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mensely larger, more intricate and older than the familiar one. It is like stepping from the four walls of a room into the immensity of all out doors, where one must necessarily adjust one's point of view.
Just as the man who has been freed from the confining atmosphere of city life to roam in the hills is quite apt to look with scorn upon the narrow conventions he has left behind, so the man who has taken his first step into the broad paths that science opens to him tends to despise his old point of view and the ideas that were associated with it.
In the reconstruction that follows such a scientific plunge religious ideas seem especially to be threatened, because the conception of God that was fitted to the old four wall state of existence does not at first appear to be in harmony with the larger world where intricate cause and effect have followed their unbroken laws through unlimited eons of time. Religion, however, is no novelty to -be lightly disregarded; the important part it has played in the history and development of mankind demands that its claims be carefully considered with regard to the wider scientific outlook to see whether, after all, this roomier universe into which
we are stepping denies a place for the old beliefs, or on the other hand brings into clearer light the fundamental conceptions of God and the world. The step, if not backward, must certainly take one sharply forward.
The doorway of geology is one through which many take their step out of the narrow room into the wider universe. The subject is fascinating for it takes one into the farthest reaches of world history and even throws its light on the vague beginnings of the planetary systems themselves. No wonder then that the first view is bewildering! Instead of a compact little earth ready-made for its possessor, man, the student finds that the present form of the globe is the result of a series of gradual changes extending through millions of years and going on even now, during which mountains have been elevated, valleys dug and the whole surface made and remade again and again. The panorama is sufficient to tax the wildest imagination.
A still more disturbing element in the picture is the view that geology gives of the life of the world. Accustomed as the student is to the innumerable kinds of plants and animals that are about, and in the habit of thinking of them as a necessary
part of the make-up of the world it must come as a shock to realize that they are but the result of a long progression through species and kinds which came into being and ceased to exist ages and ages ago; that in the beginning instead of the myriad plants and animals of the present, life existed in just one simple form; and finally that man, the monarch of the world, bas existed but a mere fifty thousand out of the millions and millions of years during which life has developed. It seems like an affront to one's dignity.
Underlying these two great revelations of geology there is a third which the student soon realizes has as far reaching implications as them both, and that is the reign of law. As he follows the changes in the earth's crust from azoic times, before life existed, up through the various geologic ages marked by differing strata to the present age, he soon sees that there is a reason for each change that has taken place. The same unchanging laws of heat, light, gravitation, etc. that we know to-day have held sway over the earth stuff ever since the trilobites crawled on the bottom of the Cambrian seas fifty million years ago. And in the realm of life plants and animals have come and gone, re
mained the same or altered their nature in obedience to the same laws of survival and selection that obtain to-day. To the eyes of the student the world from being a brilliant tableau having a definite meaning has taken the form of a stupendous marching army advancing steadily through the ages, its regiments, though differently attired, all marching with the same step; and the spectacle suggests but leaves unanswered the questions whence it came and whither it is moving.
The difficulty, to state it frankly, is with regard to the bearing of these wider ideas of the universe on the religious conception of God and the world. Does belief in the gradual physical development of the earth through millions of years deny God His position as creator? Does the corresponding conception of the development of life on the earth with its direct implication that man is the result of that process deny God's Fatherhood of man? And, finally, does the reign of law deny any place for God whatever?
The questions may be taken up separately. The first one resolves itself into an understanding of the word creation. When a man, for instance, spends years gradually evolving and per
fecting some new mechanism which he puts before the world as an invention, no one thinks of denying to him the title of its creator because he has taken years to do it. The same title, too, is given to the man who from weak beginnings gradually through continued struggles builds up a character that can stand the assaults of temptation. He is a creator in the moral field. An instantaneous snap of the finger is not an accompanying characteristic of creation in any field with which we are familiar. No more, then, is it to be expected in God's creation of the world. That that creation has been going on for millions of years and still continues is in harmony with all that we know of creation, and in no way discredits God as the author of it.
The second difficulty seems to threaten belief in the divine Fatherhood, for it indicates that man is but the last link in the chain of life extending back through countless species of animals to the simplest beginning. This form of statement is, however, begging the question of what that Fatherhood consists in. When it is said that man was created in the image or likeness of God it is of course beyond question that that likeness cannot be in his physical frame, for the characteristics of