The theory of evolution, as initiated by the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, has had a profound impact on the fortunes of Christianity. Since next year, 1959, is the centenary of that publication, it is appropriate for us at this time to audit our books and evaluate the contemporary situation.
Darwin on the voyage of the Beagle had noticed the similarities and the differences between the foxes on the mainland and the foxes on a distant island. They were so similar that a genetic relationship could not be denied, but they were also so different that they constituted a new species. From this and similar observations Darwin concluded that these species could not be explained by special creation but must have evolved from common ancestors.
The idea of evolution was then applied to man. Homo sapiens could not be regarded as a special creation, but must have evolved from some lower form of life. Such attraction did the idea of evolution exert on the minds of scholars that they soon extended it to the astronomical cosmos on the one hand and sociological and historical phenomena on the other. And thus there arose evolutionary accounts of religion and the history of the Hebrews.
At many points the conflict with Christianity was obvious. The evolution of religion from animism or fetishism and the history of the Hebrews that makes monotheism a very late development entirely contradicted the Bible and made special revelation impossible. Within biology, the assertion that man has evolved from lower species conflicted with the biblical account of the creation of Adam and especially of Eve. Evolution was made to rule out the existence of God altogether. For example, Corliss Lamont (Humanism as a Philosophy, 1949, p. 102) ...1
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