In a recent article, Darrel Falk of BioLogos, an organization devoted to the promotion of evolutionary ideas in the church, presented an article proclaiming the coming age of the acceptance of evolution among evangelical Christians. He admits that this battle has just begun (ignoring more than 150 years of attempts to blend evolution and the Bible) and that he expects the resistance to be strong. Yet, he intends to fight against the segment of the church that would adhere to the biblical idea of a young earth that was specially created by God in six days about 6,000 years ago.
Dr. Falk specifically points to Dr. Albert Mohler (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Dr. John MacArthur (pastor and president of The Master’s Seminary) and their “followers” as the problem segment. Dr. Mohler is directly confronted in the article and has posted a gracious response on his own site. Dr. Mohler’s response was very well stated, but I would like to point to two aspects of Falk’s article that Dr. Mohler did not directly address. Answers in Genesis, Dr. Mohler, and Dr. MacArthur all hold the same view of the authority of the Bible, including where it teaches on the age of the earth and the duration of the Creation Week.1 By association, Falk’s claims surely extend to the Answers in Genesis ministry and its scientists and theologians, as well. This is an attack on all those who look to the Bible as the absolute authority for every area of life.
The two issues that I would like to address are found in the following paragraph from Dr. Falk’s article. Falk likens Dr. Mohler’s previous response to BioLogos as swatting at an annoying little fly and then says the following:
BioLogos is not a little fly, however, and it is not going to go away. Dr. Mohler, giant as he is in fundamentalist/evangelical circles, represents a view that takes on the entire scientific enterprise. To this day, I have not been able to identify a single person who holds a science faculty position in any Biology, Geology or Physics Department at any secular research university in the world who would agree with Dr. Mohler’s view of creation. Not one, out of what I imagine are tens of thousands, including many who are strongly committed to living the Christian life in the context of fully orthodox Christian theology. If there is any such person, I urge them to contact us at [email protected] I don’t want to overstate my case.2
Falk asserts that he knows of no scientists on faculty at a secular university who share Dr. Mohler’s view of creation—biblical, young-earth creation. This assertion simply points to his ignorance and failure to do a little research before casting darts intended to discredit Mohler’s scientific understanding. The list of great scientists, past and present, who trust the Bible’s straightforward account of the creation and age of the earth is not a one-handed counting affair.
Before I identify a few modern examples for Dr. Falk’s benefit, I must ask about his understanding of authority. Why are the secular world and its institutions of learning the standard we would seek to meet in an area that has such important theological considerations? I certainly mean no disrespect to my colleagues who hold advanced degrees from secular universities. I greatly appreciate their insight and knowledge and draw from that well often. I simply reject that the only credible scientists must hold a faculty position in a certain department at a “secular research university.” Testimonies from many of those I have had the pleasure to work alongside would support the fact that they earned their degrees and education in spite of the secular environment they found themselves in.
Scripture repeatedly warns Christians against comparing ourselves to the world system or seeking the approval of the secular world.
Scripture repeatedly warns Christians against comparing ourselves to the world system (John 15:19; Romans 12:1–2; Colossians 2:1–10; 1 John 2:15–17) or seeking the approval of the secular world (Luke 6:26; James 4:4; 1 John 4:5). There is no doubt that many of the institutions that Falk esteems so highly have no interest in carefully and honestly considering the truth claims of the Bible, creationists, or a biblical worldview, and they work against such in many instances. There are many documented cases of discrimination against faculty who believe in God, and those who would hold a biblical, young-earth creation view face even more discrimination.3
Dr. Falk seems to suggest that only those who would be accepted at a secular research institute are worthy of presenting a valid view on the astronomical, geological, and biological processes that have taken place on this planet and in our universe. Apparently, we should listen to these wise sages of the age to help us understand what the Bible really means when it talks about the stars, the rock layers, and the diversification of life on this planet. The Apostle Paul instructs us that God has chosen other means to convey His truths about the world we live in (1 Corinthians 1:22–31). We should place our trust in God’s revealed words above the secular scientists of the age and interpret everything we encounter in light of what Scripture teaches.
For Dr. Falk’s consideration, I submit two names to start his list of young-earth creation scientists at secular research universities.4 Dr. Andy McIntosh is a professor at the University of Leeds, U.K., and travels the world speaking on the glory of God in His creation and the literal historical truth of Genesis 1–11. His team was recently honored with an award from the Times Higher Education Awards in London, and Dr. McIntosh was quoted in the BBC report on the award:
The university's professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory, Andy McIntosh, who led the research team, said: "Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did, and we didn't appreciate how much we would learn from it."5
Now retired, Dr. Werner Gitt was a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology in Braunschweig. He headed the Department of Information Technology and also spends much time proclaiming the authority of God’s Word and the truth of Genesis in many countries.
The list could be extended back to greats like Sir Isaac Newton and forward to Dr. Raymond Damadian, inventor of MRI technology, but those two names should suffice to expel Falk’s mistaken statement.
The second issue that Falk raises is a bit more serious in its implications. Dr. Falk seeks to redefine “fully orthodox Christian theology” with his assertions. It has never been orthodox to reject that Adam and Eve were direct, special creations of God (Genesis 2:7 and 2:22), that Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45; Acts 17:26), or that Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Later in the article and elsewhere on the BioLogos site, the historicity of Adam and Eve is openly questioned, and Falk suggests that one of the hurdles his organization must overcome in the “fundamentalist/evangelical circles” is the acceptance of Adam and Eve as “the sole genetic progenitors of the human race” or that “Adam was made directly from dust.”
These then become direct attacks on the doctrine of inerrancy, a doctrine that is set aside, or redefined, in other posts on the BioLogos site.6 To reject the historicity or special creation of Adam and Eve calls into question the ability of God to clearly communicate with man and undermines the authority of Scripture. To Falk, the identity of Adam and Eve is a scientific question that can be determined by analyzing DNA, fossils, and amino acid sequences. The Bible, according to Falk, is silent when it comes to science:
Is the Bible infallible in the assertions it makes about science? When it comes to God’s purposes and what God wants to say through Scripture, the Bible is inerrant. However, put simply, it doesn’t make any scientific assertions, and if we think it does it is because we’re not interpreting it correctly. So the biblical assertions about science are indeed infallible, a point which is moot because the Bible, properly understood, makes none. Wow! It seems that I am getting close to accepting the Chicago statement!
We at BioLogos believe that God created human beings through the evolutionary process, and, based on unambiguous scientific data; we also believe that Adam and Eve were not the sole biological progenitors of the human race. This does not rule out the possibility of two unique historical human beings named Adam and Eve who were singled out by God for special relationship.7 (Emphases added.)
Christian orthodoxy, by its very definition, includes positions that are historically held and are demonstrated from Scripture. Those who associate with BioLogos are introducing new definitions of these doctrines, and those definitions directly impact the doctrine of salvation. As such, they cannot be considered orthodox doctrines, and anyone who holds them cannot be considered a fully committed orthodox Christian. Even those who embrace the gap theory, progressive creation, and other day-age ideas still recognize the importance of the special creation of a literal Adam and Eve as the source of all of humanity. The BioLogos position on Adam and Eve is a strange and very novel (not historically orthodox) doctrine that is being smuggled into the discussion—a doctrine that must be exposed for the heterodox and unbiblical position that it is. If we are to consider this new view on the evolution of Adam and Eve to be orthodox, then the early church would have had to view the teachings of Marcion, Pelagius, Arius, and others as orthodox.
Ultimately, I see both of the ideas explored in this article as issues of authority. Just because a group waltzes onto the scene and proclaims new doctrines and insists that they are within orthodoxy does not make it so. As Christians, we should look to the Bible as the ultimate authority in our lives and test all of these ideas against Scripture. This call to examine new ideas in light of Scripture extends to every idea that is presented in the Bible—the creation of the universe and the origin of humans included. As the clear teaching of the Bible on the first Adam is undermined by the acceptance of secular explanations, the necessity of the second Adam is clearly called into question, for Paul says in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus came to solve the problem that started in the Garden of Eden. If Genesis 1–3 is not literal history, then Jesus died for a mythological problem and is therefore a mythological Savior offering us a mythological hope. The glorious gospel of Christ is at stake in this battle.