Darwin, Evolution, and God
Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
Charleston Heights, South Carolina
It has been argued that Darwin believed in God, hence he was a "theistic evolutionist." He is reported to have written to his son on one occasion, stating, " in my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of God" (A.S. Zerbe, Christianity And False Evolutionism, p. 186). There are those who oppose the view and affirm that Darwin in reality did not accept the idea of a creator in the sense of "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). They believe that what he had to say about "God" and his belief in a "Creator" was mere subterfuge, designed to lead the unsuspecting to believe that there is room in the evolutionary process for the creative act of God! A more probable view is that he referred to God occasionally to soothe his conscience with reference to his atheistic tendencies. Darwin does not take the time in his Origin of Species to tell us the nature of the God he professed to believe in, nor does he explain the relation of the creator he professes to believe in to the world. There is no doubt that at least for a while, Darwin believed in God, but the conspicuous failure to mention "God" throughout much of his writings indicates a change in his thinking. Possibly he deemed it prudent to discreetly veil his real views toward this "Creator" in his teachings. Observe the following facts and decide for yourself concerning Darwin's belief in God: (1) Darwin did not believe that "homo sapiens" had been created by a special act of creation on the part of God. His theory is that man was the mere descendent, along with the ape, from a common, lower form (or parentage), and that man is the highest expression of evolution. Man, therefore, was not a special creation. (2) He did not believe in miraculous interventions of any kind at any stage of the evolutionary process (which he calls "descent") of man (Robert Clark, Darwin: Before and After, p. 77, 86). He rules God out of the process. (3) Clark also tells us that Darwin said on one occasion that he was willing to believe in God if such could be brought into line with scientific concepts (Ibid., p. 87). Like all evolutionists, Darwin's concept of God apparently was a depersonalized God. (4) Darwin almost declares himself to be a naturalist when he said, "he could have no doubt of design if he could believe that there is a Designer distinct from the mechanical forces active in natural selection" (Underscore mine, jt -- Zerve, op. cit., p. 188). (5) In addition to this, it seems that while Darwin pretended to be seeking truth with reference to a harmony of science and the Bible, he was in reality using this as an excuse for avoiding the force of Paley's Natural Theology. Thus, he spent his whole life running from God and Paley (Clark, op. cit., p. 96)!
Evidence from the pen of Darwin suggests that he viewed God as nothing more than a force, or the sum total of energy. His God was the God of evolution. This may be a false deduction, but we do know that his theory of all species of plants and animals (man included) having arisen from one simple form through a series of changes, denies the necessity of supreme intelligence. His theory strives to explain all things in nature as merely trial and error, the result of natural process, Such concepts eliminate God completely. Information supporting the position that Darwin was a strict theist in the strict sense of the term is weak, if not lacking completely. Those who argue that Darwin (at least during later life) did not believe in God, have the better argument.
Evolution In General
When we pass from Darwin to evolution in general, we are confronted with the complete mechanical aspect thereof. Since evolution demands no mind behind the process, it rules out God altogether. As Zerbe says "the consistent evolutionist holds that there is no supernatural order at all, but only a dead level of natural law . . ." (op, cit., p. 58). Earnest Haechel maintained that; evolution was the non-miraculous origin of the universe. In his history of creation, he says "no supernatural history of creation can in any way explain to us the great mystery of organic development" (Vol. 1, p. 11): The force of this statement is not minimized by pointing out that Haechel was a German Naturalist, hence a rank atheist! He was an evolutionist, and the father of the idea of a "common ancestor". Too, Darwin was popularized by Haechel and Huxley (Zerbe, op. cit., p. 234; cf. Darwin: Before And After, p. 94).
The theory of evolution is a biological theory, which asserts that life came from non-life; that many kinds of life now existing at all levels developed from one or more forms or cells of life. The essential idea behind evolution is that which this article stresses, the natural process which rules out the supernatural. The logical conclusion that all evolutionists are drawn to is the position that a personal God is useless, and therefore it is fruitless to believe in Him at all. Hence, Darwin and evolution find no place for a personal God in their position. To be an evolutionist, one must reject god.
Can One Harmonize Evolution and the Bible?
It is asserted that evolution can be harmonized with the Bible. It is also maintained that the theory does not interfere with our concept and faith in God and Christ. This is not so, for if evolution is true, then the Bible is false! If the Bible is false, then our concept of God who created all things is void. We are dependent solely upon the inspired word for the concept of the nature of God. The Bible is true, and evolution is still as much a theory today as when it first came into being. In view of observations cited above, there is no possible harmony between the Bible and the theory of evolution.
Since there can be no harmony between evolution and the Bible, one must accept one and reject the other. Many evolutionists admit that the theory is not an established fact. They know that most of them admit that, to date, there is woeful inadequate true scientific facts to prove evolution. One evolutionist (W.B. Scott) admits that only a complete record would prove evolution. Since they do not have complete record, evolution is not fact, but bold guess-work (Zerbe, op. cit., p. 78). In addition to this, Earnest Haeckel tells us that evolution is limited (History of Creation, Vol. 1, p. 32). Since it is limited by the "nature of the senses and the brains," it cannot disprove supernatural creation as taught in Genesis 1. My faith in God and the Good Book given to us by revelation, on one hand; the admission of weaknesses in the evolutionary theory, on the other, forces me to renounce evolution! "Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of His pasture" (Psa. 100:3). "For of him, and through him, are all things; to whom be glory forever, Amen" (Rom. 11:36).
Truth Magazine XXII: 15, pp. 248-249