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26 04 2010




Biblical Problems with Theistic Evolution, Part III

26 04 2010

PROBLEMS WITH DEATH

            The second major problem the theistic evolutionist must deal with is death. The historical record of evolution is full of millions of years of death before man is ever on the scene. The biblical account is much different in that death is part of the curse that resulted from the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:17, 3:19). So, how does the theistic evolutionist deal with the problem of the evolutionary teaching that death has existed long before man came on the scene? The answer is that they must reinterpret the Bible to fit their science. Again we turn to Alexander who illustrates the point. He writes,

Nowhere in the Old Testament is there the slightest suggestion that the physical death of either animals or humans, after a reasonable span of years, is anything other than the normal pattern ordained by God for this earth…It is clear from these contexts that it is not death per se which is caused by sin, but rather premature death which is seen as specific punishment for specific sins.[1]

 Alexander never states who, in his opinion, defines what a “reasonable span of years” actually amounts to. He also chooses to completely ignore the Genesis account of how death (physical and spiritual) came about.

            He returns to this in the next chapter where once again he employs his hermeneutical principle of interpreting these first few chapters of Genesis “in figurative language written for the purpose of conveying theological truths accessible to all people in whatever era or culture.”[2] Since Adam and Eve failed to die physically on the very day in which they committed their sin against God, Alexander jumps to the conclusion that the only death that resulted from their sin was spiritual death, because in Alexander’s view physical death has always been around. So, how does he explain Genesis 3:19 which states, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return”? He writes,

The reminder to the man that he will return ‘to the dust’ (verse 19) seems not to be a consequence of his disobedience, but rather a reminder that sweating away to extract crops from the earth is actually quite appropriate when we recall that Adam is destined to return to the earth anyway.[3]

 As a result, in its attempt to converge evolution and Christian theism the theistic evolutionist “gives a false representation of the nature of God because death and ghastliness are ascribed to the Creator as principles of creation.”[4] Somehow in the theistic evolutionary scheme mankind must manage to fall upwards because “evolutionary belief tells us that things have been improving – life has been evolving into more and more complex forms”[5] while the Bible tells us that man has fallen and “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs (Romans 8:22).” Ken Ham summarizes the problem by stating, “Evolution says death plus struggle brought man into existence; the Bible says man’s actions led to sin, which led to death. These two are totally contradictory. If evolution is true, then the reason Christ died on the cross has been destroyed.”[6]

 PROBLEMS WITH THE FUTURE

            The third major issue confronting the theistic evolutionist deals with future events as they are described in the Bible. Specifically in Acts 3:21 the Bible states, “Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” The fact that the Bible speaks of a time yet future where God will restore His Created order back to what it previously was presents an interesting dilemma for the theistic evolutionist. After all, as we have noted, evolution depicts millions of years of pre-Adamic death and suffering in the world. For the evolutionist, death and suffering have always been a natural way of life. The fact that God will restore all things back to their rightful order communicates that in the present order of things there are problems. In fact Romans 8:22 agrees that something is not right: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” For his part Alexander relates this passage not back to Genesis and Creation but rather to Isaiah 24-27 and the future judgment God will bring to the earth.[7] However, the whole of this issue cannot be glossed over with fancy reinterpretations of Scripture. As John Verderame states, “For the theistic evolutionist (or the closely related ‘long-age creationist’) this should logically mean a restoration back to billions of years of death and suffering.”[8]

            Not only must they explain a restoration back to billions of years of death and suffering, but they must also account for passages like 2 Peter 3:13 which states, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The immediate question is how long will God go about creating this new heaven and new earth? Will He once again use the processes of evolution? The theistic evolutionist must grapple with these topics and do so in a way that does not force modern evolutionary “science” upon the interpretation of the Bible.

CONCLUSION

            It has been the purpose of this paper to examine the means by which the theistic evolutionist seeks to bridge the gulf between the two opposing systems of evolution and Creationism and within that examination to see if their position will stand up underneath the light and scrutiny of a literal, historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture. To be sure, much more has and could be said in regards to the problems stated in this paper and also to many other problems that face the theistic evolutionist in his quest to merge Creationism with evolution. However, what has been proven in this short examination is the fact that in order to merge these two opposing systems the theistic evolutionist must play fast and loose with their interpretation of the Bible. They must read the Bible in light of their scientific beliefs and then reinterpret the Bible in order to mesh those beliefs together. As much as they may claim to believe in the final authority of the Bible it is their science that holds “privileged status” over the Scriptures. After all, in their estimation, God’s Word could never hold up under the scrutiny of the latest and greatest claims of modern day science. It seems ironic that even some of the most hardcore evolutionists are adamant that the theories of evolution could never be harmonized with the Bible. For instance, Ken Ham quotes Thomas Huxley, an evolutionary humanist as stating,

I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the ‘ten words’ were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome – what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated: And what the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?[9]

 In the end a good question for today’s theistic evolutionist comes straight from the mouth of Jesus Himself in John 3:12, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”


[1] Alexander, “Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?”, 246-249.

[2] Ibid, 257.

[3] Ibid, 262.

[4] Gitt, “10 Dangers of Theistic Evolution”, [Last accessed 4/6/2010].

[5] Ham, Ken. “The Lie: Evolution.” Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1998, 150.

[6] Ibid, 150.

[7] Alexander, “Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?”, 268-270.

[8] Verderame, John. “Theistic Evolution: Future Shock.” http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i3/theistic_evolution.asp [Last Accessed April 6, 2010].

[9] Ham, “The New Answers Book 1”, 32-33.





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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