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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:95 (Jul 1867)
Article: The Relations Of Geology To Theology
Author: C. H. Hitchcock


The Relations Of Geology To Theology

Prof. C. H. Hitchcock

(Continued from page 338)

III. Geology gives additional force to the arguments for the truth and inspiration of the scriptures. The arguments for the truth of the historical statements of the Bible and its authority had been clearly stated and confided in by the church before the birth of geology. Not knowing that the history of immense periods anterior to man could be acquired, divines supposed the world began with man, and that only the existing animals and plants were produced in the creation. As soon as glimpses of the truth appeared, sceptics cried out that the Bible had committed itself to scientific error, and honest inquirers were bewildered. After decades of discussion, sceptics are silenced, the church adopts new interpretations of Genesis, and allows the conclusions of science to illuminate the sacred page. This feature of the connections between science and religion has been the most commented upon, though less important than some others.

Geology confirms the biblical account of the antiquity of the earth; the order of creation, particularly the compara-

tively recent origin of man; the nature of the Noachian deluge; and the future state of the earth. The interpretation of the Bible was formerly incorrect in these particulars. Before entering immediately upon the discussion of these topics, let us examine the form and evident design of the first eight chapters of Genesis, which contain the principal statements respecting the early history and condition of the earth.

Form. The accounts of the creation and fall of man must have been directly revealed to Moses, or else he was inspired to select material from historical records, to be moulded into one connected narrative. The latter course seems to have been adopted. The style of the first chapter is different from that employed later in the Pentateuch. There seem to be separate statements, each giving the history of some particular event, and complete in itself. The earliest documents were quoted in full, and they succeed each other abruptly. Those later may have been abridged, pruned of human additions, and explained by the insertion of Mosaic connectives and sentences. So far as the truth and inspiration are concerned, it makes no difference where Moses obtained his information; he was inspired to select what was proper.1

The different documents are characterized by the special names applied to God. Thus Document No. 1 (chap, 1, 2:1–3) describes the creation of the universe, using only Elohim [God] for deity. This account is...

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