Does Creation Bear Witness to a Creator?

 •  15 min. read  •  grade level: 10
One may now frequently hear that science has laid the groundwork for the passing away of all religion, and over the tombstone carved for Christianity's burial has written, "succumbed to evolution." In this some scientists boast. Julian Huxley, great grandson of Darwin's associate, Thomas Huxley, recently asserted that evolution and the concomitant new order of thinking even now spells doom for the world's religions. Nor is it difficult to make out on which side, evolution or Christian, men in general are prepared to range themselves. In any apparent issue between them, there is certainly a tendency shown always to give science the benefit of the doubt. And all along, there are assumptions made for a yet lisping science which are denied to the clear and mature tones of Scripture's voice. For instance, to admit any cause-that you are reading this page even-is to admit a first cause; and indeed a child may frequently ask in wonderment, "Where did I come from?" Either God created in the beginning or, as some scientists have said, "A great catastrophe ushered in the universe." This catastrophe to them is the process whereby the absolutely nothing decided to become something. Maturity in judgment, depth in philosophy, soundness in science believes the former, that God created. And it is a matter of belief, for beginnings are beyond science, beyond what can be subjected to experimental test. Scientists may press upon us an unproven theory, even one unprovable by experimentation, with all the authority of dogma; and few are those who are not influenced by it, or even coerced into bowing down to it.
Science then is knowledge acquired by investigation, but certain facts must be accepted as axiomatic before investigation can begin. The tools of science are the experiment through which data (facts) are collected, and the drawing of valid conclusions from them. Though scientific experimentation is moving in the direction of increasing precision and validity, it is by no means perfect; and, where evolution is concerned, and we quote a leading evolutionist,1 "The subject is beset with difficult ties, with controversy, matters of interpretation, and with rival theories," the doctrine must be believed in as supported by science. And when evolutionists now boldly preach atheism, even through otherwise reputable avenues of science, they preach not that supported in any way by scientific fact, by a single fact known about the universe, and very little of what might be known is known, but only the atheism which is resident in their own minds. In this they discredit science. No fact ascertained by investigation, and no experimental evidence published in any scientific journal, supports the atheistic doctrine now promulgated by evolutionists. The evidence is all to the contrary; and indeed, as many scientists and even university presidents have said, the greatest truth of all science is the axiom sublimely stated in Gen. 1:11In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1): "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and some of these have added, "To know Jesus Christ as Savior is the most important thing in a man's life. To know Him as Lord in one's life and to acknowledge Him as Creator, Lord over and Sustainer of the universe, greatly enhances one's appreciation of Him as Savior."
Note that above we used the phrase "truth of all science." Science and truth are not synonymous, though the scientist searches, as he says, for truth. Scientific truthfulness is only relative. New facts are discovered, old scientific theories discarded or revised, and college courses are not taught from textbooks written a generation ago. Yet, a generation ago, scientific assertion was as bold as it is today. To the Christian scholar, characterized by unswerving belief in God and His Word, truth in the absolute sense can only be that Word. Consider "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:55This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)); "God, that cannot lie" (Titus 1:22In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (Titus 1:2)); "Thy word is truth" (John 17:1717Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)). By that Word we test all that purports to explain life, beginning and design, in creation.
To entertain the doctrine of evolution as it stands now is to consign to oblivion the great argument of design in nature or forethought in creation. Yet we are still taught by some that this great discovery of the nineteenth century need not invalidate the evidence of design, for the "needs of nature" in view throughout the eons of the past and through the "means of nature (natural selection)" with ever upward progress could only have graced nature with the crowning product, man. Then, in evolutionary dogma, the needs of Godless nature demanded the product, man; therefore it produced him. Is it not better to frankly admit that this truly epoch-making hypothesis be indeed confessed, as it is, a doctrine for which supporting scientific evidence is impossible except for interpretations conjectured by those who first believe the doctrine and reject God and the Bible? Though several noted evolutionists in the past, cognizant of worth and authority in Holy Scripture, have tried to harmonize the evolution doctrine with Scripture, the two are utterly at variance; and, further, the disparity between the two must be faced. Certainly in the matter of man's origin the difference is marked enough between man as nature's crowning product and Adam (man) created in God's image. As to which affords true evidence, not only of design, but of divine care and interest, where is the comparison? The comparison lies in the kind of God we are content to prove the existence of. If One to whom every one of us must give account of himself; One with whom we have to do; if a God whose goodness unfallen creation proclaimed, whose love has since been manifested, and whose grace is presently offered to all; then such a theory which attempts to explain the production of all things, and man above all, to an evolutionary process acting through "natural selection" will provide little satisfaction. No, if God be the God we adore, the God whose Word we believe (and what have we, even if nature's witness were increased tenfold, if we rest not there), our universe owes its being to Him, and man infinitely more so, in a far more direct manner than evolution would teach. "He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." Psalm 33:99For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:9). "God... breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Gen. 2:77And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7).
The real worth of evidence from studies of nature, or the estimate we take of this worth, relates heavily with its effect upon men; and by this criterion we shall now judge. The question is, Does creation inevitably lead to creation's God? For the Christian, whether scientist or layman, certain as creation exists, it points the way most truly to God. What does Scripture say of the witness of creation? The first chapter of Romans we may take in its later verses, surely, as giving an instance of how mankind may be affected by the testimony of creation. It is in no special sphere, such as Judaism, remember, that this history of man's attitude toward the knowledge of God is traced, but out in the open, among men at large-the Gentiles.
From verse 19 onward we are shown wherein the "ungodliness" of the Gentiles, previously spoken of, consists. This ungodliness of men, against which the wrath of God was revealed, was simply an entire absence of the fear of God, where there was sufficient testimony existing to render such a thing inexcusable. The Apostle, in reviewing this testimony, goes back to what is elementary. The largest, the most general sphere, is chosen first -creation, "that which may be known of God." Pristine as is its witness, creation is still full of the manifestation of God. That which was knowable of God, from the testimony of created things, contained a voice for any listening ear, wherever or whenever found. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in [to] them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [divinity]; so that they are without excuse." Rom. 1:19, 2019Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:19‑20).
The works of God truly render eloquent testimony regarding their Author; and "that which may be known of Him," in respect of His Being and power, finds adequate expression there. His eternal power and divinity, invisible like all His attributes, apart from His disclosure of Himself, visible objects of striking character are eminently suited to proclaim. "The heavens," we read in Psalm 19, "declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." Above man then appeared, and around him were strewn, wonders great and innumerable to draw and fix his attention upon that supremely wise and powerful One to whom they silently pointed. The most darkened heathen has never escaped the conviction that these did point somewhere. To say, however, that such heathen have merely missed, through inadvertence, the right direction in which they might have been dimly seen to point, would be to misrepresent the case. Had the indications been obscure, some such excuse might be found possible; but it is not a mistaken reading of the evidence that we must lay to man's account, but the wholesale rejection of it. The language that "day unto day uttereth" is as little ambiguous as its "pouring forth" (as some translate it) is meager. The knowledge that "night unto night showeth" is no esoteric doctrine, but breathes its whisper in the ears of all. "There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." Not in articulate fashion, yet "Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Such widespread, continuous, and eloquent testimony would seem to leave little room for either ignorance or mistake. Yet what are the facts of the case? Take a man in the state he now is in of ignorance and darkness as to the knowledge of God. Take, on the other hand, the witness of creation to the Creator we have spoken of as of so great power and certainty. How are we to explain the lack of conviction wrought, and apparent unfruitfulness of this line of evidence? Is it not that the hearts of men have been so desirous after some alternative signification that they have willfully disregarded its true indication? They will not see that it points to God. Anyone or anything but Him, they would willingly invest with the glory of such handiwork. They say unto God, "Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways." Job 21:1414Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. (Job 21:14). Yet even in the face of this want of desire after God, these silent witnesses remain, to be accusers if nothing more; and the sum of their accusation here is that ungodly men are "without excuse."
And, taken in the mass, this unbelief is all the fruit the witness of creation has produced in man! There is no clearness lacking, no inherent weakness in its testimony to a divine Creator. Rather might God be the inference of creation's evidence from which there was no escape. Yet the fact remains that, as a rule, man has not drawn that inference. Man being what he is, God is not in all his thoughts, however much creation seems to press Him upon his attention. Faith truly perceives creation to be His work, as Heb. 11:33Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3) declares: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." But were we left with the fact only of creation's witness, not so much after all that "God is" as that "God must be," as the basis of appeal to men, we possess but little. Besides, at best, as has been said, to prove the existence of God is to descend to the very elementary.
On two occasions noted in The Acts, the Apostle Paul found it necessary to make primary truth such as God's existence the subject of discourse. Acts 14:8-188And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 9The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 11And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 13Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. (Acts 14:8‑18), and 17:16-34 give the accounts of them. It is particularly interesting to us today to notice who the hearers respectively were of these similar addresses. The philosophic Athenians would no doubt consider themselves far removed from the ignorant Lystrians; but such is the debased and darkened state of the natural mind that each needed the same first lesson to be taught them. Both are, as many today need to be, "set to spell the alphabet of creation."
We will refer now to the second of those great evidences to the existence of the one God. Account for it as we may, no fact in this world is more prominent or undeniable than the universal prevalence of religion. Religious beliefs and practices of some sort pervade the entire human family. One lecturer correctly enough insisted on this as remarkable. No community yet discovered, he says, no people, however remote or secluded, exist who do not have a religion. The most barbarous and ignorant, and the most civilized and intellectual among the races of mankind, however widely severed in other respects, are alike in this, that there is that in them which prompts veneration of some higher power. It may be they worship they know not what; but still they worship. "To the unknown God" even they may raise their altar, and it may be difficult to say whether it is a "what" or a "whom" they "ignorantly" reverence. The fact remains, they do revere.
Patent to all as this is, there are not wanting those who would fain explain it away on materialistic grounds. Of this school there are many. And it is these in particular against whom is directed a somewhat elaborate disquisition on the origin and roots of human religion. If we follow here, as we must so far, we shall do so on our own lines. The most convinced materialist, then, cannot deny the fact of man's seemingly essential religiousness, however he may attempt to explain it. They confess to having a task in hand in eradicating that idea so strangely prevalent in man, which postulates supernatural agency for phenomena which in any sense are obscure.
It may also be conjectured how much of a problem they have in satisfactorily explaining what seems the universal impulse of men to admit the supernatural. The materialist, in fact, is involved in difficulty all around. His quest after the roots of religion in man's nature has hitherto been attended with scant success. The conflicting testimony from investigators in that field is notorious. From Hume and Herbert Spencer on, there has been nothing but diversity. Each part of man's nature, his intellectual, his emotional, his imaginative faculties, has in turn been singled out as the sphere in which religion takes its rise. An unclassified sentiment based by some on fear, is really all that psychological analysis can as yet pronounce the religious instinct to be.
At present, at all events, the shallower species of materialists' favorite term, "superstition," does not approve itself to the more thoughtful; and, while carefully avoiding the term, all such seem unable altogether to escape some slight contamination of the theory of the innate consciousness in man of a power and personality higher than human. Thus Haeckel, while finding the crude beginnings of religion to spring "partly from the hereditary superstition of primate ancestors, partly from ancestor worship, as well as from habits which have become traditional," concludes his formidable list with the very indefinite phrase, "and various emotional impulses." Yes, just somewhere in that latter region will be found the solution of the problem-Why is religion such a universal feature, so inseparable from man wherever found? Exploration, discovery, the progress of ethnological study have but multiplied the instances of its occurrence without solving the question of its origin. No solution seems possible but that which explains its unexceptional appearance and ineradicable nature, in the first place, by some inherent impulse in man, by an ingrained consciousness of a higher power.
Conjoined with this also, or a component part of the same instinct, there is the sense of moral accountability indelibly imprinted on the heart of every man. This is so plainly the case that no denial is possible. It is realized to be part and parcel of our very nature as men to feel accountable for thoughts entertained and actions performed. We can understand no normal human being without it, and as matter of fact we find none. Man is essentially a moral creature-from the beginning was so. A consciousness of responsibility, dim it may be, or uncertain to whom it refers, pervades the mind of even the most benighted, however distorted his ideas of the unknown Supreme may be.
In every human soul, too, Scripture testifies, since the fruit of the forbidden tree in Eden was partaken of, the voice of conscience makes itself heard. "Knowing good and evil" describes the new moral outlook of man in his fallen state, come under the power of evil now, alas, though his "conscience bearing witness," as we read in Rom. 2:1515Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Romans 2:15)-not in regard to Jews, not in that sphere where the light of revealed truth shone, but among "those of the nations," "the heathen." Instances of commendable ethics among the Gentiles, rare enough no doubt, were sometimes in evidence. This does not prove, however, "the law" to be "written on their hearts." It is "the work of the law" of which this is affirmed, conscience bearing corroborative witness therewith. The thoughts of accusation or extenuation that flit across such dark minds show them capable, inherently so, of moral exercise, and evidence clearly enough the sense of moral accountability, and the witness of conscience to be, both of them, universal features. All this in its own way we must allow is testimony to the existence of God.
1. Ford, E. B. 1953, Mendelism and Evolution, Methuen & Co. Ltd. London