WHO STARTED THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLD VIEW?
The following article by Dr. Henry Morris is from the Sword & Trowel, 1996, Issue No. 1, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England. This publication was established by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in the 19th century, and it continues to be a voice for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints in these last days of the 20th century. Dr. Peter Masters is Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle today. The address is Elephant & Castle, London, England SE1 6SD, U.K. --
What I have tried to show in a previous address is that evolution has no basis in fact. It fails the test of Scripture, it fails the test of science, and especially, it fails the test of society. Its fruits are corrupt. All this gives rise to an obvious question. How can it be that a theory which has no basis in fact and is so utterly harmful, can be so universally accepted?
It is certainly not on account of science that evolution has been accepted. Charles Darwin did not embrace it because of science. He made it plain that he tried to find an explanation for a complex world in science because he did not want to believe in Christianity. He wanted a way out; an alternative explanation for living things. The same has been true of most evolutionists. They have not become evolutionists because of science, but because of some spiritual or moral, or non-scientific problem.
HIDING THE CREATOR
There is a biblical explanation for this in Revelation 12.9, where the devil is described as he "which deceiveth the whole world". It is he who brought mankind to the point where he "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" (Romans 1.25). The deceiver caused creation to be changed into evolution, which is the lie used to bring the whole world into thinking that it can exist without God.
If we are going to dispose of God, for whatever reason, we must do so by a process of evolution of some kind. To dispose of God we must first explain away creation.
2 Corinthians 4.3-4 explains the present situation. Says the apostle -- "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Inevitably, then, the whole world has gone after evolution instead of creation. It is the process of deception. Many people on hearing this will think it a crazy idea--that Satan made Darwin do it. Well, let us look into the background a little and see just where Darwin and others got their ideas from. Who did start evolution?
I am sure you are aware that Darwin did not actually originate the theory. He came along at just the right time in history, when it would be widely accepted. But he did not start it. In fact his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was an evolutionist who taught virtually every "evidence" for evolution that is taught today. Erasmus Darwin included the recapitulation theory, the comparative anatomy argument and others in his books before Charles was even born.
Also before Darwin was Lamarck, in France, who had his theory of acquired characters. And there were many others. At least eleven men advocated the theory of natural selection before Darwin. (Some were evolutionist and some were creationist.)
There were also spiritual forces involved in Darwin's espousal of evolution, and while this element is far from being clear cut, we should at least consider it. At the very time that Darwin was thinking through his ideas, spiritism was reviving and gaining ground.
The leader of the spiritist movement in this country was Alfred Russel Wallace, the colleague of Charles Darwin. Today he is widely recognised as the co-discoverer along with Darwin of evolution by natural selection. Wallace was not a trained scientist. (Nor was Darwin, strictly speaking, as his only degree was in theology, and he had not done too well in that. Through much experimentation he became an accepted "gentleman scientist".)
Alfred Russel Wallace had gained early experience in railway engineering and similar fields. But he was a highly intelligent individual. (He later wrote books on economics, among many other subjects.) As a leader in the spiritist movement he believed that you could call back the spirits of dead ancestors, and they would speak with you and give you guidance for your future. He wrote books defending spiritism, and "scientifically" documented his practices with testimonies.
Wallace spent many years in the jungles of South America and Malaysia, observing animistic tribes who dealt with spirits. As an atheist he was also keen to find a means of explaining evolution, which he finally did, at the very same time as Darwin. You may know how Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to Darwin saying he had found the key to evolution, and outlined his theory. Darwin was appalled, because it was the same theory he had been trying to develop for over 20 years, yet he did not feel he had enough evidence to publish his book. He had great manuscripts, but was not quite ready to go to print, until it looked as though Wallace was about to beat him to the press. The result was that he and Wallace came out with a co-authored paper, and his book, The Origin of Species by Natural Selection, was then published. (This was really an abbreviated summary of his intended major work, which he never did publish.)
CONCEIVED IN FEVER
How, precisely, did Wallace stumble upon his theory? He tells us in his book, The Wonderful Century, its Successes and its Failures (published in 1898). In February 1858, the year before Darwin's book was published, Wallace was living in Malaysia, and suffering from a severe attack of fever which prostrated him every day. While in the grip of hot and cold fits, and while considering the problem of the origin of the species, "something led me to think of Malthus' essay on population." This was one of the articles which had also influenced Darwin.
Wallace states that "the whole method of species modification became clear to me, and in the two hours of my fit I had thought out the main points of the theory. That same evening I sketched out the draft of a paper; and in the two succeeding evenings I wrote it out, and sent it by the next post to Mr. Darwin."
He of course thought Darwin would be thrilled that he had solved that problem, but Darwin was more alarmed at being overtaken, and hurried to get his work to the press. It is likely that he never would have published a book at all, had it not been for this letter from Wallace.
Here is what Loren Eiseley, scientific historian at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an article on Wallace in Scientific American in 1959. "A man pursuing birds of paradise in a remote jungle, did not yet know that he had forced the world's most reluctant author to discharge his whole volume, or that the whole of Western thought was about to be swung into a new channel, because a man in a fever had felt a moment of strange radiance."
What are we to make of that? A man in a jungle without any scientific training or colleagues or experience, comes to the same theory in two hours of a fit, that Darwin came to after twenty years of scientific work. Is it not possible that the ancient deceiver was involved?
Some people have said that the three men who most influenced the modern world were Darwin, Marx, and Freud. Richard Wurmbrand, a former prisoner of the communists for many years, wrote Marx and Satan. Marx had in his youth been a professing Christian, having been brought up in what was at least a nominally Christian family. He once wrote an essay about life in Christ. But Wurmbrand tells of how at the end of his schooling there was a great change in him. "Shortly after Marx received his certificate, something mysterious happened in his life."
Marx became profoundly and passionately anti-religious, and wrote in a poem, "I wish to avenge myself against the One Who rules above." In another poem he says,
"The hellish vapours rise and fill the
Till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed.
See this sword?
The prince of darkness
Sold it to me.
For me he beats the time and gives the signs.
Ever more boldly I play the dance of death."
Marx had become, not an atheist, but some kind of Satanist.
As far as Freud is concerned, he has influenced the world of psychology and behaviourism more than any other person. It is true that modern psychologists and counsellors have thrown aside much of his thinking, but he is still the one who has influenced them most of all, and especially in the direction of the animal ancestry of man, and animalistic influences on behaviour.
FREUD'S INNER HOSTILITY
Professor Paul Vitz, of New York University, has investigated Sigmund Freud's "Christian unconscious", throwing light on his hostility towards the Christian faith, and his preoccupation with the devil, damnation and the Antichrist. Vitz explores the motives for his rejection of God, and even questions whether Freud made a compact with the devil. Certainly, this would begin to explain why evolution suddenly became the dominant world view, in spite of the lack of truly credible evidence, and the social harm brought about.
However, evolution did not begin with Darwin or Wallace, or Lamarck, or Erasmus Darwin. It goes on back further, even into the Middle Ages, when there was a widely believed theory that came from Neoplatonism, and from the philosopher Plotinus.
At the Renaissance there was the system of thought known as the great chain of being, or the ladder of nature. The idea of this was that there was a continuous chain from the divine essence, running down through angel spirit beings to lower spirits and to man, and then on to the higher and the lower animals, and to the plants, insects and dust of the earth. There is, it was held, a continuous chain of everything in creation. It was the province of philosophers and scientists to try to set creatures into their correct places in the chain.
Neoplatonism exerted a long and powerful influence on the Christian West, particularly in the Florentine period of the Renaissance. It might be said that the doctrine of the great chain of being formed part of the mental furniture of most educated men from the Renaissance until almost the end of the eighteenth century. References abound in Spenser, Henry More and Milton, and in the philosophical writings of Leibniz, Spinoza and Locke in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century it is one of the standard ways of conceiving nature.
The doctrine of the great chain of being probably had its last resting place, at least among biologists, with the German nature philosophers of the nineteenth century, immediately before Darwin's time. It cast its influence on both Lamarck and Darwin.
The great chain of being suggested much of the so-called evidence for evolution. The great chain proceeded from the highest down to the lowest, and all you had to do was turn it upside down, and put a time frame on it, and you had the evolutionary ladder.
This chain readily inspired the science of comparative morphology, and comparative embryology. The idea that the embryo goes through the various evolutionary stages to get finally to man in the process of embryonic development owes much to the great chain. (And this, by the way, is a scientific rationale for the modern abortion movement. Although it has repeatedly been proved false, yet it is still advocated as a justification for the destruction of a fetus, on the ground that it has not yet become a human being and is still in, say, a fish stage, or an ape stage.)
The idea that the fossil record goes from simple to complex through the geological ages came originally from the great chain. It is not found in reality in the rocks of the Earth's crust.
Long before the great chain, there were the Greek philosophers. Louis Trenchard More, in his book The Dogma of Evolution (Princeton University Press, 1925), provides a clear view of Greek thought after the death of Aristotle, as it gradually divided into the two schools of the Stoics and the Epicureans. These were the philosophical schools that Paul encountered at Athens, and both ridiculed him, for both were evolutionary philosophies.
Louis Trenchard More points out that these two schools "held the world of thought in allegiance well into the Roman Empire", and so their ideas of science and evolution are of great importance. The Epicurean philosophers were evolutionary atheists, believing in no kind of God. The Stoics were evolutionary pantheists, believing that everything is God. Neither left room for the idea of a transcendent creator.
Some people might argue that Aristotle thought in terms of a creator, along with Plato and Socrates. They did talk about a prime mover, but they were not thinking of the God of the Bible, because they all believed that the universe was eternal. In their view it never had a beginning. It was never created. Aristotle believed in spontaneous generation of non-life into life. They were evolutionists, certainly of a different kind than Darwin, but evolutionists nevertheless, and their kind of thought dominated the Greek and Roman philosophy of the day and for many centuries. It had its effect on the great chain of being into the Middle Ages and up to the time just before Darwin.
Evolution, however, did not begin with Aristotle. The early Greek philosophers, particularly the school of Miletus, were clearly evolutionary.
Milton Munitz, Professor of Philosophy of Science at New York University, makes this comment in his book, Theories of the Universe: "The type of thinking initiated by the Milesian school of pre-Socratic thinkers -- Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes -- in the sixth century B.C. elaborates the conception of a universe whose order arises out of a blind interplay of atoms rather than as a product of deliberate design; of a universe boundless in spatial extent, infinite in its duration and containing innumerable worlds in various stages of development or decay.
This, says Munitz, is the line of thought which has continued to be the inspiration of all scientific thinking which renounces the notion of design in the understanding of the universe.
Thales, described as probably the most influential of the Milesian philosophers, believed that all the components in nature "could be accounted for in terms of a single substance -- water". This notion that all life had its origins in a single basic substance goes back to the beginnings of written history. Evolution is as old as that.
From where did the Milesian thinkers derive their ideas? Prof. Munitz says that "Anaximander reinterprets, while at the same time retaining, basically the same pattern of cosmogonical development that is to be found in the Babylonian myth [Enuma Elish], as this had already been partly transformed in the Greek version of Hesiod's Theogony."
All these ancient philosophies and religions had the idea that the world began in a primeval chaotic state, such as water or fire, or some other elemental substance, but usually water. From this the world began.
The oldest myths of creation describe the typically irascible and irresponsible actions of various divine malcontents. But these deities are not simply malevolent gods, capriciously toying with mankind. They are personifications of nature, and their activities illustrate the unpredictable evolutionary unfolding of life on the Earth.
The ancient gods and goddesses of the Greeks and the Romans, and those that preceded them, personified natural forces. They attached living characters to the ancient ideas that thunder and lightning and water and rain and storm could act to produce new forms of life. There was the goddess of the river, and the god of thunder and many others. All these were the personalised forces of nature responsible for bringing the world into its present form. This was pantheistic evolution.
THE BIRTH OF EARTH
In her authoritative book on mythology, Edith Hamilton writes, "Long before the gods appeared, in the dim past, uncounted ages ago, there was only the formless confusion of chaos brooded over by unbroken darkness. At last, but how no one ever tried to explain, two children were born to this shapeless nothingness ... What took place next was the creation of the Earth, but this too, no one ever tried to explain. It just happened. ... The poet Hesiod, the first Greek who tried to explain how things began, wrote, 'Earth, the beautiful, rose up, broad-bosomed, she that is the steadfast base of all things. And fair Earth first bore the starry heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on all sides and to be a home for ever for the blessed gods.'"
These ancient explanations all go back to Babylon, beyond the beginning of written records (except for the Bible). The Bible sheds light on this, saying that the origin of all false religion is in ancient Babel. The Book of Revelation says that Babylon is the mother of harlots and abominations of the Earth. The word "abomination" usually refers in the Bible to idol worship.
The religion of ancient Babylon is therefore extremely significant. The most important Babylonian explanation of the origin of the universe is the famous Enuma Elish, which (according to the translator Thorkild Jacobsen) assumes that all things have evolved out of water. It describes the earliest stage of the universe as one of watery chaos, consisting of three intermingled elements, Apsu, representing the sweet waters, Ti'amat, representing the sea, and Mumnu, who cannot be identified with certainty, but may represent cloud banks and mist. The three forms of water were mingled in a large undefined mass, and in the midst of this two gods came into existence. Everything else then came from them.
The same kind of system is found in ancient Egyptian literature, the only nation of commensurate age with Babylon, or the Sumerians. E.A. Wallis Budge, one of the most prominent Egyptologists of our century, discusses one of the Egyptian papyri explaining the origin of the universe in his book, The Gods of the Egyptians. He says, "Our present interest in the papyrus centres in the fact that it contains two copies of the story of the creation . . . Each copy is entitled, The Book of Knowing the Evolutions of Ra, and of Overthrowing Apepi. The word here rendered by 'evolutions' is kheperu ... which means to make, to fashion, to produce, to form, to become."
In other words this word corresponds very closely to our modern definition of evolution. In the Egyptian text significant words are placed in the mouth of the god Nebertcher, the lord of the universe, the father of the sun god Ra, who says, "I came into being from primordial matter, and I appeared under the form of multitudes of things from the beginning. Nothing existed at that time, and it was I who made whatsoever was made... I made all forms under which I appeared by means (or out) of the god-soul which I raised up out of Nu (ie: the primeval, inactive abyss of water.)"
Primeval, chaotic water was considered the source of all beings in the most primitive of all religions, and this idea was disseminated around the world.
When God confused the languages of the men of Babel, they could not speak freely with one another any more, but they did carry their religion around the world. The names of the gods and goddesses were different, but the goddess of fertility in Babel corresponded to the goddess of fertility in Greece and so forth. They just had different names for the same functions of nature. That is why we have all over the world, throughout history, the same basic religion of evolutionism -- that this is an eternal universe with the forces of nature somehow coming into existence and developing things as we see them in the present order. It is the same "religion" taught in our schools today as evolution, though with a vastly greater degree of sophistication.
THE MEANING OF BABEL
The two contrasting world views, creation and evolution, have both existed from the earliest times. I believe that evolutionism was taught to people by Nimrod, who established Babel. Genesis 10 informs us that "the beginning of his kingdom was Babel." When God confused the languages, Nimrod presumably remained there and developed the Sumerian civilisation. Ham went into Egypt, and established the same ideas there, and others did likewise in other parts of the world.
I believe that the record of the Tower of Babel should he understood in terms of Nimrod's evolutionary religion. Nimrod was not so foolish as to think he could build a tower which would literally reach to heaven. [Here Dr. Morris comments on the AV rendering of Genesis 11:4, noting that the verse could speak of building a tower UNTO heaven.]
Nimrod's aim was to develop and dedicate his tower to the host of heaven; to the gods and goddesses of the stars; to the forces of nature; to the spirits inhabiting the world. This system of thought was developed, I believe, by Nimrod, and then spread by the dispersed people throughout the world.
If this is so, from where did Nimrod obtain his religious and evolutionary ideas? Did he invent them? The biblical answer is that Satan is the deceiver of the whole world.
The Babylonian-Egyptian account of origins (quoted earlier) seems to have a remarkable correlation to the Bible. Genesis 1 reads, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there he light: and there was light . . . And the evening and the morning were the first day."
How did Satan arrive at the idea that he had evolved by some unknown way out of the primeval waters? In reality, God had created him as He had created all the other angels, and He had told Satan his duties. Satan was the highest of all the angelic hierarchy, apparently, the anointed cherub covering the throne of God. Yet he said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will be like the most High." But God said, "Thou art the anointed cherub ... Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee . . I will cast thee to the ground."
Satan thought he could become God; and that he could defeat God. What a foolish thing to think! How could a being of mighty intelligence like Lucifer, Satan, ever think that he could defeat God, Who had created him? It seems to me that the only way this can be explained, is by assuming that Satan simply did not believe what God told him about his creation. God said, "I have created you," but Satan did not want to believe that. Perhaps he resented God's plan for the angels in relation to man. The angels were to be ministering spirits who would serve the heirs of salvation. Angels could not reproduce their kind, as Adam and Eve could, and they did not have the elevated future of Adam and Eve. Perhaps Satan resented that. But whatever the reason, he decided that he, and those who would follow him, would rebel.
How did he think he could defeat God? Only by not believing what God had said, and choosing to think that both he and God had similarly evolved from the primeval waters, and were the same type of being.
EQUALITY DEMANDED EVOLUTION
If he discounted what God had told him about his creation, then all he knew was that suddenly he was alive, and all around him was primeval chaos and water. The alternative to creation was to assume that he had evolved from that, along with God, and so therefore he could possibly win in a conflict with God. Apparently he still thinks this. He is the deceiver of the whole world, but he has deceived himself most of all.
Today, the whole "world seems to be deceived by the wicked one. The Bible says that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Yet we know how matters will end, because we have God's Word. One of my favourite verses of Scripture is in Revelation 17, which speaks of this great false religious system, Babylon the Great, and how all the kings of the Earth will one day give their allegiance to the beast possessed by Satan, and make war against the Lamb.
Verse 14 declares: "And the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." It is going to be better with Him than with them in that day.
Back To Home Page
Back To Creation VS Evolution index
sinner below, and it will be the subject of the everlasting song of the redeemed above. It is our ALL for acceptance with God, for pardon of sin, for "justification of life," for adoption into God's family, for holiness and glory. As the altar with its streaming blood stood at the very entrance of the ancient tabernacle, so the Lord Jesus Christ and "THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS" meet us at the very entrance of the church of the redeemed. The blood-shedding of Jesus as "a propitiation f