Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
by Ignatius Donnelly
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

In other words, Job is not imprecating future evils on a past time—an impossibility, an absurdity: he is describing the events then transpiring—the whirlwind, the darkness, the mist, the day that does not come, and the leviathan, the demon, the comet.

Job seems to regret that he has escaped with his life:

"For now," he says, "should I have lain still and been quiet," (if I had not fled) "I should have slept: then had I been at rest, with kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver."[3]

Job looks out over the whole world, swept bare of its inhabitants, and regrets that he did not stay and bide the

[1. Douay version, chapter iii, verses 4-8.

2. Ibid., verse 9.

3. King James's version, chapter iii, verses 18-15.]

{p. 283}

pelting of the pitiless storm, as, if he had done so, he would be now lying dead with kings and counselors, who built places for themselves, now made desolate, and with princes who, despite their gold and silver, have perished. Kings and counselors do not build "desolate places" for themselves; they build in the heart of great communities; in the midst of populations: the places may become desolate afterward.

Eliphaz the Temanite seems to think that the sufferings of men are due to their sins. He says:

Even as I have seen, they that plough wickedness and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions are broken. The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad."

Certainly, this seems to be a picture of a great event. Here again the fire of God, that consumed Job's sheep and servants, is at work; even the fiercest of the wild beasts are suffering: the old lion dies for want of prey, and its young ones are scattered abroad.

Eliphaz continues:

"In thoughts, from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on me, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face, the hair of my flesh stood up."

A voice spake:

"Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly: How much less them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth. They are destroyed from morning to evening; they perish forever without any regarding it."

{p. 284}

The moth can crush nothing, therefore Maurer thinks it should read, "crushed like the moth." "They are destroyed," etc.; literally, "they are broken to pieces in the space of a day."[1]

All through the text of Job we have allusions to the catastrophe which had fallen on the earth (chap. v, 3):

"I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I," (God,) "cursed his habitation."

"4. His children are far from safety," (far from any place of refuge?) "and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.

"5. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance."

That is to say, in the general confusion and terror the harvests are devoured, and there is no respect for the rights of property.

"6. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground."

In the Douay version it reads:

"Nothing on earth is done without a cause, and sorrow doth not spring out of the ground" (v, 6).

I take this to mean that the affliction which has fallen upon men comes not out of the ground, but from above.

"7. Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."

In the Hebrew we read for sparks, "sons of flame or burning coal." Maurer and Gesenius say, "As the sons of lightning fly high"; or, "troubles are many and fiery as sparks."

[1. Faussett's "Commentary," iii, 40.]

{p. 285}

"8. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause;

"9. Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

10. Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields."

Rain here signifies the great floods which cover the earth.

"11. To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety."

That is to say, the poor escape to the high places—to safety—while the great and crafty perish.

"12. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands can not perform their enterprise.

"13. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness," (that is, in the very midst of their planning,) "and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong," (that is, it is instantly overwhelmed).

"14. They MEET WITH DARKNESS IN THE DAY-TIME, and grope in the noonday as in the night." (Chap. v.)

Surely all this is extraordinary—the troubles of mankind come from above, not from the earth; the children of the wicked are crushed in the gate, far from places of refuge; the houses of the wicked are "crushed before the moth," those that plow wickedness perish," by the "blast of God's nostrils they are consumed"; the old lion perishes for want of prey, and its whelps are scattered abroad. Eliphaz sees a vision, (the comet,) which "makes his bones to shake, and the hair of his flesh to stand up"; the people "are destroyed from morning to evening"; the cunning find their craft of no avail, but are taken; the counsel of the froward is carried headlong; the poor find safety in high places; and darkness comes in midday, so that the people grope their way;

{p. 286}

and Job's children, servants, and animals are destroyed by a fire from heaven, and by a great wind.

Eliphaz, like the priests in the Aztec legend, thinks he sees in all this the chastening hand of God:

"17. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

"18. For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole." (Chap. v.)

We are reminded of the Aztec prayer, where allusion is made to the wounded and sick in the cave "whose mouths were full of earth and scurf." Doubtless, thousands were crushed, and cut, and wounded by the falling stones, or burned by the fire, and some of them were carried by relatives and friends, or found their own way, to the shelter of the caverns.

"20. In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

"21. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh." (Chap. v.)

"The scourge of the tongue" has no meaning in this context. There has probably been a mistranslation at some stage of the history of the poem. The idea is, probably, "You are hid in safety from the scourge of the comet, from the tongues of flame; you need not be afraid of the destruction that is raging without."

"22. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

"23. For thou shalt be in league with THE STONES OF THE FIELD: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee." (Chap. v.)

That is to say, as in the Aztec legend, the stones of the field have killed some of the beasts if the earth, "the lions have perished," and their whelps have been scattered;

{p. 287}

the stones have thus been your friends; and other beasts have fled with you into these caverns, as in the Navajo tradition, where you may be able, living upon them, to defy famine.

Now it may be said that all this is a strained construction; but what construction can be substituted that will make sense of these allusions? How can the stones of the field be in league with man? How does the ordinary summer rain falling on the earth set up the low and destroy the wealthy? And what has all this to do with a darkness that cometh in the day-time in which the wicked grope helplessly?

But the allusions continue

Job cries out, in the next chapter (chap. vi)

"2. Oh that my grief" (my sins whereby I deserved wrath) "were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

3. As the sands of the sea this would appear heavier, therefore my words are full of sorrow. (Douay version.)

'14. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit; the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me" ("war against me"-Douay ver.).

That is to say, disaster comes down heavier than the sands—the gravel of the sea; I am wounded; the arrows of God, the darts of fire, have stricken me. We find in the American legends the descending dbris constantly alluded to as "stones, arrows, and spears"; I am poisoned with the foul exhalations of the comet; the terrors of God are arrayed against me. All this is comprehensible as a description of a great disaster of nature, but it is extravagant language to apply to a mere case of boils.

"9. Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand and cut me off."

{p. 288}

The commentators say that "to destroy me" means literally "to grind or crush me." (Chap. vi.)

Job despairs of final escape:

"11. What is my strength that I can hold out? And what is I end that I should keep patience?" (Douay.)

"12 . Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass? "

That is to say, how can I ever bold out? How can I ever survive this great tempest? How can my strength stand the crushing of these stones? Is my flesh brass, that it will not burn up? Can I live in a world where such things are to continue?

And here follow allusions which are remarkable as occurring in an Arabian composition, in a land of torrid beats:

"15. My brethren" (my fellow-men) "have dealt deceitfully" (have sinned) "as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away.

16. Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid.

"17. What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.

18. The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing and perish."

The Douay version has it:

"16. They" (the people) "that fear the hoary frost, the snow shall fall upon them.

"17. At the time when they shall be scattered they shall perish; and after it groweth hot they shall be melted out of their place.

"18. The paths of their steps are entangled; they shall walk in vain and shall perish."

There is a great deal of perishing here—some by frost and snow, some by heat; the people are scattered, they lose their way, they perish.

{p. 289}

Job's servants and sheep were also consumed in their place; they came to naught, they perished.

Job begins to think, like the Aztec priest, that possibly the human race has reached its limit and is doomed to annihilation (chap. vii):

"1. Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?"

Is it not time to discharge the race from its labors?

"4. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day."

He draws a picture of his hopeless condition, shut up in the cavern, never to see the light of day again. (Douay ver., chap. vii):

"12: Am I sea or a whale, that thou hast inclosed me in a prison?"

"7. My eyes shall not return to see good things.

"8. Nor shall the sight of man behold me; thy eyes are upon me, and I shall be no more"; (or, as one translates it, thy mercy shall come too late when I shall be no more.)

"9. As a cloud is consumed and passeth away, so he that shall go down to hell" (or the grave, the cavern) shall not come up.

"10. Nor shall he return any more into his house, neither shall his place know him any more."

How strikingly does this remind one of the Druid legend, given on page 135, ante:

"The profligacy of mankind had provoked the Great Supreme to send a pestilential wind upon the earth. A pure poison descended, every blast was death. At this time the patriarch, distinguished for his integrity, was shut up, together with his select company, in the inclosure with the strong door. Here the just ones were safe from injury. Presently a tempest of fire arose," etc.

{p. 290}

Who can doubt that these widely separated legends refer to the same event and the same patriarch?

Job meditates suicide, just as we have seen in the American legends that hundreds slew themselves under the terror of the time:

"21. For now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be."

The Chaldaic version gives us the sixteenth and seventeenth verses of chapter viii as follows:

"The sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof faileth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth, so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways."

And then Job refers to the power of God, seeming to paint the cataclysm (chap. ix):

"5. Which removeth the mountains, and they know not which overturneth them in his anger.

"6. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

"7. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

"8. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens and treadeth upon the waves of the sea."

All this is most remarkable: here is the delineation of a great catastrophe—the mountains are removed and leveled; the earth shakes to its foundations; the sun fails to appear, and the stars are sealed up. How? In the dense masses of clouds?

Surely this does not describe the ordinary manifestations of God's power. When has the sun refused to rise? It can not refer to the story of Joshua, for in that case the sun was in the heavens and refrained from setting; and Joshua's time was long subsequent to that of Job. But when we take this in connection with the fire

{p. 291}

falling from heaven, the great wind, the destruction of men and animals, the darkness that came at midday, the ice and snow and sands of the sea, and the stones of the field, and the fact that Job is shut up as in a prison, never to return to his home or to the light of day, we see that peering through the little-understood context of this most ancient poem are the disjointed reminiscences of the age of fire and gravel. It sounds like the cry not of a man but of a race, a great, religious, civilized race, who could not understand how God could so cruelly visit the world; and out of their misery and their terror sent up this pitiful yet sublime appeal for mercy.

"13. If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him."

One commentator makes this read:

"Under him the whales below heaven bend," (the crooked leviathan?)

"17. For he shall crush me in a whirlwind, and multiplieth my wounds even without cause." (Douay ver.)

And Job can not recognize the doctrine of a special providence; he says:

"22. This is one thing" (therefore I said it). "He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

"23. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.

"24. The earth is given into the hands of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if it be not him, who is it then?" (Douay ver.)

That is to say, God has given up the earth to the power of Satan (as appears by chapter i); good and bad perish together; and the evil one laughs as the scourge (the comet) slays suddenly the innocent ones; the very judges who should have enforced justice are dead, and

{p. 292}

their faces covered with dust and ashes. And if God has not done this terrible deed, who has done it?

And Job rebels against such a state of things

"34. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me.

"35. Then I would speak to him and not fear him but it is not so with me."

What rod—what fear? Surely not the mere physical affliction which is popularly supposed to have constituted Job's chief grievance. Is the "rod" that terrifies Job so that he fears to speak, that great object which cleft the heavens; that curved wolf-jaw of the Goths, one end of which rested on the earth while the other touched the sun? Is it the great sword of Surt?

And here we have another (chap. x) allusion to the "darkness," although in our version it is applied to death:

"21. Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death.

"22. A land of darkness as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness."

Or, as the Douay version has it:

"21. Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death.

"22. A land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order but everlasting horror dwelleth."

This is not death; death is a place of peace, "where the wicked ceased from troubling "; this is a description of the chaotic condition of things on the earth outside the cave, "without any order," and where even the feeble light of day is little better than total darkness. Job thinks he might just as well go out into this dreadful world and end it all.

Zophar argues (chap. xi) that all these things have

{p. 293}

come because of the wickedness of the people, and that it is all right:

"10. If he cut off and shut up and gather together, who can hinder him?

"11. For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?

"If he cut off," the commentators say, means literally, "If he pass by as a storm."

That is to say, if he cuts off the people, (kills them by the million,) and shuts up a few in caves, as Job was shut up in prison, gathered together from the storm, how are you going to help it? Hath he not seen the vanity and wickedness of man?

And Zophar tells Job to hope, to pray to God, and that he will yet escape:

"16. Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.

"17. And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning."

"Thou shalt shine forth" Gesenius renders, "though now thou art in darkness thou shalt presently be as the morning"; that is, the storm will pass and the light return. Umbreit gives it, "Thy darkness shall be as the morning; only the darkness of morning twilight, not nocturnal darkness." That is, Job will return to that dim light which followed the Drift Age.

"18. And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety."

That is to say, when the waters pass away, with them shall pass away thy miseries; the sun shall yet return brighter than ever; thou shalt be secure; thou shalt dig thy way out of these caverns; and then take thy rest in

{p. 294}

safety, for the great tempest shall have passed for ever. We are told by the commentators that the words "about thee" are an interpolation.

If this is not the interpretation, for what would Job dig about him? What relation can digging have with the disease which afflicted Job?

But Job refuses to receive this consolation. He refuses to believe that the tower of Siloam fell only on the wickedest men in the city. He refers to his past experience of mankind. He thinks honest poverty is without honor at the hands of successful fraud. He says (chap. xii):

"5. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease."


"6. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly."

And he can not see how, if this calamity has come upon men for their sins, that the innocent birds and beasts, and even the fish in the heated and poisoned waters, are perishing:

"7. But ask now the beasts," ("for verily," he has just said, "ye are the men, and wisdom will die with you,") "and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

"8. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare it unto thee.

"9. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?"

Wrought what? Job's disease? No. Some great catastrophe to bird and beast and earth.

You pretend, he says, in effect, ye wise men, that only the wicked have suffered; but it is not so, for aforetime I have seen the honest poor man despised and the villain

{p. 295}

prosperous. And if the sins of men have brought this catastrophe on the earth, go ask the beasts and the birds and the fish and the very face of the suffering earth, what they have done to provoke this wrath. No, it is the work of God, and of God alone, and he gives and will give no reason for it.

"14. Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built up again; he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

"15. Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also, he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth."

That is to say, the heat of the fire from heaven sucks up the waters until rivers and lakes are dried up: Cacus steals the cows of Hercules; and then again they fall, deluging and overturning the earth, piling it into Mountains in one place, says the Tupi legend, and digging out valleys in another. And God buries men in the caves in which they sought shelter.

"23. He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.

"24. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.

"25. They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man."

More darkness, more groping in the dark, more of that staggering like drunken men, described in the American legends:

"Lo, mine eye," says Job, (xiii, 1,) "hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also."

We have all seen it, says Job, and now you would come here with your platitudes about God sending all this to punish the wicked:

{p. 296}

"4. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value."

Honest Job is disgusted, and denounces his counselors with Carlylean vigor:

"11. Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?

"12. Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.

"13. Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.

"14. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?

"15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

In other words, I don't think this thing is right, and, though I tear my flesh with my teeth, and contemplate suicide, and though I may be slain for speaking, yet I will speak out, and maintain that God ought not to have done this thing; he ought not to have sent this horrible affliction on the earth—this fire from heaven, which burned up my cattle; this whirlwind which slew my children; this sand of the sea; this rush of floods; this darkness in noonday in which mankind grope helplessly; these arrows, this poison, this rush of waters, this sweeping away of mountains.

"If I hold my tongue," says Job, "I shall give up the ghost!"

Job believes—

"The grief that will not speak, Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break."

"As the waters fail from the sea," says Job, (xiv, 11,) and the flood decayeth and drieth up:

"12. So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

{p. 297}

13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!"

What does this mean? When in history have the waters failed from the sea? Job believes in the immortality of the soul (xix, 26): "Though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Can these words then be of general application, and mean that those who lie down and rise not shall not awake for ever? No; he is simply telling that when the conflagration came and dried up the seas, it slaughtered the people by the million; they fell and perished, never to live again; and he calls on God to hide him in a grave, a tomb, a cavern—until the day of his wrath be past, and then to remember him, to come for him, to let him out.

"20. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth."

Escaped from what? From his physical disease? No; he carried that with him.

But Zophar insists that there is a special providence in all these things, and that only the wicked have perished (chap. xx):

"5. The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment."

"7. Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is be?"

16. He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him."


"23. When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall RAIN IT UPON him, while he is eating.

"24. He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.

{p. 298}

"25. It is drawn and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword" (the comet?) "cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.

"26. All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him. . . .

"27. The heavens shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.

"28. The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath."

What does all this mean? While the rich man, (necessarily a wicked man,) is eating his dinner, God shall rain upon him a consuming fire, a fire not blown by man; he shall be pierced by the arrows of God, the earth shall quake under his feet, the heavens shall blaze forth his iniquity; the darkness shall be hid, shall disappear, in the glare of the conflagration; and his substance shall flow away in the floods of God's wrath.

Job answers him in powerful language, maintaining from past experience his position that the wicked ones do not suffer in this life any more than the virtuous (chap. xxi):

"Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways."

And here we seem to have a description (chap. xvi, Douay ver.) of Job's contact with the comet:

"9. A false speaker riseth up against my face, contradicting me."

That is, Job had always proclaimed the goodness of God, and here comes something altogether evil.

{p. 299}

"10. He hath gathered together his fury against me; and threatening me he hath gnashed with his teeth upon me: my enemy hath beheld me with terrible eyes."

"14. He has compassed me round about with his lances, he hath wounded my loins, he hath not spared, he hath poured out my bowels on the earth.

"15. He hath torn me with wound upon wound, he hath rushed in upon me like a giant."

"20. For behold my witness is in heaven, and he that knoweth my conscience is on high."

It is impossible to understand this as referring to a skin-disease, or even to the contradictions of Job's companions, Zophar, Bildad, etc.

Something rose up against Job that comes upon him with fury, gnashes his teeth on him, glares at him with terrible eyes, surrounds him with lances, wounds him in every part, and rushes upon him like a giant; and the witness of the truth of Job's statement is there in the heavens.

Eliphaz returns to the charge. He rebukes Job and charges him with many sins and oppressions (chap. xxii):

"10. Therefore snares are around about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;

"11. Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee."

"13. And thou sayest, How doth God know? Can he judge through the dark cloud?

"14. Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

15. Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?

"16. Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood?"

"20. Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth."

"24. He shall give for earth flint, and for flint torrents of gold." (Douay ver.)

{p. 300}

What is the meaning of all this? And why this association of the flint-stones, referred to in so many legends; and the gold believed to have fallen from heaven in torrents, is it not all wonderful and inexplicable upon any other theory than that which I suggest?

"30. He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine "(Job's) "hands."

What does this mean? Where was "the island of the innocent"? What was the way which the wicked, who did not live on "the island of the innocent," had trodden, but which was swept away in the flood as the bridge Bifrost was destroyed, in the Gothic legends, by the forces of Muspelheim?

And Job replies again (chap. xxiii):

"16. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

"17. Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face."

That is to say, why did I not die before this great calamity fell on the earth, and before I saw it?

Job continues (chap. xxvi):

"5. Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.

"6. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

The commentators tell us that the words, "dead things are formed under the waters," mean literally, "the souls of the dead tremble from under the waters."

In all lands the home of the dead was, as I have shown elsewhere,[1] beyond the waters: and just as we have seen in Ovid that Phaton's conflagration burst open the earth

[1. "Atlantis," 359, 421, etc.]

{p. 301}

and disturbed the inhabitants of Tartarus; and in Hesiod's narrative that the ghosts trembled around Pluto in his dread dominion; so here hell is laid bare by the great catastrophe, and the souls of the dead in the drowned Flood-land, beneath the waters, tremble.

Surely, all these legends are fragments of one and the same great story.

"7. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

"8. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them."

The clouds do not break with this unparalleled load of moisture.

"9. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.

"10. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

"11. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproof.

"12. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud." ("By his wisdom he has struck the proud one."—Douay ver.)

"13. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens his hand hath formed the crooked serpent." ("His artful hand brought forth the winding serpent."—Douay ver.)

What is the meaning of all this? The dead under the waters tremble; hell is naked, in the blazing heat, and destruction is uncovered; the north, the cold, descends on the world; the waters are bound up in thick clouds; the face of God's throne, the sun, is bidden by the clouds spread upon it; darkness has come, day and night are all one; the earth trembles; he has lighted up the heavens with the fiery comet, shaped like a crooked serpent, but he has struck him as Indra struck Vritra.

How else can these words be interpreted? When

{p. 302}

otherwise did the day and night come to an end? What is the crooked serpent?

Job continues, (chap. xxviii,) and speaks in an enigmatical way, v. 3, of "the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death."

114. The flood breaketh out from the inhabitants; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.

"5. As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire."

Maurer and Gesenius translate verse 4 in a way wonderfully in accord with my theory: "The flood breaketh out from the inhabitants," they render, "a shaft, (or gulley-like pit,) is broken open far from the inhabitant, the dweller on the surface of the earth."[1] This is doubtless the pit in which Job was bidden, the narrow-mouthed, bottomless cave, referred to hereafter. And the words, "forgotten of the foot," confirm this view, for the high authorities, just cited, tell us that these words mean literally, "unsupported by the foot THEY HANG BY ROPES IN DESCENDING; they are dried up; they are gone away from men."[2]

Here we have, probably, a picture of Job and his companions descending by ropes into some great cavern, "dried up" by the heat, seeking refuge, far from the habitations of men, in some "deep shaft or gulley-like pit."

And the words, "they are gone away from men," Maurer and Gesenius translate, "far from men they move with uncertain steps—they stagger." They are stumbling through the darkness, hurrying to a place of refuge, precisely as narrated in the Central American legends.

[1. Fausset's "Commentaries," vol. iii, p. 66.

2. Ibid.]

{p. 303}

This is according to the King James version, but the Douay version gives it as follows:

"3. He hath set a time for darkness, and the end of all things he considereth; the stone also that is in the dark, and the shadow of death.

"4. The flood divideth from the people that are on their journey, those whom the foot of the needy man hath forgotten, and those who cannot be come at.

5. The land out of which bread grew in its place, hath been overturned with fire."

That is to say, God has considered whether he would not make an end of all things: he has set a time for darkness; in the dark are the stones; the flood separates the people; those who are escaping are divided by it from those who were forgotten, or who are on the other side of the flood, where they can not be come at. But the land where formerly bread grew, the land of the agricultural people, the civilized land, the plain of Ida where grew the apples, the plain of Vigrid where the great battle took place, that has been overturned by fire.

And this land the next verse tells us:

"6. The stones of it are the place of sapphires, and the clods of it" (King James, "dust") "are gold."

We are again reminded of those legends of America and Europe where gold and jewels fell from heaven among the stones. We are reminded of the dragon-guarded hoards of the ancient myths.

The Douay version says:

"9. He" (God) "has stretched out his hand to the flint, he hath overturned mountains from the roots."

What is the meaning Of FLINT here? And why this recurrence of the word flint, so common in the Central American legends and religions? And when did God in

{p. 304}

the natural order of things overturn mountains by the roots?

And Job (chap. xxx, Douay version) describes the condition of the multitude who had at first mocked him, and the description recalls vividly the Central American pictures of the poor starving wanderers who followed the Drift Age:

"3. Barren with want and hunger, who gnawed in the wilderness, disfigured with calamity and misery.

4. And they ate grass, and barks of trees, and the root of junipers was their food.

"5. Who snatched up these things out of the valleys, and when they had found any of them, they ran to them with a cry.

"6. They dwelt in the desert places of torrents, and in caves of the earth, or UPON THE GRAVEL."

Is not all this wonderful?

In the King James version, verse 3 reads:

3. For want and famine they were solitary, fleeing into the wilderness, in former time, desolate and waste."

The commentators say that the words, "in former time, desolate and waste," mean literally, "the yesternight of desolation and waste."

Job is describing the condition of the people immediately following the catastrophe, not in some remote past.

And again Job says (Douay version, chap. xxx):

"12. . . . My calamities forthwith arose; they have overthrown my feet, and have overwhelmed me with their paths as with waves. . . .

"14. They have rushed in upon me as when a wall is broken, and a gate opened, and have rolled themselves down to my miseries. . . ."

Maurer translates, "as when a wall is broken," "with a shout like the crash of falling masonry."

{p. 305}

29. I was the brother of dragons and companion of ostriches.

"30. My skin is become black upon me, and my bones are dried up with the heat."

We are reminded of Ovid's statement that the conflagration of Phaton caused the skin of the Africans to turn black.

In chapter xxxiv, (King James's version,) we read:

"14. If he" (God) "set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;

"15. All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust."

And in chapter xxxvi, (verses 15, 16, Douay,) we see that Job was shut up in something like a cavern:

"15. He shall deliver the poor out of his distress, and shall open his ear in affliction.

"16. Therefore he shall set thee at large out of the narrow mouth, and which hath no foundation under it; and the rest of thy table shall be full of fatness."

That is to say, in the day when he delivers the poor out of their misery, he will bring thee forth from the place where thou hast been "hiding," (see chap. xiii, 20,) from that narrow-mouthed, bottomless cavern; and instead of starving, as you have been, your table, during the rest of your life, "shall be full of fatness."

"27. He" (God) "lifteth up the drops of rain and poureth out showers like floods.

"28. Which flow from the clouds which cover all from above."

The commentators tell us that this expression, "which cover all from above," means literally, "the bottom of the sea is laid bare"; and they confess their inability to understand it. But is it not the same story told by Ovid of the bottom of the Mediterranean having been rendered

{p. 306}

a bed of dry sand by Phaton's conflagration; and does it not remind us of the Central American legend of the starving people migrating in search of the sun, through rocky places where the sea had been separated to allow them to pass?

And the King James version continues

"32. With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.

"33. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapor."

This last line shows how greatly the original text has been garbled; what have the cattle to do with it? Unless, indeed, here, as in the other myths, the cows signify the clouds. The meaning of the rest is plain: God draws up the water, sends it down as rain, which covers all things; the clouds gather before the sun and hide its light; and the vapor restores the cows, the clouds; and all this is accompanied by great disturbances and noise.

And the next chapter (xxxvii) continues the description:

"2. Hear ye attentively the terror of his" (the comet's) "voice, and the sound that cometh out of his mouth.

"3. He beholdeth under all the heavens," (he is seen under all the heavens?) "and his light is upon the ends of the earth.

"4. After it a NOISE SHALL ROAR, he shall thunder with the voice of his majesty, and shall not be found out when his voice shall be heard."

The King James version says, "And he will not stay them when his voice is heard."

"5. God shall thunder wonderfully with his voice, he that doth great and unsearchable things."

Here, probably, are more allusions to the awful noises made by the comet as it entered our atmosphere, referred to by Hesiod, the Russian legends, etc.

{p. 307}

"6. He commandeth the snow to go down upon the earth, and the winter rain and the shower of his strength "—("the great rain of his strength," says the King James version).

"7. He sealeth up the hand of every man."

This means, says one commentator, that "he confines men within doors" by these great rains. Instead of houses we infer it to mean "the caves of the earth," already spoken of, (chap. xxx, v. 6,) and this is rendered more evident by the next verse:

"8. And the beast shall go into his covert and shall abide in his den.

"9. Out of the inner parts" (meaning the south, say the commentators and the King James version) "shall tempest come, and cold out of the north.

"10. When God bloweth, there cometh frost, and again the waters are poured forth abundantly."

The King James version continues:

"11. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud."

That is to say, the cloud is gradually dissipated by dropping its moisture in snow and rain.

"12. And it is turned round about by his counsels that they may do whatsoever be commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

"13. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy."

There can be no mistaking all this. It refers to no ordinary events. The statement is continuous. God, we are told, will call Job out from his narrow-mouthed cave, and once more give him plenty of food. There has been a great tribulation. The sun has sucked up the seas, they have fallen in great floods; the thick clouds have covered the face of the sun; great noises prevail; there is a great light, and after it a roaring noise; the snow

{p. 308}

falls on the earth, with winter rains, (cold rains,) and great rains; men climb down ropes into deep shafts or pits; they are sealed up, and beasts are driven to their dens and stay there: there are great cold and frost, and more floods; then the continual rains dissipate the clouds.

"19. Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we can not order our speech by reason of darkness.

"20. Shall it be told him that I speak? If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up?"

And then God talks to Job, (chap. xxxviii,) and tells him "to gird up his loins like a man and answer him." He says:

"8. Who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth as issuing out of the womb?

119. When I made a cloud the garment thereof, and wrapped it in mists as in swaddling-bands,

"10. I set my bounds around it, and made it bars and doors." . . .

"22. Hast thou entered into the storehouses of the snow, or hast thou beheld the treasures of the hail?" . . .

"29. Out of whose womb came the ice? and the frost from heaven, who hath gendered it?

"30. The waters are hardened like a stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen."

What has this Arabian poem to do with so many allusions to clouds, rain, ice, snow, hail, frost, and frozen oceans?

"36. Who hath put wisdom in the inward part? Or who hath given understanding to the heart? "

Umbreit says that this word "heart" means literally "a shining phenomenon—a meteor." Who hath given understanding to the comet to do this work?

"38. When was the dust poured on the earth, and the clods hardened together?"

{p. 309}

One version makes this read:

"Poured itself into a mass by the rain, like molten metal."

And another translates it—

"Is caked into a mass by heat, like molten metal, BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS."

This is precisely in accordance with my theory that the "till" or "hard-pan," next the earth, was caked and baked by the heat into its present pottery-like and impenetrable condition, long before the work of cooling and condensation set loose the floods to rearrange and form secondary Drift out of the upper portion of the dbris.

But again I ask, when in the natural order of events was dust poured on the earth and hardened into clods, like molten metal?

And in this book of Job I think we have a description of the veritable comets that struck the earth, in the Drift Age, transmitted even from the generations that beheld them blazing in the sky, in the words of those who looked upon the awful sight.

In the Norse legends we read of three destructive objects which appeared in the heavens one of these was shaped like a serpent; it was called "the Midgard-serpent"; then there was "the Fenris wolf"; and, lastly, "the dog Garm." In Hesiod we read, also, of three monsters: first, Echidna, "a serpent huge and terrible and vast"; second, Chimra, a lion-like creature; and, thirdly, Typhœus, worst of all, a fierce, fiery dragon. And in Job, in like manner, we have three mighty objects alluded to or described: first the "winding" or "twisting" serpent with which God has "adorned the heavens"; then "behemoth," monstrous enough to "drink up rivers," "the chief of the ways of God"; and lastly,

{p. 310}

and most terrible of all, "leviathan"; the name meaning, the twisting animal, gathering itself into folds."

God, speaking to Job, and reminding him of the weakness and littleness of man, says (chap. xl, v. 20):

"Canst thou draw out the leviathan with a book, or canst thou tie his tongue with a cord? "

The commentators differ widely as to the meaning of this word "leviathan." Some, as I have shown, think it means the same thing as the crooked or "winding" serpent (vulg.) spoken of in chapter xxvi, v. 13, where, speaking of God, it is said:

"His spirit hath adorned the heavens, and his artful hand brought forth the winding serpent."

Or, as the King James version has it:

"By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent."

By this serpent some of the commentators understand "a constellation, the devil, the leviathan." In the Septuagint he is called "the apostate dragon."

The Lord sarcastically asks Job:

"21. Canst thou put a ring in his nose, or bore through his jaw with a buckle?

"22. Will he make many supplications to thee, or speak soft words to thee?

"23. Will he make a covenant with thee, and wilt thou take him to be a servant for ever?

"24. Shalt thou play with him as with a bird, or tie him up for thy handmaids?

"25. Shall friends" (Septuagint, "the nations") cut him in pieces, shall merchants" (Septuagint, "the generation of the Phœnicians") "divide him?" . . (chap. xli, v. 1. Douay version.)

"I will not stir him up, like one that is cruel; for who can resist my" (his?) "countenance," or, "who shall stand against me" (him?) "and live?" . . .

{p. 311}

"4. Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can go into the midst of his mouth?

"5. Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.

"6. His body is like molten shields, shut close up, the scales pressing upon one another.

"7. One is joined to another, and not so much as any air can come between them.

"8. They stick one to another, and they hold one another fast, and shall not be separated.

"9. His sneezing is like the shining of fire, and his eyes like the eyelids of the morning." (Syriac, "His look is brilliant." Arabic, "The apples of his eyes are fiery, and his eyes are like the brightness of the morning.")

10. Out of his mouth go forth lamps, like torches of lighted fire."

Compare these "sneezings" or "neesings" of the King James version, and these "lamps like torches of lighted lire," with the appearance of Donati's great comet in 1858:

"On the 16th of September two diverging streams of light shot out from the nucleus across the coma, and, having separated to about the extent of its diameter, they turned back abruptly and streamed out in the tail. Luminous substance could be distinctly seen rushing out from the nucleus, and then flowing back into the tail. M. Rosa described the streams of light as resembling long hair brushed upward from the forehead, and then allowed to fall back on each side of the head."[1]

"11. Out of his nostrils goeth forth smoke, like that of a pot heated and boiling." (King James's version has it, "as out of a seething pot or caldron.")

"12. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame cometh forth out of his mouth.

"13. In his neck strength shall dwell, and want goeth before his face." (Septuagint, "Destruction runs before him.")

[1. "Edinburgh Review," October, 1874, p. 208.]

{p. 312}

"14. The members of his flesh cleave one to another; he shall send lightnings against him, and they shall not be carried to another place." (Sym., "His flesh being cast for him as in a foundry," (molten,) "is immovable.")

"15. His heart shall be as hard as a stone, and as firm as a smith's anvil." (Septuagint, "He hath stood immovable as an anvil.")

"16. When he shall raise him up, the angels shall fear, and being affrighted shall purify themselves."

Could such language properly be applied, even by the wildest stretch of poetic fancy, to a whale or a crocodile, or any other monster of the deep? What earthly creature could terrify the angels in heaven? What earthly creature has ever breathed fire?

"17. When a sword shall lay at him, it shall not be able to hold, nor a spear, nor a breast-plate.

"18. For he shall esteem iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.

"19. The archer shall not put him to flight, the stones of the sling are to him like stubble.

"20. As stubble will he esteem the hammer, and he will laugh him to scorn who shaketh the spear."

We are reminded of the great gods of Asgard, who stood forth and fought the monster with sword and spear and hammer, and who fell dead before him; and of the American legends, where the demi-gods in vain hurled their darts and arrows at him, and fell pierced by the rebounding weapons.

"21. The beams of the sun shall be under him," (in the King James version it is, "SHARP STONES are under him"—the gravel, the falling dbris,) "and he shall strew gold under him like mire." (The King James version says, "he spreadeth sharp-pointed things upon the mire.")

To what whale or crocodile can these words be applied? When did they ever shed gold or stones? And

{p. 313}

in this, again, we have more references to gold falling from heaven:

"22. He shall make the deep sea to boil like a pot, and shall make it as when ointments boil." (The Septuagint says, "He deems the sea as a vase of ointment, and the Tartarus of the abyss like a prisoner.")

"23. A path shall shine after him; he shall esteem the deep as growing old." (The King James version says, "One would think the deep to be hoary.")

1124. There is no power upon earth that can be compared with him, who was made to fear no one.

"25. He beholdeth every high thing; he is king over all the children of pride." (Chaldaic, "of all the sons of the mountains.")

Now, when we take this description, with all that has preceded it, it seems to me beyond question that this was one of the crooked serpents with which God had adorned the heavens: this was the monster with blazing bead, casting out jets of light, breathing volumes of smoke, molten, shining, brilliant, irresistible, against whom men hurled their weapons in vain; for destruction went before him: he cast down stones and pointed things upon the mire, the clay; the sea boils with his excessive heat; he threatens heaven itself; the angels tremble, and he beholds all high places. This is he whose rain of fire killed Job's sheep and shepherds; whose chaotic winds killed Job's children; whose wrath fell upon and consumed the rich men at their tables; who made the habitations of kings "desolate places"; who spared only in part "the island of the innocent," where the remnant of humanity, descending by ropes, hid themselves in deep, narrow-mouthed caves in the mountains. This is he who dried up the rivers and absorbed or evaporated a great part of the water of the ocean, to subsequently cast it down in great floods of snow and rain, to cover the north with ice;

{p. 314}

while the darkened world rolled on for a long night of blackness underneath its dense canopy of clouds.

If this be not the true interpretation of Job, who, let me ask, can explain all these allusions to harmonize with the established order of nature? And if this interpretation be the true one, then have we indeed penetrated back through all the ages, through mighty lapses of time, until, on the plain of some most ancient civilized land, we listen, perchance, at some temple-door, to this grand justification of the ways of God to man; this religious drama, this poetical sermon, wrought out of the traditions of the people and priests, touching the greatest calamity which ever tried the hearts and tested the faith of man.

And if this interpretation be true, with how much reverential care should we consider these ancient records embraced in the Bible!

The scientist picks up a fragment of stone—the fool would fling it away with a laugh,—but the philosopher sees in it the genesis of a world; from it he can piece out the detailed history of ages; he finds in it, perchance, a fossil of the oldest organism, the first traces of that awful leap from matter to spirit, from dead earth to endless life; that marvel of marvels, that miracle of all miracles, by which dust and water and air live, breathe, think, reason, and cast their thoughts abroad through time and space and eternity.

And so, stumbling through these texts, falling over mistranslations and misconceptions, pushing aside the accumulated dust of centuried errors, we lay our hands upon a fossil that lived and breathed when time was new: we are carried back to ages not only before the flood, but to ages that were old when the flood came upon the earth.

Here Job lives once more: the fossil breathes and palpitates;-hidden from the fire of heaven, deep in his cavern;

{p. 315}

covered with burns and bruises from the falling dbris of the comet, surrounded by his trembling fellow-refugees, while chaos rules without and hope has fled the earth, we hear Job, bold, defiant, unshrinking, pouring forth the protest of the human heart against the cruelty of nature; appealing from God's awful deed to the sense of God's eternal justice.

We go out and look at the gravel-heap—worn, rounded, ancient, but silent,—the stones lie before us. They have no voice. We turn to this volume, and here is their voice, here is their story; here we have the very thoughts men thought-men like ourselves, but sorely tried—when that gravel was falling upon a desolated world.

And all this buried, unrecognized, in the sacred book of a race and a religion.

{p. 316}



AND now, gathering into our hands all the light afforded by the foregoing facts and legends, let us address ourselves to this question: How far can the opening chapters of the book of Genesis be interpreted to conform to the theory of the contact of a comet with the earth in the Drift Age?

It may appear to some of my readers irreverent to place any new meaning on any part of the sacred volume, and especially to attempt to transpose the position of any of its parts. For this feeling I have the highest respect.

I do not think it is necessary, for the triumph of truth, that it should lacerate the feelings even of the humblest. It should come, like Quetzalcoatl, advancing with shining, smiling face, its hands full of fruits and flowers, bringing only blessings and kindliness to the multitude; and should that multitude, for a time, drive the prophet away, beyond the seas, with curses, be assured they will eventually return to set up his altars.

He who follows the gigantic Mississippi upward from the Gulf of Mexico to its head-waters on the high plateau of Minnesota, will not scorn even the tiniest rivulet among the grass which helps to create its first fountain. So he who considers the vastness for good of this great force, Christianity, which pervades the world down the long course of so many ages, aiding, relieving, encouraging, cheering, purifying, sanctifying humanity, can not afford

{p. 317}

to ridicule even these the petty fountains, the head-waters, the first springs from which it starts on its world-covering and age-traversing course.

If we will but remember the endless array of asylums, hospitals, and orphanages; the houses for the poor, the sick, the young, the old, the unfortunate, the helpless, and the sinful, with which Christianity has literally sprinkled the world; when we remember the uncountable millions whom its ministrations have restrained from bestiality, and have directed to purer lives and holier deaths, he indeed is not to be envied who can find it in his heart, with malice-aforethought, to mock or ridicule it.

At the same time, few, I think, even of the orthodox, while bating no jot of their respect for the sacred volume, or their faith in the great current of inspired purpose and meaning which streams through it, from cover to cover, hold to-day that every line and word is literally accurate beyond a shadow of question. The direct contradictions which occur in the text itself show that the errors of man have crept into the compilation or composition of the volume.

The assaults of the skeptical have been largely directed against the opening chapters of Genesis:

"What!" it has been said, "you pretend in the first chapter that the animated creation was made in six days; and then in the second chapter (verses 4 and 5) you say that the heavens and the earth and all the vegetation were made in one day. Again: you tell us that there was light shining on the earth on the first day; and that there was night too; for 'God divided the light from the darkness'; and there was morning and evening on the first, second, and third days, while the sun, moon, and stars, we are told, were not created until the fourth day; and grass and fruit-trees were made before the sun."

{p. 318}

"How," it is asked, "could there be night and day and vegetation without a sun?"

And to this assault religion has had no answer.

Now, I can not but regard these opening chapters as a Mosaic work of ancient legends, dovetailed together in such wise that the true chronological arrangement has been departed from and lost.

It is conceded that in some of the verses of these chapters God is spoken of as Elohim, while in the remaining verses he is called Jehovah Elohim. This is very much as if a book were discovered to-day in part of which God was referred to as Jove, and in the rest as Jehovah-Jove. The conclusion would be very strong that the first part was written by one who know the Deity only as Jove, while the other portion was written by one who had come under Hebraic influences. And this state of facts in Genesis indicates that it was not the work of one inspired mind, faultless and free from error; but the work of two minds, relating facts, it is true, but jumbling them together in an incongruous order.

I propose, therefore, with all reverence, to attempt a re-arrangement of the verses of the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, which will, I hope, place it in such shape that it will be beyond future attack from the results of scientific research; by restoring the fragments to the position they really occupied before their last compilation. Whether or not I present a reasonably probable case, it is for the reader to judge.

If we were to find, under the dbris of Pompeii, a grand tessellated pavement, representing one of the scenes of the "Iliad," but shattered by an earthquake, its fragments dislocated and piled one upon the top of another, it would be our duty and our pleasure to seek, by following the clew of the picture, to re-arrange the fragments so as

{p. 319}

to do justice to the great design of its author; and to silence, at the same time, the cavils of those who could see in its shocked and broken form nothing but a subject for mirth and ridicule.

In the same way, following the clew afforded by the legends of mankind and the revelations of science, I shall suggest a reconstruction of this venerable and most ancient work. If the reader does not accept my conclusions, he will, at least, I trust, appreciate the motives with which I make the attempt.

I commence with that which is, and should be, the first verse of the first chapter, the sublime sentence:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Let us pause here: "God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning";—that is, before any other of the events narrated in the chapter. Why should we refuse to accept this statement? In the beginning, says the Bible, at the very first, God created the heavens and the earth. He did not make them in six days, he made them in the beginning; the words "six days" refer, as we shall see, to something that occurred long afterward. He did not attempt to create them, he created them; he did not partially create them, he created them altogether. The work was finished; the earth was made, the heavens were made, the clouds, the atmosphere, the rocks, the waters; and the sun, moon, and stars; all were completed.

What next? Is there anything else in this dislocated text that refers to this first creation? Yes; we go forward to the next chapter; here we have it:

Chap. ii, v. 1. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."

{p. 320}

And then follows:

Chap. ii, v. 4. "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created, IN THE DAY that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

Chap. ii, v. 5. "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground."

Here we have a consecutive statement—God made the heavens and the earth in the beginning, and thus they were finished, and all the host of them. They were not made in six days, but "in the day," to wit, in that period of remote time called "The Beginning." And God made also all the herbs of the field, all vegetation. And he made every plant of the field before it was cultivated in that particular part of the world called "The Earth," for, as we have seen, Ovid draws a distinction between "The Earth" and the rest of the globe; and Job draws one between "the island of the innocent" and the other countries of the world.

And here I would call the reader's attention particularly to this remarkable statement:

Chap. ii, verse 5. "For the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

Verse 6. "But there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground."

This is extraordinary: there was no rain.

A mere inventor of legends certainly had never dared make a statement so utterly in conflict with the established order of things; there was no necessity for him to do so; he would fear that it would throw discredit on all the rest of his narrative; as if he should say, "at that time the grass was not green," or, "the sky was not blue."

{p. 321}

A world without rain! Could it be possible? 'Did the writer of Genesis invent an absurdity, or did he record an undoubted tradition? Let us see:

Rain is the product of two things—heat which evaporates the waters of the oceans, lakes, and rivers; and cold which condenses them again into rain or snow. Both heat and cold are necessary, In the tropics the water is sucked up by the heat of the sun; it rises to a cooler stratum, and forms clouds; these clouds encounter the colder air flowing in from the north and south, condensation follows, accompanied probably by some peculiar electrical action, and then the rain falls.

But when the lemon and the banana grew in Spitzbergen, as geology assures us they did in pre-glacial days, where was the cold to come from? The very poles must then have possessed a warm climate. There were, therefore, at that time, no movements of cold air from the poles to the equator; when the heat drew up the moisture it rose into a vast body of heated atmosphere, surrounding the whole globe to a great height; it would have to pass through this cloak of warm air, and high up above the earth, even to the limits of the earth-warmth, before it reached an atmosphere sufficiently cool to condense it, and from that great height it would fall as a fine mist.

We find an illustration of this state of things on the coast of Peru, from the river Loa to Cape Blanco,[1] where no rain ever falls, in consequence of the heated air which ascends from the vast sand wastes, and keeps the moisture of the air above the point of condensation.

Or it would have to depend for its condensation on the difference of temperature between night and day, settling

[1. "American Cyclopdia," vol. xiii, p. 387.]

{p. 322}

like a dew at night upon the earth, and so maintaining vegetation.

What a striking testimony is all this to the fact that these traditions of Genesis reach back to the very infancy of human history—to the age before the Drift!

After the creation of the herbs and plants, what came next? We go back to the first chapter:

Verse 21. "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

Verse 22. "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth."

Verse 25. "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

Verse 26. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

We come back to the second chapter:

Verse 7. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

We return to the first chapter:

Verse 27. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

We come back to the second chapter:

Verse 8. "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed."

Verse 9. "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good

{p. 323}

for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

Verse 10. "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden," etc.

Here follows a description of the garden; it is a picture of a glorious world, of that age when the climate of the Bahamas extended to Spitzbergen.

Verse 15. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."

Here follows the injunction that "the man whom God had formed," (for he is not yet called Adam—the Adami—the people of Ad,) should not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And then we have, (probably a later interpolation,) an account of Adam, so called for the first time, naming the animals, and of the creation of Eve from a rib of Adam.

And here is another evidence of the dislocation of the text, for we have already been informed (chap. i, v. 27) that God had made Man, "male and female"; and here we have him making woman over again from man's rib.

Verse 25. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

It was an age of primitive simplicity, the primeval world; free from storms or ice or snow; an Edenic age; the Tertiary Age before the Drift.

Then follows the appearance of the serpent. Although represented in the text in a very humble capacity, he is undoubtedly the same great creature which, in all the legends, brought ruin on the world—the dragon, the apostate, the demon, the winding or crooked serpent of Job, the leviathan, Satan, the devil. And as such he is regarded by the theologians.

He obtains moral possession of the woman, just as we

{p. 324}

have seen, in the Hindoo legends, the demon Ravana carrying off Sita, the representative of an agricultural civilization; just as we have seen Ataguju, the Peruvian god, seducing the sister of certain rayless ones, or Darklings. And the woman ate of the fruit of the tree.

This is the same legend which we see appearing in so many places and in so many forms. The apple of Paradise was one of the apples of the Greek legends, intrusted to the Hesperides, but which they could not resist the temptation to pluck and eat. The serpent Ladon watched the tree.

It was one of the apples of Idun, in the Norse legends, the wife of Brage, the god of poetry and eloquence. She keeps them in a box, and when the gods feel the approach of old age they have only to taste them and become young again. Loke, the evil-one, the Norse devil, tempted Idun to come into a forest with her apples, to compare them with some others, whereupon a giant called Thjasse, in the appearance of an enormous eagle, flew down, seized Idun and her apples, and carried them away, like Ravana, into the air. The gods compelled Loke to bring her back, for they were the apples of the tree of life to them; without them they were perishing. Loke stole Idun from Thjasse, changed her into a nut, and fled with her, pursued by Thjasse. The gods kindled a great fire, the eagle plumage of Thjasse caught the flames, he fell to the earth, and was slain by the gods.[1]

But the serpent in Genesis ruins Eden, just as he did in all the legends; just as the comet ruined the Tertiary Age. The fair world disappears; cold and ice and snow come.

Adam and Eve, we have seen, were at first naked, and subsequently clothe themselves, for modesty, with fig-leaves, (chap. iii, v. 7;) but there comes a time, as in the

[1. Norse Mythology," pp. 275, 276.]

{p. 325}

North American legends, when the great cold compels them to cover their shivering bodies with the skins of the wild beasts they have slain.

A recent writer, commenting on the Glacial Age, says:

"Colder and colder grew the winds. The body could not be kept warm. Clothing must be had, and this must be furnished by the wild beasts. Their hides must assist in protecting the life of men. . . . The skins were removed and transferred to the bodies of men."[1]

Hence we read in chapter iii, verse 21:

"Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them."

This would not have been necessary during the warm climate of the Tertiary Age. And as this took place, according to Genesis, before Adam was driven out of Paradise, and while he still remained in the garden, it is evident that some great change of climate had fallen upon Eden. The Glacial Age had arrived; the Drift had come. It was a rude, barbarous, cold age. Man must cover himself with skins; he must, by the sweat of physical labor, wring a living out of the ground which God had "cursed" with the Drift. Instead of the fair and fertile world of the Tertiary Age, producing all fruits abundantly, the soil is covered with stones and clay, as in Job's narrative, and it brings forth, as we are told in Genesis,[2] only "thorns and thistles"; and Adam, the human race, must satisfy its starving stomach upon grass, "and thou shalt eat the herb of the field"; just as in Job we are told:

Chap. xxx, verse 3. "For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time, desolate and solitary."

[1. Maclean's "Antiquity of Man," p. 65.

2. Chap. iii, verse 18.]

{p. 326}

Verse 4. "Who cut up mallows by the bushes and juniper-roots for their food."

Verse 7. "Among the bushes they brayed, under the nettles were they gathered together."

And God "drove out the man" from the fair Edenic world into the post-glacial desolation; and Paradise was lost, and—

"At the east of the garden of Eden he placed cherubims and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life."

This is the sword of the comet. The Norse legends say:

"Yet, before all things, there existed what we call Muspelheim. It is a world luminous, glowing, not to be dwelt in by strangers, and situate at the end of the earth. Surtur holds his empire there. In his hand there shines a flaming sword."

There was a great conflagration between the by-gone Eden and the present land of stones and thistles.

Is there any other allusion besides this to the fire which accompanied the comet in Genesis?

Yes, but it is strangely out of place. It is a distinct description of the pre-glacial wickedness of the world, the fire falling from heaven, the cave-life, and the wide-spread destruction of humanity; but the compiler of these antique legends has located it in a time long subsequent to the Deluge of Noah, and in the midst of a densely populated world. It is as if one were to represent the Noachic Deluge as having occurred in the time of Nero, in a single province of the Roman Empire, while the great world went on its course unchanged by the catastrophe which must, if the statement were true, have completely overwhelmed it. So we find the story of Lot and the destruction of the cities of the plain brought down to the time

{p. 327}

of Abraham, when Egypt and Babylon were in the height of their glory. And Lot's daughters believed that the whole human family, except themselves, had been exterminated; while Abraham was quietly feeding his flocks in an adjacent country.

For if Lot's story is located in its proper era, what became of Abraham and the Jewish people, and all the then civilized nations, in this great catastrophe? And if it occurred in that age, why do we hear nothing more about so extraordinary an event in the history of the Jews or of any other people?

Mr. Smith says:

"The conduct of Lot in the mountain whither he had retired scarcely admits of explanation. It has been generally supposed that his daughters believed that the whole of the human race were destroyed, except their father and themselves. But how they could have thought so, when they had previously tarried at Zoar, it is not easy to conceive; and we can not but regard the entire case as one of those problems which the Scriptures present as indeterminate, on account of a deficiency of data on which to form any satisfactory conclusion."[1]

The theory of this book makes the whole story tangible, consistent, and probable.

We have seen that, prior to the coming of the comet, the human race, according to the legends, had abandoned itself to all wickedness. In the Norse Sagas we read:

Brothers will fight together, And become each other's bane; Sisters' children Their sib shall spoil; Hard, is the world, Sensual sins grow huge."

[1. "The Patriarchal Age," vol. i, p. 388.]

{p. 328}

In the legends of the British Druids we are told that it was "the profligacy of mankind" that caused God to send the great disaster. So, in the Bible narrative, we read that, in Lot's time, God resolved on the destruction of "the cities of the plain," Sodom, (Od, Ad,) and Gomorrah, (Go-Meru,) because of the wickedness of mankind:

Chap. xviii, verse 20. "And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous"—

therefore he determined to destroy them. When the angels came to Sodom, the people showed the most villainous and depraved appetites. The angels warned Lot to flee. Blindness (darkness?) came upon the people of the city, so that they could not find the doors of the houses. The angels took Lot and his wife and two daughters by the hands, and led or dragged them away, and told them to fly "to the mountain, lest they be consumed."

There is an interlude here, an inconsistent interpolation probably, where Lot stays at Zoar, and persuades the Lord to spare Zoar; but soon after we find all the cities of the plain destroyed, and Lot and his family hiding in a cave in the mountain; so that Lot's intercession seems to have been of no avail:

Verse 24. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven."

Verse 25. "And he overthrew those cities, and all the cities of the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground."

It was a complete destruction of all living things in that locality; and Lot "dwell in a cave, he and his two daughters."

And the daughters were convinced that they were the

{p. 329}

last of the human race left alive on the face of the earth, notwithstanding the fact that the Lord had promised (chap. iii, verse 21), "I will not overthrow this city," Zoar; but Zoar evidently was overthrown. And the daughters, rather than see the human race perish, committed incest with their father, and became the mothers of two great and extensive tribes or races of men, the Moabites and the Ammonites.

This, also, looks very much as if they were indeed repeopling an empty and desolated world..

To recapitulate, we have here, in due chronological order:

1. The creation of the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them.

2. The creation of the plants, animals, and man.

3. The fair and lovely age of the Pliocene, the summer-land, when the people went naked, or clothed themselves in the leaves of trees; it was the fertile land where Nature provided abundantly everything for her children.

4. The serpent appears and overthrows this Eden.

5. Fire falls from heaven and destroys a large part of the human race.

6. A remnant take refuge in a cave.

7. Man is driven out of the Edenic land, and a blazing sword, a conflagration, waves between him and Paradise, between Niflheim and Muspelheim.

What next?

We return now to the first chapter of this dislocated text:

Verse 2. "And the earth was without form, and void."

That is to say, chaos had come in the train of the comet. Otherwise, how can we understand how God, as stated in the preceding verse, has just made the heavens

{p. 330}

and the earth? How could his work have been so imperfect?

"And darkness was upon the face of the deep."

This is the primeval night referred to in all the legends; the long age of darkness upon the earth.

"And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

The word for spirit, in Hebrew, as in Latin, originally meant wind; and this passage might be rendered, "a mighty wind swept the face of the waters." This wind represents, I take it, the great cyclones of the Drift Age.

Verse 3. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

The sun and moon had not yet appeared, but the dense mass of clouds, pouring their waters upon the earth, had gradually, as Job expresses it, "wearied" themselves,—they had grown thin; and the light began to appear, at least sufficiently to mark the distinction between day and night.

Verse 4. "And God saw the light: that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness."

Verse 5. "And God called the light day, and the darkness be called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

That is to say, in subdividing the phenomena of this dark period, when there was neither moon nor sun to mark the time, mankind drew the first line of subdivision, very naturally, at that point of time, (it may have been weeks, or months, or years,) when first the distinction between night and day became faintly discernible, and men could again begin to count time.

But this gain of light had been at the expense of the

{p. 331}

clouds; they had given down their moisture in immense and perpetual rains; the low-lying lands of the earth were overflowed; the very mountains, while not under water, were covered by the continual floods of rain. There was water everywhere. To appreciate this condition of things, one has but to look at the geological maps of the amount of land known to have been overflowed by water during the so-called Glacial Age in Europe.

And so the narrative proceeds:

Verse 6. "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

This has been incomprehensible to the critics. It has been supposed that by this "firmament" was meant the heavens; and that the waters "above the firmament" were the clouds; and it has been said that this was a barbarian's conception, to wit, that the unbounded and illimitable space, into which the human eye, aided by the telescope, can penetrate for thousands of billions of miles, was a blue arch a few hundred feet high, on top of which were the clouds; and that the rain was simply the leaking of the water through this roof of the earth. And men have said: "Call ye this real history, or inspired narrative? Did God know no more about the nature of the heavens than this?"

And Religion has been puzzled to reply.

But read Genesis in this new light: There was water everywhere; floods from the clouds, floods from the melting ice; floods on the land, where the return of the evaporated moisture was not able, by the channel-ways of the earth, to yet find its way back to the oceans.

"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

{p. 332}

That is to say, first a great island appeared dividing the waters from the waters. This was "the island of the innocent," referred to by Job, where the human race did not utterly perish. We shall see more about it hereafter.

"7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

"8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

The Hebrew Roki is translated stereoma, or solidity, in the Septuagint version. It meant solid land—not empty space.

And if man was not or had not yet been on earth, whence could the name Heaven have been derived? For whom should God have named it, if there were no human ears to catch the sound? God needs no lingual apparatus—he speaks no human speech.

The true meaning probably is, that this was the region that had been for ages, before the Drift and the Darkness, regarded as the home of the godlike, civilized race; situated high above the ocean, "in the midst of the waters," in mid-sea; precipitous and mountainous, it was the first region to clear itself of the descending torrents.

What next?

"9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

"10. And God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."

This may be either a recapitulation of the facts already stated, or it may refer to the gradual draining off of the continents, by the passing away of the waters; the continents

{p. 333}

being distinguished in order of time from the island "in the midst of the waters."

"11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth: and it was so."

It has been objected, as I have shown, that this narrative was false, because science has proved that the fruit-trees did not really precede in order of creation the creeping things and the fish, which, we are told, were not made until the fifth day, two days afterward. But if we will suppose that, as the water disappeared from the land, the air grew warmer by the light breaking through the diminishing clouds, the grass began to spring up again, as told in the Norse, Chinese, and other legends, and the fruit-trees, of different kinds, began to grow again, for we are told they produced each "after his kind."

And we learn "that its seed is in itself upon the earth." Does this mean that the seeds of these trees were buried in the earth, and their vitality not destroyed by the great visitation of fire, water, and ice?

And on the fourth day "God made two great lights," the sun and moon. If this were a narration of the original creation of these great orbs, we should be told that they were made exclusively to give light. But this is not the case. The light was there already; it had appeared on the evening of the first day; they were made, we are told, to "divide the day from the night." Day and night already existed, but in a confused and imperfect way; even the day was dark and cloudy; but, with the return of the sun, the distinction of day and night became once more clear.

"14. And God said . . . Let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years."

{p. 334}

That is to say, let them be studied, as they were of old, as astronomical and astrological signs, whose influences control affairs on earth. We have seen that in many legends a good deal is said about the constellations, and the division of time in accordance with the movements of the heavenly bodies, which was made soon after the catastrophe:

"90. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowls that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."

That is to say, the moving creatures, the fishes which still live, which have escaped destruction in the deep waters of the oceans or lakes, and the fowls which were flying wildly in the open firmament, are commanded to bring forth abundantly, to "replenish" the desolated seas and earth.

"23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

"24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so."

God does not, in this, create them; he calls them forth from the earth, from the caves and dens where they had been hiding, each after his kind; they were already divided into species and genera.

"28. And God blessed them," (the human family,) "and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply and REPLENISH the earth."

Surely the poor, desolated world needed replenishing, restocking. But how could the word "replenish" be applied to a new world, never before inhabited?

We have seen that in chapter ii (verses 16 and 17) God especially limited man and enjoined him not to eat of the

{p. 335}

fruit of the tree of knowledge; while in v. 22, ch. iii, it is evident that there was another tree, "the tree of life," which God did not intend that man should enjoy the fruit of. But with the close of the Tertiary period and the Drift Age all this was changed: these trees, whatever they signified, had been swept away, "the blazing sword" shone between man and the land where they grew, or had grown; and hence, after the Age of Darkness, God puts no such restraint or injunction upon the human family. We read:

Ch. i, v. 29. "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

With what reason, if the text is in its true order, could God have given man, in the first chapter, the right to eat the fruit of every tree, and in the following chapters have consigned the whole race to ruin for eating the fruit of one particular tree?

But after the so-called Glacial Age all limitations were removed. The tree of knowledge and the tree of life had disappeared for ever. The Drift covered them.

Reader, waive your natural prejudices, and ask yourself whether this proposed readjustment of the Great Book does not place it thoroughly in accord with all the revelations of science; whether it does not answer all the objections that have been made against the reasonableness of the story; and whether there is in it anything inconsistent with the sanctity of the record, the essentials of religion, or the glory of God.

Instead of being, compelled to argue, as Religion now does, that the whole heavens and the earth, with its twenty miles in thickness of stratified rocks, were made in six actual days, or to interpret "days" to mean vast periods

{p. 336}

of time, notwithstanding the record speaks of "the evening and the morning" constituting these "days," as if they were really subdivisions of sun-marked time; we here see that the vast Creation, and the great lapses of geologic time, all lie far back of the day when darkness was on the face of the deep; and that the six days which followed, and in which the world was gradually restored to its previous condition, were the natural subdivisions into which events arranged themselves. The Chinese divided this period of reconstruction into "branches" or "stems"; the race from whom the Jews received their traditions divided it into days.

The first subdivision was, as I have said, that of the twilight age, when light began to invade the total darkness; it was subdivided again into the evening and the morning, as the light grew stronger.

The next subdivision of time was that period, still in the twilight, when the floods fell and covered a large part of the earth, but gradually gathered themselves together in the lower lands, and left the mountains bare. And still the light kept increasing, and the period was again subdivided into evening and morning.

And why does the record, in each case, tell us that the evening and the morning "constituted the day, instead of the morning and the evening? The answer is plain:—mankind were steadily advancing from darkness to light; each stage terminating in greater clearness and brightness; they were moving steadily forward to the perfect dawn. And it is a curious fact that the Israelites, even now, commence the day with the period of darkness: they begin their Sabbath on Friday at sunset.

The third subdivision was that in which the continents cleared themselves more and more of the floods, and the increasing light and warmth called forth grass and the

{p. 337}

trees, and clothed nature in a mantle of green. Man had come out of his cave, and there were scattered remnants of the animal kingdom here and there, but the world, in the main, was manless and lifeless—a scene of waste and desolation.

In the fourth subdivision of time, the sun, moon, and stars appeared;—dimly, and wrapped in clouds, in the evening; clearer and brighter in the morning.

In the next subdivision of time, the fish, which spawn by the million, and the birds, which quadruple their numbers in a year, began to multiply and scatter themselves, and appear everywhere through the waters and on the land. And still the light kept increasing, and "the evening and the morning were the fifth day."

And on the sixth day, man and the animals, slower to increase, and requiring a longer period to reach maturity, began to spread and show themselves everywhere on the face of the earth.

There was a long interval before man sent out his colonies and repossessed the desolated continents. In Europe, as I have shown, twelve feet of stalagmite intervenes in the caves between the remains of pre-glacial and post-glacial man. As this deposit forms at a very slow rate, it indicates that, for long ages after the great destruction, man did not dwell in Europe. Slowly, "like a great blot that spreads," the race expanded again over its ancient bunting-grounds.

And still the skies grew brighter, the storms grew less, the earth grew warmer, and "the evening and the morning" constituted the sixth subdivision of time.

And this process is still going on. Mr. James Geikie says:

"We are sure of this, that since the deposition of the shelly clays, and the disappearance of the latest local glaciers,

{p. 338}

there have been no oscillations, but only a gradual amelioration of climate."[1]

The world, like Milton's lion, is still trying to disengage its binder limbs from the superincumbent weight of the Drift. Every snow-storm, every chilling blast that blows out from the frozen lips of the icy North, is but a reminiscence of Ragnarok.

But the great cosmical catastrophe was substantially over with the close of the sixth day. We are now in the seventh day. The darkness has gone; the sun has come back; the waters have returned to their bounds; vegetation has resumed its place; the fish, the birds, the animals, men, are once more populous in ocean, air, and on the land; the comet is gone, and the orderly processes of nature are around us, and God is "resting" from the great task of restoring his afflicted world.

The necessity for some such interpretation as this was apparent to the early fathers of the Christian Church, although they possessed no theory of a. comet. St. Basil, St. Csarius, and Origen, long before any such theory was dreamed of, argued that the sun, moon, and stars existed from the beginning, but that they did not appear until the fourth day. "Who," says Origen, "that has sense, can think that the first, second, and third days were without sun, moon, or stars?"

But where were they? Why did they not appear? What obscured them?

What could obscure them but dense clouds? Where did the clouds come from? They were vaporized water. What vaporized the water and caused this darkness on the face of the deep, so dense that the sun, moon, and stars did not appear until the world had clothed itself

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 438.]

{p. 389}

again in vegetation? Tremendous heat. Where did the heat come from? If it was not caused by contact with a comet, what was it? And if it was not caused by contact with a comet, how do you explain the blazing sword at the gate of Eden; the fire falling from heaven on "the cities of the plain"; and the fire that fell on Job's sheep and camels and consumed them; and that drove Job to clamber by ropes down into the narrow-mouthed bottomless cave; where he tells us of the leviathan, the twisted, the undulating one, that cast down stones in the mire, and made the angels in heaven to tremble, and the deep to boil like a pot? And is it not more reasonable to suppose that this sublime religious poem, called the Book of Job, represents the exaltation of the human soul under the stress of the greatest calamity our race has ever endured, than to believe that it is simply a record of the sufferings of some obscure Arab chief from a loathsome disease? Surely inspiration should reach us through a different channel; and there should be some proportion between the grandeur of the thoughts and the dignity of the events which produced them.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse