Response to the evolution appeasers
On the 30th September 1938, Chamberlain made the disastrous decision to appease Hitler at Munich.1 It is thus sadly appropriate that the 70th anniversary month of September 2008 also saw the Church of England apologize to Darwin,2 without whose philosophy Nazism would have been impossible. Not to be outdone, the Treasury, a monthly affiliated with the Brethren Assemblies in New Zealand, picks this month to feature a group of theistic evolutionists urging Christian students to appease evolution (‘Ongoing Creation’). Such appeasement has already had a baneful effect on many other denominations, and there is no doubt where this will lead.
Authority of Scripture
Some would wonder, why all the fuss about creation vs evolution? Christians disagree on plenty of things, e.g. end times (eschatology), the form of church government, mode and subject of baptism, Calvinism v Arminianism, and Sabbath observance. So why should we make an issue about creation instead of tolerating various views?
This overlooks a vital issue: all the other debates presuppose that Scripture is the final and sufficient authority; the debate is over what it means. The differences don’t come from outside ideas imposed upon Scripture, so they still maintain the Reformation principle, Sola Scriptura (‘Bible alone’). (See also End-times and Early-times.)
But when it comes to origins, the debate is about whether Scripture or ‘science’ is the final authority. While theistic evolutionists (and progressive creationists) may give lip service to biblical authority, in reality they have ‘re-interpreted’ Scripture to fit in with ’science‘, i.e. replacing Sola Scriptura with Scriptura sub scientiā (Scripture below science). Indeed, we repeatedly see theistic evolutionists and old-earth creationists admit that the plainest meaning of the text is young-earth creationism, which will be demonstrated below. But since ‘science’ (supposedly) proves an old earth and goo-to-you evolution, the text must be ‘reinterpreted’. For example:
Pattle Pun is a biology professor at the ostensibly evangelical Wheaton College. He admits that the plain meaning of Genesis supports a recent creation and global Flood, but rejects it because of the authority of ‘science’:
‘It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of Genesis, without regard to the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve, and that all fossils were the result of the catastrophic deluge that spared only Noah’s family and the animals therewith.’3
James Montgomery Boice (1938–2000), a staunch defender of Biblical inerrancy, admitted much the same:
‘We have to admit here [concerning those who take the six Days of Creation as literal days] that the exegetical basis [the arguments from the words of Scripture] of the creationists is strong. … In spite of the careful biblical and scientific research that has accumulated in support of the creationists’ view, there are problems that make the theory wrong to most (including many evangelical) scientists. … Data from various disciplines point to a very old earth and even older universe … ’4
Meredith Kline, a leading advocate of the ‘framework hypothesis’ that the Treasury theistic evolutionists support (refuted below), admits that his primary rationale is to avoid a conflict with ‘science’. His abstract states:
‘To rebut the literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by the young-earth theorists is a central concern of this article. At the same time, the exegetical evidence adduced also refutes the harmonistic day-age view. The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about cosmic origins.’5
In note 47, Kline says:
‘In this article I have advocated an interpretation of biblical cosmogony according to which Scripture is open to the current scientific view of a very old universe and, in that respect, does not discountenance the theory of the evolutionary origin of man.’
The converse is also true. If theistic evolution really were derived from Scripture, then why do we never hear any proof that Scripture teaches this? And why is there never any statement like, ‘Yes, cell nano-motors like ATP synthase6 and the encyclopedic information content of living machines seem like very strong evidence against evolution. But we mustn’t allow even the strongest science to overrule the clear teaching of the Word of God that mankind evolved from pond-scum via random mutation and natural selection.’
But another conspicuous absence is any thought by any respected Christian exegete of old-earth or theistic evolution interpretations until such views became popular in ‘science’ in the early 19th century. Rather, most biblical scholars before the rise of long-age geology accepted Genesis as written, including Josephus7 and later Jewish scholars,8 most church fathers9-12 including Basil the Great (even Augustine defended a ‘young’ earth13), Thomas Aquinas,14 and all the Reformers including Luther and Calvin,15 and later famous Christians like the Wesleys.16 This indicates that such old-earth views were not gleaned from Scripture; instead they are novel interpretations from outside the Bible that are diametrically opposed to the text.17
A biblical Christian should not reinterpret the perfect, unfallen Word of God according to fallible theories of sinful humans about a world we know to be cursed. As the systematic theologian Louis Berkhof approvingly explained about the views of some leading Reformed theologians:
‘… Since the entrance of sin into the world, man can gather true knowledge about God from His general revelation only if he studies it in the light of Scripture, in which the elements of God’s original self-revelation, which were obscured and perverted by the blight of sin, are republished, corrected, and interpreted.’18
Berkhof’s own view was:
‘Some are inclined to speak of God’s general revelation as a second source; but this is hardly correct in view of the fact that nature can come into consideration here only as interpreted in the light of Scripture.’19
Consequences of appeasement on biblical authority
What our ‘Ongoing Creation’ authors are doing is telling the church and university students this: when it comes to origins, trust the ‘scientists’ and reinterpret the Bible. But where does this end? Where does Scripture start being authoritative? For example, secularists claim that dead men don’t rise and virgins don’t conceive, and that miracles are impossible, so should we appease them by denying the bodily Resurrection, Virginal Conception, and miracles of Christ? And in the areas of morality, some evolutionists claim that homosexual behaviour and adultery are in the genes, so should we throw out biblical morality as well?
Actually, a number of ministers in the CoE (and certain other denominations) have ‘reasoned’ precisely this way, such as the heretical Bishop Spong.20 That’s why several CMI articles have concluded that, yes, one can be a Christian and deny a young earth or believe in evolution, but it can still have baneful consequences, mainly involving the authority and understandability of Scripture.21
In fact, the Treasury evolutionists are following in the footsteps of our first foremother, Eve: she was the first compromiser of God’s Word with fallible science—she made her own interpretation of sense data authoritative over God’s word. That is, the fruit was good for food and delightful to the eyes, so she figured that this overruled God’s clear command against eating (Genesis 3:6).
Hebrew uses special grammatical structures for historical narrative and Gen. 1–11 uses those structures. It is the same form as Gen. 12 ff .and most of Exodus, Joshua, Judges, etc. It is not poetry or allegory. Genesis is peppered with the waw (vav, ו) consecutives (and … and … and), which characterise historical writing. The Hebrew verb forms of Gen. 1 have a particular feature that fits exactly what the Hebrews used for recording history; a series of past events. That is, only the first verb is a qatal (perfect), while the verbs that continue the narrative are wayyiqtols (imperfects).9 In Gen. 1, the first verb, בָּרָא bārā’ (create), is qatal, while the subsequent verbs that move the narrative forward are wayyiqtols (וַיּאמֶר wāyyō’mer (‘and … said’), וַיְהִי wāyehi (‘and there was’), וַיַּרְא wāyyāre (‘and … saw’).10 Parallelisms, a feature of Hebrew poetry (e.g. many Psalms), are almost absent in Genesis, except when someone is quoted.
The strongest structural parallel of Gen. 1 is Num. 7:10–84. Both are structured accounts, both contain the Hebrew word for day יום (yôm) with a numeric—indeed both are numbered sequences of days. In Num. 7, each of the twelve tribes brought an offering on the different days:
- The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nahshon, son of Amminadab of the tribe of Judah. …
- On the second day Nethanel son of Zuar, the leader of Issachar, brought his offering. …
- On the third day, Eliab son of Helon, the leader of the people of Zebulun, brought his offering. …
- On the twelfth day Ahira son of Enan, the leader of the people of Naphtali, brought his offering. …
The parallel is even stronger when we note that Num. 7 not only has each day (יום yôm) numbered, but also opens and closes (vs 10 and 84 NASB) with ‘in the day that’ to refer collectively to all the ordinary days of the sequence. In spite of the use of ‘in the day that’, no one doubts that the numbered day sequence in Num. 7 is anything but ordinary-length days, because these days lack a preposition like ‘in’. This refutes the claim by some critics that ‘in the day that’ (ביום beyôm22) in Gen. 2:4, summarizing Creation Week, shows that the Gen. 1 days are not normal-length. This is a Hebrew idiom for ‘when’ (see NASB, NIV Gen. 2:4).23
In this structured narrative (Num. 7) with a sequence of numbered days, no one claims that it is merely a poetic framework for teaching something theological and that it is not history. No one doubts that the days in Num. 7 are ordinary days, so there simply is no grammatical basis for denying the same for the Gen. 1 days. That is, Gen. 1 is straightforward history.
Note also, Gen. 2:1–3 states that God completed and finished His creative work on Day 6, and rested (i.e. ceased) on the seventh day:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
This alone is enough to refute the title of the appeasers’ article, ‘Ongoing Creation’.
Hebrew scholars concur that Genesis was written as history. For example, the Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr wrote:
‘ … probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:
- creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience
- the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story
- Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.’24
Barr, consistent with his neo-orthodox views, does not believe Genesis, but he understood what the Hebrew writer clearly taught. Some sceptics criticize the use of the Barr quote, because he does not believe in the historicity of Genesis. That is precisely why we use his statement: he is a hostile witness. With no need to try to harmonize Genesis with anything, because he does not see it as carrying any authority, Barr is free to state the clear intention of the author. This contrasts with some ‘evangelical’ theologians who try to retain some sense of authority without actually believing it says anything about history.
Other Hebrew scholars who support literal creation days include:
- Dr Andrew Steinmann, Associate Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University in Illinois.25
- Dr Robert McCabe, Professor of Old Testament at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in Allen Park, MI.
- Dr Ting Wang, lecturer in biblical Hebrew at Stanford University.26
This is the view that our ‘Ongoing Creation’ authors propose. This view arose in the 20th century from capitulation to ‘science’, but also because of dissatisfaction with the poor exegesis required to read millions of years into Genesis. Therefore, this seems to be an increasingly popular compromise in evangelical seminaries today.
The Framework Hypothesis dispenses with Genesis as history, and instead treats it as a literary device. In other words, Genesis 1 is not a record of what actually happened, but the literary framework within which God teaches us about Himself and His creation.
It is claimed that one aim of this framework is to teach the theology of six days of work plus the sabbath. This is back to front—Exodus 20:8–11 makes it clear that the sabbath was based on the historical events of Genesis, not vice versa.
Triads of days?
The ‘Ongoing Creation’ authors provide a chart of two alleged triads of days. In this view, Moses arranges the days in a very stylized framework with days 4–6 paralleling days 1–3. Leading Framework advocate Meredith Kline suggests that Days 1–3 refer to the Kingdom, and Days 4–6 to the Rulers, as per the following table:27
|Days of Kingdom||Days of Rulers|
|Day 1:||Light and darkness separated||Day 4:|| Sun, moon, and stars
|Day 2:||Sky and waters separated||Day 5:||Fish and birds|
|Day 3:|| Dry land and seas separated,
plants and trees
|Day 6:||Animals and man|
But even if this is true, it would not rule out a historical sequence―surely God is capable of creating in a certain order to teach certain truths. Historian and theologian Dr Noel Weeks (who also has an honours science degree in zoology) argues that the structure is covenantal.28 That is, it outlines several covenants between a suzerain and vassal―God is the Lord, and we are His servants; in turn, man is to rule over creation. So, he argues, that ruler/rulee covenant is built into the very creation itself. Dr Weeks pointed out that when one covenant is broken, as when we sin against our Lord, the other covenant is also broken―the creation rebels against man. Also, other theologians argue that the ‘literary devices’ are more in the imagination of the proponents than the text, despite its dogmatic portrayal by the ‘Ongoing Creation’ authors. For example, the parallels of these two trios of days is vastly overdrawn. Systematic theologian Dr Wayne Grudem summarizes:
‘First, the proposed correspondence between the days of creation is not nearly as exact as its advocates have supposed. The sun, moon, and stars created on the fourth day as “lights in the firmament of the heavens” (Gen. 1:14) are placed not in any space created on Day 1 but in the “firmament” … that was created on the second day. In fact, the correspondence in language is quite explicit: this “firmament” is not mentioned at all on Day 1 but five times on day 2 (Gen. 1:6–8) and three times on Day 4 (Gen. 1:14–19). Of course Day 4 also has correspondences with Day 1 (in terms of day and night, light and darkness), but if we say that the second three days show the creation of things to fill the forms or spaces created on the first three days (or to rule the kingdoms as Kline says), then Day 4 overlaps at least as much with Day 2 as it does with Day 1.
‘Moreover, the parallel between Days 2 and 5 is not exact, because in some ways the preparation of a space for the fish and birds of Day 5 does not come in Day 2 but in Day 3. It is not until Day 3 that God gathers the waters together and calls them “seas” (Gen. 1:10), and on Day 5 the fish are commanded to “fill the waters in the seas” (Gen. 1:22). Again in verses 26 and 28 the fish are called “fish of the sea”, giving repeated emphasis to the fact that the sphere the fish inhabit was specifically formed on Day 3. Thus, the fish formed on Day 5 seem to belong much more to the place prepared for them on Day 3 than to the widely dispersed waters below the firmament on Day 2. Establishing a parallel between Day 2 and Day 5 faces further difficulties in that nothing is created on Day 5 to inhabit the “waters above the firmament”, and the flying things created on this day (the Hebrew word would include flying insects as well as birds) not only fly in the sky created on Day 2, but also live and multiply on the “earth” or “dry land” created on Day 3. (Note God’s command on Day 5: “Let birds multiply on the earth” [Gen. 1:22].)
‘Finally, the parallel between Days 3 and 6 is not precise, for nothing is created on Day 6 to fill the seas that were gathered together on Day 3. With all of these points of imprecise correspondence and overlapping between places and things created to fill them, the supposed literary ‘framework,’ while having an initial appearance of neatness, turns out to be less and less convincing upon closer reading of the text.’29
Other biblical writers and Jesus accepted Genesis
It is a serious blunder to think this is only a minor matter of a few verses in Genesis. The God-breathed writings of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15–17) treat the people, events, order of events and times as real, not merely literary or theological devices. And the reality of the history is foundational to crucial teachings about faith and morality.
Jesus Himself said in John 5:46–47: ‘If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?’ Of course, if Jesus can make mistakes in testable areas, why should He be trusted in untestable areas (cf. John 3:12)? No wonder that doubt of Genesis often leads to doubt of Christ’s other words.
Indeed, Christ endorsed the Genesis records of creation (Mt. 19:3–6), and of Noah’s flood and ark (Luke 17:26–27). He also said ‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6–9, citing Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 as real history). As man was made six days after creation, a true time line of the world would indeed have man right at the beginning, which the Bible indicates was about 6,000 years ago. But evolution/long age ideas have man’s existence in a microscopic segment at the end of a 5-billion-year time-line, almost an afterthought.30
Jesus also cited Abraham with approval in Luke 16:31: ‘If they do not listen to Moses [the writer/compiler of Genesis] and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ Indeed, denominations that doubt Moses by teaching theistic evolution often have leaders who doubt the Resurrection too.
Many Christians fortunately don’t carry doubt of Genesis to the logical conclusion of doubting Christ, who endorsed Genesis. But a professing evangelical leader of ISCAST, recommended by the Treasury evolutionists, has told several people that Jesus, with His 1st century Jewish culture , was limited in His knowledge. We now know better than Jesus because we ‘have the light of science’.
The charge is absurd. Jesus frequently challenged the errors of His culture, but He never challenged the authority of Scripture; rather, He invoked biblical passages as authoritative refutations of his opponents’ errors (Mt. 4:1–11, 19:3–6, 22:23–33, John 10:31–38).
Also, where do we stop? Should we dismiss ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mt. 19:19) as another example of Christ’s limitation by His culture—this was a quote from Lev. 19:18. Was Christ’s promise that He would ‘give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt. 20:28) also wrong, since this was based on the ‘suffering servant’ prophecy in Isaiah 53? Gen. 3:15 foretold that Christ, the seed of the woman [virgin-born], would crush the serpent’s head—so is this also in doubt? This is complete apostasy—this theistic evolutionary leader is challenging the very Deity of Christ! Yet one wouldn’t hear that from the glib endorsement by the Treasury evolutionists. (See also this discussion of the Kenotic Heresy committed.)
Our Creator Jesus Christ, the Last Adam
Luke tells us that Jesus was a descendant of a real historical first man, Adam (Luke 3:23–38)—so the Apostle Paul calls Him ‘the Last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45). This is vital, because Isaiah spoke of this coming Messiah as literally the ‘Kinsman-Redeemer’, i.e. one who is related by blood to those he redeems (Isaiah 59:20, which uses the same Hebrew word גּואֵל (gôēl) as is used to describe Boaz in relation to Naomi in Ruth 2:20, 3:1–4:17). The Book of Hebrews also explains how Jesus took upon Himself the nature of a man to save mankind, but not angels (Hebrews 2:11–18). But without the common descent of all mankind from Adam, this vital kinsman-redeemer concept collapses.
Thus Darwinism and millions of years have baneful implications for the Australian Aborigines: if they have been here for 40,000 years, they can’t have come from Adam, which means they can’t be saved by the Kinsman-Redeemer, the Last Adam. One Anglican clergyman who was a contemporary of Darwin and supported his theory, Charles Kingsley, wrote:
‘The Black People of Australia, exactly the same race as the African Negro, cannot take in the Gospel … All attempts to bring them to a knowledge of the true God have as yet failed utterly … Poor brutes in human shape … they must perish off the face of the earth like brute beasts.’31
Secular Darwinists were even worse, snatching Aboriginal people as specimens of ‘missing links’ for museum displays.32
Christ’s miracles reflect His Creatorship
Indeed, Jesus as Creator gives us an indication of how God would have created in Genesis. A striking feature of His miracles was the speed. For example, He instantly turned water into wine, whereas fermentation normally takes months (of course, the miracle also required creation of new carbon atoms to form the other molecular components of wine, for example). The faithful centurion that Jesus commended understood this (Matthew 8:5–13):
‘When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come’, and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
‘When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” … Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.’
As the centurion realized, even his own orders were obeyed immediately and without question. Therefore, he realized, how much more would the commands of the Lord of Creation be obeyed.
Genesis tells us that God spoke things into existence; God speaks and things happen. As it says in Psalm 33:9, ‘He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.’ In Genesis, we likewise have with the days of creation:
- Command: ‘And God said, “Let there be … ’
- Fulfilment: ‘And it was so.’
- Assessment: ‘God saw that it was good.’
- Closure of the day: ‘There was evening, there was morning, Day X.’
That is, God’s commands were fulfilled and even assessed within each 24-hour day. Attempts to avoid the clear historical time frame of Genesis destroy the connection between God’s commands and the response of His creation to His commands, making Genesis inconsistent with the rest of Scripture, and with His revelation in Christ, the ‘exact representation of God’ (Hebrews 1:3).
The Treasury evolutionists are thus painting a false picture of our infinite Creator, by having him as the author of a slow and gradual process with many false starts.
Denying Genesis makes God author of death and suffering
After God had finished creating everything, he pronounced it ‘very good’ (Hebrew מאד טוב tov me’od). But it is not ‘very good’ today. Death and suffering now pervade God’s creation. But death is ‘the last enemy’ (1 Cor. 15:26); an interloper.
The Bible clearly teaches that human death came because of the Fall (Rom. 5:12–19 and 1 Cor. 15:21–22). The latter even contrasts the death of the ‘first Adam’ with the Resurrection from the dead by the ‘last Adam’, Jesus.
This is a real problem for all long-age views, because according to dating methods accepted by long-agers there are undoubted human fossils ‘older’ than any possible date for Adam.33,34 For example, Homo sapiens fossils with evidence of intelligent cultural activity35,36 have been ‘dated’ at 160,000 years old.37 Also, two partial skulls of Homo sapiens unearthed in 1967 near the Omo River in south-western Ethiopia have been radiometrically re-dated to about 195,000 years old.38,39
Of course, fossilization requires death. All attempts to marry the Bible with the secular ‘natural history’ accept the story of billions of years. But billions of years of what? These unimaginable eons of time do not float out there on ‘cloud nine’, disconnected from reality. The fossil record of multi-cellular organisms supposedly covers some 600 million years in which these creatures were dying and being preserved as fossils. There are fossil bones with cancerous tumours preserved in them; it is a record of suffering and death. In this scenario, man appears about a million years ago, one of the latest results of countless experiments involving death of the unfit and survival of the fittest (‘nature red in tooth and claw’, as the poet Tennyson put it). And when man appears, effectively standing on a pile of bones kilometres deep, God says, it’s all ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). What an insult to the loving God of the Bible!
How can one make a defence of the goodness of God (theodicy) with any of the compromise scenarios that try to retain belief in these millions of years? All one can do is throw one’s hands in the air, shrug one’s shoulders and give the ground to the sceptics (as so many prominent church leaders have done when questioned over natural disasters). There is only one view of Genesis that provides for a consistent theodicy: when we take it as straightforward history. Genesis 1 indicates that the animals and people were originally vegetarian (vv. 29–30). We cannot imagine such a world, but it is consistent with visions of a future paradise in Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25, for example. Animals whimpering in pain and fear while their throats are torn out by others is not consistent with any vision of a future (even partial) restoration, or re-creation, which is always associated with the removal of the curse in Gen. 3, giving rise to an absence of suffering. It is therefore inconceivable to imagine many millions of years of suffering and death as something God would have called ‘very good’.
Romans 8:18–25 affirms that the whole creation (not just people) has been ‘subjected to futility’ and is now ‘groaning’ and in ‘bondage to decay’, waiting for its redemption. Leading commentators on Romans such as F.F. Bruce, C.E.B. Cranfield and James Dunn agree that Paul is referring to the Fall.40 This is consistent with the real history of Gen. 3, where the creation, not just the people, was cursed because of the man’s sin. For example, the ground was now to bring forth thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:18). There are thorns preserved in the fossil record, supposedly some 300 million years before man came on the scene. If this is really so, the Bible misleads.
We live in a corrupt creation because of man’s sin; God did not create it that way. This has been the view of Christians from the beginning. John Milton’s classic poems, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, reflect this Christian worldview that was once accepted almost without question. For example, the great Trinitarian Church Father, Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia, ( AD 329–379) said:
‘We see, however, many wild animals which do not eat fruits. What fruit does the panther accept to nourish itself? What fruit can the lion satisfy himself with? Nevertheless, these beings, submitting to the law of nature, were nourished by fruits. … [But now] the lion is a carnivore, since then also vultures watch for carrion. For the vultures were not yet looking over the earth at the very moment when the animals were born; in fact, nothing of what had received designation or existence had yet died so that the vultures might eat them. Nature had not yet divided, for it was all in its freshness: hunters did not capture, for such was not yet the practice of men; the beasts, for their part, did not yet tear their prey, for they were not carnivores.’25
The great Reformer Calvin (1509–1564) was likewise explicit that death and suffering was the result of the Fall,41 as was the founder of Methodism, John Wesley (1701–1791).
‘Why is there pain in the world; seeing God is “loving to every man, and his mercy is over all his works?” Because there is sin: Had there been no sin, there would have been no pain. But pain (supposing God to be just) is the necessary effect of sin. [Man] chose evil. Thus “sin entered into the world”, and pain of every kind, preparatory to death.’42
‘But … there were no birds or beasts of prey; none that destroyed or molested another; but all the creatures breathed, in their several kinds, the benevolence of their great Creator.’43
Yet our Treasury evolutionists refuse to believe the consistent teaching of Scripture, as realized by the great Christian teachers of the past, in the vain hope that evolutionists could be won over. Yet they are totally unimpressed. E.g. David Hull (a non-Christian philosopher of science), wrote:
‘Whatever the God implied by evolutionary theory and the data of natural history may be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. He is also not a loving God who cares about His productions. He is not even the awful God portrayed in the book of Job. The God of the Galápagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.’29
The atheist Jacques Monod was even more direct, that evolution is:
‘The more cruel because it is a process of elimination, of destruction. The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, is one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution (emphasis added).’44
Today’s arch misotheist Richard Dawkins has no time for those who try to marry evolution with Christianity, like the ‘Ongoing Creation’ authors, saying:
‘Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!’45
I.e. he has as much contempt for churchian appeasers of evolution as Hitler had for Chamberlain. Yet this appeasement is what our Treasury evolutionists advise.
But according to the Bible, God did not create a world with all this death, suffering and disease, the way goo-to-you evolution requires. It became like that because Adam and Eve sinned. The historicity of the Fall is crucial to an effective theodicy, and this means that hundreds of millions of years of survival of the fittest did not precede Adam and Eve. Note that ‘progressive creation’ scenarios, while denying evolution, still have hundreds of millions of years of suffering and death as part of God’s drawn-out process of arriving at today’s world.
Evolution: logical deduction from materialism
Many people have the false belief that ‘science’ has proven the earth to be billions of years old, and proven that every living thing descended from a single cell which itself is the result of chance combination of chemicals. However, science deals with repeatable observations in the present, while evolution/long age ideas are based on assumptions from outside science about the unobservable past. Facts do not speak for themselves—they must be interpreted according to a framework. It is not a case of religion/creation/subjectivity vs science/evolution/objectivity. Rather, it is the biases of the religions of Christianity and of humanism interpreting the same facts in diametrically opposite ways.
The framework behind the evolutionists’ interpretation is naturalism —things made themselves; no divine intervention has happened; and God, if He even exists, has not revealed to us knowledge about the past. This is precisely what the chief apostle Peter prophesied about the ‘scoffers’ in ‘the last days’—they claim ‘everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’ (2 Peter 3:4). Peter reveals the huge flaw of the uniformitarian scoffers: they are ‘willingly ignorant’ of special creation by God, and of a cataclysmic globe-covering (and fossil-forming) flood.
The thinking inherent in the evolutionary mindset is illustrated by the following statement by Richard Lewontin, a geneticist and leading evolution promoters (and self-proclaimed Marxist). It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation—regardless of whether or not the facts support it.
‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
‘It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
‘The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.’46
Evolution is a logical deduction from this materialism: it is a way to explain the complexity of life without God. But now, this theory that was deduced from materialism is used to ‘prove’ it. In reality, materialists must accept evolution, because as Dawkins says, ‘Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’
Yet our Treasury evolutionists would have students accept a theory based on a materialistic bias, and a crutch required for their atheistic faith.
The authors of ‘Ongoing Creation’ advocate a dangerous appeasement strategy towards evolution. What this entails is telling students that the Bible should not have final authority in all it teaches; rather, we should trust the ‘scientists’ when it comes to the history of the earth and life upon it. But then, when does the Bible start being trustworthy, given that the Bible’s faith and moral teachings are intimately connected with its history? Also, why should Christians kowtow to a theory that is really a logical deduction from materialism?
Indeed, appeasement can’t logically stop at Genesis creation, since so many other parts of Scripture depend on the real history of Genesis. In particular, Jesus Christ, the God-man, is a descendant of a literal Adam, which is why He can be our kinsman-redeemer. And in his teaching on the Gospel itself, the Apostle Paul explicitly links the Resurrection of the Last Adam with the real death brought by the first man, Adam.
The other Bible writers and Jesus also affirmed the people and events of Genesis as real history. Some theistic evolutionists recommended by the Treasury writers even say that Jesus must have been mistaken on this, which is an implicit attack on His divinity.
The grammatical and historical context of Genesis shows that it is real history. This is why it has been understood that way—until exegetes became intimidated by uniformitarian / evolutionary ‘science’ and decided to ‘reinterpret’ the text.
Finally, Genesis provides an answer to the problem of death and suffering in the world: it is the result of the Fall. Theistic evolutionists place death and suffering before sin, which entails that these are ‘very good’. Evolutionists are not impressed with the ‘god’ of theistic evolution, so the appeasement they advocate is futile.
- See J. Sarfati, Chamberlain and the Church, Creation 30(4):42–44, 2008; creation.com/chamberlain. Return to text.
- See J. Sarfati, Church of England apologises to Darwin: Anglican Church’s neo-Chamberlainite appeasement of secularism, creation.com/anglican, 20 September 2008. Return to text.
- P.P.T. Pun, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 39:14, 1987; emphasis added. Note that creationists would say that most, rather than all, fossils were formed during Noah’s Flood; creationists acknowledge post-Flood catastrophes. Return to text.
- J.Montgomery Boice, Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1:57–62, 1982. Return to text.
- M.G. Kline, Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48:2, 1996. Return to text.
- ATP synthase is the world’s tiniest motor, and makes the ‘energy currency of life’, ATP, so life couldn’t exist without it. Other motors include a DNA-winding machine used by viruses, a rotary motor in the bacterial flagellum which even has a clutch, DNA scrunching machines used in transcription, and the kinesin ‘walking’ motors in more advanced creatures. See my book By Design: Evidence for nature’s Intelligent Designer the God of the Bible, ch. 10, Creation Book Publishers, Australia, 2008. Return to text.
- Frank Luke, Josephus says, Genesis means what it says! Creation 29(3):15–17, 2007, creation.com/josephus. Return to text.
- Paul James-Griffiths, Creation days and Orthodox Jewish tradition, Creation 26(2):53–5, 2004, creation.com/jewish. Return to text.
- Fr. Seraphim Rose, Genesis, Creation and Early Man, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 2000. Return to text.
- Dr Terry Mortenson, T., Orthodoxy and Genesis: What the fathers really taught [review of Rose, Ref. 9, J. Creation 16(3):48–53, 2002; creation.com/seraphim. Return to text.
- Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, The Doctrines of Genesis 1–11: A Compendium and Defense of Traditional Catholic Theology on Origins, IUniverse, Nebraska, 2008. Return to text.
- From Robert Bradshaw’s in-depth study, Genesis, Creationism and the Early Church, Ch. 3; www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Chapter3.htm, 13 August 2003. Return to text.
- Augustine, The City of God, book 12, ch. 10: Of the falseness of the history which allots many thousand years to the world’s past. Return to text.
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1265–1274—First Part, Question 69: On the Work of the Third Day; Question 73. The things that belong to the seventh day; Question 74, All the seven days in common. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Calvin says: Genesis means what it says, Creation 22(4)44–45 September–November 2000; creation.com/calvin. Return to text.
- Wesley, J., On the fall of man, 1872, available from wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-57-on-the-fall-of-man/. Return to text.
- See also J. Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, Master Books, AR, 2004. Return to text.
- L. Berkhof, Introductory volume to Systematic Theology, p. 60. Return to text.
- Berkhof, Ref. , p. 96. Return to text.
- M. Bott and J. Sarfati, What’s Wrong With Bishop Spong? Laymen Rethink the Scholarship of John Shelby Spong, Apologia 4(1)3–27, 1995; creation.com/spong. Return to text.
- E.g. R. Grigg, Do I have to believe in a literal creation to be a Christian? Creation 23(3):20–22, June–August 2001; creation.com/must_believe. The article, by an M.Sc. chemist, BCNZ graduate and missionary, concludes, ‘The short answer is “No”. The long answer is “No, but … ”’ Return to text.
- Actually, in Numbers 7, the phrase is bayyôm, where the ‘a’ represents the definite article, ‘the’, meaning ‘on the day [xth]’, unlike beyôm, which lacks the article. Return to text.
- R.V. McCabe, A defense of literal days in the Creation Week, Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5:97–123, Fall 2000. Return to text.
- James Barr, Letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 April 1984. Return to text.
- A. Steinmann, אחד as an ordinal number and the meaning of Genesis 1:5, JETS 45(4):577–584, December 2002; quote from pp. 583–584; italics in original, bold added. Return to text.
- J. Sarfati, Hebrew scholar affirms that Genesis means what it says! Interview with Dr Ting Wang, Lecturer in Biblical Hebrew, Creation 27(4):48–51, 2005; creation.com/wang. Return to text.
- M.G. Kline, Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48:2–15, 1996. Return to text.
- Noel Weeks, lecture Futile Compromises: Let the Bible Speak, CMI conference, Sydney, Australia, 2001 (available on video, and audio file is www.answersingenesis.org/AnswersMedia/play.asp?mediaID=010123_special07). Return to text.
- W. Grudem, Systematic Theology, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, USA, p. 302, 1994. Return to text.
- T. Mortenson, But from the beginning of the institution of marriage? creation.com/beginning, 1 November 2004. Return to text.
- Charles Kingsley, Sermons on National Subjects, Sermon XLI, Macmillan & Co., pp. 414–17, 1880. Return to text.
- Carl Wieland, Darwin’s bodysnatchers: new horrors: People deliberately killed to provide specimens for evolutionary research, Creation 14(2):16–18, 1992; creation.com/bodysnatch. Return to text.
- For a thorough documentation of death, disease and injury in human fossils, and the problem for old-earth beliefs, see Marvin Lubenow, Pre-Adamites, sin, death and the human fossils, J. Creation 12(2):222–232, 1998. Return to text.
- See J. Sarfati, The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe: Hugh Ross’s blunders on plant death in the Bible, J. Creation 19(3):60–64, 2005; creation.com/plant_death. The first section shows how the fossil record of humans alone is irreconcilable with the biblical teaching on the Fall if uniformitarian ‘dates’ are accepted. Return to text.
- D. Clark et al., Stratigraphic, chronological and behavioural contexts of Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia, Nature 423(6941):747–752, 12 June 2003. Return to text.
- C. Wieland and J. Sarfati, Ethiopian earliest humans find: a severe blow to the beliefs of Hugh Ross and similar progressive creationist compromise views, creation.com/ethiopianskull, 12 June 2003. Return to text.
- Tim White et al., Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia, Nature 423(6941):742–747, 12 June 2003. Return to text.
- I. McDougall, F.H. Brown and J.G. Fleagle, Stratigraphic placement and age of modern humans from Kibish, Ethiopia, Nature 433(7027):733–736, 17 February 2005. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Redating Leakey’s Ethiopian human finds: more problems for compromise, creation.com/redating, 18 February 2005. Return to text.
- Smith, H.B., Cosmic and universal death from Adam’s Fall: An exegesis of Romans 8:19–23a, J. Creation 21(1):75–85, 2007. Return to text.
- Basil the Great, On the origin of Man 2:6–7. Return to text.
- Wesley, J., On the Fall of Man, Sermon 57 (Genesis 3:19), 1872; http://gbgmumc.org/UMhistory/Wesley/sermons/serm-057.stm. Return to text.
- Wesley, J., God’s approbation of his Work, Sermon 56 (Genesis 1:31), 1872; http://gbgmumc.org/UMhistory/Wesley/sermons/serm-056.stm. Return to text.
- Monod, Jacques, The Secret of Life, ABC interview, Australia, 1976. Return to text.
- Dawkins, Clinton Richard, The root of all evil? Channel 4, UK, 16 January 2006. Return to text.
- Richard Lewontin, ‘Billions and billions of demons’, bold added, The New York Review, January 9, 1997, p. 31. Return to text.