Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A Few Words on Evolution and Creation; A Thesis maintaining that the World was not made of Matter by the Development of one Potency, but by that of Innumerable Specific Powers Notes on Evolution and Christianity

Abstract

THE first of these works is, as may be inferred from its title, a most curious production. The chief aim of its author is that of sustaining the Biblical Cosmology against what he regards as the fallacious inroads of the theory of Evolution. In carrying out his design he devotes the first part of his book to a general criticism of the Evolution theory, and the second part to a consideration of the first chapters of Genesis, which he regards as justifying his view that the world “was made by the development of innumerable specific powers.” Our readers must not suppose from this form of expression that Mr. Boase seeks to develop a system of Polytheism; on the contrary he is a Monotheist of the most orthodox type, and by his “innumerable specific powers” means only the properties with which matter has been endowed by its Creator. This, at least, is the only meaning which we have found ourselves able, after a somewhat hasty perusal of his book, to attach to this term, which constitutes the core of his “thesis.” But if this is his meaning we fail to appreciate the speculative importance which he somewhat ostentatiously attaches to his opinions. For the great distinction which he draws between these opinions and those which are held by evolutionists consists, as he says, in their making “no assumption of an unknown matter endowed with an imaginary all-becoming potency.” But so far as physical causation is concerned the two statements amount to exactly the same thing; the only difference between them is the old and well-worn distinction between theism and non-theism—viz. as to whether the observed “potencies” of matter are or are not God-endowed. We cannot see that Mr. Boase has contributed anything new to this question, and therefore regard his work as lost labour. There is a simplicity about some of his remarks which appeals to us as almost pathetic. For instance:—“From my point of view, the occurrence of some of the same kinds of organisms in the rocks of adjoining formations may arise from the remains of the older rocks being transported into the newer formations, or from the older organisms being created anew as a part of the more recent series.... It may here be noticed that such an alternate destruction and reproduction of living creatures is set forth in the civ. Psalm— ‘Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created; and Thou renewest the face of the earth.’ This verbal coincidence is curious, but, of course, cannot be adduced to prove that the doctrine of Creation and science are in accord with one another.” If the “point of view” in question is to be thus calmly attributed to “science,” the concluding sentence of this passage is one of the very few in the book with which we are able cordially to agree.

A Few Words on Evolution and Creation; A Thesis maintaining that the World was not made of Matter by the Development of one Potency, but by that of Innumerable Specific Powers.

By Henry S. Boase, &c. (London: John Leng and Co., 1882.)

Notes on Evolution and Christianity.

By J. F. Yorke. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co., 1882)

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

ROMANES, G. A Few Words on Evolution and Creation; A Thesis maintaining that the World was not made of Matter by the Development of one Potency, but by that of Innumerable Specific Powers Notes on Evolution and Christianity . Nature 28, 222–224 (1883). https://doi.org/10.1038/028222a0

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/028222a0

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing