Comment on Creation/EC/TE - Bible implications

From Reconciling understandings of Scripture and Science
Jump to navigationJump to search

This page was created in March 2019 by Colin.

For my response to this page, please see this page, on my personal pages. Note that any contributor to the wiki can set up personal pages. — Bruce.

Comment on aspects of Evolutionary Creationism (EC) aka Theistic Evolution (TE) as affecting Bible Teaching

Adam: Deut. 32:8 identifies the human race is descended from Adam. This is confirmed by the genealogies in I Chronicles 1:1; Genesis 5; Luke 3:38, and by what occurred to his descendants after the flood in Genesis 11:8-9; Acts 17:26. TE denies Monogenesis (all humans descended from one original pair) as does some modern studies in genetics.

TE abandons the Bible account of creation in 6 days (Gen. 1-2, Exod. 20:11) as, in their view, evolution requires millions of years to work.

The first man was Adam from whom the human race was derived as confirmed by a straightforward reading of Romans 5:12-21, I Cor. 15:45, 47-49; Jude 14

Adam was differently organised in that he was created after the “image and likeness” of God, not “after his kind” as other creatures (Gen 1:11, 12, 21, 25; 1 Cor. 15:38; 11:7; James 3:9. This formation obviates the process of macroevolution, and ‘common descent’ [all creatures evolving from earlier life-forms].

TE claims Gen. 1-2 are two records of creations yet Jesus based his moral teaching on marriage on the chapters being historical and of literal events – Matt. 19:5 quoting Genesis1:27 & 2:24. Paul likewise bases his teachings of them being historical and literal – See 1 Cor. 15:47; 1 Tim. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 11:3. If Jesus’ and Paul’s claims are based on ‘faulty biology’ as claimed by TE, then it follows they say Jesus and Paul are not telling what is right, i.e. lying[1]. However, John records Jesus’ words as coming from God (John 12:49-50), and the writings of Paul as being inspired (1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Peter 3:15-16).

In Genesis 2:5 we are told “there was no man to till the ground” before his creation, confirming there was not another race in existence at the same time as his creation, or that he was selected from among them to begin the human race. Also, after his creation, he is alone - “…not good that the man should be alone.” (v18). But TE assumes there were others around when Adam was created (evolved?), and from which Cain & Seth found wives.

Noah’s flood: TE has a problem with a global flood. The Bible tells us “All flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” (Gen 7:21-23).

Those persuaded of Genetic Diversity from an evolutionary perspective fail to accept the global flood, considering Genesis 9:19 to be untenable on the basis there is not enough time from when the 8 emerged from the ark to generate enough diversity from around 4,340 years ago. Gen 9/19 says, “These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.”

Tower of Babel: There was one language spoken in Shinar 90 years after the flood. But 12 years later, God confuses the language, causing migrations to the determined areas – Gen 11:8-9; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26. It is tendered that genetic diversity arose from this dispersion of the peoples of the human race. The question for TE is “Why evolve over 6,900 languages so they could not communicate with one another? Evolving one language into another does not seem to be an improvement! The Bible has the answer saying the language of ‘men’ was disrupted by angels to prevent what they were imagining to do, i.e. “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language: and this they begin to do : and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” – see vs 3-4

Thus, TE rejects all the major events of Gen 1-11: creation, the serpent, the fall, introduction of sorrow and death into the world, the great age of the early generations, the flood, the Tower of Babel. TE relies on the earth being old, allowing for evolution to occur over millions of years to permit common descent, and rejection of monogenesis. According to this view, then it is incumbent for us to understand early Genesis as figurative and non-literal, i.e. an allegory (a story with a meaning other than a literal one), while seeing evolution as the mechanism by which the Creator chose to allow the natural world to come into being. TE defer literal events in early Genesis until near the end of Gen 11 in Abram’s time.


Literally true
The events of early Genesis are the basis of numerous references accepting them as literally true. For example,

Creation (including the beginning with respect to Adam and Eve): Exodus 20:11; 31:14-17; Deut. 32:8; 1 Chron. 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 38:4-11; Psalm 8:3-6; 33:6-9; 94:9; 95:5; 96:5; 100:3; 104:2, 4; Isa. 40:28; 42:5; 43:7; 44:24; 45:7-19; 66:1-2; Zech. 12:1; Matt. 10:16; 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-8; Luke 3:38; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24; 1 Cor. 6:16; 11:7-12; 15:45-49; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:31; Col. 1:16; Heb 4:4; Jude 14; Rev. 2:7; 22:1-3, 14.

Cain and Abel: Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51; Heb 11:4; 12:24; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11.

The Flood: Psalm 104:5-9; Isa. 54:9; Ezek. 14:14, 20; Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; Heb 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:3-6. To say they are non-literal is to say Jesus and apostles were lying[1]. But see John 12/32, 40, 45, 46.

See them for yourself: a chain of these references said to "accept" a literal Genesis begins here →
Alternatively, see them collected for your convenience at
Biblical references to events of early Genesis.
— Bruce


Can we have both EC/TE and Scriptures? EC/TE believers say yes, providing:

  1. We recognize that the ‘book of nature’ has proved life has been evolving on earth for millions of years, that ‘common descent’ (all creatures have evolved from earlier life-forms) is verified; that monogenesis (all humans descended from one original pair) is disproved by discoveries in modern genetics;
  2. We read early Genesis in a figurative, non-literal; way, removing any conflict with the ‘facts’ of science;
  3. We understand that Jesus in his teaching, accommodated to the language and understanding of his day when he spoke of events such as creation and the flood;
  4. We realise that the apostle Paul was basing his expositions of early Genesis on ancient understanding of biology which we now know to be incorrect.

All these call into question the truth and veracity of God’s word which we in faith believe: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17); “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50); “. . . In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2)

TEMP

The Atonement: TE rejects monogenesis and claims genetic diversity would need Adam and Eve to live much longer than the Genesis genealogy records, e.g. Adam lived 930 years before he died (Gen 5:5). In addition, Gen 11:1-9 informs us that after the Flood, the world population developed from Noah’s 3 sons.
Adam’s sin brought changes:

  • He was made a death-stricken man in fulfilment of the terms of the law given to them if they were disobedient, whereas before he was not subject to death;
  • They were both naked before (Gen 2:25) but after they hid themselves in shame (3:7);
  • For the first time, they needed a covering for sin, involving an animal sacrifice (Gen. 3:21);
  • They were to return to the dust from which they were made (Gen 3:17-19);
  • They now knew the difference between good and evil (Gen 3:22)

TE argues Christadelphians do not believe in “Original Sin” (the Catholic doctrine of being born into sin on account of the sin of Adam by which his descendants inherit the guilt of Adam’s sin), and therefore there is no need to insist that the human race descended from Adam. However, the Bible does not teach this. It would make Jesus ‘guilty’ merely by being born of Mary. Jesus, like us, was born with our nature. We inherit:

  • Death (“as in Adam all die”) – 1 Cor. 15:22;
  • Death by sin – Romans 5:12;
  • Death by the offence of one – Romans 5:15;
  • Death, which reigned from Adam to Moses (before the Law was given to Moses);
  • By his disobedience many were made sinners – Romans 5:19;
  • We are all “in Adam” and die as a result of that inheritance from him – the consequences of his sin.

TE argues we are not dying creatures arising from Adam’s sin, but instead, mortality (by their own definition) is part of man’s natural condition. Therefore, we do not need to be descendants of Adam, and this reasoning allows acceptance of evolution occurring over a long period of time.

By contrast, Bro Robert Roberts wrote in The Blood of Christ, page 6, “The word of God to Adam took effect, and made him a death-stricken man: he was not subject to death before, for sin was the door by which death came in…”

Death: TE alleges Adam was made mortal before disobeying God’s law, by which they mean made corruptible, corrupting, destined to die, ''not “subject to death” which was a result of his disobedience as we believe. In making this assertion, they draw a distinction between two New Testament Greek words, Thanatos (death) and Thnetos (mortality). They claim death is eternal death – a punishment for sin, (or even a judicial death when Christ returns to judge the household). 'Mortality (thnetos), they say, describes the state of Adam when created (evolved?) (and all animal creation) before he disobeyed God, and therefore was his natural condition

[We note in passing the evident inconsistency by stating on one hand they do not believe Adam was a real person, yet make these claims based on Adam being a real person!]

Therefore, the consequence of Adam’s sin (and our sins) is said by them to be eternal death – a punishment for sin. But see for example how Thnatos is used in Romans (inserting their meaning):

  • Romans 5:10 – If Jesus is reconciled by the ‘eternal’ death of his Son, did he die eternally? What about his resurrection, is that not a refutation of eternal death?
  • Romans 5:12 - “eternal death by sin” – So Abraham, Isaac and Jacob died an eternal death? Jesus says they will be raised and be seen in the kingdom (Luke 13/28);
  • Romans 5:14 – “eternal death reigned from Adam to Moses.” But Hebrews 11 implies many faithful will be raised to eternal life!
  • Romans 6:4 – “buried with him by baptism into eternal death”, thus making resurrection impossible if the death spoken of here is an eternal death. And if his death is a punishment for sin, how can it apply to Jesus “who did no sin.” (1 Peter 2:22)?
  • Romans 6:5 – “…planted together in the likeness of his eternal death we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”: we are not raised if death is eternal.
  • Romans 8:38 – If Paul is eternally dead, how can he be with Christ?

Therefore, death (Thanatos) is seen as a cessation of life resulting from the sin/death process we inherit from Adam, not an eternal death. It was not there before Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, otherwise God would be unjust. Death is an enemy and will be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26) and was never part of God’s “very good” creation.

Sin is a barrier that the sacrifice of Christ can remove (Col. 1:21). We are alienated by our sins (Isa. 59:2), not by our birth.

TE, by destroying the foundations of Genesis (man created mortal, no change in Adam as a result of his sin, others being around when Adam was ‘created’) has problems with New Testament teaching on the doctrine of the Atonement.

TE sees Christ’s death as a means to engender faith and set an example of obedience. It does not see a need to crucify the flesh because the flesh is evil, or for Christ’s shed blood for the remission of sins. See 1 Cor. 15:3; Hebrews 9:26; 2:14; 1 Tim. 2:10 (Note “abolished death”); 1 Peter 2:24. Consequently, Jesus example was more than simply an example of obedience. His death was a sin offering, fulfilling the types and shadows under the law. Through that sacrifice, we are justified (Rom. 5/9), have redemption (Eph.1:4), made nigh (Eph. 2:13), sanctified (Heb 13:12), cleansed (1 John 1:7).

TE, with its allegorical reading of early Genesis would involve a Christ-based faith only, not Adam-based. It therefore misconstrues the straight forward teaching of Jesus and the significance of his sacrifice.

Colin (talk)
  1. 1.0 1.1 See discussion about this "lying" here.