PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thomas Burnet (1635-1715) copperplate frontis from his "Telluris Theoria Sacra" or "Sacred Theory of the Earth". His book was one of the most influential early treatises on geology, but was an entirely speculative exercise. He suggested that the earth is a hollow sphere with much water held below the crust. This water was unleashed in Noah's flood by preordained natural processes. Burnet's belief was that God created the Earth in such a way that its processes would play out accoridng to physical laws without the need for constant divine intervention. A sort of universal clockwork from creation to destruction. Burnet's willingness to subject Biblical description to scientific scrutiny lead to him having to resign his post at court.
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