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.