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Christians Cannot Be Theistic Evolutionists

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"For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:11) 

"God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" in six literal days of 24 hours each. Do you believe this statement, or not? Are you intellectually convinced this is what scripture teaches? Is a literal reading of the Genesis account of Creation scientifically reasonable to you? Does it matter whether or not you accept the Genesis Creation account as scientific fact? (Write down your answers and be honest - God knows what you think anyway!).

A Christian is called to repent and to rethink his beliefs, opinions and attitudes, in the light of the teaching of God's word, the Bible. This applies to every area of a man's life and begins with his initial faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour (i.e. at salvation).

Faith in God's word does not stop at those texts which declare the gift of eternal life - it starts "In the beginning" with Genesis and it finishes with the "Amen" of Revelation. The Creation account in Genesis is told by God for us to believe and have faith, trusting that what God says is true.

The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way:

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God..."

Yet, many Christians doubt God's word on the teaching of Creation and have tried to weave the theory of evolution into their mistaken understanding of Creation. They have tried to make it intellectually more palatable and socially more acceptable. 'Palatable' and 'socially' according to an unsaved society, that is.

Some Christians go so far as to say: "I have good theological and scientific reasons for not believing God created the world in six literal days." Others opt-out by saying that "Creation is a difficult subject and it's all a matter of interpretation anyway."

An even more esoteric view was shown to me by a university mathematics lecturer who said "I know the fundamental assumptions of evolution are seriously flawed, but I still think the theory is worth using because it gives good results."!

A Christian who does not believe in literal six-day, 24 hour, Creation as it is given in Genesis, is generally classed as a 'Theistic-Evolutionist' ("He seeks to harmonise the doctrine of Creation, as taught in scripture, and the theory of evolution"). In other words, he believes God created the world by a process of evolution; a natural development in which God does not intervene (miraculously or otherwise), except in cases of absolute necessity. Such a man will admit that the absolute beginning of the world was the result of a direct activity of God. Also, if he can find no other natural explanation, he will accept a direct intervention of God in the origin of life and of Man. 1

Theistic-evolution is very attractive to many Christians because it enables them to maintain what they think is 'academic respectability', and yet still have the 'comfort' of belief in God as a Creator (more-or-less!). By contrast, Christians who believe in a literal six-day, 24 hour Creation are thought to be no better than members of the Flat Earth Society! Their intellectual credibility is questioned if they take God at His word. Yet, theistic-evolution is the doubting of God's word and belief in very poor science.

The Theory of Evolution

Before considering the scriptural account of Creation it would be useful to look at a broad definition of the theory of evolution. This definition states the popular understanding of the theory, giving the essential ideas behind it:

"All organisms, man included, have been derived by gradual diversification from common ancestral forms of life, through innate processes of variation and selection - forms which in turn originally were derived by spontaneous generation from inanimate matter."

"Evolution implies increasing organisation and complexity in the universe and is, in effect, a doctrine of continuous creation." 2

In other words, all living things evolved from a coincidental mixing together of chemical elements, billions of years ago.

As for the origin of the universe, e.g. earth, sun, moon, stars, many theories have been put forward - and God is not one of them. It is supposed that a belief in God is not scientific! Creation of the universe is considered to be 'metaphysical' and thus it is not scientifically tenable. (Think about it - why should many scientists evict God from the universe? Why have they rejected Him? Do you think a Christian scientist could step toward unlocking many mysteries of the universe if he asks God for the knowledge?).

The Creation Account

Day One (Read Genesis 1:1)

The universe is a creation. It has not always existed. Here we see God as Creator. In the Hebrew, the word bara is used for create, created, createth and Creator. Its primitive root meaning is 'to create'. Man is never spoken of as a creator - the word bara is used exclusively to describe the activities of God.

Notice that God created the heaven and then the earth. The word translated 'heaven' has a root meaning of 'to be lofty' or 'the sky'. Since the same word is used throughout the Creation account and in the majority of the Old Testament refers to the physical expanse of the sky or space, it seems reasonable to think of it as empty space and not as the place where God dwells. In other words, it is the dimensions in which we move: up and down, left and right, backwards and forwards, created for us by God.

Once the physical dimensions and 'framework' were defined, God created the earth. The sun, moon and stars were not created first; the earth was the very first matter to exist. (Obviously, this conflicts with the 'Big Bang Theory', which is said to be the real basis of evolution theory. But, if there is no God, where did the material for the Bang come from?).

The description of the earth in verse two is one of emptiness. The surface of it was enveloped in total and utter blackness, for light had not yet been created. The Holy Spirit was 'brooding' (the literal translation is 'moving') over the face of the waters (this is an exciting thought), preparing to initiate order on earth and in the universe. (Did God create by the power of His word, or by some other method? Of course, His 'word' need not be an actual verbal word. Read Hebrews 11:3 and Psalm 148:8).

God then uttered the first spoken words of scripture and of creatorial power: "Let there be light". Light broke upon the face of the earth and it filled space. The text clearly shows us that light does not depend on any other source, such as the sun, but is self-existent.

In verses four and five we are given the definition of a 'day'. It is a period of light (day) followed by a period of darkness (night). The first day was obviously an actual 24 hour period. Thus, time was created and the basic unit of time was plainly given: a single 24 hour day. The use of the words 'evening' and 'morning' further reinforce this literal meaning of 'day'... 24 hours! Although this is an inescapable fact, it certainly seems to have escaped the rationalist Christian who must knowingly ignore this God-given evidence.

As if the obviousness of these evidences is not enough, we can look at the more conclusive evidence in Exodus 20:11 and elsewhere. Here the Sabbath is automatically linked with the Creation. It is given as a consecutive day, following the sixth day of Creation activity. We are told that God rested on the seventh day. If this seventh day, the Sabbath, is not a literal 24 hour day (and the other days can be regarded likewise), then the fourth commandment is sheer nonsense! How, otherwise, could the Jews pay any regard to the Sabbath?

By evolutionist' standards, the 'days' of the Creation account are many thousands of years (if not millions). Does this then mean that God commanded the Jews to spend every seventh era, of millions of years, in rest and worship? What utter nonsense! No - the meaning of the Jewish Sabbath, as given via Moses, evidently refers to a single, human-span, 24 hour day. Thus, the theistic-evolutionist has had the ground of his erroneous 'belief' knocked from under his feet!

As modern physiological and psychological research concludes, a seven-day cycle is beneficial to mankind. Those who ignore this cycle of work and a day of rest, tend to suffer as a consequence. The pace cannot be maintained for very long. God gave us six literal days plus a seventh literal rest day because, simply, it is important for Man's well-being. It is for our benefit and is an example to follow. It was the first "Come follow me" in the Bible! In Mark 2:27 Jesus tells us the Sabbath was made for Man. He knew, from His own design of the world and of Man, that such a time was needed for his own good.

As we have already noted, the light generated in the first three days did not depend on any source other than the power and word of God. The sun was created on the fourth day. So we are shown that God is totally independent of the created order and is Himself above it. It is highly likely this is why we have the order of Creation given as it is and that the sun was created after the light.

Day Two (Read Genesis 1:6-8)

On the second day, the atmosphere was created. Some believe the water canopy was created at this time, too 2. (See Article on the Ark and the Flood). This provided a uniform climate all over the earth. The word translated 'firmament' is from a primitive root word meaning 'to expand' (by hammering) or, 'to overlay'. So, we have a picture of God overlaying the waters covering the earth, with the atmosphere and then overlaying this with a mighty global water canopy. This canopy must have held a phenomenal amount of water, as it was able to sustain torrential rain for forty days and forty nights during the Flood 3, as described in Genesis 7:12. 

Day Three (Read Genesis 1:9-13)

The work of the third day is the formation of dry land and seas. Geologically, this work was of indescribable power as continents were raised out of the water by the command of God, thus separating sea from sea. As if that were not enough, God then went on to create the plant kingdom! Note that the word for 'bring forth' in relation to the plant kingdom means 'to sprout' - an instant response of matter to the mere word of God.

The three classes of plant life mentioned are: flowerless plants, which do not fructify one another in the usual way; vegetables and grain yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind 1. The word 'kind' means species. All species of plants were created on this one day. Since that time we have seen variations of plants within their own species, but NO NEW SPECIES HAVE BEEN CREATED BY EITHER GOD OR MAN SINCE. For example, there are many variations of tomatoes or oranges, but they are all of the same stock or kind. They are still tomatoes or oranges. We will see that this same law applies equally to the work of the next three days and to the creating of animals.

The preparation of the earth for animal habitation was completed at Creation. God provided sea, land and food. At first, animals and Man were vegetarians 3, but this changed, after the Flood. (See Genesis 1:29, 30 and 9:2-4).

Day Four (Read Genesis 1:14-19)

God caused the sun to offer light for the day and the moon to shine by night (we do not know if this light was different from that which was first created). He also made the stars. These were all given to us for signs and for seasons, for days and for years - yet another reference to the literal nature of the Creation account. Note that nowhere in scripture is reference made to life on other planets or stars. Scientific evidences so far obtained show that life on other planets is "extremely unlikely" (in lay-language... impossible!) 4. Life exists at God's command and it is not self-existing or the product of time and the blind result of matter formed by an unknown formula!

Nor are the celestial lights to be interpreted for the future. The word 'sign' implies a signal, rather like a flag or beacon. Indeed, this is how they are used in the navigation of ships and aircraft. We cannot forget, either, the signal of the star that arose in the East, to be followed by the wise men. It guided them, like a homing beacon, to where Christ lived (Matthew 2).

Day Five (Read Genesis 1:20-23)

Next, marine and bird life were created. This time, the word used for "bring forth" has the meaning of wriggling and swarming! This again emphasises the fact that marine and bird life were created at once; they were separate forms of life; they were instantly created.

What we are talking about are mature creatures, capable of reproduction and commanded to reproduce after their kind. No hint of evolution here! (Which came first - the chicken or the egg? Neither - the hen and cockerel came together!).

Day Six (Read Genesis 1:24-31)

This is the final day of Creation. The rest of the animal kingdom is brought forth (literally 'brought out') and so is Man. Scripture makes a clear distinction between animals and Man. They are never classed together, except that both suffer the same fate of physical death on this earth (Eccl. 3:19). In other words, God does not consider Man to be an animal and He never refers to him as one. We are a separate, distinct and exclusive creation in the image of God. Man is NOT animal.

An ape is not our ancestor. Why? Because God does not say so! And that is good enough for us. Man was not brought forth as the result of a global command, as were animals and plants, etc. Rather, Man was created after counsel between the Trinity, with a special act of creation. Man was not told to reproduce after his kind. Instead, he was told to be "fruitful and multiply". Man is, then, set apart as a creation. The stamp of God is upon Man for he was made in the image or resemblance of God (not in the physical sense).

The full meaning of these statements is difficult to comprehend when we see the state of men today, after the Fall. But, scripture tells us we were made in the image of God, to follow after Him and to commune with Him. This image was still maintained to some extent after the Fall and is affirmed by Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9. There is nothing in scripture to suggest that God modified an animal to be in His image. Man was created out of "grey" dust from the ground and God gave him life to become a breathing creature. (Genesis 2). Again, there is no hint of evolution.

Scripture tells us that man (as in 'male') was made before woman. This is consistent with such passages as 1 Corinthians 11:8 and 1 Timothy 2:13. It seems that this second human creation was effected on the sixth day after the naming of the animals.

Logistically, for us in this present time, it would seem impossible for Adam to name all the animals in just one day... and the birds! But, this difficulty disappears when we see that there were only master-species, from which all variations and sub-species later came. Thus the apparent enormity of the task is vastly reduced.

The divine institution of marriage is also rooted in the Creation account because, in God's sight, man and woman came from one source; woman came from man's body and, when there is intimate union, they again become as one. Christ authenticates and cross-references the Creation account in Matthew 19:4-6.

"He which made them at the beginning made them male and female... For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh..."

"...And on the seventh day God ended His work which he had made". Creation was now finished. God pronounced it all to be very good. Matter and life was brought forth in just six literal days, complete and therefore with the appearance of age 2. But what about death? Where is death in the Creation account? It just is not there.

Death entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned. We read this in Genesis 3:19 and in Romans 5:12, where the origin of death is put this way:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

This principle of death applied to the animal kingdom and to all of Creation (Romans 8:22). The sentence passed on Adam is continuous and will never be taken back in this life. It means that scientists who are trying to 'beat the system' by inventing all kinds of ways to prolong life will never be successful in taking anyone's life beyond the boundary set as a general principle by God. They cannot succeed, because it is a principle given by the Creator. The implication for scientists working in such fields is very clear - their work is futile!

Why is all this important? To work, evolution demands the deaths of countless generations of animals/life-forms before they can arrive at the forms we see today. According to scripture, however, this did not happen: Man was created completely 'finished' as we see Man today. There has been no change whatever.

Death was not a part of Creation, but was pronounced after the Fall. Death was not a 'natural' result of biochemical change - death and deterioration are due to the Will of God... something no scientist can measure or alter. It is beyond the laws of nature and not bound by them (re the raising of Lazarus, as an example). It is worth repeating: If God brought death into the world by His word, then there is no way that evolution can be true.

The suggestion that inanimate matter was 'somehow' (how??) transformed into living matter by chance (how??) is also completely negated by scripture, which unequivocally states that God is the author and sustainer of all life. We can expect unbelievers to scoff at this - but it is hard to understand how professing Christians can do so. Scripture is explicit on Creation.

That God holds the very key to life is shown in such passages as Psalm 66:9

"(O bless our God)... Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved."

This tells us plainly that He makes us alive, keeps us alive, and everything we do is under His control. The principle of life itself is not a natural phenomenon - it is in the hand of God. That is, a man may be the greatest athlete in the world, at his prime of health and fitness... but if God says so, his life would depart from him, for no natural reason. Thus, the life and death principles are completely separate from the natural order of things.

John 1:3,4 says:

"All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men."

(Editor's Note: Here two points are being made, but they are both of the same 'substance'. That is, Creation as a fact is affirmed as truth. Also, it is followed immediately by a statement concerning salvation. This is because sin led to a judgement of God upon mankind. It brought physical death, and separation from God. As the death and life principles are in the hands of God and are beyond our known world, the only way death could be removed and life restored, is by spiritual means through Jesus Christ. So, we can state that Christ is not just 'the life' spiritually - He is also, literally, life naturally... because, as we have just noted, natural life is upheld spiritually anyway! That is the connection).

Acts 17:25 repeats this supernatural basis for life. James 4:15 puts it this way:

"If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that."

Man has no say at all in whether he lives or dies. Suicide, terminal illness or even Satan cannot alter this supreme fact. There is no such thing as 'chance'. It follows, then, that Man will never be able to create life from inanimate matter. Life is given only by God. God's sovereignty is greater than the capabilities of science or the hypotheses of men. 

To conclude, can a Christian believe life evolved on this earth? Scripture shouts a resounding "NO"! It is possible for a Believer to ignore the Biblical facts and to turn away from what God's word says. It is possible for him to ignore the witness of nature and the Holy Spirit. That is, he can disbelieve God and accept a human lie, only by sinning! Christian - it is your responsibility to accept what the Lord God says, or to tell Him He is a liar!

"Know ye that the LORD He is God: It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." (Psalm 100:3)

References

  1. Louis Berkhof, 'Systematic Theology', Banner of Truth Trust, 1979.

  2. John C. Whitcomb, J. R. and Henry M. Morris, 'The Genesis Flood',

  3. Baker Book House, 1976.

  4. David Napier, 'The Great flood and the Ark', CRI Pack, Ref. 87/1, 1987. (Now published by BTM, Ref. No. A-018)

  5. New Scientist, 10th September, 1987, page 67.

Web Links

Creation Science Movement https://www.csm.org.uk/index.php

Institute for Creation Research http://www.icr.org/ 

Answers in Genesis http://www.answersingenesis.org/  

Creation Ministries International http://creation.com/ 

Editor’s Notes

At the time of writing the original Article Dr James B Waddell was a Senior Research Assistant at Swansea University, UK. He was also a director of the Christian Research Institute (UK) and Vice-President of Bible Theology Ministries, UK. (2010 note: BTM has now cast aside human titles, and James Waddell is now a ‘Co-Worker’ with the founder).

© June 1993

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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