Re: Mortenson, etc

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 11:54:35 EST

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    Excellent comment from Ted. Too my shame I have hardly read any Silliman but
    I have a copy of Hitchcock "Religion of Geology" which Ted has got on line.

    Hitchcock's book was published in 1851 and has a freshness which jumps the
    160 years and feels up to date. It is one of those books which I can read
    both historically and spiritually and though I do not dot his "i"s or cross
    his "t"s it is very helpful in helping one/me to see the relationship of
    geology and christianity. Most of his approach stands the test of time -
    unless you are a nit-picker.

    Another useful book is John Pye Smith "The relation of the Holy Scriptues
    and some parts of geological science" 1839 and later editions. I dont agree
    with his interpretation of Genesis but I can see why he held it. There is
    much excellent stuff in it and his grasp of geology is absolutely excellent
    and I have used it as a source book for geology in 1840 because in other
    places I have found it so good. He is good on miracles and death before the

    Lastly I also recommend people use Ramm's book. It was written in 1955 and
    is remarkably good and has weathered well. It is usually worth referring to
    and I do several times a year.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Davis" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 1:53 PM
    Subject: Mortenson, etc

    > IMO, Mortenson's webpage is likely to convince his primary audience--home
    > schoolers, members of fundamentalist churches, and many Christian school
    > teachers and administrators--that anything other than a YEC position is
    > simply unacceptable biblically, *and* wrong scientifically as well. The
    > scriptural geologists were largely irrelevant after about 1830, but their
    > ideas didn't really disappear entirely. As many have noted, the emerging
    > professional geologists of that period, many of whom were Christian
    > believers with a high view of biblical authority, simply could not accept
    > young earth position, and came increasingly after 1830 also to reject the
    > view that Noah's flood had significantly altered the surface of the earth.
    > Some of the arguments used by two leading American evangelicals, Benjamin
    > Silliman of Yale (the greatest science teacher of the century) and Edward
    > Hitchcock of Amherst (the leading American geologist prior to the Civil
    > War), are found in writings I have made available at the following URL:
    > The main reason I began to develop this URL a couple of years ago (the
    > progress is slow, I could use help) is, that I hope to make available many
    > similar texts, as a way of witnessing to the church today about the kind
    > conversation, involving very deep and careful thinking about the biblical
    > and scientific issues, that has taken place in the past. In other words,
    > help recover the "noble tradition" of science and faith of the 19th
    > whose passing was lamented nearly 50 years ago by the late Bernard Ramm.
    > Like Mortenson, I believe that history is too important to be left to the
    > historians; unlike Mortenson, I hold (with Calvin, Augustine, Silliman,
    > Hitchcock) that the Bible is not a scientific text: as Calvin said
    > concerning Genesis, let him who would learn astronomy and other recondite
    > arts, go elsewhere. Also unlike Mortenson--or at least like many of those
    > with similar ideas--I am not in the business of demonizing those whose
    > on this are different from mine.
    > Ted Davis

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