502 Science and the Bible. [July,
The expression, in the opening chapter of the Bible, " whose seed is in
itself," therefore assures us that, on the third day of creation, death as well as life became an established ordinance in the earth's history.1
All the conditions which these laws of decay necessarily demanded, we
cannot know; and still it is plain, that they required a liability to
evil from some extraneous influences ; for growth itself is dependent,
largely, on the external. A system of evils is, in fact, embraced under
the grand principle alluded to on a former page, that throughout all
nature there are mutual reactions,—a condition of one substance
affecting the condition of others, — or a process going on, hindering
or promoting other processes ; and this for the inorganic world as well
as for the organic, or rather, as the basis of the same in the organic.
When crystallizing a salt, we are sure to get a bad result if the
normal conditions required for the purpose are not attended to. So
each development or step of growth in a living being, demands certain
normal conditions for its perfect accomplishment; and if these precise
conditions are not at hand, perfect results cannot take place. Besides
these, there is the certain inherent decay of the finite.
it was the purpose of Omniscience, in the earth's creation, both in its
foundation of rocks, and its superstructure of life, that possible
imperfections should be concurrent with the perfections. And the
analogy runs through all things, up to man's moral nature; but with
this difference, in the last mentioned, that it is connected with a
power of choice and resistance in the free soul, or is voluntary, while
it is involuntary in the physical world.
should also be considered, that death is not only an appointed end of
the life of individuals, but an ordained means of feeding a large part
of the animal kingdom; and these carnivorous propensities were acted
out in the earliest geological epochs. Death being the ordered end,
what did it matter whether it came by natural decay or external agen-
1 This topic is discussed at considerable length by Professor Hitchcock, in his Religion of Geology (Boston, 1855), Lecture III.