Is theistic evolution compatible with the Christian faith?

On February 4, Ken Ham, founder of creation science organization Answers in Genesis, debated famous scientist and children’s television host Bill Nye “the Science Guy” on the question “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?”Ken-Ham-Bill-Nye-1

One of the points Bill Nye repeatedly asserted during the debate was that one could be a religious person, even a Christian, and still accept evolution.  He claimed this was the position of millions of religious people throughout the world and that it is only be a small minority of believers who would hold a six-day creation. The view combining evolution with belief in a Creator is called theistic evolution.  This view is extremely widespread and popular today since it purports to allow people to agree with the majority view of today’s scientific community while at the same time holding to their religious beliefs.

While it is possible for a person to believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin and also agree with evolution, such a view undermines the authority of the Bible as a whole and undercuts important teachings of the Bible.

According to evolution, lower forms of life mutated into higher forms of life over untold millions of years. In the evolutionary system, it is the fittest forms that survive. Evolution requires death, millions of years of it, before human beings even appear on the scene.  Importing God into the picture, as theistic evolution does, makes death the very means by which God created everything. 008

It is at this point where theistic evolution parts ways with the teachings of the Bible.  The Bible tells us that mankind did not appear on the scene millions of years after the earth formed but was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31).  Jesus says, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4).  Not only does theistic evolution run counter to the account in Genesis 1, which says that God created the world in six days, which were time periods consisting of evening and morning, but also impinges on the very reason why Jesus came into the world to be our Savior.  The Bible teaches that death is “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23).  The Bible explains that death came into the world as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve.  In other words, there was no death before sin came into the world.  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  It is for this reason that God sent Christ into the world, to destroy the power of sin and death.  “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

If, as theistic evolution teaches, death and evolution are what God used to create, then death is not the “last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26) nor is it the “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23).   If that is the case, what becomes of Jesus Christ, whose purpose in coming into the world was to “break the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14, Romans 6:10) and pay the penalty for our sins?  As you can see, compromise in this one area, namely creation, undermines the basis for the central teaching of all of Scripture, that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again to pay for the sins of the world.  Theistic evolution is incompatible not only with the Genesis creation account, but with the teachings of the Bible as a whole.


Is theistic evolution compatible with the Christian faith? — 205 Comments

  1. @Steve Gehrke #50

    JB has made some good points with which I agree, but he has also opposes the Lutheran Science Institute when we call evolution false using Scripture alone, and again when we point out some of the logical problems with evolution.

    Even for us Confessional Lutherans, there is a place for reason in apologetics. I wonder if JB would agree with what I say in:

    Mark Bergemann

  2. Bill Nye:
    Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, 1977;
    plus 3 honorary PhDs 1999-2008.

    Bill Nye is an internationally known spokesman for evolution, yet he has a bachelor’s in science. Do not let anyone tell you that you must have a PhD in science to speak against evolution. JB has stated in this thread that one must have a PhD in biology or physics to speak against evolution.

    That said, having formal science education, especially a PhD, is of great benefit. With little or no formal education in science, you probably have a very poor understanding about science. When you speak about evolution, make sure you are quoting reliable sources. Do not make uninformed conclusions on your own.

    I have heard some pastors and teachers present inaccurate scientific information about evolution. They were quoting unreliable sources, or in some cases, making incorrect conclusions on their own. This is why the Lutheran Science Institute (LSI) exists, to provide resources to the church. Our LSI leadership is composed of PhD scientists, engineers, teachers, and pastors. We have the scientific and theological knowledge to provide helpful resources from a Confessional Lutheran perspective. Articles published in the LSI Journal have been committee reviewed for accuracy for the past three years. By quoting information from LSI and other reliable sources, you can speak out against evolution.

    Mark Bergemann, president, LSI, a WELS organization

  3. Dear Mr. Bergen- JB obviously doesn’t need my intercession, I’m simply noting what has stood out to this observer over the past few comments: that the distinction between criticism of creation science and the defense of evolution seems to have been missed by some. But perhaps I’ve missed something myself. Steve

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