Something More Tragic
Thomas Huxley once said, "There is nothing more tragic than the murder of a big theory by a little fact, and nothing more surprising than the way in which a theory will continue to live long after its brains have been knocked out!"
We're sometimes amused at the time and effort spent by men of intelligence in weaving theories which may in a moment be exploded by some stubborn little fact. We're, also, a little dismayed by the continued survival and prevalence of those theories even though they have been so completely demolished by the facts.
In the realm of science the theory of organic evolution is a good example of this. Hours are spent in tracing the evolutionary development of man and seeking to account for the origin of life without admitting the miracle of creation. We're led through various forms of animal life from which man is supposed to have acquired his different systems until we reach the point in which life originates from inert matter, then suddenly an explosion occurs! A little fact, the law of biogenesis, explodes the theory as a scientific impossibility. But though "its brains have been knocked out," the theory survives and continues to be taught from college texts all the way down to children's comic books.
Science isn't the only realm experiencing this unusual phenomena. Religion does, too. Denominational preachers holding academic degrees attesting hours spent in institutions of learning, herald the theories that salvation is by faith only, that religious division has God's approval and that baptism is not essential to salvation. Then someone brings out a Bible and reads from God's divine law that justification is not by faith only (James 2:24), that the Lord built but one church (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1: 22,23; 4:4) and that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). These little facts knock the brains out of the big denominational theories but they continue to survive.
Even the Lord's church is not exempt from these. Brethren have advocated the theories that the sponsoring church arrangement is the most efficient for evangelizing the world and that benevolent organizations are essential for its work in the realm of its activity. Then along comes that fellow again with the book of facts, the Bible, and points out that the sponsoring church arrangement violates the limitations that God has placed upon the elders of a church (I Peter 5:2) and that the local congregation is the only organization revealed in the Word of God for doing the work of the church (Philippians 1:1). But surprisingly enough, these big theories continue to live and are promoted by brethren in "Workshops, Forums, Missions during college lectureships" and through religious journals.
Possibly there is something more tragic than the murder of a big theory by a little fact. That is for men, whose professed quest is for truth, to reach the point that they love a theory more than they do the facts (II Thess. 2:10). This is, also, the only way in which I can account for a theory's continuing to live in either science or religion after, as Huxley said, "its brains have been knocked out."
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