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May 19, 2009 – An Apparent Missing Link?


It is fitting that in the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin the scientific community should publicize the discovery of a fossil that is being hailed as the missing link between humans and the rest of the primate world. This fossil, dubbed Ida, has already been called “the eighth wonder of the world” and a modern day Rosetta stone, amongst other accolades.

As I write these words, this news is still very new to the public and the coverage has all been positive, focusing on the boon that this discovery is for science. It will not take long however, for those who are ideologically opposed to the theory of evolution to weigh in with their opinions. Evangelicals have generally stood against the theory of evolution, due to its common atheistic ties and they will no doubt choose to declaim this discovery as part of that campaign. They will brand Ida a fake and a fraud; they will say that scientists have misjudged her age and have misinterpreted her anatomy. Some will become defensive and some will become angry. This is only natural: they feel that their faith is being disproven.

The reality is, it isn’t. I feel that it is important to remember a few key points with regards to this discovery. First, if the theory of evolution is factually incorrect, then the evidence will bear that out. The discovery of this fossil can only be a good thing in that respect. Scientists will study her more closely and find inconsistencies with previous judgments and they will correct them. They will decide that Ida is not the missing link that they have been searching for since the popularization of Darwin’s views. If evolution is not the best explanation for the world as we currently know it, that fact will be born out by the evidence. The truth will come out eventually and we must stand by the belief that the truth is always a good thing. The truth, our Lord reminds us, will set us free. This leads us to our second point.

Second, if the theory of evolution is correct, and this discovery bears out that theory, our faith still stands. The Bible does not rise and fall with literal, six-day creationism, no matter what any hardliners may say. Scripture is still authoritative whether we were created ex nihilo or ex simio; God’s commands are still binding regardless. Let’s not hang our whole faith on this single issue. The main message which we are here to proclaim is not, “God created everything in six days” but, “God created everything in the beginning and creates everything new through his Son, Jesus Christ.” If evolution is true, then this is part of God’s truth as well. If Ida is a genuine missing link then we can say with Abraham Kuyper, over this too “the Christ, who alone is sovereign . . . declares ‘That is Mine!’”

Third, there is the possibility that Ida will eventually be shown to be a fraud or a mistake, like the Neanderthals or the Piltdown man. In that case, we will probably quickly take the opportunity to throw a little more mud on the evolutionist camp. This is neither the wisest nor the most Biblical strategy. Who knows but that tomorrow they will discover incontrovertible proof of the very theory which we are vehemently denying today? Rather, we ought to leave the science to the scientists and focus our attentions on that which we know for certain: That salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. This is the message which the world needs to hear. This is our message to proclaim.

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