Page images
PDF
EPUB

the author's own theory. In considering verses 11 and 12, we must take into account the summary given by God after he had created man. At the 29th verse we read—“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” The unfitness of the vegetation of the Palæozoic day to serve as meat for man, is too forcibly pointed out by Mr. Miller to require further remark.

There is another reference to the work of the third day which naturally falls to be considered here. This occurs in ver. 4-6 of chap. ii. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” The vegetation of the third creative day existed for a certain time without rain. The question is often askedHow long ? One answer given to this is, that the very mention of this fact, affords a strong presumption in proof that the day expressed by the morning and evening must have been an age, a long protracted epoch, for it is not likely that the want of rain on the earth “for two or three natural days would have been mentioned.” This mode of criticism would get quit of many of the most interesting passages of Scripture which make us acquainted with God as one who loves to declare that his faithfulness reaches to the smallest concerns of his creatures. Another answer given is, that the rainless period was the Edenic time, when man was as yet unfallen. But this interpretation is contradicted by the narrative itself. The rainless period was when “there was not a man to till the ground.” Indeed this expression contains the key to the verses. The state of innocence was associated with work. Man was to gain his livelihood by tilling the ground. He was at the very first to learn that there is true dignity in work. In this he was to have fellowship with his Maker. “My Father,” said he who in the fulness of time came to restore the lost and fallen, “worketh hitherto.” Means of fruitfulness were withheld, until he who was specially to profit by them and to second them by his own endeavours, was ushered on the scene. The principle of life was, however, maintained by a simple arrangement, which continues more or less active still—“There went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” It is worthy of

answ

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

notice, that the theory of the formation of dew could not be put by modern science, in popular language, in a more correct way than we meet with it here. The mist literally goes up from the earth in the process of radiation, and the surface becoming colder, the vapour is condensed, and falls in the form of dew, in particles of greater density, to water the "whole face of the ground.” The words used here are highly suggestive. It is said, " the Lord God”—Jehovah Elohim—he who is not only the almighty Creator, but the God of his people, “had not caused it to rain." This is his sovereign work.

“Behold God is great, and we know him not,
Neither can the number of his years be searched out.
For he maketh small the drops of water;
They pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
Which the clouds do drop
And distil on man abundantly.
Also can any understand the spreading of the clouds,
Or the noise of his tabernacle?"-(Job xxxvi. 26.)

He had not caused it to rain“ on the earth.” Here we see again a reason for limiting the word “earth” to the dry land of the Adamic period. That it had rained on the earth at other periods, has already been shown. So deep down as the Cambrian rocks, rain-drops have left their impressions on the sands. But just as the existing orbs: were not brought out at any earlier period than the third day-this form of watering the earth, though it had before been in activity, is not reproduced until there was a man to till the ground. Then it was that He who "numbereth the clouds by his wisdom," said

4 To the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength,

Be thou on the earth.”—(Job xxxvii. 6.)

“ 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 years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth : and it was so. 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, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day," ver, 14-19. In the notice of ver. 3 it was seen, that we are not shut up to the conclusion, that the

Vol. I.

light there spoken of must have been solar light. Whatever it may have been, it was suited to the requirements of the first three creative days. This, indeed, is the main point to be looked at, as illustrative of the wisdom and goodness of God in the fitness between means and ends. As regards the verses now quoted, in which we have an account of the fourth day's work, they must be considered both in the light of what goes before, and what comes after. The grass, the herb, and the tree stood forth at first amidst the light of the first day. But all that we know of the relation between sunlight and vegetation warrants the conclusion, that the necessities of the case demanded the full realization of the solar light, in order to the permanence and growth of the plants. The relation also between plants and the atmosphere, and the influence of solar light upon both, show how the creative days depend upon and pass into each other. The same remarks may be made on the succeeding context. All the varied forms of animal life, with man at their head, were about to be created, and, reasoning from what we well know of the use of the solar light to them—its influence on animal functions, and the ends which both its luminous and heating rays subserve—we can at once see proofs of the divine wisdom, in the very place assigned to the adaptations of the heavenly bodies in the narrative of creation. Geology opens up to us world on world successively stocked by abounding forms of animal life and of vegetation, for which sunlight was as necessary as it is for those of the Adamic epoch. There is thus no way of avoiding the inference, that the orbs of heaven existed in all their beauty and brightness, and strength, then as now. And, consequently, that the words descriptive of the fourth day point to adaption, and not to creation properly so called. In verse third the expression is “Let there be light," let all-pervading light shine and illumine the region where the darkness broods. But in verse fourteenth the words are, “Let there be lights"-literally, let there be luminaries, or bodies giving light. Though these are not named here, we have a distinct reference to them in another portion of scripture as the sun and moon, which associates their bringing out with the mercy or goodness of the Creator-mercy being shown in the very time of their appearing :

III

“To him that made great lights;

For his mercy endureth for ever.
The sun to rule the day;

For his mercy endureth for ever.
The moon and stars to rule the night;

For his mercy endureth for ever.”—(Ps. cxxxvi.)

« PreviousContinue »