The Biblical Account of the Creation
(The Spirit' Book - Causes: Creation)
The different nations of the earth have formed to themselves widely divergent ideas of the creation. Ideas that are always
in harmony with their degree of scientific advancement. Reason and science concur in admitting the fantastic character of
certain theories. The explanation of the subject now given through communication of spirits is confirmatory of the opinion
which has long been adopted by the most enlightened exponents of modern science.
This explanation will no doubt be objected to, on the ground that it is in contradiction with the statements of the Bible; but a
careful examination of those statements shows us that this contradiction is more apparent than real, and that it results
from the interpretation which has been given to expressions whose meaning is allegorical rather than historical.
The question of the personality of Adam, regarded as the first man, and sole progenitor of the human race, is not the only
one about which the religious convictions of the world have necessarily undergone modification. The hypothesis of the
rotation of the earth round the sun appeared, at once, to be in such utter opposition to the letter of the Bible, that every
species of persecution was directed against it, and against those who advocated it. Yet the earth continued to move on in
its orbit in defiance of anathemas; and no one, at the present day, could contest the fact of its movement without doing
violence to his own powers of reasoning.
The Bible also tells us that the world was created in six days, and fixes the epoch of this creation at about 4000 years
before the Christian era. Previously to that period the earth did not exist. At that period it was produced out of nothing. This
is the formal declaration of the sacred text; yet science, positive, inexorable, steps in with proof to the contrary. The history
of the formation of the globe is written in indestructible characters in the worlds of fossils, proving beyond the possibility of
denial that the six days of the creation are successive periods, each of which may have been of millions of ages. This is
not a mere matter of the statement or of the opinion. It is a fact as incontestably certain as is the motion of the earth, and
one that theology itself can no longer refuse to admit, although this admission furnishes another example of the errors
into which we are led by attributing literal truth to language which is often of a figurative nature. Are we therefore to
conclude that the Bible is a mere tissue of errors? No; but we must admit that men have erred in their method of
It is unwise to insist upon a literal interpretation of figurative statements of which the inaccuracy
may, at any moment, be rendered evident by the progress of scientific discovery; but the
fundamental propositions of religion, so far from having anything to fear from the discoveries of
science, are strengthened and ennobled by being brought into harmony with those discoveries.
And it is only when the religious sentiment shall have been en lightened by its union with scientific
truth that religious belief, thus rendered invulnerably to the attacks of skepticism, will take the
place of skepticism in the minds and hearts of men.
From: THE SPIRITS' BOOK, Book First :Causes - Chapter III Q-59, 1857 - Allan Kardec
|© 2003 Spiritist Society of Baltimore.
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Geology, in its study of the archives written in the structure of the globe itself, has ascertained the order of succession in
which the different species of living beings have appeared on its surface, and this order is found to be in accordance with
the sequence indicated in the book of Genesis, with this difference, viz., that the earth, instead of issuing miraculously
from the hand of God in the course of a few days, accomplished its formation under the impulsion of the Divine will, but
according to the laws and through the action of the forces of nature, in the course of periods incalculable by us. Does
God appear less great and less powerful for having accomplished the work of creation through the action of forces, and
according to laws, of His own ordaining? Is it the result of the creative energy less sublime for not having been
accomplished instantaneously? Evidently not; and puerile indeed must be the mind that does not recognize the grandeur
of the Almighty Power implied in this evolution of the worlds of the universe through the action of eternal laws. Science,
so far from diminishing the glory of the Divine action, displays that action under an aspect still more sublime, and more
consonant with our intuitive sense of the power and majesty of God, by showing that it has been accomplished without
derogation from the laws which are the expression of the Divine will in the realm of nature.
Modern science, according to the Mosaic record, proves that man was the last in the order of creation of living beings. But
Moses puts the universal deluge at the year of the world 1654, while geology seems to show that the great diluvian
cataclysm occurred before the appearance of man, because, up to the present time, the primitive strata contain no traces
of his presence, nor of that of the animals contemporaneous with him. But this point is far from being decided. Various
recent discoveries suggest the possibility of our being destined to find out that the antiquity of the human race be much
greater than has been until now supposed; and should this greater antiquity become a matter of certainty, it would prove
that the letter of the Bible, in regard to the date assigned by it to the creation of man, as in regard to so many other
matters, can only be understood in an allegorical sense. That the geological deluge is not that of Noah is evident from
the lapse of time required for the formation of the fossiliferous strata; and, if traces should eventually be discovered of the
existence of the human race before the geological deluge, it would be evident either that Adam was not the first man, or
that his creation dates back from a period indefinitely remote. There is no arguing against fact; and the antiquity of the
human race, if proved by geological discovery, would have to be admitted, just as has been done in regard to the
movement of the earth and the six days of the creation.
The existence of the human race before the geological deluge, it may be objected, is still doubtful. But the same
objection cannot be urged against the following considerations: admitting that man first appeared upon the earth 4000
years before Christ, if the whole of the human race, with the exception of a single family, were destroyed 1650 years
afterwards, it follows that the peopling of the earth dates only from the time of Noah, that is to say, only 2500 years before
Christ. But when the Hebrews emigrated to Egypt in the eighteenth century before Christ, they found that country densely
populated, and already in possession of an advanced civilization. History also shows that, at the same period, India and
various other countries were equally populous, and flourishing, to say nothing of the chronological tables of other
nations, which claim to go back to periods yet more remote. We must, therefore, suppose that, from the twentyfourth to
the eighteenth century before Christ, that is to say, in the space of 600 years, the posterity of a single individual was able
to people all the immense countries which had then been discovered, not to speak of those which were then unknown,
but which we have no reason to conclude were destitute of inhabitants; and we must suppose, still further, that the
human race, during this brief period, was able to raise itself from the crass ignorance of the primitive savage state to the
highest degree of intellectual development, suppositions utterly irreconcilable with anthropological laws.
The diversity of the various human races confirms this view of the subject. Climate and modes of life undoubtedly modify
the physical characteristics of mankind, but we know the extent to which these modifications can be carried, and
physiological examination conclusively proves that there are between the different races of men constitutional
differences too profound to have been produced merely by differences of climate. The crossing of races produces
intermediary types; it tends to efface the extremes of characteristic peculiarities; but it does not produce these
peculiarities, and, therefore, creates only new varieties. But the crossing of races presupposes the existence of races
distinct from each other; and how is the existence of these to be explained if we attribute their origin to a common stock
especially if we restrict the production of these various races to so brief a period? How is it possible to suppose, for
example, that the descendants of Noah could have been, in so short a time, transformed into Ethiopians? Such a
metamorphosis would be as inadmissible as that of a wolf into a sheep, of a beetle into an elephant, of a bird into a fish.
No preconceived opinion can withstand, in the long run, the evidence of opposing facts. But, on the contrary, all difficulty
disappears if we assume that man existed at a period anterior to that which has hitherto been commonly assigned to his
creation; that Adam commenced, some 6000 years ago, the peopling of a country until then uninhabited; that the deluge
of Noah was a local catastrophe, erroneously confounded with the great geological cataclysm; and, finally, if we make
due allowance for the allegorical form of expression characteristic of the Oriental style, and common to the sacred books
of every people.