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let light be created ;—but,—let the medium of light be restored to its former state ; let the clouds subside ;-or, let those changes take place in the atmosphere, by which the rays of light can be called again into action, and give Day unto the earth. · In the same manner, when it is stated as the work of the fourth day, that the sun and moon were made, harmony with the history demands, that the light which had been renewed on the first day, should so gradually increase in brightness and intensity, that the two great apparent sources of it then only became fully revealed to the earth ; and were thus arranged, by the total evanescence of vapor, “ for signs and seasons, and for days and years."
But, however ingenious these notions may be, it must be confessed, that they have rather the air of reasons devised for the maintenance of some particular view, than natural and straightforward inferences from the statements of the historian. They give an impression to the mind, at first sight, of wresting, instead of accommodating Scripture to the facts of science ;-nor is the difficulty, thus presented, lessened, when we subject them to a closer analysis, and sentence by sentence put their stability to the proof.
Imagine the views correct. The world is enveloped in clouds and darkness. The Spirit of God broods over the waters, again infusing a living principle into the inert and sluggish mass; and fulfilling that peculiar office by which he is characterized as “ the Lord and giver of life.” Light slowly, by the command of God, breaks through the long night, and reveals the wreck of former worlds once more
to the eye of day. Again “God saw the light that it was good” and divided it from the darkness. Again, “ God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.” The work of the first day is again complete.
The second dawns. How will its work affect the position taken up by the advocates of a reconstruction? The firmament is now made. It means properly an expansion ;-any thing drawn out and extended ;--and by common consent is interpreted of the atmosphere. “And God said ; Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so; and God called the firmament Heaven.”
The views of the theorist may undoubtedly, at first, seem strengthened by this language. His imagination has elevated a vast accumulation of dense clouds, which, stretching upwards to a great height above the wide waste of waters from which they have been drawn, yet press heavily on them by reason of their gravity. There is no interval between them; they are almost blended together; and Moses asserts, that God created an expansive force “ in the midst of the waters” for the express purpose of dividing “the waters from the waters.” But the question will naturally arise :-was the atmosphere or firmament then, for the first time created; or, like the light, was it only induced ;-brought into action at that period ? If created ; how could its absence be compatible with animal life in former states of the globe ? If induced ; how did it cease or vanish in the interval ? The former question appears to bear with it its own answer. We restrict enquiry to the latter.
A power, which, during a long and undefined period has been dormant, is supposed to return to its activity by the command of God; and by this means to justify the assertion of the historian. But if the earth was clothed with so thick a mantle of vapors, how, it may be asked, could this have been sustained without the medium of an atmosphere? The presence of these prodigious heaps and clusters of clouds seems, according to our ordinary ideas and language, at the least to suppose the existence of the air into which they were elevated. They could not have been raised and suspended in vacuo,-or in what would be almost equivalent to it, in that thin and subtle ether, which is supposed to exist in space beyond the outward circle of our known atmosphere. It would be unequal to the weight. But how, if created at a former period, can it be proved to have ceased at all from its own proper action? One would be led to suppose, if such an immense belt of vapor really did encompass the earth, that it would arise from an increased, more intense, and continuous action of the natural cause--I mean attraction of the sun on water through the medium of an atmospherethan that the natural cause should entirely cease, and a miracle be wrought to supply its place. The idea of the entire cessation or destruction of the earth's pre-existent atmosphere seems at the very best to be perfectly gratuitous on the part of the geologist.
Consistent then as the formation of a firmament would be, on the first creation of the earth, where would be either the force or the necessity of such a command at its re-organization? It could not have been dormant; for the deeper and denser the gloom which is imagined to have overspread the earth, the Jonger and more unintermitting must have been the solar force, which drew up so vast a canopy; and so overloaded the pure and elastic air as to encircle it with utter darkness. And besides this; the sun is supposed to begin to disperse these accumulations on the first day. His beams penetrate the watery substance ; dissipate its lighter particles; clear the air and bring it to a state of greater purity, as soon as the Divine Will had determined on a renovation. This agency is continued during the whole of the first day ;-it is the commencing work ;-as soon as the command for light has gone forth, the Sun acts upon the overloaded firmament, which intercepts his rays from reaching the Earth's surface. How then could the induction of a firmament form the work, and the sole work, of the second day? Give any reasonable latitude to the idea which would interpret its formation by causing it to operate with some different, and perhaps enlarged qualities; but how, may we still ask, can it be so applied exclusively, without wresting the sense from the plain and direct tenor of the narrative.
But defective as is the theory, when drawn down to matters of detail, in regard to the work of the second day, it appears still more bald and infirm when laid open to the test of the fourth. The pro· gress of the work is thus detailed : “ And God said ;
Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.”
Now, whether the views which we have hitherto entertained bear sufficient weight with them to reconcile us to the requirements of the geologists or not; one thing is very certain, that they arise, almost inevitably, from the original position which was laid down. They have so overlapped each other, that no one can be withdrawn without causing a manifest gap in the whole structure, and destroying its integrity. The first verse is separated from the context. The solar heavens and the earth have been created; and an interval takes place between that unknown period and the æra taken up by Moses. Darkness at that æra envelops the earth; and it follows that it must be a preternatural darkness arising from itself. Light, is brought out to disperse it; and it follows, from the previous existence of the sun and planets, that it must be an apparent, and not a real formation. A firmament is made; and it follows, from the natural action of the sun on the waters, that, at most, a greater or different energy only could be imparted to a substance which before was in existence and operation. These seem the fair and rational consequences of . the first step taken. :
With such facts in our possession, we come to the