In the age of man’s declension he moved eastward. In the age of his redemption he moves westward.
Hence, if the Bible is to be relied on, before man reached the garden of Eden, he had been created in some region west of the garden, to wit, in America; and here he may have first developed the civilization of which we find traces in Illinois, showing a metal-working race sufficiently advanced to have an alphabet and a currency.
But in all this we do not touch upon the question of where man was first formed by God.
The original birthplace of the human race who shall tell? It was possibly in some region now under the ocean, as Professor Winchell has suggested; there he was evolved during the mild, equable, gentle, plentiful,
garden-age of the Tertiary; in the midst of the most favorable conditions for increasing the vigor of life and expanding it into new forms. It showed its influence by developing mammalian life in one direction into the monstrous forms of the mammoth and the mastodon, the climax of animal growth; and in the other direction into the more marvelous expansion of mentality found in man.
There are two things necessary to a comprehension of that which lies around us—development and design, evolution and purpose; God’s way and God’s intent. Neither alone will solve the problem. These are the two limbs of the right angle which meet at the first life-cell found on earth, and lead out until we find man at one extremity and God at the other.
Why should the religious world shrink from the theory of evolution? To know the path by which God has advanced is not to disparage God.
Could all this orderly nature have grown up out of chance, out of the accidental concatenation of atoms? As Bacon said:
“I would rather believe all the fables in the Talmud and the Koran than that this universal frame is without a mind!”
Wonderful thought! A flash of light through the darkness.
And what greater guarantee of the future can we have than evolution? If God has led life from the rudest beginnings, whose fossils are engraved, (blurred and obscured,) on the many pages of the vast geological volume, up to this intellectual, charitable, merciful, powerful world of to-day, who can doubt that the same hand will guide our posterity to even higher levels of development?
If our thread of life has expanded from Cain to Christ, from the man who murders to him who submits to murder for the love of man, who can doubt that the Cain-like in the race will gradually pass away and the Christ-like dominate the planet?
Religion and science, nature and spirit, knowledge of God’s works and reverence for God, are brethren, who should stand together with twined arms, singing perpetual praises to that vast atmosphere, ocean, universe of spirituality, out of which matter has been born, of which matter is but a condensation; that illimitable, incomprehensible, awe-full Something, before the conception of which men should go down upon the very knees of their hearts in adoration.