Primitive Man In America -- By: D. S. Martin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 042:168 (Oct 1885)
Article: Primitive Man In America
Author: D. S. Martin


Primitive Man In America

Professor D. S. Martin

Few questions of a purely scientific character have awakened so great and general interest as that of the Antiquity of Man on our globe. It is but a few years since the long-accepted chronology, based upon the interpretation of the Scripture narrative, was all but universally received. Nor was it until several distinct lines of scientific investigation were found to be apparently converging toward the same result, that there has been any strong disposition to accept the idea that our familiar chronology is perhaps inadequate for the facts of science, and based on some misconception of the biblical record. I am speaking here, of course, not of the irreligious and unbelieving class of thinkers, but of the great body of more or less educated Christian people, who accept and revere the Holy Scriptures as the inspired word of the God alike of nature and of grace. To such persons, all questions of this kind have a more than speculative interest; they awaken painful perplexity and serious concern about themes of gravest importance; and it is doubtless from this cause, quite as much as from its intrinsic scientific interest, that the whole subject of Prehistoric Archaeology has risen into such prominence and entered so widely into the thought of our day.

These discussions, moreover, introduce us into a shadowy and mysterious border-land, lying between the early records and traditions of mankind, on the one hand, and the great periods of physical and climatic change that belong to the domain of geology, on the other. Many remarkable suggestions and curious inquiries begin to

present themselves to the mind. What was the primeval status of human society? Under what outward conditions of life did our earliest ancestors find themselves? Was man an eye-witness of any of those grand phenomena of ice and flood that marked the glacial age; and was he contemporary with those gigantic and abounding animal forms that are only known to us in this later day by their buried and scattered bones? These, and many similar problems, give great interest and fascination to the whole subject, in itself considered; and it is not surprising that the recent discoveries and discussions, apart from any of their higher bearings, should have taken a strong hold on the popular mind.

The purpose of this present article, however, is not at all to enter into a general consideration of the antiquity of man, or of the facts of prehistoric archaeology, but simply to set before the reader some of the latest and most interesting discoveries that lie nearest to us in the older states of North America. To do this intelligently, however, it is needful to give a summary, in the briefest form,...

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