Theistic Evolution Again (Part 1)
Could you comment on what is wrong with 'theistic' evolution? I realize that it certainly requires a very subjective interpretation of Genesis, but in your opinion, is it an outright denial of much of what's in that book? Also, does 'theistic' evolution necessarily lead to atheism? (Part 1)
First, it is necessary to define "theistic" evolution. John Morris defines it as, "Essentially the same as atheistic evolution in its relation to scientific data. God may have either started the evolution process, then left it to natural processes, or may have guided the evolution process."
No, theistic evolution is not an "outright" denial of Genesis. Nevertheless, it was not an outright denial of what God had said when Satan, in Genesis chapter three, twisted God's word and deceived Eve. Likewise, theistic evolution subtly twists God's word and leads to doubt of God's word. The warning that Paul gives the church in 2 Corinthians 11:3 is important to remember in this discussion: "But I am afraid, lest the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ."
Before going any further, it must be stated, for the record, that many who believe in theistic evolution can be sincere, genuine Christians but they fail to recognize the significance of the problems with this belief. Sadly, however, still many many others, (many of whom occupy pulpits) believe in theistic evolution to accommodate their lack of respect for the authority of God's word and their commitment to preaching another gospel -- one which is not based on the special revelation of the Creator, but based on good works or wishy-washy compromise. Satan is well pleased with such a destructive message and, described as "crafty" in Genesis three and 2 Corinthians 11:3, his purposes are fulfilled when churches fall into such deception. Like being sucked into a vacuum, many churches increase their numbers by the thousands with people who would rather listen to a gospel based on their version of truth rather than bother to open the Bible and see what it actually says. As Satan empties this "vacuum cleaner bag" into hell he smiles as churches continue to wink at sin and, under the name of Jesus Christ, spread their deceptive message of compromise stemming from doubt of God's word.
Although theistic evolution is not an outright denial, it is nevertheless a denial of Genesis. Those who allegorize Genesis or call it poetry do not do so based on the words found in the text but do so out of intimidation about what so-called science wants them to believe. Douglas Kelly, professor of systematic theology states: "No amount of exegetical straining can find the slightest poetical view of Genesis 1-11 in the books of the New Testament. One can disagree with the New Testament's literal, historical usage of Genesis 1-11, but one cannot honestly find in its pages anything less than a straightforward reading of these chapters as literal, relevant facts." Even James Barr, a well-known Old Testament scholar and evolutionist wrote in a letter to David Watson: "Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition of a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah's flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those on the ark." Yet, his acceptance of evolution keeps him from taking Genesis seriously.
Ironically, these attempts to accommodate so-called science with such a compromise do not satisfy evolutionists. Evolutionists deny that such a marriage between evolution and theism can exist. In 1893 Asa Gray of Harvard, one of the first advocates of theistic evolution recognized the conflict between evolution and theism. He wrote to Charles Darwin, "The important thing to do is to develop aright evolutionary teleology…" Darwin responded by flatly denying that you can mix evolution and theology in such a way.
Dr. David Hull, philosophy professor at Northwestern University said, "The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain, and horror. The God implied by evolutionary theory and the data of natural history …is not a loving God who cares about his productions. He is…careless, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray."
Jacques Monod, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist said, "Natural selection is the blindest and most cruel way of evolving new species…I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution."
Therefore, theistic evolution, while not being an "outright denial" of Genesis, makes a mockery of Genesis and thus the Bible and thus Jesus Christ and the gospel message itself.
I will answer your question about evolution leading to atheism in a later column.6/24/01
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Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen