GENESIS AND IN GEOLOGY.
I. - THE SCRIPTURAL STATEMENT.
THE questions involved in the first chapter of Genesis are
those which lie at the bottom of the whole controversy with what men are
pleased to call science in the present day. "Science," alas! and knowledge are
getting to be widely separated, although originally the same thing. A mere
hypothesis is "scientific" nowadays,and hypotheses are colouring, to a large
extent, the very statement of what should be facts. "Eyes of faith" (to use the
language of a well-known man of science,) are getting as necessary for the
observation of facts as they could possibly be for the knowledge of Scripture.
"A working hypothesis" is indeed a fact; what it may work is another question.
To those who have their eyes open, there cannot be a doubt that men are working
themselves into a delusion which Scripture has been beforehand in prophesying,
and which therefore, spite of itself, must fulfill Scripture.
On looking at the questions which our subject indicates, our first business is with Scripture itself. The book of Genesis is a fact, at any rate, whatever may be its significance. It is a fact that what purports to he a record of creation has come down to us from the so far back as to antedate all other human writings of which we have knowledge. It is a fact also that the character of this record stands in the most striking contrast with all that may seem in any wise to compete with it in point of age. The various national myths which deal with this subject few would have any difficulty in dismissing as such. But alas! though there are those, no doubt, who think as cavalierly to dismiss the book of Genesis amongst them, it is easy to see that even for themselves this is impossible. The book has its hold upon them whether they will or no.They may talk of the effect of education, no doubt, - of the influences under which they have been brought up,and so on; but they have not found it hard to break through bands of this kind, times without number. Their very opposition to Scripture makes it evident how much they feel its power. No one thinks it worth while to fight with a Chaldean cosmogony, however ancient. They can look at and discuss it with the most scientific equanimity; Scripture they cannot so discuss. And this too is a fact in the moral realm which is worth considering.
When we turn to the first chapter of Genesis, we find nothing, at least, that wears the aspect of a myth; no obscurity; no seeming exaggeration. The style is simplicity itself, and this simplicity is sublimity. It is the style of one entirely at home with the subject of which he is speaking. Wonderful as the nature of the subject is, he is not dazed, not awe-struck; nor on the other hand reveling in mere imagination. The language is intelligible even to a child. There is no attempt at lengthy explanation, or at explanation at all. There is no argument, as having to prove any thing. The writer is above his theme, not under its power; and, when we consider what the theme is, who is the writer? People may deny its truth; they can scarcely deny its similitude to truth. It is the language of one who has nothing to gain by proving his point; no interest, in fact, one may say, at all, except it be an interest in man, which indeed shines out everywhere. The words may seem to give too human a picture of divine ways; but in it many at least have discerned the manner of One who, seeking to draw near to man, must adopt human speech, even with its defects. Can this be shown unworthy of Him?
Even for a scientific man one would think there should be interest in what, the moment he looks at it, corresponds strangely in certain of its features with what the facts of geology announce. Take, for instance, what to a writer of this antiquity would be strange enough, the fact of the dry land emerging out of the water. No geologist doubts that all land has, in fact, so risen ; but it is a discovery of later days, anticipated here before the science of geology was born. Take, again, the progress of life from the lowest to the highest - from the denizens of the water to those of the dry land, and last of all, man. Every one knows that upon this very progress have been based some of the theories most current among men of science as to the development of life. Yet the writer in Genesis, while denying the development (at least, the genetic development), is aware of the fact of progress, and states it. How many scientific men are disposed to give him credit for this? Yet is not here again a fact note-worthy for the man of science?
The Christian, who is able to go deeper, notices, on the other hand, both in Genesis and geology, how remarkably the natural typifies the spiritual, and how God has thus given witness to himself and to His record in the very book of nature with which the man of science deals. What means this strange fact which Genesis announces and geology confirms, that creation as we now see it, is in fact a birth out of a world passed out of being? Creation to the open eye is everywhere indeed a type of the new creation ; but we shall be able better to dwell upon this at another time.
And now, to look somewhat in detail at the history before us. History it is, it it be any thing at all ; it is at least not given as a speculation. It is not our argument,as I have already said; nor is it poetry, as some assert.All the basis for this assertion is found in the grandeur of the genesis which it relates, and the simple sublimity of the relation. But it is a history, if it is not an audacious fiction. "God created" - "God said" - "God made." Such are the statements. Is not this the offence in the eyes of some, that every thing here begins with God, and every thing belongs to Him? Yet there is no attempt to make an impression. Opposition to the prevailing idolatry is only marked by the fact of every thing being madeand claimed by the one God before us. The style is the ordinary one of familiar speech, truer after all than much that may be more pretentious. It describes, one may say, appearances - phenomena; not meaning by this anything in contrast with reality, but things as they would appear to, or be apprehended by, the mass of men. The God of Scripture seeks every where to be known by His creatures. He never affects the language of philosophers; never shuts Himself up to the learned and the wise. The greatest blessings every where (if we may still speak of blessing,) are the widest and most common, - sunlight, fresh air, water, and such like things. Whatever restrictions man may make, God means these for all. The very life we live is no better lived by him who understands the natural processes than by the man who scarcely knows that he has lungs to breathe with. These things go on independently of all our thought or intelligence about them, which may indeed often act, as the facts prove, rather as hindrances to than promoters of them. "To the poor, the gospel is preached;" for the poor, Scripture is written. The wise and learned not being excluded on this account, any more than they are excluded by sharing with the common man their sunlight and fresh air.
But however familiar the style, this must of course be implied, that if the history be from God, as such a history, to be true, must be from none other, then no imperfection of human speech must be allowed to interfere with the perfect accuracy of every statement. Scripture, if not intended to teach science, as of course it is not, must nevertheless be as accurate as any science. There is no inaccuracy in saying, for instance, that "the sun rises,and the sun goes down," for these things are always phenomenally true; and the man of science uses this language of necessity as others do, and there is no deception really in this. To us - from our stand-point, it is really true that the sun rises. It may not be the whole truth,but it is in fact that from which the truth back of it has been inferred. The suns rising is, we may say, the primitive fact; the scientific account would be the explanation of the fact. Scripture does not and needs not to go beyond the primitive fact. Thus it is every where intelligible, and yet every where true. The men of science must be allowed to bring all they can against it if they will.If they can prove untruth, we will not shirk this by any quibbling about Scripture not meaning to teach science.God cannot be deceived; He cannot deceive. These are first principles upon which all others are built, and with which no other can be contradictory. It is in this spirit that we are to examine the account before us.
"In. the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
WE are here brought at once face to face with one of the great questions of the day. Was there such a thing as creation? Does the word "created" even mean that which we ordinarily take it to mean? The reverse is now commonly asserted, and this at least must be allowed, that the making out of nothing is not necessarily intended by the word which we translate "created" here. It is nevertheless used in a sense sufficiently distinct from any mere making or fashioning. These two last words have their proper representatives in the language. The first word, "Bara," is only used of God; He alone is "Bore" - Creator; and in the chapter before us alone the employment of Bara is very distinct and significant. In this first verse, the words "In the beginning," taken absolutely, necessitate that it should be a making out of nothing. We find it only three times used besides in the account. First, when the "living creature" is brought forth, it is said, "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth." Then again, when man comes on thescene, it is said, "God created man in His own image."The last place in which it is used is in the third verse of the second chapter, where, in the original, there is a distinction between "creating" and "making." The term used is really there, "created to make," as in the margin,"He had rested from all His work which God had created to make." So, justly, the Vulgate - " Creavit Ut faceret." Here, the making is rather the final purpose of the creating; and in the creation of the beast and of man, two other elements of being appear for the first time, which would seem to give the word the strict force of creating.
Of course, when I say this, I found it upon Scripture entirely. Scripture asserts as to the beast that it is not merely matter, as man would make it now, however wonderfully organized, but that it has and is a "living soul." Man, again, is distinguished from the beast by the fact that he possesses, not alone a soul, but a spirit also, and by this spirit he is in connection with God, as his God and Father, as the beast is not. God is said to be the "Father of spirits," not of souls. Angels are spirits, and are therefore also called, as men are, "sons of God ;" and if we take this "spirit," as explained by the apostle in the first of Corinthians ii. 11, as that by which a man knows human things, as the intelligent part, in fact the mind, we can easily see that God is indeed only, in a strict sense, the God of those who can thus recognize Him. The beast is necessarily without God. "Man being in honour and understanding not, is like the beasts that perish." Yet, as I have said, the beast is not mere organization. "Every thing wherein there is a living soul," is said, in the thirtieth verse of this chapter, of "every thing that creepeth upon the earth." Even self-direction, if I may so say, never comes from the most skillful combination merely. All the instincts, the appetites of the body even, are referred, in Scripture, to the soul. The beast which has these has therefore a soul.Man too has a soul, of course, but in him the spirit characterizes and controls (or ought to control) it. A broad distinction is thus made between man and beast - a distinction which no development could possibly bridge.God Himself came in in both these eases; first of all in the creation of the beast - the living soul, and again in the creation of man (spirit also, and not soul alone) we find this word used, inferring the distinct step upward which is in each case made. With these exceptions, the word is "made," not "created." All mouldings of mere material, in whatever wondrous way, are here distinguished from the living thing, and even the plant is thus distinguished from the moving creature.
In all this, we are of course speaking of Scripture merely. Men may deny the truth of it, but Scripture at least is self-consistent throughout; and such self-consistency, in view of the facts, is surely the self-consistency of truth.
The first verse, then, speaks of a primal "creation," which, as to its general character, the six days is not. We find elsewhere that "in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and all that in them is. It does not say "created." the first statement is that He "created," and not "made;" and this primal creation is surely distinguished plainly enough from the SIX days work itself. The first day begins with the calling forth of light. But before this, the earth is already in being, but "waste and desolate" (as the words "without form" rather mean), lying in darkness, and buried under the waters. The second verse thus points out the state of ruin into which, through causes unexplained, the primitive creation had lapsed. It is not chaos, according to the old idea which Milton has popularized for us. The earth, buried under the waters, comes up upon the third day at Gods bidding.It had existed all through the six days work was but calling it into new order, not into being. It has been said that this is but a fiction to meet the facts which geology has brought out. It is so little said so that it has been advocated by others before geology was even in being.But I would rather appeal to the record itself. Scripture never says that the earth was created in six days. And the first day begins - where? Not with the chaos, as some would make it. The "evening" of the first day still implies, what the account necessitates, that light was there when it began. "God called the darkness night," but "evening" is the darkness already modified by light.
Besides, on the first day God evidently calls forth the light only - but where? Certainly with reference to a particular scene, a place from which it was absent. In the second verse, no hint of any act of creation is to be found.The words "waste and desolate" imply ruin, not creation. We must go back to the first verse to find this last. But the moment we do this, we find what Scripture itself assures us cannot be connected with the ruin into which it afterward lapsed. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens, God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He bath established it, He created it not in vain" - not "tohu;" the very word translated in the second verse of this chapter as "without form." God did not, then, create the earth in the chaotic condition which the second verse describes. That is not a primitive state, but a lapse; and the six days work is a new fashioning - a bringing out of this state of universal ruin - universal, I mean, as regards the earth itself, and which is carefully distinguished from one affecting the heavens. "God created the heavens and the earth." "the earth," not the heavens, "was [or became] without form" or waste.
It is quite true that on the second day we find the firmament made, and called "heaven," but this is plainly a different "heaven" from the first spoken of. It is the heaven of the earth simply - the atmosphere, as to which we shall see more particularly when we come to it.The lapse is proved, then, a pre-existent state before the six days work began; and a state in which, according to Scripture itself, it had not been created. No apology is therefore due here from revelation to science. The Bible, whatever questions may be raised as to its chronology, does not assert that the earth is but six thousand years old; nor does any statement imply, on the other hand, the antiquity of man to be more than about six thousand.How long this state of ruin continued, how many changes the earth may have passed through before this waste and desolate condition came about, we have no knowledge of from Scripture. Science may come in and supply the void in whatever way it will. Scripture says nothing for or against; nor is it a failure on the part of revelation to leave a void. Its object is not science, but moral and spiritual dealing with the spirit of man.
The agents in the six days work are the Spirit and Word of God. "The Spirit of God moved [or brooded] upon the face of the waters; and God said." This language is anthropomorphic, if you will; we have spoken of that before. God, if He would gain mans ear, must use mans language. But the terms are simple enough as to their import. In the first place, it is no natural birth, this genesis. Just as the Spirit and Word unite in order to give life - true life to man individually, so the Spirit and Word unite here in order that there may be a renewal of the face of the earth. There is no energy of this kind inherent in matter. The evidence of science itself also is all the other way. There are plenty of signs of wearing out - extinction of species, not origination of them. To produce a cosmos, a world of form and order, an organized whole, in which part should be fitted to part in proper harmony, there must be the working of mind. I do not dwell on this here, for at present we are only occupied with the Scripture statement, not with the scientific one.Scripture asserts, as plainly as possible, that if a state of ruin were "natural," the interference of God was necessary to bring out of the ruin.
Thus comes the first day and light. Observe how simple are the terms used. It does not say, God created the light, nor even "made" it. It does not speak of light as a substance in itself. "He said, Let there be light, and there was light." The words do not even show that the thing, "light," was first originated here. It is manifest only with reference to the scene before us. "Darkness was upon the face of the deep" - locally there. Every thing through the universe was not necessarily in darkness when God said, "Let there be light." Thus there is no ground whatever for the assertion that Scripture would confine the being of light to six thousand years or so. It makes no such statement. the light clears up the darkness which was upon the face of the deep'. This may seem with some to lower the statement. They have been accustomed to attach to the words the idea of a primal creation of what was brought into being this first day.But whatever our thought may be, Scripture must bejudged by its own statement.
This light is of course without the sun. It is no partial breaking through of what, in its source, was hidden; it is not sunshine. the sun, if not created, is certainly "made," on the fourth day. Light, apart from sunlight, on this first day of the week, is plainly asserted. However Unscientific he may have been, Moses - if no higher - stands responsible for this statement; and if it be no higher, it is strange that even a "Hebrew Descartes" should have made a needless difficulty in this manner. To the nations of antiquity, light would seem much more inseparable from the sun than the discoveries of science will allow us now to believe; and there can be conceived no reason for the idea that is here given, if from a human source only.Truth might require it to be stated, but only truth.
On the second day, the "firmament" is made, or the "expanse." The word, after all quibbling about it, simply means that. I need scarcely pause to explain what has been so often explained. People have imported into a very simple passage ideas which have, at least, been elsewhere gathered. There is nothing at all about any thing solid. It is that in which the "fowls fly." "The way of the eagle is in the heavens." The clouds are "the bottles of the heavens." Nay; "the heavens are stretched out as a curtain." This word, "curtain," being so called, as Gesenius remarks, from its tremulous motion. All this is simple language, easy to be understood. It is not the common man who would make any mistake about it. The birds do not fly in a solid vault; nor do winds blow in it,or the clouds belong to it. And these clouds - not any holes in a crystal sphere, or any timing of that kind - "drop" - according to the sacred writer and the common man alike - "drop and distill on man abundantly." The reservoir of the waters is therefore not, in Scripture, considered to be above the expanse, but in the expanse itself,and the clouds which float in the expanse.
Talking of the clouds, a remarkable witness to the science of Scripture has just come into my hands. There are two words for "fine dust," which are used in connection with the clouds. In Hebrew, abaq is, "small dust," such as is fine and light, easily driven by the wind; hence distinguished from gnaplar - thick, heavy dust. In Naham i. 3, we find, "The clouds are the dust of His feet." In the case of the other word, it is not a comparison merely, but the word for cloud itself. S1uichaq is, "dust, finely divided." It is used in Isaiah xl. 15 for the "small dust of the balance;" yet it is the word commonly used for "clouds," and also for sky. Is this any thing more than a figure of speech? One might have supposed not, but a recent discovery of science seems, however, to put it differently. Mr. J. Aitken - as quoted in a recent number of "Nature," in an article on "Dust, Fogs, and Clouds," - remarks, "These would seem to have but little connection with one another, and we might think they could be better treated of under two separate and distinct heads; yet I think we shall presently see that they are more closely connected than might at first appear, and that dust is the germ of which fogs and clouds are the developed phenomena." From experiments with filtered and common air, he deduces, - "First, that whenever water condenses in the atmosphere, it always does so on some solid nucleus. Secondly, that dust-particles in the air form the nucleus on which the vapour condenses.Thirdly, therefore, that if there was no dust, there would be no fogs, no clouds, no mists, and probably no rain; and that the supersaturated air would convert every object on the surface of the earth into a condensor, on which it would deposit itself." Also "it is suggested, and reasons are given for supposing, that the blue colour of the sky is due to this fine dust."
This is but by the way. As to the nature of the work on the second day, it is as plain as possible. The expanse that separates the waters from the waters is not even exactly the atmosphere itself. It is by the atmosphere, no doubt, that it is produced; but that is a different timing. The words give, in truth, a description of a fact, not of what causes the fact; and the waters above the expanse are but the clouds themselves. There is no hint, as strangely suggested by some, of watery bodies (such as Jupiter,etc.) being intended. The whole applies, not to occult matters of science, but to a simple and intelligible phenomenon, of immense import, however, to us.
The second day accomplishes a similar division between the land and the water. The waters under the heavens are gathered together in one place, and the dry land appears. Nothing is said here as to the elevation of thisland, much less as to the fashioning of the mountains. The thought is not mountains being raised, but of the water, one would rather say, subsiding. In the one hundred and fourth psalm, which has been called "The Psalm of Creation," the language, too, is similar - "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a mantle; the waters stood above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of Thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which Thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not passover, that they turn not again to cover the earth." Here, plainly, the mountains are already formed while yet the waters stand "above" them. the eighth verse has been taken rather to say that the mountains go up and the valleys go down, but this is against the plain sense of the passage. "The place which Thou hast founded fo them" is plainly the "one place" of the first of Genesis,and is the place for the waters, not for the valleys. The following verse, again, plainly applies to the waters, and not to the land. Thus the whole connection seems to show the application to be to the waters themselves. No attempt is made to explain by what agency this gathering of the waters is effected. The dry land appears, - that is all that is said about it; and this dry land God calls "earth," a fact which, as has been remarked by another, may well help to explain the difficulty that some seem to find in the earth having foundations. It is the dry land - "earth" in that sense - which has them, not the earth as a whole.
We now come to that which is more really a new production, - grass, herb, and fruit-tree springing out of this dry land. Again, if we look at the words, we shall find no scientific division, - no care for science, in fact, but abundant care for man. It is that which is conducive to his welfare that God is considering and speaking of; He is furnishing mans earth for him.
Distinctness of kinds, however, let us observe, is here asserted: the proper distinction of species. Let science overthrow it if it can. It is not the place, however, to discuss this; and the words are so simple, we may pass on.
On the fourth day, God furnishes the heavens with "luminaries." The word is perfectly distinct from that for "light," as on the first day. These luminaries are candlesticks, so to speak, to hold the light; and here, again, with direct reference to man, and for his blessing; not only to divide the day from the night, but to be for "signs and for seasons and for days and years." The mention of signs shows, of course, that man is in question. The seasons themselves may have reference to the animal creation, or even to the vegetable, but not the "signs," and we shall have to look at the importance of this on a future occasion. So they are for "luminaries in the expanse of heaven, to give light upon the earth." That is the great point. They may serve a multitude ofother uses. These are not denied, but they are not in question here. God has His eye on man. The two great lights, of course, have reference to him. The words are phenomenal again. No scientific measurement of distant orbs: they speak of what is plain to every common eye, and in the proportion of importance which, with regard to man, admits of no controversy. The moon, to us, is of infinitely more importance than Sirius.
"The stars also," appended to the account of the two great luminaries, is the only notice that we have with regard to the other heavenly bodies. They are introduced in a way which defines little. They are connected, evidently, with the preceding statement, as giving light upon the earth, along with the sun and moon. It is not said, even as to these, that they are now for the first time created. The sun is made a luminary at this time. Its body may have before existed - nay, may have given light before. Our knowledge of variable stars gives us more than a hint as to the extinction and lighting up again of such bodies. But at any rate, the sun is no more created on the fourth day than the earth upon the first; and the words translated "set them in the firmament of heaven" are, "gave them in the firmament of heaven," and that for a specific purpose - to give light upon the earth. If this be so as to sun and moon, still less is any creation of stars asserted here. The sentence, in fact, seems pur posely left vague, doing nothing more than connecting these small luminaries, as such, with the larger ones.
On the fifth day, however, we come, as already noticed, to what is strictly "creation." "The living soul" is introduced. The words literally translated are, "And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms - the living soul; and let the flier fly over the earth in the face of the expanse of the heavens; and God created the great sea-monsters, and every living soul that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged flier after its kind; and God saw that it was good." Thereis a still more precise statement in the thirtieth verse, to which we may here refer, in which it is stated, "As to every moving thing upon the earth, wherein is a livingsoul." Thus every animal, even to the lowest grade, is called "a living soul," and for this reason, that a soul is in it. It is characterized by its higher part. Bodily organization is one thing; it is very far from being the whole thing in this ease. Not merely is it a soul, but a soul is in it. In other words, the soul is not confounded with the body, but expressly distinguished from it. The soul, too, is definitely what lives; the body, of course, permeated by it, is alive also; but the source of its life is the soul. All Scripture shows this. The words for "soul," in the Hebrew and Greek, are the words for "life" also. Yet there are abundant passages which show that this is not merely what we call "vitality," but a life which is, in fact, dependent upon the presence of a soul. There are other uses of these words, (whether nephesh, as the Hebrew, or psuche, as the Greek,) derived from these. Into this I need not and cannot enter here. The Scripture is plain that the bodily organism is that which, distinct from it, animates and governs it.
Man, too, is a living soul, as the animal is; but man has a spirit also, as the beast has not. The distinction of these in Scripture furnishes the real key to that distinction between man and beast which is so puzzling the naturalist.To the spirit of man Scripture ascribes (1 Cor. ii. 11.) the knowledge of human things. Spirit and mind are thus far identical; while soul stands for what we ordinarily call (speaking figuratively, of course) the heart. But the soul is more than this. It is not only the seat of the affections; it is the seat also of the instincts and appetites of the body - things which are never referred to the spirit; while with the spirit, God connects Himself, as the "God of the spirits of all flesh," and the Father of spirits." To have said, The Father of souls, would have made Him Father of beasts also; but it is man who alone is made in His image, and is "His offspring." Angels are also spirits and Sons.
The beast has no God. It can have no knowledge of God; no real knowledge of itself. Reflection, moral judgment, conscience, have no place with it. Perfectly fitted for the sphere for which it is made, it exhibits a capacity within certain limits which may seem to outdo reason itself; but the very perfection of this shows its character. As there is no failure, so there is no improvement. The wasp lays up food for an offspring that it never sees, and can have no knowledge of. Reason in it would be unable to accomplishi this; but it is not a power higher therefore than reason, but lower. It is what we truly call instinct; and in spite of the poet, reason and instinct are very far asunder.
Man, too, has instincts, for he has a soul; but in him, these are subordinated to a higher purpose, and he is left to exercise the intelligence God has given him, and improve it by the exercise. The dependence of the psychical powers upon organization merely is very easily disproved. The brain of a baboon is far inferior to that of the higher apes; yet their so-called mental manifestations are exceedingly similar. The bees and the ants, of a comparatively low order of life, manifest surprising powers, which those of their own kind, somewhat higher in organization, cease to manifest. But it is, of course, impossible to enter into details upon this subject here. I have already said that when we come to the living soul,we find the use of the word which from the first verse on we have not found hitherto - the word, "creation." God created the heavens and the earth at the beginning; on the fifth day, He created the living soul. What is indicated by this is, that a new element of being was introduced here, as implied in thie word, "created." Of these creatures, again, there is no scientific classification. It is wholly impossible to gather such from the words, "The waters swarmed with swarms - the living soul." The flying creatures are not at all distinguished, as to whether birds or insects or what else. Nothing of this kind is needful to the completeness of a revelation such as Scripture gives us. The whole earth is Gods, and fiom God. On the other hand, it is for man, subordinated under his hand by God, as we shall find expressly stated presently.
For on the sixth day there is another "creation ;" as such, carefully confined to man, although upon that day the earth brings forth "the living soul after its kind, cattle and moving thing and wild beast of the earth after its kind." Of these it is said, God made them. But though He says, also, "Let Us make man," He adds to that, "in Our image, as Our likeness," and He terms it "Creation."
Here, therefore, the spirit of man, which God "formed within him, as the prophet says, is a new element introduced. God is a Spirit, and spirit alone is in the likeness of spirit. The words here are, as often remarked, really poetry - the first poetry of Scripture. It is as if Gods heart rejoiced over His new creature, as we know it did; we know that His delights are with the sons of men.Alas, for what this favoured creature - dropped out of knowledge and thought of all this love - has become!
Man, then, exclusively, is formed in the likeness of God upon earth ; and under him is subjected "all fish of the sea, and the flier of the heavens, and cattle, and all theearth" That he is to have them in subjection, implies, on his part, a control which shall keep them so. In point of fact, man, seduced by a beast, or what appeared such, vacated his place and lost it. He is now in a world of adverse influences, whichi Gods mercy indeed may and does temper to him : and where, of course, divine grace can make, for the objects of it, "all things work together for good ;" but where now Gods interference, so to speak, is necessary for this. The miracles, which man denies, are thus the necessary tokens of the grace which would deliver him from the fruit of his own way.
Let us notice yet, what has been so often noticed, the pains with which God would impress man with the sense of his importance to Him. He takes counsel as to mans creation; He says, "Let Us make man." And, when we come to the more detailed account of his creation in the second chapter, we find God breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, and thus man becomes a living soul. His body had been formed before. His organization was complete and perfect. It was that which coming from God, not from the ground, and by that actual inspiration which, however anthropomorphic the language may be, speaks surely of a more direct communication from Himself: - it was that by which he became a living soul. We have seen that the animals also are living souls, and man, it may be pleaded, is only on common ground with them. It does not follow indeed that the soul of man is just what the soul of the beast is ; and its connection in him with the spirit, which the beast has not, would alone go far to prove its higher nature. But a "living soul" he is. It is this which distinguishes him from the pure spiritual beings, winch Scripture shows us also as Gods creatures and His sons. Still, I repeat, it is by that which comes trom God in a way his body does not that he becomes this ; his life is higher than the beasts, and much more than the result of the superior bodily organization that is his. With this, then, we may close our preliminary examination of the scriptural statements, which I have separated as far as possible from questions called Scientific, in order that we may arrive at a simple and unprejudiced apprehension of what it is that we have to compare with, and test, if you please, by science. We need not fear the result of testing. The pure gold will stand the refiners fire and, show no dross.
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