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When did that period of time begin? The Scriptures divide the creative work into seven days, or periods of time. While God could have done this work in seven days of twenty-four hours each, had he so desired, the facts show that he did not do so, but that the term "day" is a period of time covering many centuries. This creative period has no reference to a twenty-four-hour day. Since the Lord has divided the creative periods into seven, it is reasonable that these creative days, or periods of time, are of equal length.

The law of God later given to man provided for a week of seven days each, each day being twenty-four hours long. Each of these days being of the same length, it is reasonable that the seven creative days or periods would each cover the same period of time. The Scriptures, together with subsequent facts which are indisputable proofs beyond a doubt, indicate that the seventh day or epoch of creation, mentioned in Genesis, covers a period of seven thousand years of our time.

If then we assume that each of the creative days was of the same length, we must conclude that the period of time that elapses from the beginning of the creative work to the end thereof is a period of fortynine thousand years. How long prior to that time God began the formation or construction of the earth is not revealed, for the reason that it was not necessary and not the will of God that man should know. What we are concerned about is the beginning of the plan for the sustenance of life upon earth.

Moses, under inspiration and direction of Jehovah, wrote the book of Genesis. Of course it is God's record, which he caused his servant to write. The opening statement is: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." That is an abstract and profound statement. It is the end of all controversy. The Master Builder, in the beginning, created the heaven

and the earth; and just when that beginning was is not material to our inquiry. God reveals his secrets when it pleases him. Then follows the Scriptural statement: "And the earth was without form, and void." Being without form it was a place of desolation, and no life was therein. It was void; that is to say, it was empty of any and all forms of life. It was dark and there was no light thereon. From this point dates the beginning of the creative period or week of seven creative days.

Theory of Earth's Creation

It is to be expected that the theories of men with reference to the creation of the earth would differ. The theory that is reasonable and supported by the Scriptures is entitled to a candid consideration. Theories out of harmony with the Scriptures may be discarded as useless. It seems to have been the plan of Jehovah God to begin the increase of light upon his great work for the benefit of man about the year 1874 A. D. It was in that year that Isaac N. Vail first published a pamphlet entitled "The Earth's Annular System". Annular means having the form of rings, or ring-shaped, and has reference to successive rings or canopies of aqueous vapor which surrounded the earth and which fell upon the earth at different periods. A brief summary of the annular theory as stated by Mr. Vail is here given, before beginning the examination of the Scriptural record, to wit:

That the primitive earth was a molten mass rapidly rotating in space; that the intense heat therefrom expelled all vapors, whether aqueous or metallic, and these were carried to the skies; that both heat and centrifugal energy caused these vapors to accumulate in the skies, particularly in the equatorial region; that these red-hot vapors contained all the fusible and vaporizable minerals known to the earth; that as the

earth cooled, the heaviest of these vapors formed into rings nearest the earth and the lighter substances formed numerous other rings according to their weight and density; that these rings or belts were separate and well defined; that the rotation of these near the polar belts was slower than at the equator; that as these rings, formed of aqueous vapors and heavily laden with carbon, cooled down they rotated near the earth until they fell, the nearest and heaviest one falling first and leaving those more distant and lighter to move on in their respective orbits about the earth; but that each one of these rings in due course cooled and fell.

Prof. Vail then reasons that while all of these rings contained quantities of carbon, and other mineral substances expelled from the earth by the great heat, the last one of these rings was composed chiefly of water; that the light penetrating the ring or rings around the earth in due time caused this canopy which enveloped the earth to produce a hothouse condition, thus making plants and animal life flourish at the poles equally with any other part of the earth; that these rings encircling the earth rotated more rapidly than the earth rotates upon its axis, but in time the cooling process would cause them to fall to the earth; and that the falling of the last one of these aqueous canopies occurred after man was created, and produced the great deluge of Noah's time. The following is a quotation from Mr. Vail's "The Earth's Annular System":

All terrestrial waters were held in suspension during that age of inveterate heat, far removed from the surface of the boiling, flaming and smoking mass of the earth.

This suspended ocean of vapors rotated as a part and parcel of the earth, a primeval atmosphere of great complexity of materials, in the same time that the earth then rotated, just as our present atmosphere now does.

This suspended matter in the course of time gathered in the earth's equatorial heavens, and upon condensing

necessarily contracted and segregated into rings, which revolved independently about the earth, thus causing a great lapse of time between the descent of the first, or primitive, ocean of water nearest the earth, and those waters most remote in the annular system.

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This illustration shows a full-face view of the earth and its annular system. Here A is the earth; B, the earth's atmosphere; C, the heavy carbons and their accompanying mineral sublimations; D, the lighter carbons and hydro-carbons; E, glacial snows and their accompaniments; F, outer vapors, principally aqueous and likely in a frozen state. From this outermost ring came the polar snows that chilled the Eden earth, and afterwards caused the deluge.

The waters remaining on high, after the interior waters or first ocean fell to the earth, fell in a succession of stupendous cataclysms, separated by unknown periods of time.

The first ocean was necessarily impregnated with mineral and metallic salts, or filled with mineral and metallic par

ticles, to a far greater extent than any other section or division of waters or exterior vapors, for the simple reason that in the system the heaviest vapors would settle lowest or nearest the earth as it cooled down.

All such changes required a great length of time, and a progressive motion of declining matter from the equator, polar-wise; also the bands and belts of the earth's annular system necessarily presented the same general aspect that Jupiter's and Saturn's do today.

A succession of concentric rings necessarily requires a vast lapse of time between the declension of one ring of vapors into the outskirts of the atmosphere, and the fall of the next succeeding one; so that each fall, or each ring, after it reached the attenuated atmosphere continued to revolve as a belt about the earth with an ever-decreasing velocity as it spread toward the poles and over-canopied the earth.

The smoke or unconsumed carbon that arose from the burning world commingled with the upper vapors, darkened them, and formed inevitably dark bands or belts among bright vaporous ones, as we now see on some other planets. After a ring of vapors had fallen into the air, it is likely that it may have over-canopied the globe and finally descended to the earth, leaving the atmosphere clear, before another ring reached the atmosphere in its persistent decline. The apparent retardation of the moon is but a gradual recession of our satellite, caused by diminished attraction as the annular system declined; and the necessary check put upon the revolving rings necessarily caused them to sink and finally fall to the earth, if no other cause of their fall existed; and further, this retardation proves the former existence of an annular system about the earth. The archæan metalliferous deposits are so located as to be inexplicable by the old theory of aqueous denudation, but beautifully in accord with the new.

The silurian beds, and particularly the order of their occurrence in the earth, utterly refute the idea that they were derived from pre-existing beds. Hence it is evident that during the silurian age there was an annular system about the earth. In other words, it is evident that all the primeval waters did not fall before the dawn of life on the globe.-The Earth's Annular System, pages 72-74.

A very forceful argument is produced by Mr. Vail to the effect that all planets are formed by universal or inexorable law; and since we now can see the rings sur

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