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Is God’s grace revealed through evolution? Or is evolution antithetical to any sort of grace?
My 5-year old can comprehend the mechanics of evolution perfectly well, yet you in your willful pride, arrogance, and blindness, refuse to see the revealed truth given freely to humankind by the labor of minds far greater, far more profound than your own. I have Christian relatives—deeply religious Christians—who as far back as the 1960s had the sense and intelligence to understand that evolution is the expression of God’s grace, and here we are nearly half a century later enduring the foolishness and egotism, the self-righteousness of persons like yourself who refer to them as “compromisers.” I assure you, no EDUCATED, THOUGHTFUL Christian—or Jew, or Muslim for that matter—today imagines that the Bible can be taken as a literal version of Earth’s history. That is nothing less than atavism, and what then does that say about you? I suggest that it is proof of mental deficiency. One day your imbecilic belief system will be a dim memory—thank God.
[This testimony was sent to an AiG supporter. It is used here by permission of the author.]
I wanted to tell you how much it meant to both [my wife] and I to be welcomed into your house this past weekend. The fellowship that we experienced with you, your wife, and your son-in-law was great. The [Creation Museum] was truly a “life-altering experience” for both [my wife] and myself.
Before the trip to the museum I can shamefully say that I believed in creation but allowed the indoctrination of the school system to warp my perception of the truth. I strongly believed (past tense) that the world couldn’t have been anything less than millions and millions of years old. For years I criticized my mother telling her that she just didn’t understand evolution and natural selection enough to know what she was talking about. This was an absolute shame.
I don't know how someone that was bought by Christ could have fallen so far away from His written Word, but I did. When [my wife] and I walked into the museum, [she] turned to me and joked that there were robotic dinosaurs and humans sitting together in the lobby exhibit. She stated that “this was going to be different.” Different was right. As we walked deeper into the museum we hardly spoke. You have to know that the only reason I really agreed to the trip was to silence my poor mother, and I had every intention and hope that there would be holes large enough to allow for my misguided views. This was not the case.
When I was sitting in the Last Adam theater, I could feel the Spirit and knew that my views were shameful. [My wife] told me later in the day, after we returned, that she was so convicted that she had bought into evolutionary ideology. We both cried out to God and received forgiveness. Forgiveness for our stupidity and unbelief.
The museum and the work you and your wife have done are truly a blessing. I don’t know much about how to fight off evolutionist thinking at the moment, but I now have a deep desire to spread the truth to others. On Monday when we returned, I got the chance to explain to one of my instructors [about] the message of the Creation Museum. When I was finished she wanted the website (which I gave her). It is my prayer that now instead of trying to find holes in the Word of God that I will trust—and help spread God’s words of Truth.
—B. and F. S., U.S.
Let us know what you think.
My 5-year old can comprehend the mechanics of evolution perfectly well, yet you in your willful pride, arrogance, and blindness, refuse to see the revealed truth given freely to humankind by the labor of minds far greater, far more profound than your own.
Thank you for contacting AiG. I certainly respect your right to disagree with the articles on this website; however, I pray that you will carefully consider my response to your comments.
First of all, you might be surprised to know that the “mechanics of evolution” are not at issue, since these are readily defined in textbooks, websites, and documentaries. According to most sources, evolution, in its basest sense, is the change in gene frequencies (sometimes “heritable traits”) in a population over time (this is often stated as “descent with modification”). These changes are often caused by mutations, genetic drift, and natural and artificial selection.1 If I were to forget, I have no doubt that I would be reminded of this any time that I picked up a magazine or went to a museum. The supposed mechanics of evolution are, after all, well represented in secular culture.
However innocuous the definition might sound concerning present-day events, the implication behind Darwinism is that all organisms originated from a common ancestor over millions of years. That is, mutations, gene duplication mistakes, and natural selection not only lead to changes in allele frequencies, but also caused fish to become fishermen. Humans are simply the end result of chemical interactions over time. There is no reason to doubt that the observable process of natural selection does occur (as does speciation); however, observing speciation is not the same as postulating that mutations and natural selection could result in changing dinosaurs to birds, for example.
In fact, evolutionists are often guilty of a bait-and-switch fallacy. Many point to natural selection as proof of what they believe happened in the past and then interpret all evidence based on that belief. But natural selection can only act upon the genetic information that already exists. Thus, one must be careful not to conflate the two ideas. There are supposedly other methods for scales to become feathers, but these are not readily observable and depend, instead, upon reconstructions of fossil evidence, genetic “histories,” and, frankly, storytelling.
The point is that what are often referred to as the “mechanics of evolution” blur the line between what we can repeatedly test and see (e.g., natural selection, reactivation of dormant traits and characteristics) and what is supposition about past events (e.g., the origin of whales). Making suppositions about how something unique happened in the past is a valid means of research. We, in fact, postulate on how the Genesis Flood happened and test this through experimentation and fieldwork. However, evidence from the present cannot independently verify what happened in the past, since all evidence is passed through a worldview filter.
Although you likely don’t personally know anyone at this ministry to accurately assess their mental acumen, I will agree with you, speaking for myself, that certainly some evolutionists have been and are more intelligent, although not just because they believe in evolution—as if the treasures of knowledge were stored in that one field of study (although God makes this claim of Himself in Colossians 2:2–3). The general concept of intelligence is usually quantified by assessing analytical/mathematical and verbal skills. I really can't see that evolution could wholly comprise these two basic quantifiable traits. It is interesting, however, that you would call evolution “revealed truth.” After all, in a pure evolutionary worldview, one Darwin or Gould is only the end result of countless mutations, as is his brain. For any of these, no doubt, intelligent men to discern truth, they would have to have some sort of objective vantage point from outside the machinations of the evolution machine. Their very thoughts are ultimately nothing more than the end result of billions of years of particle collisions. So, to call anything truth, there would have to be some objective source for judging what is and is not simply a genetically predetermined manifestation of the electrical interactions in the human brain. If evolution explains the universe, then we would have no way to know if the thoughts they had (and have today) simply offer some sort of survival advantage instead of being grounded in an objective reality. To play the evolutionary psychology game, perhaps the belief in evolution is conserved because certain individuals gain prestige and power by espousing it.
It is ironic that skeptics often mock Christians in general because we depend upon authority for truth, and yet your comments highlight the same appeal to authority that we often see from anti-creationist positions (e.g., “most scientists agree,” “there is no debate,” and other such comments). To be sure, we believe that the Bible is revealed Truth from the only One who can be objective to this universe. He alone knows what happened at the beginning and will happen at the end. Because of this, there have been—and are—intelligent thinkers who view the earth as young, but the foundation of a Christian’s belief should not have anything to do with a consensus—save only a consensus of one: God. How is this the arrogance we are being accused of having? Yet, ironically, your own comments reveal a clear condescension—to the point of comparing our intellectual capabilities to that of less than a five-year-old. We all trust in authorities (if for no other reason than there isn’t enough time to look into everything ourselves); the real concern is where we place our trust.
I have Christian relatives—deeply religious Christians—who as far back as the 1960s had the sense and intelligence to understand that evolution is the expression of God’s grace, and here we are nearly half a century later enduring the foolishness and egotism, the self-righteousness of persons like yourself who refer to them as “compromisers.”
In one point, I agree. It is very easy for all humans to fall into the sin of pride, which is the original sin. No one is immune from that, and every person can promote a viewpoint in a prideful manner, which is why all articles we post pass through several levels of editorial review. However, perhaps you should examine the definition of compromise before you make such an accusation. A compromise is “something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things.”2 You mention that your relatives had the “sense” to incorporate evolution into their worldview because of their intelligence. Obviously, the implication is that evolution was not original to the Bible and had to be added or blended in because of what they learned from the world. That is the reason we use the word compromise. One wonders why the compromise must always be unidirectional, though. I think it is unlikely that you would be willing to even entertain the notion that a straightforward reading of Genesis, which not even a five-year-old (that is, a person who would read it without imposing preconceived ideas) would deny, certainly indicates that the universe was created in six days.
Salvation is not in any way dependent upon our beliefs about evolution or the age of the earth—only in the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
I do not doubt that your relatives are Christian and deeply religious. Being saved and truly following Christ means that they have believed in Jesus for their salvation, which is the only name that has been given to humanity by which we are saved from death (Acts 4:12). Salvation is not in any way dependent upon our beliefs about evolution or the age of the earth—only in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. But even Christians can fall victim to incorrect beliefs. For example, after Christ’s resurrection, Paul had to rebuke Peter because the latter was worried what other Jews would think if he ate with his Gentile (non-Jewish) brothers in Christ (Galatians 2:11–21).3 In the same way, the question for any Christian evolutionist is this: do you accept evolution because God’s Word teaches it, or do you accept evolution because you are concerned with what the world will think about you if you don’t?4
Anyone approaching the Bible without any prior knowledge of evolution would certainly not suddenly discover Darwin’s hypothesis tucked away somewhere in Deuteronomy. Could God have used evolution? Yes (though the death-focused process is contrary to God’s nature as shown below), but it’s not about what He could have done; it’s about what He (not we) said He did. Christians are not called to tell God how He must have created. We should all be careful when we assume that God would use the unrepentant and anti-theistic to “reveal” something contradictory to His revelation (which, by the way, He closed to modification Revelation 22:18–19). Evolutionary history makes statements that go against the history recorded in Genesis. Those arguments must either supersede what the Bible says or be rejected.
As for your interesting use of evolution as God’s “grace,” I assume that you mean that, if evolution were true, this god of evolution would reveal his grace through billions of years of unjustified death, pain, suffering, destructions, extinctions, cancer, diseases, starvations, pestilences, and other means. After all, if those things have been happening since the first single-celled organism popped into existence, then what impact did human sin have? Death? No, in the evolutionary worldview, that always existed. Parasites? No, those would have been around for millions of years. Bloodshed (as important as blood is to the Christian understanding of life, sin, and death)? No, that too would have existed in animals since far back in the tree of “life.” In fact, how could such a god of an old earth and evolution condemn humans if he himself was guilty of such horrors? Such a god’s “grace” would be far worse than anything humans could do. And it is this very concept of what god would be if evolution were true that drives many from the incomparable Holy God revealed in the Bible. In fact, what justification would there be for condemning any sin if evolution were true? After all, true materialistic evolution means that all our actions are predetermined by the course of natural events. We wouldn’t need grace if we were all just genetic robots.
But the God of the Bible did not create a world like that. The world He created, and the world we still see traces of, was designed to be free from death. It is almost impossible for us to imagine such a world today, since the effects of this fallen one have been progressing for so long (Romans 8:18–25). True grace, though, means being given something we don’t deserve. We are all sinners, and what we don’t deserve is a way out. But God has given that to us. If evolution were our unmerited “grace,” then I would hate to see what we do deserve.
Proverbs 3 tells us not to resent a rebuke. We biblically rebuke those Christians who worry what the world will think about them if they reject evolution and millions of years because we want them to return to the fear of the Lord as the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs 1). Christians are called to be the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13–16), but what good is salt if it has lost its saltiness? The only revelation that evolution gives us is how far humans will go to remove God from the equation. After all, Darwin was certainly not motivated by any interest in glorifying God.5 Those who try to see God in evolution would do well to remember that.
I assure you, no EDUCATED, THOUGHTFUL Christian—or Jew, or Muslim for that matter—today imagines that the Bible can be taken as a literal version of Earth’s history.
This is, of course, a loaded argument since you are defining “educated” and “thoughtful” to mean those who accept evolution no matter what a straightforward reading of the Bible says. Merely to refute this statement I offer, for one example, that I graduated college summa cum laude, have a 4.0 GPA in my graduate courses, and do quite well on IQ tests. I also believe what the Bible says. There are also many PhDs all around the world that understand evolution, but reject it. But ultimately this is a non-issue. Even if no one (or everyone) believed what the Bible says, it wouldn’t make it any less true.
That is nothing less than atavism, and what then does that say about you? I suggest that it is proof of mental deficiency. One day your imbecilic belief system will be a dim memory - thank God.
Atavism implies that something that was no longer in existence or practiced is now being returned to. Thankfully, a straightforward reading of the Bible has never been without support.6 The Internet has made organizations like ours more prevalent, and books like The Genesis Flood (first published in 1961) have generated more interest in scientific creation. However, this argument is, as has been much of your letter, an appeal to human authority and popularity as means to prove your argument. Whether we have the support of others or not is beside the point. Our goal, instead, is to hear God’s “well done” because we remained true to what He says.
Your entire letter seems to be an attempt to discourage. But, in fact, it reveals the reason why we do what we do. Evolution and the ancient age of the earth will wax and wane as the fashion of the day, and something else will one day take its place, since attacks on God’s authority have existed and will exist until this present universe ends. Some Christians will, no doubt, blend the next attack in with the Bible, and groups like AiG will be accused of “mental deficiency” for denying the next “undeniable.” And you are right, we will all pass away and fade from memory. But God’s unadulterated Word will not.
I pray that you will consider my response and consider most of all the claims of Christ. A straightforward Genesis is important to understanding God’s grace, but accepting Christ’s atoning death and resurrection is beyond measure in eternal importance.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.