Calvinism And Darwinism -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 066:264 (Oct 1909)
Article: Calvinism And Darwinism
Author: Anonymous

Calvinism And Darwinism

Much of the evolution of recent years is but a half-truth of Calvinism, without any of the redeeming features of that comprehensive system. The Calvinistic doctrine of predestination did not stand by itself; but was closely bound up with a doctrine of free will and with a tender conception of the abounding grace of a loving God. The “predestination” of the Westminster Catechism is “to eternal life.” The foreordination which is spoken of with reference to eternal death is a milder word than predestination. The predestination of the Calvinistic system is the result of a decree dictated by perfect benevolence and unlimited wisdom. The predestination of the prevalent evolutionary system is but the outworking of a blind fate which has no regard for the individual and which is moving on to no assured goal of blessed perfection.

According to both the evolutionary and the Calvinistic system the outcome of the future is, indeed, definite and certain. But in the prevalent evolution this is the result of an unbroken causal connection of events running through all time. According to that philosophy, the present is the necessary outcome of the past, and the future will be the necessary outcome of the present. No room is left for the play of individual freedom in moral agents. In the Calvinistic system there is an equal certainty in the occurrence of events, but it is regarded as the result, not of blind mechanical forces, but of an original act of creation prompted by infinite wisdom and benevolence, and in full recognition of the rights and capacities of the free

moral agents who have been introduced into the universe, and endowed with the high prerogative of being the architects of their own fortune. In this system, the important truth is recognized that there can be certainty without necessity. For example, a clerk may be so honest that it is certain he will not pilfer from the cash-box though he is free to do so, and though there would be no violation of the law of cause and effect if he should do so. No more physical force was necessary to put a coin into his pocket than into his master’s till. The forces which move the will are not commensurate with those that move material things. Moral motives are not to be compared with locomotives.

Upon the Calvinistic view, the universe is the result of a divine act of creation in which there is involved not only an expression of supreme power, but also of infinite wisdom and benevolence. The logical order of conception is that the knowledge of what would be the outcome of every conceivable order of creation preceded the determination to select one out of the number for the actual system. In the choice of the ac...

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