OF ORIGINS, EVOLUTION AND ORDER
Where did the first man come from? When did men first inhabit the earth? And what about the earth we inhabit-was it created in one 24-hour day out of nothing about 6000 years ago? Or did the proper materials just happen to come together in space to form another planet to provide a home for the human race?
Scientists, theologians and just ordinary men and women have pondered these questions for centuries, trying to harmonize the two views. In the minds of some, the Bible contradicts science; others hold that science disproves the Bible. The many theories that have been advanced on the subject fill unnumbered volumes on library shelves. But could we learn the facts from them, were we to read them all?
For centuries men accepted the idea that all things were created by God, an All-wise, All-powerful Being, and that He was in control of the earth and all things upon it. But as education became more widespread, men began to question the theories accepted by their forefathers and to turn to their own reasoning.
Education, in the early days of England and of our own country, was based largely upon the Bible, the Holy Scriptures being the only textbook many of the early statesmen knew. But as men began to turn to the writings of other men for their knowledge, they questioned the words of God. Perhaps God’s Book was no different than any other book, of human origin and not divine, they reasoned. And could not the Bible be better understood by comparing it with the works of men? How do we know God created anything? What proof have we that God had anything to do with the formation of life upon the earth?
Such reasonings led to the development of the theory of evolution, a subject we will study in this lesson.
At the present time, a controversy is raging between supporters of two points of view concerning the origin of life on the earth. The contest is between those identifying themselves as Creationists and those known as Evolutionists. Not since the famous Scopes trial of a half-century ago has the subject been so much debated. The Evolutionists’ theory is that man is the product of long ages of a process known as “natural selection” through which man developed from a single cell into his present form. The Creationists’ viewpoint stems from a literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis and holds that God created the earth and all living things in six 24-hour days about 6000 years ago.
Which theory is correct? What shall we believe? Is either theory Biblical? We will study the subject in the light of Bible knowledge.
THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION
A truly scientific method analyzes all the facts and then draws a conclusion on the basis of those facts. The theory of evolution operates in reverse; it seeks evidence to support a pre-formed conclusion.
A study of existing life on earth convinces some scientists that all life began with a one-celled organism and arrived at its highest state, the human being, by means of a series of biological changes and “accidents” that took place over a period of millions of years. The theory holds that all life originated in the sea, and that gradually living things came out of’ the sea to live on the land.
Having developed the theory, scientists sought to find proof in the rocks of the earth. If, as it is claimed, all life evolved from a one-celled organism, surely we should find evidence of the stages of such development in fossils that have been excavated from the earth. If the giant dinosaurs died arid left their bones imbedded in the earth’s crust, why did not developing animals do likewise?
This is one of the questions evolutionists cannot answer. Scientists who support the view admit that the difficulties raised by the theory are staggering. They confess that “everything concerning the process is far from completely known,” that “the causes are only dimly discerned,” that “the evidence itself is very imperfect and often interrupted by gaps that cannot be explained” and that they “are as yet ignorant as to what brought about the changes” in the development of life.
In spite of all its acknowledged gaps and weaknesses, the theory is generally accepted as fact in the educational field. School textbooks are written to sound authoritative and few students (or even teachers) note the “missing links.” A high school science textbook in current use states flatly: “All reputable biologists have agreed that the evolution of life on the earth is an established fact.”
But can a theory rightly be called a fact? We might call white black, but that does not make it so. The Encyclopedic Dictionary defines a fact as “something that actually exists or has actually occurred; something known by observation or experience to be true or real: a scientific fact.” The same dictionary defines a theory as “a plan or scheme existing in the mind only; a speculative or conjectural view of something.” Hence, a theory cannot be a fact; the two are poles apart. Evolution is but a theory, the result of the imagination of men’s minds; it is purely conjecture.
History of the Theory
Although some scientists advanced theories similar to the present-day concept of evolution much earlier, it was not until the latter part of the nineteenth century that the theory gained prominence. Ancient zoological writers included in their works recipes purported to produce such things as bees, flies and mice from inanimate matter, but their recipes did not work and were soon forgotten.
The name Darwin has come to be synonymous with evolution. His book, The Origin of Species, provided the basis for the accepted theory of evolution. Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” was that members of different species compete with one another for life, always ending with the “survival of the fittest.” He claimed that the surviving species passed on their own special characteristics which had enabled them to survive, and that this process, repeated from generation to generation over a period of millions of years, resulted in new forms of life.
Darwin’s book was published in the middle of the nineteenth century; and in the more than a century since, his ideas have been frequently challenged. As a result, new theories have been advanced from time to time, though all built upon Darwin’s base. The present-day teaching on the subject is ;r combination of the Darwinian theory and the view of other eminent evolutionists.
Briefly stated, the present-day theory is that evolution proceeds by natural selection together with mutations. (A mutation is a sudden variation in a plant or animal.) These mutations, passed along by heredity over a period of millions of years. resulted in other beneficial mutations in the same organism. eventually causing the organism to change into a different organism. The process has been going on for so long that it is supposed to have produced all the groups and kinds of life we now have on the earth, plus others that lived in past ages and have become extinct.
With the formulation of the present-day theory, one evolutionist said: “The problem of evolution has been thoroughly. completely, and definitely resolved. With mutation and natural selection, the perfect explanation is at our disposal.”
Another prominent evolutionist has said that “evolution had no room for the supernatural. The earth and its inhabitants were not created, they evolved. We all accept the fact of evolution . . , the evolution of life is no longer a theory. It is a fact. It is the basis of all our thinking.”
But is it the “perfect explanation”“? Can it be proved`? Let us look at some of evolution’s claims.
Basic Theories of Evolution
Could it be possible that life sprang up by itself from inanimate matter? Were we to accept the theory of evolution, we would be forced to believe that it did. Many accept the theory, believing that it is the only reasonable explanation available. And strange as it may seem, many of the clergy are numbered among the believers.
For anything to evolve upward is contrary to the known laws of nature. That which is left to itself tends downward, not upward. Every living thing, from plants and animals to man, the highest order of animal, decays gradually and dies in time. Metal left exposed to the elements rusts and in course of time disintegrates. Wind and water wear down the rocks and erode the soil.
Nothing animate or inanimate improves itself, yet it is on such a theory that evolution is based. Could we expect a brick left long enough in a vacant lot to become a ten-story office building`? Were we to assemble the necessary parts to an electric motor in a barrel, would they form themselves into a motor if stirred long enough’? Could you imagine a dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop`? Did an accident ever improve anything?
To imagine such things happening is ludicrous, but it is even more ridiculous to imagine the evolution of a human being, to think that so complex a mechanism as the human body came about by a series of scientific accidents.
Let us examine some of the theories of evolution in more detail.
Evolutionists claim that a11 life began in the sea from a single-celled creature known as an amoeba. Over a period of millions, perhaps billions of years, this little animal is supposed to have developed into other forms of life.
The evolution story reads like a fairy tale: The first living things must have been molecules possessing that which distinguishes the living from the nonliving, the ability to reproduce themselves. They must have first taken shape in the sea, . . . life stepped forth from the sea relatively late in geological times. . . . We may imagine some of the circumstances that attended their formation, ... an oceanic vat of minerals in which compounds combined and recombined until the right combination was finally reached. Whatever the complex chemistry of life, ... it eventually led to the evolution of simple single-celled organisms. This is referred to as the first giant leap.
Then followed a second leap considered almost as important. the leap into life. Living organisms acquired the ability to convert sunlight into energy-not instantly, of course, but over a long period of time. This put oxygen into the air and water. Plants grew on the land and life thrived in the sea. Animals thrived in the water and diversified from single-celled to many-celled forms. . .. Multi-cellular animals developed mouths, stomachs. body cavities, nervous systems, and coordinated means of locomotion-- all typical features of animals-simply by the passing of time and the law of “survival of the fittest.”
As yet the sea remained the nursery of life. No animal had evolved capable of venturing on to the land. But in the age that followed, fish-the first animals with backbones-arrived in abundance. . . . Soon afterward the first animal, a small sea scorpion, crawled up the beach and staved. . . . In the following era, fish diversified into forms easily recognizable as kin to modern fish. A few of them followed the scorpion ashore and became the first land-dwelling vertebrates. Man is descended from one such land-invading fish. (Leonard Engel, The Sea, pp. 39-41)
This is a brief, though incomplete statement of the theory of the evolution as it is generally accepted. But such a theory presents numerous unanswerable questions:
From where did the matter come that formed those first molecules that came alive?
If the many-celled amoeba survived because it was superior and more fit, why is the single-celled organism still prevalent today?
Why is it that the majority of “freak” occurrences in nature as we observe them today are not constructive but destructive?
What answer is there for the symmetry, the pattern, the complexity and perfect order that exist in nature’? Can any thinking. reasoning person look honestly at the all but incomprehensible variety of living things with which we are familiar and even imagine that all evolved by chance from some bit of life that happened to result from a freak combination of elements or forces in the sea’?
No, the theory is too preposterous for the Christian to accept.
The single-celled amoeba, a tiny speck of life smaller than the head of a pin, can be found today in any stagnant water. If evolution were true, we should be able to locate some forms of life that are even now developing into other forms. But nothing like this has ever been reported. The amoeba, like all life, came into being by the act of a Creator. Nothing ever lived without being given life by a higher Power.
What does the Bible say of the creative power of God? Nehemiah testified of the Creator: “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all, and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Neh. 9:6).
One of the earliest theories to gain acceptance in the evolutionary field was that of acquired characteristics. The theory was developed long before the days of Darwin and was built into his theory. Naturalists who sponsored the theory contended that plants and animals acquired new characteristics from their environment as needed and passed these characteristics on to their offspring. The long-necked giraffe (many have necks eight feet long) was pointed out as an example. In past ages, giraffes were said to have had shorter necks. In their struggle for existence they competed for leaves on the trees, and those with slightly longer necks survived. Through many generations the longest-necked giraffes survived, and these in turn passed the characteristic to their offspring, hence the neck of the giraffe reached its present length.
The theory. was generally accepted until the 20th century, when scientists proved beyond question that acquired characteristics could not be inherited. One scientist tried cutting off the tails of laboratory mice for 20 generations with the hope of developing tailless mice, but the last generation had tails as long as the first!
Acquired characteristics are not inherited. Each of the more than one million species that inhabit this earth has the characteristics with which it was created. Nothing is left to chance; all Creation is according to a master plan. Fish cannot live on the land, nor can men live in the water; and this is according to the design of the Master Designer. Every creature has its place and its own means of survival; all existence did not depend on the “survival of the fittest,” for the sheep with little or no neck grazes the ground on which the giraffe with his eight-foot neck walks!
The development of man.
As mentioned previously the evolutionary theory. includes man as well as all other life. Evolutionists assume that man developed from the life that began in the sea, as stated by the author quoted. “Man is descended from one such land-invading fish.”
This “land-invading fish” supposedly grew limbs, eventually raising his forelimbs from the ground and standing upright. Prehistoric man [those who lived before the earliest date of world history] are pictured by the artist as beastly-looking, stooped creatures with the features of an ape. Plaster-cast figures of such “prehistoric men” are to be found in most museums in the world.
Where is the proof that early man did not stand erect’? How do 20th century artists know what the features of men looked like a half-million or more years ago? The truth is that they do not. Pictures to be found in encyclopedias and textbooks are merely an artist’s conception of early man. No complete or nearly complete skeleton of an early man has ever been located. All that evolutionists have to offer by way of evidence are a few human skulls that have been found in widely separated parts of the earth.
Even the evolutionists themselves cannot agree on how man developed. Great gaps of time appear in the line of man’s development, gaps covering periods of millions of years. Lacking written history, fossils or any type of tangible evidence for these periods, anything written today is pure guesswork. Some are willing to admit it. Writes one, “The nature of the line leading to living man remains a matter of pure theory”; and another, “Investigators have yet to trace the origins of the human line.” And a leading newspaper reports, “Even today surprisingly little is known of man’s own family tree; there are still enormous gaps.”
But for all their questioning of the evolutionary theory, men do not turn to the One who has the answer to the question.
Where did man come from? The answer is to be found in God’s Word. the Bible. God’s answer to the question is not laden with “ifs” and “therefores.” It is straightforward and unequivocal: “Thus says the Lord. Israel’s Holy One, his maker: Would you dare question me concerning my children, or instruct me in my handiwork? I alone. I made the earth and created man upon it” (Isa. 45:11-12. New English Bible). And the same God is in control of the lives of those He created: “In whose hand is the soul [life, margin] of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. . . . If he . . . gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 12:10; 34:14-15). The breath of life came from God; and should He take it away, all life would cease.
Man’s theory of evolution says that “animals evolved mouths, stomachs, body cavities, nervous systems. etc..” and that man descended from such animals. But can we imagine that anything so complex as a human body - or the body of an animal - could be formed by chance or by accident’’ All the known substances churning together for an eternity past could not have produced a single living cell without God to give it the life principle.
The human brain makes man superior to the animal creation. The potential of the human brain is nothing short of fantastic. It has been estimated that the human brain absorbs as many as one million billion separate bits of information in an ordinary lifetime. The human brain is made up of some ten billion grey cells, or neurons. These neurons make thousands of connections with each other, multiplying virtually to infinity the brain’s capacity for receiving and analyzing data. It is this power to handle data that puts man in a category superior to any other living thing.
Could we imagine that such could be a product of chance’.’ a happenstance? a result of evolution or the “survival of the fittest” in the animal world’? No, man could never possess anything so marvelous as the human brain except by the work of an Almighty Creator. Only an Omnipotent God could provide man with intelligence far above the animals.
God through His prophet says: “I have made the earth, and created man upon it.” Have we any reason to doubt the words of our Creator’’ Man was created separate and distinct from the animals and he remains so today. Our common sense tells us that evolution is only a theory of men and cannot be proved.
Is there any evidence that an evolutionary process resulted in the formation of the earth and all the varied forms of life upon it’! Do we find any proof of new elements and new species continuing to be formed by a process of evolution’’
The answer is a resounding NO! True, there is a certain amount of change within a species--- the physical features of men have altered slightly even in recent years. But there is absolutely no evidence of change which could ever result in one species progressing into a totally different plant or animal. Nor is there any evidence that a given species could ever of itself form itself into a new organism with new organs.
GOD THE CREATOR
“What is the world’?” asks the poet. “This is a piece too fair to be the child of chance, and not of care. No atoms casually together hurl’d could e’er produce SO beautiful a world.”
Whatever is made requires a maker. This simple fact was recognized by the above quoted poet. And the fact is as true in the secular and scientific realm as in the religious. This point is well illustrated by an incident in the life of Sir Isaac Newton. the eminent British scientist, a scholar well-known for his formulation of the law of gravitation.
Mr. Newton once had a mechanic construct a replica of our solar system with balls representing the planets geared together so as to move in harmony when a crank was turned. The miniature solar system occupied a prominent place in Mr. Newton’s office.
One day Mr. Newton was visited by a scientist friend who did not believe in God. Recognizing the miniature solar system the friend slowly turned the crank and admired the Invention. Turning to Mr. Newton, he exclaimed: “How exquisite! Who made it?”
Without looking up Mr. Newton answered, “Nobody!”
The infidel friend was aghast, but thinking perhaps Mr. Newton did not understand his question he asked again, “Who made it’.’“
Mr. Newton, a firm believer in God, seized the opportunity, explaining that the admired instrument “just happened” to assume its present form, to which the infidel replied, “Of course somebody made it, and I’d like to know who he is!”
Mr. Newton’s explanation to his friend is worth repeating: “This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker: yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker! Now tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such an incongruous conclusion?”
No, the earth did not just happen; life did not just happen. Only an Omnipotent God could perform such masterful work.
Biblical Proof of the Creator
Science may propose theories of the origin of the universe and of life, but science has only more theories to back up theories.
The fossils in the rocks in the earth’s crust provide some historical facts about species that once inhabited the earth, many ° of which are now extinct, but fossils reveal nothing about the origin of the earth or the living things that inhabit it.
While we lack a historical record as such, we do have authoritative proof that God is the Creator. Our record is found not in the works of men but in God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and while it does not give us all the details we would like to know, such as when and how God created the earth and the first life upon it, it does tell us conclusively of the Creator.
Evidence from the Old Testament
The Patriarchs and Prophets received their messages direct from God through the means of visions or angels. Their recorded utterances offer abundant proof that all things did not evolve but that God is the Creator of the earth and everything upon it.
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, and Moses recognized God as the Creator of all things. Not a word is said that would suggest an evolutionary process. Very little is directly stated concerning the Creation. but in all the events of Moses’ life as the leader of the children of Israel. God was supreme. Speaking to the multitude as they neared the Promised Land, he acknowledged God as the Creator, calling on them to remember all that God had done for them (Deut. 4:32).
Job, recognized as one of the Patriarchs, testified to the great work of the Almighty: “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” He acknowledged God as the Creator of the great constellations of the heavens, Arcturus, Orion, and the Pleiades: hr knew that man was created and that he could not live without the breath God gave him. Job pictured God as one who “stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”
and of Him he said. “Great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend” (Job 33:4; 9:9; ?6:7: 37:5).
This is but a small sampling of the testimony to the Creator contained in the book of Job. Job could not comprehend the works of God. nor can we, but he did not doubt the Creation. Not a word of the entire book suggests that all things came about by an evolutionary process.
To those who might doubt His work, God speaks through Job: “Answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth’.’ Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof” ? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all” (Job 38:3-4. 6, 18).
Isaiah, like all other true prophets, received his message direct from God and he understood God as the Creator of all things. “To whom then will ye liken God`? . . . Hast thou not known’? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” And again he speaks of “the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain” (Isa. 40:18, 28; 45:18). Isaiah’s message is clear; God is the Creator. There is no hint of an evolutionary process. To Isaiah, God, one God over all, is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
Jeremiah lived close to the Almighty, and he did not leave us in the dark as to his understanding of the Almighty’s work. He wrote for us all the words he received from the Lord and among them we find: “I have made the earth. the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power.” Again he pays tribute to God, saving. “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding” (Jer. 27:5; 51:15).
And this is but a small part of the tribute Jeremiah paid to God as Creator. He leaves no room for an evolutionary process. To Jeremiah, God was “the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it [the earth].”
Others. To the Wise Man. God was the “great God that formed all things” (Prov. 26:10): King Hezekiah acknowledged Him as God alone, who “hast made heaven and earth” (2 Kings 19:15): Nehemiah saw Him as the maker of “the earth and all things . . . therein” (Neh. 9:6): the Psalmist saw the heavens as “the work of [His] fingers,” and said that “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Ps. 8:3: 19:1 ).
The prophet Amos, a herdsman who no doubt spent many nights under the stars, recognized God as “he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, . . . that maketh the seven stars and Orion, . . . that buildeth his stories in the heaven” (Amos 4:13; 5:8; 9:6).
Jonah said he feared “the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land” (1:9), and Zechariah pictured God as the one “which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1). In all the testimony of the prophets there is no suggestion of evolution, but all with one accord proclaim the Almighty God as the Creator of all things.
Evidence from the New Testament
While the New Testament writers were not as vocal concerning the Creation, their recorded words are emphatic. Nothing in their writings supports the evolutionary viewpoint.
If evolution were a fact. Jesus should have been acquainted with it. In His three-year career He made no statement that would lead to the evolutionary theory. He recognized His Father as the Creator of all things.
Peter and John
Soon after Pentecost, Peter and John found themselves in trouble with the authorities for healing a lame man. After being released unharmed, they offered a prayer to God: “Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is” (Acts 4:24), an Old Testament quotation. By using the words of Moses they affirmed their belief in the Old Testament Scriptures which unequivocally declare God to be the Creator.
In his answer to his accusers, Stephen freely quoted the Old Testament Scriptures. Among the words quoted were those of Isaiah, “Hath not my hand made all these things?” (Isa. 66:2; Acts 7:50). Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, understood that God was the Creator of all things.
This letter-writing apostle frequently gave testimony to the Creator, making mention of God as Creator in several of his Epistles. To the men of Athens he said, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24; see also Rom. 11:36). Certainly there is nothing in the writings of Paul to support the theory of evolution. On the contrary, it is obvious that God was understood to be Creator of all things.
Non-Biblical Proof of a Creator
Man has developed many complex machines. The space vehicles that have successfully borne men to the moon and back to earth testify to his creative ability. Computers do the work of thousands of humans, yet they must be assembled from man-made parts-and then the computer cannot operate without controls programmed by human brains and human hands.
While machines may testify to the creative ability of man, the complex system of the human body testifies to the Almighty Creator. Even in his mortal state, man is a living testimony to a Creator. When we stop to consider the functioning of the human body we are led to exclaim with the Psalmist: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works” (Ps. 139:14).
And are we not “fearfully and wonderfully” made? You and I, and all other humans developed from a tiny egg smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. From that tiny beginning developed many specialized organs, including eyes that see, ears that hear, feet that walk. a tongue that can talk, and a brain that can think and control all other parts of’ the body!. Men may have advanced far in technology, but the human body is the ultimate in technology- -and no man had anything to do with its design or operation.
Can we doubt the existence of a Creator?
The animal creation is likewise a testimony to the Creator.
In the book, Marvels and Mysteries of Our Animal World, we read the evolution story: “Five hundred million years ago the first fish evolved. . . . No `link’ connected this new beast to any previous form of life. The fish just appeared with that structure which divides all animals into higher and lower life: the backbone.”
Must we believe that “the fish just appeared?” NO! The fish were created by God Almighty as were all other living creatures. Nothing has life except by God, who “giveth to all life, and breath.”
The abovementioned book further states: “In an ancient age a lowly, reptile-like bird somehow turned his scales into feathers and achieved the first true flight. Since that momentous deed, forest, field and waters have become adorned with the color and music of the most beautiful creatures of all-some 8600 species of birds that we know today. . . . Mammals began their evolution some 200 million years ago during the great Age of Reptiles.”
Other similarly broad statements cover the development of various forms of life on earth according to evolution. Can we believe that a “reptile-like bird somehow turned his scales into feathers,” or that “a fish-like creature left the sea and crawled ashore” in some past age?
No, although we are not told how the bird was clothed with feathers, we are confident that a fish did not become a bird and turn his scales into feathers! This would be a truly “momentous deed” for any animal to accomplish! Birds were likewise a part of the life created by the Almighty even though there is no record of their beginning. God did not choose to inform us of all the details of the Creation; such information has no bearing on our salvation, the most important part of our life.
The nature book referred to above discusses the remarkable ability of birds: “Perhaps the most challenging mystery is how birds can find their way unerringly over thousands of miles of featureless ocean. During most of the year a species of the shearwater bird wanders over the Pacific, from Japan to California and north to the Aleutian Islands. Yet the birds arrive at their nesting grounds off the coast of Australia -millions of them darkening the sky-on the same day every year! How do they do it” These birds were not following older birds but a far more ancient guidance system, an instinct acquired in the egg.”
Did they acquire that instinct by blind chance? Could any evolutionary accident have given them such a remarkable ability? The efficient navigation system implanted in the bird testifies to the ability? of its Creator. It was not acquired by happenstance or by blind chance, but was God-given when the first of its kind was created and that instinct has been transmitted through the egg over a period of countless ages-another testimony to the Almighty Creator.
There is no theory in existence today that even begins to explain the origin of life by natural means. The molecules in a single cell are extremely complicated and as perfectly formed as a precision instrument. To think that such a system could have come into being by itself is unbelievable. The more one learns about the chemical structure and organs of living matter, the more difficult it is to accept the theory of evolution - that these organs developed from lower forms by natural processes. Life did not arise of itself. All credit for the creation belongs to God.
Creationism as the Opponent of Evolution
Creationism is the opposite extreme from evolution, and is another attempt by man to explain the origin of the earth and the human race. The belief in Creationism was accepted almost universally by established religion until challenged by the explanations of evolution.
The Creationists have one strong point in their favor: They uphold a firm belief in the power of God and see Him as the source of all things. But their Unreasoning literalism is too much for modern educated minds to accept, though current controversy is increasing the number of persons who accept Creationist beliefs.
CREATIONISM IN THEORY
It is the opinion of the supporters of this doctrine that “the known facts of science and history can be interpreted in either of two frameworks that of evolutionary process or that of Creation and the Fall.” To them, there is no other view. He earth and all life Upon it, besides all the visible and invisible ,tar,, and planets. suns and moons, were all created by God about six thousand years ago in six twenty-four-hour days.
Creationists have long had their champions. One of the better known was William Jennings Bryan, whose participation in the Scopes Trial in 1925 made him a principal figure Mr. Bryan at the trial attempted to defend an all-literal interpretation of the Bible. During the course of it Mr. Bryan was asked whether he believed God could make a fish big enough to swallow Jonah. Mr. Bryan replied: “Yes, Sir. Let me add: One miracle is just as easy to believe as another. I could as easily believe that Jonah swallowed the whale if the Bible said so.”
While all believers in the literal creation six thousand years ago are not so outspoken as was Mr. Bryan they generally believe in accepting the Biblical account as entirely literal.
Why Not Creationism?
While we do not for a moment question the Creationist’s acknowledgment of God as the Source and Creator of all things, their position presents as many problems as it solves. Consider the following:
“In the beginning.”
The Creationists take these words to mean that the author of Genesis is telling us about the very first activity of the Great and Almighty God. But is this possible’.’Is our little planet the only concern of so Omnipotent a being`’
In six literal days.
The Creationists accept the Genesis account as descriptive of the activity of God within six literal days. But what is a day? To us it is the time between one sunrise and the next, a twenty-four-hour period. But this is a concept limited to our planet and our sphere. A “day” on a larger or smaller planet-of which there are countless millions-would be of a different length. And which “day” would be the period of time during which God accomplished each part of His creation? Furthermore, the Hebrew word translated “day” in Genesis 1 has two usages: as a term for a literal day, and also a figure for “a space of time.”
Six thousand years ago.
Generally speaking, Creationists accept a time for the creation to have taken place about six thousand years ago. Does this mean that all the universe came about at that time? What about the Biblical statement that the “mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 103:17-18)? What about the “whole family in heaven and earth” (Eph. 3:15) of which the apostle Paul spoke-was the entire family “created” at the same time just 6.000 years ago?
And what about the millions of other stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, to say nothing of the myriads of stars and planets in other galaxies in the immensity of space--did all come about just six-thousand years ago?
In specific order.
Many Creationists hold even to the order of Creation spelled out in Genesis. Such a position places weapons in the hands of infidels: How could “light” exist on earth before “day” and “night”? How could the earth exist without the “firmament” above? How could there be “light” before the creation of the “two great lights,” greater and lesser, generally accepted to be the sun and the moon? And how could grass and herbs and fruit trees grow without the light of the sun?
What, then, is the solution? If evolution is without foundation and the Creationists are also without Biblical support for their beliefs, what shall we believe? Wherein lies the truth`? Only in the Word of God, and to it we will go.
• The earth was formed by a chance accumulation of gases that solidified into matter after a long period of time.
• God created the earth out of nothing about 6000 years ago in six literal 24-hour days.
• All life began in the sea-again by chance.
• During what is known as “creation week,” God created the sun, moon, stars, the light, the darkness, the seas and the dry land.
• Certain molecules joined themselves together into a one-celled living creature known as an amoeba.
• During the same period God created all living things-plants, animals, birds, fish and man.
• From this simple form of life other more complex forms developed by natural processes, resulting in a creature that crawled out of the water and lived on the land.
• God first created a man, then removed one of his ribs and from it made a woman for a helpmate. These two were the head of the whole human race.
• From the first land creatures developed reptiles, birds, animals and last of all, man, all by a “survival of fittest” process of elimination known to science as “natural selection.”
• God brought all the animals He created before Adam to be named and gave Adam dominion over all the of them.
• Other new species were formed by what are known as “mutations,” that is, freaks of nature.
• Man was created in the literal image of God-a perfect, sinless creature, able to live forever-but because he sinned he became subject to death.
• Man’s closest ancestor is an ape- like creature from which man developed by the evolutionary process.
• God placed all His creatures in a beautiful garden known as Eden.
THE GENESIS NARRATIVE AN ALLEGORY
“In the beginning God created . . .” These five words definitely point to God as the Creator, but contrary to the belief of the majority of present-day theologians they are not the preface to a narrative of a literal creation, True. God is the Creator. We firmly believe it. That He did create all “in the beginning” is without question - but He is not telling us of the physical Creation in Genesis. (For further elaboration of this subject, see our booklet, God’s Spiritual Creation.)
Genesis is neither pro-Creationist nor pro-Evolutionist. Rather. the early chapters of the Book are an allegory describing a spiritual creation. a creation vet in progress that is to be completed when God’s plan is complete upon this earth. We cannot accept a literal interpretation of Genesis because it does not harmonize with the tenor of the other Scriptures.
As we have learned in our studies of other subjects, all the Bible is not meant to be taken literally. We have learned to be governed by God-given rules in our study, one of which is to compare “spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13), and to allow the Almighty to explain His own words and statements through these comparisons.
The writers of the Bible, moved by God’s Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21 ). used various literary devices to reveal God’s truth. These include parables, poetry, allegories, similes and symbols. While many parts of Scripture are easily understood at a single reading, some parts require depth of study. We must allow the Almighty to explain His own words by comparing them with other words of Scripture, always arriving at a conclusion consistent with general Bible teaching.
The early chapters of Genesis are harmonious and far more meaningful when viewed as an allegory. The Encyclopedic Dictionary defines an allegory as “a story or narrative in which a moral principle or abstract truth is presented by means of fictional characters, events, etc.... any symbolic representation in literature. In an allegory as in a parable, the moral [or truth] is not stated, but is left to the hearer to discover. An allegory is usually long and elaborate, with many characters and incidents.”
Accepted literally. the creation account contains seeming conflicts with science. But understood as an allegory, the inconsistencies and conflicts disappear and the account harmonizes with general Bible teaching.
God did not intend that all His truth should be understood without study, else He would not have commanded through Paul. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to he ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
By declaring the Creation narrative of Genesis an allegory we are not denying the literal Creation by the literal Creator, God. We are confident that God created the earth and life upon it, but we are likewise confident that it is not the literal creation about which He is telling us in Genesis. As an allegory we understand the first few chapters of Genesis to he a preface to God’s plan for this earth, an outline of His planned new creation, a creation that is yet in progress. It is His spiritual creation, a creation that will culminate in the Kingdom of God on earth.
God’s Master Plan
When a new building is planned. whether it be a simple tool shed, a ranch-type house, an apartment complex or a condominium, the first step is to secure a plan, or blueprint showing the complete design of the structure. Such a plan is an absolute necessity in the completion of the building.
God, the Master Designer and Creator of this earth, did not start His work with man on the earth without a plan. “Great is our Lord, and of great rower: his understanding is infinite” (Ps. 147:5). Surely a Being of such infinite wisdom and understanding that He is able to declare “the end from the beginning” did not begin His work without first presenting His plan to man.
This plan was revealed in the opening chapter of the Book of Genesis. The Hebrew word from which Genesis is derived means beginning; Genesis is the beginning of God’s plan for this earth. not the beginning of the earth itself. We do not know when God began the literal Creation; the Bible does not tell Us.
God’s plan was made known to man and set in motion nearly 6000 years ago, and it is now approaching Its Consummation.
The first three chapters of Genesis outline this plan. The Bible teaches that this earth was not created in vain, nor did God send His Word in vain for as surely as there is rain in summer and snow in winter, “so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 5511 ). When God’s plan is consummated, this earth will be inhabited by a race of righteous people, those who will do His will as it is now done in heaven.
The initial chapters of Genesis describe the means by which this blissful state is to he realized. It is not through a process of literal creation, but a spiritual creation, in effect a re-creation. It is the work of remolding the characters of men and women until they are recognized by their Creator as worthy of being part of a perfect society that will one day envelop the earth. This gigantic work requires six thousand-year periods to complete. represented by six days in the Creation narrative. (In Bible prophecy “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” – 2 Pet. 3:8). The details of the plan are to be found in the narrative, encased in symbolic language.
Basic Truths Revealed in Symbols
While much of the Bible is written in plain speech, other parts employ figurative language. Jesus’ favorite means of teaching was the parable; the book of Ezekiel and also Revelation are filled with symbolism.
Recognizing that types, symbols and figurative language form a part of the Scriptures. must we accept the Genesis creation narrative as literal? Creationists would answer in the affirmative, but reason does not allow it. There was a time when men would accept anything spoken by the church hierarchy. The 6000-years-ago, six-day creation that involved grass growing before the sun was created, man created in the express image of God and a woman made from the rib of a man. were considered infallible church doctrines. But today, when the average man understands the geological facts that place the age of the earth between four and five billions, not mere thousands of years old, he discards such theological doctrines as absurd and joins the ranks of the unbelievers.
We are confident that the Bible offers no contradiction to known scientific facts. Placing the Genesis narrative in the category of symbolism, as an allegory. removes the absurdities and shows the opening chapters of Genesis to be a preface to God’s plan of salvation, an outline as it were, of the Bible, covering briefly the whole plan. It is an allegory: the people, places and things are symbols, readily understood with careful study.
Since figurative language is commonly used and readily understood in the literary field, should we not allow God the same privilege’? And if we are able to study literature of the secular writers and understand allegories, should we not be able to perceive the meaning of whatever symbols might be used in the Scriptures’? We will study some of the symbols from the creation narrative.
The heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1. God is the great Creator. He created the heavens and the earth, but He is not writing to us about that creation. Rather, He is setting forth His plan for a new creation which He has planned for this earth. When completed, the new heavens and the new earth will be the rulers (heavens) and subjects (earth) of God’s Kingdom. Such usage of the terms heavens and earth is not foreign to the Scriptures. Isaiah (1:1-2, 10) addressed the aristocracy of Israel first as “heavens” and then as “rulers”; and the subjects of the realm he identified as “earth” and then “people.” “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: ... Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers ... give ear, . . . ye people.” It was the people he was speaking to, not the literal heavens and earth.
The new “heavens” is now in the process of being created. It is to be composed of Christ the head, and the Church His body, as we learn from studying the word “beginning” (Gen. 1:1) in the Hebrew Lexicon. It is here defined in part as: “Head, chief ... the first of its kind ... with regard to time; firstfruits ... firstborn, firstfruits of things created by him ... Christ. head of creation, with regard to dignity: the first.” The lexicographer cites Revelation 3:14 as an example of its usage: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”
Christ alone will not fill the position of the “new heavens.” His title, “King of kings” indicates that He will have associates, a fact confirmed by His own statement: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Rev. 3:21).
Christ said of Himself that He was born to be King (John 18:37), and He is destined to hold a preeminent position in the Kingdom. He is described as “King of kings and Lord of lords” by the Revelator.
The development of the new “earth” or the subjects of the Kingdom is yet future. While the nucleus of this new earth will be living when Christ comes, the great majority of the subjects will be developed during the Millennium. They are the “great multitude” that were taken out of “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” seen standing before the throne in Rev. 7:9.
Man Placed in the Garden
We read in Genesis 1:26 that God proposed to make man in His image, after His likeness. Who is this “man”? Certainly not mankind. Mortal, corruptible human beings, subject to sickness and disease, and of varying stature and mental capability cannot possibly be in the image of God. The difference between the natural man and the image of God is so great that man cannot begin to compare with God.
We shall study some details of this “man.”
He is a representative man. Adam, in the Genesis narrative, is a representative man. He was not the first man created, but the first to be called to work for God. He represents the first called to conform to the image of God, to be “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). This “man” is composed of Christ the Head, and the Church His body (Col. 1:18), which will be complete when Christ comes.
He works in the garden. The Garden of Eden in which God placed the man and commanded him to work is the field or vineyard of the Lord. There never was a literal “Garden of Eden,” centuries of searching by literalists have failed to locate it. The Garden of Eden is symbolic: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Isa. 5:7).
He is commanded to obey. When God placed the man in the garden. He commanded him strictly concerning the fruit of the trees. God provided both trees that were for food and one tree that was not. He left man a free moral agent: he was free to choose to obey or to disobey. The penalty for disobedience was death--- not natural death, but penal death. The unfaithful will not be allowed to inhabit the Kingdom, but are to be cast out (Matt. 22:13).
Adam and Eve, the first characters mentioned in the Bible, were not the first to inhabit the earth as evidenced by geological discoveries. They were the first man and woman to enter the garden of the Lord, the first to agree to work for eternal life. Their names are used in the allegory to represent two classes of people, faithful and unfaithful.
These two classes have been present in all ages, even as today. Like Adam, they covenant to work in the garden and then shirk; they agree to resist the wiles of the serpent and then yield; they promise to avoid the forbidden fruit and then partake. At the Judgment at Christ’s coming, these unfaithful servants will be expelled from the garden forcibly.
At the same time the faithful. those who have made themselves into the image of God morally shall be made physically like Him. It is then that the man created in the image of God will be given dominion--not over an anima( kingdom, but “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Ps. 72:8). and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:27). This “him” is the man made in God’s image, the man composed of Christ the Head. and the Church His body.
God’s grand plan of Genesis will not be fully consummated until the end of the Millennial reign of Christ. but it will not fail, for God is both its Author and its Executor. His purposes are as unalterable as the order of day and night, as sure as sunrise tomorrow morning. His Kingdom will come and His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.
When viewed as an allegory, other symbols are easily understood. For example, the woman said to have been made from Adam’s rib represents the true church that is being taken out of all during the 6000-year Day of salvation. God did not create a literal woman from a literal rib. The serpent that tempted the woman was not the devil but represents man’s own natural desire to do that which is forbidden.
The “two great lights” are likewise spiritual. Mental illumination, knowledge, is an essential part of God’s plan. Jesus represents the greater light of the narrative. He is frequently referred to as the “Light,” and He ‘A III be the “Sun of righteousness” that is to arise (Mal. 4:2). We now have the “lesser light,” the word of God by which we walk.
The river of Eden, which divides into four parts and on whose banks grows the tree of life, is not a literal river. It is the “river of God” (Ps. 65:9), the “living water” to which Jesus had access. It is the water which, a man drinks, “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). It is the water in which we must wash and become clean (Isa. 1:16; John 15:3), until we are “holy and without blemish, . . . not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph. 5:26-27) if we would be part of His glorious Church.
Understanding the creation as spiritual removes all supposed contradictions and absurdities.
What shall we say, then, of Origins. Evolution, and Order’’ All that is known of origins is in the hand of the great Creator. Of evolution He knows nothing. He is the Creator, and all His work speaks the orderliness and verity of perfection. There can be no true order without a Creator.
Should we not be deeply thankful to our Creator for letting us “in” on the knowledge of His plan, so that we may someday understand His creation’’
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