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Does the Fittest Survive?


by Jeffrey W. Hamilton


            A tenant of evolution is that creatures improve by the principle of the survival of the fittest. Creatures best able to survive and adapt to an environment live to produce offspring while the less fit tend to die off. Hence, as mutations occur, the belief is that the changes which enhance survival remain while harmful mutations are removed from the gene pool. It occurred to me that among the many flaws in evolutionary belief, the principle of the survival of the fittest is in direct contradiction to what God has told us regarding the way this world operates. “I returned and saw under the sun that - the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). The wise man, Solomon, noted that best don’t always win.

            We see this when watching the Olympic games. The best athletes in the world will at times make spectacular errors and someone who was not quite as good wins the event. Sometimes winning means being lucky; sometimes losing is the result of a small accident that really has nothing to do with your abilities. Then there is the factor of being in the right place at the right time. You might not be the best, but because at that moment there was no one better available, you are chosen.

            Think about the death of Abimelech in Judges 9. Abimelech managed to make himself king of Israel for three years during the days of the Judges. He was a brilliant warrior, winning many battles. He led a strong group of warriors and managed to squelch many rebellions. But in the town of Thebez, while getting set to burn a group of rebels holed up in a tower, a woman took the upper stone used to grind flour by hand, threw it at Abimelech from the top of the tower, and managed to crush his skull. Did this mean that the woman was stronger than Abimelech because she managed to kill him? Was she the better warrior? Or was it simply because she happened to get a lucky shoot at the better man (quite possibly with God’s aid).

            The young boy David, inexperienced in war and wearing no armor, brought down a gigantic Philistine warrior with a single stone from a sling-shot. Who was the better warrior? Who had the superior strength, weapons, and armor? And yet an apparently “lucky” shot from a small boy brought him down (I Samuel 17:50).

            King Ahab, hoping to thwart a prophecy of God, went to battle dressed as a common soldier. He died when a stray arrow pierced a gap in his armor. “Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded." The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot” (I Kings 22:34-35). Because of the prophecy, we know that God’s hand guided the arrow, but the man who shot it was just shooting at random. He wasn’t aiming to take out the king of Israel. From his point of view it was just a lucky shot; yet that unnamed soldier was not necessarily a better warrior or a smarter leader than Ahab.

            Survival of the fittest? No, it doesn’t happen that way in the real world. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (I Corinthians 1:27-29).

January 14, 2013