THE CREATIVE WEEK.
We read in 1 Tim. 6:20, "O Timothy, ...babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called." This passage the church nominal has ever been ready to quote when an investigation of nature's laws seemed to develop ideas or theories at variance with her cherished opinions; forgetting sometimes to obey the equal injunction. "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." Paul did not blow hot and cold. In the first place he did not say "science." The word he used means knowledge or wisdom in a more general sense. Secondly, he clearly indicates that it must first be proved to be a vain babbling under the name of wisdom before it is rejected.
Strange to say the church [falsely so called] professing to walk in the light and in the knowledge of God instead of being a leader in the advancement of true science and philanthropy, has not only been a dead load dragging behind, but has often bitterly opposed every advancing step.
The telescope and microscope were denounced as instruments of unholy prying into God's secrets. Astronomy, Geology and whatever truths there may be in the Evolution theory, have been violently assailed; while religious intolerance, human slavery and the divine right (?) of kings has been defended supported and duly prayed for.
Scientists however, have but little room for boasting as regards intolerance. They have denounced each other and frequently claimed what was afterwards proved untrue. The study of nature without a knowledge of nature's God frequently leads to the wildest conceptions. We must first see light in his light to see clearly. Then, a looking down through nature--after having looked up to nature's God--expands the heart and mind; and fills us not only with admiration, but with adoration as we catch the panoramic glimpse of the glory, majesty and power of our transcendent Creator. The God of the Bible is also the God of nature; and if we do not see perfect harmony we may set it down that we misunderstand either the word of inspiration, or the lesson of creation.
The Bible has nothing to fear from mature science; on the contrary, scientific investigation and research are daily adding to the proof of the authenticity and reliability of the Scriptures.
We wish at this time to look into the subject of Cosmogony; or the science of the origin and formation of the earth. Many suppose, that the history of creation as given in the first chapter of Genesis, is utterly at variance with the teachings of Geology. This is not the case. Some of the most eminent Geologists believe "that the word of God, properly interpreted, is in harmony with the teachings of their science...also, that the divine word explains the divine work, while the divine work confirms the divine word." Prof. Silliman says, "Every great feature in the structure of the planet corresponds with the order of events narrated in the sacred history." "This history furnishes a record important alike to philosophy and religion; and we find in the planet itself, the proof that the record is true." 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 obtained, however instructed." He further says, "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 to the depths of philosophy exhibited in the whole plan."
The conflict between the champions of Genesis and Geology has been mainly in reference to the length of time consumed in the work of creation.
Most geologists reckon time only in millions of years; while many Bible students as devotedly claim for the Mosaic account six literal--or 24 hour--days. As to the latter theory, while we do not doubt God's ability to create the earth and its inhabitants in that very short period, yet we do know that such unnatural haste has not been, in other things, his practice. Those who understand the plan of the ages will see this.
Besides, the scriptural use of the word "day" will not support such a conclusion. It is used there as we often use it now, in an accommodated sense. For instance; "The day of temptation in the wilderness;" (forty years.) Heb. 3:8. "In that day;" "The day of the Lord;" (1000 years); and many others. As if the Lord would guard his people against such an error he ends the description of creation in these words: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth...in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." Here the whole period is called "the day." So indeed the period of re-generation under the second Adam is called "the day of Christ."
The length of the day of creation is a question which heretofore no one has been able satisfactorily to answer. Many Bible students think that because Peter says "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years" that each day of creation must be of that duration. Peter however was speaking of the period between the day of creation and the day of the Lord; his language can fully apply, only to that period; and is without doubt very strong inferential proof of the theory that the period from the dominion of the first Adam to that of the second will be six thousand years, to be followed by the "Millennium" or the seventh thousand as the antitype of the Jewish Sabbath.
There are good reasons why we should expect the creative days to be different from the thousand year days, which Peter speaks of. Let us not forget however, that Peter links them together; but we will refer to this again.
While we do not see evidence to warrant the need of such enormous periods as some geologists claim, yet we do think that six thousand years (a thousand years to each day) are altogether too short for the amount of change, development, &c., accomplished in the preparation of the earth for man.
Some geologists have claimed thousands of millions of years since life began. "Sir Wm. Thomson has reduced the estimate on physical grounds, to one hundred millions of years as a maximum." [Dana]. As a few hundred millions is only a difference of opinion among these savans, it might be well to leave about that much off from some of their calculations (?). The mode of reckoning used, and the reliability of the data will be understood from the following remarks of Prof. Dana. "In calculations of elapsed time, from the thickness of formations, there is always great uncertainty, arising from the dependance of this thickness on a progressing subsidence, [regular sinking of the land.] In estimates made from alluvial deposits, [soil, etc., washed ashore or deposited by a stream] when the data are based on the thickness of the accumulations in a given number of years--say the last 2000 years--this source of doubt affects the whole calculation, from its foundation, and renders it almost, if not quite, worthless....When the estimate detritus [fine scourings] discharged by a stream, it is of more value. But even here there is a source of great doubt, &c."
A question of the first importance in our investigation is this: At what point in past history did the six days work of Gen. 1begin? Was it at the beginning of the creation of the universe, as some have conjectured? Was it at the moment of origin of our earth as a distinct planet? Or was it when God began the special work of preparing it for the habitation of man? A work which we believe has not been done as yet in any other sphere. We think it was the latter period. We have no knowledge of the time occupied in creating or evolving the untold myriads of Suns with their satellites; some of them so far away that light (moving 191,000 miles per second) takes millions of years to come to us; thus proving that they were flaming suns millions of years ago.
Scientists claim, without seeming objection, that our earth was once a globe of molten material of which only the crust has yet cooled. That [R299 : page 2] as the cooling process went on the vapors condensed, completely covering the earth in an ocean of water which was mixed with, or held in solution and suspension, much that now forms the surface of our earth. In the course of time by earthquake upheavals (caused by the cooling and contraction of the earth's crust) the land appeared above the ocean's surface. The work of assorting the different layers or strata of minerals and rocks had now begun and has evidently been going on ever since. The dashing of the waves of that turbid ocean against the upheaved continents, assisted by the acids, &c., believed to be in the water, evidently wore down the original rocks, forming boulders, pebbles, sand, &c., depositing each in layers, to be again upheaved and worked over until satisfactory [R300 : page 2] to the plan of the great Architect. It is not known how soon plant life began, as the earliest was probably not fitted to survive and was evidently destroyed in the grinding of the great mill.
We think the beginning of the six days work was at a point when the earth was so far cooled that it was covered with an ocean of water, but before the first continent appeared above the surface of the shoreless sea. While the scriptures clearly teach that God is the Creator of all things we think that Gen. 1, describes only the preparation of the earth from this period onward; and does not even allude to the creation of the starry heavens; so that previous time, either geological or astronomical, is not included in the six days.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The heavens here alluded to are terrestrial; as-- "the birds of heaven," "rain from heaven," "clouds of heaven," &c.
This is in harmony with Ex. 20:11. "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth the sea and all that in them is." The latter clause means birds, beasts, fish, &c. On the first day, only the sea appeared; on the second, the heavens were formed; and on the third, the earth or dry land was brought to view. It is claimed that the word "create" in Gen. 1:1, rather means to shape, form or make, out of that previously created, (as in Ex. 20:11, above).
Vs. 2. "Now the earth was waste and empty; and darkness was over the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God was brooding over the face of the waters." This verse shows us the condition of the globe when this special work began, and it evidently corresponds to the earliest geological era; (the Azoic). As the hen broods over her nest of eggs, developing the life by the imparted warmth, so the Spirit is represented as vivifying the inanimate waters. This impartation of new life or energy would undoubtedly affect the electric conditions of the earth and LIGHT would be the seeming result.
Vs. 3. "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." What Prof. Dana predicates of the beginning of activity in matter would, we think, be true in the beginning of a special moving. He says, "In such a beginning, the activity would show itself instantly, by a manifestation of light, since light is a resultant of molecular activity. A flash of light... would therefore be the first announcement of the work begun." This would of course be some kind of electric light, earthly, not heavenly, as the globe was then wrapped in dense clouds of steam from the heated waters. It may have been like the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) or the Zodiacal light.
We have not room in this article to follow in detail the work of each day, we can only notice a few points in passing.
On the second day the watery vapors were lifted above the firmament or expanse which was called heaven. That might occur in this way. In that early period the ocean contained a large quantity of carbon, phosphorous and other elements in solution. As formations took place gases combined from these elements would escape into the air, saturating it with carbonic and other acids. This very heavy (carbonic acid) gas would make the air so buoyant that the lighter clouds would rise far up into it; probably much higher than they are now, as the most of the carbonic acid has since been absorbed by the wonderful plant life that afterwards formed our vast coal beds.
Skeptics and Infidels have objected to the idea that the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day.
The objection is reasonable, but it is based on a misconception of the Scriptural statement. The earth had been revolving around the sun for ages and Moses is evidently alluding simply to their first appearance to the earth, and their appointment as the recorders of passing days and years.
Apparently God had another reason for now revealing the Sun. Plant life as then existent could live without light, but animals have eyes, and God is about to introduce these. Why had not the Sun given light to earth before? The ocean was once a boiling sea. Still earlier all the water of Old Ocean was in a state of vapor; and the clouds enveloping the earth must have been simply immense. Not until the earth had so far cooled that the larger part of these clouds had disappeared by condensation in the sea could the heavenly bodies possibly be seen; and this was evidently not until the fourth day.
About this time it is thought the great coal beds were formed. Coal is made from dense forests of trees and plants which grew ages ago, and which after having formed a thick bed was broken down and covered by the sea with a layer of stones, sand, clay, etc. Above this a new forest sprang up to be again covered and laid away safely to cake into coal for the use of generations of men who existed then, only in the plan of God.
This would seem to have taken a long time, and so we think it did, (In Nova Scotia no less than seventy-six successive forests have grown after and above each other,) but not so long as it would now require. The earth was then one vast hot-bed. (These deposits are found in the Arctic regions.) Plants which now grow only a few inches or a few feet high, even at the equator, grew then forty, sixty and eighty feet high, and two or three feet in diameter. Probably in that warm virgin soil and moist and richer atmosphere these forests had an almost mushroom-like growth. Evidently then, there can be no just comparison made between the far past and the present, neither can we measure past ages by present rates of development.
Is there then no way of measuring these days of creation? Yes! we think there is. We believe we have found the key. There are seven days: Each must be of the same length: If we can find the length of one we will know the length of all.
We have just found, that we do not know the duration of the first six: How is it with the seventh? We know when it began, can we find where it ends? At the close of the creation God made one who, in the likeness of himself, should have dominion over all,--an image or miniature of God. Then God began his rest. Adam fell and the power passed into the hands of "the Adversary." (In accordance with Jehovah's original plan) Jesus has purchased the "Inheritance" and is preparing for the overthrow of the usurper. When he takes his great power he will reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. This is the work of the Millennial age. When he has restored all things, he delivers up the kingdom to God the Father who again resumes the reins of government. How long does God rest--as to the affairs of this world? Seven thousand years. ["The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."]
We turn again to the words of Peter. His subject is the history of the period of time from "the generation of the heavens and the earth to their re-generation. He says: "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years." He teaches then, that the week of the law, was typical of the grand period of 7000 years of man's allotted history. Six thousand years of toil under the bondage of sin and Satan, to be followed by one thousand years of peace, rest and heavenly communion. But when this Sabbath shall end--as it must--is there another weary week of toil to begin again? No! thank God the cycle is complete. The Jewish week was a glorious type; gracious even in its keeping, for man and beast: and it has a worthy antitype. But what of that grander cycle, of which the seven days was but a typical part--the seven times seven, that ushered in the Jubilee?
If the seventh period of creation in which the Father rested is seven thousand years long--as shown above --so are the other six periods; and so we have seven times seven thousand years, even forty-nine thousand years, bringing us to the fiftieth thousand the antitype of all chronological antitypes, the great grand JUBILEE.
"God's purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower."
W. I. MANN.