Evolution and the Nature of God – Part 1

Category: Bible/Christian Worldview 61 1

I previously wrote that Jesus Christ was a young-earth creationist. Sadly, regardless of what Jesus taught about the age of the earth, many Christians are absolutely keen on teaching that God used evolution. Evolution is so popular that one paleontologist even said that evolution was the fruit of “God’s love.”[1]

The following quote summarizes very well the view of many theologians on the topic of God and evolution:

“[The evolutionary] process was really masterminded by God, whose ultimate goal was to evolve a species, our species, that is able to apprehend and therefore to admire its creator. This [progressive] and purpose-driven view of evolution, rejected by most scientists, has been embraced by [many] theologians.”[2]

One popular theologian in the early 20th century, B.B. Warfield (1851-1921), once said, “The question of the antiquity of man has of itself no theological significance. It is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on earth.”[3] So the conclusion, drawn by Warfield, is that it does not matter how long man has been on earth. Quite simply, the creation-evolution debate means little to Christianity. Another Christian scientist says, “Since God utilizes death to maintain life, then natural selection [evolution]…could be one of the processes God employs to bring forth the varieties of life forms in His creation.”[4]

Essentially, it is through evolution and death that God brings about all the different varieties of life. Most Christians, especially youth, assume that the God that they learn about in church must have used the mechanism of evolution that they are taught in school, mass media, and Hollywood movies. Is all of this true? Is evolution a way of God expressing his love to us? Anyone, however, who has studied what evolution actually is and what it tells us about the history and nature of life, would not be so proud to say that evolution is the fruit of God’s love. This article will present the reasons why evolution does not correspond with what we read about God in the Bible.

What Evolution Teaches

The theory of evolution teaches that throughout over millions of years death, suffering, bloodshed, and disease eventually led to the existence of man. The late Carl Sagan, a popular evolutionary astrophysicist, once said, “The secrets of evolution are time and death.”[5] Quite simply, new species of animals emerge because of death.

The fossil record is a record of death. Many different kinds of diseases have been discovered in the fossil record including abscesses, tumors, and arthritis in dinosaur bones which are dated to about 110 million years ago. There is also evidence of rickets, syphilis, and dental and other diseases in human fossils that are usually dated to be tens or hundreds of thousands of years before any biblical date for Adam (c. 4000 BC). Besides disease, there is the evolutionary belief that over the course of earth history there have been five major extinction events where it is believed that anywhere between 65-90% of all species living went extinct.[6]

The Biblical Teaching on Death

However, the biblical teaching on death is very different than that of evolution. The Bible is clear that death did not become a part of God’s creation until after Adam and Eve sinned. There are three places in Scripture where this becomes clear. First, in the first chapter of Genesis, God calls his creation “good” six times and on Day 6 he calls it “very good.” Second, Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 teach that death did not come into the human race until Adam sinned. Third, Romans 8:19-25 teaches that the whole creation was cursed and subjected to death and decay when mankind rebelled against his creator.

What did the Fall actually do?

If God called his creation “very good” right after he created it, and pain, suffering, and death were a part of this creation, then God must of called these things “very good” as well. If death and disease was always a part of the world before Adam sinned then what did the Fall, recorded in Genesis 3, actually do? The answer would be very simple: nothing. This means that death, disease, and suffering were part of the “very good” creation. Terry Mortenson, writer and researcher with Answers in Genesis, makes an excellent point when he says:

“In fact, we can go further and say that if the millions of years of death and extinction really did occur, then that “very good” creation was considerably worse than the world we now inhabit where habitats are polluted or destroyed and creatures are brought to extinction due to human sin. We have never seen in human history the kind of mass-kill, extinction events that the evolutionary geologists say occurred before man came into existence. So, if the millions of years really happened, then the Fall actually improved the world from what it was in the “very good” pre-Fall creation. In this case, the curse at the Fall would actually be a blessing! So, if the Bible’s teaching on death, the curse and the final redemptive work of Christ is true, then the millions-of-years idea must be a grand myth, really a lie. Conversely, if the millions of years really happened, then the Bible’s teaching on these subjects must be utterly false, which is devastating for the gospel.”[7]

An illogical, wasteful, and sadistic God

Let us entertain the idea that God used evolution. What kind of God would create the world 4.5 billion years ago and wait a billion years to create the first microscopic creatures, then wait another nearly 3 billion years before he created the first metazoans, and then wait once again for another 625 million years before the first man, Adam, who was the ultimate goal of his creation. And to top it all off, Adam was created to rule over the animals, most of which had already lived and died by the time Adam came around.[8] Mortenson writes:

This is a bizarre, wasteful God, and nothing like the wise and omnipotent Creator revealed in Scripture. And if God really created in the order and over the long timescales that evolutionists claim, does this not make God a deceiver or a liar when he inspired Moses to write the Genesis 1 account of the order of His creative acts, which is so contradictory to the evolutionary order of events of history.[9]

Why would a perfect God call his creation “very good” when it is nothing but a fossil graveyard? Would a loving God really call cancer “very good?” If all of this is true then God is a liar. However, it is Satan that is a liar and deceiver.[10]

To put it mildly, if God created the world through evolution then he is not the God that is revealed in the Bible. God commanded his people to take care of their animals (Exodus 20:10 and 23:12), help lost or trapped animals (Exodus 23:4-5), and not to be cruel to their animals (Deut. 25:4; Proverbs 12:10). God cares for and deeply loves his fallen creation (Psalm 104:14-16 and 27-28, Psalm 145:14-16, Psalm 147:9, Jonah 4:11, Matthew 6:26, and Luke 12:24).[11] Mortenson says the obvious:

If millions of years of death and extinction and disease really occurred, then God is like the wicked man of Proverbs 12:10 and He was doing exactly the opposite of what He told the Jews to do. The acceptance of millions of years is an assault on the character of Almighty God.

If God created over those millions of years, then He clearly was not intelligent and powerful enough to create the world right in the first place. Either He lacked the sovereign power to control His creation so that it did not destroy most of His previous work or He intentionally created obstacles to hinder Himself from accomplishing His intention of making a very good world. And then all along the way He kept making creatures very similar to the creatures that He had just destroyed by intention or by incompetence and impotence. What a monstrous God this would be! He would be less competent than the most incompetent engineer or construction worker. And He would be grossly unjust and unrighteous compared to the God of Isaiah, who said that when the knowledge of Him fills the earth, animals will not hurt or kill each other or people (Isaiah 11:6–9 and 65:25). Such a cruel, bumbling, and weak God could not be trusted and would not be worthy of our worship.[12]

Mortenson continues:

And if these millions of years of death really occurred, then God’s curse on creation really did nothing to the nonhuman creation, and His promises about the future cannot be trusted. In fact, in this case none of His Word can be trusted.[13]

If suffering was created as part of the original creation then this would seem to indicate that God enjoys seeing both humans and animals suffer since he calls his creation “very good.” Theologian James Stambaugh makes a comparison between this kind of God with Marquis De Sade. De Sade was a man who enjoyed abusing women for his pleasure. The word “sadism” comes from his name.[14] To be sadistic is to delight in the cruelty of others; to gain pleasure from others having pain. Robert Gurney makes a good point:

[T]his generally means believing God’s method of creation involved millions of years of animals tearing each other to pieces, millions of years of mass extinction of species, and millions of years of natural disasters. For a loving God, who created a perfect world which He declared to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31), it seems to be an amazingly cruel and wasteful method of creation.[15]

What does this mean?

The theory of evolution is the complete opposite of the God of the Bible. If the Bible is true, then evolution is false. If evolution is true, then the Bible is false. To add to that, if evolution is fact, then we have five options: 1) there is no god; 2) god is an idiot; 3) god is not powerful enough to rid the world of suffering; 4) god is evil and enjoys watching us suffer; or 5) a mix of 2-4. Now don’t these options make you all warm and fuzzy, and full of hope? This clearly shows that those Christians who think that God used evolution or do not think that the creation-evolution debate matters are fooling themselves.

What do you think? Could God have used evolution? Leave a comment below or comment on Facebook.

[1] Jerry Bergman. “Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism.” Answers Research Journal 3 (2010): 147-152. Pp. 150. This statement was from a poll taken by scientists that Bergman quotes from.

[2] J. A. Coyne. Creationism for liberals. The New Republic, August 12, 2009. Pg. 34. Quoted in Bergman, 147.

[3] Benjamin B. Warfield. “On the Antiquity and Unity of the Human Race,” in Biblical and Theological Studies, ed. Samuel G. Craig (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1952), 238 In Millard Erickson Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998),  507.

[4] Pattle Pun. “A Theology of Progressive Creationism.” Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith 39. (1987): 9-19.

[5] Carl Sagan 1978/1979. Cosmos TV series. “One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue.”

[6] Terry Mortenson. “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 (2009): pg. 179. The dates and names of these major extinction events are: Late Ordovician (440 million years ago, where 100+ families of marine invertebrates went extinct); Late Devonian (365 million years ago, where 70% of marine invertebrates perished alongside other marine life); Permian-Triassic (245 million years ago, which was the greatest mass extinction event in history according to evolutionist, where 90-95% of all marine species simply perished); Late Triassic (210 million years ago, where at least 50% of all species went extinct); Cretaceous-Tertiary (65 million years ago, which was the second largest mass extinction event, where 85% of all species, including the dinosaurs, died out).

[7] Mortenson. 179.

[8] Ibid. 180.

[9] Ibid. 180.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., 181.

[14] James Stambaugh. “Whence Cometh Death? A Biblical Theology of Physical Death and Natural Evil.” In Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth. Terry Mortenson and Thane Ury Eds.(Green Forest: Master Books, 2008.  Pg. 383.

[15] Robert J. M. Gurney. :The Carnivorous nature and suffering of animals.” Technical Journal 18 (3) 2004. 70.

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