Over the years, I have noticed that more and more churches and Christian colleges are compromising on Genesis with evolution/millions of years. Recently, I blogged about an article in Christianity Today where the author discussed Dr. Darrel Falk’s life and how he attempts to reconcile evolutionary ideas with the Bible. Dr. Falk is a professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in California—a Christian college.
In my previous blog post, I discussed the impact of evolutionary ideas on Dr. Falk’s beliefs and how he now influences students toward evolutionary thinking in his role as a professor in a Christian college. Well, now I want to look at how Dr. Falk is attempting to influence the church.
Dr. Falk became the president of BioLogos in December of 2009. BioLogos is known for promoting “evolutionary creation,” which as I said before is really just another name for theistic evolution. BioLogos has tried to convince the church that evolution/millions of years can and should be mixed with Scripture. In the Christianity Today article, Dr. Falk gives readers his perspective on finding truth in Scripture:
We must be patient with each other and allow each other to follow truth as we see it in Scripture. . . . We must recognize that we will never reach the point where we all see Scripture the same way. When there is division in the church, it will be difficult for the thirsty to find their way to Jesus.Now, there are some things in the Bible that Christians legitimately disagree on, but Genesis should not be one of them. The creation account is not ambiguous or hard to understand. It is perfectly clear that God created the universe by speaking and that He did it all in six literal days. That doesn’t mean that we should not be gracious toward one another, but we have to expose error when we see it.
What Dr. Falk and BioLogos are arguing is that Scripture is not trustworthy enough to communicate our origins accurately—at least not without the addition of evolution/millions of years—and that any claim to a single interpretation of Genesis will negatively impact those trying “to find their way to Jesus.” And yet I’ve received countless testimonies over the years from people who doubted they could trust the Bible because of what they’d been taught about evolution/millions of years, but have come to faith in Christ after hearing our speakers explain how Genesis is a literal account of creation and having their faith in the trustworthiness of God’s Word restored.
Of course, believing in six literal days of creation and a young earth are not essential for salvation. But it is an authority issue! In other words, can we trust the authority of God’s Word, and can man’s fallible word be used in authority over the Word of God! Professors like Dr. Falk may preach the gospel, but sadly, they are undermining the authority of the Word of God and this is having a devastating effect on the current and former generations they influence.
Over the last few months, BioLogos has featured essays from outside writers that call into question some of BioLogos’s views:
Falk has held to his plea for Christians to love and respect each other while advocating different points of view. In bearing this out, BioLogos recently invited a number of Southern Baptist biblical scholars to publish essays critical of the BioLogos perspective on the BioLogos website, in order to foster mutual understanding.But I’m not so sure that the positions the contributors hold are all that different from BioLogos’s beliefs, because not one of the contributors has come out in strong support of a young earth or a literal reading of the creation account in Genesis. In fact, Kenneth Keathley, professor of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and William Dembski, professor in culture and science at Southern Evangelical Seminary, both hold to an old-earth. Not only does Dembski believe in millions of years, and death and suffering before the Fall, he proposes a theodicy to show how those who believe in millions of years—and death and suffering happening before sin—could fit that with the Bible’s teaching that death came after sin. In that theodicy, he suggests that the first people could have had a sort of amnesia about their alleged ancestry from ape-like creatures: “Moreover, once God breathes the breath of life into them, we may assume that the first humans experienced an amnesia of their former animal life” (The End of Christianity, p. 155).
So far, the scholars who have contributed essays are Kenneth Keathley, William Dembski, James Dew, John Hammet, and Bruce Little. In regard to this series, Kenneth Keahtley said, “They [BioLogos] need to hear from us on the nature of Scripture, the nature of the fall and of salvation. And we need to hear from them on the nature of modern science,” (Travis Loller, “Scientists, seminarians debate evolution online,” Kansas City Star, www.kansascity.com/2012/07/18/3711292/evangelical-scientists-debate.html).
Another one of the contributors, John Hammet, professor of Systematic Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in his essay (biologos.org/blog/evolutionary-creationism-and-the-imago-dei), “In the area of science, to call me a novice would be a kindness, so to question their [BioLogos’s] evaluation of the scientific evidence for the evolutionary process would be inappropriate for me.” Hammet’s statement is problematic because it assumes that only a scientist can make a judgment about evolution, even though God’s Word in Genesis is a true record of origins, and any Christian can use what it clearly teaches to judge man’s evolutionary beliefs.
James Dew, assistant professor of the history of ideas and philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote, “While we admit that there is some evidence that points in this direction [toward evolution], we are not convinced that evolution is the best explanation of all the evidence that needs to be considered.” That’s not very convincing support at all for a young earth or a literal Genesis.
What’s really happening here is that BioLogos is willing to tolerate any view except a dogmatic literal 6-day young earth creation view. Dr. Falk said of the Southern Baptist Voices series, “I don’t think our differences are anywhere near as great as people might have thought.” (www.kansascity.com/2012/07/18/3711292/evangelical-scientists-debate.html) And in the case of a number of the contributors, their differences aren’t that great—because they, like the people at BioLogos, have compromised on Genesis—or at least leave the door open to differing views to allow for evolution and/or millions of years.
Despite attempts to minimize the differences between biblical creationists and old-earth creationists or theistic evolutionists, the theological problems created by such attempts to harmonize the Bible with billions of years are indeed significant. The order of events in Genesis 1 often have to be rearranged to accommodate such views, and those who wish to mesh evolution with the Bible must accept that there was death, suffering, diseases like cancer, and even thorns before the Fall—but all those things are a result of sin! The Scripture is explicit that thorns came after the Curse. How could God call cancer “very good”?
Dr. Falk and the other members at BioLogos have continued to try to reconcile these differences, with programs designed to help pastors teach their congregations about evolution/millions of years and courses for any Christian who wants to mesh these ideas with Scripture.
While we should be gracious toward one another in these matters, we cannot sacrifice truth in the name of unity. As Christians, we must teach authoritatively what Genesis says—that God created in six literal days—and that Scripture can be trusted to teach us the truth about our origins.
We must “contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3) and actively oppose those who propose views that directly undermine the authority of the Word of God and place man’s fallible ideas in authority over God’s infallible Word.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
(I wish to acknowledge the research assistance of Steve Golden in the writing of this blog item.)