Essential James E. Talmage
James P. Harris, editor
“The Theory of Evolution,”
A Lecture Delivered before the Utah County Teacher’s Association at Provo City on 8 March 1890
(from The Theory of Evolution [Provo, UT: Utah County Teacher’s Association, 1890])
[p.14]Mr. President, and Members of the Association:
It is with at least some realization of the honor attending the position that I stand before you now. This audience is composed largely of teachers, many of whom are of mature experience in the profession; being teachers, they must be more or less earnest thinkers; and to address a body of thinkers is an honor to any speaker. Relying upon this high standard of my hearers, I shall venture to treat the subject chosen by your President for the occasion, in a more technical and perhaps a less popular manner than would be advisable before a greatly mixed assembly. I shall believe that no one here has come for the purpose of being amused or entertained simply, but that the object of our gathering is to obtain instruction and to seek for truth.
I am especially desirous not to be misunderstood. The importance of the subject is such as to warrant no doubtful sentences or words with uncertain meaning. Yet any speaker may fail at times to convey his ideas in their fulness; he is liable to inadvertently omit a “not” or a “no” and thus express the opposite of what he intended to say. In consideration of these points, I shall ask your indulgence in a departure from my almost constant habit in public speaking, and shall read the greater portion of the address.
It is a subject of common interest. Today, scientists and laymen, and even ladies in their boudoirs talk of Evolution, and everyone must have an idea upon the subject, occasionally owned, but most frequently borrowed.
According to the generally accepted meaning, Evolution implies an unfolding, an unrolling, a developing; signifying therefore with respect to organisms, their growth to a perfect form. The Theory of Evolution then is that hypothesis by which man has sought to explain what he considers to be the probable origin of himself, and his [p.15]surroundings. The establishment of the Theory of Evolution is to be explained by that innate tendency of man to search after the first or original of things. To the human mind there is something, aye, much, that is mystical in the idea of a beginning. The continuation of an action once begun is far more readily understood—is a natural process as we are apt to say: but the start, the origin—that is a far deeper subject; it partakes of the nature of a creation, and for that reason alone is suggestive of a power superior to that of man. It is at present a universal belief, that every living thing of earth has been developed from a particle of matter, in which there existed originally no discernible traces of the distinctive features which characterize the adult form. Such a particle is called a Germ.
The definition commonly applied to this much misunderstood term is “Matter potentially alive, and having within itself a tendency to assume a definite living form”.
It is noticeable that the germs from which grow the most diverse of the orders of life, bear to each other, while still but germs, a marked resemblance. The highest powers of the microscope fail to reveal any differences sufficiently clear to be called distinctive, even between the germinal spots from which spring fishes, birds, or mammals; and in some cases human power is insufficient to detect the structural differences between the germ of a warm blooded quadruped, and that of certain plants. Yet shall we say there are no differences? The untrained eye may fail to recognize distinctive features between the seeds of radishes and turnips, but every, thoughtful person will admit that such exist, and the subsequent growth will substantially establish the fact. It is absurd to hold that the germs of such divers forms are at all alike.
To illustrate the same more in detail, consider for a moment the case of the eggs of birds. The variations in outward appearance, size, etc., of the eggs of different species, are mainly dependent upon the quantity of food material stored within the shell, upon which the living germ subsists during the process of incubation. The embryonic points exhibit no recognizable differences; yet in the one case, the ovum produces a gaudy, shrill-voiced peacock, in another a plainly dressed, sweet toned lark, and in yet another, a savage eagle, or perhaps a timid wren.
Surely the possibility of the pea fowl’s feather, the eagle’s claw, or the lark’s clear throat, lay hidden within the fragile shell. What an example of evolution there is here! What an unfolding! What a developing in the case of each creature to the full realization of the [p.16]measure of its creation. Yet these differences are by many considered as mere distinctions between species; and that indeed bird and fish and mammal have all sprang from similar original germs.
To more properly consider the evidence on the subject thus broached, let us take a greater and more general view as to the full bearings of our theme. In its broader sense, the term “Evolution” is applicable to more than living organisms of earth. Man has sought to concoct a theory for the explanation of the development of every part of the great Creator’s kingdom into which human thought has penetrated. The earth was not always as it is today. It has had a life history. There was a beginning to the globe; there will be an end to its present career. Hence the need, according to man’s mode of thinking, of a hypothesis to explain the origin of this sphere, and the probable destiny toward which it is tending. The early history of the earth is hidden in the mists of the past, and many and diverse are the opinions of man regarding it. True it is, that the stony pages of our globe bear the record of numberless vicissitudes, strange metamorphoses; yet the earth did not record the story of its own beginning. It is written that “In the beginning”—when, how far in the ages of the past that beginning was no man can tell,—but “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void.”
It is claimed by scientists, that the present condition of the earth indicates that this globe was once in a highly heated state, in a condition of igneous fusion in fact, and prior to that, as a nebulous gas. At that time, the particles of which the earth now consists were in a gaseous condition, forming a nebulous mass. Certain it is, that no tabernacle of life, plant, animal or human, such as the earth now supports, could have existed during those periods of extreme vulcanism. Then, it is said, these cosmic particles attracted each other, motion was thus established, nuclei were formed, condensation began, and continued till the earth took form, and was no longer void. Did our globe in that chaotic state, contain the germs of all subsequent being, or have such organisms since arrived upon the earth? Professor Tyndall writes: “Emotion, intellect, will, and all their phenomena, were once latent in a fiery, cloud.”—Frag. of Science. Again he says: “I discern in matter the promise and potency of every form and quality of life.”
As a fair statement of the present meaning of the term, “Evolution,” I quote the words of a professed disciple of the creed:—(See Popular Science Monthly March, 1888.)—”Plants and animals have all a [p.17]natural origin, from a single primitive living creature, which was itself the product of light and heat acting on the special chemical constituents of an ancient ocean. Starting from a single early form, they have gone on developing ever since, from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, assuming ever more varied shapes, till at last they have reached their present enormous variety of trees and shrub, and herb and seaweed, of beast and bird, and fish and creeping insect. Evolution throughout has been one and continuous, from nebula to sun, from gas-cloud to planet, from early jelly-speck to man or elephant.”
Having thus outlined the field of Evolution, it will be well to consider more in detail certain sections.
First, what is a species? As applied in the Life sciences, the term refers to any group of living things, which are closely allied in attributes, and which possess the power of indefinite multiplication of individuals through reproduction. It is a fact, known no less clearly to scientists than to breeders, that the results of union between different species are hybrids, which in themselves are incapable of reproduction. Here then, in the sterility of hybrids, is an easy method of identifying a species.
Now it is asked, is it not possible that the numberless orders of plants and animals now existing on earth, may be properly regarded as varieties or species of one common stock? Long ago this idea lay brooding in the minds of men. It is not a result of yesterday; the only thing modern about it is the form that it has now assumed as an alleged explanation for facts. In the eighteenth century, Lamar[c]k, and Erasmus Darwin—the grandfather of Charles Darwin, whose name is commonly coupled with any expression of evolutionary ideas—and many others, announced their belief that the diverse orders of animal and plants probably sprang from a common progenitor.
Buffon, the naturalist nobleman, was of the same opinion. He held, that since all animals, even those of the same species, vary within certain limits, such variations, infinitely accumulated, would suffice to account for almost any degree of ultimate difference. He scarcely more than hinted at a full expression of his belief, however; but this seeming hesitancy is fully explained by a consideration of his circumstances. In his day, the French monarchy was in a tottering condition, and it was the custom among his people to deal summarily with those whose ideas were at all offensive to the orthodoxy of the realm. This was true in every branch of human thought and activity.
[p.18]Had our naturalist ventured an unmodified declaration of belief in a common general progenitor of living things, the powers of the times would doubtlessly have taken steps to effectually silence him. Still we must look upon Buffon as a pronounced evolutionist in thought.
Erasmus Darwin seemed to understand the full meaning of Buffon’s hints. He became an ardent promulgator of the disconnected ideas which have since been woven into the fabric of the evolutionary hypothesis.
He said that “life began in very minute marine forms, which gradually acquired fresh powers and larger bodies so as to imperfectly transform themselves into different creatures.” He pointed out that man possessed the power of changing the appearance, and even the habits of domesticated animals through selective breeding. He dealt especially with rabbits and pigeons; and in the words of a commentator he reasoned thus: “If man can make a pointer or a fan-tail out of the common sort, if he can produce a piebald lop-ear from the brown wild rabbit, if he can transform Dorkings into Black Spanish, why cannot Nature, with a longer time to work in, and endless lives to try with, produce all the varieties of vertebrate animals out of one single common ancestor?”
A few years later, Lamark openly avowed his belief that animals and plants were really descended from one, or, at most, a few common ancestors. He drew attention to the fact that the “species” of naturalists differed from “varieties” in being slightly more distinctly marked. “He thought organic evolution was wholly due to the direct action of surrounding circumstances, to the inter-crossing of existing forms, and above all to the actual efforts of the animals themselves. **** For him, the giraffe had acquired its long neck by constant reaching up to the boughs of trees; the monkey had acquired its oppossable thumb by constantly grasping at the neighboring branches; and the serpent had acquired its sinuous shape by constant wriggling through the grass of meadows.”
All the opinions thus far quoted from, were extant before the time of Charles Darwin, who is so frequently regarded as the sole originator of evolutionary theories. There were many evolutionists before him. Even Herbert Spencer took cognizance of the growing belief in the “development hypothesis,” as evolution was then termed. Charles Darwin introduced a new element into the evolutionary idea—the element of Natural Selection.
[p.19]Briefly expressed this means;—that among the almost numberless variations and differences which manifest themselves in the course of a few generations of living forms, many are positively disadvantageous to the organisms; and such bad variations tend to die out, because every disadvantage tells against its unfortunate possessor in the struggle for life.
If the variation be a good one, there is a strong tendency toward its perpetuation; for every such advantage makes its favorable influence felt in the race for life. The fittest therefore will tend to survive; while the weak and the unfit tend to speedy extinction. It is proper to suppose that individuals of any species would exercise choice in mating, so as to intensify pleasing variations. This principle of Natural Selection resulting in the survival of the fittest is in reality Darwinism. Evolutionism is not Darwinism. There were many evolutionists, and indeed some Darwinians before Darwin.
That Darwin’s ideas may be clearly understood, his own words should be considered. In the “Origin of Species” he says: “I believe that animals are descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead me one step further, viz.: to the belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype.”
Even at the risk of appearing tedious, I have sought to express, with some degree of fulness and fairness, the ideas of evolutionists upon Evolution. Great stress is laid today on natural selection: it is believed by some, that by natural selection species can be originated, and that by constant improvement through the operation of this principle, man himself has been evolved, and stands out today a monument of selective breeding.
In “Descent of Man”, Mr. Darwin says:—”We thus learn that man has descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. This creature, if its whole structure had been examined by a naturalist, would have been classed among the quadrumana, as sure as the still more ancient progenitor of the Old and New World monkeys. The quadrumana and all the higher mammals are probably derived from an ancient marsupial animal, and this through a long line of diversified forms, from some amphibian-like creature, and this again from some fish-like animal. In the dim obscurity of the past, we can see that the early progenitor of all vertebrata must have been an aquatic animal provided with branchiae, with the two sexes united within the same individual, and with the [p.20]most important organs of the body (such as the brain and heart) imperfectly or not at all developed. This animal seems to have been more like the larvae of the existing marine ascidians than any other known form.”
Such then is a fair statement of the Evolutionary Theory. What have we to say to it?
In the first place, supposing that undeniable proof had been furnished, that all existing forms of life had sprung from some primitive form, some primordial germ, the theory is very incomplete unless it offers an explanation of the origin of that germ. Can we find such life tissue?
Professor Huxley turned his attention to the gelatinous substance found in the ooze at the bottom of the deep seas: and announced his belief that it is a sheet of living matter, extending round the globe. It was composed he said, in large part of Protoplasm, the fabric from which living forms are woven. To it he gave the name of Bathybius from a pair of Greek words meaning deep life, and he assumed it to be the progenitor of all life on this planet.
This announcement was hailed with joy by those who awaited such that their theoretical conceptions as to the origin of life might be completed. Regarding it Strauss wrote in 1872 in “The Old Faith and New” as follows:
“Huxley has discovered the Bathybius, a shining heap of jelly on the sea bottom, Haekel, what he has called the Moneres, structureless clots of an albuminous carbon, which although inorganic in their constitution, yet are all capable of nutrition and accretion. By these the chasm may be said to be bridged, and the transition effected between the inorganic and the organic. As long as the contrast between the inorganic and organic, lifeless and living nature, was understood as an absolute one, as long as the conception of a special vital force was retained, there was no possibility of spanning the chasm without the aid of a miracle.”
But it is known now that Bathybius is other than it was supposed by Huxley to be. The good ship Challenger dredged the bottoms of the deep over wide areas, and Bathybius was brought up from many parts of the globe, and in every case the substance has proved to be entirely inorganic, consisting mostly of calcium sulphate or gypsum. It is, therefore, incapable of nutrition and increase by multiplication, and the chasm between the organic and the inorganic is as wide as ever.
[p.21]If Bathybius had been Protoplasm, it could not have existed as such in the fiery and nebulous stages of the earth’s career. When the globe had cooled sufficiently to permit the condensation of water upon its surface, then Protoplasm could exist, but whence came it at that fortuitous time? Strictly orthodox evolutionists have been driven to the acceptance of some belief in Abiogenesis, or the doctrine of spontaneous generation of living things, from substances which were not living. This was taught by Aristotle in ancient Greece. He thought that the eels that swam in the Nile sprang into existence from the mud at the river bottom; that caterpillars were simply vivified portions of the leaves upon which they fed; that tadpoles, from which came toads and frogs, were generated from the life-giving action of the sun on the ooze of their marshy homes. Careful observations and experiments have been made, and today not a single case of spontaneous generation, even of microscopic bacteria, has been proved. All evidence points to the impossibility of such an occurrence. Without spontaneous generation, “miracle” in the words of Strauss, was and is still necessary to explain the advent, even of the hypothetical primordial germ.
Evolutionists see such; and concede this vital point of their theory.
Professor Huxley says:
“If the hypothesis of Evolution be true, living matter must have arisen from not-living matter: for by the hypothesis the condition of the globe was at one time such, that living matter could not have existed in it, life being entirely incompatible with the gaseous state.”
And again he says:
“The properties of living matter distinguish it absolutely from all other kind of things; and the present state of knowledge furnishes us with no link between the living and the not-living.”
In the same article:
“At the present moment there is not a shadow of trustworthy direct evidence that Abiogenesis does take place, or has taken place within the period which the existence of the globe is recorded.”
The fertility of the human mind has suggested a remarkable avenue of escape from this labyrinth of incompetent theory. Sir William Thompson has come to the front with his poetical vision of “A moss grown fragment of a shattered world.” He holds it probable, that by chance a flying meteor, from some exploded planet, having within or upon it the germ of life—plant, animal, or both—it matters not,—accidentally fell upon the earth, and the germ was sown; and after the lapse [p.22]of ages, the present inhabitants of the globe are the descendants. One could consistently think that such a theory, argued on the part of its promulgators a belief in the hopelessness of their cause. It is a desperate catch at a straw in the hope of a partial rescue from drowning agony.
This beautiful world, this garden of life—planted by chance? A farmer preparing his soil, and trusting to the wind to bear seeds from preceding crops and sow the same. It is absurd. The mystery is no less dense than formerly.
But even Tyndall seems hardly satisfied that his theories account for facts, for he says: “Granting the nebula and its potential life, the question, whence came they? would still remain to baffle and bewilder us. The hypothesis does nothing more than transport the conception of life’s origin to an indefinitely distant past.”
Now for the argument’s sake, granting that in some way the primordial germ, the primitive ancestor came to earth. What then? How have diverse species originated?
That variations do occur among animals and plants is beyond doubt. Equally certain is it that by human agency even, selective breeding may be so directed as to bring about great changes in development. From the wild and stunted ponies have come the Peteheron, the Norman, the Cleveland, and the Clydesdale. By man’s care, the Alderhey, the Devon, the Friesian, the Holstein, the Jersey, and the Durham cattle have been bred; each breed possessing distinctive qualities. From the hard, sour crab apple have come, under man’s protection, many varieties of rich and mellow fruit, but they all are apples. From the wild dog rose have sprung hundreds of rich and rare varieties, but they all are roses. All of these are readily recognized as varieties of the same kinds. No florist has yet developed a rose from a tulip; human power is insufficient to cause a willow to bear acorns; the stock breeder cannot transform his cows into wool bearers, nor his dogs into horses. Even the amoebae, that structureless bit of jelly, produces only amoebae.
Taking the sterility of hybrids as a test, the first case of origination of a species through natural selection, has yet to be heard of. It is a fair proof of the evolutionary theory, to ask of its adherents to employ selective breeding, which may be called an artificial natural selection, and thereby produce two species, each of which shall be fertile in itself but the union of which shall produce sterile hybrids.
Says Prof. Kolliker, the eminent German authority on embryology:
[p.23]”Great weight must be attached to the objection brought forward by Huxley, otherwise a warm supporter of Darwin’s hypothesis, that we know of no varieties which are sterile with one another as is the rule among sharply distinguished animal forms. If Darwin is right, it must be demonstrated that forms may be produced by selection, which, like the present sharply distinguished animal forms, are infertile when coupled with one another, and this has not been done.”
According to Darwinian natural selection, all organs with no well defined uses and functions will sooner or later become extinct; and the existence of any such is an argument against the truth of the theory. Darwin himself realized the weakness of his hypothesis, and wrote as follows, the sentences being in fact concessions.
Darwin in “Descent of Man,” says:
“No doubt man, as well as every other animal, presents structures which, as far as we can judge with our little knowledge, are not now of any service to him, nor have been so during any former period of his existence, either in relation to his general condition of life or of one sex to the other. Such structures cannot be accounted for by any form of selection, or by the inherited effects of the use or disuse of parts.”
“In the greater number of cases, we can only say that the cause of each slight variation and of each monstrosity lies much more in the nature or constitution of the organism than in the nature of the surrounding conditions, though new and changed conditions certainly play an important part in exciting organic changes of all kinds.”
I take it to be a fair conclusion, that numerous and essential concessions on the part of any contending party are evidences of the weakness of the cause.
Here are more of such evidences.
Mr. Darwin in “Origin of Species,” makes this expression:
“Natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; it can never take a leap, but must advance by short and slow stages. If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight or modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
Note this from “Descent of Man:”
“I now admit, after reading the essay of Nageli on plants, and the remarks by various authors with respect to animals, that in the earlier [p.24]editions of my ‘Origin of Species,’ I probably attributed too much to the action of natural selection or the survival of the fittest. I had not formerly sufficiently considered the existence of many structures which appear to be, as far as we can judge, neither beneficial or injurious; and this I believe to be one of the greatest oversights as yet detected in my works.”
If natural selection cannot take leaps, as the author of that famous hypothesis has himself declared, then there must have existed a multitude of links between the highest apes and man, Why? What are the differences in structure between the body of an ape and that of man? Many osteologists have dilated on the similarity in bony parts of the two; and many others whose chief claim to notoriety rests upon the fact that they are opponents of evolutionary ideas, deny this. Facts however are sure to stand: they are independent of theory; they may be disproved; they cannot properly be denied simply.
It is a fact that certain of the bones of animals resemble corresponding bones in the human system. That we may speak of “corresponding bones” in this connection is a proof of close analogy between the two subjects. But it is not so much to the bones as to the brain which attention is most directed. And this is wise; for the brain appears to be the seat of the mind; and between the mind of man and that of the ape there is a colossal difference.
It is a fact that the cubic capacity of the highest ape’s brain is 34 inches, and that of the lowest human brain is 68 inches. Evolutionists admit this. They admit further that no theory of natural selection can account for the brain of man, for that organ is much more highly developed than would have been needed for the successful struggle of man as an animal in the race for existence.
Here then we have a mighty chasm of difference—34 cubic inches cranial capacity as the highest animal attainment; 68 as the lowest human limit and no bridge between the two. That the missing links have not been found is not through lack of energy on the part of the searchers—years of agonizing effort have been devoted to the cause but the great gulf still remains. There are the best of all possible reasons for the failure of evolutionists to point to the missing links.
Among fossil remains, there is never a doubt as to their animal or human origins. The first remains of man were undoubtedly those of beings who had the fullest claims to human position.
Prof. Dana says:
[p.25]”No remains of fossil man bear evidence to less perfect erectness of structure than in civilized man, or to any nearer approach to the man-ape in essential characteristics. The existing man-apes belong to lines that reached up to them as their ultimatum; but of that line which is supposed to have reached upward to man, not the first link below the lowest level of existing man has yet been found. This is the more extraordinary, in view of the fact that, from the lowest limits in existing man, there are all possible gradations up to the highest; while below that limit there is an abrupt fall to the ape-level, in which the cubic capacity of the brain is one-half less. If the links ever existed, their annihilation without trace is so extremely improbable, that it may be pronounced impossible. Until some are found, science cannot assert that they ever existed.”
Dana has given place to facts showing that the measurements of the bones of the man of Mentone, one of the earliest of human fossils thus far found, have the same proportions to one another as exist in human skeletons of today; the skull of this specimen is pronounced of excellent Caucasian type.
Evolutionists of the extravagant class are fast becoming fewer. The concessions they make year after year are so numerous and great, that the original aspect of the theory has been almost entirely lost.
Their hypothesis was a deductive, not an inductive growth, a result of speculation and not of observation. Even Haekel concedes this.
There are few rank Darwinians today. Indeed, the great naturalist’s hesitancy and indecision have led one writer to declare that Darwin himself was not a thorough Darwinian.
Facts warrant me in asserting that the theory of evolution has been greatly injured through the vague, wild, aye, even insane enthusiasm of many of its professed adherents. Atheists have flocked to its standard, and with a pretense of defending its principles have hurled around their shafts of hatred toward their Godly parent. Aveling, in that dangerous little work “The Students’ Darwin,” has gone mad in his endeavors to let readers know that he acknowledges no allegiance to the Christian God. To hold such conceptions he has a perfect right; but to inflict them on the public under the name of evolutionary tenets is unjust. It is as if some philanthropic physician, fearing an epidemic, and not willing to trust to the good judgment of the people, should mix physic with their flour in public supply stations. Such extravaganzas have drawn from the opponents of the theory much humor and irony.
[p.26]The Evolutionists’ “Genesis, Chapter I.,” is a fine sample of such satire. It is no every-day effusion, but one which, through a burlesque, has found place in the proceedings of learned assemblies. Perhaps I may be permitted to read it here:—
GENESIS – CHAPTER 1
ACCORDING TO THE EVOLUTIONISTS.
1. Primarily the unknowable moved upon Cosmos and evolved Protoplasm.
2. And Protoplasm was inorganic and undifferentiated; containing all things in potential energy; and a spirit of evolution moved upon the fluid mass.
3. And the unknowable said, “Let atoms attract,” and they did so, and their contact begat light, heat, and electricity.
4. And the unconditioned differentiated the atoms each after its kind, and their combination begat rock, air, and water.
5. And there went out a spirit of evolution from the unconditioned: and working in Protoplasm, by accretion and absorption, produced the organic cell.
6. And cell by nutrition evolved primordial germ, and germ developed protogene, and protogene begat eozoon, and eozoon begat monad, and monad begat animalcule.
7. And animalcule begat ephemerae; then began creeping things to multiply on the face of the earth.
8. And earthy atoms in vegetable protoplasm begat the molecule, and thence came all grasses and herbs on the earth.
9. And animalcule in the water evolved fins, tails, claws, and scales; and in the air wings and beaks; and on the dry land they sprouted such organs as were necessary, being acted upon by the environment.
10. And by accretion and absorption came the radiata and mollusca, and mollusca begat articulata, and articulata begat vertebrata.
11. Now, these are the generations of the highest vertebrata in the cosmic period, when the unknowable evoluted in the bipedal mammalia.
12. And every man on the earth while he was yet a monkey, and the horse while he was yet a hipparion, and the hipparion before he was an oredon.
13. Out of the ascidian came the amphibian and begat the pen-[p.27]tadactyle, and the pentadactyle by inheritance and selection produced the bilobate, from which are the simiadae in all their tribes.
14. And of the simiadae, the lemur prevailed above his fellows, and produced the platyrrhine monkey.
15. And the platyrrhine begat the catarrhine, and the catarrhine monkey begat the anthropoid ape, and the ape begat the longimanous ourang, and the ourang begat the chimpanzee, and the chimpanzee evoluted the what-is-it.
16. And the what-it-is went into the land of Nod, and took him a wife of the longimanous gibbons.
17. And in process of the cosmic, were born unto them and their children, the anthropomorphic primordial types.
18. The kornunculus, the prognathus, the traglodyte, the autochton, and the terragon; these are the generations of primeval man.
19. And primeval man was naked, and not ashamed, and lived in quadrumanous innocence, and struggled mightily to harmonize the environment.
20. And in the process of time, by inheritance and natural selection did he progress from the simple and homogeneous, to the complex and heterogeneous, and the weakest died, and the strongest grew and multiplied.
21. And man grew a thumb, for that he had need of it, and developed capacity for prey.
22. For, behold, the swiftest men caught the most animals, and the swiftest animals got away from the slowest men; wherefore it came pass that the slow animals were eaten and the slow men were starved to death.
23. And as types were differentiated, the weaker types continually disappeared.
24. And the earth was filled with violence, for man strove with man, and tribe with tribe, whereby they killed off the weak and foolish and secured the survival of the fittest.
The body of man bears some resemblance to the bodies of beasts. They share the common features of mortality. As with beasts, man needs food, else he starves; he may be poisoned; is subject to the same diseases; may receive or convey contagion through the medium of beasts; he dies; his body decays; it is flesh; it may be salted down; it could be pickled; it is of earth earthy.
19. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they [p.28]have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity.
20. All go into one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.—Ecclesiastes 3.
But the body is not the man; it were as wise to call the coat the man. Evidence is not lacking, though time forbids its introduction here, to show that man is dual.
The great Creator has not labored without a plan. When the mighty thought of a world flashed through His mind, He saw man as the crowning piece of the vast conception. It was no chance that man came when he did. His advent had been planned; the plan was executed in all its details.
No less eloquently than truly did the psalmist sing, “In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.”—Psalms 139: 16.
Man has been created in the image of Deity—the image of his Father. Though he may forget his royal lineage, and at times even disgrace his pedigree, yet he is of Godly descent. He bears within his mind half forgotten memories of his former royal abode. Those are the sentiments which at times invade his soul—thoughts that are unutterable. Those were the songs that Hugo heard, but could not sing, for in their expression the capacities even of his musical tongue were exhausted—the language failed.
“Like harp strings that are broken asunder By the music they throb to express.”
To him who will but listen, silence is vocal with the whispers of man’s noble condition.
Do but follow Job’s advice:
7. But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee;
8. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
10. In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.—Job 12.
Is evolution true? Aye! true evolution is true. The evolution that means advancement, progress, growth, to a full realization of the [p.29]intended measure of the creation of all things, that is true. The power by which
“Every clod feels a stir of might. An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light. Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers,” That is the evolution of the heavens.
The influences that developed from the cave hut to the mansion, from the fire-hollowed canoe to the iron clad and the Great Eastern, from the pack mule to the locomotive and the electric car, from the foot messenger through all the gradations of flags and signal-fires to the telegraph and telephone, from the pine torch to the electric lamp—that is evolution. It shows in every step of the evolver. There is a design; there must needs have been a designer.
But the evolution that looks upon the work and denies the need and proof of an artisan; that gazes upon the inspiriting canvas, and says there was no artist; that dwells in the protection and comfort of an edifice of beauty and claims there never was an architect; that scans the face of the time piece of the universe and says, “this all is chance”—that is false evolution, illogical, unscientific, untrue. It bears no marks of growth, but of shrinking; not of development, but of diminution; not of advancement, but of retrocession. Man has the right of Jehovah’s commission as the ruler of all other earthly creatures. He is endowed with all necessary attributes for his kingly position.
The insect is fitted for its abode on the leaf; the fish for the water; the bird for the air; each beast for its allotted life; and so man for his. No one form can be transmuted into another. The thought that it could be otherwise is far more wild than the alchemist’s dream of transmuting base lead into royal gold. In the fable of old, the frog burst when it tried to appear as an ox. Each after its kind—each to its sphere this is the song of nature; and its praise to Nature’s God, and
“God is law, say the wise, O, soul and let us rejoice;
For if He thunder by law, the thunder is yet his voice.
Speak to Him thou, for He hears, and spirit with spirit may meet;
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”