Is Creation More Than A Biological Model of Origins?
Ralph E. Ancil
From about the 16th century onward, and especially during the so-called "Enlightenment," there occurred a growth of secular, non-Christian ideas. Philosophers embraced rationalism: the belief that man can understand everything without God or divine revelation; and naturalism: the belief that there is nothing of supernatural significance in man in either thought or deed. Politically, rulers embraced the notion of the "Divine Right of Kings" which was exaggerated to the point of bordering on a return to pagan deification of the State and rejection of the Christian concept which places the king under God and His Law. Such absolutist thinking increased and centralized governmental power which included the accumulation of wealth. This resulted in territorial expansion, international conflict and generally a focus on economic and material interest.1 A bifurcation of thought occurred in the sciences as a growing number of secular thinkers tried to break the strong, natural alliance of science and religion. Increasingly, science became linked with a secular perspective in which the world was seen as a materialistic machine governed not by a caring and sustaining God, but by impersonal autonomous "laws."
By the 19th century the secular world view had become firmly entrenched in key areas of thought. It was in this historical setting that Charles Darwin published (in 1859) The Origin of Species by Natural Selection Of the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life Although other writers had presented essentially evolutionary ideas before him, Darwin's emphasis on natural selection gave his explanation the appearance of "scientific" validity.2 It was materialistic and mechanistic and thus suited the age. As one observer notes:
"By the end of the century, hardly a field of thought remained unfertilized by the 'new' concept. Historians had begun looking at the past as 'a living organism'; legal theorists studied the law as a developing social institution; critics studied the evolution of literary types; anthropologists and sociologists invoked 'natural selection' in their studies of social forms "2
Today the concept of evolution is so rooted in virtually every area of thought in Western culture, that any attack upon it must have consequences of the utmost importance. William Erwin Thompson reports that he was surprised one day to learn that a professor in California did not consider the "theory" of evolution to be "proved." Thompson thought only religious fanatics could doubt the proof ot evolution.
since I saw myself as definitely on the side of science against religion, I positioned myself in the manner without a thought for what was really only a matter of snobbery."4
After considering some problems of human evolution, Thompson concludes:
"The Darwinian theory of human evolution by natural selection, which triumphed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, may fall apart into newly structured pieces in the twentieth and early twentyfirst centuries. Such an intellectual event would bring about the most overwhelming and profound changes in the intellectual's world view ``5
It is important, then, to examine a few of the profound changes which might arise from the adoption of a creation model of origins. Is the creation model of origins capable of bringing about these "profound changes" of which Thompson speaks? In other words, is the creation model more than just a biological account of origins? Does it have far reaching social implications? In attempting to answer this question we will examine some of the major features of the Creation concept and contrast them with those of the evolution belief.
THE FOUR MAJOR TRAITS
The first level of comparison involves noting the major features of the two origins concepts.
|1. Indefinite, endless change||open-ended|
|2. Simple to Complex with unlimited variation (going on now):||progressive|
|3. Chance and Impersonal "Laws" (natural selection):||mechanistic|
|4. No ultimate point of reference:||purposeless|
|1. Completed and final:||closure|
|2. Involves simultaneous and successive events followed by conservation: (distinct)||constant|
|3. God's care and sustenance:||theistic|
|4. Point of reference or purpose:||teleologic|
The features of these biological models are often transferred to various aspects of society. For example, on evolutionary premises, moral questions are open-ended or debatable. Changes in morality are considered "progress" and in the end none of it matters anyway. A creationist, on the other hand, would be inclined to see closure on moral questions. Some things are definitely right, some definitely wrong. He sees morality as permanent or constant.
The evolutionist approaches society on a legalistic or mechanistic basis because he feels that the manipulation of social "mechanisms" will bring the desired results. The creationist believes God acts in human society as well as in the material world, governing all things, and so the proper conduct of society involves more than mechanistic manipulation of social institutions.
These then are the four major features of each model as they are applied in society. We may now examine the contrasting models in relation to certain key aspects of society.
Evolutionists see the world as one of process, of continuous change and of endless progress. Evolutionary semanticists naturally question how the fixity which characterizes language can represent such a world. They are, in other words, completely committed to the view of "becoming": nothing ever is; everything only becomes.6 Instead of seeing language as reflecting conceptions of verities, evolutionary semanticists hold that language reflects only qualities of perceptions. They therefore attempt to remove the philosophic inclination of language, i.e., they try to eliminate all character and teleology from it.7
This attitude is especially evident in the natural sciences. For example, Baker and Allan indicated that teleological expressions have no place in biological explanations. though they concede that such expressions are sometimes hard to avoid and that even they themselves may occasionally "slip". Thus a sentence describing that a cell takes in glucose "in order to" increase its energy supply constitutes an unfortunate expression because the phrase "in order to" connotes purpose.8
Richard Weaver comments on the relation of language and science and notes that the empirical community of science must avail itself of the metaphysical community of language9 As Wilber Marshall Urban put it:
"It is part of my general thesis that all meaning is ultimately linguistic and that although science, in the interests of purer notation and manipulation may break through the husk of language, its non-linguistic symbols must again be translated back into natural language if intelligibility is to be possible."10
Hence, when evolutionary semanticists undermine language they ultimately undermine science.
One important area of science is systematics, the categorizing or naming of plants and animals. To define something requires that it be placed in a category and distinguished from other things. Again Weaver writes:
"The limits of the definition are thus the boundary between the things and the not-thing."'
But evolutionists do not recognize any inherent limit to variations but instead tend to minimize the very differences of distinction and discreteness needed for sound systematics. Perhaps this is the reason why Dr. Colin Patterson of the British Museum of Natural History has recently declared that evolution has the function of knowledge but conveys none:
"Explanatory value of the hypothesis of common ancestry is nil. .1 feel that the effects of hypotheses of common ancestry in systematics has not been merely boring, not just a lack of knowledge, I think it has been positively anti-knowledge."12
And so Dr. Patterson and others have abandoned the belief in common ancestry and rely upon similarities of structures in their systematics.13 On the other hand, we find that acceptance of the Creation model implies a greater view of the importance of language. God spoke and it was so (Gen. 1); He gave the word and it is; He sustains all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). The creation account emphasizes that the world is finished and it is not becoming eternally. This fact, in turn, harmonizes with the natural fixity of language. While evolutionary semanticists feel that they must break through the veil of language to get at reality, the creation account implies that language is the vehicle to (higher) reality and indeed that language shapes material reality. God demonstrates His dominion over the world through His language. And Adam, created in God's Image, demonstrated his dominion over the animals by naming them. (Perhaps he was the first taxonomist.)
The acceptance of a creationist view of origins leads to a more elevated view of language and to a respect for words as real things and the truths they contain.
With the rise of socialism came the cry that the means of production ought not to be privately owned. We have noticed in recent years increasing regulation at the national level of private property. It is legitimate then to ask on what basis can we justify the private ownership of properly?
Dr. Raleigh Barlowe writes:
"Most authorities agree that our concept of property rights is really the outgrowth of a long period of evolutionary development."'4
This evolution is believed to have been like this: first, no ownership (all free goods), then, tribal/communal ownership and finally, private ownership. Dr. Barlowe seems to think that ultimately property rights rest with society. With such an evolutionary view of property, it is not surprising that liberties are taken with property in socialist countries. We, in this country, have enjoyed a tradition of respect for private property, although some socialist inroads in the government control of private property have occurred.
Not all evolutionists are socialists, but socialists are evolutionists. To the extent evolution has contributed to a socialist view, it has become a threat to private property. (Karl Marx, for example, wanted to dedicate his book Das Kapital to Darwin; Darwin declined.15)
What about the creationist position? What basis do we have in the creation model for private property? T. Robert Ingram writing in the Creation Research Society Quarterly states:
"Man's power to own property is likewise derived solely from the Divine command to have dominion. Blackstone wrote of the right of dominion as the right of property (Bk. SI, Cap. 1). Then:
'In the beginning of the world, we are informed by holy writ, that an all-bountiful Creator gave to man "dominion over the earth." This is the only true and solid foundation of man's dominion over external things, whatever any metaphysical notions may have been stated by fanciful writers upon this subject.'
The rest of the statutes securing man's dominion over all things punish violations of his authority over his wife, his goods, his real property, his good name and his vulnerability to fraud."16
The acceptance of the creation account of origins implies the acceptance of private property. It provides the justification for private property and the moral obligation to defend it.
Many people are concerned over the quality of the natural environment, but to find remedies for these problems is quite complex. Yet one contributing factor is surely our attitude to the natural world. What shapes this attitude? What has been the attitude in the past? Does our view of origins make any difference?
In this regard Richard Hofstadter17 in his book Social Darwinism in American Thought demonstrates that the captains of industry in the last century were Social Darwinists, i.e., they believed that the Darwinian concept of evolution was more than just a model of origins. It was also a social model, and so they sought to apply evolutionary thought to society. Such men included John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Chauncy De Pew. These men believed that just as individual organisms must struggle for life against their environment in the process of evolution, so too, businessmen must fight their natural and social environments in ruthless competition to survive financially. This was seen as the way of life and of progress. William Graham Sumner, a leading Social Darwinist, wrote that nature is a "hard mistress," and "opponent against whom men must strive for the means of subsistence. Men "wrestle" with nature to extort from her what they need.'8
Charles Eliot Norton (1861) commented that nature is careless of the single life: "Her processes seem wasteful, but of seeming waste, she produces her great and durable results."19
Darwin himself remarked that wastefulness, strife and warfare were the essential elements in the evolutionary progress of nature.20 With such a hostile attitude toward nature, it is not difficult to see how certain patterns of thought, how certain businesses and industrial practices, could be established and passed on into this century and thereby contribute to our environmental problems.
But if Christians accept the Genesis account of origins and recognize its social implications, they must see that they have a duty to God to be stewards of His creation. Adam was installed in the Garden of Eden and commanded to "dress it and keep it", i.e., to cultivate and conserve it (or take care of it). His commission to have "dominion" did not give Adam the license to abuse God's earth, or to do anything he wanted to do. Rather he was given the authority commensurate to his responsibility for a purpose: to care for the earth. This is similar to the authority Potiphar gave Joseph; he entrusted him with all he had. Had Joseph violated that trust he would have been removed from his position (as he indeed was due to the wife's accusation).
Today evolutionary environmentalists demand many things in the name of the environment. Some of these goals Christians can agree with, such as recycling of materials, conservation of resources, etc. But many of their goals are clearly unacceptable such as abortion, sterilization, contraceptives for minors, global government and massive unilateral disarmament.21 It is in this area that Christians have the opportunity to present an alternative to evolutionary thinking, one which will allow man to exercise a dominion of stewardship in harmony with basic Judeo-Christian values. The acceptance of the creation account implies the acceptance of a moral obligation to God to take care of His handiwork. Respect for the Creator requires respect for His Creation.
We have heard much in recent years of the "advances for progress" in the so-called feminist movement. And yet what is the basis for this movement? In reviewing the history of it we find that it started in the last century. It is essentially a socialist/evolutionist world view advocated by such well-known evolutionists as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in their Communist Manifesto and later by Engels in his book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State and by John Stuart Mill in his book On the Subjection of Women We are therefore not surprised to learn that leading "feminists" hold to a socialistic/evolutionary world view.
The goals of feminism are nothing less than the complete overthrow of our present system of society which is patriarchal, i.e., male dominated. Dr. Daniel Amneus gives some examples:22
1. Feminist Betsy Warrior believes that men are obsolete and should all be killed (or for those too squeamish about the mass-killing of men, she advocates zoos or man-preserves).
2. Equal rightist Sheila Cronan writes that freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.
3. Jill Johnston dedicates her book Lesbian Nation The Feminist Solution for "my mother who should've been a lesbian. And for my daughter in hopes she will be." Miss Johnston looks forward to the end of patriarchal Christianity.
These statements are typical of feminist leaders and although not all equalitarians may advocate these measures, they nonetheless make common cause with these goals when they support the "equal rights" movement. What has been the effect of the wide-spread acceptance of the feminist cause? Has it been good? Are we a healthier, happier society because of it? Are women better off?
Dr. Daniel Amneus in his book Back to Patriarchy and other writers (e.g., George Gilder) have provided a great deal of evidence to show that feminism has been devastating to our society. They argue, for instance, that feminism has contributed 1 to the growth of federal bureaucracies and consequent growth of government power;23 2) to child abuse; the worst abusers are women estranged from their husbands;24 3) to economic failure; women are not as productive in the work force and the feminist reliance on government is subsidized by taxes;25 4) to warfare by driving men to greater acts of aggression and savagery;26 5) to the collectivization or socialization of American society (e.g., day care centers for the indoctrination of the young ;27 6) to increasing divorces due to the financial independence of women;28 7) to the decline of our national defenses due to the incorporation of women into the military;29 and 8 to the male identity crisis.30
Yet what does the creation account of Genesis suggest with respect to the roles of men and women? We find in the Genesis account that God instituted marriage and the family. The family is not an equalitarians institution; it is hierarchical with children in submission to the parents and the wife in submission to her husband in Christ. Since society is an extension of the family, it follows that society is hierarchical, not equalitarian; and is to be male dominated. We also find a basis for fraternity (as in Cain's question "Am I my brother's keeper?"). Fraternity implies love and tolerance. One does not expect the same duties or actions from little brother as one does from big brother. Hence, hierarchy and fraternity go together and are implied in the family and society and have a unifying effect. But the concept of equality is not found in the Genesis account. Fraternity and equality are opposite concepts. Equality implies self-sufficiency (not needing someone else) and thus destroys the bonds of mutual obligation and duty upon which all families and societies are built. It therefore has a shattering or atomizing effect.31
The Apostle Paul in his writings referred to the creation account and noted that male headship was due because: 1) Adam was created first (primacy); 2) the man is the glory of God but woman is the glory of man; 3) woman was made for man as helper (not the other way around); and 4) woman was deceived by Satan, not the man. We can also point to another indication that the men are to take the lead, i.e., to hold authority in society, by noting the importance of naming in the Genesis account. Plato and other thinkers have identified the name-giver as a law-giver for the law proceeds on the basis of assigning the correct name to a crime or event.32 Science, too, depends on correctly naming plants and animals (taxonomy). God, in the creation account, demonstrated his authority over man by naming him (Gen. 5:2). So, too, Adam demonstrated his lordship over the animals by naming them (Gen. 2:19) and he also demonstrated his authority over his wife by naming her: first as woman (out of man, Gen. 2:23) and later as Eve (mother of all living things, Gen. 3:20).
We have then in the creation account, not only support for the principle of patriarchy, but also an explanation of its origin. It is the creation account which explains why all societies of which we have knowledge (both past and present) have been and are today male dominated. Steven Goldberg documents this fact very well in his book The inevitability of Patriarchy.33
Surely the acceptance of an evolutionary world view has contributed to the acceptance of feminism. Just as surely a return to the biblical view, i.e., the creation view of origins. implies a return to patriarchy.
GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMICS
In the present situation of America, we find a large national government bloated with bureaucracies; we find a similar situation at the state and sometimes at the local level. Millions of men are out of work and inflation continues to plague us. Many writers believe that we will continue the trend toward greater centralization and government control, especially at the national level.
But again we find that in turning to the creation model of origins we are given some ideas that relate to the nature of good human government. First, we note that before the worldwide flood of Noah there was apparently no form of human government, at least not as we now think of it. The record is quite emphatic that beginning with Cain's murder of Abel mankind grew progressively more violent until God saw fit to wipe man out of existence save but a few. After the worldwide deluge, God commanded Noah that any man who took another man's life forfeited his own life (Gen. 9:5,6). In other words Noah was charged to execute capital punishment for capital offenses. This is the cornerstone of human government: punishment of crime, for man is inherently evil.
About that same time another event occurred which gives us insight into the kind of government that pleases (or displeases) God. Man had been commanded to disperse into the earth to populate it. But Nimrod, a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah, began building cities and centralizing people. The city of Babylon itself was quite presumptuous for the builders decided to build a tower that would reach into the heavens, thus keeping all the people concentrated around Babylon. We know what happened. God confused their language and dispersed them. As the well-known creation writer, Or. Henry M. Morris comments in his book The Genesis Record
"Men had proved unwilling to obey God's simple instructions to fill the earth, dividing into many separate, but parallel, governmental units. They preferred to remain together under one great centralized and highly regimented government and this union had quickly led to a vast unified anti-God religious philosophy as well."34
Apparently, highly centralized governmental control is not pleasing to God. When considering the modern American political scene we frequently hear discussions of "conservatives" vs. "liberals." What exactly is meant by these terms? According to George H. Nash, conservatives consist of three basic groups: traditionalists (Christians); libertarians; and anti-communists. 35 (The liberals are usually "socialist" in orientation.) Let us analyze these groups. The "traditionalists" are Christians who seek to conserve those values that are embodied in godly traditions and biblical precepts. This allows room also for a free market economy, and a decentralized but authoritative government. The libertarians advocate a free-market with almost no government intervention (the laissez-faire doctrine). They also prefer a decentralized government but not necessarily an authoritative one. Usually, the weaker the government at all levels, the better they like it. They hold that government is inherently evil and must be restrained. They seek to maximize individual liberty and rights. In all of this they resemble what is called the "classical liberal", prominent in the last century. The anti-communists, of course, are primarily concerned about the threat of communism as advanced by the Soviet Union. They see Western civilization engaging in a great civil war, so to speak. The forces of justice and democracy stand against totalitarian oppression.
Nash's groupings, however, produce a great deal of confusion. Obviously traditionalists and libertarians are also anti-communists, and yet they will disagree with each other, on a number of important questions (abortion, pornography, etc.) Many of the anti-communists fit into the other two categories: Whittaker Chambers, a devout Quaker, clearly belongs in the Christian category, as do Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley, Jr. On the other hand, Frank Meyer was a libertarian as well as an anti-communist. Hence, it is difficult to articulate a coherent view of the "conservative" position. I believe there is a better way of describing this situation. First as mentioned above it must be recognized that the anti-communists are not a true separate group since both libertarians and traditionalists are against communism. Therefore, let's eliminate that group.
Next, we need to understand that both libertarians and socialists as evolutionists believe in (secular) progress, as representative of and reflecting a fundamental characteristic of the material universe as a whole. They disagree merely over the issue of how progress is to be achieved. Socialists believe it ought to be achieved through the medium of government control, while libertarians believe it ought to be achieved through the medium of market processes. Both hold to evolutionary world views. Thus, F.A. Hayek, a well-known libertarian economist, justifies the free market on evolutionary grounds: just as life and language evolved spontaneously through various kinds of interactions, so too, the free market generates a "spontaneous order."37 One of F.A. Hayek's students, Ludwig Lachmann, considers the market from an endless process perspective; he writes:
the market economy is to be regarded as an ongoing process, a process essentially without beginning or end, in which general equilibrium positions are impossible; there never is a state of rest. Economic processes are going on. changing the world all the time."38
Therefore, we must categorize libertarians and socialists as being both progressives. not conservatives. Christians (traditionalists) want to conserve biblical values in society. They avoid the extremism of both libertarians and socialists. Thus, the new arrangement would be:
Christian vs. a) Libertarians
(traditionalists) b) Socialists
The dispute between libertarians and socialists goes back to the Industrial Revolution. Both sides welcomed it, and both believed that they had the answers for some of its problems (Marx believed it was the basis for socialism). Later when Charles Darwin presented his evolutionary views, both sides were quick to pick up this explanation and began viewing their economics in evolutionary terms. To the creationist, conservative, Christian this disagreement is an "in-house" dispute (much like Catholic vs. Protestant is to an atheist).
The conservative, creationist, Christian can contribute a great deal of light on the confused and misguided issues of government and economics today. but he must be careful to present sound arguments and to arrive at the right conclusions for the right reasons. Using the Bible as his standard, including and especially the Genesis account, he can be a force for good, the salt of the earth, a lamp in this evolutionary night.
In conclusion, we must understand the importance of origins concepts: "Why is it so important to view life with a sense of origin?... The events (of time) are shaped by, and gain meaning from, the one Creative Event. (A true account of origins) seeks to bring the light of the primordial, cosmogonic Event that shaped time to bear upon the events of the present. . Consider that the incarnation of Christ is meaningful insofar as it is understood in the total order of God's revelation. . . Furthermore, without the prior fall of man, the incarnation of Christ is meaningless. Without the sense of a created perfection by God, the fall of man is meaningless."39
In other words we cannot fully understand the present until we understand the past and how the past began. We must have some understanding of what happened, "In the beginning."
We have seen that the concept of origins dominant in our society has had a profound impact on the way we live, and on the way we think. Unfortunately. it cannot be said that this impact has been good. To the contrary, the widespread acceptance of an evolutionary view of origins has contributed to the disintegration of western civilization, for it cuts right to the heart of human nature and implies that man is an animal; that everything is relative but that everything gets better on its own; that man and the world are inherently good; and that there is no god. In short, as indicated by Gillespie,40 Darwins' work has greatly contributed to the "ungodding" of the universe.
Likewise, the creation model is more than just an account of biological origins. It is rich in social implications which are the opposite from those of evolutionism. Indeed, the acceptance of creation implies the acceptance of a number of other perspectives which, if widely adopted, would produce profound changes in virtually every area of life. Its magnitude of impact would be no less than that of the adoption of evolution in the last century. No doubt evolutionists recognize this. Thus they are organizing to strongly oppose creationists.
Having recognized the issues and heard the evidences, both scientific and theological, we are no longer able to equivocate or seek neutral ground. We are under a moral obligation to discharge our duties to God, come what may. But will we have the courage of our convictions? Or will we limp on two opinions as the ancient Israelites did? Will we stand firmly on the side of the God of creation and His Redemption? Or will we listen to the voices of the marketplace, seek approval of the world and have our ears tickled until we are lukewarm, and Christ must vomit us out of His mouth? Will we defend Scripture all the way, including the Genesis account, or will we compromise and make common cause with atheists?
There are only two kinds of people: those who believe in transcendent moral values and those who do not. We live in a polarized society, and a house divided against itself cannot stand; but perhaps by the grace of God we can restore our lost unity. Be that as it may, we must follow Christ's example: if we are not for Him, we are against Him; if we do not gather, we scatter. This is another kind of winnowing, the separating of wheat from chaff, and sheep from goats We come not to bring peace, but a sword. We must be prudent, but not faint-hearted, for the issue has been raised; the battle has been joined. Let us pick up the sword and face the foes of Christ?