The Mills of the Gods

William L. Carrell

The ancient pagans had a saying: "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine." In a similar vein the Bible says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Gal. 6:7) It may take a very long time--sometimes never in this life--before we can see God's judgment on those who reject Him. David at one time envied the wicked. "Always carefree," he wrote, "they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.... When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny." (Psalm 73:12-17)

In his book "Origin of Species" Charles Darwin recognized many weaknesses in his theory of evolution. He lamented the lack of supporting evidence from the geological record, and grappled with many other thorny objections. "Some of them are so serious," he wrote, "that to this day I can hardly reflect on them without being in some degree staggered." But the lure of fame beckoned him onward. His faith in God atrophied as he struggled with the ethical and moral implications of his theory. But he could not let it go.

In great mental turmoil he procrastinated for 20 years over the publication of his work. But finally his hand was forced. A. R. Wallace, asking his advice, sent Darwin a manuscript setting forth almost exactly the same conclusions Darwin had reached. Darwin was startled at the similarity, and deeply troubled. He had another struggle with his conscience, but he could not bring himself to allow Wallace to receive the full credit for the discovery. A short paper, purporting to have been written by both of them, was read before the Linnean Society. After this, seemingly with great reluctance, he was obliged to publish all the evidence he had accumulated in order to forestall the storm of criticism he knew would be coming.

Dr. Robert E.D. Clark in "Darwin: Before and After" describes vividly Darwin's mental anguish. He lost all interest in religion, literature, music, or art. Evolution dominated his thinking and his writings. But any criticism of his theory left him with severe headaches. He deplored the kind of people attracted to his theory. He became an invalid. But doctors could find nothing physically wrong with him.

Darwin never again had peace of mind. The time for him to die approached with the mental conflict unresolved. At his bedside the Duke of Argyle talked with him about how his research had really increased the reasonableness of belief in God. Darwin looked at his friend very hard and then said, "Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force, but at other times," he shook his head vaguely, "it seems to go away."

Since Darwin's time men have ransacked the earth searching for fossil evidence of links between man and animals. The discovery of such a link would assure one's place in history. Many have sought the honor through fraud and deception. Eugene Dubois in 1890 assembled from widely scattered bits of bone a creature he called Java man. But he concealed for 30 years the fact that he had found human remains at the same location. He ended his life by suicide.

One of the clearest cases of how God deals with those who deny Him is that of Dr. L.S.B. Leakey. Leakey spent 28 years in East Africa seeking for a link between man and ape. In 1959 his wife found a skull which they called Zinjanthropus. They were beside themselves with excitement. They jauntily nicknamed it "Zinj" and boasted that it was 600,000 years old, almost twice as old as any previously found so-called link between man and ape.

"There is no riddle to the dating of our new discovery," he wrote in the Sept. 1960 National Geographic, pp 421ff. The ages of other fossils found nearby were between 200,000 and 600,000 years old. The discovery received world-wide attention. He basked in the adulation heaped upon him. This would be the crowning achievement of his life.

Then things began to fall apart. A year later other scientists discovered that the fossil had lain undisturbed for 1,750,000 years, nearly three times longer than Leakey had so confidently claimed. He began cautiously to backtrack. "Until recently, pending exhaustive dating tests, we could only say that Zinjanthropus had lived 'more than 600,000 years ago', though Mary and I both believed that he eventually would prove to be far older than that." He apparently forgot that only a year before it had been "no riddle" to date him at 600,000 years or less. He did not say what had happened to the dating scheme of those other fossils.

But the worst was yet to come. Digging further he found bones of modern man at a level older than Zinj, along with tools and the floor of a hut. In the National Geographic of October 1961, page 577, with considerably more caution, he wrote, "I said before that Zinjanthropus seemed to be the world's oldest established man, since we see no reason to doubt that he made the tools at the site where we found him." But as the discoveries piled up his whole case fell apart. Zinjanthropus, no longer in man's family tree, was added to the list of debunked "missing links."

In her autobiography, "Revealing the Past", written after his death, Mary Leakey revealed the depth of her husband's frustration and disappointment, "During the last four years of his life, between 1968 and 1972 I had to watch Louis decline from the height of his intellectual powers and the fullness of his charm to become irritable and irrational, someone for whom his colleagues had quite frequently to cover up, out of respect for what had once been:.... He became someone utterly different from the Louis I had married and loved and admired, the Louis whose stature in his profession had perhaps never been equalled.... If you like, Zinj was one of the root causes of all this too." Page 140.

Obviously Leakey had hoped to be remembered for having found the world's oldest ape-man. But far from that, he had actually exposed all so-called ape-man links as false. Modern type man existed before the oldest ape-man! Truly the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. God is not mocked.

William L. Carrell 3693 Vanderwood Drive Memphis, TN 38128