The first man who rules the world from his grave is Charles Darwin. In the middle of the last century, about 1848, Charles Darwin introduced a book called The Origin of Species. In this book, he gave us the codified systematic view called “evolution.” Darwin's view of evolution is that the biological world originated with a very simple set of life forms, in fact, a single, ultimately simple life form. Biology has compounded itself from the simple to the complex. But we have today is a variant of biological species that have come to us a result of the expansion, the diversity, the evolving of these simple species into the complex forms that we see today. The evolutionary point of view claims that life began with a single life cell, and the result is all of the forms of life that we have now—animal, vegetable, and mineral. They have a common origin, ones very simple, now very complex.
Darwin was a biologist. He was no fool, but in my judgment he came to some expanded conclusions from his data that were unwarranted by the facts. He took some trips to various Atlantic and Pacific Islands, brought back specimens, and then presented his findings in the form of diagrams, and especially the text, The Origin of Species. He finally had the world convinced, as far as biology was concerned, that this was the answer—the explanation of life.
My primary purpose is not to discuss Darwin's biological views, because Darwin's greatest influence on the world is not biological, but philosophical. In my opinion, the theory of evolution is most fascinating, but it is unsupported by the evidence. There is no evidence to support it in natural history. We do not see that life began with the simple, and then evolved to the complex. On the contrary, in every strata of rock, and from other sources of data that we have examined, we see the contemporaneous existence of both simple and complex life at the very same time. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that man has been in this world for more than ten thousand years. There is not a significant, statistically representative collection of human remains or artifacts in any legitimate strata that is demonstrably of any age greater than ten thousand years. Therefore, the theory of evolution has been wrongly construed to explain life. It has also allowed biologists to present to us many conclusions that are entirely false, unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever.
As far as scientific dating is concerned, it is impossible to discover positively the age of anything at whose creation we were not present. If we attempt to accomplish this, based on a given set of evidence, we are assuming the uniformity of nature, and the uniformity of nature is not a fact. Dating methods, such as carbon decomposition, are influenced by temperature, by pressure, by humidity, by the presence of light, and possibly by hundreds of other factors, none of which are constant. No scientist can claim otherwise. No one knows the age of anything at whose creation he was not present. Think about it, and you will conclude that this is a piece of impeccable logic.
Within Christianity, there are those who try to reconcile the view of Scripture with the view of evolution, and they have come up with a composite theory called “theistic evolution.” Theistic evolution is the view that God created a primitive set of life forms, and then He intervened in the development of that set of life forms and brought them up from a vegetable to an animal level. This life pattern continued for some time, and then God intervened once again and brought life from the animal level to the highest form—human beings. This was a second intervention. The idea of theistic evolution, therefore, holds to at least three specific acts of creation. Nevertheless, even theistic evolution, which attempts to join the Scriptures and evolution, denies the historicity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. It must deny that Adam and Eve were real people, which is also a denial of the very words of Jesus Christ, who named Adam and Eve. This is a worse view than pure evolution. Theistic evolution also has many other problems. Theistic evolution is a compromise on the part of pseudo-scientists who also pretend to be theologians—their view is neither theism nor evolution.
Charles Darwin's greatest influence on the world has not been his biological views, but the philosophy called historic optimism. Historic optimism contends that all of the world—man and his thinking, man and his philosophy, man and his destiny—is getting better and better. We once came from a world that was very bad. We have now evolved to live in the best world that ever was, and by extrapolation (that is, drawing the lines out into the unknown future), we can assume that man, by his efforts, will bring to pass a Utopia. In other words, historic optimism is the idea that we will finally find the answer to every problem. We will solve all the difficulties that mankind faces; we will bring to pass a perfect world, a Utopia. Historic optimism is a deadly thing to believe. When we look at our present experience, at history, and attempt to draw valid conclusions about the future from the data available to us today, we can clearly see that historic optimism is not true.
Historic optimism is a blatant denial of the clear presentation of Scripture. What does the Bible say about the past and the future? Concerning the past, the Bible says: Man once knew God. He didn't come out of the La Brea Tar Pits of California. Man began in a garden with nearly perfect knowledge. Early Man, named Adam, was so intelligent that he was able to name all the beasts of the field, the flora, the fauna, and even remember the names of the stars. What's more, the things he didn't know, he could ask of God in the evening, because he walked with God.
The Bible teaches that man sinned against God, and sin brought a number of consequences upon man, including a mental limitation. Sin, when it is finished, produces death, but in the process it produces many forms of insanity. Man began to degenerate. According to Scripture, we live not in the best world that ever was, but in the worst world that ever was. The Bible also says that society will continue to deteriorate until man, by his efforts, will bring to pass a day so bad that it is called the Great Tribulation. The Scripture also says that except those days be shortened, there should be no flesh saved. If you are a historic optimist, think again. Man by his efforts is not producing good things; he is producing ruin, and he has left the evidence of this ruin across the world.
The only exception to the progressive deterioration of all societies is in places where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached effectively, so as to change the life and outlook and purposes of man. One example is the Protestant Reformation, which produced Western civilization. It was born, not of man and his efforts, but by the discovery of divine truth, with its marvelous transforming impact. If you are a historic optimist, if you believe that man, by his efforts, is capable of perfection, you will end up disillusioned. Historic optimism keeps man going on the basis of human bravado, and it carries individuals by the millions right over the cliff into hell. They never stop long enough to admit their own weakness, their sin, and turn to Jesus Christ, who alone is the source of improvement. Evolution has been mistaken by many to be an answer to the explanation of all reality, but there is no reality apart from God and His Word.