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Why I rejected ‘theistic evolution’

by , Ph.D.

12 January 2004

Theistic evolution is a significant threat to the Christian church. It undermines the very foundation of the Christian faith and causes people to doubt the truth of Scripture.

I grew up as a theistic evolutionist. I was interested in science, and was an undergraduate biochemistry major. I believed in God and heard that he was the Creator on Sunday, but heard evolution all the other days of the week. I did what seemed the only logical thing that I think so many Christians also do, and that is to try to blend the two together. So I combined them, thinking that evolution was simply the process that God used to create, but that is so wrong. I think people make that compromise because they do not know all of the scientific evidence that calls the theory of evolution into question and they also have not been made aware of the major theological/biblical problems that it generates.

Proverbs 18:17 says: ‘The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward to question him’. Almost all we hear is ‘evolution’—in schools and universities, zoos, museums, television, movies, etc. So if we don't teach the implications of evolution and the problems associated with it in our churches, no-one will know any different. Evolution will seem right because people don't hear the evidence against it and no one questions it.

There were two things that really turned me to biblical creation instead of theistic evolution. The first were the passages that say that the word of the Lord is flawless. I came to realize that I trusted what the Bible says about salvation, that Jesus rose from the dead, that He could cure the lame, blind, mute and deaf. He turned water into wine—all in an instant. He multiplied the fishes and loaves, walked on water. I believed all of those miracles, that they happened just as they said. I trusted the Bible in all of those places, so why not also in Genesis where it says God created all things by His word in six days?

The second and most significant point is where evolution cuts to the heart of the Gospel. Evolution absolutely requires death … millions of years of it, struggle for existence, survival of the fittest millions of years before man comes on the scene. In this scenario, death is not the enemy but the very means by which God created everything. But the Bible is very clear about this: the wages of sin is death. Death came into the world through Adam's sin. Therefore there was no death prior to the fall of man and therefore there could be no evolution whatsoever before that time.

If death and evolution are what God used to create (or even if He simply permitted it to reign for billions of years before sin, as ‘progressive creationists’ teach) then death is not the ‘last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26), nor is it the wages of sin. And if this is the case, then what becomes of Jesus Christ, whose very purpose in coming was to break the power of death and pay the penalty for our sins? I believe this may be the most powerful argument against both theistic evolution and progressive creation, i.e. all compromise positions on Genesis.1

The Bible tells us that God cares for his creation. A sparrow doesn't fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father, and yet, although our omnipotent God could call things to exist, instead he chose to use a death-driven process, a struggle for existence where the weak perish and the strong survive? This doesn't make any sense. It is inconsistent with God's character, His holiness and His love.

I see this as a variation on an old question. ‘Did God really say that He created man from the dust of the ground and not through a process of molecules to man evolution?’ is similar to what the serpent asked Eve … ‘Did God really say … ?’ The answer is, ‘Yes, God really said it.’ When we begin to question the truth of the Bible, in any part, then we are really on thin ice. The Bible stands or falls as a whole. We can't pick and choose which passages to believe and which ones to reject because on what basis can we do so? Man's fallible opinion?

I so appreciate the ministry of [biblical creationist] organizations …, because it enables Christians to find out and proclaim the truth. They really can believe their Bible even from the very first verse.

Besides the problem of death before sin, those who believe in billions of years make God far away and distant. Out of 15 billion years that the universe supposedly existed, and the 100’s of millions of light years across it is, man occupies such an insignificant amount of time in an insignificant amount of space—and how could God really care about what I do? Ahh, but if God created only 6 thousand years ago, it makes Him much, much closer and more imminent. The psalmist correctly asked … ‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the sun, moon and stars which you have set in place … What is man that thou art mindful of him? The son of man that you care for him?’ (Psalm 8:3–4). But God does care for us! Man occupies a unique position in all of creation because only man is created in the image of God and we reveal God’s glory in a unique way.

The universe is a vast place, but everything was created for man to have a place to live. Have you considered that on judgment day, when it is the end of man it is also the end of the universe? ‘The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare’ (2 Peter 3:10). If the end of man is the end of the universe, and the purpose of the creation is for a place for man to live, why would God have a universe for 15 billion years before man when He could make him from the beginning?

This is exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 19:4: ‘“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female … ?’”’ Jesus emphasizes that Adam and Eve were made ‘at the beginning’. This only makes sense if He is talking about Day 6 and not after 15 billion years.

Clearly, the theory of molecules-to-man evolution is incompatible with the clear teaching of the Word of God. Therefore, theistic evolution (and its stable-mate, ‘progressive creation’) is incompatible with the Christian faith.

Dr David A. DeWitt is the Director of the Center for Creation Studies and an associate professor of biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Note

  1. Progressive creationists reject the idea of biological evolution, i.e. one kind of creature changing into another but in every other respect accept the evolutionary scenario—i.e. billions of years, death and disease before sin, cosmic evolution, geological evolution, etc. Return to text.

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