The Twilight Evolution by HENRY M. MORRIS, Baker Book House; 1963, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 103 pages, price $2.95
This little book, published under the auspices of !he Reformed Fellowship, is an excellent analysis of the contemporary situation with respect to evolutionary thought. In six compact chapters, Morris develops the thesis set forth in his title. Morris is aware of the fact that evolutionary thought not only commands the press, school and university, but has infiltrated steadily into evangelical circles, and into the American Scientific Affiliation. In the face of all this, be recognizes that, at first glance. his title seems presumptuous. But, as he carefully points out, we are witnessing the twilight of evolution as a science. for it “is not a science. Evidence continues to accumulate that it is rather an anti· Christian, anti-theistic way of thought, a system rather than a science, a philosophy instead of history” (p. 13f.). Morris makes clear, moreover, that neutralism is an impossible ground for man and is a myth. Man moves either in terms of God or against Him, and it is a “blasphemous assumption that man, who is a creature of God—a fallen creature at that—can explain God’s creation without God and His revealed Word” (p.14).
Evolution as a faith operates not only wi!h. out evidence in its favor but in direct conflict with extensive data, and certainly in conflict with the first and second laws of thermody-namics, which clearly fit in with the biblical perspective ( pp. 32ff.). In his thoughtful and incisive way, Morris gives effective consideration to various facets of the problem: the problem of kinds, the nature of mutations, Hoyle’s theory of the steady-state universe, creation with the appearance of age, and the like. Morris has the ability to make simple and clear-cut various highly technical data without loss of accuracy.
Those who heard Morris’ two lectures in Grand Rapids in November, 1962, under the sponsorship of the Reformed Fellowship, will find much additional data in these chapters. They will not be surprised to learn of his eminently successful lecturing elsewhere. During a Texas itinerary, Morris lectured to a geological society meeting in Houston. the world’s largest local geological society with 600 members, with notable success.
The Twilight of Evolution is a worthy companion to The Genesis Flood. The two books need to he circulated widely among the clergy, laity and students. For, as Morris is so keenly aware, central to the ecclesiastical and theological derelictions of our day is a faulty doctrine of creation. To weaken the doctrine of creation, or to dilute it, is to weaken the sovereignty of God over His creation, and to shake also the doctrine of salvation. If God is not the absolute creator of all things, neither His law, providence or decree can have great effect on that universe.
He becomes an outsider to it, hopefully seeking to act upon it. He is then no longer sovereign, and, since He is denied sovereignty. He cannot be tho efficacious and predestinate redeemer. for, as an outsider. He is at best only an adviser OJ moral example. Great stakes am therefore at issue in the doctrine of creation, and it is a pleasure to see so able a scientific critique of it. Christians have a responsibility to mako extensive use of Morris’ works.
R. J. RUSHDOONY
Ras Shamra and the Bible by CHARLES F. PFEIFFER, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1962, 58pp of text, illustrated, $1.50 (paperback).
This is the firs t title in the Baker Studies in Biblical Archaelogy, a series which will include Tell-el-Amarna and the Bible, Archaeology in the Jordan Va1l8l/, The Sinuhe Story, and presumably others.
If the first in this series is representative of what is to follow, the series might better have been titled Reports from Biblical Archaeology, or Survey Series on Biblical Archaeology. For Ras Shamra and the Bible is hardly a study. It is rather a popular reportorial account of the Has Shamra finds. Style and content of text suggest affinity to Newsweek or New York Times rather than to scholarly monographs or college textbooks.
As a popular report it is informative, accurate (generally, see below), well-organized, and judicious in selection of materials. The “informed layman,” for whom the work is designed, will find it helpfully informing. Being more extensive than articles in Bible atlases or Bible dictionaries can be, it, together with its projected counterparts, will serve a useful purpose as supplements to The Biblical World: A Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology being prepared by the publisher under the general editorship of the author of the work here reviewed.
In criticism this reviewer wishes that the author, in his statements, had been a bit more guarded. especially with a view to honoring the uniqueness of the revelation which informed and formed the faith and practice of ancient Israel. Too frequently, it seems to me, the author has uncritically borrowed a mode of expression found in the sources on which he drew, sources which generally tend to make too much of continuity between Israel and the nations, and too little of the discontinuity.
One reads, for example, that “many aspects of Canaanite worship were repulsive to the leaders of Israel’s religious life” (p. 39), a statement which tends to leave the impression that the religion of Israel, like that of her neighbors, was the product simply of the influence of religious lenders. To the same effect is the statement on p. 44: “In large measure the ideas of Israel’s prophetic leaders found no parallel elsewhere,” and that on p. 62, “Israel officially rejected the entire Baal cult…”
On p. 46 the author tells us that “the annunciation of the birth of a son to Danel [a Ugaritic figure] has many Biblical parallels,” and. a bit later, that Danel’s entertainment of Kathir-and-Khasis [a Ugaritic deity] may be compared with that of Abraham who made generous provision for ‘three men’ who visited him at Mamre…” The impression left—although the author surely did not intend it—is that the parallels here mentioned are rather exact.
Again we read, “Although Moses is rightly regarded as the Israelite lawgiver. the Old Testament does not imply that the sacrificial system associated with his name had its beginnings at Sinai. The sacrificial system of Israel was codified as a part of tho Mosaic law, but its origins are much earlier,” p. 58. To be sure, there were sacrifices before Moses, but surely the significance of the divine regulation of sacrifices in Israel at the hand of Moses lies not in a mere codification of an older sacrificial system. The author is on better grounds when he speaks of “similarities between the sacrificial language of Ugarit and the Bible” p. 58 (italics mine).
This reviewer also questions the propriety, indeed the accuracy, of such statements as: ‘“In Genesis 17:5 we read how Abram, upon entering his covenant with Yahweh, became Abraham.” p. 53 (italics mine). “During the period of the Israelite monarchy there was a deal distinction between ‘state’ and ‘church’,” p. 40. “The high ethical monotheism of the Israelites finds no parallel in the ancient Near East,” p. 63 (the uniqueness of Israel’s faith is not expressed by the designation “high ethical monotheism”). He also has serious doubts about identifying the “Daniel” of Ezekiel’s prophecy with the “Danel” of the Ras Shamra texts, pp. 63,64.
JOHN H . STEK