still in Alberta, we have the
well-known Crow's Nest Mountain, a lone peak, which consists of these
same Algonkian limestones resting on a Cretaceous valley "in a nearly
horizontal attitude," as G.M. Dawson says, which "in its structure and
general appearance much resembles Chief Mountain,"[50] another detached
peak some fifty miles further south, just across the boundary line in

Chief Mountain has been well described by Bailey Willis,[51] who
estimates that the Cretaceous beds underneath this mountain must be
3,500 feet thick; while the so-called "thrust plane is essentially
_parallel to the bedding_" of the upper series.[52]

"This apparently is true not only of the segments of thrust surface
beneath eastern Flattop, Yellow, and Chief Mountain, but also of the
more deeply buried portions which appear to dip with the Algonkian
strata into the syncline. While observation is not complete, it may be
assumed on a basis of fact that thrust surfaces and bedding are nearly
parallel over extensive areas."[53]

[Footnote 49: Report, 1886, Part D, p. 84.]

[Footnote 50: Report, 1885, Part B, p. 67.]

[Footnote 51: _Bull. Geol. Soc._, Vol. 13, pp. 305-352.]

[Footnote 52: _Id_., p. 336.]

[Footnote 53: _Id_., p. 336.]

Quite recently this region has been studied by Marius R. Campbell of the
Washington Survey Staff (Bulletin 600), while the part in Alberta has
been studied by Rollin T. Chamberlin of Chicago. Much of the vast area
involved is not yet well explored; but over it all, so far as it has
been fully examined, the same lithological and stratigraphical
structures reappear with the persistence of a repeating decimal. And
were it not for the exigencies of the theory of Successive Ages, this
whole region of some five or six thousand square miles would be
considered as only an ordinary example, on a rather large scale, of
undisturbed horizontal stratification cut up by erosion into mountains
of denudation, with of course occasional instances of minor local
disturbances here and there, as would be expected over an area of this

Richards and Mansfield in a recent paper describe the "Bannock
Overthrust," some 270 miles long, in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The
Carnegie Research recently reported a similar phenomenon about 500 miles
long in northern China.

But it would be tiresome to follow these conditions around the world. We
have plenty of examples, and we have them described by the foremost of
living geologists. What we need to do now is to adopt a true scientific
attitude of mind, a mind freed from the hypnotizing influence of the
current theories, in order correctly to interpret the facts as we
already have them.

_How much of the earth's crust would we have to find_ in this upside
down order of the fossils, before we would be convinced that there must
be something hopelessly wrong with this theory of Successive Ages which
drives otherwise competent observers to throw away their common sense
and cling desperately to a fantastic theory in the very teeth of such

The science of geology as commonly taught is truly in a most astonishing
condition, and doubtless presents the most peculiar mixture of fact and
nonsense to be found in the whole range of our modern knowledge. In any
minute study of a particular set of rocks in a definite locality,
geology always follows facts and common sense; while in any general view
of the world as a whole, or in any correlation of the rocks of one
region with those of another region, it follows its absurd, unscientific
theories. But wherever it agrees with facts and common sense, it
contradicts these absurd theories; and wherever it agrees with these
theories, it contradicts facts and common sense. That most educated
people still believe its main thesis of _a definite age for each
particular kind of fossil_ is a sad but instructive example of the
effects of mental inertia.


The reader will find this matter discussed at length in the author's
"Fundamentals of Geology"; but here it will be necessary only to draw
some very obvious conclusions from the _five facts_ which we have set in
opposition to the theory of Successive Ages.

1. The first and absolutely incontrovertible conclusion is that this
theory of successive ages must be a gross blunder, in its baleful
effects on every branch of modern thought deplorable beyond computation.
But it is now perfectly obvious that the geological distinctions as to
age between the fossils are fantastic and unjustifiable. No one kind of
true fossil can be proved to be older or younger than another
intrinsically and necessarily, and the methods of reasoning by which
this idea has been supported in the past are little else than a
burlesque on modern scientific methods, and are a belated survival from
the methods of the scholastics of the Middle Ages.

Not by any means that all rock deposits are of the same age. The lower
ones in any particular locality are of course "older" than the upper
ones, that is, they were deposited first. _But from this it by no means
follows that the fossils contained in these lower rocks came into being
and lived and died before the fossils in the upper ones_. The latter
conclusion involves several additional assumptions which are wholly
unscientific in spirit and incredible as matters of fact, one of which
assumptions is the _biological form of the onion-coat theory_. But since
thousands of modern living kinds of plants and animals are found in the
fossil state, _man included_, and no one of them can be proved to have
lived for a period of time alone and before others, we must by other
methods, more scientific and accurate than the slipshod methods hitherto
in vogue, attempt to decide as best we can how these various forms of
life were buried, and how the past and the present are connected
together. But the theory of definite successive ages, with the forms of
life appearing on earth in a precise and invariable order, is dead for
all coming time for every man who has had a chance to examine the
evidence and has enough training in logic and scientific methods to know
when a thing is really proved.

And how utterly absurd for the friends of the Bible to spend their time
bandying arguments with the evolutionist over such minor details as the
question of just what geological "age" should be assigned for the first
appearance of man on the earth, when the evolutionist's major premise is
itself directly antagonistic to the most fundamental facts regarding the
first chapters of the Bible, and above all, when this major premise is
really the weakest spot in the whole theory, the one sore spot that
evolutionists never want to have touched at all.

I fancy I hear some one object, and ask what we are to do with the
systematic arrangement of the fossils, the so-called "geological
succession," that monument to the painstaking labors of thousands of
scientists all over the world. This geological series is still on our
hands; what are we to do with it?

It is scarcely necessary for me to say that this arrangement of the
fossils is not at all affected by my criticism of the cause of the
geological changes. _The geological series is merely an old-time
taxonomic series, a classification of the forms of life that used_ _to
live on the earth_, and is of course just as artificial as any similar
arrangement of the modern forms of life would be.

We may illustrate the matter by comparing this series with a card index.
The earlier students of geology arranged the outline of the order of the
fossils by a rather general comparison with the series of modern life
forms, which happened to agree fairly well with the order in which they
had found the fossils occurring in England and France. But only a block
out of the middle of the complete card index could be made up from the
rocks of England and France; the rest has had to be made up from the
rocks found elsewhere. Louis Agassiz did herculean work in rearranging
and trimming this fossil card index so as to make it conform better, not
only to the companion card index of the modern forms of life, but also
to that of the embryonic series. From time to time even now
readjustments are made in the details of all three indexes, the fossil,
the modern, and the embryonic, the method of rearrangement being
charmingly simple: _just taking a card out of one place and putting it
into another place_ where we may think it more properly belongs. And
then if we can convince our fellow scientists over the world that our
rearrangement is justified, our adjustment will stand,--until some one
else arises to do a better job. When a new set of rocks is found in any
part of the world it is simplicity itself for any one acquainted with
the fossil index system to assign these new beds to their proper place,
though of course the one doing this must be prepared to defend his
assignment with pertinent and sufficient taxonomic reasons.

In view of these facts, we need not be concerned as to the fate of the
geological classification of the fossils. It is a purely artificial
system, just as is the modern classification; but both are useful, and
so far as they represent true relationships they will both stand
unaffected by any change we may make in our opinions as to how the
fossils were buried. But in view of this purely artificial character of
the geological series, what a strange sight is presented by the usual
methods employed to "prove" the exact order in which evolution has taken
place, such for instance as the use made of the graded series of fossil
"horses," to illustrate some particular theory of _just how_ organic
development has occurred. One might just as well arrange the modern dogs
from the little spaniel to the St. Bernard, for the geological series is
just as artificial as would be this of the dogs.

2. Another conclusion from the facts enumerated above is that there has
obviously been a great world catastrophe, and that this must be assigned
as the cause of a large part,--_just how large a part_ it is at present
difficult to say,--of the changes recorded in the fossiliferous rocks.
This sounds very much like a modern confirmation of the ancient record
of a universal Deluge; and I say confidently that no one who will
candidly examine the evidence now available on this point can fail to
be impressed with the force of the argument for a world catastrophe as
the general conclusion to be drawn from the fossiliferous rocks all over
the globe.

3. Finally, there is the further conclusion, the only conclusion now
possible, if there is no definite order in which the fossils occur,
namely, that life in all its varied forms _must have originated on the
globe by causes not now operative_, and this Creation of all the types
of life may just as reasonably have taken place all at once, as in some
order prolonged over a long period.

As I have pointed out in my "Fundamentals," a strict scientific method
may destroy the theory of Successive Ages, and it may show that there
has been a great world catastrophe. But here the work of strict
inductive science ends. It cannot show just how or when life or the
various kinds of life did originate, it can only show _how it did not_.
It destroys forever the fantastic scheme of a definite and precise order
in which the various types of life occurred on the globe, and thus it
_leaves the way open_ to say that life must have originated by just such
a literal Creation as is recorded in the first chapters of the Bible.
But this is as far as it can be expected to go. It is strong evidence in
favor of a direct and literal Creation; but it furnishes this evidence
by indirection, that is, by demolishing the only alternative or rival of
Creation that can command a moment's attention from a rational mind.

_But if life is not now being created from the not-living, if new kinds
of life are not now appearing by natural process, if above all we cannot
prove in any way worthy of being called scientific that certain types of
life lived before others, if in fine man himself is found fossil and no
one fossil can be proved older than another or than that of man himself,
why is not a literal Creation demonstrated as a scientific certainty for
every mind capable of appreciating the force of logical reasoning?_




We need not here attempt to discuss the existence or even the nature of
God. The Infinite One in all His attributes is above and beyond
discussion. But there are some things that we can very profitably gather
together as the net results of modern scientific investigation regarding
the origin of things; and to this task we must now address ourselves in
a very brief way.

We shall not attempt to deal with the astronomical aspects of the
question, or the origin of our world as a planet or the origin of the
solar system. This would lead us too far afield. We shall make more
progress in dealing with the questions nearest at hand, namely, the
origin of the present order of things on our globe.

First we must summarize the facts as we now know them in the five
departments of knowledge with which we have had to deal.

1. Both matter and energy seem now to be at a standstill, so far as
creation is concerned; no means being known to science whereby the fixed
quantity of both with which we have to deal in this world can be
increased (or diminished) in the slightest degree.

2. The origin of life is veiled in a mist that science has not dispelled
and does not hope to dispel. By none of the processes that we call
natural can life now be produced from the not-living.

3. Unicellular forms can come only from preexisting cells of the same
kind; and even the individual cells of a multicellular organism, when
once differentiated, reproduce only other cells after their own kind.

4. Species of plants and animals have wonderful powers of variation; but
these variations seem to be regulated and predestined in accordance with
definite laws, and in no instance known to science has this variation
resulted in producing what could properly be called a distinct new kind
of plant or animal.

5. Geology has been supposed to prove that there has been a long
succession of distinct types of life on the globe in a very definite
order extending through vast ages of time. This is now known to be a
mistake. Most living forms of plants and animals are also found as
fossils; but there is no possible way of telling that one kind of life
lived and occupied the world before others, or that one kind of life is
intrinsically older than any other or than the human race.


In view of such facts as these, what possible chance is there for a
scheme of organic evolution?

Must we not say that every possible form of the development theory is
hereby ruled out of court? There can be no thought of the gradual
development of organic nature by every-day processes in a world where
such facts prevail. Rather must we say, with the force of the
accumulated momentum of all that has been won by modern science, that,
instead of the animals and plants on our world having arisen by a
long-drawn-out process of change and development of one kind into
another, there must have been just such a literal Creation at the
beginning as the Bible describes. As we stand with uncovered head and
bowed form in the presence of this great truth, it would seem almost
like sacrilege to attempt by rhetoric to adorn it. Its inevitableness,
its majesty, its transcendent importance for our generation, would only
be obscured by so doing.

The essential idea of the Evolution theory is _uniformity_. It seeks to
show that the present orders of plant and animal life originated by
causes or processes identical with those now said to be operating in our
modern world. It denies that at any particular time in the past causes
and processes were in operation to originate the present order of nature
which were essentially different from the processes now operating in our
world under what we call natural law. Evolution seeks to smooth out all
distinction between Creation and the modern regime of "natural law."

On the other hand, the essential idea of the Christian doctrine of
Creation is that, back at a period called "the beginning," forces and
powers were brought into exercise and results were accomplished which
have not since been exercised or accomplished. In other words, the
origin of the world and the things upon it was essentially and radically
_different_ from the manner in which the present order of nature is now
being sustained and perpetuated. The mere matter of _time_ is in no way
the essential idea in the problem. The question of _how much time_ was
occupied in the work of Creation is of no importance, neither is the
question of _how long ago_ it took place. The one essential idea is that
the processes and methods of Creation are beyond us, for we have nothing
with which to measure it; Creation and the reign of "natural law" are
essentially incommensurable. The one thing that the doctrine of Creation
insists upon is that the origin of our world and of the things upon it
must have been brought about by some direct and unusual manifestation of
the power of the Being whom we call the Creator; and that since this
original Creation the things of nature have been perpetuated and
sustained by processes and methods which (though still essentially
inscrutable by us) we call the order of nature and the reign of natural

But in view of the series of facts enumerated in the previous pages, the
doctrine of Creation is established by modern scientific discoveries
almost like the conclusion of a mathematical problem.


How are modern intelligent men and women to avoid any longer this
inevitable conclusion of a literal Creation as the method of origin for
our world and the things upon it?

The facts enumerated in the previous pages are not new; it is only the
present grouping and arrangement of them, and the conclusions drawn from
them, that are new. Of all the leading facts enumerated above, only the
last one, the one regarding geology, is any longer a subject of serious
discussion by educated people. And the general facts as stated above
regarding geology have been proved (by the present writer) with such a
wealth of facts and arguments that they also must speedily be
acknowledged by scientists, when the latter take the trouble to study
these facts and arguments. And with geology once adjusted to a system of
real inductive science, instead of being as hitherto under the hypnotic
control of speculative fancies and subjective methods, there is no
longer any room for speculations regarding the origin of our world by
evolutionary processes. It becomes almost a mathematical Q.E.D. _that
things were made in the beginning by methods and processes that are no
longer operative_, so far as science can observe. This means a real
Creation, in the Bible sense of the term, something distinct from the
means by which nature is now being sustained and carried on. Any attempt
to describe the _why_ or the _how_ of this Creation would be useless
speculation; but _this much is science_, and science that is to-day all
the more impressive and conclusive because it has been won by centuries
of conflict with every conceivable opposing prejudice.


In conclusion we may attempt to speak in a brief way of the present
relationship between the Creator and the things which He has made, and
if possible to dispel the sad confusion prevailing in many minds between
God's continued immediate action in certain departments of nature and
His action in other departments through the intermediate use of second

On every hand we hear proclaimed a form of the doctrine of God's
omnipresence (usually called the divine "immanence") which not only
denies all distinction between the original Creation and the present
perpetuation of the world, but a form which practically denies all
second causes, and which cannot well be distinguished from pantheism,
though it would be a spiritualistic or "idealistic" form of pantheism,
or "monism," to use the favorite modern term. These extreme advocates of
what they term the divine "immanence" go so far as to deny all second
causes. And while they are fond of proclaiming this idea as an entirely
new discovery, and proclaiming it with all the enthusiasm of proselytes
to a new religion, they are also prone to state the (seemingly) opposed
doctrine of second causes in such a way that it amounts to a mere
caricature, a burlesque, picturing a sort of "absentee" God, who started
the universe running and now merely stands by and watches it go. Thus
pantheism and deism are often spoken of as the only alternatives for the
choice of the modern man; for the real teachings of the Bible and of
Christian philosophy are as completely ignored as if they had never been
formulated or taught by intelligent people.

Let us first consider the scientific aspects of the doctrine of second
causes, and the doctrine of God's immediate acting in various
departments (or all departments) of nature.

1. We cannot deny that the will of man is a real cause, producing
continual changes in the world about us. More than this, if there are
not also second causes outside of the will of free intelligent
personalities, the whole universe must be a gigantic deception; for it
seems to be full of second causes. Long chains of what seem like second
causes exist, made up of infinite numbers of links, as when the sun
carries an amount of water up into the air, the latter dropping the
water upon a mountain in the form of rain, gravity rolling it down the
slope in vast force, sweeping away villages and towns, changing the
fates of individuals and of nations. To quote two familiar examples from
Stewart and Tait: "In a steam engine the amount of work produced depends
upon the amount of heat carried from the boiler into the condenser; and
this amount depends in its turn upon the amount of coal which is burned
in the furnace of the engine. In like manner the velocity of the bullet
which issues from the rifle depends upon the transformation of the
energy of the powder; this in turn depends upon the explosion of the
percussion cap; this again upon the fall of the trigger; and lastly this
upon the finger of the man who fires the rifle."[54] Thus even the very
strongest opponents of the idea of second causes never deny that the
latter seem to surround us on every side, and that it would be possible
to trace a continuous line of apparent effects and causes back to the
very beginning.

[Footnote 54: "The Unseen Universe," p. 184.]

This view of the matter, it is evident, readily leads to a deistic view
of the universe,--or to that burlesque of the Christian view spoken of
as the doctrine of an "absentee God," watching His universe run from the
outside, slightly concerned with what it does.

2. On the other hand, a careful study of the correlation of forces shows
us that the great First Cause is still very closely related to the
operation of His universe. We may start, for instance, with the old
argument from the evidences of _design_ in nature, which, though often
sneered at of late, cannot be cavalierly dismissed in this way; for, as
Dugald Stewart has well said, "every combination of means to an end
implies intelligence." But the direct or immediate action of the great
Intelligence behind nature is manifest in the marvellous behavior of
the cells; which, instead of behaving in a way to indicate that their
life processes are due to properties inherent in the atoms and molecules
composing them, show every appearance of being _mere automata_ under the
direct control of an intelligent, purpose-filled Mind,--a Mind external
to themselves, it is true, and gloriously transcending them, but
constantly, ceaselessly exercised by an immediate action which we may
well call "immanent," in the original and proper sense of this term. Yet
vital action is capable of exact correlation with the other forces of
nature; and thus the modern law of the correlation of forces teaches us
that the energy behind life must be the same as the energy pervading all
nature, the various manifestations of which we know as light, heat,
gravity, electricity, etc. Thus while the study of the behavior of life
or the doctrine of "vitalism" might encourage us to think that in the
cells and in the behavior of protoplasm we are witnessing the direct
action of an intelligent Creator; yet we find that by the correlation of
forces we must _say the same about all the physical and chemical
phenomena of nature_. In other words, while the study of mere physical
and chemical action might easily lead us to a strong belief in second
causes, or to the belief that in this department of nature at least
certain "properties" had been imparted to matter and it had then been
left to act largely by itself; yet, since the vital processes of living
organisms are capable of exact correlation with all other forces, such
as light, heat, and electricity, the direct action of this universal
all-controlling Mind in all the phenomena of nature seems demonstrated
beyond a doubt, leaving apparently little or no room for any action of
second causes.

But this view of the matter, as is very evident, is liable to lead to a
pantheistic view of the universe, than which nothing could be more

How then shall we reconcile these conflicting views?

In this case, as in so many others, the Bible comes in to show us the
rational _via media_, the straight path of reason and sound philosophy
which avoids the absurdities of both extremes.

The plain and unambiguous teaching of the Bible is that God, the
Creator, is a being, a person, infinite in all His powers and
perfections, omnipresent throughout the universe; yet that there is a
place in which He is to be found, or where He abides, in a sense in
which He is not to be found in any other place. This paradox is easily
understood when we realize that God is present everywhere throughout His
universe _by His word and by His Spirit,_--His word being as effective
throughout the remotest corners of His universe as near at hand, for the
very simple reason that matter has no "properties" which He has not
imparted to it, and therefore it can have no innate inertia or
reluctance to act which God's word would need to overcome in order to
induce it to act, even when this word operates across the boundless
fields of space. He has created free personalities, and He leaves the
mind of each of His creatures free to serve Him or not to serve Him,
these free intelligent beings becoming thus true second causes. More
than this, provision for almost innumerable second causes seems to have
been made even among other departments of nature, without however
interfering with the direct action of the word of the Infinite One in
guiding and controlling them all.

Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was associated with the Father in all
the primary work of Creation; and He came to earth to show us what God
the Father is like, that mortals might behold their Creator without
being consumed. In Him we are to behold as much of the Deity as it is
for our good to know; beyond that we must trust the hand that never
wearies, the mind that never blunders, the heart that never grows cold.

In reality the seeming conflict between the doctrine of second causes
and that of God's omnipresence is closely analogous to the old
(imaginary) conflict between the Law and the Gospel, read from the book
of nature instead of from the Bible. The reign of second causes is the
reign of law; but God's immediate action brings in the supernatural, the
miraculous, or the Gospel. Each has its proper place; and neither must
be dwelt on to the exclusion of the other. We are all under the hard
exactitude of the law, with its irrevocable condemnation, until the
Gospel intervenes, and not only pardons the past, but enables us to
fulfil the law's requirements for the future. The reign of second causes
alone would take away man's moral responsibility, making us all mere
creatures of our environment, the victims of a merciless determinism,
and death would be the inevitable result of the violation of the
slightest physical or physiological law. But we are all given power to
live above environment, and a beneficent healing power is constantly
intervening to save us from the consequences of our errors, healing our
wounds and curing our diseases, in this giving us an object lesson of
the forgiveness of sin and a promise of our ultimate conquest over all
its power. We are all ineluctably bound about by countless chains of
second causes, "awful with inevitable fates," until we see through them
all the close providential working of our Creator, who is also our
Saviour, and who is in no way shackled by His own laws, but conducts all
things according to the counsel of His own will.

The Bible teaches us of a Creation as a definite act, completed at a
definite period in the past, and it gives us the Sabbath as the divine
memorial of this _completed_ Creation. We have seen how science also
points backward along the various diverging lines of the great
perspective of the ages to the vanishing point whence they all begin,
the birth-day of the world; and we say that thus science confirms the
Bible record of Creation. But we also know that when Christ was being
examined by the Sanhedrin for healing on the Sabbath, He defended
Himself by saying, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." That is,
although "the works were finished from the foundation of the world," and
second causes are now largely operative in nature all around us, still
there is everywhere manifest an active energy, a presence, an
Intelligence, "in Whom we live, and move, and have our being."

That we cannot comprehend all this, that we cannot set definite
boundaries to these seemingly conflicting views, is not at all
surprising; for we are but finite.[55] Even His universe partakes so much
of His prerogative of infinity that it is utterly beyond the compass of
our finite minds. Indeed, if either the Bible or the book of nature
contained nothing beyond what we could easily comprehend, would it not
diminish our reverence and awe for the One behind them, Whom we now
regard as infinite in power and in wisdom?

True, the natural human heart cannot bear this thought of the direct
acting throughout nature of the infinite Creator. It brings us too close
beneath His gaze in our sinful shortcoming and nakedness.

[Footnote 55: A recent clever writer likens some of these metaphysical
speculations to the act of a baby sucking at a nursing bottle. So long
as there is any milk in the bottle, the baby sucks with pleasure and
profit. Unfortunately the little fellow does not always stop sucking
when the supply of milk gives out, but still keeps on sucking empty air,
with resulting discomfort and colic. We all need to recognize the limits
of the intellectual milk supply, and not keep on trying to solve
problems that are in their very nature beyond the limits of the human

And so men draw the veil of their pantheistic or monistic philosophy
over their hearts, to hide them from His all-searching gaze. In ancient
times they seem to have done the same, as the monuments of Egypt and
Babylonia declare; and the intimate knowledge of Nature and its Creator
which they had in the morning of our world, degenerated into the nature
worship and polytheism which we find so nearly universal at the first
dawn of secular history. It is only the child of God, the redeemed man,
who can view without flinching the sublime fact of a direct Creation, or
face the other great fact that what we call second causes are not the
real causes of natural action, that the ordinary phenomena of light,
heat, gravity, vital action, etc., do not occur because certain
"properties" have been once imparted to matter and it then left to act
of itself, any more than the child of God is left to struggle along with
the supply of divine grace which was imparted to him at his conversion.
The Christian feels his constant dependence upon his Creator for
overcoming power day by day, and he sees the whole universe just as
momently dependent upon the tireless watchcare of the great Sustainer of
all. The Christian alone delights to look upon the ceaseless service of
his Father's love, perpetually ministering to the needs and even to the
whims of His creatures. But if this tireless ministry reminds man of his
own spiritual nakedness and insular selfishness, it serves also to
remind him that it is only the free gift of a righteousness not his own
that can clothe the ashamed soul cowering beneath the eye of infinite
Purity and unselfish Love.

In our natural state we are like the dead, inorganic matter. Only by a
new life that must be imparted to us from above, a real, individual, new
creation, can we become alive spiritually. And then only by constant
dependence for spiritual life and growth upon the word of the One who
first created us can we hope to develop into His true sons and
daughters, whose continuous care is momently exercised in controlling
every particle of our bodily frame, and by whose continuous guidance in
the development of character we hope to become worthy of a place in His
presence forevermore.


Our Lord Jesus once said to the leaders of the Jews, "If ye believed
Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not
his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5: 46-47). In our
days is certainly consistent and appropriate that those who have had
their faith revived in the first chapters of the Bible should also have
renewed confidence in the last part of the Bible. A belief in a real
Creation of the world, as recorded in the book of Genesis, naturally
implies a belief in the end of the world as predicted in the book of
Revelation. A belief in the former destruction of the world by water is
in accord with a belief in its coming destruction by fire, each of these
destructions being not absolute but regenerative.

This is in fact the line of argument used in that remarkable prophecy of
2 Peter 3: 3-7:

"In the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their
own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the
days that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from
the beginning of the creation. For this they wilfully forget, that there
were heavens of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst
water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished; but the heavens that are now, and the
earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved
against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."

Two points in this remarkable prophecy deserve special attention:

1. It is a description of the religio-scientific problems of the "last
days"; and the class of people referred to are represented as "mocking"
at the second coming of Christ, because they have grown accustomed to
denying, or "wilfully forgetting," the former destruction of the world
by the waters of the Flood. This prediction, as we have seen, is in
complete and accurate accord with the present situation; for the
doctrine of Evolution is chiefly supported by the accepted theories of
geology that there never was a universal Flood. Belief in the current
theories of geology and in a universal Deluge cannot be held by the same
mind, for they are mutually exclusive: either one makes the other
meaningless. And as the popular geology is the foundation of the
Evolution theory, so does the latter render useless and incredible what
the Bible calls "that blessed hope," the second coming of Christ and the
purification of the earth by fire.

2. The mockers here described certainly talk exactly like our modern
_uniformitarians_; for they argue that "from the days that the fathers
fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the
creation." They imply that in the days of "the fathers" some people were
foolish enough to believe differently; but since they "fell asleep" we
have learned better. It should also be carefully noted that their theory
of uniformity stretches back, not to the _close_ of Creation, but to
"the _beginning_ of the Creation." Plainly, then, _Creation itself is
embraced in their scheme of absolute uniformity_; and according to their
view all distinction is smoothed out between Creation and the present
perpetuation of the world by second causes. How could we ask for a more
accurate word picture of the modern popular doctrines of the
evolutionists and their characteristic methods of reasoning than is here
given us by an inspired prophecy nearly two thousand years ago?


The call of the hour to the Church of Christ is for a renewed confidence
in that Guide Book which she has brought with her down the centuries. As
her Divine Lord went away, He commissioned her to carry His good
tidings to all peoples; and so long as she remained true to this
commission and to her instruction book, the world's cunning sophistries
could not deceive her, nor could the cruel power of a world empire
stifle her voice. And now when her absent Lord is about to return again,
it surely behooves her to set her house in order, and to return with
candor and fidelity to that written code of instruction left with her by
her departing Master.

For the old-time friends of the Bible, the night of darkness and doubt
is rapidly passing; the morning of a fuller knowledge and a fuller
confidence is at hand. Gone are those agonies of doubt regarding the
truthfulness of the Bible's history and the adequacy of its ethics for
the needs of our modern world. Abandoned forever are all those futile
attempts at compromise, in a vain and painful endeavor to translate the
record of Creation into the language of a pseudo-science now rapidly
being outgrown, and to adapt the plan of salvation to the false
standards of an artificial age that seems to be rapidly disintegrating
before the Church's very eyes. She now realizes that her Bible is more
accurate than the world's science, her simple gospel wiser than its

The hour has struck; a sublime opportunity is before her; for the God of
nature has Himself opened up before His Church the long-sealed chapters
in His larger book, and is now pointing out the marvellous agreement
between His book of nature and His written record. The strongest
message of the Church has often been heard amid the darkest ages of
apostasy. And the prophecies of the Bible have repeatedly pointed out a
special message that the Church is to bear to the world in that darkest
hour just before the breaking of eternal day,--a message that we now see
is wonderfully adapted to this age of evolutionism in science and
pantheism in philosophy. Looking down along the darkening vistas of the
coming years, the great Jehovah saw how a vastly increased knowledge of
His created works would be perverted into a burlesque of Creation, and
how this would result in a wide-spread apostasy in which His written
Word would be derided and scorned. Thus He timed a special reform for
His faithful people to give to the world just before the end, calling
upon the disbelievers in Creation then living to "worship him that made
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (Rev. 14:
7). And so now, when the darkness of evolutionism and pantheism is most
dense, a light from above has illuminated the record in the book of
nature, the language of which is already more familiar to our modern
world than the language of the book so long distrusted and almost
derided. This message itself from the book of nature is full of the
essential ideas of the Gospel, faith in a Creator, who by His tireless
care for the particles composing our bodies keeps them in order, and by
healing our injuries and curing our diseases inspires us with faith in
Him as our Saviour and Redeemer. And in such an hour, in such a world
crisis, He has placed within the power of His Church these modern means
of travel and quick communication, in order to speed on this last work
of His Church so as to complete it in "this generation."

* * * * *


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