The Life Magazine Epic of Man

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 10
In our March and April issues we considered some articles previously published in LIFE magazine under the general title: "The Epic of Man." We called attention to the infidelity which they contained, and their utter disregard for the unerring Word of God. Now we are in receipt of a communication from a Canadian reader which we shall quote:
"Enjoyed the editor's column in March. What do you think of the National Geographic Magazine? Is it not also full of infidelity? See their March, 1956 issue, page 363, and the December, 1955 number, page 787. Is it right for a believer to keep it?"
This interrogation cannot be answered with a simple yes, or no. First, we would say that we did not single out LIFE magazine as being the sole propagator of infidelity. We reviewed the LIFE articles because we were requested to do so, and they were sent to us for that purpose. We felt that as they were apt to be given a special place in schools and colleges because of their seemingly scientific approach, we should bring the light of the Word of God to focus on them for the benefit of our dear young people. We have since learned that middle-aged people in some offices have been required to read the LIFE series. (Our new readers may still procure the back numbers of Christian Truth for March and April by writing to the publishers.)
Since receiving the word from our Canadian friend, we have somewhat cursorily gone over the National Geographic Magazine articles which he named, and found in them much of the same thing we criticized in LIFE, although they are not as sensational. One article goes into considerable detail about the vast geological ages of the past; these there doubtless were before man was placed on the earth. The earth during its varying ages had forms of life created by God which were suited to its several states; the flora and fauna of each was succeeded by others according to the wisdom and power of God. It is the foolish conjecture that all evolved gradually, that is at variance with the Word of God. There is plenty of room in the Book of God for all the ages and even for real or imagined immense lengths of time involved. Place them between the first verse of the Bible, which tells of its original creation, and the second verse, which describes its chaotic state prior to its being readied for man's occupancy, and all is in order. The two articles referred to in the National Geographic Magazine are filled with the prevalent form of unbelief concerning man's origin.
While we do not believe much of what this magazine states about the length of the past ages, this matter is of little consequence; but when it treats man as an evolved being, and places him in the great unknown periods before God created man in His image and after His likeness, we utterly reject their deductions and conclusions.
There have been infidels down through the centuries that scoffed at the Word of God, but it has stood as an impregnable fortress for every true believer. However, today the same infidelity is clothed in academic garb and hence is supposed to be irrefutable. Nevertheless, evolution is an unproved, and we say, unprovable, hypothesis. It is generally supposed to be a sign of erudition to believe the geologists and paleontologists and reject the Word of God whenever these unbelieving scientists choose to propound a theory opposed to divine revelation. But God's Word "is true from the beginning" (Psalm 119:160160Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)), and we say with the poet,
"We in His Word confide, And it will ne'er deceive."
People today are ready to accept any theory, or any religion, that will let them have a good time on earth without any consideration for God, and which promises that they will not have to give an account to Him after death. They do not want to have God in their ways and lives, and so they eagerly endorse any theory that makes man a creature of accident, with nothing worse than extinction at the close of life. The wish is parent to the thought. But the sobering fact remains: "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Rom. 14:1212So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12). "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing."
The young Christian in school may have to search through the National Geographic Magazine for certain information, or he may have to go to various encyclopedias, or reference works of one kind or another; in any of these he is apt to find infidelity given out with a great show of learning. He is living in just such a world, but to be warned in advance is a great help. He should remember that "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is NO light in them." Isa. 8:2020To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20).
We do not believe we should legislate for others what they may have in their homes, but certainly it is not good to have infidelity on our shelves, especially where it may fall into the hands of inexperienced young people. In these days, infidelity has crept into nearly all forms of secular literature, so that carefulness and vigilance is required.
We especially sympathize with Christian parents who have young people in the homes who require mental training and who need reading matter that is at least pure. The daily papers with their sordid stories of corruption and violence and the poisonous so-called comics are certainly deleterious and dangerous, while some of the pictorial and accurate word descriptions of lands far and near, as reported in the National Geographic Magazine, might fill an important place as being instructive and harmless reading.
There is much to cast parents on the Lord for wisdom and guidance in the bringing up of their children. We cannot take them out of the world with its infidelity and corruption, but they need to learn in the home, both by precept and example, what is true and what is false, that they may learn how to "refuse the evil, and choose the good." If they are firmly rooted in the truth of the Word of God, and go forth in dependence on Him, they will not be swayed by infidelity from any quarter. The Christian parents, however, are responsible before God to supervise their children's reading material, or to so advise and instruct them that they will choose with discrimination.
As the end approaches and the moral characteristics of the days of Noah and of Lot begin to become prevalent, in preparation for the dreadful days preceding the coming of the Son of man in judgment, we need special vigilance for ourselves and our posterity against the "corruption that is in the world through lust." These are dangerous times—"the last days."
There is much in the way of current literature which might not be called infidelity, but which certainly has no place in our homes. Perhaps we would do well to ask ourselves the question which the prophet put to King Hezekiah: "What have they seen in thine house?" Is our home encumbered with such literature that we would hasten to remove it if we were to have a visit from, say, the Apostle Paul, or some other devoted Christian? Has our appetite for the imperishable Word been dulled by feeding on the leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt? For us, Egypt is a type of the world. It had its own characteristic food, while the redeemed Israel fed on the heavenly manna in the wilderness, and on food indigenous to the land of Canaan when they reached that land. The manna is a type of Christ who came down from heaven to be the food of His people; the "old corn" of the land of Canaan is a type of Christ in heavenly glory.
Even the most harmless and innocuous of worldly literature can become a real snare to Christians, and do unmeasured harm by robbing us of the little time we have for reading the Word with quiet meditation, or reading profitable written ministry.
We need to take heed what we read, as well as what we hear. The eyes and ears are avenues to our souls, and what enters by these will give color to our whole Christian life and testimony. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.... Meditate on these things." 1 Tim. 4:13, 1513Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:13)
15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (1 Timothy 4:15)
Because evil abounds about us, and we have treacherous hearts within, we need to live in the attitude of dependence as expressed by the hymn:
"O Lamb of God, still keep us
Close to Thy pierced side;
'Tis only there in safety
And peace we can abide;
With foes and snares around us,
And lusts and fears within,
The grace that sought and found us,
Alone can keep us clean.
" 'Tis only in Thee hiding
We feel ourselves secure;
Only in Thee abiding
The conflict can endure.
Thine arm the victory gaineth
O'er every hateful foe;
Thy love our hearts sustaineth,
In all their cares and woe.
"Soon shall our eyes behold Thee
With rapture, face to face;
And, resting there in glory,
We'll sing Thy power and grace.
Thy beauty, Lord, and glory,
The wonders of Thy love,
Shall be the endless story
Of all Thy saints above."