From: Michael Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jun 24 2003 - 13:40:38 EDT
Thanks Ted. I also have great respect for Hitchcock whose views are echoed
in England. I think concordism was useful at that time but clearly came more
and more forced, hence I take a more poetic view which does not deny that
God created in history.
Can all pray for the C of E at present, please
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <TDavis@messiah.edu>
To: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:13 PM
Subject: Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?
> "Howard J. Van Till" writes:
> Having observed once again on this list several concordist attempts to
> pieces of early Genesis text into agreement (concord) with pieces of
> natural science, I am led to ask a series of closely related questions:
> What is the purpose or goal of this exercise?
> Why is concord expected?
> Why is concord desired?
> When specimens of concord have been crafted, what has been gained?
> I have not been a concordist myself for something like 20 years, but I
> answer some of Howard's questions by letting one of the greatest 19th
> century concordists speak on behalf of the position. I mean Edward
> Hitchcock, professor of geology and natural theology--at Amherst College.
> Author of the first geological surveys of
> Massachusetts and Vermont, Hitchcock discovered the first dinosaur tracks
> known in the Connecticut River Valley. Our
> selection is taken from a late edition of his geology text, which his son
> helped him update. Like Silliman, Hitchcock believed in
> taking a concordist approach to science and the Bible; like Silliman, he
> thought it important to include material on religion and
> science in textbooks; like Benjamin Silliman, he was convinced of the
> earth's great age, but unlike Silliman, he preferred the "gap theory" to
> the "day-age theory" when it came to reconciling an old earth with
> In several earlier editions of his textbook, Hitchcock
> is less hesitant to state his exegetical preferences, but in this edition
> prepared jointly with his son he is more irenical. Some of his
> most interesting points involve natural theology, a subject dear to his
> heart. His careful treatment of theological questions
> suggested by the presence of death in the animal kingdom prior to the fall
> of Adam and Eve, an issue that remains central to
> contemporary debates on creation/evolution, is especially important.
> (This material and the following comes from my website,
> Here's some of Hitchcock's answers:
> (1) Why be a concordist? Short answer: it's a great spiritual benefit to
> have geology support Genesis.
> His own reasons:
> 1. Geology shows us that the existing system of things upon the globe had
> 2. In all the renditions of the globe from the earliest times, and in the
> structure of all the organic beings that have
> successively peopled it, we find the same marks of wise and benevolent
> adaptation, as in existing races, and a perfect
> unity of design extending through every period of the world's history.
> 3. Geology furnishes many peculiar proofs of the Divine benevolence, so
> peculiar that they have sometimes been quoted
> in proof of penal inflictions.
> 4. Geology furnishes interesting examples of what may be called
> 5. Geology proves repeated special divine interpositions, or miracles, in
> nature as well as special providences. [Howard will especially like that
> one. :-) ]
> 6. In spite of these evidences of Divine benevolence, geology unites with
> all other sciences, and with, experience, in
> showing the world to be in a fallen condition, and that this condition was
> foreseen and provided for, long before man's
> existence, so that he might find a world well adapted to a state of
> [Hitchcock's supralapsarian views on death before the fall are highly
> important historically, and ignored by YECs today.]
> 7. Geology enlarges our conceptions of the plans of the Deity.
> Overall, here's what Hitchcock said:
> First, in order to show that there is no discrepancy between
> and geology, we can take any one of three positions,
> each of which is sufficient. We may show that Moses does not fix the time
> of the material creation; or, secondly, that his account
> admits an indefinite period between the beginning and the first day; or,
> thirdly, that the days stand symbolically for long periods and
> that on the plan of description adopted by the sacred writer be could not
> give, in all cases, the chronological order of creation.
> Either of these positions, in the view of any unprejudiced mind,
> vindicates the Mosaic account from any collision with
> Secondly, geology furnishes very important illustrations of the Mosaic
> account, and corroborates several truths of revelation.
> Thirdly, still more remarkably does geology illustrate the principles
> of natural religion, and add to its creed several doctrines
> generally regarded as exclusively revealed.
> Hence it is high time for believers in revelation to cease fearing
> injury to its claims or doctrines from geology, and to be thankful
> to Providence for providing in this science so powerful an auxiliary of
> religion, both natural and revealed.
> I think these answer entirely or partially all of Howard's questions
> the first one. As for that one, the answer is all over the place in the
> concordist tradition since Bacon and Galileo in the early 17th century.
> "Obviously," they would have told Howard, "the book of nature and the book
> of scripture have the same author. Therefore they must agree, when
> interpreted." Indeed, although I am not a concordist myself, I think this
> is probably the *strongest* reason one can give in support of *any*
> attitude/approach toward science and theology--namely, ,the assumption
> truth is one and has a single ultimate source.
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