|Topical Bible Study||January 1959|
The Bible versus Tradition—Article I
Man Created by God
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” —Genesis 1:27
THE harmonious testimony of the Bible emphasizes that man is a direct creation of God, and not a creature of evolution. Moreover, man was created in the image of God. This means that he was perfect in physique and capable of exercising those qualities of kindness, sympathy, and love which by right we attribute to God, and which the Scriptures assure us actually belong to him.
A tradition is a concept or idea which is not substantiated as truth by any reliable authority, particularly written authority, but believed simply because it is supposed to be true. From the days of Darwin has come the theory that man is not the direct creation of God, but through millions of years has evolved from protoplasm through the lower forms of life, finally attaining his present state. This is one of the modern traditions, supposedly true, which today is widely accepted and taught, although it is without proof.
As is the case with many of the traditions of men, it is supposed by many that the theory of human evolution is quite in harmony with the Word of God, and that both can be believed without doing violence to the Bible. But this is not so. If the theory of human evolution is true, then the Bible is false and its story of creation a gigantic hoax. On the other hand, if the Bible’s account of creation is true, then the teaching of evolution should be recognized merely as a theory, which should not destroy our faith in the Bible and its revelation of God’s purpose in the creation of man.
The Bible’s Testimony
As our text declares, God created man in his own image. Either by profession or by implication, practically the whole civilized world believes this. It is this great truth concerning man that buttresses the claims of the free world that man should not. be considered a mere “cog” in a totalitarian state “wheel,” but should have freedom of expression and opportunity to make a place for himself in a world society.
If man is a mere creature of evolution, what basis is there for the “dignity of man” doctrine? If man is what he is today by virtue of evolution, then there is no authoritative moral law he is actually obligated to obey. The Bible which tells us that God created man sets forth the code of ethics the Creator imposed upon his human creatures If the God of the Bible is a myth, then the moral laws set forth in the Bible are unsubstantiated by divine authority, and the “evolution man” may flout them without disobeying any higher power.
We doubt if many of the most ardent proponents of the theory of evolution would like to carry it this far. Yet, to be consistent, if they discount the authenticity of the Bible’s account of creation, they actually rob the Word of God of any valid authority. Moses is credited with the authorship of the first five books of the Bible. It is in these five books that we are informed concerning the divine creation of man, and it is also in these books that the moral law of the Bible is set forth. If Moses wrote in ignorance concerning creation, there could be no basis for confidence that the Ten Commandments came from God, as Moses asserts.
The Bible’s Record
The Bible’s account of the creation of man is straightforward and logical. We read that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7) We know today that this is scientifically correct. Man’s organism, or bodes, is composed of elements found in “Mother Earth.”
When man was sentenced to death for disobeying divine law he was told that he would return to the earth—“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19) We know that this is also true; that a dead body does eventually return to “dust,” to the earth, and in a relatively short time unless it is embalmed.
We know also that the air we breathe is the “breath of life.” Deprive the lungs of air and the body becomes lifeless—it dies. In Leviticus 17:11 we read that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” This also is scientifically correct. It is now common knowledge that from the lungs the life-giving oxygen of the air is carried by the blood to every part of the body. How wonderful that Moses should have so stated this nearly four thousand years ago!
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote, “The first man Adam was made a living soul.” Paul also wrote, “The first man is of the earth, earthy.” (I Cor. 15:45,47; Gen. 2:7) Here we find the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest logicians of all time, virtually quoting from the Genesis record of creation, and agreeing with it. If the theory of human evolution is true, then the “first man Adam” is a myth, and Paul was laboring under a delusion which blinded him to the real facts concerning the origin of man.
And if Paul was wrong with respect to the “first man Adam,” then his whole philosophy of salvation from sin and death through Christ, whom he speaks of as the “second” or “last” Adam, is false. If Paul’s reasoning on the subject of salvation through Christ was based upon a false premise, then the Christian religion has no foundation in fact, and the main theme of the Bible, the text book of Christianity, is untrue.
Luke, a physician, and writer of the Gospel of Luke, traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back through the Old Testament records to the first man, Adam, whom he affirms to be a “son of God”—in other words, the direct creation of God. (Luke 3:38) If the theory of human evolution is true, then Luke was wrong, for he should have said that Adam was the son of a “missing link,” a creature slightly higher on the evolutionary theory ladder than an anthropoid ape.
But Luke had confidence in the Genesis account of creation, and in the Old Testament records as a whole. He knew that Adam, the son of God, had been sentenced to death because of sin, and that if Adam and his race were ever to enjoy eternal life they would have to be saved from sin and from death. Believing this, Luke was glad to record the song of the angel on the night Jesus was born—“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”—Luke 2:10,11
If the theory of evolution is true, then man needs no Savior, for he is not a fallen creature but an evolving one. This would mean that Jesus did not come to earth to save mankind from sin and death which again would imply that the Christian religion is false.
Most scholars of our day, even those who claim to believe the theory of evolution, seem to have a great deal of confidence in Jesus and his teachings. But if the views of the evolutionists are true, that man is not fallen, it would prove that even Jesus must be considered a very unreliable teacher, for he made it clear that he had come into the world to save fallen man from sin and death.
The Christian philosophy is that salvation from sin, and from the “wages of sin” which is death, is provided through the sacrificial death of Jesus. Paul wrote, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21,22) The teaching of the Bible is that life by means of a resurrection from death is provided by Jesus through his sacrificial death. Paul writes of Christ as having given himself in death as a “ransom for all.”—I Tim. 2:3-6
Again Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) Paul did not invent this idea. It was the teaching of Jesus, the greatest teacher of all time. Jesus believed the writings of Moses, and, using the great miracle of the manna falling from heaven as an illustration, he said, “My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”—John 6:32,33
Jesus understood that he could be the “bread” of life for the fallen and dying race only if he gave his humanity in death, so he explained, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) It was on Calvary’s cross that Jesus gave his flesh in death, thus providing redemption from death for Adam and his race.
This was in fulfillment of various Old Testament prophecies which foretold the coming of the Messiah and Redeemer. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” wrote the Prophet Isaiah. “We have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” (Isa. 53:6) If man is a creature of evolution, then Isaiah was entirely wrong in saying that we have all turned to our own way—meaning that our ways are sinful.
According to the theory of evolution, we have always been in the same way, the way of evolution, and we are climbing higher and higher all the time. In this theory there is no need for a Redeemer from sin. “Sin is the transgression of the Law,” wrote the Apostle John; but if man is a creature of evolution, springing by chance from protoplasm, then there is no Creator whose Law he should obey, hence no sin as a violation of divine law.—I John 3:4
The Simple Bible Truth
The simple truth set forth in the Bible is that man is the direct creation of God; that he was created perfect and with the potentials of eternal life, provided he remained obedient to the laws of his Creator. But man disobeyed divine Law, and now the penalty of death is resting upon God’s human creation. However, redemption from death has been provided through Jesus) and this guarantees that at a time designed by the Creator humanity will be awakened from death and given a second opportunity to obey God’s Law and live forever.
Man Not Evolving
All that we know of the experiences of the human race is in harmony with these simple truths set forth in the Bible. If the theory of human evolution were true, then we should expect that today man’s intelligence would be far superior to what it was at the dawn of history; but this is not so. The great pyramid in Egypt, the ancient temples, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the marvelous paintings of the past, and the music of ancient times, all substantiate the fact that the fundamental intelligence enjoyed by the ancients was equal to the most brilliant minds of the present.
If man is a creature of “natural” evolution, then why do we not see the process of evolution going on today? At the edges of the rivers and lakes, and the sea, why do we not see creatures that are half fish and half bird? Why do we not see the many “missing links” between all the various species of fish, birds, and animals, which evolutionists tell us once existed in the evolutionary climb? Why did the fish, the birds, and the animals suddenly decide to remain as they were and be contented with their lot? What happened to the “missing links” between all the present species? Evolutionists comb the earth to find evidence of even one of these, but they are not to be found. Apes have survived. A “missing link,” supposedly more developed than the ape, should have done as well.
We know that certain species of animals which existed in prehistoric times have become extinct. There are certain birds and animals today whose continued existence as a species is threatened, but this does not prove the theory of evolution. It proves only that changing conditions and circumstances make it impossible for certain species to continue their existence. When, for example, the existence of the buffalo was threatened, it did not mean that the buffalo was about to evolve into another species of animal.
One of the basic truths emphasized in the Genesis account of creation is the fixity of species. Concerning this we read: “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind. … And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”—Gen. 1:25,21
The Apostle Paul agrees with this statement of Genesis. He wrote, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” (I Cor. 15:39) All nature corroborates the foregoing biblical declarations. Scientific observation confirms that nature is unalterably opposed to the commingling of species, or to the formation of new species. Nature allows seemingly endless varieties of each species, but has established limitations which prevent these variations from forming new species.
Darwin himself, in his Origin of Species, made this frank admission: “In spite of all the efforts of trained observers, not one change of species into another is on record.” The late Prof. Vernon Kellogg, of Leland Stanford University, added his testimony to that of a host of his former colleagues. In his Darwinism of Today, page 18, he says: “We only tell the general truth when we declare that no indubitable cases of species-forming or transforming, that is, of descent, have been observed.”
It is truly remarkable that the Bible, written thousands of years ago, before the era of scientific research, should state so accurately and so definitely what now has been established as scientific truth. Species are fixed, and only by divine revelation could the writers of the Bible have known this fact, and been able to state it so plainly.
Population and Its Spread
If man is a creature of haphazard evolution, then we should have evidence of the beginnings of human life in various parts of the earth. It seems incredible that out of all the myriads of the lower forms of animal life, only one pair of humans would be produced. Yet, the population spread from the dawn of history until now indicates clearly that the human race as we know it did originate with one pair, and in one place.
Anthropologists have long known that the evidence points to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) as the very “cradle of civilization.” And it is in this area that the Bible locates the Garden of Eden. It is here that authentic human history begins. And from that region the human race overflowed into Assyria and the Aral-Caspian basin, thence to Europe, India, China and elsewhere; while others crossed the Arabian desert into Palestine and Asia Minor, or else traveled around Arabia by water into Egypt.
The chronology of the Bible places the creation of Adam at a little over six thousand years ago. Beginning with one pair at that time, the increase of population throughout the less than sixty-one centuries since creation is easily reconciled with the present population of earth.
But it would be impossible, in view of the natural increase of population, to reconcile the relatively small population of the earth today with the claim that man has been on the earth for fifty thousand years; or as some have claimed, fifty million years. Besides this claim of the evolutionists we must also take into account the fact that according to their view, in all probability humans appeared on the scene in many parts of the earth, for they endeavor to discount the fact that the human race originated with only one pair, as taught in the Bible.
Evolutionists Do Not Know
The theory of evolution actually gives no satisfactory explanation of the origin of life, particularly of human life. Evolutionists say that the whole universe came into existence by mere chance; that even life itself just happened to be O yes, they have an explanation. It is very simple. They say that in the eons of the dim past certain combinations of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen gathered together and produced protoplasmic life.
While scientists theorize as to how this must have occurred, they admit that they are unable to reproduce it now, notwithstanding the boasted “twentieth century of progress.” To us it seems unscientific to claim that such a thing could occur by chance millions of years ago, and yet at the same time confess that with all the available scientific knowledge of these modern times, it cannot now be duplicated. The scientists have tried to produce life, but have failed; nor have they discovered the origin of the necessary carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen which they claim accidentally came together to form the first living cell.
The entire theory of evolution rests on supposition alone. Certainly the evolutionists must admit that it is most unscientific to claim that fife was spontaneously generated, when they are utterly unable to prove it or to demonstrate how it was done. Evolutionists cannot explain how a plant germ evolved into an animal cell, nor can they prove that it has ever occurred. Some assert that the first animal cells were sexless, but they are unable to explain how some of these developed into males and others into females.
When it comes to true science there is nothing more unscientific than the theory of human evolution. It is no more than thousands of guesses strung together. It starts with nothing, explains nothing, and leads nowhere. It leaves man in the grave, and despite the fact that he has an intelligent longing for life and its perpetuation, the only hope evolutionists have for him is that his life chromosomes and genes will continue on representatively in his offspring.
Limitations of Knowledge
As firm believers in the Genesis account of creation, we acknowledge that we have to accept by faith its explanation of the origin of life. But faith has a sure foundation when we accept the evidence of our reason that there must be an intelligent, powerful Creator. All nature tells us that this is so! However, we might as well try to explain higher mathematics to a mule as to try to understand where the Creator came from, or to grasp the fact that he has always existed.
Nevertheless, it would be very unscientific to say that higher mathematics do not exist simply because a mule cannot understand them. It would be equally unscientific to say that the whole universe came into being by sheer chance simply because we cannot define the Creator. The Bible declares, indeed, that it is a fool who says in his heart, “There is no God.”—Ps. 14:1; 53:1
Accepting the fact that there is a Creator who brought the whole universe into existence and who is also the fountain source of all life, it should not be difficult for our faith to lay hold upon his promises pertaining to the future. We know that whatever the Creator has promised to do he is abundantly able to accomplish. The future of all of us depends upon his love and power.
While evolutionists hold out no hope of life beyond the grave, the Bible assures us that the great Creator, who gave us life in the first place, is to restore life. The Bible describes this as the resurrection of the dead. From the “dust of the ground” God will again use his creative powers to produce, not just one human body, but countless millions, and in them reproduce every thought impulse and every trait of character possessed by those who have died. These “restorations” will be accurate reproductions of the personalities which will then be regenerated.
This will mean that the memory will be restored, enabling each individual to recall the past and to benefit from the lessons learned. How many times we hear people say that if they had their lives to live over again how differently they would do. This is precisely the opportunity the Creator has planned to give every descendant of Adam.
Then the experiences of this life will be of inestimable value to them. If they profit from the lessons learned, accept the provision of life through Christ, and obey the laws of the kingdom then in force, they will live forever. Thus the design of the Creator with respect to his human creation will have been accomplished, and there will be “no more death.”—Rev. 21:4