In the preceding chapters several important propositions have been thoroughly established.
- Genesis 1–11 clearly teaches, and the rest of the Bible confirms, that God supernaturally created Adam from dust and Eve from his rib (not from any pre-existing living creature) on the sixth literal 24-hour day of history a little over 6,000 years ago.
- All humans are uniquely made in the image of God and all humans who have ever lived are descended from Adam and Eve, regardless of their language, skin color, eye shape, etc. There is only one race — Adam’s race.
- Until the 20th century, this was the universal belief of Bible-believing Christians about Adam (except for some in the late 19th century who after denying any chronological value to the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 pushed back the date of Adam’s creation several tens of thousands of years).
- The fossil evidence does not support the idea of human evolution, but rather confirms Genesis. Controlled by a naturalistic (i.e., atheistic) worldview, the evolutionists have misinterpreted the evidence. The public has been deceived by imaginative art and relentless dogmatic claims that do not survive careful scrutiny.
- Contrary to evolutionists’ claims, the study of genetics also does not prove that man evolved from some ape-like creature over millions of years. Rather genetics confirms the Genesis account of the unique, supernatural, and recent origin of Adam and Eve.
- That man is categorically different from apes is seen in his anatomy, in his bearing the image of God, and in the evidence that man was highly intelligent right from the start, as witnessed in the archeological evidence that has survived from the past.
- People groups all over the world share a memory of the key events (and even many of the details) of Genesis 1–11, although their memory and the literature they produced about these events have been distorted by sin, idolatry, and almost certainly demonic deception.
But is it simply an interesting curiosity to know that the Bible and solid scientific evidence agree on this question of human origins? Does it really matter what we believe about Adam? Yes it does! There are enormous moral and spiritual implications of these truths. We have already seen some of the implications in Bergman’s chapter on racism. Euthanasia, genocide, totalitarian murder of millions, abortion, eugenics and forced sterilization all have been the fruit of evolutionary thinking in the past 150 years. Several other chapters highlighted the theological and gospel importance of Adam. But there is more that we need to consider here.
America is reeling in the face of a massive, breath-taking, LGBT sexual revolution. This movement of “erotic liberty,” as Mohler has described it in We Cannot Be Silent,1 is threatening to annihilate not only American religious liberty as guaranteed in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but even threatening the existence of the American democratic republic as the Obama administration unlawfully made policies to attempt to force the country into submission to the LGBT demands. This sexual revolution is also impacting the Church as professing evangelicals celebrate their sexual immorality and seek to influence other Christians to do the same.2
How did we get to the place where large corporations and the federal government are bullying schools and states into making bathrooms and locker rooms dangerous places for women and children? How did we get to the place where professing evangelicals are celebrating this sexual perversion? How did we get to the place where professing evangelicals are denying a literal Adam and a literal Fall? How did we get to the place where, according to many surveys, evangelical churches are losing 60–80% of their young people when they graduate from high school?3 Why is America on the verge of national suicide? Why is Western Europe, once so powerfully impacted by the gospel and a missionary-sending continent, now the most difficult mission field in the world? Why don’t 60% of British teens believe in the existence of God?4 Why do less than 2% of Britons go to church regularly today5 when in the middle of the 19th century almost 50% went to church regularly?6 Why is America heading down the same path?
The Collapse of Morality
As Mohler has insightfully explained, the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, to redefine marriage did not come out of nowhere. It was the fruit of decades of moral erosion related to sex and marriage. He examines four significant developments. First, there was the arrival of modern contraceptives, which led to the separation of sex from procreation. Second came no-fault divorce, which made every marriage provisional. Third was advanced reproductive technologies, which enabled people to have babies without sex. And finally, there was the societal acceptance of co-habitation and sex outside of marriage. All of this undermined or contradicted the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage.
The transgender and homosexual “marriage” revolution was also preceded by the legalization of abortion (1973), the court removal of Bible reading (1963) and prayer (1962) from the public schools, and the explosive heterosexual revolution, and the widespread use of illegal drugs in the 1960s and 70s, fueled by erotic, rebellion-stimulating and violence-promoting rock music.
But all this was preceded by the secular humanist takeover of the public schools that had been progressing since at least the 1920s. John Dewey was key in this takeover of American public schools and is called the “father of modern American education.” He was an original signer of the first Humanist Manifesto, published in 1933.7 The first two points of that document state,
FIRST, religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
SECOND, humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process.
In other words, the secular humanist worldview (which they correctly label as “religious”) is built on the foundation of atheistic evolution. This leads logically and irresistibly to the fifth point of the Manifesto:
FIFTH, humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. . . . Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method.
As hundreds of millions of children in the public schools and universities have been indoctrinated in this atheistic worldview, it is no mystery that the country is descending into moral anarchy. Those children have grown up to become judges, politicians, professors and teachers, university administrators, media leaders, and heads of Hollywood. Every part of the culture has been touched, including the church.
The late evolutionist and atheist professor at Cornell University, William Provine, said it clearly,
Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.8
Elsewhere he said,
Of course, it is still possible to believe in both modern evolutionary biology and a purposive force, even the Judeo-Christian God. One can suppose that God started the whole universe or works through the laws of nature (or both). . . . [Such a God] has nothing to do with human morals, answers no prayers, gives no life everlasting, in fact does nothing whatever that is detectable. In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science), if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.9
Evolution theory is atheistic and atheism provides no basis for any moral absolutes. That does not mean that all atheists are immoral in their behavior. It simply means that in an evolutionary worldview there are no moral absolutes. Morality becomes totally relative, a matter of personal opinion. There is no basis within the atheistic evolutionary worldview to judge any behavior as wrong or right.
If evolution is true, we are just animals. It’s the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest; everyone does what he thinks is right in his own eyes. Without Adam and Eve and the Fall, sin is a myth. Selfishness is just animal instinct. Stags and bulls will have sex with any female they like, when they like, and they are “polygamous.” So what’s wrong if humans do the same? Dogs kill birds and lions kill gazelles, and we don’t call that sin. So if Hitler or Mao or Stalin or ISIS or abortionists murder and steal from millions, it’s not wrong; it’s just survival of the fittest. But that leads eventually either to anarchy or to totalitarian oppression and injustice. Either way whoever has the power determines what’s right. Saying that God guided evolution cannot be defended from science or the Bible and only makes matters worse. But the evolutionary assault on biblical morality is the least of the problems.
The Assault on the Gospel
Evolution theory not only destroys biblical morality that once dominated Western culture, but as many authors in this volume have shown, it also destroys the gospel by destroying the historical reason that we need the Savior: Adam sinned and all his descendants are sinners in need of salvation from and reconciliation to their Creator. Evolutionists have been telling the world for over a century that evolution is antithetical to the gospel, and they see the issue more clearly than most Christians in the world.
Probably no one was more responsible for the victory of Darwinism in British science and the acceptance of evolution in British churches in the late 19th century than Darwin’s good friend and leading biologist, Thomas Huxley. In 1893, Huxley wrote,
I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew Scriptures, which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the “ten words” [i.e., 10 Commandments] were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome — what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated. And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?10
In a 1909 lecture in Los Angeles entitled “Breakdown of Protestantism,” Edward Adams Cantrell (later part of the pro-evolution “Science League of America” formed in 1925 and associated in later years with the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU]) said, “All this is fundamental, for on the genetic story is based the entire Christian system. Without Adam’s fall there is no need of Christ or the vicarious atonement. With the removal of the foundation the superstructure falls.”11
In 1978, the atheist Richard Bozarth declared boldly in American Atheist magazine,
Christianity is — must be! — totally committed to the special creation as described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might, fair or foul, against the theory of evolution. . . . It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.12
In 1996, in a debate with evangelical philosopher William Lane Craig (who is somewhere between a theistic evolutionist and progressive creationist13), Frank Zindler, then president of the American Atheists, remarked,
The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. . . . If there was never an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.14
In 2006, Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous and widely read atheist, told the world,
Oh, but of course, the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic? Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual? Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than — barking mad!15
In a 2011 posting on the American Atheist website just before Christmas we read,
No Adam and Eve means no need for a savior. It also means that the Bible cannot be trusted as a source of unambiguous, literal truth. It is completely unreliable, because it all begins with a myth, and builds on that as a basis. No fall of man means no need for atonement and no need for a redeemer.16
In contrast to the atheist evolutionists, theistic evolutionists (aka evolutionary creationists) are trying (often successfully) to convince Christians (especially church leaders and seminary professors) that Christianity is not affected if Adam was not historical or if some of the details in Genesis 1–3 are not literally accurate. But as the previous chapters in this book show, in this belief theistic evolutionists are deceived and unknowingly or knowingly deceiving others.
The most influential group promoting theistic evolution today is BioLogos. BioLogos has posted on its website quotes by influential Christian leaders and Bible scholars obviously intended to persuade Christians to be open to theistic evolution. A number of examples are worth considering. Billy Graham has written,
The Bible is not a book of science.17 The Bible is a book of Redemption,18 and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. . . . Whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.19
Noted evangelical theologian J.I. Packer says, “BioLogos is leading the way in setting the tone for thoughtful and productive dialogue on the topic of harmony between science and faith. They are providing the much-needed space for wrestling with the tough questions of life with civility, integrity, and rigor.”20 Prominent pastor Tim Keller endorsed BioLogos with these words,
Many people today, both secular and Christian, want us to believe that science and religion cannot live together. Not only is this untrue, but we believe that a thoughtful dialogue between science and faith is essential for engaging the hearts and minds of individuals today. The BioLogos Foundation provides an important first step towards that end.21
Renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright accuses,
Christians and secularists alike are in danger of treating “Darwin vs the Bible” as just another battlefront in the polarized “culture wars.” This grossly misrepresents both science and faith. BioLogos not only shows that there is an alternative, but actually models it. God’s world and God’s word go together in a rich, living harmony.22
And the late, justly respected pastor John Stott asks,
What may we say about the “how” of God’s creative activity? Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it. The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized literary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth “day” corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third). Moreover, the geological evidence for a gradual development over thousands of millions of years seems conclusive. . . . It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue (evolution) begin by assuming that the words “creation” and “evolution” are mutually exclusive.23
Elsewhere Stott said,
It seems perfectly possible to reconcile the historicity of Adam with at least some (theistic) evolutionary theory. Many biblical Christians in fact do so, believing them to be not entirely incompatible. To assert the historicity of an original pair who sinned through disobedience is one thing; it is quite another to deny all evolution and assert the separate and special creation of everything, including both subhuman creatures and Adam’s body. The suggestion (for it is no more than this) does not seem to me to be against Scripture and therefore impossible that when God made man in His own image, what He did was to stamp His own likeness on one of the many “hominids,” which appear to have been living at the time.24
“Speaking hesitatingly as a non-scientist,”25 Stott goes on to indicate that he leans toward the idea of pre-Adamite hominids who were anatomically indistinguishable from modern man but who did not bear the image of God. Stott obviously did not know the science presented in various chapters in this book. But even when he was alive there was much young-earth creationist biblical and scientific literature available to him, which he gave no evidence of having read. He also failed to pay careful attention to the text of Genesis.
But notice the ambiguous and misleading language in the statements by these influential evangelical leaders. The issue is not whether “science and religion” or “science and faith” or “creation and evolution” can live together. The issue is whether the carefully exegeted truth of Genesis can be wedded to the dogmas of evolution and millions of years.
Theistic evolution is serious error, and BioLogos’s promotion of it in the Church leads to what I think appropriately can be called heresy, as illustrated in a 12-minute BioLogos video26 featuring Reformed pastor Leonard J. Vander Zee, or as revealed in a 2-part BioLogos web article by a Nazarene philosophy professor who wrote,
Substitutionary atonement sees original sin as a major reason for Christ’s death. But macroevolution calls the Fall and the doctrine of original sin into question. Thus, evolution poses a significant challenge to substitutionary atonement. These critiques levied against the substitution view are not intended to be the final word on the atonement. They merely represent the major reasons for my own transition away from substitutionary atonement. In what follows, I intend to sketch an alternative view of the cross; one that preserves God’s goodness and God’s justice. A view that identifies the crucifixion of Jesus as sinful, and thus, in opposition to the will of God. A theory more compatible with the best evolutionary science.27
In his second article on this subject, Bankard tells us, “How does the view I’ve sketched differ from substitutionary atonement? First, the incarnation is not primarily about the cross. God does not send Jesus to die. God does not require Jesus’ death in order to forgive humanity’s sin.”28 Theistic evolution is indeed ultimately an assault on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And its influence is growing in the Church, especially in evangelical seminaries. With surprised excitement, Bruce Waltke reported from his 2009 survey of evangelical seminary professors (published on the BioLogos website) that 46% of the professors do not have any real objections to theistic evolution.29 This surely encouraged him to claim in an extremely controversial 3-minute video posted in 2010 on the BioLogos website (entitled “Why Must the Church Come to Accept Evolution”), among many other seriously erroneous statements, that, “I think that if the data is overwhelming in favor of evolution [and he does think so], to deny that reality will make us a cult.”30 But the truth is exactly the opposite.
We should also note that BioLogos has received over $8.7 million from the John Templeton Foundation (JTF)31 to promote theistic evolution in the Church through the web, speakers at conferences and in churches, and by developing resources for pastors, educators, small groups, and children. They are also at the annual and some regional meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society each year, attempting to influence seminaries, apparently with increasing success.32
The JTF is also giving grants directly to seminaries (including Trinity Evangelical Divinity School33) to explore the relationship of “science” to faith/ religion/theology. The American Association for the Advancement of Science will provide the resources for the seminaries (including “scientist-advisers from nearby science research institutions”34). This is in addition to the AAAS’s own “Science for Seminaries” program to infect seminaries,35 including Concordia (Missouri Synod Lutheran) Seminary.36 There can be no doubt that these scientists will be influencing these seminaries to accept evolution and millions of years as “science” or “scientific fact.”
But the AAAS is committed to an atheistic worldview (as will be seen below), and JTF is committed to religious pluralism and opposed to the absolute truth of the Bible, as it follows the views of its founder, Sir John Marks Templeton, who was a very theologically liberal Presbyterian. Templeton rejected the Bible as inerrant divine revelation and sought to “finance humility” and promote “innovative and creative” ideas about religion and spirituality. To do so he gave his Templeton Prize to Christians (e.g., Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and Bill Bright), as well as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and unbelievers.37
Theistic evolution is a Trojan Horse that is bringing all kinds of ideas into the Church that are subverting the gospel and the authority and perspicuity of the Word of God. BioLogos is the leading group that is bringing that Trojan Horse into the Church, and its influence will grow significantly as InterVarsity Press has just announced a publishing partnership with BioLogos to help “the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith while presenting an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation,” with the first volume appearing in June 2016.38
Rooker and Keathley see things clearly regarding Adam and Eve, when they write,
We believe the historicity of Adam and Eve is so important that the matter should serve as a litmus test when evaluating the attempts to integrate a proper understanding of Genesis 1–3 with the latest findings of science. It must be realized that any position which denies that a real fall was experienced by a real couple will have adverse effects on other significant biblical doctrines.39
Unfortunately, Rooker and Keathley, like most evangelical seminary professors, don’t seem to realize that we are not dealing with the “findings of science” in trying to understand Genesis 1–3 (or Genesis 4–11). We are dealing with philosophically driven anti-biblical interpretations masquerading as “scientific findings.” Previous chapters in this book have demonstrated this in regard to the teaching about Adam in Genesis 1–3. The same thing is happening in relation to the rest of Genesis 1–11, as I will show presently.
The Foundational Issue of the Age of the Earth
Again, I ask, how did we get to the place where a growing number of evangelical Christians, especially professors in our seminaries, are embracing evolution and doubting or even denying the existence of a literal, historical Adam and Fall, or at least denying some of the details about his and Eve’s creation and Fall in Genesis 2–3?
To answer that question we need to understand that evolution is really a three-part theory to explain all of reality (Figure 1). Cosmological evolution is the story of how nothing exploded into something about 13.8 billion years ago and eventually produced all the stars, galaxies, planets, and solar systems in the universe. Geological evolution picks up the story about 4.5 billion years ago as the solar gas cloud condensed to form rings which evolved into the planets, including the earth, and then over those billion years it eventually became the inhabitable planet we have today covered with thousands of feet of fossil-bearing rock layers. Biological evolution is the story that about 3.5 billion years ago non-living matter suddenly formed the first living, single-celled creature which eventually by natural selection and mutations produced all the different kinds of plants and animals and man (the highest animal to-date, according to evolutionists).
This evolutionary story of the origin and history of the cosmos and all it contains is based on two naturalistic (i.e., atheistic) assumptions controlling all of science today in virtually every country:
- Nature is all there is.
- The origin of everything can be explained by three things: time and chance and the laws of nature working on matter.
In other words, there is no God who started or guides the process. Given enough time (billions of years), chance, and the laws of nature, you can explain the origin of stars, galaxies, planets, earth, plants, animals, man, language, even religion, we are told. These are the assumptions of philosophical naturalism, or, the religion of atheism. While modern science is controlled by atheism, not all scientists are atheists (though most leading ones are).40 But most scientists do their scientific work as if atheism is true, and this is especially true in the historical (or origin) sciences of cosmology, geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and archeology.
Theistic evolutionists are three-thirds evolutionists, when they do their science (though in their religious life they believe in God, and some even believe in Jesus Christ for salvation). They accept cosmological evolution, geological evolution, and biological evolution (including human evolution), with God undetectably guiding the whole process in a way that leads most scientists to think it is all the result of blind, purposeless, directionless, physical and chemical processes.
Old-earth creationists of different flavors (gap theory, day-age, framework hypothesis, etc.) are two-thirds evolutionist, for they accept the billions of years of cosmological and geological evolution, but reject biological evolution (including human evolution), believing that God supernaturally created the first representatives of the different kinds of plants and animals and man.
Young-earth creationists are zero-thirds evolutionists, because they believe Genesis teaches the literal truth about the origin and early history of the creation (including the cosmos-impacting Fall; the global, catastrophic, year-long, world-transforming Flood of Noah; and the Tower of Babel event). They do believe that natural selection and mutations are demonstrable scientific facts but that there is no scientific evidence that these processes can change one kind of creature into a different kind, no matter how much time is invoked.41 These natural processes are consistent with the truth of Genesis 1–3 but are actually contrary to the idea of microbe-to-man evolution.
Having spoken on the subject of creation and evolution in schools, universities, seminaries, and churches in 25 countries and having read much Christian literature on the subject, I can confidently say that most Christians, including most Christian theologians and apologists today, are 2/3 or 3/3 evolutionists. But prior to the early 19th century virtually the whole Church was young-earth creationist, as documented elsewhere.42
In the early 1800s, the idea of millions of years took hold of geology and by about 1850 most of the Church accepted the idea and embraced the gap theory or day-age view of Genesis 1 and the local flood view of Genesis 6–8 to try to accommodate the millions of years.43
For example, in an 1855 sermon, at the age of 21, Charles Spurgeon vaguely advocated the gap theory. He did so again with reference to geology in a sermon in 1876.44 Charles Hodge favored the gap theory until about 1860 when he switched over to the day-age view, which he advocated in his Systematic Theology of 1871–73.45
In 1910–1915 The Fundamentals were published. Edited by R.A. Torrey (the second president of Moody Bible Institute), this was a collection of 90 articles written by prominent conservative Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists, and Methodists on both sides of the Atlantic. Six articles dealt with Genesis and science. Two rejected evolution as contrary to Scripture. Two opposed atheistic evolution and human evolution but did not clearly rule out theistic evolution. But three of the six clearly accepted millions of years and none of the six articles took a stand for young-earth creation.46
C.I. Scofield (who also contributed to The Fundamentals) published his widely used Study Bible in 1910. In the marginal note of Genesis 1:2 he simply asserted, “The first creative act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages.”47 That statement remained unchanged until the 1967 edition.
In the famous 1925 Scopes Evolution Trial, the ACLU lawyer, Clarence Darrow, made William Jennings Bryan look like an inconsistent fool for rejecting evolution (which Bryan said is contrary to Scripture), while he accommodated the millions of years (Bryan held to the day-age view). Many other very influential leaders and theologians likewise accepted millions of years, including B.B. Warfield and J. Gresham Machen.
But from my examination of most of their writings related to Genesis 1–11, none of these men carefully exegeted the biblical texts that were relevant to the question of the age of the creation. None of them recognized, much less explained, how millions of years of animal death, disease, and extinction could be reconciled with the Bible’s teaching about the Fall. And none of them showed any evidence of understanding that the idea of millions of years did not come from the rocks and fossils but from anti-biblical assumptions used to interpret the geological evidence, which we need to consider next.
The Origin of Old-Earth Geology
James Hutton (1726–1797) is often called the “Father of Modern Geology.” After studying medicine in university, he took over the family farms where he developed a love of geology. He later laid down the rule for interpreting the rocks: “The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. . . . No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.”48 In other words, only present, natural processes could be used to explain how and when the geological record was formed. But such a principle ruled out a supernatural creation and a supernaturally induced global Flood at the time of Noah before Hutton ever looked at a single rock. But this “rule” became the controlling dogma of geology.
Charles Lyell (1797–1875) built on Hutton’s ideas to develop his uniformitarian Principles of Geology (1830–33), the subtitle of which reads “being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth’s surface, by reference to causes now in operation.” Writing to his old-earth geology friend Roderick Murchison on January 15, 1829, Lyell said that in his Principles he would:
endeavor to establish the principles of reasoning in the science [of geology] . . . which, as you know, are neither more nor less than that no causes whatever have from the earliest time to which we can look back, to the present, ever acted, but those now acting; and that they never acted with different degrees of energy from that which they now exert.49
In other words, modern processes at modern rates will explain the rock record. The geology of the earth is a result of slow, gradual, uniform processes of change. In a letter to fellow uniformitarian geologist, George Poulett Scrope (also a Member of Parliament) on June 14, 1830, Lyell said simply that he wanted to “free the science [of geology] from Moses.”50 In other words, in trying to reconstruct earth history, he wanted to silence God’s eyewitness testimony about Creation Week and the Flood. Like Hutton, Lyell was insisting that geologists use a naturalistic, anti-biblical worldview to interpret the rocks. Three decades later, Darwin told the readers of his Origin of Species,
He who can read Sir Charles Lyell’s grand work on the Principles of Geology, which the future historian will recognize as having produced a revolution in natural science, yet does not admit how incomprehensibly vast have been the past periods of time, may at once close this volume.51
Darwin went further in an 1844 letter, admitting,
I always feel as if my books came half out of Lyell’s brains and that I never acknowledge this sufficiently, nor do I know how I can, without saying so in so many words — for I have always thought that the great merit of the Principles [of Geology], was that it altered the whole tone of one’s mind & therefore that when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes.52
So, for Lyell and Darwin, slow, gradual erosion and sedimentation formed the rock layers over millions of years and slow gradual processes of reproduction and natural selection over the same long ages formed all the living creatures.
Lyell’s uniformitarian dogma ruled geology until the 1970s when some evolutionary geologists began to return to the ideas of catastrophism that Hutton and Lyell had eradicated. One of the leaders in this reorientation in geology was the famous secular British geologist Derek Ager. In his last book on the geological record, The New Catastrophism (1993), Ager described the influence of Lyell this way:
Just as politicians rewrite human history, so geologists rewrite earth history. For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brainwashed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of “catastrophic” events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable.53
If the geologists were brainwashed by Lyell’s uniformitarian, naturalistic principles for over 150 years (and still are very influenced by him), then so was the rest of the world, including evangelical theologians and Bible scholars who have told the Church that we must accept the millions of years and that the age of the creation doesn’t matter.
Ager added, “Perhaps I am becoming a cynic in my old age, but I cannot help thinking that people find things that they expect to find. As Sir Edward Bailey (1953) said, ‘to find a thing you have to believe it to be possible.’ ”54 Ager died in 1993 as an unbeliever (judging from anti-biblical comments in his last book). He had come to believe that major catastrophes were possible and in fact he found abundant evidence that they were responsible for much of the geological record. But he never found the evidence that most of the rock layers and fossils were caused by one year long Flood at the time of Noah that produced complex and alternating conditions of relative calm and catastrophic violence. He did not find that evidence because he did not believe such a Flood was possible, having rejected the eyewitness testimony of the Creator in Genesis 6–8.
The late, atheist Harvard geologist, Stephen J. Gould, further informs us regarding Lyell,
Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession, and his book [Principles of Geology, 1830–1833] is one of the most brilliant briefs ever published by an advocate. . . . Lyell relied upon true bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish. . . . In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophes: rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence.55
But contrary to Gould’s anti-biblical assessment, it was not the old-earth catastrophists of the early 19th century who were the really hard-nosed empiricists. It was the scriptural geologists that I studied in my PhD research who paid close attention to God’s eyewitness testimony in Genesis as well as to the rocks and fossils, and who used His inerrant Word as the key to the correct interpretation of the geological evidence.56
Martin Rudwick is arguably the greatest historian of geology today and gives no evidence of being a Christian, as far as I am aware. But in referring to the 19th century he says,
Traditionally, non-biblical sources, whether natural or historical, had received their true meaning by being fitted into the unitary narrative of the Bible. This relationship now began to be reversed: the biblical narrative, it was now claimed, received its true meaning by being fitted, on the authority of self-styled experts, into a framework of non-biblical knowledge. In this way the cognitive plausibility and religious meaning of the biblical narrative could only be maintained in a form that was constrained increasingly by non-biblical considerations. . . . At least in Europe, if not in America, those geologists who regarded themselves as Christians generally accepted the new biblical criticism and therefore felt the age of the earth to be irrelevant to their religious beliefs.57
So, the rocks do not speak for themselves. They must be interpreted. And what a person’s worldview (or religious/philosophical) assumptions are, will greatly affect what a person sees and how he interprets what he sees.
For the past 200 years, most geologists have used Lyellian anti-biblical naturalistic presuppositions to interpret the rocks. Those same naturalistic assumptions subsequently took control of biology, anthropology, astronomy, and all other disciplines of the academy and those assumptions are the foundation of the radiometric dating methods. Christians who reject biological evolution (including human evolution) but accept the big bang and the geological ages are embracing naturalistic, anti-biblical assumptions without realizing it. Young-earth creationists have been saying this for decades but most old-earth proponents are not reading our literature or are not willing to really engage thoughtfully on this point.58
Instead they have been reading and believing the writings of Davis Young, professor emeritus of geology at Calvin College. Young has greatly influenced the thinking of many Christians (especially seminary and Christian college professors) on this matter of the age of the creation. Regarding the Grand Canyon and geology he says,
If rocks are historical documents, we are driven to the related conclusion that the available evidence is overwhelmingly opposed to the notion that the Noahic flood deposited rocks of the Colorado Plateau only a few thousand years ago. . . . The Christian who believes that the idea of an ancient earth is unbiblical would do better to deny the validity of any kind of historical geology and insist that the rocks must be the product of pure miracle rather than try to explain them in terms of the flood. An examination of the earth apart from ideological presuppositions is bound to lead to the conclusion that it is ancient.59
But there is no such thing as examining the earth “apart from ideological presuppositions.” The old-earth geologists (whether Christian or non- Christian) all reject the Bible’s clear teaching about creation in six days, the cosmos-impacting Fall, and the world-destroying global Flood of Noah. That ideological rejection of the Bible profoundly affects and distorts their interpretation of the rocks and fossils.
One of the many scholars influenced by Davis Young is C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Seminary and editor of the Old Testament notes in the ESV Study Bible. He holds to an old-earth view because of the supposed geological evidence and radiometric dating. He writes,
I conclude, then that I have no reason to disbelieve the standard theories of the geologists, including their estimate for the age of the earth. They may be wrong, for all I know; but if they are wrong, it’s not because they have improperly smuggled philosophical assumptions into their work.60
Nothing could be further from the truth. Philosophical assumptions are precisely what Hutton, Lyell, and other old-earth geologists smuggled into their work. But why does Collins trust the secular geologists, who “could be wrong for all he knows,” but not trust the Word of the One who cannot be and never is wrong?
Another respected theologian who has been influenced by Davis Young is Wayne Grudem. He says in his widely used Systematic Theology (translated into at least eight major languages), “Although our conclusions are tentative, at this point in our understanding, Scripture seems to be more easily understood to suggest (but not to require) a young earth view, while the observable facts of creation seem increasingly to favor an old earth view.”61 But it is not the “observable facts” that point to an old earth; it is the anti-biblical assumptions used to interpret observable evidence that resulted in the idea of millions of years.
In Grudem’s foreword to a 2009 book published in the UK, which effectively refutes theistic evolution (particularly as espoused by Dennis Alexander),62 Grudem helpfully writes,
What is at stake? A lot: the truthfulness of the three foundational chapters for the entire Bible (Genesis 1–3), belief in the unity of the human race, belief in the ontological uniqueness of human beings among all God’s creatures, belief in the special creation of Adam and Eve in the image of God, belief in the parallel between condemnation through representation by Adam and salvation through representation by Christ, belief in the goodness of God’s original creation, belief that suffering and death today are the result of sin and not part of God’s original creation, and belief that natural disasters today are the result of the fall and not part of God’s original creation. Belief in evolution erodes the foundations.
Evolution is secular culture’s grand explanation, the overriding “meta-narrative” that sinners accept with joy because it allows them to explain life without reference to God, with no accountability to any Creator, no moral standards to restrain their sin, “no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18) — and now theistic evolutionists tell us that Christians can just surrender to this massive attack on the Christian faith and safely, inoffensively, tack on God, not as the omnipotent God who in his infinite wisdom directly created all living things, but as the invisible deity who makes absolutely no detectable difference in the nature of living beings as they exist today. It will not take long for unbelievers to dismiss the idea of such a God who makes no difference at all. To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.
I was previously aware that theistic evolution had serious difficulties, but I am now more firmly convinced than ever that it is impossible to believe consistently in both the truthfulness of the Bible and Darwinian evolution. We have to choose one or the other.
But Grudem fails to see that by accepting the claims of evolutionary geologists and astrophysicists about the age of the creation, he is thereby undermining the truthfulness of the equally foundational chapters of Genesis 4–11. He is also undermining the very truth that he says theistic evolution undermines: that suffering, death, and natural disasters today are the result of the Fall and not part of God’s original creation. But this biblical teaching cannot be true if, as he believes, the millions of years of geological and cosmological evolution are fact. Like a great many other evangelical theologians and Bible scholars,63 Grudem has (no doubt unintentionally) undermined the truth of Genesis 1–11 in his chapter on creation in his Systematic Theology.64
Furthermore, in 2016 Grudem (along with Collins, Ken Keathley, and Paul Copan) gave a glowing endorsement of a new book, Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth (GC:MtoAE), written by eight professing Christians and three non-Christians arguing for millions of years and against the truth of Genesis.65 All of the authors are evolutionists trying to influence Christians to believe in evolution!66 Yet in Grudem’s Systematic Theology he rejects theistic evolution and quotes Davis Young approvingly as saying, “The position of theistic evolutionism as expressed by some of its proponents is not a consistently Christian position. It is not a truly biblical position. . . .”67 GC:MtoAE also denies the global Flood of Noah,68 but Grudem told me in personal conversation a couple of years ago at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society that he does believe the Flood was global. Furthermore, the book was funded by donations from secular (and undoubtedly unbelieving) geologists, the Templeton Foundation (through BioLogos), and the theistic evolutionist American Scientific Affiliation.69 Why is Grudem endorsing a book produced by evolutionists (some of whom are not Christians) who deny what he believes about Noah’s Flood? As Answers in Genesis geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling and I will show elsewhere soon (probably on the AiG website), GC:MtoAE contains serious biblical, historical, and geological errors, as well as gross misrepresentations of young-earth creationist views.
Ironically, at the bottom of GC:MtoAE’s page of endorsements, Proverbs 18:17 is quoted: “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.”70
But it is extremely doubtful that Grudem and fellow-endorsers Collins, Keathley, and Copan quoted on that page (none of whom have any geological training) have carefully read young-earth geologist Steve Austin’s Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe (1994) and Andrew Snelling’s 2-volume Earth’s Catastrophic Past (2010). They should do so since GC:MtoAE copiously refers to Austin’s and Snelling’s books. Then these theologians would be in a better position to carefully cross-examine the geological arguments.
It is also ironic (given Proverbs 18:17) that Grudem and Collins endorsed this book given that since 2008 they both have been invited every year to come on the annual, by-invitation-only, heavily scholarshipped, seven-day raft trip down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon for theologians and other Christian leaders co-led by Snelling.71 But they have not come. If they did come, they could see for themselves and learn that the authors of GC:MtoAE are suppressing the truth (Rom. 1:18–20) and willfully ignorant (2 Pet. 3:3–6).72 Having rejected the truth of Genesis regarding the Flood, the authors of GC:MtoAE have ignored or misinterpreted the geological evidence and are leading theologians, apologists, and laymen to reject God’s Word regarding Creation and the Flood.
In 2 Chronicles 19:2, Jehu the prophet confronted King Jehoshaphat and said, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord?” And Paul commands us in 2 Corinthians 6:14–15, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” The professing Christian authors of GC:MtoAE are unequally yoked with the Bible-denying, gospel-hating non-Christian authors, and the book was financed by similar unequally yoked groups in an effort to use naturalism-driven interpretations of rocks and fossils to convince Christians to reject the global Flood and the biblical chronology and promote evolution. The professing Christian authors are helping the wicked to subvert the faith of God’s people. Why are Grudem, Collins, Keathley, and Copan endorsing this unholy fellowship assaulting God’s Word?
Grudem is absolutely right that it is impossible to believe in both the Bible and evolution, including human evolution. But it is equally impossible to believe with exegetical or logical consistency in both the truthfulness of the Bible and millions of years of geological and cosmological evolution. It is disturbingly inconsistent that in 2009 Grudem spoke out so strongly and helpfully against theistic evolution, but in 2016 he endorsed a book, all the authors of which are theistic or non-Christian evolutionists! There seems to be only two explanations for this: either he still rejects theistic evolution but did not carefully read GC:MtoAE or carefully investigate who the authors were, or he has now embraced theistic evolution.
Furthermore, atheists don’t just apply Grudem’s equation to living things. Atheists also confidently tell us that “matter + cosmological and geological evolution + 0 = all non-living things” (stars, galaxies, earth, rock layers, and fossils), just like living creatures, including man. So when oldearth creationists (of whatever variety) deny biological evolution but affirm that “matter + cosmological and geological evolution + God = all non-living things,” it takes no time at all for unbelievers to conclude that therefore God = 0 and to conclude that old-earth creationists are evading the clear teaching of Genesis 1–11, just like theistic evolutionists are. But the unbelievers think that theistic evolutionists are more consistent because they accept all that the naturalistic, atheistic scientific establishment insists is true about origins. On the other hand, the old-earth creationists arbitrarily accept what the naturalistic, atheistic astrophysicists and geologists say about the origin and history of the cosmos and earth but reject what the naturalistic, atheistic biologists and anthropologists say about the origin of plants, animals, and humans.
To realize what is really going on here, we need to consider what Davis Young said in a lecture in 1990 at a Wheaton College symposium on science and Christianity:
The Day-Age hypothesis insisted with at least a semblance of textual plausibility that the days of creation were long periods of indeterminate length, although the immediate context implies that the term, yom, for “day” really means “day.” . . . There were some textual obstacles the Day-Agers developed an amazing agility in surmounting.73
After discussing some examples of the contradiction in the order of events between Genesis 1 and the evolutionary view of history, Young continued,
This obvious point of conflict, however, failed to dissuade well-intentioned Christians, my earlier self included, from nudging the text to mean something different from what it says. In my case, I suggested that the events of the days overlapped. Having publicly repented of that textual mutilation a few years ago, I will move on without further embarrassing myself.74
Having “repented” of that, one might think he is now a young-earth creationist. But no, after examining other techniques for unsuccessfully harmonizing Genesis with old-earth geology, Young confessed,
Genius as all these schemes may be, one is struck by the forced nature of them all. While the exegetical gymnastic maneuvers have displayed remarkable flexibility, I suspect that they have resulted in temporary damage to the theological musculature. Interpretation of Genesis 1 through 11 as factual history does not mesh with the emerging picture of the early history of the universe and of humanity that has been deciphered by scientific investigation. Dickering with the biblical text doesn’t seem to make it fit the scientific data.75
His conclusion now? “The Bible may be expressing history in nonfactual terms.”76
Young’s mutilation of the Bible and illogical conclusion flow out of the naturalistic, uniformitarian assumptions with which he was brainwashed during his geological education. Sadly, over the past 30–40 years Young has been widely cited by evangelical theologians and Old Testament scholars as a significant reason they reject the plain teaching of Genesis regarding Noah’s Flood and the age of the creation.
Besides Collins and Grudem, another recent example of Young’s influence on prominent Bible scholars is a book by Ken Keathley (a theologian) and Mark Rooker (an Old Testament scholar), both at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Quoting Young extensively and following him completely regarding the work of young-earth creationist geologists (such as Snelling), they tell their readers,
The only recourse that flood catastrophists have to save their theory [that Noah’s Flood produced most of the geological record of rock layers and fossils] is to appeal to a pure miracle and thus eliminate entirely the possibility of historical geology. We think that would be a more honest course of action for young-earth advocates to take. Young-earth creationists should cease their efforts to convince the lay Christian public that geology supports a young earth when it does not do so. To continue that effort is misguided and detrimental to the health of the church and the cause of Christ.77
It is deeply disconcerting that Keathley and Rooker’s acceptance of the claims of Davis Young and the secular geological establishment, as well as their cavalier rejection of the work of Bible-believing, inerrantist, youngearth geologists, is not unusual but typical of most professing evangelical seminary professors of theology and Old Testament today. It is also disconcerting that they significantly misrepresent Snelling’s view.78 What makes Keathley’s misrepresentation even more egregious is that in 2008 he was on the 7-day Christian Leaders Trip through Grand Canyon79 with Snelling as one of his teachers. Young-earth geologists do not and will not appeal to “pure miracle,” because that would be contrary to Scripture’s description of the Flood and sound geological inferences from that historical account. And they do not reject historical geology. What they reject is uniformitarian naturalism as the presuppositional framework for doing historical geology, rather than rejecting the Bible’s record of the Flood as old-earth geologists do! Why do so many theologians trust Davis Young, a man who by his own admission has “mutilated” the Scriptures and now holds the ridiculously illogical notion that Genesis 1–11 is “history in nonfactual terms”? I would hope that it is because they were not at the 1990 Wheaton symposium to hear Young’s remarkable “confession” and “repentance” (though a creationist published Young’s lengthy statement in 199280).
The truth is that there is a massive amount of geological evidence for Noah’s Flood and a young earth.81 But old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists do not or will not see it because (1) they are presuppositionally brainwashed (even in the words of evolutionist Derek Ager, quoted earlier), as are most geologists, (2) they have largely ignored the young-earth scientific arguments, and (3) they blindly believe the majority of scientists (most of whom are not Christians and therefore are enemies of God).
The Flood is critical to the question of the age of the earth. Therefore, most old-earth advocates view it either as a local Flood in the Middle East or as a myth. Some believe in a global Flood but have not realized that they cannot logically believe in a global Flood and millions of years. The geological record is evidence of one or the other, but not both, and it is illogical to believe that the global, yearlong, catastrophic Flood left no geological evidence.
The Nature of Old-Universe Cosmology
Not only have the Church and most of her scholars been deceived by the naturalistic, atheistic stories of biological evolution and geological evolution, but the same is true regarding cosmological evolution. A few statements by prominent secular astrophysicists reveal the problem.
The media, schools, and scientists (both Christian and non-Christian) constantly tell us that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly confirms the big-bang theory and the age of the universe at about 13.8 billion years. Many evangelical leaders and scholars feel compelled to accept this as fact and try to harmonize it with Genesis. But as shown in my earlier chapter, the order of events in Genesis contradicts the order of events in the big-bang theory. Furthermore, it is not a proven fact, as even many secular scientists contend.
In 2004, Eric Lerner, a prominent plasma physicist, published a document in New Scientist and on the web called “Bucking the Big Bang.” Initially signed by 34 scientists from prominent science institutes or universities in ten countries, by 2009 it had been signed by over 400 scientists (an additional 218 “scientists and engineers” and 187 “independent researchers”) from over 50 countries. The article began,
The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed — inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.82
Reporting on a 2005 conference entitled “The First Crisis in Cosmology Conference,” South African astrophysicist Hilton Ratcliffe concluded,
That the Big Bang theory will pass into history as an artifact of man’s obsession with dogma is a certainty; it will do so on its own merits, however, because it stands on feet of clay. . . . Papers presented at the conference by some of the world’s leading scientists showed beyond doubt that the weight of scientific evidence clearly indicates that the dominant theory on the origin and destiny of the Universe is deeply flawed. The implications of this damning consensus are serious indeed, and will in time fundamentally affect not only the direction of many scientific disciplines, but also threaten to change the very way that we do science.83
Two years later in a paper on Cold Dark Matter, Richard Lieu, Professor of Physics at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, stated,
Astronomy can never be a hard core physics discipline, because the Universe offers no control experiment, i.e., with no independent checks it is bound to be highly ambiguous and degenerate. . . . Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory, and researchers are quite comfortable with inventing unknowns to explain the unknown.84
Kate Land, an astrophysicist at Oxford University, reminds, “The main problem with cosmology is our sample size — that of just one universe.”85 And James Gunn, professor of astronomy at Princeton University and co-founder of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, observes, “Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t science. A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology.”86
In 2011 the cover of Scientific American announced, “Quantum Gaps in Big Bang Theory: Why our best explanation of how the universe evolved must be fixed — or replaced.” The cover article, entitled “The Inflation Debate: Is the theory at the heart of modern cosmology deeply flawed?” was by Paul J. Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor in Science & Director of the Princeton University Center for Theoretical Science. He discussed why he is convinced that the big-bang inflation theory is deeply flawed and he has proposed the “cyclic theory,” which is even more ridiculous and unscientific: a series of expansions and contractions of multiple universes over trillions of years.87
But in the widely seen 2014 documentary television series, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” which has now been developed into a curriculum to brainwash public school children to believe in cosmological, geological, and biological evolution,88 the well-known atheist astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, says,
Our ancestors worshipped the sun. They were far from foolish. It makes good sense to revere the sun and stars because we are their children. The silicon in the rocks, the oxygen in the air, the carbon in our DNA, the iron in our skyscrapers, the silver in our jewelry — were all made in stars billions of years ago. Our planet, our society, and we ourselves are stardust.89
So, with respect to cosmological-geological-biological evolution, we are dealing with a form of paganism that is every bit as absurd and idolatrous as the Greek and Roman pagan myths of the first century. It is an absolute delusion to believe that the atheist-controlled scientific majority is telling us the truth about origins. Therefore, evangelical theologians and Bible scholars who are developing creative ways to reinterpret Genesis in light of the myth of evolution are making a serious error and leading the Church astray.
The Assault on the Perspicuity and Authority of Scripture
We have a crisis in the evangelical world today, a crisis of authority. Scientists (and the scholars of ANE literature who follow the scientific majority) have usurped the authority of Scripture. Many Christian leaders and scholars are claiming to defend the Bible while at the same time undermining both its clarity and its authority.
Many old-earth creationists have protested, “The issue is NOT the authority of Scripture! The issue is the interpretation of Scripture.” But I must firmly disagree. The only reason people are coming up with all these diverse reinterpretations of Genesis that were never heard of in the Church before the 19th century90 is precisely because those interpreters have made what the scientific majority says about the origin and history of the creation their final authority in their interpretation of the biblical text. Rather than interpreting Scripture by Scripture (which is the biblically derived and historically orthodox hermeneutic and would never lead a reader to belief in evolution and millions of years) old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists are interpreting Scripture, not by “science,” but by what the secular, anti-biblical, scientific authorities claim is true. Most leaders in the “Intelligent Design” camp associated with the Discovery Institute never even attempt to deal with Genesis 1–11. Many other old-earthers give only superficial attention to the text. Neither approach is consistent with belief in the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture.
The perspicuity of Scripture is also at stake. The Bible clearly teaches that abortion is murder, that sex outside of marriage is sin, that there are only two genders (male and female, which are determined at conception), and that marriage is one man to one woman for life. The Bible just as clearly teaches that all people are sinners and can only be saved from the wrath to come by repentance and faith in the substitutionary death and bodily Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It just as clearly teaches that Jesus is coming again to judge the world and create a new heaven and new earth, free from the corrupting Curse, where there will be no more death, disease, and other natural evils.
But the Bible equally clearly teaches that Adam was made from dust, that Eve was made from his rib, and that they fell in sin (through the temptation of a Satan-controlled serpent) bringing God’s Curse on the whole creation. And it equally clearly teaches that God created a very good universe in six 24-hour days a little over 6,000 years ago and that He destroyed the world with a global, catastrophic, yearlong Flood at the time of Noah. The Bible clearly, truthfully, and authoritatively teaches all those truths.
In the words of Davis Young, only with “textual mutilation” and “exegetical gymnastics” can we evade these clear teachings of Scripture. There is simply no exegetically defensible way to get a local flood in the Mesopotamian Valley out of Genesis 6–9, or to fit millions of years into Genesis 1, or to harmonize human evolution with Genesis 2:7 and 2:22.
The inerrancy, perspicuity, and authority of Scripture are all under assault by the theory of cosmological, geological, biological, and anthropological evolution. This 200-year attack is driven by an atheistic, naturalistic worldview that is antithetical to everything the Bible teaches. And all old-earth creationist and theistic evolutionist views are compromising to a greater or lesser extent with that anti-biblical worldview. That is why young-earth creationists can agree with many old-earth creationists’ criticisms of biological evolution but must oppose their old-earth teachings in the Church. Old-earth proponents and those who are unsure about the age of the creation but insist it is not an important issue even as they oppose the evolutionary conclusions from naturalism’s control of biology are leading Christians to embrace the evolutionary claims flowing out of naturalism’s control of geology and astronomy.
We cannot with consistency believe the gospel and yet not believe the Genesis 1–11 foundation of the gospel that explains why we need the Savior — that the first Adam sinned resulting in death and a Curse on the whole creation. The gospel collapses into myth, if Adam and Eve are not historical or if millions of years of history truly occurred before Adam. It all stands or falls together.
Furthermore, we cannot with any hermeneutical consistency reject a literal Adam and Fall because science says Genesis is myth, but at the same time accept the virgin birth and Resurrection of Jesus. The Genesis and Gospel accounts are equally historical accounts of miraculous events. Yet the same scientific majority that denies all of Genesis 1–11 also insists that science shows that virgins don’t and can’t have babies, and dead men don’t and can’t rise from the dead. All those biblical accounts stand or fall together.
There is no need to bow the knee to the scientific majority on the origin of man or any other truth in Genesis 1–11. The scientific evidence does not support microbe-to-microbiologist biological evolution (either the Neo-Darwinian gradualistic version or the “punctuated equilibrium” version of rapid evolution). Rather the scientific evidence powerfully confirms what Genesis 1 says, namely, that God created mankind and different kinds of plants and animals to reproduce “after their kind.” That is, each kind was created to produce great variation within its kind but not to change into a different kind.91
Likewise, there is increasingly powerful geological evidence that most of the rock layers and fossils are the result of Noah’s Flood, and not evidence of hundreds of millions of years of earth history.92 Furthermore, there is no need to bow the knee to claims that the big bang and 13.8 billion years are proven scientific fact.93 Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe and many others are misleading the Church, including many theologians, pastors, and apologists, in their use of big-bang cosmology to defend the faith.94
Given the naturalistic, evolutionary assault on the authority of Scripture, it was very disappointing but not surprising95 that in D.A. Carson’s new book, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016), the chapter on “Science and Scripture” was written by a theistic evolutionist professor of ethics, philosophy, and Church history at one of the leading evangelical theological colleges in the UK. Despite the chapter title, she doesn’t discuss a single Bible verse! Turpin reveals other serious problems with her argument.96
In his 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll accused young-earth creationists of using “a fatally flawed interpretive scheme of the sort that no responsible Christian teacher in the history of the church ever endorsed before this century.”97 Noll could not be further from the truth, historically and exegetically. The truly sad reality today is the scandal of evangelical scholarly minds, who like Noll’s, refuse to believe Genesis, ignore scholarly young-earth creationist literature, gullibly believe what the secular (godless) scientific majority says about evolution and millions of years, and then use that evolutionary story as their supreme authority for interpreting God’s Word.
So, we are reverting to conditions as they existed before the Protestant Reformation. Like the Roman Catholic Church, the evangelical world now has a Magisterium, made up of scientists and Old Testament scholars who are experts in ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature. As Giberson (former VP of BioLogos) put it,
One of my theologian friends once said, in great frustration over this issue, “I wish they had never put the Bible in the hands of ordinary people.” It seems to me that we need to take more seriously the teaching ministry of the church. We encourage people to read the Bible on their own, but certain misunderstandings are bound to emerge with that approach. Young people are going to read Genesis and think of Adam and Eve as real biological parents of the human race.98
John Walton says,
The worldview of antiquity was lost to us as thinking changed over thousands of years, and the language and literature of the ancient world was buried in the sands of the Middle East. It was only with the decipherment of the ancient languages and the recovery of their texts that windows were again opened to an understanding of an ancient worldview that was the backdrop of the biblical world. This literature and the resulting knowledge has made it possible to recover the ways of thinking that were prominent in the ancient world and has given us new insight into some difficult biblical texts.99
Here it is clearly stated. The man in the pew or in the jungle cannot possibly understand the Bible’s meaning (at least in Genesis 1–11) and will misinterpret it if he tries. We better not even let them, especially children, read the Bible on their own. The “evangelical” magisterium will interpret Genesis for all other Christians, the vast majority of whom know next to nothing about science or ANE literature. Regardless of the sincerity, intentions, and motivations (which only God knows and can judge) of these scientists and ANE experts, their teachings are an assault on the authority and perspicuity of Scripture and are robbing the Scriptures from the people in the pew and the pastors in the pulpit.
In 1838, a discerning pastor in England expressed his grave concern about the old-earth geological theories being developed at the time. Referring to an ordained professor at Oxford University, who was compromised with old-earth geology, this pastor wrote,
This affords another illustration of men who pull down the bulwark, but disclaim any intention of endangering the citadel. The Trojan Horse, drawn within the walls of the devoted city by friendly hands, is a standing emblem of men acting under the unsuspecting guidance of the Evil One.100
Can genuine, committed believers in Christ act under the unsuspecting guidance of Satan? Absolutely. Peter did, just after perfectly passing his most important theology exam (Matt. 16:23). Can men, who have been mightily used by God to build His Church and even do miracles, unknowingly and unintentionally undermine the very gospel they love and preach? Absolutely! Peter did, because he caved in to the fear of man (Gal. 2:11–14). These things can happen to any Christian (including the authors of this book), if he does not pay careful attention to and submit to the supreme authority of Scripture. And this is what has happened with many great Christian leaders and scholars over the last 200 years who have compromised with evolution and/or millions of years.
We are in a great spiritual war. We can all be taken captive by speculations and philosophies and traditions of men, which are falsely called “knowledge” (2 Cor. 10:3–4, 11:3; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20–21). All of us (including this book’s authors) can be deceived. The person who thinks he cannot be deceived is deceived already. We need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, which means to take every thought captive to the Word of God.
In 1 Corinthians 5:6, Paul said, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” I submit to you that the idea of millions of years was the leaven. For the first 1,800 years of Church history the almost universal belief of faithful Christians was a literal six-day creation about 6,000 years ago and a global Noachian Flood. Since the early 1800s we have witnessed the disastrous slippery slide in the Church away from biblical truth into error.
|The Church’s Slippery Slide into Error|
|Pre-1800||Young-earth creation, global flood|
|1810s||Old-earth creation, global, geologically limited flood, man 6,000 years old|
|1830s||Old-earth creation, local flood, man 6000 years old|
|1860s||Old-earth, animals evolved, man created but older than 6,000 years|
|1870s||Old-earth, animals and Adam’s body evolved but Adam literal|
|Early 1900s||Big bang, theistic evolution, Adam is a myth|
Many godly men went only part way down this slippery path and remained otherwise very orthodox the rest of their lives. But often their disciples slid further. Each step was undermining the authority and clarity of Scripture, in spite of good intentions to the contrary. Using the biblical metaphor of leaven, godly men unknowingly introduced leaven into the Church and their disciples often added more leaven. Or using a metaphor popularized by Ken Ham, these well-meaning, sincere Christian leaders and scholars unintentionally pushed the door of unbelief open just a crack, and subsequent generations pushed it open more, leading many to a denial of Adam and even a denial of the gospel. The crack in the dam in the early 19th century regarding the age of the earth, which undermined the authority of Scripture, has led to a flood of unbelief and wickedness in the 21st century.
Scripture is right: a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Small error that does not seem to hurt anything grows into big error that becomes a massive assault on the gospel. Charles Hodge at Princeton rejected evolution but embraced the millions of years. Over the next half century, with more openness to evolution (guided by God’s providence of course) by A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield, eventually (shortly after the latter’s death in 1929) Princeton totally embraced evolution and theological liberalism. This later led to one of its most promising and gifted students to abandon the faith completely for atheism. I refer to Charles Templeton.
Templeton was considered by some to be a more gifted evangelist than Billy Graham. But he struggled with how to reconcile evolution and millions of years with his faith. So he went to Princeton Seminary in 1948 to get answers. Instead he was taught that Genesis 1–11 is mythology. Soon after seminary he left the ministry, became an agnostic, went into journalism, and in 2001 died as an atheist. At the end of his last book, Farewell to God, he wrote, “I believe that there is no supreme being with human attributes — no God in the biblical sense — but that life is the result of timeless evolutionary forces, having reached its present transient state over millions of years.”101
Templeton is one of tens of millions who have departed from the Christian faith or refused to listen to the gospel because they have been led to believe that cosmological-geological-biological evolution is proven scientific fact and the Bible is based on mythology. And with that has come the descent into moral insanity and spiritual darkness that we are witnessing in the formerly Christian West.
From the earliest ages, children (including 85% of Christian children) in the public schools of America (and most other countries of the world) are indoctrinated in evolution and millions of years and given no opportunity to hear scientific evidence that refutes the evolutionary stories.102 And the evolutionists will get the ACLU to threaten a lawsuit against any school or teacher that tries to expose children to such evidence.
If the scientific evidence truly overwhelmingly proved the evolutionists’ claims, then they would welcome questions and objections as opportunities to calmly and respectfully present more scientific evidence. Instead, they suppress and censor any contrary evidence, employ ad hominem attacks against their opponents,103 and use political and legal intimidation, or they deny degrees and tenure and fire professors to silence critics.104 This alone is evidence that cosmological-geological-biological evolution is a myth masquerading as proven science and deceiving the world into thinking that there is no God to whom they are morally accountable, and that the gospel is not true.
But let me be clear. Belief in a literal Adam and literal historical Fall is not a salvation issue. It is a gospel-consistency or gospel-coherency issue. A person can be saved, even if he doesn’t believe in a literal Adam and a literal Fall, as long as he has repented of his sins and trusted solely in the substitutionary death and bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in so doing he is denying a part of the Word of God that explains why he (and everyone else) needs a Savior. And by his unbelief regarding Genesis 2–3, he is contributing to the spiritual corruption of the Church and hindering the acceptance of the gospel by lost sinners.
Likewise, belief in a literal six-day creation about 6,000 years ago and a global, catastrophic, world-rearranging Flood at the time of Noah is not a salvation issue. A theistic evolutionist or old-earth creationist can be saved, as long as he has repented and trusted in Jesus Christ. But to accept the millions of years involves a conscious or unconscious denial that the Curse in Genesis 3 affected the whole creation, bringing both natural evil (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, animal extinction) and moral evil (e.g., crime, wars, divorce, sexual perversions) into the world. It requires contradicting his Lord, who taught that Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6), not billions of years after the beginning. And his inconsistent belief undermines the perspicuity, reliability, and authority of the Word of God that reveals the gospel that he believes.
America is on a path to national suicide and moral insanity. All of this is a result of the Church’s and the culture’s rejection of the truth and authority of the Word of God. At the foundation of that is the rejection of the truth of Genesis 1–11. Christians, especially evangelical leaders and scholars, need to wake up to where the battle really is.
Wake up, old-earth creationist and theistic evolutionist theologians, scientists, apologists, and philosophers! Wake up to the massive 200-year assault on Genesis and repent of your unbelief and your twisting of the Word of God! Stop believing the godless scientific majority whose origin myths destroy the foundations of the gospel. Instead, believe Genesis, which is part of what you claim to believe is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Stop ignoring in-depth exegetical arguments and scientific arguments produced by fellow inerrantist Christian brethren that refute the geological and astronomical “evidence” for millions of years (see resources at the end of this book).
Pastors, lay people, and students who have accepted millions of years or even evolution, stop following fallible Christian leaders and scholars and instead believe God’s holy Word!
Theologians and scientists and pastors who are young-earth creationists, but who don’t think the age of the creation is very important, stop ignoring the elephant in the living room and contend for the truth on this issue.
Henry Cole was an Anglican minister in the first half of the 19th century who critiqued the old-earth views of Adam Sedgwick, ordained Anglican clergyman and very influential professor of geology at Cambridge University. Cole’s concerns about the long-term cultural, moral and spiritual impact of the geological theory of millions of years were truly prophetic. In 1834 he warned,
Many reverend Geologists, however, would evince their reverence for the divine Revelation by making a distinction between its historical and its moral portions; and maintaining, that the latter only is inspired and absolute Truth; but that the former is not so; and therefore is open to any latitude of philosophic and scientific interpretation, modification or denial! According to these impious and infidel modifiers and separators, there is not one third of the Word of God that is inspired; for not more, nor perhaps so much, of that Word, is occupied in abstract moral revelation, instruction, and precept. The other two thirds, therefore, are open to any scientific modification and interpretation; or, (if scientifically required,) to a total denial! It may however be safely asserted, that whoever professedly, before men, disbelieves the inspiration of any part of Revelation, disbelieves, in the sight of God, its inspiration altogether. If such principles were permitted of the most High to proceed to their ultimate drifts and tendencies, how long would they be sweeping all faith in revealed and inspired Veracity from off the face of the earth? . . . What the consequences of such things must be to a revelation-possessing land, time will rapidly and awfully unfold in its opening pages of national skepticism, infidelity, and apostacy [sic], and of God’s righteous vengeance on the same!105
In 1985, Michael Denton, an MD and PhD microbiologist from Australia, published Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, in which he presents 358 pages of scientific criticisms of evolution. Writing as an agnostic, he concluded, “Today it is perhaps the Darwinian view of nature more than any other that is responsible for the agnostic and skeptical outlook of the twentieth century.”106 But the problem didn’t start with Darwin.
It started with the idea of millions of years and the Church’s rejection of the Creation and Flood accounts and the biblical chronology. Ernst Mayr, late atheist evolutionary zoologist at Harvard University, was partially correct when he said, “The [Darwinian] revolution began when it became obvious that the earth was very ancient rather than having been created only 6,000 years ago. This finding was the snowball that started the whole avalanche.”107 But it wasn’t a scientific “finding,” and it didn’t become obvious because of the geological evidence. Rather the idea of millions of years was the anti-biblical, philosophical, and theological assumption needed to overthrow the influence of the Bible in Western society. The moral and spiritual avalanche we are witnessing today did not begin with biological evolution but with geological evolution.
Psalm 40:4 says, “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” For the last 200 years, most Christians, including most evangelical scholars, have turned to the proud secular (and mostly anti-Christian) scientists who have repeatedly lapsed into falsehood (either unintentionally because they don’t know everything or deliberately as they suppress the truth in unrighteousness). We need to trust the Lord and His clear Word, especially Genesis 1–11.
Proverbs 29:25 assures us, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” There is an incredible amount of fear (reverence) of man in the Church today. We are all influenced by peer pressure and what people think of us. But our fear of God must be greater than our fear of man. Then we will have the courage to say,
I don’t really care what the world says about me: ignorant, stupid, unscientific, fundamentalist, etc. I care more what God says about me and about this world. On Judgment Day I don’t want to hang my head in shame for not believing Genesis 1–11, especially because there are such powerful, theological, moral, philosophical, and scientific evidences that it is indeed true. I want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Fearing the Lord and walking humbly with Him means trembling at His Word. God said through Isaiah,
Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
For the last 200 years, most of the Church, including most of her leaders and theologians, have in effect trembled at the words of godless scientists and misguided theologians rather than trembling at (i.e., supremely reverencing and trusting) the Word of God.
God was there at the beginning and has been the Eyewitness to all of history. He knows everything; He always tells the truth; He never makes mistakes; and He moved men to write Scripture without error. But scientists were not there at the beginning; they were not eyewitnesses of the supposed millions of years of history; they do not know everything (compared to God, they know next to nothing); they often do not tell the truth (often by mistake and sometimes deliberately108); and most of them are in rebellion against their Creator, trying to explain the world without God so they do not have to feel morally accountable to Him.
Our final authority must be the Word of God. But we don’t have to stick our heads in the sand. Solid scientific evidence confirms what God so plainly tells us in Genesis 1–11 about Adam but also about the Fall, the Flood, the “very good” original creation, and the age of the universe. Christian student, Christian layman, Christian theologian, Christian scientist, who are you really trusting? God or man?