WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BATTLE AGAINST EVOLUTION?
by Wayne S. Walker
The Bible from beginning to end declares that the universe, the world on which we live, and life upon the earth all came about as the result of a special creation by God. In Jeremiah 51.14-16 we read, "The LORD of hosts has sworn by Himself: ‘Surely I will fillyou with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a shout against you.’ He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding. When He utters His voice–there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: ‘He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He mkes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries."
Up until about 150 years ago, most people in Western Civilization, and nearly everyone who called himself a Christian, believed this. However, it is now evident that the vast majority of people in our culture, even a large number of those who claim to be indentified with Christianity, no longer accept this as fact. In July of 2005, I was asked to speak in a series of lectures at the High School Rd. Church of Christ in Indianapolis, IN. This article is taken from the the material that I used to prepare for that lecture. The general theme under which my lecture fell was "The Sheathed Sword," and the subject which was assigned to me was "What Happened to the Battle Against Evolution?"
What Is It?
To answer the question that forms the title for this article, we must first look at another question, what is evolution? The word "evolution" basically means change. If someone were to write a book on how cars have changed from "horseless carriage" of late 1800’s to powerful modern machines, he might call it "The Evolution of the Automobile." I sometime wonder if scientists 100,000 years from now, sifting through the remains of the 20th century, might conclude that somehow a Model T evolved into a Model A, and their descendants eventually evolved into a Thunderbird. The Encyclopedia Brittanica lists some 22 different theories of evolution. Basically, the concept can be defined in two ways.
Scientists refer to what they call the special theory of evolution, also called microevolution, which occurs when populations of the same kind of animal, say finches, are separated and undergo various changes so that when they are reintroduced they are no longer able to interbreed and thus are classified as two separate species. This is what happened to a group of birds known as "Darwin’s finches," and it was one of the evidences for his theory of evolution that Charles Darwin gave. These sorts of changes are provable in that they have been observed and measured. Of course, they occur only within specifically defined limits. The finches never evolved into elephants, or fish, or snakes–they were still finches!
From these kinds of observable, measurable changes, has been extrapolated the general theory of evolution, sometimes called macroevolution, which hypothesizes that, if it can be assumed that the earth has been in existence for millions and even billions of years, life began when inert matter somehow changed into a living cell, single celled organisms somehow changed into multi-celled organisms, lower life forms somehow changed into higher life forms, and eventually some ape-like ancestor somehow changed into man, all without any actual proof. Batsell Barrett Baxter defined evolution this way. "The word evolution is generally understood to refer to the hypothesis or theory that all life on earth originated from non-living matter and that all forms of life on the earth today came from some original form of life by a connected series of changes, which at every point were only natural, and are therefore explainable by science" (I Believe Because…, p. 119).
The purpose of this article is not to deal with the subject of evolution versus creationism, per se, but to explain why the sword seems to be sheathed. The subject presupposes that there has been or at least should be a warfare, a battle between these two world-views. It is quite obvious that the Bible does not teach nor even allow room for the general theory of evolution. The Bible tells us how the universe, the world, and life on earth came about. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1.1ff). It also tells us how long it took. ""For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them…" (Exodus 20.11). It even tells us precisely how God did it. "By the word of the LORD, the heavens were made…for He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33.6-9). Jesus, the divine Son of God, certainly accepted the Genesis account of Creation (Matthew 19.4). Therefore, we can accept it by faith (Hebrews 11.3).
Why A Battle?
Next, we must ask why is there a battle? If evolution were recognized as only one possible explanation for how life began and developed on earth based solely upon assumption, perhaps the battle would not be so fierce. Honest evolutionists admit this fact. In his 1925 book The Dogma of Evolution, p. 117, Louis Trenchard More wrote, "The evidence for the evolution of plants and animals is commonly said to be derived from many sources. When, however, we examine these causes for our belief, we find that, excepting our desire to eliminate special creation and generally, what we call the miracles, most of them can be considered only as secondary reasons to confirm a theory already advanced." William Straus in Quarterly Review of Biology back in Sept. of 1949 wrote, "I wish to emphasize that I am under no illusion that the theory of human ancestry which I favor at the present time can in any way be regarded as proven. It is at best merely a working hypothesis whose final evaluation must be left to the future. What I wish especially to stress is that the problem of man’s ancestry is still a decidedly open one, in truth a riddle." G. A. Kirkut, professor of physiology and biochemistry at the University of Southampton in England and himself an evolutionist, said in his 1960 book Implications of Evolution (reprinted 1965), "The first assumption was that non-living things gave rise to living material. This is still just an assumption….The evidence for what did happen is not available."
However, most evolutionists do not present evolution as just a possibility based on assumption but as absolute fact. In 1929 William Patten, an American zoologist and professor of zoology at Dartmouth from 1893-1931 wrote in the Scientific American, "Evolution has long passed out of the field of scientific controversy. There is no other subject on which scientific opinion is so completely unanimous. It is the one great truth we must surely know." The Secular Humanist Declaration of 1973 states on p. 21, "Today the theory of evolution is again under attack by religious fundamentalism. Although the theory of evolution cannot be said to have reached its final formulation, or to be an infallible principle of science, it is nonetheless supported impressively by the findings of many sciences….Accordingly, we deplore the efforts by fundamentalists (especially in the United States) to invade the science classrooms, requiring that creationist theory be taught to students and requiring that it be included in biology textbooks. This is a serious threat both to academic freedom and to the integrity of the educational process." John Ljubeknov, a marine biologist, is reported to have told the Vista, CA, school board, "You let creationism–so-called science–into the classrooms and you’ve lost education." According to a letter from Answers in Genesis dated July, 2005, "The National Academy of Sciences is gathering signatures of more than 4,000 ‘Christian clergy,’ including evangelicals, supporting evolution as a ‘scientific truth.’" To hear the evolutionists talk, evolution is "science" whereas creation or intelligent design is "religion." Those who reject evolution are portrayed like those who believe in a geocentric universe or a flat earth.
Evolution is so assumed to be true that it is depicted casually, as though everyone accepts it, in popular television shows, magazines, zoo and museum exhibitions, and books, including those aimed at young people. Today, children love to learn about dinosaurs. Where Are All The Dinosaurs? was written by Mary O’Neill, copyrighted in 1989 by Mokum Publishing Inc., and published for children by Troll Associates, Mahwah, NJ. It is a very attractive book with a visually appealing cover so that when children who like dinosaurs see it, whether in a store or in a library, they would naturally say, "Mommy, Daddy, can I have that book." But what will they find in it?
"Millions of years ago, our planet was home to a fascinating group of animals called dinosaurs. These creatures seem to have lived all over the world, in almost every kind of region. Dinosaurs were a very successful group of animals. They lived on earth for about 160 million years. This is longer than any other group of large land animals in history!" (p. 2).
"Scientists believe the history of the earth stretches back billions of years. Over this time, many kinds of creatures have come and gone. We may never know about some of them. But the earth sometimes gives us a peek at life forms from long ago" (p. 4).
"Scientists believe that life began between three and four billion years ago. This was during the great stretch of time known as the Precambrian….The first creatures were single cells such as bacteria and algae. These tiny forms of life left hardly any trace of themselves….The first real fossils go back to the Paleozoic…Era. Paleozoic is Greek for ‘ancient life.’ It lasted from 600 to 225 million years ago. Both dinosaurs and mammals appeared in the next great era of earth’s history–the Mesozoic…Era. This era is known as earth’s ‘middle years’ because Mesozoic is Greek for ‘middle life.’ The Mesozoic Era took place between 225 and 65 million years ago. We are living in the latest era of history, which is the Cenozoic…Era. Cenozoic is Greek for ‘recent life.’ It started about 65 million years ago" (p. 5).
"Dinosaurs first appeared toward the end of the Triassic…Period. The Triassic Period lasted from 225 to 195 million years ago. It is the earliest period of the Mesozoic Era….Dinosaurs started to come into their own during the next stage, the Jurassic…Period. This lasted from 195 to 136 million years ago….But the peak of the dinosaurs’ rule was during their final years. It came in the Cretaceous…Period, between 136 million and 65 million years ago" (p. 6).
Another reason why there is a battle is that even some who claim to believe in creation are given to compromise. Concepts such as theistic evolution, progressive and old-earth creationism, the gap and day-age theories, Genesis as myth, and other similar arguments, all have been developed with the apparent design of "harmonizing" the Bible with the assertions of evolutionists as to the age of the universe and the earth (the reasoning being that they are scientists so they must be telling the truth regarding how long things have been in existence), thus giving the evolutionists everything they want but making sure that "God" is thrown in there somehow.
But worst of all, there is a battle between evolution and creationism because the evolutionists have taken over the public schools. In 99% of America’s public schools, evolution is taught or at least assumed as fact, not only in science classes but also in social studies and other courses as well. And I believe that this is by design. On page 26 of The Humanist, January/February, 1983, humanist John Dunphy, in an article entitled "A Religion for a New Age," wrote the following:
"I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by the teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith….These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level–preschool day care or large university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new–the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved. It will undoubtedly be a long, arduous, painful struggle replete with much sorrow and many tears, but humanism will emerge triumphant. It must if the family of humankind is to survive."
I must hasten to add that I understand that not all public school teachers are evolutionists, and that there are many Christians and other good people in the public schools trying to be an influence for good. However, it cannot be denied that by and large the public schools are currently a battleground where the humanists and evolutionists are largely winning. Let there even be a rumor that some state is considering allowing something other than evolution to be suggested as a possibility when discussing the origin and development of life in biology standards or textbooks (or even a sticker in science textbooks saying that there are other possibilities), and the ACLU with all its minions will be there in full force at the drop of a hat to make sure that no "religion" is promoted in the public schools–and in nearly every court case they have won! Of course, they will not admit that their real purpose, their dirty little secret that they do not want anyone to know, is to see that their atheistic, humanistic religion is taught exclusively in public schools. Is it any wonder that most religious bodies, even conservative ones, are finding that some 85% of their young people who attend public schools no longer believe the Bible when they graduate? I have an idea that the percentage in Churches of Christ is probably not that much lower. While again admitting that there are undoubtedly a number of Christians and other Bible-believers trying to do their best in public schools, the evidence leads to the inevitable conclusion that in the main public schools are indoctrination centers for the theory of evolution. In 1925, John T. Scopes was tried at Cleveland, TN, for teaching evolution in school. He was prosecuted by William J. Bryan and defended by Clarence Darrow. Interestingly enough, Bryan won. Scopes was convicted and fined! Unfortunately, however, we won the battle then but seemingly have lost the war since.
Why A Sheathed Sword?
Why is the sword sheathed? I must admit that when I was asked to speak on this topic, I was a little puzzled at first. Maybe I just hang around with a different crowd of people, but many religious folks with whom I have been associated have been very active in wielding the sword against the theory of evolution. I became fascinated with the study of evidences in college and over the last thirty years have been preaching, teaching, and writing on the subject, including a ten-plus-year series of articles in a now defunct magazine called With All Boldness several of which dealt with evolution. Churches with which I have worked have had well qualified men come and present the truth on the topic. But it must be admitted that perhaps a large number of those associated with Churches of Christ (and other religious people too) have sheathed the sword in this fight. Why is that? One reason may be that because most of us are not professional biologists, geologists, paleontologists, or anthropologists, we feel unequipped to handle the subject. Of course, there are a lot of good books and other materials available which will help us be better equipped. But ultimately, the deciding factor is not one’s expertise in scientific matters–the same evidence can be interpreted from a creationist model just as well as, and even better than, an evolutionist model.
Another reason that the sword has been sheathed by some is that they may feel that the battle is completely lost, that continuing to fight will do absolutely no good. We do not know what the short term outcome will be and it is quite possible that the evolutionists and humanists may win control of our society, if they have not done so already. But the same principle should apply here that holds true with evangelism in general. Just because people do not seem to be eager to hear the gospel, do we simply quit preaching it? No. We must be urgent in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). Regardless of whether we think anyone will listen or not, we still have an obligation to stand up for the truth because we should be set for the defense of the gospel (Philippians 1.17). Christians always have an obligation to promote creation rather than evolution under any conditions.
Others may have sheathed the sword because they do not realize the benefit of living in a society dominated by a Biblical worldview or see the dangers of a society which accepts the evolutionary theory. They must think that it is really not important, that they can live for the Lord and never be concerned about evolution. Of course, a Christian can and must live for God in any kind of society, even one as bad as first century Rome, but it should not take a rocket scientist to see that there are situations where serving God and raising a godly family are much easier. Our nation has never really been a "Christian" nation in the sense of a theocratic government or even of having a majority of Christians, especially as the New Testament defines that term. However, it cannot be denied that for its first two hundred years, this county was definitely dominated by a Biblical worldview in which even most unbelievers accepted certain absolute truths and generally ordered their lives according to those truths; as a result, we were able to live in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2.2). However, as a result of the influence of John Dewey, who was an atheistic, humanistic evolutionist, and his followers who gained control of our educational system during the first fifty years of the twentieth century, the dominant world view of our society has turned since about 1960 to 1970 from a Biblical worldview to an atheistic, humanistic, evolutionary one. During that time, we have also seen crime, pornography, homosexuality, other forms of immorality, and a host of various social evils explode. I shall leave it to you to judge in which society you would prefer to live, but I know that "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14.34).
Unfortunately, it is quite likely that a good number of believers have sheathed the sword because they just do not care. They have their nice jobs, homes, cars, clothes, friends, etc., and they go to church, but they are not interested enough in the gospel to want it to influence too much their lives and the society in which they live (cf. 2 Timothy 3.5, Titus 1.16, Revelation 3.15-17). They are satisfied with things just the way they are and would not want to be thought of as "fanatics." They do not want to rock the boat or make waves but to ride with the tide and go with the flow. I believe that I can make arguments to try and motivate people who are characterized by the three previous reasons, but to be honest, I just do not know what to do with people who call themselves Christians and just do not care.
What Is To Be Done?
What can we do? When we see evolution portrayed as fact in various media, we can write letters to newspapers, television stations, magazines, publishers, etc., to present good, sound arguments as to why that should not be the case. I do not know whether it will do any good or not, but at least we will make your voice heard. And if enough people make their voices heard, something good might come of it.
We can buy, use, and promote materials, as much as we conscientiously can, from creationist organizations and publishers such as Answers in Genesis, Creation Research Society, Institution for Creation Research, the Ark Foundation, Master Books, Apologetics Press, and others. Not everyone will be in complete doctrinal agreement with all of these groups, so we may have to be a little careful sometimes, but at least they all present evidence for creation and a Biblical worldview. We need to be having our children read their books instead of pro-evolution "science" books, and we can even donate such books to libraries, if they will accept them, so that a creationist viewpoint will be available to people.
For example, there is a book, What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs by John Morris and Ken Ham. It was published in 1990 by Master Books. I purchased mine from Answers in Genesis. Like Where Are All The Dinosaurs, it is very attractive and visually appealing for children, but it strives to tell the truth as it really is and offer a creationist alternative to the evolutionary explanation. In addition, another attractive and appealing book for children, Life In The Great Ice Age by Michael and Beverly Oard, also published by Master Books and available from Answers in Genesis, explains the Ice Age from a creationist perspective.
Most importantly, as a part of training our children in the way that they should go and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we must make sure that they are taught and well-grounded in the truth of creation (Proverbs 22.6, Ephesians 6.4). We should look for opportunities in our homes and everyday lives to show the fallacies of the evolutionary theory and point out the evidences for creation. We should also encourage the local church in its Bible classes and public teaching to provide opportunities for our children to hear others discuss this topic from a scriptural standpoint and promote a truly Biblical worldview in the materials that are used in the teaching program.
Let me conclude with one other suggestion. Some of us, in our attempt to unsheath the sword in the fight against evolution, have chosen to homeschool our children. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I do not necessarily preach, or even believe, that all Christians MUST homeschool their children to be faithful to the Lord. Many children of Christians have gone to public schools and still believe the truth. However, many do not come out of public schools holding to the faith. Whatever route we choose, we need to take to heart what God told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 6.6-7. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
There are those who are convinced that the best route is to teach our children at home ourselves and present everything from a Biblical worldview rather than having constantly to correct and reteach everything that they learn in school. Some people criticize this as hiding our children’s light under a bushel, not letting them be the salt of the earth, and over-protecting them from the world. However, I know a lot of homeschooling families, and this is not the aim of most parents who educate their children at home. Rather, our aim is to make sure that our children are protected from unnecessary moral evil and wholly immersed in the truth during their most impressionable years so that when they are more mature and do go out into the world they will be fully equipped to stand up for creation and fight against evolution. Again, I cannot tell anyone that he or she has to homeschool, but many find it a useful weapon in warring against the militancy of the evolutionists. We just want to do everything possible in making it more likely to keep our children from being part of that 85% and raise up warriors who are prepared to join in the battle against evolution.
It is not my desire to sound to pessimistic, but I do not know whether in our society the battle against evolution can be won or not. Of course, there is always hope because God is on the throne and He will ultimately be victorious, but in 2 Timothy 3:13, the inspired apostle Paul wrote, "But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, seducing and being seduced." However, the battle against evolution, like the battle for truth in general, is not won en masse. Rather, it will be fought and won in the hearts of individuals as God’s word is taught and accepted.
Therefore, every Christian should unsheath the sword of the Spirit to join in the fight against evolution and every philosophy that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God. That way, we can make it much more likely that we ourselves will not be led away from the truth, that our children will be well-grounded in God’s word, and that we can influence as many other people for good as possible. As Jude verse 3 commands us, may we "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."
(Wayne S. Walker is the husband of Karen and the homeschooling father of Mark and Jeremy. When this article was written, he was serving as minister with the Affton Church of Christ near St. Louis, MO. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article appeared in Home School Digest; Vol. 16, No. 1; 2005)