My daughter is a junior in High School. She asked me last night if I could help her with a paper she was writing on Theistic evolution. Her teacher, who is a Christian, had suggested that Genesis is figurative and the writers of the Bible were using symbolic language to accommodate the understanding of their day. His position is that since we now know evolution is factual we can better understand the metaphorical language of Scripture. Can you provide any help?
I’m certainly not a scientist and I am no expert on evolution. And I’m not in a position to condemn someone who believes in Theistic evolution. However, I am a student of God’s Word and I am told in Scripture that the wisdom of God supersedes the wisdom of man. Here are six reasons why I don’t believe in Theistic evolution.
1. The Bible says God created man by forming him from the dust of the ground and Adam was a unique, spiritual being. If Theistic evolution is true, then why did God say in Genesis that He created man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life? Why does the Bible add that God formed a woman by causing a deep sleep to come upon Adam and He took a rib from Adam’s side and began forming Eve?
If God created sub-humans male and female, why would He leave the impression that man was created in God’s image as a distinctively spiritual creature? Why not explain clearly in His Word that man was formed over billions of years by evolution?
Some suggest that God knew ancient civilizations would not understand the concept of evolution, so He explained creation in poetic words. However, one of the stated purposes of the Bible is to educate human beings as to their origin and purpose, so why not clearly state, “In the beginning God began with a very tiny life form and slowly guided it’s complex development over billions of years until man emerged,” That’s really not too difficult to comprehend.
A hermeneutic principle that has been followed for years in studying the Bible is, “Literal if possible, figurative if obvious.” If we can’t take the first two chapters of Genesis literally, than how can we take any of the rest of the Bible literally? If you don’t believe God is being accurate in Genesis, how do you believe the Apostle Paul’s assertion, “All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Tim. 3:16)? It’s an awkward stretch to attempt to coordinate a belief in the Bible as God’s inspired Word with a belief in macro-evolution.
2. The consistent use in Scripture of the term “Yom” to represent a day. Some suggest the word “day” in Genesis 1 really means millions of years. But the Hebrew word for day is ‘”yom,” Whenever this word is used with the words evening and morning, as it is in the opening of Genesis, it always means a literal 24 hour day. Again, if this “day” isn’t really a day, but millions of years, what about “day” in the rest of the Bible? Are we to conclude the Sabbath day is to last millions of years?
Geologist Dr. Terry Mortenson believes in a six-day creation. He asks, “If the ‘days’ are figurative of long ages, then so are the ‘evenings’ and the ‘mornings.’ But how could plants survive millions of years of darkness? Or how could they reproduce if they had to wait hundreds of millions of years before insects and animals were created that would pollinate the plants?”
3. The Bible teaches that death came into the world as a result of Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
If God used evolution as a process to create humans, it means there would be millions of years of death and suffering before God made man. This would mean that death is not the punishment for sin, as the Scripture declares. The Bible teaches man was created in perfection and fell into sin. As a result the human race is becoming increasingly decadent as we continue to drift away from God. Evolution teaches man began in imperfection and is gradually getting better and better. The current depraved spiritual condition of our world doesn’t support that idea.
4. The sequence of creation in Genesis contradicts the sequence taught in evolution. If you propose that God used evolution, how do you deal with the numerous differences in the order of events in Genesis 1 and the alleged evolutionary sequence of events? For example, the Bible tells us the earth was created three days before the sun. The evolutionary view has the sun long before the earth. The Bible teaches that God made birds on day 5 and land creatures, such as reptiles, on day 6. Yet many evolutionists say that flying creatures evolved from reptiles, so reptiles must have been first. The Genesis account, even if poetic, doesn’t dovetail with the theory of evolution.
5. Jesus quoted from the first two chapters of Genesis as being accurate and authoritative. Why would Jesus quote the creation story in Genesis if He knew it wasn’t accurate and trustworthy? Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth.” Since we are supposed to imitate Christ, then it is entirely appropriate for us to use the Scriptures as written when dealing with the anti-Biblical philosophies of this age.
6. Theistic evolution is an attempt by some intellectual believers to be accepted by the scientific community. Atheists commonly have a condescending attitude toward anyone who puts credence in the book of Genesis. They ridicule those who believe in intelligent design. Christian students who sit under atheist professors at secular universities fear being labeled as ignorant and uninformed. Most don’t have the time or the scientific expertise to counter what they are being taught. They may not even be aware that there are reputable scientists who believe the Bible and who present overwhelming evidence that supports creation.
Young believers who are tempted by intellectual pride and who want to be accepted by their peers attempt to harmonize the evolutionary theories they are taught in the classroom with their belief in God and the Bible. Instead of using the Bible to interpret the evidence, theistic evolutionists use the supposed “evidence” for evolution to interpret the Bible. In my mind they are basically saying, “We are smarter than God. We know what God said in the Bible, but the latest evidence says something different so here is what He really meant.”
To claim that mankind was not advanced enough to comprehend evolution (as many theistic evolutionists argue) is an attack on the omniscience of God who is perfectly capable of giving us His Word in a manner that is understandable. He said He made man from the dust of the ground and He began fashioning a woman by taking a rib from Adam’s side, so teaching anything contrary to that is an attack on the truth of God’s Word. If the Genesis account is too outrageous for you to believe, perhaps your concept of God is too small.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).
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