(Reprinted from The Mythology of Science [Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2001], 61–67.)
When the first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published on November 24, 1859, all 1,250 copies sold out on the day of publication. The world was waiting for a theory with scientific prestige to render the Bible and God obsolete, and men immediately jumped on the bandwagon of Darwinism. George Bernard Shaw describes the relief of men at being rid of God and declares “the world jumped at Darwin.”1
A great many churchmen climbed on that bandwagon then, and many more have done it since. The appeal is very great. Why not compromise? Why not be “scientific,” or scientifically respectable? When the Genesis account of creation is such a liability, why not concentrate on other matters of the faith and accommodate the Bible to evolution? Why risk being considered ignorant and backward?
Bernard Ramm, in The Christian View of Science and Scripture, searches for “more credible, reasonable interpretations which should cause no embarrassment to any man with a scientific mentality but also with Christian convictions.”2 Ramm’s purpose is to harmonize the Bible and modern science. Is such an approach tenable? Why defend old-fashioned, strict creationism?
St. James observes, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Similarly, anyone who denies the authority of Scripture at one point has denied it at all points. If we assert that we can set aside the six-day creation doctrine, we have asserted our supremacy over Scripture. Our mind and our convenience now have a higher authority than the Bible, so that we have denied its authority totally and asserted our authority instead. If we claim the right at any point to set aside Scripture, we have established ourselves as the higher authority at every point. Clearly, therefore, the question of authority is at stake in Genesis 1: God or man? Whose word is authoritative and final?
But there is much more at stake. Science itself is involved. There are issues involved in creationism which are basic to the existence of science. Let us examine the necessity of creationism for science. Dr. Robert P. Knight, M.D., in his presidential address to the American Psychopathological Association (New York, May 9, 1946), states:
Determinism is a fundamental tenet of all science. Indeed, it is inconceivable that we could explain or count on anything in the physical world without relying on the basic assumption that all phenomena are strictly determined. Dynamic psychology is a science of human thinking and human behavior, and as a science must be deterministic. The phenomena of human thought, feeling, and behavior, of the whole range of pathology, must be understandable and explainable in terms of the causal factors of heredity, early psychological conditioning, subsequent life experiences, the composite of forces, external and internal, playing on the personality. In such a deterministic science of human behavior there is no place for the fortuitous, nor for “free will” in the sense used in philosophy. Whatever human actions or decisions seem to indicate the operation of a free will, or a freedom of choice, can be shown, on closer inspection and analysis, to be based on unconscious determinism. The causal factors were there and operative, but were simply not in the conscious awareness of the individual.3
Knight’s conclusion is a very interesting one:
Determinism is a prerequisite of all science, including dynamic psychology. The alternative is not free will, but indeterminism, which implies chaos, unpredictability, and a denial of cause and effect relationships in human affairs. Free will is a subjective feeling, which is better called a sense of inner freedom, and which depends on harmony and integration of the personality. It is experienced by those psychologically healthy persons who willingly choose a course of action according to inner standards they are glad to obey. Psychotherapy, far from requiring freedom to choose in order to influence patients treated, itself operates deterministically to achieve for the patient this subjective sense of freedom.4
Without getting involved in a discussion of predestination versus determinism, we can observe that Knight has rightly seen that the issue is one between a world under absolute law and a world of chaos, and he sees a world of law and of cause and effect as basic to science. If chaos or chance be ultimate, then there can be no science. An absolute, determined order, Knight states, “is a fundamental tenet of all science … a prerequisite of all science.”
But this statement points to a schizophrenic aspect of modern science. The theory of evolution requires a belief that somehow all things arose out of chance, and out of “the fortuitous” which Knight condemns; evolutionary science denies spontaneous generation as a fact but requires it in theory to account for the universe. Thus, J. H. Rush, while unable to affirm spontaneous generation, places his hope on finding evidence of it and writes: “It would be satisfying to find some kind of life on another planet, even lowly forms, to support our basic thesis that life is a spontaneously originating process.”5
Science thus wants a universe of law and of causality without God, but it would rather ascribe all the magnificent order of the universe to chaos rather than to God, because the scientists involved are fallen men, in rebellion against God and bent on suppressing their knowledge of Him.
Men will either presuppose God, or they will presuppose themselves as the basic reality of being. If they assume themselves to be autonomous and independent from God, they will then wage war against God at every point. There is no such thing as an area of neutrality: men will either affirm God at every point in their lives and thinking, or else they will deny Him at every point.
As Dr. Cornelius Van Til observes:
Now if our contention (that the evolution-hypothesis is a part of an antitheistic theory of reality) is correct, then we must do away with every easy-going attitude. The evolutionist is then a soldier in that great, that seemingly all-powerful army of antitheists that has from time immemorial sought to destroy the people of God. We must then prepare for a life and death struggle, if not in the courts of the land, then in the higher courts of human thought.
Every time any human being opens his mouth to say anything, he either says that God is or that God is not a reality. It could not be otherwise. God claims to control every fact.6
Since God created all things, nothing can be truly understood apart from Him, and no fact can be truly interpreted apart from Him. When men seek to give an atheistic or agnostic interpretation to any fact, it is because they are at war with God and are bent on denying Him.
The basis of evolutionary theories is this anti-God position of apostate and fallen man. The convincing thing about evolution is not that it proves man’s origins, or even gives anything resembling a possible theory, but that it dispenses with God. Scientists themselves have often called attention to the absurdities of evolutionary theory. Consider, for example, the comments of G. A. Kerkut, a biochemist:
It is … a matter of faith on the part of the biologist that biogenesis did occur and he can choose whatever method of biogenesis happens to suit him personally; the evidence for what did happen is not available.7
It seems at times as if many of our modern writers on evolution have had their views by some sort of revelation …8
This does not mean that Kerkut accepts creationism. Any alternative is preferable, apparently, to evolutionists other than God. His hope is that “future experimental work” will provide an answer,9 but he is already sure that the answer will in some form be evolution. Thus, his basic assumption is a religious faith that the answer is not God but something else, although he does not know what that something is! Evolution is not a science but a religious faith which has taken over the sciences and rules them dogmatically.
And yet evolution, which rests on chaos, is held by men whose sciences presuppose God and His eternal decree. Evolution requires chance, whereas science rests on absolutely determined factors and on causality. The doctrine of evolution is thus basically hostile to science.
Again, evolution is a theory which is radically hostile to Biblical religion. The Bible clearly asserts that God created heaven and earth, the whole created universe, in six days. If this statement be allegorized or interpreted away, no meaning stands in Scripture. Because God created all things, He and He alone is the sustainer, governor, and redeemer of all things. Man is responsible to God because God is his maker, because man is totally God’s creation and therefore totally under God’s law. God is man’s savior because God as creator is alone omnipotent over man and the universe and sufficient for all things. God is man’s judge because He is man’s creator, and He created man for His own purposes and glory. If God’s creative work is denied, then God’s governance and redemption are also denied, because God is made irrelevant to man and to the universe, or at the least no longer omnipotent over them. Every doctrine of Scripture is undermined when strict creationism is undermined. Wherever strict creationism is set aside, the vital nerve of Christianity is cut, and the church begins to move in terms of humanistic and political power rather than the power of God.
The alternative to creationism is evolution, and Darwin has led to Marx and Freud, to materialism and agnosticism, and, as M. Stanton Evans has noted, to the “annihilation of value derived from Nietzsche and James and Dewey. These are the root precepts of Liberal philosophy.”10 The problem of our time is not material: it is spiritual. Technology has given man more material wealth than he has ever before possessed, but man’s condition is regularly described as a desperate one, and man lives in a chronic state of anxiety. What the doctrine of evolution has done is to destroy man, not God. A theory cannot alter ultimate reality; it can affect the mind and welfare of man. How has it done so?
First of all, man is no longer viewed as created in the image of God. According to Scripture, man was created in God’s image, and, although fallen, is strictly under God’s law. Man cannot be reduced to the level of an animal. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The state is made for man, not man for the state. Man is called to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, and the world is man’s dominion under God. But the evolutionary theory views man as a product of the world rather than a destined lord over it in Christ. Man is seen as having evolved out of the fortuitous concourse of atoms and out of the primeval slime. Instead of being set over nature, man is set under nature as a product of it. Man is reduced to the same slavish status as existed during antiquity in ancient Egypt and other states which held to an evolutionary concept.
Man’s liberty is a product of Biblical faith; the concept of evolution produces slavery, and it was welcomed by Marx as the necessary foundation for socialism. When man, as in evolutionary thinking, is a product of nature, he is passive in relationship to nature; his being is determined by nature, and his psychology is passive, conditioned, a reflex action rather than a governing action. When man knows himself to be created by God, and this faith is basic to his thinking, man is a product of God’s creative work and is therefore passive in relationship to God but active toward nature. He is then determined by God, not by nature, and man is then active toward nature and governs it.
Man is then free from nature, not a slave of it, because man is created and governed by God, not by nature. Man’s calling is to exercise dominion under God over nature, to rule it, develop and exploit it, under God and to His glory. Only the regenerate man in Jesus Christ can do this. The fallen man is in captivity to his own nature and to the forces around him. As a result, liberty rapidly declines when Biblical Christianity declines. Where men are not ruled by God, they are ruled by tyrants. And the rise of evolutionary thinking has produced a worldwide rise of totalitarianism. Since man is no longer seen as a creation by God, he is becoming a creature of the total state, and the total state is determined to remake man in its own image.
As a result, man is now the primary experimental animal. Many people are alarmed at the use of animals in scientific experimentation. But the grim reality is that the primary experimental animal is man. Not only the mental health experts, but virtually every agency of civil government is today engaged in trying to remake man. Moreover, scientists are engaged in experiments concerning psychochemical and electronic controls over man.
Such experiments were reported in Life magazine, March 8 and 15, 1963.11 Scientists seriously talk, as did C. R. Schafer, at the National Electronics Conference at the Illinois Institute of Technology, about enslaving men with built-in electronic controls, a socket mounted under the scalp “a few months after birth,” with “electrodes reaching selected areas of brain tissue.” After “a year or two … a miniature radio receiver and antenna would be plugged into the socket,” and from that time on the child would be modified “or completely controlled by bio-electric signals radiated from state-controlled transmitters.”12 When they begin by talking and experimenting in this vein, as they have done, we can be sure that the conclusion of their thinking will be far worse.
Orwell’s 1984 will look like paradise compared to what these evolutionists plan to do with man. When men set aside God as Creator, they then set themselves up as man’s recreators, as the new gods over man and the universe. It was this same temper which characterized man before the Flood, and Genesis 6:5 declares, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
A second way in which evolutionary theory has altered the mind of man is with respect to responsibility. According to Scripture, man is a responsible creature; his responsibility is to serve and glorify God; failing to do this, man became a sinner, sentenced to death. Evolutionary theory, because it sees man as a product of nature, sees man, not as a responsible creature made in the likeness of God, but as a product of a long evolutionary history and his environment. As a result, man is not responsible; he is not a sinner but a victim. He is what his environment has made him. The means therefore of changing man is not regeneration, not moral responsibility and renewal, but changing his environment. Man has to be reconditioned. This means a Pavlovian world.
Even as Pavlov trained his dogs to salivate when he rang a bell, so man has to be trained, like any animal, by conditioning. This means that education ceases to be education: it becomes brainwashing and conditioning. This means also that responsibility disappears. After all, it is not the criminal’s fault, it is society’s fault; it is not the young delinquent’s fault, it is his family’s fault. Mothers as a result are extensively blamed for their children’s sins and failures, or for their mental collapse. As one psychiatrist, Humphry Osmond, M.D., notes,
And if Mama was not to blame, the myth goes on, it must be Papa, or the husband or wife. This can be extended and is extended to anything in the family background—poverty, riches, lack of discipline, too much discipline.
Thus far, however, no one has blamed sons and daughters for the schizophrenia of Mama and Papa. But parents may have senile psychosis, and the day may come when children will be blamed for that. It is dangerous these days to be the relative of a person who is mentally ill for you will probably be blamed for driving him mad.13
This trend to blame someone or something else will not be stopped by such common sense observations by a few dissenting psychiatrists. Environmentalism is a logical necessity for evolutionary thinking. The theory holds that man is a product of his geological and biological environment and, because evolution is a continuing process, not a finished act, this means that man is still a product of his environment. As a result, the logical evolutionist will, first, insist that the environment is responsible for man, not man for his environment. Second, he will try to provide the right biological and social environment to further man’s evolution and to prevent man’s devolution.
This means total control over man, supposedly for man’s welfare. Again we face the inescapable fact that evolutionary thinking requires totalitarianism. If the education of a people is dedicated to teaching evolution, it will also teach socialism or communism. Karl Marx knew better than others that evolution was a necessity for communism’s success: it made socialism “scientific.” lf men put their faith in evolution, they will then look to scientific socialist planners for salvation rather than to Jesus Christ. Their maker is their savior. Friedrich Engels agreed with Marx that Darwin’s theory was basic to scientific socialism.14
When man is regarded as a product of his environment rather than a creature responsible to God, he ceases to be of much importance, either as a person or in his thinking. Darwin himself doubted the validity of his own ideas in many directions. For example, while denying all revelation, he believed that it seemed reasonable to conclude “that the Universe is not the result of chance,” even though his theory did so much to enthrone chance. Then he added,
But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?15
Darwin thus professed little respect for his own thinking. It is not surprising then that he had little respect for some races. He believed that some would be eliminated, and wrote, “Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”16 In other words, Darwin felt that evolution would eliminate “lower races.” This is one possible approach to the problem from the evolutionary perspective: weed them out. The other approach is equally deadly: since environment changes men, provide these “lower races” with a new environment, new education, and a new set of controls, and you will evolve them quickly to the same level as what Darwin termed “the higher civilized races.” Both of these evolutionary approaches reveal a fundamental contempt for man and a readiness to use him experimentally. More important, they shift the problem from faith and character to planning and control, from responsibility to conditioning and experimentation.
A third way in which evolutionary thinking has affected the minds of men is that it has given men a new religion, and that new religion is science. As C. F. Weizsacker observed at a scientific gathering:
Science today is the only thing in which men as a whole believe: it is the only universal religion of our time … The scientist has thus got himself into an ambiguous position: he is a priest of this new religion, possessing its secrets and marvels; for what to others is puzzling, strange or secret is plain to him. It is suddenly clear in many countries that the future of a nation, of a continent, of a view of life depends on producing enough scientists. Is this immoderate faith in the power of science justified?17
One of the clearest bits of evidence that science is now man’s universal religion is the history of the churches since Darwin. Modernism is simply an attempt to keep religion up to date with science and philosophy. Even within supposedly evangelical circles, we see men like Ramm seeking a harmony with science. Genesis is interpreted, not in terms of what the Hebrew text requires, but in terms of evolutionary geology by most commentators. When even the churches move so extensively in terms of the authority of the evolutionary scientist, how much more so does the world bow down before this new priesthood!
A fourth way in which evolutionary thinking has affected the minds of men is in the area of morality. Biblical morality declares the sovereign authority of God and establishes His clear-cut commandments for men. Morality thus has reality; it is grounded in ultimate reality; it rests on the truth of God’s Word and has the authority of God’s judgment behind it. The theory of evolution has no moral absolutes. Morality like man is a product of evolution; it represents, not ultimate and absolute truth, but social mores and customs. The new morality is the logical result of evolutionary theory. It simply wipes out all moral standards. The champions of the new morality declare that anything done “by mutual consent should not be prohibited by law” and is morally legitimate. The only crime is said to be compulsion or force used against another person.
According to the “Bruins for Voluntary Parenthood and Sexual Liberty,” in a 1966 handout at U.C.L.A., “Where there is no victim, every act is morally right,” and virtually every form of perversion is then listed and defended. But why limit the lawful acts to voluntary acts? After all, if, as such persons believe, there is no ultimate truth, no ultimate right and wrong, why not regard force as equally good as consent? The Marquis de Sade was more logical here: for him, the only real crime was Christianity; all else was permissible, every sexual crime, theft, and murder also. “Can we possibly imagine Nature giving us the possibility of committing a crime which would offend her?”18
At least one killer of late has been motivated in part by the Marquis de Sade’s writings. A murderer in England, who boasted of several brutal murders, was a professed follower of the degenerate Marquis.19 It is ridiculous to believe that, when men believe that every kind of act is morally legitimate and natural, they will not begin to practice many of these acts. And this is exactly what is happening all around us. The growing incidence of every kind of perversion and crime is a witness to this moral collapse. Sigmund Freud knew that total breakdown of all law and order could easily follow the widespread adoption of unbelief.
When the masses become as atheistic as their leaders, Freud feared that they “will certainly kill without hesitation … And so follows the necessity for either the most rigorous suppression of these dangerous masses and the most careful exclusion of all opportunities for mental awakening, or a fundamental revision of the relation between culture and religion.”20 In other words, Freud saw the solution, as he proceeded to develop it, as one of total control in the scientific socialist state. Either that, or atheism would lead to mass murder and total lawlessness.
Unfortunately, we are increasingly getting both socialism and a moral breakdown with flagrant lawlessness as a result of our evolutionary thinking. Because God’s moral law is denied, men are increasingly living in terms of their sinful nature and their lawless demands for self-satisfaction. In a recent article on New York City detective George Barrett, the author reported on the collapse of law and order as seen from Barrett’s perspective:
If Barrett hates the bad guys, he grieves for the good. He walks through the west side of the precinct, among the crowded apartment houses, and he points to the heavy wire screens and bars covering the back windows over the alleys and empty lots. “Look at that,” he says. “They have to make prisons for themselves to keep the germs out. They have to hide themselves behind bars.”21
In many cities today, similar conditions prevail: the good citizens make prisons of their own homes to protect themselves from the hoodlums who rule the streets.
One prominent oil man commented on the moral breakdown by observing that backward areas of the world, which fifty years ago were the less safe areas for travel, are now safer than the streets of America. The reason for this is not that these areas have improved; they have not. It is because the total moral nihilism and anarchism of evolutionary thinking is creating a monstrous new barbarian who respects nothing and delights in destruction. Concerning such a man, David writes, in Psalm 36:1, 2: “There is no dread of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own thinking that his iniquity will not be found out or hated.”22 This new barbarianism will only continue and increase until creationism is again believed, and, with it, Biblical Christianity and Christian moral order again prevail.
Jose Ortega y Gasset termed the specialized scientist of our day a barbarian:
But if the specialist is ignorant of the inner philosophy of the science he cultivates, he is much more radically ignorant of the historical conditions requisite for its continuation: that is to say: how society and the heart of man are to be organized in order that there may continue to be investigators … He also believes that civilization is there in just the same way as the earth’s crust and the forest primeval.23
Modern men, scientists, and humble believers in evolution alike, are parasites. They are living off the unearned capital of Christian civilization, on the impetus, law, and order of centuries of Christianity. Like all parasites, they are destroying the host body, Christendom, and its collapse will be their death also. They are denying the eternal decree of God, His sovereign and omnipotent creative counsel and decree, and as a result they are left with a world of chaos which is destructive of science. If they were faithful to their philosophy, these scientists could have no science, because they would have to say that the world is a world of brute factuality, without meaning, purpose, causality, or law. Every time a scientist works in his laboratory, he assumes the reality of God even though he may deny God with his lips. He is thus destroying the very foundations of his science when he denies the God who created all things and who is the source of all law and all interpretation. The moral capital of Christendom is rapidly disappearing; if it disappears entirely, all culture and civilization will go with it, and the decline and fall of the West will be far more devastating than the decline and fall of Rome.
The only alternative to this decline and fall is a renewal of Biblical Christianity, which requires a return to creationism. This means renouncing any philosophy, study, or science which seeks to act in complete independence of God. It means renouncing the idea of brute factuality, that is, the idea that facts exist apart from God and apart from any interpretation. Because God has created every fact in the universe, every fact must be understood in terms of the interpretation placed upon it by God’s creative purpose. We must strive in every area to think God’s thoughts after Him. We must believe that, in every area, there are God-ordained truths for man to know, and no other kind of fact and truth exists, only God-created ones.
Evolution says that the universe represents no purpose, plan, or law: it just happened. When we begin with such a total negation, we can only end up with a total negation. As Van Til has observed, a million zeroes still add up only to zero. This moral chaos is prowling our streets, pounding on our doors, and invading our homes. Scientific planning and mental health programs will not cure it: they are merely “scientific” forms of quackery which aggravate rather than alleviate the evil. The answer is a return to Biblical Christianity, to creationism as a basic factor thereof, to that faith defined by Hebrews 11:3: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” This is the basic truth which all men as God’s creatures know, but, as St. Paul declares, according to the original Greek, they “hold down the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). They suppress this truth because of their sin, “[f]or the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Not only is creationism a necessary faith: it is an inescapable fact.
1. Cited by Arnold Lunn, ed., in introduction of Douglas Dewar and H. S. Shelton, Is Evolution Proved? (London: Hollis and Carter, 1947), 4.
2. Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), 168.
3. Robert P. Knight, “Determinism, ‘Freedom,’ and Psychotherapy,” in Psychiatry IX, No. 3 (August 1946), 251.
4. Ibid., 262.
5. J. H. Rush, The Dawn of Life (Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1957), 213; cf. 63.
6. Cornelius Van Til, “Our Attitude Toward Evolution,” The Banner, December 11, 1931, reproduced in Van Til: Science Articles (Philadelphia: Westminster Theological Seminary), 12.
7. G. A. Kerkut, Implications of Evolution (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1960, 1965), 150.
8. Ibid., 155.
9. Ibid., 157.
10. M. Stanton Evans, The Liberal Establishment (New York: Devin-Adair, 1965), 178f.
11. Robert Coughlan, “Part I, Behavior by Electronics,” Life (54:10, March 8, 1963), 90–106; Coughlan, “Control of the Brain. Part II, The Chemical Mind-Changers,” Life (54:11, March 15, 1963).
12. San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, October 7, 1956, 4.
13. Humphry Osmond, M.D., in postscript to Gregory Stefan, In Search of Sanity, The Journal of a Schizophrenic (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1966), 244f.
14. George Lichtheim, Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1965, revised edition), 258.
15. Letter of C. Darwin to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, in Francis Darwin, ed., The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (New York: Basic Books, 1959), Vol. I, 285.
16. Ibid., 286, same letter.
17. C. F. Weizsacker, Reports of Geigy Bicentenary Scientific Day, Basel, Switzerland, June 3, 1958, quoted in Evan Shute, Flaws in the Theory of Evolution (London, Canada: The Temside Press, 1961), 228.
18. Leonard de Saint-Yves, ed., Selected Writings of De Sade (New York: British Book Centre, 1954), 258; cf. intro., 215f., 237, 248, 253, 256, 266. See also Richard Seaver, Austryn Wainhouse, The Marquis de Sade … Writings (New York: Grove Press, 1965).
19. “Lewd Photos of Dead British Girl Shown,” Santa Ana, California, Register Thursday (m) December 9, 1965.
20. Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1927), 691.
21. James Mills, “The Detective,” condensed from Life, December 3, 1966, in Reader’s Digest, February 1966, 245.
22. H. C. Leupold’s translation in Exposition of the Psalms (Columbus, OH: Wartburg Press, 1959), 293.
23. Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses (New York: W. W. Norton, 1932), 126.