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History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White

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To the Memory of


Thoughts that great hearts once broke for, we

Breathe cheaply in the common air.--LOWELL

Dicipulus est prioris posterior dies.--PUBLIUS SYRUS

Truth is the daughter of Time.--BACON
The Truth shall make you free.--ST. JOHN, viii, 32.

My book is ready for the printer, and as I begin this preface my
eye lights upon the crowd of Russian peasants at work on the Neva
under my windows. With pick and shovel they are letting the rays
of the April sun into the great ice barrier which binds together
the modern quays and the old granite fortress where lie the bones
of the Romanoff Czars.

This barrier is already weakened; it is widely decayed, in many
places thin, and everywhere treacherous; but it is, as a whole,
so broad, so crystallized about old boulders, so imbedded in
shallows, so wedged into crannies on either shore, that it is a
great danger. The waters from thousands of swollen streamlets
above are pressing behind it; wreckage and refuse are piling up
against it; every one knows that it must yield. But there is
danger that it may resist the pressure too long and break
suddenly, wrenching even the granite quays from their
foundations, bringing desolation to a vast population, and
leaving, after the subsidence of the flood, a widespread residue
of slime, a fertile breeding-bed for the germs of disease.

But the patient mujiks are doing the right thing. The barrier,
exposed more and more to the warmth of spring by the scores of
channels they are making, will break away gradually, and the
river will flow on beneficent and beautiful.

My work in this book is like that of the Russian mujik on the
Neva. I simply try to aid in letting the light of historical
truth into that decaying mass of outworn thought which attaches
the modern world to mediaeval conceptions of Christianity, and
which still lingers among us--a most serious barrier to religion
and morals, and a menace to the whole normal evolution of

For behind this barrier also the flood is rapidly rising --the
flood of increased knowledge and new thought; and this barrier
also, though honeycombed and in many places thin, creates a
danger--danger of a sudden breaking away, distressing and
calamitous, sweeping before it not only out worn creeds and
noxious dogmas, but cherished principles and ideals, and even
wrenching out most precious religious and moral foundations of
the whole social and political fabric.

My hope is to aid--even if it be but a little--in the gradual and
healthful dissolving away of this mass of unreason, that the
stream of "religion pure and undefiled" may flow on broad and
clear, a blessing to humanity.

And now a few words regarding the evolution of this book.

It is something over a quarter of a century since I labored with
Ezra Cornell in founding the university which bears his honored

Our purpose was to establish in the State of New York an
institution for advanced instruction and research, in which
science, pure and applied, should have an equal place with
literature; in which the study of literature, ancient and modern,
should be emancipated as much as possible from pedantry; and
which should be free from various useless trammels and vicious
methods which at that period hampered many, if not most, of the
American universities and colleges.

We had especially determined that the institution should be under
the control of no political party and of no single religious
sect, and with Mr. Cornell's approval I embodied stringent
provisions to this effect in the charter.

It had certainly never entered into the mind of either of us that
in all this we were doing anything irreligious or unchristian.
Mr. Cornell was reared a member of the Society of Friends; he
had from his fortune liberally aided every form of Christian
effort which he found going on about him, and among the permanent
trustees of the public library which he had already founded, he
had named all the clergymen of the town--Catholic and Protestant.
As for myself, I had been bred a churchman, had recently been
elected a trustee of one church college, and a professor in
another; those nearest and dearest to me were devoutly religious;
and, if I may be allowed to speak of a matter so personal to my
self, my most cherished friendships were among deeply religious
men and women, and my greatest sources of enjoyment were
ecclesiastical architecture, religious music, and the more devout
forms of poetry. So, far from wishing to injure Christianity, we
both hoped to promote it; but we did not confound religion with
sectarianism, and we saw in the sectarian character of American
colleges and universities as a whole, a reason for the poverty of
the advanced instruction then given in so many of them.

It required no great acuteness to see that a system of control
which, in selecting a Professor of Mathematics or Language or
Rhetoric or Physics or Chemistry, asked first and above all to
what sect or even to what wing or branch of a sect he belonged,
could hardly do much to advance the moral, religious, or
intellectual development of mankind.

The reasons for the new foundation seemed to us, then, so cogent
that we expected the co-operation of all good citizens, and
anticipated no opposition from any source.

As I look back across the intervening years, I know not whether
to be more astonished or amused at our simplicity.

Opposition began at once. In the State Legislature it confronted
us at every turn, and it was soon in full blaze throughout the
State--from the good Protestant bishop who proclaimed that all
professors should be in holy orders, since to the Church alone
was given the command, "Go, teach all nations," to the zealous
priest who published a charge that Goldwin Smith--a profoundly
Christian scholar --had come to Cornell in order to inculcate the
"infidelity of the Westminster Review"; and from the eminent
divine who went from city to city, denouncing the "atheistic and
pantheistic tendencies" of the proposed education, to the
perfervid minister who informed a denominational synod that
Agassiz, the last great opponent of Darwin, and a devout theist,
was "preaching Darwinism and atheism" in the new institution.

As the struggle deepened, as hostile resolutions were introduced
into various ecclesiastical bodies, as honored clergymen solemnly
warned their flocks first against the "atheism," then against the
"infidelity," and finally against the "indifferentism" of the
university, as devoted pastors endeavoured to dissuade young men
from matriculation, I took the defensive, and, in answer to
various attacks from pulpits and religious newspapers, attempted
to allay the fears of the public. "Sweet reasonableness" was
fully tried. There was established and endowed in the university
perhaps the most effective Christian pulpit, and one of the most
vigorous branches of the Christian Association, then in the
United States; but all this did nothing to ward off the attack.
The clause in the charter of the university forbidding it to give
predominance to the doctrines of any sect, and above all the fact
that much prominence was given to instruction in various branches
of science, seemed to prevent all compromise, and it soon became
clear that to stand on the defensive only made matters worse.
Then it was that there was borne in upon me a sense of the real
difficulty-- the antagonism between the theological and
scientific view of the universe and of education in relation to
it; therefore it was that, having been invited to deliver a
lecture in the great hall of the Cooper Institute at New York, I
took as my subject The Battlefields of Science, maintaining this
thesis which follows:

In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed
interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such
interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both
to religion and science, and invariably; and, on the other hand,
all untrammeled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous
to religion some of its stages may have seemed for the time to
be, has invariably resulted in the highest good both of religion
and science.

The lecture was next day published in the New York Tribune at the
request of Horace Greeley, its editor, who was also one of the
Cornell University trustees. As a result of this widespread
publication and of sundry attacks which it elicited, I was asked
to maintain my thesis before various university associations and
literary clubs; and I shall always remember with gratitude that
among those who stood by me and presented me on the lecture
platform with words of approval and cheer was my revered
instructor, the Rev. Dr. Theodore Dwight Woolsey, at that time
President of Yale College.

My lecture grew--first into a couple of magazine articles, and
then into a little book called The Warfare of Science, for
which, when republished in England, Prof. John Tyndall wrote a

Sundry translations of this little book were published, but the
most curious thing in its history is the fact that a very
friendly introduction to the Swedish translation was written by a
Lutheran bishop.

Meanwhile Prof. John W. Draper published his book on The
Conflict between Science and Religion, a work of great ability,
which, as I then thought, ended the matter, so far as my giving
it further attention was concerned.

But two things led me to keep on developing my own work in this
field: First, I had become deeply interested in it, and could not
refrain from directing my observation and study to it; secondly,
much as I admired Draper's treatment of the questions involved,
his point of view and mode of looking at history were different
from mine.

He regarded the struggle as one between Science and Religion. I
believed then, and am convinced now, that it was a struggle
between Science and Dogmatic Theology.

More and more I saw that it was the conflict between two epochs
in the evolution of human thought--the theological and the

So I kept on, and from time to time published New Chapters in the
Warfare of Science as magazine articles in The Popular Science
Monthly. This was done under many difficulties. For twenty
years, as President of Cornell University and Professor of
History in that institution, I was immersed in the work of its
early development. Besides this, I could not hold myself
entirely aloof from public affairs, and was three times sent by
the Government of the United States to do public duty abroad:
first as a commissioner to Santo Domingo, in 1870; afterward as
minister to Germany, in 1879; finally, as minister to Russia, in
1892; and was also called upon by the State of New York to do
considerable labor in connection with international exhibitions
at Philadelphia and at Paris. I was also obliged from time to
time to throw off by travel the effects of overwork.

The variety of residence and occupation arising from these causes
may perhaps explain some peculiarities in this book which might
otherwise puzzle my reader.

While these journeyings have enabled me to collect materials over
a very wide range--in the New World, from Quebec to Santo Domingo
and from Boston to Mexico, San Francisco, and Seattle, and in the
Old World from Trondhjem to Cairo and from St. Petersburg to
Palermo-- they have often obliged me to write under circumstances
not very favorable: sometimes on an Atlantic steamer, sometimes
on a Nile boat, and not only in my own library at Cornell, but in
those of Berlin, Helsingfors, Munich, Florence, and the British
Museum. This fact will explain to the benevolent reader not only
the citation of different editions of the same authority in
different chapters, but some iterations which in the steady quiet
of my own library would not have been made.

It has been my constant endeavour to write for the general
reader, avoiding scholastic and technical terms as much as
possible and stating the truth simply as it presents itself to

That errors of omission and commission will be found here and
there is probable--nay, certain; but the substance of the book
will, I believe, be found fully true. I am encouraged in this
belief by the fact that, of the three bitter attacks which this
work in its earlier form has already encountered, one was purely
declamatory, objurgatory, and hortatory, and the others based
upon ignorance of facts easily pointed out.

And here I must express my thanks to those who have aided me.
First and above all to my former student and dear friend, Prof.
George Lincoln Burr, of Cornell University, to whose
contributions, suggestions, criticisms, and cautions I am most
deeply indebted; also to my friends U. G. Weatherly, formerly
Travelling Fellow of Cornell, and now Assistant Professor in the
University of Indiana,--Prof. and Mrs. Earl Barnes and Prof.
William H. Hudson, of Stanford University,--and Prof. E. P
Evans, formerly of the University of Michigan, but now of Munich,
for extensive aid in researches upon the lines I have indicated
to them, but which I could never have prosecuted without their
co-operation. In libraries at home and abroad they have all
worked for me most effectively, and I am deeply grateful to them.

This book is presented as a sort of Festschrift--a tribute to
Cornell University as it enters the second quarter-century of its
existence, and probably my last tribute.

The ideas for which so bitter a struggle was made at its
foundation have triumphed. Its faculty, numbering over one
hundred and, fifty; its students, numbering but little short of
two thousand; its noble buildings and equipment; the munificent
gifts, now amounting to millions of dollars, which it has
received from public-spirited men and women; the evidences of
public confidence on all sides; and, above all, the adoption of
its cardinal principles and main features by various institutions
of learning in other States, show this abundantly. But there has
been a triumph far greater and wider. Everywhere among the
leading modern nations the same general tendency is seen. During
the quarter-century just past the control of public instruction,
not only in America but in the leading nations of Europe, has
passed more and more from the clergy to the laity. Not only are
the presidents of the larger universities in the United States,
with but one or two exceptions, laymen, but the same thing is
seen in the old European strongholds of metaphysical theology.
At my first visit to Oxford and Cambridge, forty years ago, they
were entirely under ecclesiastical control. Now, all this is
changed. An eminent member of the present British Government has
recently said, "A candidate for high university position is
handicapped by holy orders." I refer to this with not the
slightest feeling of hostility toward the clergy, for I have
none; among them are many of my dearest friends; no one honours
their proper work more than I; but the above fact is simply noted
as proving the continuance of that evolution which I have
endeavoured to describe in this series of monographs--an
evolution, indeed, in which the warfare of Theology against
Science has been one of the most active and powerful agents. My
belief is that in the field left to them--their proper field--the
clergy will more and more, as they cease to struggle against
scientific methods and conclusions, do work even nobler and more
beautiful than anything they have heretofore done. And this is
saying much. My conviction is that Science, though it has
evidently conquered Dogmatic Theology based on biblical texts and
ancient modes of thought, will go hand in hand with Religion; and
that, although theological control will continue to diminish,
Religion, as seen in the recognition of "a Power in the universe,
not ourselves, which makes for righteousness," and in the love of
God and of our neighbor, will steadily grow stronger and
stronger, not only in the American institutions of learning but
in the world at large. Thus may the declaration of Micah as to
the requirements of Jehovah, the definition by St. James of
"pure religion and undefiled," and, above all, the precepts and
ideals of the blessed Founder of Christianity himself, be brought
to bear more and more effectively on mankind.

I close this preface some days after its first lines were
written. The sun of spring has done its work on the Neva; the
great river flows tranquilly on, a blessing and a joy; the mujiks
are forgotten.
A. D. W.
April 14,1894.

P.S.--Owing to a wish to give more thorough revision to
some parts of my work, it has been withheld from the press until
the present date.
A. D. W.
August 15, 1895.



I. The Visible Universe.
Ancient and medieval views regarding the manner of creation
Regarding the matter of creation
Regarding the time of creation
Regarding the date of creation
Regarding the Creator
Regarding light and darkness
Rise of the conception of an evolution: among the Chaldeans,the
Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans
Its survival through the Middle Ages, despite the disfavour of
the Church
Its development in modern times.--The nebular hypothesis and its
struggle with theology
The idea of evolution at last victorious
Our sacred books themselves an illustration of its truth
The true reconciliation of Science and Theology

II. Theological Teachings regarding the Animals and Man.
Ancient and medieval representations of the creation of man
Literal acceptance of the book of Genesis by the Christian
By the Reformers
By modern theologians, Catholic and Protestant
Theological reasoning as to the divisions of the animal kingdom
The Physiologus, the Bestiaries, the Exempila
Beginnings of sceptical observation
Development of a scientific method in the study of Nature
Breaking down of the theological theory of creation

III. Theological and Scientific Theories of an Evolution in
Animated Nature.
Ideas of evolution among the ancients
In the early Church
In the medieval Church
Development of these ideas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth
The work of De Maillet
Of Linneus
Of Buffon
Contributions to the theory of evolution at the close of the
eighteenth century
The work of Treviranus and Lamarck
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier
Development of the theory up to the middle of the nineteenth
The contributions of Darwin and Wallace
The opposition of Agassiz

IV. The Final Effort of Theology.
Attacks on Darwin and his theories in England
In America
Formation of sacro-scientific organizations to combat the theory
of evolution
The attack in France
In Germany
Conversion of Lyell to the theory of evolution
The attack of Darwin's Descent of Man
Difference between this and the former attack
Hostility to Darwinism in America
Change in the tone of the controversy.--Attempts at compromise
Dying-out of opposition to evolution
Last outbursts of theological hostility
Final victory of evolution



I. The Form of the Earth.
Primitive conception of the earth as flat
In Chaldea and Egypt
In Persia
Among the Hebrews
Evolution, among the Greeks, of the idea of its sphericity
Opposition of the early Church
Evolution of a sacred theory, drawn from the Bible
Its completion by Cosmas Indicopleustes
Its influence on Christian thought
Survival of the idea of the earth's sphericity--its acceptance by
Isidore and Bede
Its struggle and final victory

II. The Delineation of the Earth.
Belief of every ancient people that its own central place was the
centre of the earth
Hebrew conviction that the earth's centre was at Jerusalem
Acceptance of this view by Christianity
Influence of other Hebrew conceptions--Gog and Magog, the "four
winds," the waters "on an heap"

III. The Inhabitants of the Earth.
The idea of antipodes
Its opposition by the Christian Church--Gregory Nazianzen,
Lactantius, Basil, Ambrose, Augustine, Procopius of Gaza, Cosmas,
Virgil of Salzburg's assertion of it in the eighth century
Its revival by William of Conches and Albert the Great in the
Surrender of it by Nicolas d'Oresme
Fate of Peter of Abano and Cecco d' Ascoli
Timidity of Pierre d'Ailly and Tostatus
Theological hindrance of Columbus
Pope Alexander VI's demarcation line
Cautious conservatism of Gregory Reysch
Magellan and the victory of science

IV. The Size of the Earth.
Scientific attempts at measuring the earth
The sacred solution of the problem
Fortunate influence of the blunder upon Columbus

V. The Character of the Earth's Surface.
Servetus and the charge of denying the fertility of Judea
Contrast between the theological and the religious spirit in
their effects on science



I. The Old Sacred Theory of the Universe.
The early Church's conviction of the uselessness of astronomy
The growth of a sacred theory--Origen, the Gnostics, Philastrius,
Cosmas, Isidore
The geocentric, or Ptolemaic, theory, its origin, and its
acceptance by the Christian world
Development of the new sacred system of astronomy--the
pseudo-Dionysius, Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas
Its popularization by Dante
Its details
Its persistence to modern times

II. The Heliocentric Theory.
Its rise among the Greeks--Pythagoras, Philolaus, Aristarchus
Its suppression by the charge of blasphemy
Its loss from sight for six hundred Years, then for a thousand
Its revival by Nicholas de Cusa and Nicholas Copernicus
Its toleration as a hypothesis
Its prohibition as soon as Galileo teaches it as a truth
Consequent timidity of scholars--Acosta, Apian
Protestantism not less zealous in opposition than
Catholicism--Luther Melanchthon, Calvin, Turretin
This opposition especially persistent in England--Hutchinson,
Pike, Horne, Horsley, Forbes, Owen, Wesley
Resulting interferences with freedom of teaching
Giordano Bruno's boldness and his fate
The truth demonstrated by the telescope of Galileo

III. The War upon Galileo.
Concentration of the war on this new champion
The first attack
Fresh attacks--Elci, Busaeus, Caccini, Lorini, Bellarmin
Use of epithets
Attempts to entrap Galileo
His summons before the Inquisition at Rome
The injunction to silence, and the condemnation of the theory of
the earth's motion
The work of Copernicus placed on the Index
Galileo's seclusion
Renewed attacks upon Galileo--Inchofer, Fromundus

IV. Victory of the Church over Galileo
Publication of his Dialogo
Hostility of Pope Urban VIII
Galileo's second trial by the Inquisition
His abjuration
Later persecution of him
Measures to complete the destruction of the Copernican theory
Persecution of Galileo's memory
Protestant hostility to the new astronomy and its champions

V. Results of the Victory over Galileo.
Rejoicings of churchmen over the victory
The silencing of Descartes
Persecution of Campanella and of Kepler
Persistence and victory of science
Dilemma of the theologians
Vain attempts to postpone the surrender

VI. The Retreat of the Church after its Victory over Galileo.
The easy path for the Protestant theologians
The difficulties of the older Church.--The papal infallibility
fully committed against the Copernican theory
Attempts at evasion--first plea: that Galileo was condemned not
for affirming the earth's motion, but for supporting it from
Its easy refutation
Second plea: that he was condemned not for heresy, but for
Folly of this assertion
Third plea: that it was all a quarrel between Aristotelian
professors and those favouring the experimental method
Fourth plea: that the condemnation of Galileo was "provisory"
Fifth plea: that he was no more a victim of Catholics than of
Efforts to blacken Galileo's character
Efforts to suppress the documents of his trial
Their fruitlessness
Sixth plea: that the popes as popes had never condemned his
Its confutation from their own mouths
Abandonment of the contention by honest Catholics
Two efforts at compromise--Newman, De Bonald
Effect of all this on thinking men
The fault not in Catholicism more than in Protestantism--not in
religion, but in theology



I. The Theological View.
Early beliefs as to comets, meteors, and eclipses
Their inheritance by Jews and Christians
The belief regarding comets especially harmful as a source of
superstitious terror
Its transmission through the Middle Ages
Its culmination under Pope Calixtus III
Beginnings of scepticism--Copernicus, Paracelsus, Scaliger
Firmness of theologians, Catholic and Protestant, in its support

II. Theological Efforts to crush the Scientific View.
The effort through the universities.--The effort through the
Heerbrand at Tubingen and Dieterich at Marburg
Maestlin at Heidelberg
Buttner, Vossius, Torreblanca, Fromundus
Father Augustin de Angelis at Rome
Reinzer at Linz
Celichius at Magdeburg
Conrad Dieterich's sermon at Ulm
Erni and others in Switzerland
Comet doggerel
Echoes from New England--Danforth, Morton, Increase Mather

III. The Invasion of Scepticism.
Rationalism of Cotton Mather, and its cause
Blaise de Vigenere
Bekker, Lubienitzky, Pierre Petit
The scientific movement beneath all this

IV. Theological Efforts at Compromise.--The Final Victory of
The admission that some comets are supralunar
Difference between scientific and theological reasoning
Development of the reasoning of Tycho and Kepler--Cassini, Hevel,
Doerfel, Bernouilli, Newton
Completion of the victory by Halley and Clairaut
Survivals of the superstition--Joseph de Maistre, Forster Arago's
The theories of Whiston and Burnet, and their influence in
The superstition ended in America by the lectures of Winthrop
Helpful influence of John Wesley
Effects of the victory



I. Growth of Theological Explanations
Germs of geological truth among the Greeks and Romans
Attitude of the Church toward science
Geological theories of the early theologians
Attitude of the schoolmen
Contributions of the Arabian schools
Theories of the earlier Protestants
Influence of the revival of learning

II. Efforts to Suppress the Scientific View.
Revival of scientific methods
Buffon and the Sorbonne
Beringer's treatise on fossils
Protestant opposition to the new geology---the works of Burnet,
Whiston, Wesley, Clark,
Watson, Arnold, Cockburn,and others

III. The First Great Effort of Compromise, based on the Flood of
The theory that fossils were produced by the Deluge
Its acceptance by both Catholics and Protestants--Luther, Calmet
Burnet, Whiston, Woodward, Mazurier, Torrubia, Increase Mather
Voltaire's theory of fossils
Vain efforts of enlightened churchmen in behalf of the scientific
Steady progress of science--the work of Cuvier and Brongniart
Granvile Penn's opposition
The defection of Buckland and Lyell to the scientific side
Surrender of the theologians
Remnants of the old belief
Death-blow given to the traditional theory of the Deluge by the
discovery of the Chaldean accounts
Results of the theological opposition to science

IV. Final Efforts at Compromise--The Victory of Science
Efforts of Carl von Raumer, Wagner, and others
The new testimony of the caves and beds of drift as to the
antiquity of man
Gosse's effort to save the literal interpretation of Genesis
Efforts of Continental theologians
Gladstone's attempt at a compromise
Its demolition by Huxley
By Canon Driver
Dean Stanley on the reconciliation of Science and Scripture



I. The Sacred Chronology.
Two fields in which Science has gained a definite victory over
Opinions of the Church fathers on the antiquity of man
The chronology of Isidore
Of Bede
Of the medieval Jewish scholars
The views of the Reformers on the antiquity of man
Of the Roman Church
Of Archbishop Usher
Influence of Egyptology on the belief in man's antiquity
La Peyrere's theory of the Pre-Adamites
Opposition in England to the new chronology

II. The New Chronology.
Influence of the new science of Egyptology on biblical chronology

Manetho's history of Egypt and the new chronology derived from it
Evidence of the antiquity of man furnished by the monuments of
By her art
By her science
By other elements of civilization
By the remains found in the bed of the Nile
Evidence furnished by the study of Assyriology


I. The Thunder-stones.
Early beliefs regarding "thunder-stones"
Theories of Mercati and Tollius regarding them
Their identification with the implements of prehistoric man
Remains of man found in caverns
Unfavourable influence on scientific activity of the political
conditions of the early part of the nineteenth century
Change effected by the French Revolution of to {??}
Rallying of the reactionary clerical influence against science

II. The Flint Weapons and Implements.
Boucher de Perthes's contributions to the knowledge of
prehistoric man
His conclusions confirmed by Lyell and others
Cave explorations of Lartet and Christy
Evidence of man's existence furnished by rude carvings
Cave explorations in the British Islands
Evidence of man's existence in the Drift period
In the early Quaternary and in the Tertiary periods



The two antagonistic views regarding the life of man on the
The theory of "the Fall" among ancient peoples
Inheritance of this view by the Christian Church
Appearance among the Greeks and Romans of the theory of a rise of
Its disappearance during the Middle Ages
Its development since the seventeenth century
The first blow at the doctrine of "the Fall" comes from geology
Influence of anthropology on the belief in this doctrine
The finding of human skulls in Quaternary deposits
Their significance
Results obtained from the comparative study of the remains of
human handiwork
Discovery of human remains in shell-heaps on the shores of the
Baltic Sea
In peat-beds
The lake-dwellers
Indications of the upward direction of man's development
Mr. Southall's attack on the theory of man's antiquity
An answer to it
Discovery of prehistoric human remains in Egypt
Hamard's attack on the new scientific conclusions
The survival of prehistoric implements in religious rites
Strength of the argument against the theory of "the Fall of Man"



The beginnings of the science of Comparative Ethnology
Its testimony to the upward tendency of man from low beginning
Theological efforts to break its force--De Maistre and DeBonald
Whately's attempt
The attempt of the Duke of Argyll
Evidence of man's upward tendency derived from Comparative
From Comparative Literature and Folklore
From Comparative Ethnography
From Biology



Proof of progress given by the history of art
Proofs from general history
Development of civilization even under unfavourable circumstances
Advancement even through catastrophes and the decay of
Progress not confined to man's material condition
Theological struggle against the new scientific view
Persecution of Prof. Winchell
Of Dr. Woodrow
Other interferences with freedom of teaching
The great harm thus done to religion
Rise of a better spirit
The service rendered to religion by Anthropology



I. Growth of a Theological Theory.
The beliefs of classical antiquity regarding storms, thunder, and
Development of a sacred science of meteorology by the fathers of
the Church
Theories of Cosmas Indicopleustes
Of Isidore
Of Seville
Of Bede
Of Rabanus Maurus
Rational views of Honorius of Autun
Orthodox theories of John of San Geminiano
Attempt of Albert the Great to reconcile the speculations of
Aristotle with the theological views
The monkish encyclopedists
Theories regarding the rainbow and the causes of storms
Meteorological phenomena attributed to the Almighty

II. Diabolical Agency in Storms.
Meteorological phenomena attributed to the devil--"the prince of
the power of the air"
Propagation of this belief by the medieval theologians
Its transmission to both Catholics and Protestants--Eck, Luther
The great work of Delrio
Guacci's Compendium
The employment of prayer against "the powers of the air"
Of exorcisms
Of fetiches and processions
Of consecrated church bells

III. The Agency of Witches.
The fearful results of the witch superstition
Its growth out of the doctrine of evil agency in atmospheric
Archbishop Agobard's futile attempt to dispel it
Its sanction by the popes
Its support by confessions extracted by torture
Part taken in the persecution by Dominicans and Jesuits
Opponents of the witch theory--Pomponatius, Paracelsus, Agrippa
of Nettesheim
Jean Bodin's defence of the superstition
Fate of Cornelius Loos
Of Dietrich Flade
Efforts of Spee to stem the persecution
His posthumous influence
Upholders of the orthodox view--Bishop Binsfeld, Remigius
Vain protests of Wier
Persecution of Bekker for opposing the popular belief
Effect of the Reformation in deepening the superstition
The persecution in Great Britain and America
Development of a scientific view of the heavens
Final efforts to revive the old belief

IV. Franklin's Lightning-Rod.
Franklin's experiments with the kite
Their effect on the old belief
Efforts at compromise between the scientific and theological
Successful use of the lightning-rod
Religious scruples against it in America
In England
In Austria
In Italy
Victory of the scientific theory
This victory exemplified in the case of the church of the
monastery of Lerins
In the case of Dr. Moorhouse
In the case of the Missouri droughts



I. The Supremacy of Magic.
Primitive tendency to belief in magic
The Greek conception of natural laws
Influence of Plato and Aristotle on the growth of science
Effect of the establishment of Christianity on the development of
the physical sciences
The revival of thought in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
Albert the Great
Vincent of Beauvais
Thomas Aquinas
Roger Bacon's beginning of the experimental method brought to
The belief that science is futile gives place to the belief that
it is dangerous
The two kinds of magic
Rarity of persecution for magic before the Christian era
The Christian theory of devils
Constantine's laws against magic
Increasing terror of magic and witchcraft
Papal enactments against them
Persistence of the belief in magic
Its effect on the development of science
Roger Bacon
Opposition of secular rulers to science
John Baptist Porta
The opposition to scientific societies in Italy
In England
The effort to turn all thought from science to religion
The development of mystic theology
Its harmful influence on science
Mixture of theological with scientific speculation
This shown in the case of Melanchthon
In that of Francis Bacon
Theological theory of gases
Growth of a scientific theory
Basil Valentine and his contributions to chemistry
Triumph of the scientific theory

II. The Triumph of Chemistry and Physics.
New epoch in chemistry begun by Boyle
Attitude of the mob toward science
Effect on science of the reaction following the French
Revolution: {?}
Development of chemistry since the middle of the nineteenth
Development of physics
Modern opposition to science in Catholic countries
Attack of scientific education in France
In England
In Prussia
Revolt against the subordination of education to science
Effect of the International Exhibition of ii {?} at London
Of the endowment of State colleges in America by the Morrill
Act of 1862
The results to religion



Naturalness of the idea of supernatural intervention in causing
and curing disease
Prevalence of this idea in ancient civilizations
Beginnings of a scientific theory of medicine
The twofold influence of Christianity on the healing art

Growth of legends of miracles about the lives of great
benefactors of humanity
Sketch of Xavier's career
Absence of miraculous accounts in his writings and those of his
Direct evidence that Xavier wrought no miracles
Growth of legends of miracles as shown in the early biographies
of him
As shown in the canonization proceedings
Naturalness of these legends

Character of the testimony regarding miracles
Connection of mediaeval with pagan miracles
Their basis of fact
Various kinds of miraculous cures
Atmosphere of supernaturalism thrown about all cures
Influence of this atmosphere on medical science

Theological theory as to the cause of disease
Influence of self-interest on "pastoral medicine"
Development of fetichism at Cologne and elsewhere
Other developments of fetich cure

Medieval belief in the unlawfulness of meddling with the bodies
of the dead
Dissection objected to on the ground that "the Church abhors the
shedding of blood"
The decree of Boniface VIII and its results

Scanty development of medical science in the Church
Among Jews and Mohammedans
Promotion of medical science by various Christian laymen of the
Middle Ages
By rare men of science
By various ecclesiastics

Opposition to seeking cure from disease by natural means
Requirement of ecclesiastical advice before undertaking medical
Charge of magic and Mohammedanism against men of science
Effect of ecclesiastical opposition to medicine
The doctrine of signatures
The doctrine of exorcism
Theological opposition to surgery
Development of miracle and fetich cures
Fashion in pious cures
Medicinal properties of sacred places
Theological argument in favour of miraculous cures
Prejudice against Jewish physicians

Luther's theory of disease
The royal touch
Cures wrought by Charles II
By James II
By William III
By Queen Anne
By Louis XIV
Universal acceptance of these miracles

Occasional encouragement of medical science in the Middle Ages
New impulse given by the revival of learning and the age of
Paracelsus and Mundinus
Vesalius, the founder of the modern science of anatomy.--His
career and fate

Theological opposition to inoculation in Europe
In America
Theological opposition to vaccination
Recent hostility to vaccination in England
In Canada, during the smallpox epidemic
Theological opposition to the use of cocaine
To the use of quinine
Theological opposition to the use of anesthetics

Changes incorporated in the American Book of Common Prayer
Effect on the theological view of the growing knowledge of the
relation between imagination and medicine
Effect of the discoveries in hypnotism
In bacteriology
Relation between ascertained truth and the "ages of faith"



The recurrence of great pestilences
Their early ascription to the wrath or malice of unseen powers
Their real cause want of hygienic precaution
Theological apotheosis of filth
Sanction given to the sacred theory of pestilence by Pope Gregory
the Great
Modes of propitiating the higher powers
Modes of thwarting the powers of evil
Persecution of the Jews as Satan's emissaries
Persecution of witches as Satan's emissaries
Case of the Untori at Milan
New developments of fetichism.--The blood of St. Januarius at
Appearance of better methods in Italy.--In Spain

Comparative freedom of England from persecutions for
plague-bringing, in spite of her wretched sanitary condition
Aid sought mainly through church services
Effects of the great fire in London
The jail fever
The work of John Howard
Plagues in the American colonies
In France.--The great plague at Marseilles
Persistence of the old methods in Austria
In Scotland

Difficulty of reconciling the theological theory of pestilences
with accumulating facts
Curious approaches to a right theory
The law governing the relation of theology to disease
Recent victories of hygiene in all countries
In England.---Chadwick and his fellows
In France

The process of sanitary science not at the cost of religion
Illustration from the policy of Napoleon III in France
Effect of proper sanitation on epidemics in the United States
Change in the attitude of the Church toward the cause and cure of



The struggle for the scientific treatment of the insane
The primitive ascription of insanity to evil spirits
Better Greek and Roman theories--madness a disease
The Christian Church accepts the demoniacal theory of insanity
Yet for a time uses mild methods for the insane
Growth of the practice of punishing the indwelling demon
Two sources whence better things might have been hoped.--The
reasons of their futility
The growth of exorcism
Use of whipping and torture
The part of art and literature in making vivid to the common mind
the idea of diabolic activity
The effects of religious processions as a cure for mental disease
Exorcism of animals possessed of demons
Belief in the transformation of human beings into animals
The doctrine of demoniacal possession in the Reformed Church

Rivalry between Catholics and Protestants in the casting out of
Increased belief in witchcraft during the period following the
Increase of insanity during the witch persecutions II {?}
Attitude of physicians toward witchcraft I
Religious hallucinations of the insane I
Theories as to the modes of diabolic entrance into the possessed
Influence of monastic life on the development of insanity
Protests against the theological view of insanity--Wier,
Montaigue Bekker
Last struggles of the old superstition

Influence of French philosophy on the belief in demoniacal
Reactionary influence of John Wesley
Progress of scientific ideas in Prussia
In Austria
In America
In South Germany
General indifference toward the sufferings of madmen
The beginnings of a more humane treatment
Jean Baptiste Pinel
Improvement in the treatment of the insane in England.--William
The place of Pinel and Tuke in history



Survival of the belief in diabolic activity as the cause of such
Epidemics of hysteria in classical times
In the Middle Ages
The dancing mania
Inability of science during the fifteenth century to cope with
such diseases
Cases of possession brought within the scope of medical research
during the sixteenth century
Dying-out of this form of mental disease in northern Europe
In Italy
Epidemics of hysteria in the convents
The case of Martha Brossier
Revival in France of belief in diabolic influence
The Ursulines of Loudun and Urbain Grandier
Possession among the Huguenots
In New England.--The Salem witch persecution
At Paris.--Alleged miracles at the grave of Archdeacon Paris
In Germany.--Case of Maria Renata Sanger
More recent outbreaks

Outbreaks of hysteria in factories and hospitals
In places of religious excitement
The case at Morzine
Similar cases among Protestants and in Africa

Successful dealings of medical science with mental diseases
Attempts to give a scientific turn to the theory of diabolic
agency in disease
Last great demonstration of the old belief in England
Final triumph of science in the latter half of the present
Last echoes of the old belief



Difference of the history of Comparative Philology from that of
other sciences as regards the attitude of theologians
Curiosity of early man regarding the origin, the primitive form,
and the diversity of language
The Hebrew answer to these questions
The legend of the Tower of Babel
The real reason for the building of towers by the Chaldeans and
the causes of their ruin
Other legends of a confusion of tongues
Influence upon Christendom of the Hebrew legends
Lucretius's theory of the origin of language
The teachings of the Church fathers on this subject
The controversy as to the divine origin of the Hebrew vowel
Attitude of the reformers toward this question
Of Catholic scholars.--Marini Capellus and his adversaries
The treatise of Danzius

Theological theory that Hebrew was the primitive tongue, divinely
This theory supported by all Christian scholars until the
beginning of the eighteenth century
Dissent of Prideaux and Cotton Mather
Apparent strength of the sacred theory of language

Reason for the Church's ready acceptance of the conclusions of
comparative philology
Beginnings of a scientific theory of language
The collections of Catharine the Great, of Hervas, and of Adelung
Chaotic period in philology between Leibnitz and the beginning of
the study of Sanskrit
Illustration from the successive editions of the Encyclopaedia

Effect of the discovery of Sanskrit on the old theory
Attempts to discredit the new learning
General acceptance of the new theory
Destruction of the belief that all created things were first
named by Adam
Of the belief in the divine origin of letters
Attempts in England to support the old theory of language
rogress of philological science in France
In Germany
In Great Britain
Recent absurd attempts to prove Hebrew the primitive tongue

Gradual disappearance of the old theories regarding the origin of
speech and writing
Full acceptance of the new theories by all Christian scholars
The result to religion, and to the Bible


Growth of myths to account for remarkable appearances in
Nature--mountains, rocks, curiously marked stones, fossils,
products of volcanic action
Myths of the transformation of living beings into natural objects
Development of the science of Comparative Mythology

Description of the Dead Sea
Impression made by its peculiar features on the early dwellers in
Reasons for selecting the Dead Sea myths for study
Naturalness of the growth of legend regarding the salt region of
Universal belief in these legends
Concurrent testimony of early and mediaeval writers, Jewish and
Christian, respecting the existence of Lot's wife as a "pillar of
salt," and of the other wonders of the Dead Sea
Discrepancies in the various accounts and theological
explanations of them
Theological arguments respecting the statue of Lot's wife
Growth of the legend in the sixteenth century

Popularization of the older legends at the Reformation
Growth of new myths among scholars
Signs of scepticism among travellers near the end of the
sixteenth century
Effort of Quaresmio to check this tendency
Of Eugene Roger
Of Wedelius
Influence of these teachings
Renewed scepticism--the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Efforts of Briemle and Masius in support of the old myths
Their influence
The travels of Mariti and of Volney
Influence of scientific thought on the Dead Sea legends during
the eighteenth century
Reactionary efforts of Chateaubriand
Investigations of the naturalist Seetzen
Of Dr. Robinson
The expedition of Lieutenant Lynch
The investigations of De Saulcy
Of the Duc de Luynes.--Lartet's report
Summary of the investigations of the nineteenth
century.--Ritter's verdict

Attempts to reconcile scientific facts with the Dead Sea legends
Van de Velde's investigations of the Dead Sea region
Canon Tristram's
Mgr. Mislin's protests against the growing rationalism
The work of Schaff and Osborn
Acceptance of the scientific view by leaders in the Church
Dr. Geikie's ascription of the myths to the Arabs
Mgr. Haussmann de Wandelburg and.his rejection of the scientific
Service of theologians to religion in accepting the conclusions
of silence in this field



Universal belief in the sin of loaning money at interest
The taking of interest among the Greeks and Romans
Opposition of leaders of thought, especially Aristotle
Condemnation of the practice by the Old and New Testaments
By the Church fathers
In ecclesiastical and secular legislation
Exception sometimes made in behalf of the Jews
Hostility of the pulpit
Of the canon law
Evil results of the prohibition of loans at interest
Efforts to induce the Church to change her position
Theological evasions of the rule
Attitude of the Reformers toward the taking of interest
Struggle in England for recognition of the right to accept
Invention of a distinction between usury and interest

Sir Robert Filmer's attack on the old doctrine
Retreat of the Protestant Church in Holland
In Germany and America
Difficulties in the way of compromise in the Catholic Church
Failure of such attempts in France
Theoretical condemnation of usury in Italy
Disregard of all restrictions in practice
Attempts of Escobar and Liguori to reconcile the taking of
interest with the teachings of the Church
Montesquieu's attack on the old theory
Encyclical of Benedict XIV permitting the taking of interest
Similar decision of the Inquisition at Rome
Final retreat of the Catholic Church
Curious dealings of theology with public economy in other fields



Character of the great sacred
books of the world
General laws governing the development and influence of sacred
literature.--The law of its origin
Legends concerning the Septuagint
The law of wills and causes
The law of inerrancy
Hostility to the revision of King James's translation of the
The law of unity
Working of these laws seen in the great rabbinical schools
The law of allegorical interpretation
Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria
Occult significance of numbers
Hilary of Poitiers and Jerome
Gregory the Great
Vain attempts to check the flood of allegorical interpretations
Methods of modern criticism for the first time employed by
Lorenzo Valla
Influence of the Reformation on the belief in the infallibility
of the sacred books.--Luther and Melanchthon
Development of scholasticism in the Reformed Church
Catholic belief in the inspiration of the Vulgate
Opposition in Russia to the revision of the Slavonic Scriptures
Sir Isaac Newton as a commentator
Scriptural interpretation at the beginning of the eighteenth

Theological beliefs regarding the Pentateuch
The book of Genesis
Doubt thrown on the sacred theory by Aben Ezra
By Carlstadt and Maes
Influence of the discovery that the Isidorian
Decretals were forgeries
That the writings ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite were
Hobbes and La Peyrere
Progress of biblical criticism in France.--Richard Simon
Bishop Lowth
Eichhorn's application of the "higher criticism" to biblical
Alexander Geddes
Opposition to the higher criticism in Germany
Vatke and Reuss

Progress of the higher criticism in Germany and Holland
Opposition to it in England
At the University of Oxford
Niebuhr and Arnold
Thirlwall and Grote
The publication of Essays and Reviews, and the storm raised by

Colenso's work on the Pentateuch
The persecution of him
Bishop Wilberforce's part in it
Dean Stanley's
Bishop Thirlwall's
Results of Colenso's work
Sanday's Bampton Lectures
Keble College and Lux
Progress of biblical criticism among the dissenters
In France.--Renan
In the Roman Catholic Church
The encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII
In America.--Theodore Parker
Apparent strength of the old theory of inspiration
Real strength of the new movement

Confirmation of the conclusions of the higher criticism by
Assyriology and Egyptology
Light thrown upon Hebrew religion by the translation of the
sacred books of the East
The influence of Persian thought.--The work of the Rev. Dr. Mills
The influence of Indian thought.--Light thrown by the study of
Brahmanism and Buddhism
The work of Fathers Huc and Gabet
Discovery that Buddha himself had been canonized as a Christian
Similarity between the ideas and legends of Buddhism and those of
The application of the higher criticism to the New Testament
The English "Revised Version" of Studies on the formation of the
canon of Scripture
Recognition of the laws governing its development
Change in the spirit of the controversy over the higher criticism

Development of a scientific atmosphere during the last three
Action of modern science in reconstruction of religious truth

Change wrought by it in the conception of a sacred literature

Of the Divine Power.--Of man.---Of the world at large
Of our Bible


Among those masses of cathedral sculpture which preserve so much
of medieval theology, one frequently recurring group is
noteworthy for its presentment of a time-honoured doctrine
regarding the origin of the universe.

The Almighty, in human form, sits benignly, making the sun, moon,
and stars, and hanging them from the solid firmament which
supports the "heaven above" and overarches the "earth beneath."

The furrows of thought on the Creator's brow show that in this
work he is obliged to contrive; the knotted muscles upon his arms
show that he is obliged to toil; naturally, then, the sculptors
and painters of the medieval and early modern period frequently
represented him as the writers whose conceptions they embodied
had done--as, on the seventh day, weary after thought and toil,
enjoying well-earned repose and the plaudits of the hosts of

In these thought-fossils of the cathedrals, and in other
revelations of the same idea through sculpture, painting,
glass-staining, mosaic work, and engraving, during the Middle
Ages and the two centuries following, culminated a belief which
had been developed through thousands of years, and which has
determined the world's thought until our own time.

Its beginnings lie far back in human history; we find them among
the early records of nearly all the great civilizations, and they
hold a most prominent place in the various sacred books of the
world. In nearly all of them is revealed the conception of a
Creator of whom man is an imperfect image, and who literally and
directly created the visible universe with his hands and fingers.

Among these theories, of especial interest to us are those which
controlled theological thought in Chaldea. The Assyrian
inscriptions which have been recently recovered and given to the
English-speaking peoples by Layard, George Smith, Sayce, and
others, show that in the ancient religions of Chaldea and
Babylonia there was elaborated a narrative of the creation which,
in its most important features, must have been the source of that
in our own sacred books. It has now become perfectly clear that
from the same sources which inspired the accounts of the creation
of the universe among the Chaldeo-Babylonian, the Assyrian, the
Phoenician, and other ancient civilizations came the ideas which
hold so prominent a place in the sacred books of the Hebrews. In
the two accounts imperfectly fused together in Genesis, and also
in the account of which we have indications in the book of Job
and in the Proverbs, there, is presented, often with the greatest
sublimity, the same early conception of the Creator and of the
creation--the conception, so natural in the childhood of
civilization, of a Creator who is an enlarged human being working
literally with his own hands, and of a creation which is "the
work of his fingers." To supplement this view there was
developed the belief in this Creator as one who, having

. . . "from his ample palm
Launched forth the rolling planets into space."

sits on high, enthroned "upon the circle of the heavens,"
perpetually controlling and directing them.

From this idea of creation was evolved in time a somewhat nobler
view. Ancient thinkers, and especially, as is now found, in
Egypt, suggested that the main agency in creation was not the
hands and fingers of the Creator, but his VOICE. Hence was
mingled with the earlier, cruder belief regarding the origin of
the earth and heavenly bodies by the Almighty the more impressive
idea that "he spake and they were made"--that they were brought
into existence by his WORD.[1]

[1] Among the many mediaeval representations of the creation of
the universe, I especially recall from personal observation those
sculptured above the portals of the cathedrals of Freiburg and
Upsala, the paintings on the walls of the Campo Santo at Pisa,
and most striking of all, the mosaics of the Cathedral of
Monreale and those in the Capella Palatina at Palermo. Among
peculiarities showing the simplicity of the earlier conception
the representation of the response of the Almighty on the seventh
day is very striking. He is shown as seated in almost the exact
attitude of the "Weary Mercury" of classic sculpture--bent, and
with a very marked expression of fatigue upon his countenance and
in the whole disposition of his body.

The Monreale mosaics are pictured in the great work of Gravina,
and in the Pisa frescoes in Didron's Iconographie, Paris, 1843,
p. 598. For an exact statement of the resemblances which have
settled the question among the most eminent scholars in favour of
the derivation of the Hebrew cosmogony from that of Assyria, see
Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier, Strassburg, 1890, pp.
304,306; also Franz Lukas, Die Grundbegriffe in den Kosmographien
der alten Volker, Leipsic, 1893, pp. 35-46; also George Smith's
Chaldean Genesis, especially the German translation with
additions by Delitzsch, Leipsic, 1876, and Schrader, Die
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, Giessen, 1883, pp. 1-54,
etc. See also Renan, Histoire du peuple d'Israel, vol. i, chap
i, L'antique influence babylonienne. For Egyptian views
regarding creation, and especially for the transition from the
idea of creation by the hands and fingers of the Creator to
creation by his VOICE and his "word," see Maspero and Sayce, The
Dawn of Civilization, pp. 145-146.

Among the early fathers of the Church this general view of
creation became fundamental; they impressed upon Christendom more
and more strongly the belief that the universe was created in a
perfectly literal sense by the hands or voice of God. Here and
there sundry theologians of larger mind attempted to give a more
spiritual view regarding some parts of the creative work, and of
these were St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine. Ready as
they were to accept the literal text of Scripture, they revolted
against the conception of an actual creation of the universe by
the hands and fingers of a Supreme Being, and in this they were
followed by Bede and a few others; but the more material
conceptions prevailed, and we find these taking shape not only in
the sculptures and mosaics and stained glass of cathedrals, and
in the illuminations of missals and psalters, but later, at the
close of the Middle Ages, in the pictured Bibles and in general

Into the Anglo-Saxon mind this ancient material conception of the
creation was riveted by two poets whose works appealed especially
to the deeper religious feelings. In the seventh century Caedmon
paraphrased the account given in Genesis, bringing out this
material conception in the most literal form; and a thousand
years later Milton developed out of the various statements in the
Old Testament, mingled with a theology regarding "the creative
Word" which had been drawn from the New, his description of the
creation by the second person in the Trinity, than which nothing
could be more literal and material:

"He took the golden compasses, prepared
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe and all created things.
One foot he centred, and the other turned
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, `Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds:
This be thy just circumference, O world!'"[2]

[2] For Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and the general subject of
the development of an evolution theory among the Greeks, see the
excellent work by Dr. Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin, pp.33
and following; for Caedmon, see any edition--I have used
Bouterwek's, Gutersloh, 1854; for Milton, see Paradise Lost, book
vii, lines 225-231.

So much for the orthodox view of the MANNER of creation.

The next point developed in this theologic evolution had
reference to the MATTER of which the universe was made, and it
was decided by an overwhelming majority that no material
substance existed before the creation of the material
universe--that "God created everything out of nothing." Some
venturesome thinkers, basing their reasoning upon the first
verses of Genesis, hinted at a different view--namely, that the
mass, "without form and void," existed before the universe; but
this doctrine was soon swept out of sight. The vast majority of
the fathers were explicit on this point. Tertullian especially
was very severe against those who took any other view than that
generally accepted as orthodox: he declared that, if there had
been any pre-existing matter out of which the world was formed,
Scripture would have mentioned it; that by not mentioning it God
has given us a clear proof that there was no such thing; and,
after a manner not unknown in other theological controversies, he
threatens Hermogenes, who takes the opposite view, with the woe
which impends on all who add to or take away from the written

St. Augustine, who showed signs of a belief in a pre-existence
of matter, made his peace with the prevailing belief by the
simple reasoning that, "although the world has been made of some
material, that very same material must have been made out of

In the wake of these great men the universal Church steadily
followed. The Fourth Lateran Council declared that God created
everything out of nothing; and at the present hour the vast
majority of the faithful--whether Catholic or Protestant--are
taught the same doctrine; on this point the syllabus of Pius IX
and the Westminster Catechism fully agree.[3]

[3] For Tertullian, see Tertullian against Hermogenes, chaps. xx
and xxii; for St. Augustine regarding "creation from nothing,"
see the De Genesi contra Manichaeos, lib, i, cap. vi; for St.
Ambrose, see the Hexameron, lib, i,cap iv; for the decree of the
Fourth Lateran Council, and the view received in the Church to-
day, see the article Creation in Addis and Arnold's Catholic

Having thus disposed of the manner and matter of creation, the
next subject taken up by theologians was the TIME required for
the great work.

Here came a difficulty. The first of the two accounts given in
Genesis extended the creative operation through six days, each of
an evening and a morning, with much explicit detail regarding the
progress made in each. But the second account spoke of "THE
DAY" in which "the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."
The explicitness of the first account and its naturalness to the
minds of the great mass of early theologians gave it at first a
decided advantage; but Jewish thinkers, like Philo, and Christian
thinkers, like Origen, forming higher conceptions of the Creator
and his work, were not content with this, and by them was
launched upon the troubled sea of Christian theology the idea
that the creation was instantaneous, this idea being strengthened
not only by the second of the Genesis legends, but by the great
text, "He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood
fast"--or, as it appears in the Vulgate and in most translations,
"He spake, and they were made; he commanded, and they were

As a result, it began to be held that the safe and proper course
was to believe literally BOTH statements; that in some
mysterious manner God created the universe in six days, and yet
brought it all into existence in a moment. In spite of the
outcries of sundry great theologians, like Ephrem Syrus, that the
universe was created in exactly six days of twenty-four hours
each, this compromise was promoted by St. Athanasius and St.
Basil in the East, and by St. Augustine and St. Hilary in the

Serious difficulties were found in reconciling these two views,
which to the natural mind seem absolutely contradictory; but by
ingenious manipulation of texts, by dexterous play upon phrases,
and by the abundant use of metaphysics to dissolve away facts, a
reconciliation was effected, and men came at least to believe
that they believed in a creation of the universe instantaneous
and at the same time extended through six days.[4]

[4] For Origen, see his Contra Celsum, cap xxxvi, xxxvii; also
his De Principibus, cap. v; for St. Augustine, see his De Genesi
conta Manichaeos and De Genesi ad Litteram, passim; for
Athanasius, see his Discourses against the Arians, ii, 48,49.

Some of the efforts to reconcile these two accounts were so
fruitful as to deserve especial record. The fathers, Eastern and
Western, developed out of the double account in Genesis, and the
indications in the Psalms, the Proverbs, and the book of Job, a
vast mass of sacred science bearing upon this point. As regards
the whole work of creation, stress was laid upon certain occult
powers in numerals. Philo Judaeus, while believing in an
instantaneous creation, had also declared that the world was
created in six days because "of all numbers six is the most
productive"; he had explained the creation of the heavenly bodies
on the fourth day by "the harmony of the number four"; of the
animals on the fifth day by the five senses; of man on the sixth
day by the same virtues in the number six which had caused it to
be set as a limit to the creative work; and, greatest of all, the
rest on the seventh day by the vast mass of mysterious virtues in
the number seven.

St. Jerome held that the reason why God did not pronounce the
work of the second day "good" is to be found in the fact that
there is something essentially evil in the number two, and this
was echoed centuries afterward, afar off in Britain, by Bede.

St. Augustine brought this view to bear upon the Church in the
following statement: "There are three classes of numbers--the
more than perfect, the perfect, and the less than perfect,
according as the sum of them is greater than, equal to, or less
than the original number. Six is the first perfect number:
wherefore we must not say that six is a perfect number because
God finished all his works in six days, but that God finished all
his works in six days because six is a perfect number."

Reasoning of this sort echoed along through the mediaeval Church
until a year after the discovery of America, when the Nuremberg
Chronicle re-echoed it as follows: "The creation of things is
explained by the number six, the parts of which, one, two, and
three, assume the form of a triangle."

This view of the creation of the universe as instantaneous and
also as in six days, each made up of an evening and a morning,
became virtually universal. Peter Lombard and Hugo of St.
Victor, authorities of vast weight, gave it their sanction in the
twelfth century, and impressed it for ages upon the mind of the

Both these lines of speculation--as to the creation of everything
out of nothing, and the reconciling of the instantaneous creation
of the universe with its creation in six days--were still further
developed by other great thinkers of the Middle Ages.

St. Hilary of Poictiers reconciled the two conceptions as
follows: "For, although according to Moses there is an appearance
of regular order in the fixing of the firmament, the laying bare
of the dry land, the gathering together of the waters, the
formation of the heavenly bodies, and the arising of living
things from land and water, yet the creation of the heavens,
earth, and other elements is seen to be the work of a single

St. Thomas Aquinas drew from St. Augustine a subtle distinction
which for ages eased the difficulties in the case: he taught in
effect that God created the substance of things in a moment, but
gave to the work of separating, shaping, and adorning this
creation, six days.[5]

[5] For Philo Judaeus, see his Creation of the World, chap. iii;
for St. Augustine on the powers of numbers in creation, see his
De Genesi ad Litteram iv, chap. ii; for Peter Lombard, see the
Sententiae, lib. ii, dist. xv, 5; and for Hugo of St. Victor, see
De Sacrementis, lib i, pars i; also, Annotat, Elucidat in
Pentateuchum, cap. v, vi, vii; for St. Hilary, see De Trinitate,
lib. xii; for St. Thomas Aquinas, see his Summa Theologica, quest
lxxxiv, arts. i and ii; the passage in the Nuremberg Chronicle,
1493, is in fol. iii; for Vousset, see his Discours sur
l'Histoire Universelle; for the sacredness of the number seven
among the Babylonians, see especially Schrader, Die
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, pp. 21,22; also George
Smith et al.; for general ideas on the occult powers of various
numbers, especially the number seven, and the influence of these
ideas on theology and science, see my chapter on astronomy. As
to medieaval ideas on the same subject, see Detzel, Christliche
Ikonographie, Frieburg, 1894, pp. 44 and following.

The early reformers accepted and developed the same view, and
Luther especially showed himself equal to the occasion. With his
usual boldness he declared, first, that Moses "spoke properly and
plainly, and neither allegorically nor figuratively," and that
therefore "the world with all creatures was created in six days."
And he then goes on to show how, by a great miracle, the whole
creation was also instantaneous.

Melanchthon also insisted that the universe was created out of
nothing and in a mysterious way, both in an instant and in six
days, citing the text: "He spake, and they were made."

Calvin opposed the idea of an instantaneous creation, and laid
especial stress on the creation in six days: having called
attention to the fact that the biblical chronology shows the
world to be not quite six thousand years old and that it is now
near its end, he says that "creation was extended through six
days that it might not be tedious for us to occupy the whole of
life in the consideration of it."

Peter Martyr clinched the matter by declaring: "So important is
it to comprehend the work of creation that we see the creed of
the Church take this as its starting point. Were this article
taken away there would be no original sin, the promise of Christ
would become void, and all the vital force of our religion would
be destroyed." The Westminster divines in drawing up their
Confession of Faith specially laid it down as necessary to
believe that all things visible and invisible were created not
only out of nothing but in exactly six days.

Nor were the Roman divines less strenuous than the Protestant
reformers regarding the necessity of holding closely to the
so-called Mosaic account of creation. As late as the middle of
the eighteenth century, when Buffon attempted to state simple
geological truths, the theological faculty of the Sorbonne forced
him to make and to publish a most ignominious recantation which
ended with these words: "I abandon everything in my book
respecting the formation of the earth, and generally all which
may be contrary to the narrative of Moses."

Theologians, having thus settled the manner of the creation, the
matter used in it, and the time required for it, now exerted
themselves to fix its DATE.

The long series of efforts by the greatest minds in the Church,
from Eusebius to Archbishop Usher, to settle this point are
presented in another chapter. Suffice it here that the general
conclusion arrived at by an overwhelming majority of the most
competent students of the biblical accounts was that the date of
creation was, in round numbers, four thousand years before our
era; and in the seventeenth century, in his great work, Dr. John
Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and
one of the most eminent Hebrew scholars of his time, declared, as
the result of his most profound and exhaustive study of the
Scriptures, that "heaven and earth, centre and circumference,
were created all together, in the same instant, and clouds full
of water," and that "this work took place and man was created by
the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B. C., at nine o'clock in the

Here was, indeed, a triumph of Lactantius's method, the result of
hundreds of years of biblical study and theological thought since
Bede in the eighth century, and Vincent of Beauvais in the
thirteenth, had declared that creation must have taken place in
the spring. Yet, alas! within two centuries after Lightfoot's
great biblical demonstration as to the exact hour of creation, it
was discovered that at that hour an exceedingly cultivated
people, enjoying all the fruits of a highly developed
civilization, had long been swarming in the great cities of
Egypt, and that other nations hardly less advanced had at that
time reached a high development in Asia.[6]

[6] For Luther, see his Commentary on Genesis, 1545,
introduction, and his comments on chap. i, verse 12; the
quotations from Luther's commentary are taken mainly from the
translation by Henry Cole, D.D., Edinburgh, 1858; for
Melanchthon, see Loci Theologici, in Melanchthon, Opera, ed.
Bretschneider, vol. xxi, pp. 269, 270, also pp. 637, 638--in
quoting the text (Ps. xxiii, 9) I have used, as does Melanchthon
himself, the form of the Vulgate; for the citations from Calvin,
see his Commentary on Genesis (Opera omnia, Amsterdam, 1671, tom.
i, cap. ii, p. 8); also in the Institutes, Allen's translation,
London, 1838, vol. i, chap. xv, pp. 126,127; for the Peter
Martyr, see his Commentary on Genesis, cited by Zockler, vol. i,
p. 690; for articles in the Westminster Confession of Faith, see
chap. iv; for Buffon's recantation, see Lyell, Principles of
Geology, chap iii, p. 57. For Lightfoot's declartion, see his
works, edited by Pitman, London, 1822.

But, strange as it may seem, even after theologians had thus
settled the manner of creation, the matter employed in it, the
time required for it, and the exact date of it, there remained
virtually unsettled the first and greatest question of all; and
this was nothing less than the question, WHO actually created the

Various theories more or less nebulous, but all centred in texts
of Scripture, had swept through the mind of the Church. By some
theologians it was held virtually that the actual creative agent
was the third person of the Trinity, who, in the opening words of
our sublime creation poem, "moved upon the face of the waters."
By others it was held that the actual Creator was the second
person of the Trinity, in behalf of whose agency many texts were
cited from the New Testament. Others held that the actual
Creator was the first person, and this view was embodied in the
two great formulas known as the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds,
which explicitly assigned the work to "God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth." Others, finding a deep meaning in
the words "Let US make," ascribed in Genesis to the Creator, held
that the entire Trinity directly created all things; and still
others, by curious metaphysical processes, seemed to arrive at
the idea that peculiar combinations of two persons of the Trinity
achieved the creation.

In all this there would seem to be considerable courage in view
of the fearful condemnations launched in the Athanasian Creed
against all who should "confound the persons" or "divide the
substance of the Trinity."

These various stages in the evolution of scholastic theology were
also embodied in sacred art, and especially in cathedral
sculpture, in glass-staining, in mosaic working, and in missal

The creative Being is thus represented sometimes as the third
person of the Trinity, in the form of a dove brooding over chaos;
sometimes as the second person, and therefore a youth; sometimes
as the first person, and therefore fatherly and venerable;
sometimes as the first and second persons, one being venerable
and the other youthful; and sometimes as three persons, one
venerable and one youthful, both wearing papal crowns, and each
holding in his lips a tip of the wing of the dove, which thus
seems to proceed from both and to be suspended between them.

Nor was this the most complete development of the medieval idea.
The Creator was sometimes represented with a single body, but
with three faces, thus showing that Christian belief had in some
pious minds gone through substantially the same cycle which an
earlier form of belief had made ages before in India, when the
Supreme Being was represented with one body but with the three
faces of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva.

But at the beginning of the modern period the older view in its
primitive Jewish form was impressed upon Christians by the most
mighty genius in art the world has known; for in 1512, after four
years of Titanic labour, Michael Angelo uncovered his frescoes
within the vault of the Sistine Chapel.

They had been executed by the command and under the sanction of
the ruling Pope, Julius II, to represent the conception of
Christian theology then dominant, and they remain to-day in all
their majesty to show the highest point ever attained by the
older thought upon the origin of the visible universe.

In the midst of the expanse of heaven the Almighty Father--the
first person of the Trinity--in human form, august and venerable,
attended by angels and upborne by mighty winds, sweeps over the
abyss, and, moving through successive compartments of the great
vault, accomplishes the work of the creative days. With a simple
gesture he divides the light from the darkness, rears on high the
solid firmament, gathers together beneath it the seas, or summons
into existence the sun, moon, and planets, and sets them circling
about the earth.

In this sublime work culminated the thought of thousands of
years; the strongest minds accepted it or pretended to accept it,
and nearly two centuries later this conception, in accordance
with the first of the two accounts given in Genesis, was
especially enforced by Bossuet, and received a new lease of life
in the Church, both Catholic and Protestant.[7]

[7] For strange representations of the Creator and of the
creation by one, two, or three persons of the Trinity, see
Didron, Iconographie Chretienne, pp. 35, 178, 224, 483, 567-580,
and elsewhere; also Detzel as already cited. The most naive of
all survivals of the mediaeval idea of creation which the present
writer has ever seen was exhibited in 1894 on the banner of one
of the guilds at the celebration of the four-hundredth
anniversary of the founding of the Munich Cathedral. Jesus of
Nazareth, as a beautiful boy and with a nimbus encircling his

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