« AnteriorContinua »
for a long time previous to the bringing in of the layer of mud, was the abode of hyenas, which dragged in thither the bones of other animals for their food. Secondly, that the mud was introduced by some general food, and not by local inundations. Thirdly, that since the introduction of the mud, a considerably long period must have elapsed during which the upper layer of stalagmite was formed. Fourthly, that numerous tropical animals inhabited England at the period immediately preceding this inundation. Fifthly, that these became extinct at that time. By examining other similar caves and fissures in England and on the continent, he was able to add, Sixthly, that the period of the introduction of the mud corresponded with the epoch at which diluvium was deposited all over the world; and, Seventhly, that man did not probably exist in Europe previous to that period; since none of his remains have been found there in diluvium ; though more recently some of the French geologists have maintained that human remains occur in such circumstances as to indicate that man must have been contemporary with elephants, hyenas, etc. But Dr. Buckland, in his recent Bridgewater Treatise, still maintains that “no conclusion is more fully established than the important fact of the total absence of any vestiges of the human species throughout the entire series of geological formations."'*
Finally, it was inferred from the facts respecting the caverns and fissures, that the sea and land did not change places at the last deluge; that is, the antediluvian continents did not then sink down, and the post-diluvian continents rise, as has been frequently imagined.
These conclusions, we are aware, have been assailed from all quarters; and we observe that not many geological writers seem now disposed to admit them in their full extent. Perhaps, indeed, Dr. Buckland made some inferences which the facts more thoroughly understood will not justify. And he also attempted to identify the deluge that filled the caverns and fissures with that of Noah; a point which he has himself since abandoned. But viewing the facts as indicative of a deluge, and not of the Mosaic deluge, we have never seen any refutation of the general conclusions that we have stated above. Indeed, they correspond well with similar facts taught by other parts of geology, and a presumption is thereby created in favor of their truth. Taken independently of the other phenomena of diluvium, which we have detailed, we doubt whether this antediluvian charnel house could have given us so clear an insight into the early history of our globe. Nor has Dr. Buckland attempted to separate the two classes of phenomena ; and until we meet with stronger objections than any we have yet seen, we must regard his history of the contents of caves and fissures as an interesting branch of diluvial agency on the globe.
* Bridgewater Treatise, Vol. I. p. 103. London, 1836.
We have thus endeavored to present a somewhat extended view of the argument furnished by geology, and derived chiefly from our own country in proof of an extensive if not universal deluge in comparatively modern times. We freely confess that we cannot explain the phenomena in any other way, than by admitting the occurrence of such a catastrophe. But we have no disposition to be dogmatical on the subject; and we have endeavored to show that the denial of any such deluge does not bring us at all into collision with the inspired history. But admitting such a deluge, is it, or is it not identical with that described by Moses? On this point we shall be still less disposed to dogmatize. Yet we will present our readers with the arguments in favor of their identity, as well as with those opposed
In the first place, the deluges of geology and of Scripture agree in being comparatively recent. We know the date of the latter; but though geology has left on imperishable monuments the traces of many distinct epochs, it tells us of few chronological dates. Hence we can only compare the diluvial epoch with those that preceded it. And with the exception of the modern epoch, that is the commencement of the deposition of alluvium, the time when diluvium was deposited was the last of these epochs. It might indeed have been earlier than the date of Noah's deluge: yet we have in another place presented arguments to prove that it could not have been excessively remote. And until it can be proved that it was more remote than the flood described by Moses, why should he give it a gratuitous antiquity that we might not identify it with the latter ? True philosophy, it seems to us, ought to regard them as synchronous until very strong evidence be presented to the contrary.
Secondly, the two deluges agree together in being of great extent. We do not say, in being universal, because it may be doubted and often has been, in regard to each of them, whether they were so. We think we have shown that the geological deluge extended over a large part of the northern hemisphere : but the tropical and southern parts of the globe have not had their diluvial phenomena examined with care enough to enable us to decide whether this deluge extended so far. Yet from the powerful waves produced at a great distance by earthquakes beneath the ocean, it is difficult to conceive how a torrent of water should rush over the northern hemisphere, or even over the northern parts of America, without inundating by its direct or reflex action all other parts of the globe. We prefer, however, to speak of the last geological deluge as being extensive, rather than universal, until direct evidence be furnished of its being coëxtensive with the globe.
As to the extent of the Noachian deluge, the language of Scripture seems at first view to be very decided : And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth ; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Alike universal are the terms employed repeatedly to denote the destruction of animals upon the earth : And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. In spite of these strong expressions, not a few able writers have understood them as simply universal terms with a limited meaning. Of such cases numerous examples might be quoted in the sacred records. Thus, in Gen. 41: 57, it is said, that all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn, because that the famine was sore in all lands. Here we have reason to suppose that only the well known countries around Egypt are meant. Again, 1 Kings 10: 24: And all the earth sought to Solomon to hear his wisdom: that is, doubtless, his fame was very extensive, and many sought to him, but not literally the whole earth. We have also a case in point in Deut. 2: 25: This day I will begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heavens, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee. An analogous case is that of the animals shown to Peter in vision, let down in " a certain vessel,” wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts and creeping things, and fowls of the air, (Acts 10: 12.) Who will imagine that all the quadrupeds, reptiles, and birds on the globe, were here shown to the apostle? Is it not clear that this is an example of the principle stated by Aristotle: to yao návres avτι πολλοί κατα μεταφοράν είρηται, « all is said metaphorically for many ?” We might quote here the declaration of Paul to the Colossians (Col. 1: 23) wherein he speaks of the Gospel which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. No one can suppose that the apostle meant that the Gospel had in that day been literally preached to every creature under heaven: for every reader must have known the contrary to be true. But it had been preached very extensively; and thus would
every reader understand it ; so conformable was the mode of expression to the idiom of the Bible, and indeed of all languages. “ The Jews,” says Michaelis, “ have well observed, that »b, all, every, is not to be understood, on all occasions, with the mathematical sense of all; because, it is also used to signify many." The same is true of the Greek nās, the Latin omnis, the English all, etc. Even in the description of the food in Genesis there is one of these universal terms employed, whose meaning we are obliged to limit. It was commanded to Noah — of every living thing of all flesh, pairs of every sort, shalt thou bring into the ark to keep them alive. Here we must limit the term all flesh, to such animals as needed a shelter from the cataclysm. Most writers on the Scriptures are now willing to admit that not even pairs of all the land animals, amounting it is now well known to several hundred thousand, were collected from every part of the earth into the ark. Even Granville Penn, in his severe strictures upon geology, as he understands it, or rather as he misunderstands it, takes this ground. But the younger Rosenmüller very justly contends, that if the universality in respect to the animals saved in the ark be given up, so must the universality in respect to its extent: that is, if we may limit the terms in the one case, we may in the other.
Such has been the conclusion of many able commentators. “ It is evident,” says bishop Stillingfleet,“ that the flood was universal as to mankind; but from thence follows no necessity at all of asserting the universality of it as to the globe of the earth, unless it be sufficiently proved that the whole earth was peopled before the flood." (Orig. Sacr. Book 3. chap. 4.) « Consentiunt quidem omnes,” says Le Clerc,“ diluvium universale fuisse, quatenus totum orbem habitatum oppressit, universumque humanum genus, exemptâ Noachi familiâ, eo interiit
. At alii volunt totum telluris globum aquis obrutum fuisse, quod alii negant. “Non putandum est,” says Poole in his Synopsis, “ totum terrae globum aquis tectum fuisse.
Quid opus erat illas mergere terras, ubi homines non erant ? Licet ergo credamus ne centissimam quidem orbis partem aquis fuisse obrutam, erit nihilominus diluvium universale, quia clades totum orbem oppressit.
“ Num diluvium totum terrarum orbem inundavit," says Dathe, “an regiones tantum eo tempore habitatas dissentiunt interpretes. Ego quidem facio cum his, qui posterioram sententiam defendunt— Vocabulum omnis, non probat inundationem fuisse universalem. Constet multis in locis s intelligendum esse tantum de re, sive loco de quo agitur, Cap. 2: 19, 20. Ezek. 31:6. Igitur omnia animalia, in navem intromissa sunt earum regionum, quae aquis inundandae. Sic quoque de montibus sentiendum est, quos aquae superaverunt."'*
We doubt, therefore, whether the language of Moses requires us to admit that he meant to impute an universality to the deluge coextensive with the earth. But if it be a fact that the ark did rest upon the summit of the present mount Ararat, in Armenia, and that the waters rose fifteen cubits above that level, we can hardly conceive it possible that so mighty a wave should not sweep over the whole globe, either in its flux or reflux. For according to the recent observations of professor Parrot, that mountain is 15,219 English feet above the ocean. There are two suggestions, however, that may throw some doubt over this conclusion. Some authors do not think it certain that the present mount Ararat is the Ararat (77%) on which the ark rested. “The stream of interpreters," says Mr. Kirby, " ancient and modern, place this mountain in Armenia ; but Shuckford, after Sir Walter Raleigh, seems to think that Ararat was further to the east and belonged to the great range anciently called Caucasus and Imaus, which terminates in the Himmaleh mountains to the north of India. This opinion seems to receive some confirmation from Scripture, for it is said, as they journeyed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. Now the Armenian Ararat is to the north of Babylonia, whereas the Indian is to the east.”+ Mr. Kirby quotes also the tradition prevalent in India that the ark was moored at first to the Himmaleh, and he considers its superior height as corresponding better than that of Ararat with the long period of ten weeks that intervened after the ark first rested, before the tops of other
* Pentateuchus a Dathio, p. 63. | Bridgewater Treatise, p. 25. Philad. 1836.