Biblical Problems with Theistic Evolution, Part II

26 04 2010

PROBLEMS WITH INTERPRETIVE APPROACH

            The first major problem for the theistic evolutionist when it comes to the Bible is that his hermeneutical principle cannot be a literal, historical-grammatical approach to the Bible. If he took such an approach there is no way that he could blend the theory of evolution with the stated facts of Scripture. So as a result he must begin to allegorize the Bible in places where the Bible speaks plainly and factually. In his book “The Battle for the Beginning” John MacArthur summarizes the theistic evolutionist approach by writing,

The new trend has also influenced some evangelicals who contend that it is possible to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with the theories of modern naturalism without doing violence to any essential doctrine of Christianity. They affirm evangelical statements of faith. They teach in evangelical institutions. They insist they believe the Bible is inerrant and authoritative. But they are willing to reinterpret Genesis to accommodate evolutionary theory. They express shock and surprise that anyone would question their approach to Scripture. And they sometimes employ the same sort of ridicule and intimidation religious liberals and atheistic skeptics have always leveled against believers: “You don’t seriously think the universe is less than a billion years old, do you?”[1]

It is not a secret that the theistic evolutionist is trying to blend science with the Bible. In his chapter dealing with the background of Adam and Eve, Alexander writes at the outset,

We do not start with evolutionary narrative and then try to impose it on the biblical text, but rather do the reverse – listen to what the Bible has to say and then see whether there are any interesting resonances with the evolutionary account.[2]

What Alexander fails to see is that reading the Bible with an evolutionary mindset is in itself anti-biblical. This is true because the Bible plainly states that God Created the Universe and all that is in it in six days. Yet he is very clear in his stated agenda. Later in the same paragraph he writes,

So if the accounts look very different as we proceed, fear not, their integration will be carefully considered in the end. But as usual we cannot even begin to relate the two stories together, the theological and the scientific, unless we have a good grasp on both.[3]

So if the theistic evolutionist sets out with the clear agenda to integrate evolution and the Bible then which system will change? Will he change the modern science which, as already alleged, has “privileged status” or will he change the interpretation of the Bible to mesh with science? As one reads further in the same chapter of Alexander’s book the answer to that question becomes abundantly clear. In regards to the biblical account of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam, Alexander makes this telling statement:

Now if we take this obviously figurative and literary passage, with all its linguistic plays on words, as referring to some early Near Eastern operation during which God both provides the anesthetic and does the surgical manipulation of a male rib to generate a woman, then we will have missed the point of the text by reading it through modernist spectacles. No, if we go down that route then we are in real danger of abusing the text, which is about the foundations of marriage.[4] (Italics mine)

Thus Alexander sees no correlation between the Genesis account and the Creation of mankind. To him, it “is about the foundations of marriage.” To see it otherwise would be to see it through modern glasses. Interestingly enough the predominant Jewish and Christian understanding of the text for thousands of years has been that it is the account of how God Created. Nonetheless, all of those interpreters must have been viewing the Bible through “modernist spectacles.”

            Much later in the same chapter Alexander presents five possible models of interpretation of the Genesis account surrounding Creation and the Noahic Flood. In his concluding summary he puts another nail in his own theistic evolutionary coffin as it pertains to his belief, or lack thereof, in the authority of the Bible. Pertaining to the Flood he writes,

But model C (which he prefers) would interpret the flood account as referring to the saving of those who ‘walked with God’ (Genesis 6:9), together with the livestock that were essential for their welfare, through a local, albeit devastating, flood that affected the area of the Euphrates valley and its surroundings. In fact there is no geological evidence for a global flood, and the language of Genesis that refers to ‘every living thing on the face of the earth’ being ‘wiped out’, may very well simply refer to that ‘world’ with which Noah and his family were familiar…And those who were saved and eventually emerged onto dry ground to experience a renewing of their covenant with God (Genesis 9:11-17) were not the genetic progenitors of the world’s population, but the spiritual progenitors of all those who since that time have experienced God’s saving grace…Apart from anything else, there are certainly no genetic data suggesting that all humankind originated from one family in the Near East about 6,000 – 8,000 years ago.[5]

And so anyone with two eyes and even a little bit of objectivity can readily see how Alexander allows his science to color his interpretation of Scripture. It is enough to leave one screaming, “Wait! I thought Scripture was your final authority!”

            When it’s all said and done the theistic evolutionist does irreparable damage to the authority of the Word of God and to the character of God Himself when he seeks to allegorize the Scriptures in the way that Alexander and others who hold the theistic evolutionary mindset do. MacArthur writes, “Give evolutionary doctrine the throne and make the Bible its servant, and you have laid the foundation for spiritual disaster.”[6] Ken Ham concurs:

In many nations, the Word of God was once widely respected and taken seriously. But once the door of compromise is unlocked, once Christian leaders concede that we shouldn’t interpret the Bible as written in Genesis, why should the world take heed of God’s Word in any area? Because the church has told the world that one can use man’s interpretation of the world, such as billions of years, to reinterpret the Bible, this Book is seen as an outdated, scientifically incorrect holy book not intended to be believed as written.[7]

This is merely the beginning of the theistic evolutionist’s problems when it comes to their attempt to integrate the Bible with evolutionary science. As Ham further states,

When we consider the possibility that God used evolutionary processes to create over millions of years, we are faced with serious consequences: the Word of God is no longer authoritative, and the character of our loving God is questioned.[8]

The remainder of the problems that we will investigate pertaining to theistic evolution will deal with both the authority of God’s Word and the very character of God Himself.


[1] MacArthur, John. “The Battle for the Beginning.” Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001, 17.

[2] Alexander, “Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?”, 191.

[3] Ibid, 191.

[4] Ibid, 197.

[5] Ibid, 242.

[6] MacArthur, “The Battle for the Beginning”, 26.

[7] Ham, Ken. Gen. Ed. “The New Answers Book 1” Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2010, 37-38.

[8] Ibid, 32.


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