googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Christianity and Evolution: Mutually Exclusive

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Christianity and Evolution: Mutually Exclusive

I was watching a debate on YouTube between a Christian and atheist over the existence of God. For the most part, the Christian trounced the atheist but this particular Christian seemed to be a “compromiser” when it came to evolution. During the debate, the atheist made these comments concerning evolution:

The most devastating thing, though, that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there was no need of salvation. And if there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a Savior. And I submit that puts Jesus – historical or otherwise – into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.

Keep in mind that this is what an atheist thinks about the compatibility of evolution and Christianity. He sees the two as mutually exclusive. This is why I believe compromising on the meaning of Genesis has no effect on reaching the lost. Here's a quote that I've used before from a compromising Christian:

[K]ids aren't stupid, and know a specious argument when they hear it. If (in essence) they're being told that "The Flintstones" represents real and true history,... and that all they are watching on the History or Discovery channels is a sinister secular conspiracy to do away with God, then it's no wonder they fall away from the faith. I see... a Church and a Christian School which take a line which would be anathema to Ken Ham [President of Answers in Genesis], freely endorsing a harmony between modern Science and a grounded Christian faith.

Think about these two quotes together. The atheist thinks evolution destroys the foundation of the gospel and the Christian's solution is to say that evolution is true. How exactly does that work? Does the Christian mean to say, “I know that there was really no Adam, no Fall, no Curse, and no promise of a Savior, but you need Jesus anyway”? Is this how we're supposed to reach the lost?

Further reading

Why I Say Evolution is Not Compatible with the Bible

My Thoughts for Japan

Strange Bedfellows


Steven J. said...

I'm curious as to why you quote the atheist in this debate. Do you suppose that all atheists agree on exactly what can and cannot be reconciled with Christian doctrine? For that matter, do you yourself regard atheists as the most reliable sources on what can and cannot be reconciled with Christian doctrine?

If you think that Christianity requires a historical Adam, your opinion on the matter carries as much weight -- perhaps a bit more -- than that of a random YouTube debater; just state your own opinion.

Note, by the way, that the problem with a historical Adam is not, strictly speaking, evolution; at least, it is not the problem that you have monkey ancestors and baboon cousins. God could have taken a monkey-descended man, put him in the Garden of Eden, and have the rest of the story proceed as in Genesis 3.

Unless, of course, you define "evolution" so broadly that it includes all attempts to reconstruct the past based on the assumption that nature works the same way when we're not watching it as it does when we are.

There have been a number of studies of variation (differences between individuals at the present time) in the genome of modern human populations, and these imply that if we all share a common ancestral population, that population must have numbered in the thousands (if you accept evolution, you can't get around this by positing an immense mutation rate: we share too many of these genetic variants with chimpanzees, so on evolutionary principles, they must been in our species since its beginning). Not two, not six (as in Noah's sons and their wives), but thousands. There's not much reason to conclude that evolution is right but that these studies are totally off-the-wall, but I suppose you could do so.

Or you could, more radically, reject the interpretation of the Bible that explains our sinful nature in terms of inheritance of Adam's Original Sin. View Adam as symbolic of humanity's nature rather than as the cause of it, and perhaps evolution can be reconciled with Christianity. I suspect that this approach would strike you as unsatisfactory, but it cannot be so merely because it did not occur to some particular atheist debater.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Thanks for your comments. I've seen on my tracker that you've visited a few times but I haven't heard from you in a while. I've also noticed that you haven't posted on your blog lately. It's good to hear from you again.

You said, “I'm curious as to why you quote the atheist in this debate. Do you suppose that all atheists agree on exactly what can and cannot be reconciled with Christian doctrine? For that matter, do you yourself regard atheists as the most reliable sources on what can and cannot be reconciled with Christian doctrine?”

If we are to reach the lost with the gospel, as I believe is the mission of the church, we need to consider what is preventing them from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While I don't believe this one person speaks for all unbelievers, I do believe his attitude is typical of many unbelievers. And since I have, in the past, voiced this as a concern myself, when I hear an atheist echo it, it validates what I already suspected to be true: namely that a belief in evolution is an obstacle preventing many people from accepting Christ as their Savior.

You said, “If you think that Christianity requires a historical Adam, your opinion on the matter carries as much weight -- perhaps a bit more -- than that of a random YouTube debater; just state your own opinion.”

Steven, you can't be serious. You've visited my blog for a while. Do you really think I haven't stated my own opinion on the subject more than a few times?

A little over 1 year ago I wrote this: “Theistic evolutionists are a strange breed. On the one hand, these people claim to believe God and the Bible. On the other hand, they hold the same beliefs about our origins as the most devout atheist. Evolutionists believe that life began on earth some 4 billion years ago; over countless generations, species of animals have changed; and one species of animal happens to be humans. Theistic evolutionists believe pretty much the same thing except they insert the qualifier, “God did it.” Perhaps the god of theistic evolution (TE) is that elusive “god of the gaps” I keep hearing about. He must be an extremely impotent god who is virtually indistinguishable from dumb luck.”

I'm a little pressed for time (and space) right now so I can't address the rest of your comments. Maybe I'll get back to them. Let me say, though, that I do indeed believe that we are all descended from a real Adam (and more recently from a real Noah). The amount of variation present among humans is not a problem.

As for a real or symbolic Adam, I've certainly heard that theory advanced, considered its merit, and found it lacking. The problem with that is that many of the events in Genesis are referred to in the NT as historical events. Also, Luke lists all the generations from Adam to Jesus. At what point do the people stop becoming metaphor and start becoming real? Was Adam only a metaphor? Was Noah? Was Abraham? Was Jesus? Symbolic icons of literature do not spawn lineages of real people. In order to believe that the first Adam was a myth, I would have to also believe the second Adam (Jesus) was a myth.

Thanks again for visiting. God bless!!

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel said...

The political left will continue to portray Bible believing Christians who do not accept the religion of evolution, as out of step with reality. They will also continue to paint themselves as committed to "science," when, in reality they are believers in happen chance. Their pseudo science beliefs would have them accepting that all that we see, hear feel and experience, - that, somehow it all came into being by its lonesome self. Thus, these evolution religionists conveniently divorce themselves from the Creator God of the historical Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. They would rather believe in a crafted tale of something comes from nothing, than the historically documented literature that begins with, "In the beginning, God created....."

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel said...

Christianity is based upon the historical Christ. Evolution is pseudo science and is an escape hatch for those who wish to dismiss the historical and verifiable claims of the Christian religion that has been verified umpteen times by prophecy fulfilled, archaeological evidences and pure documented history. Even Christ himself endorsed that history:

"Evolution:" Rejected by Jesus Christ

Also – Check out the following websites. If you are open minded you will be amazed the difference between science and pseudo science and also that of the historical Christian Faith:

RKBentley said...

Pastor Bickel,

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I have visited the websites that you recommended and even have links to them in my sidebar. They're wonderful resources.

I've written quite a bit about evolution and invite you back to read more. I might recommend starting with clicking on the "evolution" tag. Of course, feel free to browse any topic that catches your eye.

By the way, I like to remind people that they are free to cut and paste material from my blog. Links back are nice but not necessary. I write in order to be read and the glory belongs to God. You can help me get the word out.

God bless!!