Science And, The Bible. No. III. [Concluded.] -- By: James D. Dana

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 014:55 (Jul 1857)
Article: Science And, The Bible. No. III. [Concluded.]
Author: James D. Dana


Science And, The Bible. No. III. [Concluded.]

Professor James D. Dana

Before entering upon our discussions with regard to the individuality of nature, we give an abstract of the views on this subject presented in the “Six Days of Creation,” and the “World-Problem,” with some citations also from Plato, that the reader may better appreciate the point of the remarks that follow.

According to the recent works just mentioned, Nature is a great individuality, so far independent of the Deity, that she may be said to go of herself, to require rest, to deteriorate and decay, to need reviving through the act of the Deity at intervals in her progress, in order to her recovery from her decayings; and that to carry on her series of growths, she received λόγοι σπερματικοί or “immaterial entities “(explained to be not merely invisible force from the Creator, but actual “immaterial entities,” put into nature) as germs of the existences that were afterwards produced in nature as the womb.1 Moreover, as all that is finite errs, therefore nature

may “blunder,” and “work out an idea badly,”2 though, “in general, she is to be regarded as honest.” The author also observes :

“This constant tendency of nature, general or partial, to degenerate from the primal force (or, in other words, when thus left to itself, to manifest its necessary finiteness), this, taken in connection with God’s from time to time renewing it, and even supernaturally raising it to a higher law than before, may be regarded as constituting those periods of torpor and reviviscence which are so appropriately styled evenings and mornings”World-Problem, p. 343.

And thus he explains the successive days of Genesis, and the accordance of creation with, the “cyclical law, which is the law of all natures.” 3 The idea is presented as follows in the “Six Days of Creation :”

“Not merely is each period considered in its comparative imperfection an evening to the more perfect that follows; but there is, in a still more marked sense, in each period, considered in itself, an evening and a morning — a time of growth and a time of decline, a time of energy and a time of torpor, when nature requires a higher power to wake her from her commencing slumbers.” — Six Days, p. 242.

We should add, in justice to the author, that he expresses a willingness to give up his views, if they can be...

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