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Unless stated otherwise, Scripture references are from the NIV-UK.
According to Genesis the creatures of the sea, sky and land had adapted themselves to their respective environments long ages before Man appeared on the scene (Gen. 1: 26, 27). Some creatures had by then, perhaps, become extinct. Made in the rational and emotional image of God, the human was late appearing. This fact owes nothing to the theory of evolution, but to the plain assertion that Adam was the last development in the chain of life.
As the science of anthropology reveals, there are underlying physical similarities between animals and humans. Some functions – running, jumping, grasping – require similar musco-skeletal structures (homologues), on the ‘principle of least action’ [Samuel Haughton, endnote 1]. All creatures inhabit a common (earth) environment, subject to the effects of atmospheric pressures and gravity; these conditions dictate structure and size and the means of locomotion. Thus the human body has numerous components in common with other creatures, from articulated joints, excretion, nervous system, blood circulation, vision, hearing, DNA, inter alia.
For centuries the field of human medicine has honed its science and surgical skills on the study and dissection of animals. Experiments on rats and mice yield human-applicable data. For instance, the valve from a pig’s heart can be used to repair a human heart; this is called a xenotransplant (cross-species transplant). But whether such facts are proof of a shared evolutionary inheritance is the sharp point at which Evolution and Scripture clash. God may have dipped into His existing anatomical parts bin, but in making Man He crafted something original. This debate will wage on. The doctrine of evolution, in the ascendancy, has no role for a ‘creator’ and is, therefore, functionally atheistic and unfriendly to faith and any alternative explanation on the origin of life.
The flora and fauna were ‘produced’ or ‘brought forth’, terms broad enough to allow for evolution at the micro and macro level, though each after its own genus or species (Genesis 1: 11, 21; ‘kinds’; Heb., miyn). The process of developing animal life (sea, air, land) was intentional, not spontaneous or accidental, but it was not the same as that which produced the first human. The fact that plant and animal life already ʻteemedʼ (was abundant) allows us to read Gen. 1: 26 – ʻLet us make manʼ, etc. – as a contrast to what had gone before, marking a distinct departure in the creative process.
One need not reject the teachings of Genesis on the creation of human life in order to accept the idea of the long-term evolution of sentient non-human life. Many believers will disagree with our assertion, especially those who hold to the doctrine of a young earth and insist that the universe, the earth and everything in it was made in a few solar days or a few thousand years. But take note that, however unwelcome the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the havoc and misery it has inflicted on the entire world, its thousands of mutations are glaring examples of biological evolution, a fact that may give pause for thought.
Assuming for a moment an evolutionist’s point of view, don’t evolved human beings repudiate their own biological inheritance when they doubt their origin? What universal provision exists in the primitive brain to trick it into inventing the notion of a creator? What standard of perfection (or memory of it) exists in the human mind that makes it perpetually dissatisfied and constantly strive for progress and reformation of its nature? Atheistic evolution is apparently unhappy with the result – ourselves – and seeks to improve on the human being, whom it regards as defective and unfit for purpose.
That we are defective is undeniable. Easily distracted and erratic at any age, our minds and our memories are unreliable, prone to errors of judgement. (Why, for instance, is our second thought usually better than our first?) Our errors and frailties vindicate the view of the atheist-evolutionist, that these are immutable flaws in our biology, and demonstrate that no external top-order Mind created us.
In fact, such assertions were made by the Scriptures long ago.
The account of Manʼs fall into sin and imperfection predicted illness, dying and death and a gradual atrophy of human powers and genetic fudging. Simply put, the Bible already knows that we are a mess. But the fact that Man alone, as self-aware creature, is able to find fault with himself – that is, to compare himself against an ideal standard – strongly favours the Bible's explanation of the human condition and how we got this way – and why a Saviour was needed.
For although God Himself subjected mankind to dying and death, He also implanted in His creation a longing for future deliverance in Christ’s kingdom on earth, the promise of which is found in Rom. 8: 20, 21, KJV:
[T]he creature [humanity] was made subject to vanity [inutility, depravity], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Endnote 1: Samuel Houghton (1821-1897): Quaker
‘Haughton’s particular interest in these comparative anatomical studies was to understand the detailed basis of muscular action. He became convinced that the very different modes of organization of limbs and muscles in the wide range of animal species which he had examined could all be explained in terms of the principle of least action, which he took from mathematical physics and reformulated in the following terms: that the muscular action is organized in such a way that the work done in performing a particular limb movement is less than would be the case for any alternative form of muscular arrangement. These conclusions, and the detailed basis for them, were set out in his book Animal Mechanics, published in 1873. One conclusion which he drew from this work was that, as far as bones, muscles, and joints are concerned, the permanence and stability of each species is absolutely secured. He was quite satisfied that his studies lent no support to the Darwinian postulate that the similarities found to exist in the bones, muscles, and joints of animals may be explained by common descent from a supposed common ancestor. It was clear to him that each limb and its mode of action had been planned by a foreseeing mind.’
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