Science’s Quarrel With The Bible, Part 1
Extracts from Lectures by Walter Rowton, Esq.
It is all very well for our philosophers to dismiss the Bible as having nothing to do with the technicalities of Science, but they have no right to take that course upon a merely superficial acquaintance with the Book they dismiss. I say “superficial acquaintance,” for hitherto our men of science have shewn only that. Which none of them at any time has learnedly grappled with the Bible case? The frequent assertion, “There is no case to grapple with,” simply proves my point; our men of theoretical science are not accomplished on that side of the subject, or they could not say so.
Not one of them apparently has studied the Book with anything like method. Grotesque explanations of isolated texts to square them with their theories they obviously oppose— these are plentiful enough; but exhaustive treatises in refutation of Bible Science as a systematic whole— where are they? The subjects upon which the Bible is said to speak incorrectly are four; The First Great Cause—the Origin of Man— Geology— Astronomy. Upon these, it is confidently affirmed that the Bible records are but traditional beliefs. But these four resolve themselves into one; for if the Cosmogony of the Bible, or Origin of the Universe, be true, the great pivot principle upon which turn the Philosopher’s First Cause, Darwinism, the “ periods” of Geology, and the elaborate calculations of Astronomy, collapses like a burst soap-bubble.
This, of course, is very startling, and we may well pause were we recommit ourselves to the truth of the Bible Cosmogony. I say recommit ourselves, for long ago, in deference to statements of the then scientific philosophers, that Cosmogony was virtually given up; and before reverting to it, not alone have we to dispose of Kepler’s and Galileo’s and Copernicus’ stated facts, consolidated by the speculations of Newton, Herschel, Tyndall and Proctor, but also we have to take into account the formidable difficulties, owing to the ways in which we stand pledged, of making a recantation. We are committed to Astronomy at variance with the Scriptures: we have surrendered more than Bible dates at the bidding of the Geologists; the theories of Herbert Spencer and Darwin have myriads of adherents amongst the cleverest and most influential of the age’s teachers and leaders; and a recoil from these latest and loftiest results of human reasoning and observation upon the old Bible Cosmogony, looks such a relapse from the zenith of civilization into almost aboriginal barbarism, that we may well hesitate ere consenting it should occur.
But here it is proper we should look for a little at the drift of those technical teachings which from time immemorial to this time have impugned the scientific accuracy of the Bible.
The most eminent living representative of the heathen philosophers, and at the same time the most honoured spokesman in the name of Science that England possesses, recently said— and his words, reproduced by all our newspapers, have been the well-learnt Science lesson of millions since; “Abandoning all disguise, the confession I feel bound to make is, that I prolong the vision backward across the boundary of the experimental evidence, and discern in that matter, which we in our ignorance have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of every form and quality of life,” And again: “All religious theories, schemes, and systems which embrace notions of cosmogony, or which otherwise reach into its domain, must, in so far as they do this, submit to the control of Science, and relinquish all thought of controlling it.”
This, of course, embraces the Bible Cosmogony, it therefore, must submit to the control of such principles as these. By that which calls itself Science, we are authoritatively directed to give up believing in the personal Creator of the Scriptures; to own only a possible First Cause: to accept the heathen atomic theory ; and to discern in “ matter—the promise and potency of every form and quality of life;” which, if there be a God, inevitably includes the life of God Himself. That the heavens declare the glory of God ; that the firmament showeth his handiwork; that God made man; that Creation, as biblically described took place, nay, that Creation as a special work occurred at all: all this we are summoned to surrender. And for what ? For the dear sake of a materialism which, when we fail— for aught that has ever been taught us to the contrary— shall receive us into as good as everlasting nothingness! “Survival of the fittest” — a blessed hope truly! for, as their times come, “ the fittest” did” as unavoidably as others. Everlasting dust and ashes, that appears our promised end; and who but is .speeding towards it? As in this life there is vastly more pain than pleasure, if there be indeed no afterwards, no day of reckoning, why does not science recommend suicide? Depriving us of our Bible hope, and giving us none other— by all means everlasting dust and ashes; and the sooner the better. Science has no right to devise schemes for prolonging life; with her views, it is the refinement of cruelty.
To be continued.