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A statement I hear in too many churches today is, “Well, God could have used evolution.” Then some others might say, “I don’t believe in evolution, but couldn’t God have used millions of years to create?”
Why are Christians (including many church leaders) making such statements when we know what the Bible clearly teaches in Genesis? The reason is that many Christians today do not hold to the Word of God but to what I would call the “popular view.” There is a great need in the church to train Christians to be more discerning about biblical truths—and not let those who espouse naturalistic science (“the popular view”) prompt them to reinterpret Genesis.
Discernment is the process of drawing a clear contrast between truth and error. It is much needed in the modern-day church; in fact, the need for it goes all the way back to the time of the Apostle Paul. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul warned them to “Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21–22). Let’s look at these three things.
The desire of every Christian should be to know the truths of God’s Word and proclaim them with authority. This includes being able to distinguish between true and false teaching. To do this, we should first know what God’s Word says so that we can recognize false doctrines. You’ve probably heard this analogy: the best way to recognize a counterfeit dollar bill is to know what a real one looks like. Likewise, the best way to detect a spiritual counterfeit requires that a Christian master the truth.
Cling to What Is Good
Scripture must be our standard in faith and practice—not our feelings, biases, or imagination. As Christians we must safeguard the truth of Scripture and defend it from all attacks. All Christians are commanded to be defenders of God’s Word.
- 1 Peter 3:15 teaches we are to have a ready answer (always).
- Colossians 4:5–6 instructs us to know how to answer.
- Titus 1:9 says that we should be able to exhort and convince.
- James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the Word.
The Bible repeatedly warns Christians to be aware of false teaching and then to avoid it (Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:16). Today, there are many people in the church who believe that God could have used millions of years for His creation. So let’s apply these three principles of discernment to this kind of teaching.
Examine—it is not a matter of what God could have done to create. It is a matter of what He did do and what He told us in Scripture. The Bible clearly teaches that God created everything in six literal days. You can even go outside of Genesis 1 to establish this, such as Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.”
Cling to what is good—we need to determine what is good (i.e., truth). His entire Word is truth (John 17:17), and all His Word is good for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16).
Avoid evil—we should expose and avoid all teaching that opposes God’s Word. Christians should recognize what the idea of evolution and its sister teaching of an old earth (millions of years old) does by undermining the authority of Scripture, for it:
- adds death before the sin of Adam and Eve
- sullies God’s character because it makes God’s “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31) one that includes horrendous death and suffering
- contradicts the most “hermeneutically correct” (plain) reading of Genesis 1
- renders the Ten Commandments as allegory or wrong (Exodus 20:11)
- relegates the Genesis Flood to a local event and not worldwide (you see, if a person believes in long ages, then that means they must also accept that the fossil record was laid down over a long time, and was not mostly produced by a global Flood)
- makes the words of Jesus wrong; in Mark 10:6: Jesus said, “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female”; in other words, according to Jesus the first people were not created millions of years after life forms first appeared on earth—they were created at “the beginning.”
Most Christians have simply not thought through (or have never been taught) about these insurmountable difficulties when they add evolution/millions of years to the Bible. Churches, Bible colleges, and seminaries need to raise up teachers who will not tickle our ears with the “popular view.” Instead, they must hold fast to the Word of God and never be ashamed to proclaim it with authority.