Last month we learned that the theory of evolution might be divided into three parts—cosmic, geological, and biological. The geological phase was considered first, and we come now to the biological aspect.
Volutionism assumes that the present forms of plants and animals have arisen from simpler forms in the past. The primitive life of the earth is supposed to have branched out into the complexity of life as we know it today. Creationism, in opposition to this, accepts the Bible record that God made each "after his kind," and that all the present life of the earth has come from these original created kinds.
The main features of evolutionism and creationism are distinct, but when we go into details, there are several problems to be solved. These must be dealt with, and a clear understanding reached regarding them, because of the fact that the evolutionists have appropriated all the facts bearing on them as evidence of evolution. We shall consider these problems briefly.
I. The Origin of Species.—The original Linnaean concept was that there were just as many species of plants and animals as God had created, for Linnaeus assumed that species were unchangeable. Later, however, he recognized the fact that in some cases different species had apparently arisen from common ancestors. Since his time it has come to be quite generally recognized that variation has produced many different kinds, and that the present species cannot be made to correspond with the original "kinds" of Genesis. The adaptive modifications that are observed in the field make it imperative that a considerable degree of variation be recognized.
It is highly important to note that those changes that could give rise to new species or possibly to new genera are of different nature from change necessary to produce new families, orders, classes, or phyla. Practically all the discussion of the details of evolution, which has taken place within the past quarter century and which is now filling so much space in scientific literature, has been confined to the problem of the origin of species, and not to the problem of the major groups. The highest authorities readily admit the distinction between the two problems, and while they infer that the higher groups must have arisen by processes similar to those that would produce new species, they are free to say that there is no definite evidence on this point. On the other hand, some high authorities deny the possibility that the factors involved in the origin of species could produce new families, orders, etc.
It would seem, therefore, that creationism has a solid scientific basis upon which to rest its case. Given the premise that the major groups, the type forms or "kinds," were created in the beginning, the appearance of the vast array of species found over the earth today can be understood in the light of modern scientific principles. The other problems mentioned below are, therefore, merely those involved in the greater problem of the origin of the million or more species now in existence.
2. Natural Selection.--Darwin confused natural selection with evolution, as have most of his followers and his opponents, but the two are not synonymous. Natural selection is nothing more or less than the principle that, of two forms, the one possessing characteristics that will make it better fitted to endure the conditions prevailing in its environment, will thereby have a higher survival value, and will survive when the other dies out. To cause this principle to bring about evolution it would be necessary that there be continuous, unlimited variation. But this is not the case. There seems to be a definite limit beyond which plants and animals will not vary. No evidence has yet been produced to show how, either in the past or in the present, variation has taken place in sufficient degree to transform a member of one family or order into one of another group. The existence of these changes in the past is purely hypothetical, and without any actual proof.
3. Isolation.—Field naturalists believe that when two kinds are separated by a barrier, they will undergo variation in different ways, and since they cannot mingle, they eventually will become so different that they must be classed as different species. Like natural selection, this process is incapable of producing major groups, because of the limitations beyond which variation cannot go.
4. Hybridization.—Like the previous factors, this one has a limited place in nature, and while in some cases there may be produced what must be called new species, yet there is nothing in this factor of change that would in any way support the evolutionary theory.
5. Comparative Anatomy and Embryology.—The fact that there are similarities of structure and development in various more or less closely related groups is equally as powerful an argument for the creationist as for the evolutionist. God has ordained order and system in His creation, and the relationships found to exist among the different kinds of living creatures are plain examples of the truth of the statement that He made each "after his own kind." For instance, when we classify the dog we find that he belongs to the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, as a member of the back-boned "kind." He belongs to the class Mamma-ha, in in common with all the "kind" that bear their young alive and nourish them with milk. He belongs to the order of Carnivora, in common with all the flesh-eating "kind." And finally, he belongs to the family Canidae, which includes all the dog "kind." I am suggesting by this classification that the word "kind" of Genesis is not comparable exactly with species, genus, family, or any other category of our modern classification, but is of more general application, referring to major and minor categories alike.
Conclusion.—In the foregoing paragraphs we have pointed out the main lines of issue between evolutionary geology and biology on one side, and creationism and flood geology on the other. The differences are not so much with the facts of science which we recognize, as with the application and interpretation that we make of these facts. We need to develop the positive aspects of creationism, and to produce a science that will take into account all the known facts that modern science has brought to light. Having recognized all those facts, we must bring them into line with the literal flood record of Genesis. Until this has been done, we can hardly call ourselves true scientists in any sense of the word.