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confirmation of Plutonism.1 It is clear that in the three statements made in the second verse—" And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters "—there is no intention of describing two or three consecutive conditions, but one condition of the earth, the condition of a(iop<f>o<i v\r), in contrast to the order and the form which was brought about by the work of the six days.
We therefore maintain that Genesis and the Bible generally only say that in the most ancient times water once formed the surface of the earth. No geologist can object to this; for even the Plutonists admit, as we have seen, that at least the so-called stratified rocks were formed by watery deposits. On this point then geologists agree with each other, and with Moses. If some geologists affirm that there were, besides and before these Neptunian processes, other Plutonic processes of formation, while others assert that these also were Neptunian, and if therefore geologists themselves are at variance here, it is clear that this is just the point on which there can be no contradiction between the Bible and geology, because the Bible does not mention the subject. Genesis therefore need fear nothing whether Plutonism, or Neptunism, or yet a third system is victorious, for Genesis takes no part in the contest. The narrative begins at a time concerning which geologists agree, and it confines itself to subjects which even geologists consider to admit of no discussion.
1 Genesis, 3rd ed. p. 611. In the 4th ed. p. 529, he only says that the thohu wabohu leaves room for an igneous condition anterior to the fluid condition.
THE THEORIES AS TO THE FORMATION OF THE EARTH.
Geologists conclude from the following facts that the earth was originally in a fluid condition :—1. The form of the earth, apart from the unevennesses of the surface, is that of a figure resembling a ball, a spheroid flattened at the poles; 2. The polar diameter is two and four-fifths of a geographical mile shorter than the equatorial diameter; 3. It is believed that a fluid mass revolving round its own axis invariably assumes such a spheroidal shape. And, as I have shown in my last lecture, most geologists assume that the earth existed originally in a state of igneous fusion. Many, however, do not stop here, but think it likely that another nebulous or gaseous condition had preceded the fiery state; and some have even gone farther than this, and have supposed that our whole solar system could be traced back to such a nebulous, gaseous vapour. Kant first suggested this theory.1 Herschel, Laplace, and others have tried to support it scientifically. Before I inquire what, according to Biblical revelation, we should think of this theory, I must first
1 Kant developed this theory in his book, Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmds, as early as 1755. Herschel first discussed it in 1784 (in the Philosophical Transactions), and Laplace in 1796, (Exposition du syst'eme du monde). Pfaff, Die newisten Forschungcn, shortly explain the history of the earth according to it.1
The solar system was originally one enormous ball of gas. In this, through the concentration of substances, a centre was formed which became later a solid nucleus. To this some external force imparted a motion round its own axis, and by degrees the whole of the gaseous matter surrounding it took part in this motion, so that the whole ball of gas rotated round itself. This motion, which was at first slow, grew quicker and quicker in consequence of the increasing density of the mass and the accompanying diminution of its volume; the form of the ball of gas became more and more spheroidal and lentiform, because the centrifugal force increased with the quicker motion. In consequence of the increasing density of the whole, and of the greater tendency in the outside parts to fly off from the centre, it was inevitable that at some period the centrifugal force should prevail over the centripetal, and that a ringshaped part should be separated from the whole. Later on, this girdle or ring was broken by disturbances which took place in it, it was torn in one or in several places, and rolled itself up into as many balls, which now retained their separate existence. The result of this was either to form one new large spheroid with a double motion, a revolution round its own axis and a revolution round the original gaseous ball, or a number of small spheroids, which rolled on with the same double movement at about an equal distance from the centre. I may say here that in the first way were
1 Burmeister, Gesch. der Schopfung. p. 123 seq., also Noggeratk, Gn. Natunriss. iii. 312 seq.
formed the larger planets, and in the second the asteroids. This process by which rings were thrown off and were formed into separate balls was repeated several times, till the central body had become so small that it could throw off no more rings. And so at last the relation between the central sun and the surrounding planets was established for ever, and the solar system was in this sense complete. But meanwhile the planets had gone through new stages of development. They also showed a tendency to throw off rings. Separate rings were formed which shaped themselves into balls, and became the moons revolving round the planets. The smaller planets did not form rings, while the larger threw off several, of which perhaps some have not yet rolled themselves up into balls, as the double ring of Saturn seems to show.
Let us now turn to the history of the earth in particular. When it had become a separate body, the numerous elementary substances of which it still consists were mingled with each other in the form of vapour in the same proportions as those in which they are actually the constituent elements of the earth. The heaviest metals first separated from the gaseous compound, and formed a solid or a fluid nucleus, which grew larger by degrees through the gradual attraction of similar parts. In the further stages which gradually came about, the earth was a ball of igneous fluid surrounded by an atmosphere, which, however, contained many more substances than ours, water, chlorides, sulphur, and other substances being then only present in a vapourous or gaseous condition. The temperature in space is very low, and it therefore had a cooling effect on the hot ball of the earth. The steam in the upper regions of the atmosphere cooled, and was precipitated on to the hot earth. The water which had thus become fluid was again heated with the other substances which it contained, at first probably before it reached the earth; it was changed into steam and again ascended. This process must have been often repeated. But at last the surface of the ball cooled in consequence of the continued diminution of heat, and the first solid crust was formed out of the molten masses of the earths, alkalis, and metals. The nucleus of the earth cooled continually, and contracted more and more. Vacant spaces were formed in the solid crust, as this had become too large for its contents, and the rocks which lay above these spaces sank in places and became crumpled on the surface, forming splits and cracks. The sunken masses pressed on the fiery core, molten rocks forced their way to the surface through the cracks and fissures; they partially raised the masses of the solid crust, and cemented these schistous masses together in more or less inclined positions. In the places where no disruptions occurred, the schistous rocks became thicker and thicker. The masses which had forced themselves between the portions of the crust, and which had cooled there, formed with these the first mountains and mountain-ranges, which probably were of no great height. After many of these disruptions and cementings. the crust of the earth, which from the continual cooling of the interior had become much thicker, at last obtained a certain amount of firmness; the disruptions occurred more seldom, and