BiblicalTraining's mission is to lead disciples toward spiritual growth through deep biblical understanding and practice. We offer a comprehensive education covering all the basic fields of biblical and theological content at different academic levels.
Read More








2. Difficulties

3. Objections

4. The New Evolutionism

5. Evolution and Genesis


LITERATURE Under this heading is grouped whatever the Bible has to say regarding man’s origin, nature, destiny and kindred topics. No systematized doctrine concerning man is found in Scripture; but the great facts about human nature and its elements are presented in the Bible in popular language and not in that of the schools. Delitzsch has well said: "There is a clearly defined psychology essentially proper to Holy Scripture, which underlies all the Biblical writers, and intrinsically differs from that many formed psychology which lies outside the circle of revelation. .... We do not need first of all to force the Biblical teaching: it is one in itself" (Biblical Psychology, 17, 18). What is said of the psychology of Scripture may with good reason be applied to its anthropology.

I. Terms Employed. Several words are used in the Old Testament for our word "Man."

1. ’Adham:

’adham, either as the name of the first man, (compare Lu 3:38; Ro 5:14; 1Co 15:45); or as an appellative--the man; or, as the generic name of the human race (Septuagint: anthropos; Vulgate: homo). The origin of the name is obscure. In Ge 2:7 Adam is connected with ’adhamah, from the earthly part of man’s nature (dust out of the ’adhamah), as the earth-born one. The derivation of Adam from ’adhamah, however, is disputed--among others by Dillmann: "Sprachlich lasst sich die Ableitung aus Adamah nicht vertheidigen" (Genesis, 53). Delitzsch refers to Josephus (Ant., I, i, 2), who maintained that Adam really meant purrhos ("red as fire"), in reference to the redness of the earth, out of which man was formed. "He means," adds Delitzsch, "the wonderfully fruitful and aromatic red earth of the Hauran chum of mountains, which is esteemed of marvelously strong and healing power, and which is believed to be self-rejuvenescent" (N. Commentary on Gen, 118). The connection with Edom in Ge 25:30 may perhaps point in the same direction. A connection has also been sought with the Assyrian admu ("child"), especially the young of the bird, in the sense of making or producing (Delitzsch; Oxford Dictionary); while Dillmann draws attention to an Ethiopic root adma, "pleasant," "agreeable," "charming"--a derivation, however, which he rejects. Suffice it to say, that no certain derivation has yet been found for the term (thus Dillmann, "ein sicheres Etymon fur Adam ist noch nicht gefunden," Gen, 53). Evidently in the word the earthly side of man’s origin is indicated.

3. ’Enosh:

(Ps 8:4; 10:18; 90:3; 103:15; frequently in Job and Ps), man in his impotence, frailty, mortality (like the Greek brotos) as against ’ish, man in his strength and vigor. In Ge 4:26 the word becomes a proper name, applied to the son of Seth. Delitzsch derives it from a root ’anash (related to the Arabic and Assyrian), signifying "to be or become frail." To intensify this frailty, we have the phrase in Ps 10:18, "’enosh (man) who is of the earth."

4. ’Ish:

(’ish), Septuagint aner, Vulg, vir, male as against female, even among lower animals (Ge 7:2); husband as contrasted with wife (’ishshah, Ge 2:23,24); man in his dignity and excellence (Jer 5:1: "seek, .... if ye can find a man"); persons of standing (Pr 8:4, where ’ish is contrasted with bene ’adham, "Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men")--"like the Attic andres and anthropoi, wisdom turning her discourse to high and low, to persons of standing and to the proletariat" (Delitzsch on Prov). Delitzsch maintains, that ’ish points to a root ’osh "to be strong," and ’ishshah to ’anash, as designating woman in her weakness (compare 1Pe 3:7: "the weaker vessel"). "Thus ’ishshah and ’enosh come from a like verbal stem and fundamental notion" (Delitzsch, A New Commentary on Gen, 145). The term ’ish is sometimes used generally, as the Greek tis, the French on, to express "anyone," as in Ex 21:14; 16:29.

5. Gebher:

6. Anthropos:

7. Aner:

Aner, Latin: vir--man in his vigor as contrasted with woman in her weakness (1Co 11:3; 1Pe 3:7): sometimes, however, standing for "men in general" (Mr 6:44: "They that ate the loaves were five thousand men"--andres).

II. The Nature of Man: Biblical Conception: 1. Biblical Terms:

The Biblical idea of man’s nature may be summed up in the words of Paul, "of the earth, earthy" (1Co 15:47), as compared and contrasted with the statement in Ge 1:27: "God created man in his own image." This act of creation is described as the result of special deliberation on the part of God--the Divine Being taking counsel with Himself in the matter (verse 26). Man therefore is a creature, formed, fashioned, shaped out of "earth" and made after the "image of God." More than one word is employed in the Old Testament to express His idea:

(1) bara’, "create," a word of uncertain derivation, occurring five times in Ge 1, to indicate the origin of the universe (verse 1), the origin of life in the waters (verse 24), the origin of man (verse 27), and always in connection with God’s creative work, never where "second causes" are introduced. (2) yatsar, "fashion," "form," "knead" (Ge 2:7), "of the dust of the ground."

(3) banah, "build," in special reference to the creation of woman, "built out of the rib" (Ge 2:22). By God’s special interposition man becomes a nephesh chayyah ("a living soul"), where evidently there is a reference to the breath of life, which man shares with the animal world (Ge 1:20,21,24); yet with this distinction, that "God Himself breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life" (literally, "breath of lives," nishmath chayyim). With a single exception, that of Ge 7:22, the word neshamah, "breath," is confined to man. In Job reference is made to his creative act, where Elihu says: "There is a spirit in man, and the breath (nishmath) of the Almighty (shaddai) giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8); compare also Isa 42:5: "He .... giveth breath (neshamah) unto the people." Man therefore is a being separated from the rest of creation and yet one with it.

2. Image and Likeness:

This distinction becomes more clear in the declaration that man was made in the "image" (tselem, eikon, imago), and after the likeness (demuth, homoiosis, similitudo) of God. The question has been asked whether the two terms differ essentially in meaning; some maintaining that "image" refers to the physical, "likeness" to the ethical side of man’s nature; others holding that "image" is that which is natural to man, was created with him, was therefore as it were stamped upon him (concreata), and "likeness" that which was acquired by him (acquisita); while others again declare that "image" is the concrete and "likeness" the abstract for the same idea. There is very little scriptural ground for these assertions. Nor can we accept the interpretation of the older Socinians and some of the Remonstrants, that God’s image consisted in dominion over all creatures, a reference to which is made in Ge 1:28.

3. Meaning of Terms:

Turning to the narrative itself, it would appear that the two terms do not denote any real distinction. In Ge 1:27 tselem ("image") alone is used to express all that separates man from the brute and links him to his Creator. Hence, the expression "in our image." In 1:26, however, the word demuth ("similitude") is introduced, and we have the phrase "after our likeness," as though to indicate that the creature bearing the impress of God’s "image" truly corresponded in "likeness" to the original, the ectype resembling the archetype. Luther has translated the clause: "An image which is like unto us"--ein Bild das uns gleich sei--and in the new Dutch (Leyden) of the Old Testament by Kuenen, Hooijkaas and others, it is rendered: "as our image, like unto us"--als ons evenbeeld ons gelijkende.

The two words may therefore be taken as standing to each other in the same relation in which copy or model stands to the original image. "The idea in tselem--says Delitzsch--is more rigid, that of demuth more fluctuating and so to speak more spiritual: in the former the notion of the original image, in the latter that of the ideal predominates." At any rate we have scriptural warrant (see especially, Ge 9:6; Jas 3:9) for the statement, that the image is the inalienable property of the race (Laidlaw), so that offense against a fellow-man is a desecration of the Divine image impressed upon man. Calvin has put it very clearly: Imago Dei est integra naturae humanae praestantia ("The image of God is the complete excellence of human nature").

4. Subsidiary Questions:

Other questions have been asked by early Church Fathers and by Schoolmen of later days, which may here be left out of the discussion. Some, like Tertullian, considered the "image" to be that of the coming Christ (Christi futuri); others have maintained that Adam was created after the image of the Logos (the Word, the second person in the Trinity), which was impressed upon man at his creation. Of all this Scripture knows nothing. There man is represented as made after the image of "Elohim," of the Godhead and not of one person of the Trinity. Paul calls man "the image and glory (eikon kai doxa) of God" (1Co 11:7). We may safely let the matter rest there. The strange theory, that the image of God indicates the sphere or element into which man was created, may be mentioned without further discussion (on this see Bohl, Dogmatik, 154 and Kuijper, De vleeschwording des Woords).

5. Constituents of Image:

In what then does this image or likeness consist? Certainly in what is inalienably human--a body as the temple of the Holy Ghost (the "earthly house" of 2Co 5:1), and the rational, inspiring, inbreathed spirit. Hence man’s personably, linking into to what is above, separating him from what is beneath, constitutes him a being apart--a rational, self-conscious, self-determining creature, intended by his Creator for fellowship with Himself. "The animal feels the Cosmos and adapts himself to it. Man feels the Cosmos, but also thinks it" (G. H. Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind). Light is thrown on the subject by the New Testament, and especially by the two classical texts: Eph 4:24 and Col 3:10, where the "new man" is referred to as "after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" and "renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him." Knowledge, righteousness and holiness may fully be considered elements in the character of man as originally designed by God. Likeness to God therefore is man’s privilege above all created beings. What was said of the Son of God absolutely, "He is the express image (character) of God," is applied to man relatively the created son is not the only-begotten Son. The created son was "like unto God" (homoiosis; 1 Joh 3:2), and even in his degradation there is the promise of renewal after that image: the eternal, only-begotten Son is God’s equal (Php 2:6,7), though he became a servant and was made in the likeness (homoiomati) of men.

This likeness of man with God is not merely a Scriptural idea. Many ancient nations seem to have grasped this thought. Man’s golden age was placed by them in a far-off past, not in a distant future. Paul quotes a pagan poet in Ac 17:28, "We are also his offspring" (Aratus of Soli, in Cilicia, a countryman of the apostle). This statement also occurs in the beautiful hymn to Jupiter, ascribed to Cleanthes, a Stoic native of Assos in the Troad, and contemporary of Aratus. Psychologically and historically therefore, the Bible view is justified.

III. Origin of Man from Scripture Account: Narratives of Creation. The Divine origin of man is clearly taught in the early chapters of Gen, as has lust been seen.

1. Scriptural Account:

Two narratives from different sources are supposed to have been combined by an unknown editor to form a not very harmonious whole. It is the purpose of criticism to determine the relationship in which they stand to each other and the dates of their composition. In both accounts man is the crowning glory of creation. The first account (Ge 1:1-2:3) is general, the second particular (Ge 2:4-25); in the first we have an account of man’s appearance on a prepared platform--a gradual rise in the scale of organized existence from chaos upward to the climax, which is reached in man. There is recognized order in the whole procedure, represented by the writer as a process which occupied six days, or periods, measured by the appearance and dissipation of darkness. In the first period, chaotic disturbance is succeeded by the separation of light from darkness, which in its turn is followed by the separation of water from dry land, and to this a second period is assigned.

Then gradually in the next four periods we have in orderly sequence the rise of vegetable life, the formation of the creatures of the deep, of the air, of the dry land. When all is prepared man is called into being by a special fiat of the Almighty. Moreover, while other creatures were produced "after their kind," man alone as a unique conception of the Divine Intelligence is made to appear upon the scene, called into existence by direct Divine interposition, after a Divine type, and in distinction of sex; for both man and wife, in a later chapter, are called by the same name: Adam (Ge 5:2). Such is the scope of the first narrative. No wonder, then, that Scripture elsewhere calls the first man "the son of God" (Lu 3:38). It need not be determined here, whether the account is strictly chronological, whether the "days" are interludes between successive periods of darkness and not periods of twenty-four hours regulated by the rising and setting of the sun, or whether the whole narrative is but a prose poem of creation, not strictly accurate, or strictly scientific.

2. The Two Narratives:

In the second narrative (Ge 2:2-25) the order of procedure is different. Man here is not the climax, but the center. He is a creature of the dust, but with the breath of God in his nostrils (Ge 2:7), holding sway over all things, as God’s vice-gerent upon earth, creation circling around him and submitting to his authority. To this is added a description of man’s early home and of his home-relationships. The second narrative therefore seems on the face of it to be supplementary to the first, not contradictory of it: the agreements indeed are far greater than the differences. "The first may be called typical, the second, physiological. The former is the generic account of man’s creation--of man the race, the ideal; the latter is the production of the actual man, of the historic Adam" (Laidlaw).

3. Contrasts:

The differences between the two narratives have been magnified by supporters of the various documentary hypotheses. They are supposed to differ in style--the first "displaying clear marks of study and deliberation," the second being "fresh spontaneous, primitive" (Driver, Genesis). They differ also in representation, i.e. in detail and order of events--the earth, in the second narrative not emerging from the waters as in the first, but dry and not fitted for the support of vegetation, and man appearing not last but first on the scene, followed by beasts and birds and lastly by woman. The documents are further supposed to differ in their conception of Divine interposition and a consequent choice of words, the first employing words, like "creating," "dividing," "making," "setting," which imply nothing local, or sensible in the Divine nature, the second being strongly anthropomorphic--Yahweh represented as "moulding," "placing," "taking," "building," etc--and moreover locally determined within limits, confined apparently to a garden as His accustomed abode. Without foreclosing the critical question, it may be replied that the first narrative is as anthropomorphic as the second, for God is there represented as "speaking," "setting," (Ge 1:17; 2:17), "delighting in" the work of His hands (Ge 1:31), "addressing" the living creatures (Ge 1:22), and "resting" at the close (Ge 2:2). As to the home of Yahweh in a limited garden, we are expressly told, not that man was admitted to the home of his Maker, but that Yahweh specially "planted a garden" for the abode of man. The order of events may be different; but certainly the scope and the aim are not.

4. Objections:

More serious have been the objections raised on scientific grounds. The cosmogony of Ge has been disputed, and elaborate comparisons have been made between geological theories as to the origin of the world and the Mosaic account. The points at issue are supposed to be the following: geology knows of no "periods" corresponding to the "days" of Genesis; "vegetation" in Ge appears before animal life, geology maintains that they appear simultaneously; "fishes and birds" in Genesis preceded all land animals; in the geological record "birds" succeed "fishes" and are preceded by numerous species of land animals (so Driver, Genesis). To this a twofold reply has been given: (1) The account in Genesis is not scientific, or intended to be so: it is a prelude to the history of human sin and of Divine redemption, and gives a sketch of the world’s origin and the earth’s preparation for man as his abode, with that one object in view. The starting-point of the narrative is the creation of the universe by God; the culminating point is the creation of man in the image of God. Between these two great events certain other acts of creation in orderly sequence are presented to our view, in so far as they bear upon the great theme of sin and redemption discussed in the record. The aim is practical, not speculative; theological, not scientific.

The whole creation-narrative must be judged from that point of view. See Cosmogony. (2) What has struck many scientists is not so much the difference or disharmony between the Mosaic and the geological record, as the wonderful agreements in general outline apart from discrepancies in detail. Geologists like Dana and Dawson have expressed this as clearly as Haeckel. The latter, e.g., has openly given utterance to his "just and sincere admiration of the Jewish lawgiver’s grand insight into nature and his simple and natural hypothesis of creation .... which contrasts favorably with the confused mythology of creation current among most of the ancient nations" (History of Creation, I, 37, 38). He draws attention to the agreement between the Mosaic account, which accepts "the direct action of a constructive Creator," and the non-miraculous theory of development, inasmuch as "the idea of separation and differentiation of the originally simple matter and of a progressive development" is to be found in the "Jewish lawgiver’s" record.

5. Babylonian Origin:

Latterly it has been maintained that Israel was dependent upon Babylon for its creation-narrative; but even the most serious supporters of this view have had to concede that the first introduction of Babylonian myth into the sacred narrative "must remain a matter of conjecture," and that "it is incredible, that the monotheistic author of Ge 1, at whatever date he lived, could have borrowed any detail, however slight, from the polytheistic epic of Marduk and Tiamat" (Driver, Gen, 31). The statement of Bauer in his Hebraische Mythologie, 1802: "Es ist heut zu Tage ausser allen Zweifel gesetzt, dass die ganze Erzahlung ein Mythus ist" (It is beyond all doubt, that the whole narrative is a myth), can no longer be satisfactorily maintained; much less the assertion that we have here an introduction of post-exilic Babylonian or Persian myth into the Hebrew narrative (compare Van Leeuwen, Anthropologie).

6. Later Critical Views:

Whether the division of the narrative into Elohistic and Jehovistic documents will stand the test of time is a question which exercises a great many minds. Professor Eerdmans of Leyden, the present occupant of Kuenen’s chair, has lately maintained that a "thorough application of the critical theories of the school of Graf-Kuenen- Wellhausen leads to highly improbable results," and that "the present Old Testament criticism has to reform itself" (HJ, July, 1909). His own theory is worked out in his Alttestamentliche Studien, to which the reader is referred.

IV. Unity of the Race: Various Theories. 1. Its Solidarity:

2. Various Theories:

Outside of Holy Scripture various theories have been held as to the origin, antiquity and primeval condition of the human race. That of polygenism (plurality of origin) has found special favor, partly as co-Adamitism, or descent of different races from different progenitors (Paracelsus and others), partly as pre-adamitism, or descent of dark- colored races from an ancestor who lived before Adam--the progenitor of the Jews and the light-colored races (Zanini and especially de la Peyrere). But no serious attempts have yet been made to divide the human race among a number of separately originated ancestors.

3. Evolutionary View:

The Biblical account, however, has been brought into discredit by modern theories of evolution. Darwinism in itself does not favor polygenism; though many interpreters of the evolutionary hypothesis have given it that application. Darwin distinctly repudiates polygenism. He says: "Those naturalists who admit the principle of evolution will feel no doubt, that all the races of man are descended from a single primitive stock" (Descent of Man, second ed., 176); and on a previous page we read: "Man has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges, whether he should be classed as a single species, or race, or as two (Verey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawford), or as sixty-three, according to Burke" (p. 174).

V. Evolutionary Theory as to Origin of Man. Modern science generally accepts theory of evolution. Darwin gave to the hypothesis a character it never had before; but since his day its application has been unlimited. "From the organic it is extended to the inorganic world; from our planet and the solar system to the cosmos, from nature to the creations of man’s mind--arts, laws, institutions, religion. We speak in the same breath of the evolution of organic beings and of the steam engine, of the printing-press, of the newspaper, now even of the atom" (Orr, God’s Image in Man, 84). And yet, in spite of this very wide and far-reaching application of theory, the factors that enter into the process, the method or methods by which the great results in this process are obtained, may still be considered as under debate. Its application to the Bible doctrine of man presents serious difficulties.

1. Darwinism:

Darwin’s argument may be presented in the following form. In Nature around us there is to be observed a struggle for existence, to which every organism is exposed, whereby the weaker ones are eliminated and the stronger or best-fitted ones made to survive. Those so surviving may be said metaphorically to be chosen by Nature for that purpose--hence the term "natural selection," assisted in the higher forms of life by "sexual selection," under the influence of which the best-organized males are preferred by the females, and thus as it were selected for propagation of the species. The properties or characteristics of the organisms so chosen are transmitted to their descendants, so that with indefinite variability "from a few forms or from one, into which life has been originally breathed, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, or are being evolved" (Origin of Species, 6th ed., 429). Applying this mode of procedure to the origin of man, the strength of the argument is found to lie in the analogies between man and the brute, which may be summed up as follows:

(1) morphological peculiarities in the structure of the bodily organs, in their liability to the same diseases, in their close similarity as regards tissues, blood, etc.;

(2) embryological characteristics, in the development of the human being, like the brute, from an ovule, which does not differ from and passes through the same evolutionary process as that of any other animal;

(3) the existence of rudimentary organs, which are considered to be either absolutely useless, in some cases harmful, often productive of disease, or in any case of very slight service to the human being, pointing back therefore--so it is maintained--to an animal ancestry, in which these organs may have been necessary;

(4) mental peculiarities of the same character, but perhaps not of the same range, in the brute as in man though the differences between the two may be as great as between "a terrier and a Hegel, a Sir William Hamilton, or a Kant";

(5) paleontological agreements, to show that a comparison of fossil remains brings modern civilized man and his primeval, anthropoid ancestor into close correspondence. Latterly Friedenthal’s experiments, in regard to blood- transfusion between man and the ape, have been introduced into the argument by evolutionists.

2. Difficulties:

The difficulties which beset theory are so great that naturalists of repute have subjected it to very severe criticism, which cannot be disregarded. Some, like Du Bois-Reymond, have openly declared that supernaturalism has gained the day "es scheint keine andere Ausnahme ubrig zu sein, als sich dem Supranaturalismus in die Arme zu werfen" (compare Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatik, II, 548). Others, like Virchow, have to the last pronounced against Darwinism as an established hypothesis, and a simian ancestry as an accepted fact "auf dem Wege der Speculation ist man zu der Affen-Theorie gekommen: man hatte eben so gut zu anderen theromorphischen Theorien kommen konnen, z. B. zu einer Elefanten-Theorie, oder zu einer Schaf-Theorie"--i.e. one might as well speak of an elephant- theory or a sheep-theory or any other animal-theory as of an ape-theory. This was in 1892. When two years later the discovery of the so-called pithecanthropus erectus, supposed to be the "missing link" between man and the lower animals, came under discussion, Virchow held as strongly, that "neither the pithecanthropus nor any other anthropoid ape showed any of the characteristics of primeval man." This was in 1896.

The difference of opinion among scientists on this point seems to be great. While Darwin himself uncompromisingly held to the simian ancestry of man, several of his followers reject that line of descent altogether. This may be seen in the Cambridge volume, dedicated to the memory of the British naturalist. Schwalbe, while instancing Cope, Adloff, Klaatsch and others as advocating a different ancestry for man, acknowledges, though reluctantly, that "the line of descent disappears in the darkness of the ancestry of the mammals," and is inclined to admit that "man has arisen independently" (Darwinism and Modern Science, 134). Two things therefore are clear, namely, that modern science does not endorse the favorite maxim of Darwin, Natura non facit saltum, "Nature does not make a jump," with which according to Huxley he "has unnecessarily hampered himself" (Lay Sermons, 342), and that "man probably arose by a mutation, that is, by a discontinuous variation of considerable magnitude" (J. A. Thomson, Darwinism and Human Life, 123). Granted therefore an ascent In the scale of evolution by "leaps" or "lifts," the words of Otto (Naturalism and Religion, 133) receive a new meaning for those who accept as historic the tradition recorded in the early chapters of Genesis: "There is nothing against the assumption, and there is much to be said in its favor, that the last step, or leap, was such an immense one, that it brought with it a freedom and richness of psychical life incomparable with anything that had gone before."

3. Objections:

The objections raised against the Darwinian theory are in the main threefold:

(1) its denial of teleology, for which it substitutes natural selection;

(2) its assumption, that the evolutionary process is by slow and insensible gradations;

(3) its assertion, that organic advance has been absolutely continuous from the lowest form to the highest (Orr, God’s Image in Man, 108). This may be illustrated a little more fully:

(1) Chance Versus Creation.

The denial of teleology is clear and distinct, though Professor Huxley has spoken of a "wider teleology," by which however he simply meant (Critiques and Addresses, 305) that the teleologist can defy his opponent to prove that certain changes in structure were not intended to be produced. In Darwinism the choice seems to he between chance and creation. Mind, purpose, forethought, intention, Divine guidance and super-intendence are banished from the evolutionary process. Darwin himself, though originally inclined to call in the aid of a creator (Origin of Species, 6th edition, 429), regretted afterward, that he "had truckled to public opinion and used the pentateuchal term, by which he really meant appearance by some wholly unknown process" (Life and Letters, III, 18).

Admittedly, Darwin attributed too great a power to natural selection. He himself in the Descent of Man considered it "one of the greatest oversights" in his work, that "he had not sufficiently considered the existence of many structures which are neither beneficial nor injurious," and that he had "probably attributed too much to the action of natural selection on the survival of the fittest" (Descent of Man (2nd ed.), 61). Dr. A. R. Wallace, though like Darwin acknowledging the potency of natural selection, considers its operations to be largely negative. Writing to his friend he says: "Nature does not so much select special varieties, as exterminate unfavorable ones" (Darwin’s Life and Letters, III, 46). It is this very insistence on a method of advance by slow and imperceptible gradations that has met with strong opposition from the very beginning. "Natural selection" Darwin writes, "acts solely by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations; it can produce no great or sudden modifications; it can only act by short and slow steps" (Origin of Species (6th ed.), chapter 15). The process therefore according to Darwin is wholly fortuitous. This non-teleological aspect of Darwinism is characteristic of many treatises on evolution.

Weismann states with great clearness and force, that the philosophical significance of theory lies in the fact that "mechanical forces" are substituted for "directive force" to explain the origin of useful structures. Otto speaks of its radical opposition to teleology. And yet an ardent supporter of Darwinism, Professor J. A. Thomson, admits that "there is no logical proof of the doctrine of descent" (Darwinism and Human Life, 22)--a statement which finds its counterpart in Darwin’s letters: "We cannot prove that a single species has changed" (Life and Letters, III, 25). Still more clearly, almost epigrammatically this is endorsed by Professor J. A. Thomson: "The fact of evolution forces itself upon us: the factors elude us" (Bible of Nature, 153), and again: "Natural selection explains the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fit" (ib 162). Still more extraordinary is the view expressed by Korchinsky that struggle "prevents the establishment of new variations and in reality stands in the way of new development. It is rather an unfavorable than advantageous factor" (Otto, Nature and Religion, 182). We are in fact being slowly led back to the teleology which by Darwin was considered fatal to his theory. Scientists of some repute are fond of speaking of directive purpose. "Wherever we tap organic nature," says Professor J. A. Thomson, "it seems to flow with purpose" (Bible of Nature, 25); and again, "If there is Logos at the end (of the long evolutionary process ending in man) we may be sure it was also at the beginning" (ib 86).

Where there is purpose there must be mind working with purpose and for a definite end; where there is mind there may be creation at the beginning; where creation is granted, an overruling Providence may be accepted. If natural selection "prunes the growing tree"; if it be "a directive, not an originative factor" (J. A. Thomson, Darwinism and Human Life, 193); if it produces nothing, and the evolutionary process is dependent upon forces which work from within and not from without, then surely the Duke of Argyll was right in maintaining (Unity of Nature, 272) that "creation and evolution, when these terms have been cleared from intellectual confusion, are not antagonistic conceptions mutually exclusive. They are harmonious and complementary." The ancient narrative, therefore, which posits God at the beginning, and ascribes the universe to His creative act, is after all not so unscientific as some evolutionists are inclined to make out.

(2) Variability Indefinite.

Indefinite variability, assumed by theory, is not supported by fact. Development there doubtless is, but always within carefully defined limits: at every stage the animal or plant is a complete and symmetrical organism, without any indication of an everlasting progression from the less to the more complex. Reversion to type seems ever to have a development proceeding indefinitely, and the sterility of hybrids seems to be Nature’s protest against raising variability into a law of progression. It has been repeatedly pointed out, that variations as they arise in any organ are not of advantage to its possessor: "A very slight enlarged sebaceous follicle, a minute pimple on the nose of a fish, a microscopic point of ossification or consolidation amongst the muscles of any animal could (hardly) give its possessor any superiority over its fellows" (Elam, Winds of Doctrine, 128).

(3) Existing Gaps.

Nor can it be denied that no theory of evolution has been able to bridge the chasms which seem to exist between the various kingdoms in Nature. A gradual transition from the inorganic to the organic, from the vegetable to the animal kingdom, from one species of plant or animal to another species, from the animal to man, is not found in Nature. This is acknowledged by scientists of repute. Du Bois-Reymond has maintained that there are seven great enigmas, indicating a sevenfold limit to investigation, namely,

(a) the existence of matter and force;

(b) the origin of motion;

(c) the origin of life;

(d) the appearance of design in Nature;

(e) the existence of consciousness;

(f) intelligent thought and the origin of speech;

(g) the question of freewill.

Others have found equally serious difficulties in a theory of descent which ignores the existence of such gaps. Thus, Dr. A. R. Wallace--a strong upholder of theory of natural selection--allows that "there are at least three stages in the development of the organic world, when some new cause or power must necessarily have come into action," namely, at the introduction of life, at the introduction of sensation and consciousness and at the introduction of man" (Darwinism, 474-75).

(4) Applied to Man.

When theory is applied to the human species the difficulties are enormously increased. Psychically, man is akin to, yet vastly different from, the brute. Consciousness, thought, language (called by Max Muller "the Rubicon" between the human and the animal world), morality, religion cannot easily be explained under any theory of evolution. The recognition of moral obligations, the freedom of choice between moral alternatives, the categorical imperative of conscience, the feeling of responsibility and the pain of remorse are unaccounted for by the doctrine of descent. Man stands apart, forming psychologically a kingdom by himself, "infinitely divergent from the simian stirps" (Huxley, Man’s Place in Nature, 103)--the riddle of the universe, apart from the Biblical narrative. In the very nature of things the conscious and the unconscious he far apart. "The assertion of the difference between them does not rest on our ignorance, but on our knowledge of the perceived distinction between material particles in motion and internal consciousness related to a self" (Orr, Homiletic Review, August, 1907).

There can be no transition from the one to the other. The "gulf" remains in spite of all attempts to bridge it. Strong supporters of Darwinism have acknowledged this. Thus Dr. A. R. Wallace, though vigorously maintaining the "essential identity of man’s bodily structure with that of the higher mammals and his descent from some ancestral form common to man and the anthropoid apes," discards theory that "man’s entire nature and all his faculties, moral, intellectual, spiritual, have been derived from their rudiments in lower animals"--a theory which he considers unsupported by adequate evidence and directly opposed to many well-ascertained facts (Darwinism, 461; Natural Selection, 322 ff).

(5) Transitional Forms Absent.

The absence of transitional forms is another difficulty which strikes at the very root of Darwinism. Zittel, a paleontologist of repute, endorsed the general opinion, when in 1895 at Zurich he declared, that the extinct transitional links are slowly not forthcoming, except in "a small and ever-diminishing number." The derivation of the modern horse from the "Eohippus," on which great stress is sometimes laid, can hardly be accepted as proved, when it is maintained by scientists of equal repute, that no "Eohippus," but Palaeotherium was the progenitor of the animal whose ancestry is in dispute. And as for man, the discovery by Dr. E. Du Bois, in the island of Java, of the top of a skull, the head of a leg bone, few teeth of an animal supposed to be a man-like mammal, does not convey the absolute proof demanded. From the very first, opinion was strangely divided among naturalists.

Virchow doubted whether the parts belonged to the same individual, and considered Du Bois’ drawings of the curves of a skull-outline to prove the gradual transition from the skull of a monkey to that of a man as imaginary. Of twenty-four scientists, who examined the remains when originally presented, ten thought they belonged to an ape, seven to a man, seven to some intermediate form (Otto, Naturalism and Religion, 110). At the Anthropological Congress held at Lindau in September, 1899, "Dr. Bumiller read a paper in which he declared that the supposed `pithecanthropus erectus’ is nothing but a gibbon, as Virchow surmised from the first" (Orr, in The Expositor, July, 1910).

4. The New Evolutionism:

Evolutionism apparently is undergoing a great change. Among others Fleischmann, and Dennert in Germany have submitted Darwinism to a keen and searching criticism. The latter especially, as a scientist, raises a strong protest against the acceptance of the Darwinian theory, He closes his researches with the remarkable words: "The theory of descent is accepted by nearly all naturalists. But in spite of assertions to the contrary, theory has not yet been fully (ganz unzweifelhaft) proved. .... Darwinism on the other hand, i.e. the doctrine of natural selection through struggle for existence, has been forced back all along the line" (vom Sterbelager des Darwinismus, 120). With equal vigor Professor Hugo de Vries, of Amsterdam, has recently taught a "theory of mutation," a term applied by him to "express the process of origination of a new species, or of a new specific character, when this takes place by the discontinuous method at a single step" (Lock, Recent Progress in the Study of Variation, 113). New species, according to De Vries, may arise from old ones by leaps, and this not in long-past geological times, but in the course of a human life and under our very eyes. This theory of "halmatogenesis," or evolution by leaps and not by insensible gradations, was not unknown to scientists.

Lyell, who was a slow convert to Darwinism, in his Antiquity of Man, admitted the possibility of "occasional strides, breaks in an otherwise continuous series of psychical changes, mankind clearing at one bound the space which separated the highest stage of the unprogressive intelligence of inferior animals from the first and lowest form of improvable reason of man." Even Professor Huxley, one of the staunchest supporters of Darwinism, acknowledged that "Nature does make jumps now and then," and that "a recognition of the fact is of no small importance in disposing of many minor objections to the doctrine of transmutation" (Orr, God’s Image in Man, 116). Less conciliatory than either De Vries or Huxley is Eimer, who, while repudiating the "chance" theory of Darwinism, sets against it "definitely directed evolution," and holds that "natural selection is insufficient in the formation of species" (Otto, Naturalism and Religion, 174). Evidently the evolution theory is undergoing modifications, which may have important bearing on the interpretation of the Mosaic narrative of creation and especially on the descent of man. Man may therefore, from a purely scientific point of view, be an entirely new being, not brought about by slow and gradual ascent from a simian ancestry. He may have been introduced at a bound, not as a semi-animal with brute impulses, but as a rational and moral being, "internally harmonious, with possibilities of sinless development, which only his free act annulled." If the new theory of "mutational" evolution be accepted, the scriptural view of man’s origin will certainly not be discredited.

5. Evolution and Genesis:

This much may fairly be granted, that within certain limits Scripture accepts an evolutionary process. In regard to the lower animals the creating (Ge 1:21), or making (Ge 1:28), is not described as an immediate act of Almighty Power, but as a creative impulse given to water and earth, which does not exclude, but rather calls into operation the powers that are in the sea and dry land (Ge 1:11,20,24 the King James Version): "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass .... Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature." It is only in the creation of man that God works immediately: "And God said, Let us make man in our image .... And God created man" (Ge 1:26,27). The stride or jump of Lyell and Huxley, the "halmatogenesis" of De Vries are names which in the simple narrative disappear before the pregnant sentence: "And God said." Theologians of repute have given a theistic coloring to the evolution theory (compare Flint, Theism, 195 ff), inasmuch as development cannot be purposeless or causeless, and because "Nature is but effect whose cause is God." The deathblow which, according to Professor Huxley, the teleological argument has received from Darwin, may after all not be so serious. At any rate Lord Kelvin (Sir William Thomson) in 1871 before the British Association openly pleaded for "the solid and irrefragable argument so well put forward by Paley .... teaching us, that all living things depended upon an everacting Creator and Ruler." See Evolution.

VI. Primitive and Present Conditions of Man: Antiquity of Man .

1. The Time-Distance of Man’s Origin:

The newer anthropology has carried the human race back to a remote antiquity. Ordinary estimates range between 100,000 and 500,000 years. Extraordinary computations go far beyond these numbers. Haeckel, e.g. speaks of "Sirius distances" for the whole evolutionary process; and what this means may easily be conjectured. The sun is 92,700,000 miles away from the earth, and Sirius is a million times as far from us as we are from the sun, so that the time-distance of man from the very lowest organisms, from the first germ or seed or ovule, is according to Haeckel almost incalculable. The human race is thus carried back by evolutionists into an immeasurable distance from the present inhabitants of the earth. Several primeval races are by some declared to have existed, and fossil remains of man are supposed to have been found, bringing him into touch with extinct animals.

The time-computations of evolutionists, however, are not shared by scientists in general. "These millionaires in time have received a rude blow, when another Darwin, Sir G. H. Darwin of Cambridge, demonstrated that the physical conditions were such that geology must limit itself to a period of time inside of 100,000 years" (Orr, God’s Image, etc., 176). Professor Tait of Edinburgh limited the range to no more than 10,000,000 years and he strongly advised geologists to "hurry up their calculations." "I dare say," he says, "many of you are acquainted with the speculations of Lyell and others, especially of Darwin, who tells us, that even for a comparatively brief portion of recent geological history, three hundred millions of years will not suffice! We say, so much the worse for geology as at present understood by its chief authorities" (Recent Advances in Physical Science, 168). Recently, however, attention has been drawn to new sources of energy in the universe as the result of radio-activity.

Duncan, in The New Knowledge, contrasts the old conception, according to which God made the universe and started it at a definite time to run its course, with the need, which though it does not distinctly teach, at least is inclined to maintain, that the universe is immortal or eternal, both in the future and the past (p. 245). If this view be correct the Darwinian "eons" of time may be considered restored to the evolutionist. On the other hand it appears that Lord Kelvin seriously doubted the validity of these speculations. Professor Orr writes: "In a personal communication Lord Kelvin states to me that he thinks it `almost infinitely improbable’ that radium had any appreciable effects on the heat and light of the earth or sun, and suggests it as `more probable that the energy of radium may have come originally in connection with the excessively high temperatures’ produced by gravitational action" (Homiletic Review, August, 1906).

2. Antiquity of Primeval Man:

In regard to primeval man there is no agreement among scientists. Some, like Delaunay, de Mortillet, Quatrefages, believed that man existed in the Tertiary; while others, such as Virchow, Zittel, Prestwich, Dawson, maintain that man appeared on the scene only in the Quaternary. As the limits between these periods are not well defined a decision is by no means easy. Even if man be found to have been a contemporary of extinct animals, such as the mammoth, the inference from this fact would be equally just, not that man is as old as the extinct animal, but that the animal is as young as man and that the period assigned to these fossil remains must be brought considerably nearer to present-day life.

3. Various Calculations:

Calculations based on the gravels of the Somme, on the cone of the Tiniere, on the peat-bogs of France and Denmark, on fossil bones discovered in caves of Germany and France, on delta-formations of great rivers like the Nile and the Mississippi, on the "kitchen middings" of Denmark, and the lake-dwellings of Switzerland, must be carefully scrutinized. Sir J. W. Dawson, a geologist of great repute, has made the deliberate statement, that "possibly none of these reach farther back than six or seven thousand years, which according to Dr. Andrews have elapsed since the close of the boulder-clay in America," and that "the scientific pendulum must swing backward in this direction" (Story of the Earth and Man, 293). The "ice-age," formerly hypothetically calculated, has latterly been brought within calculable distance. G. F. Wright, Winchell and others have arrived at the conclusion that the glacial period in America, and consequently in Europe, does not lie more than some eight or ten thousand years behind us.

If such be the case, the antiquity of man is brought within reasonable limits, and may consequently not be in contradiction to the Biblical statements on this point. If the careful and precise calculations of Dr. Andrews on the raised beaches of Lake Michigan are accepted, then North America must have risen out of the waters of the Glacial period some 5,500 or 7,500 years ago; and if so, the duration of the human period in that continent is fixed and must be considerably reduced (Dawson, Story, etc., 295). One of the latest deliverances on this subject is that of Professor Russell of the University of Michigan (1904), who maintains that "we find no authentic and well- attested evidence of the presence of man in America either previous to or during the Glacial period." He is confident, that "all the geological evidence thus far gathered bearing on the antiquity of man in America points to the conclusion that he came after the Glacial epoch." Where all is vague and experts differ great caution is necessary in the arrangement of dates and periods of time. If moreover a comparatively rapid post-glacial submergence and reelevation is accepted, as some naturalists hold, and man were then on the earth, the question may fairly be asked, whether this subsidence did not "constitute the deluge recorded in that remarkable `log-book’ of Noah preserved to us in Gen" (Dawson, op. cit., 290).

4. Chronology:

The chronology of ancient nations--China, Babylon, Egypt--has been considered as subversive of the scriptural view as to the age of the human race. But it is a well-known fact, that experts differ very seriously upon the point. Their calculations range, for Egypt--starting from the reign of King Menes--from 5,867 (Champollion) to 4,455 (Brugsch), and from 3,892 (Lepsius) to 2,320 (Wilkinson). As to Babylon Bunsen places the starting-point for the historic period in 3,784, Brandis in 2,458, Oppert in 3,540--a difference of thousands of years (compare Bavinck, Geref. Dogmatik, II, 557). Perhaps here, too, future research will bring the scientific and the Biblical view into fuller harmony. At any rate, Hommel’s words on all these calculations require careful study: "The chronology for the first thousand years before Christ is fairly fixed: in the second thousand BC some points seem to be fixed: in the third thousand, i.e. before 2000 BC, all is uncertain." In this connection it may be mentioned, that attempts have frequently been made to cast discredit on the chronology of the early chapters of Genesis. Suffice it to say that the calculations are based on the genealogies of the patriarchs and their descendants, and that the generally accepted dates assigned to them by Archbishop Ussher and introduced into the margins of some editions of the Bible are not to be trusted. The Septuagint differs in this respect from the Hebrew text by more than 1,500 years: precise chronological data are not and cannot be given. The basis of calculation is not known. Perhaps we are not far wrong in saying that, "if we allow, say, from 12,000 to 15,000 years since the time of man’s first appearance on the earth, we do ample justice to all the available facts" (Orr, God’s Image, etc., 180). See Chronology of the Old Testament.

5. Man’s Primitive Condition: That all these discussions have a bearing upon our view of man’s primitive conditions can easily be understood. According to Scripture man’s destiny was to `replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over fish, fowl and every living thing’ (Ge 1:28), as God’s steward (oikonomos, Tit 1:7), as fellow-laborer with God (sunergos, 1Co 3:9). Hence he was placed by God in the garden of Eden (gan be`edhen; Septuagint paradeisos tes trophes; Vulgate paradisus voluptatis, "paradise of delight"). The situation of that garden is carefully described, though the proper site remains unknown (Ge 2:14,15). Some, like Driver, consider this an ideal locality (Genesis, 57); others take a very wide range in fixing upon the true site. Every continent has been chosen as the cradle of the race--Africa, among others, as the home of the gorilla and the chimpanzee--the supposed progenitors of humanity. In America, Greenland and the regions around the North Pole have had their supporters.

Certain parts of Europe have found favor in some quarters. An imaginary island--Lemuria--situated between the African and Australian continents--has been accepted by others. All this, however, lies beyond the scope of science, and beyond the range of Scripture. Somewhere to the east of Palestine, and in or near Babylonia, we must seek for the cradle of humanity. No trace of primeval man has been found, nor has the existence of primeval races been proved. The skulls which have been found (Neanderthal, Engis, Lansing) are of a high type, even Professor Huxley declaring of the first, that "it can in no sense be regarded as the intermediate between Man and the Apes," of the second, that it is "a fair, average skull, which might have belonged to a philosopher, or might have contained the thoughtless brains of a savage" (Man’s Place in Nature, 156, 157). Of the Lansing skeleton found in Kansas, in 1902, this may at least be said--apart from the question as to its antiquity--that the skull bears close resemblance to that of the modern Indian. Even the skull of the Cro-Magnon man, supposed to belong to the paleolithic age, Sir J. W. Dawson considers to have carried a brain of greater size than that of the average modern man (Meeting-Place of Geology and History, 54). Primeval man can hardly be compared to the modern savage; for the savage is a deteriorated representative of a better type, which has slowly degenerated.

History does not know of an unaided emergence from barbarism on the part of any savage tribe; it does know of degradation from a better type. Whatever view we take of the original state of man, the following points must be borne in mind: we need not suppose him to have been a humanized ape, rising into true manhood by a slow and gradual process; nor need we picture him either as a savage of pronounced type, or as in every sense the equal of modern man, "the heir of all the ages." Scripture represents him to us as a moral being, "with possibilities of sinless development, which his own free act annulled." There the matter may rest, and the words of a non-canonical Scripture may fitly be applied to him: "God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of His own eternity" (The Wisdom of Solomon 2:23, the King James Version). See also PSYCHOLOGY.

LITERATURE. Darwin, Origin of Species, Descent of Man; Lock, Recent Progress in the Study of Variation, etc.; A. R. Wallace, Darwinism, Natural Selection; Sir J. W. Dawson, Story of the Earth and Man, Origin of World according to Revelation and Science, Meeting-Place of Geology and History; R. Otto, Naturalism and Religion; Cambridge Memorial vol, Darwin and Modern Science; J. H. Stirling, Darwinianism; J. Young, Evolution and Design; J. Orr, God’s Image in Man; J. A. Thomson, Bible of Nature, Darwinism and Human Life; Weismann, Essays on Heredity; Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatik; Van Leeuwen. Bijbelsche Anthropologie; Laidlaw, Bible Doctrines of Man; O. Zockler, Vom Urstand des Menschen; A. Fleischmann; Die Darwin’sche Theorie; E. Dennert, Vom Sterbelager des Darwinismus, Bibel und Naturwissenschaft; Huxley, Man’s Place in Nature; Herzog, RE, articles "Geist" and "Seele"; Driver, Genesis; Delitzsch, Genesis; Dillmann, Die Genesis, etc., etc.

J. I. Marais

See also

  • Man