Van Til’s Critique of Naturalistic Evolution

John Goes to College- Part One 

The Presbyterian Guardian

1940 Volume 8, Page 129ff

Suppose we think of a young man who goes to college. He was taught in his boyhood days that the world was made by God. He was taught that the human race, and animals too, came into being through the creative act of God. He has believed all these things about origins up to this point. Now he is confronted with a new view of things. He is confronted with the evolutionary conception of the origin of the universe and of man. What will he do? Will he accept this new view? Should he accept it in order to retain his intellectual integrity? This is the question that we propose to ask ourselves.

We may call this boy John. Suppose that after a class in biology one morning John meets Jim. Jim has been at college for a year or two and has already accepted the new teaching with respect to evolution. He is very enthusiastic about it too. He feels that it has liberated him from the shackles of ignorance and innocence. From the world of Santa Claus he has been brought into the world of reality. From a child he has become a man.

John is diffident still, but ventures at last to ask Jim whether he too once upon a time believed this old doctrine of creation. “To be sure I did when I was young, but now I have learned better. You see,” Jim says, “when I was young my parents just taught me the story of creation out of the Bible and I could not investigatefor myself.

Now that I can look through my own eyes, I can see for myself the evidence which proves the truth of evolution. My parents never had the opportunity to go to college. They never looked through a microscope or a telescope. They never used the empirical or scientific method. They merely accepted what they believed on the authority largely of ministers preaching in the churches and then taught their children accordingly. Now we live in the age of science and discovery.”

“Well, what do you tell your father and mother when you come home for Christmas? Do they never ask you whether you still believe what you were taught?”

To these questions Jim answered that his mother and father could not understand the new point of view anyway, so what was the use of troubling to argue about it. He said that he told them he still believed in creation. This he could do honestly because in a metaphorical way you can call the process of development by this poetical name of creation. You may say that you certainly believe in Santa Claus and so you may also say that you believe in creation.

John was feeling somewhat upset. He sensed that somehow this thing could not be disposed of so easily. He sense that, if creation by God be true, certain things follow with respect to our lives. We ought then to be obedient to God, and will suffer punishment if we are not obedient. He began to see that he must investigate this matter openly and fully.

The first question he asked himself was whether the fact that he had been taught this doctrine of creation when a child was a point against the doctrine itself. He wondered whether there were not some boys who had been taught evolution when they were children, just as he had been taught creation when he was a child. Evolution had been with us now for several generations. Do not evolutionists teach their children that evolution is true, just as creationists teach their children that creation is true? And as to the schools where they received instruction, are there not many schools in which evolution is taken for granted as being true? Then, too, what about the many museums of the land? Do they not arrange the material in such a way that every intimation is given that evolution is a fact that cannot be doubted by any intelligent person? How about the thousands upon thousands of children of grade and high school age who are constantly led through the Museum of Natural History in New York? Is there any doubt but that they are taught this new doctrine on authority? Is Henry Fairfield Osborn’s tree of life in the Hall of Man in that museum anything but authoritative instruction about the truth of origins?

John quite rightly sensed that, if there is to be any fruitful argument, the case must considered on its own merits. Presumably we are none of us sprung full grown from the foreheads of the gods these days. We all come into this world as babes. When we were children we could not accept anything except on authority. Children’s minds are not developed to the point where they are capable of independent judgment. Parents do well to try to develop the independent judgment of children as fast as they can, but they cannot do it so fast that they avoid indoctrinating their children about many things. Every boy or girl who has gone through the grades is indoctrinated in all the chief matters of life. We may then safely put aside this point. We shall have to look at the question itself, thought John. He began to feel that neutrality is a fiction and, in the nature of the case, impossible. No one comes to the question with an “open mind.” Do the believers in creation come to the questionin an unbiased fashion? Certainly not! Do the believers in evolution come to the question with an open mind? Also certainly not!

But is there not a third class? Can we say that all men are either believers in evolution or believers in creation? And particularly can we say of young people that they are believers in either of these? Are not they open-minded? They have not even studied the question for themselves. How then can they be believers in either one or the other position?

John was driven to investigate this question of whether there is a third possibility. For suppose there are only two positions at bottom, the theory of creation and the theory of evolution. Add to this the fact that all people have accepted when children what their parents have told them. Then there are only two classes of people, believers in evolution and believers in creation. It is then doubtless true that those who are young have not investigated themselves the question, but they are believers none the less. They are young believers, they are untrained and uninformed believers, but they are believers.

Dick Comes In

When John and Jim had finished their conversation and John had gone to his room to reflect on these matters, Dick knocked on the door. When he entered he soon observed that John was uneasy about something. The conversationabout football did not run

smoothly. “What’s on your mind?” Dick asked. “Snap out of it. Let’s go out for a hike.” Out for a hike they went.

It was not long before Dick forced John to tell him just what was on his mind. It was the struggle between the creation and evolution doctrines. What was Dick’s answer to this perplexing question? Did he not believe creation when he was a boy? Did he not believe evolution? Dick seemed to be a liberating spirit. He whistled a merry tune. There was no great difficulty for him on this question. Did he accept evolution? Certainly. The facts were too overpowering for anyone who has eyes to see. Any self-respecting person would have to accept evolution. Did he then still believe in creation? Well no, not exactly; but what difference did it make? Did one’s belief in creation determine one’s course in life? What do evolution and creation have to do with religion? Did Dick believe in religion? Oh yes, he was not a secularist. He believed we should all of us together as religionists oppose the secularist and materialist. Do not many of the leading scientists today believe in a spiritual universe?

At this point Dick brought in such names as Eddington, Jeans, Millikan, Mather and others. Did he ever hear of that book by Edward H. Cotton on Has Science Discovered God? asked Dick. No, John had never heard of it. What was in it? Well, Cotton asked several of the leading scientists, by way of a questionnaire, whether in their scientific investigations they had found God. And what was the result? asked John, visibly excited. The answer of all of them without exception was, said Dick, that they did discover God. There was a time, Dick continued when evolutionary science was in the first bloom of youth, when it was a little too self-confident. At that time many scientists were materialists and mechanists. There was Haeckel, with his book on The Riddle of the Universe, who sought to explain everything with the help of material and causal principles. But those days are past. Scientists now stand reverently before the mystery of the universe. They recognize that they do not fully understand all things. They even recognize that they are not really any nearer to the mystery of existence than they ever were. On the contrary, they are quite ready to insist that every new discovery opens up vistas of new possibilities. They hold that on ultimate issues science has no pronouncement to make. Jeans puts it that way at the conclusion of his book, The Mysterious Universe. And here is where religion comes in. It works in that aspect of man’s life which is not covered by scientific investigation. It satisfies the non-intellectual aspect of man’s personality just as science satisfies the intellectual aspect of man’s personality.

John’s eyes began to brighten. A way of escape from the dilemma between evolution and creation seemed to present itself. Here were leading scientists themselves recommending this solution. These scientists were not irreligious men themselves. They believed in a spiritual universe. They believed in religion. They believed in God. They justified their position by saying that origin does not determine validity. What man is now, not what man once was, is the important thing. Is his present belief in God any the less valid and valuable because his ancestors were arboreal?

Still more hopeful did John become when Dick told him of the many ministers who also offered this third alternative to an uncompromising hostility between the creation and the evolution ideas. Do not the Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick and with him many other leading clergymen continue to preach about Christ, though they are fully persuaded of the truth of evolution? And do they not continue to preach out of the Bible, the book

on which John had been nurtured in his childhood days? Most assuredly they do. Do they seem to find any disharmony between science and religion? Not at all. They accept evolution and yet preach Christianity. Here, then, must be the solution.

Dick left the room with his same merry tune. Maybe he had helped that poor fellow John just a little bit.

John threw himself upon his bed. He was either very near to a solution or he was very much more muddled than ever. If these leading scientists and these leading clergymen were right, the solution was found.

But there he was about to bow to authority again. The imposing array of names almost had him, but was he not to consider the case on its merits? Could these men wish him to do anything else?

John’s Disappointment

But do science and religion really operate in two different fields? Had he not been taught as a boy that man was created in the image of God? Had he not been told that man, by his own willful disobedience, then became a sinner? Had he not been told that since the fall in paradise every man in the universe is a sinner, subject to the wrath of God, because as a creature he will not obey his creator? And had he not been taught that Christ dies upon the cross as the substitute for man in order than He might bear the penalty for man? Or is this not Christianity?

He realized that things were now more complicated than ever. He should have to ask himself now whatChristianity really is and what evolution really is. Is Christianity that which, for example, Dr. Fosdick says it is, or is it that which his parents taught him it is? He could see that if Christianity is that which Fosdick says it is, there would be no difficulty about his harmonizing creation with evolution. The definition of Christianity itself is then made in the face of the hypothesis of evolution. Historically Christianity has certainly not meant what Fosdick means by it.

It did not take John very long to see that the struggle was on anew. He saw very soon that it ought to make a very fundamental difference in our lives whether evolution or creation is true. He saw that at least historic Christianity has been logical if not true. If creation is true, historic Christianity is also true, and if evolution is true, the historic Christianity is not true. If creation is the truth about origins, then the evil in this world is not an eternal something for which man has no real responsibility.

Then evil is the result of man’s willful disobedience. For this man must naturally be separated from God.Thus there can be no acceptance with God unless sin has been removed and man himself cannot remove it. Hence substitutionary atonement is true or man looks hopelessly to the future. The conclusion can be no other than that; though Fosdick and his friends may have harmonized evolution and religion, they have not harmonized evolution and the historic Christian religion.

John had now learned to liberate himself, to some extent at least, from the fear of authority. Not as though we should not honor men, and especially men of science, for their great learning and accomplishments, but that we should not accept a fundamental position simply on their authority. Gradually John saw that evolution and creation are, when considered in all their implications, views about reality that cover the same field. They are, moreover, views between which no reconciliation is possible. Every attempt

that has been made and is being made to bring the two together by saying that evolution is the method of creation, or by saying religion has nothing to do about origins, is accomplished by closing one’s eyes to the logical implications of both the belief in creation and belief in evolution. If creation is true there is an absolute God, a God who will come with final judgement on His disobedient creatures unless they are forgiven. If evolution is true there is at most a finite God who is himself subject to certain laws that are higher than He. This God cannot bring us into judgment.

And would not that be fine? If we could only prove that we cannot possibly be brought into judgment! Has evolution proved that? It certainly has if it is true. If evolution is true there will be no judgment to come. Thatmuch is logical. If only it is true, thought John. If only it is true! Deep down in his heart he wished for all that he was worth that evolution might be true. Was this, then, open-mindedness on the question? No, it certainly was not. Was he now in a position to study the matter on its merits? And was anybody able to study the question with an open mind? Were not all men to begin with like himself, anxious to prove evolution true in order to escape the judgment to come?

In this confused state of mind, John decided that he would see, as far as he could, what are the facts in the case. He would like nothing better than to prove evolution true. He was aware in this bias in himself. Who would not desire to escape eternal punishment? Yet he wanted to be sure that he would not too soon conclude that evolution is true for fear of the consequences. If he should decide that evolution is true, if he should thus depend on the philosophy for the future that this acceptance of evolution involves and then it should prove untrue, he would be brought into judgement after all.

How Discover The Truth?

But now the question was once more how to find out the truth about the matter. Was he not informed by some of his friends that it was wholly a matter of the laboratory? Were not the facts said to be overwhelmingly conclusive on the debate? He was told that when evolution first made its appearance there was nothing but a highly artificial explanation of origins. In many books by scientists he found that he was told that there was really no scientifically defensible answer to the question of origins at all till evolution appeared upon the scene. Then the facts were brought to light. Then the empirical method, the genuinely scientific method was first applied to the question.

Now there were some misgivings in his mind as to what can and what cannot be proved. Is the question to be settled simply by an appeal to facts? Is it as simple as would be a question about the color of a cow? If one says it is black and the other says it is white, they can simply go to the cow and settle the matter. Well, it might be as simple as that if evolution could really be shown to happen before our eyes. So, then, why not go to the laboratory to see what can be done?

And why not read to see what men have done?

Then began a time of searching for all the factual information that he could find. Dick arrived in the midst of it. He was enthusiastic about evolution. John asked him whether it had really been proven true by experiment. Dick was quite certain that it had, though he had never seen it happen himself. They agreed, therefore, to ask various scientists what had happened with respect to experimental evidence.

When they began to investigate this point they found somewhat varying answers on the part of scientists. Yet when asked for exact information they would say that no experimental evidence has yet been found for evolution. Most of them were willing to grant that, as far as experimental evidence is concerned, Bateson spoke rightly in Toronto some years ago when he said that none has yet been found. There is much discussion on the Mendelian laws, reversion to type, and so forth, but there is no experimental evidence that one species has actually changed into another species.

At this point an argument arose between Dick and John as to the meaning of the word “species.” What is it that characterizes a species and distinguishes it from a mere variation? After much searching the two boys could not find a complete agreement on this question among scientists. There seems to be a serious difficulty connected with the question. Most scientists will regard cross-fertilization as the chief mark of a distinct species. So, then, what needs to be found is one species derived from cross-breeding from another species. Yet if this cross-breeding is accomplished constantly and freely, the two species merge and, if carried through logically, all species merge. In that case, there are no species to talk about. It would seem that, in order to prove their theory true, evolutionists must first make all things flow. But when they have made all things flow by freely deriving one species from the other, they have not proved their theory because then there are no longer any species to talk about. In this way Bateson says that, on the one hand, we need to look for a derivation of one species from another but after this has been accomplished we must look for an indubitably sterile hybrid so that the change may bestopped at the proper time.

These things began greatly to worry John. He was now extremely anxious to prove evolution true. Yet it became clear to him that the matter could not easily be settled by an appeal to “facts.” There in the realm of the experimental, where it could most easily be settled by facts, the greatest scientists themselves maintain that it has not been settled. Moreover they admit that there is little hope that it will be settled in the future. It began to appear more and more, then, that evolution is a philosophy of life that cannot be so easily proven by an appeal to facts.

John Goes To College—Part Two

The Presbyterian Guardian

1940 Volume 8, Page 149ff

In the preceding installment, John faces the fact that the doctrine of creation is irreconcilable with the theory of evolution. He decided to investigates evolution on its own merits, and to come to a conclusion about its trustworthiness. He recognizes that a belief in evolution would be most convenient, for it would remove the necessity of a substitutionary atonement and the fear of a final judgment. He discovers that evolution cannot easily be proven by an appeal to facts, for even scientists admit that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory. It begins to appear to John that evolution is a philosophy of life for which he will have a great deal of difficulty in finding proof.

Direct evidence failing, Dick and John discuss the indirect evidences as they are usually advanced in books on evolution. They discussed the question of comparative anatomy. What did they find in the textbooks on evolution? They found evidence of a great deal of similarity between the makeup of one species and the makeup of other species. They found also that from these similarities the scientists frequently draw the conclusion of derivation. But this is a logical non sequitur. If the arm of a man resembles the foreleg of a horse it does not prove that one has been derived from the other. Similarity of appearance does not prove derivation nor does it prove common origin. To be sure, if the theory were proved true by undeniable evidence it would find corroboration in these similarities, but since it is not and cannot be proved true from unmistakable sources these similarities prove nothing at all in themselves. The similarities that are found in nature among the various species are certainly not out of harmony with the creation idea. In fact, we should expect that, if creation of all species by one God is the theory that weneed, then there would be great similarity everywhere. It is not a case of one being an obscuranist and another willing to look at the facts. As Christians we should all be willing to look at the facts.

The boys turned to embryology. Here, too, there is much similarity and also much diversity between the embryo of one species and the embryo of other species. But this, too, proved nothing for evolution. Similarity never proves derivation.

They looked at the question of vestigial organs. They found a great deal of difference on this point among scientists. What some call vestigial organs others at later times seem to have found useful. But, waiving these considerations, we again note that there is nothing here that is not wholly consistent with the concept of creation. With creation goes invariably the doctrine of sin—man’s breaking away from God. With this goes God’s punishment on man and on nature; hence all disease and corruption, including death in this world. Men are but atrophied replicas of their former selves. It is no wonder that some organs of various species are atrophied; it is a wonder that they are not altogether atrophied.

The boys the turned to geographical distribution. They read a great deal about the migrations of animals from Asia to America by way of the Bering Sea. But in all that they read on this subject it again appeared that the facts as we see them do not prove evolution in distinction from creation. They are all of them perfectly consistent with the idea of creation.

Finally they look at the question of geology. As to the rocks themselves, what did they find? They found once more a tendency of some layers of rocks to be lower than other layers of rocks. These have often been called the older layers. But, on the other hand, there are many geological “faults” in many parts of the world. The result is that here, too, there ismuch similarity but also much diversity. This certainly does not prove evolution in distinction from creation, since creation allows for this very thing.

Then as to the fossils that are found in the rocks, the boys again learned nothing that would prove evolution against creation. The “missing links” are missing still. Henry Fairfield Osborn has made many imaginary plaster casts of the Tree of Life. Dick pointed to them with some pride as he was seeking to prove the theory, though with waning enthusiasm now. John, too, felt elated for a moment. Yet he soon discovered that the evidence for the missing link has been all too scarce. Not one “missing link” has been convincing proof of evolution so far. Then, too, why should there be such scarcity of evidence? Why should not the bones of these vertebrates called “missing links” be discovered in the same abundance as the bones of recognized species?

It was certainly discouraging for the boys. They sat down to think it all over. They read once more the conclusion of Scott’s little book on evolution in which he says that after someone has read of all the evidence he will say: “Is this all?” To this Scott replies that it is much like finding a trail in the woods. Where the white man sees nothing, the trained Indian hunter is alert to sense a trail of a hidden animal. Does this, then, sound as though creation were such a foolish theory and the facts so overwhelming of evolution that any man in his right mind—and not too prejudiced—must see the truth at once? Bateson says no proof of the origin of species has been found. Osborn says that, as far as the evidence from geology is concerned, earliest man cannot be shown to have been less intelligent than present-day man. Scott says of all the evidence for evolution that it takes a delicately trained eye to see its significance. They all three firmly believe in evolution.

The boys were greatly dejected after their investigations. Dick was dejected because he had not been able to substantiate his claims. John was dejected because evolution has not been proved true to him; John was anxious to escape the idea of a judgment to come. And now they seemed once more thrown into the realm of speculation. It appeared to be basically a philosophical question after all. Was it not a scientific question? To be sure. Let science say all it can say. But science itself runs into philosophy and cannot help doing so. If evolution were proved true a non-Christian philosophy of life would be proved true. It would then be proved that reality is such that all that Christianity says about it is not true. For that reason the boys now agreed that they would no longer indulge in the calling of names. They would no longer claim that the one is scientific while the other is not. They would agree to look at all the facts and the see what conclusions can and must be legitimately drawn from them. In short, they would see which philosophy of life—that which had evolution as part of its teaching, or that which had creation as part of its teaching—is the more reasonable.

The Philosophy of Evolution

What they began to do then was to analyze what the theory of evolution really implied if taken comprehensively. They realized that it was quite inconsistent for some men to say that they are scientists and, as such, are not interested in philosophical speculations. If some of the things are really true that some specialists in a certain field say are true, then they have said something so far reaching about the whole of reality that all men, themselves included, are affected in the very center of their existence by it. Evolution as a scientific question cannot be separated from the question of cosmic evolution, as the early generation of evolutionists clearly saw. Huxley, Spencer, Fiske and others were very well aware of the fact that they were seeking to introduce a new philosophy of life. They realized that their view said something very definite about the origin of the whole universe and therefore said something very definite about God. Fiske, for instance, has taken great pains to show what sort of God we can believe in if we accept evolution. And the many writers on the relation of science to religion, as, for example, J. Arthur Thomson, have told us very definitely what sort of religion is consistent with evolution. So also all the writers of such books as Cotton’s, mentioned above,and many others, tell us very definitely what sort of God is consistent with the evolution theory.

Of what nature is reality if evolution be true? In what sort of God may we believe if evolution is true? We cannot state this matter fully, but we can say that if evolution be true, there is at best a finite God. Some evolutionists who wish to point out that their theories are not harmful to religion seek to show us that God is some sort of principle of coordination in this universe. There are many varieties of this sort of God. Others hold that if they believe in God at all they must believe in Him as a distinct personality, but He is then at least a derivative personality. We need only to think of such names as Alexander, James and Whitehead, in order to think of the variety of deities that are offered to us. Yet these deities are all of them very similar. They are all derivative deities. Above them hovers the realm of bare possibility out of which as a matrix they themselves together with the universe have emerged.

As an illustration of this sort of view, think for a minute of the position of Jeans. He tells us in the introduction of his book, The Mysterious Universe, that in the first chapter he talks as a scientist, but that in the last chapter is merely speaking as a philosopher and that there everybody may throw his hat in the ring. Yet in the very first section of the first chapter he tells us that some millions of years ago, nobody knows why or how, the human race came into existence. And all this was purely accidental. But accidents will happen. Therefore we should not be too greatly surprised. With Huxley we might say that if we should set six monkeys to typing they would eventually produce all the books in the British Museum. If we should see one particular monkey in its blind strumming produce a Shakespearean sonnet, it would seem strange enough to us, but if we think of all the possibilities involved in the law of chance there would be nothing really unexpected in this.

Now in the first place we should note that this is not meant as a travesty. It is seriously put forth by Jeans as a reasonable philosophy oforigins. I do not quote it in order to gain a questionable advantage by appealing to the natural negative reaction that orthodox people feel to such a statement of the philosophy of evolution. The boys when

reading this were somewhat struck by its apparent extreme character. Dick brought up the point that many evolutionists believe in purpose. A great many evolutionists are not mechanists. But the exact point which, after much argument, they saw is this: that the only type of purpose to which evolutionists of one school or another may hold is, in the last analysis, a purpose that falls within the universe and is therefore itself subject to the law of chance that governs the universe as a whole. The only conception of purpose that is not subject to the law of chance is the conception of purpose which proceeds from a God who is the creator of the universe and therefore the creator of the so-called laws of chance. Now in such a God the evolutionist cannot believe. He would be giving up evolution if he did. It therefore appears that the seemingly extreme example of Jeans, that the whole universe is basically accidental, is involved in the evolution position, and it also appears that the only alternative to this position is that of God who is absolute and therefore the creator and the judge of the world.

To put it another way, the contrast between the philosophy of evolution and the philosophy of creation lies in the question of whether rationality is derivative. The evolutionist says that rationality is derivative. The creationist says that it is ultimate. The creationist does not say that it is ultimate in man but that it is ultimate in God. The evolutionist says that it is, to be sure, not ultimate in man, but that neither is it ultimate in God.

At this point John finally began to realize the hopelessness of defending the philosophy of evolution. The evolutionist must say that God cannot possibly exist. He must say that rationality is subject to chance in all reality. He says this by implication if not explicitly. For if this universe is subject to the rationality of God who is its creator, it would be impossible to say anything that is really true about even the smallest thing in this world without taking God into consideration. In that case the very existence of things, as well as their meaning, would depend upon their relation to God. If therefore, you left God out of consideration in studying this world, you would be engaged in false abstraction and would be bound to emerge with a distorted picture of reality.

Now the evolutionist has been doing just that. He has assumed what he should prove. He has assumed the whole of his metaphysics. He has assumed, to begin with, the existence of facts as independent of God. He has assumed, in the second place, the whole of his epistemology. He has assumed that the human mind exists independently of God and can do its interpreting independently of God. But this is what he should prove.

Now on the evolutionist’s contention that he is dealing only with a truly empirical or scientific method, such assumption of that which is to be proved is an unpardonable sin. But, more important than that, we do not really blame the evolutionist for assuming what he should prove. On the question of origins, what can any human being do than first state his philosophy, which at once involved a method and a conclusion, and then see what it does to human experience? Since in evolution—as in everything else when we take more than a superficial view—we deal with most basic issues in which we ourselves are involved, we can only state a position and then set out to argue that it is reasonable. So we should not blame the evolutionist for saying at the onset that he believes such a view of the universe to be the most reasonable which holds to the derivative character of rationality. We merely object to his saying that he is making no assumptions when, as a matter of fact, he is.

Then as to the argument itself, we note that the evolutionist has to make and does make a universal negative conclusion on the basis of a little stream of experience. When he takes for granted that anything happens by chance, he really takes for granted that everything happens by chance. He thus negates God. He says in effect that there cannot be a judgment coming. Yet he himself admits that all his reasoning about anything is based upon a short span of human experience of at most a few thousand years. How is it possible that evolutionists are able to predict, on such a basis, what can and what cannothappen for millions of years to come? Yet this is exactly what every evolutionist does.

If I should go to sleep on a railroad track, how could I be safe? Only if I were certain that no train would come for several hours. How could I be certain of this? Only if I control the railroad or have the full assurance of the man who controls the railroad. And if you say that people do not fall asleep on railroad tracks, I reply that every spot in this universe is like a railroad track if creation be true. In that case, we may be face to face with the judgment at any time. We cannot escape this question by saying that we have no metaphysical needs. Our physical needs will at the time of death turn suddenly into metaphysical needs.

To vary the illustration, how could the dwellers on a little island declare their independence and claim that they were the only people on the face of the globe, unless they had gone far and wide over the whole expanse of the universe?

Our conclusion from this is that the universal negative statement which every evolutionist and every non-theist makes presupposes the very God against whom he makes that statement. Every human being has to make statements that involve the nature of reality as a whole. No human being is himself ultimate. Therefore every statement is for or against God and every statement is really for God. The negations of God are indirect affirmations of God. Creation is, we believe, the only philosophy of origins that does not destroy human reason itself. It is really not a question as to which position is more reasonable. Evolution and creation give no quarter and expect no quarter. They are bound up with mutually exclusive philosophies of life. Creation is bound by that philosophy of life which says that rationality must be absolute or we could have no intelligent experience about anything. Evolution is bound up with that philosophy of life which says that experience can float in the void.

When the boys had gone through these points more fully than we have been able to report, John was convinced that there was no escape from the judgment to come. The facts had shown themselves inextricably interwoven with philosophy and the philosophy of evolution is inherently self-contradictory;it destroys human reason itself. After that he called nobody names. He called a spade a spade. He sought to help as many as he could to get down to fundamental questions on this subject in order that they might really think through the implications of their own theories. He saw that modern evolution and modern philosophy as a whole stand or fall together. Much as he disliked to be against the current of the times on this subject, he had to cling to that which did not destroy his own intellectual self-respect.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s