The theory of evolution offers a challenge to every Adventist minister and evangelist. To ignore it is impossible; to evade its challenge is out of the question. How can we meet it? This question is highly important. For if a minister attempts to answer the challenge of evolution and fails to make a satisfactory disposal of it, he loses the respect of the more intelligent people who listen to him.
It is not necessary for the evangelist to attempt to answer all technical questions, and he would be very unwise to think of so doing. There are, on the other hand, certain basic principles upon which he may depend. These give an approach td the vital questions involved in the evolution-creation controversy.
The theory of evolution involves two major problems: (I) the theory of long geological ages, and (2) the theory of biological evolution. These must be considered separately, yet they are closely related, and each one lends support to the other.
Evolutionary geology is based on the unproved and unprovable hypothesis of "uniformitarianism," the idea that natural processes in the past have been similar to those of the present, without any general catastrophe as portrayed in the Genesis record. The only way to answer this problem is to study the evidences from the rocks-"Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee." A survey of these proofs appeared in the Signs of the Times about a year ago, and in the March, 1947, issue of Our Times, also in chapter II of my book New Diluvialism. The evidence of a universal catastropheism is so convincing when brought together that we may rightfully assert that the geological phenomena demand a flood rather than long ages of slow, uniform action.
If it is established that the Genesis record of the Flood is scientifically accurate, and not a bit of legend, as is commonly believed, then the first chapter with its record of a six-day creation must be literally true, for without long ages of time there is no place for biological evolution.
Upon investigation the theory of evolution of living things fails to find support in scientific fact as fully as geological theory fails. We find that while modern genetics explains how new species or even new genera develop by natural causes, there is not one scrap of actual verifiable scientific evidence for the origin of new families or any other of the higher categories of classification. Gene and chromosome changes may explain the origin of new species or genera of roses, for instance, but cannot show how roses could change enough to become anything else but roses or roselike flowers.
In all this discussion the creationist must keep in mind the fact that he is on the affirmative side of the argument; the evolutionist, on the negative side, must prove his point, or he loses. The creationist does not have to prove his case. His affirmative proposition, as stated in the Bible, goes back beyond any scientific statement to the contrary. It says that -in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." Ex. 20:11.
Unless the negative can be proved, the case stands for creationism. And the negative has never been proved. It is accepted as an assumption but is not proved or provable by any known processes of logic or scientific argument.
If the evangelist will hold to these few simple principles, he may deal with the question of evolution as fully as is necessary. He need feel under no obligation to go into the technical phases of geology or biology. On these he should be well informed, obviously, but should avoid making them a part of his public work.