Evolution And The Image Of God
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."
The Creator of mankind, Genesis 1:27
"If man and woman have ultimately come up from amoebas, then they are ultimately on their way to God."
Ken Wilber, New Age Theoretician
Man in God's image. What a precious teaching! What a sobering thought and somber responsibility. God has seen fit to endow mankind with qualities and characteristics which, in some way known fully only to Him, adequately reflect His image, and which totally distinguish man from any other created thing. The animals are amazingly well designed, but do not carry God's image. The angels were created for specific and lofty purposes, but they are not in God's image.
The highest angel ever created may have resented the special attention God showered on Adam and Eve. His pride led him to rebel against his Creator and resulted in his ejection from heaven and banishment to earth in a rage, along with a host of demonic henchmen.
His fury was left to focus on those "made in the image" of his more powerful foe. His vicious hatred of God was transformed into a mocking of God's creative handiwork by claiming that it all happened by natural processes, twisting His image into a sham. Recruiting Adam and Eve to rebellion was not enough. Under the guise of the lie that they could be gods themselves, he deceived them and their descendants into believing that they were evolving upward from the animals, not the fallen remnant of God's image. In their thinking, they "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things" (Romans 1:23). The enhanced knowledge gained by disregarding the Creator's authority would somehow lead them to higher planes of wisdom.
The rebellion's course progressed to the enigmatic "sons of God and daughters of men" episode (Genesis 6:4), which attempted to so distort the image that the promised redeeming seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) could not come through it. The Creator interrupted Satan's plans but not his goal. The deceiver continues to deface God's image in man and block God's intention to have loving fellowship with mankind.
Today, Satan is launching another frontal attack against God and His image in the form of the New Age Movement. Like a multi-headed dragon, the rebellion takes many different forms, but all deny God as Creator, refuse His absolute authority, and sanction the defacing of His image.
Not content with merely keeping people from God, Satan delights in destroying even those who believe in his lie. He revels in broken marriages, starving children, an emphysema victim gasping for air, a cancer sufferer begging for morphine, or a teenager stealing money from the elderly to support a heroin addiction. Mutilating the image of God and causing it pain is his speciality.
In New Age literature, the Jehovah God of Scripture is maligned as a malicious judge, keeping enlightenment from His followers, and denying them sensual pleasures. To New Agers, God is identified as the Creation itself, specifically Mother Earth or Gaia, and we become one with God by gaining cosmic consciousness. They have "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped . . . the creature more than the Creator" (Romans 1:25).
Created male/female distinctives are demeaned, and homosexual behavior is welcomed. Marriage and fidelity are considered optional. Child bearing is belittled, unborn and infant children, as well as the elderly, are expendable. Many of today's social ills can be directly traced to this aggressive war against God and His image. Hug a tree or save a whale, as long as it is not the image of God.
Historians recognize that this agenda scarcely differs from that of ancient paganism. Gnostic thinking was similarly diffuse, but contained each of the above doctrines. The sun shines on nothing new. The father of lies may change the details, but his goals haven't changed. As he recruits followers for his ultimate rebellion against God, he delights in spoiling God's creation and God's image along the way.
The early church fathers met the challenge of Gnosticism by forcefully teaching Scripture, without compromising with evolutionary, pagan thought. As the battle confronts the modern church with nearly identical error, our weapons are the same. Our only hope of victory lies in the Creator's Word and worldview. May God grant us, each one, boldness to confront the usurper and his failed thinking.
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.
Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1999. Evolution And The Image Of God. Acts & Facts. 28 (4).