The Lord willing, we will now begin a discussion of the doctrine of creation. The doctrine of creation, as set forth in the Scriptures and in the Reformed Confessions, is almost universally denied today, not only in the world but also in what calls itself the church of God. A discussion of this subject can and should be of great interest.
The divine origin of man and of all things has never been doubted in the Christian Church and in Christian theology. The Word of God does not leave this matter in doubt. And neither is this matter left in doubt in our Reformed Symbols. Outside God’s revelation, however, many conjectures have been made and many theories advanced concerning the origin of man and of all things. Many wise men among the heathens, it is true, ascribed the creation of man to gods or semi-gods. Others recognized in man who has been formed out of the dust of the earth a higher, rational principle which was derived from the gods. But it cannot be denied that also totally different ideas concerning the origin of all things have been advanced in religion and in philosophy. Some have declared that man came forth from an animal, and others advanced the theory that he was the fruit of some tree.
The theory of Evolution is rampant today. This theory declares that man descended from a lower animal, body and soul, through a perfectly natural process, controlled entirely by inherent forces, and therefore not by any external (as a Divine) power.
It is true, as is generally known, that there are varying theories of Evolution. Some evolutionists do not deny the evidence which order and adaptation, which may be observed in nature, attest unto the existence of God and His immanence in and providential control of His works. These profess to believe in the possibility of harmonizing an evolutionistic conception of the development and existence of things with the thought of an eternal and ever working God. Other evolutionists would recognize God as the original source in the far and remote past to which, then, the origination and the primary adjustments of the universe are to be referred, but they deny His immanence and constant providential activity in all the works of His hands. This means that the origin and continued existence of the world can be likened to an alarm clock. After such a clock has been wound it runs of itself. God, then, is the origin of the world. For the rest, however, the Lord holds Himself aloof from its continued existence and development. This is Theistic Evolution. A third class of evolutionists consists of those who either obscure or deny the evidence afforded by the order and adaptation in the universe for the existence and activity of God alike as Creator and as Providential Ruler. This theory simply rules out God.
The evolutionistic presentation of the origin of all things is surely accepted today throughout the world. We may safely say that this theory expounds the theory that all things evolve from an original cell, that all things exist and have developed by a force residing in the world itself. Some say that man is a descendant of one of the species of anthropoid(resembling a human being) apes now in existence, and others assert that man and the higher apes have a common ancestor now no longer in existence. Be this as it may, all things have developed out of an original cell, the animate out of the inanimate, the organic out of the inorganic, man from an ape, etc. Long before Darwin (1809-1882) the philosophy of the world had taught that the animal was man’s ancestor. Darwin was certainly not the first whose name must be associated with the theory of Evolution. What Darwin did was to conduct a series of observations which were related to the life of man and of the animal in order to reveal this connection and association. Darwin, who must have stated that the earthworm was the most helpful of all animals, developed the theory whit h treats the evolution of all forms of living organisms from a few forms of primitive life or from one such form, the keynote of the theory being natural selection or the survival of the fittest. He knew how to combine these various observations or phenomena and to serve an hypothesis, a supposition which already existed in his mind, and thereby showed the way in which man’s descension from the animal appeared possible.
Evolution is universally taught today. One may well wonder how this is possible and why this theory is allowed. A few decades ago a high school teacher was tried in a Tennessee (?) court because he taught the theory of Evolution. The attorney who prosecuted him was William Jennings Bryan, and the attorney who defended him was the notorious Clarence Darrow. Today prayer is forbidden in the public schools of our land. One may well ask the question: but how is it possible that the theory of Evolution may be taught in these schools throughout the land? If it be forbidden to pray to God, should it not also be forbidden to deny Him? If we may not say that God is, should it not also be contrary to the law to say that He is not? Evolution denies God. Evolution is the destruction of all religion, of all morality, of all prayer, of all consciousness of sin. The children in the public schools of our land may not pray to the Lord, but they may be taught that there is no God. A few decades ago an instructor was tried in the courts because he taught this theory; today the highest court has ruled that prayer to God may not be offered in these schools. And, is not the “periods theory” fundamentally evolutionistic? Also this theory denies that all things were called into existence by the word of God’s almighty power.