This is a highly significant book because it persuasively argues that Christians cannot accept modern evolutionary theory without also compromising essential teachings of the Bible.
It may at first seem easy to say ‘God simply used evolution to bring about the results he desired’, as some are proposing today. That view is called ‘theistic evolution’. However, the contributors to this volume, both scientists and biblical scholars, show that adopting theistic evolution leads to many positions contrary to the teaching of the Bible, such as these:
- Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, but they were just two Neolithic farmers among about ten million other human beings on earth at that time, and God just chose to reveal himself to them in a personal way.
- Those other human beings had already been seeking to worship and serve God or gods in their own ways.
- Adam was not specially formed by God of ‘dust from the ground’ (Gen. 2:7) but had two human parents.
- Eve was not directly made by God out of a ‘rib that the Lord God had taken from the man’ (Gen. 2:22), but she also had two human parents.
- Many human beings both then and now are not descended from Adam and Eve.
- Adam and Eve’s sin was not the first sin.
- Human physical death had occurred for thousands of years before Adam and Eve’s sin—it was part of the way living things had always existed.
- God did not impose any alteration in the natural world when he cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin.
As for the scientific evidence, several chapters in this book show that deeper examination of the evidence actually adds more weight to the arguments for intelligent design than for Darwinian evolution.
What is at stake? A lot: the truthfulness of the three foundational chapters for the entire Bible (Genesis 1–3), belief in the unity of the human race, belief in the ontological uniqueness of human beings among all God’s creatures, belief in the special creation of Adam and Eve in the image of God, belief in the parallel between condemnation through representation by Adam and salvation through representation by Christ, belief in the goodness of God’s original creation, belief that suffering and death today are the result of sin and not part of God’s original creation, and belief that natural disasters today are the result of the fall and not part of God’s original creation. Belief in evolution erodes the foundations.
Evolution is secular culture’s grand explanation, the overriding ‘meta-narrative’ that sinners accept with joy because it allows them to explain life without reference to God, with no accountability to any Creator, no moral standards to restrain their sin, ‘no fear of God before their eyes’ (Rom. 3:18)—and now theistic evolutionists tell us that Christians can just surrender to this massive attack on the Christian faith and safely, inoffensively, tack on God, not as the omnipotent God who in his infinite wisdom directly created all living things, but as the invisible deity who makes absolutely no detectable difference in the nature of living beings as they exist today. It will not take long for unbelievers to dismiss the idea of such a God who makes no difference at all. To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.
I was previously aware that theistic evolution had serious difficulties, but I am now more firmly convinced than ever that it is impossible to believe consistently in both the truthfulness of the Bible and Darwinian evolution. We have to choose one or the other.
Related intramural debate:
- Wayne Grudem defends an “old earth” in his Systematic Theology (“The Relationship between Scripture and the Findings of Modern Science,” pp. 273–309).
- Terry Mortenson from Answers in Genesis (which defends a “young earth”) responds: “Systematic Theology Texts and the Age of the Earth: A Response to the Views of Erickson, Grudem, and Lewis and Demarest” (Answers Research Journal 2 : 175–200).