The Narrative Of The First Day
- Histories have been written about the alleged conflict between the interpretations of the narrative of creation and the opinions of scientists. 'Most of these volumes make melancholy reading today. It is now more generally realised that the conflict is not between the Bible and science, but between some popular interpretations of the Bible and the speculative theories of science. When three quarters of a century ago Dr. Draper wrote The Conflict between Science and Religion he prophesied that religion would be expelled by scientific thought. Yet, within purely scientific limits, the relations between them are more satisfactory now than since scientific research began. There is a clearer understanding that each has a right to be heard in its own sphere. Much of the controversy was due to the clash between the tentative conjectures of science and the speculative interpretations of the creation narrative. On both sides rapid generalisations were advanced only to be as quickly abandoned. It is now realised that the Bible and science are not necessarily alternative methods of explaining origins. It is not that the one must be real and the other false; neither is it rational to reject the one in order to accept the other. Science can render valuable service by discrediting an explanation of the text of the Genesis narrative which is based upon unjustifiable assumptions and consequently not valid; and Scripture can rescue scientists from a false philosophy, which, venturing beyond the bounds of true scientific research, would deny that the universe had a Creator and Sustainer.
- Yet it would be foolish to suggest that the point of view recorded in Genesis and that of some scientific writers about origins is one and the same. Often it is contradictory, but this contradiction is sometimes due to science leaving its proper sphere by indulging in philosophic speculations about origins, and asserting either the non-existence of a Creator, or that the process of creation owes nothing to a Creator. If a scientist takes this attitude, then the conflict is absolute and the two views cannot but wage an endless war.
- We owe more than is generally acknowledged to scientific research, for there is an element of truth in Sir John Seeley's remark "that the God worshipped by the astronomer and the geologist, dwelling as they do in the immensities of space and time, is greater and more wonderful than the God of the average Christian". Doubtless the scientist who acknowledges God as the Creator, has a more adequate conception of His works of creation; it is however very questionable whether he has a greater knowledge of the Creator than, say, David or Paul. We owe more than can be told to those scientists, who by patient research, discover the methods by which God has been working, and few things are more noticeable in the present day than the acknowledgment by leading scientists that there is a sense of mystery beyond the bounds of any explanation which can be given by physics or biology or chemistry.
- It will perhaps be useful to take the Genesis statements about creation and to see what modern science has to say about them.
- "In beginning."
Strangely enough there has never been any difference of opinion over these opening words. Science as much as Scripture bases its belief on a beginning (though recently when talking with an eminent scientist, he told me that a few days before his friend, J. B. S. Haldane, had remarked to him, that as he had no belief in God, he had no reason to think that there ever was a beginning). Yet it must have been as difficult to the ancient as to modem man to conceive of a time when no part whatever of the universe existed. A few scientists, because they have denied the existence of God, have also toyed with the idea of 'no beginning', but there has never been any serious controversy about this first statement in the Bible. Scientists generally agree that if they are certain about anything, they are sure of this, that the universe had at a point in time a beginning. Sir James Jeans writes of "what we may describe as a 'creation' at a time not infinitely remote ". The alternative is the infinite regress, at which the mind falters. Current theories of modem science confirm this opening statement of Genesis. When the beginning occurred the narrative does not say, but scientists assert that its beginning must be dated an immense time ago.
- It is here that the first possibility of a clash reveals itself, but any disagreement does not come from science as such. Genesis asserts that the universe is not self-existent, that it had a start, and with this science generally agrees. But Genesis goes further and says that it had a Starter, and there are many scientific discoveries which confirm this- Perlin ps the most impressive piece of scientific evidence is that given by the second law of thermo-dynamics, entropy. According to this law, the universe must have been wound up like a clock and it has since been gradually running down. In other words the organisation of the energy of the universe is diminishing. Sir Ambrose Fleming states (Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. LXVIII), "Such effects as the dissipation of energy, the increase of entropy, the transformation of matter into radiation, and the spontaneous change of radio-active matter into non-radio-active matter, all support the truth of the conception that the physical universe had a beginning in Acts of Creation and was not self-produced nor infinite in past duration. Also that, left to itself, it will have an end. Moreover this 'running down' which is thus disclosed is the very opposite of any Evolution in the sense of a spontaneous advance. It gives denial to any assertion that the universe is the result of a set of 'happy accidents' or freaks or casual combinations or any mode of operations which dispenses with the necessity for belief in a creation and therefore in a Creator." Sullivan, in his Limitations of Science writes, "But the fact that the energy of the universe will be more disorganised tomorrow than it Is today implies, of course, the fact that the energy of the universe is more highly organised today than it will be tomorrow, and that it was more highly organised yesterday than it is today. Following the process backwards we find a more and more highly organised universe. This backward tracing in time cannot be continued indefinitely. Organisation cannot, as it were, mount up and up without limit. There is a definite maximum, and this definite maximum must have been in existence a finite time ago. And it is impossible that this state of perfect organisation could have been evolved from some less perfect state. Nor is it possible that the universe could have persisted for eternity in that state of perfect organisation and then suddenly, a finite time ago, have begun to pursue its present path. Thus the accepted laws of nature lead us to a definite beginning of the universe in time." This is the truth expressed in Hebrews i. io and 12, "And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine hands. They shall perish; but Thou remainest, and they all shall wax old as doth a garment and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up and they shall be changed."
- We have considerable evidence of purpose and design in the universe and these imply a Person, a Designer. But some Scientists having discovered something of the method by which God has caused things to be, seem to imagine that the discovery of the method eliminates the necessity for a Creator. It will be remembered that Darwin once wrote, "I well remember my conviction that, there is more in man than the' mere breath of his body, but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions in me. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind." Romanes in his Candid Examination, referring to those who held the philosophic theory of Evolution 'which attempted to explain the existence of everything without God, wrote, "I am far from being able to agree with those who affirm that the twilight doctrine of the new faith is a desirable substitute for the waning splendour of the old. I am not ashamed to confess that with this virtual negation of God, the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness . . . when at times I think, as at times I must, of the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it-at such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of which my nature is capable."
- It is generally assumed by scientists that the universe is purposeful, though Eddington has hinted that it might prove to be irrational, and some atheistically-minded scientists assert that it is purposeless; but if this were so it would be the end not only of Theism but of science. The fact is that science can only give a partial explanation, as Sir Oliver Lodge said, "It is impossible to explain all this fully by the law of mechanics alone." It is now more clearly recognised that the universe cannot be explained by such branches of science as physics, chemistry and biology alone; these can often suggest how things came to be, but not why.
How did the stuff of which this universe is made originate? Science is unable to answer this question. That it had an origin, and that it was created, is affirmed in Hebrews xi - 3, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Sir James jeans wrote, "Everything points with overwhelming force to a definite event, or series of events, of creation at some time or other, not infinitely remote. The universe cannot have originated by chance out of its present ingredients and neither can it always have been the same as it is now."
- "The heaven and the earth."
- Heaven is placed before the 'earth', so this narrative does not imply, as some have suggested, that the earth is greater in bulk than the sun or that astronomically it is the centre of the universe. How did the heavens, especially the planets to which the earth is related-the sun and the moon originate? and how came the earth? Science readily admits that any answer it can venture is very speculative. We have already noted that Kant's theory, as developed by Laplace, assumed that a rotating mass of gas, which ultimately became sun, threw off those parts which protruded at the rim, at the rim and these consolidated into the planetary system dependent upon the sun. Modem astronomers and physicists say that this theory is an impossible one, because the rim which could be thrown off in this way would not condense but disperse. The present idea, known as the 'tidal theory', supposes that some 2,000 million years ago a wandering star approaching dangerously near the sun caused a large cigar-shaped filament to be pulled out of it, and, throwing off fragments, these subsequently became the planets now circling round the sun. Sir James Jeans says (Stars Around Us, PP. 45 and 46) that a jet of matter pulled off the sun formed " a long filament of hot filmy gas suspended in space", that this "filament of fiery spray" condensed much as a cloud of steam, condenses into colossal drops of water on an astronomical scale, and "finally, these drops of water begin to move about in space as separate bodies ".
- Genesis indicates little of the method by which the heavens and the earth were created, and that little in no way conflicts with the findings of scientists, except where they speculate as to the cause and assert that it was merely 'accidental'. It is almost unnecessary to add that science is not in a position to assert that such an event (if it can be assumed to have occurred in the way they think it did) was an ' accident'. With the exception of the first verse (and what we are told in verses 14-18 about the relation of the sun and the moon to the earth, and the slight reference to 'the stars also') the narrative is mainly concerned with this planet earth, notwithstanding that it is but one of the 30,000,000,000 bodies in existence. As however it is the planet on which man lives, it is obviously the one with which he is mainly concerned.
- "And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. "
- It would be difficult to put into so few and simple words, or to state in a more profound way what scientists believe the earliest stage of this earth to have been, than is done in this verse. Sir Arthur Eddington in his Expanding Universe uses this word 'void' in explaining original "gradual condensation of primordial matter". The description represents earth before it had reached its present form. Scientists believe that its early state was gaseous, and gradually over a considerable period of time it solidified, that the temperature was once great, is shown by the presence of volcanoes which pour out molten rock and hot gases. Some geologists think that the interior is still in a fluid condition. It used to be thought that the time taken for solidifying from the gaseous state was immense, but more recent speculations suggest that the gases became liquid in 5,000 years and solid within 1o,ooo years, but some scientists think that even these figures are excessive. In its early stages the surface of the earth is said to have been densely covered with vapour. It was certainly void, empty of life, as yet without form, no continents, mountains, lakes or rivers, no plants, no trees, no fish, no animals or man. The words used are therefore as descriptive and accurate as they possibly can be.
- While in this condition, it is stated that the Spirit of God moved upon "the face of the waters". Modem science asserts the principle of the inertia of matter. Newton's law states that a body (i.e. a piece of matter) removed away from all other bodies would continue in a state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line. It was on this planet earth that the Spirit of God moved, and throughout all the subsequent activities was preparing a home for man. Sir Arthur Eddington calls this planet an "oasis in the desert of space".
- The record now moves on from the general to the particular.
The Narrative Of The Second Day
- "And God said, Light be and light was."
- Up to the present there has been no complete and satisfactory definition of light. Modem scientists admit that they do not know its ultimate nature, although it has been the subject of continuous research ever since scientific methods have become known. The theory at present in vogue is that it is 'an electro-magnetic phenomena'; but the first theory of importance was that light is a succession of material particles propelled in straight lines. The substance so propelled was thought to be imponderable, and its powers of penetration of different substances variable. Later it was thought to be constituted by the propagation of waves. All radiation may consist of corpuscles of energy. Sir Ambrose Fleming has said (Victoria Institute Transactions, Vol. LXI, p. 23), " It would not be inappropriate to speak of Radiation as disembodied Energy in motion." And Sir James jeans writes, "These concepts reduce the whole universe to a world of light, potential or existent, so that the whole story of creation can be told with perfect accuracy and completeness in the six words, 'And God said, Let there be light'. " In his Expanding Universe Sir Arthur Eddington says, "In its earliest days, when the universe was only just disturbed from its equilibrium and the rate of expansion was slow, light and other radiation went round the universe until it was absorbed. In the course of the expansion there is a definite moment after which circum-ambulation ceases to be possible. It seems certain that we are well past this moment, so that a ray of light emitted now will never get round to its starting-point again. On the other hand, light, which we now see, was emitted in the past. " Sullivan, in his Limitations of Science, says, "About thirty years ago an exceedingly penetrating kind of radiation was discovered traversing the atmosphere. This radiation does not come from the earth, for balloon expeditions showed that it is more penetrating at great heights than at sea-level Also, it does not come from the sun, for it is less abundant at day-time than at night-time. The sun is quite an average, typical star, and therefore, as the radiation does not come from the sun, there is no reason to suppose that it comes from the stars. It must come from outer space. What is its origin?" There appears to be no scientific answer to the last question.
- Ordinary yellow light has a wavelength of nearly one fifty-thousandth part of an inch with a frequency of about six hundred billion vibrations a second and a speed of rather more than 186,000 miles a second. We need to realise how restricted is the range constituted by visible light. The wavelengths and range of visible light are so small that scientists have to use a unit known as the Angstrom unit, which is one hundred-millionth of a centimetre.
- This narrative says that light was originated by the volition of God. Sir James jeans says, "the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine," and commenting on the words "let there be light", says, "If the universe is a universe of thought then its creation must have been an act of thought". Oersted, referring to the laws of nature, says these are "only the thoughts of God".
The Narrative Of The Third Day
- On the second day 'God said' in a sufficiently simple way so that man could understand how He had made the 'firmament' or atmosphere to divide the waters below from the waters above. This word translated 'firmament' means 'expanse' Sir James jeans commences his The Stars in their Courses with these words, "We inhabitants of the earth enjoy a piece of good fortune to which we give very little thought, which, indeed, we take almost as much for granted as the air we breathe-I mean the fact that we have a transparent atmosphere; some of the other planets, for instance Venus and Jupiter have atmospheres which are so thick with clouds as to be, totally opaque. If we had been born on Venus or Jupiter, we should have lived our lives without seeing through the clouds, and so should have known nothing of the beauty and poetry of the night sky."
- Science can now explain the effect and importance of the 'atmosphere' around our planet, for it is this which has so much to do with the temperature at surface level. The atmosphere surrounding this earth has a remarkable 'glasshouse' effect. If it is sufficiently dense it will raise the temperature Were it not for this atmosphere and its glasshouse effect, life, as we know it, would not be possible. The heat available would produce an average temperature of minus 26 degrees C.; instead, the average temperature is 14 degrees C. or 57 degrees F. The value of this firmament or atmosphere may be seen when we consider the moon which has none, and because of this it has no water on its surface. Consequently it must become intensely hot by day and bitterly cold by night, and the days and nights of the moon are fourteen times as long as ours. In such conditions life as we know it could riot exist. jeans (Mysterious Universe) says, "For the most part empty space is so cold that all life in it would be frozen; most of the matter in space is so hot as to make life on it impossible."
- Life is only possible within an extremely narrow range of temperature, yet the range in the universe is immense -so high in some instances that metals are in fluid state and in others as low as 270 degrees C. below zero. All life ceases at 56 degrees C. Yet within the very limited range of temperature on the earth variation is essential to life, as well as for the fall of rain and dew on plants, and these variations are delicately and intricately balanced. The ultra violet rays are filtered by the upper layer of the atmosphere so that plant, animal, and man receive precisely the amount required. In his Fitness of the Environment Henderson writes, "There is, in truth, not one chance in countless millions of millions that the many unique properties of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and especially their stable compounds, water and carbonic acid, which chiefly make up the atmosphere of a new planet, should simultaneously occur in the three elements otherwise than through the operation of a natural law which somehow connects them together. There is no greater probability that these unique properties should be without due cause uniquely favourable to the organic mechanism. These are no mere accidents." So the simple words of the second day's narrative is of the separation of the 'waters above' from the 'waters below'. Simple? It is calculated that over 50,000,000,000,000 tons of aqueous vapour is suspended in the air above the earth.
The Narrative Of The Fourth Day
- On the next day God said how the waters were made to recede so that dry land appeared.
- Water now covers seventy-two per cent of the surface of the earth and fills depressions greater than the land above sea-level. The average depth of the sea is now two and a half miles. Were these waters evenly distributed over the surface of the earth (supposing the surface to be without mountains and valleys, but quite even) the water would cover the earth to a depth of about one and a half miles.
- Genesis does not concern itself with geological terms, for there are no details or explanations; it does not relate how and when the great sedimentary rocks were deposited, or when the subsidences or 'foldings' occurred. That much of the land has been under the sea for enormous periods of time is quite evident, the chalk deposits alone show this. Presumably it was during this process when the waters were receding that the well-known geologic strata, caused by the action of water, were formed. Moreover water moderates and regulates climatic conditions; it prevents excess temperatures and distributes the heat of the sun.
- There was a second 'and God said' on this day, for that day's narration included an account of the introduction of plant life on the earth.
- The greatest mystery of science is the mystery of the origin of life. During the nineteenth and the earlier part of this century scientists were hopeful, some were even confident, that they would be able to bridge the gulf between the living and non-living. But life still baffles explanation. Before the days of scientific investigation, it seemed easier to imagine the emergence of the living from the non-living, for then it was supposed that decaying meat bred maggots and that mud produced worms. Francesco Redi in 1668 clearly demonstrated that larva were not originated by decomposing meat, for when it was protected from the eggs of flies, no worms appeared. Pasteur spent years of patient labour and at length proved in a decisive scientific way that current ideas about spontaneous generation of life were mythical.
- When men were convinced that life could not arise spontaneously they hazarded some guesses; for instance it was suggested that life may have been carried to this planet by a meteorite. Of course this idea could not solve the problem of the origin of life, it only pushed the problem further away and made its solution even more difficult.
- On this subject of the origin of life, there can be no disagreement between this narrative and science, for the simple reason that science can know nothing with certainty about its origination, though conjectures concerning it have been voluminous. Darwin in his Origin of Species (Chap XV) wrote, "Science as yet throws no light on the essence and origin of life", and nothing that has happened since has modified that statement. Professor Sir D'Arcy Thompson, the eminent Biologist, says, "Matter as such produces nothing, changes nothing, does nothing." And Sir James jeans wrote in his The Mysterious Universe, "In course of time, we know not how, when, or why, one of these cooling fragments (from the sun) gave birth to life." Sir Oliver Lodge wrote (Man and the Universe, p. 24), "Science, in chagrin, has to confess that hitherto in this direction it has failed. It has not yet witnessed the origin of the smallest trace of life from dead matter." Dr. J. B. S. Haldane has said that "he could not imagine anything happening in the laboratory according to our present knowledge which would bring us any nearer to life ". And Sir D'Arcy Thompson writes, " How species are actually produced remains an unsolved riddle. It is a great mystery. Here at least is a conclusion which few men of our time will venture to dispute."
- Scientists agree that plant life was the commencement of the food chain and say that mosses and liverworts, club mosses and ferns were probably the earliest representatives of plant life. In his Origin and Nature of Life Professor Moore has a chapter entitled "Building materials for Living Matter" in which he explains the processes by which molecules are built Up, first he places the necessity and effect of light (first day's narrative), then of the requirement of atmosphere (second day's narrative), next of the necessity of rain and water (third day's narrative although he does not attempt to relate it to the Genesis narrative). Dr. Barnes says (Scientific Theory and Religion, P. 435), "The plants, probably when they were still in the unicellular stage, acquired the power to make chlorophyll, the substance which gives its green colour to foliage. Thus they were able to make direct use of the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere and thereby to build up in their tissues carbohydrates and still more complex organic compounds. In this way they still convert a simple inorganic substance into living tissue: in fact, they have gained power by the aid of sunshine to use carbon dioxide as food."
- So far the narrative has spoken of light, atmosphere, water, and green vegetation; just the essentials and order of appearance that science in modern days has by laborious research discovered to be necessary and therefore confirms the accuracy of the Genesis account.
Although considerable interest is shown in the geologic ages in which living things appeared on the earth, Professor Boxall in the March, of Science, 1931-5, Says, "Geological research has in recent times thrown little or no new light on the origin of life on the earth. We are still faced by the problem of the sudden appearance in the oldest Cambrian rocks of representatives of many of the present-day forms of life." One of the most outstanding facts relating to the history of life is the recent discovery that land-plants are more ancient than has hitherto been thought.
Narrative Of The Fifth Day
- On the fourth day, the functions of the greater and lesser lights were briefly explained in the most simple way conceivable. The greater light was to 'rule' the day and the lesser to rule the night. Their purpose is also stated, they were "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years".
- There has never been any doubt that it is the sun and moon which are referred to here, though the names of these bodies are not given. As we have already seen, the absence of these, names is evidence of the extreme antiquity of the narrative. It appears to have been written before names were in use for the sun and the moon. We must bear in mind that these successive days give the order of revelation, and the parallel structure shown in Chapter II gives the order of creation. Because this has been overlooked the interpretations which contrasted instead of supplementing the first, with the fourth day, have experienced considerable difficulties in attempting to explain how there could have been a 'day' and a 'night' on this planet earth without the functioning of the sun in relation to the earth.
- The statements made on this fourth day have been criticised on the ground that they appear to make the earth the centre of the narrative. Do Rot scientists, as well as normal writers, do the same? For notwithstanding the new scientific explanation of the vastness and variety of the universe there is a general unanimity of opinion that life as we know it can exist only on this little planet earth, so that anything written about other bodies looks at them from the point of view of planet on which man dwells. The sun and the moon are referred to only in respect to their functions in regard to the earth. There is nothing whatever in this which conflicts with science. Nowhere in the Genesis narrative is it suggested that the earth is the centre of the universe or of this planetary system. Indeed it is rather remarkable in view of the early conceptions regarding the relationship of the sun to the earth, that there is an entire absence of any statement that the sun is dependent upon the earth, or is a mere satellite of it. The only slight, but important, reference there is, speaks of the sun 'ruling' the day on this earth, therefore the earth in this respect is stated to be controlled by the sun.
- Mention has already been made of the conjectures made by scientists regarding the origin of the sun. The narrative contains no statement as to the process by which the sun became the light and heat control of this planet, or of its distance from the earth, or of its magnitude, or of its motions, or substance. Science has made discoveries and suggestions in regard to all these; but this Genesis narrative is just a simple revelation of the functions of the sun and moon, and obviously it is not a record in modem scientific terms. All that is said of the heavenly bodies, other than our own planetary system, is, God made "the stars also". Modern astronomical science has revealed the immensity of the universe. In early days only a few thousand stars were visible to the naked eye. The invention of the telescope increased man's knowledge beyond all previous conception; later the use of the photographic plate made us aware of the existence of millions of additional stars; yet it is known that many are so distant that they make no light impression on the most sensitive photographic plate.
- Besides our galaxy, there are immense groups of stars, at distances too great to be measured otherwise than in 'light years', that is, at distances calculated by the time it takes for light travelling at 186,ooo miles a second, to reach this planet earth. In 1914 Chapman and Melotte put the number at 2,000,000,000, Sear and Van Rhyn have since stated 30,000,000,000, while Sir Arthur Eddington writes in his The Expanding Universe of 100,000,000,000 island systems each believed to be an aggregation of thousands of millions of stars with a general resemblance to our own Milky-Way system. Sir James Jeans in his Mysterious Universe says, "the total number of stars in the universe is probably something like the total number of grains of sand on all the sea shores of the world". Some of these stars have a luminosity a thousand times greater than our sun, but these are so distant from the earth as to reveal only a faint point of light at night.
- In this fourth day's narration, it simply says, God made "the stars". This statement is concerned not with the method of their origination, but with their Originator. It means that the starry universe was not an accident, God made it.
The Narrative Of The Sixth Day
- On the fifth day it was told in a simple and general way that marine and air life had been created by God. Again we need to bear in mind that no time limits are given as to how long ago this had taken place, or how long it was before the sea swarmed with the varieties of fishes, or the air with birds. There is no detailed statement, just a simple affirmation of the initiation of water and air life. On this day an account was given of a new form of life, on the third day it had been told that God had created plant and vegetable life, here it is said that God made animal life. There has been and there still is a cleavage between the material and biological sciences; it is often suggested that the gulf which exists between them is, to use a geological term, merely a 'fault'. Needham in his Order and Life argues for the hierarchical continuity of plant life from matter, and of marine and animal life from plants, and he cites K. Sapper, "We now stand before a problem which the supporters of the Gestalt theory have hardly yet answered, namely, how is the origin of pattern (Gestaltcharakter) in material objects in general and living things in particular, to be explained? . . . In my view there is only one way to picture the organisation of a material complex . . . and that is to assume that the qualitatively new in the pattern derives from the properties of the elements involved, but that certain. of these proper-ties can only come into operation in connection with certain specific stages of complexity. There is of course no proof available for demonstrating the rightness of this view-point. Needham himself sums up his book with a statement about the way toadstools and fungi appear whenever the temperature and moisture are precisely right together, and continues, "In some such way, probably, it is best to conceive of the origin of life on the earth-when cosmic conditions permit, matter produces in actuality what it has always had within it in potentiality". This conjecture of Needham's assumes that it had nothing to do with "some supra material, hyper individual factors ", in another word, God. The toadstool speculation is, it would seem, the best that a scientist without God can furnish as an explanation of origin of life.
- The narrative refers first to marine animals, next to air life, and the following days' narration to land animals. The history of the rocks confirms this order. In fact the modern position has not altered in this respect from that of T. H. Huxley who wrote, "Undoubtedly it is in the highest degree probable that animal life appeared first under aquatic conditions."
There are, as yet, very big gaps in our scientific knowledge as to these. Dr. Barnes in his Scientific Theory and Religion says (page 470), "It might reasonably be expected, however, that there would be fossil evidence showing how the vertebrates arose from some invertebrate stock. This, the most sought-after of all the missing links, has not yet been discovered. Naturally, diligent search has been made; probably every palaeontologist dreams that one day he may discover some transitional form and become famous. In the meantime speculation rests upon a most meagre basis of fact." Again, "Further, experts are not agreed about the passage from amphibian to reptile."
- In Genesis we read, "And God said, let the waters swarm." The extraordinary variety and fertility of sea-life is common knowledge. It is said that there are 12o,ooo different species now extant, so there is a greater variety among fishes than among birds and mammals. Most fish are very prolific in multiplying. Professor J. A. Thomson has written in Biology, Vol. 1, 435, "A female ling six feet long may have in its ovaries over twenty-eight million eggs, a turbot of seventeen pounds nine million, a cod of twenty-one and a half pounds over six million. The abundant herring has relatively few, twenty-one to forty-seven thousand. But even in this case it is plain that the sea would soon become solid with fish if there were not high mortality, especially in youth."
- Some zoologists maintain that birds are a development from reptiles and stress certain likenesses, but this in no way means that God did not introduce the transition. To explain the change from cold to warm blood is a great difficulty to scientists. The Bible statement is that God created "every fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven". That these came after the water population is in complete agreement with science, but no early writer could have known this truth by mere guesswork. A zoologist would describe birds as "oviparous, warm-blooded, amniotic Vertebrates", and classify them as Archaeornithes, and Neornithes but no one would expect any such description in the Genesis narrative. Science agrees that the position of birds in the animal kingdom is higher than that of Reptilia and lower than that of Mammalia.
- On the sixth and last day on which the story of creation was outlined, two separate acts were revealed. In the first part of the day's narrative it -was told how God made "the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every living thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind".
- As we have seen, this is simply part of the day's narration of what took place in the ages past when God created mammals; no time is stated as to how long this took, or any details given as to method; what is emphasised-and this is most important-is that God made the mammals, just as He had made the things related on the preceding five days. Consequently there should be no disagreement between science and this simple record. Conflict only takes place where a theory is adopted which asserts that God was not the Creator, for there is here no statement as to the processes by which God produced the mammals. The main difference between them and the reptiles referred to on the preceding day is that the former nourishes its young before and after birth, while the reptilian offspring is hatched from an egg. The present scientific theory - which is very popular - assumes that mammals were developed from reptiles, but the connecting link for which scientists have been diligently searching is, as we have seen, still missing. Indeed it is most significant that the 'links' always seem to be missing just as the vital Point where the mechanical evolutionary theory desires to establish a connection, and where the day's narrative makes a break. For instance, no connecting specimen of the alleged transition from the invertebrate to the vertebrate has been discovered.
- Scientists have explained that notwithstanding the immense variety of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, there are considerable similarities. Each has a skull and a backbone, a brain and a spinal cord, a heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, etc. Because all are constructed on one fundamental plan, which is modified according to whether the creature lives in water, air or on the land, it is stated that all had a common ancestor, from which all including man descended, but as the alleged connecting links between them are missing this theory remains merely a surmise; moreover the positions of these organs are very diverse in fish, fowl, and mammal, and they are constructed on a different plan. It is certainly not possible to claim this similarity; as a long series of accidents, it looks more like good evidence of design and a Designer.
- Science says that the age of mammals, relative to that of fishes and reptiles, is more recent, so agreeing with Genesis.
- "And God said, Let Us Make Man in our Image, after Our Likeness."
- Two separate actions were recorded on the sixth day. The second of these is the final and supreme act of creation. "God said, Let us make man in our Image, after our likeness." This Making of man in the likeness of God, placed him in a unique position; this is emphasised by the statement, " and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth." Science agrees with this narrative that man is the culmination and crowning point of creation, and that all other living things are subject to his dominion. It is also realised that (apart from God) the universe has significance only in the creation of man, for science is as certain as it can be that man exists only on this planet, and that only man has a mind which can conceive and understand something of the universe.
Man is more than something, He is a personality, someone qualitatively new.
- Again it is noticeable that just where this record states that God spake of a new development, scientists have found the greatest difficulty in establishing any connecting link. As Dr. Barnes, who will not be accused of any bias in favour of the Genesis narrative, says (Scientific Theory and Religion, p. 528), "Where and when did man begin to be? What was the course of his development? To the second of these inquiries we can give some answer, but of the first, our ignorance is almost absolute"; "As we have said more than once, our ignorance of the beginnings of humanity is vast"; "we must admit that, in comparison with the help which palaeontology gives in reconstructing the ancestral history of the horse, or of the elephant, it offers but feeble aid to the discovery of man's evolution". Or again (p. 539), "How long is it since man began to be? No question is more natural, and yet no answer that may be given fails to excite the wrath of most of our experts. The fact is that we have no data on which to base a decisive answer "
- I suggest that there is much loose thinking on this subject of how man originated. It is a question of immense importance and involves important conceptions of both God and man. There is much at stake in the two opposing views (and it would be idle to suggest that the two views do not conflict). These are
- (a) a distinct action on the part of God by which He created man, and
- (b) an almost imperceptible gradual development of man from some animal ancestry, without the special intervention of God.
- Those who take the view that by almost imperceptible degrees an animal gradually evolved apart from God into Man, hold that at one period the beast had become half man, an ape-like man, or a man-like ape. It is here that the loose thinking mainly occurs. Few who hold this theory have attempted any reasonable and adequate explanation of the origin of the moral qualities of man, his conscience, and consciousness of immortality, of his mind, his ability to communicate his thoughts by the use of speech and language. Whence came these qualities? It is here that the problem of man's origin become significant, and demands an answer. The dissimilarity of animals to man in these respects is of much greater consequence than any question of his supposed similarity of body. It is riot sufficient to shelve this problem by saying that the alleged development took 'millions of years'. At what Point for instance did -man acquire immortality? Dr. Barnes who sees this difficulty says, " I hold immortality in the form of eternal life can be predicted of man but not of the animals from which he has sprung" (Scientific Theory and Religion, p. 638). But he adds (p. 639), " Of course if anything resembling a mechanical theory of the universe is true no argument for human immortality can exist. The blind forces which, oil the assumptions of naturalism, have made man will at 'his death destroy him and all that is of value in him." How can anti-Biblical theories of man explain his immortality? It seems obvious that only by accepting the Bible account can we account for the immortality of man.
- The most notable thing about man is not his body, but his mind. The animal does not consciously turn to God as man can. Moreover man has what we call personality; he is able to detach himself from mere instinct; he is not only conscious but self-conscious and can reflect on the past and the future. It has sometimes been assumed that the brain is the mind; the brain is a mechanism, and needs a personality to work it. Dr. McDougall in his Psychology has written, "No single organic function has yet been found explicable in purely mechanical terms, even such relatively simple processes as the secretion of a tear, or the exudation of a drop of sweat elude all attempts at complete explanation in ' the terms of physical and chemical science." As Smuts has pointed out in his Holism, matter, life, mind, are all three quite unlike, and the difference appears to be final. Alan has an awareness of the past as well as the future, he can appreciate the existence and beauty of the 'heavens and the earth', he alone has a mind capable of understanding what God has done.
- It is precisely here that the atheist opposes the Genesis narrative; for instance, Haeckel attacked the ideas of God, freedom and immortality, as well as the essential distinction between mind and material. But even if it could be argued that the moral qualities in man, his mind, and his ability to communicate his thoughts in language, are only a matter of degree, surely this cannot be said of man's quality of immortality. On this matter there is a great gulf fixed. Whatever anyone may think of this first page of the Bible, it ought to be recognised that an entirely mechanistic view of the development of man cannot possibly be brought into unity with it. The Biblical statement is that these qualitatively new faculties, his sense of moral obligation, his awareness of a moral law, his cognisance of obligation to God, came direct from the Creator, and it is submitted that these qualities cannot be reasonably explained in any other way.
- The gulf between the two may be seen in the following statements:
- "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion." (Gen. i. 26.)
- "In the beginning there was fear; and fear was in the heart of man; and fear controlled man. At every turn it whelmed over him, leaving him no moment of ease. With the wild soughing of the wind it swept through him; with the crashing of the thunder and the growling of the lurking beasts. All the days of man were grey with fear, because all his universe seemed charged with danger and he, poor gibbering half-ape, nursing his wound in some draughty cave, could only tremble with fear" (Lewis Browne, This Believing World).
- If this conception of things is called science, there will always be a conflict between the Genesis account and the mechanical evolutionist who denies the existence of God and then thinks he can account for the world, including man with his mind, as a merely mechanical development
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