Defending the Authority of Scripture in the Face of Evolution

The Issue

We believe in the authority of Scripture. That is, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we stand on the foundation of God’s inspired, infallible Word, as the only rule for our faith and life. As children of God, young and old, we are relentlessly attacked from all sides. How do we defend our faith? Most importantly, we need to start with a firm foundation: the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. For some in this late age, that solid ground is disappearing. Sadly, more and more, this is the road believers are taking. They are walking through life, carrying not the inspired and infallible Holy Bible anymore, but a book of their own making, the holey bible. This book is tattered to shreds, missing passages here and there; in the case of Genesis, missing entire chapters. As they walk through life, the biting wind of secular science, false doctrine, and the appeal of worldly living is blowing pages out of their Bibles, and they don’t seem to notice or even put up a fight. Our focus, in this article, is to defend the authority of Scripture in the face of one of the greatest lies in the history of the Church: evolution. By defending the authority of Scripture, we can then defend our faith, which is based on this authority.

It’s easy enough for us to say we believe in a six day literal creation by God alone, but can we defend this statement? We need to have a strong understanding of Scripture, and be able to boldly fight the lie. The Bible, Genesis to be precise, along with many other passages, is clear and simple: God created the universe and all that is contained therein, including earth, in six literal 24 hour days. Exodus 20:11, where God commands Sabbath day observance, lays out six day creation very clearly, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Psalm 19:1 states: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” John Calvin does a wonderful job, in his work on the Psalms, of describing the heavens as preachers of his glory, and the power of God in creation as the supreme architect.

There is certainly nothing so obscure or contemptible, even in the smallest corners of the earth, in which some marks of the power and wisdom of God may not be seen; but as a more distinct image of him is engraven on the heavens, David has particularly selected them for contemplation, that their splendor might lead us to contemplate all parts of the world. When a man, from beholding and contemplating the heavens, has been brought to acknowledge God, he will learn also to reflect upon and to admire his wisdom and power as displayed on the face of the earth, not only in general, but even in the minutest plants. In the first verse, the Psalmist repeats one thing twice, according to his usual manner. He introduces the heavens as witnesses and preachers of the glory of God, attributing to the dumb creature a quality which, strictly speaking, does not belong to it, in order the more severely to upbraid men for their ingratitude, if they should pass over so clear a testimony with unheeding ears. This manner of speaking more powerfully moves and affects us than if he had said, the heavens show or manifest the glory of God. It is indeed a great thing, that in the splendor of the heavens there is presented to our view a lively image of God; but, as the living voice has a greater effect in exciting our attention, or at least teaches us more surely and with greater profit than simple beholding, to which no oral instruction is added, we ought to mark the force of the figure which the Psalmist uses when he says, that the heavens by their preaching declare the glory of God.

The repetition which he makes in the second clause is merely an explanation of the first. David shows how it is that the heavens proclaim to us the glory of God, namely, by openly bearing testimony that they have not been put together by chance, but were wonderfully created by the supreme Architect. When we behold the heavens, we cannot but be elevated, by the contemplation of them, to Him who is their great Creator; and the beautiful arrangement and wonderful variety which distinguish the courses and station of the heavenly bodies, together with the beauty and splendor which are manifest in them, cannot but furnish us with an evident proof of his providence. Scripture, indeed, makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory. As soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme Architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power.”[3]

So clearly is God’s power displayed (preached!) in his creation, that he inspired the Apostle Paul to write in Romans 1:20-23: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” In his foolish pride, man has attacked God; whether it be the billions of years of full-fledged evolution, or the rearranging of Scripture by theistic evolutionists to fit the theory of evolution into the creation account. But, so clearly is God’s power as creator and sustainer of earth displayed, that man is left without excuse, and will have to answer to the same God he is denying. God will then “add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18), and “shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Rev. 22:19).

Secular scientists accuse six day creationists of being “anti-science.” This is a ridiculous notion, because the whole theory of evolution is exactly that: a theory. The whole machine of evolution is based on the fallible assumptions of man, who needs to keep making more assumptions to “make things work.” Man, in his pride, denies God’s sovereign, creating, and providential hand in creation. I believe a quote from Charles Spurgeon sums up well the audacity of evolutionists: “It takes much more faith to be an unbeliever than to be a believer.”

Some Findings

It doesn’t seem to matter where you attend college anymore. Christian or secular schools alike are teaching evolution. At secular universities, it is unashamedly taught, violently undermining God’s sovereign power as the Creator. At other times, as is sadly the case with most Christian colleges of late, it is ‘fit in’ with Scripture as theistic evolution.

There are many blatant inconsistencies in the views of theistic evolutionists; foremost is their view of Scripture. Many times, they do not even know what they believe concerning Scripture. As you will see, they have different definitions of terms such as the authority, infallibility, and literalness of Scripture.

Answers in Genesis (AiG) is a non-profit organization founded to uphold and strengthen the principles of the Christian faith. AiG focuses on defending truth in Scripture, particularly the book of Genesis. AiG, which also operates the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, recently ran a survey of Christian colleges on their views of creation versus evolution, and of Scripture in general. Their findings are displayed in the book Already Compromised, written by the founder of AiG, Ken Ham, and Greg Hall, president of Warner University. Here is a quote by Ken Ham in the book on one of the questions they posed:

What is truth? That depends on who you ask and their particular viewpoint or interpretations of the Scripture… note virtually all young-earth believers, 93.9% believe the Bible is literally true. It is surprising this number is not higher. Also, nearly four in five who adhere to an old-earth theory believe the Bible is literally true. Keep in mind these two concepts are polar opposites. These findings quickly reveal the large number of Christian leaders who are mistaken and hold a biblical position important to understand because once a Christian accepts a non-biblical view, they must then accept other non-biblical ideas to fulfill the logic of their error.

The so-called gap theory is a great example of this. Many great Christian leaders of the past 200 years have been gap theorists. They thought fitting the millions of years into a supposed gap in Genesis 1 was a way of dealing with the issue… Theistic evolutionists, day-agers, advocates of the framework hypothesis, etc., are reinterpreting the clear teaching of Scripture to fit millions of years, and often Darwinian-type evolution, into the Bible (be it geological, astronomical, or biological evolution).

I say that the gap theory does (in spite of contrary intentions of godly men) “unlock a door” to allow a “crack” to undermine Scripture and thus even great men… were inconsistent in this area. If one allows a crack in the door (as we would see the gap theory doing), then the next generation will open it further. It usually doesn’t get shut by the next generation.”[4]

It is extremely disappointing, some of the inconsistencies that were found. For example: AiG surveyed several religion departments, and found out that only 72% believed in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2. While this percentage in itself is sad, the sadder part is that in a different question that asked the same thing, 55.6% of the same religion departments agreed that they do not believe in six literal days! What is even more interesting is that it was found that, when surveyed, the science departments were consistently more biblical in their views than the religion departments.

Christian Colleges and Evolution

Young people (either attending college or planning to in the near future) need to be aware of what they will be taught. It’s like the picture of a comic book school cafeteria; the food is slopped on your plate. Like it or not, it’s what you are going to get. Likewise, at most schools, evolution will be integrated into your education. You are going to have to digest it the right way. Part of this ‘awareness’ of what you will be taught should include familiarizing yourselves with the school’s view on creation and evolution. Public universities boldly teach outright evolution, so the young person can easily see what is coming. Christian colleges can be a little harder for the young person to prepare against. Christian colleges, like Calvin College for example, are subtle, but yet bold in their teachings if you dig a little deeper:

As Christian biologists we oppose any use of scientific theories that attempt to deny the Creator God. Science is a human activity that describes and investigates the functions, processes, and history of the physical world. We believe that questions concerning the meaning, purpose, and governance of the cosmos cannot be fully explained by the natural sciences alone. Evolutionary biology does not undermine faith in an everlasting, all-powerful, yet personal Creator God upon whom the very existence of the creation depends. Those who elevate any scientific theory to this level of explanatory power, we believe, are overstepping the limits of scientific inquiry.[5]

After a quick glance, this statement seems to do a nice job of paying tribute to God. It describes him as everlasting, all-powerful, and personal. The statement even describes God as the Creator. Calvin claims it opposes “any use of scientific theories that attempt to deny the Creator God.” What is this supposed to mean? Some people claim that evolution is a scientific theory, while others assert that it is unscientific. Readers of this statement are left to their own confused conclusions. The statement goes on to say, “Evolutionary biology does not undermine faith in an everlasting, all-powerful, yet personal Creator God upon whom the very existence of the creation depends.” That’s a bold statement. Evolution undermines the very foundation of a Christian’s faith! At the very heart of faith is trust in the sovereign power of God. We dishonor God if we say we have faith in him, but deny him of his power in all things. John Calvin, in his Institutes, states: “If faith cannot support itself in the view of this power (of God, RJK), it never will give Him the honor which is due.”[6] In essence, Calvin College’s statement strips the aforementioned “all-powerful” God of all his power.

All this is said not to scare young people from attending Christian colleges. But, it is a warning to be on guard, properly preparing yourself for what you will be taught.

The BioLogos Forum

BioLogos is an online forum, led by a group of people, holding a position on the origins of life which harmonizes science and Scripture. John UpChurch, a contributor to the Answers in Genesis website, described BioLogos in the October-December 2011 issue of Answers Magazine.[7] “Since it was founded in 2007, BioLogos has risen to international prominence as the leading advocate of theistic (“God-directed”) evolution. Its primary goal is to convince evangelical Christians to embrace evolution and an old earth, claiming that they have no impact on the gospel and can be harmonized with “the belief that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God.” BioLogos is a tremendously compelling danger to Christians who are weak in the faith. BioLogos feeds on those who are struggling with their belief of how the world came to be. Is the Bible the outright authority on the creation of the universe, or did the universe and all it contains take billions of years to evolve into what it is today? BioLogos says you don’t need to choose! There is no conflict! Confronting this issue only divides the church; so why struggle with it? Read on how BioLogos describes the principles on which it stands:

We stand with a long tradition of Christians for whom faith and science are mutually hospitable, and we see no necessary conflict between the Bible and the findings of science. We have found that the methods of the natural sciences provide the most reliable guide to understanding the material world, and the current evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process. Thus we affirm that evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves His purposes.[8]

“We see no necessary conflict between the Bible and the findings of science.” However, Christ said in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Though some theistic evolutionists may have “good intentions” (if you can even call it that), in the end they will always view Scripture through the spectacles of science rather than science through the spectacles of Scripture. Also in Isaiah 5:20, God directly addresses the wrong of weaving good with evil. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Perusing further through BioLogos’ description of itself, we read this:

Foundational to the BioLogos vision is the belief that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. The Bible is a living document through which God, by his Spirit, continues to speak to the church today.[9]

Notice that BioLogos even has the audacity to claim it believes the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God! Also notice, it says nothing about the infallibility of Scripture. We have a serious contradiction here. If BioLogos truly stands on the foundation that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God, it must also logically agree that the revelation of God is also infallible, correct? Apparently not! One cannot say the Almighty God inspired men to write the one rule for our faith and life as a fallible document. Read on:

The Bible is not a scientific text and should not be read that way. Scientific literature is a relatively recent and highly specialized form of communication. Reading the Bible as a literal, scientific text leads to inconsistencies between the revealed word of God and the scientifically derived history of the world. However, when scripture is read in a proper context, these inconsistencies do not come up. One, therefore, can safely accept scripture as God’s revealed word, even though it does not address the specifics of many scientific questions and often refers to the natural world using the understandings of the time in which it was written.[10]

We can agree with BioLogos here that the Bible is not a scientific text. It is, however, literal. There are many truths in the Bible that have been confirmed by science. “When scripture is read in a proper context, these inconsistencies do not come up.” Their idea of reading in the proper context is using their own worldviews of naturalism and uniformitarianism. Man is incredibly stuck on these theories, claiming that natural processes occur in the universe as they always have and as they will always continue to do. Man denies the supernatural, that is, the creation account of Genesis along with the worldwide flood.

There is no riding the fence when it comes to this issue. There is a clear dividing line between creation and evolution, but man tries to bridge the gap between the two, and meet somewhere in the middle. Why? Many of these people were brought up creationists but fell into the pit of evolution. It all starts with a low view of Scripture.

Involved also, is man in his pride, trying to take credit for himself, and discrediting God. Man says, look what I found! I discovered how the world came to be: through billions of years of evolutionary processes, not by the spoken word of God did the world appear! We read in Psalm 10:4, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” John Calvin says of this verse, “Did they truly believe that there is a God, the fear of the judgment to come would restrain them. Not that they plainly and distinctly deny the existence of a God, but then they strip him of his power.”[11] The second sentence of this quote of Calvin is a defining characteristic of a theistic evolutionist. Man may try to undermine the sovereign power of the creator, but in doing so, he earns for himself eternal condemnation in the fires of hell.

Looking Forward

If you cut out Genesis, you essentially lose the whole of Scripture. By undermining God’s authority as the sovereign creator of all, he is portrayed as just a god of Deuteronomy 4:28, “the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.” We cannot defend our faith with a fallible Bible given to us by a powerless god!

But, we as Reformed Christians have so much to be thankful for. We have the almighty and sovereign creator God as our Father. As our Father, he has given us the wonderful and perspicuous testimony of Scripture. He has created the universe so that we, as sinful specks of dust in this vast universe, may glorify him in it. The Bible is beautifully clear. God created the universe and all it contains, namely earth, in six literal 24 hour days. Any man who tries to undermine his power and right to be glorified will have to answer before the creator himself. As confident Christians and children of God, what better way can we end, than right at the beginning—Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”