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world was quite new, and nests and shells had never been inhabited."
Of course this is fantastic ;? but we are only giving utterance to sober truth when we say that human empirical inquiry can only draw conclusions from analogy, but that the series of conclusions must be interrupted somewhere. Unless the man of science starts from the belief in the eternity of matter, he must admit that matter in some form came into existence through the creative will of God. If the geologist were to pursue his argument from analogy, he would derive this first form of existence from another still earlier one, for it would probably bear signs of a previous form of being, and yet it had no previous existence except in the thought of God.
Let us go a little farther still. If any one who was unacquainted with modern discoveries were shown a photograph which represented a great many figures, and he were asked how long he thought the artist had worked at the picture, which in spite of its small size was so strikingly like, he would certainly suppose that it had taken some weeks or months, and yet it is the work of a few minutes. When a geologist contemplates the granite mountains in the belief that they are the result of the gradual cooling and hardening of fluid matter, he will conclude that at least several hundred thousand years have passed during the process, if their formation is to be explained by any known natural laws. But is it impossible that God's omnipotence should have created in a moment that which, according to the present condition of things, would have required so long a time to come into being ?
· Génie du Christianisme, p. 1. 1. 4, ch. 5.
3 “However far we go back in the Becoming, even if to the nebulæ, we must always start from a Being. The whole difference consists in this, that the bolder man starts from an earlier, the less bold man from a later condition." G. Bischof, Lehrb. 1st ed. ii. p. 12. Cf. Lotze's observation above, p. 240, note 2.
• Schubert, Weltgebände, p. 565. Cf. Delitzsch, Genesis, p. 87. Moses says, Ps. xc. 4, that a thousand years are as one day for God; but it is not the less true, as S. Peter says, that one day is for Him as a thousand years; that is, He can bring forth in one day what would naturally seem to require a thousand years.
In this way, as I have said, those who support the literal interpretation of the six days may reconcile their view with the geological theories of the earth's formation. Those who hold any of the other views, in which the time which elapsed between the beginning of God's creative activity and the creation of man, is not limited to a period of six days of twenty-four hours each, but is left uncertain, although they may not perhaps accept these geological theories, and acknowledge their truth, --for that is not the business of the theologian,-may yet fearlessly leave them to be discussed by men of science, and need only show how the details of these theories can be brought into harmony with the Mosaic narrative of the creation. But before I proceed to this, we must examine more closely those portions of the earth's crust which are believed by geologists to have been formed at later periods of the earth's history; and especially the so-called stratified rocks, in which we find the remains of organic beings, of plants and animals; and which therefore we must conclude did not exist in their present situation and condition from the beginning, but were formed when the organic creation was already in existence. No doubt, as geologists themselves maintain,' these stratified formations are not new productions, in the sense that they were added from outside to the parts of the earth which already existed; they have existed as portions of the earth ever since the beginning of the creation, but in different places, and sometimes under different forms, and have only been displaced and transformed by various agents, of which water was one of the principal. Lime, sand, clay, etc., were carried by water from one place to another just as they are now ; many minerals were dissolved in water, and were then deposited in various places and in various combinations, when they again hardened. The bulk of the earth has therefore not increased, nor has its crust become thicker on the whole by the formation of these strata, but there has been a removal of matter from one place to another, and a partial transformation of the same from one condition to another.
At this period of the earth's history, for which geologists rightly claim a greater amount of certainty than for the "mythical period,” with which we have been occupied to-day,' that science, which is a branch of geology and a help to it, and which, under the name of Paleontology, has been cultivated in our day with special zeal and success, comes into prominence. : . i Burmeister, Gesch. der Schöpfung. p. 271.
2 See above, p. 247, note 3.
The name of Fossils is given to those organic bodies of animals and plants, or to separate portions of them, which are found buried in the strata of the earth's crust, generally in a more or less altered condition." The name Petrifactions, which was formerly in use, does not apply to those organic bodies which have been preserved entire, with the original proportions of their elementary parts, such as the insects and parts of plants which we find enclosed in amber or rock-salt, and the bodies of mammoths, which have been dug out of the ice in Siberia in a perfectly undecayed condition. But these cases are rare; generally the softer parts of the bodies of the animals and plants which were enclosed in the hardening masses of the strata were dissolved or destroyed, or else they decayed, and as a rule only the firmer and harder portions of the organisms have been well preserved; especially the stems, branches, and hard fruits of plants; the bones, scales, teeth, horns, and shells of animals.
i The following observations are principally taken from Nöggerath, Ges. Naturwiss, iii. p. 166 ; and Leonhard, Geol. i. p. 342. Fraas, Vor der SündAuth, p. 56. Cf. Zittel, Aus der Urzeit, and his treatise, “Beitrage zur Geschichte der Palaontologie,” in the Historischer Taschenbuch, 5 Jahrg. (1875) pp. 139–180.
• Bulletin de l'Académie de St. Petersbourg, xvi. 147.
Many organic bodies, especially those of plants, have become carbonized, and changed into peat or coal. Others, especially the bodies of animals, have been lixiviated and disintegrated; that is, they have lost their gelatinous and other animal substances by gradual destruction and lixiviation, and in this altered and calcined state their colour, hardness, and weight have more or less disappeared. Other organic bodies again have been covered or surrounded, or encrusted as it is technically called, by mineral substances, as, for instance, calcareous tufa, which were originally fluid, and then hardened. But the real petrifaction occurs when an organic body is entirely changed into a mineral substance and still retains its original form. The solid parts of an organic body are, as is well known, porous ; the pores are filled up by the minerals which are dissolved in water, and the substance of the organic body is by degrees chemically removed; the mineral substance replaces it, and gradually hardens ; so that at last the organic substances have made way for mineral substances without producing any important change in the original form.
Sometimes an organic body, which after being entirely dissolved has been washed away and has disappeared, has left the impression of its outward form on the surrounding mineral rocks. Stems of trees, for instance, enclosed in some rock, have decayed in this manner, and their component parts have been entirely carried away; in their place a hollow space has been left, which has been filled up by some mineral substance, and this has taken the form of the original tree.
1 “Some years ago I had to make an inquiry into the nature of some