Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creation, Resurrection, Evolution, and Biblical Interpretation

I've heard a number of Christians say that it doesn't really matter how we interpret Genesis chapters 1-2 as long as we have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. While I agree that salvation does not directly depend on what we believe about the first two chapters of the bible, I profoundly disagree with the idea that "it doesn't really matter." It matters a great deal because it tells a lot about how we interpret scripture, what our ultimate authority is, and whether or not we are being consistent in how we read the bible.

A simple reading of Genesis 1-2 suggests a literal six day, 24 hour creation. If we hold to the bible as our final authority, then we will come to this conclusion. Since I believe all of the bible is true, I am a young earth creationist.

Christians who are theistic evolutionists may say that they believe the bible is true. However, they look to secular science as their authority on how the universe came to be as it is. Therefore, they believe that God used some form of evolution to bring about His creation. This conclusion cannot come from scripture. Genesis 1-2 does not even hint at this. Therefore, theistic evolutionists force scripture to fit into what secular science says.

We see, then, a significant difference. When it comes to how things are, creationists look to the bible as their final authority while theistic evolutionists look to secular science.

Let's now turn to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a core doctrine of our faith. If you reject the truth of the resurrection, then quite simply you are not a follower of Jesus Christ.

Creationists, like myself, read in the bible that Jesus rose from the dead. The bible says it and I believe it. Despite the fact that secular science rejects the idea that a dead man can rise from the dead three days later, I still believe it is true. This is a literal interpretation of scripture. This view believes the bible is the final authority.

This is where theistic evolutionists who claim to be Christians have a significant problem. By embracing evolution, they have shown that secular science is their final authority. Therefore, the bible is not. Secular science rejects the resurrection. The bible proclaims it. Which will they choose?

Christian theistic evolutionists obviously agree with the resurrection of Christ. By definition they have to. In doing this, they claim that biblical truth supersedes secular scientific theory on this issue. The clear problem is this: theistic evolutionists are completely inconsistent in what their final authority is.

On the issue of creation, they reject the bible in favor of secular science (they would not say this, but listening to them force scripture to say things it doesn't further proves the point). On the issue of the resurrection of Christ, they reject secular science in favor of what the bible teaches.

As the saying goes, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too." Theistic evolutionists cannot fairly claim different sources of authority. Either the bible is true in all aspects or it should be rejected.

When we look at the issue this way, we see how clear it becomes. The position of theistic evolution is one that all Christians must reject. Even many ardent atheistic evolutionists despise the theory of theistic evolution because of its inconsistency. At a basic intellectual level, it is an embarrassing position to hold.

We must be consistent with what we believe is true and why we believe it. The resurrection of Jesus matters, but so does the account of how the world began. How life began is absolutely critical. It is one of the most fundamental questions we can ask and answer. To reject the bible's answer to one of these questions but then embrace the bible's answer to the other is inconsistent and dangerous.

If we are to be consistent in how we read and interpret the scriptures, the only fair conclusion we can come to about creation is that God did it in six 24 hour days, just like it says in Genesis 1-2.


Aussie John said...


Right on.

Theistic evolution has a similar consequence to straddling a picket fence, and trying to walk at the same time.

Seems rather inconsistent to believe a scientific theory,which denies the miracle of creation, and at the same time believe in the incarnation,the life and miracles of Christ, and His death and resurrection, which, also must be "scientifically" impossible?

Are we so intellectually proud that we believe we can explain everything with "science".

If something is truly science then it must conform with the principles or methods used in science, not assumptions.

Eric said...


I'm amazed at how willing some Christians are to interpret the bible so inconsistently. Who are we to determine which parts to believe and which parts to reject? It probably has to do with our consumer mindset in the West. We need to keep proclaiming the truth on this issue.

SteveS said...

To the extent to which there is an inconsistency between accepting the resurrection and denying a literal 7X24 hour creation, I have yet to meet a believer who did not have that same degree of inconsistency elsewhere.

Consider: Do you believe that there was an actual man who was waylaid by bandits while traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, an actual priest and Levite who passed him by; and a real historical Samaritan who helped him? Or do you believe that the parable of the Good Samaritan is a fictional story used to illustrate a point metaphorically? If you believe the latter, then you accept that the Bible is a collection of material in a variety of literary styles and genres, some of which are not meant to be taken literally. If you think the parable is Jesus telling an actual historical story that is literally true, then you’ll be the first I’ve encountered that believed that.

So I would suggest that question is not whether the Bible contains passages that are meant to be taken metaphorically; but which passages those are. I would claim that there is strong evidence in language and style that Genesis 1 is a poem; and as a poem it should be read for its metaphorical as opposed to literal truth, just as the parable of the Good Samaritan should be. It eloquently presents that creation occurred according to God’s will, plan, and power, and that initially at least “it was good”. In my opinion, this allows one to be completely consistent in believing that Jesus was resurrected but that there was no 7X24 hour creation.

Genesis 2 is more problematical – the use of specific names and personal quotes makes it look a whole lot more like historical narrative. While I know people who argue that Genesis 2-10 are written in an ancient style (no longer used today) that allowed for metaphor, I personally am not enough of an expert on ancient literary styles to be sure. I would however be hesitant to say that someone who believes that Genesis 2-10 contains metaphor and hyperbole based on its literary style yet believes in the resurrection is being inconsistent.

Jeffrey said...

Theistic evolution also has the problem of death before sin; nearly impossible to resolve.

Eric said...


I agree. That is a HUGE issue that (stunningly) I've heard a good number of theistic evolutionists simply shrug off.

Eric said...


Thank you for commenting. It took me a while to reply because for some reason your comment ended up in the spam folder.

I agree that the bible is a collection of different literary styles. There is certainly metaphor used is certain places.

My focus, however, was specifically on Genesis 1-2. Should it be taken literally? I believe so. It may be a poem, but even poems can be literal. The language of Genesis 1-2 is straightforward. It speaks of God using a step-by-step, orderly process of creation. I do not understand why people have a problem with the idea that this is literally what occurred.

If it is metaphorical, then we really don't know what happened. I believe the question of how the world began is too critical for God to leave us guessing. There is simply no reason for Him to do this.

Additionally, we are discussing miracles. Parables are important, but they are not miracles. If the creation account as presented in Genesis 1-2 is denied, then why hold to a literal resurrection?

I understand what you are saying, but I'll have to respectfully disagree.

SteveS said...


I wondered what happened... :)

Personally, I split the difference - I view Gen 1 as metaphor (and so I am OK with an "old earth") but believe that Gen 2 is properly interpreted as historical narrative, so there was a literal Adam and Eve who are the progenitors of all of us.

I don't see understanding *how* God created the universe as important as the fact that He *did* create it, so the lack of details in the Bible (under my understanding) isn't an issue. What really matters to me is clearly presented in Gen 1, even if viewed as metaphorical.

Eric said...


Here's a question for you. If you are willing to accept that the earth is very old, how do you then explain the corresponding necessity that death came before sin?