and viewed in their relations to


By Rev. David King, LL.D.

With Notes and an Appendix by John Scouler M.D., F.L.S.,
Prof. of Nat. Hist. to the Royal Society, Dublin

New York
Robert Carter and Brothers


220 + 19 pages,

This electronic edition prepared by Dr. David C. Bossard
from original documents in the Dartmouth College Library.

November, 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Dr. David C. Bossard.  All rights reserved.


Fronticepiece: iv figure: Mammoth and Mastodon Skeletons

vii  viii  ix  x  xi  xii  xiii  xiv  xv  xvi  xvii  xviii  xix

[vii] In my intercourse with young men of good education, I have found more of them disquieted in their minds, if not unsettled in their religious princiiples, by the results of geological investigation, than by any other difficulties attending revealed truth.

[viii, note] The recent interpretation of the commencement of Genesis -- by which the first verse is simply supposed to affirm the original creation of all things, while the second immediately refers to the commencement of the human economy; passing by those prodigious cycles which geology demands, with a silence worthy of a true revelation, which does not pretned to gratify our curiosity as to the previous condition of our globe, any more than our curiosity as to the history of other worlds -- was first suggested by geology, though suspected and indeed anticipated by some of the early Fathers. ...

"The first day's work does not begin till the third verse.... this is no new theory. It was held by Justin Martyr, Basil, Origin, Theodoret, and Augustine -- men who came to such a conclusion without any bias, and who certainly were not driven to it by any geological difficulties." (Biblical Cyclopædia., Art. Creation.)

Professor Hitchcock ... declares that he is not awarre of any new theories of exegesis having been originated by geologists.

[x] At all stages [geology] has had reckless advocates, who have opposed their own crude suggestions about terrestrial pehnomena to the clearrest statements and strongest proofs of an accredited revelation.

INTRODUCTION: Introductory Observations  1   001  002  003  004

PART I.  Principles of Modern Geology  5 

Aqueous Rocks  6  006  007  008  009  010

>aqueous = sedimentary, stratified rocks, fossiliferous rocks,

Igneous Rocks  11  011  012  013  014  015

Tabular View of Fossiliferous Strata  16  016  017  018  019  020  021  022  023

016 figure: Dinotherium

>Post-Tertiary series (bones of man only here), Tertiary Series: Newer pliocene (Epoch of gigantic mammalia), Older Pliocene, Miocene, Eocene,  Secondary series: Chalk (Abundant marine remains, Ammonites), Green sand, Wealdon (Abundant fresh-water fossils, plants & animals, Iguanodon), Upper Oolite, Middle Oolite (Coral rag), Lower Oolite, Lias (extraordinary reptile fossils - Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus), Upper New Red Sandstone and Muschelkalk (Triassic System), Permian (Magnesian Limestone System),  Coal (ferns), Old Red Sandstone (Devonian System), Primary Fossiliferous or Transition Series: Upper Silurian, Lower Silurian, Cambrian.

PART II  Accordance of Geology with Revealed Religion  24 
024  025

Proofs of the Antiquity of the World  26  026  027  028  029  030  031

[025] An apparent discordance between Scripture and science... arises from the fact that a sedimentary deposit of rocks, to the thickness, as is computed, of eight or nine miles, and the appearance and disappearance ... very many races, one after another, ... seem to demand an immense duration of time to account for the phenomena.  Whereas, Scripture has been understood to pronounce the world of no greater age than five or six thousand years.

Arguments for the antiquity of the globe (Hitchcock):

1. More than two-thirds of existing continents are covered with [fossiliferous, sedimentary] rocks, which contain numerous remains of marine animals, so preserved as to prove incontestably that they died on the spot where they are now found.... These rocks present every appearance of having been formed... by a very slow process.

2. The fossiliferous strata in Europe are not less than eight or ten miles in thickness: How immense the period requisite for the production of such vast masses!

3. The mass is divided into hundreds of distinct strata, or groups of strata; each group containing peculiar organic remains, and arranged in as much order, one above another, as the drawers of a well-regulated cabinet...such changes must have demanded periods of time of long duration, for they appear to have been, for the most part, extremely slow.

4. In very many instances, each successive group of the strata, contains rounded pebbles derived from some of the preceeding groups. Those [earlier] strata.. must have been deposited, consolidated and eroded by water, so as to produce pebbles, before the rocks now containing them could have been formed. It is impossible that such changes, numerous as they must have been, could have taken place  such short periods of time. There must certainly have been long intervals between the formation of successive groups.

5. The history of repeated eleveations which the strata have undergone, conducts us to the same conclusion. ... We often find numerous groups of strata resting unconformably upon one another, the lowest being most tilted up, the next higher less so, and the third still less, until the latest is frequently horizontal; having never been disturbed by any internal protruding agency. It is obvious, then, that after the first elevation, there must have been an interval of repose sufficiently long to permit the deposition of the second group [and so on]... Here then, we have the same evidence of the slow formation of the stratified rocks, as is taught us by their lithological characters, and their organic remains.

[030] God could, indeed, have performed the work miraculously, in a moment of time: But the supposition is wholly gratuitous, and even worse than this... It is one thing to admit what God can do, and quite a different thing to show what he has done.

6. Finally, there appear to have been several almost entire changes of organic life upon the globe since the deposition of the fossiliferous rocks began. And comparative anatomy teaches us, that so different from one another were the successive groups which we find in the different strata, that they could not have been contemporaries....But they lived long enough for rocks thousands of feet in thickness to be deposited. Who can doubt that vast periods of time were requisite for suchg changes of organic life? and who can believe that they have taken place since the creation of man?

Every impartial mind, which fairly examines this subject, will be forced to the conclusion that the facts of geology do teach as conclusively, as any science not founded on mathematics can teach, that the globe must have existed during a period indefinitely long, anterior to the creation of man. We are not aware that any practical and thorough geologist doubts this, whatever are his views in respect to revelation. [It is] the unanimous voice of such men as Cuvier, Humboldt, Brongniart, Jameson, Buckland, Sedgwick, Murchison, Conybeare, Greenough, Bakewell, Lyell, Mantell, De la Beche, and many more; who not only stand among the most distinguished philosophers of the present day, but -- many of them at least -- are equally well known as decided friends of revelation?
Hitchcock, Student's Cabinet Library, No. xix, pp. 18-22

Such facts as are stated above cannot be accounted for by the Deluge of Noah,
or by any causes of which the operation has been subsequent to the creation of man  32  032

That the world was created in its present state is an incredible supposition  33   033  034  035

[035] To maintain that rocks were created just as they are, is a doctrine of very dangerous tendency.

Difficulties may excite undue alarm  36   036  037  038

Modes of Conciliation  39   039

The best expositors of Scripture seem to be now pretty generally agreed that the opening verse in Genesis has no necessary connexion with the verses which follow. They think it may be understood as making a separate and independent statement regarding creation proper, and that the phrase 'in the beginning,' may be expressive of an indefinitely remote antiquity.

Opinions regarding the six days  40   040  041  042

In former times, Whiston, Des Cartes, De Luc, and other distinguished men, advocated the position that the days spoken of in Genesis were not periods of twenty-four hours, but of a vast duration. ... Dr. Buckland believes that therre is no sound critical or theological objection to the interpretation of the word 'day,' as meaning a long period, but he thinks that there is no necessity for such an extension in order to reconcile the text of Genesis with physical appearances.... Dr. Pye Smith... thinks the term 'earth' may have a local and restricted sense, and may be designed to express that particular part of our world which God was adapting for the dwelling of man, and the animals connected with him. 

On such a subject we should not be dogmatical or hasty in our ecisions  43   043  044

Important agreements between Scripture and Geology  45   045  046  047  048  049

[049] While astronomy tells us of the extent of creation, geology informs us also of its antiquity. ... We pass from the abyss of space only to be lost in the abysses of duration, and we are transported by the retrospect into depths of the past, where all reckoning fails us, and the lapse of centuries is reduced to undiscernible insignificance.

There are marked features of accordance between the volumes of nature and of revelation. The Nature of God. The recent creation of man.

Why was not the ancient world more exempt from physical evil than Geology
supposes it to have been?  50   050  051  052

Not a few are particularly shocked to think that fossil remains should indicate the ravages of death among the brute creation, at periods anterior to the fall of man. [052] The Scriptures ... do not give us the slightest hint that creatures expire because our first parents pertook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That brutes die because man has sinned, has been asserted innumerable times by divines of eminence; but ... the few texts which have been supposed to favor this idea ... have scarcely even a semblance of giving it any countenance.  The death o animals is a fact in the course of nature... it contradicts neigher the scriptural narrative or Christian doctrine.

The Deluge  53   053  054  055

[055] The marine remains of animals and vegetables, with which many of the fossiliferous strata abound, were long referred to this deluge as the cause of their transportation, and were appealed to as evidence, that the diluvial waters had overflowed the whole earth.  The friends of revelation were naturally disappointed when this position was disputed, and the fossils were alleged to have belonged in general to periods much more ancient, and to have been entombed where they are now found under other circumstances.

Extent of the Deluge  56   056  057  058  059  060  061

[056] Our best expositors of Scripture are now generally of opinion that the flood, though extensive, was local. The language of Scripture certainly seems, at first sight, most unqualified: 'All the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.' It is certain, however, that Scripture often uses general language with a restricted signification.

[061] If we adopt the princiiple which Scripture itself so unequivocally sanctions -- that general terms may be used with a limited sense -- the whole account is simple and consistent. A deluge of great extent inundated the dry land. In respect to men, whom it was designed to punish for their wickedness, it was universal, excepting only Noah and his family, whom it pleased God to spare alive. Along with them were preserved such animals as were most useful to them, and such as were fitted to fulfil the purposes of Providence after the waters should have retired.

A Testimony of Tradition  62   062  063

A Deluge not impossible  64   064  065

Observation does not warrant scepticism  66   066  067  068  069

Concluding remarks on this department of the subject  70   070  071  072  073  074

[070] Allow me to add, that if geology has its proper evidence, so has Scripture -- ev idence clear, and broad, and varied, which no difficulties affect -- and that the same searching after truth which has led men of scientific mind to acquiesce in modern geology, has induced many of the more eminent of their number to own the proof of Scripture to be decisive and irresistible. The great Cuvier, the father of philosophic geology, was president of the Bible Society in Paris, and was meditating a speech for one of its meetings, eulogistic of the Bible, when he was removed by death. Need I speak of silliman, professor of chemistry in Yale college, America; of M'Culloch, like the others I have mentioned, no divine, but a profound geologist, and strong advocate of the Christian religion? It would be tedious to enumerate such men as Sedgwick, Conybeare, Buckland, Bakewell, Miller, all enlightened geologists, and friends of biblical truth.


I. Geology in its Relation to the Organic World  76   076

The Megatherium  77   077  078  079  080  081  082  083  084
76 figure: The Megatherium
77 figure: Mylodon Robustus

Extinction and Introduction of Species  85   085  086  087  088  089  090  091  092  093  094  095  096  097  098
92 figure: The Belemnite

[086] The Nautilus and the Ammonite
   Were launched in friendly strife;
Each sent to float, in its tiny boat,
   On the wide wild sea of life!

For each could swim on the ocean's brim,
   And when wearied its sail could furl;
And sink to sleep in the great sea deep,
   In it palace all of pearl!

[087] When countries have undergone a change of temperature, and races adapted to the former state of climate have died out, they have been succeeded by new orders, most of which could not have lived under the prior condition of things. ... Tribes to which the caloric of past days would have been enfeebling and deadly, are at home and healthful in our frigid atmosphere.

> Megatherium, nautilus, ammonite,  Dendera Zodiac, Esné Zodiac,

Hume's argument against Miracles  99   099  100

The Development Hypothesis  101   101  102  103  104  105  106  107  108  109  110  111  112  113  114  115

[103] The hypothesis is liable to positive and insuperable objections, of which the following may be stated:--

1. The fossils contained in the different strata do not show a graduated progress fom more rudimentary  to more perfect structures. ... The bivalve mollusca of the [lowest fossiliferous rocks] were certainly as complicated, nay, more highly organized, than the greater number of conchifera of the present ocean...The crustacea of the Silurian system were at least as curiously organised as the limuli of the North American coasts...The belemnites and ammonites, turrilites, and other extinct genera of the oolite and chalk, reveal to us an extinct order of cephalopoda larger, more powerful, and more curiously organized, than existing loligines and sepiæ. It is evident, therefore, that the whole notion of a gradual amelioration or enrichment of the animal organisation may be dismissed as a mere illusion of the fancy....

2. There are constituents in the structure of animals which exclude the possibility of transition upwards or downwards

II. Geology in Relation to the Inorganic World  116

Balancing Agencies and Processes  116   116

[116] The earth is not a wild, abandoned to neglect, or controlled by casualties, but is governed on a system, in which the several agents fulfil each some important function, and co-operate in sustaining a collective harmony.

1. Water  117   117  118  119
Fire  120   120  121  122  123
121 figure: Source of the Volcano

2. Consolidation and Disintegration 124   124  125  126  127

[127] Was each of these agencies accidental? Above all, was their harmonious co-operation a thing of chance? A glorious divinity must this chance be, and strong must be the faith of him who credits its marvels. Such a believer has little pretext for ridiculing credulity.

[128] A very beautiful example of compensation is derived from the relations of the animal and vegetable kingdoms to the atmosphere. The result of all changes of composition in animal bodies, is to deteriorate the atmosphere, and to render it unfit for supporting the life of sentient beings. Animals, by respiration, are continually throwing carbonic acid into the atmosphere, and indeed the final decomposition of the body after death, tends still further to load the air with unhealthy azotised matters. The purity of air, however, is maintained by the counteracting influence of the vegetable kingdom.

Substances of High Economic Value --

1. Coal  128   128  129  130  131
128 figure: Cyclas Revoluta
129 figure: The Ancient Tree Ferns

2. Lime  132   132  133

3. Metals  134   134  135  136  137

The Proof is Infinite  138   138  139  140  141

No Good is to be expected from Atheism  142   142  143  144  145  146  147  148

  149   149  150  151  152  153  154  155

[149] One lesson taught us by Modern Geology is the mutability of this world. I do not speak of its laws, which are strikingly uniform, but of its constituent matter as moulded by their operation. We have seen that the sea and the dry land have repeatedly exchanged places. ... [Second] Modern Geology smiles contempt on the pride of antiquity. ...Our vaunted race are all the entrants of but yesterday, compared with many of the irrational tribes which we regard with contempt.

by John Scouler M.D.

I. Objects of Geological Science  156   156  157  158  159  160

[157] The fitness of the earth's crust, including its atmospheric ocean, for the support of organic beings, depends not on its quiescence, but on its incessant changes. The hard, undecomposed rock cannot afford food... an atmosphere of absolute dryness... is scarcely compatible with the support of life. Consequently rocks must be decomposed and comminuted to afford an appropriate soil: temperature and moisture must also be combined in due proportion, that the physical agents may act beneficially on organized beings. These results are brought about by the antagonism of various forces.

[158] Parallel with these unceasing mutations in the inorganic constituents of the earth's crust, we find corresponding mutations in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, whose history constitutes the second division of geology. ... The careful investigation of the remains of former and long-extinct species of plants and animals, has led to the wonderful but incontrovertible fact, that repeatedly whole races and groups of beings have perished, while the earth has again been replenished by new species. ... It is well known that every well-defined region of the globe has its own peculiar creation of plants and animals, which exist in no other division of the earth's surface.

II. Provision has been made in creation for unity, variety, and beauty, as well as utility,  161   161  162  163  164  165  166  167  168  169
161-figure: The Trilobite

III.  Doctrine of the Transmutation of Species  170  
170  171  172  173  174  175  176  177  178  179  180  181  182  183  184  185  186  187
185-figure: The Dinornis

[183] If we now inquire whether the history of fossil mollusca afford any evidence of progressive development, we can reply in the negative. Of all the divisions of the mollusca, the cephalopoda or cuttle-fish tribe, to which also the nautilus belongs, are unquestionably the most perfect, and fully developed. The chambered shells of the cuttle-fish tribe, are found in great abundance in the Silurian strata. The species are extremely numerous, belonging to many genera, some of great size and very complicated structure. .. They become rare in the tertiary formations, and in our present seas we can only enumerate about three species of chambered shells. In this case the theory of a progressive deterioration of the mollusca would be more feasible than that of a progressive development.

[184] There are two orders of truths in zoology, one of them, when exclusively pursued, apparently favourable to the doctrines of the transmutationists, and the other, athough equally true, is but rarely insisted on.  The gradation of lizards to serpents is of the most impeerceptible kind, and there are animals, regarding which it is difficult to decide towhich division they should belong. The gradation from the frog tribe to fishes is still more remarkable, and animals have been recently discovered of so intermediate a nature as to render it a delicate matter to pronounce whether they are to be referred to the batrachia or to fishes. These facts are apt to carry away the imaginations of young naturalists, especially when the other point of view is neglected. There are groups of animals in which transitions are impossible, and combinations of organs which can never occur. A tiger with cloven hoofs, and still more, a winged serpent, cannot exist. In like manner there are some divisions of the animal kingdom so well defined, and whose differences from all other classes are so great, that we can scarcely imagine a transition to another class. Thus, to take an obvious instance, ther eis no middle term between a vertbral and invertebral animal. ... 

[186] The birds lead to nothing, they graduate into no other class. They stand between mammifers and reptiles. To convert a bird into a mammifer, or even into something intermediate, is inconceivable. ,,,The idea of a mammiferous animal includes not one condition, but many, all inseparable, viz., utero gestation, mammary glands; and these again involve fleshy lips and tongue for suction, an epiglottis to protect the iwndpipe, a diaphragm and abdominal muscles, which are also necessary for the same ends. None of these conditions exist in birds, nor are they compatible with the structure of a vertebrate destined to fly.... On the other side of the birds we find the reptiles; but here also the void between the two groups is deep and wide. Both are oviparous, but the reptiles are cold-blooded, while birds possess the highest temperature of any class of animals....

IV. Recent Appearance of Man  188   188  189  190  191  192

193  194  195  196  197  198  199  200  201  202  203  204  205  206  207  208  209  210  211  212  213  214  215  216  217  218  219  220


Mammoth and Mastodon Skeletons


The Megatherium

Mylodon Robustus

The Belemnite

Source of the Volcano

Cyclas Revoluta

The Ancient Tree Ferns

The Trilobite

The Dinornis