Just over 100 years ago the British Association for the Advancement of Science met at Oxford, England. Chief topic of discussion was the idea that all living things had developed over a long period of time from simpler organisms, an idea which had been suggested in a book published toward the end of 1859. Present to defend the book and its author was a young biologist, Thomas Huxley. Opposition to the new theory was spearheaded by a bishop of the Anglican church, Samuel Wilberforce by name. The debate droned on until finally the good bishop turned to Huxley and sarcastically asked whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a “venerable ape.” Huxley is reported to have replied, “If I am asked whether I would choose to be descended from the poor animal of low intelligence and stooping gait, who grins and chatters as we pass, or from a man, endowed with great ability and a splendid position, who should use these gifts to discredit and crush humble seekers after truth, I hesitate what answer to make.”
The conflict dragged on; there were divisions on both sides. Some scientists and clergymen supported, others opposed the new theory.
The controversy over evolution has continued. Almost all scientists today, however, have come to accept the theory, and a great many churchmen also. What is to be our position? Can evangelical Christians endorse the idea that all living organisms have developed from simple beginnings? Is it true that this is a scientific problem and not a theological problem? Are we being obscurantists in opposing this theory?
God’s Creation Is Not Static
We begin by defining terms. Some scholars hold that evolution is synonymous with change, and they ask whether we would insist ...1
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