Can Biblical Creation And Evolution Be Reconciled?
By Dr. Bolton Davidheiser
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” —Sir Isaac Newton
Prominent scientists and theologians insist that Biblical creation and evolution can be reconciled, and furthermore that reconciliation is desirable and important. Other scientists and theologians, a minority in our day, hold the opposite view. Many books and numerous articles have been written on the subject and so a resolution of the matter in few paragraphs may seem to be impossible. But perhaps not.
Those who seek a reconciliation seem always to base the whole issue on the first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible. Their contention is that if the creationists would only interpret these two chapters properly there would be no real difficulty and reconciliation would be accomplished.
However, one problem which does not involve interpretation is that the Bible gives the names of early men and the lengths of their lives, starting with Adam, the first created man. That Adam was a real individual and not merely a type of mankind is attested by the apostle Paul as important in Christian theology (Romans 5:14-21, I Cor. 15:21-23). Also there are other New Testament references to Adam and the first three of his children as real persons.
The Biblical genealogies encompass a very brief period of time compared to the enormous extent of the ages needed to make evolution possible. One attempt to reconcile this disparity in time has been by postulating an indefinitely long interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The English translation of the second verse is changed from "the earth was without form and void" to "the earth became without form and void." It is assumed that there was a creation previous to the one recorded in Genesis which was ruined and made chaotic through a rebellion brought about by Satan. This change in translation is accepted by some Hebrew scholars, particularly those desiring to reconcile creation and evolution, but the majority seem to agree that it puts an unnatural strain on the Hebrew grammar in this verse.
Two Old Testament references are cited in support of this "gap theory," also called the "ruin-reconstruction theory." One is Isaiah 45:18, stating that God created the earth not in vain but formed it to be inhabited. "Not in vain" here is the same Hebrew word as "without form" in the Genesis text. But as also described in the Genesis account, it merely says that the earth at first was in an uninhabitable condition and does not mean that a former creation was destroyed.
The other is Jeremiah 4:23, "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void..." In context the prophet is describing his vision of the condition of the land of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. It has nothing to do with the time of creation.
Adoption of the "gap theory" by creationists is merely a device to accommodate the Bible to the great age of the earth insisted upon by evolutionists. It grants them the one thing they must have–vast amounts of time. Moreover, in recent years various "scientific" evidences have been found for a young earth.
But the matter of this postulated gap in the Genesis record is refuted by several Biblical passages, particularly Genesis 1:31. At the end of the creation week God saw that everything which He had made was "very good." But according to the "gap theory," Satan, a created being, was already at this time very bad and had caused so much trouble that a previous creation had been ruined, making it necessary for God to perform another creation, the one recorded in the Bible, to take its place.
Also the order of events in creation is in contradiction to the accepted evolutionary sequence: green plants before the sun, whales before land animals, birds before "creeping things."
Much is said about the "double revelation theory," that we have two books from which to gain knowledge on this subject, meaning the Bible and the "book of nature," and they must agree. But when Biblical statements appear to differ from scientific theories, those who put their confidences in the double revelation theory seem invariably to put their faith in the "book of nature."
The Bible says that the Creator was our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3,10,14, I Cor. 8:6, Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:16,17, Heb. 1:1,2). John 1:1,3 expresses it, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." Verse 14 makes it clear that the Word is Christ. Some have blasphemously written, somewhat paraphrasing John, "In the beginning was the word, ant the word was hydrogen." Rather similarly, as the Bible states that the first man, Adam, was made from the dust of the ground, some say they believe humanity was derived from the same materials as are found in the dust of the ground and add, "by way of long animal ancestry." Then what about Eve, Adam's wife, the first woman? It is stated in Scripture that she was formed from a portion of Adam’s side. The Hebrew word is generally translated "rib." there is no possible evolutionary explanation for this.
An honest examination of the matter reveals that Biblical creation cannot be reconciled with evolution. In the end, those who say they can be reconciled are forced to resort to ridicule and name-calling, such as "literalist" and "lunatic fringe."
But Here Is the Most Important Part
A basic Christian doctrine is salvation by grace through the atonement for sin made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Eternal salvation is through receiving forgiveness for sins through the merits or the only sinless One by way of His taking the penalty for our sins upon Himself and dying in our place. But if evolution is true, we are improved animals instead of fallen man who introduced sin into the world by disobeying a direct command by God. It follows from this that there is no need for the Redeemer, no occasion for the Saviour. Thus the basic Christian doctrine, for which a multitude of martyrs have given their lives, is negated.
Many are not aware of this basic Christian doctrine. Ministers of many churches no longer teach it to their congregations. They are more interested in improving social conditions.
Evolutionists frequently use the words "creation" and "Creator" while the context shows they are referring to evolution. Some use the term "creation by evolution." They point out that evolutionists can believe in God. True, but that is not enough. As James wrote (2:19), "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. The devils [demons] believe, and tremble." Evolutionists also point out that they can be as virtuous and ethical as creationists. True again, but that shows their ignorance of the basic Christian doctrine of salvation by grace and not by works. Judged on the basis of works, none of us can meet God’s standard. The only way to have one’s name written in the Book of life is to be redeemed through the sacrifice for us made by the only One who did not sin.
Is there any way this basic Christian doctrine can be reconciled with a gradual evolution of man from the beasts? No!
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