Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
The Evolution of the THEORY of EVOLUTION
Plain Truth Magazine
July 1963
Volume: Vol XXVIII, No.7
QR Code
The Evolution of the THEORY of EVOLUTION
Lynn E Torrance   
Church of God

Born: 1918
Died: September 25, 2004
Member Since: 1953

Who really started the theory of evolution? And why?

   IT MAY come as a surprise! But the "modern" theory of evolution did not begin in the lifetime of Charles Darwin. It commenced over 2000 years ago with the ancient pagan Greek philosophers!

Theory of Evolution Not New

   It may surprise you even more to discover that the ancient pagan Greek theories of evolution sound almost exactly like the pronouncements of modern-day, world-famous scientists. Here is an example!
   One of the first Greek philosophers known to have speculated on the origin of life was Thales (640-546 B.C.). He "taught that living things developed from... slime under the influence of heat" (A.I. Oparin, The Origin of Life, P. 3).
   Doesn't that ancient theory sound surprisingly modern? How many times have you read a similar assertion in the newspapers or heard it over the radio?
   Another Greek philosopher, Anaximander (611-547 B.C.) "claimed that everything living arises in sea ooze and goes through a succession of stages in its development" (A. Makovelski, The Pre-Socratians, 1914).
   These mouthing's might have come from almost any famous scientist living today in our time. That's why the Encyclopedia Britannica remarks that "Anaximander agrees with modern evolutionists... in assigning to organic life on origin in the inorganic materials of the primitive earth" (Article "Evolution," 11th Edition).
   That statement is misleading, however. The truth is that modern evolutionists fundamentally agree with the ancient Greek philosopher, Anaximander. Any modern scientist might well win world acclaim by taking Anaximander's ancient theory of evolution and claiming it as his own. Few people would know the difference!
   Another Greek philosopher who knew God but refused to acknowledge Him (Rom. 1:20-21, 25, 28) was Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). He carried Anaximender's theory one step further. Aristotle taught the theory of spontaneous generation of living things. He taught that living things arise and always have arisen from dead, lifeless matter (Encyclopedia Britannica, Article "Evolution," 1961 Edition).
   According to Aristotle: "Ordinary worms, larvae of the bee or wasp, ticks, fireflies and many other insects develop from the morning dew, or from decaying slime and manure, or from dry wood, hair, sweat, and meat" (The Origin of Life, p. 6).
   Aristotle claimed that worms were generated by moist soil. "Man," he speculated, "may have a similar origin." Aristotle refused to believe that life can come only from life!
   Aristotle's vain speculations were blindly accepted as truth for many centuries.

Aristotle's Theories Become Church Dogma

   Ridiculous at it was, Augustine, of the Roman Catholic Church (354-430 A.D.), "accepted Aristotle's theory of spontaneous generation of living creatures as an irrefutable truth" (The Origin of Life, p. 7). Augustine chose to reject the Bible account of creation and accept the evolutionary theory of atheist pagan philosophers.
   Augustine not only claimed that the spontaneous generation of living things was the will of God, but he also established this dogma as Church doctrine.
   Aristotle's theory was blindly accepted as divine revelation for hundreds of years. For a long time no one even attempted to prove by scientific experiment whether spontaneous generation actually did take place. After all, who should doubt the "divine revelation" pronounced by the Roman Catholic Church?
   The first recorded attempt to demonstrate this long-cherished superstition by scientific experiment was made by the famous Brussels physician, Van Helmont (1577-1644). Van Helmont placed a sweaty shirt and wheat kernels in a room, and 21 days later found mice in them!
   Van Helmont claimed his experiments proved that vapors from a sweaty shirt mixed with vapors from wheat kernels would generate live mice (W. Bulloch, "History of Bacteriology" in A System of Bacteriology, Vol. 1, 1930).
   Most of the leading scholars of the time blindly accepted Van Helmont's experiments as scientific proof that spontaneous generation was occurring. The Dark Ages still had a complete strangle hold on the "best" minds of Europe.

Aristotle's Theories Questioned

   In 1668 these scholars were badly shaken when the Italian biologist, Francesco Redi, proved that spontaneous generation does not occur. Redi astounded the world when he described how he had proved by carefully controlled experiments that little white worms came from eggs laid by adult flies, instead of being spontaneously generated by decaying meat, as the whole world had for so long assumed (Redi, "Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl' insetti," 1688).
   Redi described how he had placed meat in a large vessel and covered it with Neapolitan muslin. He found that even when flies swarmed over the muslin and laid eggs on the cloth and the eggs then hatched into worms, the meat remained free of worms. He proved that flies had to lay eggs before the worms would appear (Garrett Hardin, Biology, Its Principles and Implications, p. 224, 1961). What an astounding discovery!
   Many scholars now saw for the first time that life can come only from life. Redi had proved the theory of spontaneous origin of life from the non-living elements to be a pagan myth, or at best an ignorant superstition. The theory of spontaneous origin of life from the dead inorganic matter was discredited.
   This all-but-dead theory was unexpectedly revived in 1675 when a brilliant Dutch naturalist, Leeuwenhoek, made a startling new discovery which gave the scholars the excuse they were looking for, an excuse to again teach the theory of spontaneous generation.
   Leeuwenhoek astonished the world by announcing that, while looking through lenses at stagnant water, he saw swarms of tiny living creatures which he called "wee beasties."
   This careful scientist made accurate drawings of these "wee beasties," and sent them to the London Royal Society (V. Omeljanski, Principles of Microbiology, 1922).
   Leeuwenhoek's startling claim slowly began to arouse world-wide interest. Other scientists began making microscopes to look at tiny microscopic life. Bacteria, yeast and other organisms were discovered, named and studied.
   Scientists soon found that bacteria caused meat broth and other organic liquids to spoil. They were all too willing to tell the world that bacteria were being spontaneously generated by meat broth and other organic solutions. This "great new truth" was quickly accepted by teachers and professors the world over, who began teaching their students that organic matter spontaneously generates bacteria.
   Again the world was taught a lie that had been carelessly assumed to be a proven fact.
   The leaders of the educational and scientific world were embarrassed when in 1862 Pasteur proved spontaneous generation of bacteria impossible by surprisingly simple, though carefully carried out, experiments. He sterilized meat broth by boiling it in flasks. He then proved that this meat broth would not spoil whenever he kept air-borne bacteria from reaching it. He proved that meat broth, as well as other organic solutions, did not spontaneously generate bacteria. Pasteur went on to prove that bacteria can come only from other bacteria.
   He also showed that when bacteria fell into organic solutions, the bacteria rapidly grew and reproduced (Harry J. Fuller, Oswald Tippo, College Botany, p. 24, 1954).
   The 1961 Encyclopedia Britannica admits that Pasteur and others have definitely proved "that all known living organisms arise only from pre-existing living organisms" (Article "Abiogenesis").
   In other words, evolutionists admit that Pasteur proved spontaneous generation does not take place. But, on the other hand, since they believe the earth was once a barren, lifeless planet, how else can they explain how life began? What a dilemma!
   Evolutionists were faced with a problem they could not solve. They knew there HAD TO BE a time when life first appeared (Encyclopedia Britannica, Article "Evolution").
   Yet, since they stubbornly refused to acknowledge God, to them there was only one possible solution. They had to look for another new proof that spontaneous origin of life from dead, inorganic matter takes place.
   Those who chose to believe in evolution, rather than a Creator, cleverly revived the long-disproved theory of spontaneous generation in still another form, a form they believed no scientist would be able to disprove. They claimed the spontaneous origin of the amoeba occurred from inorganic matter a billion or so years ago.
   Darwin's boob, The Origin of Species, added strong support to this new theory.
   Students soon were taught that all species of life that we know today evolved by gradual change over millions of years. They were taught that in the "struggle for existence," the law of "survival of the fittest" caused each succeeding generation to be better "adapted" Or developed than the last, until new species gradually evolved.
   At first this new theory was presented for what it was a guess but as more and more people began to accept and believe it, this theory began to be called a proven generalization. Teachers, professors and writers began filling our books, newspapers and magazines full of stories about the "facts" of evolution.

Scientific Researchers Ask Questions

   It became obvious to all that life could not evolve from an amoeba unless there was first an amoeba to evolve. Once again, scientific researchers began to ask questions. "What would an amoeba eat even if it were to suddenly appear on a barren, lifeless earth?"
   Scientists eventually observed that life as it is found on earth can be sustained only by organic food food that either is alive or had been alive. But how did that food come to be alive?
   Other scientists replied that if an amoeba could not survive without food, neither could a supposed evolving protoplasm which has not yet evolved enough to be an amoeba survive the rigors of nature.
   How would the first newly evolved cell of life find nourishment in a barren earth devoid of all other life or food necessary to cell life?
   Not only had scientists demonstrated that the first cell could not survive they were soon to demonstrate that the first cell could not arrive!

Life's Complexity Disproves Spontaneous Generation

   When most of the recent theories about the origin of life began, a half-century ago, scientists "thought the cell had a fairly simple structure" (LIFE, Article, "Inside a Human Cell," p. 52, March 29, 1963).
   They thought it would be a simple matter for so simple a thing as a single cell to evolve. But they did not know that a single cell is so very complex that it could not come into existence by any simple process.
   Scientists recently have begun to realize how astonishingly complex a single cell of the human body really is. They have found that even though one human body cell is less than one thousandth of an inch in diameter, this cell contains thousands of different enzyme molecules, protoplasm, cell walls, genes, chromosomes, hundreds of protein molecules, amino acids, deoxyribonucleic acid, adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine, mito-chondrions, a highly complex, nucleus, lysosomes, coenzymes, glucose, and many other factors not yet understood (See Scientific American, p. 66, October, 1962; Scientific American, p. 80, March, 1963; LIFE, p. 48, March 29, 1963).
   God must certainly laugh at the evolutionist!
   God made a single cell so fantastically complex that it is just as impossible for such a cell to have spontaneously sprung from the dead inorganic earth, as it is for a large factory complete with smokestacks, pipes, boilers, electric blast furnaces, flashing electric neon lights, coffee-break buzzer, machines, air conditioning systems, time clocks, cars, trucks, office equipment, secretaries, typewriters, computers, cafeteria completely stocked to suddenly spring into existence by "some natural process," let us say, by an earthquake, or a stroke of lightning, or a volcanic eruption.
   Man can produce such a factory. GOD CAN create such a living cell. Even the simplest single-celled creature is so
Partially cutaway view of a human body cell, enclosed in a diaphanous membrane. Recent scientific discoveries enable man to see the vast array of intricate details of the human body cell. Did non-living matter accidentally arrange itself into such an amazingly complex design? and then give itself life?

Powerful microscopes reveal the single-celled paramecium to be dumb foundingly intricate. Did this highly complex creature suddenly evolve from the mud? How could a creature of such complicated structure be it ever so small invent itself and arbitrarily decide to start living? and then start life's processes? - See PDF for Pictures
astonishingly complex that even an amoeba or a paramecium can no more spontaneously spring from the dead earth than can a large, "ready-to-go" factory spring forth spontaneously.

The Dilemma

   In May of 1963 scientists admitted there are only two possible ways for life to begin. "It could be created supernaturally." But the objection is, "Belief in supernatural creation in an act of faith." To even consider God as a possibility makes them lose sleep.
   Or as the scientists said, you can believe "life could be created by spontaneous generation, where the atoms present on earth, before life began, got together to form materials and substances which make up all living creatures."
   The scientists admit, "It requires as much faith on the part of a scientist" to believe in spontaneous generation "as it does on the part of the laymen to believe in supernatural creation" (Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1963). This leads us to the inevitable conclusion that what scientists don't like about creation is the CREATOR! Nor do theologians really like the Creator either for if they did they would obey Him!
   Today, many theological institutions teach young ministerial students that there is no conflict between the Bible and evolution. When these same deceived young men become preachers they teach their flocks the fiction that evolution was God's METHOD of creation. To cover up, they invent a false interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis to harmonize with the theory of evolution.
   Because they don't understand the meaning of the book of Genesis, they don't know WHAT we are WHY we are WHERE we are going what is the real PURPOSE of life what is the WAY to peace, to happiness, to success, to prosperity in this life. They don't know why God created man in His own image!
   Because the influence of the theory of evolution has caused theologians to misinterpret and completely misunderstand the first chapter of Genesis, they fail to understand that God is Ruler and Creator, that the Bible is His revelation to man. These theologians might as well throw the Bible the one FOUNDATIONAL textbook of ALL KNOWLEDGE out of the window. Their theology has become a mere speculation about what other scholars think about what some ancient half-pagan church father thought about the Bible.

A Word of Caution

   New hypotheses are going to come out; for, as the Encyclopedia Americana admits, "Evolution is incomplete as a scheme of the universe without the hypothesis of spontaneous origin of living things from inorganic matter" (Article, "Spontaneous Generation").
   Because there will be scores of new, different, and often conflicting theories, all of which claim to explain how life originated, you need to know how to prove that the existence of God can be tested. Read our free booklet, "Does God Exist?" and the "The Proof of the Bible," and also for the article "Seven Proofs that God Exists."
   Think for a moment! Who is your source of truth? Is the God who was present at the creation who saw, and knew, because He created it all the source of all truth (John 17:17), or is the skeptical atheist who was not present at the creation and whose theories have been proved by world-famous scientists to be impossible the source of all truth? This is the real issue in evolution.
   The evolutionist CANNOT know how life was created because he wasn't there.
   But God reveals in His Bible things we can't possibly otherwise know.
   The Bible, God's revelation to man, reveals that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the BREATH OF LIFE" (Gen. 2:7). God does not say He formed an amoeba in the warm ocean slime and gave it life so it could evolve INTO a man.
   Your Bible plainly reveals that God put the breath of LIFE into a MAN.
   Neither did God form man in the warm ocean slime but "of the dust of the ground" (Gen. 2:7). Again, man was not created as a single-celled amoeba, but as a complete physical MAN.
   Do you think it is logical to say a worm can progressively evolve (CHANGE) into a man just because scientists tried to stretch the period of evolution over millions of years?
   You need to fear to deliberately INSULT Almighty God by placing a worm or an amoeba in His place as Progenitor and Creator of man (Ex. 20:2). Your Bible states that "the fear of the LORD is the BEGINNING of knowledge: but FOOLS despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7).
   Do you choose to accept the speculation of the evolutionist who wasn't there at the time that all life has evolved and gotten better and better ever since the amoeba appeared, or do you believe the first-hand account of the Almighty, All-powerful Creator who was there when creation took place?
   If God be God, follow Him. Believe the All-powerful Creator when He teaches us through His BIBLE that our first ancestor was created physically PERFECT, after the very IMAGE OF GOD (Gen. 1:27), but that this first man SINNED. That man is now helpless and lost until he comes to Jesus Christ as his REDEEMER and his Savior admits that Jesus died for him because all men have sinned, and the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:16).
   Believe God's claim that Jesus Christ will REDEEM the faithful believer and make him this time spiritually perfect when He gives eternal life to the faithful at the second coming of Jesus Christ, when, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump... the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." For then "this corruptible... shall have put on immortality" (I Cor. 15:52-54).
   There is the goal of man revealed! All evolution promises is that you will die like a worm! Which will you choose?

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineJuly 1963Vol XXVIII, No.7
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |   2016 Feast of Tabernacles   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.