Is the ongoing debate between creationists and evolutionists a waste of time? Shouldn’t we Christians be about the business of sharing the Gospel of Jesus and not wasting time arguing about issues that are not vital to our faith? While the motives of those who think this way are admirable, we must not forget that the Genesis account of creation and the fall of humankind is crucial to our understanding of the Gospel message. The Genesis account sets the stage for all of humanity’s existence. What we believe about Genesis, and creation, is foundational to getting the rest of our theology right.
What is the ‘Theory of Evolution”?
Some clarification is in order here concerning the meaning of the word ‘evolution’. I recently attended a creation/evolution debate where I kept hearing the person representing evolution state that present day biology is built upon evolution. This person finally explained that the ‘evolution’ she was speaking about was the change that was seen to take place within bacteria, viruses, germs, animals, and humans, etc. that allowed them to adapt to differing environments. As a creationist, I have no problem with this definition of ‘evolution’.
The problem is that evolutionists take this concept of adaptation within a species and say that these changes can eventually result in one species changing into a different species. This is what is sometimes called the ‘molecules-to-man’ theory of evolution. This is the concept of evolution that says all life came from a simple, one-celled organism. This simple organism increased in complexity over time until it finally resulted in all the different forms of life we see today. This is the theory that rejects any participation by God; and it is this theory that is incompatible with Christianity. For the rest of this article, unless otherwise noted, this will be the type of evolution being referred to. It must be kept in mind that the creation/evolution debate is not a conflict between Christianity and science; rather it is a conflict between the truth of creation and the deception of evolution.
The theory of evolution attempts to explain how we got here. Secular evolutionists adhere to the belief that science has answered the question of our origins and that God, if He even exists, had nothing to do with it. For those of us who hold the Bible to be God’s Word, evolution must be rejected. Often, the evolutionist will deny that their theory has anything to do with how life first appeared; it only seeks to explain how life evolved to what we see today. In this way, they hope to avoid openly admitting their rejection of God. Regardless, evolution flatly denies the record of creation found in the Bible. Let us look at what the Bible says.
The Biblical Record
Genesis 1:1 begins the entire Bible with these words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (ESV). For anyone who believes the Bible, this should put to rest any doubt about Who made us. The first chapter of Genesis specifically says that God made, the heavens and the earth (v. 1), the stars (vv. 14-15), the sun and the moon (vv. 16-19), plants (vv. 11-13), animals (vv. 20-25), and humans (vv. 26-27).
The New Testament writers also viewed the book of Genesis as being an actual historical record of real events. Consider the genealogies of Jesus given in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. If Adam was not a real person in history, then the genealogies of Jesus, which go all the way back to Adam, would be saying that Jesus was descended from an imaginary, mythical figure.
The apostle Paul often referred to the Genesis account of creation in his teaching: He said the serpent deceived Eve, not Adam (II Corinthians 11:3; I Timothy 2:13-14). He believed Adam was created first and Eve was made from Adam’s body (I Corinthians 11:8-9). The apostle Peter spoke of Noah and the flood as history (I Peter 3:20; II Peter 2:5), and Sodom and Gomorrah as being actual cities (II Peter 2:6). In addition, Jesus repeatedly used examples from the Old Testament in His preaching and teaching, in effect placing His stamp of approval on its historicity. Jesus even quoted verses from the Old Testament when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Surely, if the creation account were a mere myth, Jesus would have made that clear and not based His teachings on so many of the events of the Old Testament.
Did God use Evolution to Create Us?
There are several ideas being offered in an attempt to compromise creation with evolution. Some people think that God used evolution to create us. This type of thinking comes from the belief that scientists have proven that the earth is millions or billions of years old. Therefore, in order to harmonize the creation account found in Genesis (which says it all took place in a matter of days); non-literal scenarios have been concocted.
1. The Gap Theory – This says that there was a gap of thousands, or millions, of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.
2. The Day-Age Theory- This theory posits that each day mentioned in Genesis was actually a much longer period, perhaps thousands, or millions, of years.
3. Theistic Evolution- This theory posits that God created the basics, got the ball rolling, and stepped back to let the evolutionary process work on its own.
4. Progressive Creation- This is the idea that God allows evolution to work on its own for the most part, with God stepping in at different times to guide the process
However, all of these theories suffer from these same fatal flaws, and probably more:
1. When God finished the creation week, He pronounced everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31). These compromise theories all say that God created a less than perfect world, which then ‘evolved’ into something better. Was God mistaken when He pronounced His creation very good? Did the evolutionary process have to improve upon God’s initial job of creation? This hardly describes the biblical God found in the Scriptures.
2. The evolutionary theory of natural selection is based on survival of the fittest. This means that animals with better instincts and better fighting skills would triumph over and kill the weaker animals. This, in theory, would result in improvements in the gene pool of succeeding generations until the animal world ‘evolved’ enough to produce man. However, the biblical record says that there was no death until Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 15:21-22). Therefore, according to the Bible, there could not have been thousands, perhaps millions, or billions, of years of violence and death prior to the fall. It cannot be both ways. Either the Bible is true and evolution is a lie or evolution is true and the Bible is in error. The choice is God’s word or man’s word.
3. If there were great lengths of time between creation of the universe and the creation of man and woman, then Jesus was mistaken when He said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6 ESV). How else can this be understood except in the most clear and obvious way? Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, is telling us directly that Adam and Eve were a part of the creation week.
The fact is that science has not proven the age of the earth. Many times the impression is given that scientists are smarter than regular people are, so if we disagree with them, their opinion is right and ours is wrong. They try to convince the average Christian that the Bible is mistaken, or simply written in a manner primitive man would have written in order to describe things he did not understand. It is said that now we have the scientific understanding to explain, and therefore, correct the biblical record. However, if the Bible is God’s word to us, we can be confident that it contains no mistakes at all. Or are we to conclude that it was out of God’s control to protect the message He wants us to have?
Creation or Compromise?
Ken Ham writes, “Once you accept evolution and its implications about history, then man becomes free to pick and choose which parts of the Bible he wants to accept.” (1) He goes on to say that many important biblical doctrines are dependent on the truth of the first chapters of Genesis, such as Paul’s teaching on the doctrine of sin (Romans 5:12, 15, 17; I Corinthians 15:22), Christ’s teaching on the doctrine of marriage (Matthew 19:4-9), and the warning of future judgment (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:27; II Peter 2:5). When one denies the historicity of the creation account, the foundation is pulled out from under these other vital doctrines.
Those who promote the theory of evolution ask us to doubt God’s word concerning creation. This is exactly what the serpent suggested to Eve. That is what led to Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. They doubted what God had told them concerning what would happen if they disobeyed Him.
The more I study this issue, the clearer it is to me that the first book of the Bible, as well as all Scripture, can be taken at face value and trusted. We know Who the author is; we know His character, His love, and His mercy. We can trust His Word. The only record we have of the creation events is contained in the Bible. The Bible was written by men who, “…spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 ESV). Therefore, we have God’s description of creation contained in the book of Genesis, and other places in the Bible.
When we compromise the truth by allowing worldly ideas to force us to reinterpret the Bible, we open ourselves up to the possibility of even more dangerous compromises. Consider that there are many who reject the idea of Jesus’ resurrection because secular science says that resurrections cannot happen. The theory of evolution challenges the clear biblical record that says God created the universe. It is important that believers take a stand against this teaching. There are many resources to help the Christian become educated about the falsities of evolution. These resources also contain evidence for the biblical view and are very helpful in informing, and thus encouraging, the believer. The Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis (both can be found on the internet) are wonderful websites for those who believe in biblical creation.
The Bible says that God, not evolution, created the universe. Science says that the universe came about through an unguided process. Whom should we believe? Whom will we believe?
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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
1. Ham, Ken. The Answers Book: Vol. 1. Master Books, 2006. p. 32