Thursday, August 25, 2022
Ninety-seven years ago, high school science teacher John Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching the theory of evolution in a public school. It was a contrived attempt to accomplish two goals. First, a few men from Dayton, Tennessee, had decided that their city needed more recognition, and thought that a trial of this magnitude would generate the publicity they wanted. Second, and more importantly, the American Civil Liberties Union was notified of the plan, and they agreed to pay the legal fees of any teacher who would put the Tennessee law that required teachers to teach creation to the test. They quickly agreed, running a full-page ad in the Chattanooga Times the day before Scopes was arrested.
Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, something to which he had already admitted. But the trial was not really about Scopes’ guilt or innocence; it was about whether or not God should be the foundation of our educational system. When the verdict was announced, a vocal critic of the trial, who was a reporter named H.L. Mencken, explained to readers of the Baltimore Sun and the American Mercury:
“All that remains of the great cause of the State of Tennessee against the infidel Scopes is the formal business of bumping off the defendant. There may be some legal jousting on Monday and some gaudy oratory on Tuesday, but the main battle is over, with Genesis completely triumphant. Judge Raulston finished the benign business yesterday morning by leaping with soft judicial hosannas into the arms of the prosecution.”
Unfortunately, it was not the end. An appeal was filed. Scopes conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court on a technicality. However, that same court upheld the constitutionality of the state law forbidding the teaching of evolution. But that started a nationwide battle in multiple states, and eventually the United States Supreme Court, which legalized the teaching evolution, and outlawed the teaching of creation.
On the official Library of Congress web site is this quote about the results of the trial. This would appear to be the official position of our government’s historical records on this subject. “While volumes of scientific evidence support the theory of evolution, many felt that it contradicted the story of creation as described in the Bible and thus did not want evolution taught in schools…The trial did bring Dayton, Tennessee a great deal of publicity, mostly comprised of reinforcements of a stereotype of the south as an intellectual backwater, certainly not the type Daytonians had hoped to attract.”
Wow! Those who believe in creation and deny evolution are called stagnant intellectuals. The reason I share all of that with you is very simple yet very profound – we live in a world that seeks to eliminate the need for God’s involvement in human affairs and goes so far as to eliminate the very existence of God. According to most people alive today, all man needs can be found in man. I declare, based on God’s truth, that people living under such a belief system are empty.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
I remember what Tom Landry said years ago, just after they had won the Super Bowl. “The overwhelming emotion—in a few days, among the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team—was how empty that goal was. There must be something more.”
Everything in this world from which we seek to gain approval, acceptance, or acquisitions, will leave us empty. None of the things the world offers can rescue us from the empty way of life we live. Why do we who have experienced the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ continue to pursue the things of the world to fill the emptiness we claim to still feel.?
I think it’s truly a heart issue. We do not fully believe that Christ is sufficient. There is only one reason for a sense of emptiness in our lives – God doesn’t fill that part of our life. And as long as we don’t let Him completely fill us and we continue to pursue other means of satisfaction, we will continue to be empty.