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true light, Scripture, which had all along been interpreted in conformity with the current prepossessions, appeared to be in fault : till a closer examination into the real meaning of its language relieved it of the false interpretation which had been imposed upon it, and the harmony between Scripture and Science, although for a time they had appeared to be irreconcilable, was fully re-established.
The second class of examples in its character very much resembles the first, but belongs to a more recent period of discovery. Long-standing notions regarding some of the circumstances of the creation having been cleared away by the discoveries of Science, and Scripture being still fettered with the old interpretations imposed upon it in the days of ignorance, the cry of antagonism between Scripture and Science was again raised, and perhaps louder than ever. But in these instances also, the difficulty has been removed : and not only has Scripture been relieved of false interpretations, as in the first class of examples, but much light has been thrown upon its language and allusions, which would never have appeared but for these scientific discoveries.
Under the third class, I bring forward Examples in which Science, for a time, has in the hands of the self-confident made a retrograde movement. Conclusions have been put forth regarding the descent of all men from one blood, the differences of races since the flood, the original unity of language, the age of the human race, the superficial extent of the six days creation, the origin of species, the origin of man, the origin of life, the uniformity of nature, design as indicative of creation, and certain numerical statements in the Pentateuch, which are contradictory to Scripture ; and thus Scripture and Science were again declared to be at variance, till Science, under the guidance of wiser men, has corrected itself, and no want of harmony has been established.
EXAMPLES FROM THE EARLIER HISTORY OF SCIENTIFIC
DISCOVERY, IN WHICH SCRIPTURE HAS BEEN RE-
1. The earliest instance of this kind which I shall produce affords a remarkable example of false notions
of the celestial mechanism being incorporated
in mistranslations of Scripture, in such a way as to consecrate error, and to sow the seeds of future perplexity by bringing God's two books into seeming collision.
It is well known that the ancients conceived the heavens to be an enormous vault of transparent solid matter, whirling around the earth in diurnal revolution, and carrying with it the stars, supposed to be fixed in its substance. In accordance with this view, the Scripture was made by the LXX. to call the heavens στερέωμα otegéwa (stereoma),—that is, something solid; and the Vulgate calls them firmamentum, which signifies the same. Josephus, in his ' Antiquities,' (professedly gathering his ideas from Scripture), in describing the creation calls the heavens rgbotahnov (krustallon), i.e. a sort of crystalline case.* Thus all seems to be in accordance, and Scripture and Science appear to agree and illustrate each other; till the light of later times pours in its beams, and, showing that space is not a solid mass, detects a seeming contradiction between the Word and Works of God. How is this to be met? Which is to yield ? The popular solution, current to the present day, is this, —that Moses wrote, in matters of this description, not merely according to the appearance of things (which is true, and is the style which the most enlightened Science now uses in such a case), but in accommodation to the notions and prepossessions of the times. But is this the fact ? Could not the Omniscient have put a correct word into the mind of His servant, as readily as one contradictory to fact? Let us turn to the word which the Holy Ghost has used by the pen of the inspired writer, and what do we find ? that the original by no means implies,
? of necessity, a solid mass, but an EXPANSE :7-—'And
* The following is from Josephus : After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts; and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it (kpúorallóvre meltenas
τε περιπήξας avrõ), and put it together in a manner suited to the earth.'—Joseph. Antiq. lib. I. cap. i. § 1.
i † The following is Pool's comment, and Gesenius' meaning of the word is given below:
6. Fiat firmamentum.]— Alii non firmamentum vertunt, sed expansionem, rem expansam seu extensam, eo modo
expanduntur, ut tentorium quod funibus sustinetur ne decidat, vel sicut argentum malleo diducitur et attenuatur. Inde Deus dicitur extendere coelos. Isa. xl. 22 et xlii. 5, et Ps. civ. 2. Grot. reddit ráols (quæ vox Platonis est). 927, est expandere. Laminæ expansæ appellantur om 'YR. Num. xvi. 38. Expansum firmamentum vertit A[insworthus). Expansio hæc est diffusum corpus aeris. Nam quid, nisi
God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse.
And God called the expanse Heaven. (Gen. i 6-8.) So that, in fact, the inspired writer used the best possible word to express the actual appearance and state of things; but man, in his undiscriminating ignorance
.שָׁמַיִם et רָקִיעַ aeri nomen est Hebraeis quam
aer, dividit aquas inferiores, i. e. mare, a superioribus ? Nec aliud
Hoc nomen aeri tribui testantur Chald. par. in Ps. xix. et Kimchi) in Ps. lxxvii. Quid mirabilius aquis in coelo stantibus ? ait Plinius, l. 31. Aves coeli vocantur, Jer. vii., Os. ii., Matt. xviii. et xiii. Alii exponunt firmamentum, et accipiunt de orbibus cælestibus. Complectitur tamen hæc vox etiam aerem vicinum, à cælo in terram expansum, et suo loco quasi firmatum. ó vertunt orepéwua, vel quia 927 est otepeü, i. e. firmo, stabilio; ita vertunt ó Ps. cxxxvi. 6, Isa. xlii. 5, et xliv. 24; vel quia coelum sæpe tentorio confertur, quod dicitur rhyrvolal (i. e. funibus ad paxillos in terram depactos firmari) quatenus expanditur Esa. xlvii. 5; vel potius a Syriaco usu YZ?? quod significat muébelv, comprimere, Luc. vi. 38. Et forte 927 Heb. primo significat comprimere, indeque extendere, nam premendo res extenduntur, ut laminæ æris.' Vide Poli Synopsis, Gen. i. 6.
The extract below from Leo's translation of Gesenius'. Hebrew Lexicon will give his idea of the meaning of the word. In his comment, in the latter part of this extract, Gesenius appears to side with the popular notion I have alluded to in the text; but with this we have nothing to do, but only with the meaning of the word, which he shows will well convey the idea of expanse, in the sense of open space
expanded atmosphere. Luther's translation, it will be seen, is the only one which does not convey a false idea, except our authorised version in the margin.
**?? m., more fully opt1 Y*?? Gen. i. 14, 15, 17, that which is distended, expanded (from 927) the expanse of heaven ; i. e. the arch or vault of heaven, which, as tó mere sense, appears to rest on the earth as a hollow hemisphere. The Hebrews seem to have considered it as transparent, like a crystal or sapphire (Ezek. i. 22; Dan. xii. 3; Exod. xxiv. 10; Rev. iv. 6); hence, different from the brazen and iron heaven of the Homeric mythology. Over this arch they supposed were the waters of heaven (Gen. i. 7, vii, 11; Ps. civ. 3,