ノアの洪水の水源を地下の水に求めたThomas Burnet

Thomas Burnetは聖書に拠って自然を論じることは危険だとわかっていた[ ie, Gould 1987 ]。
Tis a dangerous thing to engage the authority of scripture in disputes about the natural world, in opposition to reason; lest time, which brings all things to light, should discover that to be evidently false which we had made scripture to assert … We are not to suppose that any truth concerning the natural world can be an enemy to religion; for truth cannot be an enemy to truth, God is not divided against himself.

自然界についての論争に、理性に反対して、聖書の権威を担ぎ出すのは危険である。全てが明らかになったとき、我々が聖書の主張だとしたことが誤りであることが発見されるかもしれないからだ。... 自然界についての真理が、宗教の敵になりうると考えないようにしよう。真理は真理の敵にはなりえない。神は神自身に対して分裂しない。

しかし、Thomas Burnet自身も、聖書のノアの洪水を機械論的に説明しようとした。それは、洪水の水源を地下の海に求めるものであった[J.H.ブルック:「科学と宗教」p17]。
If we now could open the Earth as this Nymph did the Water, and go down into the bosom of it, see all the dark Chambers and Apartments there, how ill contriv’d, and how ill kept, so many holes and corners, some fill’d with smoak and fire, some with water, and some with vapours and mouldy Air; how like a ruine it lies gaping and torn in the parts of it; we should not easily believe that God created it into this form immediately out of nothing; It would have cost no more to have made things in better order; nay, it had been more easie and more simple; and accordingly we are assured that all things were made at first in Beauty and proportion. And if we consider Nature and the manner of the first formation of the Earth, ’tis evident that there could be no such holes and Caverns, nor broken pieces, made then in the body of it; for the grosser parts of the Chaos falling down towards the Center, they would there compose a mass of Earth uniform and compact, the water swimming above it; and this first mass under the water could have no Caverns or vacuities in it; for if it had had any, the Earthy parts, while the mass was liquid or semiliquid, would have sunk into them and fill’d them up, expelling the Air or Water that was there; And when afterwards there came to be a crust or new Earth form’d upon the face of the Waters, there could be no Cavities, no dens, no fragments in it, no more than in the other; And for the same general reason, that is, passing from a liquid form into a concrete or solid leisurely and by degrees, it would flow and settle together in an entire mass; There being nothing broken, nor any thing hard, to bear the parts off from one another, or to intercept any empty spaces between them.


’Tis manifest then that the Earth could not be in this Cavernous form originally, by any work of nature; nor by any immediate action of God, seeing there is neither use nor beauty in this kind of construction: Do we not then, as reasonably, as aptly, ascribe it to that desolation that was brought upon the Earth in the general Deluge? When its outward frame was dissolv’d and fell into the great Abysse: How easily doth this answer all that we have observ’d concerning the Subterraneous Regions? That hollow and broken posture of things under ground, all those Caves and holes, and blind recesses, that are otherwise so inaccountable, say but that they are a Ruine, and you have in one word explain’d them all. For there is no sort of Cavities, interior or exterior, great or little, open or shut, wet or dry, of what form or fashion soever, but we might reasonably expect them in a ruine of that nature. And as for the Subterraneous waters, seeing the Earth fell into the Abysse, the pillars and foundations of the present (exteriour) Earth must stand immers’d in water, and therefore at such a depth from the surface every where, there must be water found, if the soil be of a nature to admit it. ’Tis true, all Subterraneous waters do not proceed from this original, for many of them are the effects of Rains and melted Snows sunk into the Earth; but that in digging any where you constantly come to water at length, even in the most solid ground this cannot proceed from these Rains or Snows, but must come from below, and from a cause as general as the effect is; which can be no other in my judgment than this, that the roots of the exteriour Earth stand within the old Abysse, whereof, as a great part lies open in the Sea, so the rest lies hid and cover’d among the fragments of the Earth; sometimes dispers’d and only moistning the parts, as our bloud lies in the flesh, and in the habit of the body; sometimes in greater or lesser masses, as the bloud in our Vessels. And this I take to be the true account of Subterraneous waters as distinguish’d from Fountains and Rivers, and from the matter and causes of them.


神を前提として、地球内部を論じている。地球内部の議論が間違っていれば、神の権威もこけてしまうことがわかっていながら、やってしまったところが、Thomas Burnetという人の偉さかもしれない。

最終更新:2013年11月07日 06:57