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Article 48 - Overview Of Evolution
An Overview of Evolution
Jon Gary Williams
The theory known as evolution is one of the strangest phenomenon ever to cross the path of man's query about himself and the world in which he lives. What is this theory (more accurately, a "hypothesis") all about? Simply put, it is the belief that millions of years ago lifeless matter, acted upon by natural forces, gave origin to minute living organisms which have since produced all living and extinct plants and animals, including man.1
Evolution presumes that matter is of itself eternal and at one time was capable of spontaneously generating life. It postulates that all life is nothing more than a colossal accident - - the result of blind chance operating in a mindless universe. Also, within evolution's vast framework of assumptions is the fundamental illusion that, void of any purpose or design, life somehow transformed itself from the very simple to the highly complex.
A gigantic stretch of imagination is required to accept all that evolution proposes. In reality it is nothing more than science fiction built on mountains of speculations. Rational people consider the idea of evolution absurd. As Canadian geologist J.W. Dawson accurately expressed it: "It is a system destitute of any shadow of proof, and supported merely by vague analogies and figures of speech, and by the arbitrary and artificial coherence of its parts."2 And as Dr. Scott Huse explained: "Far from being an established fact of science that it is so typically portrayed to be, evolution is, in reality, an unreasonable and unfounded hypothesis that is riddled with countless scientific fallacies."3
However, in spite of its obvious defects, over the past one hundred fifty years evolution has been elevated to a high standing within large segments of the scientific community. But how could this have occurred?
The Origin Of Evolution
How and when did the evolution hypothesis originate? Contrary to the impression left by evolutionists, the concept of evolution is not of recent origin. It did not have its beginning with Charles Darwin nor is it an outgrowth of advancements made in modern science. The truth is, generic beliefs in an "evolution of life" have existed since the time of the Greek philosophers.4 In fact, as Osburn points out, Empedocles "may justly be called the father of the evolution idea."5
Though the notion of evolution reaches far into the past, the hypothesis championed today is less than two hundred years old. This more recent concept of evolution finds its moorings in such men as Chevalier de LaMarck (1744-1829), Robert Chambers (1802-1871) and Herbert Spencer (1820- 1903). However, it was due primarily to the writings of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) that evolution was thrust into the public eye. Darwin's most popular work, The Origin of Species, in which he assembled the modern evolution story, was first published in 1859. He hoped his book, though written in a somewhat cumbersome fashion, would convince others of a legitimate basis for the doctrine of organic evolution. The book received a variety of reactions including many which were highly critical, labeling it contrary to logic and science.
Adam Sedgwick, one of Darwin's professors, said: "I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admire greatly, parts of it I laughed at until my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous."6 Though his Origin was rejected by many in the scientific community, it was eventually received with open arms by the majority.
The Acceptance Of Evolution
What contributed to the widespread endorsement of this hypothesis? By the mid-19th century, conditions in the western world were favorable for the introduction of a revolutionary idea in the field of science. The so-called "age of reason" spawned in the 18th century had laid the groundwork for the promotion of anti-God and anti-creation sentiments. Evolution, in this "updated" form, had arrived at just the right time. It was seized upon as a plausible, working mechanism which, it was felt, could fill the void left by a rejection of God and creation.
This bizarre approach to the explanation of man's place and purpose in the universe became known as the philosophy of humanism, a ideological attitude that adamantly rejects the supernatural. While it regards man a mere natural object (a product of the world) it asserts him to be the epitome of evolution, capable of solving all his problems with no need for God. Humanism is the vanguard for the promotion of agnosticism and atheism and since the mid-20th century has become solidified as an official society with its own "decree."
Under the heading of Religion, the Humanist Manifesto states: "We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural... As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity... we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species... No deity will save us, we must save ourselves... Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful... science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces... There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body."7
Under the heading of Ethics, the Manifesto states: "We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanctions. Ethics stems from human need and interests...We strive for the good life here and now."8
Under the heading of The Individual, the Manifesto maintains: "In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct... neither do we wish to prohibit by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered "evil'... individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities..."9
So, at its roots the philosophy of humanism has an anti-religious agenda. And the fact that humanism and evolution merge together is obvious - - they are interdependent. It is from its alliance with humanism that the perilous influence of evolution emerges.
The Broad-Based Influence Of Evolution
During the 20th century as evolution received wider acceptance, it became interwoven with almost all branches of discipline and in time took its place as a controlling force. Its influence can be seen in the sciences, in education, in the mass media, and even in theology. With many, evolution has become a prerequisite for acceptance into the "educated circle." In some respects it has become a "religion" with people bowing at its altar. And with others who do not necessarily believe evolution, the pressure to accept it is so strong they are forced to give it lip service. Dr. Henry Morris expressed it well when he wrote: "The writer is convinced, from having discussed the subject with hundreds of people, that the main reason most educated people believe in evolution is simply because they have been told that most educated people believe in evolution."10
Morris goes on to explain: "Very rarely is such a person able to do more than repeat a few stock 'evidences for evolution,' and almost never has he given any really serious consideration to the question of their real implications."11
So, the doctrine of evolution permeates the so-called "educated" world causing many to be cowered down with intimidation. This, of course, creates a climate which can spawn any number of adverse effects.
The Harmful Effects Of Evolution
In the wake of the evolution hypothesis are many harmful aftermaths. This unscientific dogma has left a trail of disillusion, corruption and doubt. First, it has not been beneficial to mankind scientifically. Canadian scientist W.R. Thompson, in his introduction to Everyman's Library edition of The Origin of Species, made this startling observation: "I am not satisfied that Darwin proved his point or that his influence in scientific and public thinking has been beneficial."12 Thompson added: "The success of Darwinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity."13
Second, evolution tends to promote agnosticism and atheism. One time head of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, Woosley Teller, said: "The God idea cannot be reconciled with our knowledge of evolution."14 All hard-core evolutionists not only concede this fact, they applaud it.
Third, evolution has been instrumental in advancing corrupt systems of society. Karl Marx, designer of the atheistic communist philosophy, drew heavily from Darwin. He even requested that his book, Das Capital, be dedicated to Darwin. The degenerate condition spread throughout the world by Communism is testimony to the influence of evolution.
Evolution's Influence On The Church
Without question, things which adversely affect the world will find their way into and affect the Lord's church. This is true of evolution and especially as it relates to two areas of concern: 1) the Biblical account of creation, and 2) attitudes toward morality.
Evolution and the Bible
The broad acceptance of evolution by the world has had a negative affect on many Bible believing people, including members of the Lord's church. For example, while the Biblical account is clear in explaining that all creation lies within a literal six day period (Genesis 1:1- 31), the desire to accept evolution has caused many to modify the Genesis record. This is done in an effort to make the Bible and evolution harmonize, and herein lies the problem.
This approach is known as theistic evolution. In this, people attempt to "burn the candle at both ends." While on one hand they want to hold to Biblical creation, on the other they want to adopt evolution. This has led to such farfetched views as the gap theory and the day-age theory, both of which force drastic revisions in the creation account.
The gap theory, for example, assumes that Genesis 1:1,2 records an "initial creation" in which the heavens, the earth and various forms of "primitive" life were created.15 Then, during a vast "gap" of multiplied millions of years, all sorts of so-called "prehistoric" plants and animals evolved. This, then, is followed by the six days of creation beginning with Genesis 1:3. However, that this theory is false is clearly shown in that Moses placed all of creation within the six day time frame (Exodus 20:11; 31:17). There is no "gap."
The day-age theory is equally erroneous, attempting to stretch each of the six days of creation into long eons of time. Supposedly, these vast expanses provide enough time for evolution to have occurred. However, that the six days of creation were literal days is easily demonstrated. For example, each day is qualified with the terms "morning and evening" (Genesis 1:5,8, et. al.) which describe the two equal parts of a normal day. Likewise, each day is attached to a numeral (Genesis 1:5,8, et. al.). Throughout the Hebrew Old Testament, whenever the word "day" (YOM) is combined with a numeral it always refers to a normal, solar day. There are no exceptions.
The acceptance of theistic evolution has led some into yet further foolish, drastic modifications of the scriptures. For example: Adam and Eve may have been in the garden of Eden billions of years,16 the flood was not really world-wide,17 and Methuselah's age may have been no more than eighty years.18 And it has even caused some to cast doubt on the inspiration of the Bible itself.
Such attitudes toward God's holy word are indicative of the influence evolution can have, even on members of the church. Sadly, the theistic evolution approach has been the platform of a number of professors teaching in some of the Christian schools among us.19 Once the initial wall separating creation and evolution is broken down we can be sure the domino effect will follow.
Recently I spoke with a young man who grew up a member of the church, but because of the deception of evolution he had lost his faith in the Bible and had been led away from Christ. How sad this is, but his story can be told many times over. Damage to the Lord's church resulting from the influence of the dogmatism of evolution is real.
Evolution's Influence On Moral Attitudes
The pervasive indoctrination of evolution in our culture has helped to recast man's moral standards. This, in turn, has had a direct effect on the thinking of many Christians, and to a much greater extent than most realize. After all, if evolution is true then man is merely the product of blind chance, which, in turn, means there is no God. And if there is no God, then objective moral standards have no meaning.
A sexually permissive fifteen year old girl was asked by a counselor why she chose such a lifestyle. Staring out the window at some stray dogs she responded, "Well, I'm not any different than those dogs out there."
We wonder, how did she arrive at this conclusion? Was she taught this by her parents? Not likely. No doubt this distorted idea found its way into her young mind through the subtle, suggestive influence of evolution's explanation of life. To her this was a logical conclusion - - from all she had read and heard about evolution, what other inference could she draw? After all, if the human race simply evolved from lower animals then there is no significant difference between man and beast and, hence, moral standards would have no meaning. So, what difference does it make how people conduct their lives? Actually, with God and moral standards, what difference does anything make?
This true illustration gets right to the core of the degenerative make-up of evolution. When people, especially youth, are tempted to engage in immoral acts, resisting such temptations is made difficult if they have no moral standards from which to draw. However, when this is combined with the suggestive nature of evolution (that man is not uniquely made in God's image) their resistance is weakened yet further. No doubt, many Christians have experienced this subtle, suggestive, corrupting influence of evolution, causing them to throw off moral restraint. Indeed, evolution plays a major role in this modern, subversive attack on morality.
That the Lord's church is being assaulted by godless evolution is a fact we must face. All Christians should be encouraged to fortify themselves with God's word, being assured there are many reasons the child of God cannot embrace the evolution enigma.20
1Williams, Jon Gary, The Other Side of Evolution (Nashville: Williams Brothers Publishers, 1996), p. 5.
2Cited by E.A. Elam, The Bible Verses Theories of Evolution (Nashville, Gospel Advocate Company, 1925), p. 86.
3Huse, Scott, The Collapse of Evolution (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1983), p. 127.
4Davidheiser, Bolton, Evolution and Christian Faith (Philadelphia, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1970), pp. 38-40.
5Osburn, Henry, From the Greeks to Darwin, 2nd Edition (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), p. 52.
6Sedgwick, Adam, Darwin's Life and Letters (New York, Appelton, 1898), Vol. II, p. 43.
7Humanist Manifesto I and II, Edited by Paul Kurtz, (Buffalo, N.Y., Prometheus Books, 1982), pp. 16,17.
8ibid. pp. 17,18
10Morris, Henry, The Twilight of Evolution (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1964), p. 26
12Thompson, W.R., Introduction, The Origin of Species (London, New York, Everyman's Library, 1967), p. vii.
13ibid., p. xxi.
14Howitt, John, Karl Marx as an Evolutionist (Hants, England, Evolution Protest
Movement, 1965), p. 4.
15Clayton, John, The Source (Privately published by the author, South Bend,
Indiana, 1976), p. 148
16Clayton, John, Does God Exist (Taped series.)
18Clayton, Does God Exist (October, 1976)
19Thompson, Bert and Jackson, Wayne, Is Genesis A Myth? (Montgomery, Alabama,
Apologetics Press, 1989), chapters 1-7
20Williams, Jon Gary, op. cit., p. 59