No Middle Ground
Bibliotheca Sacra 151 (January-March 1994): 11-31
David H. Lane
But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance, and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design. . . . Again I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle.
Like Darwin (1809-1882), many Christians are in a ’hopeless muddle’ because of their failure to resolve the theological questions underlying the creation-evolution controversy. This debate concerning the origin of the cosmos, life, and the profusion of complex species, has centered on the antithetical concepts of chance and design. But could chance and design be viewed as complementary facets of biological change? Many modern biologists who reject the concept of a Creator acknowledge the role of chance in the processes of genetic variation, and the concept of design in the adaptations of an organism to its environment. Some theologians argue that God’s creativity and the creative processes entailed may involve an interplay between the principles of de-
sign and arbitrariness. The purpose of these two articles is to alert Christians to the theological, scientific, and philosophical errors implicit in the teachings of theistic evolution.
The following definitions will be used in the two articles in this series.
1.Evolution. This word has several meanings all of which involve some form of ’descent with modification’ from a common ancestor. Unfortunately these are often conflated.
a.Microevolution. The accumulation of small-scale variations (genetically based) within a species.
b.Special theory of evolution. The proposition that ’many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed.’
c.General theory of evolution. The theory that ’all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.’ In this theory, matter plus time plus chance plus energy led to a single cell, and a single cell plus time plus chance plus energy resulted in multicellular life, including man. This is the classic theory of evolution taught in biology courses in many schools. It ’functions with or without a creator, so long as the creator works by natural laws.’
Most philosophical materialists extend the general theory of evolution to include the origin and development of the universe.
d.Macroevolution (or transformism). This term is often used as a synonym for the general theory of evolution, but it can also include the idea of a polyphyletic (multiple source) origin of life. The term ’macroevolution’ is often used in conjunction with microevolution to emphasize nontrivial genetic change, that is, the origin of totally new kinds of organisms by means of strictly naturalistic processes.
e.Darwinism. This is often incorrectly equated with evolution, whereas Darwinism is actually only one proposed mechanism of evolution, namely, natural selection working on variations between individuals as the primary directing force (or ’chief agent’) of evolutionary change. Gradualism (as opposed to saltationism) is a central tenet of Darwinism.
f.Neo-Darwinism (or the Synthetic theory). This modification of Darwinism states that there are three primary factors in the mechanism for the general theory of evolution: natural selection, random mutations, and genetic recombinations. Most supporters of this view consider natural selection as the ’efficient cause of evolution,’ which means the theory is ’Darwinian.’
g.Evolutionism. A philosophy that purports to explain away the concept of the supernatural in light of the general theory of evolution.
2.Abrupt appearance. This is the theory that the universe and separate life forms appeared abruptly by processes not now operating. It need not incorporate a concept of creation or a Creator though sometimes it does (see 3.b., ’Special creation,’ below).
3.Creation. The theory that a First Cause (or causes in polytheistic versions), namely, God (or gods) brought the universe and living things into being by an act (or acts) of will. There are two explanations.
a.Theistic evolution. This is the view that God (or gods), keeping discretely in the background, used the process of macroevolution to create every living thing. Often ’God’ is conceived of as the creative principle or impersonal life force inherent in the system. Theories based on such a concept are naturalistic rather than theistic. Two versions of theistic evolution are held by Christians:
(1)The liberal version. Genesis 1-11 are treated as a collection of Hebrew myths and are said to have a questionable historical basis. The historicity of a first human pair as a creation separate from animals, the Fall of Man (Gen. 3), the sin/physical death causality, and the creation of Eve from Adam (2:21-23), are all denied and treated as religious fiction.
(2)The conservative version. The first human pair shared a common ancestor with the apes. The qualitative difference between man and his apelike ancestors occurred through divine intervention in which God added His ’image’ and moral faculty to a pair of highly evolved hominids. Death, decay, and suffering (by natural selection) occurred in the world for billions of years before the evolution of Adam and Eve’s immediate hominid ancestors. The teaching that physical death (Gen. 3:19) is a di
rect consequence and penalty of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22) in the Fall is denied. The only penalty for sin is ’spiritual death.’
b.Special creation. In this view God created different types of organisms separately. Special creation is the theistic version of ’abrupt appearance.’ All special creationists reject macroevolution, but nearly all accept microevolution, and some accept the special theory of evolution. Many people argue that if abrupt appearances were true, then the only rational explanation would be special creation. Creation science (or ’scientific creationism’) refers to the scientific evidences that support special creation and the inferences from those scientific evidences.
4.The empirical method. This method depends on observation or experiment and treats sense-data as valid information, deriving knowledge from experience. It is identified with the study of regularities, making prediction the crucial test of scientific validity. It recognizes only secondary (natural) causes and cannot deal with primary (intelligent) causes or supernatural causes, since these involve singularities excluding the possibility of reproducible observations and experimentation. The empirical method can be applied to past as well as present regularities. The historical sciences (e.g., geology) apply the principle of uniformity (or analogy, i.e., the observed present is the key to the unobserved past). Special creationists argue that ’the subject of origins is ultimately beyond the scope of empirical science.’
5.Origin science and operation science. A science about past singularities has been defined as the ’science of origins’ or ’origin science’ and does not exclude a first cause. It includes scientific attempts (e.g., forensic science) to make a plausible reconstruction of an unobserved (and unrepeatable) historical event (i.e., it deals with singularities and is concerned with efficient causes). Operation science is the domain for theories ’concerned with the recurring phenomena of nature,’ against which such theories can be tested. Here the appeal to a first cause is considered illegitimate. Origin science may employ some of the methods of operation science but focuses on the principle of causality (every event has a cause), the principle of uniformity (analogy), and circumstantial evidence. Special creation therefore belongs to the domain of origin science, the goal of which is to offer a plausible origins view where plausibility is established on the basis of either a legitimate analogy or convincing circumstantial evidence or both.
These two articles discuss only Christian creationists in detail (special creation is also a central teaching of orthodox Judaism and Islam). All Christians should be, by definition, creationists; and all, whether they support special creation or theistic evolution, agree that evolutionism (see 1.g.) is anti-Christian.
Only Two Explanations of Origins
Logic shows that material life either has existed eternally or it has not (the Law of the Excluded Middle). All biologists now believe that life has not existed forever. Therefore life arose either by processes operating now or by processes no longer operating. The first can be examined by applying operation science, which deals only with secondary causes. The second can be examined
by applying origin science, which allows for the possibility that primary causality has occurred and can be recognized. The choice therefore is between macroevolution, which appeals only to secondary causality, or the abrupt appearance theory, which allows for primary causality. All possible explanations must fit into one of these two theories. The Law of Noncontradiction prevents any harmonization of the two. Furthermore evidence against one theory is automatically evidence for the other (in logic, this is an example of a disjunctive syllogism). Darwin assumed this viewpoint of dual alternatives and his scientific supporters also affirmed this view. They regarded special creation as the only rational explanation for the abrupt appearance theory. They recognized only two possible, antithetical explanations for the origin of species-(special) creation or (macro)evolution. Darwin wrote,
For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this is here impossible.
Many modern evolutionists, like biologist Futuyma, have acknowledged that only two explanations of origins exist.
Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from preexisting species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must indeed have been created by some omnipotent intelligence, for no natural process could possibly form inanimate molecules into an elephant or a redwood tree in one step.
Wald, a Nobel prize recipient and evolutionist, supports this view.
The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation [life from non-life]; the only alternative [is] to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. . . . Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis [disproved by the creationist Louis Pasteur in 1864], yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.
Mayr, a leading biologist and evolutionist, argues that logic supports the incompatibility of creation and evolution, stating that ’it is impossible to believe simultaneously in two opposing theories explaining the same set of phenomena.’ Mayr has also documented the large array of observations that Darwin made, concluding, ’Again and again [Darwin] describes phenomena that do not fit the creation theory.’
Some evolutionists recognize the educational merit in presenting to students the case for and against the alternative theories of creation and evolution. For example Darwin, as already mentioned, noted the need to present ’both sides’ for a ’fair result.’ Evolutionary biologist Richard Alexander agrees.
No teacher should be dismayed at efforts to present creation as an alternative to evolution in biology courses; indeed, at this moment creation is the only alternative to evolution . . . comparison of the two alternatives can be an excellent exercise in logic and reason. . . . Creation and evolution in some respects imply backgrounds about as different as one can imagine. In the sense that creation is an alternative to evolution for any specific question, a case against creation is a case for evolution and vice versa.
Darwin recognized that the ’theory of creation’ (or ’miraculous act of creation’ or ’special acts of creation’) was testable, for he repeatedly argued that it conflicted with empirical evidence or with his interpretation of the facts. In The Descent of Man, written 12 years after The Origin of Species, he stated, ’If I have erred in giving to natural selection great power, which I am far from admitting, or in having exaggerated its power, which is in itself probable, I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations.’
Theistic evolution attempts to reconcile the competing viewpoints of creation and evolution within a teleological framework, that is, within a doctrine of final causes. For example Asa Gray, a distinguished biologist, professing Christian, and a contemporary of Charles Darwin, sought to reconcile the natural teleology (design) of evolution with natural theology. Gray’s attempt to promote an ’evolutionary teleology’ was motivated by his desire to demonstrate the purpose or design behind evolution. His theory conflicted with Darwin’s perception of evolution, which destroyed any form of teleology suggestive of design and therefore a Designer. Darwin wrote, ’There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows: Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.’
The Beliefs of Theistic Evolutionists
Theistic evolutionists typically argue that the creation-evolution controversy is a false dichotomy. They agree with Nelkin, an atheistic evolutionist and sociologist, that recent legislative maneuvers to compel schools in the United States to teach both views is ’an attempt to force a choice between two ideas that are not mutually exclusive.’ They see it as a contrived dualism, or a ’false duality.’ Hummel, an evangelical, sees it as ’a false choice between two packages based on an oversimplification of
’creation’ versus ’evolution.’’ This ’false duality’ and resultant dilemma are seen to be analogous to the arguments of design versus chance which placed Darwin in such confusion.
The ’Complementarity Model’
Berry, a genetics professor and leading exponent in Britain of the conservative version of theistic evolution, has strongly condemned creation science. He asks why it is not possible to accept evolution as fact, and also to ’maintain that God worked complementarily with genetic processes, so that the world is both a causal outcome of mutation, selection, and so on, but also a divine creation.’ He says this is consistent with the methods by which God is alleged to have formed many of the natural geographic features of the planet, that is, by natural processes over millions of years. Berry argues that ’creationism [special creation] is largely an insistence that God made the world in a particular way without using ’normal’ evolutionary mechanisms.’ He adds that this partly stems ’from a restricted interpretation of the Bible’ and has ’the effect of prescribing that God acted in an interventionist fashion.’ He also claims that ’there is no doctrinal conflict between Christianity and neo-Darwinism properly understood’ and that ’it is possible to be both a convinced Christian and an orthodox evolutionist.’
The ’complementarity model,’ advanced by many conservatives, is based on the belief that the biblical and scientific descriptions of origins are complementary. Berry argues that both are true at their own levels ’in exactly the same way as a painter can design and execute a picture, which is nonetheless also describable as a pattern of molecules.’ Such an analogy is flawed,
since it ignores the fact that the literal interpretation of Genesis is incompatible with the Darwinian version of origins. The painting analogy also fails because the descriptions do not attempt to address the process of creation. Barbour, a physics professor who describes himself as a ’liberal Protestant,’ assumes that modern science and theology are two complementary means of discovering different aspects of reality, rather than being different interpretive perspectives. Bube, a conservative, sees science and biblical revelation as ’allies and complementary approaches, each aiding and purifying the interpretations of the other.’ He states, ’If biological evolution is indeed true, biblical creation is also wholly true.’ But how can two antithetical descriptions of reality both be true? Clearly they cannot.
MacKay, another conservative, argues that scientific and religious explanations of reality are ’hierarchically complementary’ and should never be viewed as ’conceptually on the same level.’ He claims that the ’biblical-theistic account of reality embraces the scientific’ and is on a higher level. Special creationists in contrast, point out that the general theory of evolution is incompatible with biblical Christianity, a view shared by many atheistic and agnostic evolutionists. While theistic evolutionists concede that there are differences between this theory and the grammatical-historical theological interpretation of the Bible, they adopt either a harmonization (concordist approach) or a reinterpretation of Scripture (functionalist approach), in the light of modern ’science,’ in an attempt to achieve compatibility. Most
argue that science has a limited frame of reference, since they claim it can deal only with causality confined to finite factors (i.e., proximate or secondary causes) rather than the causality of a First Cause. They relegate explanations involving the latter to philosophy or theology, and reject the distinctions between origin science and operation science.
Theologian and theistic evolutionist Gilkey puts their case well: ’Science is limited to finite causes and cannot speak of God without making God into a finite cause.’ However, he says that some scholars erroneously confine modern science to a concept of causality whereby God is viewed as a Newtonian Force. Gilkey criticizes Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for using the idea of efficient cause in making a case for the existence of God. He also argues that the ’atheism’ of natural science is ’a priori and methodological.’ Theistic evolutionists therefore believe that the general theory of evolution, like all scientific theories, must be nontheistic, and that science functions on a different plane of discourse from religious affirmations. Most believe that God sanctioned and designed natural selection as His method of ’creation,’ in which He worked through secondary causes. Of course they are deceiving themselves, for while deprecating the exclusion of God from critical points (e.g., the origin of the spiritual faculty of man) of evolution by philosophic materialists, they then embrace a mechanistic, naturalistic process (natural selection), as the ’originator’ of all design. Their God is essentially demoted to an accessory of evolution, and by accepting a ’scientific’ teleology, they, like atheists and agnostics, must reject a theological teleology to be consistent.
Science Divorced from First Causes
Finlay, a cell biologist in New Zealand, expresses the standard deficient view of science defended by theistic evolutionists.
If God is transcendent over all nature, as Christians believe He is, then science can legitimately ask questions regarding origins without expecting to find signs of ’God at work.’ . . . Thus as we
investigate the chains of cause and effect that link natural phenomena [secondary causes], we should not expect to find discontinuities for which science cannot hope to find answers, and into which God must be inserted to complete the sequence.
Finlay, a conservative, believes that the subject of life’s origins can be solved by confining investigations to ’chains of cause and effect that link natural phenomena’ (i.e., secondary causes). This approach is fine if one is dealing with operation science, but Finlay is specifically referring to theories (e.g., the origin of life) that belong to origin science. He declares all scientific evidence for a first cause invalid, arguing that it can (or one day will) be accounted for by secondary causes. He thus excludes a priori all ’design features’ (’discontinuities’ in the natural order like human consciousness, genetic storage-retrieval information systems, etc.) as evidences for a Designer.
Theistic evolutionists generally invoke the principle of parsimony (the simplest explanation is the best) to justify such restriction of ’scientific’ explanations to secondary causes. This mechanistic model of causality is deficient when applied to origin science. It takes no account of the evidence that the cause of life’s origins must transcend secondary causes, since life itself has been recognized as transcending physics and biology. In recent years the inadequacy of the Cartesian reductionist approach to science has led to a more holistic approach to biology which adopts Aristotle’s dictum, ’the whole is more than the sum of its parts.’ The general systems theory, applied to biology, recognizes the hierarchical levels of complexity, and the transcendency of ’consciousness’ over mechanistic descriptions of life as physics and biology.
Theistic evolutionists dogmatically assert that ’all immediate divine causality’ in discussions of the creation narrative must be excluded. Servility to the law of parsimony, in this case, is symptomatic of the reductionist fallacy: the attempt to ’explain’ one category of things (e.g., the origin of complex ’design’ in nature) by reducing it to the more limited dimensions of another category of things (secondary causes). By substituting natural selection (secondary causes) for a Designer (Primary Cause), theistic and nontheistic evolutionists can hardly claim to be applying the principle of parsimony, but instead are promoting evolutionism. Such deception has been admitted by evolutionists such as Paterson, a senior paleontologist and editor of a prestigious journal of the British Museum of Natural History. He confessed ’to experiencing a feeling of shock when [he] realized that Darwin’s great achievement of freeing biology of teleology and the supernatural, had been surreptitiously supplanted by the old theological concept clad in new clothes [evolutionism].’ Similarly, Eldredge, who has written a book attacking creation science, has admitted that many Darwinists use natural selection as ’a mere substitute for the Creator.’ He argues that this ’tells us nothing’ and he is unable to ’fathom the difference between [an orthodox Darwinist’s] argument and the older [creationist’s] argument from design.’
Theistic evolutionists fail to understand that the foundations of science (including origin science) lie in its theories and theoretical structure, and not in its facts alone. Finlay, for example, provides the following inadequate definition of science in his critique of special creation.
Science can look only at the relationships between matter, energy, time and space in [God’s] universe and thus its findings can have no bearing on our faith that God has brought into being everything that exists. The writer to the Hebrew Christians stresses that God’s role as Creator is apprehended not by research but by faith [Heb. 11:3]. . . . Science can merely describe the relationships between the component parts of the created order; it cannot describe the relationship between creation and its creator,
as it lacks the power to formulate questions relating to first causes.
This statement suggests that the findings of science ’have no bearing on our faith’ in a Creator God. Such a view is unbiblical, for it elevates faith activity to an upper-story realm of religious existentialism, divorcing it from what is open to verification and reason. The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo is apprehended by faith seeking understanding-a fundamental principle of the Augustinian tradition (fides quaerens intellectum). Faith involves trust or commitment of heart to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 10:9, 17), and correlates with understanding gained through God’s general revelation (1:19-20).
Finlay quotes theistic evolutionists John Morton and Donald McKay approvingly, to support his claim that first causes play no role in science. He quotes Morton: ’Theology deals with the final causes that spring from the actions of ourselves and of God. . . . Science is indeed talking not about causes at all but about relationships.’ Mackay, Finley notes, points out that the ’blunt truth’ is that ’no scientific fact can say anything for or against the supernatural.’ Schuon, a creationist and an Islamic scholar, has demonstrated the materialistic philosophy underlying the evolutionists’ attempt to replace first causes in science by explanations limited to secondary causes.
The deficiency in modern science lies essentially in its neglect of universal causality; it will no doubt be objected that science is not concerned with philosophical causality but with phenomena, which is untrue, for evolutionism in its entirety is nothing other than hypertrophy, thought out as a means of denying real causes, and this materialistic negation, together with its evolutionist compensation, belongs to philosophy and not science.
The result of this ’hypertrophy’ is that nonrationality, chance, and impersonality are adopted as being primary realities, with rationality, design, and personality as secondary. The latter concepts are subsumed and overidden by the former. First causes are erroneously interpreted as merely the byproducts of
impersonal, insentient forces. Evolutionists argue that the question of first causes involves distinguishing between (a) ultimate causality (’Is the universe itself caused?’), which they confine to the domain of philosophy or theology, and (b) physical causation in the past (’How did the earth accrete from existing matter?’). They refuse to accept as scientifically valid the question, Does biological life including man have an ultimate cause? Their philosophical bias in such an approach is self-evident. Like Finlay, they reject the view that the study of life’s origin involves the question of first causes since they ’ask questions regarding origins without expecting to find signs of ’God at work.’’ Having dismissed the ’Watchmaker’ or First Cause a priori, is it any wonder they do not find signs that God has been at work? Evidences in biology for design and a Designer are predictably interpreted as products of secondary causes, that is, life accreted from matter.
Contrary to the law of biogenesis, many theistic evolutionists invoke spontaneous generation to explain the origin of life while others appear to invoke a mysterious ’God-of-the-gaps.’ In practice they come close to deism in their theology, for they confine God to the regularities of naturalistic processes, which they insist is His method of creation. Divine intervention is permitted only in special events such as the resurrection of Christ.
Theistic Evolution and Existential Dualism
The view of exclusive realms of science and religion (or the two spheres model) is essentially the product of existentialism and its theological equivalent, neoorthodoxy. Neoorthodoxy, championed by Karl Barth (1886-1968), is critical of natural theology. Barth argued that God is not known through His creation apart from Christ, for sin blinds human reason to the vision of the world as God’s handiwork. Modern neoorthodox theologians such as Gilkey and Vawter advance the incommensurability approach (or the two spheres model), which is based on an existential or neoorthodox dualism. Matters of faith are confined to the transcendent-personal axis, and all other matters dealing with
the world are confined to the province of secular science. According to Miller and Fowler this dualism ’is integral to the position of theistic evolutionists.’
Integral to theistic evolution teaching is the view that God’s revelation in Scripture provides only ’existential truth’ and is ’suprahistorical.’ It is argued that the ’truth’ contained in Genesis 1-11, for example, was never intended to be a ’history of the earth’ in a sense compatible to the modern meaning of natural history. This ’truth’ is not open to verification in the real world nor open to any form of scientific inquiry, since, according to Gilkey, it is seen to be essentially independent of both prescientific biblical cosmology and modern scientific cosmology. Nor is it open to historical research. Biblical doctrines are divorced from all the empirical data that relate to God’s intervention and self-revelation in human history (e.g., the case for the empty tomb of Christ is irrelevant to faith).
Van de Fliert, who opposes creation science, states that ’the reliability of the Word of God spoken in this world through His prophets and apostles is beyond the reach of scientific control, because the Bible is not a scientific work.’ He adds that ’as such it is not vulnerable to [and therefore is unverifiable by] the results of science.’ Gilkey similarly argues that theology ’possesses no legitimate ground to interfere with either scientific inquiry or scientific conclusions, whether in the fields of natural or of historical inquiry.’ Schaeffer, an evangelical scholar, has decried these kinds of attempts to relegate biblical truth to an ’upper-story’ existential compartment. He has pointed out the prophetic words of Huxley, one of Darwin’s most ardent supporters and his contemporary: ’No longer in contact with fact of any kind, faith stands now and forever proudly inaccessible to the attacks of the infidel.’ The infidel therefore no longer really has any reason to attack Christianity, because the ’new theology of evolution’ has
given up contradicting him at any point. A statement that is reconcilable with any conceivable observation or theology, however seemingly contradictory, is devoid of rational meaning.
Jeeves, a psychologist, has expressed five beliefs widely held by theistic evolutionists like himself.
 God, to the theist, while being the cause of everything, is in the scientific sense the explanation of nothing.  Scientific knowledge in itself no more proves the existence of God than it disproves it. . . .  There is in principle no conflict between Christian faith in general and the discovery of a scientific mechanism for creation. . . .  Evolution (as a scientific theory) . . . is in principle no more contrary to Christian theism than any principle of scientific explanation.  When we affirm that God created we do not rule out the possibility that He did it via a natural process.
The Darwinization of Theology
The liberal and conservative versions of theistic evolution are touted by their supporters as strictly scientific accounts of origins. However, they are clearly theological explanations derived from perversions of Christian teaching in an attempt to accommodate Darwinism. Spanner, a conservative theistic evolutionist, even refers to his ’theology of evolution’ as superior to traditional Christian teaching on creation. Conservatives like Jeeves, Berry, and McKay make some attempt to defend the historicity of Adam and the Fall, but at the same time they cling to much of classical Darwinism. They consider that it would be intellectual suicide to doubt Darwinism. For example Berry, attempting to reassure his fellow biologists, wrote, ’Evolution is a fact. . . . It is a fact that all living things came from previous living forms. . . . To paraphrase Archbishop Ramsay’s reply to a young radical who asserted that God was dead: far from being dead, there is no firm evidence that Darwinism is even ill.’
Hayward, in his study of Berry’s flawed theology, noted that while some conservatives seem to accept doctrines central to the
evangelical tradition, they actually undermine the very foundations of Christianity by their Darwinization of theology. For example Stott, a leading Anglican evangelical, has suggested that the biblical doctrine of the special creation of man (Gen. 2:7), endorsed by Luke (Luke 3:38), Paul (1 Cor. 11:9; 1 Tim. 2:13), and Christ Himself (Matt. 19:4-6), can be replaced.
It seems perfectly possible to reconcile the historicity of Adam with at least some (theistic) evolutionary theory. Many biblical Christians in fact do so, believing them to be not entirely incompatible. To assert the historicity of an original pair who sinned through disobedience is one thing; it is quite another to deny all evolution and to assert the separate and special creation of everything, including both subhuman creatures and Adam’s body. The suggestion (for it is no more than that) does not seem to me to be against Scripture and therefore impossible that when God made man in His image, what He did was to stamp His likeness on one of the many ’hominids’ which appears to have been living at the time.
Berry states the spurious view that man’s physical death was not a consequence of the Fall. He says that ’spiritual death’ was the only penalty imposed for sin (these arguments destroy the sin-death causality central to Christianity, and are discussed in the second article in this two-part series). However, the main kind of death the ancient Hebrews thought of was physical death. Even in the New Testament the death initiated by Adam as federal head of humanity is treated primarily as physical death. For example in 1 Corinthians 15 it is contrasted with Christ’s resurrection, which every conservative Christian agrees was physical. Hayward, a progressive creationist, points out that various Hebrew scholars translate the phrase ’you shall die’ as ’you shall be doomed to die’ or something similar. He points out that Berry’s view is ’questionable exposition,’ since the full New Testament concept of ’spiritual death’ is never found in the early books of the Old Testament.
Another serious problem with the conservative version of theistic evolution concerns so-called pre-Adamites. It is ironic that even ardent evolutionist Keith was capable of exposing the fallacy
of this view. He stated that such theories took ’an unwarranted liberty with the inspired word by introducing acts of creation and types of humanity of which there is no mention in the Mosaic record.’ Some evangelicals view pre-Adamites as ’subhuman’ judged by the theological standard of lacking the divine image, while others regard them as fully human. Conservatives like Berry are forced to hold the former view for the pieces of their theology to hold together. For if Adam’s progenitors were fully human, then Adam could not have been the federal head of humanity, and the historicity of the Fall involving Adam must be abandoned. Berry visualizes the pre-Adamites living on, intermingling, and even hybridizing with Adam’s race. He also implies that Christ might have been descended from these pre-Adamites, and says explicitly that He was not necessarily a physical descendant of Adam, a view which contradicts Luke 3:23-38.
Liberals distort Christ’s genealogy further, by tracing His line to a ’myth’-a shadowy figure from the Genesis ’mythology.’ What credibility does the historical figure of Christ have once these distortions are accepted? Absolutely none. Paul specifically related the doctrine of the historicity of Adam and the Fall to the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:14-22), the linchpin of Christianity (v. 14). Theistic evolution, then, is an example of the Darwinization of theology.
Theistic evolution confines explanations of origins based on a First Cause to philosophy or theology, applying only the empiri-
cal method (excluding a First Cause) to account for the process from the alleged Big Bang to the evolution of man. Divine intervention supplements this deficient ’scientific’ account at key thresholds, such as the transfer of a ’spiritual faculty’ into apelike creatures. Rooted in a theoretical structure that excludes first causes a priori from all science, such miraculous interventions destroy any claim that theistic evolution is a strictly scientific theory. It is an act of faith to rule out the possibility of a First Cause in the study of origins. Such exclusion would be valid only if the general theory of evolution were confined strictly to the domain of operation science (limited to secondary causality). Since the general theory of evolution focuses on past singularities that are not repeatable (e.g., the origin of life and man), it lies outside the domain of operation science and within the domain of origin science (which is concerned with efficient causes).
At present there is no physical analogy of an ex nihilo creation of the universe. However, the closest analogy would be the origin of new information ex nihilo which derives from a creative mind, not from secondary causes. Just as the natural laws by which a computer functions do not account for its origin, so too the natural laws by which the universe operates need not be the means by which it originated. Primary (intelligent) causes are not bound by natural law, but transcend law. According to theistic evolution, all biology starts in time, is conditioned by time, and ends in time. Orthodox Christian teaching recognizes that since God’s thoughts are eternal, and biology and matter are but expressions of God’s thoughts, both will have been conceived not in the dimension of time, but in eternity. Theistic evolution provides no scientific explanation as to how space and time are supplemented with information. It is clearly a theological explanation of origins masquerading as science. There is no middle ground for Christians between special creation and macroevolution. Both the liberal and conservative versions of theistic evolution are perversions of Christian doctrine.
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