Darwin and His "Simple Cell"
For Charles Darwin the so-called "simple human cell" was simply the tiniest blob of protoplasm and was nothing sophisticated. But science has moved on. It is now known (through the work of microbiologist Michael Behe and other 'irreducible complexity' researchers), that there is no such thing as a "simple cell," for every cell is a minute factory of the most amazing complexity. Moreover, if even one functioning part is taken away, nothing works. This has obviously presented huge problems to supporters of macro-evolution and many have speculated that if Darwin had understood the truth about the "simple cell" he might have either abandoned his theory or greatly revised it. Consider this: if a 'simple cell' is as sophisticated and complex as we now know that it is - with all internal parts so dependent upon each other - how can all this have 'gradually evolved'?
Bill Heaney, Emeritus Editor of the Society of Editors, recently wrote an essay, 'Restore Our Faith,' (Daily Mail Saturday, April 19, 2014) in which he highlighted certain problems contributing to the huge decline in numbers of those who attend Church in the UK. He concluded his essay with the message: "Christianity has weathered many storms and will outlast this one too. Our churches will change as we change, reflecting a society that reinvents itself every generation. The Christian message is still relevant to each new generation and it falls to us to labour with all our might to hand on churches able to keep those messages ringing out clearly."
The major Christian "message" Bill Heaney wrote about is that Christ was resurrected from the grave to eternal life. And as Bill Healey so correctly says, new beginnings are possible.
The purpose of this short essay is to identify a major cause of the problems in the churches (and society generally), its effects, and how to bring about the "new beginnings."
Although churches have had their differences over interpretation of Scripture they, at one time, had a common shared belief that the original 'autographs' were inerrant and inspired of God. In the churches of today however the situation is radically different to the "Christianity (which) has weathered many storms."
In 1859 Charles Darwin* (see footnote) published 'Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life' and in 1884 the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche** in his book, 'Zarathustra' declared: "God is dead."
The 'Origin of Species' has had a major influence worldwide and belief in the process of evolutionary naturalism has been uncritically accepted in all walks of life by many people including Church leaders. A consequence of the acceptance of Darwinism is that the Genesis account of creation is considered by many clergymen to be symbolic.
The Church has not faced up to the challenge of Darwinism which undermines Scripture and has capitulated to 'science.' The Authority of Scripture has collapsed and many people including clergymen treat the Bible like a restaurant menu - choosing the bits they like and ignoring the bits they don't like.
Prominent Neo-Darwinist Richard Dawkins, a member of the British Humanist Association which campaigns to have Christianity proscribed, has this to say to professing Christians who reject the authority of Scripture:
"Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn't it? Symbolic?! So Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non existent individual? Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad." (The Root of all Evil? Channel 4, 16 January, 2006).
Many people, including church goers, reason, 'if Genesis isn't a true and reliable account, then maybe other parts of the Bible also aren't true and so why should I believe anything it says?' Not surprisingly those doubts lead to loss of faith and fallout from the church. After all, why go to a place of worship if you stop believing in the object of worship?
When he declared that "God is dead" Nietzsche rejected the "naive faith" that human beliefs simply mirror reality. Instead, each of our beliefs is grounded in a "perspective" that is neither correct nor incorrect. In ethics, accordingly, there are no moral facts but only moral interpretations of phenomena, which give rise to different existing moral codes. We may try to understand these moralities by investigating their histories and the psychology of the people who embrace them, but there is no question of proving one or another of them to be "true."
Nietzsche argues, for example, that those who accept the Judeo-Christian ethical system, which he calls a "slave morality," suffer from weak and fearful personalities. A different and stronger sort of person, he says, would reject this ethic and create his own values (of course, this man had no understanding of the Christian insistence on, and understanding of, 'truth' as an eternal value, not subject to compromise). Nietzsche was, in effect, advocating the policy of each person becoming their 'own god and deciding for themselves what is right and wrong.' Where have we heard that before?
However, the paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its own philosophy, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philosopher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."
The zeitgeist in this postmodern world is that of moral relativism in which there is no absolute truth; there is no right or wrong. But one has to wonder if moral relativists have given any serious thought as to their philosophy. If a moral relativist considers it normal behaviour to lie, cheat and steal and does so from someone with a similar outlook, what basis does the 'victim' have for complaining of wrongdoing? If there is no right and wrong, in what way can the person who has been lied to, cheated and robbed consider herself a 'victim' of wrongdoing?
It is not within the scope of this short essay to present comprehensive evidence exposing the many huge flaws in Darwinian evolution but it is worth noting that in 1859 when Darwin published 'Origin of Species' he believed the Cell was nothing more than 'a blob of protoplasm.' However, modern technology has enabled significant progress in microbiology and has now produced scientific evidence that the cell is hugely complex and "DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created." (p. 188, 'The Road Ahead,' Bill Gates).
And despite what Darwinists may claim scientific evidence reveals, DNA proscribes for change from one 'kind' of organism into another 'kind' - it simply cannot happen! Had Darwin known about the highly complex design engineered features and nanobiosystems and machines in the genome it could be argued that his manuscript would have not have been published.
In former times highly respected prominent scientists such as Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur, Robert Lister and many other distinguished scientists were Bible believing Christians who considered the Genesis account of Creation to be scientifically sound. Organisations today such as Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, Institute of Creation Research and similar groups are staffed with highly qualified and respected scientists in different areas of specialisation who provide sound evidence for the Genesis account of Creation. Many millions of believers worldwide including thousands of highly respected scientists such as former atheist Dr. John Sanford, Cornell University Professor for more than twenty-five years and inventor of biolistic ("gene gun") process, and with significant contributions in pathogen-derived resistance, and genetic immunisation, and Raymond Damadian, pioneer of MRI scanning; these are Bible believing Christians who recognize the Genesis account as scientifically sound (even if currently a highly-unfashionable view within naturalistic science).
When Jesus Christ walked on this Earth He did not ask men to credulously follow Him. He gave convincing evidence. He turned water into wine, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and raised the dead to life. And He attested to the historic reality of the Creation account, Sin and the Fall, and Noah and the global Flood - as recorded in Genesis.
The number of highly qualified scientists who believe in the Genesis account based on evidence may be fewer in number than atheist Darwinian scientists but science is not decided by a show of hands. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The evidence from science in support of Genesis is available to all and the knowledge that the creation account recorded in Scripture is scientifically sound gives strength and courage to the fainthearted to defeat the arguments and ridicule from atheist evolutionary naturalists.
However, although Genesis is scientifically sound, the central issue is that of Authority and a searching question needs to be answered. Should the clergy accept the authority of Darwinists or the authority of God who inspired specially chosen men to write specific words for the purpose of communicating His specific thoughts and instructions?
A major message of Christianity - the Resurrection - is based on the historical truth of the Crucifixion which was necessary due to Sin and the Fall as recorded in Genesis. The new beginning, of which Bill Heaney wrote, requires a change of worldview away from the authority of fallen imperfect men and the wolf in sheep's clothing 'theistic evolution' to acceptance of the Authority of the One who was there in the beginning and who "created the heavens and the earth... and man in the likeness of God."
IF church leaders recognize the Authority of the One in whom they profess belief this could be the start of the "new beginnings" for many.
* Charles Darwin died a tormented man according to 'Was Charles Darwin Psychotic? A Study of His Mental Health' by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
Colp noted that "behind these symptoms there was always a core of anxiety and depression" (1977, p. 97). Some speculate that part of Darwin's mental problems were due to his nagging, gnawing fear that he had devoted his "life to a fantasy" - and a "dangerous one" at that (Desmond and Moore, 1991, p. 477). This fear was that his theory was false and there was, in fact, "a divine Creator."
** Nietzsche spent the last 11 years of his life in total mental darkness, first in a Basel asylum, then in Naumburg under his mother's care and, after her death in 1897, in Weimar in his sister's care. He died in 1900. Informed opinion favours a diagnosis of atypical general paralysis caused by dormant tertiary syphilis. (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 Deluxe Edition).