The Relations Of Geology To Theology -- By: C. H. Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:94 (Apr 1867)
Article: The Relations Of Geology To Theology
Author: C. H. Hitchcock

The Relations Of Geology To Theology

Prof. C. H. Hitchcock

The object of the following pages is to present the relations of Geology to the several doctrines of Theology in their natural order. It is not necessary now to apologize for attempting to illustrate revelation by science. Thanks to honored names that battle has been fought, and the natural sciences are now copiously employed for the defence and illustration of religious truth. Pew of the sciences afford better illustrations of biblical statement than geology. Its

principles, though recently established, have modified the common interpretation of several passages, and may elucidate them still further in the future. We do not need to come secretly into the cabinet, and stealthily inquire what nature means. The God of nature is the God of grace also; and therefore we may come boldly into the presence of either after converse with the other, for the foundation principles of both governments are the same. We may, therefore, reason from one mode of the divine administration to the other; we may derive stable conclusions from a major scientific and a minor moral premise, and the reverse. We may proceed from cause to effect, rather than reason from the effects to the causes, if thereby we shall acquire more knowledge. So important are the inferences, that we are glad to appeal to induction or deduction, philology, history, ethnology, geology, astronomy, and all the natural sciences. Nor must it be forgotten that light may be given by the Divine Spirit, for we believe that if “any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine,” whether it be religious or scientific. The true philosopher is conscious of the peril of trusting to his own wisdom, and seeks aid from above. May the spirit that inspired the evangelists permeate these inquiries with the leaven of truth! We shall attempt to establish the following proposition in detail: The facts and principles of geology prove, illustrate, and elucidate many of the doctrines of natural and biblical theology.

I. Geology furnishes peculiar arguments for the existence of God. The arguments most relied upon to prove the existence of God are of the a posteriori type, and are briefly these:

1. The existence of matter and finite mind proves a Creator;

2. The continuance of matter and finite mind proves a Preserver;

3. The movements of matter and the action of finite mind prove a Governor;

4. Design in the works of nature proves a Designer.

These arguments are each made more impressive in detail, when it is considered that the world has existed for ages before ...

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