Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/626

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

digested remains of weaker animals found in the fossilized bodies of the stronger, the marks of hyenas' teeth on fossilized hones found in various caves, and even the skeleton of the Siberian mammoth at St. Petersburg with lumps of flesh bearing the marks of wolves' teeth—all these, with all gaps and imperfections, he urged mankind to believe came into being in an instant. The preface of the work is especially touching, and ends with the prayer that science and Scripture may be reconciled by his theory, and "that the God of truth will deign so to use it, and if he do, to him be all the glory."[1] And at the close of the whole book he declares: "The field is left clear and undisputed for the one witness on the opposite side, whose testimony is as follows: "In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." This quotation he placed in capital letters, as the final refutation of all that the science of geology had built.

In other parts of Europe desperate attempts have been made in recent times to save the letter of our sacred books by the revival of a theory in some respects more striking. To shape this theory to recent needs, vague reminiscences of a text in Job regarding fire beneath the earth, and vague conceptions of speculations made by Humboldt and Laplace, were mingled with Jewish tradition. Out of the mixture thus obtained Schubert developed the idea that the Satanic "principalities and powers" formerly inhabiting our universe plunged it into the chaos from which it was newly created by a process accurately described in Genesis, Rougemont made the earth one of the "morning stars" of Job, reduced to chaos by Lucifer and his followers, and thence developed in accordance with the nebular hypothesis. Kurtz evolved from this theory an opinion that the geological disturbances were caused by the opposition of the Devil to the rescue of our universe from chaos by the Almighty. Delitzsch put a similar idea into a more scholastic jargon; but most desperate of all were the statements of Dr. Anton Westermeyer, of Munich, in his "The Old Testament vindicated from Modern Infidel Objections." The following passage will serve to show his ideas: "By the fructifying brooding of the Divine spirit on the waters of the deep, creative forces began to stir; the devils who inhabited the primeval darkness and considered it their own abode saw that they were to be driven from their possessions, or at least that their place of habitation was to be contracted, and they therefore tried to frustrate God's plan of creation and exert all that remained to them of might and power to hinder or at least to mar the new creation." So came into being "the horrible and destructive monsters, these caricatures and distortions of creation," of which we have fossil remains. Dr. Westermeyer goes on to insist that" whole generations called into existence by God succumbed to the corruption of the Devil, and for that reason had to be destroyed"; and that

  1. See Gosse, "Omphalos," London, 1857, p. 5, and passim; and for a passage giving the key-note of the whole, with a most farcical note on coprolites, see pp. 353, 354.