Evolution: New Science or Old Mythology?

Short Answers to Big Questions: Part 8

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From a big picture perspective, the evolutionary worldview is the idea that all life on earth has a common ancestor. That somehow life spontaneously jumped into existence around 3.5 billion years ago and changed over long periods of time, increasing in complexity and diversifying into all the variations of life seen today. To be more specific, some use the phrase molecules-to-man or electron-to-engineer evolution. Or my favorite definition: “from the goo to you through the zoo” evolution. But ultimately, evolution is an attempt by a pagan religion to explain life without God.

This attempt to overthrow God as Creator is nothing new. Actually, the idea of evolution is quite ancient.

The Mayan culture, which began around 600 BC, incorporated a form of evolution into its religion. They believed the rain-god created humans by modifying previous creations; rivers were changed to fish, then to serpents and finally humans.1

The Greeks were teaching about evolution as early as the 7th century BC. But it appears they borrowed many of their evolutionary ideas from the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Indians. For example, one ancient Hindu belief in India suggests that the universe spontaneously evolved, and like a seed it grew and diversified into everything that exists over billions of years.2 Sounds familiar.

From 600–100 BC, numerous Greek philosophers taught many of today’s “modern” ideas about evolution:

  • Anaximander (610–546 BC): humans originally resembled fish.3
  • Democritus (460–370 BC): primitive people grunted and eventually evolved to use words.4
  • Empedocles (493–435 BC): chance caused evolution of matter into man,5 life came from spontaneous generation, and organisms evolved by natural selection.6
  • Epicurus (341–270 BC): the universe came about by a chance movement of atoms, no god required.7

On and on the list could go. In the 200 years preceding Darwin’s arrival on the scene, essentially every one of his supposedly original ideas was articulated in quite some detail by other writers and scientists.8

It has rightly been said that Darwin did not invent evolution, he just made it popular for a pagan culture desperate for a life without God. Like Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun.

For an audience of One,
Bryan

Footnotes

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica (New York: Werner, 1898), 467.
  2. Keep in mind that in Hinduism everything is actually an illusion, including their understanding of origins. This is called the doctrine of Maya.
  3. Jonathan Barnes, Early Greek Philosophy (London: Penguin Books, 1987), 72.
  4. Paul Cartledge, Democritus (London: Phoenix, 1999), 20–21.
  5. Bert Thompson, The History of Evolutionary Thought (Fort Worth, TX: Star Bible & Tract, 1981), 31.
  6. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (New York: Macmillan,1908), 52.
  7. The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia, translated and edited by Brad Inwood and L. P. Gerson. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 1994.
  8. Dr. Jerry Bergman “Evolutionary Naturalism: an Ancient Idea,” Answers in Genesis, August 1, 2001, https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/evolutionary-naturalism-an-ancient-idea/.

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