We Believe in the God who Creates
In 1985 Billy Graham said it was okay. The last two popes say it's okay. So people think they can live with being a Christian and some type of evolutionist. You might be able to live with it, but can you die with it?
All of Christianity till just 150 years ago believed not just that God created but that He created out of nothing. That's important. Hebrews 11 says, "The universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." Genesis 1 says, "God created the heavens and earth." The Hebrew word for create here is bara. This verb only and always has God as its subject and never has a material object. This means only God creates in the sense that He creates out of nothing. Men can form, fashion, even evolve something but they can't do it from nothing.
Likewise up till just 150 years ago Christendom believed in a young earth. Genesis 1 couldn't make it plainer that God created all things in 6 days each consisting of an evening and a morning. Neither can Exodus 20, "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." The same Hebrew word for day is used throughout this verse. It can't mean six long geological periods of time in the first instance and a 24 hour day in the last. Either God created in six 24 hour days and the Sabbath day is 24 hours or both are long periods of time.
Not only do the Scriptures teach a special creation, the fathers of the Church believed it. Irenaeus taught the earth was 6,000 years old and that God "made all things out of that which has no existence at all" (Against Heresies, v, xxviii, 3, I, xxii,1). Augustine also believed the earth was 6,000 years old (City of God, 384), and rejected the Epicurean philosophers because they "believed that living things could originate from things without life" (City of God, 148). Chrysostom taught the "abyss of all evil" the "parent of 10,000 heresies" was the assertion that all things rise from uncreated [i.e. eternal] matter (Homilies, I Cor., 38). Athanasius identifies evolution as one of the teachings of the pagan philosophers (On the Incarnation of the Word, 2, 36-37).
The fathers of the Church knew and rejected evolution. Darwin didn't discover this theory. Darwin gave this ancient philosophical explanation for how the world came to be scientific respectability. Epicurus taught "that the cosmos had emerged out of chaos by an accidental combination of atoms" (Moe, Paul, 290). Darwin said once that accidental combination happened natural selection caused it to progress upward till man evolved.
This process needed eons of time. First millions of years than billions. On average evolutionists have doubled the age of the earth every 15 years for the past 300 years (In Search of the Genesis World, 110). Doing this appeals to the so called "Gambler's Fallacy" in us all, i.e. given enough time anything can happen, but that's not true. No matter how much time you have a reptile doesn't become a bird or a monkey a man and absolutely nothing in the fossil record shows otherwise. All you do by inserting all this time is put God farther and farther away from man, from history, from world events.
This isn't what we believe. We believe not only in the God who creates out of nothing in 6 days, but we believe God did this up close and personal in Jesus. Genesis 1 says God created by His Word. The Word is God the Son who took on flesh in Mary's womb. This is not a passing point in Scripture. John 1 says, "All things were made through Jesus, and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Colossians 1 teaches, "For by Jesus all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible."
By the Word, God the Son, God the Father spoke and created all things except for one. Man He created by hand from the dust of the earth. The God with hands is Jesus. He created man by hand from the earth and from the man He created woman by hand. And then although He used Adam and Eve and men and women after them to create other humans, yet still God says we are all handmade by Him. In Psalm 139 He tells us that He knit us together in our mother's womb.
All types of evolutionist deny Adam and Eve were the first people; most deny they were people at all. They were only mythical, poetical, legendary figures. Millions of years of animals and thousands of years of half-men existed before them, and these were far from perfect. Therefore, neither sin nor death entered the world through Adam's sin as Scripture teaches. No, sin and death were here long before Adam. What evolutionists don't see is that by denying the first part of the equation, they're denying the second too. 1 Cor. 15 has the whole equation, "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." Deny Adam was the first man and all mankind fell in him and you forfeit the Second Adam raising all who fell in the first.
This whole debate isn't about what should be taught in schools or the conflict between science and religion. The debate is whether a person can believe 2 different religions at the same time. The preface to the 1859 university edition of Origin of Species said this, "Biology is in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theoryBelief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation both are concepts which [their] believers know to be true." The introduction to 1997 edition of this same book says, "[The theory of evolution] forms a satisfactory faith on which to base our interpretation of nature."
There's no way I can prove by science that God the Father created this earth 6,000 years ago by means of God the Son. And there's no way science can prove it was created billions of years ago by chance. The most famed anti-Christian, evolutionist Richard Dawkins admits, "I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all design' anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection'" (Letter from a Christian Citizen, Wilson, xviii). More than that Dawkins own illustration says evolution is scientifically impossible. Science says that if something has a 1 in 1050th chance of happening it is by definition impossible. Dawkins says the probability of the sequence of 100 Amino acids spontaneously forming needed to produce life is 1 in 20200th (Climbing Mount Improbable, 75). British Astronomer, Fred Hoyle, compares the chance of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends arriving by random shuffling to 1050 blind persons with a Rubik's Cubes simultaneously solving the puzzle. (Nature, Vol. 294, Nov. 12, 1981).
Facts and figures, however, don't move the Christian who thinks he has to hold to the evolutionary faith or he'll be a Bible-thumping fundamentalist. And that is downright laughable to me. Believing God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days not that many thousands of years ago is more reasonable to me than believing God took on flesh and blood to keep His laws in my place and died on a cross to pay for my not keeping His laws. It makes more sense to me that God could speak matter, light, and animals into existence, than He could be born of a virgin. It is more reasonable to me to believe the earth is very young than to believe the Eternal Creator was birthed by one of His creatures.
Little of the Christian faith can be proven scientifically, yet you bind me to teach it all. I teach your children to pray that God's holy angel be with them that the evil foe may have no power over them. I teach them to trust that their Baptism applies the Body and Blood of Christ to their bodies to rebirth them as new creatures. I teach them to believe that when I forgive their sins the Words of my mouth forever separate their sins from them. I teach them that the Bread on this altar is the Body of Christ and the Wine here is the true, real, physical Blood of Christ. On top of all this when you die, I will stand before your children and tell them that you're not dead! Science can't find angels in the air, Christ in baptismal waters, forgiveness in my words, Body in Bread, Wine in Blood, or life in a corpse, but God's Word says we're to believe they're all there.
You can't have it both ways. Either your faith will be grounded on God's Word or on what your reason can accept. If it's on what your reason can accept, then you really don't believe God's Word but your reason. Jesus specifically addresses this point twice in John's Gospel.
The conflict in the evolutionist who wishes to be Christian is between Genesis, a writing of Moses, and the writings of evolutionary scientists. Jesus says in John 5, "If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for He wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" The Christian evolutionists says he's able to not believe what Moses writes about the 6 days of creation and still believe what Jesus says about being saved by His holy life and innocent suffering and death. Jesus says he isn't able. "You won't believe Moses; you won't believe Me." Likewise, the Christian evolutionists says he's able not to believe some things Scripture tells him about earth while believing all that it says about heaven. The rhetorical question Jesus asks in John 3 says he can't: "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"
You can't, so don't. With the very educated St. Paul bring everyone of your thoughts captive to Christ. Don't believe your thoughts about going to hell, being unforgiven, or the grave being the end. Take those thoughts captive to what Christ says about saving you, forgiving you, and raising you. Don't believe you're thoughts about creation, believe His. But don't start with creation; start with Christmas. Start with the unbelievable miracle not of flying reindeer or a fat Santa and a small chimney but of God taking on flesh and dwelling among us. Start with a God who wants to be known in the face of a Baby, in a Man bearing your sins and carrying your sorrows. Start with a God who gives you His Word that you are so saved by this Man that not sin, not death, not the devil himself can damn you. Than say back to Him what He has first said to you. "Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth." Amen.
Rev. Paul R. Harris
Trinity Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas
Advent Vespers 1 (20081203); First Article of the Apostles Creed