Inspirational Readings for Your Daily Walk with God:

Christian Mediation

 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

1. What Do These Things Mean?

NOT long ago a released internee from a prison camp in the Orient brought to America several fragments of human skulls and teeth discovered in various parts of China. Upon examination these were observed to differ considerably from corresponding parts in modern man, being more massive, somewhat different in shape, and, in case of the teeth, much larger. Thereupon the experts proceeded to reconstruct three new races of primitive men, dating them back farther than any other specimens.

Naturally we wonder upon what basis such reconstruction could be made, and where the line between fact and theory is to be drawn. The person who is skeptical of all such methods is inclined to ridicule the whole procedure as a deliberate attempt to perpetuate an unfounded theory. On the other hand, there are some facts that are a bit puzzling. For instance-

In the Scientific Monthly of October, 1946, Dr. Krogman of the University of Chicago tells of a test case devised by him to check on the accuracy of such reconstruction. Selecting a specimen from the dissecting tables of the anatomy laboratories, he carefully measured and photographed the head and face.

Then he allowed its dissection to proceed, after which the skull was cleaned. The skull was turned over to a sculptress with instructions to make a lifelike reconstruction. As to the results, Dr. Krogman says: “The measurements [of the reconstructed head] agreed astoundingly. With but one exception all measurements agreed to within 1 millimeter. [A millimeter is 1/25 of an inch.] Most important of all, the restoration was recognizable as that of the subject drawn.” - Page P6.

Going back to the other side of the question again, one can readily ask what this really proves. Suppose the anthropologist can reconstruct a head, or even a whole body accurately, what does that prove as to the time when that individual lived? Because  a skull may have large, apelike teeth, does it prove the individual to be a primitive apelike ancestor who lived half a million years ago? And even if he might have been “primitive” (or degenerate) in appearance, does that indicate an evolutionary background for the human race? Many questions might be raised. Such a case demands careful study before hasty conclusions are reached.

EVOLUTION OR CREATION

One day a student stopped at my desk at the close of a lecture on the evolution question. “How is it,” he asked, “that anyone can raise such questions regarding evolution when all the great scientists are agreed on it?” A fair question this was, we cannot deny. Why should there be any controversy? Is not evolution proved by sound scientific facts, well-authenticated? To read popular textbooks one would be led to this conclusion. If it is not true, where are the flaws in the proofs?

H. G. Wells, in his book The Science of Life, accuses creationists of being dishonest and muddleheaded and holding out stubbornly against evolution when it has been “proved up to the hilt.” He cites line after line of evidence upon which the evolution theory has been built. Let us take a brief review of his proofs, as they will give as clear a grasp of the problem as one can find anywhere.

First, there is the evidence from the rocks. Invariably, when faced with the problem of creation versus evolution, the scientist will say: “But what about the geological record?” The fundamental principle, we are told, is simple. It is said that the different layers of rocks were laid down in order. Therefore all we have to do is to examine these layers and to read from them the past history of the earth.

Surprisingly simple, we admit, is this method. There is one serious question, however. Do the rocks tell a story of slow and uniform deposit, or might they have been laid down rapidly? Such a possibility makes it necessary for us to reserve judgment on the geological theory and investigate the problem more fully before we draw final conclusions. 

Horses and camels and elephants and many other animals have been found in the rocks, with variations in each group running from simple to complex. This arrangement is then pointed out as proof that the higher evolved from the lower. However, these various groups have been assembled from scattered localities and are arranged in series.  The fact seems to be overlooked that God might have created such series in the beginning.

But, says the geologist, the simpler ones are found in lower rocks than are the more complex. Suppose, for sake of discussion, we admit that they are. What does this prove? Could not one type have lived in a different environment than the other, yet have lived at the same time.

Other lines of evidence are supposed to show man’s relation to the lower animals. In all vertebrates, for instance, we find a common pattern for the limbs. The arm consists of an upper part, with one bone, a lower part with two bones, a wrist with several small bones, and a hand and fingers. Although this pattern is modified in different vertebrates, the same general plan my be seen in the whole group. To a superficial thinker this is certain proof that all these animals came from common ancestors. But is that a necessary conclusion? Might not a study of the facts point the way to a different answer to the problem?

Supposedly unanswerable proofs for evolution are presented in the data from embryology. The young embryos of reptiles, birds, and mammals are so much alike that to naked-eye observations they cannot readily be told apart. Upon this fact is based the theory that all higher animals have been derived from common ancestry. And so firmly fixed has this notion become, even in the minds of scientists, that all popular textbooks on biology discuss the theory as if it were actually proved to be true.

The actual fact is that while modern biologists believe in evolution, they admit that studies on the embryos of the various groups give little evidence for evolution, and actually raise more problems than they solve. One needs to be cautious lest he allow popular opinion to dull his sense of critical analysis and to lead him to accept theories in the place of truth. We must leave detailed consideration of the question for later study, but in passing it may be said that it gives us another example of how supposedly sound scientific principles need to be carefully checked before being accepted at face value.

VARIATION IN PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Rocks and bones do not constitute the only puzzle. Living creatures have caused as much discussion as geological phenomena, and perhaps even more. Ever since Carolus Linnaeus, in the middle of the eighteenth century, mistakenly thought he was able to distinguish as many kinds as God had created in the beginning, the question of the origin of species has been a potent source of controversy. 

When in 1859 Charles Darwin proposed to explain the origin of species by means of natural selection, the scientific world turned from the Linnaean viewpoint, and biology entered the Darwinian era. The near century that has passed since then has left most people bewildered by the vast accumulation of material on this phase of the question.

Life changes, as may be realized by observation on domestic animals such as dogs, rabbits, pigeons, and other kinds. No one doubts but that the great variety of these animals is due to changes which have occurred since they were in a wild state. From this simple fact the scientist deduces that changes in plants and animals in nature have brought about the present variety of living things from former creatures that were different from those we know today. Thus the Darwinian theory of origin of species through variation seems on the face of it to have good support in readily observable facts.

The question is not so simple as it appears. Some authorities of high standing dispute the interpretation which Darwin gave. Variation which may be observed and checked does not lead to new species, declares Goldschmidt, one of the world’s greatest biologists. See R. B. Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution, page 396.

The biologist who accepts the Genesis record literally is particularly strong in his objection to Darwin’s evolutionary views. For example:

“It is one thing to recognize this very manifest tendency in nature for organisms to vary, but it is an entirely different matter to prove that such variation has been the mechanisms by which the present state of organisms has been built up.” - F. L. Marsh, Evolution, Creation, and Science, page 259.

The present writer made a similar statement in his book Genes and Genesis, pages 141, 142:

“The fact that variation occurs, and that it may at times be of such a nature as to form what might be recognized as new species does not afford sufficient ground for explaining the origin of the major type forms, such as genera, families, or orders, within which and from which such species have arisen.”

Thus the controversy goes on. The facts which H. G. Wells and other evolutionists accept as proofs for evolution are not so readily received by others with equally keen powers of reason. The evolutionary theory is not so firmly established as some would like to believe.

One point in particular is worthy of attention. “There is no other imaginable illumination” of the living world except the light which evolution shed on it, says Wells. See page 404. One is reminded of the words of Scripture: If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:23. No other imaginable illumination! Why has the evolutionist overlooked the simple truth that nature may reflect the glory of the Creator?

The marvelous adaptations seen in nature cannot be explained upon any mechanical basis. Where did honeybees learn to build their wax combs? How did wasps and hornets “evolve” their method of paper building? How does evolution explain the origin of such a complicated structure as the human eye? How did such a complicated structure as the retina in the eye or the organ of Corti in the ear, or the speech mechanism, or a hundred others, happen to be where they are and be so perfectly adjusted as to work together to form a harmonious mechanism? Surely there must be some other way except to believe that such a situation came about by chance.

Two misunderstandings appear to be common. Evolutionists misunderstand the creationist views; the reverse is equally true. They are like the medieval knights who fought over whether a shield was red or black, only to find that it was red on one side and black on the other.

Creationists ordinarily accuse evolutionists of being atheists, assuming that acceptance of the theory of evolution must inevitably lead to belief in pure mechanical action in the whole universe, with no place for God in any natural processes. The modern decline in religion is generally attributed (by creationists) to the influence of evolutionary teaching. The fact is overlooked that there are many devout Christians who believe that evolution is the process used by God to produce the present state of the world.

THE QUESTION AT ISSUE

Evolutionists, on the other hand, accuse creationists of holding to all kinds of unscientific notions. Some years ago a certain candidate for governor of Florida was supported by William Jennings Bryan, who at the time was attracting considerable attention for his opposition to evolution. Whereupon Arthur Brisbane, the well known columnist, in one of America’s leading dailies, made the following comment:

“He probably believes that all kinds of men, microbes, animals, horses with one or four toes, dinosaurs, hippopotamuses, okapis, 500 kinds of fleas, 10,000 kinds of snakes, 100,000 kinds of beetles and bugs, and all the others were created separately and individually by the expressed will of the Creator and were all in the ark together.”

In a more serious view, a strictly scientific writer has said that creationism is “that hypothesis which conceives that the inorganic world as well as the organic species were created by God, but, once created, remain unchanged.” - B. Petronievics, Evolution Universal.

At the famous Scopes trial in 1925, when a court dealt with the evolution question, the experts who filed their testimony on the side of evolution took the position that any change in plants and animals must mean evolution.

And so it goes. Where are we, anyway? What is evolution, and what is it not? What is meant by creation? What processes of change may be allowed and one yet be a good creationist? Or can one be a creationist at all if he recognizes that plants and animals have changed and are now changing? These and scores of other equally pertinent questions must be clarified if one is to know where he stands. The answers do not come from any dogmatic pronouncements, but from painstaking study of the facts from nature. 

The purpose of the following chapters is to present these facts and point the way to the conclusions which they demand. It must always be kept in mind that true science and a correct rendering of the Genesis record will be in perfect harmony, for both have the same author. God’s power is responsible for the origin of the world and for all natural processes of the past and present. All things take place in harmony with the laws which He has established. He is also the author of the Bible, for “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” It is the work of the true scientist to discover the truth in both fields science and religion-and to properly relate the facts of nature to the principles revealed in the word of God.

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