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Fr. Bettex 





The German 
Literary Board 

Burlington, Iowa 

The First Page 
of the Bible. 



The Rev. F. C. Longaker, A. M. 

19 8 


Copyright, 1903, by 


In Trust for 

The German L,iterary Board, Burlington, Iowa. 


"In the Beginning God Cr'eated the Heaven and 
the Earth." 

AS the individual, so the human family is 
confronted by the twofold question: 
Whence do we come and whither do we 
go? But God, who has created the human 
heart and knows all its desires, has given us the 
answer in his Word. The first book of Moses, 
called Genesis, tells us whence we come; the last 
book of the Bible, the Revelation of St. John, 
shows us whither we go. It is true, men who 
have considered themselves wise above that which 
is written, have tried in every way to gainsay 
this divine answer; and a false reasoning at the 
present day proclaims from the house-tops that 
science has done away with the former belief con- 
cerning the origin of man, and that we are not 
created by God, but descended from the monkey. 
But these so-called "scientific conclusions" are 
nothing but misty visions and unproved conjec- 
tures of men who rely on their own thoughts and 
of whom the saying is true: "Professing them- 
selves to be wise, they became fools." 

These self-styled scientists either openly ac- 
knowledge their inability to account for man's 
origin, or they frivolously say that he came by 
mere chance, as if absolute emptiness had of a 

The First Page of the Bible. 

sudden concluded to become man. As to his des- 
tiny they are likewise ignorant, affirming that 
death is eternal night. Thus these worldly wise 
men themselves pronounce upon themselves judg- 
ment of "the outer darkness." 

In this respect the traditions of the different 
nations on the earth show a surprising harmony 
with the biblical account. Neither in northern 
Asia nor in Africa, do we find the belief — which 
for the heathen would be entirely natural — that 
man has gradually developed from the animal, but 
on the contrary the belief prevails that man was 
created good and happy in a beautiful land of 
garden, that through his own fault or temptation 
he fell, and that now he is found in a state of dis- 
tress. Nor do scarcely any of the pagan religions 
teach that the earth is gradually developing itself 
into a blissful heaven, but, on the contrary, that 
previous to this there will be a final fearful catas- 
trophe, a triumph over evil and a general judg- 
ment, which will be followed at last by a state of 
happiness and bliss. There are also found in 
those traditions of the nations remarkable ac- 
counts in perfect harmony with the biblical view 
of the creation. Thus, for instance, we read in 
one of the oldest sacred books of the Hindoos: 
"He who existed from the beginning, created first 
the water by a movement of his spirit, on which 
account he is called, 'the one who moves upon the 
waters.'" (Genesis 1:2). "He whose power is 
incomprehensible, when he had created the uni- 
verse, exchanged activity for rest." (Gen. 2:3). 

The First Page of the Bible. 

"The visible world, heaven and earth, were made 
in six periods. At first Ormazd (i. e., the god of 
good) created the light between heaven and earth, 
thereafter the water, which covered the whole 
earth; then the earth and the land came into ex- 
istence. Further, there were created trees of all 
kinds ; then animals came into existence ; and last 
of all, the human being was created, good and 
with bright and uplifted countenance; but the 
fallen Ahriman brought great darkness into the 
kingdom of light and spoiled the whole creation." 

Furthermore we find this harmony regarding 
the deluge, in the traditions of nearly all nations. 
It is remarkable how people, living in widely sep- 
arated parts of the earth, relate exactly the same 
things concerning a great flood which covered 
every mountain, a great ship, in which four (or 
eight) persons saved their lives, and many other 
circumstances of minor import. In our own land 
Europeans found an Indian tribe, who considered 
the wild pigeon a sacred bird that should not be 
killed. Being asked the reason, they answered 
that this was the bird which had brought a willov/ 
leaf into the ship to their fathers during the great 
flood. A willow-leaf greatly resembles the olive- 
leaf in form, size and color. Does this not point 
clearly to a common tradition and descent from 
Noah and his sons? 

But considering the beginnings of the earth, 
how grand in all its simplicity is not the first 
verse in the Bible : "In the beginning God created 
the heaven and the earth." Beyond this no hu- 

The First Page of the Bible. 

man thought has ventured and never will venture 
in all eternity. True, hundreds of learned, unbe- 
lieving men have made efforts to attack this sen- 
tence, and to prove that there is no need of a God, 
and that the "eternal matter" had generated all 
being and life of itself. But is this reasonable? 
If dead m.atter had created its own life, and if its 
atom had found its own consciousness, the miracle 
would certainly be greater than that related in 
the Bible. The very things which the learned 
have discovered with reference to the beginnings 
of our earth tend to prove, that what we call 
"life," as we find it in plants, in animals and in 
men, as distinguished from stones and metals, has 
not existed upon the earth from the beginning. 
Whence now this sudden appearance of life? 
How could life come forth from dead matter? 
Not one of those gentlemen has been able to ex- 
plain this. We, on the other hand, know because 
God has revealed to us that He who is an al- 
mighty, a living Being, out of the fullness of his 
infinite life has caused life to come forth upon 
this earth. . Of course we readily admit that God 
is Himself an inexplicable wonder; nevertheless, 
we rejoice in knowing that He is an incompre- 
hensible God, because a God, whom we could un- 
derstand, would be no longer a God to us. Life 
from a living God, — this is a reasonable thought, 
in this there is sense; but life from dead matter 
is unreasonable and absurd: From the infinite, 
accordingly, the finite; from the eternal, the tem- 
poral; from the invisible, the visible; (cf. Hebr. 

The First Page of the Bible. 

11 :3) from the real and substantial, the transient 
and changeable. Now we understand why there 
exists in everything finite that mighty longing for 
the infinite, the striving on the part of every crea- 
ture for what is above us and beyond us. This 
longing and striving is nothing else but what we 
call "life." Everything longs for its source. Do 
we not notice how everything in existence longs 
for the infinite, and is not God infinite? Indeed, 
he who is not spiritually blind will readily per- 
ceive from this mighty longing in his heart for 
light and fullness of life, for power and knowl- 
edge, that he has not had his origin in dead mat- 
ter ; else he would not long for life, but for death. 

"In the beginning God created the heaven 
and the earth." In this the very first line, the 
Bible makes clear to us the position which we 
should occupy; and as an able writer indicates in 
the beginning the main ideas of the subject he 
wishes to bring before his readers, so likewise 
does God in his Word. 

These introductory words tell us the subject 
to be discussed throughout the Bible, the things 
above us and the things beneath us, that which is 
heavenly and that which is earthly. These two 
ideas, "heaven and earth," form the center around 
which, so to speak, the whole Bible revolves. We 
.are shown how these two were at first in perfect 
harmony and then estranged by sin; how God 
subsequently, in the course of thousands of years, 
made preparations for uniting them again; how 
in Jesus Christ they were again brought together ; 

8 The First Page of the Bible. 

and how — as the last page of the Bible proves — 
the whole earth will at last be at one with heaven, 
when the new Jerusalem shall have descended 
upon it, in order that God may be all and in all. 
And not only do we find this difference between 
the heavenly and the earthly in the Holy Scrip- 
tures, but also in nature itself. These are, as it 
were, the two elements upon which all life upon 
earth depends. Thus it is with man : his head, the 
seat of his thoughts, points upwards, while the 
other half of his body serves earthly, lower pur- 
poses. And does not the difference between man 
and beast likewise rest upon this "above and be- 
low?" Does not the entire man in his erect form 
point upwards, only touching the ground with his 
feet, while as the beast descends in the scale of 
creation, its head is carried nearer and nearer the 
ground. Do not the plants and the trees with 
their trunks and foliage point upwards, while the 
roots sink deep into the ground? 

"In the beginning God created the heaven 
and the earth" — like a granite rock this majestic 
sentence stands simple and great, in the beginning 
of the Bible and of known history. Thus far the 
triune God was alone, dwelling in unapproachable 
light; but henceforth He becomes outwardly ac- 
tive in the creation and preservation of the world. 

And now this foundation having been laid, 
the Scriptures speak more particularly of the 
earth, leaving us to acquire a knowledge of the 
heavenly glory after we possess it. In doing so, 
because it has to deal with the inhabitants of this 

The First Page of the Bible. 

earth, it speaks to us in an earthly manner, hu- 
manly. It says, as we do, that the sun rises and 
sets, although, properly speaking, the sun does not 
"move," but the earth. Did not God in His Word 
descend in this way to earthly language and hu- 
man way of looking at things, did He not speak 
in a manner human, but yet absolutely true and 
divine, his language would be so elevated that not 
only the mind of the untutored, but also that of 
the most learned, the most renowned astronomers, 
would be unable to follow Him; and His Word 
would be altogether unintelligible. 


"A.nd the Earth ivas Without Form, and Void; 
and Darkness was Upon the Face of the Deep; 
and the Spirit of God Moved Upon the Face of 
the Waters." 

THERE is a remarkable agreement between 
these words of the Holy Scriptures and the 
results of careful investigations of nature. 
Leading astronomers and investigators consider it 
an established fact that the earth formerly was a 
red fiery ball, sailing about in space and enveloped 
by dense vapors. These vapors in the course of 
time in consequence of the earth's cooling off be- 
came for the greater part water, but enough of 
them remained spread over the earth to cause im- 
penetrable darkness. This corresponds exactly 
with the account of the second verse in the Bible. 
Concerning the account of the Spirit of God mov- 
ing upon the face of the waters, the learned men 
have, of course, nothing to say. This Spirit of 
God, to be sure, is not to be discovered by the in- 
vestigations or the calculations of the scientists. 
But what is this spirit doing? Just as a hen, sit- 
ting upon an egg, containing dark and moist mat- 
ter, hatching for a long time, while mysterious 
forces within the egg are doing their work in the 
smallest particles arranging themselves in a won- 
derful manner until life comes forth from the in- 

The First Page of the Bible. JJ. 

closing shell; even so the Spirit of God moved 
upon the waters and He infused into matter the 
thousandfold powers in nature and the laws of 
nature which now have their play upon the earth. 
In Hebrew the verb "to move" has also the sense 
of "to brood," and "waters" is equivalent to 
"mighty, seething, rushing streams." In these 
mysterious forces and laws, which the creative 
spirit of God in the beginning infused into that 
void and empty matter, are to be found all the 
phenom.ena which we observe here on earth; and 
even the human body is a wonderful workshop of 
unfathomable transactions, v/hich take place in 
accordance with these forces and laws. For just 
as an artist or architect, who intends to produce 
something great, walks up and down meditating 
in his mind what shape and relation, size and 
form he will give each part of his work, and as 
the work now takes shape in his mind and stands 
before him complete, even before anything is vis- 
ible to the eye, so the Spirit of God moved upon 
the waters and placed measure and weight, num- 
bers and law into matter. 

It is remarkable, however, how blind fallen 
man is, not only to that which is divine, but also 
to that which is natural and near to him. How 
many millions there are living upon this earth: 
she is the place of habitation, out of her they re- 
ceive their sustenance, out of her they have been 
formed and to her they shall again return, and 
yet how little interest do most of them manifest 
in this great creation of God ! They follow their 

12 The First Page of the Bible. 

business and their pleasure, and any sort of 
meaningless pastime, any kind of useless talk and 
worthless games is of more importance to them 
than the acquirement of knowledge concerning 
the great deeds and thoughts of God. They learn 
in the common schools that the earth resembles a 
great ball, that it revolves once in a year around 
the sun, and that it is 25,000 miles in circumfer- 
ence; but in how few do these facts arouse any 
deeper or higher thoughts ! But a Christian ought 
also in this to strive after perfection, in order 
that as far as his calling gives him time and op- 
portunity he may find enjoyment in meditating 
upon God's creation, in which he has been placed, 
"for God hath showed it unto them." "For the 
invisible things of Him from the creation of the 
world are clearly seen, being understood by tlie 
things that are made, even His eternal power and 
God-head." (Rom. 1:20). 

And how enormously great is this dwelling 
place for man ! Of a ball 25,000 miles in circum- 
ference neither you nor I can have any proper 
conception. But if one considers the great oceans 
that cover the earth's surface, oceans upon which 
ships may sail for weeks and m.onths, day and 
night, without seeing anything else than the sky 
above and the water beneath ; or the deserts with 
burning sand much vaster than the whole of Ger- 
many, where the camel, "the ship of the desert," 
can likewise travel for weeks, without reaching 
the end ; or the immense grassy plains upon which 
millions of animals roam about; or these great 

The First Page of the Bible. 13 

stretches of country about the north and south 
poles, as large as entire Europe, covered with 
eternal snow and ice; and in addition to this 
those large countries inhabited by men ; the moun- 
tain ranges and the glaciers, the mighty rivers 
which flow onward like broad lakes, I say, if you 
think about all this, and if you think further how 
this entire world soars through space having no 
foundation to rest on, you can not resist the im- 
pression that this earth is a wonderful work, sus- 
tained by a master-hand. 

But this earth not only soars, but it untir- 
ingly whirls in a prescribed orbit through space. 
You are aware that an express-train goes very 
fast; you are aware also that a cannon-ball goes 
much faster, so fast that it cannot be observed by 
the eye. But this ball upon which you live and in 
whose interior a mighty fire glows, from which 
we are separated by a thin solid crust ; this earth 
with all its seas and countries, rivers and moun- 
tains, plains, glaciers and icebergs, flies through 
immeasurable space fifty times faster than a can- 
non ball, and carries you and all men by day and 
by night, whether they work or whether they rest, 
and so gentle and so regular is its flight that you 
do not notice it. And just imagine that it would 
be possible for you to take a position somewhere 
outside of this earth and see it pass by. What a 
sight that would be! At first you would see the 
earth in the distance appearing like a little star, 
but coming nearer it would grow larger and 
larger ; soon it would resemble the moon ; not long 

14 The First Page of the Bible. 

after it would cover half the sky, and would be- 
fore your astonished gaze, whirl by with the 
greatest velocity; you would see in turn sunshine 
and dark clouds, the storm-tossed ocean and the 
level plains, high mountains covered with snow 
and dark forests, great cities and dreary deserts, 
— all this would in a fev/ minutes pass by you in 
furious flight, and before you would recover from 
your surprise everything would be gone; you 
would see only a gigantic shining silvery ball in 
the sky, fast disappearing and soon looking again 
like a little star in the far depths of space, whirled 
onward by the breath of God. Then you would 
have seen only a small part of the glory of the 
Creator, the earth, which God made in the begin- 
ning ; for thus hundreds of other earths and plan- 
ets, many much larger than ours, fly incessantly 
through space, some surrounded by moons and 
some by immense rings which consist of solid or 
liquid matter. Is it not then better for man, in 
view of all this, to rejoice in such gorious works 
of God, and by meditating upon them to admire 
and worship Him with the feeling: what is man 
that thou are mindful of him? — than again and 
again to have his mind centered on man and his 
small achievements, in the contemplation of which 
there is only unrest and self-conceit, while in be- 
holding the works of God the soul finds peace and 

Thus many, many years ago the earth flew 
through space. Although yet without form and 
void, enveloped in darkness, it was even then for 

The First Page of the Bible. 15 

the "sons of God" a grand sight, as it is written : 
''Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of 
earth ? when the morning stars sang together, and 
all the sons of God sang for joy? Or who shut up 
the sea with doors when I made the cloud the gar- 
ment thereof and thick darkness a swaddling 
band for it?" (Job 38-4, 7, 8, 9). And now this 
earth, having changed its surface, hastens onward 
in its orbit with a population of 1,300 millions, 
with innumerable animals, countless birds which 
fly through the air, and millions and millions of 
fish that swim through the depths of the sea. This 
thought likewise ought to exalt our soul and make 
God great before our eyes, who watches over all 
these creatures. At this very moment, when you 
read this, God sees into your heart and knows ali 
your thoughts, likewise the thoughts of those, 
who, on the opposite side of the earth, lie in their 
sleep, likewise those of the wild bush-mian in 
South Africa, who now with his poisoned arrow 
chases the antilope, or the Eskimo, who in his 
light skiff upon the stormy sea pursues the wal- 
rus. At this very moment, when He tries your 
heart and reins. He knows at the same time what 
everyone of those four hundred millions of Chi- 
nese thinks, and He knows the history of their 
lives better than they do themselves. At this mo- 
ment, when you read this, he sees upon this fast- 
moving earth all the sick and the distressed, the 
beggars in their poverty and the kings in their 
splendor and power, the great number of those 
who perish in battle, the criminal who prowls 

16 The First Page of the Bib le. 

about in the darkness of night; He hears every 
word, song, prayer, curse, laugh, cry, every bitter 
complaint, every sigh which is directed to Him 
and every useless word spoken; He writes them 
all in His book for the day of judgment. Fur- 
ther : He sees the lion in the desert, the raven in 
the air, every little bird in its nest, every insect 
in the grass ; there is not a little fish in the deep 
ocean whose path is hidden from Him, not a leaf 
on a tree upon the whole earth whose shape and 
size He does not know, not a leaf that would fall 
to the ground without His will. Yes, while He 
governs, cares for, feeds and rules this entire 
world. He beholds in every drop of water those 
thousands of invisible little creatures, scarcely 
visible through a microscope, and gives every one 
of them life and food ; for in Him lives, moves and 
exists everything. Indeed, if you look at things 
in this way, then He becomes mighty and great 
and you will acknowledge the power hidden in the 
word : "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of 
the waters." 


"And God Said, Let There Be Light; and There 
Was Light:' 

HAVE you never considered how great and 
magnificent, how wonderful is light, that 
garment of God (Ps. 104-21) who calls 
himself "the Father of lights," and whose dwell- 
ing is in unapproachable light? What would the 
world be without light? How inconceivable, un- 
known, incomprehensible and joyless. How dark, 
aimless and powerless also all our thought. 

But what is light? We can not fully explain 
it and are less able to comprehend it here upon 
earth than the rest of nature; for it is the first 
and highest work of God's creation. But so much 
the human mind may know: light is a living 
power proceeding from God, which, while it sur- 
rounds the entire universe, keeps the smallest 
particles of bodies and matter constantly and 
powerfully in motion; the faster the motion, the 
clearer the light. A body altogether motionless 
would be altogether dark, and thus one can say 
truthfully: light is life, motion; and darkness is 
death. There is no complete darkness in the uni- 
verse, and even a thousand feet deep in the earth, 
where our eye, blinded by daylight, thinks we see 
only darkest night, grows the crystal and many 
plants of inferior nature; and in the deepest val- 

18 The First Page of the Bible. 

leys of the sea, where to our eye not the least ray 
of light penetrates, living creatures move, seizing 
their prey by their own feeble light. And when 
on a dark night man thinks the world lies in 
darkness, it is true only of a small portion of the 
earth, while the whole universe all around is filled 
by waves of light, v/hich fly from star to star, 
from sun to sun. Whether the outer darkness of 
which Christ speaks will be absolute, or illumined 
by the red lightnings of the wrath of God, we 
know not. But the rays of light do not only give 
the bodies form and shape, color and visibleness, 
but they possess still other characteristics; and 
since they are a creation of our Father in heaven, 
and since it is becoming for the children of the 
house to investigate and admire the works of their 
father, we will speak about them a little further. 

Let the smallest ray of light pass through the 
eye of a needle, so small that you can scarcely see 
it with the naked eye, and you will have a world 
of wonders before you. Let, for instance, this 
small ray of light fall upon a drop of water 
through a good microscope, which strengthens the 
ray of light, what do you see in it? A whole 
world! There it moves and lives and stirs, pow- 
erful animals, almost frightful to look at, which 
move about quickly sv/allowing up the smaller 
creatures to right and left. Slowly, as in a dream, 
others move backward and forward in neatly 
striped little houses of mountain crystal, and still 
others constantly change their form, become sud- 
denly oblong and round, stretch out their arms 

The First Page of the Bible. 19 

and draw them back again, never resting, and 
all live and move in God, know nothing of you and 
fulfill missions unknown to us. But the whole 
picture, sharply and accurately, tenderly and deli- 
cately drawn, with all its lines and forms, is 
painted by that one ray of light upon your eye, 
which, created for the light, is itself a wonderful 
work of God. 

But now take up, with a great telescope, the 
light which comes from the moon, and what a 
difference! Formerly the moon appeared to you 
to be a small disk, and now? Upon a vast plain 
you see yonder great mountains, many thousand 
feet high, m.ighty rocks stretching upward tower- 
like, bold, steep, broken, another world than the 
earth. Yonder in the moon there reigns eternal 
silence; there is neither air nor water. Never 
does the wind whistle through the trees, never a 
brook ripples, never a wave splashes, never do 
clouds m.ove along the dark sky. All these things 
are shown to us by the ray of light coming down 
from the moon. 

The ray of light also produces the colors ; not 
only the seven primary colors of the rainbow, but 
also the thousandfold shadings which we discern. 
Moreover each of these different colors has its 
peculiar warmth, its different influence over 
earthly bodies. Under the influence of one ray a 
plant grows more rapidly, under an other, more 
slowly; again under another light pictures are 
produced, such as you see in photography. Some 
have a quieting influence over man, as has been 

20 The First Page of the Bible. 

demonstrated in the case of the insane, others 
produce excitement, as one may see even in the 
case of stupid animals, like the alligator, which 
becomes furious at red light. By a recent discov- 
ery it has become possible, by examining a ray of 
light to determine from what body it proceeds. 
If, for instance, one holds against the smallest 
ray of light a prism he will see a long, beautiful 
colored stripe, and in it there are drawn hundreds 
of small black and glittering colors and lines. 
These lines explain of what matter the body is 
composed from which the light proceeds, whether 
it be a candle, a petroleum-lamp, the sun or a dis- 
tant fixed star. And thus the astronomer at the 
present day is enabled by letting the smallest ray 
of light from a star which you can scarcely see 
twinkling in the heavens, successively pass 
through a series of prisms, to read in it whether 
upon this star there is to be found water, iron, 
gold, salt, etc. ; further, whether the star is solid, 
liquid or gaseous, whether surrounded by a great 
stratum of air, or whether this star which pur- 
sues its course through the universe faster than 
the wind, approaches the earth or recedes from it, 
and with what velocity. And how much may yet 
lie hidden in the writings of the light, some of 
which perhaps we may be enabled to discover, 
but most of which must be reserved for the life 
to come, in which it will be our employment to 
contemplate the wonders of God with clearer eyes 
than is possible here upon this earth. 

The First Page of the Bible. 21 

How wonderful, too, is the effect of this light. 
The light of the sun travels a distance of over 
ninety millions of miles from the sun to !his 
earth, and yet is strong enough to make vegeta- 
tion upon this earth grow and blossom and give 
man and animal strength, while creatures born in 
darkness, even where there is sufficient warmth, 
remain pale and weak. 

But one thing more: Fifty years have not 
yet elapsed since a man in France by the name of 
Daguerre, at the instigation of his own family, 
was forbidden by the courts to make known his 
ideas, because he was determined not to rest until 
he had succeeded in taking the pictures which are 
found in the ray of light and making them visible 
upon a plate of glass. To people in those days 
this idea appeared absurd. To-day every child 
knows that from every lighted object photo- 
graphs, i. e., light-pictures, may be produced ; that 
is, the light picture which proceeds from the ob- 
ject may be made visible. This proves that light- 
pictures from all objects, invisible to us, fly 
through space. Of course, the ray of light, though 
fast moving, needs yet a certain amount of time 
in order to go from one place to another ; for in- 
stance, eight minutes from the sun to the earth, 
thirty years from the polar star to us. Let us 
consider the latter example. The light which pro- 
ceeds from this star, with the picture of the star 
that is contained therein started from that star 
thirty years ago and tells us, therefore, how the 
star did shine thirty years ago, but not how it 

22 The First Page of the Bible. 

shines at present. Just as if you had received a 
letter from an acquaintance in China who lefc 
there six months ago. You can see from the let- 
ter that at that time he was well and hearty, and 
that he was engaged in a certain line of business, 
but how he is at the present moment and v/hat he 
does, you do not know; he may have taken sick 
since, or even died. Thus it is with the polar star. 
We do not really see the star itself, but only its 
picture as it started from the star thirty years 
ago. And if the star had been extinguished ten 
years ago, we would still see it shine, and would 
continue to see it for twenty years ; and not until 
the expiration of this tim^e would it disappear from 
viev/. Another star in the constellation of Pleia- 
des (Job 9:9; Amos 5:8) is so far distant from. 
us that its light needs five hundred years to reach 
us. Had it disappeared at the time of Luther's 
birth, we would still see it. From this we may 
judge that we do not see the stars as they are, but 
as they were; the sky does not show us the pres- 
ent, but the past. 

But now imagine the case reversed and some 
one at present looking down from that distant 
star upon the earth. If the light of that star con- 
sumes five hundred years in reaching our earth, 
the light from the earth to that star would need 
exactly the same amount of time; the inhabitant 
of that star would see the earth exactly as it was 
five hundred years ago ; and if he had an accurate 
telescope or a very sharp eye, he could to-day ob- 
serve very carefully what happened upon our 

The First Page of the Bible. 23 

earth during the month of January, 1408. Con- 
sidering this matter further you will see that the 
universe is filled with pictures of all events which 
continually take place, that it is a ''book of light," 
containing "light-writings" or photographs of 
everything that takes place. Of course man can- 
not read these writings ; whether there are beings 
upon many of these mighty luminaries which we 
see twinkling in the sky, who perhaps are able to 
read them with immortal eyes, we do not know. 
But it is certain that God does it himself, for He 
who made the eye should He not see? And this 
may assist us in our understanding of how in God 
the past and the present are one and the same. 

And all these wonders, and who knows how 
many others, are yet hidden to us in the ray of 
light, have been brought about by the one word of 
creation, "Let there be light!" Indeed, a great, a 
wonderful God ! And what an immense m.eaning 
that pure light has, of which our light is only a 
small part and a weak reflection, is witnessed on 
every page of the Word of God, which says : "God 
is light and lives in an unapproachable light and 
in Him there is no darkness." And us, His chil- 
dren, He calls to light, for in the light there is all 
knowledge, in darkness all ignorance; and, as the 
transient sun-light shows us every day in nature, 
in the light there is life, in darkness only death. 
But to us the promise is given that one day we 
shall dwell in the light where there is no darkness ; 
yes, that we shall shine in our risen bodies like the 
sun in our Father's kingdom. What miracles of 

24 The First Page of the Bible. 

light will there float around us and rise within 
us ! What an incentive it should be for us here in 
this world, often so dark, to walk as the children 
of light ! 

Should it be asked: "How is this? Light al- 
ready in the beginning, and the sun not created 
until the fourth day?" And, pray, why not? 
Light and the sun are not one and the same. Who 
has not read of the magnificent Auroraborealis ? 
So also Comets shine by their own light; and as- 
tronomers know of gigantic stretches of light- 
giving nebulous matter in the heavens, hundreds 
of millions larger in size than our own earth, as, 
for example, the stars of Orion. There are now 
many extinct suns, and many others which are in- 
visible to us, so that light without our own sun is 
clearly possible. And should God will, it is pos- 
sible for Him to fill the whole universe with an 
atm.osphere or "ether" of the brightest light. 

When now we read further, "And God called 
the light day, and the darkness He called night," 
God clearly indicates what He wants us to under- 
stand by day and night, and what in the account 
of the creation "day" and "night" especially 
mean, not days and nights according to our reck- 
oning of twelve hours' time — in the first days of 
creation there was as yet no sun — but alternating 
periods of light and darkness, without anything 
being said as to the duration of the same, as as- 
tronomers now note such periods in the change- 
able stars. We are here also reminded of the say- 
ing: "One day with the Lord is as a thousand 

The First Page of the Bible. 25 

years, and a thousand years as one day;" like- 
wise, the expression "day of the Lord," used to de- 
scribe the periods of the final judgment, suggest 
that in biblical language the word "day" has a far 
wider meaning than that given to it in just ordi- 
nary human speech. Speaking, therefore, of the 
days of creation, we have to understand, accord- 
ing to the wording and sense of the Scripture, 
epochs of light, as to the duration of which the 
Bible 'is silent, but which might have been thou- 
sands of years in extent. They were great epochs 
and mighty developments of light, followed again 
by seasons of darkness and cessation. 


"And God Said, 'Let There Be a Firmament in the 
Midst of the Waters, and Let it Divide the Wa- 
ters.' And God Made the Firmament, and Di- 
vided the Walters which ivere Under the Firma- 
ment from the Waters which were Above the 
Firmament, and it was So. And God Called the 
Fir^nament Heaven. And the Evening and the 
Moryiing ivere the Second Day." 

HAT kind of heaven is this, the creation 
of which is here related? Evidently 
not the one which is inhabited by 
God and the angels, and of which is is said: 
"Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens 
cannot contain thee." (The Hebrew word is 
"rakiah" — that which is stretched out, firma- 
ment. In French "etendue.") But rather we 
have here an account of the creation of the 
atmosphere above the earth, which God also 
called heaven, and which, therefore, is called by 
this name in all the different languages of the 
earth, because it is to be a constant sign before 
the eyes of man, not only of the earth beneath 
him, but also of a clear, immeasurable world 
above him. In view of this, many a one is per- 
haps inclined to think that it is self-evident that 
something must be above us; or he may think, 
perhaps, that this so-called heaven is nothing else 

The First Page of the Bible. 27 

but a little air, which does not deserve to be 
called a new creation of God. But the facts are 
different. Upon the moon, for instance, this "air 
heaven" is not found ; and if we were there, we 
would not, even on a clear day, see above us a 
blue, airy sky, but only endless emptiness and pro- 
found darkness, out of which the sun and the 
stars would shine at the same time with unbear- 
able, glaring light. That we have a blue sky above 
us, therefore, is not a matter of chance. Science, 
too, is in harmony with the Bible when it says: 
It is to be positively accepted, that after the earth 
had been for a long time surrounded by an extra- 
ordinarily high layer of thick smoke, through 
which no ray of light could penetrate, so that the 
surface was covered by complete darkness, finally, 
in consequence of the continued cooling off of 
these vapors, much heavy matter, which hitherto 
had filled the upper space, now fell to the earth; 
so that the air gradually became clearer, almost 
similar to ours; watery vapor could arise out of 
this and form into clouds. This atmosphere had 
to be there before animials and plants could exist, 
for the constituent parts of the atmosphere at 
that time became very favorable to the origin of 
the vegetable kingdom. 

But what now is the use of this atmosphere 
or "firmament," as the Bible calls it, we may ask? 
In the first place it is to separate the waters above 
the clouds, from, the waters below. Were it not 
there the mass of water which floats above us 
would, as a dense impenetrable fog, hover over the 

28 The First Page of the Bible. 

face of the earth and the sea, and groping about 
in it we would gain a knowledge neither of the 
starry heavens nor of the earth's surface. In- 
deed our whole intellectual life would be de- 
stroyed. In this connection it would be ever moist 
and cold, the ripening of the grain and the fruit 
would be impossible. But you may think those 
few clouds above hardly worthy of being called 
"waters above," com.pared to the immense oceans. 
But in this you are mistaken ; and were you to live 
in such countries, where during the greater part 
of the year incessant streams fall from above, you 
would get a different conception of the immense 
mass of water that is stored up in the sky. We 
can illustrate this in another way. From the rain 
and the snow which fall upon the earth come, as 
you know, the little brooks which, when united, 
form the streams and rivers. Have you ever seen 
the Rhine near the city of Cologne? No doubt 
you thought it a mighty river. Still there are 
many streams upon the earth compared with 
which the Rhine is only a small brook. The Ama- 
zon river in South America, sixty miles above its 
mouth is so broad that one cannot see from one 
shore to the other, and it appears as if it were the 
sea, while at places its depth is 600 feet. This 
gigantic mass of water, broad and deep as Lake 
Geneva, Switzerland, rolls incessantly toward the 
ocean and enters it with such force that two hun- 
dred miles from the shore the mariner finds to his 
astonishment the sea containing an abundance of 
fresh water. Other streams in America, Asia and 

The First Page of the Bible. 29 

Africa are almost as large. Now imagine, if you 
can, all these rivers united into one, and you will 
stand astonished before this immense mass of wa- 
ter, which has emptied itself into the sea for thou- 
sands of years. Consider, too, that all this water 
had to come from the clouds, and that it would not 
be where it is had it not been sent down "from the 
waters which were above the firmament." And 
again, these waters would not have descended 
from heaven if they had not previously ascended ; 
masses of water like those contained in the 
mighty Mississippi and Amazon rivers ascend im- 
perceptibly, day and night, to the sky. How is 
this done? Simply this way: Under the infiu- 
ence of the rays of the sun there are formed on 
the surface of the water little bubbles, like soap- 
bubbles filled with air, but so small that they can- 
not be seen. This air, warmed by the sun, ex- 
pands and becomes lighter than the air surround- 
ing it, and the little bubble, like a balloon, rises 
upward and forms the cloud, a single one of which 
contains a hundred thousand buckets of water. 
Thus God works great things by the simplest 
means. He might have placed at the "four cor- 
ners of the earth" towering steam engines, which 
with a deafening noise and roar might have 
pumped the water out of the sea and sprinkled it 
over the earth ; men would certainly have admired 
such a contrivance; but he accomplishes it noise- 
lessly and in a much more perfect way by means 
of the air, so that every minute millions of buckets 
of water rise into the air, and the winds, also be- 

30 The First Page of the Bible, 

longing to the air, sprinkle it over the earth; we, 
therefore, hardly take notice of it, and do not 
think much about it. A renowned astronomer 
has calculated that if the entire population of the 
earth, men, v/omen and children, were to stand at 
the sea shore dipping with buckets, it would re- 
quire 70,000 years of diligent work to take out as 
much water as the sun draws up in a single year 
without trouble. So little and insignificant is the 
power of man compared to the quiet workings of 

And these waters from above, these clouds, 
are a peculiar world in themselves. Of course, 
one v/ho lives in an inland town scarcely ever 
learns to know them in their grandeur and diver- 
sity; upon the great ocean, on the other hand, 
where they have their special birth-place, they 
form themselves voluntarily and rise towerlike in 
great masses. There the mariner can easily ob- 
serve their different formations, of which there 
are four leading types : the cumulus-cloud, which 
you may often see during the summer or before a 
thunder storm as it rises upon a dark back- 
ground like a powerful snow-white dome; the 
stratus cloud, which covers the entire sky in long 
streaks at sun-down; the cirrus-cloud, which can 
be seen like torn up pieces of wool in innumerable 
shapes. It is found very high in the air ; and bal- 
loonists who were 25,000 feet high, have seen 
these clouds far above them. Finally the nimbus- 
cloud with its irregular outlines. But he who 
wishes to learn the grandeur of the cloud-world 

The First Page of the Bible. 31 

must go up in a balloon. Thus an English army 
officer, who undertook such a balloon ascension 
alone, relates how, while it was dark and rainy, he 
left the earth; soon while passing through the 
rain-couds he was enveloped by vapor and fog, but 
in a short time he was above them; and now he 
describes enthusiastically how he passed through 
an ocean of snow-white flakes, and how also this 
was soon below him and all around him, like a 
Mont Blanc and a Himalaya, gigantic masses of 
clouds formiing themselves in the deep, blue sky, 
quickly changing their shape, illumined by the 
sunlight. And in this new and grand world, he 
goes on to say, he scarcely dared to breathe or to 
m.ove, for there was a peculiar, solemn and per- 
fect stillness, and he felt as though he were alone 
with his God. And how will it be when He, whose 
coming we are awaiting, will appear with His an- 
gels and all the saints upon the clouds oi heaven ! 
But this firmament created by God does not 
only separate the waters, above and below, but 
also serves other purposes. That we need the air 
for the purpose of breathing, we know; but still 
more : by it we are enabled to see. Did not the air 
reflect the rays of the sun, so that objects were 
illumJned from all sides, we would, as is the case 
on the moon, see of all objects only that part upon 
which the light falls, while the opposite side 
would be enveloped in profound darkness. It is 
the air which causes these endless variations of 
light and shade, and instead of producing a glar- 
ing light, which would blind our eyes with a cor- 

32 The First Page of the Bible. 

responding darkness, it produces a mild, harmoni- 
ous picture of the objects on the earth's surface. 
Still another great and important service is ren- 
dered by this air-firmament or atmosphere: it is 
a warm cover, which protects the earth and all 
the creatures upon it from freezing to death. It 
is true, the rays of the sun are warm, even hot; 
but if there were no air they could only warm 
that side of an object upon which they fall, the 
opposite side, in the shade, being exposed to all 
the cold in the world, which is estimated to be a 
hundred degrees below zero. Thus it is upon the 
moon ; and it would be so likewise upon the earth 
if it was not for the air; on one side we should 
roast, while on the other we should freeze, and 
there would be no life possible. But the air mod- 
erates and checks these fiery rays of light, di- 
vides them, and while the atmosphere itself is 
warmed, it embraces us with its even warm layer 
of air. 

These are some of the wonders of this great 
creation of God on the second day, and as the 
light, so also does the air praise His greatness and 
power. But we who believe in this Almighty Cea- 
ator as in a dear father in Christ Jesus, say con- 
fidently : 

Who 'points the clouds their course, 

Whom winds and seas obey; 
He shall direct thy wandering feet; 

He shall prepare thy way. 


"And Said, 'Let the Waters Under the Heaven be 
Gathered Together Unto One Place, and Let the 
Dry Land Appear: and It Was So. And God 
Called the Dry Land Earth; and the Gathering 
Together of the Waters Called He Seas; and 
God Saiv that it was Good. 

WHAT do we learn from these verses ? We 
learn that the surface of the earth was, 
at one time, level, and that it was 
evenly covered by water, and that at a later 
time the mountains arose and the bottom of 
the sea lowered itself. And what does natural 
science teach? It agrees with the teaching of 
the Bible by maintaining that the mountains 
were formed and the main-land arose from the 
depths after the earth had formerly been en- 
tirely covered by water. How did this happen? 
Natural scientists say : the earth was at one time 
a great, glowing ball consisting of fiery, liquid 
metal ; one may see even to-day that the rocks and 
stones on the surface of the earth are nothing but 
corroded metals. Even the clay out of which we 
make our brick contains an enormous amount of a 
certain metal, which looks almost like silver, 
though much lighter. In the course of time when 
the earth gradually cooled off, there naturally ap- 

34 The First Page of the Bible. 

peared upon its surface a crust. Gradually be- 
coming thicker, it contracted and formed wrin- 
kles, just like a scum on warm milk, when it be- 
comes cold; and these wrinkles, corresponding in 
size to the earth, formed the first hills and moun- 
tains. Therefore the Bible does not say, "and God 
created the dry land," but "let the dry land ap- 
pear" (according to the Hebrew.) The natural 
consequence of this was that the waters gath- 
ered themselves together at the deep places, 
whereupon on the one hand the sea and on the 
other the dry land appeared. Here also we have, 
with reference to an imiportant point in the his- 
tory of the creation of the earth, perfect agree- 
ment between the Bible and science. But all these 
things did not comie to pass, as the atheists think, 
by themselves alone, but through God's creative 
word; and had He not spoken the words of that 
third day, the earth would stand yet without form 
and void and the mountains would not have ap- 
peared. The Word of God was the command that 
all powers which His Spirit, as it moved upon the 
waters, had placed into matter, should go on 
working according to His preconceived plan; and 
that the earth was thus to take a step further in 
its development. To be sure the angels and the 
sons of God in heaven heard these creative 
words; but had we, at that time, as sinful men 
stood upon the earth, we would have heard just 
as little as when at the present day at the word 
and command of God a thunder-storm arises or an 

The First Page of the Bible. 35 

earthquake carries thousands away. The carnally- 
blind mind would also in those days have seen 
nothing in those creative movements but natural 
developments and workings of nature's powers, 
just as is the case at the present day with the 
learned and unlearned who know not God. 

And indeed, they are a great work of God, 
these "mountains of the Lord," as the Scriptures 
call them, because they make known in a special 
sense His might and glory. We can scarcely form 
a correct idea as to the greatness of a single hill 
or mountain, to say nothing of a mountain chain 
with its connections of millions and millions of 
cubic feet of earth, rock and stone. He who knows 
the Alps and, after great exertions for many 
hours in climbing one of the giant mountain 
peaks, stands on the top beholding the earth be- 
neath his feet, great forests appearing like little 
dark spots, rivers resembling silvery threads — he 
may in some measure get an idea of what a moun- 
tain is. A well known English writer, Kingsley, 
said at one time, that the greatness and power of 
God first took possession of his mind when he re- 
solved to have a little hill removed on his estate. 
For after workmen had been engaged carting 
away load after load of earth, and the little mole- 
hill would not disappear, he began to think how 
many mountain-ranges tower up to the sky, how 
the Alps, or the Himalayas, or the Andes stretch 
a thousand miles along the seacoast, and to see 
how little man is and how great the works of God 

36 The First Page of the Bible. 

But what a spectacle it must have been when 
the mountains first appeared! For not only did 
the earth's surface rise and fall like a sea, but it 
also burst and tore asunder, and out of the cracks 
thousands of volcanoes poured forth an im- 
mense mass of lava, that is, melted metal. Even 
at the present time many a mountain gives evi- 
dence of these activities. Undoubtedly, they have 
been formed out of melted stone, as well as those 
five hundred volcanoes still active and thousands 
of others that have become extinct. Think, for 
instance, of the long chain of the Andes with its 
numerous volcanoes. This mountain chain is 
nothing but the scar, so to speak, of a great rent, 
which at one time took place in the crust of the 
earth, out of which then, like the juice from the 
ripe fruit, the lava streamed forth, forming itself 
into mountains. It is therefore not merely a poet- 
ical way of speaking when we read, "The hills 
melted like wax at the presence of the Lord." 
(Ps. 97:5). This formation of mountains has, 
even at the present time, by no means reached its 
end, though in less majestic manner, mountains 
still rise and valleys sink down, unto the place 
which He has formed for them. (Ps. 104:8). 
Thus in the year 1707, in consequence of a sub- 
terranean fire in the Mediterranean sea, in close 
proximity to the island of Santorin, another isl- 
and was formed, forty miles in length and rising 
forty feet above the sea. Thus numerous islands 
in the Pacific ocean are nothing but craters of old 
volcanoes that have slowly and gradually risen 

The First Page of the Bible. 37 

out of the ocean. In Mexico, on the 29th of Sep- 
tember, 1743, at the time of a great earthquake, 
while the surface of the earth moved to and fro 
like the waving sea, one might have seen how, in 
one day, with a fearful noise a mountain arose, 
which covered four square miles and reached a 
height of 1,600 feet, while round about flames 
came out of the earth. This mountain, named 
Jorullo, stands to this day, and from its summit 
burning lava still flows. But on the other hand 
you could have read in the newspapers of several 
years ago how mountains disappear. At that time 
an island near Java with a high mountain sank 
with a fearful roar, like an earthquake into the 
sea, while a rain of ashes darkened the sun for 
three days. Now if the appearance or disappear- 
ance of a relatively small mountain is accompa- 
nied with such grand and fearful phenomena, if 
it is possible for a single small volcano like Ve- 
suvius to send its ashes over into Africa; and if 
another volcano, which we know, shakes the earth 
a hundred miles around and envelopes the country 
in darkness — what an indescribable and grand 
phenomenon must it have been, when on the third 
day upon the word of God and His command the 
entire solid land, with thousands of volcanoes, 
arose out of the depths, and when whole moun- 
tains and mountain ranges "skipped like rams!" 
In consequence of this gigantic struggle between 
fire and water how the earth must have been en- 
veloped in thick smoke and flames, a type of that 
day on which it, with everything upon it, shall be 

38 The First Page of the Bible. 

consumed by fire. Yes, a beautiful and grand 
creation are the mountains of God, and therefore 
the Psalmist never tires in praising their beauty 
and grandeur. And even God himself has sancti- 
fied their summits, v/hich, covered with a mantle 
of eternal snow, rise boldly and loftily into the 
clear sky above the little and meaningless doings 
of human life. Upon a mountain Abraham was 
to sacrifice his son; upon a m.ountain, the majestic 
granite summit of Sinai, God descended as He 
gave to the people His laws; upon a mountain 
Moses was privileged to die and to be buried by 
God himself; upon a mountain Elias called to- 
gether Israel and caused fire to fall down from 
heaven; upon a mountain Christ preached His 
first sermon, prayed when He was alone, was 
transfigured before His disciples and also ascend- 
ed into heaven; and at His final coming His feet 
will stand upon Mount Olivet (Zech. 14:4). And 
what shall be the mountains of eternity in Para- 
dise and upon the new earth — those hills to which 
David lifted up his eyes and from which he ob- 
tained help ! 

In sharp contrast to the hills, those luminous 
heights of the earth, are those dark mysterious 
depths of the waters which once covered the 
whole earth. That three-fourths of the earth's 
surface, which has been appointed as man's 
dwelling place, should be covered with vast wil- 
dernesses of water, is already a great miystery; 
for it is certain that God could in many other 
ways provide a sufficiency of water. Quite enig- 

The First P age of the Bible. 39 

matical too is that world of living things in the 
great seas. "Yonder is the sea, great and wide, 
wherein are things creeping innumerable, both 
small and great beasts. There go the ships ; there 
is leviathan, whom Thou hast formed to play 
therein." (Ps. 104:25, 16.) And deeper still, in 
icy silence — for thither no noises reach; in eter- 
nal night — for thither no light penetrates, live for 
thousands of years myriad forms of beings, of 
which we know not and whose purpose we cannot 
even conjecture, and which know nothing of us 
nor of any part of earthly life. A great devour- 
ing dominion is the sea, flowing from pole to pole 
around the continents in ceaseless currents like 
immeasurable rivers. In the days of the flood it 
swallowed all the race, together with all vegetable 
and animal life, as completely as the Red Sea 
swallowed Pharaoh and his host, and as annually 
scores of ships and their crews go down to come 
up no more. What wonders of destruction, what 
treasures and riches, what skeletons of life may 
not be found in its store house of everlasting 

As the hills symbolize the lifting up of the 
soul into joy and light, so is the sea a type of the 
heart in the depths of bitterness and strife, as 
Jonah says : "The waters compassed me about, 
even to the soul; the deep was round about me; 
the weeds were wrapped about my head." (Jonah 
2:5.) And thus must Christ, after He has been 
transfigured on Tabor, descend, on account of our 

40 The First Page of the Bible. 

sins, into the depths of death and hell. "For as 
Jonah was three days and three nights in the 
belly of the whale; so shall the Son of Man be 
three days and three nights in the heart of the 
earth." (Matth. 12:40). 

But in that day, when all things shall be re- 
vealed before the Great White Throne, then the 
sea will also "give up its dead." Then they will 
come forth, those millions drowned in the flood, 
Pharaoh and his host, as well as that innumerable 
multitude which since his day sank in its depths; 
they will come to the light with their bodies and 
with their sins, to be judged. 

But on that unspeakable blessed earth, made 
new by our Lord's revelation and power, "there 
will be no more sea." (Rev. 21:1). Everywhere 
the blessed will reign in bliss. 


"And God Said: 'Let the Earth Bring Foy^th 
Grass, the Herb Yielding Seed, and the Fruit 
Tree Yielding Fruit After His Kind, Whose 
Seed is in Itself, Upon the Earth:' and It Was 
So. And the Earth Brought Forth Grass and 
Herb Yielding Seed After His Kind, and the 
Tree Yielding Fruit, Whose Seed was in Itself, 
After His Kind: and God Saiv that it was 
Good. And the Evening and the Morning 
were the Third Day." 

HOWEVER great the miracle in creating 
the light, the air and the earth were, here 
we have still something greater, namely, 
the appearance of life, the miracle of all miracles. 
Or did you ever think of what a wonderful thing 
a plant really is ? that millions of lifeless particles 
of matter, taken from the earth, are forced by an 
unseen power to unite and form something that 
has life, that eats, drinks and breathes — for all 
this is characteristic of the plant — it grows, be- 
comes old, weak and finally dies. 

Great and wonderful are these numerous 
creations of God. We are acquainted with about 
100,000 different kinds of plants, each one of 
which has numerous varieties ; but we are not, by 
far, acquainted with all the vegetable life, neither 

42 The First Page of the Bible. 

of the desert nor the tops of the mountains, and 
still less do we know what grows at the bottom of 
the sea; neither do we know of the thousands of 
smaller plants, which move about in the muddy, 
slimy drops of water. What a contrast between 
the great and the small ! There are thousands of 
little plants which you swallow unnoticed as you 
drink from a mossy mountain brook. On the 
other hand, there are those giants in the vegetable 
world which are hundreds of years old: the tall, 
slender palm., as it is found in the Cordilleries in 
South America, often 200 feet high, higher than 
most of our church towers; the enormous bread- 
tree in Western Africa, with a trunk 30 feet in 
diameter, on which a French traveler (Adanson) 
counted nearly 2,000 annual rings. This tree, 
therefore, must have begun to grow in the days 
of Christ. Then the gigantic Mammuth tree 
(Wellingtonia), of which there can be found in 
California from 300 to 400 specimens, with a 
round, smooth trunk as high as the tower of the 
cathedral in Stuttgart, and having the same diam- 
eter. But the longest or tallest plant is the giant- 
sea-tang, which has its roots in the bottom of the 
Atlantic ocean and grows a thousand feet high, 
until it reaches the surface of the water and the 
light of the sun, and while its limbs rock upon the 
waves of the ocean, down deep in the sea it forms 
mighty forests, in which the greedy shark, the 
dolphin and a legion of other sea-animals make 
their home. Not less astonishing is the great dif- 
ference in the soil and the climate, in which the 

The First Page of the Bi ble. 43 

plants flourish. In the hot sands of the Sahara, 
in a heat that will kill a man if he is not protected, 
the date-palm flourishes, watered by subterranean 
springs, for, as the Arab says, it must have its 
foot in the water, and its top in the fire. But near 
the north pole, where there is a prolonged night, 
lasting for months and where the cold reaches 50 
degrees below zero, where wine and even whisky, 
which was brought thither, had to be chopped in 
pieces with an axe, where the ice gets as hard as 
steel, and steel becomes like glass, tiny little 
plants bid defiance to the long polar night and the 
fearful cold. And if, after a long night, the pale 
sun again makes its appearance, there grov/ and 
blossom modestly the tender moss and pretty little 
flowers in the cracks of the rocks in a soil only a 
few inches deep, and watered by melted snow. 
And here also we find the smallest tree on the 
earth, the polar-willow, only hand-high, the stem 
as thick as a lead-pencil. And the weather beaten 
seam.en, whose calling has driven them to this 
lonely spot, like to tell how they enjoy the sight 
of this little plant which even am.idst eternal snow 
and ice tells of the love of God. 

But the greatest miracle of the plant is its 
seed: "Whose seed is in itself upon the earth." 
Indeed, a great miracle! The smallest seed, 
which you can hold between the points of your 
fingers, has the power in it to produce a perfect 
plant with roots, stems, leaves and blossoms "af- 
ter its kind." This plant again brings forth the 

44 The First Page of the Bible. 

same seed as long as the earth stands. What this 
means, let us show by a few examples. From one 
single grain of the poppy a plant may grow which 
produces 30,000 seeds. Let each grain again pro- 
duce the same and you will have in the second 
generation 900,000,000 poppy plants. Yes, it has 
been calculated that if every grain would grow, 
within five years the earth would be covered with 
poppy plants. Professor Gaussen, of Geneva, has 
figured out that if a grain of wheat as it is found 
in Syria, Palestine and Sicily, would each time 
produce a hundred grains that the grains coming 
forth from this single grain in the course of eight 
years would suffice to feed the entire inhabitants 
of the earth a whole year. Such is the power of 
growth and increase which God on the third day 
put into the seeds of plants. If one thinks whal 
a moving power it requires to make these millions 
of the largest and smallest plants rise from the 
earth, what is all the moving power of our ma- 
chines, whose accomplishments are so much ad- 
mired, in comparison to this? Therefore, if per- 
chance a summer breeze blows a little winged 
seed on your sleeve, look upon it reverently : there 
is hidden in it a power of God, before which every 
power of man dwindles to nothing. And if you 
divide a grain of wheat into parts, you find noth- 
ing in it but a little flour locked up in small trans- 
parent bags, which are called cells. The natural- 
ists know exactly the materials of which a grain 
is com.posed, but can they themselves make a sin- 

The First Page of the Bible. 45 

gle grain? No. Even if they could obtain the 
exact material which is found in the grain and 
could mix it in exactly the same proportion as it 
is in the grain, and would stir and shake the 
whole ever so much, it would not become a grain 
of wheat, nor even flour. And should they con- 
tinue to expose this mixture ever so long to the 
heat and light of the sun, nothing would grow 
from it and it would not become a plant. Notice 
here the wonderful secret power of God, which is 
found in a little grain, and which leaves all human 
knowledge and capability far behind. 

And this secret, tender little soul in a grain 
of wheat, which you cannot discover with a mi- 
croscope, has apparently a remarkably tenacious 
life. For many months, even as long as fifty 
years, grains of wheat have lain as dead. During 
the same period of time millions of human beings 
were born into the world and died. In a shorter 
period the empires of Napoleon and Alexander 
were founded and passed away. But in tTie little 
grain of wheat the tender life was completely pre- 
served ; for when it was planted, there grew from 
it a new and strong plant, showing no signs of old 
age, but producing large and full ears. Yes, it is 
said that in certain graves of Celts, many hun- 
dreds years old, wheat was found. These people 
believed so firmly in the immortality of the soul, 
that they lent without hesitation to one another 
on the written promise to repay principal and in- 
terest in the life beyond, (by the way a little hu- 

46 The First Page of the Bible. 

miliating to Christians of to-day). Among these 
buried promises were found grains of wheat 
which when planted, produced as good wheat as 
seed of to-day. 

And the purpose of vegetation? Why did 
God create the plant-world? Really every one 
knows why, but passes it by without thought or 
thanksgiving. Vegetation, in its myriad forms, is 
here to nourish the countless living beings upon 
the earth, as though God had said: Thou shalt, 
quickened by the sun, prepare from rock and 
earth and water bread for my household. And be- 
hold, unobserved and silently, by sun ad by storm, 
plant and tree produce corn, oil and wine, delect- 
able fruits, herbs and medicines, and all such 
things as are needed to sustain life. Even the 
many million yards of cotton, hemp and flax 
which are used in clothing are the product of the 
plant- world. Food and clothing for the hundreds 
of millions of living beings upon earth, this is the 
purpose of all this silent plant-life. 

That primitive vegetable kingdom which God 
created on the third day, has been preserved to 
us, though in a different form, up to the present 
tim.e, and to it we owe our warm rooms during the 
winter. In the lowest and oldest strata of the 
earth there are found immense quantities of trees, 
which through some physical process have been 
turned into coal; often there may still be seen 
the trunks, limbs, leaves and fruit ; yea, by means 
of a microscope even the smallest wooden cells can 

The First Page of the Bible. 47 

be detected. This immense mass of vegetation, 
among which there is not to be found a single 
bone of a quadruped or of a man (a proof that 
these, as the Bible relates, were not yet created), 
is our coal. It is well known that coal is found 
heaped up in different parts of the earth, often in 
layers forty feet in thickness. We may know how 
enormous these quantities are from the fact that 
in England alone sixty million tons are dug annu- 
ally. It has been calculated that England alone 
would have enough coal for five hundred years to 
come. In North America, in China and in Aus- 
tralia, where coal has been burned already for 
two thousand years, there are yet stored up enor- 
mous quantities. And this immense amount of 
fuel which lies buried beneath mud, sand and lay- 
ers of rock, is but the remains of that vegetation 
which God created on the third day, and which 
by means of internal heat in the earth has been 
slowly converted into coal. 

The wind roared and whistled through these 
immense forests of gigantic trees, which at that 
time covered those portions of the earth that had 
scarcely arisen out of the water. But no animal 
roam.ed through these forests, no birds sang in the 
trees, and not even an ant or a catapiller crawled 
upon the limbs; everything was quiet upon the 
earth. Not even the sun shone upon them. Ig- 
norant scoffers — for ignorance and mockery gen- 
erally go together — have frequently laughed at 
the idea that vegetation, according to Bible ac- 

48 The First Page of the Bible. 

counts, should have preceded the appearance of 
the sun, because it says that vegetation was crea- 
ted on the third and the sun on the fourth day, 
and every child knew that without sun-light no 
plant could grow. A cheap way of scoffing! As 
if Moses had not known this. And how? Is it 
not possible that the earth may have had in those 
primitive times a different light from the light of 
the sun? Indeed, certain facts clearly indicate 
this. For instance, we discover in coal, whether 
it is dug in hot or cold regions of the earth, ex- 
actly the same plants, the gigantic fern as high as 
a tree and the palm-tree, which at the present day 
only grows in hot and moist countries. From this 
it is clear that at that time light and heat were 
distributed over the earth in an even measure, or, 
in other words, as is more definitely affirmed by 
the great botanist Descandolles, the vegetation 
which now has become fossilized, at that time had 
different light from our sun-light. We must 
therefore imagine the earth to have been envel- 
oped in a mild light and at the same time heated 
from within. 

Moreover the discovery of a manifold animal 
life in the ice-cold depths of the sea, whither no 
ray of light penetrates, proves that organized life 
can exist for thousands of years without sun- 
light and warmth. Thus, here also the latest dis- 
coveries of science confirm the Bible, and show 
how the Omnipotence of God far transcends fhe 
vain imagination of man. 

The First Page of the Bible. 49 

If you hold a piece of coal in your hand, re- 
member that you have a piece of a tree, which at 
one time grew upon the earth, when neither sun 
nor moon shone, when there were neither earthly 
days, seasons nor years, when no animal lived 
upon the earth and the soul of Adam rested yet 
uncreated in the depths of the divinity. And 
when you have thus looked backward upon the 
thousands of years that are gone, take also a look 
forward. True, the earth and everything upon it 
will pass away ; but there is promised to us a new 
earth, upon which vegetation will gloriously grow 
and blossom, far beyond our expectation; where 
the trees of life will bear their fruit in their sea- 
son and when their leaves will serve for the heal- 
ing of the nations. (Rev. 22 :3) . 


"And God Said, 'Let There Be Lights in the Firm- 
ament of the Heaven to Divide the Day From 
the Night; and Let Them be for Signs, and for 
Seasons, and for Days and Years; and Let 
Them be for Lights in the Firmament of the 
Heaven to Give Light Upon the Earth;' and It 
Was So. And God Made Two Great Lights; 
the Greater Light to Rule the Day, and the 
Lesser Light to Rule the Night; He Made the 
Stars Also. And God Set Them in the Firma- 
ment of the Heaven to Give Light Upon the 
Earth. And to Ride Over the Day and Over 
the Night, and to Divide the Light From the 
Darkness; and God Said That It Was Good. 
And the Evening and the Morning were the 
Fourth Day." 

WE just spoke of the vegetable kingdom 
and what remains of it in the form of 
coal, and as it existed before the sun 
shone upon the earth, and how there must have 
been at that time a different light from the one at 
the present day, which enveloped the earth with 
an even temperature. Whence this light came, 
can not now be explained, and in this case, too, 
like in hundreds of others, the best wisdom must 
find expression in the humble confession: "We 

The First Page of the Bible. 51 

know not." But so much we do know, that, after 
a definite period of time, on the fourth day of 
creation, for the first time, two great lights ap- 
peared in the heavens, one of these ruled the day 
and the other the night, and these were to serve 
as regulators of time. 

It is to be noted here that in the narrative 
of the creation of the sun and moon on the fourth 
day, the word "barah" (created) is not used, but 
"asah" (set in order) . The native material of the 
sun was long before at hand, but not arranged, 
made into the sun, until the fourth day. Thus the 
German Astronomer Moldenhauer writes: "The 
earth required less time to form a globe than the 
sun, and long after the formation of the earth was 
the great mass of nebulous light formied into the 
sun-ball, small in the beginning, but dazzling in 
light." With this opinion, viz.: that the forma- 
tion of the earth preceded that of the sun by mil- 
lions of years, the most renowned scientists and 
astronomers fully agree, e. g., Prof. Dr. Quenstedt, 
Astronomer Flammarion, Prof. Faye, and Lord 
Kelvin, the latter probably the most renowned 
physicist of the present time. Here also, then, 
scientific research confirms the Biblical narrative, 
and not, as scoffers assert, contradict it. 

This is a very important mission, for our best 
clocks and other time-regulators would not be suf- 
ficiently accurate and reliable as to show minutely 
the exact time for any given period; only the 
heavenly bodies are reliable time-regulators, 

52 The First Page of the Bible. 

which never gain nor lose, not even a minute or 
second. Without them there would soon be a 
fearful confusion in the regulation of time, yes, 
without them and without the established division 
of day and night, month and years, man would 
never have entertained the idea of making divi- 
sions of time at all. But were we not to have di- 
visions of time, an orderly human existence would 
be inconceivable. We see how the Scriptures 
from the very beginning during the tim.e of the 
law and the prophets to the Revelation pay much 
attention to time, even more than we notice. We 
refer only to the passages : "But when the fulness 
of time was come"; "My hour is not yet come." 
Also Rev. 12:14; 10:6, and many others. 

Therefore, in order that we should have light 
and a division of the time, we have the sun and 
the moon. But if one should conclude this to be 
their only purpose, it would remind one of a beg- 
gar, to whom a king was daily giving alms, be- 
cause the beggar might conclude that the king ex- 
isted only for that purpose, and that this were his 
only mission. No, these are mighty creations of 
God, which do not merely exist for our sakes, but 
also for His glory and honor, and to fulfill other 
missions, unknown to us. Thus the sun gives 
light not only to our little earth, but also to two 
hundred other planets, of which the majestic 
"Jupiter" with its four moons is 1,400 times 
greater, and the cloudy "Saturn," with eight 
moons, 700 times greater than our earth. And 

The First Page of the Bible. 53 

not only does the sun give light to these bodies, 
but it also forces them, by means of its mighty 
power of attraction, as their center, to revolve 
around it drawing them irresistibly along in its 
flight through the immense starry heavens. More- 
over, the fact that the Holy Scriptures speak from 
a human standpoint when they refer to the sun 
and moon as being the two main lights in the 
heavens, while the stars are mentioned only inci- 
dentally, is natural and proper. We know very 
well from reliable observations and calculations 
that the moon is a thousand time smaller than the 
fixed stars, which we see shining in the heavens, 
and that the moon, compared to the sun, being a 
million times larger, occupies a very subordinate 
and insignificant position in the solar system. 
But God has given His Word to the entire human 
race, which does not only consist of a few thou- 
sands of learned and educated men, but of the 
toiling millions, who eat their bread in the sweat 
of their brow, who understand nothing about as- 
tronomy and the natural sciences, but who are as 
near to the paternal heart of God, if not nearer, 
than many a great philosopher. And if God 
wishes to speak to all these His children. He 
speaks to them in a very simple language, so that 
they may understand it. Consequently the accu- 
sation so often brought against the Bible of not 
speaking a scientific language, is exceedingly ab- 
surd. If the Bible were to speak "scientifically," 
what would it profit these millions? 

54 The First Page of the Bible. 

Planets, suns and moons, are the three main 
kinds of heavenly bodies in the universe. There 
is not one sun merely, but there are millions of 
them, which may be seen through great tele- 
scopes. These suns are called fixed stars, and are 
just as large, some even larger than our sun and 
just as bright and even brighter. Why do they 
appear to us so small? Answer: because they are 
so far away from us. Our earth is not the only 
planet that revolves around the sun, but there are 
over two hundred other "earths," some greater, 
others smaller than our place of habitation, but 
like our earth having air and water, day and night 
and seasons, clouds and winds, dry land and 
oceans, mountains and valleys, some also ice and 
snow. Whether there are living beings, plants, 
animals and perhaps creatures of a higher order, 
we know not, and will very likely never find out 
while upon this earth. Our moon likewise is not 
the only moon in the heavens; those other earths 
and planets have their moons also, the one two, 
the other four, still others six and eight, so that 
the nights there must be wonderfully bright. And 
all these moons are, like ours, much smaller than 
the earths around which they revolve. Thus 
earths, moons, and suns are in reality the three 
main species of heavenly bodies created by God. 

How it looks upon an earth, you know from 
experience. But let us see how it looks upon a 
moon. The surface of the moon is rigid, desolate 
and rocky, strewn over with high steep moun- 

The First Page of the Bible. 55 

tains, not interrupted by any ocean or sea, neither 
covered by forests. The height of these mountains 
has been measured with the instruments of as- 
tronomers; many are over 20,000 feet high, con- 
sequently higher than the highest mountains of 
Europe. Over this broken, stony country, with 
grand bold outlines, the sun, when it shines, pours 
out a glaring light. Inasmuch as the moon has 
no air or atmosphere, just as God created it on the 
second day, the sky there does not appear to be 
blue, but perfectly black, and in this pitch black 
sky the sun shines unbearably bright, not only 
twelve hours, as with us, but incessantly fourteen 
long days, and pours over those naked rocks a 
glowing heat, in which metals would melt. Be- 
sides this the stars shine at noonday even brighter 
than upon our earth at night, because no layer 
of air cools and obstructs their rays. At the set- 
ting of the sun after this long "day," suddenly, 
without twilight, because of want of air, black 
night spreads over the valleys, whilst the sum- 
mits, for some hours, are yet brightly beaming 
with light. Just then, if we were there, we would 
see in the east, instead of the setting sun, the 
earth rise most beautifully, appearing as bright as 
silver. From the moon the earth appears fifteen 
times larger than the moon appears to us from the 
earth. The continents, oceans, clouds, even the 
masses of ice at the pole, appear as bright and 
dark spots, as we observe such also upon the 
moon. There are no changes of the weather or 

56 The First Page of the Bible. 

of the seasons upon the moon. During all these 
centuries it wanders through space unchanged, 
rigid and lifeless. Whether it was inhabited at 
any time, covered with vegetation, or whether it 
ever will be, we know not. According to all ap- 
pearances, the precise conditions exist upon the 
other moons; for instance, upon those of the 
planet Jupiter. The sun is altogether different. 
As the moon is the kingdom of death, the sun on 
the other hand is the kingdom of life; a life, a 
power, far beyond our comprehension. The sun 
is over a million times larger than our earth, and 
when it appears to us not larger than the moon it 
is because its distance is four hundred times 
greater. This gigantic world is a veritable ocean 
of fire, of glowing melted metal, surrounded by 
flaming air, thousands of miles high. The heat 
which exists there is incomprehensibly great and 
does not only measure thousands but hundreds of 
thousands of degrees, or how could, otherwise, the 
sun, at such a distance, give life to the entire sur- 
face of the earth and all its inhabitants? And if 
God were to throw our little earth into that fire, 
there would be only a small blaze, and the earth 
would disappear with everything upon it, just as 
if a little ball of wax would fall into our kitchen 
fire. By means of strong telescopes it can be no- 
ticed from our earth how mighty columns of fire 
burst forth from the interior of this immense ball. 
After some time these streams fall back again 
into that ocean of fire, and there, in the interior, 

The First Page of the Bible. 57 

form mighty whirlpools which appear like dark 
spots. These are the so-called "sun spots." 

The stars, too, which you see so quietly shin- 
ing in the heavens, are such suns, immense worlds 
of fire, many of them much greater, hotter and 
brighter than our sun. Thus, for instance, Sirius, 
the dog-star, the brightest in the heavens among 
the well known constellation Canis Major, is con- 
sidered to possess a force of light equal to 5,000 
suns like ours. Just imagine such an abundance 
of light in our sky ! Others again are less bright ; 
still others are blue, green, or purple. How won- 
derful must such an illumination appear upon 
those earths, that revolve around these colored 
suns! Then there are the so-called changeable 
stars; these are suns whose light regularly de- 
creases for weeks and months and then increases 
again and becomes brighter. Perhaps the reason 
for this is, that one side of these stars is covered 
with dross, so whenever at their regular revolu- 
tion that side is turned toward us, it appears 
dark. Som.e times there are two, three or four 
suns grouped together constituting a "family of 
suns," and thus blue, green and golden suns fly 
around each other in a wonderful ever changing 
course. Upon those earths or planets the blue and 
golden days take turns about with the green and 
the purple, and nights, too, are illuminated by 
such colored m.oons. Still more : sometimes there 
are several "families of suns" united into groups, 
and the astronomer beholds with astonishment 
such a colored group of suns in the heavens, guid- 

58 The First Page of the Bible. 

ed by a great white sun, which serves, so to speak, 
as a shepherd and leader. Who may fathom the 
wonder which God has created upon and in these 
worlds ? 

But also in this wonderful kingdom of light, 
the earnest of Him is manifest, who is a consum- 
ing fire. The astronomers have observed thirteen 
times already such exceptionally bright stars 
which having suddenly appeared, have after a few 
months or years gradually entirely vanished. 
Certainly no one, not even the most pronounced 
infidel, can resist the impression : here I have been 
an eye-witness from a great distance how a world 
has perished in fire. There will come a time when 
the inhabitants of other heavenly bodies, if we 
dare speak of such, will see how a little star, or 
sun with our earth, will blaze up, and after a 
short time be lost in darkness. (2 Peter, 3:10). 
Moreover, astronomers have noticed seven times 
already how in dark places in the heavens sud- 
denly new light-spots, new stars, have appeared — 
no doubt new creations of God. 

And thus we, too, look for a new earth after 
this earth, now shone upon by sun and moon, has 
disappeared. The sun shall be no more thy light 
by day; neither for brightness shall the moon 
give light unto thee, but the Lord shall be unto 
thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. 
(Is. 60:19; Rev. 21:23). 


"And God Said, Let the Waters Bring Forth 
Ahimdantly the Moving Creature That Hath 
Life, and Fowl That May Fly Above the Earth 
in the Open Firmament of Heaven. And God 
Created Great Whales, and Every Living 
Creature That Moveth, Which the Waters 
Brought Forth Abundantly, After Their Kind, 
and Every Winged Fowl After His Kind; and 
God Satv That It Was Good. And God Blessed 
Them, Saying, Be Fruitful and Multiply, and 
Fill the Waters in the Seas, and Let Fowl 
Midtiply in the Earth. And the Evening and 
the Morning Were the Fifth Day." 

AND God said." Thus the divine work of 
creation goes on. Hitherto the air and 
the sea and the land covered with un- 
bounded forests had been desolate and quiet. 
And again there came another night of creation, 
and again there was darkness upon the earth and 
the sun lost its brightness. Again new mountain 
ranges came forth out of the earth amidst fearful 
crashes and noise, accompanied by thick columns 
of smoke, and those mighty forests which had 
been created on the fourth day were buried be- 
neath sand, mud and rock, so that, according to 
God's will, they should be preserved deep under the 
earth in order that men in the twentieth century 
might bring them forth as fuel for the purpose of 

60 The First Page of the Bible. 

warming their houses and feed their machines, 
engines and steamers. But when the volcanoes 
ceased their roaring and the new mountains that 
had been formed of melted rock, had cooled off, 
when the smoke disappeared and the sun again 
shone forth brightly and lovely on the fifth day of 
creation — then there came forth out of the ground 
an enormous abundance of vegetation. For the 
Word of God spoken once on the fourth day con- 
tinued to retain its power in bringing forth vege- 
tation and will continue the same as long as the 
earth remains. But not only this. In consequence 
of the Divine Word there began now to move for 
the first time in the air and in the seas a great 
variety of animal life, there came forth fishes and 

It has been a matter of surprise that two spe- 
cies of animals, apparently so different, are here 
in a manner grouped together and created both on 
the same day. But in looking at the matter more 
closely, it will be seen that the fish and birds 
really go together and that both differ materially 
from the four-footed anim.als. Both have an ^^g 
shaped gradually tapering body, this being best 
adapted for their movement in the air and in the 
water. They do not walk, but move by means of 
fins and wings. In addition to this both have a 
fan-like tail which serves the purpose of a rudder, 
something not found with land animals. Further, 
both are covered with shingle-like scales or feath- 
ers lying one upon another. These give forth an 
oily liquid to protect them against wet and cold. 

The First Page of the Bible. 61 

Both have hollow bones, very light and yet strong, 
filled with air instead of marrow, and both are 
oviparous, or egglaying. Neither are the so-called 
little blood corpuscles of these animals round, as 
is the case with the four-footed animals and man, 
but oval and much larger. Finally both species of 
animals have the same mysterious, regularly re- 
turning migration instinct. Like the migrating 
birds in the fall, too, the herring, the cod-fish 
and others in the depths of the sea, undertake 
their annual migration to regions unknown. In 
view of what has been said, one may justly affirm : 
the birds are the fish of the air in which they 
swim, and the fish on the other hand are the 
birds of the water in which they fly. Besides it is 
known to everybody that there are numerous spe- 
cies of birds, the so-called divers, which can swim 
better upon and in the water than they can fly in 
the air ; and again, that there are the so-called fly- 
ing fish, which can sustain themselves for a time 
in the air. God has assigned to these His crea- 
tures a beautiful free life. It has become prover- 
bial in many languages how pleasant the little fish 
finds it in the water and how free the bird is in 
the air. The eagle soars majestically for hours 
around the mountain summit, looking down upon 
the earth beneath him., as he sails with pleasure 
in the blue sky. At the south pole, where the 
oceans cover an area many times larger than Eu- 
rope, the real king of the air is the strong man- 
of-war-bird (Ornith). With much larger wings 
than the eagle, it is to him life and pleasure to 

62 The First Page of the Bible, 

spend weeks day and night upon the ocean, hun- 
dreds of miles distant from the shore; to fight 
with the storm, which tosses the mastless ships 
to and fro, ever and anon crying to God in a 
hoarse voice, that He might send him his prey and 
food in time. And in those same waters the much 
feared cachalot is king of the ocean. As large, 
yea, even larger than the whale, with a gigantic 
angular head and frightful teeth, he rises at times 
to the surface, plays with ships and knocks 
against them, so that the strongest rafters come 
apart and the ship with everything in it sinks into 
the depths of the sea. Then again he dives down 
into the ocean and traverses with great force his 
watery kingdom, a ruler before whom the inhab- 
itants of the deep fly frightened in all directions, 
and even the voracious shark, this tiger of the sea, 
takes timidly to flight. Here we have also a "king 
by divine right!" 

If now we ask ourselves the question as to 
whether there are yet found in the interior of the 
earth remains of those creatures, which God crea- 
ted on the fifth day, we find again that the result 
harmonizes completely with the Bible account. 
The layers of the earth relate to us very clearly 
that after the immense creation of vegetation, 
whose remains we yet find in the coal, there fol- 
lowed great commotions of the earth and that all 
at once an enormous multitude of water animals 
of all kinds appeared upon the earth, or more 
properly speaking, in the seas, whose remains by 

The First Page of the Bible. 63 

the millions constitute certain layers of the earth's 
crust; for instance, the slate, whereof we have 
numerous examples. And if one sees how in a 
single piece of slate animals of all kinds, some- 
times hundreds and thousands, are crushed to- 
gether, one understands the word: "So is this 
great wide sea, wherein are things creeping in- 
numerable, both small and great beasts." (Ps. 
104:25). Also the "sea-monsters," of which the 
Bible speaks in the original, we recognize very 
distinctly. Their remains are yet found in muse- 
um^s, although mostly in small specimens. They 
are called "Sauria," or lizards on account of their 
shape, but you must imagine giant animals from 
20 to 70 feet in length. There were the mighty 
"fish-sauria," with their four enormous fins and 
sharp teeth, found in their large pointed snouts, 
and with which they could crush the ink-fish and 
other sea animals, whose remains we find in their 
stomachs to-day. The eyes of this sea-monster 
are especially interesting, for these, as one may 
yet see from the skeleton at the present day, were 
enclosed by many movable bone-plates, which 
made it possible for the eyes either to be pressed 
together to a small size or to be enlarged to the 
size of a plate. This, no doubt, served a twofold 
purpose; on the one hand it prevented the eyes 
of the animal from being blinded on coming to the 
surface of the water, and on the other hand to 
give it sight in the depths of the dark ocean in or- 
der to seize its prey. But there were also other 
sea-animals in great number, for instance, the 

64 The First Page of the Bible. 

sea-anemones, which, while grown fast to the bot- 
tom, carry their beautiful heads like a flower upon 
a long slender stem from 10 to 12 feet long. Then 
the well known ammonites, which are found in 
many places, the smallest ones like a dime-piece, 
the largest of a hundred pounds weight, as large 
as a wagon-wheel. Finally the ink-fish, which, on 
account of its horn-like snout, the country people 
call "thunder-wedge" or "devilsfinger." 

But also the inhabitants of the air, the birds, 
are found, for the first time in these layers of 
earth. When the birds are not found in such 
abundance as the sea-animals, we can see how this 
harmonizes with the Bible, which uses the expres- 
sion "creeping" with reference to the sea-animals, 
but not with reference to the birds. Besides this, 
the relative scarcity of bird-fossils is explained 
when we consider, that the sea-animals, when 
they perished, remained in the mud by the thou- 
sands and were preserved by being petrified, while 
the birds remained upon the earth and being ex- 
posed to the air would decay, so that their trace 
was lost. Yet there are also traces of birds as 
created on the fifth day, similar to our birds at 
the present day, and also some which belonged to 
other species that have disappeared. 

iNow let us hear something with reference to 
the increase of the sea-animals, in comparison 
with the inhabitants of the air, a point on which 
the Bible lays special emphasis in the 22nd verse 
of the creation account. It is surprising how this 
blessing of God is yet manifest in regard to the 

The First Page of the Bible. 65 

water-animals. While the birds show a relatively 
slow increase and lay only from one to six eggs, 
we find in the case of fishes a productive power 
which surpasses even the productiveness of the 
vegetable kingdoms already referred to. There 
have been found in a single herring up to 68,000 
eggs, in carps from 200,000 to 342,000, in a huso 
(a fish in the river Wolga) above three millions, 
and in a cod from four to nine millions. Of 
course of these eggs millions and millions perish 
from various causes: storms, water-birds, etc. 
But one who lives near the ocean may convince 
himself of the immense number of sea-animals, 
which are in the water. Thus, for instance, at the 
sea-port of Havre, thirty to forty fish-boats 
launch out into the ocean every day of the year 
and catch within a relatively small area an im- 
mense quantity of prawn, and small lobsters, 
which are eaten along the entire sea-coast, also 
in Rouen and Paris. And yet they do not de- 
crease. Again, hundreds of large ships with a 
fishing-crew from fifteen to twenty thousand sail 
annually to the banks of Newfoundland and catch 
on an average thirty millions of cod, and still this 
fish is always found there in the same quantity. 
The Norwegians alone, when the herring-migra- 
tion, coming from the north pole, takes place 
along their coasts, catch in a few weeks three hun- 
dred millions and often a great deal more, so that 
they make use of them as manure for their fields. 
Hordes of sharks and whales follow these columns 

66 The First Page of the Bible. 

and eat thousands of them, so that they become 
big and fat, and yet in spite of all this, one can not 
notice the least decrease. An immense quantity 
of them find their way every year to the depths of 
the Atlantic ocean, where, no doubt, they serve as 
food for the larger fish. And again there comes 
from the north pole, year by year, this inexhaust- 
ible stream of a mighty life. It has been asserted, 
that, if the means for catching and transporting 
them would be at hand, the entire human family 
could live on fish, without noticing a decrease. 
Thus the Word of God, spoken on the fifth day of 
creation, is still being fulfilled : "Let the waters 
bring forth abundantly the moving creature that 
hath life," and : "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill 
the waters in the seas." 


"And the Evening and the Morning Were the 
Fifth Day. And God Said, Let the Earth 
Bring Forth the Living Creature After His 
Kind, Cattle and Creeping Thing, and Beast of 
the Earth After His Kind, and it Was So. And 
God Made the Beast of the Earth After His 
Kind, and Cattle After Their Kind, and Every- 
thing That Creepeth Upon the Earth After 
His Kind; and God Saiv That H Was Good." 

ONCE more the earth was covered with 
darkness and a mighty destructive com- 
motion passed over it, and for a time, the 
creative power of God rested. But when on the 
m.orning of the sixth day the light again poured 
over the earth, when innumerable new kinds of 
plants came forth; when all sorts of water-ani- 
mals began to move in the oceans and innumer- 
able birds to fly about in the air — then a new 
wonder was performed : neiv, higher kinds of ani- 
mals began to inhabit the earth. To us, of course, 
the many kinds of animals, which we daily see, 
are no longer a wonder, as is the case with many 
other wonders of God ! A horse is to us a horse, 
and a dog a dog, and nothing else. But should 
there appear for the first time some strange think- 
ing being upon the earth, a being created by God, 

68 The First Page of the Bible. 

to him, to be sure, man would appear the most 
wonderful. Man, the divine image, the fallen 
king, so small and yet so great, so changeable 
and yet eternal, so insignificant and yet so im- 
portant. But next to man, the greatest wonder to 
him would be the animal world, which God crea- 
ted on the sixth day. Such a visitor would ask: 
who are these beings that move about with such 
a variety of form and shape? Like you, they are 
born in pain; like you, they eat and drink, feel 
joy and sorrow. They seem to think and to be 
possessed of will-power. Like you, they have feel- 
ing and memory; they love and hate. They look 
up to you in silence and yet they seem to speak. 
They willingly follow you; fear death, like you, 
and die, like you, in anguish and pain. Indeed, 
there is something mysterious about these ani- 
mals. We find them in the garden of Eden, where 
everything was pure and happy. God will re- 
quire the blood of man at the hand of every beast, 
and the blood of beasts at the hand of man (Gen. 
9:5). They have the capacity to see angels, where 
the eyes of men are holden (Numbers 22:23), 
They are even mentioned in connection with the 
invisible, heavenly world (IL Kings 6:17; 2:11; 
Rev. 19:11, 14). They are a part of the "crea- 
ture" to which the Apostle refers when he speaks 
of the earnest expectation of the creature and its 
final delivery from the bondage of corruption into 
the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 
8:19, etc.). And has God not made use of the an- 
imal world in order that the people of the Old 

The First Page of the Bible. 69 

Testament covenant should know the distinction 
between clean and unclean, holy and unholy? 
(Lev. 11). True, we learn in the New Testament 
that every creature of God is good, but it is never- 
theless remarkable, that even here Jesus is desig- 
nated as the "Lamb of God" and that the Holy 
Ghost comes down in the form of a "dove," while 
on the other hand we read: "For without are 
dogs." (Rev. 22:15. Comp, Matth. 7:6). Thus 
also in the New Testament the animal-world 
serves as a divine picture-book, in which the con- 
trast between the holy and the unholy, the clean 
and the unclean is presented to our view. 

"Everything after its kind" — thus God crea- 
ted the animals on the sixth day. The Bible, 
therefore, knows nothing about "Darwinism," so 
called after its founder, Darwin. According to 
his theory the higher animals and even man, in 
the course of many millions of years, have devel- 
oped from the lower animals, and these again in 
the same way, by means of an inherent power 
have come out of a "cell," i. e., a little bubble. No, 
as the plants, so also the animals have been crea- 
ted entirely distinct from each other and complete 
as to their kind. True, since the day of creation 
many kinds of animals and plants have become 
extinct, but no one has been able to prove that 
new kinds have come into existence since the cre- 
ation of man. Man has been able to produce only 
a number of varieties in the case of dogs, flowers 
and some plants, but the species itself remains un- 

70 The First Page of the Bible. 

changeable. Since the world began no ox has 
changed into a horse, and the old idea that has 
again been brought forth in the last century, 
though in different form, according to which man 
is descended from a monkey-like animal which in- 
habits the interior of Africa, (which, in an un- 
conscious desire after perfection, has given up its 
animal appearance and appropriated to itself a 
language), is not only from a biblical but also 
from a purely scientific standpoint considered an 
unfounded fancy of would-be-wise men, which has 
thousands of facts against it. 

As from the plants, which came forth on the 
third day, and from the fishes and birds, which 
came forth on the fifth day, so the layers in the 
interior of the earth contain from the four-footed 
animals, created on the sixth day, numberless, and 
in fact, well preserved remnants, and the reader 
need only visit a museum, where he will find them 
in abundance. And in order that the Bible also 
here m.ay prove itself trustworthy, because it 
states that these anim.als were created on the 
sixth day, the remains of the same are not found 
in the older layers of the earth, which would indi- 
cate that they had been created at the same time 
with the plants and water-animals, but for the 
first time we find them in the later, the chalk- 
layers, which cover the older layers, but here they 
are found in great abundance. There are not 
found petrified skeletons of transition-formations, 
as if, according to the Darwinian theory the wa- 
ter-animals had slowly and gradually changed 

The First Page of the Bible. 71 

into four-footed animals, crocodiles into oxen, but 
they appear all at once, hundreds and thousands 
of them, the ancestors of our elephants, rhinoce- 
roses and hippopotamuses, the giants of those 
days, much greater and more powerful in their 
youthful strength than they are at present, with 
jaw-teeth as large as a fist, and front teeth as 
thick as the trunks of small trees, and from ten to 
twelve feet long, and a skeleton of bones put to- 
gether like rafters, so that when looking at them 
one is reminded of that wonderful description of 
behemoth in the book of Job, ch. 40, 15-24. 

There was, for instance, the "megatherium" 
or "great animal," nearly twice as high and twice 
as long as a steer, with enormous thick bones, 
pilar-like legs and claws a foot long ; covered with 
a hard skin, two inches thick and with powerful 
chisel-like teeth, which enabled it to chew trunks 
of trees like soft grass. This mighty creature of 
God walked slowly through the forests and, 
shielded like a fortress, feared no attack. Through 
its skin neither claw nor tooth could penetrate, 
and neither the dash of a lion or a tiger would 
have caused it to tremble. With a single stroke of 
its paw it could have crushed any of the animals 
of prey at the present day. Also the "Dinothe- 
rium" or "Fright-animial," of which you may see 
a powerful skull with teeth in the museum at 
Stuttgart, God created on the sixth day. It is 
shaped like a hippopotamus, but much larger, hav- 
ing a strong snout and great teeth, which are bent 
downward, and with which it was enabled to hold 

72 The First Page of the Bible. 

itself in the current of a rushing stream. This 
animal, too, as much as we know, lived on herbs 
and water-plants. There were also at that time 
many "mammoths," and "mastodonts," two spe- 
cies of great elephants. The last named was cov- 
ered with a thick, shaggy fur, having enormous 
teeth and lived towards the north as far as Sibe- 
ria, where, at the present time, numerous teeth of 
this animal are found, which constitute a large 
part of the ivory sold by merchants. There have 
been found such animals frozen solid in the ice in 
the polar regions, which have been driven there 
perhaps at the time of the great flood. They are 
so well preserved that the dogs could live on their 
flesh, and even explorers did not despise eating 
such meat which may have been thousands of 
years old. Besides these animals just mentioned 
there roamed about through the forests during 
the time of the sixth day of creation enormous 
lizards up to seventy feet long, and taller than a 
steer ; also animals with scales from 14 to 24 feet 
long, covered with six cornered or pointed scales 
as hard as steel. Some of these species are found 
yet in South America, of course, six times smaller. 
In addition to these there were numerous smaller 
species of animals, coming down even to the 
dragon fly and the spider, which are found yet at 
the present day nicely embalmed in amber, which 
itself is nothing else but the gradually hardened 
pitch of the pine tree of those days. 

Thus the animals were created, which still at 
the present time inhabit the earth in endless va- 

The First Page of the Bible. 73 

riety. Whatever shall become of them upon the 
new earth, we know not. But as they were al- 
lowed to walk under the trees of the first para- 
dise, so they will also be allowed to walk under the 
trees of the second paradise, as the Scriptures 
clearly indicate. (Comp. Is. 11). The conserva- 
tive spirit of the Scriptures does not allow us on 
the one hand to enter upon doubtful speculations 
and fantastic paintings, yet on the other hand we 
must not portray to ourselves the life to come so 
poor, barren and meagre. The heaven of our God 
is not a mere big hall, in which we are all to sit 
together, but a glorious world, yea many worlds, 
which are all filled with His brightness and glory. 
Then it will be the entire universe, and the mil- 
lions of starry worlds, which we now see shining 
in the heavens, are only a small part of the great 
divine creation — a dominion, in which there is 
room for millions of creatures of all kinds, of 
whom we have no conception and presentiment 
here upon our little earth. 


''And God Said, Let Us Make Man in Our Image, 
After Our Likeness; and Let Them Have Do- 
minion Over the Fish of the Sea, and Over the 
Fowl of the Air, and Over the Cattle, and 
Over All the Earth, and Over Every Creeping 
Thing that Creepeth Upon the Earth. So God 
Created Man in His Own Image, in the Image 
of God Created He Him; Male and Female 
Created He Them. And God Blessed Them, 
and God Said Unto Them, Be Fruitful and 
Multiply, and Replenish the Earth, and Sub- 
due it; and Have Dominion Over the Fish of 
the Sea, and Over the Fowl of the Air, and 
Over Every Living Thing that Moveth Upon 
the Earth. And God Said, Behold, I Have 
Given You Every Herb Bearing Seed, Which 
is Upon the Face of All the Earth, and Every 
Tree Yielding Seed; to You it Shall be for 
Meat. And to Every Beast of the Earth, and 
to Every Fowl of the Air, and to Everything 
that Creepeth Upon the Earth, Wherein There 
is Life, I Have Given Every Green Herb for 
Meat: And It Was So." (Gen. 1, 26-30). 

THE earth was now completed and there was 
glorious life everywhere, but yet the crea- 
tures were looking for a visible ruler. 
Then God did not speak merely a creative word, 
but the Triune God held, so to speak, counsel with 

The First Page of the Bible. 75 

himself, and this resulted in a great, eternal res- 
olution. "Let us make man in our image, after 
our likeness." How dignifying! A vice-regent 
upon earth, God-like, his image, an absolute ruler 
over all creatures, a mediator between God and 
the creatures, man was to be! And now what 
have Satan and sin made out of him? A poor 
slave of his lusts and desires, his body languishing 
under disease, bowed down to earth, perspiring 
and shedding tears, no longer controlling the en- 
tire creation, but living in constant fear. He 
fears the heat of the sun and the cold air, he fears 
the fire and the water and the animals of the field, 
he fears life and fears death, and his entire power 
and knowledge prove helpless against the grape- 
bug and the potato disease or against the invisible 
poisonous germ.s of the cholera, which give him 
fearful pain and deadly disease. How is the king 
of the earth fallen and his glory gone ! 

And yet you may behold traces of his dignity 
by looking at his bodily form. He does not walk 
horizontally with his head toward the earth like 
the animals, but erect with his head upward, only 
touching the earth with his feet. And in his body 
he unites a diversity of qualities. While in the 
case of animals one is known by its swiftness, 
another by its strength, a third one by its fine 
hearing or keen sight, in no single one are these 
qualities found in such beautiful harmony as is 
the case of man. The properly developed human 
body unites them all. History relates of exhibi- 
tions of human strength, which, if one considers 

76 The First Page of the Bible. 

the weight of the human body, surpasses the 
strength of the horse and the ox, yea even of the 
lion. The swiftest animals have already been out- 
run by man. The Arab of the desert distinguishes 
on the clear sky of the Sahara desert, at a dis- 
tance of nine miles, a horse or a camel, where a 
European would see nothing but a dark spot. 
The Tunguse of Siberia sees with the naked eye 
the four moons of Jupiter. Furthermore, man is 
not covered with scales, feathers or hair, for 
these, though they protect the animal against cold, 
dull the sensibilities and lessen the sense of touch, 
but with a fine skin, which is very susceptible to 
the least impression. And what animal would be 
able, like man, to endure the 40 degrees of cold in 
Siberia as well as the 42 degrees of heat in Af- 
rica? What animal could live in the regions of 
eternal snow and ice as well as in the glowing 
sand, upon the summits of mountains as well as 
three thousand feet deep in the earth, like the 
miners at Falun in Sweden? 

And what a wonder is this body of his ! The 
eye, which, according to its need, widens and con- 
tracts, adapts itself to the laws of the telescope 
looking into the distance, as well as to the micro- 
scope near by, is already in itself a wonderful 
world of fine nerves and muscles, which receive 
millions of rays of light and pictures and give the 
soul reliable information concerning the things 
in the outer world. Likewise the human ear, in 
which there are found 43,000 wonderful small 
little staffs, like the strings of a harp, which ver- 

The First Page of the Bible. 77 

berate at every tune and sound and through 
which the soul receives the wonders of the sound. 
But above all the greatest of all wonders is speech. 
In order that these noble senses may perform 
their functions, it is necessary that there should 
be nourishing organs. The mouth, throat and 
stomach receive and convert within a few hours 
suitable food into blood, so that the bread which 
a few hours ago lay as dead matter upon your 
table, has become now a part of yourself, has 
changed into blood, on which you subsist, and into 
brain, with which you think. And the blood, this 
mysterious liquid, of which the Bible tells us that 
it contains the life or the soul, is now taken up 
by the heart, this wonderful center of life, and 
the heart pumps this life juice incessantly by day 
and night, whether you think about it or not, 
through the finest arteries, up into the brain and 
down into the stomach, into the tips of your fing- 
ers and toes, and nourishes therewith the whole 
body. If this heart were merely a mechanical 
contrivance by man, made out of steel and dia- 
mond, it would have been worn out and incapable 
to perform its function long ago. For it beats 
seventy times in a minute, in a day 100,800 times, 
and in a year 36,792,000 times. If you are 50 
years old and a healthy man, your heart has 
beaten, without a pause, 1800 million times and 
feels no weariness ! So likewise the lungs breathe 
incessantly and untiringly the fresh air through 
thousands of cells and suck it up like a sponge the 
water and provide the blood with fresh air in or- 

78 The First Page of the Bible. 

der that it may be able to perform its function. 
They also, by the process of breathing, remove the 
impure air that has become useless, and all this is 
done whether you think about it or not. 

Besides these wonderful organs for nourish- 
ment, circulation of the blood and breathing, the 
body is interwoven by a fine net-work of white 
threads, all of which unite in the spinal marrow 
or brain. These are the nerves, the telegraph and 
telephone wires, by means of which the soul is in- 
formed of what is going on in the body, pain or 
enjoyment, warmth or cold. And all these dif- 
ferent activities work harmoniously together. 
The one cannot do without the other. The nerves 
and the brain need a constant supply of blood, and 
if this ceases only for a malf minute, or a few 
drops of it are spilled, it will result in a paraletic 
stroke and man will fall to the ground. Likewise 
the heart needs the assistance of the nerves for 
its activity and must be nourished by the stomach. 
The same is true of the lungs and their functions. 
And all this is done, not in a manner like unto our 
machinery with much noise and bustle, no, but so 
easily and gently that you do not notice it your- 
self. It is the breath of God within you that 
moves all these wonderful forces and compels to 
united action, what we call life. If you reflect 
upon all these things, you must cry out with 
David: ''I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully 
and wonderfully made!" (Ps. 139:14). 

Moreover, in another respect our body must 
be considered a wonderful thing. We are accus- 

The First Page of the Bible. 79 

tomed to look upon it as something solid and un- 
changeable, but we are mistaken. Our body is 
something in the hightest degree changeable, 
something that is in a constant state of dissolu- 
tion and reconstruction. That it constantly needs 
food in order to sustain itself, you know; but 
from the fact that this food amounts to several 
pounds daily, while the body increases in weight 
only a few grains, you will conclude that there is 
a continual great waste of matter. For instance, 
the v/ater evaporates and even solid substances, as 
metal gradually though very slowly, dissolve when 
coming in contact with the air. In this way our 
body finds itself in a continual process of disinte- 
gration and evaporation. This even affects the 
bones, for it has been discovered that also these, 
though in the center of the body, undergo a con- 
stant change, continually wasting away, and by 
this means of nourishment are formed into new 
ones. Yea, that our entire body is made new 
about every seven years, that not the least par- 
ticle of the former remains. A man of forty-two 
years, therefore, would have changed his body 
completely six times, and yet how remarkable — 
his form remains, his appearance in the main will 
be the samie, and in the midst of the changeable, 
there remains a mysterious unity and unchange- 
ableness. Does this not point to a secret divine 
power, which lies here at the bottom? Yes, be- 
hold, the human soul, your soul, has received the 
pov/er from God to draw, to itself by day and by 
night, whether you sleep or wake, constantly in- 

80 The First Page of the B ible. 

numerable little parts of matter in order that it 
may build and maintain for itself a body, by 
means of which it comes in constant contact with 
the world outside. And not only this, but it has 
also power to create for itself to a certain degree 
a picture of its own making. Have you ever, af- 
ter a certain interval of time, again seen a man, 
who, during that time had given himself up to a 
life of vice, fallen away from God and gone to 
ruin? And have you not noticed in his body, in 
his face, that he is on the down-grade, though he 
should be dressed ever so handsomely, washed 
and combed? And on the other hand have you 
ever seen the face of a man expressing a benevo- 
lent disposition, divine peace, though he did not 
say a word ? Thus, as God created man after His 
own image, the immortal soul shines always more 
or less through this transient and mortal body. 
This soul is yet a much greater wonder than the 
body of man, and about it we will now speak. 


God Created Man After His Image. 

THE full meaning of this word we shall 
doubtless not know, until we come into the 
bodies of our resurrection, glorious like the 
sun and strong with heavenly power. But what 
dignity, what honor, that God himself — Jehovah 
— should reveal himself in human form ; and also, 
that He has made the angels in our likeness. 
This we are not to understand as if we could 
judge by the form of man how God looks, but we 
are to understand here the essential powers and 
attributes of the human soul, as well as the posi- 
tion of man toward the rest of creation. As God 
rules the entire universe, thus man is to rule, 
through God, the earth and all creatures, and this 
he does in a certain sense even after his fall. Of 
course, whom he rules in the love of God for the 
sake of their happiness, are no longer his subjects 
in filial obedience, but it goes according to the 
Word of God to Noah : "And the fear of you and 
the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the 
earth." (Gen. 9:2) ; and instead of being their 
God, he is, alas ! too often their devil. He has yet 
great power nevertheless. There is not a being on 
earth, who could call him to account saying : why 
are you doing this ? Plants and animals are given 

82 The First Page of the Bible. 

over into his hands. He can take up a plant at 
one place and let it grow at another; and if this 
appears to us a matter of little importance, be- 
cause we are used to it, let us remember that no 
animal can do it. Likewise, he cannot only kill 
an animal, but he can bring it up tame and im- 
prove it. And were he to take care of them, as it 
becomes a king, instead of considering them his 
slaves, which he may torment at his pleasure, he 
could now already on his part satisfy many an 
earnest expectation of the creature. Thus man is 
the only creature of God upon the earth, who has 
power over the fire, this element of the wrath of 
God. Though many performances of animals, for 
instance, the building of houses by the beaver, 
seem to require more sense, than when man in the 
primitive ages attempted to preserve the fire of a 
tree when struck by lightning in adding more 
wood, yet no animal, not even the monkey, would 
have conceived such an idea. 

But still more than in his control over nature, 
we have to look for the essential powers of the 
human mind, wherein his "God-likeness" appears. 
What else is human art and science, the waging of 
wars and founding of kingdoms, the building of 
cities and making of laws, than a continual reve- 
lation and manifestation of an immortal, divine 
soul, which can find no peace, till it rests in the 
eternal, infinite God himself? Why is it not sat- 
isfied and content like the ox with a filled manger? 
The reason is : it is God's image. 

The First Page of the Bible. 83 

A part of this "God-likeness" is our con- 
science. As nothing evil can stand before God, so 
also nothing before the divine in man, which inex- 
orably judges and punishes his deeds, words and 
thoughts. How often has it happened that a mur- 
derer after ten and twenty years has voluntarily 
offered himself to the courts and asked for pun- 
ishment, in order that at last that fearful, unbear- 
able judge within him, may come to silence. Or 
look at the rich man who by bad and dishonorable 
trickeries, has acquired a great fortune. Well 
may he possess a magnificent house and sit at a 
sumptuous table; well may his friends call him a 
rich, clever, honorable and esteemed man, which 
he himself is almost inclined to believe. But 
when his friends are gone and the lights are ex- 
tinguished, then he rolls about on his magnificent 
bed, restless and anxious, his mind occupied with 
new speculations, only that he may not hear that 
small, still voice, which in the stillness of the 
night incessantly whispers: "You are a thief." 
Think also of your memory. What a power over 
time and space does it not possess, a part of God's 
omnipresence! Things long past, which the soul 
at one time has taken hold of, and now, after the 
floods of pain or joy have passed, after it has 
thought, spoken, done and experienced things in- 
numerable, perhaps an entire life gone by, it has 
yet the power to bring forth at its will, out of the 
ocean of the past, this or that which has appar- 
ently vanished long ago. And the man 70 or 80 

84 The First Page of the Bible. 

years of age sees yet the room in which he played 
when a little child and hears yet the voice of the 
mother, who died long ago. This is a mighty 
power of the human soul. From observations, 
which one may make of men high up in years, in 
sickness, in insanity and at the dymg hour, this 
power is much greater and more complete than 
we commonly imagine. One must assume that the 
human soul really does not forget anything, but 
that this or that experience is only for a time, as 
it were, covered up, and that there will be a time 
when every experience, every deed and every 
word, yea, every thought out of the depths will 
come to life again, living, true and perfect, in or- 
der that it (the soul) might be judged thereby. 

And now the greatest wonder of man — 
speech! The animals, too, have a kind of lan- 
guage and are enabled by means of the voice to 
express joy and pain in an impressive manner; 
but they have not the power of speech and never 
has the most intelligent dog invented a single 
monosyllabic word in order to call his master. 
And why not? Because he has not the mind, that 
understands and grasps men and things as to 
their real nature. But as we read about God at 
the time of the creation : "God said," "he called" ; 
Adam, too, "gave names to all cattle," as a be- 
ginning of his work on earth. This means a great 
deal. Have you never thought about this won- 
derful capacity of the human soul to give expres- 
sion by means of speech to its inward being, yea, 

The First Page of the Bible. 85 

so to speak, to breathe itself forth? With your 
lips and tongue you put a small portion of air 
into vibration: the air — or sound — waves are 
caught up by the ear of your neighbor, and im- 
mediately he knows your deepest thoughts ! With 
this apparently insignificant act, with this little 
air put into motion you can accomplish that which 
is good or bad; by means of spaech create anger, 
give comfort, lead immortal souls either to God 
or to the devil. By means of speech, kingdoms 
are daily founded and destroyed, cities are built, 
states and laws established, art and science fos- 
tered. And how exceedingly simple are also here 
the means, by which so great things are accom- 
plished! Five vowels and about twenty conson- 
ants have been sufficient for the last six thousand 
years for the most civilized nations of the earth, 
and will be sufficient for them as long as the earth 
stands, to express everything what the human 
heart thinks, feels, meditates and discovers. In 
these twenty-five signs are hidden all the books 
and writings that ever have been made, all lan- 
guages and dialects, which mankind ever has 
spoken or yet will speak. Man can invent many 
things, but he cannot invent a new letter, no sixth 
vowel to the five already existing, which God has 
given him. Is this not wonderful? And have we 
not in this a presentiment of the fact why the 
eternal Son of God is called in the Scriptures 
"Word of God"? But do you wish to understand 
something of the power, which is contained in a 
human word, remember only the sentence: "For 

86 The First Page of the Bible. 

by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy 
words thou shalt be condemned." (Matth. 12 :37) . 
Or what said Noah: "Cursed be Canaan; a ser- 
vant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." 
(Gen. 9:25), and with this saying the prophetic 
man of God sealed the destiny of an entire conti- 
nent for thousands of years to come, for history 
proves it: Africa always and is yet the land of 
slavery. And when Israel had blessed Jacob, no 
prayers and tears could alter what had been said. 
The word was spoken and Jacob remained 
blessed. How great is the power of the word 
spoken in the name of God. Therefore it is a 
lamentable sign of our times, that speech among 
us has become so degenerate. The old Greeks and 
Romans laid much stress on the proper use of lan- 
guage. Socrates would say: "To speak incor- 
rectly is damaging to the soul," or "Speak in order 
that I may see you." Therefore it was considered 
as the main object of an education to teach men 
how to speak in a few words, precise and true. 
And at the present day what a flood of meaning- 
less, hollow and empty words are constantly 
poured forth into the world, spoken and written, 
so that it is said depreciatingly: "They are but 
words!" This is much to be regretted! 

Thanks be to God, that the Word of God has 
more power, validity and permanency than such 
empty human speech, and that even Satan is not 
allowed to interfere. The Word of God is eternal 
and cannot pass away. And having once said: 

The First Page of the Bible. 87 

"Let us make man in our image, after our like- 
ness : and let them have dominion over the whole 
earth," the complete fulfillment cf this word may 
be interrupted by sin, but not discontinued. Re- 
deemed through Jesus Christ, man as renewed in 
the image of God, will at one time rule over the 
whole earth, yea even judge the angels, (I. Cor. 
6:31), and his word will again have a creative 
and judicial power. But its highest and noblest 
aim the word of man, as completed in Christ, will 
consist in this, that by means of the same, he will 
give praise and honor and glory to God in all eter- 
nity, for He has created all things, and for His 
pleasure they are and were created. (Rev. 4:11). 
"And I saw heaven new and earth new; for the 
first heaven and the first earth are gone." Rev. 
21:1). These words of creation, which we have 
considered hitherto, are immortal; the light and 
the air, the mountain, the plant and the animal, 
these are eternal thoughts of a God who will never 
give up His work as a failure. Upon the new 
earth, we will be allowed to behold this new crea- 
tion in still greater splendor and glory and inherit 
all things. (Rev. 21:7). "Behold, I make all 
things new." (Rev. 21:5). 

It is indeed a great pity that even many 
Christians are so slow to believe the promises of 
God to create a new heaven and a new earth. 
That birds and trees, hills and rivers are here, no 
one but a fool would undertake to deny. But that 
the sam.e God, who once created them, will make 

88 The First Page of the Bible. 

a new earth on which there will be rivers of crys- 
tal and hills of light, trees of life and a city of 
wondrous glory, in which we shall live in our 
risen, immortal, glorified and incorruptible bodies, 
clothed in white, with hands to feel and feet to 
walk, and a mouth to eat and drink, sing and 
praise, — this many will not believe; and in spite 
of the bodily resurrection of Christ and the prom- 
ises of the Word, they regard heaven as a hazy, 
indefinite and undefined existence somewhere, 
without much idea as to where. That this present 
world should have created itself is a piece of in- 
comprehensible nonsense. But if God once crea- 
ted it, why not re-create it? Is his hand short- 
ened? Can the Creator no longer create? Or 
shall the world of heavenly bliss, in which dwells 
no evil thing at all, be less real and substantial 
than this present world so full of sin? fools 
and slow of heart to believe all that God has 
promised in His Word. 

There is also a wonderful correspondence be- 
tween the last page of the Bible and the first. 
Thus the Word proves itself to be one throughout, 
a glorious revelation of the counsels of God with 
respect to mankind. "In the beginning God crea- 
ted heaven and earth." At the end he will create 
a new heaven and a new earth. The first earth 
He watered with four rivers ; on the new earth a 
river of crystal will flow from the temple. In the 
first Paradise there was a tree of life ; in the sec- 
ond there will be such trees. On the first earth 

The First Page of the Bible. 89 

there were mountains; on the second the Lord's 
house shall rise on a mountain, great and exceed- 
ing high. 

But glorious also will be the differences be- 
tween the first creation and the second. Sun and 
moon light the first, and in Paradise itself day- 
alternated with night. But on the new earth 
there will be no night ; they will need neither light 
of lamp nor light of sun ; for the Lord God shall 
give them light. (Rev. 22:5). Adam and Eve 
were naked, in token of their innocence; on the 
new earth the saints will walk, clothed in white, 
in token of their righteousness. In the first Par- 
adise man dwelt in a garden; in the second his 
home will be in the glorious palaces of God. In 
the first he was forbidden to eat of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil; in the second there 
is no such prohibition. In the first there was pos- 
sible a "No" ; in the second it will all be "YEA 
and AMEN." "And death shall be no more; 
neither shall there be murmuring, nor crying, nor 
pain, any more ; the first things are passed away. 
And he that sitteth on the throne said: Behold I 
make all things new." 

May God through the blood of Christ fit us 
for the inheritance of the saints in light. Amen. 

BS651 .B56 

The first page of the Bible ... 

Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Library 

1 1012 00056 0864