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The Daily Volcano Quote: disorder and chaos in geology, 1845 9 June 2011

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Geology would have us commence with disorder and chaos, and at every step would have recourse to volcanoes and earthquakes, which are the very opposite of principle, order, and law — whose every action is mere violence, with no rule but that of a greater opposing force; and which acknowledge no control, save the exhaustion of an explosive power, or the termination of a stream of lava and scoriae — strange elements these to form the basis of any system, save in the fabled kingdom of misrule, and the regions of chance. … We will not allow that the world has been abandoned, at any time, to chance; since this would amount to allowing that it was taken out of the hand of God for a time, to be taken in hand again by Him when that turmoil of chance should be over. It is unphilosophical to suppose that God has ever relinquished His hold of the things that He has made, or even relaxed the superintendence of creation’s laws, for it would be tantamount to saying that the creation thus relinquished is no more, and that a new creation begins when God resumes his superintendence; and it is tantamount to saying that of the former creation we can know nothing, for it would be virtually separated from all our present experiences by that godless blank — that supposed chaotic hubbub — that trackless, purposeless, fathomless abyss of anarchy which we find to be the pervading idea of all the modern systems of geology. The earthquakes, volcanoes, and deluges, of which we have any present experience, are on so small a scale in comparison with the surface of the earth, as to be mere exceptions to the general law, or at most partial evils for universal good.

‘The world before the Flood — scriptural geology’, The Living Age, 27 September 1845, p. 601. From a review of Robert Chambers’s anonymously-published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) originally published in the Church of England Quarterly Review.

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1. Wendell Duffield - 9 June 2011

Nice example of the continuing struggle of facts versus faith.

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