Can a Christian Still be an Evolutionist? by Brad Harrub, Ph.D.
If we were to believe everything that the scientific community has offered regarding man’s origins, we would find that few (if any) theories include acts by a supernatural Creator. In fact, scientists are quick to point out that the Universe took billions of years to form, and thus it would be absurd to believe that it was created in just six days. For instance, consider what Thomas Hayden wrote when he added another “certainty” of life—besides taxes and death. His effort to shore up the ever-faltering theory of evolution was the cover story of the July 29, 2002 issue of U.S. News & World Report. In explaining “how evolution works, and why it matters more than ever,” Hayden stated: “It’s an everyday phenomenon, a fundamental fact of biology as real as hunger and as unavoidable as death” (2002, 133:43).
Sadly, such examples of grandstanding and propagandizing in the media occur all too often. And people by the millions accept them as the “final word” on the subject—without any real knowledge as to what the evidence actually reveals. Even within the church, Christians sometimes find themselves favoring science over the Bible. Some, apparently, have forgotten the truth on the matter, which can be summed up succinctly with the first ten words that appear in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added). If this is not true, then every word that follows should be called into question as well.
Because of the prevailing idea of an ancient Cosmos, many people have tried to find ways to fit evolution and its billions-of-years time frame into the biblical account of creation. In essence, they still espouse belief in God and the Bible, but they also pledge a great deal of allegiance to science and evolutionary theory. As the old adage says, they want to “have their cake and eat it, too.” But can both the Bible and evolutionary theory be true? People clinging to both the Bible and evolution are commonly known as “theistic evolutionists.” “Theistic” comes from the Greek theos, meaning God. Thus, theistic evolutionists believe that God does exist, but they also hold that the theory of evolution is true. They rationalize their beliefs by stating that “yes, God created the heavens and the Earth,” but then He used (or allowed) evolutionary processes to produce the Universe we see today.
Thus, “Bible believers” find themselves in the unenviable position of having to compromise the opening chapters of the Bible. If Genesis 1-11 is tossed aside as merely a “nice story,” then we must toss out the entire Bible because the one major theme that is taught throughout the Word of God is redemption. Man’s relationship with God started at the pinnacle of Creation week in the Garden of Eden, and degenerated from there. Christians need to be fully aware that theistic evolution teaches that man started out at the bottom and worked his way to the top (via the old amoeba-to-man story). Therefore, either man started at the top and fell, as the Bible indicates, or he started at the bottom and rose to the top, as evolution indicates. Both cannot be correct! The prophets long ago declared the fall of humans, and the resulting need for a Savior. Scripture indicates that this was the reason for Christ’s death—to bring men back into a covenant relationship with God. If men truly did not fall as described in the Creation account, then why did Jesus Christ, the Son of God, come to this planet and suffer a cruel death on the cross? Additionally, consider the following:
Surely evolution will not have to reverse itself and concede that it reached its zenith with the birth of the Christ child a long, long time ago. Surely this colossal system will not have to concede that it is less able now to produce a greater than Jesus than it did produce two thousand years ago. If evolution is not now able to produce a greater than Jesus, then it seems the system has ceased to be evolution and has become devolution, at least in one sense (Taylor, 1974).
Today, this theory appears more like “devilution” than devolution.
As long as we are tossing aside Scripture, we might as well use our scissors to cut out all references to the Creation, starting with the gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus Christ Himself made reference to the Creation when He stated in Matthew 19:4 (cf. Mark 10:6): “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” These words indicate that Adam and Eve had been on the Earth “from the beginning of Creation” (Mark 10:6). Of course, we also would have to throw out John, because the first few verses of chapter one review the beginning and Creation. Other scriptures such as Acts 4:24, Acts 17:25, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:16, 1 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 4:19, and Revelation 4:11 also would be called into question if the Creation account is merely a “nice story,” but not historically accurate. As a matter of fact, the only books that do not refer to the first eleven chapters of Genesis in some form are the books of Philemon, and 2 and 3 John.
“Ah,” but you say, “Adam was just a mythological creature. We know today that man originated from a Neanderthal-type creature.” However, if this is true, why did the inspired apostle Paul pen these words: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22), and then in reference to Christ write, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45)? If Adam and Eve are merely mythological, does this mean that this “last Adam,” Jesus Christ, is mythical as well?
Additionally, if we do not accept that God created the heavens and the Earth in six literal days, then we are making Jesus Christ—our Savior—a liar. Jesus Himself stated: “But from the beginning of the Creation male and female he made them” (Mark 10:6). Paul affirmed in Romans 1:20-21 that the things God had made had been “perceived” even “since the creation of the world.” According to evolutionists, man (in one form or another) did not enter the picture until about 3-4 million years ago. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the Earth is supposedly 4.6 billion years old, then the last 3-4 million is not, by any stretch of the imagination, “from the beginning.” Rather, it is “from the end.” Therefore we are left with a choice: either Jesus Christ lied and the evolutionists are correct, or we can believe that the words Jesus Christ spoke are true, and therefore evolution is 100% wrong. Belief in theistic evolution turns Jesus into a liar!
Taylor, Robert (1974), “More Problems for Theistic Evolution,” Gospel Advocate, 116:2,6-7, January 3.