XIX.—FROM CREATION TO EVOLUTION.
By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL. D., L. H. D.,
EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
THEOLOGICAL AND SCIENTIFIC THEORIES OF AN EVOLUTION IN ANIMATED NATURE.
WE have seen, thus far, how there came into the thinking of mankind upon the visible universe and its inhabitants the idea of a creation virtually instantaneous and complete, and the conception of a Creator in human form with human attributes, who spoke matter into existence literally by the exercise of His throat and lips, and who shaped and placed it with His hands and fingers.
We have seen that this view came from far; that it existed in the Chaldæo-Babylonian civilization and probably in others of the earliest date known to us; that its main features passed thence into the sacred books of the Hebrews and then into the early Christian Church, by whose theologians it was developed through the middle ages and maintained during the modern period.
But, while this idea was thus developed by a succession of noble and thoughtful men through thousands of years, another conception — to all appearance equally ancient — was developed, sometimes in antagonism to it, sometimes mingled with it: the conception of all living beings as wholly or in part the result of a growth process — of an evolution.
This idea, in various forms, became a powerful factor in nearly all the greater ancient theologies and philosophies. For very