Three professors from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan--Howard J. Van Till, Davis A. Young, and Clarence Menninga--have recently written a book entitled Science Held Hostage. The bold: headline on the back cover states "Henry Morris or Carl Sagan?"
What is the purpose of this heading? Basically, it is to get across to people that these two men represent extreme positions on the question of origins. On the one hand, there is the position taken by the Institute for Creation Research, and its President, Dr. Henry Morris, that Genesis must be taken literally and that it is foundational to the rest of the Bible, true science, true history, true philosophy, etc. On the other hand, there is the position on the opposite end of the spectrum held by people such as Carl Sagan, who take a totally atheistic view of origins.
The Calvin College professors, like many other instructors at Christian colleges throughout the United States, are insisting that there is a compromise position between Dr. Morris and Dr. Sagan. The view they take is, in reality, not significantly different from atheistic evolution except that they have added God to the supposed process of evolution. They insist that one can accept evolution and the Bible at the same time. There are several different terms that are being used to describe this position, the most common being "theistic evolution.") To hold to these views would mean that God is an evolutionist--He used the process of evolution to bring all the major forms of life into being.
Can Christians accept evolution? Does it really matter? Is God an evolutionist? Many Christians have been told by Christian leaders to accept evolution, since it is the acknowledged: "scientific" view of origins. They accept what the evolutionists say as truth and reinterpret the Bible to make it agree. Many Christians get confused with this when trying to interpret Scripture and to understand what is: scientifically true and what is not. If a so-called scientific view (e.g., evolution) appears to contradict the Bible, I have found it useful to consider the following to help resolve the dilemma.
First, is it totally based upon direct, repeatable observation, or does it assume certain things about the past, which cannot be observed by our five senses? Whenever men make statements about evidence, this necessarily involves such evidence being put into a framework to try to give overall meaning to the facts. Ask yourself--"On what basis was this framework (or story) built? Can it be tested?"
Conclusions based on things which cannot be directly observed, and a framework based only on man's theories, must be suspect. Man does not know everything, nor can he have directly observed events in the distant past.
Secondly, is my interpretation of Scripture correct? For example, is the conflict due to the wrong story being applied to the facts, or a wrong interpretation of Scripture? To sort this out, one must remember that the Bible is the revealed Word of the infinite God, and it must interpret itself--it must be self-authenticating. One should, without being influenced by external matters, attempt first to determine the context and true definitions of the words in the passage of Scripture being studied, especially as intended by the author. Then one should ask is the subject referred to elsewhere in Scripture? Asking such questions will help determine which is wrong--the interpretation of Scripture or the external story about the facts. When this is done, it becomes obvious that Genesis is an historical narrative containing the literal foundations of all true doctrine. Thus, in the areas in which it clearly speaks, the book is authoritative.
Consider one example: The theory of evolution teaches that for millions of years before man, organisms have lived and died. Thus, death has been "from the beginning." However, no scientist was there to observe this death and struggle over millions of years. This is obviously a framework of understanding built upon the words of fallible humans who were not there. However, the Bible clearly teaches that death, particularly the physical and spiritual death of man entered the world only after the first man, Adam sinned. Consider Romans 5:12, Genesis 3:22, 23, Romans 8:22, Hebrews 9:22, Isaiah 11:6-9, Acts 3:21, Revelation 2: 3, and Revelation 21:4. It is obvious that if death and bloodshed did exist before Adam sinned, then the whole basis of the meaning of the message of the Cross has been destroyed. Therefore, God could not have been an evolutionist! He did not use death and struggle to bring the forms of life into being! Death is a part of the curse after sin. The Biblical account cannot possibly accommodate the theory of evolution (or "process creation" or "progressive creation" which also have death and bloodshed existing before Adam)!
Is, then, the ICR position as extreme and nonvalid as these authors suggest? Submitting ourselves as best we are able to the One who knows everything, and: taking His Word at face value, we accept the Book of Genesis as Jesus Christ, the Creator, meant it to be. Look up the words of Jesus Christ in the New Testament when He refers to the Book of Genesis and see for yourself that He believed it to be true and reliable, and thus certainly did not believe in evolution. (Consider: Mark 10:6-9, Matthew 19:4-6, Matthew 23:35, John 5:45-47, Matthew 24:37-39.)
If God is an evolutionist, as many Christians claim, then why shouldn't evolutionary standards be applied to our everyday lives? Sadly, many do so apply them, and with tragic results.
Is God an evolutionist? Certainly not! Theistic evolution is a compromise position that destroys the foundations of the Gospel message and ultimately leads to the destruction of the Christian worldview. It is nothing more than the pagan theory of evolution with God added. No wonder America has fallen so far. Christians must defend a literal Genesis and stand against those who are compromising the Word of God.
WHEN IS A DAY NOT A DAY?
The answer to this question is, "When Christians insist that the days in Genesis must be something other than ordinary days." If one takes the Scripture without the external influences of what many people believe about the age of the earth, then it is obvious that the writer in Genesis meant them to be taken as ordinary days. In fact, Professor James Barr, of Oxford, although he rejects Genesis as sober history, wrote:
So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world class university who does not believe that the writers of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to the readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days, which were the same as the 24-hour days we now experience, (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the Biblical story, (c) Noah's Flood was understood to be worldwide and extinguished all human and animal life except those in the Ark.
Why did God take six days? Look up Exodus 20:11. The seven-day week has its basis in Scripture and attests to the fact that God made everything in six days and rested for one. This was the pattern He set for us. God did not work for six billion years and rest for one billion years and tell us to copy that pattern this would make nonsense of one of the Ten Commandments
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that the acceptance of evolution affects people's view of their fellow men? Much has been written concerning the early European settlers of the state of Tasmania in Australia and their attitudes towards the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Even before the time of Darwin, clergymen in the early days of the colony ignored the aborigines completely, believing them to be so far beneath the level of humanity as not to be worth teaching. In fact, when Governor Arthur asked the church missionary society for a missionary, he was refused. Darwinian evolution later reinforced this ungodly attitude to these people.
In the book, The Coming of the Strangers, by Beiba Baibaberzins (Collins), the author states "They (the first European settlers) had no doubts about the superiority of their culture and they regarded the aborigines as 'poor creatures who were at a very primitive stage of evolution.'" In fact, in 1924,the New York Tribune had an article on the Tasmanian Aborigines, and had as one-of their headings, "Missing Links with Mankind in Early Dawn of History." Sadly, many of the early settlers treated the Tasmanian aborigines as a missing link and less than human.
What was one of the consequences of these wrong ideas about the Aborigines? At one stage, the settlers lined up across the state to shoot every aboriginal they could find. The settlers treated them as less than human. Even today, many people still have wrong attitudes regarding certain cultures because of the influence of evolutionary ideas. Each of us needs to examine our own thoughts in regard to this matter.