Historical Reprints Religion History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom
Catalog # SKU3766
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Andrew Dickson White
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


History of the Warfare
of Science
with Theology in Christendom

2 Books in 1 Volume

Andrew Dickson White

And now a few words regarding the evolution of this book. It is something over a quarter of a century since I labored with Ezra Cornell in founding the university which bears his honored name. Our purpose was to establish in the State of New York an institution for advanced instruction and research, in which science, pure and applied, should have an equal place with literature; in which the study of literature, ancient and modern, should be emancipated as much as possible from pedantry; and which should be free from various useless trammels and vicious methods which at that period hampered many, if not most, of the American universities and colleges.

Print size, 11 point font



In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both to religion and science, and invariably; and, on the other hand, all untrammeled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous to religion some of its stages may have seemed for the time to be, has invariably resulted in the highest good both of religion and science.

1. The Visible Universe.

Among those masses of cathedral sculpture which preserve so much of medieval theology, one frequently recurring group is noteworthy for its presentment of a time-honoured doctrine regarding the origin of the universe.

The Almighty, in human form, sits benignly, making the sun, moon, and stars, and hanging them from the solid firmament which supports the "heaven above" and overarches the "earth beneath."

The furrows of thought on the Creator's brow show that in this work he is obliged to contrive; the knotted muscles upon his arms show that he is obliged to toil; naturally, then, the sculptors and painters of the medieval and early modern period frequently represented him as the writers whose conceptions they embodied had done-as, on the seventh day, weary after thought and toil, enjoying well-earned repose and the plaudits of the hosts of heaven.

In these thought-fossils of the cathedrals, and in other revelations of the same idea through sculpture, painting, glass-staining, mosaic work, and engraving, during the Middle Ages and the two centuries following, culminated a belief which had been developed through thousands of years, and which has determined the world's thought until our own time.

Its beginnings lie far back in human history; we find them among the early records of nearly all the great civilizations, and they hold a most prominent place in the various sacred books of the world. In nearly all of them is revealed the conception of a Creator of whom man is an imperfect image, and who literally and directly created the visible universe with his hands and fingers.

Among these theories, of especial interest to us are those which controlled theological thought in Chaldea. The Assyrian inscriptions which have been recently recovered and given to the English-speaking peoples by Layard, George Smith, Sayce, and others, show that in the ancient religions of Chaldea and Babylonia there was elaborated a narrative of the creation which, in its most important features, must have been the source of that in our own sacred books. It has now become perfectly clear that from the same sources which inspired the accounts of the creation of the universe among the Chaldeo-Babylonian, the Assyrian, the Phoenician, and other ancient civilizations came the ideas which hold so prominent a place in the sacred books of the Hebrews. In the two accounts imperfectly fused together in Genesis, and also in the account of which we have indications in the book of Job and in the Proverbs, there, is presented, often with the greatest sublimity, the same early conception of the Creator and of the creation-the conception, so natural in the childhood of civilization, of a Creator who is an enlarged human being working literally with his own hands, and of a creation which is "the work of his fingers." To supplement this view there was developed the belief in this Creator as one who, having

... "from his ample palm Launched forth the rolling planets into space."

sits on high, enthroned "upon the circle of the heavens," perpetually controlling and directing them. From this idea of creation was evolved in time a somewhat nobler view. Ancient thinkers, and especially, as is now found, in Egypt, suggested that the main agency in creation was not the hands and fingers of the Creator, but his VOICE. Hence was mingled with the earlier, cruder belief regarding the origin of the earth and heavenly bodies by the Almighty the more impressive idea that "he spake and they were made"-that they were brought into existence by his WORD.

Among the early fathers of the Church this general view of creation became fundamental; they impressed upon Christendom more and more strongly the belief that the universe was created in a perfectly literal sense by the hands or voice of God. Here and there sundry theologians of larger mind attempted to give a more spiritual view regarding some parts of the creative work, and of these were St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine. Ready as they were to accept the literal text of Scripture, they revolted against the conception of an actual creation of the universe by the hands and fingers of a Supreme Being, and in this they were followed by Bede and a few others; but the more material conceptions prevailed, and we find these taking shape not only in the sculptures and mosaics and stained glass of cathedrals, and in the illuminations of missals and psalters, but later, at the close of the Middle Ages, in the pictured Bibles and in general literature.

Into the Anglo-Saxon mind this ancient material conception of the creation was riveted by two poets whose works appealed especially to the deeper religious feelings. In the seventh century Caedmon paraphrased the account given in Genesis, bringing out this material conception in the most literal form; and a thousand years later Milton developed out of the various statements in the Old Testament, mingled with a theology regarding "the creative Word" which had been drawn from the New, his description of the creation by the second person in the Trinity, than which nothing could be more literal and material:

So much for the orthodox view of the MANNER of creation.

The next point developed in this theologic evolution had reference to the MATTER of which the universe was made, and it was decided by an overwhelming majority that no material substance existed before the creation of the material universe-that "God created everything out of nothing." Some venturesome thinkers, basing their reasoning upon the first verses of Genesis, hinted at a different view-namely, that the mass, "without form and void," existed before the universe; but this doctrine was soon swept out of sight. The vast majority of the fathers were explicit on this point. Tertullian especially was very severe against those who took any other view than that generally accepted as orthodox: he declared that, if there had been any pre-existing matter out of which the world was formed, Scripture would have mentioned it; that by not mentioning it God has given us a clear proof that there was no such thing; and, after a manner not unknown in other theological controversies, he threatens Hermogenes, who takes the opposite view, with the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word.

St. Augustine, who showed signs of a belief in a pre-existence of matter, made his peace with the prevailing belief by the simple reasoning that, "although the world has been made of some material, that very same material must have been made out of nothing."

In the wake of these great men the universal Church steadily followed. The Fourth Lateran Council declared that God created everything out of nothing; and at the present hour the vast majority of the faithful-whether Catholic or Protestant-are taught the same doctrine; on this point the syllabus of Pius IX and the Westminster Catechism fully agree.

Having thus disposed of the manner and matter of creation, the next subject taken up by theologians was the TIME required for the great work.

Here came a difficulty. The first of the two accounts given in Genesis extended the creative operation through six days, each of an evening and a morning, with much explicit detail regarding the progress made in each. But the second account spoke of "THE DAY" in which "the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." The explicitness of the first account and its naturalness to the minds of the great mass of early theologians gave it at first a decided advantage; but Jewish thinkers, like Philo, and Christian thinkers, like Origen, forming higher conceptions of the Creator and his work, were not content with this, and by them was launched upon the troubled sea of Christian theology the idea that the creation was instantaneous, this idea being strengthened not only by the second of the Genesis legends, but by the great text, "He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast"-or, as it appears in the Vulgate and in most translations, "He spake, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created."

456 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover

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