J. N. Darby.

<41002E> 4

I see nothing in the elaborate statement at the opening of the Belfast meeting* which affects the evolution system, or divinely-formed species at all. Creation it does not touch, as none of them do. But more, that embryos were gradually formed in the womb was always known. That microscopic investigation has discovered segmental division, and the separation into an upper and lower set, with the lines between, may be very interesting to anatomists, adds nothing but details. So, that there are general principles of formation from lower to higher genera in the foetus growth is curious, and shows God's acting analogously, and with system, but no more, unless the contrary to the development theory, because after all men and women have human children, and cocks and hens chickens, and it shows that these analogies of formation do not make intermingled species now. Phillips in his Geology, though afraid to say so, shows there was no cross-intermingling of species. And it is one of the remarkable things that from the same materials and analogous processes, both in plants and animals, specific results are produced. The oak and the bramble grow from the same soil, but the oak does not become a bramble, nor the bramble an oak. Forms of inception, and food, and digestion are the same, and we have eggs, and upper and lower segmentary division, but a man grows into a man, and a pig into a pig.

{*British Association for the Advancement of Science, Belfast, 1874.}

I do not see that evolution or development, once creation is fully recognised, is anything that concerns us. We all admit it. A corn of wheat, if it has lain 4,000 years without germination, if it meets "the scent of water" will sprout. Supposing the microscope discover there protoplasm itself, or appropriating power leading to organic growth, that is what in English we call "life" in its broadest sense, tree, animal, or man; in every case protoplasm in a cell. What was there 4,000 years is evolved, appropriates extrinsic stuff, and is a plant of wheat, and will, by "seed in itself after its kind," produce more evolved wheat. Now if God pleased (and who can say He did not) - chose - when chaos reigned, to-hu (wasteness), bo-hu (emptiness), to form such plants all at once from protoplasm to wheat, or an oak, and cause them to produce "after their kind," by an instantaneous act of will, what should or could prevent it? This the evolutionists do not pretend to explain, nor can they - that is, how protoplasm came there.

5 They - for science is always, and necessarily atheistical, when it does not honestly confess ignorance (and honest in this sense its pride seldom is), because it can only follow experimentally the series of what does exist, and can only trace it as existing, but how or why it exists can know nothing, for that is no matter of science - they, to get rid of God, will say matter is eternal, but not only cannot prove it, but a finite mind cannot have the thought "eternity" in it, so that all that is wilful falsehood. Notwithstanding, in spite of us, we know there is a cause, but that is not science. It is clearly seen change of species is another thing; God no doubt could have made it so physically, but it is not proved, and Darwin admits the proofs fail in geology, and if we are to believe the best searchers into the question it is disproved (as Phillips on "Geology of the Thames"). God may allow commixture, and mules, if He pleases in nearly related species, but this rather proves there is no such change, for no such race producing "after its kind" has been found; but it is another question.

If evolution, as daily seen, takes place in four weeks where necessary conditions exist, or waits four years till they do, it is evident divine power could at once produce, I mean produce, so as to set the principle at work, in a moment. The foetus they tell us on its train goes through all classes of life from beginning to end in nine months; be it so. Why not in nine seconds - be formed so as to do so? But men producing fishes, or fishes producing men, have not been found. It is a mere hypothetical conclusion of what may have been, but this is not science. Science may arrive at a general principle of what is, and so find what will be on the principle which is known in existing facts. But permanent change of species has not been found; varieties from circumstances are common, union of kindred species forming none may be found, but "after its kind" in nature remains "after its kind."

Now Genesis 1 takes up the facts as apparent and no more - does not touch the "how." There are species - horses are not oxen, nor cats dogs, nor men apes - they may tell us they were or may have been, but, as I said, that is not science; but Genesis 1 takes up the positive and unquestionable facts, and does only one thing - reveals the creative authorship of God, and that is all - the "after its kind" is the statement of what is which we all know; more real science than the modern pretended science, and adds what confessedly is not and cannot be the subject of science - creation - and which Scripture says is of faith. A more precise account is given of man, because there was a moral relation between him and God; his body was distinct from his soul, and when made, God breathed into his so-formed body and he was in relationship with God, as nothing else was. This was, though creation, more than mere animal creation. "Let the earth bring forth" was for mammalia. God formed man out of the dust. Os homini sublime dedit (He gave to man a face that looks on high), and then connected him livingly with Himself. But what I had on my mind here was, that Moses took up the ostensible facts, and does not touch the "how" (save with man who is in relationship with God), but merely that God, the Creator and Orderer of all that was apparent, ba-ra created, a-sah formed, ya-tzar made (as a potter); He creates all, and then the earth being to-hu bo-hu, He brings it into order with everything, from plants to man. Hence when what orders times and seasons is set in order, he adds, "He made the stars also," but that is all. The creation of angels is not mentioned, they do not belong to this creation.

6 The creating is brought out I think as distinct parts of the general statements. First God created the heaven and the earth, then He goes on and orders it as earth with its bringing forth. This is to the end of the fourth day. It was the habitable earth, the waters being separated, and the earth, as ordered of God, standing out of it. Then comes the creation of what peopled the waters, it was what belonged to and was of them, but still was a distinct and new part of creation, the lower, and in a certain sense, unordered part. Then comes the higher class of living creatures, from the earth to which they belong. This was a bringing forth, but of the highest kind; still it was a to-tze (let bring forth).

Then comes a quite distinct act; God takes counsel in Himself to make man in His image, and creates him. So that the earth is looked at as the proper object of what had been created originally, and the account is continued in it; but then the separated waters have their own special notice, of which, though not the dwelling-place of man, the great things were God's creation; and then apart from all, though on the sixth day, but no to-tze, man "created" is repeated three times. Nor do I think "created to make" is without special intention; all was His creation, but with a view of ordering it before Him.

7 The men of science forget that they can deal with phenomena only, and the evolution, if they so please to call it, of what exists; with existence they have nothing to do; evolution and fixed laws have nothing to do with it either. Fixed laws are learned from the constant course of things, but the constant course of things supposes the things whose course goes on, and even to have gone on long enough to call it a fixed law; man may see the perfection, and universality of it, and conclude perhaps it is a fixed law, but he cannot by science go beyond the constant order of what is.

Evolution is true to a certain point, the foetus or sperm becomes a man or a beast in due time. I have seen no evidence of change of species by it, not certainly, in historical time, in geological mummies and fossils there is no change of species; it is not science but fancy.

Further, though man ventures pretty far, and no man denies variety in species, big cows and little cows, and horned or unhorned, yet it seems to me that fixed laws and evolution are difficult to reconcile. It is all well to fancy that circumstances so act on an ape that he takes the human form, and say that this operation of fixed laws must have produced that consequence, habit begetting a second nature; but it is not science - phenomena and deduction from it.

Species are, and the fixed law is that they remain species, and always have; change into other species, arbitrarily, from circumstantial influences, is not a fixed law of nature. At first it is an accident, if it has a natural effect, i.e., the consequence of an antecedent, but this is individual, and goes no farther than will, and need; there is no change of race in it. All apes did not shorten their arms, and turn hands into feet together, and, if one did, we should have as many races as circumstances, i.e., there would be no fixed laws at all; but the truth is, the thing, as far as known phenomena go, is disproved really.

But the main point I would insist on is, that science only begins when the system of uniform succession of consequents from antecedents exists, so that the whole system exists, and exists under an order of fixed laws, and science can go no farther than the discovery of them - is absolutely and necessarily confined to them - means only that - and if it presumes to go farther, wholly ceases to be science; accounts for nothing, and has no ground to go on in accounting for anything, beyond a course of things already in existence, having such fixed laws; as to existence, and fixed laws, or any knowledge about them, it is out of court - ceases to be science if it attempts to touch them.

8 Science could not even say that in another Universe bodies, instead of having what we call weight, gravitation, or ether, or what it may be, which are only names after all, are not in a self-repelling gas which drives them away from one another; science knows what is, and no more. Existence cannot be said to be a consequent from an antecedent, nor even fixed laws - what goes on according to them may be.

But mere fixed laws, and consequents from antecedents reveal causation - mean that a certain effect follows because another fact is there. Therefore I must pursue causes, evolutionary ones, if you please; and existence must have had a cause, and the fixed laws or causes must have had a cause, for all facts we have ever ascertained flow from antecedents.

What is the antecedent to existence and fixed laws? You tell me - you leave me in the dark, for I cannot conceive a cause which is not caused; I agree you are there in the dark, and must be. Own it, that is all, and that your science can only know present phenomena, and not God, and we are agreed. But men of science are afraid of being honest in these things.

The argument, as to infidels, is mere stupid presumption, and is merely this: Science, i.e., man's mind, cannot go further than antecedents and consequents; it comes to a point where it has to stop, for, after all, they cannot deny this, therefore there is nothing beyond.