After my first experience slogging through G.K. Chesterton’s work, I would have sworn not to voluntarily read another one of his books again, but I bought two of them at the same time and felt compelled to read the second one on my bookshelf, The Everlasting Man. As expected, the book is uneven: it can swing from incredible insight to utter bore in just a matter of half a page, but thankfully it does have many gems.
Slow miracles are still miracles
An event is not any more intrinsically intelligible or unintelligible because of the pace at which it moves. For a man who does not believe in a miracle, a slow miracle would be just as incredible as a swift one. The Greek with may have turned sailors to swine with a stroke of the wand. But to see a naval gentleman of our acquaintance looking a little more like a pig every day, till he ended with four trotters and a curly tail, would not be any more soothing.
Just because your miracle of evolution took 5 billion years doesn’t make it less of a miracle than if it took 6 days. Both transformed nothing into something (life and consciousness). You can add a trillion years to evolution and you won’t be able to escape the fact that somewhere within that vast period of darkness you went from non-life to life, for no reason or explanation at all, and it happened only once.
Science cannot explain creation
The science whose modern marvels we all admire succeeds by incessantly adding to its data. In all practical inventions, in most natural discoveries, it can always increase evidence by experiment. But it cannot experiment in making men; or even in watching to see what the first men make. An inventory can advance step by step in the construction of an aeroplane, even if he is only experimenting with sticks and scraps of metal in his own back-yard. But he cannot watch the Missing Link evolving in his own back-yard. If he has made a mistake in his calculations, the aeroplane will correct it by crashing to the ground. But if he has made a mistake about the arboreal habitat of his ancestry, he cannot see his arboreal ancestor falling off the tree.
He produces his little bone, or little collection of bones, and deduces the most marvelous things from it. He found in java a piece of a skull, seeming by its contour to be smaller than the human. Somewhere near it he found an upright thing-bone and in the same scattered fashion some teeth that were not human. If they all form part of one creature, which is doubtful, our conception of the creature would be almost equally doubtful. But the effect on popular science was to produce a complete and even complex figure, finished down to the last details of hair and habits. He was given a name as if he were an ordinary historical character.
You found a bone that you allege is a human ancestor. You use dating techniques to pinpoint an age of that bone. And then you fill in the gaps with the miracle of evolution, and if I dare doubt your myth, you label me the mythmaker? At least the atheists in the past craved some evidence to justify their lack of faith and desire to transgress the moral law, but today it’s merely sufficient to throw out the words “science,” “study,” “fact check,” or “expert” for someone to swallow whole a fantastical assertion without reading the fine print or investigating the presented evidence behind it. If a “scientist” said cannibalism is a way to improve the fitness of the human species, it must therefore be true.
“Bones and stones cannot in their nature bear witness”
The other day a scientific summary of the state of a prehistoric tribe began confidently with the words ‘They wore no clothes.’ Not one reader in a hundred probably stopped to ask himself how we should come to know whether clothes had once been worn by people of whom everything has perished except a few chips of bone and stone. It was doubtless hoped that we should find a stone hat as well as a stone hatchet. It was evidently anticipated that we might discover an everlasting pair of trousers of the same substance as the everlasting rock.
According to the real records available, barbarism and civilisation were not successive stages in the progress of the world. They were conditions that existed side by side, as they still exist side by side. There were civilisations then as there are civilisations now; there are savages now as there were savages then.
A scientist looks at all living animals and picks the one we most resemble to exclaim “We evolved from them!” Then he looks at the most rudimentary societies and tribes, of which there are still many, and exclaims “We used to live like that!” Even though they still live like that. Of course it’s all nonsense, yet because it is intuitive enough, the lazy, rebellious man who most desperately wants to be entertained and soaked in pleasure will readily accept it as his personal gospel so that he finds no reason to love God.
Why Caesars rise
A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the prince of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.
We saw this with Donald Trump. American conservatives abrogated their duty to society for many decades and then wanted to fix it not through the hard work of community building but by putting their hopes into an outspoken businessman who has mostly proved himself through marketing and branding. How did that turn out for them? As I’ve written before, strong men don’t want a Caesar because they know that his hunger for power will soon bring tyranny to their front door.
Social theories are wish fulfillment
In spite of all the pseudo-scientific gossip about marriage by capture and the cave-man beating the cave-woman with a club, it may be noticed that as soon as feminism became a fashionable cry, it was insisted that human civilization in its first stage had been a matriarchy. Apparently it was the cave-woman who carried the club. Anyhow all these ideas are little better than guesses; and they have a curious way of following the fortune of modern theories and fads.
It’s not hard to speculate what type of “archeological” findings will be published in the next decade: entire societies of our ancestral past were actually gay. Children had perfect outcomes from being raised by sodomites. And look, we have seen evidence in these tiny fragments of pelvic bones of successful gender reassignment surgery that resulted in material prosperity and happiness for the entire tribe. Liars will invent whatever they want for other liars to “peer review” the lies and give it a stamp of approval for the media liars to disseminate it to the minds of men and women who lost touch with the truth long ago.
Islam is a poor distortion of Christianity
Islam was a product of Christianity; even if it was a by-product; even if it was a bad product. It was a heresy or parody emulating and therefore imitating the Church. It is no more surprising that Mahomedanism had something of her fighting spirit than that Quakerism had something of her peaceful spirit. After Christianity there are any number of such emulations or extensions. Before it there are none.
Let us pray that Muslims come to see the truth that Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The Church will never fall
Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave. But the first extraordinary fact which marks this history is this: that Europe has been turned upside down over and over again; and that at the end of each of these revolutions the same religion has again been found on top.
[The Church] has not survived; it has returned again and again in this Western world of rapid change and institutions perpetually perishing. Europe, in the tradition of Rome, was always trying revolution and reconstruction; rebuilding a universal republic. And it always began by rejecting this old stone and ended by making it the head of the corner; by bringing it back from the rubbish-heap to make it the crown of the capitol. Some stones of Stonehenge are standing and some are fallen; and as the stone falleth so shall it lie. There has not been a Druidic renaissance every century of two, with the young Druids crowned with fresh mistletoe, dancing in the sun on Salisbury Plain. Stonehenge has not even rebuilt in every style of architecture from the rude around Normal to the last rococo of the Baroque. The sacred place of the Druids is safe from the vandalism of restoration.
At least five times therefore, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist sceptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died. How complete was the collapse and how strange the reversal, we can only see in detail in the case nearest to our own time.
If you seek salvation, no matter what year it is or how bad things get, or even if the Antichrist is ruler of the world, you will be able to be saved. God promised us that His Church would not fall and He has kept that promise. The rulers of today, on the other hand, make false promises that are not even good the moment after they are uttered. I put my trust in God, not man.
I beg you not to recommend any more G.K. Chesterton works to me. He was a great thinker and fine man, but I don’t have enough willpower to make it through another one of his books. If your willpower is strong than mine, however, you may very well enjoy The Everlasting Man.
Learn More: The Everlasting Man on Archive.org