We may conclude then that there is no real contradiction between the conclusions at which Geologists have arrived, and the words actually made use of by Moses, but that all such supposed contradictions have arisen from meanings being attached to those words, which, though possible or even probable, were not the only possible meanings. When the difficulty has been suggested, and the words have in consequence been more closely examined, it appears that they are capable of an interpretation in strict harmony with every fact which Geologists have as yet discovered, and that in many cases there are not wanting indications that the writer intended them to be thus understood.
Difficulties in astronomy.
These objections, so far as they are based or supposed to be based on ascertained facts, are very few and insignificant. The chief of them are as follows:—
1. Moses describes light, and the division of night and day as existing before the Creation of the Sun.
2. Moses describes the firmament as a solid vault.
3. Moses speaks of the stars as created on the fourth day, only two days before Adam, whereas astronomers have asserted that many of them are so distant that the light by which we see them must have been on its way ages before Adam was created.
That part of the first objection which refers to the existence of light prior to the creation of the Sun, appears so extremely childish that it might have been thought unnecessary to notice it, had it not been solemnly propounded in such a work as “Essays and Reviews.” [Footnote: Page 219] Anyone who is in possession of a telescope of but moderate power may satisfy himself of its futility on any starlight night. He has only to turn his telescope to one or two of the more conspicuous nebulae; the Great Nebula in Orion, for instance, or the Ring Nebula in Lyra, and his eye will receive light which has not come from any Sun, for it is a well-ascertained fact that these nebulae are nothing but vast masses of incandescent gas. And this objection is singularly inappropriate in the mouth of the opponents of the Mosaic Record, inasmuch as the Nebular hypothesis is with them the favourite method of accounting for the present state of things. The view which they bring forward