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Title: Evolution
Author: Hoare, Edward N.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Evolution" ***

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Transcribed from the [1885?] Elliot Stock edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                                EVOLUTION.


                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                         REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A.

       VICAR OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS, AND HONORARY CANON OF CANTERBURY.

                                * * * * *

                     _Reprinted from_ THE CHURCHMAN.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                 ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.

                                * * * * *

                             Price Twopence.



EVOLUTION.


IT may appear a very rash thing for any person who does not claim to be a
man of science to presume to give an opinion on any of the theories of
scientific men.  But there is a vast difference between the facts of
science and the theories suggested for their explanation.  The facts are,
as it were, the property of the investigators.  The investigators have a
power of investigation which we outsiders have not, and it would be folly
for us who have not that power to presume to call in question their
information.  But it is a very different matter with the theories either
founded on these facts or invented to explain them.  When science has
given us the facts common-sense can discuss the theories founded on them;
and, without presuming to call in question the ascertained results of
scientific investigation, any person of ordinary intelligence may form
his own opinion as to the conclusions derived from the known facts.  The
scientific men know the facts, and we do not; but, when they have told us
the facts, we can think as well as they.  This point was exceedingly well
put by Canon Garbett at the Norwich Church Congress in 1865.  He said:
“Beyond a certain point the conclusions and arguments of the man of
science cease to be exclusively his own, and become the common property
of all men.  All argument rests on common principles, and when once the
facts of the case are clearly ascertained, any man who is trained to
reason correctly is competent to judge of them.”  Again: “Let the man of
science,” said Canon Garbett, “reign supreme within his own sphere, and
let none but those trained in the same school and learned in the same
craft venture to dispute with him as he gathers his facts and generalizes
his rules.  But when all this is done, and he proceeds to reason, then it
is different.  He steps out of his special department into a sphere open
to all men alike.  Tell me what your facts are, and if I sufficiently
master them I am as competent to judge of the validity of the conclusions
drawn from them as the man of science himself.”

There is scarcely any subject to which this principle applies more
completely than it does to Evolution; for what is called “the doctrine of
Evolution” is only a theory.  It is not a collection of facts, but a
theory which some of its warmest advocates—as, _e.g._, Professor
Drummond—declare to be “still unproved.” {3}  While, therefore, we fully
recognise that it would be the utmost folly “to debate a point of natural
history with Darwin, or a question of comparative anatomy with Owen,” we
may, by the aid of common-sense, form an opinion possibly as sound at
theirs on the unproved theory which has been founded on the ascertained
facts which those great investigators have placed within our reach.  This
is all that I would attempt to do in the present paper.  I do not propose
to call in question a single fact ascertained by men of science.  All
that I would venture to do is to exercise the ordinary powers of thought
in considering one of the theories which some scientific men have
suggested as an explanation of those facts.  I say “some scientific men,”
for there is a very great difference of opinion amongst scientific men,
Institute without perceiving now much accurate observation, how wide a
scientific knowledge, and how great a force of Baconian philosophy is
arrayed against the theory just now in the fashion.

Let us begin, then, with a few facts respecting which we are all agreed,
and which as they are sometimes called by the name of Evolution, are
supposed to supply evidence of the correctness of the theory.

(1)  We all believe in _growth_.  It is a matter of fact that the world
is full of growth.  And this growth is not limited to gradual, or
continuous, enlargement or development; but consists sometimes in most
remarkable sudden changes, as when the egg becomes a chicken, the
caterpillar a chrysalis, and the chrysalis a butterfly.  Every living
creature, whether plant or animal, has its own mode of growth; and no
living creature is born into the world in the fulness of its stature.
The man was once in his cradle, the eagle in its egg, the oak in its
acorn; and no one can point to any living thing, either in the animal or
vegetable kingdom, that began life with the full development of all the
powers or properties of its species.  Whatever men may think of any
theory, as a matter of fact there is invariably growth as the first, and
most certain, accompaniment of life.

(2)  Within certain limits we all believe in _variations_.  Both plants
and animals of the same species vary according to circumstances, and are
all more or less affected by country, by climate, and by culture.
Amongst dogs, _e.g._, there are countless varieties of breed, to say
nothing of all the mongrels.  Just so amongst flowers; there are
countless varieties of the rose, and these varieties may be multiplied to
any extent by culture.  There is, moreover, a power of adaptation to
climate and other circumstances.  In colder climates animals of the same
species have thicker coats than they have under the tropics.  There
cannot be a question that both plants and animals will begin at once, if
placed in a new position, to adapt themselves to it; and, as a general
rule, if they fail in such adaptation, they die.  Beyond all doubt, as a
matter of fact, there are variations resulting both from parentage and
environment.  We are told by naturalists that some of these variations
are not of a permanent character, as, _e.g._, in the case of pigeons, of
which it is stated by Darwin that any number of breeds, if left to
themselves, will in time revert to the common Rock.  But still the fact
remains, that within certain limits there are numberless variations, and
that these variations may be transmitted to posterity.  Some of these
appear to have been produced in one way, and some in another; but,
however produced, there they are; and no one, whether scientific or
unscientific, can for one moment call in question the fact.

(3.)  We all believe in _progression_.  We see progression all around us.
It appears to be a universal law that there should be perpetual movement.
Sometimes there is advance, and sometimes retrogression—but always
movement; for when there is no advance, there is invariably decline.
Then, again, as far as observation is concerned, we find this progression
gradual and continuous.  Characters are gradually formed; learning is
gradually acquired; power is gradually gained; and the whole world
advances by the gradual attainment of increasing knowledge.  Such
progression is seen both in creation and revelation.

In Creation, for no one supposes that the world was created and peopled
by one instantaneous act of the Creator.  There may be difficulties in
some of the commonly received interpretations of some of the statements
of that most wonderful narrative contained in Gen. i.; but there can be
no doubt whatever that it teaches progression.  It begins with chaos, and
leads us step by step to a perfected cosmos.  At the outset; “the earth
was waste, or without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of
the deep.”  And at the end we see a fertile world covered with
vegetation, peopled by countless living creatures, with man, in the image
of God, at their head, all enjoying the bright light of the sun in
heaven; and all in so perfect a condition that “God saw everything that
He had made, and behold it was very good.”  But this change did not take
place by one solitary act.  The world did not leap by one bound from one
condition to the other.  There were, according to Scripture no less than
six successive steps in the process.  Let people explain the six days as
they please, and I fully acknowledge that there may be legitimate
differences in their explanations.  But no one can doubt that the
narrative teaches progression; and that, according to that narrative, it
pleased God by a series of successive acts to complete the work which He
pronounced to be very good.  No one, therefore, who believes in the Book
of Genesis can for one moment doubt progression in the work of the
creation.

Nor can there be the slightest doubt as to progression in Revelation.
Some people seem to speak of this as if it were a new discovery connected
with the theory of Evolution.  Such persons ought to read an admirable
book called “The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation,” written many years
ago, and new published by the Religious Tract Society.  It is perfectly
impossible to read through the Old and New Testaments as a complete book
without seeing progression.  It is deeply to be deplored that such a man
as Professor Drummond should have said, as he is reported to have said in
his Sunday lectures, at Grosvenor House, {5a} “The Book of Genesis must
be regarded as presenting truth to children’s minds;” and should have
illustrated this by George Macdonald’s poem, “The Baby,” adding, “not
literally true, but true for the child.  So Moses gave truth in the form
of a poem.  If you say it is a scientific book, I give it up; but if you
regard it as a poem, then I can deal with it.”  This appears to teach
that the Book of Genesis is regarded by him as something like a nursery
rhyme.  But the report {5b} is evidently abridged; and I hope it is
incorrect.  We know that there are sixty-six books in the Bible; but we
also believe that it is “a Book” complete in itself, and with all its
parts so beautifully proportioned that it forms one perfect whole for the
gradual development of the whole counsel of God.  Thus we believe that
the one verse (Gen. iii 15), “I will put enmity between thee and the
woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and
thou shalt bruise his heel,” is the seed, or germ, of the whole Gospel;
and that just as the oak is in the acorn, so in these few words is
contained the whole covenant of God.  The first twelve chapters of the
Book of Genesis trace the pedigree of that seed of the woman till the
call of the chosen family in Abraham; the historical books record the
varied history of that family, and show how sorely the heel of the
woman’s seed first bruised by the serpent; while the prophecies enlarge,
and expand the blessed hope of final victory in the promised One.  At
length the Gospels reveal the long-expected Christ; and the Acts and the
Epistles unfold the principles and progress of His kingdom, till the
whole is complete in the Apocalypse, where we read of “the new heavens
and the new earth,” with the curse of sin gone for ever, with Satan cast
into the lake of fire, and with the seed of the woman triumphant over
death and hell.  As the acorn to the oak, so is that first promise to the
Apocalypse.  It is no poem, no myth, no nursery rhyme, but the germ of
the whole counsel of God—a germ containing the whole Gospel, and
requiring no less than four thousand years for its development.

Let no one suppose, therefore, for a moment that we do not believe in
progression, for we see it throughout nature; and we find it distinctly
taught in Scripture as a matter of historical fact, both in creation and
revelation.  But the fact of progression is a totally different thing
from the theory of Evolution; and it is extremely important that the
distinction should be carefully borne in mind; for there are many, and
some of them clear-headed men, who, because they see the three
things—growth, variation, and progression, avow themselves believers in
Evolution, though all the while they really reject what should be
strictly termed “the Evolution theory.”

What then is the theory of Evolution?  What is it which Bishop Temple
describes as “just at present the leading scientific doctrine,” {6a} and
for which he says the evidence “is enormously great, and increasing
daily”? {6b}  It is extremely difficult to answer the question; for
evolutionists themselves, although they are perpetually trumpeting forth
the superiority of their scientific accuracy, very seldom take the
trouble to tell us what they mean.  In a defence of Mr. Drummond’s book,
in the _Expositor_, the defender states, with reference to an article of
my own in the CHURCHMAN of February last, that there are at least four
theories of Evolution; and he also informs us which of the four it is
that Mr. Drummond teaches.  It is a pity that Mr. Drummond did not tell
us this in his book, instead of leaving us to conclude, as some of us
have concluded that it was the doctrine of Mr. Herbert Spencer that
appeared to call forth his enthusiastic admiration.

Bishop Temple speaks of “_the_ two theories of Evolution;” and what he
does with the other two I do not know.  He describes the one as that of
La Place, and the other as that of Darwin; the former being a theory for
the construction of the universe, and therefore by some called “Cosmical
Evolution;” the other for the development of vegetable and animal life,
and therefore termed “Biological Evolution.”

To begin with the _Biological_.  This is briefly stated by Bishop Temple
{7a} in the words: “It cannot be denied that Darwin’s investigations have
made it extremely probable that the vast variety of plants and animals
have sprung from a much smaller number of original forms.”  So Darwin, in
his summary, {7b} writes: “The several classes of facts which have been
considered in this chapter seem to me to proclaim so plainly that the
innumerable species, genera, and families with which this world is
peopled, are all descended, each within its own class or group, from
common parents, and have all been modified in the course of descent, that
I should without hesitation adopt this view, even if it were unsupported
by other facts or arguments.”  I presume that there are very few amongst
us who would differ materially from either of these statements; for both
of them fully admit the original existence of a variety of common
parents, which is, in fact, a complete surrender of the whole position;
and Darwin limits the modifications in the course of descent to changes,
“each within its own class or group.”  Now this is all for which the
anti-evolutionist contends; for all admit most freely the existence of
most marked variations within the circles of the various groups.

But, although in this passage there is this limitation, as a matter of
fact there is a great deal more claimed by both writers for Evolution;
for the title of Darwin’s book, “The Origin of Species,” shows very
clearly that he applies his theory not merely to variations within
species, but to the formation of the species within which these
variations take place.  I do not gather from his book that his theory
goes so far as to suppose that either plants or animals have passed over
from one species to another, both species being already in existence; but
rather that through the power of “the struggle for existence,” “natural
selection,” and “survival of the fittest,” existing races have been so
changed and modified that new species have been evolved out of them, and
that in every such evolution there has been what evolutionists consider
to be improvement.

The arguments which Bishop Temple adduces for this theory are—

(1)  “The unity of plan which can be found pervading any great class of
animals seems to point to unity of ancestry.” {7c}  He illustrates this
by remarking that vertebrate animals are formed on a common plan.

(2)  “Slight variations are perpetually being produced.” {7d}

(3)  “The frequent occurrence both in plants or animals of useless parts
which still remain as indications of organs that once were useful, and
have long become useless.” {7e}

But is this scientific evidence?  As to the 1st, the Bishop only claims
for it that it “_seems_ to point.”  As to the 2nd, it quietly assumes the
whole point at issue, for no one denies that there are variations “within
each class or group,” and the fact that such variations exist within a
certain class or group is no proof that they can extend beyond it.  And
as for the 3rd who knows that those that are called “useless parts” are
really useless, though their use may not be known?  And if they are
useless now, what evidence is there that they were once useful, or were
ever used?  There is not the slightest scientific evidence in any one of
these three points for the theory which they are adduced to support.
There is not a single fact to prove the theory, and all that can be said
by the most ardent advocate is that the conjecture seems to be probable.
But how different is the evidence on the other side of the controversy!
There we find certain clearly-defined and indisputable facts which cannot
be doubted, and which cannot be reconciled with this new theory.



(1)  _Biological Evolution_.


There cannot be a doubt that there are certain great classes of plants
and animals found in the world, which have certain distinct
characteristics, and which, as a matter of fact, do not merge into each
other.  There seems to be considerable variation in the names given to
them, and they appear to be distinguished by the name sometimes of
“species,” sometimes of “genus,” sometimes of “class or group,” and
sometimes of “kind.”  In the sentence quoted from Darwin on p. 6, he
speaks of species, genera, and families; and describes them as being all
descended each within its own class or group.  This confusion of terms is
difficult to reconcile with the boasted claim to scientific accuracy.
That I may not be entangled by any questionable name I will distinguish
these groups as A, B, C, D, etc., and our question is whether they have
been evolved from each other or through each other, from a common stock;
or whether they are separate creations.  For the answer to this question
let three facts be carefully considered.

(i.)  There is the remarkable and clearly-established law of the
sterility of all hybrids between any two of these great divisions.  Both
A and B may contain a great number of varieties, and all the varieties of
A can breed freely with each other.  In such case there is no failure of
fertility in the progeny.  The same is true of B and all the varieties
that spring from it.  If these varieties be expressed by the figures 1,
2, 3, etc., A1 may breed with A2, A3, or any other number, and so may
introduce a fresh variety in the race A.  But if A, or any variation of
A, should breed with B, or any variation of B, there may be in the first
instance a progeny; but there is a fixed and invariable law of nature
that there should be no perpetuation of that progeny, for every
individual so born is barren.  Mules e.g., can never give birth to mules,
and the mule race has no power of self-propagation.  Now see how this
bears on the subject of Evolution.  If B were evolved out of A, there
would, of course, be countless intermediate variations, and these
variations would all have the power of perpetuating their kind.  A would
produce A1, A1 would produce A2, and so on, till A98 would produce A99,
and, finally, to complete the series, A99 would produce A100, or B.  But
at this point, if the Evolution theory is to be reconciled with facts, a
new and most strange law must be suddenly evolved; and the continuity of
law must be broken.  A98 may breed with A99, and their offspring may
perpetuate their race; but if A99 should breed with A100, which is B, it
is true there may be offspring, but that offspring will bare no power of
self-perpetuation.  How can evolutionism explain such a fracture in the
continuity of law?  And is not the scientific fact dead against the
Evolution theory?

(ii.)  As a matter of fact we do not find that continuous chain of
intermediate links which the theory requires.  The theory is, that as
there are to be no sudden jumps in nature, the various numbers are
evolved from each other in a vast series of almost imperceptible
improvement; and it follows of necessity that, if the theory were true,
instead of finding distinct classes, we should find various lines of
progress stealing into each other in steps so minute that it would be
very difficult to detect their differences.  If, _e.g._, man has been
evolved from monkey there ought not to be a yawning chasm, as there now
is, between the two, but there ought to be a vast series of connecting
links bridging the chasm between monkeyism and manhood; and there ought
to be a race of monkeys still existing so near to man in physical
structure and mental power that the birth of man from such a parentage
should be within the range of natural probability.  Let A be monkey, and
B man, then there ought to be a continuous line of intermediate numbers,
and A99 ought to approximate so closely to B that it would be perfectly
natural for B to be its child.

But where are these links to be found? and what naturalist can discover
them?  If the theory be true, the process must still be going on, and the
world must be teeming with these intermediate races.  But where are they?
Bishop Temple as attempted to answer this question thus:

    If it be asked why this variety does not range by imperceptible
    degrees from extreme forms in one direction to extreme forms in the
    other, the answer is to be found in the enormous prodigality, and the
    equally enormous waste of life and living creatures . . .  Eggs, and
    seeds, and germs are destroyed by millions, and so in a less but
    still enormous proportion are the young that come from those that
    have not been destroyed.  There is no waste like the waste of life
    that is to be seen in nature . . .  The inevitable operation of this
    waste, as Darwin’s investigation showed, has been to destroy all
    those varieties which were not well fitted to their surroundings, and
    to keep those that were. (P. 165.)

But if this be the solution of the difficulty, how is it that those at
the bottom of the scale remain?  One of the great principle employed to
explain the theory is “the survival of the fittest.”  The result
therefore must be continuous progress, and the _raison d’être_ of each
successive formation is its superior fitness above the form from which it
sprang.  A1 survives because it is superior in fitness to A, and A2
because it is superior to A1, and so forth.  The effect therefore of the
Bishop’s principle would be that the inferior forms at the bottom of the
scale would perish, while the superior that have risen out of them, by
reason of their greater adaptation to their environment, would survive.
But this is not the fact.  As a matter of fact, A, at the bottom of the
scale, survives, though A99, at the top, is gone.  The countless
multitude of intermediate formations has disappeared, but the parent
stock remains.  If ever there was a race of animals so near man as to
render it nothing more than natural that it should give birth to man,
that race has wholly disappeared, while animals vastly inferior still
exist in all their strength.  Such a fact appears to me to be fatal to
the theory.

(iii.)  But the geological evidence is stronger still.  If all these
creatures have arisen in succession, and perished, we may well ask,
“Where are their bones?”  Each successive race, according to the theory,
has been sufficiently powerful to overpower its predecessors, and to
reproduce its own kind.  It is clear, therefore, that we should naturally
look for the geological remains of those once-powerful animals.  But here
we are met by the hard, stubborn, rocky fact, that there is no trace of
them in the geological record.  We find the remains of A, B, C, D, etc.,
but between them there is a complete hiatus; and if there were 1000 links
between A and B, the geologist cannot show you one of them.  He can show
you A, and he can show you B; but as for A 20, 30, and 40, he can only
tell you that they are not yet discovered.  I know that some good
Christian people are afraid of geology, and in that I believe they make a
great mistake; for though I grant there may be danger in shallow,
superficial, theoretical geology, I never can doubt that the real record
of the rocks is in perfect harmony with the real record of Scripture.
So, in this instance, it has furnished us with an unanswerable proof that
the evolutionist theory is not founded in fact, and that nothing has yet
been discovered in the geological record to shake our confidence in the
grand, old, Scriptural statement, “God made the beast of the earth after
its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth
upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good.”  We all
know that it is not the object of the Book of Genesis to teach science;
and some, I grieve to think, are not afraid of calling it a myth, or even
a poem for the childhood of the world; but I venture to affirm that the
statement of the Inspired Book which describes each kind as a separate
creation is more in accordance with well-known geological facts, and is
therefore more scientifically accurate than the theories of those who
adopt the conjecture that the various kinds, species, or groups evolved
themselves either from each other or from a common stock.



(2)  _Cosmical Evolution_.


But if this be the case with Biological Evolution, how is it with
Cosmical Evolution, or the evolution of inanimate matter?  Bishop Temple
describes it as “that which begins with Laplace, and explains the way in
which the earth was fitted to be the habitation of living creatures;”
{11a} and again he says: {11b}

    It cannot, then, be well denied that the astronomers and geologists
    here made it exceedingly probable that this earth on which we live
    has been brought to its present condition by passing through a
    succession of changes from an original state of great heat and
    fluidity, perhaps even from a mixture mainly consisting of gases;
    that such a body as the planet Jupiter represents one of the stages
    through which it has passed; that such a body as the moon represents
    a stage toward which it is tending; that it has shrank as it cooled,
    and as it shrank formed the elevations which we call mountains, and
    the depressions which contain the seas and oceans; that it has been
    worn by the action of heat from within and water from without, and in
    consequence of this action presents the appearance when examined
    below the surface of successive strata or layers; that different
    kinds of animal and vegetable life have followed one another on the
    surface, and that some of their remains are found in these strata
    now: and that all this has taken enormous periods of time.  All this
    is exceedingly probable, because it is the way in which, as Laplace
    first pointed out, under well established scientific laws of matter,
    particularly the law of gravitation and the law of the radiation of
    heat, a great fluid mass would naturally change.

There is nothing in that explanation to militate against the Scriptural
accounts of the formation of the present world; and it may have pleased
God to make use of the laws of gravitation and radiation of heat in order
to bring our world into its present form.  But the structure of the earth
is not all, or nearly all.

There is found on the earth, and within it, an infinite variety of
substances.  There are metals; such as gold, silver, lead, iron, etc.
There are precious stones of gorgeous beauty, diamonds, rubies, etc.,
etc.  There is vegetable matter of every description, from the tenderest
blade of grass to the hard wood of the forest oak.  And there are animals
of all classes and all characters, from the lowest mollusk to the most
perfect and elaborate vertebrate.  And the question is, What made them?
Were they produced by the cooling of the earth?  Was it gravitation or
radiation that made the gold, the ruby, the fern, the oak, the animal,
and the water?

But in addition to these various substances, the world abounds with what
we call “Laws.”  There are the laws of electricity, of heat, of
chemistry, of force, of motion, etc.; besides those to which all these
great changes are ascribed, the laws of heat and gravitation—and, What
made them?  Are they all the result of the cooling of the earth?  Was one
mass of fluid matter cooled into iron, one into gold, one into wood, and
one into flesh? and did they all evolve from themselves by some
mysterious power, those wonderful laws of nature to which they are all
subject and which they all obey?  In their case there was no “struggle
for existence,” no “survival of the fittest,” and no “natural
selection”—no thought, no mind, no design, and no plan in themselves; and
it is indeed hard to suppose that they not only evolved themselves, but
also evolved laws of such marvellous subtlety and power, that their
discovery and use form the greatest achievement of modern science.

It may perhaps interest some to know how it is all supposed to have been
done, and as Mr. Herbert Spencer appears to be the great apostle of the
theory, I will give, in his own words, the conclusion of his elaborate
argument.  In “First Principles” (p. 396) he gives his great conclusion,
and prints it in italics that there may be no mistake as to its vast
importance: “Evolution,” he says, “is an integration of matter and
concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an
indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity,
and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel
transformation.”  Is it for such as that that we are to give up our faith
in the creation of God?

But this is not all, for not merely is the earth filled with various
substances, and governed by various laws; but there is a third element
for which even Mr. Spencer’s definition fails to account, and that is
life.  There is life abounding everywhere; but what science can tell us
either what it is or whence it came?  Was it produced either by
gravitation or radiation?  Did the cooling of the earth produce life on
its surface?  I know no greater evidence of the utter failure of the
evolutionist theory than the suggestion made on one occasion (I think in
an inaugural address to the British Association), that life came in a
meteoric stone from some already formed habitable world.  With reference
to such an idea it is enough to ask four questions.  How did it get into
that other world?  How did it attach itself to the meteoric stone?  How
did it survive the awful blow which it must have experienced when it
struck the earth? and how did it spread itself when it found itself alone
in the utter loneliness of an uninhabited world?  Such is the theory of
those who would struggle to create a world without a God; and I venture
to affirm that there is infinitely more true science in the words, “All
things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was
made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

But, though I have thus followed Bishop Temple in his twofold division of
the theory of Evolution, there is another twofold division which I regard
as of incomparably greater importance.  I refer to the Theistic and
Atheistic theory.

I.  There is a Theistic theory, for there can be no doubt whatever that
many of those who accept the Evolution theory hold it in the firm belief
in the creative power of a self-existing Creator.  Bishop Temple, _e.g._,
states the question thus:

    In the one case the Creator made the animals at once such as they now
    are; in the other case He impressed on certain particles of matter,
    which either at the beginning or at some point in the history of His
    creation He endowed with life, such inherent powers that in the
    ordinary course of time living creatures such as the present were
    developed.  The creative power remains the same in either case. {13}

For my own part, I should be almost disposed to consider that the
creative power was the greater on the theory of Evolution; for to make a
germ which should evolve itself into all the countless varieties, both of
animate and inanimate existence, is, if possible, a greater miracle than
the creation of each separate species.  There is great skill shown in the
manufacture both of a railway train and a steamboat, but the skill would
be of a much higher order if a person were to construct a train with its
engine and all its carriages, and impart to it the remarkable property
that when it arrived at the sea-coast it should of itself without the
action of man, turn itself into a steamboat.

Thus a person may hold the Evolution theory to its fullest extent without
entertaining the slightest doubt as to the creative power of our God.
Indeed, Bishop Temple says:

    The doctrine of Evolution leaves the argument for an intelligent
    Creator and Governor of the world stronger than it was before.  There
    is still as much as ever the proof of an intelligent purpose
    pervading all creation.  The difference is that the execution of that
    purpose belongs more to the original act of creation, less to acts of
    government since.  There is more Divine foresight, there is less
    Divine interposition; and whatever has been taken from the latter has
    been added to the former. (P. 122.)

There is such a joy in the blessed assurance of Divine interposition, and
it seems so clearly taught in Scripture, that it is impossible to regard
without the utmost jealousy the suggestion of even such a transfer as
that described in these words.  But still, however greatly we may regret
the theory, we are bound in justice to recognise the fact that those who
hold it may believe in a Creator God with a faith as firm and unshaken as
that which brings peace to our own souls.

I cannot refrain from adding that this was the view of Darwin himself.
He has been claimed as an ally by those who deny the creation of God; so
that it is most satisfactory to read such a passage as that with which
his book concludes:

    There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers,
    having been originally breathed BY THE CREATOR into a few forms or
    into one; and that whilst this planet has gone cycling on according
    to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless
    forms, most beautiful and most wonderful, have been and are being
    evolved. (P. 429.)

We may wholly differ from him in his theory of Evolution, but we rejoice
to agree with him in the conviction that life, was originally breathed
forth by the Creator.

2.  But there is also an Atheistic theory of Evolution, which does, in
fact, substitute Evolution for God.  The doctrine of Evolution is used,
according to Bishop Temple, “to prove that no intelligence planned the
world.”  The theory seems to be that through the power of certain laws
the original atoms have gradually evolved themselves into all the
beauties and endless varieties of this thickly-peopled world.  It is
pitiable to see the hopeless shifts to which intelligent men are driven
in order to maintain such a theory.  They are compelled to face the
questions, “Whence came the atoms? and now did the laws originate?”  And
Mr. Herbert Spencer for an answer to such questions is compelled to
resort to what he terms “The Persistence of Force.”  We might push the
inquiry one step farther, and inquire what was the origin of this
Persistence of Force? and we cannot but wonder that a man who is
considered one of the great thinkers of the age should not be compelled,
when thus driven into a corner, to acknowledge with candour that his
persistent force is nothing less than the omnipotence of God.  But no, he
cannot admit the existence of a God, and in a note on p. 192 of his
“First Principles,” he actually tells us that he and Professor Huxley
invented the term “Persistence of Force,” instead of what used to be the
term employed, “Conservation of Force,” because “Conservation implies a
Conserver,” and that he denies.  Thus his theory of Evolution is employed
to show how the world evolved itself without the interference of a
Creator, or even a Conserver of Force.  The whole thing is supposed to
have been done without design, without plan, without intelligence,
without skill, and in fact without any action of mind or intelligent
power.  The whole is supposed to be the result of certain unintelligent
laws, not ordained by any Lawgiver, or carried out by any Conserver.  In
other words, the Evolution theory is the Atheist’s substitute for God.

Now surely, if this be the case, those who write and speak in favour of
the Evolution theory ought to be much more careful than some of them have
been in defining what they are speaking of.  Some of them speak of “the
doctrine of Evolution,” as if there was only one doctrine, and some speak
in most rapturous terms of its most extraordinary value—as, _e.g._, when
Mr. Drummond said in Grosvenor House that “It was the Great thought of
the century, perhaps the greatest the world has ever found out;” but
surely when they do so they are bound to tell us what they mean.  Do they
mean simply growth? or progression? or variation within species?  Or do
they mean evolution from species to species? or the evolution of the
inanimate world?  On such points there ought to be a clear and
unmistakable definition.  Above all, do they mean an evolution by God, or
without Him?  An evolution by the design of a divine Person, or by
“Persistence of Force,” whatever that may be?  “Evolution,” in the
vocabulary of Mr. Spencer and his followers, means nothing less than a
theory for the formation of the world and all things therein, without the
action or design of a personal Creator; and surely it is to be deeply
deplored that Christian advocates should employ exactly the same term
without the slightest caution or protest.  I do not say that in their
writings there are no passages which, if carefully collected and spliced
together, may indicate what they mean.  But what I maintain is, that as
the word “Evolution” is employed by them to express the mode according to
which our Heavenly Father has formed the whole creation, both animate and
inanimate, and by Atheists to express the mode by which the world is
supposed to have formed itself, they ought not to use the word without
making it as clear as the sun in heaven in what sense they employ it.
They may speak of “Evolution” as the great scientific theory of the day,
or as the greatest achievement of the age, and unless they are much more
careful than some have been, their authority may be quoted as endorsing
the theory invented by Atheists and maintained by them in support of
their Atheism.  Men’s minds are governed by words, and surely we have a
right to ask of those who glory in scientific accuracy that they should
clearly define what they mean, and not leave their unscientific readers
to discover, as best they may, whether they wish us to believe in
self-evolution or Divine formation; in a self-evolution by Persistence of
Force, or in a marvellous creation by the design, the skill, and the
omnipotence of God.  If they write about Evolution in the loose way in
which some have done lately while they appear to speak with admiration of
Mr. Herbert Spencer’s philosophy, they cannot be surprised if they are
regarded as teaching his Evolution theory, and if the effect of their
writing is to weaken faith and strengthen Atheism.

But let no one suppose for one moment that, because we deplore the loose,
inaccurate, and unscientific manner in which some of those who glory in
their scientific accuracy appear to confound fact and theory, on that
account we undervalue scientific investigations, or think lightly of
scientific facts.  In proof of this I would conclude this paper by an
extract from the writings of a truly scientific investigator, the late
Mr. F. Buckland, who writes:

    Of late years, the doctrines of so-called Evolution and Development
    have seemingly gained ground among those interested in natural
    history; but to put matters very straight, I steadfastly believe that
    the Great Creator, as indeed we are directly told, made all things
    perfect and “very good” from the beginning; perfect and very good
    every created thing is now found to be, and will so continue to the
    end.  I am very willing to prove my case, by holding a court at any
    time or place, before any number of people of any class.  I would
    impanel a jury of the most eminent and skilful railway and mechanical
    engineers, while the only witnesses I should call would be the fish
    fresh from the deep-sea trawler, the city fish market, or the
    fishmonger’s slab: I would adduce from them evidence of “design,
    beauty, and order,” as evinced in such as the electric organs of the
    torpedo, the gun-lock spine of the file-fish, the water-reservoir and
    spectacles of the eel, the teeth of the gilt-head bream, the anchor
    of the lump-sucker and remora, the colouring of the perch and bleak,
    the ichthyophagous teeth of the pike, shark, and silvery hair-tail;
    the tail of the fox shark, the prehensile lips of the dory and sprat,
    the nose of the barbel and dogfish, the resplendence of the arctic
    gymnetrus and scabbard-fish, the dagger in the tail of the sting-ray,
    the nest of the stickleback, the armour-plates of the sturgeon, the
    nostril-breathing powers and store of fat in the salmon; migrations
    of the salmon, herring, pilchard, sprat, and mackerel; and, above
    all, the enormous fertility of fishes useful as food to the human
    race.  I am satisfied that I should obtain a verdict in favour of my
    view of the case, namely, that in all these wonderful contrivances
    there exists evidence of design and forethought, and a wondrous
    adaptation of means to an end. (_Life_, p. 424.)



FOOTNOTES.


{3}  Address in Grosvenor House, May 3, 1885.

{5a}  May 3, 1885.

{5b}  In the _Christian Commonwealth_.

{6a}  “Bampton Lectures,” p. 162.

{6b}  _Ibid._ p. 167.

{7a}  “Bampton Lectures,” p. 164.

{7b}  “Origin of Species,” p. 403.

{7c}  “Bampton Lectures,” p. 164.

{7d}  _Ibid._ p. 164.

{7e}  _Ibid._, p. 166.

{11a}  P. 167.

{11b}  P. 162.

{13} “Lectures,” p. 114.





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