John Muehleisen Arnold.

Genesis and science; or The first leaves of the Bible online

. (page 25 of 27)
Online LibraryJohn Muehleisen ArnoldGenesis and science; or The first leaves of the Bible → online text (page 25 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

several constituents of that fles has named in verse 7)
and I will destroy them — (i.e., man, beast, and bird)
with the earth."

None can fail to perceive that the earth is here
threatened to be destroyed on account of the violence
which had filled it. Those that have done so are
named, verse 7, in their individualities, and col-
lectively as all flesh, " all living things, wherein is the
breath of life." See verses 12, 13, 17.

All flesh, literally " the totality of flesh " had cor-
rupted its way. As the corrupting of their ways
resulted in giant forms among men, so a parallel
corrupting of the way among the brute creation,
may have produced giant beasts. Unnatural mix-
tures in both respects produced monstrosities. These
giant monsters among the animal world Avould have
hastened the filling of the earth with violence, es-
pecially with the vast numbers, which to judge from
their remains, must have filled the earth. In the
Gailenreuth cave alone were found 800 bears, 130
wolves, hyenas, lions, and gluttons ! But we go a


step further, and add, that the direction given to
Noah to preserve seed of the animals, positively-
excluded the monster forms, in whatever way
originated, from the ark. Which were the animals
to he admitted ? In Genesis i. four classes of living
creatures are named — I) chajjah hadrez, the wild
beasts of the earth ; 2) behemah, cattle, tame domestic
animals; 3) remes, creeping things, and 4), birds.
When Noah, Genesis vi. 19, was first commanded
to take to him" of every living thing," the
command was more fully explained in verse 20,
1) fowls; 2) cattle; and 3) creeping things. In
Genesis vii. 8, we are told that Noah took 1) of the
cattle; 2) of the birds, and 3) of the creeping
things. The chajjath hadraz, the beasts of the earth,
are not named in either place. But when, chap,
vii. 21, the record speaks of the animals which remain
without the ark, the chajjath, beasts, are named with
the birds, cattle, and creeping things. When the
animals come out of the ark, the beasts of the earth,
are again missing ; only birds, cattle, and creeping
things come forth. Noah, therefore, received no
command to take wild beasts, or degenerated mon-
sters into the ark. And it cannot surprise us that
they have not survived. *

There may be other fossil organisms which
have not survived the deluge, and that without their
being of a monstrous degeneracy. In Exodus ix. 6,
all the cattle of Egypt died ; yet in verse 19, we have

* The Hindu Pooranas tell of Manu tying his ship to the
horned fish, which had appeared to him " like a mountain huge
and high ;" and according to the Talmud, King Og of Bashan,
Deut. iii. 9, remained as one of the great giants, and he is said to
have saved himself by riding over the flood upon an unicorn, which
was tied by Noah to the ark.



still cattle in Egypt that are to be gathered. In
like manner, the command of Noah to gather species
of all living creatures does not imply that this was
to he carried out in its literality; only those that
seek occasion to reject it, will insist upon this.

That there should he fossils of beiugs now extinct
cannot surprise, as it is quite certain that many
species which survived the deluge are found no
more. The Behemoth and Leviathan, which are not
sufficiently intelligible, as well as the Dodo, which
disappeared in America, and the sea cow on the
Behring Island, which hecame extinct within the
last thirty years, and the Bhytina belong to this
class. To these animals, become extinct, since the
flood, allusions seem to be made in the Mbelun-
genlied. *

Having thus been led back to the idea held for
ages by the Jewish and Christian Churches, that the
fossil remains brought to light appertain to the
delude of Genesis, it remains to be seen whether
there be any further means either to shake or cor-
roborate these impressions. Dickinson writes : —
" There is a freshness about the earth, cut into it
where we will, which shows it has seldom been dis-
turbed beyond pre-historic times, and which altoge-
ther refutes the theories of any older age than that

* A vent. xvi. we read : —

935. Er (Sifrit) was an alien dingen biderbe genuoc,
sin tier was daz erste daz er ze tode sluoc,
ein vil starkez h a 1 p f u 1 , mit der sinen hant :
darnach er vil sciere einen ungefuegen lewen vant.
937. Darnach sluoc er sciere einenwisent und einen elch
starker ure viere und einen grimmen scelch.
sin ros truoc in so balde, daz ir im niht entran.
hirze oder hind en kunde im wenic engan.

PfeifferD. CI. d. M. III. 173, u. f.


accorded to it by the Bible. The confirmation is so
strong that instead of any disagreement, the truth of
the whole Scriptures might be rested upon the literal
account to which I have referred, and which upon
careful examination with observed facts, will dispel
many of the current crude geological theories."

In another part, Mr. Dickinson reminds us that
" the washing away of Continents would not produce
distinct deposits like these, but rather a mixture ;
and the deposits are not such as we now find pro-
duced by any known washing away. Had the earth
been thus built up piecemeal, we should have found
the central parts of basins, where the strata are
thickest, to be more compressed than where they are
thinner. But all are of the same specific gravity,
depending only upon the material of which each is
composed. Underground beds of rivers might also
have been found, and similar indications, if there
had been previous surfaces to the earth. But nothing
like the present surface or its covering has been met
with. Something like the bed of a river has been
traced out in one of the coal seams in the Forest of
Dean, and a paper was once read upon it, ascribing
it to the running off of water ; but extended re-
searches have since shown that even this isolated
instance is only a want in the seam occasioned by a

Again, he says : " If rocks, such as hard silicious
sandstone, limestone, &c, had been denuded, to the
extent supposed, and which would be required to
account in this way for what is to be seen, what has
become of them ? Many thousands of feet in depth
are wanting. On a line bet ween Bolton and Pendleton,
the strata are thrown down 3000 feet to the north,
by a fault, but the surface is levelled down, and does


not indicate the fault. Granite, metamorphic, and
sometimes the carboniferous formations also are
found alike, the one upon as high an elevation as
the other. That which has disappeared would not
all be reduced to dust, if it had been denuded. Im-
mense blocks must have been dislodged, pieces of
some of which would be left. But no such lumps
are to be found in any of the supposed since-formed
strata. There are pebbles in the present surface
covering of the earth, but these are far from being
sufficient in quantity to account for what is wanting. ' '

Wagner maintains that geology is not able to dis-
tinguish two or more general deluges which have
been assumed, since even the last of the cataclysms
would naturally rouse the surface of the sediment
which may have preceded it. This is very intelligible,
and very important to remember since it breaks up
the notion of a succession of floods. He adds that
the Noachidian deluge increased not simply the
diluvial formations by adding a fresh layer, but it
overthrew the previous ones, if they existed, and
united them so as to render it impossible for geology
to separate them and to arrange them chronologically.
If then we cannot determine which is this diluvial or
alluvial sediment, the whole theory falls to the
ground. I remind the reader that only secondary
and tertiary formations, which were formed by water,
embody fossil remains.

The last flood must have destroyed the combina-
tions of previous floods, and the Mosaic deluge would
also have destroyed the fossil deposits in the interior
of previous strata, which are supposed to have
existed. Not less in harmony with our view that
the deluge is the sole cause of the entire change in
the crust of the earth, is the fact that sea organisms


in a fossil state are often found in a stratum which
superimposes upon strata with land fossils.

Again the bone caves lie mostly at an altitude in
which ordinary floods and inundations could not
have been the cause of their being replenished.
Near Bogota fossil bones are found 7 — 8000 feet
high. Many have been washed down from the
Bolivian Cordilleras. In Portland the teeth of a
mastodon were discovered 12,000 feet high. Fossil-
bones of a horse, deer, &c, &c, were brought down
from the Himalaya by lavines 16,000 feet high. If
animals were destroyed at such a height by water,
if the Cordilleras stood under water 13,000, and the
Himalaya 16,000 feet, Genesis supplies the records of
such a flood ; and what should hinder us from assum-
ing that the animals there buried were driven up
by the rising waters, or if not driven up before the
waters, they were deposited there after floating upon
its surface ? It is vain to surmise that these animals
ever lived at such altitudes and that the atmosphere
was differently constituted. We know that the
water reached such heights from other observations,
and it is far more likely that they were either flooded
there, or that in the hour of their terror they sought
to escape death by ascending and hiding in the caves
where they are found.

Prom this also we explain the equal distribution
of the fossil remains over the whole surface of the
earth. Only on the assumption of the mighty flood
of Genesis, can we explain the fact that tropical
animals, such as elephants, should now be found in
the coldest zones.

Books have been written without number enlarg-
ing upon the progression which is said to be observed
in the fossil strata from the lowest to the highest


organisms ; though it is admitted by Wagner, " that
the idea that the primeval organisms ascended the
ladder of progression from the less to the more per-
fect types has after more accurate researches not
been confirmed as altogether correct." And what is
the real outcome as regards this famous theory of
progression ? We do indeed notice a certain order,
out such as is altogether consistent with our view of
the fossil world at large. If there be any order it is
simply this ; we first discover sea vegetation and
water organisms. This seems natural enough since
the sediments of former seas could not rise, nor was
it possible that the land vegetation of an over-flooded
surface could escape the coming flood. According
to Hainlen, there is no type with respiratory organs
among the species in the paleozoic or secondary
strata. Again, the mass of organic animal fossils are
mainly found in the Jura and in chalk formations.
In the Jura strata we have about 1,000 species of
animals, and only seven species of plants. In the
still higher chalk formations we count 111 kinds of
animals, and only one of plants ! But in the Per-
mian and Trias formations below them, and that
apart from the conifer tribes, we have 148 kinds of
plants, and only ten of animals. Still lower in the
coal strata we have only 13 species of fossil animals
to 250 species of fossil plants.

All this is not proof of the progression theory,
but simply that all the living creatures either sought
to escape the water as long as possible, or when over-
taken, they floated upon the surface till deposited.
Such an instinct to escape the perils of the water
doubtless drove the extraordinary number of the
heterogeneous animals together to the caves where
they are still found entombed. Persons who have


never witnessed an inundation cannot conceive the
terror excited in animals, in which they press up
steep hills; cattle and pigs have been known
to climb steep narrow staircases, scarcely fit for
human beings to ascend, and remain perfectly
quiet under the very roof of the house. This also
explains the total absence of fossil birds in the lower
strata, which cannot be expounded in any other way,
than by the fact that all the formations are the
result of one catastrophe, in which the birds most
naturally betook themselves to higher regions.

We noticed ere this that Buckland first ascribed
all the fossils to the Noachidian deluge, but that he
was driven from this view. It may here not be out
of place to ask what were his reasons for shifting
his ground. There is often much to learn from
examining the reasons which induce great men to
change their opinion. The Dean candidly allows
that discoveries made, since the publication of his
Reliquiae diluvince, prove first, that many of the
animals described therein existed during more than
one period, which preceded the catastrophe by which
they were destroyed. Secondly, the flood of Genesis
he holds was described as having been so gradual
and so short as to produce only a very slight impres-
sion upon the globe. Thirdly, the prevalence of ex-
tinct animals found in caves and in the upper
layers of the diluvium, as also the not finding of
human remains amongst them, affords to his mind
another reason for ascribing these species to a period,
older than the creation of man.

It remains now to test the arguments which
induced Buckland to give up the idea that the dilu-
vium was caused by the last great deluge, and to


consider the diluvial flood and that of Noah as two
distinct phenomena.

The weakest of all is the ground that the general
inundation recorded by Moses had transpired so
calmly. Who can tell how it was ? Where do
we read that it was so tranquil ? What havoc
the simple bursting of a single lake or reser-
voir, or the inroad of the sea upon the mainland,
or the bursting of a common waterspout, is known
to make, not to speak of a deluge which overflooded
the highest mountains !

We know that the waters burst forth from the
bowels of the earth. Is it not reasonable that the
primal cause of these outpourings of the subterraneous
waters were bond fide earthquakes, and the cause of
earthquakes is very intelligible. In describing the
events of the flood, much was naturally omitted.
The Hindu Pooranas in recording their floods, speak
of the heavenly bodies being shrouded in gloom,
mighty tempests trouble the ocean ; the catastrophe
is ushered in by a hundred years of rain, and whilst
for a hundred years more storms and hurricanes are
fiercely drifting, dismal vapours darken the sky,
circling masses of fire envelop the world in a uni-
versal conflagration. The Arabian and Persian flood
legends also speak of terrible commotions, of thunder
and lightning, and earthquake, of the heavenly
bodies being shaken, and boiling water poured
forth ; the Jews even dated the boiling fountains
of Gadara, Biram, and Tiberias from the flood.

Another reason Buckland gave to justify his
change was the finding of diluvial animals in deeper
lying strata than the diluvium. We have given
evidence out of the mouths of leading geologists that
the theory of strata is a mere myth. The very fact


that there is no such marked line anywhere, which
could be fixed as a boundary of one or another fossil,
shows that the whole fabric is a spider's web.

The last objection respecting the non-existence of
human remains in the diluvial formation, could, even
in Buckland's time, have no weight at all, since at
any moment it might be overthrown, as Buckland
indeed himself admitted, that the cradle of mankind
had not yet been examined. Our part of the world
may not yet have been inhabited. The not finding
of bones even would not prove that man had not
lived before the flood, whenever it may have taken
place. In addition it must be remembered that two-
thirds of the surface of the globe, we may say almost
three-fourths, are under water ; and of the last third,
nine-tenths bear self-evident signs that they were
once standing under water, at least for a time.
What may be hidden in those depths is hard to

But human remains have been found, and that in
conjunction with the extinct animals above alluded
to, and not once or twice, but on many occasions.
Dr. Schmerling, forty- five years ago, discovered
human remains in the Belgian caves in the valley
of the Meuse, together with what are called ante-
diluvian beasts, and amongst those human remains,
the skull of Engis caused special attention, though
less importance was attached to it at the time than
it deserved. Under similar conditions a skull was
found in the Neanderthal ; another in the Arno
valley, which is still preserved in the museum at
Florence. Human remains and human products
were further discovered in various parts of France,
and that not simply in the diluvium, but also in
the tertiary strata. At Aurignac, in the Departe-


ment Haute-Garonne, on the northern slope of
the Pyrenees, not less than seventeen fossil skele-
tons, and human products were revealed, toge-
ther with so-called tertiary animal remains, in
the year 1852 ; but as the Maire had them buried
in the churchyard without even marking: the spot,
they were for ever withdrawn from further exami-
nation. At Abbeville human bones were found
fifteen feet beneath the ground ; and Boucher de
Perthes recognised human workmanship near Amiens
in a locality known as a Mammoth bed. In the
south of Prance the Mammoth strata revealed
human products with certain figures made upon
them, the most remarkable of them being an ivory
plate with the figure of several mammoths carved
upon it, and though done in very simple outlines,
a child will recognise them.

In 1859 was found in a lower miocene stratum at
Colle de Vento, near Savona, in the north of Italy, a
lower jaw-bone, with every mark of a fossil char-
acter. In California human remains were dis-
covered in the tertiary strata 130 feet deep. Again,
we read of the discovery of human remains by Lund
in the Brazils, also in Essequibo in Guiana, and on
the Mississippi by Natchez ; and most of these re-
posed in the tertiary strata.

Near llegensburg, in 1872, in a cave pierced by a
railway, human remains were found with animals of
the palaeotherian period, such as the Rhinoceros, the
Mammoth and others. The same is true of Bohemia,
and especially of Wiirtemberg, of which little has been
known till quite recently. Since 1870 were exhumed
in the Hohlefels, in the Achtthal, by Dr. Praas, human
remains, portions of human hands and fragments of
human products, together with so-called antediluvian


animals. In 1861, in the Lonethal, in another cave,
among 40 complete skeletons, and 375 lower jaw-
bones of the bear, were discovered human bones and
human products. In one of the many other bone
caves of Wiirtemberg, 50 human skeletons were
discovered among cartloads of animal bones, belong-
ing mostly to the ursus spelceus. There may be
seen the femur of a male, bones of the arm and of
the head, interspersed with the bones of the Pachi-
dermata, the Elephant, the Rhinoceros, and of car-
nivorous animals.

In short, human remains are coming to light more
and more every day, in all parts of the world. That
they are not more frequent is no marvel, when we
remember the greater destructibility of the human
body compared with other bodies. Under certain
conditions the body of man decays far more rapidly
than that of animals. Human bones are proved to
be more destructible than animal bones, owing to
the greater amount of phosphor in the former. Nor
could bones of antediluvians be compared with those
of the post-diluvians, since, as far as I know, it has
not yet been proved what effect animal food,
which was only introduced after the flood, is likely
to have upon the body of man. If we confine our-
selves to science, we find that the question of man
existing together with fossil animals has as often
been answered in the affirmative as the negative.

Buckland did not alter his opinion expressed in
his famous book, Eeliqitice diluvianos, without a pang.
"VVe have briefly seen that not one of his reasons
given for altering stands good at the present hour.
If the reasons which prompted him to alter, fall to
the ground, such, more especially, as the not finding
human remains, all the previous arguments hold


good, and I therefore claim the full authority of that
learned man in support of the opinion which is re-
asserted in this treatise — namely, that all the main
petrifactions are witnesses of the Biblical deluge.

5. Alleged Difficulties of Genesis reviewed, and
Methods suggested for solving them.

Since science has at length admitted the absolute
necessity of the physical universe having had a
beginning, Genesis can no longer be objected to on
that score ; but its not giving any account of the fossil
strata of our globe, is deemed a serious defect. The
question arises, Do they date from a period prior to
the hexaemeron, or from the creation week itself, or
have we to ascribe them to the Noacliidian deluge ?
Three methods have suggested themselves to answer
the threefold inquiry, the last of which, as far as I
know, will be new to the reader.

1. The first method to reconcile the alleged dis-
sonance between the Bible and science recognises in
Genesis i. 1, the account of the creation of a far more
glorious world than the present, and our planet is re-
garded as the former abode of holy angels. When
they fell from their high estate, their abode became
without form and void ; and the real work of the
hexaemeron was the renewal of the fallen and ruined
earth to render it a fit dwelling place for the human
race, created as a substitute for the fallen angels. This
Restitution theory, has been adopted by many distin-
guished theologians and sciologists, as furnishing ample
scope for the most extravagant geological theories.
The theory itself was known to the early gnostics, who
held that the creation of the material world was in
itself the result of the fall of the spirit world. It was
taught by Origen in a modified sense ; and was well


known in the fifth century in this country as will
appear from the fragment of a hymn by Csedmon, the
celebrated Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastic, as it is preserved
in King Alfred's translation of Bede. When Edgar
confirmed the code of Oswald, he declared that God
drove the fallen angels from this planet, and ordained
kings, that under their influence righteousness might
again flourish in the earth. It was also the teaching of
the Hebrew Sohar and of the Kabbala, and of the
Book of the Jubilees. The simple grammatical sense
of the words in Genesis will not allow us to assume
that the earth became "void and without form," as
it plainly states that the earth in a certain stage of
its genesis was void and without form. Besides, if
the fossil inclosures were to date from a period prior
to the creation week, it will be hard to conceive that
the monsters they reveal were suitable companions
for the pure and holy angel spirits that are supposed
to have inhabited this globe. On the contrary, the
monster forms seem to point rather to satanic, than
to angelic beings. It was stated with considerable
plausibility that providentially two blank leaves
were left between the three first verses of chapter i.,
the one between the first and the second, the other
between the second and third verses, which it was
intended science should fill up, and no geologist it
was thought, could possibly hinder those leaves being
filled up. All the concession asked from geology
was one great general deluge prior to the advent of
man, together with the flora and fauna created for
his more especial use.

But the advantage of this theory is not so
great as might have seemed at first sight, for
we are not at liberty to interpose anything we
choose between those opening verses. When it


is stated that God created the heaven and the
earth, we at once expect some details as to the
nature of that creation, which are immediately
given. Besides, the words of Exodus xx. 9 — 11,
xxxi. 12 — 17, forbid our attaching any meaning to
them which could he reconciled with this mode of
procedure. Nor could we reconcile the creation of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 27

Online LibraryJohn Muehleisen ArnoldGenesis and science; or The first leaves of the Bible → online text (page 25 of 27)