Critical Notes -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 048:189 (Jan 1891)
Article: Critical Notes
Author: Anonymous

Critical Notes

I. Dana On Genesis And Science

We have not been alone in regarding the article of Professor Dana, published in the Bibliotheca Sacra for April, 1885, entitled “Creation; or, the Biblical Cosmogony in the Light of Modern Science,” as one of the most important contributions to this subject that have been made for some time. On two different occasions Mr. Gladstone sent special communications to a leading English magazine for the purpose of calling attention to Professor Dana’s ideas as presented in that article. We are glad, therefore, to see that its value is receiving increased recognition, and that it is now in a fair way to get a wider circulation than our own pages have given it. It has recently been translated into Japanese, and, with a bibliography of the subject, is now accessible to all the students of that inquiring people. Professor Dana has also recently presented the subject in a more popular form in a lecture, and that has been issued in a small volume of seventy pages. But the views, as he states in a note, are the same as those of the article referred to, only it is somewhat more expanded, and some collateral points are introduced. For the benefit of those who have the original article, we will give a brief resume of these points.

Professor Dana believes that the prevalence of monotheism must be due to the influence of a special revelation of God, since the tendency of the human reason, “under the influence of the various causes of fear, dread, awe, in the world,” will naturally be toward polytheism. The tendency of the Jews to degenerate, and to abandon their monotheism, is a proof of this proposition. The monotheistic idea must be divinely nurtured as well as divinely implanted, or it will not continue to prevail. We have, therefore, in the monotheistic character of the biblical cosmogony, an indication of its inspired origin. In this respect it is unique among the cosmogonies of the world. In setting out upon the discussion, therefore, Professor Dana declares that, from first to last, he cannot but regard the first chapter of Genesis as a divine record, and that not only the first verse, but each verse, has a worthy place in such a record. Even though the book of Genesis were compiled from several documents, as some suppose, the compilation is so remarkable that it must be regarded as divine.

Professor Dana warns his readers against being influenced by “the oft-repeated statements that geology is an immature science,” and “that the chapter was not intended to teach physical science,” and says, that while “the first chapter of Genesis does not teach science,” but merely uses certain fundamental facts of science by way of illustration, the success with which t...

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