“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
In the ancient world, humanity often concluded that matter is eternal, that divine beings took of what already existed and fashioned the world around us. Epicurus wrote, “the sum total of things was always such as it is now, and such it will ever remain,”. This idea persists today in beliefs like the “Big Bang Theory” which propose that what we observe is the product of what has always existed. Hebrews’ author clearly refutes such ideas by reiterating the Bible’s first verse. What we see is not eternal, but was fashioned by the invisible. While within the universe’s closed system mass cannot be created or destroyed, there exists outside the system, apart from it entirely, an eternal force Who possesses the power to both create and destroy (“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” — 2 Peter 3:10). As the years pass and humanity’s interpretation of our surroundings multiplies and evolves, many Bible believers find themselves forced to reconcile humanity’s interpretations of the material realm with God. One avenue many have sincerely pursued in their desire for reconciliation is Theistic Evolution.
What is Theistic Evolution?
Theistic evolution is the belief that there is a Creator who designed this physical realm and included within it the process of macro-evolution. For adherents, creation was not a six, twenty four hour days event but a process that required millions of years as modern scientific interpretation contends. Theistic evolutionists contend that the Genesis creation account is merely a metaphorical description intended for less evolved generations of humanity whose lack of understanding required more simplistic explanations. Through science, modern humanity has now discovered the processes by which God created the material realm, therefore the creation account teaches us of the Creator, but not the process of creation. Science now reveals what God did not disclose to earlier, less capable, generations. While on the surface Theistic Evolution seems to harmonize humanity’s interpretations with God’s word, it does produce theologic questions which it cannot answer.
The Fossil Record
The fossil record clearly testifies of death and decay. Scientific interpretation of this fact tells us that these conditions were in place millions of years prior to humanity’s emergence. Yet, the Bible teaches that death and decay were the direct result of Adam’s sin:
1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
Now some might respond, “Well, this was the death of human beings alone. Death existed in all other species but did not spread to humanity until Adam’s sin.” This however is not the position of the Bible. Adam’s sin profoundly altered the created realm, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18) Paul says, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope…” (Romans 8:20) What is the futility the creation was subjected to? Death and decay — corruption. For what purpose? That humanity might be eternally redeemed, “because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) This is a question which theistic evolution cannot provide a satisfactory answer: how could corruption (death and decay) exist in creation millions of years before Adam introduced it into the world through his sin?
The Foundation of a Divine Commandment
In the fourth command given to Israel through Moses God says,
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (Exodus 20:8-10)
Why six days of work and one day of rest? “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:11) The Israelite was to rest on the seventh day because God rested on the seventh day. There is a clear one to one ratio between the two. God worked six days and rested on the seventh, therefore the Israelites should work six and rest on the seventh. Theistic evolution contends that the six days are metaphorical, each representing millions of years of macro-evolution as opposed to consecutive twenty four hour time periods. If theistic evolution is a resonable alternative, then it begs this question: is the fourth command given to Israel based on a metaphor? If so, it is the only one of the ten which is. The very credibility of God’s commands rests upon the foundation of truth. If God did not literally create the world in six days, why then did He expect Israel to observe six days of work, one day of rest? Furthermore, if His expectation was not based upon factual grounds, how could He then punish them with any semblance of justice? He did not say, “I created the world and then rested. Six days you will work and the seventh you will rest.” Instead, He draws a one to one ratio, using that ratio as the very basis for the command.
“All Things Continue as They Were from the Beginning of Creation…”
Peter warns against such seductive doctrines, upheld by individuals who have forgotten, “that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.” (2 Peter 3:5-6) Theistic evolution asks me to accept a modern equivalent of Peter’s warning by embracing the doctrine of uniformitarianism. Uniformitarinism contends (in simplistic terms) that all the natural processes we observe taking place in our surroundings have always been in place. In other words, our environment has been shaped gradually by the slow natural mechanisms created by God. Uniformitarianism rejects catastrophic events (such as a worldwide flood) as responsible parties or reasonable explanations. Sadly, uniformitarianism is not even a sufficient answer for scientists themselves. For example, the fossil record testifies of dinosaurs’ sudden, mass extinction. Unable to explain this, many authorities have credited an asteroid striking the earth as a legitimate possibility. So even scientists must resort to catastrophe, at times, when interpreting the fossil records. The Bible does not teach that all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. The Bible records a worldwide flood, a day during Joshua’s time where the sun “stood still”, and a darkness that enveloped the whole earth at Jesus’ crucifixion. As Peter testifies, adopting such doctrines encourages the adherent to reject catastrophic events like the world wide flood and subsequently discredit the very word of God.
I realize that not everyone who believes in theistic evolution holds my reservations. Yet I believe these are legitimate reservations that warrant the consideration of people who believe in the Bible. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16-20) While a doctrine may seem superficially good, the fruit it bears will determine its true eternal value. Theistic evolution forces me to accept positions which are scripturally untenable. Therefore, I choose to believe God’s account as opposed to man’s interpretation.