Evolution and Intelligent Design in The Secret Doctrine
The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy by H. P. Blavatsky
Compiled by The Editorial Board of Theosophy Trust
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This work reviews the evidence from anthropology and paleontology to support the claim of evolution science that man derives from an animal ancestor and finds both the evidence and the theses of science to be faulty and riddled with contradictions and unwarranted logical leaps of faith. Likewise, many of the tenets of creationist Christianity are found to be illogical and based upon literal readings of allegorical teachings. Both sides in the current Evolution vs. Intelligent design debate are found to be seriously deficient in truth content; this work presents a third alternative point of view, one that is both rational and religious: the possibility that Man has both an animal and a divine origin.
The pendulum of thought oscillates between extremes. Having now finally emancipated herself from the shackles of theology, Science has embraced the opposite fallacy; and in the attempt to interpret Nature on purely materialistic lines, she has built up that most extravagant theory of the ages—the derivation of man from a ferocious and brutal ape. So rooted has this doctrine, in one form or another, now become, that the most Herculean efforts will be needed to bring about its final rejection. The Darwinian anthropology is the incubus of the ethnologist, a sturdy child of modern Materialism, which has grown up and acquired increasing vigour, as the ineptitude of the theological legend of Man’s “creation” became more and more apparent. It has thriven on account of the strange delusion that—as a scientist of repute puts it—“All hypotheses and theories with respect to the rise of man can be reduced to two (the Evolutionist and the Biblical exoteric account)…. There is no other hypothesis conceivable…”! The anthropology of the secret volumes is, however, the best possible answer to such a worthless contention.
The Secret Doctrine, ii 689
It is really with surprise that we have ascertained the fact that "Esoteric Buddhism" was so little understood by some Theosophists, as to have led them into the belief that it thoroughly supported Darwinian evolution, and especially the theory of the descent of man from a pithecoid ancestor. As one member writes: "I suppose you realise that three-fourths of Theosophists and even outsiders imagine that, as far as the evolution of man is concerned, Darwinism and Theosophy kiss one another." Nothing of the kind was ever realised, nor is there any great warrant for it, so far as we know, in "Esoteric Buddhism." It has been repeatedly stated that evolution as taught by Manu and Kapila was the groundwork of the modern teachings, but neither Occultism nor Theosophy has ever supported the wild theories of the present Darwinists – least of all the descent of man from an ape. Of this, more hereafter. But one has only to turn to p. 47 of "Esoteric Buddhism," 5th edition, to find there the statement that "Man belongs to a kingdom distinctly separate from that of the animals." With such a plain and unequivocal statement before him, it is very strange that any careful student should have been so misled unless he is prepared to charge the author with a gross contradiction.
Every Round repeats on a higher scale the evolutionary work of the preceding Round. With the exception of some higher anthropoids, as just mentioned, the Monadic inflow, or inner evolution, is at an end till the next Manvantara. It can never be too often repeated, that the full-blown human Monads have to be first disposed of, before the new crop of candidates appears on this Globe at the beginning of the next cycle. Thus there is a lull; and this is why, during the Fourth Round, man appears on Earth earlier than any animal creation, as will be described.
But it is still urged that the author of "Esoteric Buddhism" has "preached Darwinism" all along. Certain passages would undoubtedly seem to lend countenance to this inference. Besides which the Occultists themselves are ready to concede partial correctness to the Darwinian hypothesis, in later details, bye-laws of Evolution, and after the midway point of the Fourth Race. Of that which has taken place, physical science can really know nothing, for such matters lie entirely outside of its sphere of investigation. But what the Occultists have never admitted, nor will they ever admit, is that man was an ape in this or in any other Round; or that he ever could be one, however much he may have been "ape-like." This is vouched for by the very authority from whom the author of "Esoteric Buddhism" got his information.
The Secret Doctrine, i 186
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