The reception which has been given to my former works leads me to believe that they have had a certain educational value for those who, without being specialists, wish to keep themselves abreast of the culture of the day, and to understand the leading results and pending problems of Modern Science. Of these results the most interesting are those which bear upon the origin and evolution of the human race. In my former works I have treated of these mainly from the point of view of geology and palæontology, and have hardly touched on the province which lies nearest to us, that of history and of prehistoric traditions. In this province, however, a revolution has been effected by the discoveries of the present century, which is no less important than that made by geological research and by the doctrine of Evolution.
Down to the middle of the nineteenth century, and to a considerable extent down to the present day, the Hebrew Bible was held to be the sole and sufficient authority as to the early history of the human race. It was believed, with a certainty which made doubt impious, that the first man Adam was created in or about the year 4004 b.c., or not quite 6000 years ago; and that all human and other life was destroyed by a universal Deluge, 1656 years later, with the exception of Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives, and pairs of all living creatures, by whom the earth was repeopled from the mountain-peak of Ararat as a centre.