Recently I attended a Sunday morning worship service at a church in the area. Fine church, strong Bible-teaching pastor. I felt encouraged when I found out that the sermon was to address evolution. Churches do too little of this.
The pastor went to great lengths to distance himself from evolution, demonstrating instead the overwhelming design of living things and the impossibility of naturalistic evolution. The historical, scientific, and scriptural evidence favors creation, not evolution. But then he turned to the time of creation.
Scripture, he claimed, addresses only the fact of creation, not the time of creation. He stated that "Scripture contains no clue as to the timing and when" of creation. To him, it is fully legitimate to embrace a scenario of billions of years, as long as we acknowledge the hand of God throughout. Is this true?
He went on to parrot the words of old-earth proponent Hugh Ross, from "Genesis contains no time words" to a profound mischaracterization of James Ussher, who published a famous chronology of earth's history and was a scholar of the highest degree, with complete fluency in biblical languages and access to records that are now unavailable. As to the time words of Genesis, let me remind you of the plethora of such words. God wanted us to know when He created, and He went out of His way to make it clear. Consider the following list:
- The Bible starts with "in the beginning." The events that follow are considered part of that beginning, in both the Old and New Testaments.
- A light and dark cycle was instituted, with each being dubbed "day" and "night" respectively.
- Each successive day of the creation week was numbered.
- The fourth day saw the creation of permanent markers for timekeeping.
- The creation days are subdivided into evening and morning.
- The genealogies of Genesis 5 start with creation, and contain life spans and totals.
- Within the Flood account are several references to specific calendar days.
- The genealogies for post-Flood patriarchs are given in Genesis 11.
- The latter half of Genesis refers to cultures, events, and dates known to archaeology.
Yes, the Bible does speak clearly on this subject. Christian leaders must come to recognize that some of their common sources are compromising with the secular worldview.
It was the same in the England of Darwin's day. Most of the scientific scholars of the 1800s were Bible-believing Christians who had little use for Darwinism. Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology in 1830 promoted excessively long ages of uniformitarian processes in geology, opening the door for his disciple Charles Darwin to promote biological uniformity. Leaders of the dominant Church of England were the first to accept the compromise and disregard the clear teaching of the Bible. It took at least a generation of indoctrination to cause scientists to abandon the more empirical study of the creation/Flood, but the appeal of the compromise was too great.
The first doctrine to fall was the age of the earth, and the companion doctrine of the global Flood. Once God is relegated to the long ago and far away, it is easy to dismiss Him from the affairs of men altogether. Evolution and long ages free man to live as if there is no Creator to whom he is accountable for his actions and choices.
But there is a God. There is a factual account of His mighty work, and it is believable and backed up by science. I adjure my pastoral brethren to stick with Scripture, and stop being intimidated by both secular scientists and compromising Christians.
* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris, J. D. 2009. Compromise in the Pulpit. Acts & Facts. 38 (2): 5.