North Landings on the Yorkshire Coast

In the next few sub-articles, I would like to introduce you to a few of the most geologically competent 19th century Scriptural geologists that I was privileged to study. I begin with George Young, who was born in 1777 on his parents’ small farm near Edinburgh, Scotland. Since George was born with only a right hand (the left forearm ended in a stump), agriculture was ruled out as a future vocation. His pious parents therefore educated him with a view to Christian ministry, a course consistent with his own spiritual convictions, which developed early in life.

To fulfil the requirements for ordination in the Church of Scotland, to which he and his family belonged, in 1792 he commenced four years of literary and philosophical studies at the University of Edinburgh. He distinguished himself especially in mathematics and natural science, being a favorite student of Professor John Playfair, who was in the process of becoming the articulate interpreter of James Hutton’s old-Earth uniformitarian geological theory. Young completed his degree with high honors and then began a five-year course in theology. In 1801 he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Edinburgh. After a brief visit in the summer of 1805 to Whitby, North Yorkshire, the next year he became the pastor of the Presbyterian chapel there in Cliff Street, a congregation he served for 42 years until his death in 1848. [On one family trip, we were able to see what is left of the old chapel building and also the two houses George had lived in.]

In 1819, the University of Edinburgh conferred on him the degree of M.A. and in 1838 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Miami College (in Oxford, Ohio). In 1826 he married Margaret Hunter, a daughter of prominent Robert Hunter of Whitby and a woman known for her piety and ministry to women. They had a happy marriage and fruitful ministry together until her death in 1846, but they had no children….

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