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the good of man, or may form a necessary link in the chain of evolutions, through which God brought the earth to the condition in which it was fitted to be man's dwelling-place.1 The progress of geological inquiry will no doubt show us more and more plainly, that there is a system in the geological developments, that a wise Being has sometimes by creating, sometimes by destroying, worked knowingly for a distinct object, and according to a fixed and clear, although complicated plan. No doubt God could have created any quantity of coal out of nothing, and He could have called forth the earth from nothingness, in the condition in which it was on the day when the first man was created on it. Revelation teaches us that He did not do this. If we read the Bible without any reference to the results of scientific inquiry, and if we take its account quite literally, we find that God did not create the earth in its completed form in one moment,
1 "We have seen that the infusoria lived and died in countless myriads, and furnished the tripoli and the opal; that-river snails and sea shells elaborated the marble for our temples and palaces, and polyparia, the limestone of which our edifices are constructed; and that grass, herb, and tree have been converted either into materials to enrich the soil, or into a mineral which should serve as fuel in future ages when such a substance became indispensable to the necessities and luxuries of civi^ lised man. Thus it is that geology has thrown a new interest around every grain of sand and every blade of grass; and that the pebble rejected by the moralist and the divine, becomes, in the hand of the philosopher, a striking proof of infinite wisdom. But ought we to rest content in the assumption that all these wonderful manifestations of creative intelligence were solely designed to contribute to our physical necessities and gratifications? Say rather that this display of beauty, power, and goodness was designed to fill the soul with high and holy thoughts,—to call forth the exercise of our reasoning powers,—to excite in us those ardent and lofty aspirations after truth and knowledge which elevate the mind above the sordid and petty concerns of life, and give us a foretaste of that high destiny which we are instructed to hope may be our portion hereafter."—G. Mantell, Wonders of (Jeology, pp. 676 and 677.
but fashioned it, in six clays, out of the chaotic condition in which He had created it. Therefore, from the Biblical point of view, we must admit that it is not unworthy of the Divine Being to choose the way of gradual formation instead of that of immediate creation; and the questions, why did God work in this way, and how did He thereby manifest His wisdom and might, were problems discussed even by the Fathers. They are merely modified, if, in consequence of the results of scientific inquiry, we consider the six days, together with the period of chaos, as a long period, and include the geological developments in the Mosaic record.
By this means a new and wide field is opened out to philosophical and theological speculation, and a new and grateful task is before us. In one of his lectures, Cardinal Wiseman shows very beautifully how the Church has pressed into her service the great spiritual developments of the different centuries, and how, without any change in her own being, she has disjilayed a wonderful understanding and appreciation of the intellectual tendencies of the separate centuries. But as in other ages philosophy, art, and classical literature were prominent in the intellectual life, so in our age, says the Cardinal, scientific inquiry might be pointed out as the characteristic tendency, and therefore it is unavoidable that this new phase of human endeavour should also leave an evident impression on the Church.1 We are now on the threshold of this new development of science. Nature in its details and in its con
1 Essays on Religion and Literature, by various Writers, ed. by H. E. Manning, London 1865, p. 7.
nection, in its phenomena and its laws, has never been known at any time as it is in this century. It was only in our century that an effort could be made "to comprehend the manifold phenomena of the Cosmos in the form of a rational whole,"1 and the author of the Cosmos who has made this effort, is modest enough to lay stress on the fact that only part of the problem is solved.8 Still less can we look at present for a complete solution of the higher problem, that of comprehending the manifold phenomena of the Cosmos as a divinely connected whole.
A humbler but a more urgent task is before theologians, that of proving that no contradiction exists between the teaching of the Book of Nature and the teaching of the Book of Revelation. It is to this task that I must confine myself in these lectures.
1 Humboldt, Cosmos, i. 65. 1 Ibid. p. 68.
THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE PRIMAEVAL AND THE PRESENT WORLD. THE DILUVIUM.
The sharp distinction between the primaeval and the present world is connected with the theory discussed in my 17th lecture, namely, that immediately before the creation of man, and of the vegetable and animal world which surrounded him, the earlier form of the earth with its organisms was destroyed by a geological catastrophe. According to the theories developed in my last two lectures, it cannot be supposed that such a clear distinction existed; but the expression "primaeval world" may be used in these theories to denote the periods in the world's history which elapsed before the creation of man. There are many reasons, as you will see in the course of my lecture, which will compel me to discuss at what point in the history of the world as it is described by geologists and palasontologists, the primaeval world ceases, and the present world, or recent period, begins. The geological formations wdiich certainly belong to the historical period, and are continuing now, e.g. the deltas of rivers, coral islands, peat mosses, and such like, must no doubt belong to the latter; while the formations which are ascribed to the Azoic, Palaeozoic, and Mezozoic periods must no less undoubtedly belong to the primaeval world.1 The period in which we must undertake to draw the boundary line between the primaeval and the present world is the Cainozoic or Tertiary period.2 Does the beginning of the recent period, or the first appearance of man, occur before the beginning, or after the close of the Cainozoic period, or during this period? The last would be possible, because the Cainozoic period, like the other periods, includes not only one formation, but a whole series of superimposed strata There are difficulties in the way of minutely defining the boundaries of these strata, and the determination of the boundary between the highest Cainozoic stratum and the lowest recent stratum is especially difficult. It is therefore always possible that formations which are usually ascribed to the Cainozoic period, that is, to the period before man, really belong to the recent period, that is, to the age of man. Geologists say that it is much more difficult to define the limits, to divide and to ascertain the order of the Cainozoic formations, than those of any other period.
Lyell, who has many followers, distinguishes four sub-divisions in this period, to which he gives rather strange names. He calls the oldest strata of the Cainozoic period the eocene, from ^a><s and xaiv6<;, thus answering to the dawn of a new period; the two following subdivisions he calls miocene and pliocene, from fieiov and irXelov and xot,,°?> that is, less and more recent. The most recent strata he formerly called pleistocene, that is, the most recent. In his later writings, instead of the last name he makes use of the denomination post
1 See above, p. 283. 1 See above, p. 312.