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dividing process which is not less potent and not less important. The solid masses which have been accumulating through condensation are gradually upheaved from the depths towards the surface of the waters. At first they are only upheaved in order to be engulfed again; but by degrees their strength is so consolidated as to resist with success the encroachment of the subterranean element; the division of earth and firmament is followed by the division of land and sea. Then comes the division of the land itself. At first it seems to be homogeneous, capable of producing only one form of objects; but this original appearance is soon to be superseded. The homogeneous earth breaks forth into varieties, and each variety is marked by a more distinct individuality. Life as it appears on the surface of the earth ascends by a series of stages from the carboniferous flora to the primal man, and at each stage the separation of the life from the element out of which it was taken becomes more complete and more indubitable. In the ascent from the herb yielding seed after its kind to the life that is made in the image of God, we have a series of transitions from homogeneity into heterogeneity in which the individual form becomes more and more individualistic, and asserts more and more its difference from surrounding things.
We are now, however, brought to the threshold
of a question which lies at the very basis of the evolution principle, and is supposed also to lie at the basis of the narrative of Genesis. We have spoken of a series of transitions which are involved in the description of the six days' creation; the question is, What is the nature of these transitions ? Is each of them to be regarded as a special creative act, calling into life a new order of being ? The entrance of each of them upon the stage of time is prefixed by the words “ The Lord said." Does this mean that each stage of creation is a completed act, which has no power to propagate itself, but which must wait for another fiat to find a step above itself. If so, then the system of creation involved in the first chapter of Genesis is really the history of a series of creations. Now the modern doctrine of evolution distinctly declares that such a conception cuts at the very root of its principle. It says that to introduce a succession of special acts, each one of which arises from the mandate of a creative will, is in so many words to deny the truth of the evolution doctrine. It affirms that the evolution doctrine demands, before all other things, the admission that there exists in nature a principle of continuity — a principle by which one order of being is so closely linked to another that there is no room and no need for any power to intervene between the parts of the chain. It holds that the human has grown out of the ani
mal, and that the animal has developed from the vegetable. Nay, the thorough-going evolutionist goes further. He cannot admit that life itself is a break in the universal chain, and in what we call the beginnings of life he refuses to see a beginning. He is not content to trace back the human to the animal, and the animal to the vegetable ; he is disposed to hold that vegetable life is itself the link of a preceding chain, the result of a process of development which travels back into the indefinite past. The unity of species which he seeks is really a unity of nature. He will not be satisfied with finding that there is a community of life pervading the plant, the animal, and the man; he seeks to discover whether that community of nature which pervades the plant, the animal, and the man is not also common to the whole system of the universe. He desires to connect the man with the earth from which he sprung, to connect the earth from which he sprung with the solar system on which it is dependent, and to connect the solar system itself with the united system of the universe: in the ultimate and the lowest forms of matter he would find the promise and the potence of life. Such is the doctrine of evolution carried out to its last analysis—a doctrine whose tendency is ultimately to obliterate all varieties and reduce the many to the one. Whether the evidence for such a doctrine be strong or weak, it is no part of our province here to determine; whether it be strong or weak in the facts which support it, it represents the goal to which is tending the spirit of modern science. The question which we have to consider is, How would the attainment of such a goal affect the belief of the theist ? how would the demonstration, that all varieties were originally one, contribute to influence that religious sentiment which in all places and at all times has seen in the varieties of nature the evidence of a special creation? The consideration of this question must be reserved for the next chapter.
EVOLUTION AND SPECIAL CREATION.
The preceding chapter led us to the conclusion that there is no necessary or essential opposition between the idea of evolution and the idea of creation in general. We found that even were it proved that there had been no historical beginning of the world, it would not in the smallest degree invalidate the theistic argument in favour of the world's Divine origin. We found that the idea of creation is not essentially connected with the thought of a historical beginning; that the devout believer in a creative Power believes the creative Power to be exerted in giving life to the universe every moment; and that the exertion of such an agency is not only compatible with, but is actually asserted by, the most pronounced form of the doctrine of evolution.
But if there is no opposition between the idea of evolution and the idea of creation in general, we have still to ask if there is no opposition between