Of course, evolution has little or nothing to do with what we think about fossils and dinosaurs. What we are discussing here amounts to two rival faiths. One says God created out of nothing and into nothing, the other claims the universe was brought about by powers within nature over billions of years. Between these two belief systems there is no position of reconciliation still less and ground of compromise. One is false, if the other is true.
Evolution is a godless myth, a fable from the pit, and those who believe it have grasped it eagerly with both hands for reasons that have nothing to do with science. Evolution is magic of the abracadabra kind. Cover the chaos with a black cloth and wave a magic wand – the universe is the product of a blind, unconscious, inexplicable process. Stretching it out over billions of years is done simply to make it believable, but it only convinces those for whom the unacceptable alternative, creation out of nothing by the word of God, has already been written off before the discussion begins. Given enough time anything can happen! Viewed from a Scriptural perspective, evolution is an essential element of the revolt of our day against a sovereign and all-sufficient God who brings all things to pass after the counsel of his own will. Debating the pros and cons of evolution with unbelievers without addressing the issue of their own personal rebellion against God is unproductive and only legitimises their unbelief.
There are many reasons why evolution is incompatible with the teaching of the Word of God. First, it is incompatible with the plain statements of Scripture. Second, it is incompatible with the teaching of Scripture as a whole. Third, rather than helping sceptics to faith, those trying to reconcile the Bible with the fable of evolution support the godless in their rebellion in return for insincere academic respectability. Whilst open ridicule may be avoided, godless scientists will always despise in their hearts those who place God anywhere near the origin of the world. The same arguments used to propose a reconciliation between evolution and the Bible can also be used with respect to any part of Scripture. To a ‘scientifically penetrating mind’, inferring Bible believers cannot possess such a mind, the resurrection or miracles are just as obscurantist as creation. Where then shall we call a halt? To continue down this road will lead to a total rejection of all biblical faith. This route does not make it easier but more difficult for unbelievers to accept the teaching of Scripture, rather like trying to cure an alcoholic by having a whisky or a beer with him.
It is interesting that those who want to put words into God’s mouth other than those He actually gave by using new and ‘modern versions’ of Scripture full of old and ancient error, are invariably the very same individuals now trying to chase God out of the universe He created for Himself and His own delight and pleasure. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Evolution, when it comes down to it, is a matter of whether we believe the Word of God or the words of men. We cannot to do both, although some will try to do so by saying that the Bible is not a science textbook. As the Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, perceptively observed, the Bible does not suddenly cease to be God’s Word when it touches the scientific world. The Bible is said by some to speak of ‘spiritual’ matters and science provides ‘natural’ truth. Two given realms of infallible truth are proposed, neither of which can be questioned. Effectively in this way God is banished from the world He created, even by those who claim to worship Him. We must agree with the views of the German theologians, C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, in their commentary on Genesis:
“Natural research, again, will never explain the origin of the universe, or even of the earth; for the creation lies beyond the limits of the territory within its reach.” (The Pentateuch, Vol.1, p.41)
In other words, rather than the Bible having nothing to say, it is the only reliable source of data concerning the beginning of the universe. Let us make no mistake, the question of origins will be settled by the Bible not biology. The astute remarks of E. J. Young are worth remembering:
“Whenever ‘science’ and the Bible are in conflict, it is always the Bible that, in one manner or another, must give way. We are not told that ‘science’ should correct its answers in the light of Scripture. Always it is the other way round. Yet this is really surprising, for the answers which scientists have provided have frequently changed with the passing of time.” (Studies in Genesis One, p.53)
Whilst the Bible must be kept out of science so-called, this same quasi-science is not to be prevented from pronouncing on the Bible. It is the new authoritative ‘word of god’!
The ‘Christian’ evolutionist and opponent of ‘creationism’, Dr Denis Alexander, writing in Evangelicals Now in October 1997 asked facetiously: “Would you listen to the gospel from a flat-earther?” He unintentionally makes our point for us precisely: science moves on, the Bible stays the same. Tying the unchanging, unshakeable Word of God to the shifting sands of humanistic science brings it into disrepute. Science should move over and keep quiet about matters where it has no competence and is in no position to offer an explanation. Scientists ought instead to let God tell us Himself how He made the world and begin from there. Science on any other basis can only amount to speculation and conjecture not certainty.
“Our record contains not merely religious truth transformed into history, but the true and actual history of a work of God, which preceded the existence of man, and to which he owes his existence. Of this work he could only have obtained his knowledge through divine revelation, by the direct instruction of God.” (C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, Vol.1, p.45)
Not only is the creation itself a direct work of God, so is the manner in which knowledge of it comes to us. There is no way in which anyone can know about how the world began but by revelation, and that revelation we now have before us in Scripture. It stands to reason, if only God was there when He made the world, only He can tell us what He did. What are these people thinking? Do they think they can sit on His throne and see what He sees? Let all scientists first attend to what God has said before they even begin to open their mouths.
We are required to believe in the God of Scripture. Only He is the Lord, no other will do. This God is the Creator of all things. We are required to believe everything that He has said to us in His Word, nothing less will do, and in this Word God speaks of everything. The Bible is not a self-service pick-and-mix sweetie bar where we take some things and leave others. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). We obey the Word of God in its entirety or we do not obey it at all. The stance we take at one point we will take everywhere else. To obey God’s Word we must believe it. If we deny the authority of the Bible at one point we deny it everywhere. We pick and choose what we fancy, which we means we trust in ourselves and not wholeheartedly and without reserve in the Word of God.
A suspect attitude towards the Word of God with respect to origins undermines trust in everything else it teaches. Can we then have confidence in what is says about salvation? If we doubt the Bible on creation, can we then at the same time trust in Christ for salvation? – for it is only through the Bible we find Christ and salvation through faith. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
All that God does in this world is based on the fact that He made it. We cannot move one brick from a wall without threatening its collapse, so we cannot remove or adjust the Bible teaching about creation without affecting every other doctrine. We must either believe and accept the plain teaching of Scripture in all that it says or, rather than try to make it say something else, simply reject it all.
With no biblical view of creation there can be no biblical doctrine of salvation. Those believing a theistic version of evolution will not have an orthodox view of salvation and so it is difficult to see how they can be counted among God’s people. Where the Genesis 1 to 3 account is not understood to be historical, but above history, a different kind of ‘history’, those historical events in the New Testament, such as the resurrection of Christ, must also suffer the same exegetical mishandling. Where there is no first Adam, there is no last Adam; where no first man, no second Man. If the first is poetic, so is the second. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 our salvation depends on the events described being real historical events, the beginning as the end. “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). It simply will not do to treat one passage of Scripture in a different way to another. Surely there must be some measure of hermeneutical consistency? Soon there is no place for a literal fall into sin, original sin is denied, and so in this way little by little Christian doctrine unravels.
We should not try to limit the almighty power of God by assuming that because we observe the light of stars travelling to earth at around 186,000 miles per second the days of Genesis are impossible. We cannot make God’s present providential working the measure of what He did at creation. The commandment given in Exodus 20:9-11 and 31:12-17 to keep the Sabbath was established on the basis that God rested from His labours on the seventh day. Indeed, these passages make no sense unless we understand the creation to have been accomplished in literal days. Marcus Dods was no friend of ‘creationist’ views, yet in his commentary on Genesis he says, “If, for example the word ‘day’ in these chapters, does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scriptures is hopeless.” Of course, there are many who insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible in order to rubbish it rather than believe it.
The Lord Jesus based His teaching on marriage on a literal understanding of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24.
“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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
To say that the Lord Jesus was merely accommodating the ignorance of His day, apart from bordering on the blasphemous, assumes a departure from the Scripture teaching concerning the person of Christ. We see here that morality is directly linked to a belief in creation. It is not surprising to see marriage despised and immorality widespread in a world that has swallowed the evolution myth. It is inevitable that evangelical bible teachers denying creation should entertain loose views on marriage and divorce or should argue for same-sex relationships against the clear teaching of the Bible. Such a move is essential, if they are to justify their own immorality. The historical fact of creation condemns them.
After a careful consideration of the straightforward meaning of the Hebrew text, Keil and Delitzsch, conclude:
“The first day commenced at the moment when God caused the light to break forth from the darkness; but this light did not become a day, until the evening had come, and the darkness which set in with the evening had given place the next morning to the break of day …But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, or years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days. It is true that the morning and evening of the first three days were not produced by the rising and setting of the sun, since the sun was not yet created.” (The Pentateuch, Vol.1, p.51)
The Bible includes an account of ex nihilo creation in six days that cannot accommodate evolutionary science. Keil and Delitzsch once more:
“The account of creation, its commencement, progress, and completion, bears the marks, both in form and substance, of a historical document in which it is intended that we should accept as actual truth, not only the assertion that God created the heavens, and the earth, and all that lives and moves in the world, but also the description of the creation itself in all its several stages. If we look merely at the form of this document, its place in the beginning of the book of Genesis is sufficient to warrant the expectation that it will give us history, and not fiction, or human speculation.” (The Pentateuch, Vol.1, p.37)
From the very nature of the text itself, we must understand that the Genesis account of origins is intended to be a literal, historical account. There is nothing in the text itself to suggest it is simply a way of representing what really happened. If we question this text, we are obliged to continue through the whole of the Bible subjecting every historical account to the same exegetical methodology. To be selective with respect to passages in order to retain some grain of evangelical respectability is dishonesty of the worst kind, especially when texts such as those referring to the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection are left alone because they impinge so directly on our hope of salvation. Motives then become seriously suspect. Better discount the Scriptures altogether and renounce the faith from the start than to subject them this kind of unholy shredding.
From Genesis 1 we learn that with the creation of the heaven and the earth all things began. This idea is repeated and extended in John 1, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (v.3). The whole of creation sprang into being, not the product of inherent powers within nature, nor at the behest of any secondary causes, but directly at the word of the omnipotent God. Any other understanding violates the plain words of the Scripture record. Man, however, on the sixth day was created not by a word spoken by God but by divine decree: “Let us make man in our image”, immediately this sets man apart from the rest of creation. Formed of the dust of the ground in an act of special creation, man was installed as a ruler under God in creation.
As significant as is the creation of each of the six days so is that of the seventh day. An account of the seventh day is given in Genesis 2:1-3.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
These verses make a number of important points, but first we need to be very clear about what we understand by creation. Not everyone seems to subscribe to the same definition. Nothing exists that was not created by God. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). God did not ‘create’ from pre-existing materials that He had not brought into being. God created into nothing, for nothing was there to create into; and He created out of nothing, for nothing was there that He could use. There was nothing other than God Himself before He created anything. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).
It goes without saying that God did not need to rest on the seventh day because He was tired or weary as though He were like us. There must then be some other significance to the idea of rest. God rested on the seventh day in the sense that He stopped work. Negatively, God ceased to create and positively, He blessed and sanctified the day. This is important, for there is now nothing ever going to appear that was not there before, nothing new will ever come again out of nothing. God’s creative activity was over. This is entirely consistent with Genesis 2:1-3. To read anything else into these verses requires they be twisted grammatically to say something the plain language does not allow, either in Hebrew or in English. Creation ended on the sixth day. It does not continue as some would try to tell us, including many neo-evangelical compromisers.
After God finished creation out of nothing, nothing ever came again out of nothing. This means that creation can never be thought of as a process; the Bible account will not permit us to say this. God rested on the seventh day, took pleasure in what He had made. Keil and Delitzsch again:
“As a human artificer completes his work just when he has brought it up to his ideal and ceases to work upon it, in an infinitely higher sense, God completed the creation of the world with all its inhabitants by ceasing to produce anything new, and entering into the rest of His all-sufficient eternal Being, from which He had come forth, as it were, at and in the creation of a world distinct from His own essence.” (ed. italics mine; The Pentateuch, Vol.1, p.68)
Ceasing to work is the meaning of rest. This is not to say that God now removes His hands from what He has made. Far from it, He remains active in that He continues to preserve His world and accomplish His purpose for it. Indeed, without God everything would fail to continue to hold together. What God does not do any longer is to create anything entirely new out of nothing as He did in those first six days. We need ever to maintain a strong distinction between God’s providential and preserving work and creation that took just six days to complete.
Many theistic evolutionists accuse ‘creationists’ of quasi-deism because we deny that God continues to create. Denying or even simply blurring the sharp distinction drawn in Scripture between a creation finished in six days and God’s continuing providential activity may provide a platform for theistic evolution, but it then exposes theistic evolutionists themselves to charges of deism. Theistic evolution rests on a re-definition of creation and by using the term ‘secondary causes’ its proponents thereby hope to sidestep accusations of deism. In practice, however, this turns out to be not a biblical understanding of the working of secondary causes but ‘natural law’ by another name. Natural law puts powers within nature itself that take the place of God’s continuing activity in the world. There is, of course, no such thing as ‘nature’, this is all part of the mythology. There are no laws of nature inherent within the universe. The universe is not the source of its own laws, nor does it operate as a self-enclosed system. God works directly in all natural phenomena. Storms, lightning, thunder, earthquakes, plagues, drought, all these things are directly attributable to God. They are, as was once believed, ‘acts of God’.
Deism teaches that God has left the world to run on its own. Pantheism erases the distinction between God and the universe He has made – God is in everything and everything is part of God. Both of these extremes are to be avoided in order to maintain a biblical position. The Bible teaches God ceased on the seventh day to bring anything new out of nothing into being. Now God continues to uphold what He created by that same “word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3) used in creating. He is directly involved in all that goes on, without being part of creation Himself. The running of the universe is not left to the process; it is not left to natural laws. Natural laws are the way in which we observe God normally at work. That we can rely on these ‘laws’ is due to God’s faithfulness. Miracles, then, amount to the exceptional working of God in nature. According to evolutionary theists, creation needs ‘disinfecting’ from deism. By assigning the functioning of the universe to ‘a wide range of secondary causes’ he is in danger of hanging himself on the deistic gallows he has built for others. It would appear that God continues to create and then leaves the world to run itself by natural laws that operate from a power within themselves. The biblical teaching of God’s providential activity in creation is thereby implicitly denied. This leaves us with the worst of both worlds – deism and pantheism.
Once more we should note that as the six creation days were six days of normal length, so was the seventh day on which rests the Sabbath of Exodus 20:11 and 31:17. Here again is a pattern of behaviour man is to follow. How can God ask us to work for six days if He did not actually do it Himself? There is little point to rest if it is not preceded by work. That we should work for six days every week is rooted in creation. Work is as much expected of us by God as a day of rest one day in seven. The disinclination to work, the denial of a ‘work ethic’, the desire to be free not to work, can be justified only when the biblical doctrine of creation is removed and replaced. As with God’s order for marriage, His order for work is established by the reality of creation. God worked; so must we.
The idea of creation as a process, rather than having been completed each day, is important to those who try to justify evolution whilst still holding on to the Bible. Well, if you do not like what the Bible says, why not rewrite it? Some render Genesis 1:1 as a clause dependent on verse 2: “When God began to create the heaven and the earth…”* The translators of the Revised Standard Version,knowing full well the Hebrew text will not stand such a rendering, sneak it into the margin just to hint how unreliable the Bible really is! The scandalous Bible rewriter, James Moffatt, really went to town: “When God began to form the universe…” He does not even give God the credit for creating anything! ‘Forming’ or ‘fashioning’ (in Hebrews 11) implies God made everything out of materials He had already to hand. Not so, not if we stick to the Scriptures. Why do these people bother with Christian things at all? Just deny it all and have done with it! Furthermore, what are people who claim to be Bible-believers doing holding hands with them? By changing verse one into a subordinate clause, “When God began to form the universe…”, instead of the complete statement of a main clause as in the Authorised Version, we are told what the universe was like when God not creating but forming material that was already there. Presumably, this is what He continues to do. The void and the chaos of unformed matter was always there, according to this way of thinking, and God just worked on it. This is ancient dualistic paganism whereby God and matter are co-eternal. This is ‘another god’, one we do not recognise, and not the God of Scripture. God’s distinctive creative activity sets Him apart as God. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).
(*For an extensive and technical discussion as to why the Hebrew text cannot be translated in this way see E. J. Young, Studies in Genesis One. Young also gives a very thorough refutation of the ‘framework hypothesis’ proposed by some theologians as an alternative to literal days. Nevertheless, this useful book must be read with some care. Young’s conclusions cannot always be endorsed.)
The Bible tells us that everything came into being as a result of a series of deliberate supernatural creative acts that ended after six days and not as a result of a natural process however initiated. The Bible tells us further that the universe, man, time – and therefore all that happens in time – are the works of a sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing, triune God. All that occurs is grounded, not within the created world itself but in God, not in time but in eternity, before the world ever was. If we discount the eternal plan of God for the world He made, it must be replaced by something else. Evolution fulfils this role with order evolving by chance out of chaos to no particular end.
The purposes of God with respect to His world are made clear throughout Scripture. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Lest there be any doubt that Darwin’s evolution is religious in nature and purpose, we ought to take note of these words at the end of The Origin of Species; they have a strangely familiar ring to them: “And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection” (Penguin edition, p.459).This is clearly not so, things are not getting better and better, let alone progressing towards perfection. The idea that if we will only step aside and let nature rule all will be well is preposterous religious quackery with no basis in fact.
Darwin’s hypothesis and all that has grown from it attempts to explain the origin and adaptation of living things solely by the action of natural forces, ‘secondary causes’, without the need for divine intervention, even should God exist. God is made superfluous to the running of the universe. According to passages such as Romans 1:19-25 and 2 Peter 3:4-7, to deny the reality of creation is linked with a desire to be rid of God. Dr Asa Gray was an orthodox Presbyterian, theistic-evolutionist and a friend of Darwin whose work is referred to in The Origin of Species. Even he admits in an essay published around 1860 that ‘an hypothesis of the derivation of species’, more specifically Darwin’s hypothesis, “if logically carried out, is doubtless tantamount to atheism.” To rank unbelievers, such as T. H. Huxley, Darwin’s hypothesis provided ground they could use to refute creation and this it still does. In Darwin’s day and before, western nations were ‘coming of age’ and dispensing with God, God was dying or dead, and He was seen by many as little more than a crutch, once useful but now to be discarded. It would appear that God did not make man after all, but man created God in his own image! All the answers to man’s needs were to be found not in a manufactured God, but within man’s own latent powers.
God, according to Feuerbach, was a ‘wish being’ and religion the dream of the human mind. God represented man’s highest ideals for himself. Scientists, writers, philosophers of the day were all well aware of the fact they were taking up arms against God. According to George Bernard Shaw, ‘the world jumped at Darwinism’. It was according to the spirit of the age. The Southern Presbyterian theologian, R. L. Dabney, was a fierce opponent of Darwinism and he puts his finger straight on the problem.
“’Darwinism’ happens just now to be the current manifestation, which the fashion of the day gives to the permanent anti-theistic tendency in sinful man. As long as men do not like to retain God in their knowledge, the objection to the argument for His existence will re-appear in some form.” (Systematic Theology, p.37)
Many seem to rejoice in a minimalist approach to Christian belief. What is the least I can get away with? How little do I have to relinquish in order to follow Christ? Will I not lend support to the deep-seated prejudices of unbelievers in rejecting evolution? After all, our salvation does not depend on what we believe about evolution does it? Again the words of R. L. Dabney:
“Instead of granting that God created a cosmos, a world, some strive continually to show that He created only the rude germs of a world, ascribing as little as possible to God, and as much as possible to natural law. Cui bono; if you are not hankering after atheism? Is a completed result any harder for infinite powers than a germinal one? What is natural law; and what is its source? It originated in the creative power, and is maintained, energised, and regulated by the perpetual providence of God. Do you crave to push God away, as far as possible? It does not help you to say natural law directed the formation of this mass of marble, instead of supernatural creation: for God is as near and as infinite in His common, natural, as in His first, supernatural working.”
(Systematic Theology, p.261)
By his own admission, Dawin did not arrive at his conclusions after a scientific examination of the known facts. Instead, it was after reading Thomas Malthus’ Essay on Population where he found the principle expounded that favourable variations were preserved and the unfavourable destroyed. Malthus’ gloomy predictions about the growth of population have long been shown to be false, both historically and biologically. Despite this, the myth survives. In Malthus, Darwin admits to having found a theoretical basis from which to work. “This is the doctrine of Malthus applied to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms” (Origin of Species, Penguin edition, p.68). Darwin’s theory was based not upon empirical science but upon fantasy. He was only too painfully aware that he had no real evidence. Today we have a whole way of looking at the created world that is taken to be factual when it is nothing of the kind.
God having been regarded until the late nineteenth century as a ‘useful myth’ was now to be replaced by a real myth. Many scientists recognise that evolution lacks hard evidence but are happy to use it as a useful working hypothesis. In fact, since the advent of quantum physics to speak of ‘truth’ is for many a complete irrelevance. Nevertheless, evolution is taught as the ‘truth’ because the alternative truth, creation by a sovereign God, is unacceptable. One scientific writer complains of evolution being a sort of dogma, which the priests themselves do not believe, but maintain for their people. Evolution has in essence little or nothing to do with science, but is a religion that has as its futile aim the expulsion of God from the created world and from the heart and mind of man. The Origin of Species provided a straw for the godless to clutch at in their desperation to rid the world of God.
‘Christian’ evolutionists (if that is not a terminological contradiction!) would do well to measure their words before calling ‘creationists’ less than truthful (i.e. liars?). Pots, kettles and black come to mind here. They ought instead to freely acknowledge that there are scientists who recognise that evolution is not true and that there exists no evidence to support the theory. For many, it does not need to be ‘true’ in order to use it as a working hypothesis. Despite all this, the evidence is invariably explained as though evolution were absolutely true rather than on the basis of that same evidence being part of God’s creation. It is quite misleading, if not total nonsense, to suggest that ‘the evidence (for evolution) is convincing’. This is simply not true; there is no such evidence and many scientists are honest enough to admit the fact. It is a pity many evolutionary theists do not emulate this honesty.
What we must recognise is that evolution and creation are two mutually exclusive ways of interpreting the evidence, two entirely different ways of looking at the world. The believer trusts the revealed written Word of God and what is taught there. The empirical scientist trusts the reliability of his own senses to observe the regularity of nature and believes that all possible explanations are to be found in what he observes and not beyond it. What we observe as ‘natural law’ is in truth the faithfulness of God, so that we can rely on Him working in the same way and order our lives accordingly. There is no power within nature itself that compels laws to operate always in the same way. This would exclude all possibility of miracle. God can change His way of working at any time and He does so.
The Bible clearly refutes empirical uniformitarianism. Scoffers deny the second coming of Christ, biblical creation and the flood on this basis when they claim: “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4).Scripture excludes empiricism as the ground of knowledge. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:3). Sense perception and reason are surely gifts of God to be used in submission to the Scriptures. We begin with faith in God or in ourselves. Our final authority in interpreting the world in our encounter with it as Christian believers remains the Scriptures. Three great events, denied by sceptics, are affirmed by the Bible: special creation by the spoken word of God (Genesis 1:1-31; Psalm 33:6, 9; Hebrews 11:3); the fall of man (Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 5:12; 8:19-22; 1 Corinthians 15:21); Noah’s flood (Genesis 6-9; Psalm 104:6-9; 2 Peter 3:5-6). We must begin by taken these passages as being true and factual, and at the heart of our interpretation of our understanding of the world and our own place in it.
An evolutionist looking at something will call it one thing and a ‘creationist’ will say it is something else. Both will interpret what they see in terms of what they have already assumed can be true before they look at any evidence. They must do this to make any ‘sense’ of anything. All facts come to us with their own interpretation established beforehand. The interpretation adopted will depend upon the presuppositions previously assumed before encountering the evidence. Evidence or facts are what they are because of creation; apart from this they are meaningless. The pragmatist naturalist will take evolution as given and as providing him with a basic assumption about the nature of reality. The Christian will take God and the teachings of the Bible as given.
‘Christians’ believing any form of theistic evolution have acquired thereby a schizoid mindset. They are trying to believe and not to believe at one and the same time, but whilst professing to build the faith, they are all the time digging away at its foundations. To undermine the biblical teaching on creation in this way is to undermine Christian teaching as a whole. This is because evolution is a way of thinking and it is not restricted to biology but represents a rebellious worldview that is utterly at odds with Christian teaching as a whole. Evolution is not something men stumble across whilst examining scientific ‘facts’, but they are driven to it by a rebellious heart.
We cannot profess to ‘believe’ in one place and not to believe in another. Unless we forsake all and follow Christ we cannot be His disciples. We cannot live according to two opposing worldviews at one and the same time. We cannot serve two masters; we cannot worship God and Baal. In trying to serve two masters, we will at some point be disloyal to one or the other. The service of one rules out service to the other. Men must accept the revealed Word of God unconditionally, without any reservations concerning anything about which it speaks. It is this that men find so offensive and we cannot pander to it. The Bible speaks authoritatively about everything or it speaks authoritatively about nothing.
Rather than depriving Richard Dawkins and his ilk of ‘the ammunition they need to keep their anti-Christian crusades going’, as men like Denis Alexander claim, ‘Christian’ evolutionists are doing his work for him, attempting to bring Christian doctrine more into line with Dawkins and not helping anyone to the truth. Again, this is supping beer with the alcoholic! What has not been grasped is that belief in evolution is evidence of a rebellious heart towards God, and nothing can change that but a work of God’s Spirit bringing regeneration. The real problem has been forgotten, namely:
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
These people do not believe creation because they are blind; they need to be made to see. Their need is not to be persuaded about something which as yet they do not have the capacity to see. What the blind need is light, that very light whose source is in God, the God who at creation, a creation they deny, caused light to shine out of darkness.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Light is what these people need not further darkness! What a difference that would make, the blind made to see, hearts once full of darkness now flooded with the light of the Gospel! Nothing less will meet the need. We call upon all rebels of every kind to lay down the weapons they have taken up against God of which evolution is just one. Unconditional surrender!
As Christian believers we cannot compromise our position of faith in the Word of God. Any other ground is by definition unbelief. Accepting invitations to argue on ‘neutral’ ground is a deception. It means we accept the possibility that the position of unbelief could be valid and in doing this we have left our exclusive position of faith. The need to ‘prove’ creation is based on doubt. If God’s Word says it, then it is true, end of the discussion. Any other ground than that of Scripture is false. On so-called neutral ground we are moving on territory of our opponent’s choosing and at his behest; this can never produce faith. He will call the shots and determine the priorities. The attempt to introduce theistic evolution into our churches is not the sign of openness and honesty with respect to creation we are led to believe. This shift is instead evidence of a once latent now increasingly brazen apostasy within the bosom of evangelicalism. This is but one more nail in a well-polished coffin.
One way of muddying the waters and gaining acceptance by deception is to talk about creation as though when using the word we all mean the same thing. Even as the heterogeneous political left in western democracies from ex-communists, socialists, to Marxists of every hue cry, ‘We are all liberals now!’ so the theistic evolution lobby mouth the words, ‘We are all creationists anyway’. Repeat this mantra often enough and some simple souls will believe it. After all, the argument goes, all biblical Christians believe in God as Creator and Sustainer of the universe – what they disagree about is how He did it. No, I am afraid that is not all we disagree about. Contrary to the impression these people would like to leave with us, the Bible teaches something fundamentally different about God’s creation and sustaining work. This should already beginning to be clear.
Inasmuch as evolution panders to the desire to rid of God and the creation and the providence of God it is a religion. Evolution not God is a myth, useful to those who seek an alternative to God. Wild speculation is preferable to the truth, but as the Bible says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Anything, any nonsensical theory, however foolish, can be called upon to suppress any revelation that God is Creator. Evolution at its heart is expressly designed to replace anything recognising God as Creator.
A common thread in evolutionist thinking is the concept of ‘continuous creation’, but this finds no support in Scripture. A creative process replaces Creation as a series of divine acts. It is testimony to the humanistic identity of evolution to find ‘process’ proposed by the Humanist Manifesto I (1933), a document concocted to a large degree by Unitarian ministers, including R. Lester Mondale (brother of Walter), but there were others such as John Dewey and Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein of Columbia University.
“FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process."
You can certainly tell what a man really thinks by the company he keeps.
Creation as a process requires a redefinitionof creation. It is bound to include an implicit denial somewhere along the line of creation out of nothing whereby God continues to create using what is already to hand. For theistic evolutionists God’s creative activity continues to this day in some form. The notion of continuous creation seems to have been derived in modern times from Fred Hoyle’s (1915-2001) overheated powers of imagination (see The Nature of the Universe, 1950). Plumian Professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, Hoyle has been described as one of the most creative scientists of the 20th century – his creativity is self-evident. He wrote over 40 books many of them enjoyed as genuine works of science fiction!
Those who mistranslate Genesis 1:1 as “when God began to create” are telling us that what God did at creation, He continues to do. Genesis 1 was just the beginning. If creation is something God continues to do, it will rest on a different understanding of creation than that which Scripture itself gives us. Nothing comes out of nothing any longer, but is made from that which is already there. The implication is also therefore, and Moffatt’s mistranslation substantiates this, that God creates by forming what He makes out of pre-existing materials.
The observation of the preacher is apt: “…there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10) This is nothing new, but has all been thought of before! Continuous creation can be traced back to the pagan mythology of the ancient world. Biblical creation excludes creation through a self-generating process inherent in nature and it is no escape simply to call these processes by another name such as ‘second causes’. These views remain inherently deistic implying that somehow nature has within itself powers of creation that are watched over by a distant deity. Certainly, this cannot be the God of Scripture who involves Himself actively and directly in all that goes on in His world. The Bible teaches fiat creation by the word of God, ‘by which the mountains rose’, a discontinuous event not a continuing process.
Where God’s power is placed within the process of nature, where divine potential lies within the universe itself, this is pantheism. Therefore to avoid this, God must create ex nihilo and by the power of His word and both in creation and providence His working will be upon nature. The other possibility is that there is a power within ‘laws of nature’ operating apart from God – even when called by another name such as ‘second causes’ – God and nature exist then on the same level. Where creation is a process, where power is derived not from God acting distinctly from nature itself, God is not in control. Now that is a god even the mildest sinner can live with! If the creative power rests with God, then God performed literal creative acts within six days precisely as Genesis 1 records and continues to act upon nature in providence.
Creation as an act results directly from God’s sovereign and eternal decree. Creation as a continuing process relies on innate powers within nature. Where creation is a continuing process, the whole of Scripture is swallowed up within it, naturalised, rather than being a declaration of the acts of God. Freedom or the apparent contingency of second causes in any truly biblical sense will still always be established by eternal decree. Where there is God’s eternal decree there will be divine acts where God is in complete control. A continuing process generated by some distinct power where God has no control must be discounted. The western world has not ‘matured’ but rejected God, tried to expel Him from the world He created and to wrench the tiller from His hand.
Evolutionists want to minimise or completely rid themselves of a God who intervenes directly in the workings of the universe. They accomplish this by exchanging the one and true God for a false god, if they keep Him at all, they exchange Him for an immanent ever-working god who is effectively a part of the process Himself and even subject to it. Nature rules, OK. A transcendent God who perpetually meddles in human affairs from the outside is entirely unacceptable.
However, a god who continuously creates, a god of the process, will be a god who is always himself changing. By contrast, the God of Scripture creates by His word and then upholds that which He has brought into being by that same word. Time is a part of creation and so the God who created it cannot be a part of it or subject to it. Of the God of the Bible we can say, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).The god who is subject to time, therefore also to nature, is the false god of the pantheist and runs perilously close to Hegel’s philosophy of ‘becoming’ as the sole reality. Our God is the ‘I AM’. He is “the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). He is what He always was and always will be and changes not. Continuous creation suggests that God is continually thinking, continually having new thoughts, new ideas, creating things He has only just thought of. His actions are dependent then not on a plan conceived apart from time in eternity but on a continually changing process of thought. This god is not the God of Scripture.
God’s fiat creation in which all that is came forth by His spoken word, His providential working upon that which He created, is dependent on nothing in time but upon His eternal purpose and decree. Where there is no eternal plan, God does not need to stop creating, but then God Himself becomes an ever-changing god. What does this say for His faithfulness? How ever can we rely on Him again for anything? How can we trust Him for salvation?
We have returned once more to Goethe’s pantheism. Nature will not change for me so I must always adjust to her; I must always move forwards. Natural and historical processes have become the ever-changing god out of which the universe develops. Mission accomplished! No transcendent God can exercise any form of compulsion on the human will. This is all, of course, quite the opposite of what the Bible says. God has become sucked into the materialistic process, robbed of power, sovereignty, and personality.
It has long been recognised that ‘freedom’ and ‘nature’ stand as two irreconcilable motives. Within nature there is no place for ‘autonomous and free personality’ and therefore no room either for responsibility and accountability. If nature has dictated what I am, then I am not to blame. Even as Christian believers we surrender willingly to the will of God, so the evolutionist has little option but to surrender to what he perceives to be the cruel fates of nature, surrounded by her, tightly embraced by her, inescapably gripped. This whole sad philosophy of nature has been well expressed by Goethe. He sees nature always taking on new forms, what is there was never there before and will not come again. Everything is new but always the same as the old. Nature does not even recognise the existence of anyone. We are working continually upon nature, yet without any power over her. This is where an apostate view of natural laws leads. What a contrast to the creation ordinance:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28-29)
This nature brings forth its creations from nothing and gives no inkling as to where they have come from or where they are going. We all obey her laws even whilst resisting them, working with her whilst at the same time working against her. When we become passive and obedient to God our Creator, then and only then, can we act truly and effectively upon nature. Only then are we not enslaved by nature.
An evolutionary or creative process where man too must still be evolving means that the human problem is that man is not yet what he could be. Steps must be undertaken to improve him. Creation and the biblical account of the fall teach that the problem lies not outside man but within him and something needs to be done to change him. Something is wrong inside that needs dealing with and no change on the outside can bring this about. Where man himself evolves then he is continuous with the rest of creation, he cannot be a special creation made in the image of God. He becomes himself the product of nature and cannot be its lord and must, as Goethe says, must be passive to nature, determined by her, at her disposal, irrelevant to her whims. In the world of ‘natural’ psychology, such as that portrayed by behaviourism, men need not regeneration but reconditioning. We need to improve the environment to improve man. Education is debased to futility as methods that are little more than brainwashing and conditioning try to ‘improve’ on what nature has made our children. What we as parents have done in bringing up our children has often only made matters worse, hence the programmes on every TV channel about what we should be doing! The process demeans men, reducing all he is to little more than a complicated mechanism.
In God’s place rulers are learning to control the process. God created the world to serve His purposes; godless men would engineer and control it to serve theirs. Today government agencies are engaged in wide-reaching social engineering and experimentation on their unwitting populations. For an experiment to be valid all relevant factors need to be controlled, nothing can be allowed to exist outside. Where there is to be complete control the mass of people need to be kept stupid. The curtailing of our hard-won freedoms will continue unabated to ensure this control and the success of the experiment. Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, will have been exceeded. Where the Gospel is refused, liberty diminishes. Those who seek it elsewhere will fail to find it. Those who refuse God as King are forced to accept tyrants in His place. Where men will not acknowledge themselves to be creatures of God, they become the creatures of godless and tyrannical rulers. Evolutionary thinking sets no one free but would enslave us all.
Where the evolutionary process rules, it wipes out all standards of right and wrong. One day something is good, the next day it is evil. Only the Bible is absolutely wrong because it forbids things. Everything is potentially good. The only crime is coercion. Every perversion is permissible if it is voluntary. The moral breakdown widespread in our western nations is directly attributable to evolutionary thinking. Where nature evolves so does truth, so does morality. Everything is in flux. Everything is permitted where nature takes us and there can be no blame attached to it. I am what nature made me and this is continually changing. According to Alexander Pope, “One truth is clear, ‘Whatever IS, is RIGHT.’” The degeneration of our nations soaked in moral nihilism and anarchy has bred a new barbarian who terrorises those around him, who respects nothing and no one, whose great delight is destruction for its own sake. Total control will emerge as the answer of our rulers to total lawlessness unless there is a return to God. Sinners must be seen as responsible creatures and not as victims of their ever-evolving environment. Sinners can only be held responsible for their actions where they are recognised as being created in the image of God and no longer seen as the purposeless and meaningless products of a natural evolutionary process.
Evolution lives within an internal contradiction: on the one hand it maintains “all things continue as they were”, on the other it claims at the same time that everything is in constant change. This too is a revival of an ancient error. Heraclitus said that no one steps into the same river twice. Reality is in constant flux. Evolutionary thinking oozes its way every nook and cranny in the mind of those who espouse it in all its forms. They see it everywhere. Theistic evolutionists are evidently intimidated by the threatening advice offered by atheist and sceptic, Conan Doyle, who cried, “Christianity must change or perish.” (Sir, you should have stuck with Sherlock Holmes!) Christianity is false at the start for Doyle because it teaches that God created the world. The world is continually changing; nothing is ever the same and Christians must ‘move with the times’. An evolutionary mindset absorbed by evangelicals directs how they look at Christian things. The most imperceptible capitulation to evolution is to draw it into an understanding of history and the Christian world in general, to draw God Himself by implication into a process of evolution and development. It will find an expression, for example, in a changed understanding of God and the way in which we should address Him, worship and serve Him, and in what behaviour is thought generally to be acceptable to Him. Change is therefore irresistible and only fools stand against it. Worship must change, methods must change, music must change, preaching must change. Change for change sake is the new idol. Inevitably, if subtly, doctrine too will change; all things must change; resistance is futile. Move into the twenty-first century! Rubbish! Nothing has changed. Men still have hardened hearts, are lost in sin and need “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). It easy to see how those wed to the idea of all things evolving become infatuated with the idea of irresistible change. Everything is moving, run as though you were after a departing bus that you cannot catch! Just like in those dreams where you move your legs whilst running but getting nowhere. Naturally, where everything is always changing there can be no established facts, no truth; there can be no end in sight. These people worship at the temple of chaos, whilst pretending that everything must necessarily always be the same.
Today’s evangelicals live on capital accrued in the past, whilst endeavouring to walk the road of change. They assert on the one hand what they deny on the other. Like parasitic insects they destroy the body on which they feed. When it goes down, so will they. The only answer is a return to the plain teachings of the Scriptures, including a thoroughgoing acceptance of biblical creation and a rejection of all forms of evolution. Attempts to harmonise evolution and the Bible in order to make it amenable to apostate science reduce creation to a process and unleash unforeseen evils.
Darwinism offers a solution to the question of origins that leaves God out of the picture. It is totally impersonal and materialistic and therefore can provide no basis for right and wrong, for moral values or justice. It cannot hold anyone to account for anything.
Many will accept the possibility of God as long as He is as they are: a product of nature and subject to laws outside Himself. As long as God is Himself ‘natural’ He cannot call us to account. Once we admit that God is above nature and is the Creator and providential Mover of all things, then He is not only in a position to tell how we should live our lives but also to call us to account. The denial of creation has very little to do with science. First and foremost, it has to do with a refusal of any accountability to God and a desire to be accountable only to ourselves. All our ‘science’ is pre-determined by this, whether we begin with a Creator-God or without Him; whether we make Him subject to nature or place Him above it.
The whole of creation is under God’s government. He is intimately and personally involved with all going on there; although He is Himself not part of it nor bound by it. We cannot exist without some form of governance or predestination. If we reject the rule of God, we will replace it with something else. What is the idea of governance by self-sustaining ‘natural law’ but predestination by another name? What is objected to is not the concept of predestination, but the very idea that God should have any irresistible rule over us. We are in rebellion against God. Humanism has very many of the same concepts that we find in the teaching of Scripture. Predestination and sovereignty is one. The question is: who rules? Humanism insists that men must be in control of their own destiny, the struggle of freedom against nature; of order against chaos.
The issue here is to whom shall we submit? Will it be the rule of God and His eternal purpose, His sovereignty? Given that God is God, this would make the most sense. The alternative boils down to nothing less than submitting to men taking over God’s role, playing at being God, taking over His total planning. This is tyranny of the worst kind.
The question now arises as to how man, if he is not to be held entirely captive by natural laws, can play a part if not control his own evolution. So we have expressions like ‘working with nature rather than against it’. He must take things in hand himself, plants, animals, the environment and climate change! This has led us to gene technology, cloning, Brave New World. Men must create and control their own social order. This leads inevitably to total rule by the state, total planning by an elite, such tyranny as is found in Plato’s Republic.
This is all part of human rebellion – but God must be replaced, His role must be taken over by someone or something else. The humanist doctrine of inescapable natural law throughout the universe teaches that inherent laws govern also that because they are there, because they govern they must be ‘right’. In this thinking the powers the Bible reserves to God are transferred to impersonal laws of nature. God rules over nature, but in ‘natural law’ the power is in the process of nature. This is the ground of all ‘laissez-faire’ philosophies, whether political, economic or whatever. All will work out fine if nature is left alone to work itself out without human interference. Planning and predestination is transferred from God to nature.
It is truly amazing that the mere mention of predestination, election, or God’s eternal plan is sufficient to give unbelieving people an apoplectic seizure, although they seem to rejoice in the notion that they are held bound hand and foot by the ‘laws’ of nature. What excuses for sin and evil proceed from this nonsense! Surely, this cannot be why they seek refuge in these chains? Drunkenness, gambling, violence, dishonesty, uncleanness of every kind are all said to be the products of nature. There can be no cure for the drunk whose father was a drunk. The German naturalist writer Gerhard Hauptmann based one of his most miserable plays on this very premise. Can there then be no hope of for the daughter of the prostitute, must she as her genes dictate follow her mother? What a miserable philosophy! How marvellous by comparison is our Saviour who saves to the uttermost! Take your pick between a depressing doctrine of doom with no hope of ever changing and the hope and freedom of the Christian Gospel given us in Scripture. Sinners are not willing and responsible individuals but freaks of nature, not sin is to blame but sickness. “Nature made me like this I cannot help myself. I am condemned to live like this in perpetuity.” In a wild dance of death nature takes us, we cannot resist, but will end up exhausted after our three score years and ten. Shed no tears, do not bewail your fate, there is nothing you could have done to change the course of your life! What a message we have to counter this wretched hopelessness! Away with this despotic despair! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I would rather that my life be predestined from beginning to end by a loving heavenly Father who has nothing in mind for me but good, I willingly surrender up my will to His, than be bound for even one second by phantom ‘laws of nature’ and my innate sin from which there is no escape even though I die with ‘freedom, freedom’ on my lips. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Men are predestined under God to freedom or under nature to bondage.
As all things are decided in eternity, God’s plan makes certain the outcome of all things, the future and that determines the present. With evolution, it is the past that determines the present. This is because with God the future is already certain. The evolutionist tries to determine the future from present actions. If man is the product of nature, then men are in nature’s hands. But if God is as the Bible says He is then we are all in God’s hands. Without a biblical view of God a man will see himself as being the product of his heredity, of his past and his environment. In truth because God’s purpose is certain the present is determined by the future.
When it comes to the future men speak in hope, God speaks with certainty and infallibility because He is sovereign and omnipotent and His purpose shall prevail. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). Such a God can only speak infallibly. The word ‘infallible’ is increasingly being removed from statements of faith with respect to Scripture, and to speak of the Bible being ‘error-free’ is a total non-starter. However, a Bible fallible at any point leaves us with a fallible God; an unreliable Bible leaves us with an unreliable Saviour. An infallible Bible will be attacked for the same reason as a sovereign God. Men will tolerate almost anything – and this goes too for many who claim to be Christians – they will accept anything except an infallible Word from God. This is pride not faith and a determination to reserve the last word for themselves. Love is defined as tolerance. We must ‘love’ everyone and tolerate everything, even that which is most abhorrent to God. Those who object are seen as bigots and as lacking love. The Bible is intolerant of all that is evil. Men reserve for themselves alone the right to speak authoritatively. We must choose between the infallible rule of God or the grotesque tyranny of men. Those who speak from the Bible as the final authority are accused of arrogance by those who see the Word of God only as one viewpoint among many from which to choose. The choice lies with the chooser as it did for Eve in the Garden of Eden – she had erred the moment she thought there was such a choice open to her! God’s option was just one among many. What is refused is that there is only one right choice.
Nature in evolution is simply blind energy seeking expression (compare Nietzsche), vitality. Because it is blind, we cannot say that it is good or bad. For this reason ‘natural’ disasters are impersonal and a-moral and cannot be seen as expressions of God’s displeasure as they once were. The problem now arises as to how to define right and wrong in an impersonal world. There is a very clear connection between law, morality and creation. Nature is a-moral and impersonal, so we cannot speak of sin if our lives are determined by ‘natural law’. If we are the products of impersonal laws there can be only an arbitrary basis for law as there can be no permanent or absolute definition of right and wrong. God’s Word cannot then apply.
Life continues on earth because men are inconsistent within their own reasoning. We are never able to fully carry through to a conclusion the full implications of our own sinful rebellion again God. This lies partly within us, but it is largely the grace and mercy of God preserving us from the consequences of our own sin. It is a sign of God’s displeasure and wrath when this restraint is lifted, when God gives us “over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28). Somewhere along the line godless men feel the need to slip in the notion of right and wrong, lest their actions bring down chaos on their own heads. Yet, they have no real basis for it in their thinking. The more consistent men are in living out their godless belief systems the more intolerable and lawless life becomes. They will introduce some ‘sense of right and wrong’, although this will inevitably be heavily influenced and perverted by their own rebellion and contrary to the Word of God. They are forced into this to avoid the total collapse of human society. There can be no basis for right and wrong or for justice within these rebellious humanistic philosophies.
To summarise: where men are the product of ‘natural laws’ operating in and of themselves, nature being impersonal is also a-moral so that all ground for right and wrong, for justice, is thereby removed. If men follow the consequences of this thinking consistently, we are left with nothing more than the survival of the fittest, which in practice means he is most right who is able to impose his will on others. The criminal, the sadist, the pervert, or whoever, can only be wrong on the basis that there is someone else stronger than he is to prevent him doing what he would. There is no intrinsic right and wrong outside the actions of men. Before evil men are able to turn their desires into practical deeds in any full sense, others become repulsed. But we must ask on what basis. It is on the basis of the sense of right and wrong and of justice inherent within them as part of their human nature, a sense of right and wrong that is the law of God written in their hearts (Romans 2:14-15). To avoid total chaos and untrammelled evil, men then act inconsistently with their professed beliefs by dishonestly introducing concepts of right and wrong.
The reality, thankfully, is very different: God rules. Our future is determined by God, a loving heavenly Father to those who trust Him, Someone in whom we can have total confidence and who is worthy of that trust. We can say with the confidence on the apostle Paul “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). God is the Creator and so no one can escape Him. Rebel sinners are in His hands whether or not they like it. “That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath” (Job 21:30).
Under God men are free. Under God they stand with God over and above all that He has made and are not subject to it. They share His activity in the world being willing participants of His sure purpose. With the Word of God in our hands we can rule, interpret and live in the world He has made to His glory and praise. Those who live in submission to God find nature is passive to them and not the other way round, because all things and all events are in His hands. We are not at the mercy of events that are a law only to themselves.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:19-22)
Only when we are subject to God is it possible to escape the tyranny and fear of own sinful nature within and that of our fellowmen without.
Many of today’s wise guys will tell us that nature, genes, biology or our environment, has made us what we are. The question then becomes how we can we put the clock back. How can we break free from all that our past has made us and begin afresh? This is what Nicodemus asked the Lord Jesus.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” (John 3:3-4)
By looking to our past, to our childhood, blame and thereby personal accountability can be shifted from the individual to impersonal external factors over which he has no control. “It is not my fault I was abused by a drunken father!” The cause lies in the environment in which we grew up rather than within our own hearts as the Bible maintains. We are all said to be the product of our environment. So salvation lies in the ability to change the environment and so change the person, from outside in. The Bible teaches that the change must be from the inside out.
“And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:18-23)
The inside, the heart of man, this is what causes us to do what we do and be what we are outwardly. This is what makes the world what it is. If we are to be rid of anything then it is the accumulated guilt that comes between us and God and to be rid of the sinful and rebellious inclination within that causes us to refuse God and to sin against Him.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Water speaks of cleansing and purification, of cleansing from and forgiveness of sin as symbolised by Christian baptism. The past is not simply done away with but covered and forgiven by the blood shed by the Lord Jesus on the cross. All things now work to good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The regeneration spoken of in John 3:5 is brought about in us by a work of the Spirit of God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God loves the world He has made and those in it and has already set about its re-creation by saving those who believe. This is the first step in the restoration of all things ruined by the sin and rebellion of man.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)
Godless men want to destroy the past because they believe it has made them what they are. They try their hand at rewriting it or cutting themselves off. This is the Fordian ‘history is bunk’ mentality. Regeneration introduces a new creation into the fallen one. Christ Himself is the new Man, the last Adam – for there will be no need of a third – the Head of a new race of men, a new humanity. Humanity cannot be changed by changing the environment, or by social engineering, or by changing the ‘material circumstances’. Human beings can only be changed by a radical work of God done within the heart.
We must begin with a God who is not part of nature but over and above it, who made it and controls it. He does this to the good of all mankind: “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). His goodness towards us all makes us all without excuse. It is God not nature that keeps the sun in the sky! Because God shows His goodness towards us in a tangible way in the created world, He expects that our response will be to repent and give up our rebellion. Were He not directly involved, were this but the effect of the impersonal laws of nature even as secondary causes, no such claim could be made. Equally, He works directly through historical events, even through the ‘earthquake, wind and fire’ that He brings.
Instead of being recognised as direct acts of God, fate and purposelessness, mindless impersonal reasons are given for disasters, deaths, earthquakes, and epidemics. The godless find it offensive that any of these things should be attributed to a personal mind or will, especially that of God. Should they do so, it is done only to blame Him, “Why does God allow it?” It is offensive to them that God should even be thought to permit such things. What hypocrisy! Forgotten is the fact that He sustains them day by day. Whilst they breathe His air, feed on His provision, survive on His good grace towards all men, they forget Him. Indeed, living off His bounty, they rebel. Without His goodness, without His faithfulness, they could not live to sin. God does it in the expectation that they repent.
Clearly, the unrepentant sinner has a vested interest in denying that God provides for him. If it is not God who provides but faceless laws of nature, they feel justified in saying, as did Pharaoh before them, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice?”(Exodus 5:2). He has nothing to do with me, He provides me with nothing. Where God is not Creator, where God does not directly act in providence, He can call no one to account for his deeds. The godless claim on these grounds that sin does not merit retribution of any kind. I am then not a guilty, culpable sinner; we are all victims of nature.We ask in the words of the apostle Paul:
“…despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” (Romans 2:4)
To deny the biblical creation strikes at the very heart of the Christian Gospel. Where God acts in His wrath and in judgement, He does so justly and with good reason.
The prodigal went from his father’s house, despising him whilst living off money that had come from him. The money gone, his friends gone and being in extreme need, he thought more and more of his father’s house and the truth of what he had done dawned upon his soul. He had sinned against God; he had sinned against his father and had forfeited all rights to be called his son. Nevertheless, he knew his father to be a man of great compassion. The father saw his returning son whilst he was a great way off. How that father’s heart must have missed a beat! The son who was lost had returned, what was the money lost when he had his son back? Even so our Father in heaven, whose goodness faileth never, awaits our return.
When we return with true repentance in our hearts, God, our heavenly Father, will receive us not with a frown but with open arms and in a tight embrace and with a kiss, not a word about what we have done or where we have been. What is that when he that was dead is alive again, and was lost and is found?
Creation is a physical testimony to the invisible, to God’s eternal power and Godhead. Godless men substitute the truth for the vain imaginings of their own hearts. They believe a lie and their hearts are darkened; they become ignorant fools. God is reduced to being a part of creation Himself. Evil is linked to rejection of God. God then gives sinners up to the way they have chosen. If the godless deny God then, just as a criminal needs to dispose of the evidence of his crime, so the godless man needs to dispose of all physical evidence of God. The theory of evolution is just one way in which he seeks to do reinterpret the evidence, the substitution of vain imaginings (myth) for the truth. In believing the lie, they renounce the world of the wise and enter the world of the fool. Once more they follow the lie, knowing it to be such which is why it is foolish. Those who seek to give evolution a ‘Christian’ sugar coating in the hope of persuading unbelievers of the truth are doing no such thing. They are only confirming godless men in their rebellion instead of challenging it.
Our words must always be directed to the heart and the conscience. God is the last person these people want to meet up with, even although they are well aware of the fact that one day He will want some answers from them! We face a deep opposition and spiritual rebellion against God that is at the heart of all our troubles, not a lack of evidence. It is not helpful to bring our evidence for creation to unbelievers for judgement at the bar of their own fallen reason, which is, as we have seen, predisposed to interpret everything without God. We cannot expect them to make right judgements without first insisting on a change of heart.
David W. Norris