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"still small voice."
yet lived in continual dread of the hostile powers of
our theology nor our life.
What, then, is the biblical idea of Nature? God speaks to the earth, in the first chapter of Genesis, and the earth responds by "giving birth" to mountains and living beings. It is evidently no mere lifeless, inert clod, but pulsating with life and responsive to the divine commands. While yet a chaos it had been brooded over by the Divine Spirit. It is like the great "wheels within wheels," with rings full of eyes round about, which Ezekiel saw in his vision by the river Chebar. "When the living creatures went, the wheels went by them; and when the living creatures were lifted Whitherup from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. soever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creatures (or of life) was in the wheels." And above the living creatures was the firmament and the throne of God. So Nature may be material, but it is material interpenetrated by the divine; if you call it a fabric, the woof may be material but the warp is God. This view contains all
10 THE WHENCE AND THE WHITHER OF MAN the truth of materialism and pantheism, and vastly more than they, and it avoids their errors and omis
To the old metaphysical hypothesis of evolution Mr. Darwin gave a scientific basis. It had always been admitted that species were capable of slight variation and that this divergence might become hereditary and thus perhaps give rise to a variety of the parent species. But it was denied that the variation
increasing indefinitely, it seemed soon to
could go on
reach a limit and stop. Early in the present century Lamarck had attempted to prove that by the use and disuse of organs through a series of generations a great divergence might arise resulting in new species. But
crude, capable at best of but limited
the theory was
application, and fell before the arguments and authority
1. There is in Nature a law of heredity; like begets
2. The offspring is never exactly like the parent; and the members of the second generation differ more or less from one another. This is especially noticeable in domesticated plants and animals, but no less true of wild forms. If the parent is not exactly like the other members of the species, some of its descendants will inherit its peculiarities enhanced, others diminished.
3. Every species tends to increase in geometrical
progression. But most species actually increase in
And yet even they give but a faint idea of the reproductive powers of plants and animals. The female fish produces often many thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of eggs. Insects generally from a hundred to a thousand. Even birds, slowly as they increase, produce in a lifetime probably at least from twelve to twenty eggs. Now let us suppose that all these eggs developed, and all the birds lived out their normal period of life, and reproduced at the same rate. After not many centuries there would not be standing room on the globe for the descendants of a single pair.
Again, of the one hundred eggs of an insect let us suppose that only sixty develop into the first larval,
Of these sixty, the number of caterpillar, stage. members of the species remaining constant, only two will survive. The other fifty-eight die-of starvation, parasites, or other enemies, or from inclement weather, Now which two of all shall survive? Those naturally best able to escape their enemies or to resist unfavorable influences; in a word, those best suited to their
WHENCE AND THE WHITHER OF MAN
conditions, or, to use Mr. Darwin's words, "conformed
Now if any individual has varied so as to possess
conspicuous to its enemies, it will almost certainly
Now it has always been known that breeders could produce a race of markedly peculiar form or characteristics by selecting the individuals possessing this quality in the highest degree and breeding only from these. The breeder depends upon heredity, variation, and his selection of the individuals from which to breed. Similarly in nature new species have arisen through heredity, variation, and a selection according to the laws of nature of those varying in conformity with their environment. And this Mr. Darwin called natural, in contrast with the breeder's artificial, "selection," arising from the "struggle for existence," and resulting in what Mr. Spencer has called the "survival of the fittest."
Let us take a single illustration. Many of the species