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Nineteenth Century Opponents of Geology and Evolution: Or, The YECs Ye Have With You Always

Copyright 2003, 2007 G. R. Morton. This can be freely distributed so long as no changes are made and no charges are made. (

     It is said that history is written by the victors. A likely corollary is that history is subsequently written about the victors as well; losers are forgotten. It is the thesis of this very long paper that this is precisely what has happened to the Biblical literalists and young-earth creationists of the 19th century. It has been claimed by some that belief in the young-earth (six day creation) was a dead issue prior to Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species.

Michael Roberts wrote:

“It is often claimed that Darwin destroyed belief in a six-day creation. After twenty-five years of research, I have not found one Anglican clergyman who held to a six-day creation in 1860, so how could Darwin destroy that belief? (If you ever read that Darwin destroyed belief in a six-day creation, then consider the writer a monkey rather than descended from apes!)” (Roberts, 2000, p. 84-85)

In a post in Feb. 2001, Michael Roberts also claimed several things about the lack of conflict between the Bible and science in the mid-19th century. He claims that there was no conflict between Genesis and Science. He wrote:

   “Finally there was no serious battle of Genesis and Geology, but a few Christians objected to geology. By 1860 biblical literalism was virtually extinct but was revived in the USA in 1961 in the form of Creationism.” (Roberts, 2001)


  “The idea that there has been a serious conflict is widely held but recent studies have challenged this, whether they focus narrowly on Huxley and Wilberforce or look more widely? (Roberts, 2001)

Furthermore, Roberts claims that by the 1850's the anti-geologist creationists were a spent force. He wrote,

   “By the 1850s the Anti-geologists were a spent force and even such an extreme Evangelical as J. Cumming accepted geology. Almost the only exception was Phillip Gosse in Omphalos (1857)” (Roberts, 2001)

This paper will examine these three claims,

  1. that six-day creationists were long gone before Darwin,
  2. that Biblical Literalism was dead by 1860 and
  3. that Christians accepted geology by the 1850s.

I disagree with all these statements. While Roberts has studied the area for a long time, he has the epistemologically tougher position. All I have to do is show a fair number of people taking the opposite position to what he asserts in order to show that he is wrong. This I will do and that is why this paper is so long. I want to let the 19th century authors speak for themselves.

     It is interesting that in Roberts‘ post and article the reader is not given a single quotation from any of the participants from that time frame. It probably is difficult to find someone from that generation saying that there is no issue between Scripture and Science. But, I believe, this is because there was an argument about Biblical literalism. The argument may not have been among the scientists of the day, and it might not have been among the majority of the Anglican clergy of the day, but there was most assuredly an argument between the laity, some clergy (both Anglican and other) and the geologists and evolutionists. Biblical literalists were all over the place at that time and after. There were Biblical literalists among the Anglican clergy. How else is one to deal with an Anglican clergy who demands that mankind was created in 4004 BC with all the animals having been created in the previous 6 ‘days’ of 7000 year's length?

     In fairness to Roberts, other historians have also claimed that there was no battle between the evolution and religion. Martin Fichman wrote:

“The conventional view that evolution and religion were locked into inevitable conflict during the Victorian era is now discredited. Although nineteenth-century evolutionism did pose challenges to traditional religious beliefs and institutionalized practices, the notion that individual scientists or members of the general public had to choose between evolution and religion is a gross simplification. The reality of Victorian culture allowed for a wide spectrum of individual and collective responses to the implications of evolutionary theories for concepts of God and divine activity.” (Fichman, 2002, p.169)

The diagram below shows what appears to be the situation from my readings of 19th century literature. The symbols are: ß--à means agreement; ** means partial agreement; and # means vehement disagreement.

top scientist---------top scientist-----top clergy

            *               #  #        #      *

            *               #  #        #      *

Biblical literalist clergy**#**YEC clergy      *

                        *   #                  *

                        *   #                  *

                    YEC Laity*******literalist laity

When determining whether or not there was a conflict one must state where one is looking. If one examines the issues taking place among the top scientists, there was little conflict. Roberts is correct that much of the top clergy had accepted geology and evolution rather early. They agreed with the top scientists. There were many Biblical literalists who partially agreed with the science of the day (Savile) and some YEC clergy which vehemently disagreed with evolution and the age of the universe (Newton, Strachan). But many Biblical literalists believed in an old universe but a late creation of mankind. They disagreed with evolutionists on this issue and they always placed a discontinuity between man and the apes.

     But even while claiming that there wasn't a battle, if you read in between the lines you find that even people like Fichman claim that there was. Fichman further notes:

“But in the confrontational decade immediately following the publication of Origin, many church leaders raised an alarm against teaching evolution, particularly within seminaries and denominational colleges.” (Fichman 2002, p. 179).

If there weren't a battle, why was the decade after the Origin ‘confrontational’? Fichman (p. 176) also notes that evolutionists were often lumped in with ‘infidels’. That certainly doesn't sound like there was no war. Like Roberts, Fichman cites very few people from the 19th century. Of 300 references only 29 are from the 19th century and of these, 16 are from four individuals, Darwin, Lyell, Huxley and Wallace. All other citations are 20th century authors and that doesn't make one feel comfortable that original literature has been accessed properly.

     Roberts further claims “In the period 1825 -1850 the vast majority of Christians accepted geology, but a small and noisy minority did not.” (Roberts, 2001) What is different between that time and today? Today most Christians accept the age of the earth with a vocal, but politically important minority arguing for a young earth. The fact that a group is a minority does not mean that they don't fight a battle. It also doesn't mean that they were not an important irritant to the intellectual landscape. Roberts claims that six-day creationism was dead long before Darwin. It wasn't and I will show this via citations from books from that period.

     One other item needs to be noticed. To claim that people accept geology should mean more than merely accepting the evidence for the age of the earth. The real battle wasn't over the age of the earth but over the deluge. Apologists which fall into this group include Cockburn, Redford, Hutton, Figuier, Bristow, Morris, and Galloway. Many late 19th century Christians believed in an old earth but of those, many didn't believe in an earth as old as geology said (Cooper).  Others didn't accept what geology said about the antiquity of man on earth. From the 1850s on, Christian apologists ignored increasingly large numbers of finds which indicated man's antiquity (Savile, Newton, Cooper, Dawson etc). These finds included stone tools and human fossils with extinct and ancient animals. I will note these finds throughout this paper. But contrary to Roberts‘ claim (below) that no educated Christians believed in 4004 BC in 1860, we will show that 4004 B. C. remained an important date for Christian apologists throughout the 19th century (Savile, Newton, Strachan, Weber). 

After 1859, many apologists were forced to increasingly reject evidence for evolution, and like today, while opinions were all over the spectrum, there were a large number of anti-evolutionary opinions. A significant portion of the Christian world in the late 19th century never accepted evolution, preferring instead to yield on the age of the earth but have a ruined earth reconstructed recently with all animals and mankind created within the past few thousand years.

     Roberts, in his claim about six-day creationism, has focused in on British Anglicanism, ignoring both other denominations and other parts of the world. He also focuses only on the clergy, not the laity. By doing this, he gives a false impression that both six-day creationism and YECism were dead long before Darwin. It wasn't. Maybe I am a monkey rather than descended from the apes, but when I read 19th century religious literature, I see there is a widespread belief in six-day, an rejection and ridicule of geology (not acceptance) and a belief in Biblical literalism, with many of the same arguments seen today. Maybe the Anglican clergy weren't YEC in Roberts' sense of believing the universe to be 6000 years old, but the laity and clergy of other faiths were! And the clergy in America were even more YEC than those Anglicans. If Roberts wishes to claim that a particular part of Anglican clergy were not believers in the young-universe, then that would be fine. But many of these same people were Biblical literalists.

     I intend to show that Roberts is correct that Darwin didn't destroy the belief in a six-day creation because the true believers continued to believe what they wanted to in spite of the scientific evidence. Six-day creationism and rejection of geological information continued throughout the entire 19th century and such views were not miraculously reborn in 1961 with Henry Morris. I contend that even the belief in a six-day creationism didn't get revived in 1961 as is claimed. It has been there all along through Benjamin Newton in the 1860s-1880s, George McCready Price in the early 20th century, Harry Rimmer in the 1930s and 40s, Alfred Rehwinkel in 1951 and others (Rimmer, 1952, p. 16-17, 19, 22; Rehwinkel, 1951, p. XVI; Williams, 1928, 53rd printing in 1953). There is a continuous set of people who believe this. Anyone who claims that YEC was ‘virtually extinct’ and it was revived by Henry Morris in 1961 simply hasn't looked through the YEC literature. Henry was publishing creationist material in 1947. I was raised Southern Baptist and YEC was taught as a matter of course in the churches I attended in the 1950s. As with any other viewpoint, it waxes and wanes through time, but it was never ‘virtually extinct.’ One probably can claim that at various times people with scientific credentials were scarce, but one can't claim that YEC was dead.

I will back up what I say with quotations from actual books of the period rather than studies of 20th century scholars which are referenced in Roberts' works and used to support his views. I will concede that the bigger issue for the 19th century Christians was the late creation of man, most often said to be 4,000 years ago. After reading this paper, I suspect most will agree with me that the belief in a six-day creationism (broadly defined) was alive both before AND after Darwin.

     Before starting, it is advisable to define our terms through a study of what Biblical literalists believe. A biblical literalist is anyone who believes that history must literally match the Biblical account. By that definition, I am a Biblical literalist as is Hugh Ross today. Most modern literalists are also young-earth creationists and they believe the following:

  1. a recent creation of man (less than 60,000 years ago which is justified below)
  2. a recent creation of the universe
  3. a global flood occurring within the past 10,000 years, often holding it to be in the 3rd millennium B. C.
  4. belief in a literal genealogical chronology
  5. disdain for geology and the contemporary chronology
  6. rejection of evolution
  7. belief that Genesis 1 and 2 says something about actual history

Not every Biblical literalist accepts every single idea above. It would be unrealistic to expect that. But one thing seems clear, when it comes to recent creationism, one can define a young-earth creationist as someone who believes that God's creative acts took place in the recent past of earth's history. That is the simplest definition of ‘recent creationism’. I would suggest that that is the sine qua non of being a young-earth creationist. If one believes that God's creative activity took place recently, then one is a YEC.

    There are two forms of literalism with regard to the origin of man. There are the young-earth creationists who believe that man and the universe came into existence at the same time. These are the modern and ancient YECs. Then there are those who think Genesis 1:1 allows a separation between the origin of the universe and the creation of man. This form of Biblical literalism exists in both the 19th and the 20th centuries. Buckland and Cuvier, had presented views in which life on earth was created and destroyed many times. And they believed that mankind was created late in earth history and that the last destruction was due to the Mosaic deluge. Because of this, they could hold to an old universe, but a recent creation of modern living forms, including man. That may not sound like a modern young-earth creationism, but there are people I know who hold exactly this view today. Buckland, rejected his views in 1836 (Rupke, 1983, p. 81) Rupke,1983, p. 81), yet many people continued to follow his lead in spite of this. This view is every bit as literalist in its interpretation of the Bible, every bit as young-earth because the earth has been reconstructed from the ruin. And this is important for moderns to realize. This is a form of young-earth creationism; it has God engaging in creative activity in the recent past with a total separation between this world and the old. It also leads to an anti-evolutionary viewpoint. Hugh Ross is one modern who holds to this form of creationism.

     One might be tempted to arbitrarily use Ross‘ time for the creation of man as a measure of young-earth creationism. Ross believes that mankind was created long after the creation of the universe. He says it was after 60,000 years ago. In taking that stand, Ross exhibits the most important trait of a Biblical literalist, a recent creationism, e.g., the recent creation of man, a belief that the creative days correspond to actual events in history. He also exhibits other literalist traits. A disdain for when secular science says man (genus Homo) first appeared (2 million years ago), a rejection of evolution. Ross fits 4 of the 7 criteria. Thus, we will take anyone who believes that God created man within the past 60,000 years as a young-earth creationist. This is arbitrary but would exclude from YEC most of the ID folk, like Philip Johnson.

     We will attempt follow the literalists in somewhat chronological order, focusing mostly on the UK, but occasionally throwing in a person from the US or Canada. If you are eager to see six-day creationism among UK clergy, skip ahead to Gordon, Strachan, Savile and Newton. We will start in the 1820's with Granville Penn, the grandson of William Penn, the man who founded Pennsylvania. His influence throughout the 19th century was great and Hugh Miller was still citing him 14 years after Penn's death. Penn was effectively the Henry Morris of the early 19th century.

One housekeeping note, I now own all of the books and articles cited below with the exception of Haldane and the 1855 Christian Treasury, both of which I found in a local hotel in Aberdeenshire.

1823 Antiquity of man. ‘Red Man’ of Paviland found in Paviland Cave, Wales. First Cro-magnon skeleton. Not recognized as an ancient man. (Mackenzie, 1927, p. 66)

Granville Penn Major Works A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaic Geologies, 1823,1825 and Conversations on Geology, 1840.

Penn was clearly a young-earth creationist of the modern type. This can be clearly seen in the three quotations below. The Mineral Geology, is the geological science of his day. The Mosaic Geology is what he felt the Bible taught.

“That Mineral Geology, in order to preserve the perfect independence of its speculations in the remoteness of time, and to relieve itself from the restraint of perpetually submitting those speculations to a standard of authority, strives to establish the principles—that the Mosaical record ‘treats only of the history of Man;’ and, that it ‘does not go so far back into the history of the globe,’ as it is itself enabled to do by the acuteness of its scientific penetration.” (Penn, 1825, Vol.1 p. 164)

He was a six-day creationist as shown here.

“If, therefore, the noun in Gen. I. had been intended to denote any long period, or any measure of time other than a single day, it would have been IAMIM, in the plural, as a collective term, and not IOM, in the singular, which it is.” (Penn, 1825, Vol. 1 p. 289)

Of Faber's Dispensations Penn writes of his rejection of a lengthened Biblical chronology:

“This sudden call upon us to admit, for the first time that our Lord was born circ. A. M. 40,170, instead of circ. A. M. 4004, according to the vulgar computation, proposes an alarming alteration of our chronology; to which however the learned author may have familiarized his own mind, we cannot implicitly assent without demanding his authority. But, as soon as we are told, that we are to concede this alteration to the ‘decisive discoveries of modern physiologists,’ our alarm at once subsides; and we feel no hesitation in altogether refusing our submission to an authority so incompetent, and so illegitimate for imposing, or causing to be imposed, a new interpretation on the plain terms of revelation.” (Penn, 1825, Vol 1, p. 298)

One can be assured that, in Penn's view, the creation of the universe and the creation of man were separated by 24 hours when he states 1. that the mode of creation is ‘uninvestigable by any scheme or science of man’; 2. that each operation in Genesis 1 ‘was immediate; the formations resulting at once, without any instrumental mediation, in full perfection for the ends which they were to serve’; 3. God produced these ‘without any agency of time’ and 4. that the original Fiat, ‘caused all the first formations of the mineral matter of this globe in one immediate simultaneous operation, imparting to it at the same moment its first diurnal revolution.’ (Penn 1825, vol. 1, p. 279)

Penn, in his 1840 work which is a Socratic dialogue, speaking of the separation of the waters eventually shows he still believed in a literal Biblical chronology. He writes:

“Mrs. R.”
“Now it appears from this sublime history—from the ‘rebuke’ and the ‘thunder,’ that it was a crisis of stupendous and terrible convulsion, when the waters of the sea were fixed in their channel, and the dry land and its mountains elevated above the level of the great deep.”
“I am completely satisfied with this explanation; but there are many points of Geology which we formerly considered, which it will not account for the existence, for instance, of conglomerate rocks evidently formed from others, and the remarkable facts which you told us of large trees, inclosed in sandstone quarries, converted into coal.”
“Mrs. R.”
“All these, and similar appearance, Mr. Penn explains by the second grand revolution—the Deluge of Noah and the circumstances which preceded it, from the creation onwards. It is important to recollect, that the period from the creation to the deluge was more than sixteen hundred and fifty years, and, during that time, it is obvious that immense beds of shells would be formed in the sea, and not only so, but very probably would afterwards be covered with beds of sand, clay, and mud, and cemented together by the glutinous matter of the animals themselves. Similar circumstances would also tend to cover, with extensive deposits, the moss-beds of sea-weed, corals, sponges, and other marine productions then existing. It is, also to be remarked, that the constant tides and storms of the sea, as we formerly noticed, would tend to wear down the rock exposed to their warfare, and thence would form immense beds of sand, gravel, and clay, all of which would, of course, exist in the bed of the ocean at the time of the deluge.” (emphasis mine) (Penn, 1840, p.258-259)
1829 Antiquity of Man: first Neanderthal fossil, found at Engis, Belgium (Johanson and Edgar, 1997, p. 93)
1839 Antiquity of Man Boucher de Perthes publishes his evidence for human stone tools in ancient deposits. It is ignored. (Campbell and Loy, 1996, p. 6)

Robert Haldane, Major Work: Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation, 1839

In 1839, Robert Haldane published the 3rd edition of a book advocating a young-earth, literalist interpretation of scripture. It is clear what he believed from statements like:

“From Adam to Moses, although a space of about 2500 years, it passed through only four intermediate persons.” (Haldane, 1839, p. 125)

Haldane left no doubt as to the meaning of the word ‘day’ as used in Genesis:

“The opinion that each day in the account of creation was a year, or any longer period than is denoted by the word day, in its usual signification, outrages all the laws of language.” (Haldane 1839, p. 148-149)

He also fits another characteristic of YECs, he disdains the views of geologists. In one of the earliest appearance of age arguments he writes:

“It is not the facts of geologists that need to be controverted, it is their rash and presumptuous inferences. If it be asserted that more time must have been necessary to form one series of rocks than another, or to account for certain appearances in other respects, it is answered, this is a theory not a fact. The doctrine of geologists is not the interpretation of facts but only inferences which are by no means necessary. Could not he who created the world out of nothing—a fact which cannot be denied, otherwise how could the world exist at all—cause all things to assume at the moment of creation, appearances which geologists impute to the lapse of ages?” (Haldane, 1839,p. 147).

John Murray Major works: Truth of Revelation, 1831, revised 1840; Portrait of Geology, 1838.

He was clearly a young-earth creationist. He stated,

“In the most ancient book of the Chinese which is called chouking, mention is made of one of their deified personages, named Yao, who is their represented as drawing off the waters of the deluge, which had rendered impassable the lower levels, submerged the lower hills, bathed the skirts of the highest mountains, and risen up to the heavens. Yao is antedated at about 4166 years, or thereabout, before the present period, which remarkably coincides with the chronology of the sacred volume.” (Murray, 1840, p. 207)

He seemed to be one who rejected the concept that the earth was millions of years old with a late creation of man. He objected,

“As for the question vexaia of systems antecedent to man, with ‘millions of ages,’ and ‘creations and destructions innumerable,’ I confess I have strong objections to these dogmas. The phenomena of geology do not, in my mind warrant or require such deductions.” (Murray, 1840, p. 141-142)
He then goes on to note that there is no absolute chronometer in geology.

Patrick MacFarlane, 1840's quotations. See below for information on him.

One really doesn't know quite where to put this man in chronologically. I chose this point only because this is close to the time when he started publishing. I searched for three years trying to find his book, Primary and Present States, which was the only book I knew about. I stumbled upon Antidote which was a gem of young-earth writings. The book is a compilation of MacFarlane's letters and articles from his 30 year publishing career.

MacFarlane was able to publish letters and articles in journals like the Greenock Advertiser, London Record, The Spectator, The Daily Review, The Witness, The Stirling Journal, The Commonwealth and many, many others. He was active arguing against geology from the 1840s to the early 1870s long after Darwin's Origin. I will only place a few of MacFarlane's letters because I could put one in nearly every single year from the late 1840's to 1865 or so.

MacFarlane, in relating to his readers in 1871 why certain documents weren't published, inadvertently sheds some light on the intellectual world of the apologists of the 1840s. He wrote:

“It is rather a remarkable coincidence that, at the time this very one of these articles should have attracted my attention, and caused the following remarks, which were sent to the London Record, 7th Nov. 1846, but for want of room (he said)—reason,(I thought) declined by the editor; an editor who had published and praised the Dean of York's hypothesis, and advocated even that of Chateaubriand.*” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 13)

The asterisk at the end of this passage refers to a note which amazingly shows apologists arguing for concepts long thought to have been settled, even in the early 1900s. The note says of Chateaubriand:

“*This author imagined that all things in the bowels of the earth were created just as they are, and, of course, that what we call organic remains are mere lusus naturae and never belonged to living creatures!” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 13 note)

Hugh Miller report on 1840's YEC activity in his 1850 book, Footprints of the Creator

Then there was the guy who is quoted in Hugh Miller's Footprints of the Creator (Hugh Miller was the writer of the Rambles):

“SIR—I occasionally observe articles in your neighbour and contemporary the ‘Witness,’ characteristically headed ‘Rambles of a Geologist’, wherein the writer with great zeal once more ‘slays the slain’ heresies of the ‘vestiges of Creation.’ This writer (of the ‘Rambles,’ I mean) nevertheless, and at the same time, announces his own tenets to be much of the same sort, as applied to mere dead matter, that those of the ‘Vestiges’ are with regard to living organisms. He maintains that the world during the last million of years, has been of itself rising or developing without the interposition of a miracle, from chaos into its present stat; and, of course, as it is still, as a world, confessedly far below the acme of physical perfection, that it must be just now on its passage, self-progressing, towards that point, which terminus it may reach in another million of years hence.[!!!] The author of the ‘Vestiges,’ as quoted by the author of the ‘Rambles,’ in the last number of the ‘Witness,’ complains that the latter and his allies ware not at all so liberal to him as from their present circumstances and position, he had a right to expect. He (the author of the ‘Vestiges’) reminds his opponents that they themselves only lately emerged from the antiquated scriptural notions that our world was the direct and almost immediate construction of the Creator, --as much so, in fact, as any of its organized tenants,--and that it was then created in a state of physical excellence the highest possible, to render it a suitable habitation for those tenants, and all this only about six or seven thousand years ago, --to the new light of their present physico-Lamarckian views. And he asks, and certainly not without reason, why should these men, so circumstanced be so anxious to stop him in his attempt to move one step farther forward in the very direction they themselves have made the last move?—that is, in his endeavour to extend their own principles of self-development from mere matter to living creatures. Now, Sir, I confess myself to be one of those (and possibly you may have ore readers similarly constituted) who not only cannot see any great difference between merely physical and organic development[!!], but who would be inclined to allow the latter, absurd as it is, the advantage in point of likelihood[!!!]. The author of the ‘Rambles,’ however, in the face of this, assures us that his views of physical self-development and long chronology belong to the inductive sciences. Now, I could at this stage of his rambles have wished very much that, instead of merely saying so, he had given his demonstration. Most that those men have written on the question at issue I have seen, not fully made up their mind on the point.[!!!] Perhaps the author of the ‘Rambles’ could favour us with the inductive process that converted himself; and, as the attainment of truth, and not victory, is my object, I promise either to acquiesce in or rationally refute it[?] Till then, I hold to my antiquated tenets, that our world, nay, the whole material universe, was created about six or seven thousand years ago, and that in a state of physical excellence of which we have in our present fallen world only the ‘vestiges of creation.’ I conclude by mentioning that this view I have held now for nearly thirty years, and, amidst all the vicissitudes of the philosophical world during that period, I have never seen cause to change it. Of course, with this view I was, during the interval referred to, a constant opponent of the once famous, though now exploded, nebular hypothesis of La Place; and I yet expect to see physical development and long chronology wither also on this earth, now that THEIR ROOT (the said hypothesis) has been eradicated from the sky.[!!!]—I am, Sir, your most obedient servant.
*“It now appears that, though this letter was inserted in the ‘Scottish Press,’ the organ of the United Presbyterians, its writer is a Free Churchman. He has since published a good many other anti-geological letters, chiefly remarkable for their facts, to which, with a self-immolating zeal worthy of a better cause, he has attached his name.” (Miller 1850 reprinted in 1869, p. 256-257)

Just before the above note, Miller notes that the Scottish Press is the ‘organ of a powerful and thoroughly respectable section of the old Dissenters of Scotland.’ (Miller, 1850 reprinted in 1869, p. 257-258)

This Philalethes, was Patrick MacFarlane or Patrick M′Farlane. M′Farlane seems to have made it his life long job to disagree with Hugh Miller. Almost all his publications take aim at Miller. And Miller shot back only rarely mentioning M′Farlane's name. Of the book Primary and Present States, Miller wrote:

“According to this profound cosmogonist, the world before the Fall was rather more than twice its present size, and very artificially constructed. It was a hollow ball, supported inside by a framework of metal wrought into hexagonal reticulations, somewhat like the framework of the great iron bridge over the river Wear at Sunderland; and which had an open space in its centre, occupied by a vast tubular furnace lying direct south and north, which threw out huge volumes of flame towards the poles.” (Miller, 1857, p. 405-406)

One clearly sees, that MacFarlane was a bit mad.

William Cockburn, Dean of York

Miller, in another book, cited William Cockburn, Dean of York, an Anglican, arguing against morphological change and then commented,

“The passage is, however, not without its value, as illustrative of the darkness, in matters of physical science, ‘even darkness which may be felt,’ that is suffered to linger, in this the most scientific of ages, in the Church of Buckland, Sedgwick, and Conybeare.” (Miller, 1850 reprinted in 1869, p. 259)

William Cockburn, the Dean of York, was still alive and apparently on duty when, 7 years later, Miller wrote The Testimony of the Rocks. Cockburn died April 30, 1858, approximately 1 year and 4 months after Miller took his own life accessed 3-2-03). Cockburn, the Anglican, believed in a young-earth up until 1858. Of him Savile (a contemporary emulating the pot calling the kettle black) writes:

“Or consider the way in which the late Dean of York endeavored to reconcile the formation of the strata of this carboniferous era at the time of the Deluge, with his theory that all the fossils discovered are not older than the human race, and that the creation of the heavens and the earth commenced 6000 years ago.” (Savile 1862, p.228-229)

Only Cockburn's death prevented him from believing in a young earth in 1860. He missed that goal by only 1 year 8 months. YEC was far from dead. It continued via Benjamin Newton and others in forms not too much different than those taken by YECs today.

1846 Antiquity of Man. Boucher de Perthes publishes again on ancient stone tools found with extinct animals which indicated that man was on earth prior to 4004 B. C.
1848 Antiquity of Man. Second example of Neanderthal found at Gibraltar. It was ignored for 20 years. (Broom, 1950, p. 2)

Eleazar Lord. 1851. Major Work Epoch of Creation

Eleazar Lord was a major American theologian of the mid-19th century. His book, Epoch of Creation, obviously had an impact in the UK, because Miller cited it [see below]. The introduction to Lord's book was written by one, Richard W. Dickinson. Dickinson tells his readers:

“Which merits the readier credence-a record which has more historical and moral testimony in its support than any other in the world; or a science which as yet has led only a few scattered individuals to collect, as one of the most prominent among them has admitted, ‘some materials for future generalizations?’ -a record which preserves the same lucid distinctness and commanding unity through a period of four thousand years; or a science which is but of yesterday's growth, and embraces almost as many different theories, and leads to almost as many different conclusions, as the number of its teachers? a cosmogony, which, being in keeping with the sublime idea of creative energy, implies the supernatural; or one, which having originated in an induction from supposed existing causes, excludes, and stigmatizes as unscientific, all that is miraculous in the works as well as in the Word of the Creator?
    “We admit that, in some of our modern treatises on geology, there is much that is imposing and even fascinating to the imagination, because it borders on the nature of new discoveries; nor do we presume to deny the facts from which sage inferences are deduced; but where is the proof that geology has as yet legitimately accounted for the former changes on the earth's surface, much less for the time and manner of its origin? Where is the consistency of geological theories? What is the theory of any one writer on the subject, but the construction which he has seen fit to put on the physical phenomena of the globe, as being the exclusive effects, in his view, of the ordinary operation of natural causes? If Smith may conflict in his geological views with Buckland, and Lyell with Larnarck; or if the author of the ‘Footprints’ may oppose the development theory of the author of the ‘Vestiges,’ with what propriety, we ask, can either demand that we shall substitute his understanding of the Mosaic record of the creation in the place of our own, or forfeit the respect of scientific men.
    “If geologists may draw different conclusions from the changes in the organic and the inorganic world which are now in progress, by what law of evidence are we bound either to harmonize the Mosaic record with their conflicting theories, or to discard its authority? The work of creation was necessarily a supernatural work; and hence, all reasoning from the general laws of nature, which in their operation were subsequent to the work of creation, is as irrelevant in explanation of the Mosaic account, as the argument drawn from universal experience in disparagement of the miracles recorded in Holy Writ.” (Dickinson, 1851, p. viii-x) (emphasis mine)

Eleazar Lord, in the main part of the book, argues against the geological evidence for an age of the earth and for the six day creation when he writes:

“The following extracts are from Doctor Hitchcock's second Lecture, entitled ‘THE EPOCH OF THE EARTH'S CREATION UNREVEALED.’ ‘My simple object at this time is to ascertain whether the Bible fixes the time when the universe was created out of nothing. The prevalent opinion, until recently, has been that we are there taught that the world began to exist on the first of the six days of creation, or about six thousand years ago. Geologists, however, with one voice, declare that their science indicates the earth to have been of far higher antiquity. The question becomes, therefore, of deep interest, whether the common interpretation of the Mosaic record is correct.’ What a falling off! The science, instead of demonstrating or exhibiting indubitable facts to show the earth to be of far higher antiquity than the six days, and thereby furnishing solid ground upon which to call the Mosaic record in question, only indicates the earth to have been of that high antiquity; the science, excluding all reference to the miraculous interpositions of the Creator, and the moral reasons announced by him for such interpositions, suggests the possibility, on the ground of analogy in the ordinary operation of physical causes, that the earth may have been of the alleged high antiquity!” (Lord, 1851, p. 161-162)

Another example of Lord's rejection of the secular chronology and the acceptance of the six-day creation:

“Doubtless, no rational creature can behold the vast masses of sedimentary matter, which to a great depth constitute the crust of the globe, or inspect in detail the wonders which they exhibit, and believe at the same time that the whole of those masses with their fossil contents, were deposited by the slow, uniform, unaided, operation of physical laws, without inferring at once that the process must have occupied immeasurable periods of duration. But before he can make that inference, and as the sole ground of it, he must first assume that those sedimentary masses were formed by the physical causes and in the manner represented. Of that assumption, however, he can adduce no positive evidence whatever; nor anything but an inference from the fact, that at present the operations of those causes is slow, uniform, and unaided: and he therefore infers that it always was so. An admission that for moral reasons, a different, a supernatural process, may have been interposed by the Creator and moral governor of the world, would preclude his inference, and destroy the basis of his main assumption, and of the theory founded on it.
But waiving such admission of moral reasons and supernatural operations, he clings to his main assumption. and makes it the basis of various other assumptions involved in his theory: Such as, that if the formation of the sedimentary masses occupied an immeasurable tract of ages, their object must have been to improve the condition of the planet and render it habitable; that the earth, therefore, must originally have been in a most imperfect condition; that, according to the theory of some, it was in a state of igneous fluidity; and according to others, that it was a shapeless mass of nebular matter; that since none of these things could possibly be true, if the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, were created, and created perfect in the space of six days, at the Mosaic epoch; therefore, they were not created at that epoch; that the first verse of Genesis, therefore, does not belong to the narrative of the six days; that the work of those six days was not a creation, but a special fitting up of the whole or a part of the earth: that the Sabbath, therefore, was not instituted as a sign, memorial, or periodical public acknowledgment and attestation that in six days the Jehovah made the heavens and earth, the sea and all that in them is, but was instituted for some other purpose.”
None of these assumptions admit of any positive evidence, whether taken separately or collectively; and they are, one and all, utterly baseless and preposterous, unless the main assumption at their head is unequivocally admitted. We are entitled, therefore, when told that the science of geology is in conflict with revelation, to deny it, and to reply, that it is not the science, its facts, or any legitimate inductions from them, but only the gratuitous assumptions of the geologists that are in such conflict. It would be as legitimate to infer, as some do, from the facts of geology, that the earth was eternal, as to infer that the physical laws or properties of matter, were exclusively the cause of those facts. The geologists, while they take the liberty to make quite free with the text of Scripture, and with its miracles, as appears from the specimens of their expositions heretofore quoted, -complain loudly of those who call their theories in question, on the ground that they are not practical geologists, and, therefore, cannot be qualified to perform the office of objectors: as if a practical knowledge of facts and details which they do not dispute, would be of any use to enable them to controvert, what they do dispute. They are especially impatient of theological assailants, for reasoning from a non-geological book, and arraying moral facts and revealed doctrines against their hypothetical inferences.” (Lord, 1851, p. 207-210) (Emphasis mine)

Thomas Hutton, F.G.S, 1851. Major work: The Chronology of Creation.

Since we had a major American young-earther from 1851 we should probably show a YEC from Britain in the same year. Thomas Hutton, A Fellow of the Geological Society, wrote and published a blatantly young-earth book in 1851. This leather bound book was not a cheap publishing undertaking. The only aspect of geology, which this Fellow of the Geological Society accepted, appears to be that rocks exist. He wrote:

“That the first, and likewise the second verses point to a period indefinitely remote, when the material elements of our globe were called into existence, there can be no hesitation in admitting: but to say that the Earth was tenanted previous to the first recorded day of Scripture, is a doctrine wholly untenable and erroneous, as being altogether based upon assumption and devoid of the slightest proof.” (Hutton, 1851, p. 41)

Further, he explicitly believed that the earth was created at the same time as the universe. He wrote:

    “Again with regard to our Earth having arisen out of the ‘wreck and ruins’ of a former world, there is decidedly not the slightest foundation for such a belief to be gathered from any sentence in the Mosaic narrative, but, on the contrary, when we are told that ‘in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth,’--we are told so in reference solely to our own actual planet, and not to any world which may have preceded it. The materials from which our Earth was at length produced, were apparently called into being expressly for that purpose. We are not taught to believe that in the beginning, God created a Heaven and an Earth, from whose ruins our world was at length phoenix-like to spring forth; but that they were created with reference to the present system alone, for in the whole narrative of Creation nothing appears to be brought forward but what has strict and sole reference to us, and to the Earth which we now inhabit.” (Hutton, 1851, p. 53-54)

There is a classic statement from Hutton which clearly illustrates his unique type of young-earth creationism. He writes:

“From the period of the first revolution or Fall of man, up to the completion of the Portland stone or upper member of the Oolitic system, comprising according tot he most correct accounts, a period of about 2,261 years, the land was, from time to time, emerging from out of the ocean, through the instrumentality of violent and oft-repeated volcanic forces, whose seat of action being chiefly submarine, tended more especially to produce marine formations, imbedding the organic forms which successively inhabited the waters during the changes of those early time.”

For those who don't know, the Portland stone is a Late Jurassic formation in England which is used as building stones. Hutton has the entire Paleozoic through to the end of the Jurassic take only 2,261 years.  Amazing accuracy!  He ends his book comparing the two chronologies, geological and Scriptural. He writes:

    “Thus we have the historical and geological chronologies supporting and substantiating each other in the following satisfactory manner,
Historical Chronology.

        "From the first day to the commencement
        of the tertiary or postdiluvian era............2,262

        From the deluge to the Birth of Christ.........3,216

        From the Birth of Christ to the current year...1,849


        Geological Chronology

        From the first day to the commencement          Yrs  Ms. Ds.
        of the tertiary or postdiluvian era............2,210  5   3

        From the Deluge to the termination of
        the tertiary period..............................194  0  12

        From the tertiary period to the
        Birth of Christ................................3,021 11  18

        From the Birth of Christ to the current year...1,949

                                                       7,275  5   3
or a discrepancy of only fifty-one and a half years between the two chronologies and which moreover is seen to arise solely from the difficulty of obtaining an exact and accurate measurement of the various strata.” (Hutton, 1851, 478-479)

Why would one believe that the belief in a six day creation was long gone by the end of a decade which begins with two books like these?

Hugh Miller reports early 1850s YEC activity in his 1854 book My Schools and Schoolmasters

Hugh Miller was not a six day creationist and believed that God created over long periods of time. However, he constantly cited young-earth creationist opposition to his position. He cited these people while writing during the 1850's immediately prior to Darwin's book. It is patently clear from this opposition to Miller, that six-day creationism was not dead. Miller observes in 1854:

“But such is the structure of the human mind, that, save when blinded by passion or warped by prejudice, it must yield an involuntary consent to the force of evidence; and I can now no more refuse believing, in opposition to respectable theologians such as Mr. Granville Penn, Professor Moses Stuart, and Mr. Eleazar Lord, that the earth is of an antiquity incalculably vast, than I can refuse believing, in opposition to still more respectable theologians, such as St. Augustine, Lactantius, and Turretine, that it has antipodes, and moves round the sun. And further, of this, men such as the Messrs. Penn, Stuart, and Lord may rest assured that what I believe in this matter now, all theologians, even the weakest, will be content to believe fifty years hence.” (Miller, 1854 reprinted in 1889, p. 462-463)

What do we know of these gentlemen cited by Miller in 1854? Penn was the grandson of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. Penn was a major young-earth writer of the first half of the 19th century who died in 1844. We have quoted him above. He was still influential even at Miller's death in 1857. Stuart Moses was an American theologian who was cited not only by Miller in 1854 but by Savile [see below] in 1862. And we have seen some of Eleazar Lord's views. The fact that Miller felt the need to even mention these people in a book otherwise engaged as a biography illustrates their impact.

Alexander Strachan, Major work: The Antiquity of the Mosaic Narrative, circa 1852

Strachan was clearly a YEC who believed in a young world. Strachan's work is undated but is assumed to be circa 1852 because the most recent quotation is from Hitchcock (1851). He says nothing about Darwin or evolution so it is clearly published prior to 1860. Notice the casual acceptance of the age of the world. He wrote:

“Sufficient has been advanced, we presume, to justify the following conclusions, viz:--
“First. That, next to Moses, Herodotus, the Greek, was the first authentic historian. Moses was born in the year of the world 2433,(1571 years before Christ). Herodotus, was born in the year 484 before Christ, and died in the year 413. He was justly regarded by Tully and others, as being ‘the Father of History!’
    “Second. If the Mosaic narrative be rejected, then we must believe that the world was 3600 years without any written account of its own origin and of the supervision exercised, over the affairs of men, by Divine Providence. Now I ask the unbeliever himself, whether this be at all probable?”
    “Third. That for 3600 years the Jews were the only people on earth capable of giving an account of the commencement and progress of time; as they only possessed both knowledge and letters. With the primitive tongue, they retained the true knowledge of God, and of the remarkable events which occurred during the first ages of the world.” (Strachan, c. 1852, p. 57-58).

He hardly sounds like one who accepts the geology of his day! That he was a six day creationist can be seen in the following:

“We shall now assign our reasons, for refusing to adopt the principle of interpretation offered by the above writers.
“1st. They profess to determine the antiquity of the earth and the catastrophies or changes which have marked its history! But have these gentlemen ascertained, or are they agreed about the agents, or the various physical energies, which have brought the earth to its present state, and with what degree of efficiency they have severally contributed their respective powers? Has it been determined whether these agents act uniformly or with intermission, or according to what laws they relax or increase their intensity, during any given period of time? Now, unless this is first known, how can any thing like certain or even probable truth be elicited? Who can presume to define the nature or the effects of this chymical action that has been going on for the last six thousand years? For the present, and until the above questions shall have been satisfactorily solved, we believe that the six days of Moses comprehend the origin and consummation of the creation of this world!
    “2nd. All Hebrew expositors affix no other meaning to the word day, used by the sacred historian than that of a natural day, and the hebdomadal return of the Sabbath, is a permanent memorial, to perpetuate its true and legitimate signification.”
    “3rd. The evidence of Geology is not, as yet sufficiently conclusive to justify a departure from the rule.” (Strachan, c. 1852, p. 81-82; his emphasis).

It is interesting that Strachan quotes John Cumming, whom Roberts noted above. He introduces this passage with a quote from an anti-geologist, Dr. Forbes, and then calls Cumming a ‘friend’ of geology.

“‘The advocates of Geology have embarked,’ says Dr. Forbes, ‘on an investigation of all others, I hesitate not to affirm, the most defective, at present, in data, essential to the fair and just solutions!’ In moments of sobriety some of its own friends have admitted this. Dr. Cumming says, ‘Geology has, before now, retraced its steps: Genesis never. This will show you that I am not speaking rashly, when I say the latter may be in some of its generalizations wrong. Before now, it has been discovered, that what were thought to be facts incontrovertible were fallacies. It is found that phenomena described and discussed as true, were mistakes, and misapprehensions, which maturer investigations have disposed of: and therefore I am not speaking dogmatically, and without reason, when I say, that while Genesis must be true, Geology, having already erred, may err again, and some of its very loudest assertions, made rashly by those who have least acquaintance with its data, may yet be proved to be wrong. But certain facts in it are now beyond all dispute.’” (Strachan, c. 1852, p. 82-83)

Robertson's citation above that ‘even such an extreme Evangelical as J. Cumming accepted geology’ gives the reader the flawed impression that evangelicals of the 1850s had accepted geology. Nothing was further from the case. Sure, some did, but most didn't. And even the claim that Cumming accepted geology is only partly correct based upon the above quotation.

Strachan further goes on to support the six-day, 6000 year-old creation with the following:

“6th. Admit the doctrine of indefinite periods and all the recognized principles of biblical interpretation are unsettled.”
“If the world existed thousands, and even millions, of ages before the ‘beginning’ of Moses; if numerous races of animals and vegetables, were created and died, before that period, then, in all fairness Moses should have told his readers, that he was writing not about the first, but the middle age of the world. We must either impeach the integrity of Moses, or modify the assumptions of Geology.”
“7th. Geology, as now taught, contradicts the obvious sense of scripture. The inspired record declares that ‘In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is!’” (Strachan, c. 1852, p. 85)

Far from being dead, Strachan shows clearly that Biblical literalism was quite alive in the 1850s and that Gosse was not the only YEC.

W. T. Hamilton, 1852. Major Work: The Pentateuch and Its Assailants

I only have one quotation from this book, taken from Redford. But my son was able to locate the book and give me its publication date. This author held to an old earth but also to Biblical literalism. The Auvergne volcanoes were a challenge to young-earth Christians because there was no historical reference to these volcanoes erupting. The volcanoes were covered with forests which hadn't been burned in the near past.  The lavas were heavily eroded by channels indicating a long time between the last eruption and today. Hamilton wrote:

     “The four thousand (perhaps we may say five thousand) years or more that have elapsed since the deluge, comprise a great many centuries, and afford ample time for that accomplishment of changes far more extraordinary than the extinguishing of all these once active craters, the conversion of the materials of numbers of them into productive soil, and the clothing of these volcanic cones with a dense forest of huge trees.” W. J. Hamilton, D. D., The Pentateuch and Its Assailants, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1852) p. 241-243, cited by George Redford, Holy Scripture Verified: or the Divine Authority of The Bible Confirmed by an Appeal to Facts of Science, History, and Human Consciousness, (London: Jackson and Walford, 1853), p. 89-91

George Redford, D.D, LL.D., 1853. Major work: Holy Scripture Verified; or, the Divine Authority of the Bible Confirmed by an Appeal to Facts of Science, History and Human Consciousness.

Rev. Redford was a Biblical literalist from Worcester but one who accepted only the age of the earth. The 1853 edition of his book is the fifth clearly showing that people were buying these kind of books. As near as I can determine, this book was first published in 1838. He believed that there were a series of creations which accounted for the geologic column. He held that when the Bible said ‘the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,’ it was indicating the next to last flooding of the earth (p.83). The last flood was that of Noah. In all respects, Redford was a literalist, holding to a six thousand year creation of mankind (p.33), the Fall,  the historicity of a global flood (p. 87), the reality of the Tower of Babel (and that Moses lived within 800 years of its construction, p. 112). While he accepted the age of the earth, he was clearly a Biblical literalist seven years prior to when Roberts says literalism was ‘virtually extinct’.

What one can not say about Redford was that he had accepted geology. In fact, he disdains the reasoning of the geologist when he writes:

     “It would be very unworthy of a philosophic spirit to allow our knowledge on the great leading facts to be disturbed by our ignorance on a few points, that are yet veiled in darkness, and which, judging from our experience in similar cases, there is every probability may be yet shown to comport perfectly with the sacred narrative. Facts quite as difficult to reconcile with the Mosaic statement, as any now ascertained, and which at one period were deemed absolute evidence against the truth of his record, have been shown either to have been mistaken, or reasoned upon hastily, and made the basis for the announcement of laws, which other facts have entirely demolished. It is, therefore, not a little astonishing that the frequent failure of the geologists to make good their theories, the constant remodeling of them by their own hands, and the gradual convergence of all their established principles to these four points; the universality of at least one grand catastrophe; the accordance of their own date of that catastrophe with the time of Noah; the agency of it by water influenced by some unknown power; and the origination of the present race of mankind with this catastrophe; it is astonishing, I say, that these things do not repress their theorizings, and constrain them to limit themselves at present to the collection of facts.”
“They start in the race of speculation upon ground which we cannot concede to them,--that all the different masses of matter of which the earth consists, have been formed originally according to the laws which they now observe to be in operation; that is to say, that natural causes have produced the primitive creation without the intervention of an intelligent Creator. This we pronounce at once to be absurd, because there can be no natural laws without a creating power, an arranging mind, and a previously existing creation. Mr. Sharon Turner well observes, --‘It is even a contradiction to suppose that the natural causes now in operation could have formed our world. It is from its completed formation that they arise, and are what they are. They are the produced, and not the producers. Natural causes are the result of creation, not its makers. They arise from the construction, composition, positions, and material relations, and arranged agencies of the created things; but they have not fabricated them. All the laws of nature in our world are posterior to its structure, not anterior framers of it. It is the artificial creation of all things, by an intelligent Artificer, which gives to all natural laws and causes their very existence. They are not in being until the fabric and the mechanism are completed; until each is placed in such relative positions, and in such compounds, and endued with such properties, and associated with such moving agencies, as we can become cognizant of, and from which they originate.’” (Sharon Turner, Sacred History of the Earth, Vo. II, p. 366, cited Redford, 1853, p. 99-101)

Roberts says there was no battle between Genesis and Geology. The above quotation in 1853 clearly shows that this wasn't true. Redford was a Biblical literalist because he believed that the Biblical story was literally true in every detail, which further shows Robert's claim to be false.

Miscellaneous Books as Evidence of Biblical Literalism in the 1850s—1870s

Books from the period show that this was an issue for Christians. Many of these books were arguing for Science Scripture reconciliation. Not having been able to acquire them, I don't know what their views were. However, it illustrates that the world in the 1850s-1870s was interested in the issue of the Bible and Science. This clearly implies that the issue was not dead. The list includes:

  • P. McFarlane, Exposure of the Principles of Modern Geology Edinburgh 1853
  • William T. Hamilton, The ‘Friend of Moses;’ or a Defence of the Pentateuch as the Production of Moses and an Inspired Document Against the Objections of Modern Skepticism, (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1852)
  • George Redford, Holy Scripture verified; or, the divine authority of the Bible confirmed by an appeal to facts of science, history, and ..., (London: Jackson & Walford, 1853)
  • Harry Taylor, A System of the Creation of our Globe, of the Planets, and the Sun of Our System, Founded on the First Chapter of Genesis, on the Geology of the Proved by Lavoisier, And Others, (Quebec: Bureau and Marco, 1854) published from 1840 (2nd edition) to 1857 (9th edition in 1855)
  • George Rawlinson, The Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records Stated Anew, (London: John Murray, 1860) published up until 1885
  • John Radford Young, Science Elucidative of Scripture and Not Antagonistic to It, (London: Lockwood & Co., 1863)

This list of titles, in addition to those I own and cite here, shows that there was a tremendous interest in how to fit Genesis with science.

1854 Antiquity of Man. Dr. Rigollot discovers stone tools in ancient gravels at St. Acheul, France. (Klein and Edgar, 2002, p. 103-105)

Articles in the 1854 edition of The Christian Treasury

Philip Gosse described the lay of the intellectual land in 1854 which supports my thesis that the laity was anti-science. He observes:

“             Natural Science.
“Many persons of eminence seem to have considered it and kindred studies as the only occupation worthy of exalted minds; as if the acquisition of intellectual knowledge formed the chief end of existence both here and hereafter; while multitudes of humble believers are afraid of all natural science, and stand aloof from it as if its influence were necessarily adverse to true piety. The truth, as usual, probably lies between the two extremes.” (Gosse, 1854, p. 352-353)

Why would Gosse speak of the laity as fearing science, if it wasn't the case? Clearly the laity wasn't accepting the science of the day. And let me remind the reader that it isn't physics of the steam engine which they feared. It was the implications of geology and astronomy. Biblical literalism was no more dead in 1854 than it is today.

Others note of ‘modern’ infidelity

“It does not seek to brand the Bible as a forgery, but only to modify or explain away its claims. It allows the inspired books much in literary glory and aesthetic brightness, but denies them a monopoly of such qualities. It brings Scripture down to the level of a common treatise; for it speaks of ‘Minos and Moses as equally inspired to make laws; David and Pindar to write poetry;’ and affirms that Newton and Isaiah, Leibnitz and Paul, &c., have in them ‘various forms of the one spirit from God most high.’ Such inspiration is limited to ‘no sect, age, or nation, for it is wide as the world, and common as God.’” (Anonymous, 1854a p. 491)

Other anti-science statements are found in the pages of the ‘Treasury’. Here is one:

“It is, indeed, a melancholy fact, that hitherto the mightiest and the most successful of intellectual efforts have often been arrayed in hostility to the gospel, rather than made subservient to its more extended promulgation; that the most splendid discoveries of natural truth have frequently obscured, to the eye of the discoverer, the glory of the truth that has been revealed; and that the multiplied resources from which mankind have been enabled to draw, in rich abundance, the comforts and conveniences of life, have often removed them to a greater distance from the Fountain of all spiritual comfort.” (Gordon, 1854b, p. 536-537)

Also, the early chapters of Genesis are treated as history. Rev. R. MacDonald writes of Cain and Abel, calling it “history”:

“How unlike to each other are the two worshippers whose history is here given! . . . Both brothers had heard the tale of love; perhaps, too, from God himself; for it is plain from the narrative that Cain was no stranger to the voice of God.” (MacDonald, 1854, p. 579) (My emphasis)

Anonymous 1854. Major work The Creation & Deluge, According to a New Theory.

There was a book published in Philadelphia in 1854 which argued for Biblical literalism. The author wrote:

“The history of Creation could have been, and most likely was, transmitted from Adam to Jacob by two men! one of whom received it from Adam, and the other communicated it to Jacob, who through Joseph, made it known to the Elders of Israel, and the Magi of Egypt, from whom Moses might have received it.” (Anonymous, 1854, p. 21)


“The six days of Creation, and the years of the lives of the patriarchs, will be shown to have been of the same length so our present days and years, and no longer!” (Anonymous, 1854, p. 23)

When was this creation?

“Admitting, therefore, that the Scripture Chronology is nearly right, we find it was less than two thousand years from the Creation to the Deluge, in which case, as we have already shown, the inhabitants could not have been very numerous.” (Anonymous, 1854, p. 74)

His view of the age of the earth is shown in the 1600 years of evaporation he allows before the deluge. He wrote,

“We shall have occasion in a subsequent chapter, to show that there was no rain prior to the Deluge;--if that were the case, then the continued evaporation for more than 1600 years, less the amount nightly deposited in the shape of dew, would have saturated the atmosphere, and aided in causing the vaporic ring to descend to the earth.”
     “The withdrawal of that ring, and adding it to the crust of the earth, accounts for the sudden change of climate from tropical to temperate and even to frigid; and explains how it was that elephants, overtaken in their vain attempt to flee from the Deluge, were buried in ice or snow, in Siberia, and preserved intact, even to the hide and hair, until our day!” (Anonymous, 1854, p. 33-34)

Furthermore he adds,

“It was about 2000 years from the Creation to the Deluge, about 2000 years from the Deluge to the coming of our Saviour; and in about 2000 years from the time of our Saviour, say 150 years hence, the earth will be full of people! 150 years is not a long period in the age of a nation; therefore legislators, the powers that now be, should so legislate as to prepare for a state of things unprecedented in the annals of our race.” (Anonymous, 1854, p. 52-53).
1855. Antiquity of Man: Dr. R. H. Collyer discovered a human jaw in ancient deposits at Ipswich, England. (Broom, 1950, p. 5)

Rev. Dr. Gordon 1855 Article in the Christian Treasury

The Christian Treasury was a Sunday reader, apparently given out weekly at Church. It consisted of various types of article and news features, from theological articles to fiction, to accounts of missionaries. I have only seen three of these volumes,1854 (which I own), and 1855 and 1871. I never got the chance to peruse 1871 volume. But in the 1855 volume I ran into an interesting article on the longevity of the patriarchs. I do not know to what denomination Dr. Gordon belonged, but he clearly believed the fundamental and literal beliefs of six day creationism. Gordon writes:

“The history of the first ages of the world affords melancholy evidence, that though, in consequence of the lengthened period to what the lives of men were extended, the revelation of divine mercy, as comprehended in the first promise, and illustrated by the institution of the sacrifice, might have come down to the time of Abraham,—a period of more than 2000 years, -- without passing through more than four individuals before reaching the Patriarch.” (Gordon, 1855, p. 49)

While this isn't 1860, it is only 5 years earlier. But Miller in 1857 had to argue against several biblical literalists of the 1850s. Alexander Strachan published in c. 1852 and held to a young-earth position. John Murray, 1840, did and you know his beliefs. George Young, Andrew Ure, and those mentioned by Hitchcock (originally published in 1851) also were anti-geological. Hitchcock writes:

“Hence English literature has been prolific of such works as ‘A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaic Geologies,’ By Granville Penn; the ‘Geology of Scripture,’ by Fairholme; ‘Scriptural Geology,’ by Dr. Young; ‘Popular Geology subversive of Divine Revelation’ by Rev. Henry Cole; ‘Strictures on Geology and Astronomy,’ by Rev. R. Wilson; ‘Scripture Evidences of Creation, and Geology, and Scripture Cosmogony,’ by anonymous authors; and many other similar productions that might be named.” (Hitchcock, 1851 reprinted in 1857, p. 18)

This shows, that even contemporaries knew that there was lots of Biblical literalist literature. Why is it that moderns seem to think that it didn't exist? I suspect they are only reading the literature of the victors. I would also note here that like Miller, Hitchcock was running into Granville Penn's arguments and that is why Penn was mentioned by Hitchcock six years after Penn's death and by Miller 13 years after his death.

Patrick MacFarlane, 1855. Letter to M’Phail's Magazine.

“The material universe was FRAMED by God almighty about 6000 or 7000 years ago, and out of materials then created by Himself, expressly for the purpose.” (MacFarlane, 1855)
1856 Antiquity of Man: Feldhofer specimen—the originally recognized Neanderthal found in Neander Valley, Germany. (Broom, 1950, p. 2)

Abraham Mills, Major Work The Ancient Hebrews, 1856

This quote from a book not on the issue of the flood or creation and clearly shows that Biblical literalism was alive and well in 1856 when the book was first published. This quotation comes from 1875 when Mills‘ widow found the plates and got the book re-issued.

“In contemplating the creation of the world, the reflecting mind is overawed by the vastness of the work, and the facility with which it was executed. Four thousand years before the Christian era, the materials out of which the earth was formed were floating in a chaotic state in the region of undefined space through which it now regularly rolls its annual course.”
“In the brief period of six days, God created not only the globe which we inhabit, but all things, both animate and inanimate, that exist upon its surface, or live within its bosom.” (Mills, 1856, reprinted 1875, p. 9)

Mills, in his tables in his book notates time in terms of A.M., Anno Mundi (Year of the World).

Miller also notes literalists active in Edinburgh in 1853. He says:

“The gentleman here referred to lectured no later than October 1853 against the doctrines of the geologists; and modestly chose as the scene of his labours the city of Hutton and Playfair. What he set himself specially to ‘demonstrate’ was, as he said, that the geologic ‘theories as to antiquity of he earth, successive eras, &c. were not only fallacious and unphilosophical, but rendered nugatory the authority of the sacred Scriptures.’” (Miller, 1857, p. 386 note)

Miller writes of an American Episcopalian clergyman's view of geology,

“I was not a little struck lately by finding in a religious periodical of the United States, a worthy Episcopalian clergyman bitterly complaining, that whenever his sense of duty led him to denounce from his pulpit the gross infidelity of modern geology, he could see an unbelieving grin rising on the faces of not a few of his congregation.” (Miller, 1857, p. 387)

Miller further notes the book by the anonymous Anglican clergyman entitled A Brief and Complete Refutation of the Anti-Scriptural Theory of Geologists, (London: Wertheim & Macintosh, 1853). This is only 7 years prior to the 1860 timeframe when Roberts indicates that six day creationism was dead. What did this Anglican clergy believe? He believed that the antiquity of the earth could not be deduced from fossils because they were ‘formed of stone from the very first’. Miller further writes:

“The ‘English clergyman’ then goes on to show in his pamphlet, that the Coal Measures furnish no evidence of he earth's antiquity. They were formed, he says, by the finger of the creator, ‘immediately and at once. A carboniferous tree of gigantic size has been discovered,’ he adds, ‘in the interior of the earth, of such a shape as entirely to prove the absurdity of a theory [that of the earth's antiquity] which has not a single valid argument to support it. It is described as having its trunk rising from the earth perpendicularly ten feet, and then bending over and extending horizontally sixty feet. Now, what living tree thus lopsided could support such a weight in such a direction? It seems to have been created on purpose to silence the HORID BLASPHEMIES of geologists; for it proves to a demonstration, that the upper, nether, and surrounding matter came into existence with it at the same instant; for how else could it have been preserved in such a position?’” (Anonymous, 1853 cited by Miller 1857, p. 391)

Patrick MacFarlane, 1857. Letter to Caledonian Mercury

“Sir, Several acquaintances, both here and elsewhere, who are well aware that I am, and have long been, a keen, though I trust rational, opponent of Modern Geological doctrines, have been twitting me of late with the authorship of a pamphlet which lately appeared under the imposing title of Atheisms of Geology.” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 93-94)

This letter is dated August 1, 1857, publication date, unknown. But MacFarlane denied being the author of Atheisms of Geology, thereby illustrating that other Christians were fighting modern science as well as he. This was the battle between Science and Religion which so many say didn't exist.

George Weber, 1859. Outlines of Universal History, from the Creation of the World to The Present Time

This book, published in the year Darwin published his Origin of Species, clearly shows that YEC and Biblical literalism wasn't dead. This book was a history text, written by a German and edited and revised by a Harvard Professor, Francis Bowen. The first paragraph clearly shows Biblical literalism. It says:

“After God in the beginning had created the heavens and the earth, had adorned the heavens with the sun, moon, and stars, had clothed the earth with plants, and animated it with living animals; he made man in his own image, the crown of creation, and designed him by the gifts of speech and reason for the ruler of the world. The first pair came forth pure and spotless from the hands of their Creator, and lived in childlike innocence in their native dwelling-place, Paradise, until seduced by the tempter, the serpent, they ate of the forbidden trees of knowledge, and, by this violation of the commands of God, lost their unconscious innocence and the possession of their first dwelling-place.” (Weber, 1859, p. 1)

If a school history text begins that way, how on earth can one say that literalism wasn't in existence in 1859. By the way, I have the 14th edition and it appears to have been first published in the US in 1853. It was still being published in 1894 by P. W. Ziegler and Co.

George Rawlinson, 1859 The Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records States Anew, with Special Reference to the Doubts and Discoveries of Modern Times in Eight Lectures Delivered in the Oxford University Pulpit, in the year 1859 on The Bampton Foundation. Reprinted in New York by N. Tibals & Sons, 1860.

This work needs a bit of understanding and set up. On July 1, 1858 joint letters from Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin were read to the Linnaean Society. This presentation made an impact upon the intellectual world, so much so, when, in November 1859, Darwin published The Origin of Species, the book sold out in a single day. This knowledge is important because of what the Bampton Lectures were.

The Rev. John Bampton, Canon of Salisbury, left all his wealth to Oxford for the purpose of funding eight lectures “To confirm and establish the Christian Faith, and to confute all heretics and schismatics--upon the divine authority of the holy Scriptures--upon the authority of the writings of the primitive Fathers, as to the faith and practice of the primitive Church--upon the Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--upon the Divinity of the Holy Ghost--upon the Articles of the Christian Faith, as comprehended in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.” (Rawlinson, 1859, p. VI).  These lectures were given every year during Lent Term or Act Term. In 1858, George Rawlinson, a Mesopotamian scholar was chosen to give the Bampton lecture in 1859. The lecture was delivered in the Spring of 1859, the preface for the publication was written, and at the end of November, Darwin published The Origin.

Roberts has said that Biblical literalism was ‘virtually extinct’ in 1860. But Rawlinson clearly was a biblical literalist of major proportions. He wrote:

   “The narrative of Genesis stands undoubtedly on a different footing. Our confidence in it must ever rest mainly on our conviction of the inspiration of the writer.” (Rawlinson,1859, p. 58)

One can see his adherence to Biblical literalism in his view of when writing was invented. He says,

“What we know of the antiquity of writing, both in Egypt and Babylonia, renders it not improbable that the art was known and practised soon after the Flood, if it was not even (as some have supposed) a legacy from the antediluvian world.” (Rawlinson, 1859, p. 59-60)

Rawlinson seems to accept Biblical chronology implicitly.

“Again, with respect to the earlier history, it is to be borne in mind through how very few hands, according to the numbers in the Hebrew text, this passed to Moses. Adam, according to the Hebrew original was for two hundred and forty-three years contemporary with Methuselah, who conversed for one hundred years with Shem. Shem was for fifty years contemporary with Jacob, who probably saw Jochebed, Moses' mother. Thus Moses might, by mere oral tradition, have obtained the history of Abraham, and even of the Deluge, at third hand; and that of the Temptation and the Fall, at fifth hand.” (Rawlinson, 1859, p. 58).

He concludes his second lecture with “All tends to show that we possess in the Pentateuch, not only the most authentic account of ancient times that have come down to us, but a history absolutely and in every respect true.” (Rawlinson, 1859, p. 77)

All this literalism in an educational environment in the year Darwin published The Origin, at a time when according to Roberts, no educated Christian was a literalist and when, according to him, literalism was ‘virtually extinct’. I respectfully disagree with him.

W. Nicolson, 1860. A Book That Will Suit You.

Other books provide hints that the scientific view was not accepted. W. Nicholson published a devotion book which argues that the scientific critics were wrong. He claims for the Bible:

“It has been also almost incessantly assailed by weapons of a far different kind, which to any other book would be more dangerous than either fire or sword. In these assaults, wit and ridicule have wasted all their shafts; misguided reason has been compelled, though reluctantly, to lend her aid; and after defeats innumerable, has been again dragged to the field. The arsenals of learning have been emptied to arm her for the contest; and in search of means to prosecute it with success, recourse has been had not only to remote ages and distant lands, but even to the bowels of the earth, and the regions of the stars: yet still the object of these attacks remains uninjured, while one army after another of its assailants has melted away.” (Nicholson, 1860, p. 229)

Sounds a bit like he doesn’t believe the learned's view of the world. The reference to the stars, the bowels of the earth and remote ages, is obviously a reference to the science of the day. This book was in its 14th edition in 1860. The fact that they thought the biblical assailants had melted away, is evidence that they believed the Bible rather than science.

1858 Antiquity of Man Joseph Prestwich examines Boucher de Perthes evidence, becomes convinced and convinces English scientific establishment.

Benjamin Wills Newton Remarks on Mosaic Cosmogony, first published early 1860's. I have the 3rd edition which was published in 1882.

Benjamin Wills Newton was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren. He first published his work in the early 1860s. This is shown by internal evidence from the book. The preface informs the reader:

“The first edition of these ‘Remarks’ was published several years ago, soon after the issue of ‘Essays and Reviews,’ written by members of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.” (Newton, 1882, p. A2)

The Essays and Reviews was a book written by Oxford and Cambridge dons arguing for a non-literal interpretation of scripture. It was published just months after Darwin's Origin of Species, and it caused quite a theological stir. Newton, along with many others, took up the challenge of arguing against that very influential work. Newton's views were nearly entirely aligned with those of modern young-earth creationists.

     Newton was the person Roberts cryptically refers to when he says no one in 1860 believed in 4004 except “a few ex-Plymouth Brethren”. This was not some uneducated, backwoods preacher. He studied at Oxford! But one must realize how influential Newton was. It is reported that he regularly preached to audiences of between 1200 and 1400. Almost any preacher, today would covet such a following each week, except those in the US mega-churches.

     In the following passage, after quoting an attack on Buckland's system, Newton shows that he is a literalist, here arguing that one should interpret biblical language according to the surficial reading [first paragraph is the critic of Buckland quoted from the Essays and Reviews; second paragraph on is Newton]:

“Or can we seriously believe that if appealed to by one of his Hebrew hearers or readers as to his intention, he [Genesis writer—grm] would reply, ‘My only object in what I have written is to inform you that God made the world; as to the manner of His doing it, of which I have given so exact an account, I have no intention that my words should be taken in their literal meaning.’” (Essays, p. 232.)
“Such is the comment of the Essayist on Dr. Buckland's system, which was also the system advocated by Dr. Chalmers and others. Who will deny that the comment is just? Are we to be told that light, and heat, and organised life, existed ages before God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and that the firmament was made and set to divide the waters ages before that second day on which Genesis affirms that it was made; and that the sun, and moon, and stars, were made and set in the firmament and shone ages before that fourth day on which Genesis declares that they were made; are we to be told all this, and then asked to believe that the first of Genesis contains nothing that is at variance with such an interpretation—that it still may be received in its plain, natural sense? If such an interpretation be natural, I know not any that could be pronounced non-natural.” (Newton, 1882, p. 15-16)

In the following passage, Newton clearly argues for six-day creationism.

“If the sun which is said to have been made on the fourth day was not then really made, but only seemed to be made, why may it not be said that Adam who is said to have been made on the sixth day, was not then really made, but only appeared to be made? Historic verities vanish before a principle like this; and the result would be a system of universal Docetism.” (Newton, 1882, p. 24)

Newton does two things below. He states what he believes to be the age of the universe, disdains the geologist

“Unfortunately for his theory, Sir William Armstrong is obliged to acknowledge that ‘the phase of the earth's existence suitable for the extensive formation of coal appears to have passed away for ever.’ Yes: but when did it exist? Is it indeed asked of me that I should believe that all the vast coal-fields that are now being laid bare, and found to be filled with memorials of a destruction suddenly brought on a fair creation, are the results of the slow mingling of light with certain carbon supplied by plants? If we be willing to lend our credulous ear to such fables—if on the assumption that fabulous, imaginary agencies like these, have produced the phenomena of creation, and that because such agencies must be slow, therefore, an antiquity of countless ages must be assigned to a globe whose existence has not yet measured 6000 years—if, I say, we so thoroughly despise the Word of God as to be willing to allow baseless speculations like these to weigh in the balance more heavily than its Divine testimonies, I know not what we can expect, save finally to be counted among those adversaries who shall, by and by, ‘wonder and perish.’” (Newton, 1882, p. 65-66)

Newton explicitly rejects the competing young-earth creationism of the old universe, young-creation of man. He proclaims:

“And will not the candour ofsome geologists admit that they have found it not easy to reconcile some of their avowed facts with the theories they have adopted respecting various successive pre-Adamic epochs? If the earth has many times existed as a place of developed life, and has been many times destroyed and renewed, we might certainly expect that these periods (separated, it is said, by countless ages from each other) would be marked as different by the plants, animals &c., found in different epochs being organically contrasted in their constitution, etc., from each other. We should not have expected to find similarity in the organisms of the creatures found in these different creations. Yet it is admitted that there is similarity. What then would such similarity indicate? Would it not tend to show that things that had such similarity must have belonged to the same one creation? We find no difficulty if we think of them in connection with an earth once created in perfectness, and then suddenly smitten.” (Newton, 1882, p. 68)

His literalism knew no bounds. On another topic, Newton wrote:

“I scarcely see how we could refuse to admit on the evidence of this passage alone, that the interior parts of the earth are at present the prison of certain souls-the souls of the lost.” (Newton, 1882, p. 79)

Newton, in the edition I have, was writing after the discovery of Cro-Magnon man in 1868 which clearly showed mankind was on the earth longer than 4000 years, and after the 1874 discovery of Neanderthals at Pontnewydd, Wales. Clearly, he was rejecting the geology of his day. Paleontology is an adjunct science to geology.

One might further note that the fact that I own the 3rd edition means that there was enough interest in the subject for Newton to publish and republish the book. For those who claim that YEC was dead in 19th century England, this is clear evidence to the contrary. Someone was purchasing the first two editions!

Bourchier Wrey Savile, 1862, Major work, Revelation and Science, His life duration: 1817-1888

     Savile was an Anglican clergyman, living in the Rectory of Tattingstone in 1861. This man believed in a young creation of man, a six day creation [different from a 24-hour period], a literal Bible and a global flood. He corresponded with Darwin and argued against evolution.

     Savile does three things for us. He documents six-day creation activity occurring around 1860. He himself advocates a form of young-earth creationism which was at variance with the scientific knowledge of the day, and he believed himself to be a six-day creationist showing that the concept and the need were still alive in 1862.

     Concerning the documentation of other YECs and six-day creationists active at that time he writes,

“It will be sufficient, however, at present, to bear in mind that those who contend in favour of the heavens and the earth having been called into existence about 6000 years ago, are contradicting the express testimony of Scripture.” (Savile, 1862, p. 232)

Why would he write things like this (as Miller also did) if the argument over the age of the earth was over long before 1860? If the argument was over long before 1860, why on earth would Savile, on pages 244-246, present geological arguments for an old earth? Didn't his readers know it was a non-issue? Why would he, on pages 246-248, argue for the age of the universe based upon the speed of light? I would contend that he wouldn't present arguments like this if many of his readers were not having to deal with young-earth arguments in their daily lives.

     Now, while he believed in an old universe, he definitely believed in a young creation. He wrote:

“The following reasons will suffice to show that the Hebrew Text contains the true Chronology, and that the other two are not to be depended upon:…” (Savile, 1862, p. 65)


“We propose to show some reasons for concluding that the Creation of man is to be dated about 4100 B. C., and then to examine the grounds on which Bunsen dates that great event 16,000 years earlier. Those who believe with regard to chronology that there is more than a ‘human element in the Sacred Books,’ and accept the superiority of the Hebrew text over that of the LXX., will naturally acknowledge that the mere addition of the numbers mentioned in the Bible for the several epochs between the time of the Creation and the fall of Babylon where sacred and profane testimony may be said to meet, will give as the result something more than 4000 years as the B.C. date for the Creation of man. The analogy we draw from the record of Creation compels us to reject so early a date as 20,000 B. C., which Bunsen adopts for that event.” (Savile, 1862, p. 69)

By doing this, Savile actually ignored the science of his day which had begun to gather evidence that mankind was on earth prior to 4100 BC. Consider what Klein and Edgar relate:

“Between about 1836 and 1846, de Perthes collected hand axes and bones of extinct mammals from ancient gravels of the Somme River near the town of Abbeville in northern France. He concluded that ‘In spite of their imperfection, these rude stones prove the [ancient] existence of man as surely as a whole Louvre would have done.’ His claims were initially spurned, but they gained credibility in 1854 when Dr. Rigollot, a distinguished and previously vocal skeptic, began finding similar flint axes in gravels near St. Acheul, a suburb of Amiens. In 1858, the eminent British geologist Joseph Prestwich visited Abbeville and St. Acheul to check the claims for himself. He came away convinced, and the case was made.” (Klein and Edgar, 2002, p. 103-105)

Consider what his contemporaries said,

“The best informed are of opinion that the history of nations extends back some thousand years before the Mosaic chronology.” (Essays and Reviews, 1860, p. 419 cited by Savile, 1862, p. 275)

Savile calls this a ‘mixture between Rationalism and Darwinism.’ (Savile, 1862, p. 275) After reading this, it is difficult to accept what Roberts posted that Darwin's Origin, was not fought because of it's violation of the literal accuracy of the Bible. He writes:

“The popular perception is that it was violently objected to by the Christian Church as it ‘questioned both the literal accuracy of the first chapters of Genesis and the argument from design for the existence of God’. The first part of this quote from Altholz is simply untrue as no educated Christians believed in 4004 BC in 1860, except a few ex-Plymouth Brethren.”

I would contend that Savile was rejecting Darwin on precisely the grounds that it challenged the literal accuracy of the first chapters of Genesis. Savile's views clearly falsify Roberts' claim above that no ‘educated Christians believed in 4004 BC in 1860.’ They did. Savile was educated and he believed in humanity's creation at 4004 BC. (Ok, Savile believed in 4100 B.C. but that proves the point). In fairness to Roberts, he might say that he meant creation of the universe in 4004 BC. Even if that is true, the power and pull of Biblical literalism was quite alive even among educated people like Savile.

     Savile thought evolution violated the ‘plain statements of Scripture’. Savile writes:

“Thus the ‘natural selection’ theory of Darwin, on which the Essayist fondly relies for overthrowing the plain statements of Scripture respecting ‘the Origin of Species,’ is denied and rejected as unworthy of consideration by those ‘acknowledged masters’ of the subject from whose works we have quoted in preference to any mere assertion of our own. At the same time, we cannot forbear remarking upon the boundless credulity which the disciples of the rationalistic school in general, and Professor Powell in particular, display when any theory, however wild and unfounded it be, is propounded by a human creature like Darwin, or Lamarck, or the author of the ‘Vestiges of a Natural History,’ compared with the ‘painful scepticism’ they exhibit towards those rational statements which claim to be made on the authority of the Creator Himself.” (Savile, 1862, p. 221)

Thus we see Savile, doing what Roberts said wasn't done—rejecting Darwinism because it violates a literal reading of Scripture. A belief in a four thousand year old earth isn't the only aspect of Biblical literalism! Thomas Cooper (below) rejects evolution on the same basis. We also see that while throwing rocks at the six thousand-year-old-earth believers for ignoring data, he ignores data showing that mankind was much older than 4000 years. Four years before Savile published, it was known that mankind was on earth prior to when he claimed. But as with other young-earth creationists, Savile, an Anglican clergy man, advances the typical literalist argument when science contradicts their interpretation. He argues:

“Now, if we come to examine Bunsen's theory for extending the period of the creation of man to 20,000 B. C., we find it resting upon these three grounds. (a) He considers that it would requires that length of time for the formation and perfection of the various languages in use amongst the civilized nations of the earth. The question which virtually arises is this. Shall we prefer the inference of a learned scholar in the present day, to the positive statement of an inspired man made between 3000 and 4000 years ago?” (Savile, 1862, p. 71)

Savile would have called himself a ‘six-day’ creationist. Savile believed that the earth became formless and void 50,000 years ago. He says,

“It will be seen that the rendering of verse 2 is somewhat different from our English version, which reads the passage, ‘And the earth was without form and void,’ as if the two verses were in immediate connection, as regards time; whereas we believe the first verse clearly points to the original creation of the universe, and the second refers to the period when God thought fit to prepare the earth for the habitation of man.” (Savile 1862, p. 237)

He then defines the length of a day as being 7,000 years.

“It has been universally believed by Jews and Christians for many ages, as gathered from a variety of passages in Scripture, that the period allotted to man, in his present condition on earth, consists of 6000 years; and the Bible chronology, notwithstanding ‘Bunsen's Biblical Researches,’ shows that this limit has nearly expired. This, with the addition of the coming Millennium, would make, in all, a period of 7000 years, at the expiration of which, we are taught in Scripture, that Christ's kingly connexion with earth will cease, as it is said: ‘Then cometh the end (of this age), when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. . . .that God may be all in all.’ The Father will then resume His work, as we conclude, from which He has been resting so long a period. And thus we gather from Revelation that ‘the seventh day,’ or resting time, as we might term it, of the demiurgic Creator, means a period of 7000 years. Hence it may be logically proved, that each of the ‘six days,’ mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis, represents a period of equal duration. And a simple multiplication sum shows that nigh 50,000 years will have rolled away, since the Almighty fiat went forth, ‘Let there be light,’ and God prepared the earth for man, when ‘time shall be no more’ by ‘God being all in all,’”
“Now, how does Science agree with Revelation in this conclusion? We believe that the sole test by which the duration of earth's present surface, or what the geologists call ‘The Post-Tertiary System,’ can be ascertained, or even surmised, is by estimating the age of the Falls of Niagara, which reason tells us must have been cutting through their rocky bed of Silurian strata without a moment's intermission, as age after age has rolled by, since they assumed their present magnificent appearance. Other tests which have been proposed for a like object, such as attempting to calculate the time required to form the coral reefs of the Pacific, or the Delta of the Mississippi, or the Nile, or the Ganges, or any other river, necessarily fail through the impossibility of making any correct estimate of the annual rate of such sub-aqueous deposits, and also from our not knowing whether the origin of such work may not belong to an earlier formation than our present Post-Tertiary System. Sir Charles Lyell, the greatest living authority on such a subject, states, in his ‘Principles of Geology,’ that after the most careful inquiries which he was enabled to make on the spot, in 1841, he came to the conclusion, that the average of one foot a year was the rate at which the waterfall has been cutting through its stony bed. He further adds, that ‘it would have required 35,000 years for the retreat of the Falls, from the escarpment at Queenstown (a distance of seven miles), to their present site.’”
“We know, from the Mosaic Cosmogony, that the earth did not exist in its present appearance until the third of the six days’ creation, as it is written, ‘God called the dry land Earth’ and the evening and the morning were the third day.’ Supposing, then we are right in our estimation respecting each ‘day’ representing a period of 7000 years, a simple multiplication sum, 7000 * 5 (the number of ‘days’ in the Mosaic record to be accounted for since the preparation of the earth for man), would give the same result of 35,000, as the number of years required by geology from the formation of the Falls of Niagara into this present time. And thus Science and Revelation, without any attempt at a ‘spurious reconcilement,’ as Professor Jowett terms it, are shown on this point to be in perfect harmony together, and sufficiently refute the dictum of the same writer, who speaks of ‘the explanations of the first chapter of Genesis having slowly changed, and, as it were, retreated before the advance of geology.’” (Savile, 1862, p. 256-258)
1864 Antiquity of Man. William King gives Neanderthal man the species name Homo neanderthalensis. (Campbell and Loy, 1996, p. 406)
1866 Antiquity of Man. Jawbone of Neanderthal found at Furfooz, Belgium.

James Reddie On Geological Chronology and the Cogency of the Arguments by Which Some Scientific Doctrines Are Supported (In reply to Professor Huxley's Discourse delivered at Sion College, on Nov. 21st, 1867)— Journal of the Victoria Institute, 2(1867)

On Nov. 21, 1867, according to Reddie, Thomas Huxley stated this to the clergy at Sion College

Professor Huxley, having finished His exordium, thus opened the issues of discussion:—

“You (the clergy) tell your congregations that the world was made 6,000 years ago, in six days, and that all living animals were made within that period,” &c.

Then he added:

“You (the clergy) tell your congregations that the world was made 6,000 years ago, in six days, and that all living animals were made within that period,” &c.

Then he added:—

“I am bound to say, I do not believe these statements you make and teach; and I am further bound to say that I cannot call up to mind amongst men of science and research, and truthful men, one who believes those things, but, on the other hand, who does not believe the exact contrary.”

(James Reddie, “On Geological Chronology and the Cogency of the Arguments by Which Some Scientific Doctrines Are Supported (In reply to Professor Huxley's Discourse delivered at Sion College, on Nov. 21st, 1867”) accessed 4-8-07)

A month later, when James Reddie presented his paper to the Victoria Institute, how did he defend against Huxley's attack? Did he, as Roberts would have us believe, claim that no one believes in a young-earth? No. After noting that many believe that the earth is 8000 years old and that some believe the days are long, Reddie, then went on to defended the 6000 year old earth. These guys were supposed to be all gone by 1867 according to Roberts.

But seeing that all these variable opinions exist, the next question is, which interpretation ought I to defend in replying to Professor Huxley? My answer is very simple—I trust it will not startle “the clergy” who may be present this evening;—I must defend what Professor Huxley attacked. If my reply is to be cogent, it must go to prove that ‘Professor Huxley did not succeed in discrediting the 6,000 years of Usher, which alone he argued against.. It would not really be fair to meet the Professor's arguments with a profession of faith in periods as elongated and indefinite as his own. If I could do no better than that, I might as well astonish you, by saying with the Saturday Review’,—“The lecture was admirable, the illustrations perfect, the argument conclusive, and, unluckily, there is no one to It argue with!”—But let us now proceed to examine the Professor's first argument.”
James Reddie, “On Geological Chronology and the Cogency of the Arguments by Which Some Scientific Doctrines Are Supported (In reply to Professor Huxley's Discourse delivered at Sion College, on Nov. 21st, 1867)”

Louis Figuier and H. W. Bristow 1865?-1891 The World Before the Deluge

Figuier, a Frenchman, wrote a book advocating continental-sized deluges. H. W. Bristow, a Fellow of the Geological Society, translated and edited the book for the English audience.  The book's 2nd edition was in 1866 and the last publication I know of took place in 1891. It was an immensely popular book but fit within the Biblical literalist position of the late 19th century and it ignored much evidence for man's antiquity and the evidence for the glacial ages. These gentlemen while accepting the age of the earth, rejected geological knowledge, holding that the glacial drift was due to deluges, yet inconsistently accepting the glacial ages as well.     They write:

     “As we have already stated at the beginning of this chapter, there is very distinct evidence of two successive deluges in our hemisphere during the Quaternary epoch. The two may be distinguished as the European Deluge and the Asiatic. The two European deluges occurred prior to the appearance of man; the Asiatic deluge happened after that event; and the human race, then in the early days of its existence, certainly suffered from this cataclysm.” (Figuier, 1872, p. 423-424)

And this book rejects the antiquity of man, preferring a progressive creationist position. They write:

     “It was only after the glacial period, when the earth had resumed its normal temperature, that man was created. Whence came he?”
     “He came from whence originated the first blade of grass which grew upon the burning rocks of the Silurian seas; from whence proceeded the different races of animals which have successively replaced each other upon the globe, gradually, but unceasingly, rising in the scale of perfection. He emanated from the supreme will of the Author of the worlds which constitute the universe.”
      “The earth has passed through many phases since the time when —in the words of the Sacred Record—‘the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ We have considered all these phases; we have seen the globe floating in space in a state of gaseous nebulosity, condensing into liquidity, and beginning to solidify at the surface. We have pictured the internal agitations, the disturbances, the partial dislocations to which the earth has been subjected, almost without interruption, wile it could not as yet, resist the force of the waves of the fiery sea imprisoned, within its fragile crust. We have seen this envelope acquiring solidity, and the geological cataclysms losing their intensity and frequency in proportion as this solid crust increased in thickness. We have looked on, so to speak, while the work of organic creation was proceeding. We have seen life making its appearance upon the globe; and the first plants and animals springing into existence. We have seen this organic creation multiplying, becoming more complex, and constantly made more perfect with each advance in the progressive phases of the history of the earth. We now arrive at the greatest event of this history, at the crowning of the edifice, si parva licet compoonere magnis.” (Figuier, c 1872, p. 404)
1867 Antiquity of Man. Trou Magritte Cromagnon site excavated. Carved figurines found with ancient, extinct animals.
1868. Antiquity of Man. Cro-magnon skeletons found at Cro-magnon, France (James, 1994, p. 16-17)

Even graduates of Cambridge were against Darwinism in the 1860s. It seems that it is even false to claim that only the uneducated were anti-Darwinian in the middle of the 19th century. I found this in a recent book I read.

Robert Beverley MacKenzie The Darwinian Theory of the Transmutation of Species Examined, (published anonymously “By a Graduate of the University of Cambridge”), London: Nisbet & Co. Quoted in a review in Athenaeum 2102, Feb. 8, 1868, p. 217 cited by Daniel C. Dennett, Freedom Evolves, (New York: Viking, 2003), p. 47

“In the theory with which we have to deal, Absolute Ignorance is the artificer; so that we may enunciate as the fundamental principle of the whole system, that, IN ORDER TO MAKE A PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL MACHINE, IT IS NOT REQUISITE TO KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT. This proposition will be found, on careful examination, to express, in condensed form, the essential purport of the Theory, and to express in a few words all Mr. Darwin's meaning; who, by a strange inversion of reasoning, seems to think Absolute Ignorance fully qualified to take the place of Absolute Wisdom in all the achievements of creative skill.” (MacKenzie 1868, p. 217)
1870 Antiquity of Man. Excavation begun at Mentone which yielded Cro-magnon men associated with extinct animals. (Mackenzie, 1927, p. 59)

Patrick MacFarlane, 1840s-1871, Not his life span but the time over which he was an active Young-earth Creationist. Major works: Morion's Dream, Exposure of the Principles of Modern Geology,, Primary and Present States of the Solar System,1853; Review of King's Geology and Religion, System in Revelation, Review of Candlish's First Lecture on Genesis, Antidote Against Modern Geology, 1871

In his life he met many of the luminaries of the age. He relates,

“In a conversation with the late Dr. Chalmers, he asked me if I thought all the phenomena of geology could be accounted for within the six or seven thousand years. I replied there was not, in my mind, the least doubt on the subject. His remark upon this was in substance (I forget the very words) that he had not as yet made up his own mind in the case, but he considered the evidence for long chronology had appeared so strong to others, that he thought the time had come to attempt some way to reconcile geology with Scripture.” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 22 note)

One must remember that Chalmers died in 1847.

MacFarlane was still speaking in the 1860's against the geological ideas. A newspaper account, reproduced in MacFarlane, 1871, p.125ff) describes a typical young-earth creationist meeting of the time. The thing to notice is what the paper says about the crowd being larger than normal (one sees this today with YEC meetings), the fact that the minister, Dr. Cunningham was favorable to MacFarlane means that this minister was most likely YEC as well, contradicting Roberts' thesis. I will grant that this preacher was probably Free Church, but it is clear that there was a significant number of people interested in the origins issue in Crief, Scotland, in the mid 1860s. The account says:

“Are Coals Creation?”

From a Perthshire Paper

“On Tuesday evening the 21s ult., Mr. M’Farlane of Comrie delivered an address in St. Michael's Lodge, Crieff, in connection with the Literary and Philosophical Institution of the town. The audience, we were glad to see, was more numerous than on some former occasions; indicating, it is to be hoped, a return to former taste for intellectual and instructive exercises and pursuits. The lecturer was introduced, with some complimentary remarks, by the chairman —the Rev. Dr. Cunningham. The address was headed, ‘Narrative of a descent into the nether regions in search of organisation.’ It was premised that in the forthcoming address the term ‘organisation’ was to be extended and applied beyond its usual limits, living creatures, to be legitimate bounds, systematic provision and selection of materials, and arrangement of parts in any structure, animate or inanimate, divine or human, which is the result of intelligent design, in order to effect certain desired ends.” It was then laid down as a principle, that the world, having been contrived and constructed by an all-perfect and all-powerful Creator, with materials created out of nothing by Himself, expressly for being used up in such structures, must have been, as it came forth from His ‘framing fingers,’ possessed of, and pervaded by, an organisation suiting it so admirably for its purpose—a habitable world—as “eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man to conceive.” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 125)

The descent into the coal mine was in Newcastle in 1863 so this report is from after that time. The report continues:

“The creative process long held and advocated by Mr M’Farlane, on the contrary, is, that about 6000 or 7000 years ago, there was not a particle of matter in existence; that then the Creator, wishing to form the stellar universe, called elemental matter out of nothing, and imposed upon it its various properties and laws; that out of this He organised the physical universe: and that He did so summarily, raising it at once up to the highest degree of organisation, both as a whole and in all its details, its materials—materials created by himself for the express purpose were capable of assuming; that of course this world then, like all the rest, partook of this universal exquisite arrangement.” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 126)

MacFarlane advances a theory on Miller's death which I personally hold. Hugh Miller committed suicide the night he finished penning a book widely hailed as reconciling Scripture and Geology. Miller was a good enough geologist to know better even if his editors and followers didn't. He admitted in the preface to Testimony of the Rocks that he had changed from a literal interpretation of Scripture to a more allegorical view in which Genesis Days were visions seen by Moses-a view advocated first by Kurtz.

     When Miller committed suicide, the rumors went around (and were published in the American edition of Testimony) that he had had a brain tumor. No one could understand why he would blow his brains out two days before Christmas on the night of finishing the great book. Many doubt that a crisis of faith had anything to do with it because Miller apparently mentioned it to no one, not even his wife. The tumor theory is equally unlikely to me as I lost a brother and a couple of friend to brain tumors and they both showed bizarre behavior or severe headaches months prior to their death. Miller is reported to have shown no such symptoms.

     Why do I think it was a crisis of faith? Because when I underwent my crisis, my wife was the last to know. I didn't want my readers to know either. There was no one I could speak to about the pain at the time, and it was very painful. And then in March 2003 I had dinner with a man who was now undergoing a crisis because he was doubting the Bible. He also mentioned that he absolutely didn't want his wife to know. He said, “It would destroy the basis of everything the relationship was based upon.” And amazingly, while I was finishing this note, another gentleman emailed me, telling me that when he changed from a YEC to an evolutionist, he also didn't want to tell his wife. It seems that those closest to us are the last to know when a fundamental viewpoint changes. While no one will know why Miller did it, this theory is at least as reasonable as others. And MacFarlane cites a few things which imply that contemporaries seemed to sense that the above was the case. MacFarlane first cites Miller's obituary and then in the second quote gives his own opinion:

“But, strange to say, while thus engaged as the demolishing champion of the tenets of the notorious Vestiges, he was meanwhile acting equally, if not more, in the face of both these lights. Such is the inconsistency of human nature! The following sentence, which you quote from the Witness is, indeed, remarkably illustrative of the morbidity alluded to, ‘His very intellect—his reason, God's most precious gift[?] a gift dearer than life, perished in the great endeavour to harmonize the works with the Word of the Eternal.’ A most inscrutable event; that such an intellect should have been suffered to go to wreck through too eager a prosecution of such a work[!] But, in the midst of the mystery which we cannot penetrate, [Why?] our love and veneration, and our gratitude, towards that so highly gifted and truly Christian man, shall only go the deeper because of the cloud and the whirlwind in which he was borne off from our side [!! see 2 Kings ii.11.]” (MacFarlane,1871, p. 90) (my emphasis)

Further he writes:

“Few have so good a right thus to speak, having on one occasion asked Hugh Miller for the grounds on which he pleaded for his pre-Adamic absurdities, promising either to become a convert or confute them. These after some delay were furnished, and the pledge redeemed, he knows, or rather knew, how. In fact, there can be little doubt that the distinguished man broke down in over-exerting himself trying to perform impossibilities—to reconcile irreconcilables.” (MacFarlane, 1871, p. 95 note)

Herbert W. Morris, 1871. Major work Science and the Bible

Morris, no known relation to Henry or John (John Morris, personal communication, 2002), believed in a six day creation long after Darwin and long after anthropologists began to find evidence of mankind living longer ago than previously believed. Morris did believe in an old universe but a young humanity and a literal deluge, like many of the 19th century Christians. His literal view of the Bible was undiminished. He wrote:

“Few readers need be informed that the theory has been advanced, that these days were not literal days, but immensely long periods. Much ingenuity and learning have been exercised in attempts to make the Divine Record countenance this idea. While we regard the great facts of geology as being established by proofs second only to the mathematical demonstrations of astronomy, yet we are constrained to say, that the method pursued to establish this interpretation does not appear to us to be plain and fair dealing with the Word of God; but rather a ‘torturing of the Book of Life out of its proper meaning.’ If the first chapter of Genesis can be made to mean what these theories express, other portions of Scripture can, with equal ease, be made to mean almost anything that the whim of man may desire, or his imagination invent. Here the point to be decided is, not what this Scripture can be made to mean, but what does it mean; what idea was it intended to convey? We believe that it means literal and natural days, for the following reasons:…” (Morris, 1871, p. 80)

Reason number three is that God himself refers to the days as literal days. Morris further notes:

“The Mosaic record, therefore, taken in this light, is a true and real history of the whole creative work of God through all the epochs from the beginning.” (Morris, 1871, p. 87)

What is fascinating is that with 30 years between them, Morris (p. 544-545) favorably quotes John Murray's Truth of Revelation from 1840. The influence of the literalists in the early part of the 19th century extended to those in the post-Darwinian age.

1874 Antiquity of man. Neanderthal found at Pontnewydd, Wales associated with animals such as rhinoceros, leopard and bison—animals no longer in England. (Palmer, 2000, p. 25)

Thomas Cooper. 1878 Major work Evolution, The Stone Book and the Mosaic Record of Creation

Many of the late 19th century apologists were believers in an old earth but also believed in a late introduction of man to that earth. But this belief was based upon a Biblical literalism every bit as strong as a belief in a young universe. As I noted above, Roberts' claim that the church didn't object to evolution based upon Biblical literalism is further refuted by Cooper who writes:

“Many geologists of high name and reputation have manifested a most eager desire to have it believed that Man has existed a great deal longer on the earth than the Bible account declares—even when the different numbers of the Hebrew text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Septuagint, have been compared and digested, and set down as extending not simply to 7,000 years, but possibly to 10,000 years.”
    “Boucher de Perthes, a French gentleman of Abbeville, may be considered as giving the start to the very wild fancies about the age of Man on the earth which have become so common with leading geologists. He first observed in 1841 what he regarded as a flint hatchet made by human hands, among some Mammalian petrifactions; and soon after found other chipped or split flints which he also believed to be the work of early men. In 1846, he published a book affirming that he had discovered human implements in the Drift; and in the next year he put forth another book, with drawings of the Flints.” (Cooper, 1878, p. 171-172)

Cooper further notes:

“Nor does the discovery of the human relics at Engis, or Cro-Magnon, or Mentome, aid the high scientific people in their attempt to discredit the Bible account of the late introduction of Man, by the Creator.” (Cooper, 1878, p. 177)

Cooper clearly rejects the view that the earth is only 7000 years old. But he also rejected the age of the earth given by the geologists of his day. He notes that some hold that the earth is 1 billion years old and that Darwin thought 100 million years. He on the other hand believed geology could not give any estimate of the earth's age (see Cooper, 1878, p. 117). But as noted at the beginning of this contribution, Cooper was a young-earth creationist in that he believed that God created man within the past few thousand years.

     Cooper was also writing after a time when Neanderthal had been found associated with extinct animals 200,000 years old. Neanderthal fossils were found at Pontnewydd, Wales in 1874 (see below and Palmer, 2000, p. 25). Thus, since paleontology is a branch of geology, Cooper was using his Biblical literalism to reject the geology of his day.

Joseph Seiss. Major work: Gospel in the Stars, 1882

This is one of the strangest books in Christendom and is on par with Topographia Christiana of the sixth century monk, Cosmas. The thesis is that God created the constellations and wrote the Gospel story in them. This is a sort of Christian astrology—the Zodiac was designed by God. He derives this bizarre view from God's statement “Let them be for signs”, in Genesis 1. And a modern Christian publisher, Kregel, saw fit to continue the silliness by publishing this from 1972 to the present (I bought my copy at Christmas 2002).

     That aside, it is unclear whether Seiss holds the old-universe, late creation of man view or whether he is truly young-earth creationist. He writes:

“There are myriads of stars in space immeasurably greater than it. They look very diminutive in comparison with it, but they are hundreds of thousands of times farther off. A ball shot from a cannon and moving at the rate of five hundred miles an hour could not reach the nearest of them in less than thirteen millions of years. Light is the rapidest of known travelers. A ray from the Sun reaches us in about eight and a quarter minutes. But there are some stars in these heavens known to be so remote that if a ray of light had started from them direct for our world when Adam drew his first breath, it would hardly yet have reached the earth.” (Seiss, 1882, p. 10)

Seiss shows his Biblical literalism when he answers critics in the supplement to his book. He writes:

“Noah lived and conversed with Methuselah, and Methuselah lived and conversed with Adam; so that there was but one lifetime between Noah and Adam. And if Noah used alphabetic writing, as we may be sure he did, then there is every reason to believe that he brought it from the time of Methuselah, who lived before the death of Adam, from whom all the race has most likely received it, as he, through his pre-eminent illumination, from God.” (Seiss, 1882, p. 173)


“How, then, can it be questioned that both language and writing existed in Adam's time?”
“All ‘the recent researches in philology and palaeontology’ go to confirm the Bible doctrine on this subject; and that doctrine, as old John Weemes has drawn it out (in the second part of his Christian Synagogue, 1633), is, that ‘God made Adam to have perfect knowledge, both of God and His creatures;’ ‘Man in his first estate had the first principles created in him of all sciences and liberal arts, whereby he might understand the nature of the creatures here below, and so learn by them. As he was the father of all living, so he was the father of all science; for as he was able to beget children, so he was able to teach his posterity;’ ‘He had the knowledge of all things that might be known;’ ‘Adam knew as much as was in the creatures;’ ‘Man in his innocent estate excelled all that ever were in the knowledge of natural things;’ ‘He had the knowledge of all the liberal sciences;’ Adam knew all arts and sciences; therefore Philosophy is not an invention of the heathen, for it came first from Adam to the Patriarchs, and so hat continued still’”

“All this necessarily involved the use of language—how to speak it, how to embody thought in it, how to represent it to the eye as well as to the ear, and hence how to make records of it. We know positively from the inscriptions on stones, tiles, cylinders, and seals recently exhumed in Chaldea and Assyria, that alphabetic writing, engraving and the preservation of knowledge in phonetic signs not only existed, but were in a high state of cultivation and common use, full two thousand years before Christ, and date back close to, if not within the lifetime of Noah.” (Seiss, 1882, p. 173)

1884 “Thomas Kimber's Lecture on Science in Relation to Divine Truths,” The NY Times, Nov 25, 1884

“The lecturer also showed that the Mosaic account of the creation was found not to be out of harmony with latest scientific facts. The length of time of man's duration on this earth could not be proved by facts and discoveries to be over 7,000 years at the most.”

1889 Antiquity of Man. Up to 3 dozen Neanderthal skeletons found at Krapina, Croatia.
1891 Antiquity of Man. Eugene Dubois discovers H. erectus in Pleistocene deposits.

Rev. W. B. Galloway. Science and Geology in Relation to the Universal Deluge 1888

Rev. Galloway, Vicar of St. Marks, Regent's Park wrote several books. I want to emphasize that St. Marks is an Anglican Church in the heart of London, near Soho and Tottingham Court. From the two books of his I own, it is unclear what he believes about the actual age of the earth. But it is equally clear that he does not accept geological data or the accepted age of the earth during his time. He wrote:

“Again, when Sir William Thomson, of Glasgow, reasoning upon the assumption that this globe of the earth was at one time a molten mass intensively heated, and basing a calculation on the rate of increase o temperature found in mines in descending through the strata, concluded that, supposing the temperature of the molten globe to have been about 7000o of Fahrenheit, it is improbable that it can have cooled down to its present temperature in less than 20 millions or from that to 400 millions of years; this long period and process of cooling for these 20,000,000 or 400,000,0000 years is no part of science, but is based on a mere conjecture of the earth's having once been a molten mass of fire of a given extreme temperature; and it may only serve the useful end of discrediting the conjecture on which it is based. There is nothing to show that the earth was ever such a molten mass of fire, though many of the rocks of its crust have an acknowledged igneous origin. Accordingly, geologists are beginning to abandon--I might perhaps say have now abandoned--the idea of the globe of the earth having been a molten mass.” (Galloway, 1888, p. 3-4)

Galloway further rejected the idea of a glacial age, preferring to hark back to Buckland’s (rejected in 1836) theories. In support of such a view he says,

“The New York Observer, of August, 1870, presented in one of its numbers a reference to the counter-statement of a Norwegian geologists in the following terms: ‘Some remarkable facts in confutation of Sir Charles Lyell's theories of the myriad ages of geological evolution are supplied by the investigations of Professor Kjerrulf, of Christiana [Oslo—GRM], who is making the survey of the Norwegian coast for the Government. He has examined the raised beaches and terraces, and declares Sir. C. Lyell's theory (which requires 240,000 years for their present elevation) to be utterly baseless.’ See my ‘Physical Facts and Scriptural Record,’ note to p. 203.” (Galloway, 1888, p. 3 note)

He held that the Noachian Flood was due to a tilt of the earth's axis and that the chalk beds were due to fall from space rather than being the remains of microscopic animals. He said,

     “Chalk is carbonate of lime; but, to account for its presence, geologists will have it that it has all been manufactured by minute living creatures. We take the liberty of calling this in question.” (Galloway, 1888, p. 90)

He then says that it came from a former planetary ring, it unbalanced the earth and caused it's axis to tilt. As late as 1900, this goodly Vicar was arguing against geology and the glacial theory.   He contended,

“The Glacial Theory, so called is quite recent, having been unheard of during a third part of the nineteenth century, and is really only a conjectural invention in substitution for the universal Deluge. And there is now a great division in the camp of its adherents.“ (Galloway, 1900, p. 11)

Far from accepting geology, this Anglican Vicar was clearly not doing what Roberts said good Vicar's did.

J. William Dawson. Major work: The Meeting Place of History and Geology, 1894.

     Dawson, a Canadian, was one of the more reasonable apologists of the late 19th century. He accepted a 20 million year age of the earth (shorter than that of his contemporaries). But even as he accepted that, he was busy ignoring evidence for the antiquity of man. He wrote:

“If there is based on this fact a question as to the actual date of man's first appearance, the physical considerations indicate about twenty millions of years for the whole duration of the earth. Setting apart, say, a fourth of this time for the early pre-geologic condition of the world, the remainder may be roughly estimated as five millions for the Archaean, or Eozoic, six for the Palaeozoic, three for the Mesozoic, and one for the Cenozoic. Of the last, the latter part, in which there is a possibility of the existence of man, will be limited to less than a quarter of a million; and within this the certainly known remains of man, whether attributed as by some to the last interglacial period, or to the post-glacial? a mere question of terms, and not of facts--cannot be older, according to the best geological estimates, than from seven thousand to ten thousand years. This, according to our present knowledge, is the maximum date of the oldest traces of man, and probably these are nearer in age to the smaller than to the larger number.” (Dawson, 1894, p. 21-22)

Dawson believed that the Noachian flood had occurred at 10,000 years. He discounted the idea of a flood 4000 years ago because there was no break in history. But 10,000 years ago, he claims that there was a break between pre-diluvial man and post-diluvial man. In one of the earlier uses of the term uniformitarianism in the creationist context, He argues:

“Desperate attempts have been made in the interests of extreme uniformitarianism to discredit the abrupt change from palaeocosmic to neocosmic men.” (Dawson, 1894, p. 91)

His theory of how geology and the Scripture fit together is as follows (The Canstadt Race are Neanderthals):

“If so, we may imagine that the great diluvial cataclysm which separates the human or anthropic period into two parts may have left an indelible mark in the history or tradition of mankind. We shall inquire into this in the sequel, but must first consider what geological monuments remain of the early neanthropic age in Europe.”
“In the meantime I may remark that, if we take the Canstadt people to represent the ruder tribes of the antediluvian Cainites, the feebler folk of Truchere to represent the Sethites, and the giant races of Cromagnon and Mentone as the equivalent of the 'mighty men' or nephilim of Genesis who arose from the mixture of the two original stocks, we shall have a somewhat exact parallel between the men of the caves and gravels and those who have so long been familiar with the Book of Genesis.” (Dawson, 1894, p. 92-93)

Like Buckland, Dawson claimed that the diluvium represented the flood. He went further to claim that there was no relationship between Cro-magnon and us.

     He does go to some length to argue against the accepted age of the Pleistocene, to argue against the time required to carve Niagara Falls, trying to shorten it, and in this regard does not accept geology. Nor does he even mention the significant find of P. erectus by Dubois, which was clearly of an older age than his theories would allow.

     Like modern apologists, Dawson rejected evolution. He contends,

“1.We have found no link of derivation connecting man with the lower animals which preceded him. He appears before us as a new departure in creation, without any direct relation to the instinctive life of the lower animals. The earliest men are no less men than their descendants, and up to the extent of their means, inventors, innovators, and introducers of new modes of life, just as much as they.” (Dawson, 1894, p. 210)

And he again denies the antiquity of mankind noting,

“4. No fact of science is more certainly established than the recency of man in geological time. Not only do we find no trace of his remains in the older geological formations, but we find no remains even of the animals nearest to him; and the conditions of the world in those periods seem to unfit it for the residence of man.” (Dawson, 1894, p. 213)

Arthur B. Moss, 1890 The Bible and Evolution.

This atheistic work testifies to the continued presence of Biblical literalism when the Herbert Junius Hardwicke, the writer of the preface states:

“It has often struck me with surprise that so many intelligent and educated people still cling to the old myths and superstitions of the past, when reason and common sense so clearly proclaim them to be utterly unworthy of acceptance. It seems almost incredible that, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, a large proportion of the people of Europe still profess to believe the fables of the Creation, Fall, and Redemptions, notwithstanding the fact that science and reason both declare them to have been impossible as historic occurrences.” Herbert Junius Hardwicke, “Preface” in Arthur B. Moss, The Bible and Evolution, (London: Watts and Company, c. 1890), p. 3

This book shows that my claim that Biblical literalism was not dead in the late 19th century is basically correct. It also is supportive of the view that Biblical literalism was not revived in 1961 as Roberts claims. Claims that there wasn't a battle over Genesis, Geology and Biblical literalism and evolution are clearly falsified by literature of the day. Here we have atheists claiming that there are many biblical literalists in the 19th century, but modern historians seem to think this wasn't the case. I simply don't know why. Do they not read the actual 19th century literature?

Rev. T. J. Gaster 1895

Rev. T. J. Gaster, ignoring the vast amount of science of his day said in comments on March 18th, 1895:

“I was so glad to hear that remark made by the Chairman, I think, that it was such a false notion that the human race had begun in a state of degradation, and that we had been working up, better and better, from that time to the present. What the Word of God states is that God put man upon the earth and made him perfect, and that it has been a gradual downward path that they have travelled upon, who have never had the revelation from God to keep them in the right way, and the practical conclusion for us is this--that so long as we have, as I trust I have, absolute and undoubted faith in the Old and New Testament scriptures and in them only, as from God alone, the moment we get away from that we ourselves begin, in proportion to the distance which we remove from it, to become more and more degraded in our own minds.” (Gaster, 1895, p.78)

This same article contains one of the earliest Christian responses to the discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus by Dubois. Portman, the author does argue for the antiquity of man.

F. R. Wegg-Prosser, 1895 “Scientific Evidence of the Deluge” Dublin Review

This is an article in a Catholic publication from 1895. One sees from this that the facts of geology were rejected by this gentleman who believed that the continents sank into the oceans which caused Noah's flood, and then they rose again. His rejection of the geology of the day is shown by the following passage:

     “The preliminary objection, however, has to be met: there arose some years ago a geological school, of whose opinions the late Sir Charles Lyell was perhaps the leading exponent, and whose doctrine was that no great catastrophes had ever taken place; and the facts which the geological record unfolds to us were all explicable by the operation of agencies precisely similar to those that we now see working—thus involving (as Professor Prestwich expresses it) ‘The assumption of uniformity in degree in all time.’ This doctrine is not generally maintained by the more recent school of modern geology; and the author of the work before us discards it, and states that up to the very date of the submergence ‘described in the following pages, the crust of the earth was in a very mobile state’—a fact ‘proved by the presence of raised beaches with shells of existing species at elevations of 10 feet, 100, and up to 600 feet or more.’” (Wegg-Prosser, 1895, p. 401-402)

David Howard, 1900. “Thallassographical and Thalassological Notes on the North Sea,” Trans., Victoria Institute, p. 316-336

Even when I was a YEC I knew better than to make the statement which Howard, an old-earth geologist made on April 2, 1900. He wrote:

“...and after having sat for thirty-five years at the School of Practical Mineralogy and Geology, I proclaimed that I had not met with a single fact which in the slightest degree clashed with inspired write, in fact, wherever there are apparent contradictions these will disappear as our knowledge advances.” (Howard, 1900, p. 317)

This illustrates the extent of Biblical literalism even in 1900.

George Dickison Major work: The Mosaic Account of Creation as Unfolded in Genesis, Verified by Science, 1900

It is fitting to finish this review with a writer from the last year of the actual 19th century, the year 1900. George Dickison held to an old universe, but contrary to all anthropological data of his time, he believed that mankind was created in 4000 BC. For background it should be known that in 1886 Neanderthal discoveries proved the antiquity of man:

“In 1874 Neanderthal-like jaw fragments and a child's tooth turned up on Pontnewydd cave in North Wales. Again, the find was buried beneath sediment and associated with stone tools and the bones of animals that seemed exotic for this part of the world. They included the remains of rhinoceros, a large leopard-sized cat and bison.” (Palmer, 2000, p. 25)


“In 1886, the discovery of two additional skeletons of Neandertals in Belgium, at a site known as Spy, confirmed--in most people's minds--the normalcy and antiquity of this type of fossil human.”
“But it was not so for Virchow or his followers. In 1889, he could happily give an address in which he stubbornly declared that evolutionary theory was all but defunct.” (Shipman, 1994, p. 100)

He divides the creation account into three parts. Gen 1:1 involves the creation of the universe. The next part up to Gen. 2:4 involve the creative days and involve the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic. And the rest of Genesis 2 consisted of the creation of man 6000 years ago. He wrote:

“The third part is given in the second chapter, beginning at the fourth verse. It refers solely to the renovation of the earth a second time—according to Bible chronology, about six thousand years ago—which was possibly rendered necessary by the destructive and exterminating effects of the comparatively recent Ice Age, and the creation of the Adamic race, and the greater part of the plants and animals that are now in existence.” (Dickison, 1900, p. 3)

That he believed in six-day creationism and biblical literalism is evidenced by the fact that he outlined his book in chapters for each creative day.


What I have shown is that Biblical literalism continued right through the 19th century, little affected by the events of the day. Contrary to reports, a belief that a six day creation must be part of Biblical belief was not dead prior to the 1850s. And contrary to claims, the 4004 BC date remained an important date for Christian apologists throughout the century. Indeed, after reading this stuff, I can clearly understand why Andrew White, who lived closer to that time than we, entitled his book A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. There was a warfare which today is forgotten and denied.

Fichman (2002, p. 197) seems to understand this bare fact. He wrote of George McCready Price's The New Geology:

“They [Fundamentalists] cited it as the first book to use science to show that the Bible is literally correct. This claim itself is historically inaccurate. Numerous treatises published in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries used geological arguments to attempt to prove that biblical accounts of catastrophic events such as major deluges were valid. Even by the close of the Victorian era, such biblical geologies were still being refuted by scientists of renown.”

The pattern of the divergence between science and religion seemed to be first a resistance to the age of the earth. This was never entirely dropped but a large majority of Christians took the position of an old earth (agreeing with the science of their day) and arguing for a recent creation of man. But throughout the century, that position became increasingly untenable in light of the evidence meaning that Christians were increasingly disagreeing with the science of their day. With the publication of Darwin's views, Christian apologists in large measure rejected evolution. Thus, they were in the position of rejecting two major parts of science (biology and anthropology and parts of geology) in order to support their theological position. Like today, the old earth creationists like those represented by the majority of the Intelligent Design movement, accept the age of the earth, but reject evolution and believe in a more recent creation of man than does science today.


  • Anonymous, 1853. A Brief and Complete Refutation of the Anti-Scriptural Theory of Geologists, (London: Wertheim & Macintosh) cited by Hugh Miller, The Testimony of the Rocks, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable & Co., Shepherd & Elliot, 1857), p. 391
  • Anonymous, 1854. The Creation & Deluge, According to a New Theory, (Philadelphia: H. Orr).
  • Anonymous, 1854a “Modern Infidelity,” Christian Treasury, (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter)
  • Broom, Robert, 1950. Finding the Missing Link, (London: Watts & Co.).
  • Campbell, Bernard and James Loy, 1996. Humankind Emerging, (New York: HarperCollins).
  • Cooper, Thomas, 1884, “The Mosaic Record of Creation” in Evolution, The Stone Book, and The Mosaic Record of Creation, (London: Hodder and Stroughton).
  • Dawson, J. William, 1894. The Meeting Place of History and Geology, (New York: Fleming H. Revell).
  • Dickinson, Richard W., 1851. “Introduction,” in Eleazar Lord, The Epoch of Creation, (New York: Charles Scribner, 1851).
  • Dickison, George, 1900. The Mosaic Account of Creation as Unfolded in Genesis, Verified by Science, (London: Elliot Stock).
  • Fichman, Martin, 2002. Evolutionary Theory and Victorian Culture, (Amherst: Prometheus Books).
  • Figuier,Louis, 1872.  The World Before the Deluge, edited and revised by H. W. Bristow, (London: Cassell Petter & Galpin, circa 1872)
  • Galloway, W. B., 1888. Science and Geology in Relation to the Universal Deluge, (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, Ltd.)
  • Galloway, W. B. 1900. The North Pole The Great Ice Age and the Deluge, (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company)
  • Gaster, Rev. T. J., 1895, “Comments” in Rev. M. Eells, “The Worship and Traditions of the Aborigines of the Islands of the Pacific Ocean,” read before the Victoria Institute by Rev. J. W. McCleod on March 18th, 1895, in Trans. Victoria Institute, Vol. 32, (London: David Nutt,, 1900), pp 58-86
  • Dr. Gordon, 1854. “Intellectual and Christian Progress,” Christian Treasury, (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter)
  • Gordon, Rev. Dr., 1855. “The Shortening of Human Life After the Deluge,” in The Christian Treasury, (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter).
  • Gosse, P. H., 1854. “The Aquarium” or “Natural Science,” Christian Treasury, (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter)
  • Haldane, Robert, Esq., 1839. The Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation Being a View of the Testimony of the Law and the Prophets to the Messiah with subsequent Testimonies, 3rd edition, 2 Vol., (London: Hamilton, Adams and Co.).
  • Hitchcock, Edward, 1857. The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences, (Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Co.). Originally published in 1851.
  • Howard, David, 1900. “Thallassographical and Thalassological Notes on the North Sea,” read before the Victoria Institute on April 2, 1900, Trans., Victoria Institute, vol. 32, (London: David Nutt, 1900), p. 316-336
  • Hutton, Thomas, 1851. The Chronology of Creation; or Geology and Scripture Reconciled, (London: W. Thacker & Co., 1851).
  • James, E. O., 1994. The Cult of the Goddess, (New York: Barnes and Noble).
  • Johanson, Donald and Blake Edgar, 1997. From Lucy to Language, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).
  • Klein, Richard G., with Blake Edgar, 2002. The Dawn of Human Culture, (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
  • Lord, Eleazar, 1851, The Epoch of Creation, (New York: Charles Scribner).
  • MacDonald, Rev. R. of Blairgowrie, 1854. “Brief Notes on the Fourth Chapter of Genesis,” Christian Treasury, (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter).
  • MacFarlane, Patrick 1855. “On Brewster's Review of Whewell's Plurality of Worlds,” M'Phail's Magazine, Feb 5, 1855, cited by MacFarlane, 1871, pp 135-144, p. 136
  • MacFarlane, Patrick, Esq., L.M.V.I., 1871. Antidote Against the Unscriptural and Unscientific Tendency of Modern Geology; with Remarks on Several Cognate Subjects, (London: Passmore & Alabaster).
  • MacKenzie, Donald, 1927. Footprints of Early Man, (Glasgow: Blackie and Son, Ltd.).
  • Miller, Hugh, 1850. Footprints of the Creator, (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1869). Originally published in 1850.
  • Miller, Hugh, 1854. My Schools and Schoolmasters, (Edinburgh: W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1889). Originally published in 1854
  • Miller, Hugh, 1857. The Testimony of the Rocks, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable & Co., Shepherd & Elliot)
  • Mills, Abraham, 1856. The Ancient Hebrews: with an Introductory Essay concerning the World Before the Flood, (New York: A. S. Barnes and Co.).
  • Morris, Herbert W., 1871. Science and the Bible, (Philadelphia: Ziegler & McCurdy).
  • Murray, John, 1840. Truth of Revelation, (London: William Smith).
  • Newton, Benjamin Wills, 1882. Remarks on Mosaic Cosmogony, 3rd Edition, Revised,(London: Houlston and Sons). Original edition published in 1862.
  • Nicholson, W., 1860. A Book That Will Suit You: Showing How The Christian Is Blessed with All Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus, (Halifax, UK: Milner and Sowerby)
  • Palmer Douglas, Neanderthal, (London: Channel 4 Books, 2000).
  • Penn, Granville, 1825. A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaic Geologies, 2 Vol., 2nd edition, (London: James Duncan).
  • Penn, Granville, 1840. Conversations on Geology, (London: J. W. Southgate and Son).
  • Rawlinson, George,  1859 The Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records States Anew, with Special Reference to the Doubts and Discoveries of Modern Times in Eight Lectures Delivered in the Oxford University Pulpit, in the year 1859 on The Bampton Foundation. (New York: N. Tibbals & Sons, 1860).
  • Redford, George, 1853. Holy Scripture Verified: or the Divine Authority of The Bible Confirmed by an Appeal to Facts of Science, History, and Human Consciousness, 5th edition, (London: Jackson and Walford, 1853).
  • Rehwinkel, Alfred M., 1951. The Flood, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House)
  • Rimmer, Harry, 1952. Modern Science and the Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
  • Roberts, Michael, 2000. “Was Darwin a Christian” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 52 (June 2000): 84-85.
  • Roberts, Michael,2001.
  • Rupke, Nicolaas, 1983. The Great Chain of History, (Oxford: Clarendon Press)
  • Savile, Rev. Bourchier Wrey, M.A., 1862. Revelation and Science in Respect to Bunsen's Biblical Researches, The Evidences of Christianity, and The Mosaic Cosmogony, (London: Longman, Green Longman, and Roberts)
  • Seiss, Joseph A., 1882. Gospel in the Stars or, Primeval Astronomy, (Philadelphia: E. Claxton & Co, 1882) reprinted in 1972 by Kregel Publications. I purchased a copy at Christmas 2002 so Kregel is still advancing this most perverse of Christian ideas.
  • Shipman, Pat 1994. The Evolution of Racism, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994).
  • Strachan, Rev. Alexander, c. 1852. The Antiquity of the Mosaic Narrative, (Burnley: Thomas Sutcliffe)
  • Weber, George, 1859. Outlines of Universal History, from the Creation of the World to The Present Time, Translated by Dr. M. Behr, Revised and Corrected, with the Addition of A History of the United States of America by Francis Bowen, (Boston: Hickling, Swan and Brewer)
  • Wegg-Prosser, F. R., 1895  “Scientific Evidence of the Deluge,” Dublin Review, 1895, p. 396-415.
  • Williams, William A., 1928, Evolution Disproved, (Privately published, 1925)

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