Restitution Versus Evolution
It may be objected by some that the testimony of the Scriptures concerning human restitution to a former estate is out of harmony with the teachings of science and philosophy, which, with apparent reason, point us to the superior intelligence of this twentieth century, and claim this as conclusive evidence that primeval man must have been, in comparison, very lacking in intelligence, which they claim is the result of development. From this standpoint, a restitution to a former estate would be far from desirable, and certainly the reverse of a blessing.
At first sight such reasoning appears plausible, and many seem inclined to accept it as truth without careful examination, saying, with a celebrated Brooklyn preacher, If Adam fell at all his fall was upward, and the more and faster we fall from his original state the better for us and for all concerned.
Thus philosophy, even in the pulpit, would make the Word of God of no effect, and if possible convince us that the apostles were fools when they declared that death and every trouble came by the first man’s disobedience, and that these could be removed and man restored to divine favor and life only by means of a ransom. (Rom. 5:10,12,17-19,21; 8:19-22; Acts 3:19-21; Rev. 21:3-5) But let us not hastily conclude that this philosophy is impregnable; for should we be obliged to discard the doctrines of the apostles relative to the origin of sin and death, and of restitution to an original perfection, we should, in honesty, be obliged to reject their testimony entirely and on every subject, as uninspired and consequently without special weight or authority. Let us, then, in the light of facts, briefly examine this growing popular view and see how deep is its philosophy.
Says an advocate and representative of this theory: “Man was first in a stage of existence in which his animal nature predominated, and the almost purely physical ruled him; then he slowly grew from one state to another until now, when the average man has attained to a condition in which, it might be said, he is coming under the rule of the brain. Hence this age may be regarded and designated as the Brain Age. Brain pushes the great enterprises of the day. Brain takes the reins of government; and the elements of the earth, air and water are being brought under subjection. Man is putting his hand on all physical forces, and slowly but surely attaining such power over the domain of nature as gives evidence that ultimately he may exclaim, in the language of Alexander Selkirk, ‘I am monarch of all I survey.'”
The fact that at first glance a theory appears reasonable should not lead us hastily to accept it, and to attempt to twist the Bible into harmony with it. In a thousand ways we have proved the Bible, and know beyond peradventure that it contains a superhuman wisdom which makes its statements unerring. We should remember, too, that while scientific research is to be commended, and its suggestions considered, yet its conclusions are by no means infallible. And what wonder that it has proven its own theories false a thousand times, when we remember that the true scientist is merely a student attempting, under many unfavorable circumstances, and struggling against almost insurmountable difficulties, to learn from the great Book of Nature the history and destiny of man and his home.
We would not, then, either oppose or hinder scientific investigation; but in hearing suggestions from students of the Book of Nature, let us carefully compare their deductions, which have so often proved in part or wholly erroneous, with the Book of Divine Revelation, and prove or disprove the teachings of scientists by “the law and the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20) An accurate knowledge of both books will prove them to be harmonious; but until we have such knowledge, God’s Revelation must take precedence, and must be the standard among the children of God, by which the supposed findings of fallible fellowmen shall be judged.
But while holding to this principle, let us see whether there is not some other reasonable solution of the increased knowledge and skill and power of man than the theory of Evolution–that though originally developed from a very low order of being, man has now reached the superior or “Brain Age.” Perhaps after all we shall find that the inventions and conveniences, the general education and wider diffusion and increase of knowledge, are not attributable to a greater brain capacity, but to more favorable circumstances for the use of brains.
That the brain capacity today is greater than in by-gone ages, we deny; while we freely admit that, owing to advantageous circumstances, the use of what brain capacity men have today is more general than at any former period, and hence makes a much larger showing. In the study of painting and sculpture, do not the students of this “Brain Age” go back to the great masters of the past? Do they not by so doing acknowledge a brain power and originality of design as well as a skill of workmanship worthy of imitation? Does not the present “Brain Age” draw largely upon the original designs of the past ages for its architecture? Do not the orators and logicians of this “Brain Age” study and copy the methods and syllogisms of Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes and others of the past? Might not many of the public speakers of today well covet the tongue of a Demosthenes or an Apollos, and much more the clear reasoning power of the Apostle Paul?
To go still further back: while we might well refer to the rhetorical powers of several of the prophets, and to the sublime poetic paintings interspersed throughout the Psalms, we refer these “Brain Age” philosophers to the wisdom and logic, no less than to the fine moral sensibilities, of Job and his comforters. And what shall we say of Moses, “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”? The laws given through him have been the foundation for the laws of all civilized nations, and are still recognized as the embodiment of marvelous wisdom.
The exhuming of ancient buried cities reveals a knowledge of the arts and sciences in ages past which is surprising some of the philosophers of this so-called “Brain Age.” The ancient methods of embalming the dead, of tempering copper and steel, of making elastic glass and Damascus steel, are among the achievements of the remote past which the brain of the present age, with all its advantages, is unable either to comprehend or to duplicate.” (A161-165)
Continued with next post.