Many wonder why I write about creation/evolution frequently in my articles. They see no problem with believing in evolution and calling themselves Christians. Can a person be a true believer in Jesus Christ and an evolutionist? Absolutely, but not without problems.
I find many Christians who believe in evolution do so from a mistaken premise. They assume what they learned in school about evolution is true, but they've never taken the time to look into the facts. Furthermore, many who hold to evolutionary theory do so on the mistaken belief that the theory is based upon scientific principles. It is not.
A few years ago there was a big uproar over a sticker in high school biology books that simply reminded the student that evolution was a theory. Many of the arguments I read and heard from many who claimed to be educated went along the lines of "well if it is the theory of evolution why isn't it the theory of gravity? It is the law of gravity and it is the law of evolution."
Such a statement reveals a total misunderstanding of the issue. It is the law of gravity because we can observe gravity in action, and we know that without some outside force, what goes up always comes back down. It is the law of gravity because gravity conforms to the laws of science. Evolution does not. The evolution being taught in our science books is a brand of evolution that scientist themselves rejected years ago.
The reason? The evidence for Darwinian evolution simply is not found in anything but artistic reconstruction of scant fossil finds that evolutionists embellish to support their theory. But that's another story for another time. Back to our original question, can a person be a believer in Jesus Christ and an evolutionist? Certainly, but believing in both cannot help but create a tension that I have found ultimately leads to a crisis of faith.
The first problem one encounters with such a dialectical view (by which I mean the dictionary definition of "a logic of fallacy") is it immediately undermines the authority of scripture. Does the Bible mean what it says? Those who hold to Christianity and evolutionary theory claim to see no conflict. They claim that the historical narrative of Genesis is a poetic description of creation not an historic, factual account. Two problems with that view. First, the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not presented as prose and in fact claim to be the written account of the earliest participants. It is not Moses's looking blindly back on an event that he had no concept of and trying to explain it, rather it is Moses' compilation of historical materials written by the people who were there. According to what we have in Genesis 5:1, scholars agree that Genesis 1:1-5:1 was actually the written account of Adam himself.
Now, you can discount that and say, "Well, it's not what it means." But then where do you draw the line? If we can't believe the creation account, can we believe the account of salvation through Christ's sacrifice? Lest you answer too quickly, let me give you an evolutionist's view on the subject. In an article entitled, "The Meaning of Evolution," G. Richard Bozarth writes, "Christianity has fought and still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution . . because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!"
Like it or not, Creation isn't merely an interesting side issue with the really important issues being the virgin birth, sinless life of Christ, his death burial and resurrection. Bozarth seems to understand the issue far better than dualistic Christians who see no harm in believing both the Bible (at least on issues they like) and evolution. Remove the literal account of Creation and the rest of the scripture is left without any foundation.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA, 30016. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org