As we start the new year and consider what the ministry of AiG can do (as God blesses) to reclaim biblical authority in America (and other nations), I think of the biblical compromise that still runs rampant in the church. Here is another example:
BioLogos (an organization set up to try to get the church to adopt evolution and millions of years) recently published what I would argue is one of their most disturbing articles yet. Thomas Burnett, the BioLogos Associate Editor, wrote an article titled, “Surveying George Murphy’s Theology of the Cross.” George Murphy is a theistic evolutionist, a former science professor, and a retired minister. He wrote a book titled The Cosmos in the Light of the Cross, from which Burnett draws some of his claims.
Now, Burnett is very quick to dismiss biblical creationists along with atheists, writing, “The trouble with both of these views is that they tend to invoke a completely abstract, philosophical god, not the living God of the Bible.” Wow! So if I take God at His word in Genesis chapters 1–11, that means I’m not looking to the God of the Bible? That clearly doesn’t make sense—but it fits with Burnett’s compromised view of Genesis.
Burnett’s thesis is that God works in unexpected ways—so why couldn’t God have used evolution? And while that is a tired argument, his analogy is really rather shocking. Burnett writes, “If God Himself is willing to die, particularly in such a gruesome way, then perhaps we should at least consider the possibility of God allowing the death of other creatures, too.”
You see, aside from a brief mention at the beginning of the article, Burnett seems to ignore the reality of sin. And yet, Genesis 3 tells us that it was because of Adam’s sin that death, disease, and suffering entered the world. What’s more, sin is why Christ came to die. Where is sin in Burnett’s worldview? He certainly doesn’t place the weight on it that Scripture does when it comes to the origin of death.
What Burnett has done here is drawn a false analogy to make his claim. The death of Christ is unrelated to the supposed millions of years of animal death and suffering that evolutionists propose. He didn’t die on the Cross to fix His own mistake (creating a world full of death and suffering). Such a thing would be absurd because God cannot make mistakes. No, Christ died to correct the problems we brought into this world at the Fall.
While “the whole creation groans” because of Adam’s sin (Romans 8:22), it’s not logical to equate the death of Christ, which rescues those who believe from the eternal consequences of their sin, with an evolutionary viewpoint that implies God called death, disease, and suffering “very good.” It is completely inconsistent to believe in theistic evolution and the Cross of Christ (though, of course, we at AiG affirm that a belief in a young earth is not necessary for salvation—but it is an important authority issue). Since Christ came to die for our sins, and man’s sin is the origin of death, you cannot use the Cross as an analogy for evolution where animals die and have diseases and eat each other before Adam’s sin. This comparison is not only illogical—it is shocking.
In his final attempt to make a case for evolution and millions of years, Burnett claims, “In all honesty, creation through evolution is not what we would expect from God, but Scripture is full of examples in which God acts in unexpected ways. After all, God’s choosing to undergo an agonizing death on a cross is not what we would expect from the all-powerful Creator of the universe, either. In both cases, new life comes about through pain, suffering, and death” (emphasis mine).
Burnett’s claim minimizes a crucial attribute of the Creator—His justice. While we may not have anticipated Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection as God’s solution to man’s sin problem, it is absolutely “rational,” even though Burnett says otherwise. Since man sinned against the infinitely holy God, man’s action was infinitely evil, and the punishment must fit the crime—eternal separation from God. The Bible consistently shows that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4); only the blood of a blameless man, who is the infinite God, could remove sin once and for all. This plan of God flawlessly fulfilled the requirements of His perfect justice.
You see, Burnett’s entire argument is based on the idea that God uses suffering to bring new life. But Burnett completely ignores Genesis chapters 1–3 in his article. He doesn’t deal with the Fall or with how death and suffering entered the world. He assumes that they’ve always been here, that nature has always been “red in tooth and claw.” He doesn’t deal with the Fall because he believes in evolution and rejects the Genesis history as true.
Really, to use Christ’s death on the Cross as justification for evolution is a perversion of the real message of the gospel. Romans 5:12–21 makes it clear—Adam’s sin brought death, suffering, and the Curse into the world, including animal suffering (Romans 8:22; Genesis 3). As descendants of Adam, all mankind has been in rebellion against the Creator—we’ve all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And that’s why Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day to provide the free gift of eternal life for all who believe on His name. This is the real message of the Cross, and it goes completely against the evolutionary concept of millions of years of death and suffering before Adam’s sin.
We cannot pick and choose which parts of Scripture to include or ignore, as Burnett seems to have done in this BioLogos article. Genesis 1–3 explains clearly how death, suffering, and disease came about—and evolution is not a part of that picture. These things make sense when taken in light of all of God’s Word—because we can trust the Bible, from the very first verse.
And here is something that is very sad. So many Christian academics applaud BioLogos and then teach such compromise to their students in Christian colleges and seminaries. Be so very careful where you send your kids to college. I urge you to look at the Christian colleges listed at www.creationcolleges.com.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Note: I thank Steve Golden for his assistance in composing this blog.