The Religion Of Geology -- By: John Jay Dana
BSac 10:39 (July 1853) p. 505
The Religion Of Geology1
Not a few regard the science of Geology with distrust. They doubt whether it is a science, but consider it a monad undeveloped as yet; and whether it will have arms or legs, or both, or neither, is to them highly problematical. Some go so far as to call in question its facts; while others who do not doubt these, consider the inferences drawn from them as mere vapors which have arisen from a quagmire of uncertainty; either light and airy nothings, or clouds full of water, which, when it falls, shall only make the earth more prolific in scepticism. One reason for this distrust is, that some of those who have prosecuted geological inquiries, have promulged hypotheses full of error; but which have no special connection with geology, and for which she is in no wise responsible. We do not deny that some have endeavored to use this science as an auxiliary in the overthrow of Revelation (and what science has not thus been abused?), and this doubtless has been the occasion of leading many Christian minds to look upon it with suspicion.
Some may be surprised at the title given to this Article; and will inquire whether there is Religion in Geology? and if so, what are its tenets, its articles of faith?
There can be no doubt that the two lights, science and revelation, instead of being set up as rivals, can be so arranged that their flames shall coalesce and form one which shall be of greater splendor than either of them alone. Science may thus become the handmaid of religion, and assist her in obtaining conquests over the minds and hearts of men.
Scientific truth is, in an important sense, religious truth; because it makes us acquainted with the character of God. We can take no cognizance of mind, except our own, only as it becomes manifested in speech or in act. It is interesting to notice that God’s manifestations
BSac 10:39 (July 1853) p. 506
of himself to his creatures have a certain similarity to those of the human being. As the child acts before it speaks, and discovers its intelligence by deeds sooner than by words, so God revealed his existence by acts of creation and of providence ages upon ages prior to his utterance of his revealed will in the ears of men. While there is no evidence of puerility in the manifestations of God, before he “made known his will unto Moses and his acts unto the children of men,” yet they furnish a very important field of investigation to one who would acquire a full knowledge of his Maker. As well might the reader of the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament take the position that the Old Testament is of no use because the relations of later days are m...
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