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 Post subject: The Warfare of Science with Theology by A. D. White
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:23 am 
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THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE

WITH THEOLOGY.



CHAPTER I.

FROM CREATION TO EVOLUTION.

I. THE VISIBLE UNIVERSE.

Among those masses of cathedral sculpture which pre-
serve so much of mediaeval theology, one frequently recur-
ring 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 firma-
ment 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 mediseval 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 heaven.

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 Mid-
dle Ages and the two centuries following, culminated a be-
lief 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 civiliza-
tions, 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 As-
syrian inscriptions which have been recently recovered and
given to the English-speaking peoples by La^^ard, 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
Avhich 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 w^hich 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 some-
what 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 w^as mingled with the earlier, cruder be-
lief 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 exist-
ence by his word.'^

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 Post subject: Re: The Warfare of Science with Theology by A. D. White
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:05 pm 
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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 regard-
ing 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 cathe-
drals, and in the illuminations of missals and psalters, but
later, at the close of the Middle Ages, in the pictured Bibles
and in general literature.

Into the Anglo-Saxon mind this ancient material concep-
tion of the creation was riveted by two poets whose works

* 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 Cappella Palatina at Palermo. Among peculiarities showing the
simplicity of the earlier conception the representation of the repose 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 the Pisa
frescoes in Didron's Icotjogfaphie, 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 tlie Hebrew cosmogony from that of Assyria, see Jensen,
Die Kosmologie de)- Bahylonier, Strassburg, 1890, pp. 304, 306 ; also Franz Lukas,
Die Gritndbegriffe in den Kosmog7'aphien der altejt Volker, I eipsic, 1893, pp. 35-
46 ; also George Smith's Chaldean Genesis, especially the German translation with
additions by Delitzsch, Leipsic, 1876, and Schrader, Die Keilinschriften tmd das
Alte Testament, Giessen, 18S3, pp. 1-54, etc. See also Renan, Histoire du peuple
d' Israel, vol. i, chap, i, V antique influence bahylonienne. For Egyptian views re-
garding 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
Maspcro and Sayce, The Dazvft of Civilization, pp. 145-146.


appealed especially to the deeper religious feelings. In the
seventh century Casdmon 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 ! ' " *

So much for the orthodox view of the manner oi 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 ma-
terial 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 ortho-
dox : 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

* 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 Ccedmon, see any edition —
I have used Bouter.wek's, Gutersloh, 1854; for Milton, see Paradise Lost, book vii,
lines 225-231.

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''the woe which impends on all who add to or take away
from the written word."

St. Augustine, who showed signs of a belief in a pre-exist-
ence of matter, made his peace with the prevailing belief by
the simple reasoning that, '' although the world has been
made of some material, that vei-y same material must have
been made out of nothing."

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."^

Having thus disposed of the manner and matter of crea-
tion, 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 ex-
plicit 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 advan-
tage ; but Jewish thinkers, like Philo, and Christ^ian think-
ers, 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 com-
manded, 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 created."

* For Tertullian, see Tertullian against Hermogenes, chaps, xx and xxii ; for St.
Augustine regarding " creation from nothing," see the De Genesi contra Manicluvos,
lib. i, cap. vi ; for St. Ambrose, see the Hcxameron, 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 Dictionary.


6 FROM CREATION TO EVOLUTION.

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. Augus-
tine and St. Hilary in the West.

Serious difficulties were found in reconcilinof these two
views, which to the natural mind seem absolutely contra-
dictory ; but by ingenious manipulation of texts, by dexter-
ous play upon phrases, and by the abundant use of meta-
physics 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.*

Some of the efforts to reconcile these two accounts were
so fruitful as to deserve especial record. The fathers, East-
ern 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 Judseus, 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.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:16 am 
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St. Jerome held that the reason why God did not pro-
nounce the work of the second day "good " is to be found

* For Origen, see his Contra Ceisum, cap. xxxvi, xxxvii ; also his De Principi-
bus, cap. V ; for St. Augustine, see his De Genesl contra Manic/mos and De Genesi
ad Litteram^ passim ; for Athanasius, see his Discourses against the Arians, ii,
48, 49.


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 num-
bers — 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 medige-
val Church until a year after the discovery of America,
when the Nuremberg CJironiele 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 Church.

Both these lines of speculation — as to the creation of
everything out of nothing, and the reconciling of the instan-
taneous 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 hare 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 moment."

St. Thomas Aquinas drew from St. Augustine a subtle
distinction which for ages eased the difificulties 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.*

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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 im-
portant 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 West-
minster divines in drawing up their Confession of Faith



* 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 Litter-am, iv, chap, ii ;
for Peter Lombard, see the Sententice, lib. ii, dist. xv, 5 ; and for Hugo of St. Vic-
tor, see De Sacramentis, lib. i, pars i ; also, Annotat. Elucidat. in Pentateuchtim,
cap. V, vi, vii ; for St. Hilary, see De Trinitate, lib. xii ; for St. Thomas Aquinas,
see his Summa Theologica, quest. Ixxxiv, arts, i and ii ; the passage in the N'urein-
berg Chronicle, 1493, is in fol. iii ; for Bossuet, see his Discows sur VHistoire Uni-
verselle ; for the sacredness of the number seven among the Babylonians, see espe-
cially 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 sci-
ence, see my chapter on astronomy. As to mediaeval ideas on the same subject,
see Detzel, Christliche Ikonographie, Freiburg, 1894, pp. 44 and following.


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 at-
tempted 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 con-
trary to the narrative of Moses."

Theologians, having thus settled the manner of the crea-
tion, the matter used in it, and the time required for it, now
exerted themselves to fix its date.

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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 ac-
counts 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-Chan-
cellor 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 morning."

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 cen-
turies after Lightfoot's great biblical demonstration as to i
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 na-
tions hardly less advanced had at that time reached a high
development in Asia.*

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 universe ?

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 Fa-
ther Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Others, finding
a deep meaning in the words " Let t^s 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 com-
binations of two persons of the Trinity achieved the creation.

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In all this there would seem to be considerable courage

* For Luther, see his Commentary on Genesis, 1545, introduction, and his com-
ments 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 Melanch-
thon, see Loci Theologici, in Melanchthon, Opera, ed. IJretechneider, 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, AWen's translation, London, 1838, vol. i, chap, xv, pp. 126,
127 ; for Peter Martyr, see his Commentary on Genesis, cited by Zockler, vol. i, p.
690 ; for the articles in the Westminster Confession of Faith, see chap, iv ; for
Buffon's recantation, see Lyell, Principles of Geology, chap, iii, p. 57. For Light-
foot's declaration, see his works, edited by Pitman, London, 1822.


in view of the fearful condemnatigns launched in the Athana-
sian Creed against all who should "confound the persons"
or " divide the substance of the Trinity."

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

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 fa-
therly and venerable ; sometimes as the first and second per-
sons, 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
mediceval 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 sub-
stantially 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 Chris-
tians by the most mighty genius in art the world has known ;
for in 1 5 12, after four years of Titanic labour, Michael
Ano-elo 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 con-
ception of Christian theology then dominant, and they re-
main 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 Fa-
ther—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 success-
I've 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 exist-
ence the sun, moon, and planets, and sets them circling
about the earth.

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In this sublime work culminated the thought of thou-
sands of years ; the strongest minds accepted it or pretended
to accept it, and nearly two centuries later this conception,
in accordance Avith 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."

But to these discussions was added yet another, which,
beginning in the early days of the Church, was handed
down the ages until it had died out among the theologians
of our own time.

In the first of the biblical accounts light is created and
the distinction between day and night thereby made on the
first dav, while the sun and moon are not created until the
fourth day. Masses of profound theological and pseudo-
scientific reasoning have been developed to account for this
— masses so great that for ages they have obscured the sim-
ple fact that the original text is a precious revelation to us
of one of the most ancient of recorded beliefs — the belief
that light and darkness are entities independent of the heav-
enly bodies, and that the sun, moon, and stars exist not
merely to increase light but to " divide the day from the
night, to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and
for years," and '* to rule the day and the night."

* For strange representations of the Creator and of the creation by one, two, or
three persons of the Trinity, see Didron, Iconographie Chr^ticnne, pp. 35, 178,
224, 483, 567-580, and elsewhere ; also Detzel as already cited. The most naïve 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 head, was shown
turning and shaping the globe on a lathe, which he keeps in motion with his foot.
The emblems of the Passion are about him, God the Father looking approvingly
upon him from a cloud, and the dove hovering between the two. The date upon
the banner was 1727.


Of this belief we find survivals among the early fathers,
and especially in St. Ambrose. In his work on creation he
tells us : " We must remember that the light of day is one
thing and the light of the sun, moon, and stars another — the
sun by his rays appearing to add lustre to the daylight.
For before sunrise the day dawns, but is not in full reful-
gence, for the sun adds still further to its splendour." This
idea became one of the '' treasures of sacred knowledge
committed to the Church," and was faithfully received by
the Middle Ages. The mediaeval mysteries and miracle
plays give curious evidences of this: In a performance of
the creation, when God separates light from darkness, the
stage direction is, '' Now a painted cloth is to be exhibited,
one half black and the other half white." It was also given
more permanent form. In the mosaics of San Marco at
Venice, in the frescoes of the Baptistery at Florence and of
the Church of St. Francis at Assisi, and in the altar carving
at Salerno, we find a striking realization of it — the Creator
placing in the heavens two disks or living figures of equal
size, each suitably coloured or inscribed to show that one
represents light and the other darkness. This conception
was without doubt that of the person or persons who com-
piled from the Chaldean and other earlier statements the
accounts of the creation in the first of our sacred books. "

Thus, down to a period almost within living memory, it
was held, virtually " always, everywhere, and by all," that
the universe, as we now see it, was created literally and

* For scriptural indications of the independent existence of light and darkness,
compare with the first verses of the first chapter of Genesis such passages as Job
xxxviii, 19, 24 ; for the general prevalence of this early view, see Lukas, Kosmo-
gonie, pp. 31, 33, 41, 74, and passim ; for the view of St. Ambrose regarding the
creation of light and of the sun, see his Hcxameron, lib. 4, cap. iii ; for an excellent
general statement, see Huxley, Mr. Gladstone and Genesis, in the Nineteenth Cen-
tury, 1886, reprinted in his Essays on Controverted Questions, London, i8q2, note,
pp. 126 et seq. ; for the acceptance in the miracle plays of the scriptural idea of
light and darkness as independent creations, see Wright, Essays on Archceological
Subjects, vol. ii, p. 178 ; for an account, with illustrations, of the mosaics, etc.,
representing this idea, see Tikkanen, Die Genesis-tnosaiken von San Marco, Hel-
singfors, 1889, pp. 14 and 16 of text and Plates I and II. Very naïvely the Salerno
carver, not wishing to colour the ivory which he wrought, has inscribed on one disk
the word "LUX" and on the other " NOX." See also Didron, Iconographies
p. 482.


directly by the voice or hands of the Ahnighty, or b}^ both
— out of nothing — in an instant or in six days, or in both —
about four thousand years before the Christian era — and for
the convenience of the dwellers upon the earth, which was
at the base and foundation of the whole structure.

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But there had been implanted along through the ages
germs of another growth in human thinking, some of them
even as early as the Babylonian period. In the Assyrian
inscriptions we find recorded the Chaldeo-Babylonian idea
of an evolution of the universe out of the primeval flood or
''great deep," and of the animal creation out of the earth
and sea. This idea, recast, partially at least, into mono-
theistic form, passed naturally into the sacred books of the
neighbours and pupils of the Chaldeans — the Hebrews ; but
its growth in Christendom afterward was checked, as we
shall hereafter find, by the more powerful influence of other
inherited statements which appealed more intelligibly to the
mind of the Church.

Striking, also, was the effect of this idea as rewrought
by the early Ionian philosophers, to whom it was probably
transmitted from the Chaldeans through the Phoenicians.
In the minds of lonians like Anaximander and Anaximenes
it was most clearly developed : the first of these conceiving
of the visible universe as the result of processes of evolution,
and the latter pressing further the same mode of reasoning,
and dwelling on agencies in cosmic development recognised
in modern science.

This general idea of evolution in Nature thus took strong
hold upon Greek thought and was developed in many
ways, some ingenious, some perverse. Plato, indeed, with-
stood it; but Aristotle sometimes developed it in a manner
which reminds us of modern views.

Anions: the Romans Lucretius caught much from it, ex-
tending the evolutionary process virtually to all things.

In the early Church, as we have seen, the idea of a crea-
tion direct, material, and by means like those used by man,
was all-powerful for the exclusion of conceptions based on
evolution. From the more simple and crude of the views
of creation given in the Babylonian legends, and thence in-
corporated into Genesis, rose the stream of orthodox thought
on the subject, which grew into a flood and swept on
through the Middle Ages and into modern times. Yet here
and there in the midst of this flood were high grounds of
thought held by strong men. Supreme Court Erigena and Duns
Supreme Court, among the schoolmen, bewildered though they were,
had caught some rays of this ancient light, and passed on to
their successors, in modified form, doctrines of an evolu-
tionary process in the universe.

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In the latter half of the sixteenth century these evolu-
tionary theories seemed to take more definite form in the
mind of Giordano Bruno, who evidently divined the funda-
mental idea of what is now known as the '' nebular hypothe-
sis"; but with his murder by the Inquisition at Rome this
idea seemed utterly to disappear— dissipated by the flames
which in 1600 consumed his body on the Campo dei Fiori.

Yet within the two centuries divided by Bruno's death
the world was led into a new realm of thought in which an
evolution theory of the visible universe was sure to be rap-
idly developed. For there came, one after the other, five
of the greatest men our race has produced — Copernicus,
Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton— and when their
work was done the old theological conception of the uni-
verse was gone. "The spacious firmament on high " — " the
crystalline spheres " — the Almighty enthroned upon " the
circle of the heavens," and with his own hands, or with
angels as his agents, keeping sun, moon, and planets in mo-
tion for the benefit of the earth, opening and closing the
" windows of heaven," letting down upon the earth the " wa-
ters above the firmament," "setting his bow in the cloud,"
hanging out "signs and wonders," hurling comets, "casting
forth lightnings " to scare the wicked, and " shaking the
earth " in his wrath : all this had disappeared.

These five men had given a new divine revelation to the
world ; and through the last, Newton, had come a vast new
conception, destined to be fatal to the old theory of crea-
tion, for he had shown throughout the universe, in place of
almighty caprice, all-pervading law. The bitter opposition
of theology to the first four of these men is well known ; but
the fact is not so widely known that Newton, in spite of his
deeply religious spirit, was also strongly opposed. It was
vigorously urged against him that by his statement of the
law of ofravitation he '' took from God that direct action on
his works so constantly ascribed to him in Scripture and
transferred it to material mechanism," and that he " sub-
stituted gravitation for Providence." But, more than this,
these men gave a new basis for the theory of evolution as
distinguished from the theory of creation.

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Especially worthy of note is it that the great work of
Descartes, erroneous as many of its deductions were, and,
in view of the lack of physical knowledge in his time, must
be, had done much to weaken the old conception. His
theory of a universe brought out of all-pervading matter,
wrought into orderly arrangement by movements in accord-
ance with physical laws— though it was but a provisional
hypothesis — had done much to draw men's minds from the
old theological view of creation ; it was an example of intel-
lectual honesty arriving at errors, but thereby aiding the
advent of truths. Crippled though Descartes was by his
almost morbid fear of the Church, this part of his work was
no small factor in bringing in that attitude of mind which
led to a reception of the thoughts of more unfettered
thinkers.

Thirty years later came, in England, an effort of a differ-
ent sort, but with a similar result. In 1678 Ralph Cud-
worth published his Intellectual System of the Universe. To
this day he remains, in breadth of scholarship, in strength
of thought, in tolerance, and in honesty, one of the greatest
glories of the English Church, and his work was worthy of
him. He purposed to build a fortress which should protect
Christianity against all dangerous theories of the universe,
ancient or modern. The foundations of the structure were
laid with old thoughts thrown often into new and striking
forms; but, as the superstructure arose more and more into
view, while genius marked every part of it, features ap-
peared which gave the rigidly orthodox serious misgivings.
From the old theories of direct personal action on the uni-
I verse by the Almighty he broke utterly. He dwelt on the
action of law, rejected the continuous exercise of miraculous
I intervention, pointed out the fact that in the natural world
there are "errors" and ''bungles," and argued vigorously
in favour of the origin and maintenance of the universe as a
slow and gradual development of Nature in obedience to an
inward principle. The Balaks of seventeenth-century ortho-
doxy might well condemn this honest Balaam. '

Toward the end of the next century a still more profound
genius, Immanuel Kant, presented the nebular theory, giv-
ing it, in the light of Newton's great utterances, a consist-
ency which it never before had ; and about the same time
Laplace gave it yet greater strength by mathematical reason-
ings of wonderful power and extent, thus implanting firmly
in modern thought the idea that our own solar system and
others— suns, planets, satellites, and their various move-
ments, distances, and magnitudes— necessarily result from
the obedience of nebulous masses to natural laws.

Throughout the theological world there was an outcry
at once against "atheism," and war raged fiercely. Her-
schel and others pointed out many nebulous patches appar-
ently gaseous. They showed by physical and mathemat-
ical demonstrations that the hypothesis accounted for the
great body of facts, and, despite clamour, were gaining
ground, when the improved telescopes resolved some of the
patches of nebulous matter into multitudes of stars. The
opponents of the nebular hypothesis were overjoyed ; they
now sang paeans to astronomy, because, as they said, it had
proved the truth of Scripture. They had jumped to the
conclusion that all nebulae must be alike ; that, if some are
made up of systems of stars, all must be so made up ; that
none can be masses of attenuated gaseous matter, because
some are not.

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Science halted for a time. The accepted doctrine be-
came this : that the only reason why all the nebula are not
resolved into distinct stars is that our telescopes are not
sufficiently powerful. But in time came the discovery of
the spectroscope and spectrum analysis, and thence Fraun-
hofer's discovery that the spectrum of an ignited gaseous
body is non-continuous, with interrupting lines ; and Dra-
per's discovery that the spectrum of an ignited solid is con-
tinuous, with no interrupting lines. And now the spectro-
scope was turned upon the nebulas, and many of them were
found to be gaseous. Here, then, was ground for the infer-
ence that in these nebulous masses at different stages of con-
densation — some apparently mere patches of mist, some with
luminous centres — we have the process of development ac-
tually going on, and observations like those of Lord Rosse
and Arrest gave yet further confirmation to this view. Then
came the great contribution of the nineteenth century to
physics, aiding to explain important parts of the vast process
by the mechanical theory of heat.

Again the nebular hypothesis came forth stronger than
ever, and about 1850 the beautiful experiment of Plateau on
the rotation of a fluid globe came in apparently to illustrate
if not to confirm it. Even so determined a defender of ortho-
doxy as Mr. Gladstone at last acknowledged some form of a
nebular hypothesis as probably true.

Here, too, was exhibited that form of surrendering theo-
logical views to science under the claim that science con-
curs with theology, which we have seen in so many other
fields : and, as typical, an example may be given, which, how-
ever restricted in its scope, throws light on the process by
which such surrenders are obtained. A few years since one
of the most noted professors of chemistry in the city of New
York, under the auspices of one of its most fashionable
churches, gave a lecture which, as was claimed in the public
prints and in placards posted in the streets, was to show
that science supports the theory of creation given in the
sacred books ascribed to Moses. A large audience assem-
bled, and a brilliant series of elementary experiments with
oxygen, hydrogen, and carbonic acid was concluded by the
Plateau demonstration. It was beautifully made. As the
coloured globule of oil, representing the earth, was revolved
in a transparent medium of equal density, as it became flat-
tened at the poles, as rings then broke forth from it and
revolved about it, and, finally, as some of these rings broke
into satellites, which for a moment continued to circle about
the central mass, the audience, as well they might, rose and
burst into rapturous applause.

Thereupon a well-to-do citizen arose and moved the
thanks of the audience to the eminent professor for " this
perfect demonstration of the exact and literal conformity of
the statements given in Holy Scripture with the latest re-
suits of science." The motion was carried unanimously and
with applause, and the audience dispersed, feeling that a
great service had been rendered to orthodoxy. Sancta sim-
plicitas !

What this incident exhibited on a small scale has been
seen elsewhere with more distinguished actors and on a
broader stage. Scores of theologians, chief among whom
of late, in zeal if not in knowledge, has been Mr. Gladstone,
have endeavoured to " reconcile " the two accounts in Gene-
sis with each other and with the truths regarding the origin
of the universe gained by astronomy, geology, geography,
physics, and chemistry. The result has been recently stated
by an eminent theologian, the Hulsean Professor of Divinity
at the University of Cambridge. He declares, '' No attempt
at reconciling Genesis with the exacting requirements of
modern sciences has ever been known to succeed without
entailing a degree of special pleading or forced interpreta-
tion to which, in such a question, we should be wise to have
no recourse."^

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The revelations of another group of sciences, though
sometimes bitterly opposed and sometimes " reconciled " by

* For an interesting reference to the outcry against Newton, see McCosh, The
Religions Aspect of Evolution, New York, 1890, pp. 103, 104 ; for germs of an
evolutionary view among the Babylonians, see George Smith, Chaldean Account of
Genesis, New York, 1876, pp. 74, 75 ; for a germ of the same thought in Lucretius,
see his De N^atura Renc?n, lib. v, pp. 187-194, 447-454 ; for Bruno's conjecture (in
1 591), see Jevons, Fnncipks of Science, London, 1874, vol. ii, p. 299 ; for Kant's
statement, see his Natiirgeschichte dcs Hi?nmels ; for his part in the nebular hy-
pothesis, see Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, vol. i, p. 266 ; for value of Pla-
teau's beautiful experiment, very cautiously estimated, see Jevons, vol. ii, p. 36 ;
also Elisee Reclus, The Earth, translated by Woodward, vol. i, pp. 14-18, for an
estimate still more careful ; for a general account of discoveries of the nature of
nebulae by spectroscope, see Draper, Conflict between Religion atid Science ; for a
careful discussion regarding the spectra of solid, liquid, and gaseous bodies, see
Schellen, Spectrum Atialysis, pp. 100 et seq. ; for a very thorough discussion of the
bearings of discoveries made by spectrum analysis upon the nebular hypothesis, •
ibid., pp. 532-537 ; for a presentation of the difficulties yet unsolved, see an article
by Plummer in the London Popular Science Review for January, 1875 ; for an ex-
cellent short summary of recent observations and thought on this subject, see T.
Sterry Hunt. Address at the Priestley Ceiitennial, pp. 7, 8 ; for an interesting
modification of this hypothesis, see Proctor's writings ; for a still more recent view,
see Lockyer's two articles on The Suns Place in Nature, in Nature for February
14 and 25, 1895.


theologians, have finally set the whole question at rest.
First, there have come the biblical critics — earnest Christian
scholars, working for the sake of truth — and these have
revealed beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt the exist-
ence of at least two distinct accounts of creation in our book
of Genesis, which can sometimes be forced to agree, but
which are generally absolutely at variance with each other.
These scholars have further shown the two accounts to be
not the cunningly devised fables of priestcraft, but evidently
fragments of earlier legends, myths, and theologies, accepted
in good faith and brought together for the noblest of pur-
poses by those who put in order the first of our sacred
books.

Next have come the archaeologists and philologists, the
devoted students of ancient monuments and records ; of
these are such as Rawlinson, George Smith, Sayce, Oppert,
Jensen, Schrader, Delitzsch, and a phalanx of similarly de-
voted scholars, who have deciphered a multitude of ancient
texts, especially the inscriptions found in the great library
of Assurbanipal at Nineveh, and have discovered therein
an account of the origin of the world identical in its most
important features with the later accounts in our own book
of Genesis.

These men have had the courage to point out these facts
and to connect them with the truth that these Chaldean and
Babylonian myths, legends, and theories were far earlier
than those of the Hebrews, which so strikingly resemble
them, and which we have in our sacred books ; and they
have also shown us how natural it was that the Jewish
accounts of the creation should have been obtained at that
remote period when the earliest Hebrews were among the
Chaldeans, and how the great Hebrew poetic accounts of
creation were drawn either from the sacred traditions of
these earlier peoples or from antecedent sources common to
various ancient nations.

In a summary which for profound thought and fearless
integrity does honour not only to himself but to the great
position which he holds, the Rev. Dr. Driver, Professor of
Hebrew and Canon of Christ Church at Oxford, has recently
stated the case fully and fairly\ Having pointed out the
fact that the Hebrews were one people out of many who
thought upon the origin of the universe, he says that they
'' framed theories to account for the beginnings of the earth
and man " ; that '* they either did this for themselves or bor-
rowed those of their neighbours"; that *' of the theories
current in Assyria and Phoenicia fragments have been pre-
served, and these exhibit points of resemblance with the
biblical narrative sufficient to warrant the inference that
both are derived from the same cycle of tradition."

After giving some extracts from the Chaldean creation
tablets he says : " In the light of these facts it is difficult to
resist the conclusion that the biblical narrative is drawn
from the same source as these other records. The biblical
historians, it is plain, derived their materials from the best
human sources available. . . . The materials which with
other nations were combined into the crudest physical theo-
ries or associated with a grotesque polytheism were vivified
and transformed by the inspired genius of the Hebrew his-
torians, and adapted to become the vehicle of profound
religious truth."

Not less honourable to the sister university and to him-
self is the statement recently made by the Rev. Dr. Ryle,
Hulsean Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He says that
to suppose that a Christian " must either renounce his con-
fidence in the achievements of scientific research or abandon
his faith in Scripture is a monstrous perversion of Christian
freedom." He declares : " The old position is no longer
tenable ; a new position has to be taken up at once, prayer-
fully chosen, and hopefully held." He then goes on to
compare the Hebrew story of creation with the earlier
stories developed among kindred peoples, and especially
with the pre-existing Assyro-Babylonian cosmogony, and
shows that they are from the same source. He points out
that any attempt to explain particular features of the story
into harmony with the modern scientific ideas necessitates
'' a non-natural " interpretation ; but he says that, if we adopt
a natural interpretation, '' we shall consider that the Hebrew
description of the visible universe is unscientific as judged
by modern standards, and that it shares the limitations of
the imperfect knowledge of the age at which it was com-
mitted to writing." Regarding the account in Genesis of
man's physical origin, he says that it *' is expressed in the
simple terms of prehistoric legend, of unscientific pictorial
description."

In these statements and in a multitude of others made by
eminent Christian investigators in other countries is indi-
cated what the victory is which has now been fully won
over the older theology.

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Thus, from the Assyrian researches as well as from other
sources, it has come to be acknowledged by the most emi-
nent scholars at the leading seats of Christian learning that
the accounts of creation with which for nearly two thousand
years all scientific discoveries have had to be *' reconciled "
— the accounts which blocked the way of Copernicus, and
Galileo, and Newton, and Laplace — were simply transcribed
or evolved from a mass of myths and legends largely derived
by the Hebrews from their ancient relations with Chaldea,
rewrought in a monotheistic sense, imperfectly welded to-
gether, and then thrown into poetic forms in the sacred
books which we have inherited.

On one hand, then, we have the various groups of men
devoted to the physical sciences all converging toward the
proofs that the universe, as we at present know it, is the
result of an evolutionary process — that is, of the gradual
working of physical laws upon an early condition of matter ;
on the other hand, we have other great groups of men
devoted to historical, philological, and archaeological science
whose researches all converge toward the conclusion that
our sacred accounts of creation were the result of an evolu-
tion from an early chaos of rude opinion.

The great body of theologians who have so long resisted
the conclusions of the men of science have claimed to be
fighting especially for *' the truth of Scripture," and their
final answer to the simple conclusions of science regarding
the evolution of the material universe has been the cry,
" The Bible is true." And they are right — though in a sense
nobler than they have dreamed. Science, while conquering
them, has found in our Scriptures a far nobler truth than
that literal historical exactness for which theologians have
so long and so vainly contended. More and more as we
consider the results of the long struggle in this field we are
brought to the conclusion that the inestimable value of the
great sacred books of the world is found in their revelation
of the steady striving of our race after higher conceptions,
beliefs, and aspirations, both in morals and religion. Un-
folding and exhibiting this long-continued effort, each of the
great sacred books of the world is precious, and all, in the
highest sense, are true.) Not one of them, indeed, conforms
to the measure of what mankind has now reached in his-
torical and scientific truth ; to make a claim to such con-
formity is folly, for it simply exposes those who make it
and the books for which it is made to loss of their just in-
fluence.

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That to which the great sacred books of the world con-
form, and our own most of all, is the evolution of the high-
est conceptions, beliefs, and aspirations of our race from its
childhood through the great turning-points in its history.
Herein lies the truth of all bibles, and especially of our own.
Of vast value they indeed often are as a record of historical
outward fact ; recent researches in the East are constantly
increasing this value ; but it is not for this that we prize
them most : they are eminently precious, not as a record of
outward fact, but as a mirror of the evolving heart, mind,
and soul of man. They are true because they have been
developed in accordance with the laws governing the evolu-
tion of truth in human history, and because in poem, chroni-
cle, code, legend, myth, apologue, or parable they reflect this
development of what is best in the onward march of human-
ity. To say that they are not true is as if one should say
that a flower or a tree or a planet is not(true); to scoff at
them is to scoff at the law of the universe. In welding to-
gether into noble form, whether in the book of Genesis,
or in the Psalms, or in the book of Job, or elsewhere, the
great conceptions of men acting under earlier inspiration,
whether in Egypt, or Chaldea, or India, or Persia, the
compilers of our sacred books have given to humanity a
possession ever becoming more and more precious ; and
modern science, in substituting a new heaven and a new
earth for the old — the reign of law for the reign of ca-
price, and the idea of evolution for that of creation— has
added and is steadily adding a new revelation divinely in-
spired.

In the light of these two evolutions, then — one of the
visible universe, the other of a sacred creation-legend — sci-
ence and theology, if the master minds in both are wise,
may at last be reconciled. A great step in this reconciliation
was recently seen at the main centre of theological thought
among English-speaking people, when, in the collection of
essays entitled Lux Mundi, emanating from the college estab-
lished in these latter days as a fortress of orthodoxy at Ox-
ford, the legendary character of the creation accounts in our
sacred books was acknowledged, and when the Archbishop
of Canterbury asked, '' May not the Holy Spirit at times
have made use of myth and legend ? " *

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In one of the windows of the cathedral at Ulm a medie-
val glass-stainer has represented the Almighty as busily en-
gaged in creating the animals, and there has just left the
divine hands an elephant fully accoutred, with armour, har-
ness, and housings, ready for war. Similar representations
appear in illuminated manuscripts and even in early printed
books, and, as the culmination of the whole, the Almighty
is shown as fashioning the first man from a hillock of clay
and extracting from his side, with evident effort, the first
woman.

This view of the general process of creation had come
from far, appearing under varying forms in various ancient
cosmogonies. In the Egyptian temples at Philse and Den-

* For the first citations above made, see The Cosmogony of Genesis, by the
Rev. S. R. Driver, D. D., Canon of Christ Church and Regius Professor of He-
brew at Oxford, in The Expositor for January, 1886 ; for the second, series of cita-
tions, see The Early Narratives of Genesis, by Herbert Edward Ryle, Hulsean
Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, London, 1892. For evidence that even the
stiffest of Scotch Presbyterians have now come to discard the old literal biblical
narrative of creation and to regard the declaration of the Westminster Confession
thereon as a " disproved theory of creation," see Principal John Tulloch, in Con-
temporary Review, March, 1877, on Religious Thought in Scotland — especially
page 550.


derah may still be seen representations of the Nile gods
modelling lumps of clay into men, and a similar work is
ascribed in the Assyrian tablets to the gods of Baby-
lonia. Passing into our own sacred books, these ideas be-
came the starting point of a vast new development of the-
ology.

The fathers of the Church generally received each of the
two conflicting creation legends in Genesis literally, and
then, having done their best to reconcile them with each
other and to mould them together, made them the final test
of thought upon the universe and all things therein. At the
beginning of the fourth century Lactantius struck the key-
note of this mode of subordinating all other things in the
study of creation to the literal text of Scripture, and he en-
forces his view of the creation of man by a bit of philology,
saying the final being created *' is called man because he is
made from the ground.'' *

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In the second half of the same century this view as to
the literal acceptance of the sacred text was reasserted by
St. Ambrose, who, in his work on the creation, declared that
" Moses opened his mouth and poured forth what God had
said to him." But a greater than either of them fastened
this idea into the Christian theologies. St. Augustine, pre-
paring his Commentary on the Book of Genesis, laid down in
one famous sentence the law which has lasted in the Church
until our own time : " Nothing is to be accepted save on the
authority of Scripture, since greater is that authority than
all the powers of the human mind." The vigour of the sen-
tence in its original Latin carried it ringing down the cen-
turies : ''Major est Scriptiirce anctoritas quani oninis kumani
ingenii capacitasT

Through the mediaeval period, in spite of a revolt led
by no other than St. Augustine himself, and followed bv a



* For representations of Egyptian gods creating men out of lumps of clay, see
Maspero and Sayce, The Dawn of History, p. 156; for the Chaldean legends of
the creation of men and animals, see ibid., p. 543 ; also George Smith, Chaldean
Account of Genesis, Sayce's edition, pp. 36, 72, and 93 ; also for similar legends in
other ancient nations, Lenormant, Origines de PHistoire, pp. i-jetseq.; for mediae-
val representations of the creation of man and woman, see Didron, Ico7iographie,
pp. 35, 178, 224, 537.


series of influential churchmen, contending, as we shall here-
after see, for a modification of the accepted view of creation,
this phrase held the minds of men firmly. The great Do-
minican encyclopaedist, Vincent of Beauvais, in his Mirror
of Nature, while mixing ideas brought from Aristotle with a
theory drawn from the Bible, stood firmly by the first of the
accounts given in Genesis, and assigned the special virtue of
the number six as a reason why all things were created in
six days ; and in the later Middle Ages that eminent author-
ity, Cardinal d'Ailly, accepted everything regarding crea-
tion in the sacred books literally. Only a faint dissent is
seen in Gregory Reisch, another authority of this later pe-
riod, who, while giving, in his book on the beginning of
things, a full length woodcut showing the Almighty in the
act of extracting Eve from Adam's side, with all the rest of
new-formed Nature in the background, leans in his writings,
like St. Augustine, toward a belief in the pre-existence of
matter.

At the Reformation the vast authority of Luther was
thrown in favour of the literal acceptance of Scripture as
the main source of natural science. The allegorical and mys-
tical interpretations of earlier theologians he utterly rejected.
*' Why," he asks, " should Moses use allegory when he is
not speaking of allegorical creatures or of an allegorical
world, but of real creatures and of a visible world, which
can be seen, felt, and grasped ? Moses calls things by their
right names, as we ought to do. ... I hold that the animals
took their being at once upon the word of God, as did also
the fishes in the sea."

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Not less explicit in his adherence to the literal account
of creation given in Genesis was Calvin. He warns those
who, by taking another view than his own, " basely insult
the Creator, to expect a judge who will annihilate them."
He insists that all species of animals were created in six
days, each made up of an evening and a morning, and that
no new species has ever appeared since. He dwells on the
production of birds from the water as resting upon certain
warrant of Scripture, but adds, " If the question is to be
argued on physical grounds, we know that water is more
akin to air than the earth is." As to difficulties in the scrip-
tural account of creation, he tells us that God '' wished by
these to give proofs of his power which should fill us with
astonishment."

The controlling- minds in the Roman Church steadfastly
held this view. In the seventeenth century Bossuet threw
his vast authority in its favour, and in his Discourse on Uni-
versal History, which has remained the foundation not only
of theological but of general historical teaching in France
down to the present republic, we find him calling atten-
tion to what he regards as the culminating act of creation,
and asserting that, literally, for the creation of man earth
was used, and " the finger of God applied to corruptible
matter."

The Protestant world held this idea no less persistently.
In the seventeenth century Dr. John Lightfoot, Vice-Chan-
cellor of the University of Cambridge, the great rabbinical
scholar of his time, attempted to reconcile the two main leg-
ends in Genesis by saying that of the '' clean sort of beasts
there were seven of every kind created, three couples for
breeding and the odd one for Adam's sacrifice on his fall,
which God foresaw " ; and that of unclean beasts only one
couple was created.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:57 pm 
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So literal was this whole conception of the work of crea-
tion that in these days it can scarcely be imagined. The
Almighty was represented in theological literature, in the
pictured Bibles, and in works of art generally, as a sort of
enlarged and venerable Nuremberg toymaker. At times
the accounts in Genesis were illustrated with even more
literal exactness ; thus, in connection with a w^ell-known pas-
sage in the sacred text, the Creator was shown as a tailor,
seated, needle in hand, diligently sewing together skins of
beasts into coats for Adam and Eve. Such representations
presented no difficulties to the docile minds of the Middle
Ages and the Reformation period ; and in the same spirit,
when the discovery of fossils began to provoke thought,
these were declared to be ''models of his works approved
or rejected by the great Artificer," ''outlines of future cre-
ations," " sports of Nature," or " objects placed in the strata
to bring to naught human curiosity " ; and this kind of ex-
planation lingered on until in our own time an eminent natu-
ralist, in his anxiety to save the literal account in Genesis,
has urged that Jehovah tilted and twisted the strata, scat-
tered the fossils through them, scratched the glacial furrows
upon them, spread over them the marks of erosion by water,
and set Niagara pouring— all in an instant— thus mystifying
the world ''for some inscrutable purpose, but for his own
glory." ^

The next important development of theological reason-
ing had regard to the divisions of the animal kingdom.

Naturally, one of the first divisions which struck the in-
quiring mind was that between useful and noxious creatures,
and the question therefore occurred. How could a good
God create tigers and serpents, thorns and thistles? The
answer was found in theological considerations upon sin.
To man's first disobedience all woes were due. Great men
for eighteen hundred years developed the theory that before
Adam's disobedience there was no death, and therefore nei-
ther ferocity nor venom.

Some typical utterances in the evolution of this doctrine
are worthy of a passing glance. St. Augustine expressly
confirmed and emphasized the'view that the vegetable as
well as the animal kingdom was cursed on account of man's
sin. Two hundred years later this utterance had been
echoed on from father to father of the Church until it was
caught by Bede ; he declared that before man's fall animals
were harmless, but were made poisonous or hurtful by
Adam's sin, and he said, '' Thus fierce and poisonous animals
were created for terrifying man (because God foresaw that

* For the citation from Lactantius, see Divin. Instit., lib. ii, cap. xi, in Migne,
tome vi, pp. 311, 312 ; for St. Augustine's great phrase, see the De Genes, ad lift.,
ii, 5 ; for St. Ambrose, see lib. i, cap. ii ; for Vincent of Beauvais, see the Specu-
lum Naturale, lib. i, cap. ii, and lib. ii, cap. xv and xxx ; also Bourgeat, Ehidex sur
Vincent de Beauvais, Paris, 1856, especially chaps, vii, xii, and xvi ; for Cardinal
d'Ailly, see the Iiriago Mundi, and for Reisch, see the various editions of the Mar-
garita Philosophica ; for Luther's statements, see Luther's Schriften, ed. Walch,
Halle, 1740, Commentary on Genesis, vol. i ; for Calvin's view of the creation of the
animals, including the immutability of species, see the Comm. in Gen., tome i of
his Opera omnia, Amst., 1671, cap. i, v, xx, p. 5, also cap. ii, v, ii, p. 8, and else-
where ; for Bossuet, see his Discours sur V Histoire universale (in his (Euvres, tome
v, Paris, 1846) ; for Lightfoot, see his works, edited by Pitman, London, 1822 ; for
Bede, see the Hexa;meron, lib. i, in Migne, tome xci, p. 21 ; for Mr. Gosse's mod-
ern defence of the literal view, see his Omphalos^ London, iSs7, passim.


he would sin), in order that he might be made aware of the
final punishment of hell."

In the twelfth century this view was incorporated by
Peter Lombard into his great theological work, the Sentences,
which became a text-book of theology through the middle
ages. He affirmed that " no created things would have been
hurtful to man had he not sinned ; they became hurtful for
the sake of terrifying and punishing vice or of proving and
perfecting virtue ; they were created harmless, and on ac-
count of sin became hurtful."

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 Post subject: Re: The Warfare of Science with Theology by A. D. White
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:48 pm 
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This theological theory regarding animals was brought
out in the eighteenth century with great force by John Wes-
ley. He declared that before Adam's sin " none of these
attempted to devour or in any wise hurt one another " ; " the
spider was as harmless as the fiy, and did not lie in wait
for blood." Not only Wesley, but the eminent Dr. Adam
Clarke and Dr. Richard Watson, whose ideas had the very
greatest weight among the English Dissenters, and even
among leading thinkers in the Established Church, held
firmly to this theory ; so that not until, in our own time,
geology revealed the remains of vast multitudes of carnivor-
ous creatures, many of them with half-digested remains of
other animals in their stomachs, all extinct long ages before
the appearance of man upon earth, was a victory won by
science over theology in this field.

A curious development of this doctrine was seen in the
belief drawn by sundry old commentators from the con-
demnation of the serpent in Genesis — a belief, indeed, per-
fectly natural, since it was evidently that of the original
writers of the account preserved in the first of our sacred
books. This belief was that, until the tempting serpent was
cursed by the Almighty, all serpents stood erect, walked,
and talked.

This belief was handed down the ages as part of '' the
sacred deposit oi the faith " until Watson, the most prolific
writer of the evangelical reform in the eighteenth century
and the standard theologian of the evangelical party, de-
clared : " We have no reason at all to believe that the animal
had a serpentine form in any mode or degree until its trans-
formation ; that he was then degraded to a reptile to go
upon his belly imports, on the contrary, an entire loss and
alteration of the original form." Here, again, was a ripe
result of the theologic method diligently pursued by the
strongest thinkers in the Church during nearly two thou-
sand years ; but this " sacred deposit " also faded away
when the geologists found abundant remains of fossil ser-
pents dating from periods long before the appearance of man.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Troublesome questions also arose among theologians re-
garding animals classed as " superfluous." St. Augustine
was especially exercised thereby. He says : " I confess I
am ignorant why mice and frogs were created, or flies and
worms. . . . All creatures are either useful, hurtful, or su-
perfluous to us. ... As for the hurtful creatures, we are
either punished, or disciplined, or terrified by them, so that
w^e may not cherish and love this life." As to the " superflu-
ous animals," he says, " Although they are not necessary for
our service, yet the whole design of the universe is thereby
completed and finished." Luther, who followed St. Augus-
tine in so man}^ other matters, declined to follow him fully in
this. To him a fly was not merely superfluous, it was nox-
ious — sent by the devil to vex him when reading.

Another subject which gave rise to much searching of
Scripture and long trains of theological reasoning was the
difference between the creation of man and that of other
living beings.

Great stress w^as laid by theologians, from St. Basil and
St. Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas and Bossuet, and from
Luther to Wesley, on the radical distinction indicated in
Genesis, God having created man " in his own image."
What this statement meant was seen in the light of the later
biblical statement that " Adam begat Seth in his own like-
ness, after his image."

In view of this and of w^ell-known texts incorporated
from older creation legends into the Hebrew sacred books
it came to be widely held that, while man was directly
moulded and fashioned separately by the Creator's hand, the
animals generally were evoked in numbers from the earth
and sea by the Creator's voice.

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