Featured as a back-of-page article in the CSABC Quarterly Letter of September 2010
by Richard Peachey
Waldo Berg, in the March 2010 issue of the Mennonite Brethren (M. B.) Herald, urged that Christians should be open to accepting Darwinian evolution (“A Plea for Understanding: Is there a Christian view of Darwin?“).
“Many dedicated scientists,” he wrote, “have spent their lives researching and studying this topic — and by a vast majority, they agree with most of Darwin’s ideas. Who are we then, as lay people, to condemn their sincere, intelligent effort to understand our world?”
Theistic evolution is, not surprisingly, the most popular view among Canadians. About 34% of us self-report as agreeing that “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process” (BC Christian News, August 2007).
We Canadians have a commendable desire to compromise when possible — but truth doesn’t necessarily operate that way!
Here I present five key reasons why I see the quest to unite Darwin and Christ as ultimately futile.
1. IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THEN THE BIBLE SHOULD HAVE CLEARLY TAUGHT IT.
Evolution, if true, is a wide-ranging, fundamentally important truth.
Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, in his book Consilience, explained how he left his evangelical church because its theology “made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?”
If evolution is really true, the Bible should have positively and definitively taught us about this foundational reality which is (allegedly) so important for our worldview.
The Bible, however, does not promote anything like evolution. When read in a straightforward fashion, Scripture teaches many things contrary to evolutionary thinking, including dozens of differences between the standard evolutionary order of events and the narrative sequence in Genesis 1.
Therefore, either evolution is not true, or the Bible is not genuinely a book from an all-knowing, truth-loving God. We simply can’t have it both ways.
2. IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SHOULD HAVE TAUGHT IT.
The Lord Jesus was a Biblical creationist, a Genesis literalist, and even a young-Earth creationist, as exhibited in Matthew 19:3-6 (see also the parallel passage, Mark 10:6-9).
Jesus is the Christian’s master teacher “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As well, Scripture teaches that Christ himself is the one who brought everything into existence (John 1:1-3,14; Colossians 1:15-16; Hebrews 1:2).
It is imperative for us to hold fast to our Lord’s words “in this sinful and adulterous generation,” lest he be ashamed of us at his return (Mark 8:38).
3. THE BIG PICTURE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY CONTRADICTS THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW.
Christians understand themselves to be in an existential valley (“this present evil age”) between two peaks named Paradise Created and Paradise Regained.
But evolutionists see themselves as currently on an exalted mountaintop between two seas of pointlessness, the pre-Big-Bang emptiness and the final state of maximum entropy.
These “big pictures” are diametrically opposed.
4. ALL RECONCILIATION SCHEMES CONFLICT WITH THE BIBLE AND EACH OTHER.
The various proposals by which Christians have tried to compatibilize evolution and Genesis end up saying, essentially, “God didn’t really mean what he said” and/or “God didn’t say what he really meant.” For example, the Gap theory, the Day-Age theory, the Revelation-Day theory, and the Framework Hypothesis.
How damaging to the omnipotence and the integrity of God, and to the perspicuity of Scripture! (Also, how very reminiscent of the strategy used by the tempter in Genesis 3.)
5. MOST TOP SCIENTISTS HAVE NO USE FOR GOD.
The majority of leading scientists — i.e., those who are members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences — are either atheists or agnostics (Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham. 1998 [Jul 23]. “Leading scientists still reject God.” Nature 394:313). For biologists, the unbelieving proportion is 94.5%. Should Christians follow the teaching of such people regarding origins?
Contrary to Waldo Berg’s suggestion, therefore, I exhort that truly “courageous and honest” disciples of Jesus Christ must cling to the truth of God rather than submit to ideological pressure from this world’s intellectuals (Romans 3:4; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20; Colossians 2:3,4,8).