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Sunday, January 12, 2014 pm                            Basics - Index

 

Back to Basics - God
THEISTIC EVOLUTION

 

This month as we begin our yearlong study of the basics, we are focusing on God.  The past 2 Sunday mornings, we have been making a case for the God of the Bible.  This evening, I would like to examine an issue related to creation that is gaining popularity and influence even among brethren.  It is called Theistic evolution.  The term means that while there is a theistic God (or deism) who created the world, His involvement is limited.  True theistic evolution believes that God intervened only a few times (perhaps creating the universe, creating the spark of life that evolved, and possibly another time or two).  Others believe that God intervened throughout the process when He needed to.  Some theistic evolutionists (actually this is described as progressive or minimal creationism) use this as an explanation for the various “missing links” and gaps that cannot be explained naturally.    They still hold to an old age for the earth. 

A part of theistic evolution is something that is described as the “day-age theory”.  This too IS being taught by some brethren.  Theistic evolution and the day-age theory are both an attempt to reconcile supposed contradictions between the Biblical account of creation and evolution.  But is this theory true and is it important?  This evening we want to discuss these things.

   NOTE: In this lesson, we are assuming a belief in the Bible as the word of God (see this morning’s lesson)

 I.                    Theistic evolution

a.        To start with there is NOTHING in the Bible that indicates God created the universe and things on this world through an evolutionary process.   The concept is contrary to ANYTHING in scripture about creation (Gen. 1, Ex. 31:17, 20:11, Neh. 9:6, etc.).  To get the premise you have to read between the lines (some speak of the time it took Adam to name the animals, his being lonely prompted God to create eve, and 1 Peter. 3:8).
In essence what man is doing is appealing to human logic to explain what he does not fully understand. Consider 1 Cor. 3:19-20 which speaks of man in his wisdom is foolishness to God.

b.       The Bible says that Adam was the first man – 1 Cor. 15:45 says, ““And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  To teach theistic evolution presents all sorts of problems with what the Bible says about man and the origin of sin.  Did man exist prior to Adam who fell?  At what point did man no longer become just a part of the process of evolution and gain a soul in the image of God?  And if man was evolving prior to Adam, WHY did he die, since the Bible definitively teaches that death is the consequence of sin (1 Cor. 15:22, Rom. 5:12).  Furthermore, where did the soul come from?  Was Gen. 1:26-27 figurative? Are we truly made in God’s image if we evolved through general evolution?

c.        Furthermore, theistic evolution cannot explain Eve.  The Bible explains that God took Eve from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:21-23) and created her.  This is NOT the natural process of evolution. 
Furthermore, the Bible deals with Eve as a real person (1 Tim. 2:13) and even appeals to her sins for reasons of submission.

d.       Evolution (theistic included) contradicts the order of creation in Genesis 1.  The days of Genesis 1 are not compatible with what is understood about the process of evolution.  For example:

                                                   i.      On day 1, light was created (Gen. 1:3-4), but the sun, moon and stars were not created until day 4 (1:14-19).  YET, prior to day 4 we read that there was evening and morning.

                                                  ii.      On day 3 plants of all sorts were created.  Yet scientifically we know that plant life depends on the sun to survive.

                                                iii.      On day 4 God created sea creatures (fish) and flying creatures (birds) (Gen. 1:20-23).  Then on day 5, insects and land animals were created (Gen. 1:24-25).  Evolution teaches that life started in the sea and the crawled onto land and THEN began to fly.

                                                iv.      Consider the consequences of teaching that Genesis 1 is figurative.  If that is true, based on evolution, there is NOTHING coherent about the text.  Everything was random and Moses (speaking for God if inspired) put things in there that make no sense (light without the sun, man created in God’s image, etc.) if evolution is true.

e.       Often scriptures appeal to the physical and immediate creation of man and woman. 
Many doctrines are based upon this.  We have already mentioned woman being in subjection to man because she sinned first and was created from Adam’s side, the beginning of sin is attributed to Adam (and Eve). 
But there are also passages like Matt. 19:4-6 where Jesus appeals to the marriage law going all the way back to Genesis 2:24.  IF that part of Genesis is not literal, then we have another argument to explain away some MDR issues. 
Also the concept of the Sabbath (for Israel) and the week are based upon Genesis 1-2.

f.         For these reasons I reject “theistic evolution”

 

 II.                  The Day age theory

a.        What is the day-age theory?  It is actually an argument associated with theistic evolution and minimal creation.  IT is the attempt to reconcile Genesis 1 with theistic evolution.  The premise is that each of the 6 days of creation were actually ages of time – perhaps billions of years according to the theory of evolution.  They will appeal to 2 Pet. 3:8 which speaks of the day of the Lord being as a thousand years and thus a “day” in Genesis 1 can be a longer period of time.  Let us take some time to examine this. 

b.       Contradicts Genesis 1 as stated above.  The order of “days” of creation in Genesis 1 present the typical problems with reconciling evolution with the Bible regardless of the evolutionary process.

c.        A “day” can mean an age of time.  While that is true, we STILL need to look at the context.
The word “day” in Genesis 1 is the Hebrew word “yom.”   Just as in our English usage of the term can mean an era, “the day of our forefathers”, so it is in Hebrew.  However, the typical usage is in reference to a 24 hour period or perhaps the daylight hours.  Unless context dictates otherwise this is the preferred usage.
When the word “day” is used for an age the context ALWAYS bears this out – cf. Num. 13:20 - season, 1 Sam. 27:7 – time.
Whenever the Hebrew term “day” is used in connection with a number it is ALWAYS a 24 hour period. 
Consider also the explanation given for Israel to keep the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8-11, ““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. 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.
WHENEVER the days of creation are referred to in scripture, it is ALWAYS in terms of literal days.  See also Exodus 31:15-17 repeated this noting that in six days the Lord created the heavens and the earth and rested on the 7th. 
Add to this that in Genesis 1 we find the expression, “the evening and the morning” in reference to the days (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).  It seems to me that Moses was being VERY specific in dealing with the timeframe.
Furthermore, consider that if Moses DID want to indicate a literal six days of creation how would he have worded it differently than he did

d.       What about 2 Peter 3:8?  The context is NOT dealing with God’s creation but with His longsuffering and His eternity.   IT deals with scoffers questioning why the Lord has not come back yet (vs. 3-9).  Peter’s point is that God does not reckon time as we do.  To apply this to Genesis 1 is to take it out of its context to substantiate a perceived argument. 
THOUGHT: If a day can represent 1000 years according to this verse, consider the 2nd part of the verse which says, “a thousand years is as a day”.  Let me ask, IF the evolutionist can take this verse to mean a day can be an age, can we take this verse to say that God can do the work of a thousand years in a day?  Think about it!  That IS what I believe God did when He created the world in 6 literal days.

e.       WHY does God need more time than a day to create?  He spoke the world into existence.  What does theistic evolution do to the omnipotence of God?  One of the 7 worldviews of God is “finite godism” which teaches God is limited in some way.  I resolutely reject that view!  IF He is not limited, why could He not create the world in 6 literal days?  Consider Psalm 33:6-9, By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

 Isaiah 45:12, “I have made the earth, And created man on it. I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.

f.         If Genesis 1 is not literal, how can we trust the rest of the Bible?  Herein lies the real challenge and the reason this is such a concern.  If man can dismiss Genesis 1-2 because it presents some problems with men’s theories about how this world began, why can he not do the same thing with other passages?  So the real problem is a matter of respect for the word of God.

 

The advancement of theistic evolution is often an attempt to compromise God’s word.   You have some who want to reconcile evolution with the Bible.  In so doing, it makes the word of God less offensive to the intellectual and permits him to believe without letting go of worldly doctrines.  It has been said that the theory of Theistic evolution was not advanced until the 1800s.  Why is it then (about the same time as Darwin) that man wants to change what they knew the Bible to teach?  As with most other compromises I ask, “What is your intent?”  Is it to be more inclusive regardless of the teachings of the Bible?

  

Consider some of the following resources (as of the timing that this lesson was presented).  NOTE: As always, these resources do NOT imply full endorsement of everything taught on these websites. 
Answers to theistic evolution and day age

http://www.icr.org/article/164/

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=434

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2012/12-18c.html

http://www.riceroadchurchofchrist.com/Classes/documents/EvidencesLesson12.pdf