October 21, 2017

The Bible at the Center of the Modern University (2)

A. C. Dixon, D. D.

Professor, The Bible Institute, Los Angeles, Calif.

Editorial note: We are in the midst of a series of posts from the messages delivered at the Pre-Convention Conference of the Northern Baptist Convention, 1920. From the Conference the Fundamental Fellowship was formed which is today known as the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International. The messages from the conference were published in a book called Baptist Fundamentals. The book has been digitized by Maranatha Baptist University and is available as part of the Roger Williams Heritage Archives collection in Logos format, available here. Links to previous posts will appear at the end of this post.

Due to length, this installment has been broken into two parts. Look for Part One here.

In Part One, Dr. Dixon spoke stalwartly in favor of the Biblical record of Creation (although a careful reader will see he seemed to accept the Gap Theory, see our commentary on this whole sermon, scheduled to appear next week). He spoke of the clear stream of God’s perfect creation becoming muddied by the polluted stream of sin, which led to all kinds of deception, including Darwin’s infamous notion of evolution.


Facts Against Evolution

1. Immature, embryonic life is never reproductive. An embryo never multiplies into an embryo. Eggs do not hatch eggs. Wheat does not reproduce itself into wheat. Babies do not bear babies. Apples do not multiply into apples. Only the mature product can produce an embryo or germ. This is true even in the lowest stratum of life. The cell becomes mature before it articulates another cell.

Indeed, an embryo does not produce the mature product, though it develops into it. The mature product is simply a full-grown embryo. The microscope reveals a symmetrical oak in the acorn. But the mature product may bring into being what did not exist before as a living organism.

It is not a question as to which came first, the embryo or the mature product, the egg or the eagle. If the egg was created first, with the possibilities, under certain conditions, of hatching into an eagle in a few days, that is not evolution; that is direct creation. Evolution demands that the egg shall come into existence and through millions of years evolve into an eagle.

If now, I am to be an evolutionist, I must believe that immature embryonic life came into existence millions of years ago, and continued to exist through the countless ages required for its development without the power of reproduction. An absurdity, which calls for great scientific credulity.

2. Immature, embryonic life is unimprovable. The evolutionary theory demands that things shall move upward. There must be improvement. But immature embryonic life can be improved only by improving the mature product. If you would secure better eggs, you must make better hens. “To touch protoplasmic life is to destroy it.” Seek to improve the quality of an egg by working directly upon it, and see the result! Darwin experimented with pigeons; but if he experimented with pigeons’ eggs in any decided manner, he doubtless had on his hands a basket of rotten eggs. “A good tree bringeth forth good fruit,” and the only way to get good fruit is to make the tree good. It is a universal fact that the only way to improve the quality of embryo or germ is to improve the mature product that yields it. If, therefore, I am to be an evolutionist, I must believe that immature embryonic life came into existence millions of years ago and continued to exist through successive ages without the power of reproduction and continued to improve without the power of improvement. A twofold absurdity, which amounts to an impossibility in a healthy mind.

3. Immature, embryonic life is unpreservable. Embryos and germs are easily destroyed. To exist at all, they must be carefully guarded, and nature makes provision for this. But no such provision has been or can be made for the preservation of embryos or germs through thousands of years. I thought there was one exception in the grains of wheat found with the mummies of Egypt, which, after four thousand years, germinated and produced wheat, though four thousand years is but the tick of a clock in the chronology of evolution, but Doctor Kyle, the distinguished archeologist, tells me that there is no exception, for it has been proved that the wheat found with Egyptian mummies was in the straw which the workman used in packing them for shipment. A member of the British Association recently said that, if embryonic life had been introduced into the chaos of this earth, as it is said to have been introduced, it could not have survived. The evolutionary hypothesis demands that embryonic life was introduced in the midst of chaotic conditions and was preserved through succeeding ages. My difficulties increase, for if I am to be an evolutionist, I must believe that immature embryonic life came into existence millions of years ago, and continued to exist through successive ages without the power of reproduction, continued to improve without the power of improvement, and continued to be preserved without the power of preservation. A threefold absurdity, which no healthy mind can admit.

4. There are two things lacking which are essential to the evolutionary theory: SPONTANEOUS GENERATION AND TRANSMUTATION OF SPECIES. Professor Tyndall said that he could see “the promise and potency of life in matter.” But he saw no such thing. As he looked at matter, he really saw the promise and potency of death. There is no promise and potency of life in a corpse, but there is a promise and potency of putrefaction. In wood or stone there is no promise and potency of life, but of disintegration into rottenness and dust. No scientist of any repute claims that life has really originated from lifeless matter. Naturalistic evolution which ignores God has no explanation of the origin of life. And theistic evolution which admits that God must have created matter and introduced life can give no good reason why a God who introduces one kind of life into suitable environment, should not introduce another kind of life under similar fitting conditions.

The claim that one species of living things in plants or animals develops into another species has no facts in nature to support it. “After its kind,” as in the first chapter of Genesis, is universal law. When one species unites with another, the result is a hybrid which is sterile, so that the stubborn mule stands in the path of the evolutionist and will not let him pass on his way of error.

5. Evolution, whether naturalistic, theistic, atheistic, or Christian, is pagan in origin and spirit. The Bible, which is the text-book of Christianity, teaches that God created the mature product first and left this mature product to reproduce itself by natural law. As we have seen, this is economy of miracle, while the beginning of all life in immature embryonic form is forbidden by the scientific fact that embryonic life is never reproductive, it is unimprovable and unpreservable.

One of the most pathetic bits of biography in existence is the effect of this pagan teaching and the atmosphere it produced in Darwin himself. In early life Darwin was a believer in the Bible as the word of God, and he believed that God answered prayer. In his later life he confesses with regret that he had lost all taste for poetry, music, painting, and religion. But to the last he was fond of the habits of worms. He wrote the best book on worms ever penned. He glorifies the little creatures as benefactors of mankind none too much. It is all true. But what I insist upon is that any theory or atmosphere which effaces all taste for music, poetry, painting, and religion, while it makes one revel in studying the habits of worms, has something the matter with it; and, when we observe that the effect of the theory in others is to drag them down from the spiritual to the natural, from the realm of music, poetry, painting, and religion to the realm of the worm as it works in the dirt and dark, we are driven to the conclusion that there is something in this pagan theory which drags us down into the mud, and robs us of the clearer vision and purer atmosphere of the higher spiritual realms.

6. Evolution with itsstruggle for existenceandsurvival of the fittest,” which gives the strong and fit the scientific right to destroy the weak and unfit, is responsible for the oppression and destruction of the weak and unfit by the strong and fit. It has fostered autocratic class distinctions and is no friend to the democracy which stands for the protection of the weak against the oppression of the strong. The greatest war in history, which has drenched the world with blood and covered it with human bones, can be traced to this source. If the strong and fit have the scientific right to destroy the weak and unfit, that human progress may be promoted, then might is right, and Germany should not be criticized for acting upon this principle.

The “Superman”

Nietzsche, the neurotic German philosopher, hypnotized the German mind with his pagan brute philosophy. “The weak and the botched,” said he, “shall perish; first principle of humanity. And they ought to be helped to perish. What is more harmful than any vice? Practical sympathy with the botched and weak — Christianity.” “If what I publish be true,” he wrote to an invalid woman, “a feeble woman like you would have no right to exist.”

“Christianity,” he said again, “is the greatest of all conceivable corruptions, the one immortal blemish of mankind.” And he hated it because of its sympathy with the weak and botched. He glorified his ideal German “blond beast” and gave to the world a “superman,” one-third brute, one-third devil, and one-third philosopher. Under the spell of his daring brutality, Germany adopted the motto, “Corsica has conquered Galilee.” Nietzsche’s philosophy of beastliness has its roots in the evolutionary assumption that the strong and fit, in the struggle for existence, have the scientific right to destroy the weak and unfit. Under the spell of Nietzsche’s “superman” there came into the brain of the Kaiser the vision of a supernation, a national brute, devil and philosopher, with the scientific right to destroy all weaker nations and erect his throne upon their ruins. One Sunday morning, four months after the war began I spoke something like this from the Metropolitan Tabernacle pulpit, in London; and, after the service a gentleman with military bearing appeared in the vestry and said: “I am a German, brought into London on a captured ship; and why I have not been interned I do not know; but I have an intimation that I shall be interned next week, and before I go I would like to give you a piece of my mind. You have said that this terrible war was due to Darwinian evolution, and I believe it. I hope I am a Christian. I love Jesus Christ and believe the Bible, but my wife and daughter have had their faith wrecked by Nietzsche and his pagan gang. But what I want to say to you is that we Germans got Darwinism from England. We took it from you and worked it out to its legitimate consequences. So, when you mention it again, speak softly, for you are really getting back what you sent.” I could not deny it. Back of this war and responsibility for it is Darwin’s pagan teaching that the strong and fit have the scientific right to destroy the weak and unfit.

England and France

This suggests the fact that France gave to Germany her first lessons in the destructive higher criticism of the Bible. It was Jean Astruc, a learned, dissolute French physician, of Marseilles, who first suggested that Genesis had two authors. Doctor Eichhorn, of Germany, took Astruc’s suggestion as a clue and announced that he had discovered many authors. Thus began a movement which has done more to discredit the Bible than any other movement of modern times. The scientists of Germany took Darwinism from England with its struggle for existence, giving the strong and fit the scientific right to destroy the weak and unfit, and gave to the politicians the infernal dictum that might is right, while the German theologians took from Jean Astruc his composite-authorship-of-Genesis theory and worked it out to the discrediting of the Bible as a revelation from God. Thus England and France sent to Germany the forces which gave her a “kultur” that robbed her of her Christian faith and plunged her into the bottomless pit of national degradation Through Darwin and Astruc England and France let loose a flock of scientific and theological vultures which put their talons into the vitals of academic thinking and ethics in Germany, destroying faith in the Bible, and vitiating the spiritual life of the people. Strengthened by their feasts upon Germany’s vitals, these ferocious birds returned to England to wreck the Christianity founded upon the Bible, which has been the glory of English history and which broke the fetters of papal superstition that for centuries retarded the progress of France.

It was hoped that this world war, with its unutterable horrors, would open the eyes of the educators of England and France to the wreck of faith and character which their scientific and theological dreamers had wrought; but, instead of that, the religious, liberal leaders of England and France, realizing that their rationalistic theories and their books based upon them are in danger, are reasserting with nervous haste their destructive teachings. While victory on the side of liberty and humanity has checked, if not destroyed, German militarism, it remains for those who believe and love the Bible to mobilize and fight the battle for the truth which has given to the world its passion for liberty and humanity.

Darwin and Lincoln

It is an interesting fact that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day, February 12, 1809, and in the lives of these two men continue the battle between mud and crystal. Darwin, born into an environment of wealth, through the teachings of Greek philosophers and of Malthus became the champion of the strong and fit against the weak and unfit. Abraham Lincoln, born into an environment of poverty and struggle, became the champion of the weak against the strong. He believed that the weakest and worst have the right of existence with fair treatment, and that the strong and fit, instead of destroying weak and unfit, should be their protectors and benefactors. When he saw a negro woman in a New Orleans slave-market auctioned off to a rich slave-owner, he said, “If I ever get a chance to strike that thing, I will hit it hard.” And he did hit it hard, when he led the movement which resulted in the abolition of slavery under the American flag.

Let us turn again to Genesis and trace the crystal river of faith in the coming Messiah in conflict with the mud of unbelief. In the curse upon the serpent there is a promise that the seed of the woman (not man) shall bruise his head. Of course, we know who the serpent is: “that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan” (Rev. 20: 2). But do not think of Satan as Doré painted him, with horns, hoofs, bats’ wings, and forked tail. Such a monster could tempt no one, except to run and get out of his way. Paul declares that Satan in this age is transformed as a messenger of light. His mission is to give light, historic light, scientific light, all kinds of light, if by any means he may satisfy the world with light without Him who is the light of the world. Satan would have our colleges, universities, seminaries, and churches blazing centers of light without the Light, Christ Jesus, as atoning Saviour, and Satan wishes his ministers to be ministers of righteousness. His favorite is the ethical minister who preaches a high standard of morality and humanity, urging people to be good and to do good without salvation through the atoning blood of Christ.

One of the great needs of the Christian Church today is a university with the Bible at its center as the standard of all truth, religious, moral, historic and scientific, and the Lord Jesus Christ preeminent in the realm of knowledge as in all other realms. The Bible, “the Impregnable Rock of Scripture,” as Gladstone called it, is the only book in which its religion, ethics, history, and science, are always and everywhere up to date. You have doubtless heard of the “scientific morgue” in Paris, a rather gruesome place, where dead scientific theories are laid out for inspection. Most of them died under twenty-five years of age. Almost every theory I studied in college is in the scientific morgue. But the Bible is not there and never will be. Its statements have frequently been denied by high authorities, but time has always proved that the Bible is right.

The Bible mentions Sargon, king of Assyria; but the historians, in the absence of all mention of Sargon in secular history, refused to accept its testimony, until the pick and shovel unearthed not only the date and deeds of Sargon’s reign, but the ruins of his palace. So you see the Bible was twenty-five hundred years ahead of the historians.

Wellhausen said that the five kings in Genesis fourteen were fictitious characters born in the writer’s imagination, but now through the ministry of the pick and shovel again it has been discovered that the date of Arioch’s reign is “the one certain starting-point of ancient history.” The Bible is again more than four thousand years ahead of the historian.

When Job wrote, “He stretcheth out the north over empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing,” he was three thousand years ahead of the astronomers, and when Job wrote again, “God understandeth the way thereof, to make a weight for the winds,” he was thousands of years ahead of the scientists who, until comparatively recent times, taught that air was without weight, not suspecting that it pressed more than fourteen pounds upon every square inch.

And now the facts of science against the fancies of all scientific romancers, ancient and modern, are confirming the teachings of Moses and the dim vision of Plato that man began perfect and was wrecked by sin.

In some universities the theological schools are clustered about the halls of history, philosophy, and science. It is time that the order should be reversed. Let the Bible school with teachers who believe in the infallible Book and give Christ preeminence in all realms, be at the center with the halls of history, philosophy, and science clustered about it. Let the Sun, and not the earth, be the center of God’s solar system of truth.

Paradise Restored

In Genesis 6: 14 we are told that God commanded Noah to make an ark, and “pitch it within and without with pitch.” And the Hebrew scholar is almost startled to find, as he reads Leviticus, that the Hebrew word translated “pitch” in this verse is rendered “atonement” all through Leviticus. It was the pitch which made the ark seaworthy, keeping out the waters of judgment and keeping in Noah and his family. So the atoning blood of Christ it is, which keeps out the waters of judgment and keeps in the subjects of grace.

And all through the Bible we can trace the Messianic idea which grows fuller and fuller until it finds complete fulfilment in the “Lamb as it had been slain standing in the midst of the throne.” “The Lamb as it had been slain” standing suggests life from the dead, and standing in the midst of the throne suggests royalty. It is the risen, living Christ with the marks of the cross upon him who gives us paradise restored. The perfect civilization in Eden with its perfect environment, perfect employment perfect rest, perfect law, perfect love, and perfect life, has been restored.

To all who have accepted the crucified and risen Christ the muddy river has been clarified. God has reconstructed their wrecked world through the death and resurrection of Christ. And we need not wait until the millennium for this experience in our own souls. If we will enthrone the risen Christ with the marks of the cross upon him in our hearts and lives. Paradise has been restored within us, the reign of Christ in us has begun.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name;
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem
(Ye men of the schools, colleges, and seminaries, and universities)
AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL!


Link to Baptist Fundamentals and other works available in Logos format as part of the Roger Williams Heritage Archives, produced by Maranatha Baptist University.

Baptist Fundamentals series:

Introduction

Baptist Fundamentals: Opening Address

Comments on Baptist Fundamentals: Opening Address

Historic Baptist Principles? … or the seed of defeat in the soil of revival

Baptist Fundamentals: Fidelity to Our Baptist Heritage (1)

Baptist Fundamentals: Fidelity to Our Baptist Heritage (2)

Comments on Baptist Fundamentals: Fidelity to Our Baptist Heritage

Baptist Fundamentals: The Divine Unity of Holy Scripture

Comments on Baptist Fundamentals: The Divine Unity of Holy Scripture

Baptist Fundamentals – The Significance of the Ordinances

Comments on Baptist Fundamentals – The Significance of the Ordinances

Northern Baptists and the Deity of Christ

Comments on Northern Baptists and the Deity of Christ

An Unexpected Message

Comments on An Unexpected Message

The Bible at the Center of the Modern University (1)


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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