“Ages before our savants of the nineteenth century came into existence, a wise man of the Orient thus expressed himself, in addressing the invisible Deity: “For thy Almighty Hand, that made the world of formless matter.”
There is much more contained in this language than we are willing to explain, but we will say that the secret is worth the seeking; perhaps in this formless matter, the pre-Adamite earth, is contained a “potency” with which Messrs. Tyndall and Huxley would be glad to acquaint themselves.
But to descend from universals to particulars, from the ancient theory of planetary evolution to the evolution of plant and animal life, as opposed to the theory of special creation, what does Mr. Proctor call the following language of Hermes but an anticipation of the modern theory of evolution of species?
“When God had filled His powerful hands with those things which are in nature, and that which compasseth nature, then shutting them closed again, he said: ‘Receive from me, O holy earth! that art ordained to be the mother of all, lest thou shouldst want anything’; when presently opening such hands as it becomes a God to have, he poured down all that was necessary to the constitution of things.”
Here we have primeval matter imbued with “the promise and potency of every future form of life”, and the earth declared to be the predestined mother of everything that should thenceforth spring from her bosom.
More definite is the language of Marcus Antoninus in his discourse to himself:
“The nature of the universe delights not in anything so much as to alter all things, and present them under another form. This is her conceit to play one game and begin another. Matter is placed before her like a piece of wax and she shapes it to all forms and figures. Now she makes a bird, then out of the bird a beast – now a flower, then a frog, and she is pleased with her own magical performances as men are with their own fancies.””
H. P. Blavatsky