Sunday, November 3, 2013

Un-Apologetic, Part 3: His Story

There are numerous arguments that can be made against evolution and in favor of young-earth creationism, but the one I'll be dealing with here is the most bulletproof. Up to this point, I've established a biblical basis for discrediting evolutionary theory by calling into question its source. I've also established the plausibility of the creation account by pointing to God's power over the laws of nature, as demonstrated in the various miracles found throughout the Bible. The following is far more straightforward.

 The Bible clearly teaches that the Genesis account is literal history.

How do we know that Genesis isn't meant to simply be symbolic? Well for starters, the account itself isn't written in a way to give that indication. I've heard some claim that it's poetry. If that's the case, then chapter 5 in particular is the worst piece of poetry ever written! But starting from the beginning, Genesis 1:3-5 says, "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." From this point forward the creation account describes each day, after the definition of a day is given as the full cycle of light in daytime and darkness in nighttime. If we follow this very simple logic, when the account proceeds to describe six creation days, we can only assume that they are literally six days.

So is there any good argument for these days being longer periods of time, possibly billions of years? You might be able to construct an argument if you throw out the literalness of the fall of man, as described in chapter 3. The big problem here is for the evolutionary account to be true, Adam and Eve would not be responsible for bringing the curse of death into the world. Countless animals, including the evolutionary chain of humans would have had to have already died. And what do you make of humans being created in the image of God? (see Genesis 1:26-27) Does that mean that "Adam and Eve's" parents were 99.9999% in the image of God? What would that say about us who, from the evolutionary viewpoint, most certainly have evolved even further? Are we now less than 100% the image of God and getting further away from that image with each passing generation? If we are merely evolved animals, how were we created in God's image? Are apes closer to the image of God than fish, who are closer than bacteria?

The problems within the creation account only scratch the surface in the greater context of the whole Bible. One of the best examples of this comes from Romans 5:12,14. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." Here, human history is defined as beginning with Adam, and death being the consequence of Adam's sin. Perhaps even more explicitly historical is the genealogy of Jesus found in Luke 3:23-38. This account traces Jesus' family tree all the way back to Adam. If Adam wasn't a real person, why the genealogy? If he wasn't the first person, why not tell us who his parents were? I think we can recognize how ridiculous this exercise would be, because by evolutionary standards, there can be no clear marking point of the first humans unless you assign one arbitrarily. Likewise, there can be no clear beginning or end of the image of God unless the human race began fully formed and has not evolved away from it since.

What about Jesus' own words? In Matthew 19:4-6, He gives the following answer to a question about divorce: "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." I suppose you could argue that at this moment, Jesus was winking at the Pharisees as if to say, "You know that old wives tale…," but I think it's far more reasonable to conclude that He was treating it as literal history. He was applying 2 Timothy 3:16-17. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Jesus also treats the worldwide flood of Genesis 6-8 as history. Matthew 24:37-39 says, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."

(There are numerous other references to the creation account in the various books of the Bible, but for the sake of brevity…)

If we recognize that all Scripture, including Genesis, is the inspired Word of God, what does that imply. Conversely, what does it imply if the creation account is not true? Psalm 119:160 says, "The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever." John 1:1-3 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." Verse 14 continues, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." If the Bible is God's Word, can we not conclude that it is truth?

If the creation account is not truth, what does that say about God? To me, it leaves only two options: 1) The Bible is not the inerrant Word of God, or 2) It is the Word of God, but God is a liar. I don't see any way around either of these options from a theistic evolutionary viewpoint. What I see happening today is the adherents of such a view are taking option 1, whether they realize it or not. They are saying that one part of Scripture is not truth. What they don't realize is the foundations of their faith are crumbling, and they are forced to arbitrarily believe the parts of the Bible that remain when all the parts that refer back to the creation account are rejected or explained away through great feats of theological acrobatics. Think about it. Why believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead on the third day when we know from science that it is impossible? Dead bodies decompose, rigor mortis sets in, etc. You could scientifically discredit virtually everything in the Bible from the viewpoint of naturalism, so why accept its limitations in this case? Without the foundational elements of the creation account, belief in what is left of the Bible seems to me like wishful thinking. Why not embrace the truth of the whole story? When it comes right down to it, it's not ours to change. It's His story.

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