The spread of liberalism has been likened to the growth stages of ivy. First it sleeps, then it creeps, finally it leaps.
Liberalism slept in the 18th century. It began small among a few men, and at first it didn’t have much influence or popularity. Liberalism crept in the first half of the 19th century, slowing gaining adherents. By the late 19th century, liberalism was leaping, spreading quickly through churches, schools, and society, both “Christian” and secular.
It was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
This amazing prophecy was written 2,000 years ago, but it describes the conditions in our time perfectly.
Note some lessons:
• Scoffers will come in the last days -- “there shall come in the last days scoffers.”
This is a perfect description of atheists and agnostics who reject God and His Word. The subject of human origins is not a mere intellectual issue with them. They are not content to believe in evolution and to reject the Bible. They mock, ridicule, deride.
• They desire to walk after their own lusts -- “walking after their own lusts.”
God’s Word reveals the motivation of the scoffers. They are not sincere thinkers. They do not reject God and His Word because of scientific evidence. They desire to live as they please. They are in rebellion to God’s holy laws.
• Their ignorance is willful -- “for this they willingly are ignorant of.”
The scoffers pride themselves in their intellect and education, but God says they are ignorant. And their ignorance is willful. They have no excuse. The evidence for Almighty God is written throughout the creation and even in their own hearts.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:15).
• They deny supernatural creation -- “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.”
This describes the condition of the earth on the first day of creation before the Spirit of God separated the waters and made the dry land. “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so” (Gen. 1:9).
• They deny the worldwide flood -- “whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”
Even before Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, Charles Lyell was attacking the doctrine of a global flood. He taught the exact thing prophesied by Peter -- “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). This is an accurate description of Lyell’s doctrine of uniformitarianism, that the earth’s layers were laid down gradually over millions of years rather than by a global catastrophe.
• They deny God’s supernatural Word -- “by the word of God ... by the same word...”
Before evolution became popular, the liberals attacked the Bible as God’s infallible Word. They especially attacked the book of Genesis. They said Moses could not have written the Pentateuch because writing was not advanced in his day. They said that there are two contradictory accounts of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. They said the events of revelation are myths.
• They deny Christ’s second coming -- “where is the promise of his coming?”
The world laughs at the doctrine of Christ’s return. Even most professing Christians do not believe that Christ’s coming is imminent. They have allegorized or spiritualized the prophecies, so that they don’t believe in a literal fulfillment of the book of Revelation. Many are trying to build the kingdom of God in the world today.
• They deny God’s judgment -- “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
The world today mocks at the idea of eternal judgment at the hands of a holy God. Even many professing Christians reject this doctrine. Popular books, such as The Shack, say that God is not a judge. Rob Bell’s 2011 book Love Wins says that a God who would send men to hell is a “monster.” To reject the God of judgment is to reject the God revealed in the Bible. He loves mercy more than judgment, but that He is a God of judgment for those who reject His Word and neglect His salvation is evident from Genesis to Revelation.
ERASMUS DARWIN (1731-1802), the grandfather of Charles, is one of the pioneers of evolution during its “sleeping” period. He did not believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible or the Deity of Jesus Christ or salvation from sin or heaven or hell. Erasmus taught that all living things evolved from sea creatures. His family coat of arms consisted of three scallop shells with the motto E conchis omnia or “everything from shells.” He believed in God, but not in the God of the Bible. His God was a God who brought life into existence and then let evolution take its course. His God does not intervene in the affairs of man. Erasmus called God “the vast Unknown.” In his books Zoonomia and The Temple of Nature, Erasmus Darwin taught the theory of evolution. He believed that everything arose from an original “living filament” which was formed by “spontaneous vitality” in “the primeval ocean.” He promoted ancient goddess worship and featured depictions of the goddess Urania and the goddess Diana in The Temple of Nature. He said that he was taught this poem by the goddess.
Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl’d
Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world ...
Nurs’d by warm sun-beams in primeval caves,
Organic Life began beneath the waves. ...
Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated earth;
From Nature’s womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs. ...
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
Erasmus Darwin thought of himself as a free thinker, but his religion was nothing more than ancient Babylonian goddess-earth worship. In fact, it goes farther back than this, to the devil’s lie to Eve, “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).
In Erasmus’ day, most people in England and Europe and America believed in divine creation according to the Bible’s account. Erasmus was in the very small minority.
CHARLES LYELL (1797-1875) used geology to overthrow the teaching of the Bible. He published Principles of Geology in 1830-33. Lyell rejected the Bible’s account of the global Flood. He taught that the earth’s geological layers were formed gradually over millions of years of buildup. This is called the doctrine of uniformitarianism. It was first taught by James Hutton, but it was Lyell who made this doctrine influential. Lyell said “the past is the key to the present,” meaning that conditions have remained the same over eons of time. Darwin enthusiastically accepted Lyell’s principle, saying that Lyell had “produced a revolution in natural science.” Darwin later said, “The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell--more so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived” (p. 101). Lyell was one of the men who urged Darwin to write On the Origin of Species (p. 122).
Lyell was as much a Bible hater as he was a geologist. He was “thoroughly liberal in his religious beliefs or rather disbeliefs” (Charles Darwin, Autobiography, p. 100). Lyell’s objective was to destroy the authority of the Genesis record. He hoped to use his uniformitarian “theory” to drive men “out of the Mosaic record” (Life, Letters, and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, I, pp. 253, 256, 328, cited from John Whitcomb, The World that Perished, p. 70). Darwin and his fellow evolutionists loved Lyell’s uniformitarian doctrine because it provided them with the eons of time needed to make evolution seem feasible.
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) is considered the father of evolution in modern times. He published On the Origin of Species in 1854. He claimed that all creatures have descended over millions of years from original forms of life. He speculated that the process of evolution is natural selection whereby creatures change through the pressures and necessities of the environment. In other words, the wing originated because the original flying creature needed to fly. He gave no evidence that the process of natural selection could create complex organs and new creatures. Instead, he gave evidence that creatures such as pigeons can change in minor ways. He showed that pigeons can change into different types of pigeons, but he did not show that a pigeon could change into a different kind of creature. He showed how that a pigeon can have different types of wings, but he didn’t show how that the wing could come into existence in the first place.
Darwin claimed that he was still a Theist of some sort when he wrote On the Origin of Species, but that “since that time it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker” (Autobiography, p. 93). Eventually Darwin adopted Thomas Huxley’s term “agnostic” (p. 94).
THOMAS HUXLEY (1825-1895) was called “Darwin’s Bulldog” because he was the main public defender of Darwinian evolution in Darwin’s day. Whereas Charles Darwin was reclusive and did not like public debates, Huxley was combative and loved the public light.
Huxley was bold in his rejection of the Bible. When his first son died at age four, Huxley rejected the idea that he needed “the hope and consolation” of Christ. When the preacher read from 1 Corinthians 15 at the funeral, Huxley said, “I could have laughed with scorn” (Desmond, Huxley, p. 288).
Huxley counted famous Bible mockers such as Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, and George Eliot among his best friends. They wanted “a hammer to break the creationist shackles” (Desmond, Huxley, p. 186), and evolution was that hammer.
Huxley was one of the prominent voices in England for the overthrow of the Christian faith. He wanted to “see the foot of Science on the necks of her enemies” (Desmond, p. 253).
Huxley claimed that Jehovah God was an invention of man. He called the Bible’s account of Jesus casting out demons “preposterous.”
Huxley and his friends took control of science in England. He founded the X-Club, which was dedicated to “science, pure and free, untrammeled by religious dogmas.” “Huxley’s X-Club nickname was Xalted.
Science became the new religion and scientists the new priests.
Pope Huxley and his fellow bishops in the Church of Science brought back the inquisition. If a scientist dared to question evolution, he was persecuted. Freedom of thought and inquiry was not allowed.
Consider George Mivart. He was a disciple of Huxley at first, but he began to question Darwinian evolution and eventually rejected it. Huxley had him kicked out of scientific organizations. Mivart was treated like a leper.
This persecution is still going on today in every field of science.
Ben Stein’s video documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed examines the persecution of scientists and professors who dare to question Darwinism.
Huxley coined the term “agnostic.” It means “no knowledge.” The agnostic claims that there isn’t sufficient evidence to know if God exists. It glorifies a skeptical mindset that doesn’t accept the Bible as God’s Word. Huxley’s biographer said, “Agnosticism was to become the new faith of the West.”
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