This article is the first in a short series of articles on the subject of the doctrine of creation and the lie that stands in opposition to it, evolution. This subject is very relevant today for the Reformed young person for a number of reasons. First, the doctrine of creation is under attack today like never before. What once was only under attack at worldly universities and in liberal churches, is now under attack at so-called Christian colleges and Reformed churches. Second, because of this hatred for the truth, most, if not all of us, will be personally confronted with this attack on the truth of creation. Whether the confrontation is in a college classroom, on the pages of a book or magazine, or in a discussion with a co-worker, we can be certain that at some point our convictions will be put to the test. Third, the denial of creation is only a symptom of a much more grave illness. The deadly sickness of which we are speaking is a denial of the doctrine of Scripture; the doctrine of the infallibility and inerrancy of God’s Word as found in II Peter 1:20, 21 and II Timothy 3:16.
For these reasons the Reformed young person ought to be very interested in the truth of creation, know it, and be able to defend it. In this short series, we will first take a look at the theory of evolution, its history, and give a short explanation of the theory itself. Next we will move on to an explanation of the most dangerous form of this error, and the one with which we ought to be the most concerned, theistic evolution. Then, we will see how a belief in theistic evolution results in a denial of every truth found in Scripture and a denial of Christ and His saving work. Finally, we will put this ugly lie aside, look at the truth of creation, and see how all of the truths of Scripture stand on the truth of creation.
Right from the start, it ought to be mentioned, that the theory of evolution is a concoction by evil man to deny God. This is not a secret. The most ardent defenders of evolution readily admit this and are not ashamed of it. In the August 13, 1996 issue of Christianity Today, Francisco Ayala of the University of California is quoted as saying that natural selection “exclude [s] God as the explanation accounting for the obvious design of organisms.” In the same issue, in an article entitled “Planet Of The Apes”, Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins says that Charles Darwin “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Indeed, “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 53:1)
And it is with Charles Darwin that we begin to look at the history of evolution. While many others proposed various theories of evolution before Darwin, he generally receives the credit because of the book he wrote outlining the theory, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Born in England in 1809, young Charles earned a B.A. in theology from Cambridge in 1831. It was his intention to become a naturalist and it was customary for the naturalists of his day to have a degree in theology. At age 22, Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle to chart sections of the South American coastline.
While doing this work, Darwin began working a theory in his mind while observing finches on the Galapagos Islands. By the 1840’s, after many observations and the collection of many fossils, Darwin had worked out the major features of his theory of natural selection as a mechanism for evolution. At the same time, a man by the name of Alfred Russel Wallace was working on a similar theory. At the prompting of a couple of his friends, Darwin published an abstract of his theory in order to beat Wallace to the punch. Shortly thereafter, in 1859, Darwin published his book.
Much of Darwin’s theory was drawn from the ideas of other men of Darwin’s time including James Hutton and Charles Lyell. Hutton was responsible for the theory of gradualism, the speculation that features on earth can be explained by slow processes overtime. Lyell was the originator of the theory of uniformitarianism, the supposition that geological processes are uniform throughout time. The two theories can be found in Darwin’s writings.
The theory of evolution which we have today is basically the same as Darwin proposed 140 years ago. At the heart of the theory is the notion that higher life forms develop from lower life forms. Complex living organisms ascend from less complex living organisms. In fact, the evolutionist says, the diversity of life which we presently have can be traced back to one or a few very simple living organisms which spontaneously appeared on the face of the earth billions of years ago.
This ascendancy from simple to complex is the result of accumulated genetic mutations, says the evolutionist. Genetic mutations are sudden inheritable changes in a characteristic of an organism. An example of a likely evolutionary mutation would be the formation of camouflaging stripes on the body of a moth. These stripes, say the evolutionist, would enable the moth to better survive in his environment because he would not be as visible to predators as others moths. (This example depends on the assumption that stripes would be advantageous to the moth.) This moth could then pass this characteristic on to his offspring. This passing on of beneficial characteristics is Darwin’s theory of natural selection. His principle termed “the survival of the fittest” can be explained by the speculation that the striped moths would be more likely to survive in their present environment than their non-striped relatives. If we use our imaginations and play this process out over billions of years, we can see how we have arrived at the great diversity we have on earth today, says the evolutionist.
In order for this theory to work, the evolutionist needs an extremely old earth. The most recent estimate is 15 billion years. However, it is important to note, that this estimate is subject to radical change. There are two things that the evolutionist likes to point out when he is arguing for an old earth. The first is the size of the universe and the distance from the earth of the stars. If these stars are many millions of light-years away and their light is reaching earth, it stands to reason that these stars must have been in existence for millions of years. Second, the evolutionist points to various structures on the face of the earth, such as canyons, which take many years to form. These canyons, they say, are the result of millions of years of erosion by the rivers which flow through them.
One problem which the evolutionist has no explanation for is the origin of the universe and all the matter and energy in it. Just where did it all come from? Did existence spring up spontaneously from nonexistence? From my own personal experience in a college class, I can remember very well the words of an arrogant evolutionist professor when he said, “We don’t know how it got here, but once it did, we sure know what happened to it!” The evolutionist has no answer for this, but is working tirelessly to explain how matter and energy can appear spontaneously from nothing.
It is readily apparent that the theory of evolution has no room for God. It is a deliberate attempt to deny God at every point. Man has pressed his reason and so-called “science” into a denial of the Creator.
It is with this in mind that we turn our attention to the form of this theory with which we ought to be the most concerned, theistic evolution. Theistic evolution is an attempt to synthesize evolutionary theory with a belief in God’s Word. Theistic evolution is an attempted synthesis of a denial of God with a belief in His Word. Theistic evolution tries to reconcile God’s Word and “scientific” discovery and progress.
How does theistic evolution do this? The argument goes something like this. First, we must understand that God reveals Himself both generally, in creation, and specially, in Scripture. Both of these revelations must agree because both are from God, and God is a truthful God. If these two do not agree, our understanding of one must be wrong. Science has shown us that the earth is very old, and that higher life forms have developed from lower life forms. Because this contradicts what the Bible says, our interpretation of it must be wrong, and we must change our interpretation in order to reconcile it with what science has discovered. Thus, we have theistic evolutionary reasoning. It is important to note that one variation on the theory of theistic evolution has been labeled “progressive creationism.” We must not be deceived by this inventive term.
To conclude our discussion of evolution, let us recognize a few things about this theory. First, even though it is spoken of as fact, it is nothing more than theory, or speculation. Second, evolution has not one shred of empirical proof. In other words, it cannot be proved by observation and experimentation. That which claims to be a scientific theory cannot be verified by scientific means! Third, evolution cannot stand up to even the most shallow scrutiny. One example of this scrutiny can be found in the same issue of Christianity Today as referred to earlier in the article. What follows is a paragraph pulled from page 64 of the August 13, 1996 issue:
Molecular biology is likewise creating headaches for Darwinists. As Michael Behe explains in Darwin’s Black Box, molecular systems in the cell are irreducibly complex—which means they cannot have originated by a gradual, step-by-step process. Think of a mousetrap: You can’t start with only a wooden base and catch a few mice, then add a spring and catch a few more mice. All the parts must be assembled simultaneously or the mousetrap does not work. In the same way, the complex systems in our cells must have originated all at once in order to function at all.
With this we end our discussion of the theory itself. In the next issue, Lord willing, we will see how a belief in theistic evolution results in a denial of Biblical truths and ultimately in a denial of God’s Word altogether. ♦