Origin of Man, Lesson 6, Belief in God, 5-8

What is the danger to Christianity of a belief in evolution? There is none except in an uninformed opposition to this doctrine now thoroughly established. The danger to Christianity comes from the alienation of Christians through the outright denunciation of this belief by Christian leaders, or through the cloaking of open discussion with a cloak of disrespect. Only truth will stand throughout the ages, and there is always danger when an authority in one field ventures into the field of another. Consequently, the religious authority and the scientific authority must not assume the authority of the other, but must determine together the ultimate truth as told to us in the Bible, and revealed to us through nature.

The question that naturally follows a question on evolution is “What is the origin of man?” At this point, people are usually divided into two groups. First, there is the dare devil group who are saying, “Go on, and say that men are descended from apes.” Then, there is the conservative group waiting for someone to say, “I don’t believe the Bible story of creation.” First, both groups can agree on the fact that man did have an origin. How and when it came is a question for both Scripture and science to answer.

What does Scripture say about the origin of man? There are two statements that contain almost the whole of scriptural teaching. The first is: “And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness…and God created man in his own image.” An important distinction is made between man and the animals, because God created the animals after their own kind, but man he created in his own image. The other Scriptural reference also occurs in Genesis and says, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” This passage, while still attributing to God the creation of man, more widely separates the creation of man from that of the animals. A double origin of man is given in the scripture, although both are still in the divine act of creation. Man is created of the dust of the earth, but the breath of life is breathed into him, giving him something spiritual, something that is not given to beasts. So man comes up out of nature, but he is also above nature.

What does science say about the origin of man?

Science has been probing this question for hundreds of years, and it finds that man comes up out of the dust and chemically is identical with the beasts, and is closely related to mammals and anthropoids, bone corresponding to bone, muscle to muscle, and nerve with nerve. The whole mass and weight of the evidence for biological evolution converges upon and climaxes in man. Upon this point, scientists are agreed. Yet they also know that man stands apart in a species by himself and is infinitely above any beast. What brought about this difference, science has not yet found out, and it is a question that belongs more to philosophy than to science. Both Darwin and DeVries built their theories of the origins of the species on sports and mutations which are only leaps in nature. Scientists would like to know the secret of the enormous leap when man appeared. Professor William Bateson an English geneticist said that when a new species appears, a new ingredient has been added to the old stock.

What is the new ingredient added but the Scripture teaching that God breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life Here is an element that came up from the dust, and a new ingredient added to the old stock. It would appear at this point that biology and theology genetics and Genesis are wedded in an insoluble union. We must leave the rest of this to the experts, but we can be sure that man is more than beast and is kin to God.

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1 Comment

  1. “The whole mass and weight of the evidence for biological evolution converges upon and climaxes in man. Upon this point, scientists are agreed.”

    I’m sorry but no scientist with an adequate understanding would agree that evolution climaxes upon man. Evolution has no goals and does not climax full stop. Scientists are not agreed upon this, provide a citation please. I am a scientist and I have never met a biologist that would agree with this.

    “Scientists would like to know the secret of the enormous leap when man appeared.”

    There was no enormous leap. Evolution is gradual. I would happily sit down and go through the fossil record with you. We have the ancestors of all great apes, creatures like Nacholapithecus, one branch acquired bipedalism but did not yet have a large brain, essentially upright apes, first Ardipithecus ramidus, later the Australopithecines. Homo habilis saw the beginnings of a larger brain, greater tool use, Homo erectus was next. The times following these were interesting, there were several Homo species alive at the same time. We had neighbours. There was Homo neanderthalensis, early Homo sapiens, Homo floresiensis and the newly discovered Denisova hominin. There is also evidence of interbreeding between modern man and Neanderthalensis and Denisova. We out competed our relatives and/or outright destroyed them.

    It is important to remember that these forms did not leap fully developed from the womb of a primitive mother, the changes were gradual, so gradual that if you looked at the family line midway between something like erectus and neanderthal you will see something that is neither, a blend.

    I respect religion, I believe that there is more to the universe than we see or immediately understand. Evolution however, is hard science and hard science is irrefutable.

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