A Child May See the Folly of It: Splicing Evolution and Genesis
- Monday, July 12, 2010
"What do you think of the idea modern theologians have proposed to harmonize the Bible with what scientists are saying about evolution?" asked a young man at a creation seminar.
"What idea is that?" I replied.
"Well, that Christians can accept evolution, because it fits right in with Genesis," was his retort.
"Actually," I said, "that is not a new idea at all. When Darwin was popularizing his views, many theologians attempted to harmonize his evolution account with Genesis. However, it was the leading humanist of the day who pointed out that Christians can't do this if they are going to be consistent. Sometimes I think that humanists, then and now, understand Christianity better than many Christians!"
The idea that God used evolution and that the book of Genesis needs reinterpretation to accommodate the so-called millions of years of Earth's history (while rejecting the worldwide Flood) is not a modern idea. Many theologians have attempted such harmonization in response to the work of people like Charles Darwin and the Scottish lawyer/geologist Charles Lyell, who helped popularize the idea that it takes millions of years for sedimentary layers to form.
However, it was the leading humanist of Darwin's day, Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), who eloquently pointed out the inconsistencies of such an approach. Huxley, an ardent evolutionary humanist, was known as "Darwin's bulldog" because he did more to popularize Darwin's ideas than Darwin himself. Huxley understood Christianity much more clearly than did the compromising theologians. He used their compromise to help his cause in undermining Christianity.
In his essay "Lights of the Church and Science," Huxley stated,
I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures . . . If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the "ten words" were not written by God's hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated: And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?1
Genesis: Historical Truth
Huxley's point is that if we are to believe the New Testament doctrines, we must believe, as historical truth, the account of Genesis. He quoted various theological sources that attempted to harmonize the Bible with millions of years and suggest that Noah's Flood was just a local event. Concerning this idea, Huxley stated, "A Child may see the folly of it."2
On the other hand, he reacted gleefully when he read an article entitled "Noah" in the Dictionary of the Bible, written by a church dignitary, in which the "doctrine of the universality of the Deluge is therein altogether given up," stating that what "I supplied him, may in some degree, have contributed towards this happy result."
Huxley was out to destroy the truth of the biblical record. When people rejected the Bible he was happy. But when they tried to harmonize evolutionary ideas with the Bible, and reinterpret it, he vigorously attacked their position.
I confess I soon lose my way when I try to follow those who walk delicately among "types" and allegories. A certain passion for clearness forces me to ask, bluntly, whether the writer means to say that Jesus did not believe the stories in question or that he did? When Jesus spoke, as a matter of fact, that "the Flood came and destroyed them all," did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah's wife, and his sons' wives, there is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage: and I should have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God's methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of "Wolf" when there is no wolf?3
Recently on Homeschool
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content