In Canada and the United States, most school children are still taught living things are not the result of Divine creation but of an evolutionary process stretching over millions of years. The same opinion pervades such influential sources as The National Geographic Magazine, television nature films, and the remarks of many "educated" people. This has been the case for some time.
In recent years, however, the blatant proclamation of evolution has been muted a little by various protests not only from Bible believers but from many scientists as well.
A 1983 court case in Arkansas exposed this controversy to the glare of the public press. Many hoped that, for once and for all, evolution would be publicly exposed as nothing more than a theory which has been proven wrong as true facts have become known. However, as often happens in such cases, the real issues and the true facts were buried by legal maneuvering and the sensationalist tendency of news reporting. In this instance, additional confusion occurred because the creationist supporters misrepresented Bible teaching in a number of areas and were entrapped by the quick-thinking evolutionists. So the strength of the Bible and the weakness of evolution never came through for the public to see it clearly.
Lord willing, this will be the first in a series of articles, which will attempt to clarify the issues and to inform the reader of the current state of the factual evidence in this area of evolution versus the Bible.
A Clear Conflict
In the first place, it should be pointed out that there is a clear conflict between Bible teaching and the evolutionary concept. While it is true that God could have worked by something like an evolutionary process, the Bible reveals He did not.
The Bible reveals very clearly that so far as this creation is concerned:
- Plants and animals started as separate, distinct, fully developed species.
A key phrase in Genesis 1:11-12 and 21, and 24-25 is "after his kind;" it occurs 10 times in those areas and is applied to all forms of plant and animal life; all grasses and herbs and fruit trees (vs. 11-12), all fish and birds (v. 21), all cattle and beasts and creeping things (vs. 24-25). Ten times in five verses the Bible states the point so the reader will not miss the message. Here is no evolution of one species into another; here is a creation from the beginning of all things in their distinct groupings.
- Man is not just another animal but is of a wholly different level of creation.
"And God said let us make man..." after his kind? No! Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Man is made in the likeness of the heavenly host of angels. That is why his intellectual and emotional, his creative and moral capacities are so radically superior to the animal world (Genesis 1:26-28).
- Man's racial condition is not a result of gradual improvement but of a sudden change for the worse.
The words of Genesis 3:16-19 pronounce a change that is sickeningly familiar from our daily experience. Childbirth is an agony; the potential for conception is great; man struggles to earn a living for his family; death makes its inevitable and unavoidable claim. According to Scripture it was not always so. The change occurred when Adam and Eve were punished for rebellion against the command of God.
- The mortality of man is a result of his rebellion against the command of God and not something inherited from pre-human ancestors.
"As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin . . so by man came death" Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21. The punishment is clear in the Bible; in the day Adam and Eve sinned mortality would become a principle fixed in theft beings and in all who would descend from them (Genesis 2:7). According to the Bible, that is why we die.
These points are in stark contrast to the most basic concept of evolution. Charles Darwin states this on the very first page of The Origin of Species: "species undergo modifications . . . the existing forms of life are the descendants by true generation of pre-existing forms." Or, in the words of Webster's dictionary "the theory, now generally accepted, that all species of plants and animals (including man) developed from earlier forms by hereditary transmission of slight variations in successive generations." It is clear that such a philosophy is wholly contradictory to the Biblical statements.
Keeping "Evolution" Clear
In school science courses, "evolution" is a term often used in a confusing and ambiguous way. It is sometimes used of the development of an egg into a bird or an embryo into a fully developed animal but this is not "evolution" it is development. "Evolution" is sometimes applied to the selective breeding by which geneticists obtain improved varieties of wheat or peas, of horses or cattle; but this is not "evolution," it is selective breeding. And the deleterious change brought about by the loss or damage of some genetic factor, or by congenital disease transmitted by a parent to a child is not "evolution" it is degeneration.
Evolution in the context of a Biblical discussion is the idea that over a very long period of time the great diversity of life one observes upon earth developed gradually, step by step, one species evolving from another until finally the more complex species transformed from the less complex, a process culminating in the appearance of man from the highest form of subhuman animal life.
This is the idea that stands in contrast to Biblical revelation. Whereas the Bible reveals man as a very special creation condemned to mortality for sin against God, evolution sees him as nothing more than another animal in a long evolutionary chain leading to a perfecting of traits and characteristics. Where evolution involves long-term improvement, Scripture reveals a sharp deterioration. Where evolution has life today resulting from one species changing to another, Scripture reveals it as coming from a creation where all things were made each after its "kind." There is no way the theory of evolution and the Bible are compatible.
Keeping Bible Ideas Clear
A similar clarity of thinking needs to be applied to what the Bible says and what it does not say. In my son's 7th grade science textbook a quick history is given of views of the world held by "religious" people.
"At one time it was thought that the earth was shaped like a big, flat pancake, covered with a blue dome which was crossed by the sun by day and was sprinkled with tiny stars at night. In the Middle Ages, men actually were put to death for daring to suggest that the stars were huge flaming balls, millions of miles out in space. Such beliefs were considered heresy--they contradicted all religious beliefs and dogmas of the time and place ....
"In like manner, there were many who believed that each species now living on the earth was divinely created exactly in its present form; and this belief was a cornerstone of religious faith. The development of biological knowledge has shown beyond doubt that life on the earth has undergone extensive change ... the ability of living organisms to undergo change through succeeding generations is recognized as one of the fundamental principles of modern biology ....
"In addition to the idea of special creation, many strange and bizarre explanations have been proposed by various religions and cultures to explain the origin and development of life on the earth." (and a number of bizarre examples follow) -- From Modern Biological Principles; Von Nostrand, Reinhold.
The student is obviously left with the impression that religious views of creation are fanciful while evolution is scientific.
"Religious" views, however, may or may not accord with Biblical testimony. The Bible itself needs to be carefully consulted.
Take for example the evidence evolutionists present for great change, adaptation and development of living things in relation to their environment. Scripture actually requires that some such development take place. There is no conflict on this score until evolutionists go beyond the evidence and assert a development of one species into another.
All Races From One Family
The Bible reveals the whole range of human beings came from one family. If you thought "Adam and Eve," you would be right but not as right as if you had thought "Noah and his family." The Bible revelation is that some 1,500 years after Adam and Eve (or only about 4,500 years ago) "all flesh died upon the earth both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and every man ... Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Genesis 7:21,23).
From this genetic pool consisting of eight people --Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives-- "of them was the whole earth overspread" (Genesis 9:19). Caucasian and Negroid, Aboriginals, Mongoloids and Polynesians all came from this one family over the relatively short period of 4,500 years. This same point is alluded to by the apostle Paul in a speech to "educated" men of his day: "God hath made the world ... and hath made of one (blood) all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth" (Acts 17:24,26 - "blood" is in some
Greek manuscripts but not all. This point is not affected, however, by its omission). All races, all colors, all ethnic groups developed from this one family. Scripture, therefore, not only allows for but actually requires change within the species. The mechanisms of geographic isolation, adaptation to environment, survival of the fittest, recombination and special processes the result of the Genesis flood could well have been involved in the rapid development of the races of mankind. Such mechanisms of "evolution" are frequently cited in Biology textbooks. Examples are cited in such books of the very kind of change Scripture requires.
This point needs to be clearly recognized. Change within a species is wholly compatible with Scriptural testimony about our world. But this kind of change is not what the theory of evolution is all about.
Why Muddy The Water?
The curious thing is that in one "scientific" book after another, the word "evolution" is used in an ambiguous manner. On one hand it is used for changes within a species which are really nothing more than selective breeding. Numerous factual examples of this are normally cited. On the other hand, "evolution" is used of the development of one species into another for which no factual examples are given.
And Biblical statements are thrown in mish-mash style along with all kinds of mythological creation accounts without any regard to the fair meaning of the Bible.
After seeing the same unscientific approach used time and again, one cannot help but wonder if evolution is not really someone's faith for which he is having trouble finding factual support. It is hoped in subsequent issues to cite numerous instances, which give credence to our opinion that evolution is in truth a faith without foundation.
D. Styles (Detroit).
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