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A View Of Evolution

BUT how shall we avoid throwing ourselves into altruistic work if we are surrounded by poverty, ignorance, suffering, and every appearance of misery as very many people are? Those who live where the withered hand of want is thrust upon them from every side appealingly for aid must find it hard to refrain from continuous giving.

Again, there are social and other irregularities, injustices done to the weak, which fire generous souls with an almost irresistible desire to set things right. We want to start a crusade; we feel that the wrongs will never be righted until we give ourselves wholly to the task. In all this we must fall back upon the point of view. We must remember that this is not a bad world but a good world in the process of becoming.

Beyond all doubt there was a time when there was no life upon this earth. The testimony of geology to the fact that the globe was once a ball of burning gas and molten rock, clothed about with boiling vapors, is indisputable. And we do not know how life could have existed under such conditions; that seems impossible. Geology tells us that later on a crust formed, the globe cooled and hardened, the vapors condensed and became mist or fell in rain. The cooled surface crumbled into soil; moisture accumulated, ponds and seas were gathered together, and at last somewhere in the water or on the land appeared something that was alive.

It is reasonable to suppose that this first life was in single-celled organisms, but behind these cells was the insistent urge of Spirit, the Great One Life seeking expression. And soon organisms having too much life to express themselves with one cell had two cells and then many, and still more life was poured into them.

Multiple-celled organisms were formed; plants, trees, vertebrates, and mammals, many of them with strange shapes, but all were perfect after their kind as everything is that God makes. No doubt there were crude and almost monstrous forms of both animal and plant life; but everything filled its purpose in its day and it was all very good.

Then another day came, the great day of the evolutionary process, a day when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy to behold the beginning of the end, for man, the object aimed at from the beginning, had appeared upon the scene. An ape-like being, little different from the beasts around him in appearance, but infinitely different capacity for growth and thought.

Art and beauty, architecture and song, poetry and music, all these were unrealized possibilities in that ape man’s soul. And for his time and kind he was very good. “It is God that works in you to will and to do of his good pleasure,” says St. Paul.

From the day the first man appeared God began to work IN men, putting more and more of himself into each succeeding generation, urging them on to larger achievements and to better conditions, social, governmental, and domestic. Those who looking back into ancient history see the awful conditions which existed, the barbarities, idolatries, and sufferings, and reading about God in connection with these things are disposed to feel that he was cruel and unjust to man, should pause to think.

From the ape-man to the coming Christ, man the race has had to rise. And it could only be accomplished by the successive unfolding of the various powers and possibilities latent in the human brain. Naturally the cruder and more animal-like part of man came to its full development first. For ages men were brutal. Their governments were brutal, their religions were brutal, their domestic institutions were brutal, and what appears to be an immense amount of suffering resulted from this brutality.

But God is never delighted in suffering, and in every age he has given men a message, telling them how to avoid it. And all the while the urge of life, insistent, powerful, compelling, made humanity keep moving forward: a little less brutality in each age. And God kept on working in man.

In every age there have been some individuals who were in advance of the mass and who heard and understood God better than their fellows. Upon these the inspiring hand of Spirit was laid and they were compelled to become interpreters. These were the prophets and seers, sometimes the priests and kings, and oftener still they were martyrs driven to the stake, the block, or the cross. It is to these who have heard God, spoken his word, and lived his truth in their lives that all progress is really due.

Again, considering for a moment the presence of what is called evil in the world, we see that which appears to us to be evil is only undeveloped. That the undeveloped is perfectly good in its own stage. Because all things are necessary to man's complete unfoldment, all things in life are the work of God. The graft rings in our cities, the red-light districts and their unfortunate inmates, these he consciously and voluntarily produced. Their part in the plan of unfoldment must be played. When their part has been played he will sweep them off the stage as he did the strange and poisonous monsters which filled the swamps of the past ages. In concluding this vision of evolution we might ask why it was all done, what is it for? This question should be easy for the thoughtful mind to answer.

God desired to express himself, to live in form, and not only that, but to live in a form through which he could express himself on the highest moral and spiritual plane. God wanted to evolve a form in which he could live as a god and manifest himself as a god.

This was the aim of the evolutionary force. The ages of warfare, bloodshed, suffering, injustice, and cruelty were tempered in many ways with love and just ice as time advanced. And this was developing the brain of man to a point where it should be capable of giving full expression to the love and justice of God.

The end is not yet; God aims not at the perfection of a few choice specimens for exhibition, like the large berries at the top of the box, but at the glorification of the race. The time will come when the Kingdom of God shall be established on earth; the time foreseen by the dreamer of the Isle of Patmos, when there shall be no more crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are all passed away, and there shall be no night there.


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