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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/460

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

for themselves or borrowed those of their neighbors"; that "of the theories current in Assyria and Phœnicia fragments have been preserved, and these exhibit points of resemblance with the biblical narrative sufficient to warrant the inference that both are derived from the same cycle of tradition."

After giving some extracts from the Chaldean creation tablets he says: "In the light of these facts it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the biblical narrative is drawn from the same source as these other records. The biblical historians, it is plain, derived their materials from the best human sources available. . . . The materials which with other nations were combined into the crudest physical theories or associated with a grotesque polytheism were vivified and transformed by the inspired genius of the Hebrew historians, and adapted to become the vehicle of profound religious truth."

Not less honorable to the sister university and to himself is the statement recently made by the Rev. Prof. Ryle, Hulsean Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He says that to suppose that a Christian "must either renounce his confidence in the achievements of scientific research or abandon his faith in Scripture is a monstrous perversion of Christian freedom." He declares: "The old position is no longer tenable; a new position has to be taken up at once, prayerfully chosen, and hopefully held." He then goes on to compare the Hebrew story of creation with the earlier stories developed among kindred peoples, and especially with the Assyro-Babylonian cosmogony, and shows that they are from the same source. He points out that any attempt to explain particular features of the story into harmony with the modern scientific ideas necessitates "a non-natural" interpretation; but he says that if we adopt a natural interpretation "we shall consider that the Hebrew description of the visible universe is unscientific as judged by modern standards, and that it shares the limitations of the imperfect knowledge of the age at which it was committed to writing." Regarding the account in Genesis of man's physical origin, he says that it "is expressed in the simple terms of prehistoric legend, of unscientific pictorial description."

In these statements and in a multitude of others made by eminent Christian investigators in other countries is indicated what the victory is which has now been fully won over the older theology.

Thus, from the Assyrian researches as well as from other sources, it has come to appear and to be acknowledged by the most eminent scholars at the leading seats of Christian learning that the accounts of creation with which for nearly two thousand years all scientific discoveries have had to be "reconciled" the accounts which blocked the way of Copernicus, and Galileo, and