Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Natural Selection and Divine Providence According to St. Nikolai Velimirovich

How the Sheep Survived

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

When we think about Darwin’s theory, we often wonder how the sheep managed to survive. Darwin maintains that in the “harsh struggle for survival” over long periods of time only those animals survived that were stronger and more agile than their neighbors, while the weaker and the less skillful disappeared. Having listened carefully to this theory, we ask ourselves: how did the sheep manage to survive? How did it happen that they were not completely exterminated by their mortal enemies – the wolves? After all, a she-wolf produces a litter of five or six cubs every year, while in the same period of time a ewe produces one single lamb. So every year there are five against one.

Moreover, the wolf is endowed with strength; has claws and fangs, none of which the ewe has. In addition, is not the wolf faster than the ewe? So the ewe cannot hope to survive by fleeing from her merciless persecutor. Furthermore, the wolf sees in the sheep his greatest delicacy and is able to devour a whole flock for a single meal. So, we ask, why were the sheep not exterminated over the years and eliminated from the earth altogether?

Man protected them! What man? Had not both wolves and sheep been created before man? Darwin agrees with the Bible in this respect: man appeared on earth after all the other animals, which means after both wolves and sheep.

What can be weaker, less aggressive, more defenseless, more unarmed than the sheep? The bee is smaller, but it has its sting. The microbe is invisible, but it attacks with poison. Compare the wolf to the sheep. The wolf is a fighter, daring, powerful, agile; the wolf has stamina and is well-armed. How, then, did the sheep manage to survive in close proximity to the wolves and without anyone’s assistance? And how can we, faced with this obvious fact, accept as truth the statement that those who are stronger and more agile will survive, while those who are weaker and less agile will perish and disappear in the so-called “struggle for survival?”

Obviously we cannot. Our experience speaks against it. The case of the sheep speaks against it. And every scientific theory must be directed and corrected by experience.

So all we can do is to adhere to our good old belief, confirmed by experience, that Divine Providence rules the world, supporting the weaker, restraining the stronger, and all the while maintaining that wondrous harmony of life in which both the wolves are well-fed and all the sheep accounted for. The proof of this holy and loving Providence was given to us by our Lord Saviour when He said that not a single sparrow would fall to the ground without our Father (Matt. 10:29).