Story of Creation as Told By Theology and By Science eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about Story of Creation as Told By Theology and By Science.

CHAPTER V.

Science A help to interpretation.

It is now clear that there is nothing in the Mosaic Record itself, which is contradicted by any scientific discovery, and that all the alleged difficulties arise either from interpretations prematurely adopted, or from theories which, when carefully examined, are found to be defective, but which may nevertheless contain in them a large element of truth.  But if scientific discoveries are available for the refutation of erroneous interpretations, the probability is that when rightly understood they will help us to arrive at the true meaning, since the Works of God are, beyond all other things, likely to throw light on that portion of His Word in which those Works are described.  Nor are the theories to be passed over—­the greater the amount of truth which they embody the greater will be the likelihood that they will receive help from, as well as throw light upon, such a record; and thus we shall have additional evidence that the Word, the Work, and the Intellect, which has scrutinized and interpreted the Work, are all derived from the same source.  We proceed, therefore, to inquire whether these facts and theories do in any way elucidate the concise statements of Scripture, so that we may be enabled to arrive at a somewhat clearer idea of the meaning of this most ancient document, and be enabled to entertain somewhat more distinct views of the manner in which the Divine Architect saw fit to accomplish His Work.

In pursuing this investigation two points must be carefully kept in mind; the first is the distinction between theory and conjecture on the one hand, and well ascertained facts on the other.  We shall have much to do with theory, and with conjectural interpretations of observed facts.  These can never stand on the same footing as the facts themselves, but can only be regarded as invested with greater or less probability.  If it is found that these theories do explain many observed facts, that they harmonize with, and as it were dovetail into any proposed interpretation of which the words of Moses are capable; and still more if that interpretation actually completes the defective points of the theories, and supplies an adequate cause for facts hitherto inexplicable—­then the presumption is a very strong one that the interpretation thus supported is at all events an approximation to the true one.

The second point to be carefully kept in mind is the very imperfect state of scientific knowledge even at the present time.  As far as the matter in hand is concerned, the facts which are ascertained beyond all possibility of doubt, are very few.  New means of investigation have very recently been discovered, and as a consequence new sources of information have been pointed out, new fields of research have been laid open.  Twenty years ago the spectroscope was a thing undreamt of—­now astronomers

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Story of Creation as Told By Theology and By Science from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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