The daring hazards of modern science when alleging to compute the supposed vast antiquity of the material creation, and especially in the bold, almost reckless habit which has been contracted of estimating in the terms of millions of years the age of a fossil, a fragment of bone, or a section of exposed strata, are characteristic of an age which is marked for its loose thinking and its appetite for the novel and the sensational. The absurdity of these fictional dates which with such abandon are appended to material objects of God’s creation is only equaled by the startling contradictions which exist between the computation of this expert or that. Without the flicker of an eyelid, one scientist will speak airily of ‘five million years.’ Another, handling the same object will learnedly and modestly reduce the estimate to a mere quarter of a million! Millions of years, epochs, aeons – these are mere playthings to the up-to-date professor. “There is plenty of time,” boldly asserts Sir Oliver Lodge, echoing the cry of many a sinner on the brink of eternity. The only ground which the experts share, is the disregard which they pay to the only authentic record of creation, and the only reliable guide to geology, which has come down to man from the earliest times – the scriptures of truth.
It is the object of this article briefly and plainly to suggest, that the humble believer in the Word of God will find in the inspired record of that most dreadful physical catastrophe in the dark history of our globe – the universal Flood – the complete answer to all the theories of science on the antiquity of the earth, and the only reasonable explanation of the ‘Story of the Rocks.’
“I expect to see physical development and LONG CHRONOLOGY involving repeated alternate new creations and destructions of living creatures wither also on this earth now that their ROOT (the nebular hypothesis) has at length been eradicated from the sky.”
The writer of this quotation has been dead for more than a generation, and unhappily his hope has not yet been realised. If the great geological fallacy against which for a lifetime he contended almost alone, can be effectively banished from the evangelical world, however, there will be cause for thankful praise to that great God who created all things in their time good, and very good.
It is due to Patrick M’Farlane of Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland (the writer referred to), that at this late hour his name be rescued from the obscurity into which it was interred by the indifference of an unworthy generation. Up until as late as 1871, he struck shattering and learned blows at the GREAT GEOLOGICAL HERESY of which the High Priest in those days was Hugh Miller. In the year mentioned he accumulated into one volume material which poured at white heat from his pen over many preceding years, and issued it to the public, as his last master stroke against the scientific enormity of the ‘day age’ and the ‘pre-Adamite’ theories, in a book curiously entitled, “Antidote against the unscriptural and unscientific tendency of modern geology.”
He demonstrated with an eloquence worthy of the subject, that the turmoil and confusion, the tumultuous and frightful geological derangement of the earth’s crust, with all the fossilised remains of its former natural order churned up and distributed throughout its immense and disordered stratification (which geologists seize upon as the basis for their creed of a gradual process of creation, as opposed to a summary formation of the whole pit of nothing in six days of twenty-four hours each) is accounted for with ridiculous ease by the awful catastrophe of that universal Flood, which at its full tide buried the tops of the highest mountains, rarefied the superincumbent atmosphere, realised physical and electrical energies of stupendous potency, petrifying, consuming, burying, and devastating, with inconceivable prodigality. The memory of this dreadful event endured with the descendants of righteous Noah when they overspread the silent wastes of the depopulated orb, carrying with them the records of it which still remain in the legends of Samaria and Babylonia, the traditions of the ancient Maya, and the writings of the Chinese. One mighty overwhelming stroke hurled the primeval perfection into universal ruin. Not the spasmodic and distributed upheavals of a ‘gradually cooling planet,’ but an immense stroke of judgement for sin, threw the physical order into dislocation and ruin. Thus the divine order – the Creation, the Fall (with its concomitant, the universal depravity of mankind), and the Flood.
Unhappy there has been a vain endeavour on the part of certain otherwise excellent evangelical leaders, to reconcile the imagined antiquity of geological phenomena with the Mosaic account of a Creation which took place well within the last 6,000 years. They have spoken of ‘the dateless past’ which they have supposed lurks in the first clause of Genesis 1:1, and have imagined that there was an order preceding our own – pre-Adamite! – which fell under the divine judgement, and that between the wreck of the past world, and the beginning of the new one (i.e., the world we now live in) there is scope for all the geological ‘ages.’
But what if there never were any geologic ages? What if there were no ‘dateless past,’ nor yet any previous divine judgement? What if the Fall and the Flood account for every phenomenon upon which they rely who believe in the dateless antiquity of the globe? Did light take a geologic age in the process of its formation, or did God merely say, Let there be light, – and there was light, and the evening and the morning were the first day?
It is further supposed that only animal life perished in the ‘primitive creation’ and that when light and dry land were ‘restored’ the seeds sprang to life again, and the earth brought forth plants and trees. Alas for the stability of that theory, Genesis 2 records that there was full grown vegetation on the THIRD DAY of Creation, before ever God sent the first shower of rain! The plants were created ‘before they were in the earth,’ and every herb of the field ‘before it grew.’ The fiction that the solar system belonged to some primordial economy at the end of which our earth was destroyed for some unknown cause, and that it existed for millions of years ere our present order was invoked, and that the sun, moon and stars were only ‘made to appear’ on the fourth day of creation, seems to be a plain departure from the simplicity of Genesis 1: 4-19. Appeals to the Hebrew Lexicon are unavailing. It is said that the verb ‘made’ in verse sixteen is not a creative word, but merely declares function. The same verb, עשה (Asah) however, is used in verses 25 and 26 for the creation of the beasts and of man, and if its use be studied in these verses and also in Genesis 2:2-3, it will be found to have the identical force and meaning of בךא (BARA = he created). In short, light, and the earth, existed before the sun. Calvin writes on this point:- “It did not happen from inconsideration or by accident that the light preceded the sun and the moon. To nothing are we more prone that to tie down the power of God to those instruments, the agency of which he employs. The Lord by the very order of Creation bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and the moon… It did not happen fortuitously that herbs and trees were created before the sun and moon… How few there are who ascend higher than the sun when they treat of the fecundity of the earth?... No other cause will be found (for the fruitfulness of the earth) but that the earth and all things proceeding from it yield obedience to the command of God which they always hear.”
The very order of creation is a stern rebuke to the impiety of men, who would banish God not only from the work of creation, but the equally almighty task of sustaining the whole order of nature. “Upholding all things by the word of his power.”
In a word, as M’Farlane points out, creation involved neither a long drawn out process of ‘Physical development’ nor yet ‘long chronology.’ The figment of a series of creations successively overwhelmed in appalling destruction; of pre-Adamite worlds, supplying each their quota of fossils as evidence of divine experimentations in ‘scientific development’ (the first cousin of evolution), and the frightful failure of each as they successively crashed into turbulent disorder and catastrophic ruin, is not only a vain and fallacious fancy, but a serious impeachment of the wisdom and perfection of the Most High.
Thus M’Farlane:- “Instead of the crude and Creator-degrading process too generally alleged to have been used, that selected by the all-perfect Creator, as might have been expected, was in all respects possible for gaining the glorious and benevolent end in view; in short that at the first PERFECT OPTIMY reigned throughout the whole stellar and mundane economy. But by the same divine communication (the scriptures), we are equally explicitly informed that this world, though at first participating in the same exquisite organisation with the rest, has since, in consequence of certain untoward circumstances fully detailed in the revelation, became the mere wreck of what she once had been. And that moreover, man, in consequence of the same untoward circumstance, has fallen from his original exalted niche in the scale of being, and become exposed to all the miseries of his now fallen home, to death itself (not in the original scheme), and worst of all to the pains of hell forever.”
It would, methinks, be easy to prove from the very fact of the atonement – the greatest event in time or in eternity, and an event for which the whole creation has its being – that not only is our present economy the only natural order which has ever been, but that our planet IS THE ONLY INHABITED SPOT IN THE UNIVERSE. It was on this small and supposedly insignificant planet that it has pleased God to locate the greatest event in the whole of his infinite plan. The sub and the stars were clearly (from Genesis 1) created for the service of the earth, and of those who dwell thereon, and in this appears the greater folly of the heathen, who worship the host of heaven, when that very host only exists to serve, and not to rule them.
But we shall let M’Farlane speak for himself. He writes thus in criticism of the doctrine of an imperfect creation, developing by slow graduations from chaos to cosmos:- “The Bible teaches us that all derangements in nature, both moral and physical, both on and in the earth, nay, even in the case of the fallen angels, were occasioned by sin. How directly in the face of this truthful doctrine are modern geological tenets, which would have us believe that the physical derangements of the world we are in were in existence long before this their cause entered into the world – nay, that these derangements were in the course of gradually improving nature. How apt are such dogmas to lead the mind into the false but analogous conclusion, that moral disorder may be of the same kind!”
With fine satire he thus disposes if Hugh Miller:- “Geologic destructions we admit he can produce in sufficient plenty, but not a single instance of ‘geological creation’ either in this or in any other of the orbs of our system, saving always and excepting those planetary orbs alluded to as containing the only known manufactories of the kind, namely, the heads of modern geologists!” Their heads were in the clouds!
The immensity of the Flood, as described by M’Farlane, should satisfy every reasonable inquirer as to the capacity of that awesome event to account for the state of the earth’s geological structure as observed today. He judges from the expression ‘the windows of heaven were opened’ that ‘foreign water’ in vast quantity was poured by God upon the earth, and, answering the skeptics who would inquire where such supplies were procured, adds, “Bearing constantly in mind the Being who avowedly brought this judgement on the earth, and his relation to that earth and all on it, we consider such objections of no more weight than the following illustration: The proprietor of an extensive estate picked up an apple that he found lying in the mud under one of the trees of his orchid, and flinging it into a basin of water, there thoroughly washed it. We refuse to believe this story till it is explained how this gentleman contrived to provide the necessary quantity of water, and how he managed to overcome the ‘vis inertiae’ of the apple and the gravitation of the earth, by raising the fruit out of the mud, into the basin. Reader, your smile should not be confined to our skepticism.”
Bearing specially in mind the bulk and the depth of the dislocation of our strata, he embarks upon this description of the Flood itself:- “A single robust navy will, with a good shovel and plenty of materials, rear a cone of sand in one minute that a colony of ants would require months, if not years to raise. The depth (of the derangement of the earth’s crust) claimed (by geologists), at most a few miles, is but a mere superficial film compared with what we, while maintaining that the whole is the result of one dreadful cataclysm, are ready to yield to geology. What bulky, what deep results might not be expected from a catastrophe that we assuredly know consisted of foreign water, conjoined with home supplies, being poured over the devoted orb till its highest peak was buried fifteen cubits below the surface of the shoreless ocean; while simultaneously from below, central fires belching up their own peculiar flood of molten lava through the awfully yawning rents in the submerged and shaking planet? Who would set narrow limits to the consequences of a catastrophe which must have occasionally acted with tumultuous and irresistible force, and which must have extended simultaneously upwards, several miles all over the globe, and to its very centre downwards – in depth 4,000 miles, and laterally, many millions of miles. To such a cataclysm, all muddy with the wreck of a submerged world, the plastering hurriedly up, or laying calmly down of a few miles of thick stratification, commingled as we now find it to be with plutonic intrusions and the carcasses of its organised victims all round the earth – to such an agent we say, the effecting of such results would be, so to speak, mere pastime.”
The interesting question is raised as to whether the moon may not have suffered simultaneously in the same convulsions which shook us, her primacy. Her enormous extinct volcanoes may have evacuated her internal fires at the same time as her atmosphere and seas disappeared. “Why were those volcanoes in action?” asks Brewster. M’Farlane is not sure, but adds, “Of this we are certain, as assured that the cannons before the Sebastopol were not the instruments employed in constructing its now shattered fortifications, that such agencies were never used for the purpose indicated by Brewster. They were well fitted to demolish, but totally incapable of constructing a world.”
In that dreadful year, without parallel in this dark world’s history, when the waters of the Flood destroyed the old world, and drowned and effaced its iniquity in awful judgement, the strata and the fossilised remains from which science so-called contrives its boastful theories of ‘vast and unsummed antiquity,’ were laid where now they are to be observed. It was ever the plan of the Prince of Darkness to banish from the minds of men the memory of a past judgement and the apprehension of a coming one. Hence the ‘scientific’ inference from a supposed dateless past, that the end of all things will be equally remote. Alas, just so surely as the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished, so surely the earth and the heavens which are now, are reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men. The Lord is not slack as some men count slackness. The judge is at the gate. They who are wise will flee to the only shelter of the Cross for refuge, lest that day overtake them as a thief.