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Bible Truths.

By S. S.

No. II.
From the Creation to the Deluge.

Having shown in our first article that no absolute necessity existed for placing the Creation at a date anterior to the time mentioned in the Bible, we shall give credence to the history of events therein contained, on the following grounds. That without an omnipotent Creator the world could not be in existence. That the biblical account of its creation is perfectly in accordance with the attributes of an omnipotent and benevolent Being. That amongst the traditions of all the nations of antiquity there glimmers a description of this creation. That when the Bible was translated for Ptolemy Philadelphus [Lagos?], had it been found to contain any false records, their falsity could not have passed the scrutiny of the wise men of that time, aided as they were by a vast collection of manuscripts, covering all the history and science known in that, the golden age of Egyptian knowledge; for, had no documents then existed to substantiate those miraculous events, the deluge and the Exodus, the Bible would have been considered fabulous, at least in respect to these two occurrences. If it had even contained an exaggerated account of them, would the translators have been loaded with favours, and presents of such immense value been sent to the temple in acknowledgment of being put in possession of so great a treatise as the King and his councillors deemed this book?

And, lastly, in human construction of characters and events, full credence in all cases is given to the details of occurrences with which the hearer may not be acquainted, if the relater presents a character of unimpeachable veracity in such points as his hearers feel or know to be true.

Thus premising, we will take up the sacred record, and follow it through its sublime course until it leads us to the foot of <<344>>Sinai, where, before the sight of an assembled people, in awful majesty was that law given, and that compact made, which still binds the wandering descendants of Jacob with a strength that the world has endeavoured, but in vain, to overcome.

We are told that after the heavens and the earth were created, the earth remained formless and void, covered with waters, dismal and motionless; but how beautiful was the progression from chaos to perfection. The formless and void earth was clothed in a thick and impenetrable darkness. There was no life. There was no air, no sound. The winds had not yet left the storehouse of the Most High. When lo! the spirit of God moved over the face of the waters, and at his bidding light sprang into existence: the waters separated themselves, and dry land appeared. Quick as thought it is clothed in verdure, and the majestic tree, the graceful vine, and the fragrant blossom, make lovely the abode soon to be filled by a more noble creation. The sun and moon, rejoicing in their new existence, commence their destined courses, and the bright stars looking down from the distant space smile on their new-born sister. But yet there is no life. What agitates the mighty waters? it is the sound of that omnific voice: and sea and air are filled with animated life. Again the voice is heard, and the mountainside, and the lowly and the fertile plain are no longer silent: for animals clothed with beauty and with strength are coursing gaily around, wondering at themselves knowing yet naught of the fierce the fearful nature with which they are gifted. But the capital of this beauteous column is yet wanting. God no longer speaks: as if to show man more plainly the dignity of his nature, and the gratitude due to his Creator. He moulds him from the pre-existing clay, forms him after the likeness of his Maker, and breathes into the yet unanimated mass a part of his own undying essence, and man becomes a living soul. Thus formed of a nature combining spiritual with earthly desires, and being placed in a position where earthly desires would hold the preponderance, what a curse would it have been to man, had his immortality on earth not depended upon his obedience to God! If he obeyed, his life would be a continual state of enjoyment if he followed alone <<345>>the bent of his earthly instincts, the aptitude for enjoyment would soon become palled by satiety, and to support an existence that has no hopes in a future, no difficulties to overcome, no triumph to achieve, must have been a task that a benevolent Creator would never impose upon the creature of his hands. But by what simple means could the dissolution of a being destined to an immortal earthly existence be brought about? His body was subject to a perpetual decay and a perpetual renovation, and as long as these two powers gained no advantage aver each other, his present system would undergo no change. The food which he ate returned the lost strength to his sinews the chemical changes which it underwent, filled his veins with new blood and supplied the waste of his frame. There was, however, a food which was forbidden;* a fruit that, though lovely to the eye and luscious to the taste, contained within itself, the seeds of death, or perhaps, though it possessed a stimulating power, which might for a time give more energy to the faculties, of the mind, <<346>>yet did not contain sufficient of those renewing qualities which the system of man required; and thus his body gradually grew weaker, until it no longer had the power of continuing its connexion with that vital and volatile spirit which we call the soul.

* Not knowing how a thing is produced, gives us no reason for denying the fact of its existence. Nine-tenths of scientific truths are only known to the uninitiated by the results they present to our view. The parrot has been taught to talk. The elephant, the horse, and the dog, have been known to act in a manner that shows that instinct approaches or trenches upon some of the faculties of reason; and as the serpent is here represented as being more sub­til than any beast of the field, and was probably ere the judgment was passed upon him the intelligent link between man and the brute creation (Gen. iii. 1), so we need not turn this passage into an allegory to make it comport with the deductions of common sense.

How many a son of Adam, how many a daughter of Eve, in the spring-tide of their strength and beauty, has sighed to think that if their primal mother only had resisted the serpent’s beguilement, if their great progenitor had not been subdued by his wife’s blandishments, their beauty would know no decay. And yet how many apples do they eat and with none to persuade them. How many commands do they break, unsolicited, unasked. If you demand the reason why they partake of the forbidden thing, or why they so willingly succumb to “the delights of their eyes or the desires of their hearts,” they plead the demands of appetite as their excuse. If you ask them why they violate the Sabbath they plead necessity. Oh ye of little faith! Has not God said (Exodus, 29,) “Because I have given you the Sabbath, therefore I provide you on the sixth day with the bread of two days?” Behold! “Sin lieth at the door, yet thou mayest rule over him;” but blame not thy Maker for the lack of that strength which thou possessest but yet refusest to exercise.

Still though the body of man was no longer beyond the reach of death, to us, puny offspring of a more degenerate age, his life even then, though shorn of its glory, excites our wonder and our doubt; but yet the causes which now shorten existence had scarcely then come into play. Laws were few and simple. Wealth or honours were neither sought after, nor desired. The cares of life were thrown to the winds. His food was of the field and of the tree, and the diseases to which animals are subjected were not inoculated into his system. But if his feelings of responsibility as a being endowed with a soul which could not die, lay dormant, not so the desires of his animal nature; and vice and licentiousness covered the young fair face of the earth with its gloomy pall, till sin drew down upon its votaries the just chastisement of an offended Deity. But the earth even then was nor without a witness of the goodness and mercy of the Most High. God would not punish without first warning his deluded creatures, and Noah, the man whose faith never faltered during many continuous years, built in the sight of the people, high on dry land, far, far from any waters that could float the mighty fabric,* a vessel which was to preserve the seed of a doomed race. That they looked upon Noah as a madman; that they thought it the height of folly to commence and finish so huge a ship where by ordinary reasoning it must remain until it rotted; that they listened to his exhortations with scorn, and showered ridicule and contumely on his head—for as yet experience to them was as a sealed book—we may well believe.

* The ark was 525 feet long, 87½ feet wide, and 52½ feet high: being nearly 80,000 tons capacity, or equal in size to eight of the largest vessels that ever that ever rode the seas.

But which of God’s witnesses have not been thus treated: who has pointed out the  unreality and unreliability of earthly enjoyment, and portrayed the unending delights of a holier existence, without receiving in return the scorn and scoffs of the unthinking <<347>> many? If we derive no other benefit from the antediluvian world, than the example that the character of the pious Noah presents to us, shall we say we owe it nothing? Where is faith like his to be found? To stand forth alone, and, free and uncontaminated amidst a world grown old in immorality and licentiousness, to believe undoubtingly that the lovely valley would be submerged and the lofty mountains overflowed, though his mind could not have been able to comprehend the process by which so great a visitation could be produced; to labour unswerv­ingly for 120 years to prepare for the coming event of which nature gave no indications, and that in the face of the sneers and the ridicule of men who had lived a thousand years, who had not heard that such had happened even in the days of their grandfathers, was indeed a childlike trust in God.

But alas! doubts do not change or avert the judgments of God. The sceptic may learn to believe, when belief comes too late for the attainment of salvation. The day of repentance has passed, and the sun, as if in anguish, withdraws his beams from that doomed race which he is never more to see, and thick darkness covers the land. Alas for those who would not listen to the warning voice! The winds with their mournful wail sing their dirge, and the mighty waters, and the fertilizing rain, which until now had been but as ministers of mercy, unite for their destruction, till hope at last is smothered by despair; for can they, dare they hope for a spiritual life when the whole aim of their earthly existence has been to stifle and trample under foot all of heaven which their natures contained?

But safe upon the waste of waters rode the ark of Noah, and within its capacious bulk all that was left of the primal creation. Though the thunder shook the vault of heaven, fear entered not within its precincts; though the lightning in its unrestrained grandeur flashed around them, they feared not nor did they tremble; for the same God whom they had faithfully served still was supreme over all, and faith supported them through that terrific period when nature itself seemed about to be turned to chaos again, and darkness to assume its ancient dominion.