In my last two articles I have been trying to indicate how in my estimation the whole question of evolution is related to the important area of science. I am convinced along with many other Christian teachers that the field of science is a very legitimate area for Christian endeavor and study. I have profound respect for the scientist who has devoted himself to the study of the creation of God.
Science as an intellectual discipline is not to be scorned. From the Latin term scientia is taken the word science which means knowledge. To have knowledge is not wrong; that is man’s calling. I am, however, militating in this series against an improper understanding of the function of science. The scientist is not to speculate concerning the origin of this creation nor is he to extrapolate from his sense experience a theory of earth history and origins. The scientist is limited to those things that he can perceive with the senses and his conceptions must then be in harmony with the revealed Word of God.
We are tracing in this series of articles the origin of the theory of evolution as it relates to the field of science in order to show how pernicious and all pervasive is this theory of evolution. We must be well aware of our enemy in this god-less world. We continue in this endeavor by speaking about the place that Charles Darwin held in the development of this god-less theory.
Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
Charles Darwin who lived from 1809-1882 was born in Shrewsbury, England. From 1828-1831 lie studied for the ministry of the gospel at Cambridge. In 1831 he was appointed as naturalist on the government exploring expedition aboard Her Majesty’s the Beagle. From 1831-1836 Darwin circled the world with the crew aboard the Beagle. He became convinced that natural species are not permanent and he became a believer in evolution. Darwin wrote many books on biological subjects after his return and gathered a wealth of information on natural history.
In 1877 Darwin wrote to Otto Zacharias as follows:
“When I was on board the Beagle I believed in the permanence of species, but, as far as I can remember, vague doubts occasionally flitted across my mind. On my return home in the autumn of 1836 I immediately began to prepare my journal for publication, and then saw how many facts indicated the common descent of species, so that in July, 1837, I opened a notebook to record any facts which might bear on the question; but I did not become convinced that species were mutable until, I think, two or three years had elasped 1”
In 1859 when he was fifty years old be published the Origin of Species. These earth- shaking and Scripture-denying theories had also been proposed by a fellow Englishman, Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace had proposed the same theory to Darwin in 1858 and the two of them had presented the theory to the scientists in the Linnean Society in 1858. Because of the publication of the book the Origin of Species, however, the name of Darwin came to be attached to evolutionary theory while the name of Wallace is little known.
In the Origin of Species Darwin presents his views on variation of species and the concept of natural selection. This theory he conceives to be the solution to the problem of a non-permanent or mutable species.
“Can it then be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should occur in the course of many successive generations? If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favorable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest.2”
Darwin maintains that species will vary and that favorable variations are perpetuated while unfavorable variations tend to disappear with the individuals in which they were produced. As the variations which are favorable accumulate the first result is a new variety, then a distinct species and finally the transformation of one major type of animal or plant into another. It becomes obvious, therefore, that chance replaces the providential control of a sovereign Creator who is over all things. Favorable variations result because of environmental conditions and not because of the fact that not a hair can fall from one’s head without the will of our heavenly father.
In the book the Origin of Species Darwin treats a variety of topics such as the effects of hybridization, the variability of instinct and habits, geographical distribution of animals, and a discussion of classification, morphology, embryology, and vestigial organs. When his views are all summed up they are basically a denial of the Scriptural record of the creation of all things according to and by the Word of God.
Darwin writes in his “Recapitualation and Conclusion” of the Origin as follows:
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many paints of many kinds, with bird singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving namely, the production of the higher animals directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”3”
It becomes obvious that Darwin believes that the Creation story is unscientific even though he leaves in the various editions of the Origin the statement that the Creator breathed life into the first form or the first few forms.
(To be continued)
- Quoted from Why Scientists Accept Evolution by Robert T. Clark and James D. Bales, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 35.
- Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species, Great Books of Western World, p. 40.
- Ibid, p. 243.