Theistic evolutionists “bewitched”?
Genesis and evolution can’t both be true
The October 2009 issue of NZ Baptist ran a “debate” consisting of an article by a proponent of a literal, six-day creation and one by four theistic evolutionists.1 The theistic evolutionists, Graham Finlay, Jonathan Gauntlett, Graham O’Brien and Andrew Shelling, describe themselves as “Christian Scientists who believe that both Genesis and evolution can be true.” That of course depends on what they mean by the slippery term “evolution”, but from the content of their article it becomes clear they are talking about an evolutionary progression from pond scum—to animals—to man.
That a group of evolutionary scientists, with a vested interest in the ruling academic establishment would claim biblical justification for their stance may be at least a little understandable. But what is incredible is that their rejection of a plain reading of Genesis is seen as acceptable to many Bible-believing Christians. The Apostle Paul’s statement says it all: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”2 Paul had to remind them how they became Christians—when they received the Spirit “by believing what you heard”.3 This brings the Holy Scripture to centre stage.
What would Jesus do?
Jesus demanded His disciples follow His example of reverence and belief in God’s Word. Did that include belief in the plain meaning of Genesis? Absolutely! When asked about marriage Jesus quoted from Genesis 1 and 2 as straightforward history.4 His question, “Haven’t you read?” showed He expected his questioners to accept its plain meaning. His answer, selecting verses from Genesis chapters 1 and 2, showed His commitment to accept the account as plain, totally truthful, accurate history. The parallel passage in Mark 10:6 shows that Christ, the Creator Himself, believed that Adam and Eve were present “from the beginning of creation”. Not towards the end of creation, after millions of years of death, struggle and bloodshed, but just as a plain reading of the text would have it, at the beginning.
Jesus said …
- “The one who will accuse you to the Father is Moses … for if you had believed Moses’ writings you would have believed Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words.”5 Refusal to accept the Genesis scriptures is clearly “disbelief of Moses”.
- “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of his Father with the Holy angels.”6
- “He that rejects me and does not receive My words has one that judges him on the last day: the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”.7
- “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.”8
“Has God said?”
These theistic evolutionists reject a plain reading of Genesis 1–11. They insist it is a primitive, inaccurate story that must be overruled by the “fundamental findings of modern science.” However, when they invoke “science” they really mean science squeezed into a naturalistic, evolutionary mould. But actually, the evidence of variation and natural selection does not fit at all comfortably into that mould—whereas it fits the 6,000-year creation model like a glove. Contrary to the attitude that Jesus modelled, theistic evolutionists, with dogged tenacity, reject belief in the plain reading of Scripture and exalt naturalistic “science” to a position of authority higher than the Word of God. But the Bible is very clear that to elevate anything to a higher position than God’s own Word is to erect a false idol.
“Believing impossible things before breakfast”
Having rejected the plain meaning of Genesis 1–11 these theistic evolutionists attempt to salvage respectability within the church by insisting that their evolutionary version of creation over millions of years and the Genesis account, with its six 24-hour days, “are both true”. Let’s go back to Paul’s situation with the Galatian Christians. They had been listening to the Judaizers stating that salvation was to be received via the law and via Christ. Both were true! But of course this defies common sense and logic. Paul is so shocked by their attitude he says, “You must be under a spell!” In other words this was madness! On Mt Carmel, Elijah confronted God’s people over their issue with the same sort of contradiction. “How long are you going to limp along believing two contradictory opinions? If God be God follow Him! If Baal be God follow Him.”9
So, today as in Elijah’s time, God’s people are limping along, facing the same temptation to embrace irrationality over Genesis. Some of the issues are:
- Theistic evolutionists are comfortable with physical death and suffering in the world before sin yet this flatly contradicts Romans 5 verse 12 and the perfect “very good” creation of Genesis chapter 1. It also makes nonsense out of the coming restoration, to a sinless, deathless paradise, through the removal of the Adamic Curse (Rev. 22:3).
- Theistic evolutionists insist that Genesis is not a “literal, historical description of how the natural world originated” and that Adam and Eve of Genesis chapters 1–3 are just “allegorical”, or mythological. This means that the theological truth of mankind’s fall into sin must also be mythical. It also means that any application of the normal rules of historical-grammatical interpretation is rendered hopeless. The meaning of any portion of the Bible would effectively be “up for grabs”.
- Theistic evolutionists insist that the fossils are millions of years old, “ranging from the late pre-cambrian [sic] to now”, thereby denying the reality of Noah’s Flood as the global catastrophe described in Genesis 6, 7 and 8, and as subscribed to by Jesus.
In short, to say “Genesis and evolution are both true” is as illogical as to suggest that Jesus both did and did not rise from the dead.
Our “views” can be defined as our beliefs, and belief in the Word of God is vital to our Christian faith and destiny. It is my “view” that will decide whether I go to heaven or hell! Yet many churches are committed to “accommodating all views”, and this becomes their highest priority. What this often indicates is lukewarmness to any sincere concern about the plain intended meaning of God’s inspired Word. Surely such an attitude dovetails with the Lord’s description of the wretched Laodicean church. So often in churches today the role of leadership is seen as the art of “keeping the peace” rather than “keeping the faith”. Elijah himself would be told he was not welcome at many churches—because he was intolerant of “other views”!
What goes around comes around.
The more things change the more they stay the same. Since the beginning, the attack of Satan has been aimed at undermining the Word of God. His first recorded words were, “Did God really say?”10 Adam and Eve believed his “views” and brought disaster upon themselves. Yet it seemed such a small thing to just accept Satan’s “view” instead of God’s plainly spoken word. Today the “fruit” held out by theistic evolutionists is the “view” that “modern science” must be used to supplant the plain meaning of God’s Word. Think for a moment about the breathtaking arrogance when they say in one breath, “All Scripture is inspired” but then tell us not to believe the plain meaning because we need evolutionists to tell us the real (and very different) meaning. That would mean that for some 2,000 years, Christians have been completely misled by the Bible, until such latter-day “insights” came along (coincidentally from those committed to undermining any sort of belief in a miracle-working God—see Darwin’s real message: have you missed it?).
It’s also not as if Genesis is on about trivial issues. The core of the gospel concerns the way in which Christ’s sacrifice overcomes the twin problems of sin and death. And Genesis is all about the origin of sin and death. When we consider that our “view” of Scripture decides our destiny, we can be absolutely sure that God has made His meaning, particularly regarding such gospel-vital issues, very, very plain to anyone who is open to accept what He says. Even a 10-year-old can understand it. Atheists know full well that evolution flatly contradicts the Gospel.11
Ignorance as such is not a sin, nor are genuinely mistaken opinions. But wilful ignorance falls into a different category altogether. For someone to have looked seriously at the words of Genesis and to maintain that it is not straightforward historical narrative, as Jesus and the NT writers all took it, seems incredible. It seems that the question on that great day will not be “Did you understand it?” but “Did you believe it?”
The remedy for all willful rejection of God’s Word can also be derived from Paul’s words in Galatians: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”
- NZ Baptist Magazine, October 2009. Return to text.
- Galatians 3:1. Return to text.
- Galatians 3:2. Return to text.
- Matthew 19. Return to text.
- John 5:45. Return to text.
- Mark 8:38. Return to text.
- John 12:48. Return to text.
- Mark 13:31. Return to text.
- 1 Kings 18. Return to text.
- Genesis 3:1. Return to text.
- Frank Zindler, in a debate with William Craig, Atheism vs Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996, said: ‘The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.’ Return to text.