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Is it ok to be a Christian and believe in evolution?

by  Scientist and Speaker CMI–US

Published: 5 January 2021 (GMT+10)

Our CEO (CMI-US), Gary Bates was speaking to students at a Christian High School where he was repeatedly interrupted by the teacher with the comment , “But you can still be a Christian and believe in evolution … right?”

She was trying to insert her belief that it doesn’t matter what you believe about biblical Creation. Such a view infers a type of ‘Gospel only-ism’. But everything we need to know about the Christian faith, our fallen state and our need for salvation has its foundation in the early chapters of Genesis. Jesus and the New Testament authors grounded the Gospel and key doctrines of the faith on this foundation. Genesis 1–11 tells us the ‘how’—what happened, and the rest of the Bible tells us the ‘why’—the implications of what followed those first chapters.

Genesis is not the Gospel, but it is a Gospel issue. If it is not real history, why believe the rest of the Bible? As Jesus Himself said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:46). Here, Jesus stakes his reputation and authority upon the inerrancy of Moses’ writings.

A plain reading of the Bible tells us that God created the world in six days. We are given chronogenealogies in the Bible with the age of each father and when he has his next son, meaning that there cannot be any missing ‘time gaps’. Adding up the numbers from Adam to this present day places the creation of Adam and Eve at ~6,000 years ago.

The doctrine most under attack today!

In Mark 10:6 Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’”. Adam and Eve were a historical couple, whose fall brought sin, death, and suffering into this world. Attempts to insert billions of years into the Bible before Adam and Eve not only places death before the Fall, but it also requires placing Adam and Eve at the end of billions of years of world history, but this would contradict Jesus’ words. To put it plainly, Jesus teaches that the Earth is young (that is, not millions of years old). Do you believe Jesus?

Soteriology (The doctrine of salvation)

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul wrote, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…The last enemy to be abolished is death…Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.’

Jesus’ had to die a physical death on the cross because Adam, the first man (1 Cor. 15:45), brought physical death into this world. Jesus wore a crown of thorns on the cross, a symbol of the curse that came into this world because of sin (Gen. 3:18), and the Bible tells us that one day, death itself will be destroyed. Likewise, the blessed hope (Titus 2:13–14) and future restoration (Rom. 8:20–21) alludes back to Genesis, and even the very order of creation and the order of the Fall forms the basis for New Testament teaching (1 Tim. 2:12–15).

The implications are obvious. If there never was a real Adam and Eve, there is no need for salvation. Denial of original sin constitutes the ancient heresy known as Pelagianism. Undermine Genesis, and you undermine the Gospel.

Can you be a Christian if you do not believe in biblical creation?

This question always draws a lot of debate. Well, can a person be saved without believing the Trinity? The answer is, ‘yes’, but only by being inconsistent and ignorant. New believers often come to Christ without a comprehensive understanding of the Trinity. However, if after being informed, a person still denies the Trinity, that person is a heretic because they have rejected the truth of God’s Word. In the same way, a person may be a Christian and not believe in biblical creation, but only by being inconsistent and ignorant. This is the situation because of the confusion over the issue of whether evolution is ‘science’. Most professing Christians have never been exposed to the biblical evidence for Creation. When they are shown for the first time, how creation declares the mighty works of God, it sparks in them great joy and confidence in the Word of God.

You might be impressed at the amount of information CMI produces. But being on full time staff for a couple of years now, even I am amazed and excited at just how much more we could, and need to, produce if we had the resources to do more research. But the workers are few. That’s why we need your support to produce new resources and information that changes lives.

Todd B. from Japan wrote to us:

“The church I attend in Japan taught Hugh Ross’ Progressive Creation and sold his books. I came to this church right after the previous pastor of 11 years retired. I bought all the Hugh Ross Books and replaced them with [Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s] Refuting Compromise, we now have a biblical creationist pastor with no compromise. Thank you very much for this valuable resource!”

Thank you for making a difference!

Readers’ comments

John P.
Thank God for Todd's testimony, buying up all the books of the false teacher and replacing them with Jonathan's book, resulting in a biblical creationist pastor with no compromise. That's the way to go, Lord. More should be doing this! Evolution mythology and its attendant billions of non existent years is one of the devil's most dangerous scams. People can evolve into gods is the basic assertion just as he told Adam and Eve. Evolution never happened and God tells us how He did it in Genesis 1 to 11 and this is why Moses's account is attacked today and many chase fables just as Peter prophesied. A supernatural God bigger than the universe He created is too close for comfort for many yet for those of us who believe He's a loving God who is not only interested in the big things in our lives but also the little things. If we cast our problems at the foot of His cross our worries and problems are over, something I'm still learning for myself.
John P.
Thank God for Todd's testimony, buying up all the books of the false teacher and replacing them with Jonathan's book, resulting in a biblical creationist pastor with no compromise. That's the way to go, Lord. More should be doing this! Evolution mythology and its attendant billions of non existent years is one of the devil's most dangerous scams. People can evolve into gods is the basic assertion just as he told Adam and Eve. Evolution never happened and God tells us how He did it in Genesis 1 to 11 and this is why Moses's account is attacked today and many chase fables just as Peter prophesied. A supernatural God bigger than the universe He created is too close for comfort for many yet for those of us who believe He's a loving God who is not only interested in the big things in our lives but also the little things. If we cast our problems at the foot of His cross our worries and problems are over, something I'm still learning for myself.
Richard A.
I find the words of our Lord in John 8:47 helpful. Jesus says to the Jews 'you do not believe because you do not belong'. Belonging to Him in faith comes first. His Holy Spirit enters in and enables us to believe His word.
I put my faith in Him and open the Bible and read 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'. His Holy Spirit helps me believe it and the same principle helps me to believe the rest of His Word also.
Nicholas S.
God made everything perfect and good according to His Holy Purposes in the beginning. Anointed, consecrated garden of Eden. His Plan for earth and heavens and everything in them to display His Glory, made through His Son. Originally in Perfect Order, all Holy before the Fall and all interdependent one with the other. So all of Creation could continue to exist and was and is reliant upon everything originally being in place about the same time e.g. earth's moon: mass; distance; velocity; trajectory; orbital aspect; gravitational effect on the earth = tides = great ocean currents = cleansing of oceans = ocean life sustainability = dependant land life = dependent human life, i.e. no moon, no life. Scientifically proven (totally contrary to millions/billions of years separation of everything coming into being according to evolution abstract which is by definition: 'existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence', abstract because the 'evidence' for evolution theory is ever changing i.e. no empirical evidence). Evolution ultimately misleads, opens the gate wide, Matthew 7:13 and is directly linked to man's other catastrophic ideas/morals. Therefore, how can we as aware Christians with the knowledge of evolution being man's idea only, somehow mix the Pure Anointing Oil of God's Pure Creation, Genesis 1:31, with the muddied swamp water of evolution's ideas. Can't mix Pure Anointing Oil of Creation with the muddied swamp water of evolution. Pure Oil and muddied water don't mix. Thank God. Christians: let us live in Unity under the Banner of the Ability and Power of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being solely involved in Creation and in His Ability and Power for Redemption and Fulfilled Salvation Forevermore, Psalm 133:1-3; Ephesians 1:19-21.
David R.
The Question "Is it o.k. to be a Christian and believe in evolution?" I was wondering if you were to "flip it around" would it read "Is it o.k. to be an atheist and believe in God?" to me the answer is the same, NO!
Jean P.
I know that some feel it would be impossible to create this universe in just 6 days but they forget that God had all eternity to work out how to do it, just as an engineer spends a long time working out how to build something. Also, if God needed all that time to arrive at our earth, animals and humans, how long will it take Him to create the new heavens, the new earth and give each resurrected Christian a new perfect body at His Second coming?
Joel Tay
God being omniscient, would not require 'all eternity to work out how to do it'. He knows all things as they are, therefore doesn't need to think in a chronological fashion the way humans do. Interestingly, some of the 'Early Church Fathers' in the first few centuries who were influenced by Greek philosophy, questioned whether God took six days to create or whether he created in an instance. This was because they wondered how an omnipotent God would take so long (Note that none of them taught that the earth was created over a long period of time. Six days was too long for them! And they all taught that the earth was less than 10,000 years old.) At the end of the day, we are to take the Word of God as it is written, and since it tells us that God created in six days, it is not up to us to defer from that. So why six days of creation and a day of rest on the seventh? It is to set an example for how Israel was to work for six days and rest on the seventh.

Mark J.
Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." Can someone reject the Trinity, reject the Second Coming of Christ, deny that God parted the Red Sea and made the sun stand still, etc, and still be saved? According to Acts 16:31 and similar verses, the answer to that would appear to be yes. One can believe all sorts of inaccurate things and still be saved. For which I praise God, because if I'm honest, I must admit that there are probably things that I believe just because I heard a preacher say it once or read it in a book, but which are not actually in the Bible.
That said, it's a very curious question for someone to ask. "How much of the Bible can I ignore or reject and still be saved?" Umm, why would you want to do that? Why do you want to believe things that God clearly said are not true?
Joel Tay
Easton's Bible Dictionary defines heresy as: "In Titus 3:10 a “heretical person” is one who follows his own self-willed “questions,” and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God (2 Pet. 2:1)."

Thus, a distinction has to be made between those who are ignorant on the subject and those who have been informed about the truth and yet reject it wilfully. The latter would also include those who claim that the Scripture contains errors since such a position requires first knowing what the Bible teaches on a particular topic, and then consciously reject it. Since Jesus Himself said that “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen” in the law shall disappear or fail to be accomplished, Jesus taught that all of Scripture is inerrant, infallible, and written by God. Thus, to say that Jesus or the New Testament authors were mistaken about what they were teaching is to say that Jesus is a liar and in so doing, demonstrate that they do not believe Jesus.
Jim A.
Very well put, Joel Tay.

For me, the highlight scripture verse you quote is John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

At the time, Eve's only Word from God about 'the tree' was given to her by her husband, Adam (we don't see anywhere that God spoke to her directly about this, only to Adam) and Satan exploited this 'gap' when he could see that she wasn't able to correctly repeat the words God spoke when He spoke them to Adam.

Satan uses the same devices today to cause doubt that God really spoke those words to Moses, and the argument for evolution comes down to this: Do you believe God or Darwin? God says He made it all; Darwin says it all just happened on its own without any divine intervention.

My experience has been that the Holy Spirit in me helps me defend the Truth of God's Word when Satan visits with his many fallacious versions.
Christopher W.
The biggest error by those believing theistic evolutionists is assuming the issue is only applicable to the first few chapters of Genesis. From the 66 books of the bible, almost all were written by authors dependent in someway on a literal Genesis. For example, the Temptation of Jesus refers to the Devil's claim to own the whole world (he does) and cannot be explained without reliance on Adam giving him ownership of it. Under a TE framework we ought to assume that at some point one monkey pinched another monkey's lunch (ie his bananas). Since God created the world perfect does this mean that theft is part of a perfect world? And if so, how can God justly punish a creature for behaving the way he was created? Pull the thread that is Adam and original sin out and everything, including the Gospel, becomes superfluous.

My only contention with the above article is that I'd hold to saying Adam's death was spiritual and not physical. God said that Adam's death would be on the day he sinned, not 900 odd years later. Adam was spiritual separated from God on the day and his physical death a mere consequence. In our human lives when a relationship has irretrievably broken down one will often hear people say "they may as well be dead as far as I am concerned". Applying this to Jesus, Jesus had to die physically for sure, but he also had to die spiritually. Those claiming otherwise have to accept that Jesus never bore our punishment which is eternal separation. That Jesus was more distressed by being abandoned by his father than the pain of Crucifixion is testament to the terror of eternal damnation. Jesus's blood purchased (redeemed) our souls which until then were owned by the devil on account of Adam handing over ownership and control. Believing TE is acceptance of heresy.
Joel Tay
Adam's sin resulted in both spiritual and physical. This was noted by all notable Christian leaders until uniformitarianism crept into the church in the last few centuries. It is only after uniformitarianism that we start to see church leaders compromise by saying that Adam's sin only brought spiritual and not physical death into the world.

In fact, the question was not even whether physical death was part of the fall. It was taken for granted, and wherever there were historical controversies, it was whether spiritual death was passed on to all humans in addition to physical death (e.g. the Pelagian controversy over the doctrine of Original Sin), or whether the fall only caused physical death.

For example, consider the words of the Council of Orange (529),

CANON 2. If anyone asserts that Adam’s sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

Notice how physical death is assumed, and that the debate was over spiritual death.

As noted in Dr Jonathan Sarfati's commentary, The Genesis Account, the part which tells us that when Adam ate the fruit, "You shall surely die", is in the Hebrew, (môt tāmût) מות תמות—Dying you shall die. This is to be understood in the ingressive sense—that is, it refers to the beginning of a process—"for when you eat of it you will surely begin to die." Thus, this is a reference to physical death. Adam started to the process of dying the moment he ate the fruit, and it progressed =until he was finally dead 930 years later. The physical aspect of the fall is further confirmed when the curse was pronounced in Genesis 3:19:

By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;

for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return

The physical death introduced by the first man, Adam, is crucial to the faith because it is contrasted with the physical resurrection of the death when Jesus, the last Adam, returns. Just as our resurrection is not only spiritual, Adam's fall introduced both physical and spiritual death into this world. (Also note how the same passage in Genesis tells us that this was when thorns and thistles were introduced into the world, yet according to uniformitarians, thorns and thistes existed long before human beings even walked the earth.
John H.
Romans 12:2 contains .. "be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Once we are born again we will have a love for God's word and a desire to obey it. This is the only source of mind transformation. To hang onto ideas like evolution (particles to people) is to be stubborn and unteachable and to miss out on ..."God's good and pleasing perfect will.
Gotty S.
The first verses of John's gospel put this issue to bed! (up to verse 14-15 from memory)
Jesus is the Creator so if you believe in Jesus then you also beleive in Creation. No choice!
Jesus did not "beleive" in creation, He is/was creator (otherwise he has no faith in himself)
So the notion that being a christian and not (believing) creation is preposterous (impossible to separate)
Like saying I believe in Jesus Christ but not what he did !
Like saying I am a plumber .....hey what is this tube (pipe) stuff?
Tim C.
Previously it has been easier to go with the flow, "I don't believe in evolution per se, but I can live with God inspired evolution". Thanks to CMI and your relentless effort to bring scientific evidence to the fight, it is so much easier to bring evidence to the argument and make a stand. And you are right, if I believe my salvation is through Christ death of the cross, why is it so hard to believe our God can and did create the Earth and us in 6 days.
Stephen T.
In the book of Genesis, God said that He Created heaven and earth and life itself - and all in 6 x 24 hour literal earth days.....

The BIG question to decide on is..... did God actually Create heaven and earth, and life itself, as He said He did..... or not?

If I have doubts about this - I should also ask, was the Flood really a world wide Flood?

When Jesus died on the Cross, did He really pay for ALL my sins?

Is Jesus really the ONLY way to get to Heaven, as He says in John 14:6?

I am a Bible believing Christian and a YEC, and I have no doubts that the answer to ALL those questions is YES!
God said that He did it - and I need no more than that.

And No...... I don’t believe you can be a true Christian if you don’t believe in Creation by God.
Garry L.
A lot of people look at Christians within rhe church who believe in evolution, and think it isn't a big issue. But you need to look at the people who believe in evolution. Most of them, probably well over 90%, are unbelievers. So belief in evolution really is a faith killer, and a very effective one.
Grahame G.
In response to Thomas C, if you could pass it on. There are stories like that in "Eternity in their hearts" by Don Richardson. The one most similar (except it was Asia) is of the Karen tribe on the border of Burma and Laos. They stubbornly clung to belief in the one Creator God and resisted the strong persecution from Buddhism. They widely accepted Christianity when a missionary brought it.
David J.
Thanks to CMI for clear-thinking presentation of the foundational value of Genesis to Christian faith and life.
I have attended many CMI presentations, over last 20 years, to help for clarity in biblical thoughts and attitude.
Sadly many churches, here in Canada, teach the "WHO" of creation seemingly not to confront secular orthodoxy
or minimize blowback from satan's minions.
Chuck R.
As Christians, we are to grow in Christ, not be forever just living off the milk (Heb. 5:12-13).
Unfortunately, many Christians still place a high value on the wisdom and the educated in this world, believing such things as evolution or that the world is intrinsically good.
The eye-opening (Acts 26:18) of salvation releases us from the power of Satan allowing us to see clearly and enables us to understand the deceptions of this world.
Michael B.
In Genesis 1:26 we read God's purpose statement " Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness"
In Romans 8:28-29 we see that purpose continues as He uses all things to work for our good and conform us to the Image of His Son.
In Revelation 21:6-7 He declares His work complete and that those who overcome will be His Sons.

He is the One Who spoke the end from the beginning and all things into existence that were not. He is not a God of chaos or confusion but a God of purpose and we are in the midst of it and can trust Him for it.
Your Brother in Christ,

Isaiah 46:9-11
"Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it."
Melvyne C.
A good short article cutting right to the point of disbelief, “But you can still be a Christian and believe in evolution … right?”

Jesus knew things appertaining to the future. We may forget, Jesus/one Triune God, gave the Ten Commandments! Therefore, Jesus, as lead Christian, could believe in evolution: right!!!!
To quote J Macenroe, "you cannot be serious."
Surely, Jesus/God at Mount Sinai, could see theses days of corrupt theistic theology! He, nevertheless, miraculously cut his law on origins in stone, seeing the future mess of disbelief!
Tim L.
My question is whether or not it would be correct to consider biblical creationism a fundamental doctrine. Of course, the answer to this would largely depend on how "fundamental doctrine" is defined, but the the best definition I've been able to come up with is, a doctrine that is required to be held to make the Gospel logically defensible. If this is a good definition, it would seem to me that biblical creation should be considered a fundamental doctrine. As you emphasize above, that doesn't mean a person has to believe it to be saved, but it does mean that those who believe the Gospel and don't accept biblical creation are believing logically contradictory things. Does this seem like a reasonable explanation of the importance of the doctrine of biblical creation (i.e. on the same level as the virgin birth, but not the same level as the resurrection)?
Joel Tay
Yes. I have often referred to biblical creation as a foundational doctrine for the reasons you give.
Thomas C.
If one knows Jesus the Christ as Savior, then if not before, then very soon they should come to realize that He cannot be Savior if He is not Sovereign. And cannot be Sovereign Savior, if He is not first the Creator of all reality.
Wasn't there a tribe in Africa that knew from creation that there was One who created it all. But did not have info about Jesus as Savior. Until a missionary came upon them and told them about Jesus as Savior. And as soon as they heard that they all believed unto Salvation?
Joel Tay
Thanks. I am unsure which tribe you are referring to, but I suspect you might be referring to Ee-Taow: The Mouk Story by New Tribes Mission (also known as Ethnos360). This documentary was filmed in Papua New Guinea.

Grahame G.
Thanks Joel. These are the articles that I love to see regularly. We need to keep addressing this and similar issues.

Too many people have an all or nothing misunderstanding. Either it is the gospel, or it is irrelevant. Or others believe that you have everything perfect or you aren't a Christian.

It is important to understand the connection of origins to the gospel, and the foundation of Genesis. It is possible to reject the clear teaching of Genesis and be a Christian. But it sets a dangerous precedent and is extremely destructive. Many who do this turn from Christianity and show they were never saved. And even more of those who follow these teachers turn from Christianity.

This is such a vital issue, second only to the gospel itself in our culture in the West at least.

Excellent article. Keep them coming.
Yvonne R.
How by common sense can there be a belief in Evolution ? Evolution is a way of rejecting who GOD is as Creator. Same as when we make our claim to be a Christian, there are many who are caused to reflect upon their sinfulness and so being the reason Christians experience persecution, Christians are persecuted because of the nonchristian attempt to justify themselves in their sinful thoughts. GOD as Creator is the only true scientist because as Creator HE is the only ONE who has observed what HE HIMSELF created. Human science is based on observation, experiment and measurement. The word from GOD is "HE will use the simple to confound the wise" What could be more simple than using common sense to accept mankind's human limitations of science is only by observing experiment and measurement. Denying who GOD is as Creator is how religions of the world have developed, forming their own willful desires and justifications of the evil way. Christ is above religion which is why the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch to set them apart from and above all religions Acts 11:26. Thank you LORD JESUS for Your open door through CMI for Christians to express their faith in who YOU are for us as our LORD and SAVIOUR.

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