Sunday, March 19, 2017

THEISTIC EVOLUTION: GOOD TEACHING EDIFIES; BAD TEACHING DESTROYS





Paul had warned that just a little morsel of bad teaching can undermine the church:

·       You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:7-9; 1 Cor. 5:6)

He later illustrated this. Destructive teaching can spread like gangrene:

·       But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:16-17)

There are many examples of this. For example, universalism, the belief that all will be saved (even if they have to undergo post-death purging), has become fantastically popular among church millennials. However, this one idea can undermine the entirety of Biblical doctrine. After all, if all will be saved, why evangelize, study the Bible, live obediently, and even trust in the Lord. All of the Bible’s teachings are thereby corrupted.

A less obvious culprit is Theistic Evolution (TE), the belief that the Biblical God had created through evolution. However, we immediately see that this conflicts with the creation account, which teaches that God had spoken everything into existence.

How then does TE explain away the many apparent contradictions? By simply claiming that Genesis does not teach history but spirituality and theology. Taking their analysis one step further, TE asserts that the Bible, errantly influenced by Ancient Near-Eastern cosmology, is mistaken in its historical assertions. However, this doesn’t matter since the Bible isn’t really concerned about history but theology.

However, this also undermines Scripture and our obedience to the Word of God. If Genesis 1-11 is mistaken about history, why not also the rest of the Bible? If these chapters aren’t fully God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17), what reason do we have to believe that the rest of the Bible is historically accurate?

Consequently, the Bible is seriously degraded. However, this problem is greatly multiplied by the fact that theology cannot be separated from history. For example, without the history of the Cross, there cannot be a theology of the Cross. If Christ didn’t historically die for our sins, then we still bear them.

More specifically, if Genesis 1-11 is not historically accurate, the theology of the Bible cannot stand. Jesus had based His teaching on divorce on the historicity of the creation account:

·       He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female [quoting Gen. 1:26 as actual history], and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ [quoting Gen. 2:24 as actual history]? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Had God not historically joined them together, divorce would not contradict what God had historically accomplished.

Similarly, Peter argued that we need to take seriously God’s promise of a future judgment, basing this on the fact that God had historically judged:

·       For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:4-9)

Peter’s conclusion about the future judgment depends upon the historicity of God’s former judgments. Had they simply been parables teaching a spiritual lesson, then it would be reasonable to conclude that the promised future judgment is also nothing more than a parable.

The entire NT regards Genesis 1-11 as historical. Therefore, to deny the historicity of Genesis is also to deny the NT commentaries on Genesis.

However, TE problems do not stop here. While to deny history is to deny theology, it is also to deny any degree of certainty about our interpretations of the Bible. History grounds interpretation. If a worldwide flood did take place which destroyed the entire human race except Noah and his immediate family, this account says something concrete about the extent of sin and God’s hatred and judgment of it.

If, instead, this event did not take place, everything that it teaches remains in the darkness of uncertainty. Does God really hate sin, or is this a parable to merely scare humanity into conformity to a benign Santa Claus God? Does God judge? Perhaps not?

Historical context provides the necessary guidance to accurately interpret Scripture. Without this guidance, any interpretation is possible. Without the interpretive clarity, which the historical context provides, the TE is left without confidence. Without confidence, cultural norms fill the vacuum and become authoritative.

Consequently, it seems that TEs have been influenced in a “progressive” direction. To demonstrate this, I have often asked them, online, if they do not agree with same-sex marriage. Never has any of them gone on record to write that they do not agree with it. While they claim that they still believe in the basics of Christian teachings, their claims always seem insubstantial.

Nor do they admit that by denying the historicity of Genesis, they have placed their lives on a slippery slope. Instead, they have bitten into the bait, and it is too alluring to allow them to see its long range implications.

I grieve deeply. My only consolation is in the words of our Savior:

·       My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)


1 comment:

  1. A theistic evolutionist responded by arguing that the Christian faith doesn’t require wisdom and argumentation. I responded:

    “However, the very verses that you have quoted to argue against evidences and argumentation for the faith are not against Biblical wisdom but “the wisdom of the world”:

    • "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." - I Corinthians 1:20-25 (ESV)

    Instead, Paul used Biblical wisdom and reasoning to win people to the faith:

    • Acts 17:2-4 (ESV) And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.

    • Acts 18:4 (ESV) And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

    However, the TE has relinquished such argumentation by claiming that the Bible cannot teach reliably about the physical world.”

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