Is There Such a Thing as "Theistic Evolution?"
Is Evolution compatible with Christianity? This is an important question that I would ask to every person who believes in "theistic evolution." Whether or not the two are compatible, it brings out some important questions that are always ignored in an attempt to adhere to evolution, theistic or not. I once had some theistic evolutionists tell me that evolution is not the denial of God. I was stating that the atheist doesn't believe in God because of evolution, and the "theists" were claiming that evolution is not the issue. I beg to differ. In fact, I do not believe that there is such a thing as "theistic" evolution." For if you believe in God, you can't deny that He created the world by His power; He wrote that He did, so if you deny that, you're calling God a liar, and "no liar has the Truth in him," and "it is impossible for God to lie." It's an insult to the intelligence and creativity of God to suggest that He could use evolution to create life. For if evolution is true, why would you need God to create in the first place if everything comes into being by slow, randow processes "all by itself"? How could anyone believe in or worship a God that is so stupid that He can't make it right the first time? Why does He have to experiment? Can't He decide what He wants? If He wanted us to "know" that everything was created by slow, random processes for billions of years, if indeed it was, wouldn't He have said so? In contrast, there CANNOT be a god in evolution, unless it is man himself; in other words, humanism and atheism are the only two religions that can safely mix with evolution. Why? Because if everything evolved slowly, overtime, you don't need a Creator, God, to explain how everything came to be. So if you don't believe that there is a god, you go with atheism, and evolution fits comfortably with that religion -- no god, no creation = everything happens over time, all by itself, slowly evolving "from a dot smaller than the period on this page." Humanism can also fit rather comfortably with evolution, because humans are becoming bigger, better, stronger, and smarter, according to evolution, causing man to think that He is at the center of the universe -- that he is god. So, man is god = man decides what's right and wrong = everything just evolves gradually, because I decided that it did, and I'm god/ or everything evolves gradually, because if I'm god, there is no God of the Bible, and therefore no Creator. Now with Christianity, God says that He created the world in a very short time, that He is the Creator of the world. So, God is the Creator = Creation = Short period of time = no "gradually forming" allowed. As you can already see, Evolution cannot be compatible with Creation, but there is still more to support this claim. Creation and Evolution are complete opposites; the two do not and cannot mix. There is no middle ground for a Christian to believe that God created the world over billions of years, when in fact "nothing is impossible with God." If Christians really believed that, why do they then insist that God couldn't possibly have created the world in six literal days -- that He HAD to have done it in billions of years? In The Battle for the Beginning, John MacArthur explains very clearly and persuasively from the Bible how the Creation took place in six literal days. To an evolutionist, I'm sure these views would not be compelling, but I found his book to contain some excellent information. One of the things that fascinated me about this book is how MacArthur shows how many people try to compromise the Truth of God's Word with science (by "science" I mean evolution, esp.). His view is that many try to justify millions or billions of years by the most recent scientific data, placing it over the Scriptures. In reality, the Bible is the ultimate authority; science supports it, and not the other way around. Below are some of the points MacArthur makes concerning this... "The framework hypothesis is the direct result of making modern scientific theory a hermeneutical guideline by which to interpret Scripture. The basic presupposition behind the framework hypothesis is the notion that science speaks with more authority about origins and the age of the earth than Scripture does. Those who embrace such a view have in effect made science an authority over Scripture. They are permitting scientific hypotheses -- mere human opinion that have no divine authority whatsoever -- to be the hermeneutical rule by which Scripture is interpreted. There is no warrant for that. Modern scientific opinion is not a valid hermeneutic for interpreting Genesis (or any other portion of Scripture, for that matter)... The Bible is supreme truth, and therefore it is the standard by which scienctific theory should be evaluated, not vice versa. And Scripture always speaks with absolute authority... It is as true when it tells of the future as it is when it records the past... Although many have tried to set science against Scripture, science never has disproved one jot or tittle of the Bible and it never will. It is therefore a serious mistake to imagine that modern scientists can speak more authoritatively than Scripture on the subject of origins. Scripture is God's own eyewitness account of what happened in the beginning. When it deals with the origin of the universe, all science can offer is conjecture. [MacArthur also examines evolution's "god" of chance, stating that chance by itself is nothing, and that all chance has a cause.] Science has proven nothing that negates the Genesis record. In fact, the Genesis record answers the mysteries of science." He then goes on to say that the New Testament gives us a guide for interpreting Genesis. Does it treat the creation as merely a mythical or symbolic account? "In every New Testament reference to Genesis, the events recorded by Moses are treated as historical events. And in particular, the first three chapters of Genesis are consistently treated as a literal record of historical events.... In fact, when the New Testament refers to creation, it always refers to a past, completed event -- an immediate work of God, not a still-occuring process of evolution" (pages 22-24). "...Throw out Genesis and the authority of all Scripture is fatally compromised. That would ultimately mean that the God of the Bible simply does not exist. And if some other creator-god does exist, he evidently doesn't care enough about his creation to provide any revelation about himself, his plan for creation, or his will for his creatures... Therefore if Genesis is untrue, we might as well assume that no God exists at all. That is precisely the assumption behind the modern evolutionary theory" (page 43). He goes on to explain just what I was trying to say to these "theistic evolutionists": "If true, it means that impersonal matter is the ultimate reality. Human pesonality and human intelligence are simply meaningless accidents produced at random by the natural processes of evolution. We have no moral accountability to any higher Being." This is why I was saying that atheists believe in evolution -- they don't want a Creator to exist, because if He does exist, they are going to be judged and they don't want that to happen; therefore, there is no Creator -- we won't have to be held accountable for our actions. Another point which MacArthur argues is that if Adam is treated as a mythical figure (which one would have to affirm if they believe that the creation account is mythical and that it took billions of years) then all the rest of Scripture must be treated in this way, as well. "Some old earth creationists do hold to the literal creation of Adam and affirm that Adam was a historical figure" but they are then inconsistent to place Adam in a historical "bubble" and say that everything else around him in Genesis 1 and 2 is allegory or symbolic. "... the old-earth creationists' method of interpreting the Genesis text actually undermines the historicity of Adam. Having already decided to treat the creation account itself as myth or allegory, they have no grounds to insist (suddenly and arbitrarily, it seems) that the creation of Adam is literal history." (page 19) "Naturally, the advocates of this view [framework hypothesis] accept the modern scientific theory that the formation of the earth required several billion years. They claim the biblical account is nothing more than metaphorical framework that should overlay scientific understanding of creation. The language and details of Genesis 1 are unimportant, they say; the only truth this passage aims to teach us is that the hand of Divine Providence guided the evolutionary process. The Genesis creation account is thus reduced to a literary device -- an extended metaphor that is not to be accepted at face value... If the plain meaning of Genesis 1 may be written off and the language treated as nothing more than a literary device, why not do the same with Genesis 3?... Where does metaphor ultimately end and history begin? After the Flood? After the Tower of Babel? And why there? Why not regard all the biblical miracles as literary devices? Why could not the Resurrection itself be dismissed as a mere allegory? In the words of E.J. Young, 'If the 'framework' hypothesis were applied to the narratives of the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection or Romans 5:12ff., it could as effectively serve to minimize the importance of the content of those passages as it now does the content of the first chapter of Genesis'" (page 21). "Everything Scripture says about our salvation through Jesus Christ hinges on the literal truth of what Genesis 1-3 teaches about Adam's creation and fall," because if Adam is not a historical figure, then we he didn't exist so as to cause the fall; and if the fall didn't happen, there would have been no reason for Christ to come and redeem us (pages 19-20). MacArthur states: "The starting point for Christianity is not Matthew 1:1, but Genesis 1:1. Tamper with the Book of Genesis and you undermine the very foundation of Christianity. You cannot treat Genesis 1 as a fable or a mere poetic saga without sever implications to the rest of Scripture. The creation account is where God starts His account of history. It is impossible to alter the beginning without impacting the rest of the story -- not to mention the ending. If Genesis 1 is not accurate, then there's no way to be certain that the rest of Scripture tells the truth. If the starting point is wrong, then the Bible itself is built on a foundation of falsehood. In other words, if you reject the creation account of Genesis, you have no basis for believing the Bible at all. If you doubt or explain away the Bible's account of the six days of creation, where do you put the reins on your skepticism? .... Once rationalism sets in and you start adapting the Word of god to fit scientific theories based on naturalistic beliefs, there is no end to the process." Like he said before, MacArthur asks, "Why should we doubt the literal sense of Genesis 1-3 unless we are also prepared to deny that Elisha made an ax-head float or that Peter walked on water or that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? And what about the greatest miracle of all -- the resurrection of Christ? If we're going to shape Scripture to fit the beliefs of naturalistic scientists, why stop at all? Why is one miracle any more difficult to accept than another?" (page 44) MacArthur also touches on Hugh Ross' approach, stating that he is always referring to "the newer data, statistics, etc" and placing that over the Bible. He states: "Hugh Ross has embraced selected theories of big bang cosmology, which he regards as undisputed fact -- including the notion that the universe and the earth are billions of years old -- and he employs those theories as lenses through which interpret Scripture. In effect, he makes Scripture subsrvient to science -- and he does so without carefully separating scientific fact from scientific theory... he believes the modern scientific opinion about the age and origin of the universe is essential to explain what Scripture really meant all along" (page 57). He also states that nature is like a sixty-seventh book of the Bible, placing nature on equal footing with the Scriptures, but the Bible clearly states in Psalm 19 that nature is inferior to the Scriptures. In short, Hugh is doing the very thing that we have been discussing: He places science over the Bible, and uses it to interpret what the Bible says, instead of examining the Bible and then looking at science and seeing that it supports the Bible. When you take the wrong approach, you end up with messed-up doctrines; hence, Hugh can be described as a "theistic evolutionist," and we have already discussed how such a term does not exist and Hugh's whole theory is a mess. I recently watched a debate where he took just that approach, as always. Dr. Kent Hovind, Hugh's opponent for this particular debate, was saying that any average person can read the Bible and understand clearly what it's saying (esp. in Genesis), that we don't need some guru to tell us what it means. After debating back and forth about various things, the subject came around to that again. Ross responded, "Any layman can understand this easily," holding up some printed material of the latest scientific findings. Dr. Hovind responded with exactly what I was thinking: Holding up his Bible, he boldly said, "And any layman can understand this Book easily!" Get the book to read MacArthur's arguments for a literal six-day creation. There is sooo much more information that is presented in the book to support a young earth, based on the Bible, and MacArthur takes it step-by-step, one day at a time for the six days of creation. Don't just take my word for it; these excerpts alone are not enough to prove the point. Read the book! I highly recommend it!