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of the earth would have been either greater or less in proportion to the time. According to La Place the present oblateness is precisely that belonging to a fluid globe of the weight and size of ours, revolving at its present rate. After the formation of a stiff crust its sphericity could not have changed perceptibly without inducing the utmost confusion, of which there is nowhere any intimation.

The scriptural statements may refer to these early conditions of the earth. The beginning may be the creation out of nothing (bara1) of the heavens and earth, or the whole material creation apprehended by the senses. There was nothing but bare matter, for the earth was very empty. But the Spirit of God was hovering over the "bottomless commixture of elements," probably of a fluid (thehom) character, dark and desolate. He spake, and light came; and the light was divided from the darkness, producing day and night. This period was evidently long, from the brooding action of the Spirit of God. The parallel events between the two accounts are these: (1) creation of matter out of nothing; (2) light; (3) succession of light and darkness, involving the axial revolution of the earth. This light may have been generated by chemical action, or have been derived from the sun, so far obscured by vapors as to be invisible himself, like his absence during a stormy day. We derive no hint of igneous fluidity from the text, further than is involved in the idea of day and night. It is not necessary to consider the question of a vast interval of time between the first and second verses.

Second Day. Until the fiery globe had cooled so that a crust had begun to form, the sky would not have been perceptible, nor could water have existed near the earth, except as steam. The next stage in the process of refrigeration, therefore, was that in which water began to collect, and part remained as vapor or clouds, and part settled down upon the earth. The same events appeared in the vision. The prophet

1 For the use of bara, and a thorough and satisfactory discussion of the philological meaning of Gen. i. by Professor Barrows, see Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. xiii. p. 749 et seq. Compare Ps. xc. 2; Heb. xi. 3.

saw the firmament or sky appear to be covered with clouds, while the heavier mists below were condensed into water. We cannot agree with those who interpret the waters by the gases of the nebulous period.


Third Day. We can now learn more of the history from geology. The gradual refrigeration of the crust of the earth caused it to shrink, so that great ridges and furrows were formed. There were changes of level in the crust, and the water collected in the depressions, leaving the ridges, so that dry land and seas began to exist. Since that time there have always been continents. Now commenced the work of denudation. Wherever on the dry land rain fell, currents and streams of water formed, and began to wear away the earth and push it towards the sea, the primitive igneous rock of the earth being broken up and deposited in the bottom of the There was an immense thickness of these deposits formed, in our country nearly twenty thousand feet, called the Laurentian series. Great disturbances agitated the crust at the close of this period, and upon the edges of the upturned Laurentian strata another series of sedimentary beds were deposited, over ten thousand feet thick, called the upper Laurentian or Labrador series of rocks. These two in turn were disturbed, and another series called the Huronian (Cambrian?) twelve thousand feet thick were piled upon them. It is in these three great series that traces of life are first seen, yet very obscure, so scant that some geologists still apply the term Azoic to the group. The evidences of the existence of plants are twofold: (1) Beds of plumbago or pure carbon, which is generally supposed to have been derived from vegetation, though no traces of the plant structure have yet been detected in them. (2) Beds of iron-ore. It is believed that nearly all beds of iron-ore are formed by the action of vegetation, just as our present bogs are abstracting iron from the soil and depositing it as ore. Water steeped with plants has the power of reducing the insoluble peroxyd of iron or rust to the state of the protoxyd. This new compound is dissolved in the water, and remains in it, flowing

away till coming in contact with the air, more oxygen is absorbed, and it returns to its original insoluble peroxyd' state, and falls to the bottom. A constant repetition of this process will ultimately accumulate enough of the peroxyd to form a large bed of ore. The Laurentian iron beds were formed in this way, thus involving the presence of vegetation, and probably in considerable abundance. In the Cambrian a few distinct marine plants have been discovered.

The remains of animals lately discovered in the Laurentian group are those of Rhizopods or Foraminifera. They are the simplest of all animals, and probably constitute an independent type of life, like the Vertebrata. They are the nearest approach of the animal to the vegetable kingdom. These fossil specimens are chiefly microscopic, were discovered by Sir W. E. Logan, in Canada West, and have been described by Dr. Dawson of Montreal, under the name of Eözoon Canadense.1

The features of the third day as described in the vision may be recognized in this geological account. The waters were gathered together into one place, and the dry land appeared. But this was a work of time, therefore requiring long periods for its accomplishment.

Next commences a new order of things. Life is introduced. The dry land is covered with vegetation. God commands the earth to bring forth the tender grass, such as cattle feed upon (or more probably inclusive of seedless or cryptogamic plants), the herb yielding seed, such as the different species of cereals, and the fruit tree bearing fruit. These all have seed in themselves, that is, are capable of sustaining themselves without the necessity of a new creation. This classification of plants is a popular one adapted to the wants of man. That adopted by botanists is more exact. There are two great divisions, the Cryptogams, without flowers or seeds, and the Phenogams, or flowering and seed-bearing plants. The former include sea-weeds or algae, fungi, mosses, and ferns; the latter embrace the Endogens-grasses, grains, 1 See Canadian Naturalist, 2d series. Vol. ii. p. 99. VOL. XXIV. No. 95.


lillies, etc., and Exogens-coniferous plants, forest trees, herbs, and fruit trees. The plants first introduced were seaweeds. No land plants are known till the Devonian, and it is chiefly the higher Cryptogams and lower Phenogams that flourish till the later Mesozoic. It is a fact also that all the plants existing through nearly the whole geological history are now extinct. In view of these facts we would interpret the scriptural statements thus: God established upon the earth the vegetable kingdom, with its laws of propagation and general form, before the commencement of animal life. The prophet could not describe the peculiar classes of vegetation without scientific details, and therefore modelled his descriptions upon existing plants. Thus there is an essential agreement in both records concerning the events transpiring upon the third day.

Fourth Day. Following the geological record we are brought to the great Paleozoic age of life, including the formations known as the Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian, whose faunae and florae have a general resemblance to one another. In the Lower Silurian, representatives of three types of animal life were introduced-corals, graptolites, and starfishes of the Radiata; multitudes of trilobites of the Articulata; brachiopods, gasteropods, and gigantic chambered shells, the sharks of the early ocean, of the Mollusca. Plants were represented by sea-weeds, and vegetation must have been abundant to supply the material for the thick masses of bituminous shale and reservoirs of petroleum which occur in these rocks in Kentucky. In the Upper Silurian the assemblage of life was similar, but new species and families appeared. The whole period may be fancifully named the age of trilobites or mollusks, because these animals predominated. It is a disputed question whether the earliest rocks containing a few remains of fish in England belong to this or the following group.

The Devonian life differs from the Silurian by the presence of large numbers of sauroid fish-scarce in America, but abundant elsewhere; by the presence of land plants in the

latter part of the period, and by a diminution in the number of trilobites. Plants were sufficiently abundant to form local coal-beds, and from that time to the present nearly every formation has its beds of vegetable debris that can be used for fuel. The Devonian also furnishes the astonishing amounts of petroleum spouting out of the ground in Pensylvania. Insects and reptiles commenced to live near the close of the period. This has been styled the age of fishes.

The next has been called the age of plants, or the Carboniferous period. Most of the productive American and European coal-fields belong to this group. To the animals already mentioned must be added a few large amphibians, with numbers of insects. The trilobites have dwindled down and entirely disappeared in the following period - the Permian. The plants in both were chiefly terrestrial, trees and reeds of gigantic size and tropical luxuriance, but not so highly organized as our conifers. They were tree-ferns, tree clubmosses, and fern-conifers. Their tout ensemble was like that of existing tropical marshes. The Permian period witnessed the close of the great Paleozoic age, and the disappearance of most of its peculiarities.

These periods were probably synchronous with the great events of the fourth day. Upon this day the heavenly bodies were not created (bara), but appointed (asa) to the office of giving light and regulating the seasons, whence it is inferred they may have existed from the first, but were not visible upon the earth till this time. This view will harmonize both records. The sun is the central body, on which the earth depends. The oblateness of the poles and the succession of day and night were probably caused by the revolutions of the earth before the Laurentian period. By the theory that the original light was chemical or electrical purely, and the sun created on the fourth day, we know not how the days and nights were produced for many ages after the disappearance of the chemical light beneath the crust; and the electrical theory does not permit the succession of light and darkness. There must have been some foreign body to give

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