WHAT IS THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLD VIEW?
A. It is a Non-Theistic Conception of Reality.
Classic evolutionism is essentially atheistic or pantheistic. The postulate of Biblical Theism is inherently foreign to evolutionistic thought. This is not to say that all evolutionists are atheists or pantheists, or that no evolutionist sincerely professes the Christian Faith. People are very inconsistent and harbor the most incompatible ideas in their minds. But evolutionism as a self-consistent system of thought is inherently incompatible with Biblical Theism.
A popular writer on science has said that psychologists do not believe in God except on Sundays. This is not true of all psychologists, of course, but it is true of many. And the same could be said about the great majority of evolutionists. Indeed, it is difficult to avoid concluding that much of the appeal and popularity of evolutionary thought has been its seeming effectiveness in eliminating God from man’s understanding of his world.
It is recorded that the entire first printing of Darwin’s Origin of Species was sold on the day of publication. Darwin seemed to the public of his time to have found a way to explain living organisms without needing belief in God.
Gregor Mendel lived at the same time as Darwin, and published his epoch-making discoveries in the field of Genetics in 1865, six years after Darwin’s book appeared. Unlike Darwin, Mendel was ignored by the scientific, scholarly and popular world of his time. Mendel was a Theist and a Christian believer, and his work has stood the test of time and research far better than Darwin’s, but Darwin was applauded and Mendel was ignored. As a matter of fact Mendel’s work, although duly published in a scientific journal at the time, was simply ignored—indeed, was virtually unknown—until 35 years later, when his principles were independently re-discovered by three other investigators.
Who can believe that pure zeal for scientific truth has been the chief motivating force which has made evolutionary thought the dominant world view today? A truer explanation may be suggested by Romans 1:28: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…”
That the much-boasted zeal for pure truth is not the real or main motive which actuates evolutionists is demonstrated by the way they act when someone dares to challenge the validity of the evolutionary scheme. In the science departments of university faculties it is considered virtually academic suicide to be known as a non-evolutionist. There are many biologists and other scientists who do not accept evolution, but nearly all of them, in the fields of biology and geology at any rate, are employed by the government or by private business corporations. So complete is the dominance of the evolutionary world view that it is often difficult for a non-evolutionist to obtain n position as a high school teacher of science. Academic freedom and tolerance are ideals which vanish when a scientific scholar is critical of evolution. Evolution is a loaded world view. It involves a built-in emotional and popularity appeal.
The late Samuel C. Craig in his book Jesus of Yesterday and Today raised the question of wherein the offense of the miraculous lies. In answering this question he wrote: “We are sure that the real offense of the miracle lies in the fact that it is an event that posits God as its only adequate explanation, and so an event that thrusts God, as it were, directly on the attention of men. It may seem strange, that men do not like to retain God in their knowledge. They do not object to admitting that God exists as long as it is confessed that He acts always and only through general laws; for in that case these ‘general laws’ stand between the individual and God and more or less effectively blunt their consciousness of God as a living reality to whom they are personally responsible. They do object, however, to admitting that God acts in a miraculous manner; and that because a miracle, being an event that posits the direct activity of God as its only adequate explanation, obtrudes God, directly and immediately, upon their attention” (p. 142).
The offense of the Biblical doctrine of Creation is of course equally real, and for precisely the same reason. Direct creationism explains origins in terms of acts of God, and this is deeply offensive to the sin-darkened and rebellious human mind. A scheme of things which purports to remove God from direct action in origins and to place Him far in the shadows of the background, or to eliminate Him entirely, is welcomed by the fallen human intellect as a relief from the intellectual and spiritual discomfort which direct facing of God causes. It was not without reason that Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8).
B. It is an Irrational Conception of Reality.
Belief in the ultimacy of what men call “chance” is essentially irrational. It stands opposed to the view that the universe is rational because it is based on mind—the infinite, absolute mind of God. Evolutionistic science regards the term teleology as a sort of scientific blasphemy. A recent writer on the philosophy of science, Ernest Nagel, rejects traditional ideas of teleology and coolly informs us that any apparently teleological functions in nature can be re-formulated in terms of non-teleological explanations (The Structure of Science, pp. 402–3).
To hold that nature or the universe embodies a plan and manifests design Or purpose implies, of course, that there must be a Planner, Designer or Purposer, and this can be no other than God. But this is regarded as a very objectionable concept from the scientific point of view, so teleology is dismissed as a pre-scientific concept, or re-defined in non-teleological terms. Any apparent design in nature is regarded as merely the fortunate result of chance. Martin Gardner in The Ambidextrous Universe says:
“Given a billion years of time, a chemical mixture as large as the earth’s seas and atmosphere, and various energy sources more intense than today, and who can say that no self-replicating molecules can have formed fortuitously? for all we know they may have formed by the billions….In a few thousand million years (all of this is sheer guesswork) the primordial soup may have swarmed with these primitive, half-living organisms. The great epic of evolution would then have been under way” (pp. 152-3).1
This same author says: “Evolution is simply the process by which chance (the random mutations) cooperates with natural law to create living forms better and better adapted to survive” (The Ambidextrous Universe, p. 145).
This author who frankly admits that what he is setting forth here is “sheer guesswork,” nevertheless lampoons the Biblical doctrine of direct creation by referring to it as “a series of stupendous magic tricks” (ibid., p. 144).
One evolutionist has said that the chances were two billion to one against the original primal cells ever evolVing to mankind, but the human race was amazingly lucky, so here we arc!
The evolutionary world view holds that chance, not mind, is the ultimate basic principle of explanation. Belief in chance, I would repeat, is essentially irrational. To say that something is caused by chance is to say that it has no cause. Chance is the denial of a cause, it is the negation of all causation. It is the opposite of law, it is the enthronement of utter chaos. So nature becomes a book without an Author, a composition without a Composer, a building without an Architect. It was not planned—it just happened.
Billions and billions of years of time, plus oceans and oceans of chance, are supposed to account adequately for the existence of such unfathomable examples of complexity as the human brain. Time plus chance equals organism, is the equation involved. A popular newspaper commentator recently dismissed some of this nonsense with the terse comment: “Go make a seed!”
C. It is an Immoral Conception of Reality.
It is no wonder that we face unprecedented moral evil today. The only real basis for any morality worthy of the name is belief in God. When God is removed from people’s understanding of themselves and their world, they will inevitably lose their sense of moral responsibility, with the result that selfish, criminal and anti-social tendencies will reign unchecked.
Adolf Hitler was an enthusiastic evolutionist, and the horribly evil practices of German National Socialism under the Third Reich were theoretically grounded in evolutionary ideology which had, supposedly, cut the ground out from under the Biblical view of a moral law and Lawgiver. Let the fittest survive; let the defenseless and weak perish in concentration camps and gas chambers.
Here in America our public educational system, from kindergarten to university, is deliberately being made more and more rigidly secular. At the same time our sages and experts stand aghast at the boldness and increase of evil. These men pontifically tell us that mankind’s moral or ethical sense has not kept pace in development with his technological achievements. Of course they never suggest a return to the God of the Bible and the moral absolutes of the Decalogue. Rather, the new religion of scientific research is supposed, by emphasis on the need for ethical development, to come up with the answers. Alas, it is a vain hope, and doomed to disillusionment and failure. When men have cut themselves off from the Source of all righteousness, they are certain to live in violence, selfishness and hatred.
Just because evolutionism is more than a biological theory—just because it is a comprehensive world view—its general and uncritical acceptance by the public, and the utter pervasiveness of its penetration through our educational system, from the university level down to the elementary grades, is bound to bring an increasing harvest of crime, lawlessness and moral evil of all kinds. There is nothing in this world view which can provide a corrective.
Our public educational system is in an intolerable predicament. Supposed to turn out a product which wi1l be honest, law-abiding, mutually helpful citizens, the educational system is on the one hand rigidly prevented from inculcating the Biblical world view which is the only real ground for morality, and on the other hand it is given over almost universally to the anti-theistic, idolatrous, man-centered false world view of evolutionism.
Public and private morality will never thrive again until the Biblical world view once again becomes dominant and the evolutionary world view is rejected for what it really is—a mere hypothesis, resting on unproved assumptions, which all too effectively removes God from a relevant place in people’s thinking about the world and human society.
The evolutionary world view is no mere harmless technicality of academic biological theory. It is a comprehensive philosophy of life which is at the crucial points antithetic to the Biblical and Christian world view.
With God all things are possible, but it seems unlikely that the Christian believers of the world, divided and confused as they are, can in the foreseeable future reverse this all-but-universal trend of human thinking. Martin Gardner says: “Today it is hard to find a single biochemist or geologist, even among the most devoutly religious, who has the slightest doubt about the essential soundness of the theory of evolution” (The Ambidextrous Universe, pp. 144–5). In this state of affairs, it becomes our solemn duty to witness for the truth and against the dominant lie. And especially it becomes our duty to guard earnestly and jealously all Christian educational institutions lest the tares be planted while men sleep, and Christian education become hospitable to, and tolerant of, this anti-biblical system.
It is a view held and promoted chiefly by religious scholars. Scientists and philosophers who accept evolution and at the same time profess belief in God are frequently found, upon closer examination of their positions, to hold a non-theistic view of God—either a Deistic or a Pantheistic view.
Theistic evolution is essentially a compromise view. It did not originate with the scientists, most of whom have little use for it. Classic evolutionary science came first, then afterwards came the attempt to adjust Christian belief to the evolutionary scheme of things. Religious scholars who have been impressed, not to say frightened, by the confident assertions of scientists about evolution being not a theory but “proved fact” have reacted to their embarrassment by the attempt to adjust their interpretation of Scripture to the evolutionary scheme.
Theistic evolutionism has been and is embarrassed by attempting adjustment of Christian belief to a scientific variable. Evolutionary thought has been and is fluid. It has moved from phase to phase. Darwin, Lamarck, DeVries, Spencer -they have aU had their day and been passed by. Christianity call be adjusted to such a scheme only with serious sacrifice and loss.
The common disjunction between the Who and why? and the When and how? of origins, as set forth by theistic evolutionists, is false and illusory. We are told that evolutionary science can tell us the “when” and the “how” of creation, or of origins, while only Scripture can reveal to us the “Who” and the “Why.” This disjunctive formula is often presented in a very plausible manner. Yet it is basically misleading and false.
When we begin to speak of God’s “method” or “how” in His work of creation, we have already assumed that it was not really a work of creation at all. When we say “method” or “how” we say process. By any sound definition of creation it is not a process but an act and docs .not involve the use of methods or means. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). Like miracle, creation is an act of God’s direct supernatural power. It is an act of omnipotence. It is an event with no cause except the will of God. “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9). Shall we interpret this last text as really meaning, “For he spake, and a chain reaction began which ultimately produced what we see in nature today”..?
The tendency to speak of God’s method of creation betrays an unconscious but real denial of the reality of creation—it reduces all creation to the category of a providential process. Creation means God’s act of producing the truly new—new as to matter, new as to form, or new as to both form and matter. God used dust to create Adam’s body, but the creative act did not involve process. It was an act of the divine will, a “fiat.” Some philosopher once said, “What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind.” In like vein we may truly say, “What is creation? No process. What is process? Never creation.”
SCRIPTURE AND NATURE ARE NOT CO-ORDINATE REVELATIONS OF GOD
According to Scriptural teaching, natural revelation serves as a witness to God. It is chiefly significant for the heathen, who are without the light of Scripture. From natural or general revelation those without the light of Scripture can learn that God exists, that He is very great and that mankind ought to glorify and worship Him. Natural revelation also conveys some basic but limited knowledge about morality. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14, 15).
While general or natural revelation bears a true, though limited, witness to God and morality, its effectiveness in this function has been diminished by the fall of the human race into sin. Men “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). The fall of man had a damaging effect both on humanity’s moral sense and also on the human intellect. The result is that the revelation of God in nature, including that in human nature or the human consciousness, being apprehended by a darkened mind and a corrupted conscience, is inevitably misinterpreted and distorted, so that only a very limited and obscured knowledge is derived therefrom. The religious systems of the heathen world amply demonstrate how far fallen mankind, when without the special revelation of God and without regeneration by the Holy Spirit, inevitably wanders from the pathway of truth and righteousness.
The notion that nature and Scripture are coordinate revelations of God, each equally valid and sufficient in its own field, is one of the most harmful errors of our time. Nature, whether internal or external to the human personality, is in no sense coordinate with Scripture. Both as witness and as revelation nature apart from Scripture is inadequate and, because of man’s sin-darkened mind and heart, misleading. The most that can be said for natural revelation is that it leaves mankind without excuse before God (Romans 1:20); it does not of itself impart an adequate knowledge of God nor a sufficient standard of ethics.
The idea that Scripture and nature are co-ordinate revelations of God, each adequate and definitive in its own field, sometimes called the “double revelation theory,” has been very well exposed as untenable by Dr. John C. Whitcomb in his monograph on The Origin of the Solar System. As revelation nature conveys absolutely no knowledge that is not already conveyed in fuller and clearer form in Holy Scripture. To place nature on a par with Scripture as divine revelation betrays a basic misconception of the character, functions and limitations of the revelation of God in nature.
Nature is, of course, the proper object of scientific study. Legitimate science is the study of the phenomena of nature, This is properly regarded as included in the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28—the command of God to mankind to subdue the earth and have dominion over its contents. But a recognition of the God-given cultural mandate and the proper inclusion of natural science within the scope of that mandate, does not amount to making nature co-ordinate with Scripture as a revelation of truth and duty.
Those who regard nature and Scripture as coordinate revelations of God commonly make the mistake of disregarding the necessity of spiritual regeneration for an ultimately valid knowledge of truth in any field, including both theology and the natural sciences. The scientist whose foolish heart is darkened by sin and who lacks the opening of the eyes of his understanding by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit will inevitably misinterpret what he observes in nature.
The unregenerate scientist always implicitly denies the truths of creation and providence. He always believes in brute facts—what Dr. Van Til has called the “just-thereness” of facts, that is, their non-created character. Those who place the “findings” of science (or rather, of certain scientists) on a par with theological doctrines derived from Holy Scripture, as statements of truth, almost invariably fail to make any distinction between the regenerate and the unregenerate intellect. The fall of mankind and its effects on the human intellect is the great blind spot of those who desire to regard nature as a co-ordinate revelation with Scripture.
But even in the case of regenerate scientists, the products of scientific research cannot be equated in validity with theological truth derived from Scripture. The two are not parallel. In the case of Scripture we have, first, the revelation of God in His acts or deeds: secondly, we have an infallibly revealed and inspired interpretation of the meaning and significance of God’s deeds, given to us in propositional form in the Bible; and thirdly, we have systematic formulations of the truth embodied in this propositional revelation, in the historic creeds and confessions of the Church and in the works of believing, regenerate systematic theologians. Thus between the basic data (God’s acts or deeds) and man’s formulations of systematic truth (creeds, theology), there is the middle stage, namely divinely revealed and inspired propositional statements of the meaning of the divine acts.
Admittedly the Church councils which formulated the creeds, and the theologians who have produced systematic treatments of theology, were not infallibly inspired, though they were, indeed, illuminated by the Holy Spirit and providentially guided in their work. Still, we must admit that they were fallible men. But these fallible men were not dealing with the raw data or unprocessed factuality of God’s work; they were studying and systematizing a body of propositional truth given by infallible revelation and inspiration.
The scientist who deals with the phenomena of nature, on the other hand, is working with the raw data, the unprocessed factuality of nature. If he is unregenerate he is bound, inevitably, to misinterpret this factuality as to its ultimate Significance. In matters of detail, of course, the unregenerate scientist may discover valid truth; the number of chromosomes in a cell of a plant or animal can be determined equally well by a Christian researcher or One who is an atheist, provided he possesses the requisite technical qualifications. But as to all ultimate matters of significance and value, the unregenerate worker can only go astray. No matter how sincere he may be, and how hard he may try to attain a scholarly scientific objectivity, in spite of himself he is powerfully biassed against the reality of God, creation and providence. And lacking the middle stage of infallible propositional truth which the Christian theologian has, the scientist—even the regenerate scientist—has no infallibly sure corrective of mistaken interpretations, unless, of course, he is willing to accept Holy Scripture as such a corrective.
The unregenerate scientist is bound to go astray from ultimate truth. The regenerate scientist may go astray from ultimate truth. This is not to say that the regenerate scientist cannot discover truth from nature; it is only to affirm that the truth which he discovers from nature is relative and provisional, lacking the absolute and final character of truth derived from Scripture.
That the products of scientific research cannot properly be placed on a par with formulations of truth derived from Scripture, is further manifested by the fluid, constantly changing character of scientific thought. As Tennyson wrote, “Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point.” Though we readily concede that there has been real progress in the discovery of truth by science, still ultimate truth is never reached, and whole blocks of scientific theory, once accepted as truth, have had to be given up or changed because they were suspended upon assumptions which further discovery proved to be untenable. The attempt to adjust theology and Christian belief to the “conclusions” or “findings” of science is wrong and futile because science itself is constantly moving on and changing its conclusions. A theology adjusted to the science of 150 years ago would be badly out of adjustment to the science of the present day. Theology based on the granite rock of infallible propositional truth given in Holy Scripture does not have to be changed or adjusted with every new development in the natural sciences. But there have been cases of theology after painfully getting adjusted to the science of the day, becoming embarrassed by the fact of the scientific world changing or abandoning the “findings” which the theological scholars felt they must at all costs get adjusted to.
Nobody today believes in the notorious Piltdown Man -the fossils have been conclusively proved to be fraudulent—but there was a time not many years ago when a large number of eminent biologists and palaeontologists held that the Piltdown Man was a genuine ape-like ancestor of modern man. He was given a scientific name, Eoanthropus Dawsoni—Dawson’s Dawn Man—and high school textbooks on science confidently presented him, and even pictured him, complete with whiskers, as incontrovertibly real and important.
A dozen years ago astrophysicists confidently set forth two billion years—two with nine zeroes after it—as the age of the earth. This has been successively modified to three billion, four billion and now four and a half billion years. Yet George Gamow in his Biography of the Earth (first published in 1941; reprinted 1948 and 1949) set forth the age of the earth as “about two billion years” and supported this figure by three lines of evidence (astronomy, radioactivity of rocks, salinity of oceans). Gamow no longer adheres to the two billion figure. But before I commit myself to any of these figures as unquestionable truth, 1 want the astrophysicists to come to final agreement among themselves as to the age of the earth, and promise me that they will not drastically revise their figures in a few years’ time!
THE BEARING OF SCRIPTURE ON THE AGE OF THE EARTH AND OF THE HUMAN RACE
One point at which the evolutionary world view presses upon us concerns the interpretation of the six creation days of Genesis. Related to this are the two questions of the age of the earth and the antiquity of the human race.
We should realize that it is possible for a person to believe in an old earth, and to believe that mankind is much older than Ussher allowed for, without being an evolutionist. Age and origin are not the same question. No doubt most of those who hold that the earth is very old are evolutionists, but still it is quite possible to hold this opinion without being an evolutionist.
Ussher’s figure of 4004 B.C. for the creation has been generally abandoned, even by scholars who are strict believers in Biblical inerrancy. Ussher’s scheme rests upon unwarranted assumptions. I once accepted Ussher’s chronology, but later gave it up. A brief, popular type but very cogent treatment of this subject is found in Before Abraham, by Byron C. Nelson unfortunately now out of print. This book convinced me that Ussher’s figure cannot stand.
Among strictly orthodox Reformed theologians, Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield was quite tolerant of views of the age of the earth and the antiquity of man far in excess of Ussher’s figures. (Reference: On the Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race, in The Princeton Theological Review, ix. 1911, pp. 1–25; reprinted in Studies in Theology, Oxford University Press, New York, 1932, pp. 235–258).
As to the nature of the six creation days, three generic views have been held by orthodox theologians. These may be called the Literal View, the Figurative View and the Literary Framework View. The literal view maintains that the six days are ordinary 24-hour days. The figurative view holds that they are long periods of time, of indeterminate length. The framework view holds that the six day schematism is merely a literary device and really has nothing to do with time. No less a theologian than St. Augustine held this literary framework view (cited in Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, p. 172). Augustine held that the whole creation was complete in an instant of time, and that it is only described under the six-day scheme to make it humanly apprehensible. Dr. Bavinck himself was reluctant to affirm the literal view of the six days. He wrote:
“Scripture speaks very definitely of days which are reckoned by the measurement of night and morning and which lie at the basis of the distribution of the days of the week in Israel and its festive calendar. Nevertheless Scripture itself contains data which oblige us to think of these days in Genesis as different from our ordinary units as determined by the revolutions of the earth” (Our Reasonable Faith, p. 172).
Each of the three generic views has something in its favor and each is involved in some problems or difficulties. On the whole, the literal interpretation deserves the preference. The arguments brought against it are not really conclusive. Remember, we are here dealing not with how nature functions today, but with God’s actions in setting nature to functioning in the beginning.
Still there may be just enough uncertainty about this matter that perhaps the path of wisdom for us is to avoid an absolute and dogmatic pronouncement about the nature of the six days. The age of the earth, like the age of the solar system, is still a speculative problem in scientific circles, and the last word has certainly not yet been said on it. We have good reason, it may be, to discard Ussher’s calculation good reason derived not from science but from considerations internal to Scripture itself. But certainly this does not mean that we must jump to the opposite extreme and begin speaking of billions of years.
It is one thing to say that the modem scientific view of the earth has motivated Biblical scholars to undertake a re-study of the Biblical data. It is quite another, and an improper thing, to say that formerly we believed in Scripture but now we arc going to base our belief on the “findings” of science. Christian belief may never be based on any other standard than the written Word of God.
Incidentally, even in the field of scientific research, the Carbon-14 or radiocarbon method of dating ancient organic remains has resulted in drastically scaling down some datings which were formerly set high on the basis of evolutionistic geology. A striking example is cited by John Klotz in Genes, Genesis and Evolution, pages 112–3. When the Ohio Turnpike was being constructed, a deep cut was made through a hill near Streetsboro, Ohio. Wood was found deep underground, which when tested by the radiocarbon method yielded an age of 8600 years plus or minus 300 years. The scientists could hardly believe that this figure was correct, because the peat deposit in which the wood was found had been geologically dated as 35,000 years old. So a second sample of the wood was tested, and this time the figure was 8450 years old plus or minus 250 years. In either case the radiocarbon method resulted in a reduction of about 75% of the age as determined by geology. It is now recognized by many geologists that the melting of the last continental glacier in North America occurred about 12,000 years ago instead of 20,000 years ago as formerly believed (Klotz, Genes, Genesis and Evolution, p. 377).
THE BEARING OF SCRIPTURE ON THE UNIQUENESS OF THE HUMAN RACE
Man alone was created in the image of God. Biological or genetic continuity of man with any other form of life has never been proved and remains to this day a dogmatic philosophic faith of evolutionistic science. Evolutionistic scholars start by eliminating the idea of God by an exclusively naturalistic a priori or basic assumption. Then they decide what they think may have happened; then they proceed to build on this an immense superstructure of systematic thought as if it had been demonstrated that it really did happen. Nagel, The Structure of Science, is a good example of this, as is also The Ambidextrous Universe by Martin Gardner. On the other hand, Implications of Evolution by G. A. Kerkut distinguishes fairly and clearly between a priori assumption and factual data, and thus forms a good corrective to books of the other type.
Adam as the first man, created in the image of God, is of course indispensable to Christian theology. A religion without the first Adam will soon become a religion in which the second Adam is regarded as unnecessary. Thus theological Liberalism today regards Jesus, not as the object of Christian faith, but merely as a subject of faith, the first of the series of people called Christians.
Psalm 8:4–8 teaches that God made man a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. This certainly cannot be reconciled with the evolutionistic notion that man at his origin was at his lowest, barely above the brutes. Can you think of the Neanderthal Man, Peking Man, Java Man, etc., pictured in standard biology textbooks as pitiably grotesque, barely human specimens—can you really think of these caricatures of early mankind as a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor?
1 Corinthians 15:20, 21 states that “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” Granted that this chapter of Paul was not intended to teach scientific knowledge, yet it does teach something definite, and what it does teach cannot be reconciled with the notion of a basic continuity between mankind and the sub-human creation. At least it teaches that there is a radical difference between man’s bodily organism and that of beasts, birds and fishes.
In Ecclesiastes 3:20, 21 we read, “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Here we are taught that man resembles the animals in that his bodily organism was formed from dust and turns to dust again. Like the animals, man is mortal and subject to death and decay. But there is a difference, and the inspired writer asks the question: Who gives adequate attention to this difference? Who recognizes as he should that the spirit of man goes upward while that of the beast goes downward to the earth? The treatment of this passage in H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Ecclesiastes, pages 96–101, is most illuminating.
This text in Ecclesiastes 3 should be taken along with Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The evolutionary world view, in its common and prevalent form, regards man as an advanced or improved animal. Nowhere is this more evident than in some schools of academic psychology where the behaviour of human beings is studied in the light of experiments on dogs and white rats. Evolution·based psychology emphasizes that man shares with animals the conditioned reflex; it is commonly blind to the truth that man is a person made in the image of God with a spirit that transcends the material and the mechanical. This type of evolutionary psychology even tends to hold that human freedom is an illusion, and that a man’s acts are determined by hidden impersonal factors which he cannot control and is not even aware of.
The uniqueness of humanity is absolutely essential to Christianity. Any teaching which tends to undermine this, as the evolutionary world view does, is destructive of the Christian Faith.
As Joshua said to Israel long ago, so we can and should say to the Christian Church and its institutions at the present day: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Shall we compromise with the evolutionary world view, or shall we remain faithful to the Theistic and Christian view as taught in the Word of God?
Bavinck, Herman, Our Reasonable Faith. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1956
Clark, Robert E. D., The Universe: Plan or Accident? Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1961
Clark, Robert E. D., Christian Belief and Science. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1961
Clark, Robert E. D., Darwin: Before and After
Craig, Samuel G., Jesus of Yesterday and Today. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1956
Gardner, Martin, The Ambidextrous Universe. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1964
Greene, John C., Darwin and the Modern World View. New York: Mentor Books, 1963
Hawkins, David, The Language of Nature: An Essay in the Philosophy of Science. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman Co., 1964
Isaacs, Alan, Introducing Science. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963
Kerkut, G. A., Implications of Evolution. New York: Pergamon Press, 1960
Klotz, John, Genes, Genesis and Evolution. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1955
Leupold, H. C., Exposition of Ecclesiastes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966
Libby, Willard F., Radiocarbon Doting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955
Mixter, Russell L., ed., Evolution and Christian Thought Today. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960
Morris, Henry M., The Twilight of Evolution. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1963
Nagel, Ernest, The Structure of Science. New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961
Nelson, Byron C., Before Abraham: Prehistoric Man in Biblical Light. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1948
Rhodes, F. H. T ., The Evolution of Life. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1962
Rushdoony, R. J. The Necessity for Creationism. Jotham Publications, Inc., Box 5545, Pasadena, Calif. 91107. (Printed script, tape recording and disc record. Published 1966).
Sullivan, J.W.N., The Limitations of Science. New York: Mentor Books, 1963
Warfield, Benjamin B., Studies in Theology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1932. Same material in Princeton Theological Review, ix. 1911
Weiner, The Piltdown Forgery. Oxford University Press.
Zimmerman, Paul A., ed., Darwin, Evolution and Creation. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959
At the last Annual Meeting of REFORMED FELLOWSHIP INC. this material was presented by the Rev. Johannes C. Vos, minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Professor at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Po., and editor of BLUE BANNER FAITH AND LIFE. The salient features of both Creationism and Evolutionism—each recognized in its own way as an ideology or basic life-and-world view—are clearly contrasted for the reader. Undoubtedly this article will receive fully as warm a welcome among our readers as last year’s contribution by Prof. Vos entitled “Surrender to Evolution: Inevitable or Inexcusable?” of which several thousands of copies have been distributed.