The Church The Schools and Evolution/The Logic of Evolution is Destructive

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123956The Church The Schools and Evolution — The Logic of Evolution is DestructiveJudson Eber Conant

II. The Logic of Evolution Is Destructive.

It is destructive of all the fundamental doctrines the Church was sent into the world to preach.

1. It destroys the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible, by denying its inerrancy and infallible and final authority.

Over and again in the early verses of Genesis we are told that God created the various species to reproduce after their kind. But evolution says that this is not true, for as a matter of fact, the various species have continuously evolved from one to another all the way to man.

To a mind that is working normally, these two propositions are mutually exclusive. And so those who retain their intellectual integrity and consistency, and who therefore cannot accept two contradictory propositions at the same time, are compelled to make a choice between them.

Huxley saw this when he said:

The doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of creation. Evolution, if consistently accepted, makes it impossible to believe the Bible.

When Professor Schmucker; therefore, speaks of the creation story as

the poetical account of Genesis;

when Dr. S. B. Meeser, of Crozer Theological Seminary, describes the Scriptures as

the survivals of the fittest of those communion experiences which men, who have lived intensely in the moral interest, have had with God;

when Dr. H. C. Vedder, of the same seminary, says the Scriptures

"grew in * * * accuracy" as they were written;

when Dr. W. H. P. Faunce, President of Brown University, can say:

Mr. Gladstone's last book is called "The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture." The very title shows a conception of the Bible at the farthest removed from the present Biblical scholarship, to which the Bible is a growth, not a rock;

when Dr. Ernest D. Burton, of the University of Chicago, says:

Some among us have been constrained to admit that the books [of the Bible] are not infallible in history or in matters of science, and not wholly consistent and therefore not ultimately and as a whole inerrant in the field of morals and religion;

and when Dr. Shailer Mathews, of the same University, urges us to think the gospel

in terms of evolution,

and then shows us what that means to him when he says:

For in the New Testament there are conceptions which the modern world under the dominance of science [at the heart of which lies the evolutionary philosophy] finds it impossible to understand, much less to believe;

these men are simply demonstrating the fact that they still retain their intellectual integrity and consistency, and that they are therefore entirely unable to accept the doctrine of evolution and believe in an inerrant Bible at the same time. That is, the logic of the doctrine of evolution destroys for them the faith that, in its original manuscripts, the Bible as it came from God to man was "truth unmixed with error," with the resulting confidence that He who gave it has preserved it to us by His providence essentially as it was given.

This means that these men and all who agree with them have rejected that Word which is forever settled in heaven, in order to accept a hypothesis which is never settled on earth; that they have given up the Book which has stood unchanged through the centuries against every conceivable form of assault, and taken in its place a set of scientific speculations that have either to be revised or discarded for new speculations every few years; that they have turned from an inspired, inerrant and authoritative revelation of God, and turned to an unproven theory which makes the Bible a human document, of supreme value, so they say, as unfolding the religious evolution of the race, but full of errors because of the human element in it.

The result of this is the so-called "scientific" or "historical" method of interpreting the Bible, which means, to quote Dr. Meeser, that while the Scriptures

have the wisdom of experts in religion, [yet] "authority" is scarcely the term to describe their value, and may, when applied to them, obscure their real character.

"But why make all this ado about it," say the evolutionists; "it is all simply a question of interpretation."

That is absolutely right. It is the interpretation of the evolutionists set in opposition to that of the Holy Spirit; and the true Church, compelled to make a choice, takes that of the Holy Spirit.

2. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrine of the fall of man and its result in total depravity.

After an address somewhat along these lines in one of the largest normal schools in the world, the science professor said to the writer, "Yes, but you know there is evolution and evolution."

That is indeed true. We are all aware of the fact that there are various kinds, shapes, and colors of evolution, from theistic to atheistic; but the fact still remains that every theory is still evolution, and that any theory of evolution whatsoever, if it means anything at all, means steady progress from lower to higher. Progress is certainly the one thought that is vital to any definition of evolution, and progress downward is excluded by the very meaning of the word, and so evolution under any theory can mean nothing but progress upward.

But the Word of God says that man has gone down from a condition of purity and innocence into a condition of such sinful enmity against God, that he is not only not subject to the law of God, but is utterly incapable of bringing himself into subjection to it. And the experience of every Christian gives sorrowful but certain evidence to that fact.

This condition the Bible describes as being dead in sin. And since death is not death at all until it is total, man, therefore, being dead, is totally dead—and this is total depravity.

This means that the only progress possible to man in his natural state is progress in corruption. For total depravity, which is total spiritual death, does not mean that the last limit of corruption has been reached, but that while death is total, corruption may have just begun.

The reality of the natural man's spiritual death is abundantly illustrated in human history. After man fell into sin, and died, he was given fullest opportunity to recover himself and to demonstrate thereby that he was still spiritually alive. But the corruption of spiritual death worked until man was so far down in the filth of his moral putrefaction that the only way God could save the race from extinction was to save the one family that had accepted spiritual life from Him, and blot the rest of the race out in the flood.

Then, starting out again under more favorable circumstances than before, man went from bad to worse until, in one great universal brotherhood, he rose up and defied God at the Tower of Babel, and God had to smash the brotherhood into fragments by the confusion of languages.

Time after time God tried man and found his progress downward always, no matter how favorable the circumstances that surrounded him, until finally he came to earth Himself in the Person of His Son. This brought both the reality and the completeness of man's spiritual death to a demonstration that can never be refuted, for at the cross man displayed, to its eternal uncovering, the awful corruption of that spiritual condition that could not tolerate in its presence incarnate purity and holiness, even though he had to become the murderer of God manifest in the flesh to get away from it.

Even in his worship man's progress is steadily downward. Beginning with God, he progresses downward until he is worshipping birds, then beasts, and then creeping things.

But evolution says that man is coming up from primitive conditions into fuller life. And so the evolutionist cannot tolerate such doctrines as these which the Word of God sets forth. To a consistent evolutionist, man is not spiritually dead, for that would make progress out of the question. And if progress upward is denied—if the only progress possible to the natural man is progress in corruption, then the whole doctrine of evolution is gone.

This is why it becomes necessary for Canon E. W. Barnes, of Westminster Abbey, when he accepts evolution, to reject the Bible. He says:

The inevitable acceptance of evolution means giving up belief in the fall and in all the theology built upon it by the theologians from St. Paul onward. Man was not made perfect and then marred; his evolution is still proceeding.

So here again it is utterly impossible for the consistent evolutionist to accept the Bible doctrine of the fall of man.

3. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrine of sin.

The Bible makes man's fall deliberate and wilful, and his continued attitude of sinful enmity against God, in spite of all God's offered power to change it into love, one of excuseless lawlessness and rebellion.

This makes man entirely responsible for his sin and naccountable to God for everything sin does in his life. And so the Bible says:

Every one shall give account of himself to God.

And those who go out of this life in the unconfessed and therefore unforgiven sin of rejecting God's mercy in Christ shall "go away into everlasting punishment," where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

But to the evolutionary philosophy, sin cannot be "exceeding sinful," for it is either inherent in the process of evolution, or, at worst, but an unfortunate slip in the working out of that process, if, indeed, it is not even a mark of budding virtue.

John Fiske says:

Theology has much to say about original sin. This original sin is neither more nor less than the brute inheritance that every man carries with him.

Rev. Dwight Bradley, a Cleveland, Ohio, pastor, says:

There is no escape for intelligent people today from the acceptance of the law of evolution. * * * It follows that what we call evil [sin] is the remains of a lower form of life. * * * We are in the midst of the slow process of ridding ourselves of our animal inheritance.

And Dr. Shailer Mathews follows the evolutionary philosophy to its logical and necessary end when he says:

But for men who think of God as dynamically imminent in an infinite universe, who think of man's relation to Him as determined not by statutory but by cosmic law, who regard sin and righteousness alike as the working out of the fundamental forces of life itself, the conception of God as King and of man as condemned or acquitted subject is but a figure of speech.

Such a doctrine as this absolutely and forever destroys man's responsibility for sin. For if sin is what Dr. Mathews suggests it is,—"the working out of the fundamental forces of life itself,"—then it is inherent in man's natural constitution as a process of his evolution. And if this is so, man is in no way responsible for his sin.

This altogether removes man's accountability to God, for he cannot be brought to account for that which is the working out of the fundamental forces of life itself, and which is therefore inevitable in the very workings of his nature. And even if sin is an unfortunate slip in the process of evolution, man cannot be held accountable for an accident.

This doctrine also puts a high premium on the whole beastly, selfish, lustful, murderous history of the race, for it makes sin a ladder up which man is climbing to his high destiny.

Punishment for sin is therefore absolutely out of the question. For if man is not responsible for his sin, and if God punishes him for it, as the Bible says He will, even by the law of cause and effect, that would make God an infinite tyrant and an unspeakable fiend. And so if God is not a monster, and if evolution is true, there is no punishment for sin, and the Bible lies.

Thinking men see that this is the inevitable logic of the doctrine of evolution. Sir J. William Dawson, speaking of the evolutionary doctrines as speculations, says:

They seek to revolutionize the religious beliefs of the world, and if accepted would destroy much of the existing theology and philosophy. * * * With one class of minds they constitute a sort of religion. * * * With another and perhaps larger class, they are accepted as affording a welcome deliverance from all scruples of conscience and fears of a hereafter.

The theory of evolution cannot be consistently held and the statements of the Bible concerning sin and its consequences be accepted at the same time. And so the evolutionist will come, sooner or later, to refuse any meaning to Scripture statements concerning sin, as did Dr. W. N. Clarke, when he said:

We have no historical narrative of the beginning of sin, and theology receives from the Scriptures no record of that beginning.

That is, the perfectly plain and easily understood statements of Scripture concerning the beginning of sin are altogether unhistorical and utterly unworthy of credence to the man who looks at the Bible from the "scientific" or "historical" standpoint, which is the evolutionist's method of handling the Word of God. To accept evolution, therefore, is to discredit the Bible.

4. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrines of of the Deity and the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible makes Christ the Seed of the woman, not of the man, as all other human beings are; it makes His conception to have been that of the Holy Spirit; it declares His virgin birth in language that cannot be misunderstood; it makes Him the Son of God, not the son of Joseph.

It also makes Him God tabernacling in the flesh; it makes Him the Second Person of the Triune God; it declares in so many words that He is God.

But evolution cannot accept such a doctrine, and so the evolutionist juggles the Scripture statements of His Deity and denies His virgin birth, making Him a Jewish bastard, born out of wedlock, and stained forever with the shame of His mother's immorality.

Dr. A. C. McGiffert says of Christ, that He is

no more divine than we are, or than nature is.

A magazine article on "The Cosmic Coming of the Christ" says:

First the little scum on the warm, stagnant water, then the little colonies of cells, the organisms, the green moss and lichen, the beauty of vegetation, the movement of shell fish, sponges, jelly fish, worms, crabs, trilobites, centipedes, insects, fish, frogs, lizards, dinosaurs, reptile birds, birds, kangaroos, mastodons, deer, apes, primitive man, cave man, man of the stone age, of earliest history, Abraham's migration, the Exodus, the development of the Jewish religious life and the climax in that purest of maidens, Mary of Nazareth. The hour had come for the dawn of a new day, and the light of that new day was the birth of Jesus. The eternal purpose of the ages was now to be made clear, and the long, long aeons of creation explained.

It is no wonder that after quoting these words the "Sunday School Times" exclaims:

In other words, without moss we could not have had Mary; without an ape we could not have had Abraham; and—shocking blasphemy—without a centipede we could not have had Christ! Praise God, we may turn from this to the words of God; "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will bring to naught."

And so here once more the consistent evolutionist is compelled to reject the Bible by denying the doctrines of the Deity and the virgin birth of Christ.

5. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrine of atonement by substitution.

The Bible says:

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sin].
Him who knew no sin He hath made to be sin for us.
The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.
We "were redeemed. * * * with the precious blood of Christ."
We are "justified by His blood."
The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

These and many other statements make Christ's death one of atonement by substitution for our sins.

But evolution cannot tolerate such a doctrine. To the evolutionist this is a "doctrine of the shambles," a "slaughter house religion," a "gospel of gore."

Christ's death is rather a revelation of the evolutionist's conception of divine love, and an example of sacrificial service set before struggling man to help him climb. Let those who believe in the evolutionist's "historical" method of interpreting Scripture speak for themselves.

Dr. Gerald Birney Smith, of the University of Chicago, says:

To insist dogmatically, as an a priori principle, that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin," is both foolish and futile in an age that has abandoned the conception of bloody sacrifice and which is loudly demanding the abolition of capital punishment.

Dr. Walter Rauschenbusch said:

What the death of Jesus now does for us, the death of the prophets did for him.

Dr. H. C. Vedder says:

Jesus never taught and never authorized anybody to teach in his name that he suffered in our stead and bore the penalty of our sins;

and also:

The "one crowning absurdity of theology" is "that the penalty of an evil deed can be vicariously borne by another while he goes scot free,"

which he describes in another place as

taking an immunity bath in the "fountain filled with blood."

And Dr. J. H. Coffin, of Earlham College, Earlham, Indiana, says:

The sacrificial life of Jesus is the essential factor in His atonement. His principles and example are the way of the individual and society to God.

Such statements make it perfectly evident that those who accept evolution utterly reject God's provision for salvation through the shed blood of Christ as an atonement by substitution for our sins.

6. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrine of regeneration.

The Bible describes man as dead to God and running away from Him; as having a nature so full of corruption that "From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores"; and as having a character in the grip of such enmity against God that by nature he "loves darkness rather than light."

This indicates that man is past improvement in his natural state, for no improvement is possible in the dead.

The Bible therefore speaks, not of the improvement, but of the burial, of the old life, and of resurrection, by the power of a new nature, to newness of life. Hear what it says:

We were buried with Christ by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

There is a large section of the Church that understand this passage to refer to immersion in water in confession of faith in Christ. Not that they believe that immersion has anything to do with saving us, for they do not, but that it is the divinely appointed symbol or picture of the salvation that has already become a reality in the life.

To an immersionist, therefore, when a believer is buried with Christ in symbol in his baptism, and raised again in symbol of resurrection, he confesses, among other things, that by his first birth he is so completely dead that there is nothing left to do with him but to bury him, and his willingness to be buried in the grave of Christ has been met by God with the gift of the risen and incorruptible life which is in His Son, and by which he is now enabled to walk in newness of life.

And so an immersionist cannot be a consistent evolutionist. For when an evolutionist is immersed, he is either perpetrating a meaningless travesty on immersion, or else he is denying the whole doctrine of evolution. For immersion certainly does not picture a step in the progress of the living, but rather the burial of the totally dead. Immersing churches that have gone over to the evolutionary position should therefore be consistent and nail up their baptistries.

But another large portion of the Church believe that the above passage does not refer to immersion in water, but rather to the statement:

For by one Spirit have we all been baptized into one body.

They regard it as referring to the inward, spiritual union with Christ which takes place in the new birth, rather than to an outward act. For in the moment of regeneration, every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ.

But even so, the word "buried" still stands in the first passage above, and a burial has to do with the dead, not with the living. Being "buried," therefore, when the Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ, it is "into death," not into an enlarging life, because we are so completely dead that the baptizing Spirit sets the "old man" forever aside as utterly unimprovable, in order that He may make us "partakers of the divine nature" by which we become a "new creation" in Christ.

All this, however, is utterly intolerable to the consistent evolutionist. For if man is dead and therefore unimprovable, that makes progress upward impossible, and, if that is impossible, the whole doctrine of evolution is at an end.

And so the evolutionist assumes the presence of life, and conceives the race to be progressing upward out of crude forms and unethical conceptions toward God. It is perfectly consistent, therefore, that he should seek to stir man's noble aspirations and should present high ideals for him to strive after. For it is not life man needs, they say, it is simply conversion to higher ideals and aspirations in life.

Hence Dr. E. D. Burton is in perfect harmony with this evolutionary conception when he says:

Jesus was a teacher of great principles, which it is incumbent upon us to apply to the multitudinous phases and experiences of life, and the embodiment of an ideal, which it is ours to endeavor, as best we can, to achieve.

Dr. Herbert L. Willett, of the University of Chicago, was also in harmony with all this when he said in an address heard by the writer:

It is the task of the Church to interpret to the world the ideals of Jesus for men to strive after.

And Dr. J. H. Coffin also voiced the evolutionary position when, in speaking of conversion, he said:

It is conversion to something, namely, the principles of Jesus.

Now when the logic of this conception is followed out, it turns evangelism into religious education. And so it is easy to see why the advocates of evolution are stressing religious education with increasing insistence. For it is through the methods of religious education, according to Dr. Burton, that the lost are being

led to adopt the principles of Jesus and to accept his leadership quietly and gradually.

This makes regeneration simply an added impulse in the direction in which men are imagined already to be going. It also has the effect of altogether reversing the emphasis in the work of the Church with the lost. According to Dr. Burton, it transfers it

from the salvation of the individual, with emphasis upon rescue from future woe, to the creation of a human society dominated by the spirit of Jesus.

And Dr. Gerald Birney Smith, speaking of present-day missionary methods, says:

Humanly determined programs are being substituted for dogmatic decrees in the work of the churches. This is genuine democracy. The missionary enterprise is rapidly being conceived as a democratic social program rather than as the rescue of a few individuals from the divine wrath. * * * Education is coming to be a primary means of accomplishing the missionary task.

Such a mission to the lost would be altogether unthinkable if men were believed to be spiritually dead. For dead men are helpless to adopt principles and strive after ideals. Dead men do not need education, they need life.

Any one of average intelligence can see at a glance that these two programs of salvation are headed in opposite directions. By one we strive after an ideal; by the other we quit all striving and surrender to a Person. One is salvation by a human resolution to press toward the pattern set before us by the "Flower of the Race"; the other is salvation by a divine rescue from that natural hatred of purity and holiness which made possible the murder of the Son of God. By one program we adopt the principles and follow the spirit of the life of Christ; by the other we trust in the merits of the shed blood and substitutionary death of Christ.

These two programs are mutually exclusive. Thus the evolutionary philosophy utterly destroys the doctrine of the new birth.

7. The logic of evolution destroys the doctrine of the holiness of God, for it makes God the author of sin.

Le Conte says:

If evolution be true, and especially if man be indeed a product of evolution, then what we call evil is not a unique phenomenon confined to man and the result of an accident [the fall], but must be a great fact pervading all nature and a part of its very constitution,

No thinking man can get away from that conclusion. For if evolution in any form is a fact, then the thing the Bible calls sin was either somehow embedded, by a competent and responsible Creator, in man's very constitution as a necessary process of his evolution, or else it slipped into the race through the bungling and unwatchful incompetence of an impotent Creator. Thus in either case God becomes the author of sin!

This puts evolution almost, if not altogether, on the ground of blasphemy! God responsible for the unspeakable woe and the unmeasured suffering of man? God the author of that inherent force in man's nature which has filled the earth with hatred, violence, bloodshed, and death? Let him think so who can!

After these doctrines of the Word are set beside the evolutionary philosophy, and after it begins to dawn on the thinking mind how utterly irreconcilable they are, the absolute impossibility of a consistent evolutionist believing in an inspired, inerrant, and infallible Bible becomes well nigh an axiom. It is no wonder that Dr. W. B. Riley exclaims:

What thinking man fails to see the infinity of space between Modernism and Orthodoxy, or to apprehend the fact that daily they are drawing farther apart! Time holds no promise of even a patched-up peace.

Lord Kelvin was astonished at the preachers and teachers who are trying to apply the doctrine of evolution to the fundamentals of the faith. He said:

I marvel at the undue haste with which teachers in our Universities and preachers in our pulpits are restating the truth in the terms of evolution, while evolution itself remains an unproven hypothesis in the laboratories of science.

And well might he marvel. And well might the Church become aroused and alarmed as the logical workings of these false doctrines produce more and more fearful results within her ranks. The whole Church is being moved away from the foundations of the faith, and this false philosophy is at the bottom of it all.

The group announcements of the Sunday services of the Los Angeles liberal churches show where all consistent evolutionists are headed. Standing at the head of these announcements are these words, the capital letters being theirs:

We found our faith on the thought of EVOLUTION rather than Special Creation; on revelation through NORMAL HUMAN EXPERIENCE rather than the supernatural; on salvation through GROWTH rather than a miraculous rebirth.

And when it comes to the awful harvest that is being gathered from our churches for the forces of spiritual destruction through our colleges and universities, William Jennings Bryan has had some information given to him that will give us a hint of what is going on. He says:

Having had opportunity to make a personal investigation, I feel it my duty to warn the lovers of the Bible of the insidious attacks which are being made upon every vital part of the Word of God. A father tells me of a daughter educated at Wellesley who calmly informs him that no one believes in the Bible now; a teacher in Columbia University begins his lessons in geology by asking students to lay aside all that they have learned in Sunday-school; a professor of the University of Wisconsin tells his class that the Bible is a collection of myths; a professor of philosophy at Ann Arbor occupies a Sunday evening explaining to an audience that Christianity is a state of mind and that there are only two books in the Bible with any literary merit; another professor in the same institution informs students that he once taught a Sunday-school class and was active in the Young Men's Christian Association, but that no thinking man can believe in God or the Bible; a woman teacher in a public school in Indiana rebukes a boy for answering that Adam was the first man, explaining to him and the class that the "tree man" was the first man; a young man in South Carolina traces his atheism back to two teachers in a Christian college; a senior in an Illinois high school writes that he became skeptical during his sophomore year but has been brought back by influences outside of school while others of his class are agnostics; a professor in Yale has the reputation of making atheists of all who come under his influence—this information was given by a boy whose brother has come under the influence of this teacher; a professor in Bryn Mawr combats Christianity for a session and then puts to his class the question whether or not there is a God, and is happy to find that a majority of the class vote that there is no God; a professor in a Christian college writes a book in which the virgin birth of Christ is disputed; one professor declares that life is merely a by-product and will ultimately be produced in the laboratory; another says that the ingredients necessary to create life have already been brought together and that life will be developed from these ingredients, adding, however, that it will require a million years to do it. These are a few of the illustrations furnished by informants whom I have reason to believe.

These facts certainly furnish sufficient reason why the Church cannot compromise with the evolutionary philosophy. To do so would be to head herself toward destruction. She must stand uncompromised and unflinching against that unproven and discredited theory, the acceptance of which destroys faith in that infallible and inerrant Word on which she was founded, and on whose "thus saith the Lord" she must rest her message to a lost world. There is no middle ground. To compromise would be to commit suicide. If the Church and the Schools are ever to come into harmony, it cannot be because the Church gives up an infallible Book and accepts a discredited theory in its place, and so it must be because the Schools give up this unscientific, because unproven, theory and get back to faith in the inerrant Word of God.

That this is the only basis on which the Church and the Schools can ever come into harmony is strenuously denied by the evolutionists in both Schools and Church. But their denial is meaningless when it is remembered that they are working night and day to capture the Church, as they have already almost done with the Schools, before we wake up to what is going on. But it can never be done. The true Church will never surrender to those who would remove her foundations and wreck her message.