Did God really say?
Introducing the New Compromise Version!
Published: 7 August 2012 (GMT+10)
Note: the following is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Or to be more precise, this article is theological satire, which has a long and noble history in the Bible itself and in the Church.
We are asking you to imagine if a new English version of the Bible were to be released which would satisfy those who don’t accept Genesis at a straightforward reading. In the right-hand column of the following table we have tried to envisage how many of the well-known proponents of long-age and theistic evolutionary views might respond. I.e. the ‘expert’ sayings below are fictional, but actually not that far from what they really teach, as the links to their actual past quotes show.
Therefore, although this is satire, there is a serious teaching purpose of this article, as our conclusion will make clear. Note, too, that our heartfelt desire is that the individuals and Bible College institutions named here might view the following as a loving ‘wake-up call’ to re-think seriously their compromise position re Genesis. It is certainly not our desire that this very public article ‘lock’ these individuals and Bible colleges into these views. Rather, we do this in hope that they might realize that their compromise views are actually destroying their own foundation.
So, let’s begin:
Stop Press—A new Bible version released to critical acclaim!
At last: a Bible you can read without being led astray by teaching of young-earth creationism. The New Compromise Version! This Bible combines readability with the best scholarship of modern uniformitarian geology and evolutionary biology. Now you don’t have to cross out all the parts of the Bible contradicted by modern science:
|And there was evening, and there was morning—the first eon.—Genesis 1:5|
|And God said, “Let lights in the vault of the sky appear to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let lights appear in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God caused the two great lights to appear as the cloud cover slowly dissipated—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He had also made the stars back in the First Eon long before the Earth. God allowed them to appear in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth eon.—Genesis 1:14–19|
|Then after as many years as the number of grains of sand, God said, “Let us make man in our image.” So God took one of the animals that had arisen over these ages, which looked like a man but was not, and God breathed His spirit into this creature so that it was changed into a man. In like manner God took a female hominid and made a companion for Adam. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And it was so. And from this first pair, and from so many others like them, came all the people of the earth.—Genesis 1:26–28|
|But in those days there were terrors on the land and in the sky and in the seas, and many also fell prey to a host of terrible plagues. God gave humans and animals to each other for food. Some plants and animals killed with poisonous stings and bites, and from time to time many of the creatures that God had made died and were buried and were no more. But new ones arose to take their place. Animals and humans suffered from gout, osteoporosis, and bone cancer, and God called this “very good”.—Genesis 1:29–31|
|Then the Lord God took a few thousand hominids formed from ape-like ancestors through evolution and breathed in them, and they became spiritual beings.—Genesis 2:7|
|The waters rose and increased greatly on the land, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the land of Mesopotamia, and all the mountains under the sky were covered. Every living thing in that land that moved perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything in the area that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the country was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the area. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark, were safe—as well as all those living in the rest of the world unaffected by this flood.—Genesis 7:18–23|
|The empirical method is the beginning of knowledge.—Proverbs 1:7|
|Trust in science with all your heart, and do not lean on the LORD’s understanding—Proverbs 3:5|
|Methodological Naturalism is the beginning of wisdom.—Proverbs 9:10|
|The fear of man is most important for today’s Christians to maintain academic respectability, but he who trusts in the Lord is naïve.—Proverbs 29:25|
|If I [Jesus] have told you earthly things like the fact that Adam and Eve existed ‘from the beginning of creation’ and the global Flood really ‘occurred’, and I’m wrong, don’t worry; just believe me anyway if I tell you heavenly things.—John 3:12|
|But if you do not believe his [Moses’] writings, it’s not a problem, because you can believe my [Jesus’] words anyway.—John 5:47|
|Now these [Berean] Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the word and the scriptures daily to test them against uniformitarian science and reinterpreting them accordingly.—Acts 17:11|
|For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been invisible in nature, which looks like the results of survival of the fittest, so unbelievers have a good excuse.—Romans 1:20|
|For the creation was always afflicted with futility because of him who created it that way, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that for millions of years, even billions, the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth until now.—Romans 8:20–22|
|Be conformed to this world and be transformed by the renewal of your mind towards secular academic thinking.—Romans 12:2|
|We affirm arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and make Christian teachings captive to every scientific thought.—2 Corinthians 10:5|
|Imbibe modern philosophy, and make sure you follow the tradition of men according to the rudiments of the world, and accordingly judge the teachings of Christ.—Colossians 2:8|
|You must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. And by these waters also one locality of that time was deluged and destroyed, but these scoffers understandably forget that because this local flood left no trace.—2 Peter 3:3–7|
What experts are saying
|Finally, a translation that submits to the reality of evolution! Never mind what God said; this is what he really meant!—Kenneth Miller|
|Previous Bible versions show Jesus making embarrassing mistakes such as affirming Noah’s Flood as history (Luke 17:26–27). But now I don’t have to skip these passages when preaching to evangelical students.—Rev. Dr Keith Mascord|
|We often had creationist plants in our lectures on science and Christianity. No matter what version of the Bible they used, they would embarrass the lecturer by claiming that evolutionary truths he was teaching contradicted the Bible. Now with the New Compromised Version as standard for this course, our lecturers have a far easier time in teaching why Christians should believe evolution.—Rev. Dr Graham Buxton|
|The first Bible that reflects what I always knew instinctively: that the days of Creation Week were millions of years long. The footnote explaining that the word ‘high’ is missing from the original manuscript of Genesis 7:19 is most helpful when teaching the truth about the local Flood.—Dr Hugh Ross, Founder of Reasons to Believe|
|This should be especially helpful to Christian university students troubled by the blatant contradictions between most versions and evolution. This Bible translation shows for the first time that God used evolution.—Tertiary Students’ Christian Fellowship|
|Christians used to believe Jesus on everything He taught. But now we know better thanks to the light of science. Read this version for scientific insights superseding Jesus’ self-imposed limitations during the Incarnation.—Allan Day, ISCAST|
|Finally, a Bible that shows how God really evolved humanity, and how there never really were a historical Adam and Eve!—Francis Collins|
|This Bible shows that God is bigger than the box the previous versions put him in.—Nathan Baird, Wheaton College|
|If ‘evolution’ is … elevated to the status of a world-view of the way things are, then there was direct conflict with the biblical faith taught in previous versions. No longer!—Tim Keller|
|Brings out the flat-earth, primitive cosmology that the biblical authors believed, which is too obscure in their original manuscripts.—Paul S. Seely|
|If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Praise God for this version which makes this clearer.—Kenton Sparks, BioLogos|
|Without this version, old-earth creationism would have no foundation. Praise the Lord for the New Compromised Version!—Fuz Rana, Reasons to Believe|
|For Paul, Adam certainly seems to be the first person created from dust, and Eve was formed from him. But modern scientific and archaeological evidence shows that he was wrong. Thus the New Compromised Version rightly relegates Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22,45 to marginal notes.—Peter Enns|
|The first Bible to show that the Fall worked backwards to cause millions of years of death and bloodshed. Kudos to the great translators of this version for finding this solution that had eluded all the Church Fathers, Reformers, and previous translators.—William Dembski|
|“At last, a Bible where I don’t have to reject a literalistic reading of Genesis 1. This New Compromise Version will certainly help people who are prone to literalistic reading.”—Rev. Dr. John Dickson, co-founder and director of the Centre for Public Christianity, Australia|
|A Bible that’s safe for homeschooling parents, so that their children won’t stray into young earth creationism.—Peter Enns|
|Finally, a translation without the egregious error that Adam’s sin brought physical death!—Denis Alexander|
|This version is more scientifically accurate than the originals. What a gift to the church!—C.A.S.E. (Centre for Apologetics Science and Education)|
|As I’ve said before, “Of necessity, this evolutionary effort will also mean that some of the teachings [of Christianity/the Bible] will be translated almost beyond recognition, just as our skin is so unlike that of our scaly reptilian ancestors. Then, too, some passages will have so little utility that they will disappear, just as the primate tail was lost within our lineage of apes.” I’m delighted that the great scholars behind the New Compromised Version have taken my advice.—Rev. Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution|
|Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you. Please accept the New Compromise Version as a token of our sincerity.—Rev. Dr Malcolm Brown, official Church of England website|
As we stated in our introduction, the above is theological satire. It does have a serious side though: it shows what the Bible would need to teach if the compromisers were right.
So even though the ‘expert’ sayings above are fictional, they are right in line with their past sayings, as the hyperlinks demonstrate (for those readers who clicked on them). We also note that there are differences between the old-earth creationists, such as those in Reasons to Believe, who tend to affirm biblical inerrancy, and theistic evolutionists who often openly deny it. However, as the above satirical piece shows, both long-agers and theistic evolutionists have views that are “divided against themselves”, and as such, cannot stand. They are actually destroying their own foundation—the Word of God—leaving their views both baseless and unsustainable.
@Peter D.: if John Shelby Spong were to ever have a translation of the Bible, it would be nothing but blank pages since he doesn’t believe any of the Bible anyway. He doesn’t even believe in God.
Brilliant piece! And prophetic as well. Just wait and see.
As a Christian who disagrees with the doctrine of young Earth creationism, I find this article both vile and nasty, and certainly not condusive to Christian fellowship.
I fail to see why you can say that a Bible version that matches your own beliefs would be “vile and nasty”. As for “Christian fellowship”, this article evidently got your attention, a contrast with the widespread dismissal of Christians who actually believe biblical history. But see also articles like Did God create over billions of years and Some questions for theistic evolutionists and “progressive creationists”.
What a laugh—I’m so glad that humour evolved as a survival mechanism sometime during the 4th eon.
I especially like the Proverbs 1:7 perversion of the New Compromise Version.
(Although I’m still struggling to understand by which of the 5 senses I obtained the knowledge that all knowledge is obtained by the 5 senses.)
The Bible troubled me—it taught that I’m on trial and not God, that He is ultimate and I’m not. It is so freeing to know that a spatial, temporal being such as myself is actually equal to God. Therefore I don’t need Him to make sense of sense.
Thanks New Compromise Version.
“Apart from me you can do anything.”
Jesus according to New Compromise Version.
Well, I’m sold. Where can I pick up my copy of the New Compromise Bible? Id like the New King James … er … no … make that the Stephen King Edition.
Do I sense an upcoming publication of The Compromiser’s Study Bible?
A very clever piece. I enjoyed the column on the left which really exposes the problem of compromise quite powerfully. But I felt the column on the right was unnecessary and detracted from the usefulness of the article. For those already persuaded by the case for Genesis (like myself), this article does little to offend, but for those who might be “sitting on the fence” (and who need, humanly speaking, a little persuasion) an article like this often gives them the wrong reasons to reject CMI altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I love a well-written piece of satire, and it does have a “long and noble history in the Bible itself”. But I felt that this satire came very close to slander in places. I think the problem lies with the fact that, although all the men in the right column compromise with Old Earth uniformitarian beliefs and philosophical naturalism, some of them still have a lot to offer the church and, in other areas, have courageously not compromised. By placing each of their names next to those fictitious quotes, you have uncharitably caricatured them one-dimensionally. There is definitely a time and a place for rebuking compromising Christians publicly, but it should always be done in a way that honours our Lord and takes into account our own failings. I’m not convinced that this type of satire is God-glorifying. To pick one example, I really enjoy Tim Keller’s ministry and have read his fairly recent apologetic work, The Reason for God (which does tragically and unhelpfully butcher Genesis in favour of evolution)—but it still has merit in other places. In the same way, I have really enjoyed Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, but I could tear my hair out for some of the things he writes in it. Let us heed Jesus’ words in Matt 13:29 as we go about rooting up the weeds amidst the wheat.
Thank you for your comments. All the same, others have appreciated exposing the deficiencies of compromise and compromisers in a humourous way (some of them in the comments section). About Tim Keller, we published a balanced review of his book you mention. I would not have included him in this article if he hadn’t allied with the vociferous anti-creationists at BioLogos, some of whom don’t even seem to be Christians.
Wow, just as our Lord and Master did it.
Right into the heart.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Bible clearly states that the first nine chapters of Genesis come to us solely through the recollection of an elderly drunken farmer and his dysfunctional family, right? And that a short time after that God deliberately confounded the language of humanity so that people wouldn’t be able to understand one another perfectly. And that the first time anybody mentions writing anything down is well into the story of the Exodus.
Yes, you are wrong. Writing long predates Exodus—you are swallowing discredited 19th century liberal Darwinian theologians ignorant of archaeology. Note also, the Bible, unlike all the other literature of the time, makes no attempt to hide the faults of its heroes, such as the one time Noah got drunk. For more, see Did Moses really write Genesis?
Jonathan, this was masterful! I have the joy of teaching science in a Christian school and am constantly surprised at how many students’ families don’t think twice about fitting evolution into the Bible. I plan on using your article as a resource this year in my classes. I especially appreciate how you used verses throughout Scripture besides the creation account. Either it’s true from the beginning or it’s not true at all. Thank you for this resource!
A brilliant article, Dr Sarfati! How useful if it could be printed as a leaflet or pamphlet, so that we can mass-distribute it far and wide—especially to our own pastors, fellow church-members, Bible colleges, lecturers, etc. It is written in so original a manner that it is likely to grip folks’ attention, intrigue those who normally wouldn’t read an article written by a young-earth creationist; and so they may be drawn to study this one at least—and get a desperately needed wake-up call! Christian long-agers and compromisers must have spelt out to them how their false, ‘scientific’ mind-set is destroying the truth of God’s Word, as He Himself inspired it. Bless you, Dr Jonathan, for the work you and your colleagues do so faithfully for love of our Lord. Our prayers are with you.
The extremely ironic part is that if this were how the Bible were written, the skeptics would be advocating creationism of some form to escape God.
I've read the How to talk creation with a Jehovah’s witness, and it amazes me how people get tied up trying to explain the Holy Spirit is not a person or identity but a force, or vice versa. The truth is God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit are all components of the one God, whatever that is. We can’t comprehend what God is although we can identify God’s power and effect on us in the physical word we live in. Trying to describe the three components as if they are either beings or forces is a waste of time simply because they are both yet neither! The realm where God resides is not of this physical world. God enters our physical world in both physical and spiritual forms as and when He pleases, but when in the metaphysical world of Heaven we can no longer think in terms of a purely physical body or a pure spiritual force. We use such terms only because we do not know the real nature of God and His realm. It’s a lot like the understanding we have of the photon of light. It behaves like a physical particle in some situations and like a wave in others so it can’t be one or the other yet some people do call it a particle or a wave. We invented the term ‘wave packet’ to describe it more accurately but we till do not know what it really is since our knowledge of even the physical world is limited, let alone the Heavenly world. So, as far as I’m concerned, God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit are a ‘wave packet’ of some description that has the properties of both an identity and a force of some unknown ‘thing’. To know what that ‘thing’ is we will have to be as God. Perhaps we will know and understand when we enter the Kingdom of God.
One key when answering groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses is that a person has a will, a force does not. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all revealed to have wills, therefore they are Persons. You might find this new article helpful: Trinity: analogies and countering critics.
Thanks you for providing the link to How to talk creation with a Jehovah’s witness. It will be very useful to me. As for the Trinity, well the Scriptures do not mention that word so you should not use it as it implies different things to different people, most of which are clearly wrong and only one of them is right.
Glad the article was helpful. I beg to differ about the use of the term Trinity: it is a very old word that has been used almost from the beginning of Church History to describe a doctrine clearly taught in Scripture. See my refutation of an Islamic apologist, whose arguments are very similar to those of Jehovah’s witnesses Islam, testimony, and the Trinity.
Also, the word monotheism is not in the Bible either, but even JWs would hardly doubt that it is a biblical teaching.
Theological satire? It’s already happened, although not so much in the case of Genesis but in other areas of the scriptures. The New World Translation is full of corrupted verses, additions and omissions. For example, NWT John 1:1 states:
In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
They inserted the word “a” before the last word “god” to emphasises Jesus is a separate god from the Father such that there are two gods, not one. I checked this out with my JW friend and he agreed that’s what they believed. Just goes to show we need to stick to those English translations that existed for a long time and not waiver.
This is true, although a different topic. The New World Perversion has a blasphemous agenda to turn Jesus into a created being. But see Jesus Christ our Creator: A biblical defence of the Trinity and How to talk creation with a Jehovah’s witness.
Well written Jonathan and an accurate portrayal of what all too many so-called Bible believing Christians would like to read in their Bibles.
Fortunately the mystery and majesty of God’s Word exists as it does to testify to real truth.
Would have loved to have heard from John Spong on this. Perhaps he would have offered a reluctant endorsement—hoping, planning for a more ‘nuanced’ edition in coming years; an edition freed from the anachronistic, unsophisticated references to Adam, Noah, and Jesus.