The Apple Of God's Eye

December 19, 2009

Darwin vs. Genesis: A Literary Smackdown

I recently came across an article in the Toronto Star, a Canadian (liberal) newspaper. The title was: “Analysis: Darwin vs. Genesis, a literary smackdown.” The writer, Stephen Marche, makes a comparison between the authority of the Bible vs. Darwin’s book. Darwin supposedly wrote a masterpiece  which has only peer: the book of Genesis, the only other book that explains all of nature in a few terse sentences.

Why the comparison in a mainstream paper? The 25th of November 2009 was the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Darwin’s “Origin of the species.” So the article, I suppose was timely, but it is the way it was written that surprised me.

Marche writes, “You can spot the difference in the quality of the writing from the very first lines of the respective books. The first line of Genesis – ‘In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth’ – is simply the best sentence ever composed: strong, active, concise, clear, complete and yet turgid with hidden depths.” He cites Genesis as being full of delicious wordplay, humour, succinct expression , health and strength and possessing “real character.”

This, he says is unlike The Origin of Species, which opens with a lead sentence stuffed with vagueness and weakness. “When on board HMS Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species – that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.”

Marche states, “this is a perfect model for what not to do with a lead sentence. Not only does it contain a passive construction, it is also a tissue of conditionals, stuffed with “seemed to me,” “some light,” and “one of our greatest.” The consequence of this, he states, is to lead the Kansas school board trustees and ex-U.S. Presidents to believe that there’s reasonable doubt about the ideas in The Origin of Species.” Therefore, he concludes, good writing matters.

Of course, he totally derails at the end of the article. He deftly hooks the reader with a little bit of reverse psychology, stating: “And so we are forced to the conclusion that, in almost every respect, Genesis is a better book than The Origin of Species, in the purity and intensity of its style, in its recognition of human realities” (Ibid). Then, the real depth of his beliefs are spewed out: “It’s just that Genesis is a pack of lies that has served the cause of bafflement for millennia, while The Origin of Species is true and has done more to liberate us from ignorance than any other book” (Ibid).

So ironically, Marche gives many reasons why the Bible is a superior literary read, yet, when coming to defend Darwin’s book, he simply makes a limp statement of conclusion. Having  painted himself into a corner, he doesn’t  realize his clever language only showcases his lack of spiritual substance.

The authority and power of the Bible is evident, showing that God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness….” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Though powerfully packed with history, it’s also the only book on earth that has consistently revealed in advance what will come to pass. It reveals an amazing hope and potential for all mankind; one that reaches the furthest corners of the universe. In contrast, belief in “The Origin Of The Species” leaves us hopelessly stranded in the past, giving us no more hope than the animals we have supposedly evolved from. Perhaps there is a reason why God is the superior author?

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: