Two views of humanity
My friend S. is like the canary in the coalmine. Evolutionary theory nearly drove her to suicide when she was in college because she was sensitive enough to the poisonous air to know it meant the death of man. Many of us are more thick-skinned (the princess and the pea under a stack of mattresses works as a metaphor too) and have not experienced so dramatic a reaction to Darwinian implications, but people like S. are good indicators of the toll evolution takes on all at some level or another, conscious or not.
When an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last week, killing eight people, the bodies were not even cold before the event kicked off the latest round of political wars between the big government spenders and the personal responsibility crowd. This scuffle will continue but there is another little noted response that all hearing the news will have to deal with in solitude on their beds.
They will imagine the commuter train passengers boarding the ill-fated metal tube in Washington D.C.—reading a newspaper, watching Netflix, making small talk with seatmates or avoiding it, thinking about what they will do when they arrive in New York, but they never arrive in New York.
In Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop wrote:
“If a person has been kicked up from the impersonal by chance, those things that make him a person—hope of purpose and significance, love, notions of morality and rationality and beauty—are ultimately unfulfillable and are thus meaningless. In such a situation … mankind would then be the lowest creature on the scale, the least conforming to what reality is. Thus we see how hopeless is the illusion of meaning or purpose as derived from evolutionary thought.”
In his book surveying American culture since 1600, Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform, William G. McLoughlin, not even a Christian, wrote about the 1890s:
“For many Evangelicals, postmillennial hope and optimism dies with the coming of Darwinism, urbanism, and the fading role of the self-subsistent farmer.”
It is a very interesting comment. Urbanism, we can see; changes in American farming, we can see. But who would have thought that an intangible and abstract teaching like Darwinism would be listed among causes of a national depressed American psyche?
Well, my friend S. would have thought it. But praise God someone led her to the Lord after her college professors got to her. Pray for your non-Christian neighbors, for there are really only two views of humanity riding a train from D.C. to New York: One is that they are images of God and of eternal significance, and the other is that they were squished under aluminum in an industrial no-man’s land like so many cockroaches.