Evolution makes atheists out of people—Mark 2!
Ex-BioLogos leader Karl Giberson admits futility of his compromise
Published: 3 December 2015 (GMT+10)
In a recent article, I documented how evolutionary compromise undermines the professed faith of many. Conversely, a consistent biblical (‘young earth’) creation apologetic has preserved or restored the faith of many. One major evidence was physics lecturer Karl Giberson, a former vice-President of the leading theistic evolutionary organization BioLogos, which is happy with the idea that Jesus was mistaken about creation.1 (See the related articles below for our views on BioLogos.) For many years, he has been a vexatious critic of biblical creation, but feigned surprise that so many of his students ended up leaving the church altogether.
A major problem is that evolution undermines a historical Adam, and thus the reason for the Gospel. It also entails that God used death, which He called ‘the last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26), as His means for bringing about a creation He called ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31; see ‘Just preach the Gospel!’ Or: how not to impress atheists). Many atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Jacques Monod, wondered why on earth anyone would believe in a God of love who used such a wasteful and cruel process as evolution to ‘create’. Interestingly, Dawkins has little time for such Christians who basically don’t believe what they are supposed to believe—that is, theistic evolutionists like Giberson and the rest of BioLogos—calling them ‘deluded’ and ‘barking mad’.
Has evolution made an atheist out of Giberson?
Strangely enough, organizations like BioLogos claim that biblical creationists are undermining the faith by affirming the Bible, while they of course are strengthening the faith by abandoning the Bible. But how has this worked out? Giberson recently wrote a book blaming the Bible for almost all of America’s problems, Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World. It would be most instructive to read the review in a recent Journal of Creation (29(3):37–41, 2015), which exposes his misology and antibiblicism.2 Yet he claimed that he had solved the problem of reconciling evolution with a God of love.
So how well did his theodicy hold up? (Theodicy means a justification of God’s goodness in the face of evil.3) One test came from a low-information atheist John W. Loftus, an embittered apostate who left his preaching ministry after self-confessed cheating on his wife.4 His absurdities extend to denying that Jesus even existed! So coping with Loftus would surely be an easier test than one of the leading ‘new atheists’—although they in turn wimp out of debates with informed creationists.
But evidently not. Giberson wrote a blurb on a Loftus book published this year:
For years I have despaired about the sorry state of Christian apologetics, and even sorrier state of Christian apologists. If there be Christian truth, it lies beyond the reach of rational inquiry, and perhaps that is OK. In How to Defend the Christian Faith, John Loftus lays waste to a colosseum full of bad arguments, including my own tentative efforts at the problem of evil. (Loftus says I am “ignorant” but less ignorant than Ken Ham, which was a relief.) Believers should read Loftus’s engaging assault on their intellectual champions. They will be dismayed at how often they agree. I know I was.6
As can be seen, the tortuous attempts to reconcile evolution with a God of love crashed in ruins even against a village-atheistic critique, by Giberson’s own admission. And what is left of Giberson’s faith? We have long wondered whether Giberson is a Christian. Note, not because he is an evolutionist, since we have always made it clear that it is possible to be a saved evolutionist (see Can Christians believe evolution?). Rather, it is because he is a consistent evolutionist who has abandoned many biblical doctrines, and because of passages like the following that show that he has less-than-honorable motives for professing Christianity:
… my belief in God is tinged with doubts and, in my more reflective moments, I sometimes wonder if I am perhaps simply continuing along the trajectory of a childhood faith that should be abandoned. As a purely practical matter, I have compelling reasons to believe in God. My parents are deeply committed Christians and would be devastated, were I to reject my faith. My wife and children believe in God, and we attend church together regularly. Most of my friends are believers. I have a job I love at a Christian college that would be forced to dismiss me if I were to reject the faith that underpins the mission of the college. Abandoning belief in God would be disruptive, sending my life completely off the rails. I can sympathize with Darwin as he struggled against the unwanted challenges to his faith.7,8
But now, in the atheistic book blurb, he says “If there be Christian truth”—IF? This smacks of agnosticism! Then “it lies beyond the reach of rational inquiry, and perhaps that is OK.” Not at all, since Jesus said that “the Greatest Commandment” was “Love the Lord your God … with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). If Giberson is right, then how are you supposed to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2) or “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16)? Whatever faith Giberson is left with, it is not the logical and intellectual faith of biblical Christianity. At best, it can be the blind faith of atheistic caricatures that lacks the slightest resemblance to the real thing.
So much for the BioLogos claim that they are a group for thinking Christians. Rather, according to one of their most prominent spokespeople, the end result of theistic evolutionary compromise is that believers must check in their brains at the church door.
References and notes
- Cosner, L., Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of BioLogos, creation.com/biologos, September 2010. Return to text
- Woodmorappe, J., An evolution-imbibing compromising evangelical and his left-wing ideology: A review of Saving the Original Sinner (Karl W. Giberson), J. Creation 29(3):37–41, 2015. Return to text
- From Greek theos (θεός) = God and dikē (δίκη) = justice, right. Return to text
- Loftus, J.W., Why I Became an Atheist, Ch. 1, Prometheus, 2012. Return to text
- Actually, Ken Ham is much more qualified in biology than both Giberson and Loftus, and Bill Nye for that matter. Return to text
- Thanks to ‘vjtorley’, Karl Giberson reviews atheist John Loftus’ new book, uncommondescent.com, 16 August 2015. Return to text
- Giberson, K., Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution,pp. 155–156, 2008. See review, Bergman, J., The tragic toll of toxic teaching, J. Creation 25(3):33–36, 2011. Return to text
- See Batten, D., Karl Giberson unmasks himself: ‘Fifth columnists’ in our seminaries, creation.com/giberson-unmasked, June 2014. Return to text
Dear Dr Sarfati, thanks for yet another great article on theistic evolution. I know from experience accepting evolution can lead to doubting the Bible as a whole. And doubting the Bible leads to doubting God entirely. If Genesis 1 is wrong and even Jesus is wrong about it, we’re left with picking and choosing the parts we do believe ourselves, with our fallible judgment.
I’m very grateful that I came to learn CMI's work and have been reading your articles and books since. I’m now convinced of the truth of the Bible (again). I’m also convinced accepting evolution in the end will lead to leaving the Bible as truthful Word of God. It’s an evil idea robbing God from His glory and ruining the Gospel—at least for those believing it. This is not what true Christians should want, I think.
Thanks for your great work! Please continue doing this!
Blokes like Giberson face and demonstrate the effect of human pride and a wish to please men rather than God. For these types of intellectuals to humble themselves and realise they’ve gone down the wrong track and been deceived is difficult it seems. They do follow Bible prophesy but on the wrong side of the ledger as it were. God wants everyone to be saved and these intellectuals need to humble themselves and come to Him in repentence or God Himself will humble them.
WOW! I was not aware that Giberson had strayed so far, but I have to say that I am not surprised. His approach to Scripture leaves nothing left to really believe in and he has elevated the hypotheses of scientists (who interpret the data assuming God was not involved in creation at all) over the inspired Word of God. If what these scientists claim is true, then how in the world can the Bible be trusted? I think he is realizing the predicament he is in. Perhaps he is really a closet atheist—afraid to come out with it for all the reasons he gave in the article. He is a good illustration of the danger of reading the materialistic interpretations of science into the Bible. He has taken a giant step away from God and the next generation, if they accept his view, will probably continue on that trajectory. His views will never lead anyone closer to God in my view.
Sounds like the usual stance from a position that seems like a compromising-position but is in actual fact not really even a Christian position, if the term, ‘Christian’ is to mean something.
Very often it is important to make a delineation between being a born-again Christian and being a member of churchianity, or Christianity™. There is the man-made organisation of ‘Christianity’ which might make someone that joins that club follow rituals, such as attending church services, or carrying out rituals to please relatives, or carrying the name-tag of ‘Christian’ and there is the genuine reality of being born again of the spirit.
This guy’s reasons for remaining a ‘Christian’ seem to be an appeal to a set of consequences that might happen in his life if he is to give up his cultural allegiance to the name of Christianity. In short, giving up the name-tag would inconvenience his temporal and neatly ordered life. I don’t hear anything about knowing the Lord, or knowing God’s presence in His life.
It might seem like a game of semantics but the definition of Christianity today, has become a very, very loose definition. One merely has to use the name-tag for themselves it seems, in order to qualify, but to be ‘in Christ’, according to Jesus Christ, was your fruit. “You shall know them by their fruit.” I don't think ‘bad fruit’ just refers to immorality, but it can also refer to false teachings and theologies that stem from naturalistic motives, showing where peoples loyalties really are.
Rescue the perishing. Do what Canyon Ministries does—invites leaders or public figures to see the evidence and hear a coherent presentation of the scientific truth, which the ignorant rarely hear in their busy, insulated bubbles. Invite Giberson to CMI to sit down and hear from the “the best of the best.” Show him that you care for his soul, which looks to be teetering on the edge.
It’s hard to believe that Giberson has not already heard the truth from either CMI or one of the other informed creationist ministries. He just prefers to cling to evolution.
I do believe it is possible for an evolutionist to become a Christian and retain his belief in evolution—but not for long. Maybe this is the seed planted in stony ground. Sooner or later he will come to a fork in the road which will require him to choose. As he grows spiritually he will invariably come to this point that God’s Word shows him that Jesus is truly God the Son and that He was sinless, and so doing, was able to be made sin for us, carry our sins to Hell and dump them there. Hell could not hold Jesus because He had NO sin enabling Satan to claim Adam's flaw in Him. The Bible declares that “by Him and for Him were all things made that are made”: Jesus affirmed Genesis in great style and so the evolution-believing young Christian will need to decide if Jesus was lying or if He was deceived. If he concludes that He was lying He would have sin on His own account, if he concludes He was deceived then He could not be God the Son who made all things. On both these points Christianity would fail and cease to exist, at least for him. However if he is wise he will reflect on how he decided for Christ; as a matter of inner conviction, or, if he is simply frustrated because he can see the evidence of God in creation (intelligent design) but still in his heart he wants to sing the Frank Sinatra song.
It is a very important watershed for him which was described in Deuteronomy 30:19. Also God’s desire for us is also revealed here.
The fact that we humans can consider all things wise and foolish reflects that God is not a dictator. Having a degree or a PhD will certainly increase our knowledge but that is no guarantee of wisdom. A great man of God once said people should have the sense of an old cow—eat the hay and leave the sticks.
I agree that a faithful Christian should realize that there is a huge inconsistency between the Bible and evolution, including the important reasons you give (see also Response to the evolution appeasers). However, this maturing as a Christian doesn’t always happen quickly, cf. Can Christians believe evolution?). Indeed, CMI's founding chairman, the late Prof. John Rendle Short, was a theistic evolutionist for more than 40 years.
Evolutionists/atheists consider themselves scientific academics, and scientific research basis itself on fact that is reproducible. The atheist hypothesis is that God does not exists but they cannot produce any reproducible evidence to back up there hypothesis. They only justify Psalm 14:1
Thank you for reiterating a point that many Christians actually reject: that one can come to faith through intellect, because God's truth is evident to those who seek it. It also confirms what I believe, that we must renew our minds through not just the study of our favourite Bible translation, which becomes little more than indoctrination, but through comparison of multiple translations and interpretations including those of Judaism. Debates reveal truth, and if we do not debate we will only ever believe what we were taught to believe.