Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 25Pliocene, if not during the Miocene periods, when hoofed quadrupeds, and Proboscidians abounded, human remains and implements having been found mingled with remains of these animals.[29:1]
Charles Darwin believed that the animal called man, might have been properly called by that name at an epoch as remote as the Eocene period.[29:2] Man had probably lost his hairy covering by that time, and had begun to look human.
Prof. Draper, speaking of the antiquity of man, says:
"So far as investigations have gone, they indisputably refer the existence of man to a date remote from us by many hundreds of thousands of years," and that, "it is difficult to assign a shorter date from the last glaciation of Europe than a quarter of a million of years, and human existence antedates that."[29:3]
Again he says:
"Recent researches give reason to believe that, under low and base grades, the existence of man can be traced back into the Tertiary times. He was contemporary with the Southern Elephant, the Rhinoceros-leptorhinus, the great Hippopotamus, perhaps even in the Miocene, contemporary with the Mastodon."[29:4]
Prof. Huxley closes his "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature," by saying:
"Where must we look for primeval man? Was the oldest Homo Sapiens Pliocene or Miocene, or yet more ancient? . . . If any form of the doctrine of progressive development is correct, we must extend by long epochs the most liberal estimate that has yet been made of the antiquity of man."[30:1]
Prof. Oscar Paschel, in his work on "Mankind," speaking of the deposits of human remains which have been discovered in caves, mingled with the bones of wild animals, says:
"The examination of one of these caves at Brixham, by a geologist as trustworthy as Dr. Falconer, convinced the specialists of Great Britain, as early as 1858, that man was a contemporary of the Mammoth, the Woolly Rhinoceros, the Cave-lion, the Cave-hyena, the Cave-bear, and therefore of the Mammalia of the Geological period antecedent to our own."[30:2]
The positive evidence of man's existence during the Tertiary period, are facts which must firmly convince every one—who is willing to be convinced—of the great antiquity of man. We might multiply our authorities, but deem it unnecessary.
The observation of shells, corals, and other remains of aquatic animals, in places above the level of the sea, and even on high mountains, may have given rise to legends of a great flood.
Fossils found imbedded in high ground have been appealed to, both in ancient and modern times, both by savage and civilized man, as evidence in support of their traditions of a flood; and, moreover, the argument, apparently unconnected with any tradition, is to be found, that because there are marine fossils in places away from the sea, therefore the sea must once have been there.
It is only quite recently that the presence of fossil shells, &c., on high mountains, has been abandoned as evidence of the Noachic flood.
Mr. Tylor tells us that in the ninth edition of "Horne's Introduction to the Scriptures," published in 1846, the evidence of fossils is confidently held to prove the universality of the Deluge; but the argument disappears from the next edition, published ten years later.[30:3]
Besides fossil remains of aquatic animals, boats have been found on tops of mountains.[30:4] A discovery of this kind may have given rise to the story of an ark having been made in which to preserve the favored ones from the waters, and of its landing on a mountain.[30:5]
Before closing this chapter, it may be well to notice a striking incident in the legend we have been treating, i. e., the frequent occurrence of the number seven in the narrative. For instance: the Lord commands Noah to take into the ark clean beasts by sevens, and fowls also by sevens, and tells him that in seven days he will cause it to rain upon the earth. We are also told that the ark rested in the seventh month, and the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. After sending the dove out of the ark the first time, Noah waited seven days before sending it out again. After sending the dove out the second time, "he stayed yet another seven days" ere he again sent forth the dove.
This coincidence arises from the mystic power attached to the number seven, derived from its frequent occurrence in astrology.
We find that in all religions of antiquity the number seven—which applied to the sun, moon and the five planets known to the ancients—is a sacred number, represented in all kinds and sorts of forms;[31:1] for instance: The candlestick with seven branches in the temple of Jerusalem.