A Child May See the Folly of It: Splicing Evolution and Genesis
- 2010 12 Jul
"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
Huxley then gives a lesson on New Testament theology.
He quotes Matthew 19:4-5 ("And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?"), and then comments:
If divine authority is not here claimed for the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis, what is the value of language? And again, I ask, if one may play fast and loose with the story of the Fall as a "type" or "allegory," what becomes of the foundation of Pauline theology?4
Quoting 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, in which Paul compares Adam and Christ, Huxley continues, "If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the Fall is merely an instructive ‘type,' comparable to the profound Promethean mythos, what value has Paul's dialectic?
Compromise Doesn't Work
Concerning those who tried to hold to New Testament doctrines that Paul and Christ taught but rejected Genesis as literal history, Huxley claimed, "The melancholy fact remains, that the position they have taken up is hopelessly untenable."
He was adamant that science had proven that one could not intelligently accept the Genesis account of creation and the Flood as historical truth. However, he pointed out that the New Testament is dependent on the truth of these events, as Paul's teaching on the doctrine of sin and other teachings are founded on these events as literal. He mocked those who tried to harmonize evolution and millions of years with the Bible while still trying to hold to the doctrines of the New Testament.
Huxley's point was clear: Theologians, in his view, had to accept evolution and millions of years, but to do so, they would have to give up the Bible totally. Compromise does not work!
Sadly, the established church of Huxley's day gave up literal belief in the Flood. Subsequently we have seen how it has progressively abandoned other vital New Testament doctrines. The church of that time succumbed to the teachings of Darwin as propagated by Huxley, the ardent anti-Christian humanist, who once said about those he was teaching, "By next Friday evening they will all be convinced that they are monkeys."5
One of Huxley's major evidences to "prove" evolution was the evolution of the horse. He said in one of his essays that this was scientific proof, and therefore evolution rested upon a "secure foundation." But today, the evolution of the horse, as taught for generations, has been "discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."6
One of Huxley's mentors was Charles Lyell, who popularized the idea that massive layers of sedimentary rocks could not have been laid down catastrophically; they must have taken millions of years to form. He also insisted that large river valleys must have taken millions of years to form. As we show in powerful exhibits throughout the Creation Museum, evidence today from Mount St. Helens and many other areas has seriously challenged these ideas. Yet it was Charles Lyell who gave Huxley ammunition to insist that the church abandon the idea of the worldwide Flood.
Great numbers in the church continue to accept the word of men and reject the Word of God. However, history teaches us that many evolutionary ideas that are taught today as fact will undoubtedly be abandoned by the evolutionists of tomorrow.
Ken Hamis the president/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis-U.S. and the highly acclaimed Creation Museum. A native Australian who now resides near Cincinnati, Ohio, he is one of the most in-demand Christian speakers in North America. He is the author of numerous books on Genesis, the accuracy and authority of the Bible, dinosaurs, and the destructive fruits of evolutionary thinking. Visit www.AnswersInGenesis.org for more information.
1Science and Hebrew Tradition, D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1897, p. 207.
2Ibid, p. 225.
3Ibid, p. 232.
4Ibid, pp. 235-236.
5Ronald W. Clark, The Huxleys, Heinemann, London, 1968, p. 66.
6David M. Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago), "Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50 No.1, January 1979, p.25. (See The Revised Quote Book, Creation Science Foundation, Brisbane (Australia), 1990, p. 13.)
This article was originally published in the May/Jun 2010 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Sign up now to receive a FREE sample copy! Just click here: http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html