Those who accept the latter alternative are evolutionists. Hodge fairly allows that their views, although clearly wrong, may be genuinely theistic. from most evolutionists–that he can assign actual natural causes, adequate to the production of the present out of the preceding state of the animal and vegetable world, and so on backward–thus uniting, not indeed the beginning but the far past with the present in one coherent system of Nature.Surely they need not become the less so by the discovery or by the conjecture of natural operations through which this diversification and continued adaptation of species to conditions is brought about. But in assigning actual natural causes and processes, and applying them to the explanation of the whole case, Mr. Hodge’s own statement of it cannot be very much bettered: ” does not purport to be philosophical. Darwin shows no disposition to resolve the efficiency of physical causes into the efficiency of the First Cause. are not due to the continued cooperation and control of the divine mind, nor to the original purpose of God in the constitution of the universe.’ In physical and physiological treatises, the most religious men rarely think it necessary to postulate the First Cause, nor are they misjudged by the omission. Darwin does show the disposition which our author denies him, not only by implication in many instances, but most explicitly where one would naturally look for it, namely–at the close of the volume in question: ‘’ etc.
That by the word ‘since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so–i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times–as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once.’ causes, we are left in no doubt as to the ultimate source which he refers them to.
Rather let us say there ought to be no doubt, unless there are other grounds for it to rest upon.
Moreover, the counts of the indictment may be demurred to.
It seems to us that only one of the three points which Darwin is said to deny is really opposed to the fourth, which he is said to maintain, except as concerns the perhaps ambiguous word ’- One or both of these Mr. Hodge says, a theist) must needs hold to in some form or other; wherefore he may be presumed to hold the fourth proposition in such wise as not really to contradict the first or the third.
Dar-win assumes the obligation of maintaining their general sufficiency–a task from which the numerous advocates and acceptors of evolution on the general concurrence of probabilities and its usefulness as a working hypothesis (with or without much conception of the manner how) are happily free.
Having hit upon a which all who understand it admit will explain something, and many that it will explain very much, it is to be expected that Mr. Doubtless he is far from pretending to know all the causes and operations at work; he has already added some and restricted the range of others; he probably looks for additions to their number and new illustrations of their efficiency; but he is bound to expect them all to fall within the category of what he calls natural selection (a most expansible principle), or to be congruous with it–that is, that they shall be natural causes.
Darwin postulates, upon the first page of his notable work, and in the words of Whewell and Bishop Butler: 1.
The establishment by divine power of general laws, according to which, rather than by insulated interpositions in each particular case, events are brought about in the material world; and 2.
He assumes, also, the existence of life in the form of one or more primordial germs. If all the seeds of a plant, all the spawn of a fish, were to arrive at maturity, in a very short time the world could not contain them. This variation, by the law of heredity, will be transmitted to its offspring, and by them again to theirs.
Some of these variations are indifferent, some deteriorations, some improvements–that is, such as enable the plant or animal to exercise its functions to greater advantage. All plants and animals tend to increase in a geometrical ratio, and therefore tend to overrun enormously the means of support. Fourth, here comes in the law of Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest; that is, if any individual of a given species of plant or animal happens to have a slight deviation from the normal type favorable to its success in the struggle for life, it will survive.