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INTRODUCTION.

The accounts of the creation, the earliest history of the world which we find in the first chapters of the Bible, and the relation which these short ancient narratives bear to the results of man's investigations into the realm of nature, have, as is well known, caused manifold discussions in this century, and have called forth an almost boundless literature. This is very easily explained. Even if the student of nature disregards or even denies the supernatural character of the Bible, and would treat it like any other human book, he cannot well ignore its narratives. They are at all events the earliest notices of this sort that he can find, and their whole form, their precision and tone of certainty, their shortness and primitive style, oblige him to consider in what relation his conclusions stand to the accounts given by the earliest writers of one of the earliest literatures. These questions become of far greater importance as soon as they are looked at from the theological point of view. In the Christian Church the Bible has always been regarded as a book written with divine assistance, and its contents should be held to be true by all who recognise it as such. And therefore the question, how far the statements of the Bible agree with what are believed to be the incontestable truths and facts discovered by natural science, becomes a vital one. The ordinary Christian may perhaps be able to rest content without comparing the two, he may hold fast simply and in faith to the teaching and narratives of the Bible, and will not suffer himself to be shaken in this belief by all the objections of human science; but such a resolution would be sinful in the theologian, and blameworthy in any one who wishes to be considered an educated person.

It is impossible for theology to maintain her rank as queen among the sciences, if she proudly or timidly isolates herself. She may still indeed keep her royal rank, but what avails a royalty which is acknowledged by no subject % The commentator must take into consideration every new discovery in the province of Hebrew, Greek and Latin philology, and every newlydiscovered codex of any Biblical book; the Church historian, theologian, and historian of dogma must notice and make use of every discovery in the sphere of patristic learning, every newly-discovered historical or patristic document, and every improved edition of any of the Fathers; speculative dogma must follow .the development of philosophy, and either use or reject the propositions advanced by philosophers. In the same way the theologian when writing on the doctrine of the creation, and the earliest history of created things, and the exegete in interpreting Genesis, must reckon with the conclusions which science has won, or believes it has won, by observations and discoveries in the sphere of the creation.

And it is especially in interpreting Holy Writ that the theologian can no longer avoid

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