CAJ 2:1 (Spring1999) : Beware Of Evolutionism



Beware Of Evolutionism

Many thinkers labor under the illusion that evolution is an empirical science when in fact it is a philosophy. Macro-evolution is a philosophy whose naturalistic tenets were spelled out by the man Charles Darwin referred to as “our great philosopher,” Herbert Spencer (1820–1903).19 Spencer came upon his philosophy while meditating on the waves in a pond one Sunday morning—something that no doubt would not have happened had he been in church meditating on the Word of God! Many evolutionists were not content to hypothesize that life has evolved from simple to complex. They applied the same naturalistic method to society and religion, claiming they had evolved as well. This gave rise to the still persistent myth that religious belief evolved from magic to polytheism to henotheism to monotheism. This view has dominated the landscape since James Frazer wrote The Golden Bough in 1890, even though the discovery of monotheistic creation ex nihilo in the Ebla Tablets should have put it to rest, since they are much earlier than Frazer’s sources.20 Even Charles Darwin himself proposed in his The Descent of Man (1871) that. “The same high mental faculties. .. led man to believe in unseen spiritual agencies, then in fetishism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism.. . .”21 Based on his naturalistic presupposition he wrote in his autobiography, “I had gradually come, by this time to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with its Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attribution to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.”22 In brief, Darwin concluded that, “Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.” He added, “By further reflection that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in miracles by which Christianity is supported,—that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men of that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses;—by such reflections as these. .. I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.”23 The result of the philosophy of evolutionism has been catastrophic for biblical and theological studies. The historicity and scientific accuracy of the Genesis record has been denied. The doctrine of creation has been discarded with serious moral consequences on our dignity and society. Hitler, for example, applied the Darwinian view to society with horrendous human consequences, arguing that, “If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile.” He then went on to say that, “Such a preservation goes hand-in-hand with the inexorable law that it is the strongest and the best who must triumph and that they have the right to endure.”24 With that he slaughtered some estimated 12 million human beings which he considered to be inferior breeds. Indeed, the evolution text used in the state of Tennessee at issue in the John Scopes trial was racist, referring to the Caucasian race as “the highest type of all.”25 The damage done by Darwinism in the theological realm has been equally undesirable. Of course, some scholars have gallantly but futilely attempted to reconcile evolution and Scripture, including James Orr and A. A. Strong, only to do violence to the historical-grammatical method and to unwittingly undermine both human dignity and theological orthodoxy. They failed to heed the warning of Charles Hodge in his 1878 work titled What is Darwinism? in which Hodge correctly answered: “It is atheism. This does not mean, as said before, that Mr. Darwin himself and all who adopt his views are atheists; but it means that his theory is atheistic; that the exclusion of design from nature is. .. tantamount to atheism.”26 After all, if there is no design, then there is no need for a Designer. And if things were not created, then there was no Creator. Once again, grave theological pain could have been avoided by taking seriously the biblical exhortation to “beware of philosophy.”

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