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It should be borne in mind,' says Dr. Buckland, that the object of the account was, not to state in what manner, but by whom the world was made.' Every one must see that this is an unfounded assertion, inasmuch as the greater part of the narrative consists in a minute and orderly description of the manner in which things were made. We can know nothing as to the object of the account, except from the account itself. What the writer meant to state is just that which he has stated, for all that we can know to the contrary. Or can we seriously beleive that if appealed to by one of his Hebrew hearers or readers as to his intention, he would have replied, 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? We come then to this, that if we sift the Mosaic narrative of all definite meaning, and only allow it to be the expression of the most vague generalities, if we avow that it admits of no certain interpretation, of none that may not be shifted and altered as often as we see fit, and as the exigencies of geology may require, then may we reconcile it with what science teaches. This mode of dealing with the subject has been broadly advocated by a recent writer of mathematical eminence, who adopts the Bucklandian hypothesis, a passage from whose work we shall quote.

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以下のとおりお答えします。(beleiveは、believeの誤植と見て訳しました。) 正直、時空両面で遠い世界のことなので、文意を把握するのに時間がかかってしまいました。しかもその割には納得できる訳になっているかどうか自信ありません。 「説明の目的は」、バックランド博士は言います。「世界がどんな方法で造られたかでなく、誰によって造られたかを述べることだ、ということを心の中に抱いておくべきです」。話の大部分が、事物が造られた方法についての事細かな記述で成っている限りは、根拠のない主張であるということが誰にも分かるはずです。私たちは説明それ自体を除いたら、説明の目的に関して何も知ることができません。 作家の陳述で重要なものは、ちょうど逆様から見て、まさに私たちが知り得るすべてに向けて彼が述べたことです。でなければ、もし、ヘブライ人の聞き手もしくは読み手から(著作の)意図を尋ねられた作家が、「私の書いたものの唯一の目的は、神が世界を造ったとあなたに知らせることです。それをしたときの神の仕方については、私は極めて正確に説明しましたが、私の言葉を文字どおりの意味に取ってもらおうというような意図はありません」と答えているだろう、などとまともに信じられるでしょうか? そうすると、私たちはこういう事態に立ち至るのです。もし私たちが、まったく明確な意味を持つモーゼの話を置き換えて、最も曖昧な概論の表現としてのみそれを認めるなら、もし確かな解釈の余地などはないと認めるなら、しばしば私たちが適切であると見るように、そして地質学の緊急事情が要請していると見るように、置き換えや変更のないものは何もないと認めるなら、私たちはそれを科学が教えるものと調停調和させることになります。この主題を扱うときの仕方が、数理に卓越する最近の作家によって広く主張されました。彼はバックランドの仮説を採用するので、私たちは一節をその著作から引用することになるでしょう。 以上、ご回答まで。

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  • 和訳お願い致します。

    We pass to the account of the creation contained in the Hebrew record. And it must be observed that in reality two distinct accounts are given us in the book of Genesis, one being comprised in the first chapter and the first three verses of the second, the other commencing at the fourth verse of the second chapter and continuing till the end. This is so philologically certain that it were useless to ignore it. But even those who may be inclined to contest the fact that we have here the productions of two different writers, will admit that the account beginning at the first verse of the first chapter, and ending at the third verse of the second, is a complete whole in itself. And to this narrative, in order not to complicate the subject unnecessarily, we intend to confine ourselves. It will sufficient for our purpose to enquire, whether this account can be shown to be in accordance with our astronomical and geological knowledge. And for the right understanding of it the whole must be set out, so that the various parts may be taken in connexion with one another.

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    It is refreshing to return to the often-echoed remark, that it could not have been the object of a Divine revelation to instruct mankind in physical science, man having had faculties bestowed upon him to enable him to acquire this knowledge by himself. This is in fact pretty generally admitted; but in the application of the doctrine, writers play at fast and loose with it according to circumstances. Thus an inspired writer may be permitted to allude to the phenomena of nature according to the vulgar view of such things, without impeachment of his better knowledge; but if he speaks of the same phenomena assertively, we are bound to suppose that things are as he represents them, however much our knowledge of nature may be disposed to recalcitrate. But if we find a difficulty in admitting that such misrepresentations can find a place in revelation, the difficulty lies in our having previously assumed what a Divine revelation ought to be. If God made use of imperfectly informed men to lay the foundations of that higher knowledge for which the human race was destined, is it wonderful that they should have committed themselves to assertions not in accordance with facts, although they may have believed them to be true? On what grounds has the popular notion of Divine revelation been built up? Is it not plain that the plan of Providence for the education of man is a progressive one, and as imperfect men have been used as the agents for teaching mankind, is it not to be expected that their teachings should be partial and, to some extent, erroneous? Admitted, as it is, that physical science is not what the Hebrew writers, for the most part, profess to convey, at any rate, that it is not on account of the communication of such knowledge that we attach any value to their writings, why should we hesitate to recognise their fallibility on this head?

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    The Hebrew race, their works, and their books, are great facts in the history of man; the influence of the mind of this people upon the rest of mankind has been immense and peculiar, and there can be no difficulty in recognising therein the hand of a directing Providence. But we may not make ourselves wiser than God, nor attribute to Him methods of procedure which are not His. If, then, it is plain that He has not thought it needful to communicate to the writer of the Cosmogony that knowledge which modern researches have revealed, why do we not acknowledge this, except that it conflicts with a human theory which presumes to point out how God ought to have instructed man? The treatment to which the Mosaic narrative is subjected by the theological geologists is anything but respectful. The writers of this school, as we have seen, agree in representing it as a series of elaborate equivocations -- a story which palters with us in a double sense.' But if we regard it as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's universe, it resumes the dignity and value of which the writers in question have done their utmost to deprive it. It has been sometimes felt as a difficulty to taking this view of the case, that the writer asserts so solemnly and unhesitatingly that for which he must have known that he had no authority. But this arises only from our modern habits of thought, and from the modesty of assertion which the spirit of true science has taught us. Mankind has learnt caution through repeated slips in the process of tracing out the truth.

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    We venture to think that the world at large will continue to consider the account in the first chapter of Genesis to be a cosmogony. But as it is here admitted that it does not describe physical realities, but only outward appearances, that is, gives a description false in fact, and one which can teach us no scientific truth whatever, it seems to matter little what we call it. If its description of the events of the six days which it comprises be merely one of appearances and not of realities, it can teach us nothing regarding them. Dissatisfied with the scheme of conciliation which has been discussed, other geologists have proposed to give an entirely mythical or enigmatical sense to the Mosaic narrative, and to consider the creative days described as vast periods of time. This plan was long ago suggested, but it has of late enjoyed a high degree of popularity, through the advocacy of the Scotch geologist Hugh Miller, an extract from whose work has been already quoted. Dr. Buckland gives the following account of the first form in which this theory was propounded, and of the grounds upon which he rejected it in favour of that of Chalmers:

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    It is obvious, then, to start with, that by Mind we may mean two very different things, according as we contemplate it in our own individual selves, or as manifested by other beings. For if I contemplate my own mind, I have an imme diate cognizance of a certain flow of thoughts and feelings, which are the most ultimate things — and, indeed, the only things— of which I am cognizant. But if I contemplate Mind in other persons or organisms, I can have no such immediate cognizance of their thoughts and feelings ; I can only infer the existence of such thoughts and feelings from the activities of the persons or organisms which appear to manifest them. Thus it is that by Mind we may mean either that which is subjective or that which is objective. Now throughout the present work we shall have to consider Mind as an object ; and therefore it is well to remember that our only instrument of analysis is the observation of activities which we infer to be prompted by, or associated with, mental antecedents or accompaniments analogous to those of which we are directly conscious in our own subjective experience. That is to say, starting from what I know subjectively of the operations of my own individual mind, and of the activi ties which in my own organism these operations seem to prompt, I proceed by analogy to infer from the observable activities displayed by other organisms, the fact that certain mental operations underlie or accompany these activities.

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    It is, then, adaptive action by a living organism in cases where the inherited machinery of the nervous system does not furnish data for our prevision of what the adaptive action must necessarily be — it is only in such cases that we recognize the element of mind. In other words, ejectively con sidered, the distinctive element of mind is consciousness, the test of consciousness is the presence of choice, and the evidence of choice is the antecedent uncertainty of adjustive action between two or more alternatives. To this analysis it is, however, needful to add that, although our only criterion of mind is antecedent uncertainty of adjustive action, it does not follow that all adjustive action in which mind is con cerned should be of an antecedently uncertain character; or, which is the same thing, [it does'nt follow] that because some such action may be of an antecedently certain character, we should on this account regard it as non-mental. Many adjustive actions which we recognize as mental are, nevertheless, seen before hand to be, under the given circumstances, inevitable ; but analysis would show that such is only the case when we have in view agents whom we already, and from independent videuce, regard as mental.

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    Hugh Miller will be admitted by many as a competent witness to the untenability of the theory of Chalmers and Buckland on mere geological grounds. He had, indeed, a theory of his own to propose, which we shall presently consider; but we may take his word that it was not without the compulsion of what he considered irresistible evidence that he relinquished a view which would have saved him infinite time and labour, could he have adhered to it.

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    The task which sundry modern writers have imposed upon themselves is to prove, that the Mosaic narrative, however apparently at variance with our knowledge, is essentially, and in fact true, although never understood properly until modern science supplied the necessary commentary and explanation. Two modes of conciliation have been propounded which have enjoyed considerable popularity, and to these two we shall confine our attention. The first is that originally brought into vogue by Chalmers and adopted by the late Dr. Buckland in his Bridgewater Treatise, and which is probably still received by many as a sufficient solution of all difficulties. Dr. Buckland's treatment of the case may be taken as a fair specimen of the line of argument adopted, and it shall be given in his own words.

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    We may fairly ask,' he argues, of those persons who consider physical science a fit subject for revelation, what point they can imagine short of a communication of Omniscience at which such a revelation might have stopped without imperfections of omission, less in degree, but similar in kind, to that which they impute to the existing narrative of Moses? A revelation of so much only of astronomy as was known to Copernicus would have seemed imperfect after the discoveries of Newton; and a revelation of the science of Newton would have appeared defective to La Place: a revelation of all the chemical knowledge of the eighteenth century would have been as deficient in comparison with the information of the present day, as what is now known in this science will probably appear before the termination of another age; in the whole circle of sciences there is not one to which this argument may not be extended, until we should require from revelation a full development of all the mysterious agencies that uphold the mechanism of the material world.' Buckland's question is quite inapplicable to the real difficulty, which is, not that circumstantial details are omitted -- that might reasonably be expected -- but that what is told, is told so as to convey to ordinary apprehensions an impression at variance with facts. We are indeed told that certain writers of antiquity had already anticipated the hypothesis of the geologist, and two of the Christian fathers, Augustine and Episcopius, are referred to as having actually held that a wide interval elapsed between the first act of creation, mentioned in the Mosaic account, and the commencement of the six days' work. If, however, they arrived at such a conclusion, it was simply because, like the modern geologist, they had theories of their own to support, which led them to make somewhat similar hypotheses.

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    The early speculator was harassed by no such scruples, and asserted as facts what he knew in reality only as probabilities. But we are not on that account to doubt his perfect good faith, nor need we attribute to him wilful misrepresentation, or consciousness of asserting that which he knew not to be true. He had seized one great truth, in which, indeed, he anticipated the highest revelation of modern enquiry -- namely, the unity of the design of the world, and its subordination to one sole Maker and Lawgiver. With regard to details, observation failed him. He knew little of the earth's surface, or of its shape and place in the universe; the infinite varieties of organized existences which people it, the distinct floras and faunas of its different continents, were unknown to him. But he saw that all which lay within his observation bad been formed for the benefit and service of man, and the goodness of the Creator to his creatures was the thought predominant in his mind. Man's closer relations to his Maker is indicated by the representation that he was formed last of all creatures, and in the visible likeness of God. For ages, this simple view of creation satisfied the wants of man, and formed a sufficient basis of theological teaching, and if modern research now shows it to be physically untenable, our respect for the narrative which has played so important a part in the culture of our race need be in nowise diminished. No one contends that it can be used as a basis of astronomical or geological teaching, and those who profess to see in it an accordance with facts, only do this sub modo, and by processes which despoil it of its consistency and grandeur, both which may be preserved if we recognise in it, not an authentic utterance of Divine knowledge, but a human utterance, which it has pleased Providence to use Providence a special way for the education of mankind.