We concluded Part 1 with the following statement:
Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow (GC 591).
Based on our research in Scripture and Inspiration, we saw that the policy Satan employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven was his primordial version of Pantheism (see 8T 290-292). Through extreme narcissism, Lucifer’s wisdom became corrupted (Eze. 28:17) and he came to the conclusion that he was an advanced, evolving being on the path to deity, and that deification was available to all who would claim it! He proposed to the heavenly host that they all were innately holy, that they could no more err than God Himself, and that they should advance on to exaltation by ignoring imposed laws and external authority (Christ), and develop their own innate holiness. He then imported this Pantheism to earth at the Garden of Eden, proposing to Eve that she ignore the restrictions of God and partake of the forbidden Tree, for Nature itself would advance her to immortality, deity, and omniscience (Gen. 3). Here are the spiritual seeds of the theory of Evolution, the brain child of Pantheism!
In Part 3 we will focus on how Satan would convincingly use the same sophistry in these end times, and pretend to “promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow.” Our goal in this section is to demonstrate how pervasive Satan’s pantheistic views are, and urge us to consider to what extent we ourselves may be influenced by this ancient, evolving heresy.
The servant of the Lord was shown the connection between the ancient heresy of Pantheism and the emerging theory of Evolution in her day. Satan would “evolve” (advance) his heresy into a universally acceptable philosophy through science:
“In the future, truth will be counterfeited by the precepts of men. Deceptive theories will be presented as safe doctrines. False science is one of the agencies that Satan used in the heavenly courts, and it is used by him today. The false assertions that he made to the angels, his subtle scientific theories, led many of them from loyalty. And, having lost their place in heaven, they prepared temptations for our first parents. Adam and Eve yielded to the enemy, and by their disobedience, humanity was estranged from God, and the earth was separated from heaven” (RH January 21, 1904, par. 7).
“Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the Word of God. The light of his truth shows that these theories are soul-destroying agencies. Darkness is their element, sensuality their sphere. They gratify the natural heart, and give leeway to inclination. Separation from God is the result of accepting them” (RH January 21, 1904, par. 10).
"Many teach that matter possesses vital power,—that certain properties are imparted to matter, and it is then left to act through its own inherent energy; and that the operations of nature are conducted in harmony with fixed laws, with which God himself cannot interfere. This is false science, and is not sustained by the word of God. Nature is the servant of her Creator. God does not annul his laws, or work contrary to them; but he is continually using them as his instruments. Nature testifies of an intelligence, a presence, an active energy, that works in and through her laws. There is in nature the continual working of the Father and the Son. Christ says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17; CE 194.3).
The servant of the Lord clearly identified the emerging connection between Pantheism, science and Evolution being promoted by prominent Adventist leaders in her day, a heresy that would experience a revival in our ranks in the last days. Some readers may exclaim, “I can see how this could happen in her primitive era, but we have advanced intellectually to the place where science has made a clear distinction between facts and religious myths.” The truth is that Evolution at it’s very core is---and ever will be---a religious teaching.
The earliest exponents of Evolution were not Lyle nor Darwin, but the ancient priests of Egypt, Sumer and Babylon. In fact, just about every tenant of modern Evolution was already described in some of the earliest records of civilization, closer in time to the garden of Eden, when Pantheism was first proposed (Gen. 3:1-5), than to our modern day. I urge the curious reader to find a copy of He Spoke and It Was (Pacific Press, ISBN 978-0-8163-5833-5) and read the excellent article Angel Rodriguez prepared on this ancient creation myths.
In Egypt, as in all the other Eastern creation stories, the gods responsible for creating all things are themselves products of evolution arising from primordial waters. Theogony (the evolution of gods) always precedes Cosmogony (the development of the universe). One prominent sample of this comes from the creation myths of the Egyptians. In their ancient records, Atum, the primary creator god, describes his own origin:
(first the primordial “waters” identify themselves)
I am the Waters, unique, without second.
(then Atum speaks)
That is where I evolved,
On the great occasion of my floating, that happened to me.
I am the one who once evolved— Circlet, who is in his egg.
I am the one who began therein, (in) the Waters.
See, I am the remainder.
I made my body evolve through my own effectiveness.
I am the one who made me.
I built myself as I wished, according to my heart.
According to the legends, the evolving Atum is credited with evolving the rest of the creation. Does this formula ring a bell? Not only do we hear echoes of Isaiah 14:14 (“I will make myself like the Most High,”) but we have matter self-organizing itself out of primordial seas— identical with Darwinism, including the description of cellular life (the circlet/egg)! One may say, “well, they simply observed nature and came to the same conclusions as modern scientists.” You must remember that these conclusions were reached without the aid of the microscope, radiometric dating or any other modern instrument. The truth is that these ideas were proposed by Satan, whose knowledge of God’s creation would be used to advance the Pantheistic foundation he laid in the garden of Eden: we don’t need to respect God, for life will advance and improve itself!
Toth, one of the agents in the Egyptian creation stories (Chronos, Duri/Dari or Oulomos in other ancient civilizations) is the god of time, which Atum evolved and used to produce the rest of the creation, over millions and millions of years— ancient Darwinism! The Sumerians added another familiar twist by describing those first humans as “animal like,” going about naked, eating grass like sheep, drinking water from ditches, with no knowledge of crop cultivation or construction— modern Evolutionists would label them “early hominids.”
Greek thinkers come into the picture later, with Anaximander (611-547 BC) conjecturing that all animals emerged from the oceans, humans themselves developing from fish to mermen, to land-dwellers. Empedocles (490-430 BC) proposed that plants evolved from the 4 elements (water, fire, earth, air) and went on to produce animals. On the other hand, it is worth noting that Aristotle, a keen naturalist, noted as did Darwin, that biological life is capable of limited, incremental changes, which might improve their ability to function better under given environmental conditions. This observable feature of life, commonly attributed to undirected Natural Selection, is now understood as “programmed adaptability” already encoded into the genome of every species to meet varied conditions, realized through God’s marvelous design of DNA’s epigenetic capabilities.
There are those who attempt to link the Biblical narrative of Creation with other ancient narratives, but the differences far outweigh the similarities. The Biblical narrative comes through direct revelation, not limited observation and speculation. The Biblical narrative has no theogony— God (and God alone) has always existed, and was not indebted to any pre-existing matter, seas, etc. The Genesis account is simple and elegant— God, as an omnipotent master designer simply “speaks” matter into existence, in an organized, sensible manner. The earth is created and inhabited in 6 literal days, with a 7th day added as a joyful memorial of Creation, which actions are confirmed by a weekly cycle which even today remains nearly universal. Intelligent humans are granted the privilege of managing this “good” yet intricately complex creation, that they might learn what it means to love like God loves. Evil, along with disease, despair and death are aberrations introduced by that rebel and first pantheist, Lucifer.
And just here is where we need to underscore one more crucial distinction between Pantheism and Biblical Creation: God’s creation comes from God, and is intimately sustained by God, but it is NOT God. In the pagan creation myths, the universe is an extension of the gods, of their very substance (pantheism), and thus what ever evolves is meant to be— what ever evolves is justifiable as an extension of divinity! Can you see the epic implications of this falsehood? More on this later.
We want to move from this ancient heresy to it’s modern counterparts, but we pause to address a relevant objection. In our modern age the scientific version of Evolution has traditionally lead to atheism and meaninglessness, as if it is not possible to be scientifically objective and religious at the same time. The truth is that our modern predilection with Evolution is driven by the same a-priori world view as it was in Eden, although it has perhaps taken a temporary detour through scientific objectivity. In observing the striking parallels between ancient creation myths and modern Evolution, we come to one of two conclusions: either Evolution is so obvious that even the ancients “got it,” or Evolution is Satan’s master-narrative to justify rebellion. Nearly 6,000 years since pantheism was first proposed in Eden, famed philosopher and advocate for Evolution, Aldous Huxely (writer of the acclaimed dystopia, Brave New World) confessed the real drive behind the modern evolutionary world view:
“I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfactory reasons for this assumption…. For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom…. There was one admirably simple method of confuting [moralistic] people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever” (Ends and Means, by Aldous Huxely, Harper and Brothers, pp. 312-316).
While renowned philosophers like Huxely and Bertrand Russel once pointed to the meaninglessness and despair of an unguided universe based on a purely scientific view of evolution, the tide has clearly turned, and once again metaphysical impulses are guiding the discussion.
Both ancient and modern theories of Evolution insists that matter is self-organizing. While it is true that evolutionists of yesteryear spoke of “absolutely random collisions” as the basis for the infinitely complicated, exquisitely organized features of life as we know it, advances in all scientific disciplines, from astrophysics to molecular biology, are leading thinkers to the conclusion that time, probability and the proposed amount of matter in the universe cannot account for the specificity and complexity we increasingly detect in nature. There MUST BE some “force” at work that facilitates or guarantees the organization of matter and energy.
For example, in his book, The Self-Creating Universe: The Making of a Worldview (2013), J.J. Clarke admits there is “clearly a field of ongoing controversy concerning detailed mechanisms to explain speciation, which has led some to claim that the orthodox Neo-Darwinian paradigm is in a state of crisis. In any case, there are important challenges to the belief that speciation and the spectacular proliferation of life forms in general can be explained solely in terms of chance mutation and adaptation. There is a pervasive self-ordering factor at work here which, assuming we wish to avoid the eternalized path of creationism, opens up the possibility of self-creative, emergent processes along the lines conjectured by Prigogine, Bak, Kauffman, and others.”
While J.J. Clarke was not willing to go down the intuitive path of creationism, the theology of “self-organization” has clearly worked it’s way into the hard sciences. As early as 1953, renowned Science writer and inventor Arthur C. Clark wrote his first best-seller, Childhood’s End, describing the ultimate evolution of humanity into a cosmic “Overmind.” A recurring theme in Clarke's works is the notion that the evolution of an intelligent species would eventually make them something close to gods (see Arthur C. Clarke, Wikipedia).
The Emergent Church Connection
Fast forward to our day, and you have Ilia Delio, with doctorates in both science and theology, positing that The Big Bang is the New Creation Story that needs to replace the Biblical narrative, and quantum physics rather than Scripture will tell us our story. In her recent book, The Emergent Christ, Delio evangelistically fuses hard science with pantheism, asserting that humanity is destined to evolve into “Christ consciousness.” For Delio, the emergence of Christ in the universe is part of the continuous process of evolution becoming conscious of itself. Ultimately she urges the Catholic Church (already steeped in the Evolution theory) to make Christ the Center of a universe which is naturally evolving toward some new perfection rather than recovering from a fall. It should not surprise anyone that this reflects the direction the Emergent Church movement is going.
And its not just theistic Evolutionists that are beating the drum. Who can deny that the fusion of science and spiritualism dominate popular culture? Evolution-based Eastern religions since the 60’s have saturated Western music and media, from Disney films to Star Wars, from Super Heroes to Avatars, from New Age practitioners to advocates for Cybernics (union of humans and robots to extend life indefinitely)— science and mysticism are now deemed natural partners in advancing the evolutionary advancement and deification of humanity.
Now here is the kicker: a simple Google search on “Religions that accept Evolution” will reveal that the vast majority of world religions have already embraced Evolution. Some of them have been advocating evolutionary origins for millennia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and the occult religions, for this supports their pantheistic aspirations, that humanity inevitably advances towards deification and merging with the great cosmic Consciousness. Most tragic of all is the fact that except for Seventh-day Adventists, Southern Baptists and Jehovah’s witnesses, all major branches of Christianity and Judaism have officially accepted Evolution. This is not accidental. It is the perfect philosophical base needed to strip the Bible of it’s authority, relativize the Christian faith, and unite Protestants, Catholics and Spiritualist in a common ecumenical cause—the liberation and evolutionary advancement of humanity… to oneness with “god” (as you perceive him). Lucifer is smiling, and preparing to make a grand public appearance.
Although we as a denomination still officially hold to a literal, six-day creation for life on earth, that does not mean we are immune to the pervasive influence of Evolution and Pantheism— far from it, as we will see in Part 3 of this article. Speaking of the pantheistic views being advanced in her day by Dr. J.H. Kellogg, the servant of the Lord warned:
Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature (Lt263-1904.15).
Sam Solér currently teaches in the Religion Department at Ouachita Hills College. He has pastored for 25 years, and besides sharing Jesus with others, Sam enjoys outdoor adventure, travel, science, history and the arts. His wife Marti is registrar at the college, and they have 3 fine young adult children, Raquel, Raphael and Sophia.