The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis -- By: John O. Means

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 012:46 (Apr 1855)
Article: The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis
Author: John O. Means


The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis

Rev. John O. Means

We have endeavored to state the results of the most recent investigations in regard to the Mosaic cosmogony. There are two explanations, recently offered, which have been only incidentally alluded to, and which are of importance enough to be stated by themselves. They are those of Dr. J. Pye Smith, and of Prof. Arnold Guyot. We will state them in closing.

The view of Dr. Smith is presented in his Geology and Scripture, Sect. VII. Part 2. As this is within the reach of all, a brief statement will suffice.

Dr. Smith supposes the first verse describes the creation of>all things. An immense interval, of which no account is preserved, succeeds, before the scenes described in the second verse. During this interval the earth passed ‘through the various changes which geology indicates. There were successive creations and destructions of plants and animals, the remains of which appear in the rocks.

From the second verse onwards we have an account of what took place in a portion of the world destined for the first habitation of man. The narrative of the six days do not refer to the whole globe, but only to that portion in which man was to be placed. This region was a part of Asia, lying between the Caucasian ridge, the Caspian sea, and Tartary, on the north; the Persian and Indian seas, on the south; and the high mountain ridges which run at considerable distance on the eastern and western flank. This section of the earth was first, by atmospheric and geological causes of previous operation, under the will of the Almighty, brought into a condition of superficial ruin, or some kind of general disorder. Here, in six literal days, took place all that is recorded by Moses. Out of the chaos order was introduced; light made to appear, by the clearing up of the atmosphere, so that the sun’s rays could penetrate; plants and animals were produced by immediate creation, in the succession here narrated; and, last of all, man was made.

Whatever may be thought of this interpretation, no one can help admiring the clearness with which it is presented, and the great learning with which it is sustained. Perhaps its boldness and complete opposition to preconceived notions may prevent us from estimating it justly. It certainly clears up most of the difficulties in the Mosaic narrative. But it gives rise to almost as many, in turn. It seems liable to the very objection which is urged, and which Dr. Smith, as well as most others, deem conclusive, against the supposition that the whole earth passed through the successive processes of creation in six literal days. We are not satisfied with the statement, that the omnipotenc...

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