Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Calvin Versus Darwin: Anniversaries, Origins and Worldviews1

Rev. Angus Stewart


Calvin and Darwin

This year, 2009, marks the anniversaries of the births of two of the most influential men of the last few centuries, two men without whom the history and the future of the modern world cannot be understood: John Calvin and Charles Darwin. 2009 is the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth and the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Which anniversary do you honour?2

John Calvin was a sixteenth-century French Reformer, the greatest Bible commentator, theologian and ecclesiastical organizer of the Reformation. Charles Darwin was a nineteenth-century English naturalist whose name is synonymous with evolution, natural selection and survival of the fittest.

John Calvin studied in three French universities: Paris, Orleans and Bourges. Charles Darwin studied at two British universities: first, the University of Edinburgh, where he read medicine but did not like the sight of blood and never completed the course, and then Cambridge, where he studied theology and, surprisingly, came a creditable tenth out of 178 passes.

Both men changed their religious views. Calvin was brought up a Roman Catholic, but he became a Christian through what he calls a "sudden conversion," when God rendered his stubborn mind teachable by the inward work of the Spirit of Christ.3 Darwin left nominal Christianity for agnosticism. His father was a freemason and a freethinker who covered that up with attendance at the Church of England. His mother was a Unitarian. Charles trained to be an Anglican parson through his studies at Cambridge. But he became an apostate through evolutionism. He came to regard the Bible as flawed and filled with errors, and so he stopped going to church at all.

Both Calvin and Darwin married once. Calvin outlived his wife Idelette by 16 years, whereas Darwin’s wife Emma, granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood the famous potter, survived him by 14 years. John and Idelette Calvin had one child that was born but died two weeks later. Charles and Emma Darwin passed on their genes to ten children, two of whom died in infancy. Amongst the other eight were some strong proponents of evolutionism, including a son, Leonard, who was a eugenicist, believing that only the best and fittest should procreate and convey their genes to succeeding generations.4

Calvin is forever identified with Geneva, Switzerland. Darwin laboured on his evolutionary ideas and other studies for the last forty years of his life in Down Cottage in Kent, England. A plaque marks the location of Calvin’s house (long demolished); Darwin’s house is now a museum.

As a preacher and teacher of theology, Calvin was much in the public eye in Geneva, contrary to his own natural inclination. Darwin was a retiring scholar largely shut away in his cottage, engaged in his studies, allowing other people like Thomas Huxley, called "Darwin’s bulldog," to debate and lecture on evolution.

Whereas "Darwin was always rich, thanks to the Wedgwood inheritance,"5 Calvin was a poor man, as his last will and testament indicates (25 April, 1564).

In order to avoid any idolatrous veneration, Calvin requested that his body lie in an unmarked grave in the Plainpalais Cemetery, Geneva (28 May, 1564), awaiting the resurrection of the just at the last day. Darwin was given a state funeral and is buried in Westminster Abbey (26 April, 1882), close to Sir Isaac Newton, with full honours of the Church of England.


Calvin’s Institutes and Darwin’s Origin

2009 is also the anniversary of the publication of the key editions of the most important books of both Calvin and Darwin. The final edition of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion was printed 450 years ago in 1559.6 The first edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published 150 years ago in 1859.7

Calvin’s Institutes and Darwin’s Origin of Species sold very well and established the reputations of both men. The first edition of Darwin’s work sold out on the very first day it was published, though there was only a run of 1,250.8 Both Calvin’s and Darwin’s books were enlarged and developed in various editions by their authors.9 Both books were translated into various languages, both while the men lived and afterwards.

The occasions for the publication of their most important books varied greatly. Darwin hastened to publish his ideas when he received a letter from Malaysia by Alfred Russell Wallace, indicating that he (Wallace) had discovered natural selection as providing a mechanism for the evolution of species.10 Wanting to be first in print with his own version of that idea, Darwin quickly readied the Origin of Species for the press in 1859. Calvin’s Institutes, in both Latin and French, right from the very first, is prefaced with a letter to King Francis I of France explaining that the Reformed gospel is nothing less than the teaching of the Bible and pleading with him to stop killing the French Protestants.

Both the Origin and the Institutes built on the work of others. Calvin is very explicit on this. He realized that building on the work of others had apologetic value, for the Reformation was not teaching some new and strange doctrine. Rather it was a return to, and development of, all that is good about the earlier church. Calvin quotes frequently from Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux and other church fathers. Darwin, on the other hand, gives little acknowledgement to others because he has a different purpose: he is stressing his own originality and research.

This brings us to the different subject matter and methodologies of the two men. Darwin is working in the field of biology in the natural or created order. He is using the empirical method of observation, recording and analysing data. Reasoning and thinking contrary to the clear teaching of God’s Word, Charles Darwin is an empiricist rationalist. John Calvin in his Institutes is writing theology. His source is the Bible, God’s infallible Word. Calvin repeatedly warns against speculation and the noetic ethic effects of sin, since fallen man does not think and reason properly, especially with regard to divine things.11

The "liberal arts" and "all the sciences" are "gifts from God," Calvin declares. But they should operate "within their own limits" and must be "entirely subject to the word and Spirit of God." "Hence they must occupy the place of handmaid and not of mistress." However, if "they set themselves in opposition to Christ," they are "empty and worthless" and "they must be looked upon as dangerous pests." Moreover, "if they strive to accomplish anything of themselves," they are "the worst of all hindrances." Calvin’s fine explanation of Paul’s phrase "the wisdom of the world" applies to Darwin’s evolutionism: "that which assumes to itself authority, and does not allow itself to be regulated by the word of God."12

Clearly, Calvin’s Institutes and Darwin’s Origin have two different subjects, two different sources and two different approaches.


"Calvin Scholarship" and the "Darwin Industry"

The lives and works of both Calvin and Darwin, and especially the Institutes of the Christian Religion and the Origin of Species, are studied very closely and celebrated by their followers, especially in this quadruple anniversary year: the year of the births of both men and the publications of the key editions of their greatest works. On the one hand, we have "Calvin scholarship;" on the other, we have the "Darwin Industry"—that is the accepted term, with both words being capitalized. Each year, there are books, lectures and conferences on their lives, their works, their correspondences, their friendships, their influences, etc. Of course, it all cranks up a gear for both Calvin and Darwin in this anniversary year.

2009 witnessed an outpouring of Darwin propaganda by the evolutionists, for example, through newspaper articles and TV programmes, such as Andrew Marr’s three-part series "Darwin’s Dangerous Idea" on BBC 2 (5, 12 and 19 March, 2009). Darwin’s "dangerous idea" is evolution, and lapsed Presbyterian Marr, an evolutionist himself, traced some of its dangerous implications and effects.13 The UK’s royal mint produced a special two-pound coin with Darwin facing a chimpanzee, eyeing, as it were, his great, great, great … grandfather. There have been many such commemorations of Darwin right around the globe.

The world even casts an occasional, brief glance at Calvin. But 99% of it is left to the few Calvinists with limited earthly resources, through speeches, articles, books, conferences, etc. No matter the odds against us, we stand completely undaunted. We can go, as it were, with Paul to Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, and proclaim in the face of all unbelieving, human wisdom, "We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16). Despite Darwin and all the evolutionary hosts, we are victorious in Jesus Christ, for "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).


Calvin Versus Darwin

In this article, we are comparing Calvin and Darwin, their ideas and the ramification of their ideas. We are deliberately presenting them in an adversarial relationship. It is not "Calvin and Darwin;" it is "Calvin versus Darwin." Both men, in their own way, are seminal thinkers, that is, their ideas are like seeds that have grown and developed, one in a certain direction and the other in the opposite direction.

In the world today, especially in the Western world, these two men serve as a sort of shorthand for the two poles of thought in relation to which each person and every ideology must be viewed. On the one hand, we have Calvin, the leading spokesman for the biblical and Reformed faith—the truth; on the other, there is Darwin, the icon of evolutionism, the fountain head of so many evil currents, in church and state and in family and society.14

The question is—and this is always the question—where do you stand between these two poles? Where does your church stand? Wholly with Calvin? Or wholly with evolution? Or somewhere in the middle? To which pole are you nearer? To which pole are you headed? All have to take a position. The calling for us is to be wholeheartedly for the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, wholeheartedly against Darwin and evolution, because there must be no compromise between the two and no halting between two opinions (I Kings 18:21). Remember, he who is not for Christ is against Him (Matt. 12:30).


Evolutionary Biology

Let us turn to Darwin’s "dangerous idea." Evolution is a biological theory: a theory about life, a theory about the origin of life (where life came from) and the development of life (how human beings, animals and plants came to be as they are now).

Darwin proposed that single-cell creatures arose in a primeval pond. In time, they developed into more complex creatures, which eventually became apes and humans.15 In other words, life came from non-life, order came from chaos and intelligence came from non-intelligence. Charles Darwin is famous today as the living, orderly, intelligent man who made this ridiculous notion respectable. Now it is even dominant!

Darwin did this by proposing a mechanism whereby chaotic, non-intelligent non-life could become orderly, intelligent life. He called this mechanism "natural selection" or "the struggle for life"—two phrases found in the full title of the Origin of Species.16 Today, this mechanism is usually known as the "survival of the fittest." Darwin did not use that term himself; it was invented a year after the publication of his book by Herbert Spencer. The idea is that given enough time and chance, over millions and billions of years, the less fit will die off, the fit will survive and the fit will evolve into higher life-forms, so, for example, chimpanzees will turn into humans.

The "survival of the fittest" is, of course, circular. How do you determine the fittest? The fittest is what survives; what survives is the fittest. So it is equivalent to the "survival of the survivors." The survival of the fittest does not explain, never mind prove, evolution. The survival of the fittest merely explains the loss of information. First, those who survive to pass on their genes do not add new information. At best, the information they possess is retained. Second, those who die without breeding fail to pass on their genes. This does not increase information or complexity; this is information loss. Evolution, more specifically macro-evolution, the development of one species into another, requires the addition of information, a positive development in complexity, and, for the evolution of human beings, intelligence.

Darwin is significant not because he was the first to promote evolutionism; that idea goes back millennia. There were ancient Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander, who believed that life evolved out of the sea and eventually from this life human beings arose. In early modern times, there were philosophers and scientists in Western Europe who believed in evolution before Darwin, including Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.

Darwin is significant because he was the first person who proposed in a book a mechanism that claimed to explain how this could come about. This is the distinctive thing about Darwin; this is his chief contribution. Darwin presented his idea as "science," and with the rise of modern science and the Industrial Revolution came the development of "scientism," the well-nigh worship of science. Many people were quick to embrace Darwin’s "scientific," evolutionary ideas; it was an idea whose time had come. In our age, if someone claims, "Science says," most people will accept it as truth, no matter what God’s Word says.

Humanist historian, J. M. Roberts, identifies the significance of Darwin’s ideas:

Darwin dealt a blow against the biblical account of creation (as well as against the unique status of Man) which had wider publicity than any earlier one. In combination with biblical criticism and [uniformitarian] geology, his book made it impossible for any conscientious and thoughtful man to accept—as he had still been able to do in 1800—the Bible as literally true.17


Uniformitarian Geology

Biological evolutionism must be understood along with two other intrinsically-related scientific theories of origins. Biological evolutionism needs to seen, first of all, along with uniformitarian geology. Geology is the study of rocks and rock layers. Uniformitarianism comes from the word uniform or constant. According to uniformitarian geology, the erosion or deposition of rock layers is uniform or constant.18 As it is commonly expressed, "The present is the key to the past."

An example should make it clear. Think of a river in a valley. Every day the river erodes a little, carrying a certain amount of sediment downhill. Uniformitarianism reckons that if you can work out how much sediment is removed in a day or a year, and how much sediment would need to be removed to hollow out the valley to its present condition, than you can calculate how long it took for the valley to form—usually in tens or hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years.

Thus, if one is committed to a naturalistic explanation of rock layers and believes that the present rates of erosion are the key to the past, and so presupposes that God did not create the world some 6,000 years ago, that man did not fall into sin, that there was no universal flood and that the Most High did not carve out valleys for rivers (cf. Ps. 104:8-10), with erosion then operating within the valleys, then one will conclude that uniformitarian geology is true.19

The evolutionist sees two great benefits in uniformitarian geology. First, it requires long ages: thousands upon thousands and millions of years. This gives time for evolution, which needs both a lot of time and a lot of luck. Second, uniformitarian geology discredits the Scriptures. If the erosion and deposition of rock layers has been going on for millions of years, then our planet must be millions of years old, and since the Bible says the world is a few thousand years old, then the Bible is wrong.20

The man who first presented the theory of uniformitarian geology was a lawyer, Charles Lyell. The first edition of the first volume of his Principles of Geology was published in 1830, almost 30 years before Darwin’s Origin of Species. Lyell helped advance the spread of Darwin’s ideas, not only by providing the long periods of time needed for evolution and by undermining the Bible; he also encouraged Darwin to publish his Origin of Species.21


Big Bang Astronomy

Biological evolutionism needs to seen along with big bang astronomy, as well as uniformitarian geology. Big bang astronomy teaches that the entire universe expanded from an infinitely hot and dense mass the size of a pinhead or less. Everything in the universe—our planet, our solar system, all the stars, etc.—was once contracted to a spec of dust, as it were. Then came the big bang, a giant explosion 13.3-13.9 billion years ago, according to the latest estimates. This is the only explosion that has ever brought order and not chaos.

This theory raises all sorts of questions: Eternal matter?22 Where did this eternal matter come from? How did it come to be an infinitely dense mass the size of a pinhead? How did the galaxies, our solar system, our planet and our moon form out of this huge explosion?23

The big bang theory was accepted in the middle of the twentieth century after the other two theories. First, the geologists endorsed uniformitarianism, then the biologists adopted evolutionism and finally the astronomers embraced the big bang.


The Three-Piece Jigsaw

What do you get when you put these three theories together—the big bang forming all the galaxies, uniformitarian geology shaping Planet Earth and evolution producing multitudinous life forms? To answer this question, we should ask other questions. Where did life—human, animal and vegetable—come from? Evolutionism. Where did earth’s oceans, seas, landmasses, mountains and valleys come from? Uniformitarianism. Where did the earth, our solar system and the entire universe come from? The big bang.

These three—evolution, uniformitarianism and the big bang—are three parts of a jigsaw. They propose to explain the origin of human beings, the origin of life, the origin of our planet and the origin of the universe. That is to say, these three theories together, as three parts of one jigsaw, claim to explain everything! Without any one of the three pieces, the jigsaw of origins is incomplete; all three fitted together form the anti-supernaturalist’s favourite jigsaw.

"All things were made by the big bang, uniformitarianism and evolution and without the big bang, uniformitarianism and evolution there was nothing made that was made." This is the reading of John 1:3 according to humanistic scientism.

This is the wonder of evolutionism (along with its accompanying geological and astronomical theories): everything’s origin is explained without God! God is "an unnecessary hypothesis." Man’s origins lie in what Darwin called "a warm little pond," and not in the Garden of Eden. Everything’s beginning is to be explained without reference to the Bible, especially Genesis 1-3 and the flood. Better than that for the evolutionist, everything’s origin is to be explained contrary to the Word of God and contrary to the God of the Word.24

This is the beauty of evolutionism for unbelieving, fallen man! Evolutionary biology (explaining the origin of life) plus uniformitarian geology (explaining the form of the earth) plus big bang astronomy (explaining the existence of the universe) equals atheistic naturalism. There is no God, no sin, no judgment and no eternal hell. Therefore, there is no need for repentance and faith, no need for redemption in the cross of Jesus Christ and no need for the church. That is exactly the point. That is why evolution is loved, taught, defended and praised by so many: "We must hold to and promote evolutionism above everything else, because without evolutionism our whole worldview and way of life would collapse around us. But if we can maintain evolutionism, then we are OK. We can live and die as we please and deny any need for a creator whom we are to love and serve." No wonder that "in the course of the BBC’s ‘Evolution Week’ in 1998," Darwin was called "the man who killed God."25

Of this unholy trinity—the big bang at the very start of the universe, uniformitarian geology shaping the earth so that it is the way it is today and evolutionary biology producing life on our planet—evolutionism (and, therefore, Darwin) is the most important. This is the case because evolutionism is the end of the chain. It immediately affects man and the world in which we live more than the other two. Moreover, of the three different theories, evolutionism most obviously and most frequently contradicts the Bible. Evolutionism most clearly excludes God from the world, and it affects many fields of knowledge and other issues, as we will see later. Thus evolutionism is the number one thing that today’s explicit and open naturalistic enemies of Christ must cling to and promote.


Origin Determines Nature

It needs to be stressed that origin determines nature, that is, what something is is determined by where it came from. Man’s origin determines what he is; earth’s origin determines what it is; the universe’s origin determines what it is.

According to the evolutionist worldview, what is this universe? It is made of eternal, pre-existent matter. It is the result of a giant explosion involving matter and energy. It is the product of time and chance. We live on a planet that is 4.54 billion years old, according to the latest estimates.

What is this planet? It is debris from the primeval explosion that has been cooling for millions of years. The earth’s present form is entirely the result of natural processes, such as erosion and deposition, involving oceans, mountains, volcanoes, rivers, climate, etc.

What are the living creatures on this planet? All living creatures are the product of time and chance. More specifically, you are a developed ape; you are evolved slime.

Origin determines nature. Who or what you are is determined (at least, to a significant degree) by where you came from. If every human being is evolved slime or a developed ape, this changes everything. Gone is the biblical storyline of creation, fall and redemption. Gone is the theology and ethics of the Word of God. This is the beauty of evolution for those who do not want to know God in Jesus Christ.


Evolutionism’s Effect on Various Fields of Study

What are the ramifications of Darwin’s "dangerous idea"? What fields of study and areas of thought does it affect?

By definition, evolution affects biology first of all, for evolution is a biological theory concerning the origin and development of life. It is, therefore, closely related to botany, the study of plant life, and zoology, the study of animal life. Today, evolutionism rules in these fields; it is viewed as the unifying theory of the life sciences.

Remember the other two pieces in the three-piece anti-supernaturalist jigsaw? Uniformitarian geology goes hand in hand with evolutionism. This geological theory is very closely related to geography and palaeontology, the study of fossils, for the fossil record is interpreted through evolutionary and uniformitarian spectacles. The big bang permeates astronomy, the study of the stars and outer space.26 The Christian who is working or studying in any of these fields is up against it, because the evolutionary worldview is the current paradigm or dominant scheme.

Evolutionary biological ideas, along with uniformitarian geology and big bang astronomy, spread to affect many fields of study. Darwin’s theory of evolution, writes Dave Breese, "led to a decisive shift in thinking about the natural sciences, a change that would, in turn, influence the world of thought outside the natural sciences, leading ultimately to changes in the entire culture of many a nation."27 According to evolutionist Brian Silver, "The major breakthrough [of the nineteenth century], in terms of its intellectual influence, was undoubtedly Darwinian evolution, which left its mark on social and political thought and infiltrated philosophy and literature."28


Evolutionism’s Effect on History and Linguistics

What about history? If you read a history of the world or a history of a country or a history of a particular theme, and if that history book does not confine itself to a specific period but aims to go back to the very beginning, the first chapter or so of that book is about evolution. It is filled with sheer guesswork: "So many millions of years ago, creature X probably crawled out of the water and did such and such." "We think that Y may have happened." "The current scholarly consensus is that Z …" Not only is this speculation (based upon flawed, anti-Christian theories), but it is also very boring and repetitive. The first chapter in these "histories" could be written in one line: "The evolutionists think that it took millions and billions of years and lots of chance, and there is a lot of guesswork based upon these theories … so it would be best to move to chapter 2 and start with some history rather than fables." Maybe chapter one should begin, "Once upon a time." Not just the first chapter though, but all of history is affected to some degree, since, for an evolutionist, the history of the human race is the history of evolution.29

Linguistics includes the origin and history of languages or families of languages. Why do we talk? How is it that we can listen to and understand what others are saying? Where did the families of languages come from? The evolutionists are adamant that God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 has no part to play in this, except, perhaps, as a record of what some primitive people thought. The origin of language lies with animal sounds since we all came from the animals. We are developed animals; our speech is a development of animal grunts.30


Evolutionism’s Effect on Psychology

What is human psychology to an evolutionist? Human psychology is the study of the thinking and behaviour of man. But what is man to an evolutionist? An evolved beast. Evolutionary psychologists experiment with monkeys and other creatures, including insects, because they believe that we are developed beasts, and studying animals can help us understand human mental functions and behaviour. Remember, origin determines nature.

Sigmund Freud, probably the world’s most famous psychologist, was an ardent follower of Darwin and a resolute enemy of Christianity. Freud opened his first psychoanalysis clinic on Easter Sunday as an act of defiance, thereby saying, "The resurrection of Jesus Christ means nothing to me. I reject God the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. People are evolved monkeys and I am going to work with those who come to my clinic within this framework."31 Through Freud, unbelieving man is comforted by the idea that there is no need for God in order to explain the human mind or even man’s unconsciousness!32

Our English word "psychology" comes from two Greek words and means the study of the soul, but there is no soul according to evolutionism. We are all developed monkeys. Monkeys do not have souls; we do not have souls either. We consist only of matter and energy; our thinking is chemical reactions—that is all. According to this view, there is, of course, no after-life.33

But some might object, "I have a conscience. I can determine between right and wrong."34 But there is a problem with right and wrong in evolutionary theory. What is called "conscience" is, according to this view, the product of evolution. If we have conscience, then it must be that conscience gives us (or our group) a better chance of survival, in keeping with the survival of the fittest. If we feel guilty—a bad feeling—it is because we have done something that might harm ourselves and/or our group’s chances of survival.35

Evolutionary psychology leaves no room for the forgiveness of sins, for there is no sin and there is no divine forgiveness, since there is no God against whom we sin or who has the prerogative to pardon sin. There is no way back to the Father; we live in a very lonely universe. The cross of Jesus Christ is mythology. As for the care and cure of souls—the traditional preserve of the Christian church with its pastors preaching the Word, bringing comfort from the Bible and urging people to confess their sins and know peace through the blood of Christ—it is, at best, nonsense and, at worst, mental cruelty. As the evolutionists become more numerous, dominant, aggressive and antithetical, they are claiming that catechising children is a species of child abuse. Ardent evolutionists reckon that the people who need psychological help most are the pastors and the people who believe the Bible: "You are psychologically deranged. You need to be cleansed of this and grow up to be a mature and reasonable individual accepting the truth of evolution."


Evolutionism’s Effect on Ethics

What about ethics or morals? Well, there is no God and there is no right or wrong in evolutionism, that is, no right or wrong in absolute terms. There are things that we may say are right or wrong, but there is no transcendent standard of truth or morality. Right and wrong are simply what harms somebody else or has negative effects. There are no transcendent standards for evolved beasts: right and wrong are what the dominant beasts tell you are right and wrong—and that is it.

What about abortion? It is a necessary by-product of evolutionism. Given man’s depravity, there always has been and always will be the killing of unborn babies, but evolutionism makes abortion so much easier to justify. What the mother kills in her womb is not really human; it is more like an animal. In fact, we are all animals and we kill animals all the time (and we eat them at the table). Evolutionism believes in the survival of the fittest, but guess who is fittest? The unborn child has no chance. The mother has made a choice—"freedom of choice." There you have it!36

What about euthanasia? Euthanasia is a euphemism that means "good death." Within an evolutionary framework, elderly or terminally ill persons are unfit; they are a drain on resources. Why not hasten their end, if the cost of care for such people is expensive or if they request it?37

What about suicide? Suicide is simply killing an animal—yourself. Evolutionism facilitates suicide because (1) there is no absolute moral law against it and (2) there is no hope in evolutionism, for there is no meaning and no purpose to your life apart from what you decide to give it. Where evolutionism comes in, not only abortion and euthanasia but also suicide rates inevitably rise, all other factors being equal.

What about murder? Homosexual Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious American serial killer, necrophiliac and cannibal, who murdered and then sexually molested or ate seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His confession is striking:

If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing ...38

Dahmer’s conclusion logically follows from his premises. Believing in evolutionism’s survival of the fittest; denying God’s existence and judgment after death; and enjoying murder, necrophilia and cannibalism; there is no reason why Dahmer should not do what brings him pleasure. Later, Dahmer claimed he had converted to Christianity and so he repented of his evolutionary faith and his perverted lifestyle.

Here are the words of Pekka-Eric Auvinen (a.k.a. "NaturalSelector89," "Natural Selector," "Sturmgeist89" and "Sturmgeist"), a self-proclaimed social Darwinist from Finland, who went on a shooting rampage in Jokela High School, about 40 miles from Helsinki, on 7 November, 2007:

Modern human race has not only betrayed its ancestors, but the future generations too. Homo Sapiens, HAH! It is more like a Homo Idioticus to me! When I look at people I see every day in society, school and everywhere ... I have evolved one step above! … Humans are just a species among other animals and world does not exist only for humans. Death and killing is not a tragedy, it happens in nature all the time between all species. Not all human lives are important or worth saving … Of course there is a final solution too: death of entire human race. It would solve every problem of humanity. The faster human race is wiped out from this planet, the better ... no one should be left alive ... Life is just a meaningless coincidence ... result of long process of evolution and many several factors, causes and effects … I’m the dictator and god of my own life. And me, I have chosen my way. I am prepared to fight and die for my cause. I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection. No, the truth is I am just an animal, a human, an individual, a dissident ... It’s time to put NATURAL SELECTION & SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST back on track.39

Of course, not every mass murderer is an evolutionist, but evolutionism provides a rationale or justification for this wicked behaviour, as the two testimonies above show.

What about drug abuse? Why not, if there is no God and it brings you pleasure!

What about nudity? Evolution teaches that we are evolved animals. Animals go about naked, so why not? With the undermining of biblical ideas and the rise in evolutionary, atheistic naturalism in society has come, naturally enough, a rise in nudist camps, nudist beeches, etc.40


Evolutionism’s Effect on Religion

Evolutionism not only affects biology, history, psychology, ethics, etc.; it also affects one’s view of religion, specifically, the Christian religion. Here we shall only consider the evolutionary interpretation of the Old Testament. In this field too, evolutionism sees a "progression."

The Bible teaches that there is only one God who is the creator, governor, redeemer and judge. Fallen man is naturally an idolater.41 People fall away from the true God in their generations, going deeper into idolatry. However, evolution sees progress and development, not only in life forms but also in religion. The evolutionary religious ascent begins with animism (all of nature infused with divinities) and develops through polytheism (many gods) to henotheism (one god higher than the other gods) to monotheism (one god) to atheism (no god), once man understands and embraces evolutionism.42 This led to a radical reinterpretation of the Old Testament to fit the evolutionary hypothesis. Not just the opening chapters of the Scriptures, but the history of Old Testament Israel’s religion, had to be rewritten to fit with this view of naturalistic development.43 Modern higher criticism of the Bible prepares the way for, and flows out of, evolutionism.44

Ultimately, evolutionism destroys truth, absolute truth, for there is no (transcendent) truth in an evolutionary world. What you say is true and another says is false is just a chemical reaction in your brain and a chemical reaction in his or her brain. Truth is not something that can be predicated of chemical reactions or electrical signals. Thus evolution itself cannot even be "true," because there is no absolute truth if we have all evolved from slime in a naturalistic universe; there are just electrochemical reactions in the brain.

As Dave Breese puts it,

At this point the evolutionary concept breaks down completely. If all things, including human thought and spirituality, are determined by electrochemistry in the human cranium, we have a mechanistic universe. In such a universe, existence is the same as nonexistence, up is not different from down, logic is nonsense, and rationality evaporates before our eyes. Nothing remains but nihilism …45


Evolutionism’s Effect on Education

Not only does evolutionism affect the various fields of study: biology, geology, linguistics, religion, etc.; and not only does it attack the very idea of truth itself; evolutionism also affects education, that is, the passing on of knowledge.

It affects education, first, because evolution determines both the subject and the object of teaching. The teacher is an evolved ape and those taught are developed slime. If a teacher believes that he is teaching human beings originally created in the image of God and that he is accountable to Him, that is one thing. But if he believes that a classroom is a place where one evolved ape instructs other, usually younger, evolved apes, his view of education is radically different.

Second, the worldview of evolutionists is presented, consciously or unconsciously, through their instruction. I remember when I went through the state school system, I unconsciously imbibed the unspoken assumption that God is irrelevant. "I can study the various disciplines and grasp all these things, but I do not need to know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ through the forgiveness of sins in the cross. I can be a fully-functioning human being with real, substantial knowledge without knowing God." God is irrelevant; God is absurd within the state school system—the real God, revealed in the whole of Scripture and summed in the Reformed confessions. In my day, Religious Education (RE) was a joke—way down at the end of the curriculum, with poor textbooks and poor teaching. The real action was in the other subjects—science, maths, languages, etc. The knowledge of the true and living God of heaven and earth, before whom we live every day and to whom we must give account, was reckoned as nothing.

The Humanist Manifesto I (1933) is deliberately anti-Christian. How does it begin? Article 1 claims that the universe was not created; it arose through a huge explosion. Article 2 reckons that the human race evolved from slime. The big bang and evolutionism—that is how the Humanist Manifesto I starts. It rigorously excludes God’s creation, the Bible, the church and Jesus Christ. Building on its first two evolutionary articles, its next thirteen articles attack religion and promote humanism.

The Humanist Manifesto I was followed forty years later by the Humanist Manifesto II (1973) and then A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980). All three of these documents make it very clear that the humanists desire, and are working towards, an education that is totally committed to, and whole-heartedly promotes, evolutionism. By education they mean state education—at kindergartens, primary schools, high schools and universities. This is their goal and this is what is happening in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and the whole Western world, year after year and decade after decade. With each generation, state education—and therefore the students that receive this indoctrination—has become more and more consistent with evolutionary, big bang philosophy.


Evolutionism, a Worldview

In short, evolutionism is a worldview. Proof 1 for this statement comes from our consideration of some of the spheres that it most obviously affects. To this, one could add economics, philosophy, law and punishment, politics, comparative anatomy, meteorology, climatology and others. Proof 2 that evolutionism is a worldview is that, as we have seen, it creates its own ethics. Proof 3: evolutionism reveals itself as a worldview by promoting itself by education, especially of the young. First, the universities, then the high schools and then the primary schools are controlled more and more by evolutionary belief. As the older people die off, each succeeding generation receives an even more liberal dose of evolutionism, and so comes to believe that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is irrelevant. As Christians, we pay our taxes to the civil government, as God commands (Rom. 13:6-7), but it is tragic that this money goes, in part, to promote evolutionism!

As a worldview, evolutionism attempts to explain all things. Richard Dawkins, perhaps the most well-known and aggressive atheist in the Western world today, says of evolutionism, "Never were so many facts explained by so few assumptions."46 Never in the history of the world, Dawkins claims, has so much been explained by so little, including the speck that exploded into our universe and the first single-celled life form. Evolutionism is invaluable, Dawkins reckons, because he thinks it enables him to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist."47 In other words, he could not be an atheist with any semblance of integrity and honesty, if it were not for evolutionism. Believing evolutionism, Dawkins can maintain that there is no need for God.

The following quotations on evolutionism as a worldview from Sir Julian Huxley, "arguably the leading evolutionist of the twentieth century," are, perhaps, even more revealing than those of Richard Dawkins. Sir Julian Huxley was the grandson of Thomas Huxley, "Darwin’s bulldog," and the brother of Aldous Huxley, a "leading atheist philosopher and patriarch of the modern drug culture."48 Sir Julian Huxley writes,

The concept of evolution was soon extended into other than biological fields. Inorganic subjects such as the life-history of stars and the formation of the chemical elements on the one hand, and on the other hand subjects like linguistics, social anthropology, and comparative law and religion, began to be studied from an evolutionary angle, until today we are enabled to see evolution as a universal and all-pervading process.49

When Sir Julian Huxley wrote these words, he had already served as the first Director-General of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. About that wide-ranging branch of the United Nations (UN), he states,

It is essential for UNESCO to adopt an evolutionary approach … the general philosophy of UNESCO should, it seems, be a scientific world humanism, global in extent, and evolutionary in background ... Thus the struggle for existence that underlies natural selection is increasingly replaced by conscious selection, a struggle between ideas and values in the consciousness.50

Here Huxley is urging UNESCO (and the UN) to give evolutionism a helping hand by controlling its developments in human societies in the future. We should all become more and more conscious of, and act in accordance with, the idea of evolutionism. Thus the human race will become more committed to evolutionism and rise to a higher level. The spectre of genetic engineering (to further human evolution) is drawing nearer and nearer in our day.

Dave Breese summarises the radical nature and pervasive influence of the evolutionary worldview:

[Evolutionism’s] intellectual revolution has caused man to reinterpret his past, rethink his present, and revise his anticipations for the future. Darwin is seen as giving the world a comprehension of itself so unlike the view held in the past that, in a sense, he restarted history. Darwin’s influence continues to be pervasive today, and he holds a leading rank among those men who rule the world from the grave.51

Darwin, the man with the "dangerous idea," according to Andrew Marr, "is destined to be the prophet and guide of the next few hundred years. His time is only just beginning."52


Evolutionism’s Eschatology

Not only does origin determine nature, as we considered earlier; also first things determine last things. Where the human race and the universe come from determines where the human race and the universe are going. The beginning determines the end; alpha leads to omega.

As a worldview, evolutionism has a view (or views) about the future, what we, as Christians, call eschatology or "the end times." Like all eschatologies, the evolutionists’ ideas of the end times come with a calling as to how one should behave.

Evolutionists have fears concerning the future, and they have plans and activities designed to address those fears. Evolutionism’s fear is emphatically not—in fact, this is what it wants to exclude—that Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the world and cast those who reject the truth into hell. Evolutionism certainly does not call on man to repent and do good works in the light of Christ’s glorious return.

One fear of the evolutionary humanists involves world temperature. In the short term, the fear is global warming. In the 1980s, we heard frequently on the news, for example, that scientists were predicting another ice age. But now the fear is global warming. People have very short memories and have failed to hold the scientists accountable for this huge flip-flop.53 The response to global warming is environmentalism.

The evolutionists’ long-term fear for the world is heat death. The sun will eventually cool and life on earth will die off. That is one reason why we need to build spacecraft and (ultimately) move to other planets, for we have only a certain time on the earth before we are all chilled to death. Many believe that it is only by becoming a "multiplanetary species" that we can truly guard against being wiped out.

Another fear of the evolutionists is that something some day will collide with the earth, such as, a large asteroid or a comet. This would not be as big a bang as at the start of the evolutionists’ universe, but it would be a fairly big bang. Earlier in 2009, this anniversary year of Charles Darwin, astronomers declared that one of the nearest planets to us—Mercury, Venus or Mars—may one day hit us and wipe out life on earth. But do not get too worried about it, because they say there is only a slim chance and, if it does happen, it would be in about 3 ½ billion years. So there is no need to panic just yet.

Another fear of evolutionism is a terrible pandemic that will wipe out much, or all, of the human race.54 Given that many species have become extinct, and that evolutionists reject the Bible with its teaching on the preservation of mankind, they have no guarantee that man will continue.

There is also the threat of aliens. If life evolved on our planet, then it may have evolved somewhere else, given enough time and chance, for the universe is a big place. In general, aliens would fall into two main categories: good aliens and bad aliens. In the future, bad aliens may attack, eat or destroy us; good aliens may share some of their knowledge with us and help us along our evolutionary pathway. Some evolutionists believe that, in the past, aliens either started or assisted our evolution. Richard Dawkins is open to this. He cannot believe in God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, but he can believe that little green men, as it were, came down and helped the human race evolve.

The United States civil government and other states around the world have spent, and are spending, billions on SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). Top scientists in multi-million dollar observatories are looking into outer space wondering if anybody is there. The God who is worshipped by myriads of angels declares that He has come to earth in Jesus Christ and commands us to call upon Him. But foolish man does not want to know. Instead, the evolutionary astronomers are looking out into deep space with powerful telescopes to try to find any sign of life on other planets.

Every now and again, they claim to have found something. During this year of the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species, evolutionary astronomers loudly heralded a rock from outer space containing something like worm casts.55 They shouted to the skies, "There you are! This is proof that there is life on other planets!" But a few weeks later, what did they whisper? "Oops, they are simply marks on rocks."

Before that, we had another claim. The SETI people thought that they had struck gold, reckoning that they had picked up signals from outer space that were coded messages from other life forms. "Someone is trying to communicate with us!" But later they realized that it was just random variation of background electrical charges.

The evolutionists shout loud and far about their new scientific finds, desperately wanting to prove their hypothesis to themselves and others, and win more people to their cause. Whenever it turns out that they were wrong, one only hears about it in hushed tones and on the inside pages of the newspaper, so to speak. But each time, the fanfare of some new "discovery" that "proves evolution" deceives a few more fools. One wonders if these claims are made periodically in order that these scientific projects continue to receive huge state funding. "If we don’t shout about it, the politicians and people won’t know about us and our work, and our finances may be reduced or stopped."

The evolutionary idea of extra-terrestrial life leads some to look for UFOs, and when people hear of or see (or think they see) UFOs, they are more open to evolutionism.

Science fiction, like UFOs, often serves as a popular means of bringing people round to evolutionary beliefs. H. G. Wells (1866-1946), a biology student of "Darwin’s bulldog," T. H. Huxley, was one of the most famous early science-fiction writers. Together with Jules Verne, he has even been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction."56 An ardent evolutionist, eugenicist and promoter of one-world government, Wells’ numerous writings include The Time Machine (1895) and War of the Worlds (1898). Wells used the genre of science fiction to promote evolutionism, for entertaining novels about primeval human life or life on other planets raise the possibility in people’s minds that, and suggests ways in which, intelligent beings could have evolved.

In Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come (1933), a future one-world government, consisting of an enlightened science-trained elite, systematically persecutes and completely eradicates Christianity (and all other religions)—a positive act deemed indispensable in order to give the emerging "Modern State" a complete monopoly over education and the media to mould the thinking of future generations worldwide.57 Wells’ science fiction presenting evolutionary eschatology is similar to Antichrist and his kingdom!


The Significance of Calvin

But what about Calvin versus Darwin (and the evolutionary worldview)? Why especially should we highlight Calvin (and the Reformed faith he helped shape)? Why is this the key in the creation versus evolution debate?

Whereas evolutionism seeks to remove the Lord of glory from every aspect of His universe and from every field of knowledge or activity, Calvin was a "God-intoxicated man."58 Calvin’s theology, perhaps more than that of any Christian dogmatician, is theocentric theology: it is all about God—soli Deo gloria. Calvin was rightly dubbed "The Theologian" by Melanchthon, and was so considered by his contemporaries.

Moreover, Calvin’s theology is a worldview (and this is true of Reformed theology which takes its cue from Calvin). This is vital because evolutionism is a worldview and needs to be fought with an opposing worldview. Calvin proclaims clearly, consistently and forcefully, "God is here and in the entire universe. He is not silent for He has not left Himself without a witness. He is the creating, ruling, redeeming and judging God. He is the Triune God—God the Father, God the Word and God the Holy Spirit—who must be thanked, worshipped and served."

Within this framework and contrary to the naturalistic approach of evolutionism, Calvin exhorts us to "learn to contemplate the works of God" and see His "hand" in His creation:

Let us always recognize the hand of God, and let us not be like unbelievers, who much amuse themselves by seeking out nature’s secrets while forgetting [or even burying] God, who is the principle figure. That lets us see the hand of God in all his instruments and realize that he uses them with such freedom that he could do without them if he chose to, and that he does so to be glorified and to lift us up to himself. And let us use them as mirrors by which he shows us his face, that is, reveals to us his powers, because of which he deserves to be glorified by us.59


Creation, the Theatre of God’s Glory

Calvin’s doctrine of creation is robust and faithful to the Holy Scriptures. God made all things out of nothing (ex nihilo) by the Word of His power about six thousand years ago.60 This work took neither a single moment (as some in Calvin’s day reckoned) nor billions of years (as many in our day conjecture) but six days.61 Calvin argues, "by this circumstance," that "God’s work was completed … in six days," "we are drawn away from all fictions to the one God who distributed his work into six days that we might not find it irksome to occupy our whole life in contemplating it."62

Calvin rightly views Genesis, including its opening chapters, not as myth, legend or saga, or even poetry, but as "history," with Genesis 1f. giving us "the history of Creation."63 In the "Argument" at the start of his commentary on Genesis, Calvin is emphatic that the first book of the Bible, the book of beginnings, records what actually happened, real "history."64 The first sentence of the "Argument" includes this line: "THE HISTORY OF THE CREATION OF THE WORLD."65 Institutes 1.14.20 provides some of Calvin’s clearest remarks in this regard. The Genevan Reformer speaks of Moses as having "faithfully and diligently recorded the narrative of Creation [Gen., chs. 1 and 2]."66 He also writes of "the history of the creation of the universe, as it has been set forth [and not in any other way!] briefly by Moses [Gen., chs. 1 and 2]."67

The Father formed the universe by His hand. God created by His divine and personal Word, "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3), etc., and the Spirit was brooding upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2). The Triune God is creator and, contrary to Darwin, He is the origin of species, for He made them "after their kind" (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25).68 Calvin’s teaching is not compatible with, and totally irreconcilable to, evolutionism.69

Unlike the closed universe of atheistic, materialist naturalism, Calvin, following Holy Scripture, believes in the existence of angels and demons. Indeed, the bulk of Institutes 1.14, which treats the creation of the universeInstitutes 1.15 deals with man as created—is given to a (non-speculative) discussion of angels and devils.70

This is the very first sentence of Calvin’s Institutes: "Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves."71 This is why evolutionism is so pernicious: it destroys the knowledge of both God and ourselves. The person who believes evolutionism does not know who he is or where he came from; he thinks he is an evolved monkey. He does not know where the planet on which he is living or the universe came from; he thinks all originated with a huge explosion. True wisdom is to know God and oneself; without this, the evolutionist is a fool. The very first Scripture alluded to in the Institutes is Acts 17:28: "in [God] we live, and move, and have our being."72 This must be asserted and maintained over against Darwin and his followers.

Book 1 of the four books of the Institutes is entitled "The Knowledge of God the Creator." Notice that it is not "God the Creator;" it is very deliberately "The Knowledge of God the Creator." With this title Calvin is affirming not only that God is creator but also that we must know Him as creator. Unless you know God as creator, you cannot know Him as the governor of the world; you cannot know Him as the redeemer of the elect; you cannot know Him as the judge. By rejecting God as creator, evolution makes the knowledge of God—the true God, and not merely some idol—impossible.

In his Institutes, commentaries, sermons and other writings, Calvin refers frequently and characteristically to the creation as the "theatre of God’s glory" that reveals His majesty: "God has put us in this world as in a theatre to contemplate his glory."73 Thus, Calvin declares, "wherever you cast your eyes, there is no spot in the universe wherein you cannot discern some sparks of his glory."74

Calvin waxes eloquent when describing the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. This aspect of the man, however, is not widely recognised. Those who abhor Calvin’s strong biblical and Reformed theology have maligned him as a boor with no aesthetic sense. Others, who have not read Calvin for themselves, have thereby gained a false impression of the French Reformer. To correct this misapprehension, T. H. L. Parker recommends "reading in the Commentary on Genesis, or that on the Psalms, or Book I, chapter 5 of the Institutio."75 To this we would add that one should peruse Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis: Chapters 1-11, especially the homilies on Genesis 1-3. Parker reckons that while Calvin "praises the beauty and wonders of the earth, he is still more moved by the majesty of the heavens."76 After providing several appropriate quotations from Calvin to sustain his point, Parker continues, "Yet, lovely and magnificent as are the heavens and the earth, there is an even more wonderful example of God’s handiwork—man, the crown of God’s creation."77 Calvin speaks of man as a microcosm or little world or world in miniature: 

Certain philosophers, accordingly, long ago not ineptly called man a microcosm, because he is a rare example of God’s power, goodness, and wisdom, and contains within himself enough miracles to occupy our minds, if only we are not irked at paying attention to them.78

But the evolutionist wants to deny the creator and sustainer of the theatre and rob God of His glory. This is how Engelsma expresses the issue between Calvin and creation versus Darwin and evolution:

This, then, is at stake in the contemporary struggle for the biblical truth of creation. Shall this creation be viewed as the theater of God’s glory, or shall it be regarded as the accidental outcome of the blind forces of natural powers over billions of years?79

Romans l teaches that the visible things of our universe do not indicate evolution through time and chance; the visible things reveal for us the invisible creator and "his eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20). This is what the universe all around us witnesses; this is what your body proclaims; this is what your mind says: "God!" This true God must be thanked and praised (Rom. 1:21). But foolish and depraved man does not want to do this (Rom. 1:21-22). He is inexcusable (Rom. 1:20), for he suppresses and holds down the truth (Rom. 1:18) with idolatry (Rom. 1:21-23), which, particularly in our highly sophisticated pagan society, takes the form of the "lie" of evolutionism (Rom. 1:25).80

Calvin is emphatic that there is in every human being a sense of divinity (sensus divinitatus).81 Everyone knows it; it is innate, inbuilt and ineradicable in every human being, and "God daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe … men cannot open their eyes without being compelled to see him."82 God is and He is the creator and Lord of all things who must be worshipped. Related to this is Calvin’s strong doctrine of "conscience" so that all—even pagans who have not heard the law or the gospel of the Scriptures—know the difference between right and wrong. All are inexcusable before God for their idolatry and their sinful thoughts, words and deeds. All know that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Rom. 1:18). This is what evolutionism, with crusading zeal, wants to drive out of man’s mind. This is what Calvin and the Reformed faith and faithful churches, following the Bible, seek to bring home to fallen men in need of redemption in Jesus Christ: "the knowledge of God and of ourselves."


Providence, God’s Orderly Government and Hand

Flowing from creation, Calvin has an equally robust doctrine of providence.83 God is not merely active at the start of the world; His fatherly hand does not draw back after creation; it stays in creation, everywhere in the world, every second of every day. God, with all of His infinite being—His wisdom, justice, holiness, truth, goodness and mercy—is present and active in all of heaven and earth, as the One who fills, governs and directs all things.84 He must never be viewed as absent or "indolent" or "idle."85

For Calvin, God’s providential rule lavishes man with all kinds of good things, that we may glorify Him:

There is no man of a mind so dull and stupid but may see if he will be at the trouble to open his eyes, that it is by the wonderful providence of God that horses and oxen yield their service to men,—that sheep produce wool to clothe them—and that all sorts of animals supply them with food for their nourishment and support, even from their own flesh. And the more that this dominion is apparent, the more ought we to be affected with a sense of the goodness and grace of our God as often as we either eat food, or enjoy any of the other comforts of life … the legitimate order which God originally established no longer shines forth, but the faithful whom God gathers to himself, under Christ their head, enjoy so much of the fragments of the good things which they lost in Adam, as may furnish them with abundant matter of wonder at the singularly gracious manner in which God deals with them.86

This is a far cry from evolution’s godless, materialist universe of blind chance!

Everything in the universe, including good and bad angels, even sin is "directed by God’s ever-present hand."87 Calvin is emphatic that God’s providence governs the fall of our first parents in Genesis 3—it was not a "bare permission"—as well as His judgment in all the actual transgressions and billions of deaths that flow from it.88 Even the terrible sin of the cross comes in God’s providence too (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).

In setting forth the biblical doctrine of providence, Calvin constantly has one great enemy in his sights: chance. With providence as with creation, the Genevan Reformer thunders, "nothing takes place by chance"!89 Instead of fortune and chance, Calvin stresses order and purpose in God’s creation and providence.90 There is no chance; there is no fortune; all things are governed by God’s fatherly "hand."91

In this, Calvin is attacking something fundamental in evolutionism, for evolution requires vast amounts of time and chance! It has been said that given enough time with enough chance, a troop of monkeys on keyboards will type up Shakespeare’s complete works. But the monkeys will never type up even one of Shakespeare’s plays no matter how long they are given. Even if they did, a single human being will never evolve out of slime.92


Immanence, God’s Closeness to His People

Not only did God create the world and not only does He govern the world; God also came into the world in Jesus Christ. God’s immanence (or in-ness) is not just His immanence in the universe through creation and providence; it is His immanence on earth through the incarnation. God became man, living in our universe and on our planet, like us a human being! We are redeemed by one who is both fully God and fully man. He is the mediator between God and man. In Him, God comes to us; through Him, we come to God. By Jehovah’s grace, we are always close, always in God’s presence through our representative and saviour. Calvin writes,

Hence, it was necessary for the Son of God to become for us "Immanuel, that is, God with us" [Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23], and in such a way that his divinity and our human nature might by mutual connection grow together. Otherwise the nearness would not have been near enough, nor the affinity sufficiently firm, for us to hope that God might dwell with us.93

On the basis of, and as a reward for, Christ’s earlier redemptive works, He poured out the Holy Spirit on the catholic or universal church at Pentecost. This means that God’s immanence is not just His immanence in the world; it is His immanence in us, both corporately as the church and personally as individual believers! The Spirit of Christ indwells us; He is inside us, in our hearts and minds and souls—that close! In the first section of the first chapter of Book 3 of the Institutes, Calvin declares, "To sum up, the Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself," and, hence, with the Triune God.94

The Spirit works faith. In his Genevan Catechism (1545), Calvin gives a "true definition of faith:" "It may be defined [as] a sure and steadfast knowledge of the paternal goodwill of God toward us, as he declares in the gospel that for the sake of Christ he will be our Father and Saviour."95 Faith, for Calvin, is personal and includes assurance: God is my creator, governor, deliverer and Lord, who will never leave me nor forsake me.96 Faith is also the bond that unites and ties me to God in Christ, inseparably and everlastingly. "To sum up," concludes Calvin, "Christ, when he illumines us into faith by the power of his Spirit, at the same time so engrafts us into his body that we have become partakers of every good."97

Calvin views the covenant, as "the binding of God," as a recent book on this subject argued.98 In the covenant, God binds himself to us in Jesus Christ, so that we are His people and He is our God forever. He will be to us everything that a God can be and should be. In God’s covenant, we have friendship, fellowship, union and communion with Him.99 This divine immanence and closeness stands in sharp relief against the cold, atheistic worldview of evolutionism.

What is the church? It is the body of Jesus Christ on earth (and in heaven), which He cherishes, loves, protects and guides as His bride. This is intimacy and closeness! Agreeing with Cyprian and Augustine that one cannot have God as father without having the church as mother, Calvin writes, "those to whom he is Father the church may also be Mother."100 Almighty God works through "the visible church" as "mother:" "For there is no other way to enter into life unless this mother conceive us in her womb, give us birth, nourishes at her breast, and lastly, unless she keep us under her care and guidance until, putting off mortal flesh, we become like the angels."101 Thus all believers ought to join, and remain in fellowship with, faithful instituted churches.102

Faithful preaching is, for John Calvin, nothing less than the speech of Jesus Christ from His throne in heaven. It is not just some man saying some religious things at the front of a hall. The preaching of the Word is the sceptre of the kingdom of God. Preaching is the main way in which Christ governs in His rule of grace. Not only or chiefly are the angels present in the worship services of faithful churches (I Cor. 11:10); Christ is there as the One who is speaking through the pastor, as the great prophet and Lord of the church.103 Calvin comments on Isaiah 11:4,

When the Prophet says, by the breath of his lips, this must not be limited to the person of Christ; for it refers to the Word which is preached by his ministers. Christ acts by them in such a manner that He wishes their mouth to be reckoned as his mouth, and their lips as his lips; that is, when they speak from his mouth, and faithfully declare his Word (Luke 10:16).104

Calvin developed and defended the truth about Christ’s real presence in the Lord’s Supper—a spiritual presence by the Word and Holy Ghost. In this way, Christ personally comes to the church to give us His broken body and shed blood to be our spiritual food and drink, nourishing us unto life everlasting.105

What does the future hold according to Calvin (exegeting Scripture)? Chiefly and centrally, the personal return of Jesus Christ in glory with the angelic host in order to take us to Himself for ever.

If the Lord will share his glory, power, and righteousness with the elect—nay will give himself to be enjoyed by them and, what is more excellent, will somehow make them to become one with himself, let us remember that every sort of happiness is included under this benefit.106

At His second coming, Christ will speak to the dead, "Come out of your grave; you have been there long enough. Come to the last judgment." Then the final separation between the sheep and the goats and the great theodicy will take place, when God will be vindicated in all His works and ways, and every mouth will be stopped for all the world will become guilty and inexcusable before God (Rom. 3:19). All will fall down on their knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Triune God (Phil. 2:10-11).

This old world will be consumed with purifying fire.107 In the new heavens and the new earth, we will share in His throne and be near Him and with Him for all eternity—perfect and everlasting immanence!

Behind all this is God’s eternal decree. Absolutely everything in the history of the world, even the movements of the fish in the oceans, is "predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). God’s glory, as Calvin stressed, is the supreme and highest goal in his decree, realised through the unconditional election and reprobation of every single human being for God’s good and holy ends.108 The alpha of God’s election of us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) determines the omega of our being gathered together in Christ and sharing in His everlasting inheritance (Eph. 1:10-11).


Scripture, the Spectacles

We know all this about life in our world, not by examining the beaks of finches with Darwin or by speculating about uniform rates of erosion or deposition over millions of years with Lyell, but through the Holy Scriptures, which are inspired or God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16) and, therefore, inerrant and authoritative.109

Calvin rightly states that the divine authority of the sixty-six books of Holy Writ is established by the "inward testimony of the Spirit," so that Scripture is "self-authenticated."110 Our assurance that the Bible is God’s Word comes not merely from the church, never mind modern unbelieving science.111 Calvin’s teaching is comforting, profound and theocentric, honouring the work of God’s Spirit:

If we desire to provide in the best way for our consciences—that they may not be perpetually beset by the instability of doubt or vacillation, and that they may not also boggle at the smallest quibbles—we ought to seek our conviction [that God authored Holy Scripture] in a higher place than human reasons, judgments, or conjectures, that is, in the secret testimony of the Spirit.112

Since God’s Word is also perspicuous and sufficient, we are able to arrive at a true and God-glorifying understanding of the origins of the universe, the earth, life and mankind, and, hence, a Christian and Reformed worldview.

Calvin is adamant: Scripture is not a "wax nose." Strikingly, Calvin makes this remark in the dedication of his commentary on Genesis to Henry, Duke of Vendome (1553–1610), who was to become King Henry IV of France (1589-1610). Calvin warns against "audacious scribblers" who "indulge in doubtful speculations" and "render Scripture flexible (so to speak) as a nose of wax."113 To apply this to contemporary issues, Scripture, especially Genesis, is not to be treated as a wax nose to be shaped or twisted (II Peter 3:16) in order to try to make it fit with an "old earth" and evolutionism. This is precisely what happens with theistic evolutionism, progressive creationism, the gap theory, the framework hypothesis and all the various modern compromises and corruptions of the biblical truth of creation.

Instead of being a "wax nose," Calvin presents the attractive image of Scripture as "spectacles" or "eyeglasses."114 According to John T. McNeill, the editor of the Institutes, the "spectacles" simile is "probably Calvin’s decisive utterance on the role of Scripture as related to the revelation of the Creator in creation."115 Without the Word of God, we do not see the created order or ourselves or the Most High correctly because of our sin. At best, our vision is blurred and indistinct. We are like blind men stumbling around an unknown room. But when the believer puts on the spectacles of Scripture and by faith views all things through these glasses, he understands God, himself and the world. The oracles of God interpret the works of God, as T. H. L. Parker puts it: "the oracula Dei (as Calvin was fond of calling the Scriptures) are necessary to the understanding of the opera Dei."116

This is a key point against those who believe that if Calvin were alive today (and were aware of contemporary evolutionary scholarship), he would not hold to a literal six-day creation and a young earth. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. explains,

… contrary to modern assumptions, he [i.e., Calvin] never placed general revelation on a par with special revelation. Calvin clearly asserts that we can understand natural revelation only by the spectacles of Scripture and that creation can only be properly understood by the believer. Scripture, in fact, corrects the observation of nature.117

The be-spectacled believer knows that "the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3).118 There was no eternal, pre-existent matter that exploded over 13 billion years ago; life did not evolve from a primeval pond. From the creation week of Genesis 1, we learn that God "spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast" (Ps. 33:9). This explains the origin of man and his universe.

But what do the world and the false churches do? The world takes evolution as its spectacles and puts them on in order to interpret the cosmos and create its own naturalistic worldview. The false churches throw away the glasses God gave them as worthless and put on evolutionary spectacles to view the created order. Then, still wearing evolutionary glasses, they seek to reinterpret God’s Word! More "cognitive dissonance" ensues, for the Bible and evolutionism do not fit and are antithetical. So evolutionary theologians dream up, and members of liberal churches embrace, the various contradictory compromise theories. It is time for confessing Christians to cast all the evolutionary spectacles into the bin and put on the glasses God Himself gave us.

Believing that Scripture alone is the spectacles through which we and our children must interpret all things, it is no surprise that John Calvin is especially strong not only on the faithful teaching ministry of the church but also on the education of Christian youth, both boys and girls, in primary schools, high schools and universities.119 The church and the home and the school must all teach the one truth of God in Jesus Christ. Christian children must not be given different glasses at school from the one they are given in church and at home. This would confuse them and damage their eyes, giving them double vision. Calvin is an advocate of the biblical and Reformed worldview, and this worldview must be consistent and it must be passed on. This is the way in which God realises His covenant with us and our seed (Gen. 18:19; Deut. 4:9-10; 6:6-7).

Interpreting all things through God’s Word, our only spectacles, and rejecting the dominant anti-Christian philosophy in the Western world will necessarily bring suffering. Leading evolutionists advocate a one-world government, a government whose whole philosophy is evolutionary and anti-Christian. In so doing, they are preparing the way for Antichrist and his kingdom, which, in turn, will intensify the persecution and suffering of Christ’s church. Calvin speaks often and powerfully of suffering, more so than any of the Reformers, except perhaps Luther.120

What must we do? Witness, spread the truth and suffer. Lay down your life; die for the truth of Jesus Christ, if needs be. "In your patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19). Calvin is not teaching evolution’s "survival of the fittest," but the Reformed faith’s "perseverance of the saints," pressing on, despite oppression and suffering, in holiness and submission to Christ’s truth.


Calvin Versus Darwin in Society and Church

The relative influence of Darwin and evolutionism on the one hand and Calvin and Reformed Christianity on the other explains much that is going on in the Western world today. Evolutionism stands behind and supports humanism. This influences education, civil government, popular culture and society. Political correctness is promoted (and increasingly enforced). Christianity is being forced out of the public sphere (and increasingly criminalized).

You can see this happening among the nations. In the Western world, America is the most Christian and conservative, but this is being eroded, especially under the administration of President Barack Obama. The Republic of Ireland and the UK are further to the left. Canada, Germany, France and Sweden are even more evolutionary and secular. No wonder "meaninglessness" has been identified as the malaise of modern, liberal Europe, for its dominant worldview, evolutionism, has no purpose, being all about time and chance.121

What about the churches—their seminaries, their preaching and their day schools? The Church of England in 2009, this anniversary year, apologised to Darwin. Roman Catholicism marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species, by staging a five-day conference held in Rome (3-7 March, 2009), at which theistic evolutionism was advocated and "Intelligent Design" (never mind biblical creation in six days!) was rejected.122

The various compromises mentioned earlier—theistic evolution, progressive creation, the gap theory, the framework hypothesis, etc.—infect liberal and nominally evangelical churches. None of them are, of course, satisfactory, and none of them are stable.


Evolutionism, the Universal Theological Solvent

The theory and worldview of evolutionism, promoted by state and school and in society and church, dissolves Christian doctrine. This is the invariable result, especially given time, for principles work through.

Especially, but by no means exclusively, Genesis 1-3 must be "reinterpreted." Evolutionism tells us that the creation of the universe and life and man in six days is wrong. There is no devil and there are no fallen angels. There was no serpent at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is no fall, no original sin, no total depravity. Death is not God’s punishment for sin.

Since there is no first Adam, there is no second or "last Adam," Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:45). Given that there was no tree in the Garden of Eden, then there is no tree at Calvary and no redemption in the cross. If there is no first coming of Christ 2,000 years ago, there will be no second coming of Christ at the end of the world.

All this, of course, is a sign of divine judgment, for, as Calvin points out, "the first proof of [God’s] condemnation" is rejection of His revelation of Himself in creation and refusal to worship Him. This reveals man’s "sacrilege" and "wicked and abominable ingratitude."123

As evolutionary theory dissolves Christian doctrine, Christian ethics also corrode. We shall consider just two examples. According to God’s Word and its teaching on creation, marriage is between one man and one woman for life (Gen. 2:24).124 Attacking creation, evolutionism necessarily undermines the biblical truth of marriage, and thus facilitates or paves the way for or serves to justify fornication, adultery, divorce, remarriage while one’s spouse is living and even homosexuality. Romans 1:26-27 presents the last abomination as divine judgment upon the denial of God as creator.

Evolutionism also dissolves Christian teaching on the Lord’s Day; it attacks not just the seventh commandment but also the fourth commandment.125 If there was no creation week, there is no Sabbath day’s rest, one day in seven for the private and public worship of God. Then there is no need to go to church to praise the Lord, hear His Word and use the sacraments. All this and much more is the necessary result of evolutionism and, for the consistent secularists, it is their stated purpose.

Evolutionism, the universal theological solvent, has been dissolving biblical doctrine and ethics for the last 150 years. That is the history, all around the world, and it is going on today before our eyes.

These are the two poles: Calvin and Darwin, biblical creationism and atheistic evolutionism. Where do you stand?

The first line of the Apostles’ Creed states, "I believe in God the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth"—as set forth in the Bible. Receiving this truth, then and only then can you believe the rest of the Apostles’ Creed and the whole of biblical and Reformed Christianity. We, our children and our churches must treasure, develop, promote and suffer for all the glorious truth of God’s Word. God uses this testimony for the gathering and edification of the elect church of Christ, who is returning to make all things new!

1 This article is an expansion of a speech given in N. Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and the United States in 2009. An audio (taped in Portadown, N. Ireland) and a video of the speech (recorded in Grand Rapids, USA) are available on-line. The CD or DVD can be ordered from the CPRC.
2 For example, in the New York Times (12 February, 2009), evolutionist Olivia Judson issued a plea: "My fellow primates, 200 years ago today, Charles Darwin was born. Please join me in wishing him happy birthday!"
3 John Calvin, Comm. on Ps., p. xl. All citations of Calvin’s commentaries are from the 22-volume Baker edition (repr. 1993).
4 Charles Darwin’s son, Leonard, delivered the presidential address at the first international conference on eugenics held in London (1912). It was Charles Darwin’s geneticist cousin, Francis Galton, who "coined the word eugenics for the policy of encouraging ‘good’ human specimens to breed at the expense of the less ‘good.’ He suggested cash grants to encourage marriage and child production among the ‘fit’ and the sterilization of the ‘unfit’" (Brian L. Silver, The Ascent of Science [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998], p. 291; italics Silver’s).
5 A. N. Wilson, The Victorians (London: Hutchinson, 2002), p. 224.
6 The edition cited in this article is John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1960).
7 J. M. Roberts identifies Darwin’s Origin of Species as "one of the seminal books of modern civilization" (The Penguin History of the World [England: Penguin Books, 1990], p. 802). Brian Silver observes that it "remains the most widely talked about and controversial book in scientific history" (The Ascent of Science, p. 282).
8 Darwin’s Origin of Species "was published by John Murray, himself an amateur geologist. Murray was in fact unconvinced by the theory, but when the whole edition of 1,250 copies sold out in one day he saw its commercial potential. It was to be one of the bestsellers of the age. The number of pamphlets, debates, books, speeches, sermons, quarrels it generated is numberless" (Wilson, The Victorians, p. 226).
9 Calvin produced five Latin editions (1536, 1539, 1543 [reprinted in 1545], 1550, 1559) and four French editions (1541, 1545, 1551, 1560) of his Institutes; Darwin saw printed six English editions of his Origin from 1859 to 1872.
10 Daniel J. Boorstin describes Wallace as a socialist, secularist and skeptic who "became a passionate convert to Spiritualism" (The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself [New York: Random House, 1983], pp. 470-471). However, Wallace’s study of the world "led him more and more toward a belief in a ‘Higher Intelligence.’ Increasingly, he needed a God to explain what he saw in nature" (p. 472).
11 Calvin is averse to all "idle speculations" (Institutes 1.2.2, p. 41) or "empty speculations" (1.4.1, p. 47) on God’s being and works.
12 Calvin, Comm. on I Cor. 3:19. "Natural scientific research is only valuable" for Calvin, states Herman J. Selderhuis, "when the examination or the analysis leads to the maker of nature" (Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007], p. 69).
13 For example, Marr discusses the evolutionary justification for racism, the enslavement of aboriginal peoples, ethnic cleansing, genocide and eugenics, as well as the Aryan "master race" and the Jewish "Final Solution," beloved ideas of Hitler and the Nazis. The "survival of the fittest" came to mean the "murder of the weakest." Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould states, "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory" (Ontogeny and Phylogeny [Belknap-Harvard Press, 1977], pp. 127-128).
14 Whereas Hitler used Darwin’s notion of survival of the fittest in the Nazi racial struggle, for Karl Marx (1818-1883), another avid adherent of Darwin, evolution is foundational in the class struggle. For Stalin, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot, who followed Marx’s atheistic communist ideology, evolutionism served to justify their mass murders, for it denied any accountability to God and provided a "scientific" framework in which their actions could be claimed to be for the "benefit" of mankind.
15 Calvin’s indignance against Vergil’s pantheistic notion of a universal mind pervading its members and animating men, animals, birds, etc. with "life-seeds" would apply to evolutionism: "As if the universe, which was founded as a spectacle of God’s glory, were its own creator!" (Institutes 1.5.5, p. 58).
16 The complete title of Darwin’s 1859 edition is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
17 Roberts, The Penguin History of the World, p. 803. This carefully crafted piece of propaganda portrays post-Darwin creationists as people of dubious honesty and limited intellect.
18 Thus there is no need for catastrophes, like the biblical flood, to explain the shape of the earth's surface.
19 Believing God’s Word concerning creation, the fall and the flood, Calvin’s theology is diametrically opposed to uniformitarian geology.
20 In response to the "old earth" ideas of uniformitarian geologists, Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), leader and moderator of the Free Church of Scotland (formed in 1843), formulated the "gap theory," claiming that there was a lengthy period of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Chalmers attributed this view to the Dutch Arminian theologian Simon Episcopius (1583-1643). The gap theory was popularised among fundamentalists by C. I. Scofield (1843-1921) in the notes to his dispensationalist reference Bible (1917). As well as Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, other proponents of the gap theory have included Donald Grey Barnhouse, Jimmy Swaggart and Ian Paisley. Like the Scofield Reference Bible, the Newberry Reference Bible and the Dake Annotated Reference Bible also include notes teaching the gap theory.
21 Boorstin explains more fully the influence of Lyell upon Darwin (The Discoverers, pp. 465-472). Darwin took volume 1 of Lyell’s Principles of Geology with him when he boarded the Beagle for his five-year sea voyage on 27 December, 1831 (pp. 465-466). Volume 2 was waiting for Darwin when he arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay, and he received volume 3 when the Beagle docked in Valparaiso, Chile (p. 467). "When the Beagle returned in 1836," Lyell was very prominent "in securing for Darwin a grant of £1,000 to help him compile his five-volume report, and then [Lyell] managed his election as Secretary of the Geological Society of London." Moreover, "during the next few years Darwin, by his own account, saw more of Lyell than of any other man." Later, Lyell "remained Darwin’s mentor," and after the Darwins moved to Down Cottage in Kent "the Lyells would come to visit for days at a time" (p. 468).
22 Calvin mocks "the folly of those … who imagine that unformed matter existed from eternity" (Comm. on Gen. 1:1). The "cleverest Satan-possessed philosophers" have imagined "such fantasies," the French Reformer avers, "in an effort to abolish God’s glory" (John Calvin, Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, trans. Rob Roy McGregor [Edinburgh: Banner, 2009], p. 137).
23 The Genevan Reformer observes that "all profane people have always tried, at the devil’s leading, to erase the certainty we have to have concerning the creation of the world." After mentioning the sceptic’s "jest"—which came first, the chicken or the egg?—Calvin ridicules an early form of big bang cosmogony: "They have conjured up the most obtuse and absurd things a human could utter to resist God’s majesty, and they are unable to contemplate his glory, which ought to be evident as it displays itself so plainly before us. That is why they prefer—I am not joking—to say that the world came together by chance and that there were tiny objects tumbling around that the sun used for building the moon and the stars, the earth, the trees, and even men. Could anyone think up a scenario more stupid than that?" (Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, pp. 11-12).
24 Calvin abhors the "madness" of those who believe in "chance" and make "nature" to be "the artificer of all things" (Institutes 1.5.4, pp. 55, 56). Such a thing is "detestable" (1.4.2, p. 48).
25 John Blanchard, "Evolution: Fact or Fiction?" (Great Britain: Evangelical Press, 2002), p. 4.
26 Appealing to Institutes 1.5.2 and 1.5.5, Philip Schaff summarises Calvin’s view of astronomy (within its own limits and entirely subject to the Word of God): "It is right and proper, he maintains, to study the laws and motions of the heavenly bodies. True astronomy leads to the praise of God’s wisdom and majesty; but astrology upsets the moral order. God is sovereign in his gifts and not bound to any necessity of nature" (History of the Christian Church, vol. 8 [USA: Hendrickson, 1996], p. 677).
27 Dave Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990), p. 24.
28 Silver, The Ascent of Science, p. 132; italics Silver’s.
29 Henry Van Til summarises the opposite position of the Genevan Reformer: "Calvin thinks of the history of man as a cosmic drama … There are three acts in this drama: before the fall, in the perfect harmony of heaven and paradise; between the fall and redemption … finally, in the third period, the glory of the Lord becomes flesh in the Son … At the center of this cosmic drama stands the church, which operates against the background of worldly activity and world history" (The Calvinistic Concept of Culture [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1959], p. 108).
30 For Calvin, "language is the impress of the mind" so that, unlike animals, "men, who are partakers of the same reason" and are "born for social intercourse," may "communicate with each other" (Comm. on Gen. 11:1). Preaching on the ninth commandment, the Genevan Reformer proclaims that "God created our tongues" and "gave us speech" "that we might be able to communicate with each other," with "the purpose of human communication" being "our mutual support in charity" for "nurturing tender love and fraternity" (John Calvin, John Calvin’s Sermons on the Ten Commandments, ed. and trans. Benjamin Wirt Farley [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980], p. 216).
31 Paul Johnson evaluates, "After eighty years’ experience, [Freud’s] methods of therapy have proved, on the whole, costly failures, more suited to cosset the unhappy than cure the sick. We now know that many of the central ideas of psychoanalysis have no basis in biology" (Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties [New York: Harper & Row, 1985], p. 6).
32 J. M. Roberts notes Freud’s affect on culture. "[L]ike Darwin," Roberts states, "Freud’s importance beyond science—where his influence was more complex—lay in promoting a new mythology. It was to prove highly corrosive. The message men took from Freud suggested that the unconscious was the real source of most significant behaviour, that moral values and attitudes were projections of the influences which had moulded this unconscious, that, therefore, the idea of responsibility was itself a myth and probably a dangerous one, and that perhaps rationality itself was an illusion … Such a bundle of ideas called in question the very foundation of liberal civilization itself, the idea of the rational, responsible, consciously motivated individual, and this was its general importance" (The Penguin History of the World, p. 864).
33 Calvin would see these as "gross" errors and "delusions of Satan," manifesting spiritual "blindness" inflicted on evolutionists by a "just judgment from God," even worse than "the Sadducees [who] had the audacity to declare openly that man differs nothing from a brute, in so far as concerns the essence of the soul, and has no enjoyment but what is common to him with the beasts" (Comm. on I Cor. 15:1).
34 Calvin asks rhetorically, "Shall we, indeed, distinguish between right and wrong by that judgment which has been imparted to us, yet there be no judge in heaven?" (Institutes 1.5.5, p. 57).
35 Calvin rightly identifies the feeling of guilt in man’s conscience as God’s witness to us, arraigning us before His judgment seat (Institutes 4.10.3, pp. 1181-1182).
36 John Calvin called abortion "atrocious," because "the foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being (homo), and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light" (Comm. on Ex. 21:22).
37 Calvin and Christians justly view abortion as murder at one end of human life and euthanasia as murder at other end.
38 Interview with Stone Phillips, broadcast on Dateline NBC (29 November, 1994).
39 Pekka-Eric Auvinen, "Natural Selector's Manifesto."
40 Calvin rightly castigates the "villainous behaviour" of public nudity, people desiring to become "like animals" and "casting aside all shame and displaying themselves as if they were on stage" (Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 209). The Genevan Reformer’s preaching on nakedness and clothes from Genesis 2:25 (pp. 208-211) and Genesis 3:21 (pp. 329-333) is insightful and humbling.
41 Calvin rightly states, "every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols" (quoted in Carlos M. N. Eire, War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986], p. 208). Moreover, "each one of us privately forges his own particular error" (Institutes 1.5.11, p. 64).
42 Instead of the evolutionary belief that when a man realizes he is a beast he becomes an atheist, Calvin teaches that when a man becomes an atheist he is "in no wise superior to brute beasts, but [is] in many respects far more miserable" (Institutes 1.3.3, p. 47). Similarly, Calvin reckons that denying creation makes one as ignorant as the creatures without reason: "we differ nothing from the brute creation, if we understand not that the world has been created by God" (Comm. on Heb. 11:3).
43 Carlos Eire summarises the Genevan Reformer’s very different analysis of the history of man’s idolatry and the history of Israel’s idolatry (War Against the Idols, pp. 209-210). Calvin has a fine treatment of idolatry in his Institutes (1.10-12, pp. 96-120).
44 Evolutionism’s attack on the Bible is also an attack on faith, since faith holds "for truth all that God has revealed in his word" (Heidelberg Catechism, A. 21).
45 Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave, p. 50.
46 Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1995), p. xi.
47 Dawkins declares, "An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: ‘I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.’ I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist" (The Blind Watchmaker [London: Penguin, 2006], p. 6; italics Dawkins’). Peter Watson describes the century and a half in the West before 1859 as "a time when a purely religious purpose to life ([including] salvation in a future state) was called into question while there was as yet no other model to replace it, when Darwin's biological understanding of man had yet to appear" (The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century [London: Simon and Schuster, 2010], p. 65; italics Watson's). With the advent of Darwin's Origin, "the theological concept of mankind [began to be replaced] with a biological understanding" (p. 86).
48 Henry Morris, The Long War Against God (USA: Master Books, 2000), pp. 18-19.
49 Quoted in Morris, The Long War Against God, p. 19.
50 Quoted in Morris, The Long War Against God, p. 19.
51 Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave, p. 25.
52 Andrew Marr, "The Most Natural Selection of All," The Daily Telegraph(19 October, 2002), pp. 1, 19.
53 In the 1990s, people were scared by reports of ozone depletion. Scientists were also predicting that we would have run out of various metals by now.
54 Remember the near hysteria concerning AIDS in the 1980s?
55 There was also a large and idolatrous hue and cry over that other rock which fell from heaven near Ephesus (Acts 19:35).
56 Wells was also an advocate and practitioner of "free love." Among his many paramours was fellow atheist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who founded the leading abortion and population-control organization, Planned Parenthood, and spent much of her life campaigning for "sexual liberation" and advocating unrestricted sales of contraceptives.
57 In later life, Wells moved from the "hard eugenicist" approach of simply killing off the "unfit" to the "soft eugenicist approach" of sterilization.
58 Van Til, The Calvinistic Concept of Culture, p. 93.
59 Calvin, Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 142.
60 E.g., Calvin, Institutes 1.14.1, pp. 160, 161. Calvin roots the denial of the young universe in wicked unbelief: "Profane men … will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but little more than 5,000 years have passed since the creation of the universe" (3.21.4, p. 925). David J. Engelsma notes that for Calvin the young earth confronts us with the contrasting eternity of God (The Reformed Faith of John Calvin [Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2009], pp. 88-89; cf. Institutes 1.14.1, p. 160).
61 E.g., Calvin, Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, pp. 14, 116, 123, 125, 127, etc.; cf. Westminster Confession 4:1.
62 Calvin, Institutes 1.14.2, p. 161. W. Gary Crampton is correct: Calvin "would have nothing to do with a day-age or a literary framework theory" (What Calvin Says [Jefferson, MD: Trinity Foundation, 1992], p. 40).
63 Calvin, Institutes 1.14.1, p. 160.
64 Calvin, Comm. on Gen., pp. 57, 58, 59, 64, 65.
65 Calvin, Comm. on Gen., p. 57.
66 Calvin, Institutes 1.14.20, p. 180.
67 Calvin, Institutes 1.14.20, p. 179.
68 In language echoed in the first paragraph of Belgic Confession 12, Calvin states that God "endowed each kind [of living creature] with its own nature, assigned functions, appointed places and stations … and provided for the preservation of each species" (Institutes 1.14.20, p. 180; cf. Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, pp. 48-50, 80-81, 84-85).
69 Cf. Erik Guichelaar, "Creation, Providence and Divine Accommodation: John Calvin and Modern Theories of Evolution"
70 Calvin, Institutes 1.14.3-19, pp. 162-179.
71 Calvin, Institutes 1.1.1, p. 35.
72 Calvin continues, "our very being is nothing but subsistence in the one God" (Institutes 1.1.1, p. 35).
73 Calvin, Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 6. For other references to this "theatre" in Calvin’s works, see, e.g., Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, pp. 12, 122, 124, 127; Institutes 1.5.8, p. 61; 1.6.2, p. 72; 1.14.20, p. 179; 2.6.1, p. 341; Comms. on Gen. p. 64; 1:6; Ps. 19:7; Heb. 11:3. Hence the title of Susan E. Schreiner’s work on Calvin’s teaching on the created order: The Theater of His Glory: Nature and the Natural Order in the Thought of John Calvin (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991).
74 Calvin, Institutes 1.5.1, p. 52. Henry Van Til remarks, "For Calvin beauty is nothing more than the shining forth of the majesty and glory of this God. Therefore, to divorce beauty from God is idolatry" (The Calvinistic Concept of Culture, pp. 107-108).
75 T. H. L. Parker, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), p. 14.
76 Parker, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, pp. 14-15.
77 Parker, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, p. 16.
78 Calvin, Institutes 1.5.3, p. 54. For more on man as a "microcosm," see Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 90. Contrast Darwin, as he thought more and more within his evolutionary worldview: "Near the end of his life, Darwin acknowledged several times in his writings that two things had become dull to him as he got older. The first was his joy in the arts; and the second, his joy in nature. This is very intriguing. Darwin offered his proposition that nature, including man, is based only on the impersonal plus time plus chance, and he had to acknowledge at the end of life that it had these adverse effects on him" (Francis A. Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1970], p. 11; cf. Boorstin, The Discoverers, pp. 471-472).
79 Engelsma, The Reformed Faith of John Calvin, p. 89.
80 Three times in the very first sentence of his first sermon on the first book of the Bible, dealing with Genesis 1:1-2, Calvin speaks of the ungodly suppressing God’s revelation of Himself through His creation: "Even though [1] men maliciously try to obscure God’s glory, it is certain they cannot open their eyes and look in any direction without seeing evidence that leads to knowledge of him, [2] knowledge which they would flee and [3] would like to bury completely if they could" (Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 1). In the same sermon, Calvin adds, "And it is with the knowledge of God we needed to begin. But we would prefer never to have heard of him" (p. 2). "Paul condemns men for closing their eyes and shutting down all their senses so as not to look upon the things that are designed to show God’s majesty and give a definite witness to his being the Creator" (p. 4). Elsewhere, Calvin writes, "the world … tries as far as it is able to cast away all knowledge of God" (Institutes 1.3.3, p. 46).
81 Calvin states, "a sense of divinity is by nature engraved on human hearts" (Institutes 1.4.4, p. 51). Edward A. Dowey Jr. lists the "empirical effects of the sensus divinitatus" for Calvin: "(1) the universality of religion, which because of sin means the universality of idolatry, accompanied by (2) the servile fear of God and (3) the troubled conscience. These three together are implicated in the inexcusability of all men" (The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994], pp. 52-53).
82 Calvin, Institutes 1.5.1, p. 52. At the beginning of his "Argument" introducing the book of Genesis, Calvin writes movingly, "We see, indeed, the world with our eyes, we tread the earth with our feet, we touch innumerable kinds of God’s works with our hands, we inhale a sweet and pleasant fragrance from herbs and flowers, we enjoy boundless benefits; but in those very things of which we attain some knowledge, there dwells such an immensity of divine power, goodness, and wisdom, as absorbs all our senses" (Comm. on Gen., p. 57).
83 The Reformer’s treatment of providence is found at the end of Institutes book 1, dealing with "The Knowledge of God the Creator" (1.16-18, pp. 197-237). Calvin’s stress on the inseparable union between creation and providence (e.g., 1.16.1, pp. 197-198) is echoed in the Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition of the first article of the Apostles’ Creed (Lord’s Days 9-10).
84 Cf. Engelsma: "Although Calvin does not, as far as I know, use the term, providence affirms God’s immanence, that is, God’s presence in the creation, God’s nearness to the creation and to every creature in the creation" (The Reformed Faith of John Calvin, p. 104; italics mine).
85 Calvin, Institutes 1.16.3-4, pp. 200-203.
86 Calvin, Comm. on Ps. 8:7.
87 Calvin, Institutes 1.16.2, p. 199.
88 E.g., Calvin, Institutes 1.18.1-5, pp. 228-237; 3.23.7-8, pp. 955-957; John Calvin, Calvin’s Calvinism, trans. Henry Cole (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2009), pp. 191-196, 224-228; cf. Westminster Confession 5:4.
89 Calvin, Institutes 1.16.4, p. 203; cf., e.g., 1.16.2, pp. 198-199; 1.16.8-9, pp. 207-210. In this connection, Calvin quotes an eastern church father with approval: "Basil the Great has truly said that ‘fortune’ and ‘chance’ are pagan terms, with whose significance the minds of the godly ought not to be occupied" (1.16.8, p. 207).
90 Cf. Schreiner: "While he presupposed and used traditional Christian doctrines, Calvin’s thought is characterized by his own particular emphases. Central to all his discussions about creation is the concept of order" (The Theater of His Glory, p. 3). By "creation" here, Schreiner is referring to the whole created order, including providence, as the context makes clear.
91 E.g., Calvin, Institutes 1.16.1, p. 198; 1.16.8-9, pp. 207-210.
92 For more on creation and providence, see this on-line Creation Resources page.
93 Calvin, Institutes 2.12.1, pp. 464-465.
94 Calvin, Institutes 3.1.1, p. 538.
95 John Calvin, "Catechism of the Church of Geneva," in John Calvin, Treatises on the Sacraments: Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Forms of Prayer, and Confessions of Faith, trans. Henry Beveridge (Scotland: Christian Heritage, 2002), p. 53; cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 21.
96 For a fine treatment of Calvin on assurance in his Institutes, see Engelsma, The Reformed Faith of John Calvin, pp. 194-199.
97 Calvin, Institutes 3.2.35, p. 583.
98 Peter A. Lillback, The Binding of God: Calvin’s Role in the Development of Covenant Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001).
99 Cf. Angus Stewart, "John Calvin’s Integrated Covenant Theology (2): The Nature of the Covenant," Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 41, no. 1 (November, 2007), pp. 29-42, esp. pp. 29-37. A longer, more developed version of this article may be found on-line.
100 Calvin, Institutes 4.1.1, p. 1012.
101 Calvin, Institutes 4.1.4, p. 1016.
102 See, esp., John Calvin, Come Out From Among Them:Anti-Nicodemite’ Writings of John Calvin, trans. Seth Skolnitsky (Dallas, TX: Protestant Heritage Press, 2001); cf. Belgic Confession 28-29.
103 Cf. Ronald S. Wallace, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Word and Sacrament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957), pp. 82-95.
104 Calvin, Comm. on Isa. 11:4.
105 Cf. Wallace, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Word and Sacrament, pp. 197-233; cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 28-30; Belgic Confession 35.
106 Calvin, Institutes 3.25.10, p. 1005.
107 This is very different from the evolutionist’s fear of global warming or heat death!
108 Cf. Calvin, Institutes 3.21-24, pp. 920-987.
109 Belgic Confession 2 states that God’s Word "more clearly and fully" makes known God’s truth than that "most elegant book" of God’s "creation, preservation and government of the universe."
110 Calvin, Institutes 1.7.4, p. 79; 1.7.5, p. 80.
111 Calvin, Institutes 1.7.1-3, pp. 74-78.
112 Calvin, Institutes 1.7.4, p. 78; cf. Belgic Confession 5; Westminster Confession 1:4-5. Engelsma observes, "As much as any doctrine can be, the doctrine of the testimony of the Holy Spirit is original with Calvin. It is a marvellous contribution by Calvin to Christian theology" (The Reformed Faith of John Calvin, p. 71). This elevation of Scripture and the Holy Spirit is a mighty bulwark against false views of the relationship between God’s Word and man’s scientific theories, especially evolutionism.
113 Calvin, Comm. on Gen., p. lii.
114 Calvin uses this image, e.g., near the start of his first sermon on Genesis, dealing with Genesis 1:1-2: "God extends to us a wonderful kindness, greatly pleased to help us in our ignorance, in our reluctance, indeed in our wickedness, by adding his word to what we can see and perceive by experience. Consequently, we can call God’s word our eyeglasses. Those who are near-sighted or whose eyesight is dim see some light, but if they wish to see at a distance, everything will be blurred and they will not be able to tell the difference between one letter and another. But if they have glasses, their eyesight is so strengthened as to be restored, whereas it was previously useless to them. The same is true when we try to judge the works of God with our own senses. We move toward irrationality. We will lack circumspection and discrimination, but when our Lord provides his word, we are able to see distinctly and to be instructed in what is necessary for worshipping and serving him and attributing to him the glory which is his" (Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, pp. 4-5; cf. Comm. on Gen., pp. 62-63; Institutes 1.6.1, p. 70; 1.14.1, p. 160).
115 Institutes, p. 70, n. 1. Robert L. Reymond notes that near the beginning of Institutes 1.6, Calvin’s first chapter on God’s Word, he "employs three metaphors" for Scripture as necessary to bring us to a true knowledge of God. As well as (1) "spectacles," God’s word is also (2) a "thread" to bring us out of the "inexplicable labyrinth" of idolatrous thoughts (1.6.3, p. 73) and (3) a "teacher" (cf. 1.6.2, p. 72; 1.6.4, p. 73) ("Calvin’s Doctrine of Holy Scripture (1.6-10)," in David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback (eds.), A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes [Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2008], pp. 46-47).
116 Parker, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, p. 39
117 Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., "Creation and Providence (1.14, 16-18)," in Hall and Lillback (eds.), A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, p. 137.
118 Calvin frequently cites Hebrews 11:3 to prove the essential role of faith in knowing the truth of creation and the creator (e.g., Institutes 1.5.14, p. 68; 1.16.1, p. 197; Comms. on Gen., p. 63; Heb. 11:3; Sermons on Genesis Chapters 1-11, p. 7).
119 Georgia Harkness, not the most trustworthy of Calvin authors, is, at least, correct in this: John Calvin "was a keen thinker, a highly educated man, a scholar of towering intellectual capacity. He believed in education, and he set before his followers the requirement of both an educated ministry and an educated laity. He founded a university for the better education of the people and the training of young men for the ministry. He insisted that children be given free, compulsory education. He set the example for the high regard for education which led the Puritans to establish Harvard College in 1636, almost as soon as their feet had touched New England soil" (John Calvin: The Man and His Ethics [Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1931], p. 87). Calvin’s sterling promotion of education has been inspirational for almost five centuries in the founding and continuing of Christian schools, colleges and universities around the world and not only in New England.
120 Setting forth the teaching of the Genevan Reformer, Ronald S. Wallace states, "The members of the body of Christ who are sanctified through union with Christ are subjected to a special providence which shapes their historical career into a pattern similar to the pattern of death and resurrection worked out in the sanctification of Jesus Christ Himself. The afflictions which are ordered by God for this purpose Calvin calls the Cross" (Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life [Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1959], p. 68).
121 Cf. Dawkins: "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference" (River Out of Eden, p. 133).
122 Roman Catholic theology can embrace theistic evolution because of Rome’s denial of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture; its incorporation of Aristotle’s impersonal, "unmoved-mover" god into its Thomist philosophy; and its pitifully weak doctrine of providence. Rome compromises with the world on this issue, as on many others, because it courts the world’s esteem and power.
123 Calvin, Comm. on Rom. 1:18.
124 For more on marriage, see this on-line Marriage Resources page.
125 For more on the Lord’s Day, see this on-line Lord’s Day Resources page.