Imatges de pÓgina
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mountains were seen. These arguments are not perhaps suffi-
cient to overweigh the almost universal testimony of antiquity;
yet they are not without weight. We venture to make another
suggestion. Is it certain that the ark rested upon the highest
summit of Ararat? The language of Moses does not surely
teach that such was the fact; for he merely states that the ark
rested upon the mountains of Ararat, or Armenia (-778 179,
Gen. 8: 4). And we might presume that the place of de-
scent would be chosen by God in a convenient spot for reach-
ing the plain below; whereas the summit of Ararat is so diffi-
cult of ascent, that not until A. D., 1829, did man
ceed in setting his foot upon it. So that nothing but a mir-
acle could have enabled the men and animals preserved in the
ark to descend in safety. We confess that the point where the
ark rested must have been very elevated, because we find it to
have been ten weeks afterwards before the tops of other moun-
tains began to appear, although the waters were continually de-
creasing.

If we mistake not, then, the deluges of Scripture and of geology, may, or may not, have been universal, in consistency with the language of the sacred history, and with the facts of science as they are at present understood. They agree, therefore, in having been very extensive, if not universal. And in view of such proofs of their identity, it should require decisive evidence to the contrary to disjoin them. The following are the principal objections to this identity.

1. The great preponderance of extinct species of organic beings in diluvium. Some of these species appear to have existed through several geological periods anterior to the diluvial epoch. Now it is known that the more unlike existing animals and plants are to the remains of those in a particular formation, the more ancient do we conclude that formation to be. On the same principle, the presumption is rather in favor of placing the last aqueous catastrophe which geology describes at a period earlier than man's creation.

2. No human remains are found in diluvium. If man had existed and in great numbers, there seems no reason why his remains should not occur along with those of other animals. There is no way to avoid this conclusion but by supposing the antediluvians to have been limited to central Asia, whose diluvium has been as yet little explored.

3. The period occupied by the Mosaic deluge was too short

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to have produced the diluvial phenomena which geology exhibits. We confess we have been deeply impressed with this objection, when witnessing the powerful denuding effects of the the last geological cataclysm. It is not merely the vast accumulations of diluvium, nor the smoothed and furrowed aspect of the hardest rocks, that have seemed to demand more time than the year of the Noachian deluge ; but the scooping out of vallies, and that too of considerable depth, and in solid rock. True, there are distinct marks of a power and violence in the diluvian waters of which we see no examples at present in aqueous currents ; and we feel at a loss to determine how much more rapidly this unknown increase of power might have accomplished the work of denudation. We ought to recollect too, that when we look upon a valley through which a powerful current of water has rushed, we are not generally able to determine whether that current has formed the whole valley, or only given it its last form. Another circumstance, also, has struck us as indicating that even the geological deluge did not occupy an immense period. Along the rocky banks of existing rivers, we have almost always found more or less of those excavations in the rocks called pot holes, produced by the long continued gyratory motion of pebbles in a cavity. But distinct as are the marks of the diluvial waters, we never saw any of these peculiar excavations. And we cannot but impute their non-existence to the want of sufficient time during the cataclysm.

Upon the whole, the arguments against the identity of the two deluges appear to us rather to preponderate. “This important point, however,” to use the language of Dr. Buckland, “cannot be considered as completely settled, till more detailed investigations of the newest members of the Pliocene, and of the diluvial and alluvial formations shall have taken place."* We feel no great anxiety how this question is settled, as to its bearing upon revelation. But examined in the true spirit of the Baconian philosophy, it seems to us that there is quite too much evidence of the identity of the two deluges, and quite too much ignorance of the whole subject of diluvium yet remaining, to permit an impartial geologist to decide peremptorily, as some have done, that they could not have been contemporaneous. We rather prefer that state of mind in which the judgment remains undecided, waiting for further light. Meanwhile it is

Bridgewater Treatise, p. 95. Vol. I. London, 1836. VOL. XI. No. 29.

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sufficient, so far as revelation is concerned, to have shown that no presumption is derived from geology against the truth of Moses's history of the deluge ; but rather a presumption in its favor even on the most unfavorable supposition.

3. We now proceed, as the third general branch of our subject, to consider the most important objections derived from geology and natural history, against the truth of the Mosaic history of the deluge.

Not many years since, it was thought by the skeptical, that civil history furnished many facts inconsistent with the recent date of the Noachian deluge. The archives and traditions of Assyria, Egypt, and China, the Hindoo astronomical tables, and the Zodiacs of Denderah and Esneh, were mustered for battle with the Bible. The shout of victory, on the part of infidelity, rung loudly before the tug of the war had come. And it was not so much Christians who stood up in defence of the Bible, as it was men, who with little regard for the Scriptures, were yet friends to fair examination. Before the magic scrutiny of such minds, the hoary aspect of these vaunted relics disappeared, and strong confirmation of the Mosaic chronology was the result. So that it is no longer necessary to go into a labored refutation of the extravagant chronologies of semi-barbarous nations, nor of their supposititious astronomical epochs.* Many of the objections to the Mosaic chronology, derived from science, also, now that the subjects are better understood, have ceased to be adduced by intelligent infidels; but we must briefly refer to some, which, by those not thoroughly acquainted with science, are still occasionally adduced in opposition to the authority of Moses.

1. It has been thought that certain natural processes now going on, must have had an earlier commencement than the date of the Noachian deluge.

hardly necessary here to refer to the seven lava beds, said to exist around Mount Etna, with a rich stratum of soil, or decomposed lava, between each of them; and each of which it was supposed must have demanded at least 2000 years for its formation and decomposition. For it now appears that the supposed decomposed surface is nothing but a ferruginous tufa,

* By far the best view of these subjects which we have seen is contained in the interesting Lectures of Dr. Wiseman on the Connec. tion between Science and Revelation, recently republished at Andover.

which is often produced at the beginning or end of a volcanje eruption ; and, therefore, these successive beds of lava might have been produced in as many years.

The gorge or ravine, 200 feet deep and seven miles long, between Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario, has long been thought to require an immense period for its excavation; at least 10,000 years. Admitting this to be true, we do not see how it clashes with the chronology of Moses, according to the view which most christian geologists take of the creation of the world. For why may not that excavation have commenced anterior to the deluge ; nay, before the six days of creation ? Nearly all real geologists now believe that our continents remain essentially the same as they were before the deluge ; so that antediluvian processes of excavation might have been resumed in the postdiluvian period. But there is another and probably a better mode of meeting this difficulty. Prof. Rogers, as we have seen, (p.346, No. 28,) supposes that the trough below the falls may have been commenced by diluvial agency; and that the waters of the lake have only modified it and are slowly extending it southerly. The fact that this trough lies in a north and south direction favors this suggestion, made as it is by a cautious and able geologist ; and whoever is familiar with diluvial phenomena, will see at once that it is extremely probable. According to this theory all calculations made from the present rate of retrocession of the falls, will give us no correct results as to the time when the process began, because we do not know at what point the abrading process began.

2. Another objection formerly urged with confidence, is, that it is mathematically impossible for the present oceans of the globe to be raised so as to cover its whole surface. This would require several additional oceans to be superimposed upon those now existing, and from whence could this immense additional quantity of water have proceeded; or if miraculously obtained, what has become of it ?

Some have replied, by considering the whole phenomena of the flood as miraculous. And a perusal of the scriptural narrative is apt to leave the impression on the mind that such was the case. But according to the present state of geological science, there is no need of resorting to a miracle to escape from this objection. For in the first place, we have endeavored to show that there is nothing in the Scripture account of the deluge that requires us to consider it universal, except so far as man הָלוֹךְ וָשׁוֹב and reflux of the diluvian Waters js referred to in the

dwelt on the globe. But secondly, the sudden elevation of a continent, or mountain chain, would raise such a wave, as in its flux and reflux, must overwhelm all the dry land, although all continents might not be submerged at the same moment.

We have sometimes been almost disposed to believe that this flux

? of Gen. 8: 3, and the niom? 77 of Gen. 8: 5, (literally, in going and returning and in going and decreasing) but we suppose that the Hebrew idiom will not allow that any thing more is included in these plırases than a continual decrease of the waters.

3. Some parts of the globe it is said exhibit no marks of diluvial agency. Chaubard, as already stated, (p. 351, No. 28,) declares that erratic blocks or bowlders are wanting in the Pyrenees, the Appenines, the Carpathian mountains, and the mountains of Bohemia ; and Mr. Lyell states that he did not find them in Sicily, nor in Italy, till he approached the foot of the Alps. Humboldt states, also, that there are no such fragments at the eastern foot of the equatorial Andes.* Mr. Lyell likewise represents the cones of extinct volcanoes in central France as showing no marks of erosion by water. These facts are not, however, adduced by these writers to disprove the occurrence of such a flood as Moses describes ; but some of them at least suppose that they show that catastrophe to have been local, not universal ; or that it was too quiet to leave any permanent traces of its existence. And if we admit that the Noachian deluge was not universal, as we have endeavored to show may be done consistently with the terms of the sacred record, these statements are no objection to that history. But we may be permitted to doubt whether they throw any formidable difficulty in the way of one who contends for the universality and powerful action of the Mosaic deluge. For it is very certain that the force of diluvial currents was greatly modified by local circumstances, having been inost powerful in mountainous regions, or where the waters were forced through narrow gorges. Hence it is easy to conceive, that in some regions those currents might have been so seeble, as for instance on extensive plains, as to leave few or no traces. And as to the volcanic cones of central

Lyell's Anniversary Address before the London Geol. Society, 1836. p. 32. + Lyell's Geology, Vol. 3. p. 273.

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