Table of Contents
Part V: A Christian World View: The
Framework of History
A Seting for the World
THE TOTAL physical
milieu plays an essential part in tle development of the whole
man. Even a study of the earth's past history contributes in
its own way by allowing him through careful enquiry to observe
how God prepared the earth as a habitation for him. Recently
Bishop Herbert Welch, in looking back over a very long life (a
hundred years) set forth some of his thoughts about the meaning
of the world around: (261)
I can see that this world is
an unfinished piece of business. It is like the palace of Aladdin,
which was built by magic, with one bare plain window while the
other eleven were lavishly jewelled ‹ just to give the kind
of pleasure of putting the finishing touch upon this marvel of
splendour. So God reserves for man the honour and glory of sharing
in creative work. God provides the iron; man manufactures it
into forms of power and usefulness. God makes the wild rose:
God and man together make an American Beauty. Nature, it seems
to me, spells challenge and opportunity. . . .
In a word, God has not made a world
in which security and ease and happiness are the highest attainment;
but rather a world for watchfulness, for work, for struggle,
and for suffering as a normal part of a full life. . . .
Life as God planned it is not to
be a nursery for the coddling of perpetual infants, but a school
for adult education.
The study of
the earth's past history does not need to be as prosaic and uninspiring
as most textbooks of geology are apt to be today. Hugh Miller's
Testimony of the Rocks, as one might
261 .Bishop Herbert Welch, quoted in an article
in Reader's Digest (Nov., 1967, pp.206, 208) entitled,
"An Unfinishedl Piece of Business."
1 of 24
expect from its very
title, is filled with paragraphs of great literary beauty because
the writer's mind was not merely filled with factual knowledge
but with insight into the message which this knowledge conveyed
to his devout soul.
I propose to set forth what has
appeared to me to be a reasonable interpretation of the data
from geology which I see as strongly supporting the view that
the earth as a habitation was indeed prepared specifically for
the coming of man, and that this preparation took a long time;
and that during this long time the living components of it were
gradually changed by divine interference in such a way that when
man was finally created he could be placed in a total environment
that was wholly appropriate for him. This "divine interference"
I suggest might be appropriately termed "supernatural selection,"
which I would then elaborate upon in the following way: (262)
Among living creatures offspring
differ from their parents and this fact provides a means whereby
select lines may be encouraged and unwanted lines allowed to
If this occurs by accident, it
is termed Natural Selection.
202. This is a passage from "The Preparation
of the Earth for Man" (Part I in Evolution or Creation?,
vol.4 in The Doorway Papers Series) which is an extended
study of the question from this point of view, accompanied by
7 pages of documentation.
Many years ago Professor L. B.
Walton said: "The supposed progress made in the improvement
of domesticated animals and plants is nothing more than the sorting
out of pure lines and thus represents no advancement" (Science,
April 3, 1914), and Sir Alister Hardy speaking of the real limitations
of artificial or human selection said: "It was thought that
if we selected examples of our animal or plant of, say, larger
size than the mean, and bred from them, we should find that their
offspring would tend to vary in the same sort of chance way:
some being slightly larger, some slightly smaller, with the majority
nearer to the size of their parents. So it was confidently thought,
at this time, that if we went on selecting for larger size, or
some other character, generation after generation, we could go
on pushing evolution in this or that direction as wc liked within,
of course, the limits of an efficient working organism. This
seemed an obvious decluction because, if variation was really
quite a matter of chance, then surely the offspring must continue
to range in size more or less equally above and below the size
of their parents. It was taken for granted that this indeed was
what the stock breeder was doing in producing his different races
of domestic animals: sheep with higher wool yield, hens of greater
laying capacity, and so on. In the late 90's, when Karl Pearson
and others began to put this to the test of experiment they were
horrified to find that selection appeared not to work."
(The Living Stream, Collins, London, 1965, pp.77, 78).
What they did find, apparently, a finding always confirmed since,
was that each species has a fixed range of variability and while
one may get a higher percentage of offspring at one end of the
range, the range itself is never exceeded ‹ except occasionally
for pathological reasons.
When it is performed by man, it is termed
Human Selection. There is evidence from Palaeontology to support
the belief that the progress of forms from sirmple to complex
has not been by chance but by design. The term Supernatural Selection
could perhaps serve to define this pre-human process.
It is widely agreed that Natural
Selection cannot be creative. Human Selection is "creative"
only in the sense that pure lincs are sorted out and new varieties
are thus produced. Supernatural Selection has something of Natural
Selection about it in that by this means less desirable forms
(or organs) are discouraged; and the end result may be analogous
at times to Human Selection in that the process is purposeful;
but it differs positively from either in being a creative process
whereby are introduced entirely new forms and tderefore, presumably,
new genes and new gene combinations.
If I am considered
as another theistic evolutionist by any one who has read this,
the fault will be mine entirely, in not having made clear what
the fundamental difference is between my own view and this other
currently popular view.
As I understand it, theistic evolutionists
are essentially orthodox evolutionists ‹ except that they
believe God was behind it all, from the appearance of the first
amoeba to the appearance of the first man. The term "evolution"
is still taken to mean the gradual transformation of one species
into another by natural means and without any genetic discontinuities.
These means are explainable in terms of natural processes, the
only supernatural element being the initiation of the process
and the evidence of purpose throughout. In due course these people
hope to be able to demonstrate this in the laboratory. When this
happens we shall know "how God did it." The Creator
started it all off, and then withdrew from any further interference
except on very rare and special occasions when miracles occurred,
having assured Himself as it were, that things would end up as
This is not my view at all, how
ever much it may superficially seem to be. I believe God acted
creatively, in the most distinct and positive manner conceivable,
throughout the whole of geological history, introducing new species
as they became appropriate, and removing others when they ceased
to be. No laboratory experiment can ever hope to elucidate this
creative process, as I understand it. But because God was graciously
willing to permit us to see the unfolding of His designs, the
geological record can be read as a more or less continuous one,
with evidence of the fitness and appropriateness of things throughout
the whole process as the earth was prepared for the coming of
science must, of necessity, reject any appeal to the supernatural,
the scientific account must accordingly give only a partial view
of the meaning of the earth's past history, and of the Universe
as a whole. Revelation is essential to make the picture complete.
This appropriateness or "fitness"
of the total environment for life and for man has often been
remarked upon by non-Christian writers who, while having no sympathy
with the idea of plan or purpose behind it, nevertheless forthrightly
express their amazement that so many interlocking factors contribute
to it. While they categorically deny the reality of a "goal,"
they freely admit the appearance of it. We shall look at some
of these after we have considered certain other factors in connection
with the earth as a heavenly body which contribute to its uniqueness
within the solar system. These factors involve (1) its size,
(2) its rate of revolution, (3) its mean distance from the sun,
(4) the variation in its distance frorn the sun, (5) the constituents
of its surface, and (6) its satellite.
(1) The size of the earth determines
the constitution of its atmosphere, and the constitution of its
atmosphere determines the nature of the living forms upon it. (263) If it were much larger,
it would have retained a large percentage of gases inimical to
life. If it were much smaller, its gravitational forces would
have been insufficient to retain virtually any atmosphere at
The smaller planets with smaller
gravitational fields have lost a large proportion of their lighter
elements. The larger planets have retained most of their original
atmosphere. Actual measurements show that although the weight
of Jupiter is only 317 tirnes that of the earth, so great is
the amount of atmospheric strata around it that its volume appears
to be 1300 times greater than that of the earth.
The planet Mercury, on the other
hand, has a weight only approximately one twenty-third of that
of the earth and is knovn to have no appreciable atmosphere surrounding
it, its gravitational field being too weak to retain nitrogcn,
oxygen, and water vapour.
The earth has, therefore, just
sufficient rnass that it is able to hold around itself a blanket
of gases which both supports lile and shields it from lethal
rays of the sun. Its size is such that certain poisonous gases
which formed as the earth cooled were
263. Farmer, F. T., "The Atmosphere:
Its Design and Significance in Creation," Transactions
of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.71, 1939, p.39f.
not held in the atmosphere
but escaped into space. The carbon dioxide, which was
held, ultimate]y supported luxuriant vegetation, which in turn
purified it for animal life by setting oxygen free in photosynthesis.
Gases, like all other things, have weight, some being heavier
than others. It so happens that the gases unsuitable for life
were light enough and the earth's gravitational pull small enough
that they were lost into space, and thereby eliminated.
An important "natural law,"
which is otherwise everywhere obeyed, is found to be broken in
the atmosphere, which were it not broken would have prevented
the introduction of life on the earth. This law is simply the
law of gravity. Were it not superceded by the law of the diffusion
of gases, the atmosphere would sort itself out so that the heavier
gases would be at the bottom and the lighter gases at the top.
The consequence of this for the earth would be a layer of carbon
dioxide of sufficient depth that all life would soon cease. However,
gravity is defied and this heavier gas diffuses through the other
gases of the atmosphere so that free oxygen remains available
at the earth's surface so that all creatures that breathe are
able to obtain energy and sustain life.
(2) The rate of revolution of the
earth is just right for the continuous renewal of the atmosphere
for animal life. Nothing gets too cold or too hot over most of
its area, and plants have just sufficient times of light and
of darkness to perform their function of regenerating the air.
This is necessary since, according to Lawrence Henderson, the
unique stability of carbon dioxide depends upon alternating light
and darkness. (264)
(3) The distance from the sun determines
the mean temperature of the atmosphere and the earth. The pliable
materials of which living tissue is composed are made up of molecules
whch retain their physical characteristics only within a comparatively
small range of temperature variation. It appears that apart from
the very exceptional properties of carbon in forming these long
chainlike molecules, such structures as ourselves and all other
plant forms would not be possible at all. It is only in a very
restricted range of ternperature that these carbon compounds
are stable. If the temperature becomes too cold, these chains
become inflexible, and if the temperature beconres too high,
264. Henderson, Lawrence, "The Fitness
of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance
of the Properties of Matter," quotcd hy K. Walker, in Meaning
and Purpose, Penguin, London, 1950, p.102.
their bonds and disintegrate.
The range of temperature within which living flesh can continue
without artificial protection is quite small relative to the
ranges of temperature which may exist on a body in space. Professor
Frank Allen of the University of California commented on this:
If the earth were removed to
double its present distance from the sun, the heat received would
be reduced to one fourth its present amount, the orbital velocity
would be only one half, the winter season would be doubled in
length and life would be frozen out. If its solar distance were
halved, the heat received would be four times as great, the orbital
velocity would be doubled, seasons would be halved in length,
if changes could ever be effected, and the planet would be too
parched to sustain life. In size and distance from the sun, and
in orbital velocity, the earth is able to sustain life, so that
mankind can enjoy physical, intellectual, and spiritual life
as it now prevails.
(4) The seasonal
variations which take place throughout the year are very important
for the continuance of human life and probably for the well-being
of many other forms of life. Were it not for these changes, micro-organisms
which cause diseases and which are favoured by certain environmental
conditions would multiply so extensively that the human race
might suffer extinction because of them. Man is not the only
animal to suffer on this account. Consider what would happen
to the mosquito population if the conditions ideal for their
multiplication were to persist throughout the year all over the
globe. Surgeon-General C. A. Gordon pointed out that not only
does the persistence of a particular temperature and humidity
have to be taken into account here, but even the length of the
day. (266) The
length of day, of course, is governed by the position of the
earth with respect to the sun. In his paper, Gordon gives a chart
showing the distribution throughout one year of some of the major
diseases caused by these micro-organisms, thus indicating the
benefit resulting from seasonal fluctuations. (267)
(5) The surface of the earth is
part water and part dry land, in a ratio of approximately 3 to
1. The uniqueness of water has been pointed out by countless
authorities. The existence of water
265. Allen, Frank, "The Origin of the
World ‹ By Chance or Design?" in The Evidence of
God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John C. Monsma, Putnam,
New York, 1958, pp.22f.
266. Gordon, Surgeon-General C. A., "CIimate in Relation
to Organic Nature," Transactions of the Victoria Institute,
London, vol.17, 1883, p.33f.
267. Ibid., pp.51, 52.
in a fluid state is itself
fundamental to the continuance of life. Harold Blum has made
the following observations: (268)
Water makes up perhaps 80 to
90% of all living organisms, and may be regarded as their principal
environmental component, since even forms living in air maintain
an aqueous internal environment in one way or another. Most of
the water on the earth is in the liquid state, but it is also
of importance as an environmental factor when in the vapour state
and even as a solid.
Water seems admirably suited for
the major role it plays in maintaining a relatively constant
temperature for the earth's surface, a matter of paramount importance
to living organisms, which can serve only within a very restricted
range of temperature. It owes this aspect of its fitness to several
Blum then elaborates
upon these properties. His elaboration leaves one filled with
wonder at the power and wisdom of God in creating such a medium.
But this medium requires a quite specific environment for its
continued usefulness. That is to say, it is useful in a unique
way -- in a unique environment. Blum summed this up by saying: (269)
So fitness partakes of the nature
of uniqueness, the uniqueness of the earth as an abode of life
is a matter that strikes one more forcibly the more he tries
to break out of the circle. Not only is the earth as it is, but
it has reached that state through an evolutionary process, each
step of which has been dependent upon the one preceding it.
The stage upon which living systems
bowed their debut was set by all the preceding events in the
history of the earth ‹ or, for that matter, of the Universe.
These events placed important restrictions upon the nature of
life and its evolution.
Life, it seems, did not arise and
evolve as a system free to vary in any direction whatever; but
as a system upon which great restrictions were placed, some of
them even before the earth came into existence.
his chapter on the fitness of the environment with these words,
"This aspect of fitness is not, then, universal, but exists
only in relation to the planet Earth, or to planets that are
very nearly like the Earth. (270)
Allen points out that there are
four remarkable properties of water, its power to absorb vast
amounts of oxygen at low temperatures, its maximum density at
4° C above freezing so
268. Blum, Harold, Time's Arrow and Evolution,
Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1951, p.62.
269. Ibid., p.76.
270. Ibid., p 85.
that lakes and rivers
remain liquid (and the ice forms a floating protective shield
over the water which would otherwise freeze solid from the bottom
up and kill all marine life), and its power of releasing great
quantities of heat as it freezes thus preserving life in the
oceans, lakes, and rivers during long winters.
But the water must also be lifted
by evaporation and carried over the land, a cycle which depends
upon temperature changes, warmth to raise it, cooling to condense
it, and a proper relative surface area of water to land in order
that the land may neither be parched through insufficient precipitation
nor turned into a swamp through excess. Moreover, topography
of the land is important in assisting this process by causing
turbulence of the air currents which pass over it thus bringing
about a breakup of cloud formations.
(6) The existence of the moon is
also of fundamental importance. As far as is known, it is the
largest satellite relative to the size of its parent body. From
this point of view it is, in fact, huge. There have been some
authorities who held that we owe the present distribution of
water and land surface to the birth of the moon. The assumption
is made that the moon was derived from the earth and at its birth
removed from our globe a large segment of its granite crust.
What remained of this crust was subsequently fragmented and spread
around the earth as the continents. The areas occupied by the
missing segments of granite left scars, depressions into which
the water which had formerly spread over the globe as a shallow
liquid mantle, now collected to form deeper pools, the oceans.
The great deeps which now serve to contain those waters did not
formerly exist. The irregularities of this once continuous granite
shell would then take the form of a large number of comparatively
small islands standing in a universal but shallow sea. (272) These islands would permit
a high degree of variability by reason of geographic isolation.
At any rate, the moon now contributes heavily to the formation
of tides, and tides are of great inportance in keeping the oceans
fresh. Thus, the possession by the earth of such a large satellite
as the rnoon is in more than one way of great importance to life
as we know it.
All these "coincidences"
add up to an impressive testimony
271. Allen, Frank, "The Origin of the
World -- By Chance or Design?" in The Evidence of God
in an Expanding Universe, edited by John C. Monsma, Putnam,
New York, 1958, p.21.
272. Gamow, George, Biography of the Earth, Mentor Books,
New York, 1918, pp.42f.
to the uniqueness of
the earth as a theatre for the unfolding of God's Plan.
So much, then, for the planet itself.
What of its inhabitants, the living forms of plants and animals?
As living forms have multiplied on the earth and developed patterns
of life which render tle whole fabric an unbelievably complex
network of interdependent organisms, many extraordinary modes
of existence and many remarkable patterns of behaviour have arisen,
as "Nature" solved the problems of cooperative existence
on a grand scale. So complex and yet so refined and effective
are these adjustments that it is almost impossible not to be
forcibly struck by what looks like purpose, indeed one might
better say a striving towards some future goal, pervading
living processes at every level of existence. But the concept
of purpose inevitably invites the introduction of a Purposer
who, because He must stand outside the physical order, introduces
into the situation active forces or agencies which are not subject
to scientific analysis.
But, ever since Hemholtz and his
two friends issued their manifesto (273) repudiating such forces as vitalism, entelechy, or
"goal-seeking" as allowable explanations of observed
phenomena, scientists have been increasingly unwilling to admit
the possibility of plan or purpose in any form whatever. As a
consequence, there exists today among scientists a quite extraordinary
hostility towards the introduction of any such concept as purpose
or creation. Either of these are anathema, and any writer who
dares to introduce them is apt to find that everything else he
has to say is considered of little consequence ‹ no rnatter
what the evidence is.
Two writers of recent times and
of great stature, who were far less hostile to the two concepts
of purpose and of vitalism, wrote with what seems to be characteristic
eloquence. But their works never achieved the fame that they
would undoubtedly have, had they written as Huxley and Simpson
wrote, for example, both of whom are violently opposed
to either. The
273. This was a profoundly important manifesto.
The three rnen were Carl Ludwig (1816-1895), who taught most
of the great physiologists of the world active in the latter
part of the 19th century; Emil duBois-Reymond (1818 1896), who
was the founder of electro-chemistry; and Hermann von Helmholtz
(1812-1894) who needs no introduction. This, in substance, is
what they agreed upon: "All the activities of living material,
including consciousness, are ultimately to be explained in terms
of physics and chemistry." See Chauncey D. Leake, "Perspectives
in Adaptation: Historicai Background," in Handbook of
Physiology, Section 4, American Physiology Society, Washington,
1961, pp.5, 6.
scientific world has
shied away because in the past there was a tendency to allow
faith in such metaphysical concepts to serve as an excuse for
not persisting in research which did not at once show promise
of providing useful insights into otherwise baffling natural
processes. People had a tendency to say, "Oh well, the cause
is outside of our competence to search out, only God knows what
'life' is and we should not presume to explore what is uniquely
in His domain. It is a special expression of divine activity."
And so further research tended to be discouraged.
Professor Wood Jones, in his most
stimulating and remarkably readable little book Trends of
Life, repeatedly expressed his regret that those who studied
living forms of the past and the present were so adamant in their
rejection of the idea of purpose in nature: (274)
with questions of vitalism and teleology, we shall find that,
although such ideas are today considered as unorthodox and absurd,
they are not so considered because science has proved them to
be wrong, but rather because some circumstance in the changing
phases of opinion has demanded that they be ranked as heresies.
whose works have received the same kind of unfavourable reviews
that Wood Jones' works did, is LeComte du Nouy. I am thinking
particularly of his Human Destiny. Du Nouy did not question
the theory of evolution any more than Wood Jones did, but both
men believed that the gradual development throughout geological
times of increasingly more complex forms of life was not to be
accounted for solely in terms of current evolutionary theory.
Present theory holds that purely by chance mutations and natural
selection, acting together, have produced the flora and fauna
of the world. There was no purpose or plan, and no force outside
of nature has ever been necessary. The whole thing can be accounted
for without any need for a design or a Designer. Simpson speaks
eloquently enough of the appearance only of design in
274. Jones, F. Wood, Trends of Life,
Arnold, London, 1953, p.129.
275. Simpson, G. G., "The Problem of Plan and Purpose in
Nature," Scientific Monthly, June, 1947, pp.481f.
The fitness of things is by no means limited to the environment.
There is a wonderful fitness even in the matter of molecular
structure. R. E. D. Clark, himself a Ph.D. in Chemistry, has
an excellent illustration from his own field of research. He
writes: "A good example of recent thinking in this field
is afforded by the phosphate group, the unique properties of
which (high energy phosphate bonds, etc.) make it irreplacable
in the living organism. In addition, phosphate precipitates with
(continued. . . . .)
eye, an ear, or a hand is a complex mechanism serving a particular
function. It looks as if it had been made for the purpose. This
appearance of purposefulness is pervading in Nature, in the general
structure of animals andplants, in the mechanisms of their various
organs, and in the give and take of their relationships with
each other. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a
basic problem for any system or Philosophy of Science.
Yet so convinced
is he that this is an illusion that he states categorically and
repeats almost ad nauseam that "man was certainly
not the goal of evolution which evidently had no goal. He was
not planned in an operation wholly plan-less." (276)
In his Human Destiny, however,
du Nouy repeatedly sets forth in no uncertain terms the evidence
that such a view is quite inadequate to account for things as
they are: (277)
of living beings, as a whole, is in absolute contradiction to
the science of inert matter. It is in disagreement with the second
principle of thermodynamics, the keystone of our science, based
on the laws of
chance. . . . No scientist on earth can deny this. To account
for what has taken place since the appearance of life, we are
obliged to call in an "anti-chance" which orients this
immense series of phenomena in a progressive, highly "improbable"
direction (incompatible with chance), resulting in the human
brain. This amounts to the recognition of the existence of a
goal, of an end, for, in at least one line, the same orientation
is always observed, on an average and over an extremely long
period. Therefore, everything has taken place as if, ever since
the birth of the original cell, Man has been willed. . . .
One of the most
mysterious aspects of the developing stream
(275 continued) calcium to give a complex
calcium phosphate, hydroxyapatite, of exceptional strength, crystals
of which are formed in the collagen fibres of bone owing to a
surprising coincidence in the unit crystal size and repeat lengths
of the two materials. This bone ensures a reservoir of phosphate
in the body and helps to maintain a steady phosphate concentration
in body fluids. The hydroxyapatite has curious electrical properties:
it generates a voltage when bone is bent. The potential acts
in such a way that the phosphlate dissolves where it is not needed
and redeposits where the bone needs strengthening. . . ."
(The Christian Stake In Science, Moody Press, Chicago,
1967, p.36). So wonderfully pliant is the bone substance and
structure that if a fracture occurs in such circumstances that
the segments simply cannot fuse together again, a joint, articulate
and virtually normal in every way, may form instead. (See Sir
Peter Medawar, The Art of the Soluble, Methuen, New York,
276. Simpson, G. G., The Meaning of Evolution, Yale, 1951,
pp.292, 344, 345. He felt it necessary to repeat the substance
of his faith three times. . . .
277. Du Nouy, LeComte, Human Destiny, Longmans, Green,
New York, 1947, p.224.
of life is the repeated
occurrence of what have come to be called "pre-adaptations."
These take the form of structures which are of no immediate advantage
or use to the organism but after further development prove to
be of great importance to it thousands of generations later,
as though nature was delilerately making preparations for something
yet to be. On this du Nony said: (278)
Throughout the developrnent
of evolution (whatever that means!) the scientist finds himself
facing this unaccountable mystery, the creation of organs destined
to improve sketchy solutions so as to increase the freedom of
the individual, his independence, with respect to hlis environment.
. . .
This holds true for the appearance
of homoiothermism (constant temperature). This is an immense
and unquestionable liberation from servitude to the environment
and has, it must be admitted, all the unsatisfactory [sic]
characteristics of absolute creation, whereas we feel that such
cannot be the case. This stands out today as one of thle greatest
puzzles of evolution.
And so he concluded:
Everything always takes place
as if a goal had to be attained, and as if this goal was the
real reason,, the inspiration of Evolution. All the attempts
which did not bring the goal nearer were forgotten or eliminated.
In the sarne
connection, Loren Eiseley wrote: (280)
The reason why a given form
of life chooses to launch upon a new adventure is always apt
to remain mysterious. One thing however, seems rather plain:
animals do not evolve new organs for the specific purpose of
intruding into a new environment. Instead they start with what
the Biologist calls a "pre-adaptation" ‹ all existing
organ, habit or other character whichoffers the possibility of
being used successfully under new environmental circumstances.
The first vertebrates to leave
the water successfully for example, had already acquired a primitive
lung, utilized for
278. dy Nouy, LeComte, ibid., pp.70,
279. Ibid., p.74 In a similar vein, Konrad Lorenz in his
On Aggression, (Bantam Books, Harcourt, Brace, 1967, p.256),
speaking of preadaptations in the human embryo remarks: "All
the tremendous neurosensory apparatus of human specch is phylogeneticaIIy
evolved, but so constructed that its functiom presupposes
the existence of a culturally developed language which the infant
has to learn."
Likewise, E. S. Russell, in his
Directiveness of Organic Activities, (1915 pp.94, 95)
remarked in connlection with the cell divisions of the growing
ovum, 'these forms of cleavage are directive towards future goals
integrally related to the general process of developmem, and
comprehensive only on this basis, whatever their causal explanation,
if any, may be."
280. Eiseley, Loren, "Fossil Man," Scientific American,
Dec., I953, p.70.
survival in swamp waters of low oxygen
content. Other preadaptations, such as a muscular fin capable
of being transformed into a primitive foot, contributed to the
success of the venture.
What we cannot so readily clarify
in certain of these instances is whether events forced the movement
across into the new corridor, or whether the restless impetus,
the exploring curiosity, the vital drive of the animal promoted
To my mind the
best explanation of the course of events throughout geological
ages until the coming of man is that God worked creatively and
in an orderly way towards the world which we now see, by constantly
introducing new forms of life, whether plant or animal, as the
changing environment permitted them to be introduced. The system
is an interacting one in that each new series of forms contributed
to this change, in turn starting by their presence directional
shifts of the contemporary scene which in due course prepared
it to receive another series of forms. (281) Each series of forms was higher than the previous
ones and could not be introduced until the previous forms had
prepared the way or been removed.
Thus land forms were not possible
until there was something for them to feed upon, and since all
flesh is grass there had to be vegetation of some sort. The initial
sand which resulted naturally from the breakdown of the rocks
was capable of supporting certain simple types of plant life
which were therefore created first. These in the course of time
by their very decay began the building of "soil" which
then permitted the introduction ‹ once more by direct creation
‹ of higher forms of plant life, until in due time certain
very simple forms of animal life
281. Recently it has become customary in some
quarters to attach more importance to the concept proposed by
Lamarck that characters which an organism acquires due to environmental
"pressures" of one form or another may be inherited
by its offspring. The mechanism for this was lacking, and the
experimental evidence was entirely against the view. But it is
possible that such inheritance of acquired characters could be
via the cytoplasm for certain simple forms, as Ephrussi and Sonneborne
and others have shown. Now it seems that even higher forms of
life may pass on such acquired characters in some way not known
but indicated by the great dlifficulty of accounting for animal
"fitness" to tbe environment in any other way. As Sir
Alister Hardy wrote recently: "Again and again Lamarck made
the point that challenges in the environment can bring about
changes in the habits of animals and that it is these changes
of habit [his emphasis] which can be so important in bringing
about evolutionary modifications" (The Living Stream,
Collins, London, 1965, p.160). Hardy then elaborates and exemplifies
such changes. This is all we need to make my proposal viable:
though the word "development" should be substituted
for Hardy's "evolution." Such inherited characteristics
are now termed dauermodifications.
could be introduced
to the land environment, not merely because food was at last
available, but also because the plants had "purified"
the atmosphere of its excess carbon dioxide and made it respirable.
I do not think that such a process
is at all unreasonable since evolutionists themselves would readily
agree to the general characteristics of these successive forms,
the order in which they would appear, and the reasons for that
order. The fundamental difference between their point of view
and my own is that I believe each new series of forms was introduced
by creative activity, by an activity of which we have no experience
in the laboratory. Nor are laboratory experiments ever likely
to shed any light on it. Always in view from the very first was
the object, namely, a world suited to the requirements of a creature
such as man. To this extent the end, man, was the cause. To Simpson,
this kind of philosophy is complete nonsense. But to the Christian,
who is faced with almost overwhelming evidence of a long process
of developmental history which he meets in virtually every textbook
and which is virtually always attributed to evolution, this alternative
view can be very satisfying, since it ignores none of the evidence
that has been established as fact. It is only the theory of evolution
that must be disallowed. It should be said in fairness to a number
of well-informed Christian geologists and biologists that not
everyone accepts the evidence for a great antiquity of the earth.
There are a number of scientists today who are convinced that
modern geology misinterprets the facts, and that a single catastrophe,
such as the Flood of Noah's day, could account £or stratified
The overall picture which I have
presented above has been shared, and indeed elaborated with keen
insight, by a number of informed writers, going back even as
far as the Church Fathers, none of whom may be labelled by that
rather opprobrious term, theistic evolutionists. The theistic
evolutionist, as we have noted, differs from the atheistic evolutionist
only in this, that he believes God produced the present world
without interfering with it after setting in motion a process
which thereafter could take care of itself and could be depended
upon by its own powers to produce in the end a creature such
as man is. Presumably, the only miracle involved, in the final
analysis, would be in the origination of matter: once the elements
had been created, the rest would take care of itself.
Because it is sometimes more enlightening
to trace the history
tory of an idea backwards
rather than forwards, I propose to start with one or two quotations
from recent writers and then show how earlier writers viewed
the evidence. In his book The Christian View of Science and
Scripture, Bernard Ramm, whom I feel confident would disagree
with a great deal that has been said in this Paper, nevertheless
gave the following statement with which I find myself in complete
Almighty God is creator. . .
. In His mind the entire plan of creation was formed with
man as the climax. Over the millions of years of geological history
the earth is prepared for man's dwelling or as it has been put
by others, "the cosmos was pregnant with man." The
vast forests grew and decayed for his coal, that coal might appear
a natural product and not an artificial insertion in Nature.
The millions of sea life were born and perished for his oil.
The surface of the earth was weathered for his forests and valleys.
From time to time great creative acts, de novo, took place.
The complexity of animal forms increased. Finally when every
river had cut its intended course, when every mountain was in
its purposed place, when every animal was on the earth according
to blueprint, then he whom all creation anticipated is made,
MAN, in whom alone is the breath of God.
held that direct creative activity was necessary. He assumed
that vast numbers of kinds of animals had become extinct since
the beginning of life on this earth. He thought the only possible
explanation of these layers was to assume that short catastrophic
periods of mountain building would follow long and quiet ages.
These catastrophes had occurred possibly a hundred times, absolutely
wiping out every plant and animal over vast areas. Then after
natural forces had settled down again following each wild crisis,
the Creator would again create a new flora and fauna in the desolated
area. Agassiz taught more separate, large-scale creative acts
than any other man. It was his conviction that the Creator improved
and re-patterned the successive creations so that more complex
forms followed simple ones. (283) Thus, in his Essay on Classification, 1859,
he wrote: (254)
Who can look upon such a series
coinciding to such an extent, and not read in them the successive
manifestations of a thought, expressed at different times in
forms ever new and yet tending to the same end, onwards to the
coming of Man, whose
282. Ramm, Bernard, The Christian View of Science and Scripture,
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1954, p.227.
283. Agassiz: quoted by Henry Marsh, Studies in Creationism,
Review and Herald Publishing Co., Washington, 1950, p.34.
284. Agassiz, Louis, Essay on Classification, 1859, pp.166,
advent is already prophesied in the
first appearance of the earliest fishes.
And again, Agassiz
evident that there is a manifest progress in the succession of
beings on the surface of the earth. This progress consists in
an increasing similarity to the living fauna, and among the vertebrates,
especially in their increasing resemblance to man. But this connection
is not the consequence of a direct lineage between the faunas
of different ages. There is nothing like parental descent connecting
them. The fishes of the Palaeozoic Age are in no respect the
ancestors of the reptiles of the Secondary Age, nor does man
descend from the mammals which preceded him in the Tertiary Age.
The link of which they are connected is of a higher and immaterial
nature; and their connection is to be sought in the view of the
Creator Himself, whose aim in forming the earth, in allowing
it to undergo the successive changes which geology has pointed
out, and in creating successively all the different types of
animals whichhave passed away, was, to introduce man upon
the face of our globe. MAN IS THE END TOWARDS WHICH ALL THE ANIMAL
CREATION HAS TENDED FROM THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE PALAEOZOIC
Owen, the great anatomist, had addressed himself also to the
same issue. Gillispie set forth Owen's views as follows: (286)
extraordinary but greatly more sound in their application are
the views of Professor Owen ‹ supreme in his own special
walk as a comparative anatomist. We find him recognizing man
as exemplifying in his structure the perfection of that type
in which, from the earliest ages, nature had been working with
reference to some future development, and therefore a foreordained
existence. "The recognition of an ideal example for the
vertebrate animals proves," says Owen, "that the knowledge
of such a thing as man must have existed before man appeared;
for the Divine Mind that planned the archetype also foreknew
all its modifications. The archetypal idea was manifested in
the flesh, under diverse modifications, upon this planet, long
prior to the existence of those animal species that actually
Whewell had expressed himself thus: (287)
285. Agassiz, Louis, in his Principles
of Zoology, quoted by F. W. H., in God's History of the
World, Nisbet, London, 1907, p.149.
286. Owen: quoted by C. C. Gillispie, in his Genesis and Geology,
Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1951, pp.204, 205. Owen was writing
287. William Whewell's views, in The Veracity of Genesis,
Wm. H. Hoare, Longmans, Green, Longmans and Roberts, I.ondon,
1860 (p.165), gives us this passage as from William Whewell's
Indications of the Creator, Philadelphia, 1945, pp.161,
We may form various hypotheses with
regard to the sudden or gradual manner in whlich we may suppose
the distribution to have taken place. We may assume that at the
beginning of the present order of things, a stock of each species
was placed in the vegetable or animal province to which it belongs,
by some cause outside the common order of nature. . . .
At the beginning of each such cycle,
a creative power was exerted of a kind to which there was nothing
at all analogous in the succeeding part of the same cycle. .
Thus we are led by our reasonings
to this view, that the present order of things was commenced
by an act of creative power entirely different to any agency
which has been exerted since. None of the influences which have
modified the present races of animals and plants since they were
placed in their habitations on the earth's surface can have had
any efficacy in producing them at first.
Davy wrote in a similar vein: (288)
There seems, as it were, a gradual
approach to the present system of things, and a succession of
destructions and creations preparatory to the existence of man.
It is remarkable
that centuries before this, Gregory of Nyssa (died c.390) held
a similar opinion: (289)
It was not proper that the chief
should make his appearance before his subjects. The king should
logically be revealed only after his kingdom has been readied
for him, when the Creator of the Universe had, so to speak, prepared
a throne for him who was to have dominion. . . . Then God caused
man to appear in the world, both to contemplate the marvels of
the Universe, and to be its master. . . .
Man was last to be created, not
that he should be therefore contemptuously relegated to the last
place, but because from his birth it was fitting that he should
be king of his domain.
But here is
another alternative: Lammerts and Sinclair have held that God
needed only to create certain "building blocks" which
took the form of mechanisms for the construction of all kinds
of eyes, or legs, or
internal organs, and that these were brought together in such
a way as to interact and produce the different kinds of animals
and plants we observe ‹ but as God saw the need. (290)
288. Davy: quoted by Gillispie in his Genesis
and Geology (p.131) from Davy's Consolations in Travel,
3rd edition, London, 1831, Dialogue iii.
289. Gregory of Nyssa, quoted by C. Hauret, Beginnings,
Priory Press, Dubuque, lowa, 2nd edition, 1964, p.53.
290. Lammerts, W. and J. Sinclair, "Creation In Terms of
Modern Concepts of Genetics and Physics," Journal of
the American Scientific Affiliation, vol.5, no.3, 1953, p.8,
are quite a few modern writers who hold that it is presumptuous
to deny the possibility of there being any divine activity involved,
activity which will never be accounted for in terms of simple
physics and chemistry. Thus Mascall has written: (291)
if the individual mutations which are so important a factor in
biological evolution are random, indeterminate, and "uncaused"
from the point of view of physical theory, this does not mean
that they have escaped from the primary creativc causality of
God. . . . To put the matter less technically, what appears from
a scientific point of view as chance and indeterminacy is from
the theological point of view the area within which God, when
laying down the limits within which secondary causes are to operate
under the overarching aegis of His primary causality, has left
Himself free to act without reference to the patterns of secondary
causes at all.
In other words,
God can interfere if He wishes to do so without destroying the
created order. Geneticists like Patterson and Stone do not deny
that such a concept might prove necessary, but they are certainly
not prepared to admit it at the present time: (292)
The only alternative to evolution
by selection among random mutations with the majority of the
mutations detrimental at the time and place of their occurrence,
is directed mutations to fit the needs of the organism, possible
only under supernatural guidance, although this is seldom the
name applied to the concept.
has reflected this unwillingness to admit metaphysical ideas
and has justified himself by saying: (293)
natural selection not because we are able to demonstrate
the process in detail . . . but simply because we must. . . .
It is inconceivable that there could be yet another explanation
capable of explaining the adaptation of organisms without assuming
the help of a principle of design.
. . . which allows for a Designer! But not
all modern authorities agree that mutations are an entirely satisfactory
explanation. Thus Waddington writing on "Evolutionary Adaptation,"
and plants in their innumerable variety present of course, many
odd, striking, and even beautiful features,
291. Mascall, E. L., The Importance of Being Human,
Columbia University, New York, 1958, p.16.
292. Patterson, J. T. and W. S. Stone, Evolution in the Genus
Drosophila, Macmillan, New York, 1952, p.234.
293. Weismann, August, quoted by P. Fothergill, Historical
Aspects of Organic Evolution, Hollis & Carter, London,
291. Waddington, C. H., "Evolutionary Adaptation" in
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, University of Chicago,
vol. 2, 1959, p.380, 383.
which can raise feelings of surprise
and delight in the observer. But over and above this, a very
large number of them give the appearance of being astonishingly
well tailored to fit precisely into the requirements which will
be made of them by their mode of existence. Fish are adrmirably
designed for swimming, birds for flying, horses for running,
snakes for creeping, and so on, and the correspondence between
what an organism will do and the way it is formed to carry out
such tasks often extends into extraordinary detail.
Induced mutagenesis as we normally
encounter it in the laboratory does not provide any mechanism
by which relatively normal environments could induce hereditary
changes that would improve the adaptation of the offspring to
the inducing conditions.
In short, laboratory
experiment sheds no significant light on how this has come about,
nor does even the environment (i.e., natural selection) per
se account for it. He concluded:
The field of work is clearly
one of great inherent interest, but it remains true that the
vast majority of changes in the environment do not directly produce
any hereditary modifications in the organisms submitted to them,
and we are certainly very far from being able to provide a general
explanation of evolutionary adaptations in terms of the type
of effects which have just been mentioned.
"preadaptations" suggest a goal-seeking drive resident
in nature, the existence of "gaps" in the great chain
of being certainly suggests creative activity. For these gaps
do exist between the phyla, orders, classes, etc., and in spite
of every attempt to explain them away they still remain as an
embarrassment to the evolutionist. The "great chain"
is not a chain at all. Discontinuities exist of such magnitude
that there is currently no other reasonable explanation of how
the stream of life continued except to postulate creative acts
to supply the needed bridges.
We are warned against introducing
God at these places since they may one day be filled and He would
then be "squeezed out." As they (hopefully!) disappear
one by one, God is made smaller and smaller. But hitherto the
pattern of discovery has not been encouraging to those who expect
the gaps to be thus bridged. A useful treatment of these gaps
as they currently exist will be found in another Doorway Paper. (295) Meanwhile the
295. Gaps: on this subject see an extended
review with full documentation in "The Preparation of the
Earth for Man" (Part I in Evolution or Creation?
vol.4 of The Doorway Papers Series). Dr. R. E. D. Clark,
in his book The Christian Stake in Science, (continued.
. . .)
question is, Do we need
to surrender this evidence of creative activity? If we are careful
to remain aware of the fact that God is not merely the God of
the gaps but the God of the continuities also, we shall not need
to cast away what seems to me a very strong evidence of direct
We do not believe in God simply
because gaps exist which seem to demand a God to fill them. We
know these gaps exist at present, and there seems every likelihood
that they will persist, and so we merely say as Christians, ''Such
gaps may well be points at which God was at work in Nature by
direct means." But those of us who are scientists do not
find that such a faith requires of us that we avoid any further
search for natural bridges over the gaps on the ground that ve
already have sufficient explanation. It is true that such a kind
of faith may make the search less important, and that it therefore
cuts at one of the main spurs to scientific research. But it
supplies another compensatory one -- the desire to explore God's
handiwork in creation simply because it is His handiwork.
Thus we are not altogether unjustified
in claiming the verdict of "not proven," when faced
with the dogmatic assertion so commonly made these days that
the concept of plan and purpose is not any longer justified in
the light of modern knowledge. There is plenty of evidence in
the natural order not only of divine planning and oversight from
behind the scenes, as it were, but of direct creative activity.
And there is evidence, too, of occasional drastic (one might
say dramatic) "corrective" interference for the purpose
of removing whole orders of life which no longer contributed
towards the Master Plan to form a fit habitation for man. Two
passages of Scripture come to mind. The first is in Isaiah 45:18:
295 continued) Moody Press, Chicago, 1967,
pp.28 ff., has some worthwhile comments on the matter of pointing
to "gaps" as being reasonable places where God may
be presumed to have been at work. In his opinion there is very
little danger of anyone losing his faith merely because some
of the gaps have in the course of time been filled in. He rightly
points out that while certain gaps have indeed been closed by
an increase in knowledge, the same increase in knowledge has
not narrowed but widened certain other gaps unexpectedly.
Similarly, Arthur Koestler in his
new book, The Ghost in the Machine, Hutchinson, London,
1967, pp.1-18, is at pains to show that, in psychology at least,
the determination of the behaviourists to eliminate the gap between
mind and brain caused that branch of research to become virtually
sterile. So did the determination to remove the gap between human
and animal behaviour by extrapolating for the latter from the
behaviour of the former, a process which he calls "the ratomorphic
view of man."
thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that
formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created
it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord;
and there is none else.
And the second,
even more remarkable, occurs in Psalm 133:14‹17:
praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous
are thy works; and that my soul
knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid
from thee, whlen I was made in secret, and curiously wrought
in the lowest
parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance,
yet being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written,
which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none
How precious also are thy thoughts
unto rne, O God; how great is the sum of them!
FOR ME, the
World View presented in this Paper has been a satsfymg one, providing
a kind of skeletal framework about which to organize both my
faith and my acquired knowledge. A very large proportion of the
Doorway Papers contribute to it in one way or another, many of
them being essential.
I have, however, passed over without
comment one particularly important aspect of the Lord's total
work on man's behalf: and this is His Second Coming.
The question that arises is, Why, with
the completion of His sacrificial work and having once for all
demonstrated unmistakably the love of God towards man, could
He not have brought to an end the whole historical process? Of
course, His Chosen People had failed to recognize Him as their
Messiah. But why must the world still roll on century after century,
filled seemingly with an ever growing malaise of fear, hatred,
cruelty, sickness and poverty? After all, the refusal of Israel
was a national, not a personal one. Individuals still
Only one answer comes to me from
Scripture, and it is based on Matthew 24:14: "This Gospel
of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations ‹ and then shall the end come."
Perhaps if Israel had recognized their King, they would have
become His rnessengers to tell the whole world. And who knows
how soon all nations might then have heard? It was not enough
that the demonstration of God's love be shown to one small fragment
of the world's population. The news of it must go to every corner
of the globe. Only then would the witness to the living
But Israel having failed, Japheth
was called upon to take over their responsibility, dwelling for
a season "in the tents of Shem" as Noah expressed it,
to become the witnesses to the end of the world, for a period
thenceforth to be known as "the times of the Gentiles."
When that task is done, then the end will come. So far, it seems,
in no single generation have all nations been reached with this
testimony, for otherwise the end would have come already according
to the Lord's own testimony.
Certainly the end will come. But it will really be
more of a beginning than an end, for it will see the creation
in due course of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth
only righteousness and where sorrow and sighing will be no more
‹ and where God shall wipe away all tears. Then shall we
be called upon, in the presence of the only One who will still
bear the marks of its cost, to rmake known to the angels (Ephesians
3:10) what was the purpose of it all, that they, too, may comprehend
in some measure the wonder of the grace of God. . . .
Thus, by His
first creative act, God through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16)
brought into being the first order of living creatures, the angels
(Psalm 148:2 and 5). While they were dependent for their existence
upon Himself, they were independent of time and space; for we
know they were already in existence when God created the heavens
Colossians 1:16: "For
by him were all things created, that are in heaven . . . visible
Psalm 148:2, 5: "Praise
ye him, all his angels. . . . Let them praise the name of the
Lord: for He
commanded and they were created. "
Job 38:4, 7: "Where
was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth . . . when
all the angels
[literally, "sons of God"] shouted for joy?"
By His second
creative act, God through Jesus Christ (John 1:3) laid the foundations
for the rule of law in a physical world bound by time and space
(Genesis 1:1 and Hebrews 1:8, 10). First He created living spirit;
now He creates inert matter.
John 1:3: "All things were
made by him: and without him was not any thing made that was
Hebrews 1:8, 10: "But unto
the Son he saith . . . Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid
of the earth."
By His third
creative act, God through Jesus Christ brought into being a second
order of living creatures, this time embedded in the physical
order thus prepared, yet a little above its rigid determinisms,
because they were to be guided by the "inspired knowledge"
of instinct, a form of involuntary obedience, nevertheless a
first step towards freedom (Genesis 1:21 and Colosians 1:16).
Col. 1:16: "For by him
were all things created, that are in . . . earth."
By His fourth
creative act, God through Jesus Christ introduced into this Cosmos
an even higher order of living creatures,
made at first in His
own image, in whom instinct vas replaced by a capacity for entirely
voluntary obedience to His will (Genesis 1:27 and Isaiah 45:l2).
Thus though, unlike the angels, man was dependent upon the processes
of time and space, unlike the anirnals he vas freed frorn even
the compulsion of instinct.
Genesis 1:27: "So
God createdman in his own image."
lsaiah 45:12: "I have
made the earth, and created man upon it."
By His fifth
creative act, God through Jesus Christ established a still higher
order of creatures (Ephesians 2:10) who, by a process of re-creation
were not merely able to obey His will, but earnestly desired
to do so by a nev kind of restraint -- the law written in their
minds and in their hearts (Psalm 102:18; 2 Corinthians 5 17;
and Hebrews 8:10) .
Ephesians 2:10: "For we
are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus."
Psalm 102:18: "T'he people
which shall be created shall praise the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:17: "If any man
be in Christ, he is a new creation."
Hebrews 8:10: "I will put
my laws into their mind, and write them in their
. . . and they shall be to me a people."
And by His sixth
creative act, God will yet make all things new, the earth and
the earth's heavens (Revelation 1:1, 5) wherein perfect obedience
to perfect law shall be altogether and everywhere fulfilled by
all His subjects who become thereby perfectly free.
Revelation 21:1, 5: "And
I saw a new hleaven and a new earth for the first heaven and
the first earth were
away . . . andHe that sat upon the throne said, Behold,
I make all things new."
In short, through
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter *
End of Vol. 1 * Back
UNIVERSE was created for the WORI.D,
WORLD for the BODY
BODY for the SPIRIT,
the SPIRIT for GOD.
"Then cometh the end, when he (Jesus Christ) shall have
delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. . . .
Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put
all things under him, that God rnay be all in all"
(1 Corinthians 15:24, 28).
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! How unsearchable are his judgments,
and his ways past finding out!"