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An old-earth proponent wonders if progressive creationism is better than theistic evolution. But as Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., shows, any view that undermines biblical authority is equally corrosive.
I listened to part of the debate on the John Ankerberg show between Ken Ham and Jason Lisle, and Hugh Ross and Walter Kaiser.
I found it rather astonishing that Dr. Lisle claimed that “the God of the Big Bang is not the God of the Bible”, and deduced that it was not good that in 1992, scientists were leaving atheism to join “The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.”
Now, if I were a young-earther, I would regard theistic evolution as a greater evil than old-earth creationism; theistic evolution claims that God only twitched the chromosomes here and there, now and then, leaving most of the origin of species to nature. The RTB model, on the other hand, says that God miraculously created fully formed species, leaving nothing to macro-evolution.
If the Reasons to Believe model is totally against Christianity, and theistic evolution is even worse, then C. S. Lewis could not have been a Christian, because he believed in theistic evolution.
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis.
We have repeatedly stated in books, on this website, and in videos that holding to the young-earth view is not a requirement for the free gift of salvation offered to us through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross. We certainly believe that a person can be a Christian and hold to the Reasons to Believe model (progressive creationism), the framework hypothesis, theistic evolution, or any other harmonistic view out there. However, our concern is that a person who does this is being completely arbitrary in their hermeneutic (method of interpretation).
Proponents of these views interpret Genesis 1–11 in a way other than the plain reading of the text (which is how one should interpret historical narrative) because “science” has allegedly disproved the literal interpretation. However, most of these same people do not reinterpret the plain meaning of the words in other historical narrative passages like the resurrection accounts (thankfully, most do interpret these properly). After all, science has allegedly shown that dead people stay dead; therefore, resurrections from the dead are impossible.
There are many people that tell us that the big bang “proves” the God of the Bible, but this cannot be because the big bang account and the Bible are in conflict at numerous points.Dr. Lisle’s statement does not mean that Dr. Ross or Dr. Kaiser are unbelievers, but demonstrates that the big bang is entirely inconsistent with the words of Scripture. There are many people that tell us that the big bang “proves” the God of the Bible, but this cannot be because the big bang account and the Bible are in conflict at numerous points. Here is an article by Dr. Terry Mortenson illustrating many of these differences: Evolution vs. Creation: The Order of Events Matters!
Dr. Lisle and I also included an appendix in our book, Old-Earth Creationism on Trial: The Verdict Is In, which shows why the “god” of the big bang is not the God of the Bible. The core issue, however, is that any approach which elevates naturalistic explanations does so at the expense of biblical authority. We must judge ideas and philosophies by the teaching of the Bible and not the other way around.
It would be difficult to determine which view would be worse from a young-earth creationist’s perspective. On one hand, it is true that progressive creationism takes the text more seriously than the full-fledged theistic evolutionist, who basically ignores the text (Adam made from the ground, Eve from his rib, etc.). On the other hand, smaller errors are more likely to mislead more people than larger, obvious errors. Both views are dangerous because they essentially cause people to question the clear teaching of the Bible, introduce death before sin, and undermine the authority of Scripture (even if it is unintentional and done with good intentions). To sum it up, any belief that undermines biblical authority should be rejected.
Regarding C.S. Lewis, although he did hold to theistic evolution as a Christian—which, again, does not negate his saving knowledge of Christ—a letter he wrote in 1951 shows his increasing doubts later in life:
I wish I were younger. What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding it [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders. (From a private letter to Captain Bernard Acworth, one of the founders of the Evolution Protest Movement (England); cited by evolutionist Ronald Numbers in his book, The Creationists (California: University of California Press, 1992), p. 153.)
I hope this helps.