The Orthodox Pages

email: pater@christopherklitou.com 

TALK ON DARWIN’S THEORY OF EVOLUTION

AND CONTEMPORARY INTERPRETATIONS OF GENESIS
25th Nov 2010

Homepage

 

   Back                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We have all heard of the “Big bang” theory which has us believing that a great explosion caused particles to form which then came together and formed the galaxies and Planets. On earth the sea was a cocktail of chemicals and together with the energies from the sun these developed into organic molecules. Then from these all living creatures evolved –the fish, the birds, land animals and eventually the species which Darwin and many others after him have identified as modern man’s ancestors – Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Neanderthal, Homo sapiens, etc with modern man at the top of the chain.
Evolution comes into direct conflict with the Bible because man was created differently than all the animals and is a special creation. This is seen by the fact that when God created the animals he said “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind”. When he came to create man “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” then forming man from the dust of the ground, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
What is meant by the image and likeness of God? This has nothing to do with the external appearance of man because God is Spirit and does not have a body so the image must refer to the soul. We understand that the image is man’s spirit, the soul, which is endowed with intelligence, with thought, wisdom and prudence, so as to be able to discern good from evil. It is man’s sovereign state and free will to choose his own destination: to choose between knowing and having communion with God, or to separate himself from God. These are specials gifts that God bestowed only upon man, his very special creation. The likeness of God is man’s ability to put the special gifts he has been granted to their proper use to acquire knowledge of God which is obtained only through his relationship with God. This was and is man’s destination - to be united with God, to be deified by the Holy Spirit and become a god. In other words, to be united to God by using his own free will and accepting God’s will as his own.
Man was not created as just another animal to fill up the earth, but the whole of creation was created for man. He was created to be king and lord over all the earth. This is seen by God’s words to him “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” If man is a separate and special creation then he could not have evolved. The theory of evolution is supported by the theory of the “selfish gene” in other words the genes that are most likely to be passed on from generation to generation are the strongest genes fighting for survival. According to this theory evolution means progressing from a lower existence to a higher existence, therefore man evolved from the caveman or ape-man to the sophisticated man he is today. Let’s look at man according to the Bible and history and see if he can evolve, and if he has, then has he actually evolved for the better.
Man is a psychosomatic being, in other words he is both body and soul. For something to evolve there has to be something already there to evolve from. In the case of the body it was created from dust or according to the theory of evolution it came about over millions of years from organic molecules. The body therefore in both cases had a beginning in something else, but what about the soul. The soul according to the Bible was created from nothing; “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The soul is immortal and therefore cannot evolve except in its relationship to God. From its creation it was created in the image and likeness of God and thus from an evolutionary viewpoint it was already perfect. Man as already mentioned is both body and soul or half body and half soul. Can therefore the one half evolve without the other half? If man is both body and soul then when did the soul come into existence? If as we believe they were created at the same time and if man evolved from the ape then did the “ape-man” have a brain with a below the average intelligence while at the same time having a eternal soul with the intellect and wisdom which God bestowed upon it as part of the “image”? I think this argument clearly shows that man did not evolve from the ape or any of the “Homo family” evolutionists would have us believe.
Adam as a special creation of God was created immortal, that is to say, as long as he lived in God’s will and likeness, he would live forever. The Bible story tells us that from this blissful state he fell and lost immortality and became mortal. From perfect health he now suffered from illnesses and disease and finally death. The purpose of our talk today is not to see why he fell or the consequences of the fall as we have covered this many times in previous talks. Our purpose is to show that man has not evolved as claimed by the theory of evolution. After the fall we are told that Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, his son Seth lived nine hundred and twelve years, Enos lived nine hundred and five years. In fact everyone lived almost to a thousand years. This was man’s lifespan up to Noah’s time. We then see a sudden drop in man’s lifespan to just 120 years which we will discuss further down. I just mention it here to show the great difference in man’s life expectancy. King David then tells us in Psalm 89 (KJV) that “The days of our years are threescore and ten and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years.” Threescore and ten is 70 seventy and fourscore is eighty. This has been the average lifespan for man until the present day.

During the dark and Middle Ages, because of wars, famine and plagues, man was lucky if he survived to the age of fifty. In our times with the advance in medical science man can survive for a few more years but these are nothing compared to the 120 years after Noah and especially the thousand years of Adam. If evolution means evolving into something better then man should have evolved to live for at least two thousand years after Adam, but we see the complete opposite and man, instead of evolving, has been devolving or regressing and his regression is not only seen in his life expectancy, but also in the state of his health. As he devolves more and more illnesses are cropping up and even in our age where medical science has over the past hundred years done wonders by finding cures for many illnesses and plagues that scourged mankind, there are new ones developing to take their place.
Adam then has not evolved but devolved – he has been going downhill ever since the fall. But what about man’s intellect – has this been evolving in spite of the body’s regression? The great thinkers of all time are not of our generation but of generations long passed. The great philosophers who lived three thousand years ago have never been surpassed and even today their works are read and referred to constantly. The great wonders of the world are not new monuments but landmarks like the great pyramids that were built without modern technology and have kept man guessing even today on how they were constructed. Even our democratic societies that have us believing that we are living in a better and just world with laws to protect us against all injustice are only poor copies of Greek and Roman civilizations of three thousand years ago. If man’s intellect evolved then this would clearly be seen from one century to the next, but man’s history over the past thousand years hasn’t much to offer us as way of proof. Certainly the centuries that make up the Middle Ages have nothing to offer. Modern man is much more knowledgeable of his world than any other generation before him, but this does not mean he is more intelligent. We must not confuse intellect with knowledge. Man has always had the intellect because he was made in the image of God and part of this image in godlike intellect.
What makes our generation different is the invention of telecommunications and computer gadgets which have brought us unthinkable knowledge at the touch of a button. As our knowledge increases we are able to invent more and more computerized and household gadgets and it seems that there is no limit to what modern man can do. But these are all inventions of recent years; did man then suddenly go from an average mind which was in a docile state for thousands of years to evolve into a brilliant genius overnight? This is unbelievable even for evolutionists so the answer must therefore lie elsewhere. Our modern world of never-ending inventions owes it all to the invention of electricity. If we didn’t have electricity we would not have had the means to develop the technology to do all the wonderful things that make us appear more advanced and sophisticated than our ancestors. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this on my laptop and it would be pointless if no one could read it on my website. If by chance electricity had been invented three thousand years ago, man, even then, had the intellect and would have found ways to use it to improve his life. Adam had the intellect but not the means to accumulate knowledge at his fingertips.
While still on the subject of evolution I want to move onto something else. There are those who try to interpret the Bible in ways that would give support to the theory of evolution. One such interpretation is that Adam’s genealogy represents the various stages in the evolutionary development of mankind. Adam in Hebrew for example means mankind, Seth means the one who rose up, Enoch means the man and Cainan means the settler. Jacob and Esau have often been interpreted to represent Israel and Edom. In other words it has been suggested that Adam’s genealogy through his son Seth right down to Noah and his sons mentioned in chapter five of Genesis might not be a family genealogy but various stages in the evolutionary development of mankind.
By even suggesting that the names represent various stages of evolutionary development it opens the possibility that they were not real personalities. The teaching in the Bible is that Adam was a real person: of course his name means mankind and why shouldn’t it? How more appropriate a name for the first man who became the father of mankind. If he just represents mankind or represents the first stage of evolutionary development then we should throw the Bible away because the whole purpose of the Old Testament was to prepare the Israelites and the rest of the world for the expected Messiah who would come and put right the error of Adam and the New Testament is the fulfilment of that expectancy with God himself becoming the Messiah by taking upon himself the nature of man. Scripture was never intended to be a history book and far less an allegorical account of man’s evolutionary development, but an insight into the relationship between God and his people. Such theories or even the hint that the Bible could possibly be referring to the evolutionary development of mankind destroys the whole meaning of the Bible and from the God-inspired book that it is it becomes a book of little value other than to give support to Darwinists and their No-God theories. If Adam’s genealogy represents the evolutionary development of mankind can we then assume that Adam represents the first stage of man’s development or more precisely the Ape-man, Seth – Homo erectus, Enos - Homo habilis, Cainan – Neanderthal and Noah - Homo sapiens?
Let’s now move on to another subject.
Many modern scholars support a theory that there are two distinct writers of the creation story found in Genesis, the first writing before the exile of the Israelites around 850 BC and the other after their return from exile and after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. In support of this argument is the fact that one writer is identified because he uses the name Yahweh for God and the other by his style of writing and interest shown in the priestly code. This is an unproven theory which has its root in philosophical ideas that reject the Bible as God-inspired and do not recognize Holy Tradition. Jewish and Christian tradition has always recognized Moses as the author of the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Old Testament which comprise the “Law”, the Hebrew Torah in fact means “the Law”, except for a few passages which refer to Moses’ death which he could not have written and which tradition ascribes to Moses’ successor Joshua of Nun.
A few of the church fathers accepted the thought that because the original books had been lost, they were rewritten word for word through divine enlightenment by Esdras after the return from exile. In the ninth and tenth centuries AD certain Jewish scholars thought that some other parts of Genesis and Exodus were from a later period but without denying that they also were God-inspired. In general though, the relentless attack on Moses as the author began in the 16th century immediately after the western protestant reformation. Around the same time there was a revival in the studying of the Ancient Greek Philosophers. As a result two new philosophical ideas sprouted called Rationalism and Deism. Rationalism believes that only the human intellect is possible of bringing man to the truth and perfection. Deism denies miracles and prophecy and therefore God’s providence. According to Deism after God created man he left him to his own devices without interfering any more in his welfare or salvation. Among the greatest who denied Moses as the author were England’s Thomas Hobbes and the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza both of the 17th century. The war against Moses continued throughout the 18th century and came to a peak in the 19th century with the German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen. The Roman Catholic Church and Conservative Protestants rose up in defence and as a result a huge bibliography was produced which is still going strong today. Let’s then see some of the arguments for and against Moses as the author of the Pentateuch.
1) According to Deism there can be no revelation or miraculous intervention by God so the Jewish faith must have evolved from other religions. From a primitive cultic fetishism it evolved into a polytheistic religion until it finally reached its highest peak as a monotheistic religion around 800BC in the time of the Prophets. Thus if it reached its monotheistic state around 800 BC the Pentateuch which is exclusively monotheistic could not have been written before 800 BC and certainly not in the time of Moses 1400 BC.
Answer:
The philosophical supposition that God does not interfere in the world or in human affairs cannot for one moment be taken seriously. First is has to be proven that God truly does not interfere and only when the proof is produced to then proceed to a defence. An unfounded and unproven idea cannot be placed as the basis for us to prove otherwise. Also the theory that all religions evolved from a poly-demonic cultic religion to polytheistic and then the Jewish monotheistic religion is unproven and therefore unacceptable. In fact archaeological digs have proven the complete opposite. Not only during Moses’ time but even more ancient there existed one God religions and monotheistic tendencies. Therefore the Jewish religion had no need to evolve to reach monotheism. Of course the archaeological finds were still unknown in the time of Wellhausen and his predecessors.
2) The rationalist of old believed that writing had not yet been invented during Moses’ time therefore Moses could not have written the Pentateuch or anything else.
Answer: Today we know that writing was known long before Moses. The Hamourabi code is dated to 2000BC and the Sumerian codex even older. Of the same period is the Egyptian Book of the dead. The Assyrian codex is of the 16th century BC and the Hettite codex of the 13th century BC. Unfortunately for the rationalists these were still unknown when they denied that writing existed in the time of Moses.
3) In the latter books of the Old Testament, Joshua, Judges and Kings, there is observed a worship and orderings which are in conflict with the Pentateuch therefore even during these times there was no Law.
Answer: If in the latter books of Joshua, Judges and Kings there is observed acts of worship which are in conflict with the Law, this does not make the Law non existent but rather that the Law was transgressed just like any other law of every age. The non observance and application of the Law does not mean that the Law did not exist. Moreover it is clear many times that the holy writers of the said books show disgust when referring to these transgressions.
4) The Pentateuch is written in the third person in its relationship to Moses – Moses did this… Moses said… If Moses was the author then it would be in the first person - I did this… I said…
Answer: In Holy Scripture it is quite common for the holy authors to write in the third person. The prophets Hosea, Amos and Isaiah wrote in the third person, The Evangelists Matthew and John wrote in the third person. Also many ancient writers like Thoukydides and Xenophon wrote in the third person.
5) Within the Pentateuch there are parts that appear to belong to later periods after the death of Moses so Moses cannot be the author.
Answer: The observation by the rationalists does hold some merit. We have to accept that there are some foreign insertions which are not only copying mistakes but conscious additions and modifications from a later period. We have already mentioned that the parts referring to Moses’ death could not have been written by Moses himself but were added by Joshua his successor. The other parts which refer of events that happened after Moses’ and Joshua’s deaths were also written by God –inspired hands and in no way eliminate Moses as the author and source of the whole volume of the work.
6) In the Pentateuch God is sometimes referred to as Yahweh, at other times as Elohim and at other times by both names Yahweh and Elohim. This they say proves that there were two writers, the Yahweh writer and the Elohim writer. The two writers wrote separately during different periods; the one around 850-750 BC in the south kingdom and the other around 750-650 BC in the north. These two separate writings were then merged together towards the end of the 6th century and to it was added Deuteronomy as a third source. Then between 550-450 the priestly codex was decreed as part of the religious ordinances thus making a total of four sources.
Answer: The use of the two names as proof that there were two writers whose works were then merged with Deuteronomy and then the priestly codex is purely vain and wishful thinking. The scholars then created a labyrinth of theories by subdividing the four original sources into smaller sections until none of the scholars could agree among themselves who the authors were or when the many sections were written. The only thing they all agreed on was that the Pentateuch was written by many writers during different periods which were then brought together during the time of Esdras after the return of the Israelites from exile. The use of two names for God does not proof that there were two writers. In the New Testament Christ is called: 1) Jesus, 2) Christ, 3) Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus and 4) Lord. Does this mean that the Evangelists had at their disposal four different sources with each one using a different name which they then merged together? What we can observe in the Pentateuch and the rest of the Old Testament is that there is a difference in how the names of Yahweh and Elohim are used. Yahweh and Elohim are both used when God’s name is mentioned in connection with his relationship to his chosen people, but only Elohim is used when it is in connection with the Gentiles.
From what has been said the evidence in support of two Genesis writers is very weak, but Rationalist say that there is enough evidence to support the theory that in the first two chapters there are two different creation stories. They say that the first creation story is in chronological order and the second in aetiological order, in other words it follows the order of causation. The Rationalist also observe that there are two different creation stories because in the first chapter man is created last and in the second he is created first before the plants, paradise, animals and woman. On this account they say that the accounts are from different authors and were merged together at a later date as we have already seen.
I’m not sure which Bible the Rationalist read because mine has Adam being created after the (uncultivated) plants in the second chapter: “and all herb of the field before it was upon the earth, and all grass of the field before it sprang up; for God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground: but there went up a fountain from the earth, and watered the whole face of the earth. And God formed man of dust of the earth, and breathed into his face a breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2: 5-7) What does come after man in the second chapter is the Garden of Eden in which after placing man in the garden God made to spring up out of the ground “also every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowing that which is to be known of good and evil.” (Gen 2:9)
At first glance there does seem to be two different creation stories, but they do not come into conflict with each other. The first is indeed in chronological order; it gives the general lines of creation showing that the visible world was created as the habitat for man whom God created to have dominion over the fish, fowl, animals and any other living thing. The second chapter is not a different version of the general line of creation, it doesn’t follow a chronological order because it has already done so in chapter one so it must be trying to say something else. The second chapter gives more emphasis on the supernatural gifts with which man has been endowed with so that he may be capable of partaking in the eternal and perfect divine blessing. The first chapter also mentions the supernatural gifts but in general, the second chapter goes into more details. Also in the second chapter there is mention of paradise as the perfect habitat for the man that God has endowed with such special gifts that make him stand above all other creatures. There is also mention of the first commandment, the way in which woman was created and a hint on their still innocent condition.
If we accept the fact that the two chapters are not a contradiction in terms then we are open to see that they are harmonious to each other. The first chapter as already said follows the chronological order but the second follows the honorary order. It wants to stress that the whole world was created for man and by mentioning him before the animals and plants it doesn’t want to show that man was created before them but to show man’s value, dominion and honour above everything else.
When in chapter two its says that “the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; let Us make for him an help meet for him.” and then it immediately follows with “out of the earth God formed yet further all the wild beasts of the field, and all the fowls of the heaven; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them” this is not a second creation story neither was it so that Adam could pick a mate from among the animals. The Bible clearly mentions that the reason why the animals were brought to Adam was so that he would give them their names and not to pick a mate from among them. The reason why it is mentioned immediately after God said “let Us make for him an help meet for him” is because the bringing of the animals to Adam had a double purpose. The one to name them and the other so that Adam could see that all the animals were in male and female pairs and by seeing them as such it would stimulate and arouse in him the desire to also have a mate. Once this desire had been aroused God then proceeds to create woman from Adam’s rib. The account of Eve’s creation clearly shows that the two chapters are not different versions of the creation story but complimentary. In the first chapter we are given the general account of creation and it simply says that “male and female made He them.” The second chapter give us the reason and the details of how Eve was created.
Let’s now move on to something else. It has been suggested that the stories found in Genesis are borrowed from ancient myths and that Darwinism does not disprove the existence of God, it only shows that the story of Adam and Eve is myth or allegory. The Jewish and Christian traditions both believe that Adam was a real person. St. Luke in his Gospel shows Christ’s genealogy with real historical people reaching right back to Adam. It is not allegorical because there is a series of historical events e.g. the creation of the world, the creation of Adam, the fall, the murder of Abel, the Great Flood, etc. If the fall of Adam was allegorical then it would be unconnected without any relevance to the other events preceding or those that came after. As Christians we believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate and so what he tells us must be the truth. Christ himself accepted the literal historicity of the Genesis account. He affirmed that the Genesis account is true by quoting word for word from Genesis “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matt. 19: 4-6)
The claim by many modern scholars that the Genesis writer borrowed from the Babylonian creation myths is without any substantial proof. Of course when comparing two different accounts of creation there are going to be some similarities because they both have to account for the creation of the world and its inhabitants, but that does not mean that one borrowed from the other. Such similarities between Genesis and the Babylonian myth are man being created from the earth, the rivers of paradise and the cherubim as guardians to paradise’s entrance, but these are where the similarities end. When they come to why man was created, his relationship with God and the cause of the fall they have nothing in common. Genesis could not have borrowed from the Babylonian or any other myth because no other myth has the form of man’s fall. In Genesis man is created immortal and in a state of innocence and his purpose is to attain union with the God that created him in his image and likeness. Because of free will, he falls from this purpose and becomes a mortal being that is now in a state of death. The Babylonian account has man created for the sole purpose of being a slave to the gods.
The Babylonian myths have no account of a primal man and woman “falling from a state of innocence”. There was no “fall from innocence” because man was made in the image of the gods, some of whom, are portrayed as slaying each other in various conflicts (shedding each other's blood), murdering their fathers and mothers, engaging in incest with their own children, being unfaithful to their spouses by having extramarital sex with others and even propositioning humans for illicit sex too, as well as being sponsors or patrons of cultic acts of prostitution with male and female prostitutes in temples. In the Babylonian myths all the immoral and despicable activities of humankind existed before man’s creation because they were engaged in by the gods, so there could be no “fall from innocence” for primal man and woman for man cannot be “better” than his “immoral creators” in whose image he was made! In the Babylonian myth man’s immorality is not because he fell from grace but because he was made in the image of immoral gods and goddesses.
According to archaeological finds the Babylonian myths are dated to the 12th century BC whereas Genesis is dated to the 15th century BC, so the Biblical account existed at least three centuries before the Babylonian account. We would not claim that the Babylonians borrowed from Genesis to write their myths just because they have some common similarities, but neither do we accept that Genesis borrowed from the Babylonians. What is most probable is that they both derived from a more ancient source going right back to Adam who himself obtained the knowledge of how the world was created by divine revelation and the rest by self experience. Moses could also have received this knowledge through divine revelation or even through handed down tradition. This is not so improbable if we accept that Adam was created about 5 or 6 thousand years before Christ and that men up to Noah lived for almost a thousand years. In the thousand years of Adam there would of course be many generations, but the stories could be verified by Adam until his death. Many ancient religions for example have sacred trees that they worship; these could all have the same root in the tree of life of Genesis, but this again is just another theory and wishful thinking because nothing can actually be proven. A Babylonian cylinder dated 2200 BC contains all the elements of the Adam and Eve story, Male, Female, Serpent and Sacred Tree, yet it may be Babylonian divinities that are represented on the Seal and not a Babylonian version of Adam and Eve.