Probably the majority of professing Christians today believe in some type of theistic evolution. They believe in a Creator God, and they believe in salvation through Christ, but they don’t believe the Bible’s account of six-day creation and they give credence to evolutionary doctrines such as an ancient age of the earth and the gradual evolution of creatures.
C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential names in “evangelical” Christianity today, believed in theistic evolution. He called the Bible’s creation account a “Hebrew folk tale.”
“[T]hat man is physically descended from animals, I have no objection … For centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself … The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man … [I]n the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism … a new kind of consciousness which could say ‘I’ and ‘me,’ … which knew God … [and] could make judgments of truth, beauty, and goodness” (Lewis, The Problem of Pain).
Billy Graham has long allowed for theistic evolution, claiming that it doesn’t matter how man was made:
“Either at a certain moment in evolution God breathed into one particular ape-man who was Adam, or God could have taken a handful of dust and created a man just like that” (“Cooperative Evangelism at Harringay,” United Church Observer, the official paper of the United Church of Canada, July 1966).
“I don’t think that there’s any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ...whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God” (Graham, Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1977, pp. 72-74).
Lewis and Graham have influenced many in this doctrine.
Theistic evolutionists who profess Christianity believe that it is possible to reconcile the Bible with evolution, but in reality this is an impossibility.
First, the early chapters of Genesis are written as history rather than poetry or allegory.
“There are 64 geographical terms, 88 personal names, 48 generic names and at least 21 identifiable cultural items (such as gold, bdellium, onyx, brass, iron, gopher wood, bitumen, mortar brick, stone, harp, pipe, cities, towers) in those opening chapters. The significance of this list may be seen by comparing it, for example, with ‘the paucity of references in the Koran. The single tenth chapter of Genesis has five times more geographical data of importance than the whole of the Koran.’ Every one of these items presents us with the possibility of establishing the reliability of our author. The content runs head on into a description of the real world rather than recounting events belonging to another world or level of reality” (Walter Kaiser, Jr., “The Literary Form of Genesis 1-11,” New Perspectives on the Old Testament, ed. by J. Barton Payne, 1970, p. 59).
Genesis is cited as history by Jesus. In Luke 17:26-32, for example, Jesus mentions Noah, the Ark, the Flood, Lot, the destruction of Sodom by fire, and Lot’s wife. Elsewhere Jesus mentions the Creation (Mk. 13:19), Adam and Eve (Mat. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7), Cain and Abel (Mat. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51), and Abraham (John 8:39-40). In Matthew 19:5 Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24. Christ always treats Genesis as history, and it is impossible to honor Him as Lord and Saviour and disregard His teaching. In Matthew 19:4-5, Christ mentions both “accounts” of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 and treats them as historical. Many theistic evolutionists, such as Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, claim to be “evangelical” and to honor Christ as Lord and Saviour, but this is not consistent with the rejection of Christ’s teaching about Genesis and human origins.
Genesis 1-11 is cited as history by seven of the eight New Testament writers (all but James). Altogether the first eleven chapters of Genesis are quoted from or referred to 100 times in the New Testament, and Genesis is always treated as historical.
Genesis 1-3 forms the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Adam was not a real man and there was no literal Fall, the gospel becomes an empty religious myth.
Jesus’ human genealogy is traced from Adam (Luke 3:23-38). We know that this genealogy is populated with the names of real historical people, and there is no reason to treat Adam differently. Further, there is no room within this genealogy for millions of years of time.
Adam is compared to Christ (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:45). It is obvious that the apostle Paul considered Adam an actual man and the Genesis account literal history.
Second, the teaching of Genesis cannot be reconciled with the teaching of evolution.
a. Genesis says God created the world and everything in it in six days. The days of creation in Genesis 1 were regular 24-hour days, days with an evening and a morning (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). This is repeated in Exodus 20:10-11.
b. Genesis says everything was made to reproduce after its kind. The statement “after their kind” is repeated ten times in Genesis chapter one (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25). This is precisely what we observe in the world. Dogs reproduce dogs, spiders reproduce spiders, birds reproduce birds, and peanuts reproduce peanuts. Animals can interbreed and adapt within kinds (e.g., dogs can be interbred to produce different kinds of dogs), but kinds cannot be bridged. This is what the Bible teaches and this is what we can observe everywhere in nature, yet evolution teaches that the kinds are not stable, that the fish evolved into the amphibian, and the amphibian into the reptile, and the reptile into the bird, etc.
c. Genesis says the first man was created directly by God (Genesis 2) and was not the product of gradual evolution from the animal kingdom. The Bible says Adam was the first man (1 Cor. 15:45). And Eve is the mother of all men (Gen. 3:20).
d. Genesis says man is made in God’s image and is not a part of the animal kingdom (Gen. 1:27). Evolution says man is an evolved animal.
e. Genesis says the world was created perfect, then fell under sin and has been deteriorating ever since. This is consistent with everything we can observe. Everything is moving from order to disorder. Everything is deteriorating, running down. This is what the Second Law of Thermodynamics describes, as even secular evolutionists admit. Isaac Asimov was an evolutionist, but his definition of the Second Law of Thermodynamics actually refutes evolution and proves the Bible: “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly! Viewed that way, we can see the Second Law all about us. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order; how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself and that is what the Second Law is all about” (Asimov, “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p. 10). How contrary this is to the doctrine of evolution, which says that things have gradually evolved from chaos to order, from non-life to life!
f. Genesis indicates that the earth’s history is only about 6,000 years old, whereas evolution claims that it is billions of years old. Various biblical dating chronologies differ slightly--a few years here or even a hundred years there--but no biblical dating chronology allows for a date of creation older than several thousand years.
g. Genesis says man had the ability to use language from the beginning, so that he might communicate with God. But according to evolution, language evolved from animal grunts and squeals. It is important to understand that even modern archaeology says that writing began about 5,000 years ago, which fits the Bible’s record exactly (Joseph Naveh, Origins of the Alphabets: Introduction to Archaeology, Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Publishing House, p. 6).
h. Genesis says man had the ability to create an intelligent civilization from the very beginning. Adam’s first children built cities, raised cattle, created musical instruments, and worked in brass and iron (Gen. 4:17-22). Evolution, on the other hand, claims that man’s civilization began with a “stone age” during which “cave men” lived like animals.
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