Either God created the universe as Genesis chapter one relates, or He did not.
As I noted in the previous blog, if God slung the universe into existence via the Big Bang using Darwinian evolution as the mechanism of formulation, then everything after Genesis 1:1 concerning the creation is unnecessary and even misleading.
But what most people in the pew who believe in theistic evolution fail to realize is just how ferocious an attack on Christian theology theistic evolution really is. Consider the following. (Note: as a reminder, theistic evolution is the belief many churchgoers hold that the creation narrative in Genesis is mythological and that God actually created all that is via evolution. )
The Origin of Original Sin
If the Big Bang and evolution are how God got us here, then the Garden of Eden and the story of the fall are made up fables or metaphors. If you don’t believe the Genesis 1 narrative of creation is to be taken literally or seriously then why would you believe that “the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed”(Genesis 2:8)? There was no Garden of Eden if life originated from the primordial slime.
No Eden…no Adam…no Eve…no serpent…no fall.
If you hold to theistic evolution then the doctrine of Original Sin goes out the window. Instead of it being the result of the conscious and deliberate decisions of Adam and Eve it is simply embedded in the universe via evolution (survival of the fittest). Yet in Romans 8:20 Paul says,
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it…
If you are a theistic evolutionist then the “him” in the sentence above must mean God since there was no real individual named Adam. God, then, becomes the bringer of sin. How can it be anything other if Genesis 2 is just part of the creation “myth”?
The Origin of Death
Do away with the creation narrative and you do away with Original Sin. Do away with Original Sin and you’ve done away with the origin of death. The certainty of death was the warning from God to Adam if he ate from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:17). In the Genesis creation narrative, death was to be the consequence of sin. It was not a natural consequence of being created. Death was an unnatural injection into the universe. If we are here due to evolution then death is not only natural but it is intended! What, then, is the meaning of Hebrews 2:14-15 if death is just a natural part of life that has been generated by evolution?
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself [Jesus] likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Look what happens to Paul’s theology in the book of Romans when death is only a mere stage of evolutionary progression:
[S]in came into the world through one man, and death through sin…(Romans 5:12)
[B]y the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…(Romans 5:19)
It should be pretty clear what the implications are if those two statements are based on the unreal ‘mythology’ of the early chapters of Genesis (if it’s not I will spell it out below).
No First Adam, No Second Adam
The verses above (from Romans 5) make it explicitly clear that a New Testament theology of salvation hinges on the belief that Adam’s sin is the origin of the sin nature in mankind. But if God used evolution as the mechanism of creation then Adam is not a real person and therefore his sin is only a figurative expression. This means that any remedy for a figurative origin of sin would itself be only figurative.
How could the literal or real-life crucifixion of Jesus have any effect on that which is rooted in mythology? If Adam wasn’t a real man then what Jesus did on the cross could only have an effect on how we think about death; it would have no effect on death itself. It actually gets worse. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul writes,
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (verse 22).
He made this assertion in the midst of a discussion about the literalness of the resurrection. If Adam is only a religious symbol then it necessitates that being made alive in Christ is only a symbol as well which actually undermines and even destroys the argument Paul is making! But Paul refuses to end his argument there. In the same chapter/discussion, he says,
Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven…” (verses 45-47).
You cannot have a metaphorical first Adam but a legitimately real second Adam. Right? If the first Adam wasn’t a real person then the second Adam who is real is actually the first Adam. The second (or real first Adam) then becomes the source of sin in the universe. Do all those who pride themselves on their intellect by embracing theistic evolution not realize this?
Obviously, if you don’t believe in the veracity of the Bible then none of this matters. But if you are a churchgoer and believe in Jesus as the Savior while holding to theistic evolution, you truly become the personification of hypocrisy. If you don’t believe sin came into the world through Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden but that God created us through evolution then why in the world do you believe that anyone benefited anything by the literal shedding of the blood of Jesus of Nazareth?
If Genesis 1-3 is religious mythology then where exactly does the Bible begin to reflect real-life history? If you can’t answer that, then why are you attending church and calling yourself a Christian? Why would you even want to be saved by a Man who when asked about his view on divorce went all the way back to Genesis 2:24 about Adam and Eve saying “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6)? Do you see just how grotesque the gospel becomes when evolution becomes the mechanism of choice by God in creation?
It’s nothing that anyone would desire. Why turn to a Man who died a bloody death on a Roman cross thousands of years ago to save you from your sin nature if sin has always been inherent in the universe? If sin had no existential beginning then it can have no existential end. The crucifixion is then nothing more than a divine gesture of God accommodating “sinners.”
If you think it’s just a few people sitting in the pews who think this way, then think again. The following is an excerpt from the official website of the United Methodist Church:
“The denomination’s official statement on Science and Technology says, ‘We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology.’”
I beg to differ.