When the mainspring is broken a watch ceases to be useful as a timekeeper. A handsome case may make it still an ornament and the parts may have a market value, but it cannot serve the purpose of a watch. There is that in each human life that corresponds to the mainspring of a watch—that which is absolutely necessary if the life is to be what it should be, a real life and not a mere existence. That necessary thing is a belief in God. Religion is defined as the relation between God and man, and Tolstoy has described morality as the outward expression of this inward relationship.
If it be true, as I believe it is, that morality is dependent upon religion, then religion is not only the most practical thing in the world, but the first essential. Without religion, viz., a sense of dependence upon God and reverence for Him, one can play a part in both the physical and the intellectual world, but he cannot live up to the possibilities which God has placed within the reach of each human being.
A belief in God is fundamental; upon it rest the influences that control life.
First, the consciousness of God’s presence in the life gives one a sense of responsibility to the Creator for every thought and word and deed.
Second, prayer rests upon a belief in God; communion with the Creator in the expression of gratitude and in pleas for guidance powerfully influences man.
Third, belief in a personal immortality rests upon faith in God; the inward restraint that one finds in a faith that looks forward to a future life with its rewards and punishments, makes outward restraint less necessary. Man is weak enough in hours of temptation, even when he is fortified by the conviction that this life is but a small arc of an infinite circle; his power of resistance is greatly impaired if he accepts the doctrine that conscious existence terminates with death.
Fourth, the spirit of brotherhood rests on a belief in God. We trace our relationship to our fellowmen through the Creator, the Common Parent of us all.
Fifth, belief in the Bible depends upon a belief in God. Jehovah comes first; His word comes afterward. There can be no inspiration without a Heavenly Father to inspire.
Sixth, belief in God is also necessary to a belief in Christ; the Son could not have revealed the Father to man according to any atheistic theory. And so with all other Christian doctrines: they rest upon a belief in God.
If belief in God is necessary to the beliefs enumerated, then it follows logically that anything that weakens belief in God weakens man, and, to the extent that it impairs belief in God, reduces his power to measure up to his opportunities and responsibilities. If there is at work in the world to-day anything that tends to break this mainspring, it is the duty of the moral, as well as the Christian, world to combat this influence in every possible way.
I believe there is such a menace to fundamental morality. The hypothesis to which the name of Darwin has been given—the hypothesis that links man to the lower forms of life and makes him a lineal descendant of the brute—is obscuring God and weakening all the virtues that rest upon the religious tie between God and man. Passing over, for the present, all other phases of evolution and considering only that part of the system which robs man of the dignity conferred upon him by separate creation, when God breathed into him the breath of life and he became the first man, I venture to call attention to the demoralizing influence exerted by this doctrine.
If we accept the Bible as true we have no difficulty in determining the origin of man. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God, after creating all other things, said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
The materialist has always rejected the Bible account of Creation and, during the last half century, the Darwinian doctrine has been the means of shaking the faith of millions. It is important that man should have a correct understanding of his line of descent. Huxley calls it the “question of questions” for mankind. He says: “The problem which underlies all others, and is more interesting than any other—is the ascertainment of the place which man occupies in nature and of his relation to the universe of things. Whence our race has come, what are the limits of our power over nature, and of nature’s power over us, to what goal are we tending, are the problems which present themselves anew with undiminished interest to every man born in the world.”
The materialists deny the existence of God and seek explain man’s presence upon the earth without a creative act. They go back from man to the animals, and from one form of life to another until they come to the first germ of life; there they divide into two schools, some believing that the first germ of life came from another planet, others holding that it was the result of spontaneous generation. One school answers the arguments advanced by the other and, as they cannot agree with each other, I am not compelled to agree with either.
If it were necessary to accept one of these theories I would prefer the first; for, if we can chase the germ of life off of this planet and out into space, we can guess the rest of the way and no one can contradict us. But, if we accept the doctrine of spontaneous generation we will have to spend our time explaining why spontaneous generation ceased to act after the first germ of life was created. It is not necessary to pay much attention to any theory that boldly eliminates God; it does not deceive many. The mind revolts at the idea of spontaneous generation; in all the researches of the ages no scientist has found a single instance of life that was not begotten by life. The materialist has nothing but imagination to build upon; he cannot hope for company or encouragement.
But the Darwinian doctrine is more dangerous because more deceptive. It permits, one to believe in a God, but puts the creative act so far away that reverence for the Creator—even belief in Him—is likely to be lost.
Before commenting on the Darwinian hypothesis let me refer you to the language of its author as it applies to man. On page 180 of “Descent of Man” (Hurst & Company, Edition 1874), Darwin says: “Our most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of the Vertebrata, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of the existing Ascidians.” Then he suggests a line of descent leading to the monkey. And he does not even permit us to indulge in a patriotic pride of ancestry; instead of letting us descend from American monkeys, he connects us with the European branch of the monkey family.
It will be noted, first, that he begins the summary with the word “apparently,” which the Standard Dictionary defines: “as judged by appearances, without passing upon its reality.” His second sentence (following the sentence quoted) turns upon the word “probably,” which is defined: “as far as the evidence shows, presumably, likely.” His works are full of words indicating uncertainty. The phrase “we may well suppose,” occurs over eight hundred times in his two principal works. (See Herald & Presbyter, November 22, 1914.) The eminent scientist is guessing.
After locating our gorilla and chimpanzee ancestors in Africa, he concludes that “it is useless to speculate on this subject.” If the uselessness of speculation had occurred to him at the beginning of his investigation he might have escaped responsibility for shaking the faith of two generations by his guessing on the whole subject of biology. If we could divide the human race into two distinct groups we might allow evolutionists to worship brutes as ancestors but they insist on connecting all mankind with the jungle. We have a right to protect our family tree.
Having given Darwin’s conclusions as to man’s ancestry, I shall quote him to prove that his hypothesis is not only groundless, but absurd and harmful to society. It is groundless because there is not a single fact in the universe that can be cited to prove that man is descended from the lower animals. Darwin does not use facts; he uses conclusions drawn from similarities. He builds upon presumptions, probabilities and inferences, and asks the acceptance of his hypothesis “notwithstanding the fact that connecting links have not hitherto been discovered” (page 162). He advances an hypothesis which, if true, would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface, but which, as a matter of fact, finds support nowhere. There are myriads of living creatures about us, from insects too small to be seen with the naked eye to the largest mammals and, yet, not one is in transition from one species to another; every one is perfect It is strange that slight similarities could make him ignore gigantic dif ferences. The remains of nearly one hundred specie: of vertebrate life have been found in the rocks, of which more than one-half are found living to-day, ant none of the survivors show material change. The word hypothesis is a synonym used by scientists fog the word guess; it is more dignified in sound and more imposing to the sight, but it has the same meaning as the old-fashioned, every-day word, guess. If Darwin had described his doctrine as a guess instead of calling it an hypothesis, it would not have lived a year.1
Probably nothing impresses Darwin more than the fact that at an early stage the foetus of a child cannot be distinguished from the foetus of an ape, but why should a similarity in the beginning impress him more than the difference at birth and the immeasurable gulf between the two at forty? If science cannot detect a difference, known to exist, between the foetus of an ape and the foetus of a child, it should not ask us to substitute the inferences, the preseumptions and the probabilities of science for the word of God.
Science has rendered invaluable service to society; her achievements are innumerable—and the hypotheses of scientists should be considered with an open mind. Their theories should be carefully examined and their arguments fairly weighed, but the scientist cannot compel acceptance of any argument he advances, except as, judged upon its merits, it is convincing. Man is infinitely more than science; science, as well as the Sabbath, was made for man. It must be remembered, also, that all sciences are not of equal importance. Tolstoy insists that the science of “How to Live” is more important than any other science, and is this not true? It is better to trust in the Rock of Ages, than to know the age of the rocks; it is better for one to know that he is close to the Heavenly Father, than to know how far the stars in the heavens are apart. And is it not just as important that the scientists who deal with matter should respect the scientists who deal with spiritual things, as that the latter should respect the former? If it be true, as Paul declares, that “the things that are seen are temporal” while “the things that are unseen are eternal,” why should those who deal with temporal things think themselves superior to those who deal with the things that are eternal? Why should the Bible, which the centuries have not been able to shake, be discarded for scientific works that have to be revised and corrected every few years? The preference should be given to the Bible.
The two lines of work are parallel. There should be no conflict between the discoverers of real truths, because real truths do not conflict. Every truth harmonizes with every other truth, but why should an hypothesis, suggested by a scientist, be accepted as true until its truth is established? Science should be the last to make such a demand because science to be trulv science is classified knowledge; it is the explanation of facts. Tested by this definition, Darwinism is not science at all; it is guesses strung together. There is more science in the twenty-fourth verse of the first chapter of Genesis (And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind; and it was so.) than in all that Darwin wrote.
It is no light matter to impeach the veracity of the Scriptures in order to accept, not a truth—not even a theory—but a mere hypothesis. Professor Huxley says, “There is no fault to be found with Darwin’s method, but it is another thing whether he has fulfilled all the conditions imposed by that method. Is it satisfactorily proved that species may be originated by se lection? That none of the phenomena exhibited by the species are inconsistent with the origin of the species in this way? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, Mr. Darwin’s view steps out of the ranks of hypothesis into that of theories; but so long as the evidence adduced falls short of enforcing that affirmative, so long, to our minds, the new doctrine must be content to remain among the former-an extremely valuable, and in the highest degree probable, doctrine; indeed the only extant hypothesis which is worth anything in a scientific point of view; but still A hypothesis, and not a theory of species.” “After much consideration,” he adds, “and assuredly with no bias against Darwin’s views, it is our clear conviction that, as the evidence now stands, it is not absolutely proven that a group of animals, having all the characters exhibited by species in nature, has ever been originated by selection, whether artificial or natural.”
But Darwin is absurd as well as groundless. He announces two laws, which, in his judgment, explain the development of man from the lowest form of animal life, viz., natural selection and sexual selection. The latter has been abandoned by the modern believers in evolution, but two illustrations, taken from Darwin’s “Descent of Man,” will show his unreliability as a guide to the young. On page 587 of the 1874 edition, he tries to explain man’s superior mental strength (a proposition more difficult to defend to-day than in Darwin’s time). His theory is that, “the struggle between the males for the possession of the females” helped to develop the male mind and that this superior for strength was transmitted by males to their male offspring.
After having shown, to his own satisfaction, how sexual selection would account for the (supposed) greater strength of the male mind, he turns his attention to another question, namely, how did man become a hairless animal? This he accounts for also by sexual selection—the females preferred the males with the least hair (page 624). In a footnote on page 626 he says that this view has been harshly criticized. “Hardly any view advanced in this work,” he says, “has met with so much disfavour.” A comment and a question: First, Unless the brute females were very different from the females as we know them, they would not have agreed in taste. Some would “probably” have preferred males with less hair, others, “we may well suppose,” would have preferred males with more hair. Those with more hair would naturally be the stronger because better able to resist the weather. But, second, how could the males have strengthened their minds by fighting for the females if, at the same time, the females were breeding the hair off by selecting the males? Or, did the males select for three years and then allow the females to do the selecting during leap year?
But, worse yet, in a later edition published by L. A. Burt Company, a “supplemental note” is added to discuss two letters which he thought supported the idea that sexual selection transformed the hairy animal into the hairless man. Darwin’s correspondent (page 710) reports that a mandril seemed to be proud of a bare spot. Can anything be less scientific than trying to guess what an animal is thinking about? It would seem that this also was a subject about which it was “useless to speculate.”
While on this subject it may be worth while to call your attention to other fantastic imaginings of which those are guilty who reject the Bible and enter the field of speculation—fiction surpassing anything to be found in the Arabian Nights. If one accepts the Scriptural account of the creation, he can credit God with the working of miracles and with the doing of many things that man cannot understand. The evolutionist, however, having substituted what he imagines to be a universal law for separate acts of creation must explain everything. The evolutionst, not to go back farther than life just now, begins with one or a few invisible germs of life on the planet and imagines that these invisible germs have, by the operation of what they call “resident forces,” unaided from without, developed into all that we see to-day. They cannot in a lifetime explain the things that have to be explained, if their hypothesis is accepted—a useless waste of time even if explanation were possible.
Take the eye, for instance; believing in the Mosaic account, I believe that God made the eyes when He made man—not only made the eyes but carved out the caverns in the skull in which they hang. It is easy for the believer in the Bible to explain the eyes, because he believes in a God who can do all things and, according to the Bible, did create man as a part of a divine plan.
But how does the evolutionist explain the eye when he leaves God out? Here is the only guess that I have seen—if you find any others I shall be glad to know of them, as I am collecting the guesses of the evolutionists. The evolutionist guesses that there was a time when eyes were unknown—that is a necessary part of the hypothesis. And since the eye is a universal possession among living things the evolutionist guesses that it came into being—not by design or by act of God—but just happened, and how did it happen? I will give you the guess—a piece of pigment, or, as some say, a freckle appeared upon the skin of an animal that had no eyes. This piece of pigment or freckle converged the rays of the sun upon that spot and when the little animal felt the heat on that spot it turned the spot to the sun to get more heat. The increased heat irritated the skin—so the evolutionists guess, and a nerve came there and out of the nerve came the eye! Can you beat it? But this only accounts for one eye; there must have been another piece of pigment or freckle soon afterward and just in the right place in order to give the animal two eyes.
And, according to the evolutionist, there was a time when animals had no legs, and so the leg came by accident. How? Well, the guess is that a little animal without legs was wiggling along on its belly one day when it discovered a wart—it just happened so—and it was in the right place to be used to aid it in locomotion; so, it came to depend upon the wart, and use finally developed it into a leg. And then another wart and another leg, at the proper time—by accident—and accidentally in the proper place. Is it not astonishing that any person intelligent enough to teach school would talk such tommyrot to students and look serious while doing so?
And yet I read only a few weeks ago, on page 124 of a little book recently issued by a prominent New York minister, the following:
“Man has grown up in this universe gradually developing his powers and functions as responses to his environment. If he has eyes, so the biologists assure us, it is because light waves played upon the skin and eyes came out in answer; if he has ears it is because the air waves were there first and the ears came out to hear. Man never yet, according to the evolutionist, has developed any power save as a reality called it into being. There would be no fins if there were no water, no wings if there were no air, no legs if there were no land.”
“You see I only called your attention to forty per cent of the absurdities; he speaks of eyes, ears, fins, wings and legs—five. I only called attention to eyes and legs—two. The evolutionist guesses himself away from God, but he only makes matters worse. How long did the “light waves” have to play on the skin before the eyes came out? The evolutionist is very deliberate; he is long on time. He would certainly give the eye thousands of years, if not millions, in which to develop; but how could he be sure that the light waves played all the time in one place or played in the same place generation after generation until the development was complete? And why did the light waves quit playing when two eyes were perfected? Why did they not keep on playing until there were eyes all over the body? Why do they not play to-day, so that we may see eyes in process of development? And if the light waves created the eyes, why did they not create them strong enough to bear the light? Why did the light waves make eyes and then make eyelids to keep the light out of the eyes?
And so with the ears. They must have gone in “to hear” instead of out, and wasn’t it lucky that they happened to go in on opposite sides of the head instead of cater-cornered or at random? Is it not easier to believe in a God who can make the eye, the ear, the fin, the wing, and the leg, as well as the light, the sound, the air, the water and the land?
There is such an abundance of ludicrous material that it is hard to resist the temptation to continue illustrations indefinitely, but a few more will be sufficient. In order that you may be prepared to ridicule these pseudo-scientists who come to you with guesses instead of facts, let me give you three recent bits of evolutionary lore.
Last November I was passing through Philadelphia and read in an afternoon paper a report of an address delivered in that city by a college professor employed in extension work. Here is an extract from the paper’s account of the speech: “Evidence that early men climbed trees with their feet lies in the way we wear the heels of our shoes—more at the outside. A baby can wiggle its big toe without wiggling its other toes—an indication that it once used its big toe in climbing trees.” What a consolation it must be to mothers to know that the baby is not to be blamed for wiggling the big toe without wiggling the other toes. It cannot help it, poor little thing; it is an inheritance from “the tree man,” so the evolutionists tell us.
And here is another extract: “We often dream of falling. Those who fell out of the trees some fifty thousand years ago and were killed, of course, had no descendants. So those who fell and were not hurt, of course, lived, and so we are never hurt in our dreams of falling.” Of course, if we were actually descended from the inhabitants of trees, it would seem quite likely that we descended from those that were not killed in falling. But they must have been badly frightened if the impression made upon their feeble minds could have lasted for fifty thousand years and still be vivid enough to scare us.
If the Bible said anything so idiotic as these guessers put forth in the name of science, scientists would have a great time ridiculing the sacred pages, but men who scoff at the recorded interpretation of dreams by Joseph and Daniel seem to be able to swallow the amusing interpretations offered by the Pennsylvania professor.
A few months ago the Sunday School Times quoted a professor in an Illinois University as saying that the great day in history was the day when a water puppy crawled up on the land and, deciding to be a land animal, became man’s progenitor. If these scientific speculators can agree upon the day they will probably insist on our abandoning Washington’s birthday, the Fourth of July, and even Christmas, in order to join with the whole world in celebrating “Water Puppy Day.”
Within the last few weeks the papers published a dispatch from Paris to the effect that an “eminent scientist” announced that he had communicated with the spirit of a dog and learned from the dog that it was happy. Must we believe this, too?
But is the law of “natural selection” a sufficient explanation, or a more satisfactory explanation, than sexual selection? It is based on the theory that where there is an advantage in any characteristic, animals that possess this characteristic survive and propagate their kind. This, according to Darwin’s argument, leads to progress through the “survival of the fittest.” This law or principle (natural selection), so carefully worked out by Darwin, is being given less and less weight by scientists. Darwin himself admits that he “perhaps attributed too much to the action of natural selection and the survival of the fittest” (page 76). John Burroughs, the naturalist, rejects it in a recent magazine article. The followers of Darwin are trying to retain evolution while rejecting the arguments that led Darwin to accept it as an explanation of the varied life on the planet. Some evolutionists reject Darwin’s line of descent and believe that man, instead of coming from the ape, branched off from a common ancestor farther back, but “cousin” ape is as objectionable as “grandpa” ape.
While “survival of the fittest” may seem plausible when applied to individuals of the same species, it affords no explanation whatever, of the almost infinite number of creatures that have come under man’s observation. To believe that natural selection, sexual selection or any other kind of selection can account for the countless differences we see about us requires more faith in chance than a Christian is required to have in God.
Is it conceivable that the hawk and the hummingbird, the spider and the honey bee, the turkey gobbler and the mocking-bird, the butterfly and the eagle, the ostrich and the wren, the tree toad and the elephant, the giraffe and the kangaroo, the wolf and the lamb should all be the descendants of a common ancestor? Yet these and all other creatures must be blood relatives if man is next of kin to the monkey.
If the evolutionists are correct; if it is true that all that we see is the result of development from one or a few invisible germs of life, then, in plants as well as in animals there must be a line of descent connecting all the trees and vegetables and flowers with a common ancestry. Does it not strain the imagination to the breaking point to believe that the oak, the cedar, the pine and the palm are all the progeny of one ancient seed and that this seed was also the ancestor of wheat and corn, potato and tomato, onion and sugar beet, rose and violet, orchid and daisy, mountain flower and magnolia? Is it not more rational to believe in God and explain the varieties of life in terms of divine power than to waste our lives in ridiculous attempts to explain the unexplainable? There is no mortification in admitting that there are insoluble mysteries; but it is shameful to spend the time that God has given for nobler use in vain attempts to exclude God from His own universe and to find in chance a substitute for God’s power and wisdom and love.
While evolution in plant life and in animal life up to the highest form of animal might, if there were proof of it, be admitted without raising a presumption that would compel us to give a brute origin to man, why should we admit a thing of which there is no proof? Why should we encourage the guesses of these speculators and thus weaken our power to protest when they attempt the leap from the monkey to man? Let the evolutionist furnish his proof.
Although our chief concern is in protecting man from the demoralization involved in accepting a brute ancestry, it is better to put the advocates of evolution upon the defensive and challenge them to produce proof in support of their hypothesis in plant life and in the animal world. They will be kept so busy trying to find support for their hypothesis in the kingdoms below man that they will have little time left to combat the Word of God in respect to man’s origin. Evolution joins issue with the Mosaic account of creation. God’s law, as stated in Genesis, is reproduction according to kind; evolution implies reproduction not according to kind. While the process of change implied in evolution is covered up in endless eons of time it is change nevertheless. The Bible does not say that reproduction shall be nearly according to kind or seemingly according to kind. The statement is positive that it is according to kind, and that does not leave any room for the changes however gradual or imperceptible that are necessary to support the evolutionary hypothesis.
We see about us everywhere and always proof of the Bible law, viz., reproduction according to kind; we find nothing in the universe to support Darwin’s doctrine of reproducton other than of kind.
If you question the possibility of such changes as the Darwinian doctrine supposes you are reminded that the scientific speculators have raised the time limit. “If ten million years are not sufficient, take twenty,” they say: “If fifty million years are not enough take, one or two hundred millions.” That accuracy is not essential in such guessing may be inferred from the fact that the estimates of the time that has elapsed since life began on the earth, vary from less than twenty-five million years to more than three hundred million. Darwin estimated this period at two hundred million years while Darwin’s son estimated it at fifty seven million.
It requires more than millions of years to account for the varieties of life that inhabit the earth; it requires a Creator, unlimited in power, unlimited intelligence, and unlimited love.
But the doctrine of evolution is sometimes carried farther than that. A short while ago Canon Barnes, of Westminster Abbey, startled his congregation by an interpretation of evolution that ran like this: “It now seems highly probable (probability again) that from some fundamental stuff in the universe the electrons arose. From them came matter. From matter, life emerged. From life came mind. From mind, spiritual consciousness was developing. There was a time when matter, life and mind, and the soul of man were not, but now they are. Each has arisen as a part of the vast scheme planned by God.” (An American professor in a Christian college has recently expressed himself along substantially the same lines.)
But what has God been doing since the “stuff” began to develop? The verbs used by Canon Barnes indicate an internal development unaided from above. “Arose, came, emerged, etc.,” all exclude the idea that God is within reach or call in man’s extremity.
When I was a boy in college the materialists began with matter separated into infinitely small particles and every particle separated from every other particle by distance infinitely great. But now they say that it takes 1,740 electrons to make an atom of infinite fineness. God, they insist, has not had anything to do with this universe since 1,740 electrons formed a chorus and sang, “We’ll be an atom by and by.”
It requires measureless credulity to enable one to believe that all that we see about us came by chance, by a series of happy-go-lucky accidents. If only an infinite God could have formed hydrogen and oxygen and united them in just the right proportions to produce water—the daily need of every living thing—scattered among the flowers all the colours of the rainbow and every variety of perfume, adjusted the mocking-bird’s throat to its musical scale, and fashioned a soul for man, why should we want to imprison such a God in an impenetrable past? This is a living world; why not a living God upon the throne? Why not allow Him to work now?
Darwin is so sure that his theory is correct that he is ready to accuse the Creator of trying to deceive man if the theory is not sound. On page 41 he says: “To take any other view is to admit that our structure and that of all animals about us, is a mere snare to entrap our judgment;” as if the Almighty were in duty bound to make each species so separate from every other that no one could possibly be confused by resemblances. There would seem to be differences enough. To put man in a class with the chimpanzee because of any resemblances that may be found is so unreasonable that the masses have never accepted it.
If we see houses of different size, from one room to one hundred, we do not say that the large houses grew out of small ones, but that the architect that could plan one could plan all.
But a groundless hypothesis—even an absurd one—would be unworthy of notice if it did no harm. This hypothesis, however, does incalculable harm. It teaches that Christianity impairs the race physically. That was the first implication at which I revolted. It led me to review the doctrine and reject it entirely. If hatred is the law of man’s development; that is, if man has reached his present perfection by a cruel law under which the strong kill off the weak—then, if there is any logic that can bind the human mind, we must turn backward toward the brute if we dare to substitute the law of love for the law of hate. That is the conclusion that I reached and it is the conclusion that Darwin himself reached. On pages 149-50 he says: “With savages the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the progress of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor laws; our medical experts exert their utmost skill to save the lives of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands who from weak constitutions would have succumbed to smallpox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”
This confession deserves analysis. First, he commends, by implication, the savage method of eliminating the weak, while, by implication, he condemns “civilized men” for prolonging the life of the weak. He even blames vaccination because it has preserved thousands who might otherwise have succumbed (for the benefit of the race?). Can you imagine anything more brutal? And then note the low level of the argument. “No one who has attended the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.” All on a brute basis.
His hypothesis breaks down here. The minds which, according to Darwin, are developed by natural selection and sexual selection, use their power to suspend the law by which they have reached their high positions. Medicine is one of the greatest of the sciences and its chief object is to save life and strengthen the weak. That, Darwin complains, interferes with “the survival of the fittest.” If he complains of vaccination, what would he say of the more recent discovery of remedies for typhoid fever, yellow fever and the black plague? And what would he think of saving weak babies by pasteurizing milk and of the efforts to find a specific for tuberculosis and cancer? Can such a barbarous doctrine be sound?
But Darwin’s doctrine is even more destructive. His heart rebels against the “hard reason” upon which his heartless hypothesis is built. He says: “The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly the result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as a part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered in the manner indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself while performing an operation, for he knows he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were to intentionally neglect the weak and the helpless, it could be only for a contingent benefit, with overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubted bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind.”
The moral nature which, according to Darwin, is also developed by natural selection and sexual selection, repudiates the brutal law to which, if his reasoning is correct, it owes its origin. Can that doctrine be accepted as scientific when its author admits that we cannot apply it “without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature”? On the contrary, civilization is measured by the moral revolt against the cruel doctrine developed by Darwin.
Darwin rightly decided to suspend his doctrine, even at the risk of impairing the race. But some of his followers are more hardened. A few years ago I read a book in which the author defended the use of alcohol on the ground that it rendered a service to society by killing off the degenerates. And this argument was advanced by a scientist in the fall of 1920 at a congress against alcohol.
The language which I have quoted proves that Darwinism is directly antagonistic to Christianity, which boasts of its eleemosynary institutions and of the care it bestows on the weak and the helpless. Darwin, by putting man on a brute basis and ignoring spiritual values, attacks the very foundations of Christianity.
Those who accept Darwin’s views are in the habit of saying that it need not lessen their reverence for God to believe that the Creator fashioned a germ of life and endowed it with power to develop into what we see today. It is true that a God who could make man as he is, could have made him by the long-drawn-out process suggested by Darwin. To do either would require infinite power, beyond the ability of man to comprehend. But what is the natural tendency of Darwin’s doctrine?
Will man’s attitude toward Darwin’s God be the same as it would be toward the God of Moses? Will the believer in Darwin’s God be as conscious of God’s presence in his daily life? Will he be as sensitive to God’s will and as anxious to find out what God wants him to do?
Will the believer in Darwin’s God be as fervent in prayer and as open to the reception of divine suggestions?
I shall later trace the influence of Darwinism on world peace when the doctrine is espoused by one bold enough to carry it to its logical conclusion, but I must now point out its natural and logical effect upon young Christians.
A boy is born in a Christian family; as soon as he is able to join words together into sentences his mother teaches him to lisp the child’s prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” A little later the boy is taught the Lord’s Prayer and each day he lays his petition before the Heavenly Father: “Give us this day our daily bread”; “Lead us not into temptation”; “Deliver us from evil”; “Forgive our trespasses”; etc.
He talks with God. He goes to Sunday school and learns that the Heavenly Father is even more kind than earthly parents; he hears the preacher tell how precious our lives are in the sight of God—how even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice. All his faith is built upon the Book that informs him that he is made in the image of God; that Christ came to reveal God to man and to be man’s Saviour.
Then he goes to college and a learned professor leads him through a book 600 pages thick, largely devoted to resemblances between man and the beasts about him. His attention is called to a point in the ear that is like a point in the ear of the ourang, to canine teeth, to muscles like those by which a horse moves his ears.
He is then told that everything found in a human brain is found in miniature in a brute brain.
And how about morals? He is assured that the development of the moral sense can be explained on a brute basis without any act of, or aid from, God. (See pages 113-114.)
No mention of religion, the only basis for morality; not a suggestion of a sense of responsibility to God—nothing but cold, clammy materialism! Darwinism transforms the Bible into a story book and reduces Christ to man’s level. It gives him an ape for an ancestor on His mother’s side at least and, as many evolutionists believe, on His Father’s side also.
The instructor gives the student a new family tree millions of years long, with its roots in the water (marine animals) and then sets him adrift, with infinite capacity for good or evil but with no light to guide him, no compass to direct him and no chart of the sea of life!
No wonder so large a percentage of the boys and girls who go from Sunday schools and churches to colleges (sometimes as high as seventy-five per cent.) never return to religious work. How can one feel God’s presence in his daily life if Darwin’s reasoning is sound? This restraining influence, more potent than any external force, is paralyzed when God is put so far away. How can one believe in prayer if, for millions of years, God has never touched a human life or laid His hand upon the destiny of the human race? What mockery to petition or implore, if God neither hears nor answers. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal when their god failed to answer with fire; “Cry aloud,” he said, “peradventure he sleepeth.” Darwin mocks the Christians even more cruelly; he tells us that our God has been asleep for millions of years. Even worse, he does not affirm that Jehovah was ever awake. Nowhere does he collect for the reader the evidences of a Creative Power and call upon man to worship and obey God. The great scientist is, if I may borrow a phrase, “too much absorbed in the things infinitely small to consider the things infinitely great.” Darwinism chills the spiritual nature and quenches the fires of religious enthusiasm. If the proof in support of Darwinism does not compel acceptance—and it does not—why substitute it for an account of the Creation that links man directly with the Creator and holds before him an example to be imitated? As the eminent theologian, Charles Hodge, says: “The Scriptural doctrine (of Creation) accounts for the spiritual nature of man, and meets all his spiritual necessities. It gives him an object of adoration, love and confidence. It reveals the Being on whom his indestructible sense of responsibility terminates. The truth of this doctrine, therefore, rests not only upon the authority of the Scriptures but on the very constitution of our nature.”
I have spoken of what would seem to be the natural and logical effect of the Darwin hypothesis on the minds of the young. This view is confirmed by its actual effect on Darwin himself. In his “Life and Letters,” he says: “I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully—nor indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.” It will be seen that science, according to Darwin, has nothing to do with Christ (except to discredit revelation which makes Christ’s mission known to men). Darwin himself does not believe that there has ever been any revelation, which, of course, excludes Christ. It will be seen also that he has no definite views on the future life—“every man,” he says, “must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”
It is fair to conclude that it was his own doctrine that led him astray, for in the same connection (in “Life and Letters,”) he says that when aboard the Beagle he was called “orthodox and was heartily laughed at by several of the officers for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.” In the same connection he thus describes his change and his final attitude: “When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the ‘Origin of Species’; and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt: Can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?
“I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”
A careful reading of the above discloses the gradual transition wrought in Darwin himself by the unsupported hypothesis which he launched upon the world, or which he endorsed with such earnestness and industry as to impress his name upon it. He was regarded as “orthodox” when he was young; he was even laughed at for quoting the Bible “as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.” In the beginning he regarded himself as a Theist and felt compelled “to look to a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.”
This conclusion, he says, was strong in his mind when he wrote “The Origin of Species,” but he observes that since that time this conclusion very gradually became weaker, and then he unconsciously brings a telling indictment against his own hypothesis. He says, “Can the mind of man (which, according to his belief, has been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals) be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?” He first links man with the animals, and then, because of this supposed connection, estimates man’s mind by brute standards. Agnosticism is the natural attitude of the evolutionist. How can a brute mind comprehend spiritual things? It makes a tremendous difference what a man thinks about his origin whether he looks up or down. Who will say, after reading these words, that it is immaterial what man thinks about his origin? Who will deny that the acceptance of the Darwinian hypothesis shuts out the higher reasonings and the larger conceptions of man?
On the very brink of the grave, after he had extracted from his hypothesis all the good that there was in it and all the benefit that it could confer, he is helplessly in the dark, and “cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems.” When he believed in God, in the Bible, in Christ and in a future life there were no mysteries that disturbed him, but a guess with nothing in the universe to support it swept him away from his moorings and left him in his old age in the midst of mysteries that he thought insoluble. He must content himself with Agnosticism. What can Darwinism ever do to compensate any one for the destruction of faith in God, in His Word, in His Son, and of hope of immortality?
It would seem sufficient to quote Darwin against himself and to cite the confessed effect of the doctrine as a sufficient reason for rejecting it, but the situation is a very serious one and there is other evidence that should be presented.
James H. Leuba, a professor of Psychology in Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, wrote a book five years ago, entitled “Belief in God and Immortality.” It was published by Sherman French & Co., of Boston, and republished by The Open Court Publishing Company of Chicago. Every Christian preacher should procure a copy of this book and it should be in the hands of every Christian layman who is anxious to aid in the defense of the Bible against its enemies. Leuba has discarded belief in a personal God and in personal immortality. He asserts that belief in a personal God and personal immortality is declining in the United States, and he furnishes proof, which, as long as it is unchallenged, seems conclusive. He takes a book containing the names of fifty-five hundred scientists—the names of practically all American scientists of prominence, he affirms—and sends them questions. Upon the answers received he asserts that more than one-half of the prominent scientists of the United States, those teaching Biology, Psychology, Geology and History especially, have discarded belief in a personal God and in personal immortality.
This is what the doctrine of evolution is doing for those who teach our children. They first discard the Mosaic account of man’s creation, and they do it on the ground that there are no miracles. This in itself constitutes a practical repudiation of the Bible; the miracles of the Old and New Testament cannot be cut out without a mutilation that is equivalent to rejection. They reject the supernatural along with the miracle, and with the supernatural the inspiration of the Bible and the authority that rests upon inspiration. If these believers in evolution are consistent and have the courage to carry their doctrine to its logical conclusion, they reject the virgin birth of Christ and the resurrection. They may still regard Christ as an unusual man, but they will not make much headway in converting people to Christianity, if they declare Jesus to be nothing more than a man and either a deliberate impostor or a deluded enthusiast.
The evil influence of these Materialistic, Atheistic or Agnostic professors is disclosed by further investigation made by Leuba. He questioned the students of nine representative colleges, and upon their answers declares that, while only fifteen per cent. of the freshmen have discarded the Christian religion, thirty per cent. of the juniors and that forty to forty-five per cent. of the men graduates have abandoned the cardinal principles of the Christian faith. Can Christians be indifferent to such statistics? Is it an immaterial thing that so large a percentage of the young men who go from Christian homes into institutions of learning should go out from these institutions with the spiritual element eliminated from their lives? What shall it profit a man if he shall gain all the learning of the schools and lose his faith in God?
To show how these evolutionists undermine the faith of students let me give you an illustration that recently came to my attention: A student in one of the largest State universities of the nation recently gave me a printed speech delivered by the president of the university, a year ago this month, to 3,500 students, and printed and circulated by the Student Christian Association of the institution. The student who gave me the speech marked the following paragraph: “And, again, religion must not be thought of as something that is inconsistent with reasonable, scientific thinking in regard to the nature of the universe. I go so far as to say that, if you cannot reconcile religion with the things taught in biology, in psychology, or in the other fields of study in this university, then you should throw your religion away. Scientific truth is here to stay.” What about the Bible, is it not here to stay? If he had stopped with the first sentence, his language might not have been construed to the injury of religion, because religion is not “inconsistent with reasonable, scientific thinking in regard to the nature of the universe.” There is nothing unreasonable about Christianity, and there is nothing unscientific about Christianity. No scientific fact—no fact of any other kind can disturb religion, because facts are not in conflict with each other. It is guessing by scientists and so-called scientists that is doing the harm. And it is guessing that is endorsed by this distinguished college president (a D.D., too, as well as an L.L. D. and a Ph. D.) when he says, “I go so far as to say that, if you cannot reconcile religion with the things taught in biology, in psychology, or in the other fields of study in this university, then you should throw your religion away.” What does this mean, except that the books on biology and on other scientific subjects used in that university are to be preferred to the Bible in case of conflict? The student is told, “throw your religion away,” if he cannot reconcile it (the Bible, of course, with the things taught in biology, psychology, etc. Books on biology change constantly, likewise books on psychology, and yet they are held before the students as better authority than the unchanging Word of God.
Is any other proof needed to show the irreligious influence exerted by Darwinism applied to man? At the University of Wisconsin (so a Methodist preacher told me) a teacher told his class that the Bible was a collection of myths. When I brought the matter to the attention of the President of the University, he criticized me but avoided all reference to the professor. At Ann Arbor a professor argued with students against religion and asserted that no thinking man could believe in God or the Bible. At Columbia (I learned this from a Baptist preacher) a professor began his course in geology by telling his class to throw away all that they had learned in the Sunday school. There is a professor in Yale of whom it is said that no one leaves his class a believer in God. (This came from a young man who told me that his brother was being led away from the Christian faith by this professor.) A father (a Congressman) tells me that a daughter on her return from Wellesley told him that nobody believed in the Bible stories now. Another father (a Congressman) tells me of a son whose faith was undermined by this doctrine in a Divinity School. Three preachers told me of having their interest in the subject aroused by the return of their children from college with their faith shaken. The Northern Baptists have recently, after a spirited contest, secured the adoption of a Confession of Faith: it was opposed by the evolutionists.
In Kentucky the fight is on among the Disciples, and it is becoming more and more acute in the Northern branches of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. A young preacher, just out of a theological seminary, who did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ, was recently ordained in Western New York. Last April I met a young man who was made an atheist by two teachers in a Christian college.
These are only a few illustrations that have come under my own observation—nearly all of them within a year. What is to be done? Are the members of the various Christian churches willing to have the power of the pulpit paralyzed by a false, absurd and ridiculous doctrine which is without support in the written Word of God and without support also in nature? Is “thus saith the Lord” to be supplanted by guesses and speculations and assumptions? I submit three propositions for the consideration of the Christians of the nation:
First, the preachers who are to break the bread of life to the lay members should believe that man has in him the breath of the Almighty, as the Bible declares, and not the blood of the brute, as the evolutionists affirm. He should also believe in the virgin birth of the Saviour.
Second, none but Christians in good standing and with a spiritual conception of life should be allowed to teach in Christian schools. Church schools are worse than useless if they bring students under the influence of those who do not believe in the religion upon which the Church and church schools are built. Atheism and Agnosticism are more dangerous when hidden under the cloak of religion than when they are exposed to view.
Third, in schools supported by taxation we should have a real neutrality wherever neutrality in religion is desired. If the Bible cannot be defended in these schools it should not be attacked, either directly or under the guise of philosophy or science. The neutrality which we now have is often but a sham; it carefully excludes the Christian religion but permits the use of the schoolrooms for the destruction of faith and for the teaching of materialistic doctrines.
It is not sufficient to say that some believers in Darwinism retain their belief in Christianity; some survive smallpox. As we avoid smallpox because many die of it, so we should avoid Darwinism because it leads many astray.
If it is contended that an instructor has a right to teach anything he likes, I reply that the parents who pay the salary have a right to decide what shall be taught. To continue the illustration used above, a person can expose himself to the smallpox if he desires to do so, but he has no right to communicate it to others. So a man can believe anything he pleases but he has no right to teach it against the protest of his employers.
Acceptance of Darwin’s doctrine tends to destroy one’s belief in immortality as taught by the Bible. If there has been no break in the line between man and the beasts—no time when by the act of the Heavenly Father man became “a living Soul,” at what period in man’s development was he endowed with the hope of a future life? And, if the brute theory leads to the abandonment of belief in a future life with its rewards and punishments, what stimulus to righteous living is offered in its place?
Darwinism leads to a denial of God. Nietzsche carried Darwinism to its logical conclusion and it made him the most extreme of anti-Christians. I had read extracts from his writings—enough to acquaint me with his sweeping denial of God and of the Saviour—but not enough to make me familiar with his philosophy.
As the war progressed I became more and more impressed with the conviction that the German propaganda rested upon a materialistic foundation. I secured the writings of Nietzsche and found in them a defense, made in advance, of all the cruelties and atrocities practiced by the militarists of Germany. Nietzsche tried to substitute the worship of the “Superman” for the worship of God. He not only rejected the Creator, but he rejected all moral standards. He praised war and eulogized hatred because it led to war. He denounced sympathy and pity as attributes unworthy of man. He believed that the teachings of Christ made degenerates and, logical to the end, he regarded Democracy as the refuge of weaklings. He saw in man nothing but an animal and in that animal the highest virtue he recognized was “The Will to Power”—a will which should know no let or hindrance, no restraint or limitation.
Nietzsche’s philosophy would convert the world into a ferocious conflict between beasts, each brute trampling ruthlessly on everything in his way. In his book entitled “Joyful Wisdom,” Nietzsche ascribes to Napoleon the very same dream of power—Europe under one sovereign and that sovereign the master of the world—that lured the Kaiser into a sea of blood from which he emerged an exile seeking security under a foreign flag. Nietzsche names Darwin as one of the three great men of his century, but tries to deprive him of credit (?) for the doctrine that bears his name by saying that Hegel made an earlier announcement of it. Nietzsche died hopelessly insane, but his philosophy has wrought the moral ruin of a multitude, if it is not actually responsible for bringing upon the world its greatest war.
His philosophy, if it is worthy the name of philosophy, is the ripened fruit of Darwinism—and a tree is known by its fruit.
In 1900—over twenty years ago—while an International Peace Congress was in session in Paris the following editorial appeared in L’Univers:
“The spirit of peace has fled the earth because evolution has taken possession of it. The plea for peace in past years has been inspired by faith in the divine nature and the divine origin of man; men were then looked upon as children of one Father and war, therefore, was fratricide. But now that men are looked upon as children of apes, what matters it whether they are slaughtered or not?”
I have given you above the words of a French writer published twenty years ago. I have just found in a book recently published by a prominent English writer words along the same line, only more comprehensive. The corroding influence of Darwinism has spread as the doctrine has been increasingly accepted. In the American preface to “The Glass of Fashion” these words are to be found: “Darwinism not only justifies the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at her glass; it justifies Prussianism at the cannon’s mouth and Bolshevism at the prison-door. If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of physical nature, then there is no crime or violence, however abominable in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be justified by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fashion which deserves a censure: more—there is no act of disinterested love and tenderness, no deed of self-sacrifice and mercy, no aspiration after beauty and excellence, for which a single reason can be adduced in logic.”
To destroy the faith of Christians and lay the foundation for the bloodiest war in history would seem enough to condemn Darwinism, but there are still two other indictments to bring against it. First, that it is the basis of the gigantic class struggle that is now shaking society throughout the world. Both the capi. talist and the labourer are increasingly class conscious. Why? Because the doctrine of the “Individual efficient for himself”—the brute doctrine of the “survival of the fittest”—is driving men into a life-and-death struggle from which sympathy and the spirit of brotherhood are eliminated. It is transforming the industrial world into a slaughter-house.
Benjamin Kidd, in a masterful work, entitled, “The Science of Power,” points out how Darwinism furnished Neitzsche with a scientific basis for his godless system of philosophy and is demoralizing industry.
He also quotes eminent English scientists to support the last charge in the indictment, namely, that Darwinism robs the reformer of hope. Its plan of operation is to improve the race by “scientific breeding” on a purely physical basis. A few hundred years may be required—possibly a few thousand—but what is time to one who carries eons in his quiver and envelopes his opponents in the “Mist of Ages”?
Kidd would substitute the “Emotion of the Ideal” for scientific breeding and thus shorten the time necessary for the triumph of a social reform. He counts one or two generations as sufficient. This is an enormous advance over Darwin’s doctrine, but Christ’s plan is still more encouraging. A man can be born again; the springs of life can be cleansed instantly so that the heart loves the things that it formerly hated and hates the things that it once loved. If this is true of one, it can be true of any number. Thus, a nation can be born in a day if the ideals of the people can be changed.
Many have tried to harmonize Darwinism with the Bible, but these efforts, while honest and sometimes even agonizing, have not been successful. How could they be when the natural and inevitable tendency of Darwinism is to exalt the mind at the expense of the heart, to overestimate the reliability of the reason as compared with faith and to impair confidence in the Bible. The mind is a machine; it has no morals. It obeys its owner as willingly when he plots to kill as when he plans for service.
The Theistic evolutionist who tries to occupy a middle ground between those who accept the Bible account of creation and those who reject God entirely reminds one of a traveller in the mountains, who, having fallen half-way down a steep slope, catches hold of a frail bush. It takes so much of his strength to keep from going lower that he is useless as an aid to others. Those who have accepted evolution in the belief that it was not anti-Christian may well revise their conclusions in view of the accumulating evidence of its baneful influence.
Darwinism discredits the things that are supernatural and encourages the worship of the intellect—an idolatry as deadly to spiritual progress as the worship of images made by human hands. The injury that it does would be even greater than it is but for the moral momentum acquired by the student before he comes under the blighting influence of the doctrine.
Many instances could be cited to show how the theory that man descended from the brute has, when deliberately adopted, driven reverence from the heart and made young Christians agnostics and sometimes atheists—depriving them of the joy, and society of the service, that come from altruistic effort inspired by religion.
I have recently read of a pathetic case in point. In the Encyclopædia Americana you will find a sketch of the life of George John Romanes, from which the following extract is taken: “Romanes, George John, English scientist. In 1879 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society and in 1878 published, under the pseudonym ‘Physicus,’ a work entitled, ‘A Candid Examination of Theism,’ in which he took up a somewhat defiant atheistic position. Subsequently his views underwent considerable change; he revised the ‘Candid Examination,’ and, toward the close of his life, was engaged on ‘A Candid Examination of Religion,’ in which he returned to theistic beliefs. His notes for this work were published after his death, under the title ‘Thoughts on Religion,’ edited by Canon Gore. Romanes was an ardent supporter of Darwin and the evolutionists and in various works sought to extend evolutionary principles to mind, both in the lower animals and in the man. He wrote very extensively on modern biological theories.”
Let me use Romanes’ own language to describe the disappointing experiences of this intellectual “prodigal son.” On page 180 of “Thoughts on Religion” (written, as above stated, just before his death but not published until after his demise) he says, “The views that I entertained on this subject (Plan in Revelation) when an undergraduate (i.e., the ordinary orthodox views) were abandoned in the presence of the theory of Evolution.”
It was the doctrine of Evolution that led him ‘ He attempted to employ reason to the exclusion of faith—with the usual result. He abandoned prayer, as he explains on pages 142 and 143: “Even the simplest act of will in regard to religion—that of prayer—has not been performed by me for at least a quarter of a century, simply because it has seemed impossible to pray, as it were, hypothetically, that, much as I have always desired to be able to pray, I cannot will the attempt. To justify myself for what my better judgment has often seemed to be essentially irrational, I have ever made sundry excuses.” “Others have doubtless other difficulties, but mine is chiefly, I think, that of an undue regard to reason as against heart and will—undue, I mean, if so it be that Christianity is true, and the conditions to faith in it have been of divine ordination.”
In time he tired of the husks of materialism and started back to his Father’s house. It was a weary journey but as he plodded along, his appreciation of the heart’s part increased until, on pages 152 and 153, he says, “It is a fact that we all feel the intellectual part of man to be ‘higher’ than the animal, whatever our theory of his origin. It is a fact that we all feel the moral part of man to be ‘higher’ than the intellectual, whatever our theory of either may be. It is also a fact that we all similarly feel the spiritual to be ‘higher’ than the moral, whatever our theory of religion may be. It is what we understand by man’s moral, and still more his spiritual, qualities that go to constitute character. And it is astonishing how in all walks of life it is character that tells in the long run.”
On page 150 he answered Huxley’s attack on faith. He says, “Huxley, in ‘Lay Sermons,’ says that faith has been proved a ‘cardinal sin’ by science. Now this is true enough of credulity, superstition, etc., and science has done no end of good in developing our ideas of method, evidence, etc. But this is all on the side of intellect. ‘Faith’ is not touched by such facts or considerations. And what a terrible hell science would have made of the world, if she had abolished the ‘spirit of faith,’ even in human relations.”
In the days of his apostasy he “took it for granted,” he says on page 164, “that Christianity was played out.” When once his eyes were reopened he vied with Paul himself in recognizing the superior quality of love. On page 163 he quoted the eloquent lines of Bourdillon:
Having quoted this noble sentiment he adds: “Love is known to be all this. How great then, is Christianity, as being the religion of love, and causing men to believe both in the cause of love’s supremacy and the infinity of God’s love to man.”The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of a whole world dies
With the setting sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.
But Romanes still clung to Evolution and, so far as his book discloses, his mind would never allow his heart to commune with Darwin’s far-away God, whose creative power Romanes could not doubt but whose daily presence he could not admit without abandoning his theory.
His is a typical case, but many of the wanderers never return to the fold; they are lost sheep. If the doctrine were demonstrated to be true its acceptance would, of course, be obligatory, but how can one bring himself to assent to a series of assumptions when such a course is accompanied by such a tremendous risk of spiritual loss?
If, as it does in so many instances, it causes the student to choose Darwinism, with its intellectual delusions, and reject the Bible, with the incalculable blessings that its heart-culture brings, what minister of the Gospel or Christian professor can justify himself before the bar of conscience if, by impairing confidence in the Word of God, he wrecks human souls? All the intellectual satisfaction that Darwinism ever brought to those who have accepted it will not offset the sorrow that darkens a single life from which the brute theory of descent has shut out the sunshine of God’s presence and the companionship of Christ. Here, too, we have the testimony of the distinguished scientist from whom I have been quoting. In his first book—the attack on Theism—he says: (page 29, “Thoughts on Religion”) “I am not ashamed to confess that with this virtual negation of God the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness; and, although from henceforth the precept to ‘Work while it is day’ will doubtless gain an intensified force from the terribly intensified meaning of the words that ‘the night cometh when no man can work,’ yet when at times I think, as think at times I must, of the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine, and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it,—at such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of which my nature is susceptible.”
Romanes, during his college days, came under the influence of those who worshipped the reason and this worship led him out into a starless night. Have we not a right to demand something more than guesses, surmises, and hypotheses before we exchange the “hallowed glory” of the Christian creed for “the lonely mystery of existence” as Romanes found it? Shall we at the behest of those who put the intellect above the heart endorse an unproved doctrine of descent and share responsibility for the wreckage of all that is spiritual in the lives of our young people? I refuse to have any part in such responsibility. For nearly twenty years I have gone from college to college and talked to students. Wherever I could do so I have pointed out the demoralizing influence of Darwinism. I have received thanks from many students who were perplexed by the materialistic teachings of their instructors and I have been encouraged by the approval of parents who were distressed by the visible effects of these teachings on their children.
As many believers in Darwinism are led to reject the Bible let me, by way of recapitulation, contrast that doctrine with the Bible:
Darwinism deals with nothing but life; the Bible deals with the entire universe—with its masses of inanimate matter and with its myriads of living things, all obedient to the will of the great Law Giver.
Darwin concerns himself with only that part of man’s existence which is spent on earth-while the Bible’s teachings cover all of life, both here and hereafter.
Darwin begins by assuming, life upon the earth; the Bible reveals the source of life and chronicles its creation.
Darwin devotes nearly all his time to man’s body and to the points at which the human frame approaches in structure—though vastly different from—the brute; the Bible emphasizes man’s godlike qualities and the virtues which reflect the goodness of the Heavenly Father.
Darwinism ends in self-destruction. As heretofore shown, its progress is suspended, and even defeated, by the very genius which it is supposed to develop; the Bible invites us to enter fields of inexhaustible opportunity wherein each achievement can be made a steppingstone to greater achievements still.
Darwin’s doctrine is so brutal that it shocks the moral sense—the heart recoils from it and refuses to apply the “hard reason” upon which it rests; the Bible points us to the path that grows brighter with the years.
Darwin’s doctrine leads logically to war and to the worship of Nietzsche’s “Superman”; the Bible tells us of the Prince of Peace and heralds the coming of the glad day when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and when nations shall learn war no more.
Darwin’s teachings drag industry down to the brute level and excite a savage struggle for selfish advantage; the Bible presents the claims of an universal brotherhood in which men will unite their efforts in the spirit of friendship.
As hope deferred maketh the heart sick, so the doctrine of Darwin benumbs altruistic effort by prolonging indefinitely the time needed for reforms; the Bible assures us of the triumph of every righteous cause, reveals to the eye of faith the invisible hosts that fight on the side of Jehovah and proclaims the swift fulfillment of God’s decrees.
Darwinism puts God far away; the Bible brings God near and establishes the prayer-line of communication between the Heavenly Father and His children.
Darwinism enthrones selfishness; the Bible crowns love as the greatest force in the world.
Darwinism offers no reason for existence and presents no philosophy of life; the Bible explains why man is here and gives us a code of morals that fits into every human need.
The great need of the world to-day is to get back to God—back to a real belief in a living God—to a belief in God as Creator, Preserver and loving Heavenly Father. When one believes in a personal God and considers himself a part of God’s plan he will be anxious to know God’s will and to do it, seeking direction through prayer and made obedient through faith.
Man was made in the Father’s image; he enters upon the stage, the climax of Jehovah’s plan. He is superior to the beasts of the field, greater than any other created thing—but a little lower than the angels. God made him for a purpose, placed before him infinite possibilities and revealed to him responsibilities commensurate with the possibilities. God beckons man upward and the Bible points the way; man can obey and travel toward perfection by the path that Christ revealed, or man can disobey and fall to a level lower, in some respects, than that of the brutes about him. Looking heavenward man can find inspiration in his lineage; looking about him he is impelled to kindness by a sense of kinship which binds him to his brothers. Mighty problems demand his attention; a world’s destiny is to be determined by him. What time has he to waste in hunting for “missing links” or in searching for resemblances between his forefathers and the ape? In His Image—in this sign we conquer.
We are not progeny of the brute; we have not been forced upward by a blind pushing-power; neither have we tumbled upward by chance. It is a drawing-power—not a pushing-power—that rules the world—a power which finds its highest expression in Christ who promised: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
1 Dr. Etheridge, Fossiologist of the British Museum, says “Nine-tenths of the talk of Evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by facts. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views.”
Prof. Beale, of King’s College, London, says: “In support of all naturalistic conjectures concerning man’s origin, there is no at this time a shadow of scientific evidence.”
Prof. Fleischmann, of Erlangen, says: “The Darwinian theory has in the realms of Nature not a single fact to confirm it. It is not the result of scientific research, but purely the product of the imagination.”
The January issue of Science, 1922, contains a speech delivered at Toronto last December by Prof. William Bateson of London before the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He says that science has faith in evolution but doubts as to the origin of species.