Theistic Evolution Again (Part 2)

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? (Part2)

Last time in the column published June 24, I discussed your question, "…is it an outright denial of much of what's in that book?"  Even though theistic evolution is not an outright denial, it seems just as harmful to twist God's word to say what you want it to say than it is to directly call God a liar.  It brings to mind these words of Martin Luther, "For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written, but since God is speaking it is not fitting for you to wantonly turn His Word in the direction in which you want it to go."

Your next question is more difficult, but I believe theistic evolution does not "necessarily" lead to atheism.  However, what is worse, a doctrine that leads to atheism or one that leads to compromise?  The prophet Elijah questioned the people of God in his day, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?  If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow Him…"(1 Kings 18:21).  Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other."

Atheist, A.J. Mattel describes the inconsistency in the compromise position of theistic evolution when he states, "Those liberal and neo-orthodox Christians who regard the creation stories as myths or allegories are undermining the rest of Scripture, for if there was no Adam, there was no fall; and if there was no fall, there was no hell; and if there was no hell, there was no need of Jesus as Second Adam and Incarnate Savior, crucified and risen.  As a result, the whole biblical system of salvation collapses….  Evolution thus becomes the most potent weapon for destroying the Christian faith."  Henry and John Morris conclude in their book, The Modern Creation Trilogy, "Once the safe haven of absolute biblical inerrant authority is left behind, there is no satisfactory or secure resting place." 

Ian Taylor in his book, In the Minds of Men, describes that "those holding to belief in theistic evolution, no matter how seemingly reasonable and popular, are not really true to either camp."  He continues by describing theistic evolution as a "new faith," alien to that found in the pages of the Bible: "Theistic evolution is clearly only a stepping stone to ease the theist into a new faith whose foundation is evolution.  That new faith is not necessarily outright atheism, since this is only for the very few, for the dedicated purist.  It is tailor-made for those for whom there is still a need to satisfy the worship principle."

In the mid 1800's Harvard and Yale were considered strong, orthodox Christian colleges, but by the end of the century they had abandoned these beliefs to become what they are today.  How could they have changed so quickly?  Perhaps with the efforts of Asa Gray at Harvard and James Dana at Yale.  Gray was considered Darwin's "bulldog" in the United States.  He was one of the earliest and loudest advocates of theistic evolution.  While he was influencing Harvard for theistic evolution James Dana proudly and almost single-handedly persuaded those at Yale to become a stronghold of evolutionary science and thus to "correct false dogma in the theological systems."

Many of America's clergy also traveled this path in the late nineteenth century giving birth to higher criticism, which was introduced in the 1890's by German Julius Wellhausen.  Thomas Huxley, Darwin's most dedicated supporter in England mockingly said of these theologians, "Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed, if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain."  This certainly is the fate of Christianity that tries to accommodate the lie of evolution by calling it theistic evolution.  The creation model of origin, grounded in the truth of the Bible, however, is solid, defendable, strong and logically and scientifically superior to the evolution model. 

Even though theistic evolution does not always lead to atheism it can have a very damaging effect by watering down the gospel message.  There is no reason to yield territory to evolution.

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen