"IN THE BEGINNING"
Various Beginnings--The Earth Was--A Creative Week For Its Ordering-- The Length of the Epoch-Days--Prof. Dana's Admission of Unwarranted Speculations by Scientists--Persistency of Species Refutes Evolution Theory--Mr. Darwin's Pigeons--A Theory of Cosmogony-- Loyal Testimonies of Profs. Silliman and Dana--The First Creative Epoch-Day--The Second Ditto--The Third Ditto--The Fourth Ditto-- The Fifth Ditto--The Sixth Ditto--Man, The Lord of Earth, Created in the Dawning of the Seventh Epoch--Summary of "Meeting Place of Geology and History," By Sir J. W. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S.--The Seventh Epoch-Day of the Creative Week--Its Length--Its Rest--Its Object and Result--The Grand Jubilee, Celestial and Terrestrial, Due at Its Close.
MANY are Jehovah's agents, and innumerable his agencies, connected with one and another feature of his creation; but back of them all is his own creative wisdom and power. He alone is the Creator, and, as the Scriptures affirm, "All his work is perfect." He may permit evil angels and evil men to pervert and misuse his perfect work; but he assures us that evil shall not for long be permitted to work blight and injury; and that eventually, when he shall restrain and destroy evil, we shall discern that he permitted it only to test, to prove, to refine, to polish and to make his own holiness, gracious character and plan the more resplendent in the sight of all his intelligent creatures.
When in Genesis we read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," we are to remember that this beginning relates not to the universe, but merely to our planet. Then it was that "the morning stars sang together" and all the angelic sons of God "shouted for joy"--when the [F18] Lord laid the foundations of the earth and "made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness its swaddling band." (Job 38:4-11) But a still earlier beginning is mentioned in the Bible; a beginning before the creation of those angelic sons of God; as we read: "In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Logos was with the God and the Logos was a God: the same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:1-3) (See Series V, Chap. 3.) Since Jehovah himself is from everlasting to everlasting, he had no beginning: the "Only Begotten" has the high distinction above all others of being "The beginning of the creation of God"--"first-born of every creature." (Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15) Other beginnings came in turn as the various angelic orders were one by one created; and these beginnings were in the past, so that their hosts could shout for joy when our earth's creations, related in Genesis, had their beginning.
Examining the Genesis expressions critically, we discern that a distinction is made between the creation of the heaven and the earth (verse 1) and the subsequent regulations, or ordering of these, and the further creations of vegetable and animal life. It is these subsequent operations that are described as the divine work of six epochal days. Verse 2tells us that in the very beginning of the first day of that creative week the earth was--though without form (order), and void (empty)--waste, empty and dark. This important item should be distinctly noted. If recognized, it at once corroborates the testimony of geology thus far; and, as we shall be obliged to dispute the deductions of geologists on some points, it is well that we promptly acknowledge and dismiss whatever does not need to be contended for in defense of the Bible. The Bible does not say how long a period elapsed between the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, and the beginning of the creative week used in perfecting it for man: nor do geologists agree [F19] amongst themselves as to the period of this interval--a few extremists indulge in wild speculations of millions of years.
Coming, then, to the creative period--the ordering of affairs in our heaven and earth in preparation of the Paradise of God for man's everlasting home--we note that these "days" are nowhere declared to be twenty-four-hour days; and, hence, we are not obliged thus to limit them. We find in the Bible that the word day stands for epoch, or period. The fact that it is most frequently used in reference to a twenty-four-hour period matters nothing, so long as we have the record of "the day of temptation in the wilderness ...forty years" (Psa. 95:8-10), and sometimes a "day" or "time" representing a year period (Num. 14:33,34; Ezek. 4:1-8), and also the Apostle's statement--"A day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (2 Pet. 3:8) Most assuredly these epoch-days were not sun days; for the record is that the sun was not visible until the fourth day--the fourth epoch.
We believe our readers will agree that although the length of these epoch-days is not indicated, we will be justified in assuming that they were uniform periods, because of their close identity as members of the one creative week. Hence, if we can gain reasonable proof of the length of one of these days, we will be fully justified in assuming that the others were of the same duration. We do, then, find satisfactory evidence that one of these creative "days" was a period of seven thousand years and, hence, that the entire creative week would be 7,000 x 7 equals 49,000 years. And although this period is infinitesimal when compared with some geological guesses, it is, we believe, quite reasonably ample for the work represented as being accomplished therein--the ordering and filling of the earth, which already "was" in existence, but "without form [order], and void [empty]."
"In calculations of elapsed time from the thickness of formations there is always great uncertainty, arising from the dependence of this thickness on a progressing subsidence [regular sinking of the land]. In estimates made from alluvial deposits [soil deposited from water], when the data are based on the thickness of the accumulations in a given number of years--say the last 2,000 years--this source of doubt affects the whole calculation from its foundation and renders it almost, if not quite, worthless....When the estimate...is based on the amount of detritus [fine scourings] discharged by a stream it is of more value; but even here there is a source of great doubt."
Let us examine the matter from the standpoint of the Bible, as believing it to be the divine revelation, and fully persuaded that whatever discrepancies may be found between the Bible testimony and the guesses of geologists are the errors of the latter, whose philosophies have not yet reached a thoroughly scientific basis or development.
Nor is it necessary to suppose that the writer of Genesis knew all about the matter he records--the length of these days and their precise results. We accept the Genesis account as a part of the great divine revelation--the Bible-- and find its sublime statement in few sentences most remarkably corroborated by most critical scientific researches. On the contrary, none of the "religious books" of the heathen contain anything but absurd statements on this subject.
There is a grandeur of simplicity in that opening statement of revelation--"In the beginning God created." It answers the first inquiry of reason--Whence came I, and to whom am I responsible? It is unfortunate indeed that some of the brightest minds of our bright day have been turned from this thought of an intelligent Creator to the recognition of a blind force operating under a law of evolution and survival of the fittest. And, alas! this theory has not only found general acceptance in the highest institutions of learning, but is gradually being incorporated into the textbooks of our common schools.
True, only a few are yet so bold as totally to deny a Creator; [F21] but even the devout, under this theory, undermine the fabric of their own faith, as well as that of others, when they claim that creation is merely the reign of Natural Law. Not to go further back, they surmise that our sun ejected immense volumes of gases which finally became consolidated, forming our earth; that by and by protoplasm formed, a small maggot, a microbe, got a start, they know not how. They must concede a divine power necessary to give even this small start of life--but they are industriously looking for some Natural Law on this also, so as to have no need at all for a God-Creator. It is claimed that this discovery is now almost accomplished. These "savants" think and talk about Nature as instead of God--her works, her laws, her retributions, etc.--a blind and deaf God indeed!
They claim that under Nature's regulations protoplasm evolved microbe, or maggot, which squirmed and twisted and reproduced its own species, and then finding use for a tail, developed one. Later on, one of its still more intelligent offspring concluded that oars, or fins, would be useful, and developed them. Another, later on, got chased by a hungry brother and, jumping clear out of the water, got the idea that the fins further developed would be wings, and liked the new style, so that he stayed out of the water, and then decided that legs and toes would be a convenience and developed them. Others of the family followed other "notions," of which they seemingly had an inexhaustible supply, as evidenced by the great variety of animals we see about us. However, in due time one of these descendants of the first maggot which had reached the monkey degree of development, got a noble ideal before his mind--he said to himself, I will discard my tail, and cease using my hands as feet, and will shed my coat of hair, and will develop a nose and a forehead and a brain with moral and reflective organs. I will wear tailor-made clothing and a high silk hat, and call myself Darwin, LL.D., and write a record of my evolution. [F22]
That Mr. Darwin was an able man is evidenced by his success in foisting his theory upon his fellowmen. Nevertheless, the devout child of God, who has confidence in a personal Creator, and who is not ready hastily to discard the Bible as his revelation, will soon be able to see the sophistry of Mr. Darwin's theory. It is not sufficient that Mr. Darwin should note that amongst his pigeons he was able to develop certain breeds with peculiar features-- feathers on their legs, crowns on their heads, pouting throats, etc.; others had done the same with poultry, dogs, horses, etc., and florists had experimented upon flowers and shrubs, etc., with similar results. The new thing with Mr. Darwin was the theory--that all forms of life were evolved from a common beginning.
But Mr. Darwin's experiences with his pigeons, like those of every other fancy-breeder, must only have corroborated the Bible statement, that God created every creature after its kind. There are wonderful possibilities of variety in each kind; but kinds cannot be mixed nor new kinds formed. The nearest approach is called "mule-ing"--and all know that new species thus formed lack ability to perpetuate their kind. Moreover, Mr. Darwin must have noted, as others have done, that his "fancy" pigeons needed to be kept carefully separate from others of their kind, else they would speedily deteriorate to the common level. But in nature we see the various species, "each after its kind," entirely separate from each other, and kept so without any artificial fencing, etc.--kept so by the law of their Creator. As believers in the personal Creator, we may rest assured that human speculation has missed the truth to the extent that it has ignored our God, his wisdom and his power, as outlined in Genesis.
Nothing, perhaps, has done more to becloud and undermine faith in God as the Creator, and in the Genesis account as his revelation, than has the error of understanding the epoch-days of Genesis to be twenty-four-hour days. The various stratifications of rocks and clays prove beyond all [F23] controversy that long periods were consumed in the mighty changes they represent. And when we find that the Bible teaches an epoch-day we are prepared to hear the rocks giving testimony in exact accord with the Bible record, and our faith in the latter is greatly strengthened; we feel that we are not trusting to our own or other men's guesses, but to the Word of the Creator, abundantly attested by the facts of nature.
A Theory of Cosmogony
For the benefit of some of our readers, we will briefly state one of the views of the creative period, known as "The Vailian Theory," or "Canopy Theory," which specially appeals to the author: subsequently we will endeavor to trace a harmony between this view and the narrative of Genesis 1:1-2:3.
Starting with the condition mentioned in Gen. 1:2, "Now the earth was," waste and empty and dark, the wise will not attempt to guess that which God has not revealed respecting how he previously gathered together earth's atoms. Things unrevealed belong to God, and we do well to wait patiently for his further revelations in due time. Taking pick and shovel and a critical eye, man has found that the earth's crust is composed of various layers, or strata, one over the other, all of which give evidence of having once been soft and moist--except the basic rocks upon which these layers, or strata, are, with more or less regularity, built. These basic rocks indicate clearly that they were once soft and fluid from intense heat; and scientists generally agree that not a great way below the "crust" the earth is still hot and molten.
Since these basic, igneous rocks--granite, basalt, etc.-- must at one time have been so hot as to drive out of them all combustible elements, and since they are the bottom rocks, we are safe in concluding that there was a period when the whole earth was at a white heat. At that time, it is reasoned, water and minerals (now found in the upper layers, or [F24] strata, laid down in water) must have been driven off as gases; and must have constituted an impenetrable canopy extending for miles around the earth in every direction. The motion of the earth upon its axis would extend to these gases surrounding it, and the effect would be to concentrate them, more particularly over the earth's equator. As the earth cooled these would cool, and thus be resolved from gases into solids and liquids, the weightier minerals gravitating in strata toward the bottom. The earth at that period probably resembled the present appearance of Saturn with his "rings."
As the cooling process advanced, these detached and distant rings would gradually acquire a different rotative motion from that of the earth, and thus gravitate closer and closer to her. One after another these were precipitated upon the earth's surface. After the formation of the "firmament," or "expanse," or "atmosphere," these deluges from descending "rings" would naturally reach the earth from the direction of the two poles, where there would be least resistance, because farthest from the equator, the center of the centrifugal force of the earth's motion. The breaking down of these "rings," long periods apart, furnished numerous deluges, and piled strata upon strata over the earth's surface. The rush of waters from the poles toward the equator would distribute variously the sand and mud and minerals, the water strongly mineralized thus covering the entire surface of the earth, just as described at the beginning of the narrative of Genesis.
During each of these long "days," of seven thousand years each, a certain work progressed, as told in Genesis; each possibly ending with a deluge which worked radical changes and prepared the way for still further steps of creation and preparation for man. This Vailian theory assumes that the last of these "rings" was freest from minerals and all impurities--pure water; that it had not yet broken and come down in the day of Adam's creation, but that it completely overspread the earth as a translucent veil above the atmosphere. It served, as does the whitened glass of a hot-house, [F25] to equalize the temperature--so that the climate at the poles would be little, if any, different from that at the equator. Under such equable conditions, tropical plants would grow everywhere, as geology shows that they did; and storms which result from rapid changes of temperature must then have been unknown; and for similar reasons there could then have been no rain.
The Scriptural account agrees with this; declaring that there was no rain on the earth until the deluge; that vegetation was watered by a mist rising from the earth--a moist, or humid, hot-house-like condition. (Gen. 2:5,6) Following the deluge in Noah's day came great changes, accompanied by a great shortening of the span of human life. With the breaking of the watery veil the hot-house condition ceased: the equatorial path of the sun became hotter, while at the poles the change must have been terrific--an almost instantaneous transition from a hot-house temperature to arctic coldness.
Corroborations of this sudden change of temperature have been found in the arctic region: Two complete mastodons have been found embedded in clear, solid ice which evidently froze them in quickly. Tons of elephant tusks have been found in the same frozen Siberia, too inhospitably cold, within the range of history, for elephants, mastodons, etc. An antelope was found similarly embedded in a huge block of ice in that arctic region. That it was suddenly overwhelmed is clearly demonstrated by the fact that grass was found in its stomach undigested, indicating that the animal had eaten it only a few minutes before being frozen to death--and that in a location where no grass could now grow.
This sudden downpour of water--this sudden breaking of the envelope which held the warmth of the earth and sun equably--produced the great ice-fields and ice-mountains of the arctic regions, from which every year hundreds of icebergs break loose and float southward toward the equator. So far as we can judge, this has been the procedure for centuries, but is continually growing less. Here we see the Ice [F26] Age, or Glacial Period, of the geologists, when great icebergs, borne by swift currents, cut deep crevasses throughout North America, distinctly traceable in the hills; northwestern Europe, too, bears the same testimony in its hills. But not so southeastern Europe, Armenia and vicinity-- the cradle of our race, where also the ark was built, and near which, on Mount Ararat, it finally rested. The testimony of Prof. Wright and Sir T.W. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S., is that in the vicinity of Arabia a general sinking of the earth and a subsequent rise occurred. The testimony in general would seem to imply that the ark floated in a comparatively quiet eddy, aside from the general rush of the waters. This is indicated by the exceedingly heavy alluvial deposit declared to be present in all that region. Evidently the whole earth was deluged by waters from the North and South Poles, while the cradle of the race was specially dealt with by first depressing, and then at the proper time elevating it. On this, note the words of the celebrated geologist, Prof. G.F. Wright, of Oberlin, O., College, as reported in the New York Journal, March 30, 1901, as follows:
The Flood Corroborated
"Prof. George Frederick Wright, of Oberlin College, a distinguished geologist, has returned from Europe. He wrote 'The Ice of North America' and other geological works, studying and describing the glacial period. He has been on a scientific tour around the globe. He passed most of his time studying the geological formations and signs in Siberia, although his explorations took him to other parts of Asia and to Africa.
"Prof. Wright's main object was to answer, if possible, a long-disputed question among geologists: namely, whether Siberia had ever been covered with ice, as North America and parts of Europe had been, during the glacial period.
"A great many geologists, including many eminent Russian savants, believe Siberia was covered with ice.
"As the result of his present studies, Prof. Wright firmly believes that, at the remote time that North America was covered with ice, Siberia was covered with water.
"And the water and the ice were practically phases of the Biblical flood.
"'And the flood was forty days upon the earth and the waters increased and bore up the ark and it was lifted up above the earth.
"'And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth: and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.
"'Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered.
"'All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died....And Noah only remained alive and those that were with him in the ark.
"'And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.' Gen. 7:17-24
"Now hear what Prof. Wright is quoted as saying:
"'I found no signs of glacial phenomena south of the 56th degree. North of that I did not go, but from other things I am convinced that the land was covered with ice, as was our own, where signs of it are now found as far south as New York.
"'We did not find indications of an extensive subsidence of all that region, which puts a new light on everything here.
"'At Trebizond, on the shore of the Black Sea, there was evidence of a depression of 700 feet. This was shown by gravel deposits on the hills.
"'In the center of Turkestan the waters reached their greatest height, for there we found these deposits over 2,000 feet above the sea level.
"'Southern Russia is covered with the same black earth deposit that we found in Turkestan.
"'There were still other evidences of the waters having covered this portion of the globe. One of these is the presence yet of seals in Lake Baikal, in Siberia, 1,600 feet above sea level. The seals which we found are of the Arctic species, and are the same species as those found in the Caspian Sea.
"'The only theory, therefore, is that they were caught there when the waters receded. Perhaps the most wonderful discovery of all was at the town of Kief, on the Nippur river, where stone implements were found fifty-three feet below the black earth deposit, showing that the water came there after the age of man.
"'This enabled us, therefore, to determine the age of this depression. It shows that since man came there, there has been a depression of 750 feet at Trebizond, and in Southern Turkestan the waters were over 2,000 feet deep. The implements found were such as those made in North America before the glacial period, which gives good ground for believing that the depression was made there when the glacial avalanche occurred here.
Knowing the end from the beginning, Jehovah so timed the introduction of man upon the earth that the last of the rings came down in a deluge just at the proper time to destroy the corrupted race in Noah's day, and thus to introduce the present dispensation, known in the Scriptures as "this present evil world." The removal of the watery envelope not only gave changing seasons of summer and winter, and opened the way for violent storms, but it also made possible the rainbow, which was first seen after the flood, because previously the direct rays of the sun could not so penetrate the watery canopy as to give the rainbow effect. Gen. 9:12-17
Since writing the foregoing, we clip from the Scientific American the following succinct statement from Prof. Vail's own pen:
"That Frozen Mammoth
"To the Editor of the Scientific American:
"I have read with great interest in your issue of April 12 the note on the recent discovery of the body of a mammoth, in cold storage, by Dr. Herz, in the ice-bound region of Eastern Siberia. This, it seems to me, is more than a 'Rosetta Stone' in the path of the geologist. It offers the strongest testimony in support of the claim that all the glacial epochs and all the deluges the earth ever saw, were caused by the progressive and successive decline of primitive earth vapors, lingering about our planet as the cloud vapors of the planets Jupiter and Saturn linger about those bodies today.
"Allow me to suggest to my brother geologists that remnants of the terrestrial watery vapors may have revolved about the earth as a Jupiter-like canopy, even down to very recent geologic times. Such vapors must fall chiefly in polar lands, through the channel of least resistance and greatest attraction, and certainly as vast avalanches of tellurio-cosmic snows. Then, too, such a canopy, or world-roof, must have tempered the climate up to the poles, and thus afforded pasturage to the mammoth and his congeners of the Arctic world--making a greenhouse earth under a greenhouse roof. If this be admitted, we can place no limits to the magnitude and efficiency of canopy avalanches to desolate a world of exuberant life. It seems that Dr. Herz's mammoth, like many others found buried in glacier ice, with their food undigested in their stomachs, proves that it was suddenly overtaken [F29] with a crushing fall of snow. In this case, with grass in its mouth unmasticated, it tells an unerring tale of death in a snowy grave. If this be conceded, we have what may have been an all-competent source of glacial snows, and we may gladly escape the unphilosophic alternative that the earth grew cold in order to get its casement of snow, while, as I see it, it got its snows and grew cold.
"During the igneous age the oceans went to the skies, along with a measureless fund of mineral and metallic sublimations; and if we concede these vapors formed into an annular system, and returned during the ages in grand installments, some of them lingering even down to the age of man, we may explain many things that are dark and perplexing today.
"As far back as 1874 I published some of these thoughts in pamphlet form, and it is with the hope that the thinkers of this twentieth century will look after them that I again call up the 'Canopy Theory.'
Isaac N. Vail."
The Creative Week
With this general view of creation before our minds, let us
now turn to the Genesis account, and endeavor to harmonize
these conjectures with its statements. First of all we notice
that the Creative Week is divided into four parts: (1)
Two days, or epochs (in our reckoning 2 x 7,000 equals
14,000 years), were devoted to the ordering of the earth
preparatory for animal life. (2) The next two days, or
epochs (in our reckoning another 2 x 7,000 equals 14,000
years additional), were devoted to bringing forward vegetation
and the lowest forms of life--shell-fish, etc.--and laying
down limestone, coal and other minerals. (3) The next two
epoch-days (in our reckoning 2 x 7,000 equals 14,000 years)
brought forward living creatures that move--in the sea and
on the land--vegetation, etc., still progressing, and all preparing
for the introduction of man, the earthly image of his
Creator, "crowned with glory and honor," to be the king of
earth. (4) Man's creation, the final work, came in the close
of the sixth day, or epoch, and the beginning of the seventh:
as it is written--"And on the seventh day God ended his
work which he made, and he rested."
Two Loyal Testimonies
Professor Silliman declares:
"Every great feature in the structure of the planet corresponds with the order of events narrated in the sacred history....This history [the Bible] furnishes a record important alike to philosophy and religion; and we find in the planet itself the proof that the [Bible] record is true."
Referring to the account of creation in Genesis, Prof. Dana declares:
"In this succession we observe not merely an order of events, like that deduced from science; but there is a system in the arrangement and a far-reaching prophecy to which philosophy could not have attained, however instructed."
He adds further:
"No human mind was witness of the events; and no such mind in the early age of the world, unless gifted with superhuman intelligence, could have contrived such a scheme, or would have placed the creation of the sun, the source of light to the earth, so long after the creation of light, even on the fourth day; and what is equally singular, between the creation of plants and that of animals, when so important to both; and none could have reached into the depths of philosophy exhibited in the whole plan."
The First Creative Epoch-Day
And the spirit of God was brooding over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light. And there was light.
The nature and physical cause of light is as yet but imperfectly comprehended--no satisfactory solution of the query, What is light? has yet appeared. We do know, however, that it is a prime essential throughout nature; and we are not surprised to find it first in the divine order when the time came for divine energy to operate upon the waste and empty earth to prepare it for man. The nature of the divine energy represented by "brooding" would seem to be vitalizing, possibly electrical energies and lights such as the aurora borealis, or northern lights. Or, possibly, the energy brought down some of the heavy rings of aqueous and mineral matter, [F31] and thus the light and darkness, day and night, became distinguishable, though neither stars nor moon nor sun were in the slightest degree discernible through the heavy rings, or swaddling bands, which still enveloped the earth.
"Evening and morning--Day One." As with the Hebrew solar days, so also with these epoch-days, the evening came first, gradually accomplishing the divine purpose to its completion, when another 7,000-year day, apportioned to another work, would begin darkly, and progress to perfection. This period, or "day," is scientifically described as Azoic, or lifeless.
The Second Creative Epoch-Day
And God said, Let there be an "expanse" [firmament, atmosphere] in the midst [between] the waters; and let it divide waters from waters. Thus God divided the waters under the atmosphere from the waters above the atmosphere. And God called the firmament [expanse, or atmosphere] heaven.
This second epoch-day of 7,000 years was wholly devoted to the production of an atmosphere. It was probably developed in a perfectly natural way, as are most of God's wonderful works, though none the less of his devising, ordering, creating. The fall of the "ring" of water and minerals, which enabled light to penetrate through to the earth during the first epoch-day, reaching the still heated earth and its boiling and steaming surface waters, would produce various gases which, rising, would constitute a cushion, or firmament, or atmosphere, all around the earth, and tend to hold up the remaining waters of the "rings" off from the earth. This "day," so far as Scriptures show, would also belong to the Azoic, or lifeless, period; but geology objects to this, claiming that the rocks appropriate to this time show worm-trails and immense quantities of tiny shellfish, the remains of which are evidenced in the great beds of limestone. They denominate this the Paleozoic age of first life--the Silurian period. This is not at variance with the Biblical account, which merely ignores these lowest forms of life. [F32]
Evening and morning--Day Two--ended with the full accomplishment of the divine intention respecting it; the separation of the clouds and vapors, etc., from the surface waters by an atmosphere.
The Third Creative Epoch-Day
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place, and let dry land appear. And it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas. And this being accomplished and approved of God, he said, Let the earth bring forth tender grass, and herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, in which is its seed, upon the earth: and it was so.
Geology fully corroborates this record. It points out to us that, as the earth's crust cooled, the weight of the waters would tend to make it kink and buckle--some parts being depressed became the depths of the seas, other portions forced up constituted mountain ranges--not suddenly, but gradually, one range following another. We are not to suppose that all these changes took place even in the seven thousand years of this third epoch-day; but, rather, that it merely witnessed the beginning of the work necessary as preparatory to the beginning of vegetation; for evidently geology is correct in claiming that some great changes of this nature are of comparatively recent date. Even within a century we have had small examples of this power: and we shall not be surprised if the next few years shall give us further paroxysms of nature; for we are in another transition period--the opening of the Millennial age, for which changed conditions are requisite.
As the waters drained off into the seas, vegetation sprang forth--each after its own class or kind, with seed in itself to reproduce its own kind only. This matter is so fixed by the laws of the Creator that although horticulture can and does do much to give variety in perfection, yet it cannot change the kind. The different families of vegetables will no more unite and blend than will the various animal families. This shows design--not a Creator only, but an intelligent one. [F33]
Geology agrees that vegetation preceded the higher forms of animal life. It agrees, too, that in this early period vegetation was extremely rank--that mosses and ferns and vines grew immensely larger and more rapidly then than now, because the atmosphere was extremely full of carbonic and nitrogenous gases--so full of them that breathing animals could not then have flourished. Plants, which now grow only a few inches or a few feet high even at the equator, then attained a growth of forty to eighty feet, and sometimes two or three feet in diameter, as is demonstrated by fossil remains. Under the conditions known to have then obtained, their growth would not only be immense, but must also have been very rapid.
At this period, geologists claim, our coal beds were formed: plants and mosses, having a great affinity for carbonic acid gas, stored up within themselves the carbon, forming coal, preparing thus our present coal deposits while purifying the atmosphere for the animal life of the later epoch-days. These vast peat-bogs and moss-beds, in turn, were covered over by sand, clay, etc., washed over them by further upheavals and depressions of the earth's surface, by tidal waves and by other descending "rings" of the waters above the firmament. Practically the same procedure must have been oft repeated, too; for we find coal-beds one above another with various strata of clay, sand, limestone, etc., between.
Evening and morning, the third 7,000-year epoch-day, accomplished its part in preparing the world, according to the divine design. In geology it is styled the Carboniferous era, because of its deposits of coal, oil, etc.
The Fourth Creative Epoch-Day
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament [expanse, atmosphere] of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years: and let them be for lights in the expanse [atmosphere] to give light upon the earth; and it was so. God made [or caused to shine--a different verb not meaning created] two great lights; [F34] the greater light for the rule of the day [to indicate the time of day] and the lesser light, the night; the stars also.
The achievements of one epoch-day were carried over into the next, and we are justified in supposing that the light of the first day became more and more distinct during the next two, as ring after ring came down from the waters above the firmament to the waters below it, until by the fourth epoch-day the sun and moon and stars could be seen; not so clearly as now on a bright day, until after Noah's flood--the last of the "rings"; but clearly discernible, nevertheless, through the translucent veil of waters --as now on a misty day or night. Sun, moon and stars had long been shining on the outer veil of the earth, but now the time came to let these lights in the firmament be seen; to let the days--previously marked by a dull, grayish light, such as we see some rainy mornings when the sun, moon and stars are invisible for clouds--become more distinct, so that the orb of day might by its course mark time for man and beast when created, and meantime begin to oxygenize the air, thus to prepare it for breathing animals. Later