PA012Journal of Christian Reconstruction -- 800/553-3938. I:1 (Summer, 1974), © Covenant Media Foundation.
On Worshipping the Creature
Rather Than the Creator
By Dr. Greg Bahnsen
Darwinism dawned and cast its glaring rays upon the life of the English novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy. Hardy discerned that the evolutionary theory was not a restricted biological hypothesis but a new worldview with profound theological consequences, as illustrated in A Plaint to Man (from God):
you slowly emerged from the den of Time,
And gained percipience as you grew,
And fleshed you fair out of shapeless slime,
O Man, did there come to you
The unhappy need of creating me -
A form like your own - for praying to?
virtue, power, utility,
Within my maker all abide,
Since none in myself can ever be...
now...I dwindle day by day
Beneath the deicide eyes of seers
In a light that will not let me stay,
And tomorrow the whole of me disappears.
Evolutionary speculation was a direct assault upon the biblical doctrine of creation and thereby challenged the existence of the personal, transcendent, sovereign God of Christianity. If man emerged from some supposed primordial slime, the eventual implication could be nothing less than the death of biblical theism (and thereby the death of man as man, as Hardy realized by his stoical pessimism in the grim face of blind chance - very unlike his optimistic contemporaries). By impugning creation, the theory of evolution had significance extending beyond a narrow biological concern to anthropology, sociology, culture, philosophy, and science in general. Of course Charles Darwin was well aware of this fact. In one of his early notebooks he records the prophetic statement that his theory of evolution would affect the whole of metaphysics. About Darwin's The Origin of Species(1859) Josiah Royce commented: "With the one exception of Newton's "Principia," no single book of empirical science has ever been of more importance to philosophy than this work of Darwin." Darwin called men away from the common presupposition of a fiat, mature creation of all things by a personal God; by replacing this presupposition with that of evolution, Darwin altered the entire direction and thrust of the next century's thinking. Will Durant observed about Darwin,
It may well be that for posterity his name will stand as a turning point in the intellectual development of our western civilization... If he was right, men will have to date from 1859 the beginning of modern thought.
Since the advent of Darwin, modern thought has definitively turned to the metaphysical model of process and alteration instead of substance and permanence, to becoming instead of being. Recent philosophy (and, trailing behind it, recent theology) appears to have returned to Heraclitus and taken a second step into his river of the metaphysic of constant flux. "The reaffirmation of change and the exploration of its structure is a salient feature of contemporary thought." Evolutionary and process speculation has become dominant, and the presuppositional paradigms have been altered so radically, that the doctrine of creation by a transcendent God is rejected at the outset.
Whereas in past centuries a theory of creation would be more expected than not, the present situation is dominated by an antimetaphysical bias, on the one hand, and by the antitranscendence bias of many of the leading metaphysicians, on the other. A theory of creation is now an anomaly.
Darwin's prophecy has been fulfilled. Why has evolutionary speculation been so widely endorsed? Why has Darwinism been successful in re-directing the whole field of metaphysics and theology? Two answers are readily suggested. First, it might be that evolution was a scientific outlook that had sterling credentials a noteworthy and definitive analysis supported by compelling evidence at every crucial juncture. That is, perhaps the theory of evolution could not be ignored because it was backed by outstanding and empirically convincing argumentation. T. A. Goudge sets forth just such an explanation; noting that Darwin was a "British biologist whose theory of organic evolution revolutionized science, philosophy, and theology," Goudge goes on to say:
Even if he had never-written The Origin Of Species(1859) and The Descent Of Man(1871), he would still be regarded as one of the great biologist of the nineteenth century. Of course, it was these two books which made him the initiator of a revolution in thought more far-reaching than that ushered in by Copernicus. He established beyond reasonable doubt that all living things, including man, have developed from a few extremely simple forms, perhaps one form, by a gradual process of descent with modification. Furthermore, he formulated a theory (natural selection), supporting it with a large body of evidence, to account for this process....
That this answer to why evolution became so popular is devoid of credibility should soon be clear. Darwin was very far indeed from demonstrating his theory "beyond reasonable doubt." A second explanation, however, is set forth by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-25. He says that all men inescapably know God the Creator. The eternal power and divinity of the Creator are clearly revealed throughout the cosmic order of nature. Thus, man possesses definite knowledge concerning the origin of the world and himself. However, as a sinner deserving God's wrath, man in his unregenerate state constantly seeks to rid himself of his knowledge about the Creator; he wishes to avoid confrontation with his Maker. Thus, man suppresses the known truth, seeks animmanentistic interpretation of the world, and ends up worshipping the creation rather than the blessed Creator. Hence the unregenerate will seize upon any speculation that he feels will aid him in his flight from God the Creator; he will even engage blatantly foolish reasoning in order to avoid the known truth. And so, irrespective of the crucial flaws, inconsistencies, and nonsense involved in the theory of evolution, man endorses and promotes the hypothesis as a way of suppressing the clear truth. Cornelius Van Til writes,
The Bible requires men to believe that God exists apart from and above the world and that he by his plan controls whatever takes place in the world. Everything in the created universe therefore displays the fact that it is controlled by God, that it is what it is by virtue of the place it occupies in the plan of God. The objective evidence for the existence of God and of the comprehensive governance of the world by God is therefore so plain that he who runs may read. Men cannot get away from this evidence. They see it round about them. They see it within them. Their own constitution so clearly evinces the facts of God's creation of them and control over them that there is no man who can possibly escape observing it. If he is self-conscious at all he is also God-conscious. No matter how men may try they cannot hide from themselves the fact of their own createdness. Whether men engage in inductive study with respect to the facts of nature about them or engage in analysis of their own self-consciousness they are always face to face with God their maker. Calvin stresses these matters greatly on the basis of Paul's teachings in Romans.
Created reality is revelational of the living and true God, and thus scientists deal with that which inescapably communicates God (Psalm 19:1-3). Men are without excuse if they do not discover their Creator through the study of natural facts.
The apostle Paul speaks of the natural man as actually possessing the knowledge of God(Rom. 1:19-21). The greatness of his sin lies precisely in the fact that "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God." No man can escape knowing God. It is indelibly involved in his awareness of anything whatsoever. Man ought, therefore, as Calvin puts it, to recognize God. There is no excuse for him if he does not. The reason for his failure to recognize God lies exclusively in him. It is due to his willful transgression of the very law of his being...Of course, when we thus stress Paul's teaching that all men do not have a mere capacity for but are in actual possession of the knowledge of God, we have at once to add Paul's further instruction to the effect that all men, due to the sin within them, always and in all relationships seek to "suppress" this knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18, American Standard Version). The natural man is such a one as constantly throws water on a fire he cannot quench.
The unbeliever will make every attempt to interpret the world and his experience in exclusively immanentistic categories. Evolutionary speculation, from the philosophy of becoming through Darwinism to process thought, is just such an attempt. The real issue is whether man must think God's thought after Him in order to understand the world correctly or whether man's mind is the ultimate assigner of meaning to brute and orderless facts. Must we follow a transcendent interpretation of all things based on God's clear revelation or can we settle for an immanentistic interpretation involving a suppression of the theological truth which God has made clear to all men? By its attack on the scriptural teaching of creation, evolution endorses the latter alternative. Evolutionary thought is popular because it is a worldview which facilitates man's attempt to rid himself of all knowledge of the transcendent Creator and promises to secure man's autonomy (especially his ability to interpret the "facts" oblivious to God) . Van Til correctly observes:
The total picture we obtain from both modern science and modern philosophy is a complete rejection of the biblical notion of creation. It matters not whether this rejection comes in the form of an outright negation in the form of agnosticism or in the form of substituting another meaning for the word creation. As orthodox Christians we have to face the fact that we are at this point, as along the whole line of thought, out of accord with modern thought.... The assumption of brute fact is itself the most basic denial of the creation doctrine. And the assumption that man can of himself interpret brute facts is itself the denial of God as creator. We need therefore to challenge the very idea of brute fact. We need to challenge man's ability to interpret any fact unless that fact be created by God and unless man himself is created by God.
Therefore, evolutionary speculation is popularly followed, not due to any sterling scientific credentials, but because of the personal utility it offers in developing a desired philosophical-theological perspective. The doctrine of creation stands in diametric opposition to that perspective. According to the Pauline analysis of unregenerate man's intellectual and moral flight from God, a progression into apostasy is discernible. In Romans 1 we read that man responds to the clear revelation of God by holding down the truth and refusing to glorify God; he willfully reverses reality in his thoughts and bars (hinders) God's truth from his worldview (vss. 18, 21). This leads man into intellectual arrogance even though he is forced to engage in foolish reasoning; he is willing to propagate preposterous schemes and arguments to defend his reversal of reality(vss. 21b, 22). And in the long run man is driven to fabricate a substitute God. For the living and true God who was barred from thought; this manufactured god will be fashioned from the created order, so that unbelieving man ends up worshipping the creation rather than the Creator (vss. 23, 25). A short study of the rise of evolutionary speculation and its effects will educe the same pattern as drawn by Paul, thereby providing us with an understanding of its popularity and a light in which to view it.
Precursors to the Advent of Darwinism
Three years before Charles Darwin was born, Johann Gottlieb Fichte declared: "The assumption of a creation is the fundamental mistake of all false metaphysics and religious doctrine...." Christianity is in error at base, for it teaches that God created the world. To understand Fichte's prohibition of creation, it is helpful to remember the philosophic milieu in which he wrote.
The tenor of philosophy since Descartes has been to take man as the focal point of reason, and anything that transcends man's world as much as a creator of everything determinate is called unintelligible. Therefore, in a uniquely modern sense the problem of the relation between God and the world is an epistemological problem, the problem specifically of how man's reason can know something that transcends it.
Immanuel Kant, obviating the meaning of his given name, elaborated upon man's inability to know God due to His utter transcendence beyond sensory experience. In Kant's Critique Of Pure Reason(1781), the division treating "Transcendental Dialectic" contains a section entitled "Critique of All Theology." Therein Kant explains why we are prevented any knowledge of a transcendent God:
All synthetic principles of reason allow only of an immanent employment; and in order to have knowledge of a supreme being we should have to put them to a transcendent use, for which our understanding is in no way fitted.
Previously he had laid down the principle that no objects can be represented through pure concepts of understanding, apart from the conditions of sensibility. For the conditions of the objective reality of the concepts are then absent, and nothing is to be found in them save the mere form of thought. If, however, they are applied to appearances, they can be Exhibited In Concreto, because in the appearances, they obtain the appropriate material for concepts of experience.
In the preface to the second edition (1787) Kant provided a handy summary of the "Transcendental Analytic." This summary elucidates the previous quotes:
That space and time are only forms of sensible intuition, and so only conditions of the existence of things as appearances, and that we can therefore have no knowledge of any object as thing, in itself, but only in so far as it is an object of sensible intuition, that is, an appearance - all this is proved in the analytical part of the Critique.
Space and time are the forms of sensibility, and an object can be understood by us only if it meets the conditions of space and time; synthetic reason can deal only with appearances, that is, concrete concepts of experience. Since God is beyond space and time, He cannot be immanent to us, and thus He cannot be known through man's reason. The concepts of understanding (viz., the categories) are only the subjective, ordering forms utilized by reason; of themselves they are empty and cannot give knowledge of an object for thought - much less a transcendent object. Hence experience must supply concrete material for the ordering of understanding, but God is beyond spatio-temporal experience. Thus, Kant has erected a firm fortress against any knowledge of God the Creator.
We are wont to understand by the concept of God...a supreme being who through understanding and freedom is the Author of all things...[However] through concepts alone, it is quite impossible to advance to the discovery of new objects and supernatural beings; and it is useless to appeal to experience, which in all cases yields onlyappearances.
As a noumenal object, God cannot be immanently known by man in or through phenomenal objects and thought; A Creator God would transcend the spatio-temporal world; therefore, there can be no clear indication of His creative operation in the experienced world, and man's intellect cannot know Him as Creator. No unambiguous revelation of His divinity and creative power is possible. God cannot have contact with the phenomenal world.
The German pietist philosopher, C.A. Crusius, exercised an important formative influence upon Kant's thought, as recent research has uncovered. Crusius stressed the limits of human understanding and rejected all theoretical arguments for God's existence (two thrusts which are ironically contradictory); only moral evidence, according to him, could lead us to God, a notion which is beyond the power of man's reason to understand; In these things Kant agreed. Kant likely also learned from Crusius' teaching that God's existence is the necessary foundation for cosmology. When Kant, therefore, made God unknowable, he placed cosmology outside the limits of philosophical understanding as well. Kant laid heavy strictures against any pursuit of speculative cosmology in the Critique of Pure Reason, having abandoned his own youthful cosmological speculations, and subsequent to Kant the enterprise of cosmology more and more took on a new countenance-a scientific task based upon observational findings. Fichte, although early trained in a pastor's home, was more greatly influenced by Kant, Lessing, and Spinoza, Fichte traveled to Konigsberg to meet and consult with Kant, and he dedicated his Critique Of All Revelationto "The Philosopher" (intending by that appellation Immanuel Kant) - although the reading public mistook the book, which was published anonymously at first, to be by Kant himself. In light of Kant's rejection of any clear revelation of the Creator in the phenomenal world and his denial of reason's ability to understand the notion of a transcendent Creator, we can understand Fichte's assertion that the ground error of all false metaphysics and religion is the doctrine of creation. Post-Kantian German idealism learned well the lesson that God cannot have any contact with the world as a transcendent agent or object of human understanding. Kant taught that time applied only to phenomena. "It has objective validity only in respect of appearances, these being things which we take as objects of our senses....Time is therefore a purely subjective condition of our human intuition." Fichte followed Kant in this conviction and concluded, "For pure reason everything is at once; time exists only in imagination." Thus the Ego was, for Fichte, outside of time. The moral will has communion and union with the infinite Ego by achieving, thus the subject-object integration through action in accordance with duty, unity of the primal Ego is restored. Since we attain essential oneness with this primal, infinite, timeless Ego, it is not surprising that Fichte should write, "Divinity itself enters again into thee, in its first and original form, as life, as thine own life that thou shouldst live and wiltlive." From such a statement we can see the veracity of Tsanoff's judgment, "The study of Lessing led Fichte to Spinoza, whose pantheism made a lasting impression upon his own systematic philosophical development."
Spinoza depicted the universe as an organic unity and denied a plurality of substances. Ultimate reality, as the one Substance, is all-inclusive; every determinate being lies within the one substantial being. This Substance is infinite and self-determining. Spinoza designated the organic whole of reality, the single substance, as God: "By God, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself" That is, a notion of substance synthesized from the medieval Aristotelian and Cartesian usages. Naturanaturans is simply God in se. Finite substance would be a contradiction; substance is ultimate being, absolutely independent, self-caused and eternally self-sustaining. Substance is in se, and everything is in it. Nature does have a multidimensionality, however, so that Natura Naturatais "all that follows from the necessity of God's nature... that is, all the modes of the attributes of God." God is both thinking and extended substance; mental events and physical objects are attributes of God. Since "God" is the name of the one unified substance whose other name is "Nature," the contrast between God and the world is obliterated; so Spinoza spoke of "Deus sive Natura." Nature exhibits the qualities attributed to God. Spinoza's originality is seen primarily in his willingness to accept the consequences of the unity of God andnature. By this immanentistic monism, in which God is equated with nature and all things are in God, the Creator/creature distinction completely evaporates; the creation is given divine status.
Kant's phenomenalism and Spinoza's pantheism were crucial influences on Fichte's thinking. In turn, Fichte's philosophy aroused the interest of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was instrumental in landing a teaching position for Fichte at the University of Jena. While a student at Leipzig, Goethe took great interest in the occult and religious mysticism. In addition to occultism and Fichte, the other great influences upon him were the philosophies of Kant and Spinoza. Goethe became one of Germany's most renowned men of letters: a poet, novelist, and scientist. Part I of Faust, Goethe's masterpiece, appeared the year before Darwin was born. Like Spinoza, Goethe was a pantheist, describing the universe as "the living garment" of God. He said that the universe expresses a creative force; however, God should not be thought to cause or control the world: "What sort of God would it be, who only pushed from without?"(Weltanschauliche Gedichte, 1815). Instead, God was the indwelling spirit of the world, its all-embracing actuality. Thus, No. 807 in Goethe's Maxims And Reflections declares that "We are pantheists when we study nature..." Arnulf Zweig comments that Goethe "held that God, being the inexorable order of nature, cannot have any personality or be in any sense outside the natural world." Against Spinoza, and in agreement with Kant, Goethe maintained that reason cannot attain an adequate knowledge of God. Goethe concurred with the teaching of determinism in both Spinoza and Kant, considering the idea of miracles (i.e., the immanent intervention in the world process by a supernatural God) as a "blasphemy against the great God." Goethe's work in science is worth noting with its relevance for evolution. He felt he had uncovered the secret principles by which nature operates, postulating that there was a primal plant that was manifoldly transformed through the metamorphosis of organisms, which he explained in turn by the principle that the whole of existence is "an eternal parting and uniting." Nature was constantly driven in an upward ascent, according to Goethe. "This upward striving Goethe believed to be a universal characteristic of nature. It Discloses itself...in the variations of similar organisms developing from a basic form." Charles Darwin was evidently familiar with and favorably impressed by Goethe's thought, for Darwin later described him as a "pathmaker."
In connection with the pantheistic views noted in the discussion above, it would be appropriate to make mention of the rise of panentheism in the philosophy of Karl C.F. Krause, a former student of Fichte's at Jena. Absolute Being, said Krause, is one with the world but not exhausted by it. God is the primordial being, the unity of all that exists. Krause said that the world was part of God, whose life is expressed through the organisms of the world and humanity. Reason and nature were taken to be subordinate beings within God which were supremely integrated in humanity. Individually, men have un-created and eternal souls; collectively, men should strive to imitate the divine life in the development of their social organizations - culminating in history's goal: the actualization of cosmic union between nature, reason, humanity, and God in an ideal League of Humanity. This evolutionary history, said Krause, is recapitulated in the progressive development of individual persons (from embryo, to infancy, to youth, to maturity, etc.), both reflecting the laws of divine organic life. The transition by which humanity would come of age was effected by two things according to Krause: Spinoza's discovery of the nature of being, and then Krause's own development of that insight. Historically the evolution of the divine organic life progressed from polytheism to monotheism, and then (in Krause's day) to panentheism, the ultimate truth that everything exists in God. Krause viewed the world's existence as stemming from the inner development of God's actuality, and he viewed individual men as partial embodiments of the divine - scheduled to reach organic completeness as all men enter into a common life. Such views would eventually be echoed in twentieth-century thought as well.
Georg W. F. Hegel accentuated the theme of becoming, progress, or developmentalism found in the philosophers previously surveyed. At Jena, Hegel completed his first major work, The Phenomenology of Mind, two years before Charles Darwin's birth. It begins to become quite evident that Darwin lived in an age saturated with process and evolutionary speculation. Hegel's universe was a unity of thought indwelt by universal Spirit, a rational whole with Absolute Spirit as its final reality. Reason is both the substance and the infinite energy of the universe. The key to nature and history ,said Hegel, was to see them as the rational dialectic of the Absolute Spirit as it moves to self-realization; that is, Absolute Spirit expresses a dialectic of being (from being to its antithesis, nothingness, and then to the synthesis of both in becoming) by objectivizing itself in nature and history. Thus, Hegel calls nature a temple of God filled by His presence. In order to avoid abstraction, Absolute Spirit requires otherness, over against which it can come to self-realization. From that perspective Hegel formulates a theory of the evolution of Absolute Spirit.
God as an abstraction is not the true God: only as the living process of positing His other, the World (which conceived in divine terms is His Son), and first in the Union with His other, as Spirit, can He be subject.
Hegel borrowed the model of the Trinity from his days as a theological student at Tubingen and presented it as the cosmic triad; he universalized the Trinity to embrace the entirety of world process. To understand this one must remember that according to Hegel, not only does Absolute Spirit objectivize itself in nature and history, but it also subjectivizes itself in individual, personal subjects, thereby allowing for union with God. For Hegel this means that there is no separation between finite and Absolute Spirit; religion is God's consciousness of himself through man's consciousness of Him. Consequently, if Absolute Spirit is to attain its goal of self-realization in and through the finite spirit which it immanently operates, the transcendent God of Christianity must be eradicated. In light of the objectivizing and subjectivizing movements of Absolute Spirit, the Trinity can be cosmically reformulated. Eric C. Rust describes this well in terms of Hegel's doctrine of creation:
For him, the Christian doctrine of Creation points to the eternal production of objective nature and subjective spirit whereby the Spirit fulfills its movement to self-determination. The Spirit begets the World, and in so doing becomes the World. Hence for Hegel, the World is the Son. As the World in its centers as "subjective spirit" comes to know the Spirit in nature and in the historical expressions of "objective spirit," the Son comes to know the Father and so the Spirit turns to, itself. The Biblical doctrine of the Son or Word as the creative principle through whom all things are created and sustained becomes universalized and conceived in pantheistic terms. The World is no order created out of nothing, but itself an expression of the divine Being. The abstract Essence which is Spirit and indeterminate seeks determination as Son. The World comes into being as Son, to whom the Father presents himself as object. Through the speculative knowledge of the subjective spirits in the world; the Spirit moves back to itself, full circle. Such knowledge is the Holy Spirit.
So creation for Hegel merely indicates that the world comes from God in the dialectical movement of God's own being. The doctrine of the incarnation, similarly , merely symbolizes "this essential unity of the divine nature with human nature." Hegel was a diligent student of Spinoza in his youth; to Spinoza's pantheism Hegel added the theme of process or becoming, thus fabricating an evolving God objectivized in the world and history. Saying that for Hegel "All comes from God and all is in God," Schmidt correctly denominates Hegel's viewpoint as "dialectical Panentheism." What is distinctive is not so much Hegel's antitranscendence and pantheistic thrusts, but his clear emphasis upon the dynamic category of historical process and becoming: God evolves through the unfolding of historical development.
In addition to the above line of thought (represented basically as German idealism),which was achieving widespread cultural influence in Darwin's century, there was also the thrust of materialism. It is a very short step from Hegel's view that the infinite is manifested in the finite to the view that it is a projection of the finite. Hegel's student, Ludwig A. Feuerbach, took that step in his materialistic interpretation of his former professor. In Feuerbach, process descended from the realm of self-determination by the Absolute Spirit to the level of determination by natural forces. His naturalistic humanism emphasizes the movement from being to becoming without Absolute Spirit and places man's temporal life at the center of the process. Feuerbach has a materialistic view of man: the ego was taken to be a real, sensible essence, and indeed the body was the totality of man's existence. Man is what he eats, to quote his 1850 statement. Turning Hegel upside-down, Feuerbach denied that sensibility was "an attribute of the idea" and proclaimed that "only a sensible being is a real, true, being." Thus in his famous work , The Essence Of Christianity. Feuerbach conceded, "I am nothing but a natural philosopher in the domain of mind." He retained an emphasis upon historical process, but he made it a function of the natural world. Man was placed at the culmination point of the natural process. "Man has his highest being, his God, in himself...in his essential nature, his species." Feuerbach confessed, "I, on the contrary, while reducing theology to anthropology, exalt anthropology into theology." God is simply a "wish-being," a projection of man's subjective longings. "Religion is the dream of the human mind." And for Feuerbach, "The culminating point of the principle of subjectivity is creation out of nothing.... Thus the creation of the world expresses nothing else than subjectivity, assuring itself of its own reality and infinity through the consciousness that the world is created, is a product of will." God and creation are together dissolved into human subjectivity; therefore, preparing the way for the defection of later theologians, Feuerbach decrees "Certainly the act of creation does not suffice to explain the existence of the world or matter (the two are not separable), but it is a total misconception to demand this of it." Creation by an objective, transcendent God is disqualified as an answer to origins. God is nothing more than the projection into the void of humanistic man's highest ideals for himself. A further insightful preparation for the destructive work of evolutionary speculation is found in Feuerbach's making "Anthropology the mystery of Christian Theology." With the undermining of biblical anthropology, then, evolutionary thought would critically affect the whole of Christian theology. The Essence Of Christianitylater appeared in English translation, being published in London five years prior to the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. Marx and Engels, following Feuerbach, transformed the dialectical process discussed by Hegel, regarding it as the movement of matter. Engels said that with one blow Feuerbach "placed materialism on the throne again." For Engels the dialectical movement in nature was seen "as an historical process;" thus, "the real unity of the world consists in its materiality, and this is proved not by a few juggling phrases but by a long and protracted development of philosophy and natural science." Karl Marx received a doctorate from Jena in the year that Feuerbach's above-mentioned work appeared in German publication; his thesis had been written on the early materialistic atomists, Epicurus and Democritus. As an atheistic Hegelian, Marx viewed history as a dialectical process of development, and he took criticism of religion as foundational to all true thinking. In 1848 he produced, with Engels, the influential Communist Manifesto, an expression of dialectical materialism. Marx was living in London and studying at the British Museum when Darwin's Origin of Species appeared. Forthrightly acknowledging affinities between Darwin's biological evolutionism and his own dialectical materialism, Marx proposed that Das Kapital(1867) be dedicated to Darwin, an "honor" Darwin prudently declined.
During the eighteenth century, materialism came to exercise a significant philosophical influence. The French encyclopedist, Denis Diderot, adopted the Heraclitean theory of flux, viewing the universe as a single, dynamic, physical system obeying immutable laws. He denied that any solution was reached in accounting for material phenomena by postulating a supernatural Creator. Instead, the transformation of the universe from chaos to ordered complexity was to be explained by the interaction of elementary particles. The historical development of life, consciousness, and thought from inert matter "overthrows all the schools of theology," said Diderot. By 1754 Diderot had devised a theory of natural selection (in "Thoughts on the Interpretation of Nature"); he hypothesized the sensitivity of matter to adaption, denied inexplicable gulfs between the natural orders (inorganic, organic, plant, animal, man), discussed the importance of inheritance of acquired characteristics in organic evolution, and (in "D'Alembert's Dream," composed in 1769) asserted that d'Alembert differed from a cow in terms of his peculiar evolution from parental germs. This monistic, energized, mechanized materialism was a clear foreshadowing of Darwin. "D'Alembert's Dream" was posthumously published one year before Darwin stepped on board H.M.S. Beagle, where he began his investigations as a naturalist, ultimately leading him to write On The Origin of Species. Along with Diderot, Julien de La Mettrie and Heinrich Dietrich d'Holbach both advanced the cause of mechanistic materialism during the 1700's. The former envisioned man as a self-moving machine (L'homme Machine, 1748) and advanced a theory of stimulus-response in organisms. The latter, writing Systeme De La Nature(1770)with such a pronounced anti-religious thrust that it had to be published under false name(for both author and city of publication), asserted that matter had been in eternal motion and that different worlds were developed, by uninterrupted causal determination in nature, through different distributions of matter and motion. Four years prior to Darwin's publication of Origin of Species, the German materialist, Ludwig Buchner, wrote his famous Kraft and Stoff, wherein he maintained that all theories of supernatural creation must be rejected, that natural law is inviolable, and that motion is the eternal, inseparable property of matter. His hard determinism forced him to reduce mind to brain and to advocate the release of criminals from punishment. Buchner viewed Darwin's later publication as a striking confirmation of his naturalistic monism and atheism; Darwin's system, he said, is
the most thoroughly naturalistic that can be imagined, and far more atheistic than that of his despised predecessor Lamarck, who admitted at least a general law of progress and development; whereas, according to Darwin, the whole development is due to the gradual summation of innumerable minute and accidental natural operations.
Buchner was so impressed with Darwinism that he changed the subtitle of his own work in the fifteenth edition to "Principles of the Natural Order in the Universe." Thus we observe that materialism (with its themes of antitranscendence, monism, and dynamic process), was exercising a pronounced sway before and during the period of Darwin. As seen in the previous survey, ideas and aspects of organic evolution were gaining popularity prior to the time of Charles Darwin. Among the immediate precursors to Darwin should be included the following. Comte de Buffon, who in the mid-eighteenth century challenged the classification method of Linnaeus, held that there was no radicald is continuity between species or between animal and vegetable kingdoms; he denied divine teleology in nature and in his main work , Histoire Naturelle, promoted the concept of a struggle for existence. Darwin designates Buffon "the first author who in modern times has treated [evolution] in a scientific spirit." Near the end of the eighteenth century, Chevalier de Lamarck saw life as possessing an immanent evolutionary drive throughout the historical process, formulated a law of use and disuse, and hypothesized the inheritance of acquired characteristics. A contemporary of Lamarck, E.G. Saint-Hilaire, advanced the idea of inherited influence of the environment upon the sudden production of new species (anticipating the later mutation theory of development). Robert Chambers anonymously issued a two volume study, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, between 1843 and 1846, in which he taught that a progressive complexity in living forms (as reflected in layers of sedimentary rock)pointed to the operation of organic creativity; he also maintained that cosmic evolution was a fact. The book became remarkably popular in amateur science circles, thereby drawing the wrath of the professionals. Herbert Spencer advocated a Lamarckian theory of evolution in his book Social Statistics, published nearly a decade before Charles Darwin went to print; survival of the fittest was a notion Spencer gave early endorsement. Another very relevant precursor to the theory set forth by Charles Darwin was the teaching of his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin. In Zoonamia, he contended that the whole of nature was a family having one parent, a "primal filament" which existed long ago; he said that "evolution" was carried on by means of hereditary, acquiredcharacteristics. The struggle for existence (depicted in his poem, "The Temple of Nature") is resolved through the metamorphosis of organisms whose sensitivity is stimulated by environmental factors. The key ideas of his grandson's theory were already present. It is to the credit of the older Darwin that he recognized the nature and source of the evolutionary hypothesis: "This idea of the gradual formation and improvement of the animal world accords with the observations of some modernphilosophers."
In an age where philosophers were expressing their antitranscendence in decrees against supernatural creation, where science was beginning to make an incursion into the field of cosmology, where a monistic elimination of the Creator/creature distinction was being carried out, where the parallel thrusts of materialism and dynamic historical process(developmentalism) were gaining prominence, one might think that theology was certainly averse to these anti-creationist forces. But that would not be entirely accurate. In 1830 Friedrich Schleiermacher was accusing the Mosaic account of creation of being a primitive, mythological notion and saying that the old record must not be treated ashistorical. He asked whether "the many revolutions in the province of philosophy as well as of the natural sciences, do not necessitate other definitions; in which case we need have no scruples in completely abandoning the credal expression." This capitulation of the authority of the revealed Scriptures to autonomous thought is made explicit by Schleiermacher:
The further elaboration of the doctrine of Creation in Dogmatics comes down to us from times when material even for natural science was taken from the Scriptures and when the elements of all higher knowledge lay hidden in Theology. Hence the complete separation of these two involves our handing over this subject to natural science, which, carrying its researches backward into time, may lead us back to the forces and masses that formed the world, or even further still.
He concedes to naturalistic science the sole right to answer the question of origins, and if science tells us that the Bible and orthodox creeds are mistaken, then so be it. Science has the last word, not biblical revelation. And as if this stance were not misguided enough, Schleiermacher goes on to mention, similar to the speculations we have examined above, the "evolving of the complex from the simple and of the organic from the elementary"; he says that "living mobile being must have existed and undergone a continuous development." As a further parallel between Schleiermacher - the father of theological liberalism and the philosophical tradition surrounding him, we should note that
The theology of religious liberalism was a theology of divine immanence. Total divine immanence is pantheism and the leaven of pantheism has been found in Schleiermacher, the first great theologian of religious liberalism.
Therefore, on all sides-philosophy, science, and theology - the way had been paved for the arrival of Darwinism in 1859. It is more than evident that Darwin's ideas were not novel; he simply painted a common philosophical and antitheistic position with a superficial cosmetic of scientific respectability. Charles Hodge was already aware, just a little over a decade after the appearance of Darwin'sOrigin of Species, that evolutionary speculation was surviving the critical attacks upon it because of its "essential harmony with the spirit of the age...." The acceptance of the theory of evolution stemmed from the milieu created by philosophic opinion-speculation fostered by men like Spinoza, Kant, Fichte, Goethe, Krause, Hegel, Feuerbach, Engels, Diderot, LaMettrie, d'Holbach, Buchner, and Schleiermacher; Darwin's scientific surmises had been anticipated by men like Buffon, Lamarck, Saint-Hilaire, Chambers, Spencer, and his own grandfather. Men were living in the age of Darwinism prior to the publication of Darwin's book. And the philosophic developments which appeared subsequent to the acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution had already been manifested by 1859.
Evolution as a Religious Presupposition
Charles Darwin had early in his life defected from the study of theology at Cambridge. Instead, he said in his autobiography, he had in him "a burning zeal to contribute to the noble structure of Natural Science." From 1831 to 1836 he worked as a "naturalist, without pay" upon the H.M.S. Beagle as it voyaged through the Southern Hemisphere. During the extended trip, Darwin polemicized freely with the ship's devout captain on religious matters and confirmed his doubts about the previous view of natural history, well illustrated by the assertion of John Ray (1627-1705), English naturalist and theologian, that "the number of true species in nature is fixed and limited . . . constant and unchangeable from the first creation to the present day." Darwin formulated his fundamental theory of evolution within two years of the end of the Beagle's voyage. By that time he had also declared the doctrine of everlasting punishment to be "a damnable doctrine" and rejected the veracity of the Gospels' miracle accounts. At the time of writing Origin of Species, Darwin was a rigorous opponent of any divine intervention in the course of nature; he called the doctrine of special creation "a curious illustration of the blindness of preconceived opinion" and banished any thought of divine control and direction (teleology) of historical development (cf. "no shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations... were intentionally and specially guided"). At best Darwin was a deist (which is, even at best, a full repudiation of God's natural and special revelation), but he later abandoned even this weak theological position for sheer agnosticism, saying "the whole subject is beyond the scope of man's intellect.... The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us" (thus admitting that his rationalistic theory required an irrationalistic foundation). Interestingly, the man who formulated the theory of natural selection simultaneously with Darwin, Alfred R. Wallace, broke with Darwin and announced that natural selection does not apply to man or his mental powers and that a spiritual essence came into action at the appearance of man (thus holding to theistic evolution: "A superior intelligence has guided the development of man in a definite direction, and for a special purpose....).Darwin immediately, though quietly, decried this view as a failure of nerve and a disdainful hankering for miracles. Nothing was to interfere with the determinism of natural law, and nothing was to break the continuity of man with the animal kingdom from which he evolved (i.e., man cannot be a unique being, a special creation - a view which repudiates the clear revelation of God internal to man as created in God's image). This outlook is just as essential to modern day evolutionism:
Teilhard points out that just as there is no absolute line of demarcation between the mega-molecule, the virus, and the living cell, so there is no absolute discontinuity between the animal's nervous system, the material support of its consciousness, and that of man.
It is clear, not only from Darwin's adherence to rigid uniformity (regarding both natural law and zoological taxonomy), but from his approach to biology as a neutral area of investigation, that his theory was a direct repudiation of Christian theism.
Darwin's wonderful image of the Tree of Life inspired biologists to see their subject as a unified field of study, while his example gave them the courage to think about it as a neutral field of study, untrammeled by extra-scientific conceptions.
Darwin would keep nature untrammeled by God and His clear revelation. Scripture declares that God's omnipotence and divinity are clearly revealed in the natural world; He is its Creator and Sustainer as well as the One in whose image we are specially created. Darwin's outlook was an attempt to efface this influence and revelation by suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
Quite obviously, then, evolution is a theory with far-reaching religious implications and commitments; its theological assumptions and effects cannot be overlooked. Evolutionists have understood the doctrine of creation as implying the death of all autonomousscience, and they affirm "it hardly needs saying that Darwinism is incompatible with any literal construction put upon either the Old Testament or the New Testament."Biblical creationism is accurately pitted against scientific evolutionism in their outlook. The logical antithesis between the two has always been recognized. In 1873 President Barnard of Columbia University explained, "If organic evolution were true, then the existence of God was impossible." We saw above that the German materialist, Buchner, took Darwinism to establish that conclusion. Only a year after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species Dr. Asa Gray wrote:
The proposition that things and events in nature were not designed to be so, if logically carried out, is doubtless tantamount to atheism.... If Mr. Darwin believes that the events which he supposes to have occurred and the results we behold were undirected and undesigned, or if the physicist believes that the natural forces to which he refers phenomena are uncaused and undirected, no argument is needed to show that such belief is atheistic.
The Presbyterian theologian, Robert L. Dabney, made a similar observation, saying, "If you persist in recognizing nothing but natural forces... it will land you, if you are consistent, no where short of absolute atheism." Because Darwinism attempts to obliterate or ignore the revelation of God the Creator in nature and man, Charles Hodge said of it, "The system is thoroughly atheistic - as much as that of Epicurus and Comte. By opposing the biblical account of creation and denying the evidences for creation in the world, evolutionism was properly understood to be contrary to Christian theism. Darwinism is a religious doctrine (since it teaches something about theology and revelation) inclusive of biological speculation; it is in competition with the theological system of Scripture. T. H. Huxley, "Darwin's bulldog," was an avid follower of the unity-of-science thesis, materialistic determinism (identifying mental events as brain processes), and Spinoza's conception of god. Huxley fully realized that, by his endorsement of evolution, he had to take up arms against scriptural teaching; he had chosen certain assumptions and methods and proceeded upon a journey to explore the province of natural knowledge,
yet I found that, whatever route I took, before long I came to a tall formidable-looking fence. Confident as I might be in the existence of an ancient and indefeasible right of way, before me stood the thorny barrier with its comminatory notice board - "No thoroughfare - By order, Moses."... The only alternatives were to give up my journey which I was not minded to do - or to break the fence down and go through it.
And so Huxley, preferring to stick to his autonomous presuppositions and aims, denounced the Mosaic teaching about the creation of the world by the transcendent, personal God. Therefore, the popular reception of Darwinian evolution came about because Darwin was riding the crest of a wave that was already crashing forcefully upon the shores of nineteenth-century thought. There were two tides from which this wave surged. First, there was current philosophical speculation for which he, by concretely embodying it in afield of venerated interest, gained the respectability of purported scientific verification.
As we have pointed out, in the nineteenth century the concept of development was in the air. Darwinism caught this interest and focused it on a specific biological problem; in doing so it brought to bear an immense amount of concrete evidence and so "proved"...what had earlier been only a philosophical hypothesis.
Secondly, there was the ground swell of an urge to find a way of eliminating Scripture's creationist teaching and to put out of mind the influence of God, Huxley admitted this freely:
We wanted not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions. The Origin provided us with the working-hypothesis we sought. Moreover, it did us the immense service of freeing us forever from the dilemma - refuse to accept the Creation hypothesis and what have you to propose that can be accepted by any cautious reasoner?
Whether true or not, Darwin's theory revealed a way to avoid creationism; Huxley hailed Origin of Species as "a flash of light which, to a man who has lost himself in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road that, whether it takes him straight home or not, certainly goes his way " Wilbert H. Rusch has correctly analyzed the situation in saying:
So it seems as if Darwin's prime claim to fame lies in this, that at the precise time when fear and dislike of God was on the increase he happened to synthesize the previous evolution theories into a single presentation, clothing it in a hypothesis that seemed adequate to explain the marvelous adaption of living things, by the mere action of natural forces, without the necessity of bringing in divine intervention.
Almost a century ago, Robert L. Dabney concluded that, "'Darwinism' happens just now to be the current manifestation, which the fashion of the day gives to the permanentanti-theistic tendency in sinful man." By comparing evolution's advantages to creationism, said George Bernard Shaw, "the world jumped at Darwin." Surely it did. The first edition of Origin of Species, consisting of 1250 copies, made its publication appearance on November 24, 1859 - and sold out on the first day, much to the surprise of his publisher, John Murray, who had originally suggested that Darwin write a book about pigeons instead of evolution.
As bringing together the rising philosophy of antitranscendent world process and the popular desire to eradicate the teaching of Scripture, evolutionism was a religious position. As a new interpretive worldview, evolutionism was a presupposition (rather than a scientifically established truth). Evolution was not suggested simply by an examination of the known facts; it arose, as Darwin disclosed, only after a speculative, postulated theory had provided him with the crucial plank for his own theory. In his autobiography he says that the supposition he needed for explaining specie origination came when, "In October 1838, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population." T. R. Malthus wrote two important essays on the principles of population wherein he expounded a supposed struggle for existence that promised population doom instead of the utopian vision seen by some (e.g., Rousseau, who was known by Malthus' father). Malthus was an alarmist who set forth a speculative thesis which, by myopic restriction of the factors playing upon population, has been demonstrated to be false in terms of biology and history. Darwin says that in reading Malthus, "it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones destroyed. The result of this would be a new species. Here then I had a theory by which to work." (Significantly , A. R. Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection, had also come to this conclusion by reading Malthus, as he states in his autobiography, My Life), In Origin of Species he said, "it is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetablekingdom." Thus it turns out that Darwin's biological insight stems from sociological guesswork (and a false guess at that). It comes as no surprise to learn, then, that when Darwin got around to elaborating his theory of natural selection (for which the speculation of Malthus gave the hint) he said, "In order to make it clear how, as I believe, natural selection acts, I must beg permission to give one or two imanginar illustrations." Darwin would not have had to beg his readers' permission if he would have had biological evidence as backing for his theory. The fact is that Darwinism, despite its boast of scientific proof, is a theory erected upon a speculative supposition and supported by imaginary evidence; it does not establish historical factuality but merely gives us a "way of looking" at the world. Darwin, knowing that he had no direct evidence for evolution, said that the theory was unsatisfactory unless its mechanism could be explained; his explanation (in contrast to that of Lamarck, which he unkindly ridiculed) was natural selection. Darwin's comment is misleading: for a theory which merely shows how something might have happened would still be quite unsatisfactory as grounds for holding that the process was historically operative and as a foundation for further research and scientific conclusions. But that logical flaw can be overlooked. In the face of Jenkin's refutation of natural selection as the explanation of specie origination Darwin was forced to abandon even this possibility. Darwin wrote, "Fleeming Jenkin has given me much trouble," and he later had to admit to Wallace: "Jenkin argued in the North British Review against single variations ever being perpetuated, and has convinced me." Not many people are aware that Darwin was forced to retreat to Lamarck's notion of inheritance of acquired characteristics and the pangenes (Darwin called them "gemmules")theory of Democritus (c. 400 B.C.). Democritus was refuted by Aristotle, and Lamarckwas refuted by Mendel's laws, August Weismann, and modern genetics. It made little difference that Darwin had earlier laughed at Lamarck's suggested mechanism. Explaining a mechanism was the only way to support evolution and the theory of evolution had to be salvaged (even at the cost of possible embarrassment); it was not the facts but the "way of looking": which was important. Thus, Darwin ran from imagination (Malthus) to imagination (natural selection) to imagination (Lamarckianism), for men will rather be sent on a fool's errand than to obey and submit to the revelation of the living God. The conflict between Darwinism and biblical Christianity was a conflict between presuppositions - between foolish imagination and God's clear revelation. Because the evolutionary commitment ran so deeply in people, they were ready to affirm Darwinism(i.e., anticreationism) no matter what the facts might be; the facts were (as always)interpreted in the light of one's presuppositions. Within seven months of the publication of Origin of Species, Darwin's book had been thoroughly refuted. In the June and July issues of Frazer's Magazine for 1860, William Hopkins unmasked Darwin's pseudo-scientific demonstration, pointing out that Darwin had not adduced a single fact in proof of his theory; Darwin's book was an instance of sheer philosophical speculation and not a treatise in serious science. In the July issue of the American Journal for 1860, the internationally renowned naturalist, Louis Agassiz, controverted the evolutionary theory from the geological record, saying that there was no evidence of transmutation and uninterrupted blending of types but instead of definite specie classifications; he concluded:
Until the facts of nature are shown to have been mistaken by those who have collected them, and that they have a different meaning from that now generally assigned to them, I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory as a scientific mistake, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, and mischievous in its tendency [p. 154].
In the Proceedings of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool during the Fiftieth Session (1860-1861), Dr. Collingwood defends the criticism leveled by Agassiz against evolution in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History. And thus within a year an abundance of stringent rebuttals of Darwin's book were being published. And the evolutionists fully recognized their lack of scientific footing. In the fifth edition of Origin of Species, Darwin conceded that "the several difficulties" with his thesis (including the geological refutation) were "all undoubtedly of the most serious nature." Huxley recognized the same:
In answer to the question "What does an impartial survey of the positively ascertained truths of paleontology testify in relation to the common doctrines of progressive modification?" I reply...It negatives these doctrines, for it either shows us no evidence of such modification or demonstrates such modification as has occurred to have been very slight.
And yet these men continued to hold and propagate evolutionary commitments. So firm was Huxley's presupposition of evolution that in one assertion he tells us that the utter lack of evidence for natural selection is surely no bias against Darwin's views! In the course of a lecture before the British Association, Huxley demonstrated that spontaneous generation had never been proven; yet he said that, if he looked into the far past, he expected to find "the evolution of living protoplasm from not living matter." Lack of evidence was no hindrance to belief in evolution; this is evident. But why shouldn't a lack of concrete evidence hinder a belief in evolution? It is instructive to note how Darwin answered objections to his theory. He granted that the difficulty with supposing mind to have evolved from matter was "insuperably great" and of supposing a complex organ like the eye to have developed through natural selection was "enough to stagger any one." He responded to these and many other tenacious defects by appealing to "supposition," saying that "there is no logicalimpossibility" in his supposition, and then depending on the unlimited duration of "the long course of ages." He says:
The chief cause of our natural unwillingness to admit that one species has given birth to other and distinct species, is that... the mind cannot possibly grasp the full meaning of the term of even ten million years; it cannot add up and perceive the full effects of many slight variations accumulated during an almost infinite number of generations.
That is, Darwin's only defense was to revert to the fundamental presuppositions of his thought: abstract formal logic correlated with historical contingency. His imagination postulated an anti-creationist theory. The theory meets the criteria of possibility(logic) and, given that chance is operative over an infinitely long period, anything can happen. Therefore, evolution is indefeasible. However, a great price has to be paid for this Pyrrhic victory. The principles of unity and identity involved in formal logic either cancel or they obviate any interaction with the principles of diversity and difference involved in contingency, and vice versa. Either the particularity of the world is illusory or its intelligibility is precluded. If evolution took place, then it cannot be understood rationally, if evolution can be understood, it cannot have taken place. By founding his speculation in a dialectic of abstract unity and unrelated diversity, of rationalism and irrationalism, the evolutionist impales himself on the horns of a relentless dilemma. He answers the difficulties with his theory by retreating to ever greater difficulties; whereas it seems that the evolutionist was not predicating things truly of man's origin, now the evolutionist cannot predicate anything at all. Not only was Darwin's theory a matter of philosophical speculation rather than scientific investigation, it was a philosophy founded upon self-vitiating presuppositions. Such is perennially the foolish price paid for suppressing the clearly revealed truth about God the Creator. Thomas Kuhn explains that when a group of thinkers who endorse a particular model for their field (permitting coherence between the various facts, methodological procedures and standards, evaluative norms, etc.) are confronted with a disturbing anomaly which does not fit the pattern expected, novel thinking leads to the replacement of the previous model. The older theoretical model, which had been useful for organizing and disciplining (through methods and criteria) the field, is now replaced by a new paradigm which, while incompatible with the previous point of view is not perplexed with the newly perceived anomaly, simply because the fundamentals of the field of inquiry have been reconstructed in order to deal with the anomaly. As the title of Kuhn's book indicates, this is The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The British physicist, John Tyndall, was a naturalistic agnostic influenced by the philosophy of Fichte; he is well known from two famous speeches he delivered : "The Scientific Uses of Imagination" (1870) and the Presidential Address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1874). He maintained that although there is no evidence for spontaneous generation, one who believes in the continuity of nature must "cross the boundary of the experimental evidence" and affirm that life and mind were latent in matter; in this way evolution can replace the creation doctrine, (This would seem to require that "simple" matter was actually fantastically complex, thus negating the "simple to the complex" theory of development.) However,
the process must be slow which commends the hypothesis of natural evolution to the public mind. For what are the core and essence of this hypothesis? Strip it bare, and you stand face to face with the notion, that the human mind itself - emotion, intellect, will, and all their phenomena - were once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely the mere statement of such a notion is more than a refutation.... Surely these notions represent an absurdity too monstrous to be entertained by any sane mind.... These evolution notions are absurd, monstrous....
Despite this fact, Tyndall promoted evolutionary commitment with zeal. The acceptance of evolution would require a radical readjustment of our patterns of thought in order to escape its appearance of absurdity. We must drop, said Tyndall, the distinction between mind and matter and "consider them, in fact, as two opposite faces of the same great mystery... the Eternal Fact of the Universe." This suggestion certainly flies in the face of a most obvious difference between the attributes of mental processes and the attributes of material processes, and the difference between the informal logic of mind-discourse and that of matter-discourse, but the replacement of the previous paradigm with a new model is justified by the great need the naturalist has to affirm evolution. Tyndall tells us that men were ready to alter their presuppositions in order to secure the evolutionary theory: "Without this total Revolution of the notions now prevalent, the evolution hypothesis must stand condemned; but in many profoundly thoughtful minds such a revolution has already occurred." Along with this, we should add the observation that even T.A. Goudge concedes that Darwinism was opposed at first because new modes of explanation, new conceptions, new procedures, and new standards of proof were used to buttress the argument for evolution (i.e., it required anew paradigm of thought for science); by 1880, however, says Goudge, the older model had been supplanted by the evolutionary one. M.O. Beckner concurs that the advent of Darwinism was accompanied by "differences between the climate of opinion - the ordinary presuppositions, ideas about the proper pattern of argument, assumptions as to proper method, in short, the worldview which separates pre-Darwinian science from that of today. The acceptance of evolutionary speculation was not grounded on any sterling scientific credentials which the theory could present; it required nothing less than a "scientific revolution." In this way, evolutionary speculation came to exercise an influence upon philosophy - encouraging it in its progressive obsession with an orientation toward process, Eric Rust points out:
From being a useful concept for the understanding of biological delight of development, "evolution" came to be regarded as a model in the which the universe might be comprehended. The ambitious attempt of Herbert Spencer to construct a philosophical system in this way stands as an indication of how soon the "model" caught fire in philosophical circles.
Therefore, we must conclude that the theory of evolution was taken to be a Presupposition in terms of which the scientific evidence had to be interpreted, rather than a scientific proposal subject to the restraint of the evidence. Kaminsky correctly observes: "It is fairly clear that the theory of evolution had the same logical status for Spencer as the dialectic had for Hegel: no evidence was to be allowed to repudiate the doctrine." This was undeniably the case in Darwin's own day, and it is still the case today. Evolutionism has not surmounted the strong arguments that were initially brought against it. It still cannot explain the mechanism of evolution, the taxonomic gaps of the fossil record, avoid contradictions with known genetic principles, explain the appearance or (in light of entropy) eternality of matter, the emergence of life, the emergence of self-conscious intelligence, or the emergence of morality. The modern evolutionist is just as gratuitous in his commitments as the evolutionist of last century ... For example, Theodosius Dobzhansky claims to be able to explain evolution "if the assumption is made that life arose from matter only once." Dr. Thompson says in his Introduction to a current edition of Origin of Species "Personal convictions... are presented as if they were proofs." Scientists still recognize the inalienable laws of the theory; for example, Paul Westmeyer declares: "Evolution is useful but it is amyth." Yet evolution continues to be propagated, as Paul Lemoine complains:
The theories of evolution with which our studious youth have been deceived, constitute actually a dogma that all the world continues to teach; but each in his specialty, the zoologist or the botanists ascertains that none of the explanations furnished are adequate.... It results from this summary that the theory of evolution is impossible.... But evolution is a sort of dogma which the priests do not believe, but maintain for theirpeople.
The presuppositional status of the evolutionary theory is perhaps nowhere quite as obvious as in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He says that even if all the specific content of the evolutionary explanation of life were to be demolished, evolution would still have to be taken as our fundamental vision; defenders of evolution "must never let themselves be detected into secondary discussions of the scientific 'hows' and the metaphysical 'whys.'" Evolution has become the unassailable, authoritative, logically primitive standard of truth: "Evolution has long since ceased to be a hypothesis and become a general epistemological condition... which must henceforth be satisfied by every hypothesis." Instead of Jehovah's revelation, evolution has become the light in which men shall see light, for Teilhard confesses his faith in evolution as "a Light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow." We had occasion above to indicate the religious character of this evolutionary presupposition. Jones noticed that scientists had "elevated Darwinism to the level of a religious dogma," and Thompson concurs that "the concept of organic evolution was an object of genuinely religiousdevotion." The central thrust of the religion of evolution is to bar God's revelation from the universe, and from man's thought.
There is neither need nor excuse for postulation of non-material intervention in the origin of life, the rise of man, or any other part of the long history of the material cosmos. Yet the origin of that cosmos and the causal principles of its history remain unexplained and inaccessible to science.
It would be better, according to evolutionary standards, to leave the question of origins unanswered than to confess the existence of the Creator God. A classic example of just this sort of religious apriorism is Karl Marx's attitude. In the early manuscript, "Private Property and Communism," part of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, he denied the legitimacy of the question, "Who begot the first man, and nature as a whole? I can only answer you: Your question is a product of abstraction." These kinds of questions are dangerous to consistent religious evolutionists; Evolutionary speculation, just as much as Kant's immanentistic phenomenalism, is the natural man's ploy to keep the Creator's clear revelation suppressed and unacknowledged; Darwin gave illustration of this fact, maintaining openly in his second book, The Decent of Man, that man did not have any instinctive belief in God and denying that man's moral sense was God-given."
Defection, Process, and Pantheism
One of the saddest chapters in the history of the rise of evolutionary philosophy and theology is the defection of so many major theologians in the face of Darwinism's driving onslaught. The attitude of Arthur Conan Doyle, that "Christianity must change or perish," was assimilated into the theological thinking of many men. By 1925 asymposium of clergymen declared unflinchingly that when science changes, so mustorthodoxy. Another "Babylonian Captivity" for the people of God had begun. Theologians declared that the question of origins had to be settled by biology and anthropology, not scriptural exegesis. The church was warned against resisting Darwinism: "To call Himself reasonably well educated and informed, a Christian can hardly afford not to believe in evolution.... And to announce that you do not believe in evolution is as irrational as to announce that you do not believe in electricity." Christian philosophers of religion like John Hick now proclaim that creationism "can no longer be regarded as a reasonable belief." Emil Brunner grants science a privileged position of safety, saying, "We have to stress the fact that modern science (and this means the theory of Evolution) ought not to be opposed in the name of religion." Paul Tillich turns God's revelation away from the objective realm of the world altogether:
Knowledge of revelation does not increase our knowledge about the structures of nature, history, and man... For the physicist the revelatory knowledge of creation neither adds to nor subtracts from his scientific description of the natural structure of things.... If revealed knowledge did interfere with ordinary knowledge, it would destroy scientific honesty and methodological humility. It would exhibit demonic possession, not divinerevelation.
Although Karl Barth wrote four volumes on the doctrine of creation, he decried any connection between his exposition and the conclusions of science (Church Dofmatics,III/1, vii-viii)! Thielicke explains this outlook, saying, "Faith and science do not contradict each other at all simply because the assertions they make lie upon completely different levels." What then are we to make of the biblical creation accounts? Their "truthfulness" has been salvaged and made immune from attack, not by a presuppositional apologetic which forces their claims home to the heart of man as the necessary condition of all knowledge and understanding, and as resting in the unavoidable and perspicuous revelation of God in nature and Scripture, but by holding hat they are not historical accounts at all. Indeed, Ronald Hepburn says, "It is of only secondary interest whether the world had a literal beginning, a first moment." Supposedly the first text of God's inspired word is irrelevant to what follows! The real meaning of Genesis is not to be found in cosmology any longer but strictly in subjective theological feeling, as Langdon Gilkey teaches in Maker of Heaven and Earth:
The Christian doctrine of creation, therefore, expresses in theoretical language those positive religious affirmations which biblical faith in God makes in response to the mystery of the meaning and destiny of our creaturely finitude. This is what the Christian means when he says, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." This is what the idea of creatio ex nihilo is essentially "about."
According to Barth, the internal meaning of creation is the covenant of grace in Christ, which is simply another example of his severe Christomonism. This evaporation of historical declaration in Genesis and subjectivizing of its teaching is one form of the theologians' utter deference to the forces of evolutionary speculation. The other form of abject subjection to autonomous science which post Darwinian theology took was the reinterpretation of Christianity in evolutionary categories. This kind of response to Darwinism began very early and later finds very striking parallels to the thought of Teilhard. In 1876 M.J. Savage penned The Religion of Evolution in order to teach that the God who is working in evolutionary process is both the beginning and the end thereof. Two Scottish-born theologians, James McCosh and Henry Drummond, taught that the work of spirit was the last and highest operation in a series of advances, that the whole system of nature is moving toward decreased quantity but increased quality, and that evolution elevates man to the position of the final goal of life. Lyman Abbott made an attempt to synthesize Christianity with evolution by saying that both evolution and theology aim to explain "God's way of doing things," which is really only one way of doing things at base. "His way may be described in one word as the way of growth, or development, or evolution...." The price of this bewitching compromise, the destination toward which this path of a golden mean leads-the cash-value of this bargain - was the enslavement of theology: "In so far as the theologian and evolutionist differ in their interpretation of the history of life... I agree with the evolutionist." This shall always be the outcome when a theologian abandons his firm presuppositional foundation and attempts to come to terms with his opponents on (allegedly) neutral ground; in actuality the compromise is constantly enacted on the opponent's grounds, and the theologian has lost his sure footing. This is something the present-day advocates of theistic evolution should reflect upon with all due seriousness. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain by accommodating the theory of evolution, for at base it is nothing less than a totally anti-biblical religious presupposition. It is hard to know what legitimate grounds or motive Claus Westerman, for instance, could have in saying, "The concept of evolution is included in the course of creation. The proposals for theistic evolution by men like L. Harold De Wolf and Jan Lever are accompanied by the infection of heterodox exegesis and theological aberration, which certainly cannot bring health to the church and its dogma as hoped. R.A. Quebedeaux mentions that a group of younger evangelicals in this day are evidencing an "increasing friendliness to modern science" through "mounting acceptance of theistic evolution in some form." The surrender of biblical epistemology to an internally incongruous, centaur-like concept like theistic evolution manifests a lamentable theological shortsightedness. In light of the cultural aftermath of evolutionary thinking(for example, relativism, decreased scientific integrity, pragmatism, the suppression of the individual in the interests of race, and secularization), it is highly ironic to find such a compromise in a group of men desirous of bringing the effects of Christianity to bear upon the world. Genuine Christian reconstruction in all areas of life cannot begin to be accomplished without genuinely biblical building materials. The former methods of theological defection from the epistemistic lordship of Christ, and from the responsibility to maintain the faith once delivered unto the saints, were (1) abandoning the world, and (2) subjectivizing exegesis. The later methods of defection were: (1) becoming absorbed in the world, and (2)compromising exegesis. But by far the greatest capitulation to evolutionary speculation is expressed in the contemporary move to draw God into the developmental process. Canon Charles Kingsley maintained that Darwin allowed theologians to get "rid of an interfering God - a master-magician, as I call it," in favor of an "immanent, ever-working God." Beckner correctly commented:
The final step in this direction was to give God an even more intimate metaphysical connection with natural process. This step had been taken by previous philosophers - Spinoza and Hegel, for example; but it was repeated under the aegis of Darwinism by Bergson, Whitehead, and a number of Protestant thinkers.
The development of process thought in this century and its absorption by recent theologians brings the anti-creationist theory of evolution and its philosophic roots to full fruition in nothing less than pantheism. Benedetto Croce, the Italian neo-idealist, maintained that the historical process of becoming (taught by Hegel) was the sole reality. His immanentism made man the focal manifestation of thinking spirit, since individual minds were Spirit thinking, history becomes philosophy, and philosophy removes from religion all reason for existing. Religion is submerged in the process of history. The concept of emergence was introduced by C. Lloyd Morgan and Samuel Alexander. Morgan had studied under T.H. Huxley and felt that a philosophic metaphysic should be explicitly formulated to be placed behind evolution. Both he and Alexander took evolution for their controlling metaphysical model and held that life and mind emerged from space-time matter. At a certain point of complexity, the evolving matter takes on a novel, qualitative attribute; thus, Alexander says that ascent takes place through complexity, but at each change of quality the complexity gathers itself into a new simplicity. The two greatest intellectual influences upon Alexander were Einstein and Spinoza (he said he would be content if "Erravit cum Spinoza" were written on his funeral urn). Spinoza's pantheism came to expression in Alexander's view that deity is "the next highest emergent quality which the universe is engaged in bringing to birth." "As actual, God does not possess the quality of deity but is the universe as tending to that quality." Thus, Alexander formulated the idea of the universe as "God's body" and believed in an evolving deity.
Henri Bergson was born the year that Darwin's Origin of Species was published, and he was influenced greatly by Spencer early in his life. He had interests similar to those of Wallace, for he was once the president of the Society for Psychical Research. Ultimate reality is characterized by change, just as Heraclitus held, said Bergson; however, ultimate becoming is not cyclic (as with the ancient Greek philosophers) but a directed process in time. Bergson postulated an immanent "elan vital" (life-force) throughout the historical process. In contrast to Morgan and Alexander, Bergson said that the direction of emergence was from the life-dynamic to matter (rather than from matter to life and mind). In Creative Evolution, however, Bergson revealed that his differences with the other two thinkers was only a family squabble, for he affirmed a pantheism just as they did. Drawing inspiration from Plotinus, Bergson identified God with the elan vital, a current of consciousness which penetrates matter and gives rise to living bodies as well as determining the course of their evolution, the central purpose of which is man.
In connection with emergentism, it is noteworthy that its view that some events and changes are abruptly discontinuous with the past is inherently at odds with the key assumption of organic evolution. (It was the element of discontinuity - the mind of man - in Wallace's theory that so alienated Darwin.) This inconsistency has been unmasked by Wolfgang Kohler; however, Kohler realizes that in order to account for those factors which inspired the formulation of the emergentistic theory (especially mental qualities and events), he needs to hold to a form of pan-psychism. In light of this resolution to the problem of accounting for mentality on the assumptions of materialism and the continuity of natural development, the comment made by Charles Hodge a century ago was both astute and prophetic. In response to the absurdity that mind should evolve from inorganic matter, Hodge said:
If you only spiritualize matter until it becomes mind, the absurdity disappears. And so do materialism, and spontaneous generation, and the whole array of scientific doctrines. If matter becomes mind, mind is God, and God is everything. Thus the monster Pantheism swallows up science and its votaries.
In terms of the history of thought Hodge was exactly right. Materialism and evolutionism, in order to account for mental qualities in reality, have been pressed to either emergentism (and ensuing pantheism) or to panpsychism (which is functually equivalent to pantheism). Evolutionary materialism evolves into pantheism! Alfred North Whitehead was one of the most significant logicians, mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists of this century; he was born only two years after the appearance of Darwin's first book. According to his metaphysic, the universe is an organism of events (rather than a collection of material things spatio-temporally and externally related - as in the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness"). He thought that evolutionary philosophy repudiated materialism in favor of a process view of reality, wherein the "actual entities" or ultimate facts of nature are events, grouped into an interconnected network of apprehensions. Mind pervades everything, and every event has a feeling for everything else; here, then, is panpsychism again. Eternal objects, for Whitehead, are dynamic essences which "ingress" in actual entities and give them their differentiated natures by supplying a subjective aim for the event and integrating its feelings into a "concrescence." Whitehead takes creativity to be ultimate reality, and so each actual event is self-creative. God is a unique actual event, the first emergent of creativity, the principle of concretion (the arranger of the eternal objects). There is a physical pole in God, His experiencing of the actuality of historical events; by this He acquires realization of His consequent nature. This sounds somewhat like Hegel's Absolute Spirit which moves from abstract being through dialectic to self-determination. Also like Hegel, Whitehead says that "the world lives by its incarnation of God initself." This might also be likened to a dynamic version of Spinoza's Substance: "God and the World are the contrasted opposites in terms of which Creativity achieves its supreme task of transforming disjoined multiplicity... into concrescent unity." Whitehead has developed a pantheism of creativity wherein God and the world are mutually necessary (the former as the arranger of eternal objects, the latter as the consequent nature corresponding to God's primordial being). God is an evolving event, the "great companion - the fellow sufferer who understands." "Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things."
Process philosophy, then, has a heavy element of religious dogmatizing in it. Whitehead claimed to have fused religion and science, emotional and conceptual experience, in his one-substance ontology. His metaphysic was based on descriptive generalization; he formulated his system to satisfy rational demands, to challenge (as a scientist) the assumptions of traditional physics, to make human feeling the root metaphor of a universally extended worldview. His theology was based on religious and moral intuition, asserting that a dipolar and finite god was involved in reciprocal interactions with world process. Whitehead seemed to hold out something for every school of thought. Later in the twentieth century, a theological cult would develop around Whitehead's thought, and even though it had abandoned biblical epistemology and metaphysics, it would present itself as salvaging Christian thought. Whitehead was in the same tradition as Alexander, Lloyd Morgan, and Bergson; his reputation ranked with Russell and Carnap. He was not anti-metaphysical; he did not fault God-talk. However, Whitehead's renowned philosophy could restore religion only by replacing the living God with a no-god, a "nothing," a "wind and confusion," which "made not the heavens" and thus cannot save (Isa. 41:24,29; 45:20; Jer. 10:11). Long before process philosophy was made the source of a new theological tradition in America, C. Van Til had discerningly warned that Whitehead's philosophy could have no beneficial influence on theology (no more than idolatry could revive Old Testament Israel). In The Princeton Theological review XXV, 2, for April, 1927, Van Til concludes his review of Whitehead's Religion in the Making by saying:
For Theism it is important that God be not thus conceived as a universal realizing Himself in historic particulars; Theism's God is the self-sufficient creator of the "epochaloccasions," or historic particulars. Our conclusion is that Dr Whitehead's thought underneath its scintillating and even cryptical expression, conceals a strongly antitheistic tendency. When he made time and change a necessary aspect of all reality he gave possibility an independent metaphysical status; God could be no more than an aspect, an "element" or a "function" in reality as a whole. Theism makes God the source of possibility; only thus can the transcendence as well as the immanence of God be maintained; only thus is God qualitatively distinct from man; only thus is He personal; only thus is He God (p. 338).
In a previous portion of this study we noted that the philosophic precursors of Darwinism had associated with them a strong movement toward eradicating the distinction between Creator and creature and, in some cases, explicit pantheism. It is now evident that the philosophic successors to Darwinism embody this pantheistic theme as well. Evolutionism is a syndrome of beliefs and assumptions, a syndrome inclusive of (or tending toward) reducing God to the level of immanent world process or elevating the created order to the status of divinity. It is only to be expected that when twentieth-century theologians explicitly endorse evolution or process philosophy as their central model, the pantheistic (and panentheistic) motif should clearly stand out and command our attention.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a trained scientist, a Jesuit paleontologist, and speculative theologian. By the time of his ordination, he was an avid reader of Bergson and later had association with the Bergsonian scholar, E. Le Roy. He held that matter at all levels has a psychic as well as physical aspect, by which he means (similar to Whitehead) that consciousness pervades all reality:
We are logically forced to assume the existence in rudimentary form (in a microscopic, i.e., an infinitely diffuse state) of some sort of psyche in every corpuscle, even in those(the mega-molecules and below ) whose complexity is of such a low or modest order as to render it (the psyche) imperceptible.
Everything in the universe has a conscious inner force and a material external face("coextensive with their Without, there is a Within to things"); the inner power is intangible and does not halt materialistic mechanism. Energy is the most primitive stuff of the universe and is responsible for the forward movement, the evolution, the increased complexity of all things. This complexification is accompanied by an involution of consciousness (greater internal unity and concentration) and thereby by qualitative jumps in development. The process of human history is understood in these evolutionary categories. They also indicate the future of man. The noosphere (the thinking layer of evolutionary development where man now is) shall become involuted(through social interiorization) and converge upon a hyperpersonal unity of all things in God: the "omega point." Man's "grand option" is to confront his destiny and take responsibility for spearheading evolution to a higher synthesis, a universalized and collectivized unity of mankind (beyond outdated individualism and nationalism ) created through the energy of love which shall "superpersonalize" men. Omega is this involuted point of total integration, "a superior form of pantheism." The universe's evolution is climaxed in the Universal Christ:
Instead of the vague centre of convergence envisaged as the ultimate end of this process of evolution, the personal and defined reality of the Word Incarnate, in which everything acquires substance, appears and takes its place.
Christ is the inner principle of this process, the omega point reflected into the process and directing it by His spirit (that is, love). Thus, the universe is moving toward incorporation in Christ: Christogenesis. All men live in "the divine milieu"; that is, we are all surrounded by "an omnipresence which acts upon us by assimilating us in it, in the unity of the Body of Christ." The world is in process, moving toward synthesis at the divine omega point; correspondingly Christ is completing himself in this process: "everything has continued to move because Christ has not yet completed His own forming.... The mystical Christ has not yet attained His full growth." The goal of evolutionary history is nothing but the union of God and mankind in a suprapersonal, Christocentric pantheism. Of course, in actuality, Teilhard has achieved neither a Christian nor a unified outlook ; by avoiding Scripture's testimony, assuming that the scientific enterprise is intelligible apart from God's revelation, and including all things in the process of incarnation, Teilhard has committed himself to a dialecticism as severe as that previously found in Darwin's thinking. Pure contingency and pure staticism are juxtaposed, nature (man's past) and freedom (man's present) stand over against each other; naturalism and idealism confront one another. Teilhard attempts to synthesize these contrary poles, but he can do so only by introducing another dialecticism: evolutionary pantheism.
Since he insists that, as a scientist, he starts from the bottom, he can only project an absolute. And a projected absolute is no absolute. Teilhard knows that he needs a platform above human experience from which to view experience and relate its various aspects intelligently to one another. He tries to project such a platform but when he tries this his platform disintegrates into pure indeterminacy.... So far then as with his activism Teilhard leaves the necessitarianism of Thomas behind he does so by falling into pure irrationalism and indeterminism. And so far as he does not want pure irrationalism he can save himself from it only by the reintroduction of some of the Thomistic rationalism and determinism... The final issue then is between / those who hold and those who do not hold / that God has identified himself discernibly in history in Palestine as the creator and the redeemer of men.... It goes without saying that the final question therefore is whether the approach adopted by neo-orthodox Protestant and Roman Catholic thinkers is in any wise intelligible. If man's intellect itself is derived, not from the creative fiat of God but from the cauldron of Chance, then what is the difference between right and wrong and how is intellectual contradiction possible? Predication of any sort is then out of the question... And all would end in a mystery that is meaningless unless with Luther and with Calvin we presuppose the God who has really created and who does really control all things... and who has revealed himself directly in the I-it as well as in the I-thou dimension as the Saviour of both.... The true primacy of God and of his Christ cannot be found in the way that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin seeks for it. His Christ is but a vague ideal of the would-be autonomousman.
Van Til has here insightfully taught that Teilhard's system of evolutionary speculation is neither good science, good philosophy, nor good theology. Apart from the presupposition of God's work as Creator of the world and Governor of history, a presupposition rooted in His revelation in the space-time realm (nature, Scripture, Christ), one cannot rationally order the facts or trust that man's intellect is competent to understand anything at all. Metaphysical chaos and epistemological darkness are thus central to Teilhard's evolutionary thought, and thereby the saving Christ of history is lost altogether. By not starting with the God who creates, Teilhard is prevented from knowing the God who redeems (from intellectual futility as well as spiritual death).Evolutionary theology, by its dichotomy between nature and grace, and then its contrived mystical-temporal synthesis, proceeds to destroy both nature and grace. Modern process theology is also in diametric opposition to biblical orthodoxy. Process theology completely deprives God of any transcendence whatever. Somewhat parallel to the demiurge of Plato's Timaeus, the god set forth by E.S. Brightman is charged with the task of subduing inchoate matter. Here you do not have strict pantheism; however, you do have a god which is completely immanent in the historicalprocess.162 This is kind of a half-way house to process theology which, reflecting the speculation of Krause (discussed above) affirms panentheism. The thrust of this outlook is summed up in the title of E. Baltazar's book, God Within Process. Not only is God within process, but "God literally contains the universe."163 Thus, both God and the world (internal to Him) are subjected to time; H.N. Wieman declares that God is purely temporal. As such He is subject to becoming, and the world He contains is a dynamic, changing process - as taught by Whitehead. God evolves. According to Hartshorne, the universe, even at the physical level, is fundamentally psychic; everything has a mental pole. H. W. Robinson had maintained that "'Matter' must be ultimately spiritual, however much lower its level of reality than 'Mind'...." and various thinkers who have attempted a reconciliation between science and religion in recent years have been encouraged by the prospects of a panpsychic position. Undergirding these proposals is the rejection of dualism and affirmation of an organic monism. Hartshorne writes that "All in some fashion respond to their environment.... The whole gamut of levels from atoms to man is for science basically one system." Organisms, which all reflect a kind of internal social structuring, at the various levels of complexity have different capacities for adaptation and response to their environment; at the highest level one finds God, who is supremely adaptive to situations. His absoluteness is not a static quality but resides in His utter relativity-hence the title of Hartshorne's book, The Divine Relativity. And if God enters into relations with the world, then He cannot be transcendent to it; rather, He is finite and limited. For Hartshorne, there cannot be a "purely timeless or immutable existent." God is a dipolar uniting of being and becoming: the world process constitutes the life of God, and God is the all-embracing memory of the world. "If the past once for all 'has been what it has been,' then something does preserve, and as it were remember, all that happens." This certainly precludes any Chalcedonian Christology; instead, the deity includes within itself all the contraries of human experience (every aspect or attribute of reality along with its contrary is correlativized in God). Yet God is not restricted to the aggregate of cosmic psychical-objects. While He is constantly surpassing himself in His advancing experience (world history), He yet has an abstract internal essence expressing superior social unity (symbolized by the Trinity) - which is just the difference between himself and man, the former maximally realizing a purposive unity which is only partially realized in the latter. However, God's purpose does not mold the historical process; He grants freedom to the world, allowing it to be partly self-made. His omnipotence is simply His supreme relativity. Therefore, in Hartshorne's panentheistic vision, God is enriched by the experience of the creature and in this way grows in His own experience - which is symbolized in the incarnation.
John B. Cobb, Jr., has recently become very popular in the circles of process theology. Like Hartshorne, Cobb thinks of God in social terms as a cumulative temporal succession of experiences. Basically, in process thought the creation has been drawn up into the being of God and robs Him of transcendent distinctness. It differs from naturalism, not by asserting God's transcendence, but by holding that He is the universe's "ground" (like the germinating and nourishing condition for a seed); natural evolution could no more be self-sufficient than a fetus could be its own womb. God is the enveloping context which brings out the potentialities of the universe. As the panentheist, W.E. Hocking, argued, nature stands over against me and my desires, forcing me to relate and adjust to its character; in this sort of opposition to me nature takes on the aspect of "Other Mind" (God). Thus, nature and historical process are taken to be aspects of God, the context out of which the universe develops. Such a concept assumes man's freedom and nature's autonomy, for although God is the originating and directing ground of natural process, "neither human free will nor the normal processes of nature are subjected to, or interrupted by, divine compulsion." And hereby God is stripped of any significant, special attribute altogether. Process thought had already deprived Him of any transcendent being, identifying Him with immanent historical development (plus His abstract unified purpose added to a permanent memory of the world); now He is stripped of any transcendent power which we might have thought to reside in that pole of God which spreads beyond the cosmic aggregate of organisms (viz., His abstract purpose and permanent memory). He contains the world within himself, but it is yet open-ended and completely contingent with respect to its development.
God has been depersonalized and deposed of sovereign, directive power. As Van Til warned with respect to Whitehead, in process thought God disappears. The result is that the world, which has had divinity conferred upon it, is left in tension over a nature/freedom dichotomy. Simone Weil, whose conception of nature as an agent of my personal growth (through the risks it poses) has affinities to that of Hocking, says that only a false god could be capable of wielding all power; the true God does not rule the universe but "leaves two other forces to rule in his place. On the one hand there is blind necessity attaching to matter, including the psychic matter of the soule, and on the other the autonomy essential to thinking person." The same dialectical motif was found in Teilhard. It is equally destructive of intelligibility, natural order, and the good news of Christian theology when it appears in process speculation. The process theologian says God can be known only by analogy to the natural order, not by direct revelation (as though He were sovereignly able to present clear, absolute truth about himself to us in the midst of historical process and relativity); and thus God must of necessity reflect the attributes and limitations of man and his world rather than being a self-contained personality with incommunicable attributes (as though He were a transcendent, sovereign Creator of this world which is not indispensable to Him). God cannot unconditionally and clearly reveal himself to man, and yet the process theologian alleges to know God well enough to completely immanentize Him within temporal process, and to identify the universe as an aspect of Him. Such a self-vitiating procedure is inherent in every system which begins by denying the unavoidable revelation of God about him self. The metaphysical dialecticism and the epistemological dialecticism of process theology require each other.
In considering the question of origins and the controversy which has developed around it, the Christian should not overlook the teaching of Romans 1. In the introduction to this essay two competing explanations for the popularity of evolutionary thought were proposed. Having surveyed and analyzed the rise of evolutionary speculation, we can now see that evolution has not been accepted because of its sterling scientific credentials, but because (in accordance with Paul's teaching) men seek to suppress the clear revelation of God the Creator and will latch onto any theory, however foolish, which offers to aid them in this task. Evolution is a religious presupposition substituted for man's knowledge of his Maker. The syndrome which Paul associates with unbelieving thought was noted to embrace three things: repudiation (suppression) of God's revelation at the outset, retreat to foolish reasoning, and refabrication of a god out of the created order. Evolutionary philosophy evidences this syndrome. Post-Kantian philosophy ex hypothesi precludes a clear revelation of God in the realm of space and time; Fichte condemned creationism as the ground error of all take metaphysics, and Huxley clearly indicates that men desired some theos (like evolution) which would relieve them of the truth about creation. Philosophy was characterized by preposterous speculations, and a scientific revolution was the only thing that could salvage the imaginary thesis men personally needed. The immanentistic developmentalism (Hegel) prior to Darwin was accompanied by an obliteration (as in Spinoza) of the distinction between Creator and creation; pantheism (Goethe) and panentheism (Krause), with an emphasis upon the material order (Feuerbach). Darwinism simply lent scientific overtones to the antitranscendent process speculation prior to him. In turn, this new "scientific respectability" (despite refutations) fostered the incorporation of the concept of God into materialistic process speculation (Alexander), panpsychic vitalism (Bergson), and creative pantheism (Whitehead). Not only did theologians retreat from defending biblical cosmogeny (Barth, et al.), and synthesize Christianity to evolutionism (Savage, Westermann, etc.), but they even supplanted Christian theology with evolutionary pantheism (Teilhard) and process panentheism (Hartshorne). The creation ended up being worshipped rather than the blessed Creator. The pattern drawn by Paul has certainly been followed: flight from God's clear revelation to foolishness and an exaltation of the creature above God.
The biblical teaching on Creation and evolutionary speculation stand in stark antithesis to each other. Contrary to God's word, evolution and evolutionary theology postulate a god who is not independent and free, not immutable, not personal, not sovereign, not transcendent, and not super natural. According to revolutionary thought the world was not ex nihilo created as good, but eternal matter developed through a wasteful process of trial and error to bring man to where he is now; cosmological randomness (chance) is asserted to deny divine providence, and then natural determinism is correlated to it in order to deny supernatural intervention (miracles). Man is not unique but is continuous with the animal and inorganic world; hence, not being the specially created image of God, man's ethics must be guided by naturalism and utilitarianism rather than the revealed law of God. For evolution, the fall of man is ontological rather than ethical and historical; if anything, man ascends in history rather than lapses. Christ is a mystical ideal, and Jesus is part of the development of nature - not supernaturally incarnate. Man's salvation, in evolutionary motifs, does not involve eternal life and reconciliation with God but elevation (either in being or in natural development) and socialization; it is accomplished not by grace but by forces resident in nature. In terms of eschatology, evolutionary theology teaches that man is to become co-creator with God, learning to control nature and thus to determine the future course of evolution; the state of glory is attained not at a historical consummation but in the collectivized society directed by elite men. At each point, evolutionary speculation falsifies biblical teaching. To undermine the scriptural doctrine of creation is to undermine Christianity in toto, and this is because (as we saw above) evolution is not a restricted biological theory but a pervasive and religious worldview having a presuppositional status with its adherents. The evolution of evolutionary speculation, from Kant to Darwin, was an obvious necessity, given the intellectual imperatives of cosmological evolutionism. It is not surprising that very early in his academic career, at age 31, Kant published a book on cosmology - a distinctly evolutionary cosmology - Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755 ). The study, according to one recent commentator, "has won for itself an assured place as a milestone in the history of astronomy andcosmology." Yet the book was forgotten for a century. Published anonymously, the printer immediately went bankrupt, and the copies were never sold to the generalpublic. Understandably, "It had to wait for more than a century for its true greatness to be appreciated." Precisely... it had to wait for the Darwinian revolution to accomplish its task - a task set forth by Kant in the very first chapter of the Universal History. It was quite legitimate, he argued, to construct a natural history(which in the context of eighteenth century thought meant a hypothetical history - a "history without facts") of the universe. Newton's laws are best applied in the vast reaches of the heavens. "It seems to me," he wrote, "that we can here say with intelligent certainty and without audacity... "give me matter and I will construct a world out of it!" i.e. give me matter and I will show you how a world shall arise out of it." All it takes, he tried to prove in his study, is millions and millions of centuries - the creative hand of immeasurable time. He then set forth the great task for all evolutionistic biological scientists, one which was understood in the mid-eighteenth century to be mandatory if evolution were to be scientifically demonstrated:
But can we boast of the same progress even regarding the lowest plant or an insect? Are we in a position to say... "Give me matter, and I will show you how a caterpillar can be produced." Are we not arrested here at the first step, from ignorance of the real inner conditions of the object and the complication of the manifold constituents existing in it? It should not therefore cause astonishment if I presume to say that the formation of all the heavenly bodies, the cause of their movements, and, in short, the origin of the whole present constitution of the universe, will become intelligible before the production of a single herb or a caterpillar by mechanical causes, will become distinctly and completely understood.
The Darwinian bandwagon was filled with men who wanted desperately to believe in a god of their own creation. That God must be, preferably, an impersonal god, a god who in no way interferes with the activities of the external universe, but at all costs, a god infinitely remote in time. Even the impotent god of Kant's Universal History, who was reduced merely to the incessant creation of matter - an autonomously evolving matter was too powerful for Kant in his post-critical years. Nevertheless, the evolutionary impulse of Kant's early speculations stayed with him; that impulse was basic to the revolt against Christianity from the mid-eighteenth century to Darwin. It was Darwin's gift of hope, rather than the quality of his evidence, that captivated the minds of his readers. Though his Orginhad to be revised and reworked again and again, in order to deflect (he hoped) the sharp and overpowering criticisms lodged against his theory(driving him back into Lamarckianism at the end), nevertheless the hope remained. "give me matter, and I will show you how a caterpillar can be produced." Men wanted to believe that the combination of limitless eons of time, autonomous impersonal matter, and totally random forces might forever banish God from His creation - and, most importantly, from the day of judgment. Darwin offered them hope; he offered them the scientific answer that would at last reduce biological processes to mere mechanism. Machines, in the final analysis, are not subject to judgment, for they are not bounded by any ethical law greater than survival. Even the violation of this command - the law of survival - at most leads to the void of nonexistence, not the eternal reality of personal judgment by a personal God. The Darwinian revolution was the capstone to a century-long quest; the holy grail of evolutionary speculation had at last been found by a peculiar hypochondriac who once devoted eight consecutive years of his intellectual life to an exhaustive study of barnacles.
When biblical faith comes into conflict with the autonomous outlook of a scientific or philosophic theory, the Christian can respond by: (1) maintaining a double-truth perspective (e.g., the Averroists), (2) drawing dichotomies (e.g., Aquinas' nature/ grace; Kant's phenomena/ noumena), (3) holding that one truth is being seen in two ways (e.g., Eric Rust), (4) adjusting his faith according to the dictates of science (e.g., theistic evolution), or (5) by declaring that, as Scripture teaches, God's revelation and truth are the necessary epistemological and metaphysical presuppositions of all science and philosophy. The last response is the proper one. When God's word is contradicted, as is particularly evident in the area of creation, two worldviews are (at base) what stand in conflict. One of them requires speculative and self-defeating assumptions; this is seen in the case of evolution (e.g., Darwin's rationalistic explanation requires an irrationalistic foundation; Huxley professed to be "agnostic" about ultimate origins but certain that the Bible was wrong; Goudge holds, as cosmological tenets, both that nature is uniformitarian - always and everywhere operating by the same laws - and that change is a fundamental feature of nature - including nature's laws). The other worldview gives a basis for an orderly world that can be explored and subdued to God's glory, a basis for rational understanding and application, and a basis for bringing the facts and reason into fruitful, meaningful, non-arbitrary relation. The former worldview moves from foolish speculation to a worship of the creation in some form. The latter brings one to bow before the transcendent and immanent Creator and Redeemer of the world.
Men assuredly know that the latter worldview and procedure is the one that is true and ought to be followed. With respect to origins, the question is beyond scientific speculation and a matter of divine revelation and religious faith. The natural world communicates the truth to all men from God (Rom. 1:l9-20). As a result of man's epistemic and moral condition, faith (indeed, saving faith) is the basic requirement for a proper acknowledgment of the answer to origins: "Now faith is... a conviction of things not seen.... By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear" (Heb. 11:1,3). There is no lack of explicit, special revelation about creation; Scripture mentions it over seventy-five times. Thus, men have the answer to origins but (aside from regeneration) suppress it. The Christian who encounters speculative theories (like evolution) which are fabricated to help suppress the clear truth about the Creator must presuppositionally challenge those theories rather than cooperating in such suppression and thereby accommodating to them; he must appeal to man's better knowledge, demonstrate the foolishness of trying to avoid God's revelatory truth, and work toward the opponent's conversion (inclusive of "change of mind") and faith (trusting the Lord more than sight and in order to understand). The man who opposes God's word needs to be saved from intellectual and spiritual futility, from vain imagination and creature-worship; and this can be accomplished only by dealing with him at the root of the problem (namely, his espousal of a worldview which, though destructive of rationality, factuality, morality, and humanity, protects and encourages his flight from God). The origin of his difficulties is (or includes) his misdirected view of origins. Thus, he must be forcefully confronted with the presuppositional and revelational worldview of creationism.
The biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo requires a proper distinction between Creator and creature, and denies the eternality of matter; it refutes both pantheism and materialism. It teaches that the world is derivative, contingent, and glorious only as reflecting its Creator's glory; thus the world cannot be exalted to a place of idolatrous worship. On the other hand, it prevents disrespect for the natural world (exploitation),cruelty to the animal kingdom, and disdain from the human body. Creation ex nihilo assures us that things have a beginning (rather than moving through eternal return cycles) and that time is not illusory; genuine importance can attach to events, and history can be characterized by real progress. Nature is also taught to be orderly, intelligible, and profitable to man's end of glorifying God; thus, nature is worthy of study in order that it be subdued to kingdom purposes. Creation ex nihilo grounds man's authentic freedom within the sovereignty of God, substantiates the perspective of morality in the world, and undergirds man's aesthetic creativity. Creation ex nihilo proclaims the sovereignty, freedom, transcendence, goodness, and immanence of God; all things being in His wise control, meaningless mystery does not surround everything, and man can (by thinking God's thoughts after Him) attain knowledge. Further, God is not repulsed by the material world or neglectful of it; He can care for our needs, attend to our prayers, enter our world in His incarnate Son, send His Spirit into our hearts, and promise effectual results for His kingdom in history. These are but a few of the main doctrinal tenets which creationism sets forth. It is a worldview able to lay siege effectively to all apostate competitors at every point.
However, men can arrive at the perspective of the creationist position only by submitting unconditionally to God's revelation. The truth is clear from nature (leaving all men without excuse) but can be acknowledged only through the work of grace, leading men to trust the Savior and yield to the truth of His word. Men must believe the inspired and infallible truth of Scripture. This is offensive to the modern mentality and even to modern theologians. Nels Ferre, Emil Brunner, and Reinhold Niebuhr are among those who explicitly charge that we who make the Bible an authoritative teacher in social, historical, and scientific matters are guilty of "bibliolatry." And thus the battle lines are clearly drawn. We have seen in this study that those who suppress the revelation of God and deny creation ex nihilo as a literal, historical truth are led into foolishness and an idolatrous erasure of the distinction between Creator and creation. On the other hand, those who refuse to submit to God's word in the area of origins regard those who do as guilty of bibliolatry. It appears, then, that two religious positions stand over against each other: the religion of humanistic autonomy and the religion of biblical Christianity. Each accuses the other of idolatry. The Christian must see the situation clearly. The choice between evolution and creation is at base religious. Nothing less is at stake than the charge of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. An answer to origins weighs idolatry in the balance. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish... They are vanity, a work of delusion" (Jer. 10:11,15).
 Cited by Green, op. Cit., p. 128; cf. C.E. Raven, John Ray, Naturalist, His Life and Works (Cambridge: University Press, 1942). Ray's other works are worth noting for their theological commitment: The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation, 4th ed. (London, 1704); Three Physico-Theological Discourses, 3rd ed. (London, 1718).
 Interestingly, T.R. Malthus, from whom Darwin derived the crucial theoretical model in which to explain evolution, also rejected the doctrine of hell (after a long devotion to the natural theologian and proto-utilitarian, William Paley).
 Morton O. Beckner, "Darwinism," EP, II, 300-301; cf. T.A. Goudge, "Wallace, Alfred Russell," EP, VIII, 276. Interestingly, Wallace was fascinated by and engaged in spiritualism and physical research.
 This antithesis admits of no synthesis as long as one refrains from reconstructing the antithetical members. Admittedly some have tried to synthesize evolution to creation as the mode of God's operation; however, this requires a reconstruction of the antithetical member under discussion (viz., biblical creationism). Some creation ideas might be made evolutionary, but the biblical teaching could be made so only by a discriminating (rather than unconditional) subject to the words of Christ or by a candid spurning and remodeling of orthodox hermeneutics. Robert L. Dabney's words should ever be kept in mind in this regard:
Other pretended theologians have been seen advancing, and then as easily retracting, novel schemes of exegesis, to suit new geologic hypotheses. The Bible has often had cause here to cry, "Save me from my friends." . . . As remarked in a previous lecture, unless the Bible has its own ascertainable and certain law of exposition, it cannot be a rule of faith; our religion is but rationalism. I repeat, if any part of the Bible must wait to have its real meaning imposed upon it by another, and a human science, that part is at least meaningless and worthless to our souls. It must not expound itself independently; making other sciences ancillary, and not dominant over it [Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,  1972), p. 257].
 AtlanticMonthly, October, 1860, pp. 409, 416. That the protasis of Gray's conditional is satisfied can be seen not only from the quote at note 61 above, but also from Gray's own articles in Atlantic Monthly for July, August, and October, 1860; Huxley saw Darwin's book as the death blow of teleology: "Criticisms on The Origin of Species" in Lay Sermons &Addresses (London, 1870), p. 330; cf. EP, II, 295, 304.
 For example, if acquired characteristics are transferred to one's descendants by means of pangenes from the various parts of the body which enter the male semen, how could a child born to a man who lost a limb be born with both limbs?
 Enough literature is availableon these persistent problems in any theory of evolution that there is little need for rehearsal of them here. Generally reliable titles are available from Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Concordia Publishing House, and the Creation Research Society.
 Cf. McCosh, The Religious Aspect of Evolution (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890); Drummond, Natural Law in the Spiritual World (New York: James Pott & Co., 1904), and The Ascent of Man (New York: James Pott & Co., 1894).
 Deitrich Bonhoeffer, "The Non-religious Interpretation of Biblical Concepts," A Reader in Contemporary Theology, ed. J. Bowden and J. Richmoond (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967), esp. pp. 111-112.
 For example, Karl Heim, Christian Faith and Natural Science, trans. Neville H. Smith (London: SCM Press, 1953); The Transformation of the Scientific World View, trans. W.A. Whitehouse (London: SCM Press, 1953); H.H. Farmer, The World and God (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1935).
 Waiting on God (London: Collins, Fontana Books, 1959), p. 114. Weil's corresponding conception of creation conforms to the pattern traced by Hardy's poem with which this article betgan; she says, "On God's part creation is not an act of self-expansion but of restraint and renunciation" (p. 101). Assuming man's naturalistic and evolutionary origin, the contact of God with the world and His influence upon it are increasingly doubted - until God's recession from sovereignty becomes itself identified with the concept of creation! This same odd logic might as well eventually identify God's disappearance with His presence.
 See my article, "Revelation, Speculation and Science," The Presbyterian Guardian 40 (December, 1970), no. 1. Max Planck correctly states that "Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature, in Where is Science Going? (London, 1933), p. 217. A.C.B. Lovell said in The Individual and the Universe (London, 1959) that when we discuss the ultimate origin of matter we "cross the boundaries of physics into the realm of philosophy and theology." The analysis given by Charles Hodge is noteworthy:
From the nature of the case, what concerns the origin of things cannot be known except by a supernatural revelation. All else must be speculation and conjecture. And no man under the guidance of reason will renounce the teachings of a well-authenticated revelation, in obedience to human speculation, however ingenious. . . . Science as soon as she gets past the actual and the extant, is in the region of speculation, and is merged into philosophy, and is subject to its hallucinations [op. cit., p. 22].
Biblical revelation is as well-authenticated as anything could be, being authenticated by God himself (cf. Westminster Confession of Faith, I.4).