Abraham: Citizen of Ur
May 26th, 1957 @ 8:15 AM
THE CREATION OF MAN: GOD OR GORILLA
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-13-57 8:15 a.m.
You are listening to the services, the early morning services, of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and this is the pastor bringing the first morning message in a long series on Genesis 1:26, upon the creation of man.
Since last summer, I have been preaching at this early morning hour from the first chapter of Genesis, upon the creation of the world. And we have come this morning to the twenty-sixth verse which is the account of the creation of man, and it reads like this:
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The next verse:
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
This message this morning is an introductory message. It is a statement of the proposition. It is entitled, The Creation of Man: God or Gorilla. There is an observable fact that anyone can see anywhere, any day, and that observable, demonstrable phenomenon is this: that in every way and in all ways, a man is distinct from a beast. God says so. True science says so. In bone, in blood, in flesh, in cell, in mind, in soul, in spirit, a man is distinct from an animal. For example, a man walks erect. There is no other animal that stands up and walks erect. The anthropoids rumble and ramble through the jungle on all fours. When an anthropoid seats himself, he does so very ludicrously and uncomfortably. He cannot be seated, nor can he stand up and walk erect like a man. Only a man stands up when he walks erect.
A man differs from a beast in his countenance, the light of intelligence in his face and in his eyes. One of the most beautiful passages in the New Testament is this: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 4:6]. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face, in the countenance of a man; no beast, no animal has a countenance, the intelligence of God in his face.
A man differs from an animal in his osteological framework, in the bone structure of his body. For example, a man has a hand, the only animal that has a hand, a miraculous gift of God. Only a man has a thumb in opposition to his fingers. An anthropoid will have a big toe in opposition to his other toes, but a man’s foot is made to walk with. But an anthropoid has no thumb in opposition to his fingers. Only a man has a hand, and that miraculous gift from God enables a man to handle a tool and to do things with all the multifarious, multitudinous instruments that his mind has devised. The fin of a fish, the paw of a lion, the hoof of a horse, the claw of a bird, but only a man has a hand.
A man differs from a beast in his mind, in his reason, in his inventive genius. Did you ever try teaching geology to an elephant? Did you ever try teaching astronomy to an eagle? Did you ever try teaching theology to a dog? Yet the most primitive savage in the farthest, deepest jungle can learn all three. A man differs from a beast in his mind, in his intelligence, in his ableness to reason and to think.
And last, a man differs from a beast in his soul, in his spirit, in the divine image God breathed into his bodily frame. How beautifully does the Bible express it when it says, "And 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]. No other beast, no other animal has a soul, has a spirit like a man, a moral consciousness, the ableness to know God and to think God’s thoughts after Him. Man is moral, made in the image of God, and he’s conscious of his Creator.
Professor Townsend of Boston University one time said, "Except for a mind endowed with a conscience at the beginning, and with which organic evolution has nothing to do, and had not religion – especially the Jewish and Christian with their inspiring and uplifting power – come to the aid of the human race, mankind long since would have disappeared from the face of the earth."
Now we have our fact before us. We have an observable phenomenon all around us – the man distinct from the beast. How shall we explain that demonstrable fact? There are two explanations. The first explanation is the one that I have just read from the first and second chapters of the Book of Genesis. It is this: that by fiat, possible only to an omnipotent and all-powerful God, by fiat God created man miraculously, marvelously, wonderfully. The Lord God bara, created. Only God can bara, create; that is, make something out of nothing or call into existence something that had no previous existence. God created man, and breathed into his nostrils that breath of life, by which he become a living soul [Genesis 2:7].
And the record says that God did not create man a primitive savage, but that He created him full grown with all of his faculties. Immediately after the creation of man, the intelligent Adam named all of the beasts of the field and all of the fowls of the air [Genesis 2:20]. He was a man perfect in moral life, in intellectual life, in physical life. His body and his mind expressed the likeness and the image of God. From that beautiful and holy and perfect estate, the man and his wife fell because of sin [Genesis 3:1-6]. And they fell to a degradation lower than even some of the animals of the field, from which depth of sin they would never have been able to deliver themselves. But the Lord God promised a Deliverer, the Seed of the woman [Genesis 3:15], and the promise that some day he would be conformed again to the image of Christ, and the tree of life and the paradise of heaven would be restored back to him [Revelation 22:1-2]. Created perfect, created in the image of God, created by fiat, by the word of the Lord, that is the record of the Bible [Genesis 1:27]. That is one explanation of the observable phenomenon that we see all around us, the presence of a man.
The other explanation is called a hypothesis, a theory; that is, it is a supposition. It is an overt and admitted guess. There are those who seek to explain the phenomenon of a man leaving God out and making him a product of a mechanistic, impersonal universe, and that theoretical explanation of the presence of a man is called the evolutionary hypothesis. It is this: that somewhere there came into existence a primordial protozoan, like an amoeba, a little atom molecule, a little unicellular animal, a little speck of protoplasm. And from that little atom molecule, through endless and infinite transitional forms, there developed, there evolved the man who now dominates the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the beast of the land.
I could not state it better than from Charles Darwin in the tremendous volumes that he published entitled On the Origin of Species. On page 523 of his famous, famous book, Charles Darwin says, "Analogy would lead me to the belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype. All organisms" – we’re on the next page now – "start from a common origin. From some such low and intermediate forms, both animals and plants may have been developed. All the organic beings which have ever lived on the earth may be descended from some one primordial form." That is the conclusion in the latter part of the book of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
In my words, somewhere, somehow, a little speck, a little spot of protoplasmic substance, protoplasmic substance, somewhere a little speck came into existence, so small that it could not be seen by the unaided powers of the eye. And through the generations and generations, from that one little protoplasmic speck, there developed, there evolved all of the forms of life in the animal world, all the forms of life in the vegetable world, all of the forms of life that we see today, have been evolved from that one little common speck of protoplasmic substance. It is admittedly a breathtaking and overwhelming theory!
It is a stupendous thing; if a man gasps at the creation story in Genesis, how must he gasp in amazement at the evolutionary hypothesis, the evolving of all other forms of life that we now see, through endless numbers of transitional forms. It is, I say, an amazing theory! And the evolutionists themselves are an amazing group of people. To my surprise, I have found that that is the only thing they have in common. When they go beyond that first supposition, there are as many evolutionary theories as there are evolutionists. Each man has his own guess. Each man has his own hypothesis. Each man has his own theory. The only thing they have in common is that they all agree that all of life began in that one primordial cell.
Now to my amazement, to my wonder, that theory, that hypothesis has been generally received by the entire intellectual, scholastic world. They hardly question it. And if you do, surely, you must not have studied, you must not have read books, you must not have been to school, for every man of science and every man of intellectual stature takes for granted this explanation, mechanistic and material, of the development other forms of life that we see in the world. It is an astonishing thing how an unproved and, to me, ridiculous hypothesis should have come to be received as the very fact of science itself.
For example, this is a quotation from a textbook in one of our public schools: Man and ape represent each a distinct species equally descended from a common prototype. This generalized human simian – the Latin word for ape is simia. The Greek word for ape is pithekos. So when you see those combinations like pithecanthropus and simian, they’re taken from the Latin and Greek words meaning ape:
This generalized human simian ancestor was the remote precursor of man and lived in Miocene times, say, a million years before Pithecanthropos erectus. His life was probably arboreal. He lived in trees until the increasing cold climate drove him into caves.
Here is the beginning of a book on the origin and the evolution of life. I quote:
In this review, we need not devote any time or space to any fresh arguments for the truth of evolution. The demonstration of evolution as a universal law of living nature is the greatest intellectual achievement of the nineteenth century. Evolution has outgrown the rank of a theory.
And this is the beginning of the article in last week’s Life magazine, not the current issue but the last issue; Life’s magazine on the "Living Fossils of Australia." And the headline is, "Carrying Their Young in Pouches." The marsupials – the Latin word for pouch is marsupias – the marsupials, those animals that carry their young in pouches, "the marsupials in Australia live on in the last refuge evolution has left them." Then it continues with the story of those marsupials in Australia, saying that the marsupials of Australia are descendants of the earliest mammals to evolve from reptiles. Doesn’t argue the point. That’s just it. That’s the basis of all the explanation of life. Take it for granted. Never say that’s somebody’s wild imagination. Never say that’s somebody’s hypothetical guesswork. That’s a fact. They are over there, evolved from the reptiles, for it says the higher placental mammals, more intelligent and aggressive, evolved on other continents. It doesn’t question it. That’s just one of the facts of life. "Then the resulting evolution there in Australia produced the strange animals shown in these pictures by Life’s John Dominis, who traveled ten thousand miles and spent five weeks photographing them in their native haunts" [Life magazine, 7 January 1957, p. 41]. Never questions it; just, that is one of the great truths of life.
"Well, pastor, why do you question it? Why can’t you be a theistic evolutionist?" Many, many, I suppose, more than anyone ever realizes, many, many, many of the great theologians and leaders of the church and pulpiters are theistic evolutionists; that is, they say it doesn’t matter to us how God created the man. If God created the man from one little protoplasm speck and evolved him up to where he is now, why, that doesn’t matter to us. We’d just as well believe God did it that way as to believe that God did it like it says in the Bible. It matters nothing to us at all.
All right, now you ask me, "Why can’t you be a theistic evolutionist?" Well, Darwin, in his Origin of Species, asks the same question. Listen to Darwin in his book. "I see," I quote now from Darwin, "I see no reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone, A celebrated author and divine," and I don’t doubt it, a celebrated minister of the gospel, "has written to me that," quote from him, the preacher, he has, "gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the deity to believe that God created a few original forms capable of self-development as to believe that," summing up his quotation in words, "that God created man like it says in the Bible."
"Well, why can’t you be a theistic evolutionist?" All right, I’ll tell you why. There are three reasons. First: I am not and cannot be a theistic evolutionist or a materialistic evolutionist or any other kind of an evolutionist because first, it is not factual. It is not biologically true. It is not scientifically correct or demonstrable. It is not so. That is the first fact.
I do not care which theory or which evolutionist you follow. The theory is not demonstrable. It is not so. And any man who loves truth and who has given his life to the preaching of the fact and the truth of God naturally recoils from such a thing as the evolutionary hypothesis.
Now that is going to be the sermons in the future. The evolutionist says that by the facts of biology, by the facts of embryology, by the facts of paleontology, by the facts of anthropology that he can demonstrate the truth of evolution. We are going to take the facts of biology, embryology, paleontology, anthropology and avow and demonstrate there is not a fact in this world that can be demonstrated, not one, not in any of those sciences that will substantiate the evolutionary hypothesis.
Now in just this little moment that I have this morning, we’re going to illustrate because these are the future messages, morning after morning. Let’s take one of the pet theories of the evolutionist, the transition, the transmutation of species by natural selection, that’s one of the pet theories: that species were changed into one another by natural selection, sexual selection. This one chose that and that one chose that and this one chose that; and through the multitude of choices, there developed up, up, up from that little primordial cell to all of the wonderful things we see in man. Now they don’t have any explanation how that little primordial cell chose anything or how his son chose anything. They have to start way up in this theory, but the theory of natural selection – that there was transmutation of species, changed from one to the other, up and up until man by natural selection, now I say we haven’t time this morning but just to mention some of these things – as I look at natural selection, instead of going up, it goes down. Promiscuity never produces the thoroughbred, it produces the mongrel; that is, everything I have ever seen that way. If you’re going to breed up a blood strain in a cow or in a horse or a dog or any kind of an animal, you must carefully, carefully breed him up. Carefully select, you have to do it. But, of course, the theory of evolution is there is no ulterior power, there’s no design, there’s no creative, guiding hand; but by accident, by selection, they bred themselves up, and, I say, I’ve never seen an instance of that. Promiscuity, where it is not controlled, you get the mongrel and never the thoroughbred!
Another thing: I have never seen where by natural selection they ever cross over into any of those species. It’s not the way of nature. You could have a horse and a donkey graze side-by-side forever, and they would never cross. A man has to cross them, in the same specific category. And when you crossbreed them, their offspring is always, I say, always sterile; whether it be the mule or the hinny or the turk-hen or the cattalo or any other. By natural selection, I don’t see any demonstration of going upward, evolving upward, but always downward! There is what they call the reversion to type. And reversion to type is diametrically opposite to the theory of evolution, upward; it’s downward.
All right, let’s take another one, just briefly these things. One of their pet theories is the survival of the fittest. That’s the way we evolve upward. The survival of the fittest; that is, the weak were destroyed and the strong remain, and up and up we evolve through what they say is the survival of the fittest. Well, that’s a strange doctrine when you try to demonstrate it. Way back yonder, long, long time ago, this earth was filled with deinosauria. You know what a deinosauros is? The Greek word for fearful and terrible is deinos, and in our English it becomes the combining form of dino – and the Greek word for lizard is sauros. So a deinosauros is a terrible, fearful lizard. And way back yonder, years and years ago, there lived in this world those deinosauria, and they were fierce monsters! And some of them could hurl their bodies through the air like a giant jackrabbit. Listen, if you talk about their survival of the fittest, those things would have been here forever!
But they’re not. Thank the Lord, I’m not hoping to meet one on the way home today. The survival of the fittest didn’t obtain in his instance, thank the Lord. All right, let’s take another pet idea, which is that evolution is demonstrated – this is Lamarck’s pet idea – demonstrated by the use or disuse, nonuse, of faculties, and he will illustrate that. Most arboreal monkeys, he will say, have long prehensile tails. That word "prehensile," you children, that refers to his ability to wrap his tail, "Oh, the monkey wrapped his prehensile tail around the flagpole," got a long tail that helps him to climb. So, he points out that the arboreal monkey, the monkey that will jump from limb to limb and live in a tree, he has a long arboreal tail, whereas the ground monkey has just a rudimentary tail. That’s a great theory until you look at the gibbon that will go straight up, or look at the Barbary ape that will go straight up, and neither one of them has any tail at all, not even the sign of a little teensy, weensy stub.
They say about the eyeless fish in Mammoth Cave – that’s another great demonstration until you find that in the same cave and in the same darkness, there are rats and there are bats whose eyesight has been keenly sensitized by those same dark conditions. Oh, you can go on and on, but that will be in the future.
The second reason why I am not an evolutionary theist: because it has no explanation for any of the great ultimate questions of life, things that I really want to know. Where did that speck come from in the first place? And where did the water come from to nurture the speck? And how did it get there in that great, vast, infinite void of space? Who did it? Where did it come from? Evolution, evolutionary hypothesis solved no ultimate question at all. I want to know the real thing, the main thing, the deep thing. Does evolution have an answer? The best they can give is an article that most of you read in the daily newspapers here entitled, "New Guesses Made on How Life Began." And the article is from an address made to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and it says that way back yonder, possibly, when this earth was covered with poisonous gases, possibly, there came a bolt of lightning through those gases, possibly, and made a combination of chemicals that when it fell into the ocean, made amino acids, possibly. And in the body structure of life, you find amino acids. That’s their present best guess about the origin of life.
My soul, my soul. Could a man feed himself on the shucks and the husks of that? Where did the lightning come from? And the water of the ocean come from? And the earth come from? And the gases come from? Is there any answer? No. Dark and void, soulless, purposeless, nothing. Even Le Conte said, "If life did once arise spontaneously from many lower forms, physical or chemical, by natural processes, the conditions necessary for so extraordinary a change could hardly be expected to occur just once in the history of the earth; yet they are now not only unproducible, but unimaginable!" How did that happen just one time? Just one time? And even Huxley admitted, "Looking back through the prodigiousness of the past, I find no record of the beginning of life, and therefore I am devoid of any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions of its appearance."
Where did life come from? The evolutionist says there was a time in this world when there wasn’t any life. Scientists say there was a time in this world when there wasn’t any life. God’s Book says there was a time on this globe when there wasn’t any life. The evolutionist says it came of itself, spontaneous generation which has never been seen, which cannot be produced, which is not producible! And this great scientist Le Conte said, "Not imaginable, not thinkable." Then where did it come from? The Book says God created it [Genesis 1:26-28].
All right, that leads to my last avowal. "Why are you not a theistic evolutionist?" I’ve said it’s not scientifically factual, it’s not demonstrable. I’ve said it offers no explanation for the great, ultimate questions of life. And the third is this, the third is this, it is wrong. It is not right spiritually. You have to make a choice. You can’t be both at the same time. You can’t ride two horses in opposite directions. They say opposite things. The Bible presents a world created in the hands of God [Genesis 1:1-31]. The Bible presents a personal Deity through whose infinite power all of these things were made and devised and formed [John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16].
The theory of evolution says that all of these things came through a materialistic, impersonal, action process in this world below. For which world they have no explanation, for which processes they have no explanation; but impersonally, mechanically, mechanistically, these things just happen, and they came to pass and resulted in the marvelous phenomenon that you see today. Now, it’s one or the other. Even God Himself cannot deny Himself [2 Timothy 2:13], and God Himself cannot work on two opposite principles.
The Bible says man was created perfect [Genesis 1:27], at the top, and walked out of the garden of Eden with all of the faculties that he possesses today, and he fell and went down [Genesis 3:1-6]. Evolution says that he started as a little primordial cell and has been coming up and up and up ever since. They are diametrically opposite. It’s one or the other. What of this question of sin? According to the Bible, sin was a violation and a transgression of the moral law of God [1 John 3:4]. What is sin in evolution? Sin is nothing but the drag of our ancestry. Sin is nothing but the stumbling upward. You vitiate the whole Word of God, the atonement of Christ, the preaching of the gospel message of Jesus. It is nothing, it is nothing.
I’ve been to the circus as you, and I have seen those skillful riders riding two horses. But he’s always careful to see them, to make them go in the same direction and close together. I have never seen a rider so skillful as to be able to ride two horses going in the opposite direction, and I have never seen a man – a theologian or a philosopher – who could believe the Bible and at the same time believe the evolutionary hypothesis. They are opposite. They are in one direction or the other, and we choose between. And may I close with this avowal?
In the day that it can be demonstrated that life came of spontaneous generation and without God, in the day that it can be demonstrated that there was no God in the creation of man, but he evolved upward by accident, in that day, I and my fellow religionists ought quietly to fold our tents and silently steal away.
"Well, preacher, are you expecting to lay down your pulpit? Are you expecting to lay down your Bible? Are you expecting to quit preaching the gospel?" No, sir! Because I have already found to my heart’s assurance that the same hand that wrote the Book is the same hand that wrote His name across the sky and in the humblest little insect whose silver wings reflect the glory of the sun that shines upon it.
I’m like Pasteur, one of the great scientists of all time, called mankind’s greatest benefactor. You listen to Pasteur, "Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern, materialistic philosophies. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the works of the Creator." And listen to Pasteur just once again. "The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of a Britain peasant. If I could know all, I would have the faith of a Britain peasant woman," the greatest scientist of all time and the avowal of our faith in the immutable, unchanging true revelation of God [Psalm 119:89].
This is our introduction, and it shall be our purpose in these succeeding Sunday morning hours to show by the facts, not the theories, but the facts of biology, of embryology, of paleontology, of anthropology, of anatomy, the creative, master workmanship of the God who loved us, who made us, and gave Himself for us [Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19]. Amen.
Now may we pause just for a moment? We’re going to sing a hymn of invitation. And if there’s somebody here to give his heart to God or to put his life into the fellowship of the church, just for this moment, let’s stand and sing and we’ll have our benediction.
ABRAHAM OF UR OF THE CHALDEES
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Bible is God’s plan of redemption
1. Genesis 11
breaks away from the history of the human race
2. Abraham is the
subject; called of God to be the father of the faithful
3. Abraham is the
beginning foundation upon which redemption rests
1. Academic world
of the last two centuries view Abraham as a myth
discovered Ur existed and thrived 2000 years before Abraham and was highly
3. Chaldeans were
1. First step
toward God is separation of ourselves from the rest of the world
2. Abraham means
separated himself from Ur