Would Christ create through evolution?
In an April 2017 contribution to the BioLogos website,1 NT Wright argued that “If creation is through Christ, evolution is what you would expect”. However, the argumentation is fatally flawed by the assumption of evolution imported onto the text of Scripture.
Wright asserts, “We must somehow start with what we know of Jesus’ own vision of truth and the kingdom and power and ask what that might mean for creation itself.” One consequence, he suggests, is that “if creation comes through the kingdom bringing Jesus, we ought to expect it to be like a seed growing secretly.” He argues that even though most evolutionist scientists are motivated by a non-Christian worldview, they “nonetheless come up with a picture of Origins that looks remarkably like Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom: some seeds go to waste, others bear remarkable fruit; some projects start tiny and take forever, but ultimately produce a great crop; some false starts are wonderfully rescued, others are forgotten. Chaos is astonishingly overcome.”
However, Wright makes an elementary error when he goes to soteriological texts to inform his doctrine of creation, and uses those soteriological texts to override the plain meaning of the cosmological texts! I agree with Wright that our doctrine of Christ is important for our doctrine of creation—the key Christian contribution to the doctrine of creation is the assertion that Jesus is the agent of creation. However, understanding Christ as the Creator did not lead anyone in the church to suddenly take the timescale and mode of creation outlined in Genesis non-literally until after uniformitarian geologists and Darwinian biologists began to challenge the biblical view.
Further, not only does the New Testament assert that Christ is the agent of creation, but also the agent of restoration—that is, when Christ returns and His rule over creation is fully manifest, He will restore creation from the effects of the Curse. This will not take place via a gradual process over billions of years—it will happen instantaneously.
In fact, it is ironic to use Christ’s teaching to try to support an evolutionary interpretation of Genesis, because Jesus’ own use of Genesis shows that He took it plainly. For instance, He clearly believed that Adam and Eve were the first historical people, created ‘at the beginning of creation’.
Wright argues that the wasteful aspect of evolution is in line with the parables Jesus used to teach about the coming of the Kingdom. However, Jesus was teaching about something happening in a fallen world of rebellious creatures—we should not expect the same things to hold true in an unfallen universe. In fact, many biblical creationists and atheists alike have successfully made the argument that a god who would use evolution would not be the loving God of Scripture at all, but a monster, to build such suffering and wasteful death into a so-called ‘very good’ process.
It is common for theistic evolutionists to use non-cosmological texts to try to make a cosmological point which directly contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture regarding origins. It is more important than ever for biblical creationists to be equipped to handle the sophisticated-sounding but ultimately flawed arguments of those who too readily compromise on the issue of evolution and billions of years. Yes, Jesus is the Creator, and He believed Genesis. And as Christians, we should seek to hold the same view on creation that He did, and not misuse His teachings to try to compromise with anti-Christian worldviews.
References and notes
- Wright, N.T., NT Wright: If Creation is through Christ, evolution is what you would expect, biologos.org, 25 April 2017. Return to text.