The original question was:
Many of those who call themselves Evangelical Christians are increasingly accepting the idea that man evolved. Are there any problems if God created this way?
Answer by Diane Eager
Let’s start with the fact that it completely contradicts the Bible’s clear straightforward description of the origin of the first man and woman. Genesis states the first man, Adam, was made from raw materials (‘dust of the ground’), not from any pre-existing living creature. Genesis also states the first woman, Eve, was made from tissue taken from Adam, and therefore was not derived from any non-human creature. There is no way this narrative can be matched with any evolutionary story of apes turning into people.
Critics such as Attenborough and Dawkins long ago realised the creation of Adam and Eve either happened as Genesis describes it, or it is a fairy tale, which means it has no authority and cannot be used as the basis of any Bible teaching or instruction on Christian behaviour. Only real history has authority. Jesus Himself reminded the theologians of His day of this connection, when He was asked about marriage and He immediately linked it to the first man and woman in Genesis (Matthew 19:1-6).
Another clear contradiction occurs between the theory of evolution and God’s statement about the completed creation, which was made after the first man and woman had been created. At that point God declared everything He made was very good. (Genesis 1:31) His complete creation was without death, disease, or the struggle to survive. Those things are not good.
The Bible tells us death, disease and struggle came into the world as a result of man’s sin and God’s judgement, and it teaches us the world has been going downhill ever since and will continue to do so until the end, when God destroys it and creates a new heaven and earth. (See 2 Peter 3:5-6, Revelation 21:1-2)
Evolution says the opposite, i.e. death, disease and struggle are the very processes that have made the world evolve from simple chemicals to complex male and female humans via apelike creatures.
One day God will create a New Heaven and Earth, which will be uncontaminated by sin and the curse, and therefore very good. (Revelation 21:4, 22:3) If God used struggle, suffering, disease and death to create the first earth, why should we trust Him to keep them out of the new earth?
Altogether, the Biblical history and the evolutionary history are diametric opposites, and one cannot be a symbolic or poetic version of the other. Those claiming to be Bible-believing Christians, but who deny that Genesis is the real history of the real world, are either deluding themselves, or are calling God a liar, and need to admit their authority is man’s theories, not God’s word.
Some theologians have tried to incorporate evolution into the human history by claiming God somehow stamped His image on one pair of evolving hominids. This is the “Homo divinus” theory proposed by John Stott and others. As we have said above, the Bible’s God is the God of real world, not just the author of theological theory, so let us consider some of the biological and theological problems of the Homo divinus theory, remembering that if the Bible says something about biology, geology, history, etc. it has just as much authority as any theological statement.
What happened to the evolving pre-human creatures when God supposedly stamped them with His image? Were they miraculous transformed into human beings with the potential for eternal life if they didn’t disobey God? Were they healed of all the mutations and diseases they would have been carrying from the many generations of evolved disease and struggle that produced them? This would certainly have needed to happen if to ensure their offspring could breed with one another for many generations, as Adam and Eve’s descendants did until the days of Moses, without the problems we see with close family marriages now. Or, could they then still breed with the other “non-human” hominids they lived amongst? But, what would be the spiritual status of the hybrid offspring of these matches, as they would have had one parent made in the image of God, with a spirit, and one who was still just an animal.
Where did Homo divinus live? According to Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful, fruitful garden, where there was nothing to fear, no struggle and no thorns and thistles. This couldn’t have been true in an evolutionary world. Did God place them in some kind of safe enclave like pampered pets, protected from an evil world? Again, we have the mismatch between God declaring all that He had made was very good, not just one secluded part, and evolutionary theory, where nothing was very good.
As you go on, the story gets sillier and more contrived, and becomes an insult to both God and anyone who is reading the Bible, and the sceptics know it, and therefore are not challenged by it. They are quite happy for ignorant Christians to make God an optional extra to add onto a man-made theory. For themselves, they just discard the optional extra, carry on with their theory, and ignore Christ the Creator, Saviour and Judge.
This brings us to the most serious problem for those claiming to the evangelical Christian evolutionists: theistic evolution separates the link between sin, death and salvation, and in so doing undermines the gospel and removes assurance of eternal life.
As the Apostle Paul reminds us in the letter to the Romans, death came into the world as the penalty for one man’s, Adam’s, sin, and because all of humanity is descended from Adam, all people are under the death penalty. Therefore, the last Adam, Jesus Christ, came as one man and wore thorns on his brow as a reminder of the thorns that came into the world as the result of the first man’s sin and God’s judgement on it. The good news (Gospel) is that this one man, Jesus, has paid the penalty for Adam’s sin, making eternal life available to all of Adam’s descendants. If evolution was true, having Christ die for our sin would not logically guarantee eternal life, because human beings would have been the product of millions of years of death and destruction, and so were already under the curse of death before any human being sinned.
However, we, the descendants of one created man, can rejoice with the Apostle John who tells us “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:11-12)
There are even more problems if, as some have suggested, God supposedly stamped His image on a group of hominids rather than just one couple. If the New Testament teaches ‘one man sinned’, then which one sinned to bring judgement and death into the world? What happened to the others, and to their descendants? Whose sin did Jesus’ death pay for? The theological problems are just as ridiculously great as the biological problems.
If evangelical Christians want to seriously challenge the pagan world around them, they should stand firm on the authority of God’s word, which will stand up to any honest scrutiny, theologically, biologically and historically. Christ created the first man, one man sinned, and sin brought physical and spiritual death. Jesus came to physically and spiritually die so we could be given eternal life. The only way to gain eternal life is the put your faith in Christ, the Creator, Judge, and Saviour.
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