It is enough that this was in the mind of the inspiring Spirit. Through the comparatively narrow conceptions and inadequate language of the Scripture writers, the Spirit of inspiration may have secured the expression of the truth in such germinal form as to be intelligible to the times in which it was first published, and yet capable of indefinite expansion as science should advance. In the miniature picture of creation in the first chapter of Genesis, and in its power of adjusting itself to every advance of scientific investigation, we have a strong proof of inspiration.
The word ?day? in Genesis 1 is an instance of this general mode of expression. It would be absurd to teach early races that deal only in small numbers, about the myriads of mind more of truth than elaborate and exact statement would convey.
Conant ( <010210>Genesis 2:10) says of the description of Eden and its rivers: ?Of course the author?s object is not a minute topographical description, but a general and impressive conception as a whole.? Yet the progress of science only shows that these accounts are not less but more true than was supposed by those who first received them. Neither the Hindu Shasters nor any heathen cosmogony can bear such comparison with the results of science. Why change our interpretations of Scripture so often? Answer: We do not assume to be original teachers of science, but only to interpret Scripture with the new lights we have. See Dana, Manual of Geology, 741-746; Guyot, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1855:324: Dawson, Story of Earth and Man, 32.
This conception of early Scripture teaching as elementary and suited to the childhood of the race would make it possible, if the facts so required, to interpret the early chapters of Genesis as mythical or legendary. God might condescend to ?Kindergarten formulas.? Goethe said that ?We should deal with children as God deals with us: we are happiest under the influence of innocent delusions.? Longfellow: ?How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams, With its illusions, aspirations, dreams! Book of beginnings, story without end, Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!? We might hold with Goethe and with Longfellow, if we only excluded from God?s teaching all essential error. The narratives of Scripture might be addressed to the imagination, and so might take mythical or legendary form, while yet they conveyed substantial truth that could in no other way be so well apprehended by early man; see Robert Browning?s poem, ?Development,? in Asolando. The Koran, on the other hand, leaves no room for imagination, but fixes the number of the stars and declares the firmament to be solid. Henry Drummond: ?Evolution has
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