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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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‘Destructive of the authority of divine revelation’

‘Destructive of the authority of divine revelation’

Genesis, Geology, and Evolution

(p.10) 2 ‘Destructive of the authority of divine revelation’
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how the new science of geology and Darwin's theory of evolution challenged orthodox Christianity's beliefs about creation. The publication of the first volume of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830) dealt a severe blow to the six-day account of creation and to the notion of a universal flood by proposing the uniformitarian thesis that ‘former changes of the earth's surface could be explained by reference to causes now in operation’. If this were so, geological change must have occurred very slowly over millions of years and floods, in ancient as in modern times, could have been of only limited geographical extent. Darwin's Origin of Species rejected the belief in the recent creation of man and dispensed with the notion of evolution in accordance with a God-given natural law.

Keywords:   religious dissent, Genesis, creation, Dissenters, flood, geology, Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, orthodox Christianity

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