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Don Stewart :: Can Theistic Evolution Solve the Controversy between Creation and Evolution?

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Don Stewart
Is it possible that theistic evolution can solve the controversy between special creation and the theory of atheistic evolution? The answer is no. Theistic evolution does not fit the biblical account for a great number of reasons. The following are only a few of the problems that result in holding to a belief in theistic evolution.

Forced Interpretation

To begin with, the idea of theistic evolution does not result from a normal reading of the Bible. It is a forced interpretation of the text that does not accept the straightforward literal meaning. Theistic evolution reinterprets the clear statements of Scripture, attempting to make the Bible fit the modern theory of evolution. For this reason alone, it is suspect. Paul Zimmerman writes:

In asking whether or not theistic evolution may be found in the text, we must come to grips with the question as to what kind of literature we have in Genesis 1. Unless we decide the kind of literature we are dealing with, we cannot perform good exegesis. If it is historical prose, that is one thing. If it is poetry or myth or saga or symphony, that is quite another (Paul A. Zimmerman, "The Word of God Today", Creation, Evolution, and Gods Word, Paul A. Zimmerman, editor, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1972, p. 102).

The Scriptures, from the first page to the last, treat the creation account in Genesis as having actually occurred. Nowhere is there a hint that it is myth or allegory. We should treat this account the same way as the biblical writers.

Evolution Is Atheism

As we have mentioned earlier, evolution, when taken to its logical end, equals atheism. Prominent humanist, Sir Julian Huxley has stated:

Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion. I think we can dismiss entirely all idea of a supernatural overriding mind being responsible for the evolutionary process (Sir Julian Huxley, Issues in Evolution, Sol Tax, editor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960, p. 45).

The Encyclopaedia Brittanica wrote of evolution.

Darwin did two things: he showed that evolution was a fact contradicting scriptural legends of creation and that its cause, natural selection, was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design (Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Macropaedia, Volume 7, 1979, p. 23).

Nigel Cameron writes:

One of the greatest of Christian thinkers, Professor Charles Hodge of Princeton, wrote a short book at the height of the controversy over Darwin, in the title of which he asked the question: What is Darwinism? The answer that he gave is also the answer I should give. In its assumptions, and in its implications, it is atheism (Nigel Cameron, Evolution and the Authority of The Bible, Exeter, England: Paternoster Press, 1983, p. 10).

Darwin recognized the implications of his theory. To attempt to wed them together fits neither because it does injustice to what both are attempting to say.

Creator Versus Natural Processes

The heart of the theory of evolution explains all of reality apart from a Creator. Natural and random forces are the only things at work. Design and purpose are not in their vocabulary. The theory of evolution explains everything by a purely natural process; there is no need for God. Thus, at its basic intent, the theory of evolution is at odds with the Bible.

Finished Or Unfinished?

The Book of Genesis speaks of a finished creation:

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them were finished (Genesis 2:1).

The Bible says that after God had finished creating He rested. Malachi 2:10 reads, "Had not God created us?" Creation of mankind is viewed in Scripture as a historical event that is now past.

Evolution, on the other hand, is an unfinished process. How is it that one may believe both? Either God finished creating, as Genesis states, or natural processes that began millions of years in history past are still going on.

Nothing To Rest From

The Bible says, "For in six days God created the earth." In the Old Testament, every Sabbath Day, the Israelites recognized the fact that God created the universe. Theistic evolution has nothing from which to rest. What could be the meaning of rest for God who allowed evolutionary processes to go on for billions of years? There is nothing completed to rest from, no perfection to celebrate. Theistic evolution has no room for a God who rests. Every weekday should remind us that God created the earth in separate steps and every seventh day testifies that God wants us to remember it.

Furthermore, if nothing ceased on the seventh day then Genesis 2:1-3 is either meaningless or a lie. The clear meaning of the seventh day is that God completed a series of creative acts and thereafter deals with the universe in a fundamentally different manner. He is now working through natural processes guided by providence.

Evolution, by contrast, is an ongoing process which has continued from the beginning of the universe to this day. The theistic evolutionist must remove Genesis 2:1-3 out of his Bible, since for him nothing has ceased. There is no seventh day, or day of rest within the evolution model.

Logical Conclusion

Theistic evolution must be taken to its logical conclusion. Curtly F. Mather writes:
When a theologian accepts evolution as the process used by the creator, he must be willing to go all the way with it. Not only is it an orderly process, it is a continuing one. Nothing was finished on any seventh day: the process of creation is still going on. The golden age for man - if any - is in the future, not in the past . . . Moreover the creative processes of evolution is not to be interrupted by any supernatural intervention . . . The spiritual aspects of the life of man are just as surely a product of the processes called evolution as are his brain and nervous system (C.F. Mather, Science Ponders Religion, Harlow Shapley, editor, New York: Appleton Century Croft, Inc., 1960, pp. 37,38).

Adams Creation

Theistic evolution contradicts what the Bible says happened about the creation of Adam. The idea that God took a subhuman and developed him into a man is not taught in Scripture. The Bible says:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

Notice the progression: God formed man out of the dust of the ground, breathed His spirit into mans nostrils, then man became a living soul. The Bible clearly says that man was created by God from the dust of the earth. "Dust" does not mean a subhuman creature. After Adam had sinned, God said to him:

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19).

Upon his death Adam was to return to dust, not to an animal body!

Scripture also emphasizes that mankind was created male and female in the image of God:

Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26,27).

Immediately upon creation, Adam was fully man. There was no intermediate half-man/half-ape before his creation. Special creation says Adam became a living soul in an act of creation, while theistic evolution says man inherits life from an animal.

New Testament

The New Testament assumes a literal creation of Adam. Adam is a type of Christ who is to come:

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 (Romans 5:14).

The first Adam became a living being:

And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45).

For Adam was first formed then Eve (1 Timothy 2:13).

Adam was made from the dust of the earth while Eve was made from the side of Adam. Therefore, Paul can say:

And He has made us one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).

In First Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul discussed the literal bodily resurrection of Christ and of believers. He wrote:

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).

From the construction For as . . . so also it is clear that if all do not die in Adam, then none shall be made alive in Christ. If Adam is not a literal historical person, then the Christian has no hope of the resurrection. If Adam is merely figurative, then our resurrection is merely figurative. Elsewhere, Paul not only confirms the Genesis account, he relates it to Jesus:

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Creation Of Eve

The Bible says Eve, the first woman, was created by a supernatural direct act of God. She was made from Adams side. The biblical account of the creation of Eve is rejected by theistic evolutionists. They say man and woman evolved together from some ape-like creature over a span of several million years. However, the writers of the New Testament support the literal truth of this account of Eves creation:

For man is not from woman, but woman from man (1 Corinthians 11:8).

Eve is called the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). This also contradicts theistic evolution. Theistic evolution teaches that the woman came from a female animal not a human male (Adam) as the Scriptures teach.

Distinction Between Man and Animals

The Bible also makes the distinction between man and animals:

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts (1 Corinthians 15:39).

Man, according to Scripture, has been made in the image of God, and is distinct from the rest of creation. Theistic evolution basically teaches that all flesh is one flesh. All of creation - man, animals and plants - are related according to the evolutionary model. The theory of theistic evolution strips away the dignity of man made in the image of God.

Redefined Good

After each creative act God gives us a status report: it was very good. When God finished His creation He pronounced it as very good (Genesis 1:31). Yet if one accepts theistic evolution, then the idea of good will have to be redefined. Evolutionary theory teaches the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, the elimination of the weak, and death. If God permitted this method to occur for millions of years to bring life to its present state would He have pronounced creation good? The answer is no. To assert that God would have said everything was good after having been brought about by millions of years of death, struggle, and dying is inconsistent with the character of the God of the Bible.


Theistic evolution denies that death resulted from sin. If man descended from lower forms of life, then death had already been in existence. If Adam were merely a male ape in whom God put His Spirit, then his body would have been subject to death and disease as other apes. Evolution says that death existed millions of years before man appeared.
Thus, sin would not have been the cause for his death. But the Bible says it was:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men (Romans 5:12).

Theistic evolution not only disregards the literal interpretation of the Bible, it also contradicts what the Bible says. The Scripture says that death is not something that is natural for mankind. It is an enemy, the result of mans fall:

The sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56).

Death is a painful reminder of our sin. How can death be reconciled in a world that is very good? Death, however, is essential for the theory of evolution.

Not Gods Means

The theory of evolution stands against the scientific evidence. On a scientific level evolution could not be Gods means of creation. The evolutionary processes, mutation and selection do not create. They only vary and preserve traits that already exist. They are effective only after creation has already taken place. Duane Gish writes:

According to the theory of evolution, ultimately all of evolution is due to mutations. No-one can rationally deny that mutations are random events. In fact, it is fair to say, (and most evolutionist do say) that mutations are mistakes. They are equivalent to typographical errors. Further, no rational scientist would deny that practically all mutations are harmful (in fact, it is difficult if not impossible to prove that any are beneficial). Many are indeed lethal.

Furthermore, the evolutionary process has apparently lead to many dead ends. Evolution would certainly constitute the most wasteful, inefficient, cruel method God could have used to create. The concept of evolution is thus totally inconsistent with the attributes of God as revealed in Scripture (Duane Gish, Creation and Evolution, Derek Burke, editor, Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985, pp. 140,141).

Scientist Henry Morris observes:

Surely an omniscient God could devise a better process of creation than the random, wasteful, inefficient trial and error charade of the so-called geological ages, and certainly a loving, merciful God would never be guilty of a creative process that would involve the suffering and death of multitudes of innocent animals, in the process of arriving at man millions of years later.

It should be obvious that the God of the Bible would create everything complete and good, right from the start. In fact, He testified that all of it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). The wastefulness and randomness and cruelty which is now so evident in the world (both the groaning creation of the present and in the fossilized world of the past) must represent an intrusion into His creation, not a mechanism for its accomplishment. God would never do a thing like that, except in judgment in sin! (Henry Morris, Creation and the Modern Christian, El Cajon, California: Master Book Publishers, 1985, p. 42).

Limited Variation

The theory of evolution teaches that man developed from a common ancestor with the ape. According to the theory of evolution, animals have also developed along this line. The Bible, however, does not allow for this:

Then God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind; and it was so (Genesis 1:24).

As we have already mentioned, the Bible teaches that there are definite limits, or fixed boundaries to the variations that can occur. This means that pigs produce pigs, dogs produce dogs, etc. There is no crossing of these kinds to produce some bizarre creature.

Upward Or Downward?

The theory of evolution teaches that man and the universe are continuing on an upward development. The Bible teaches that everything was perfect in the beginning and that the effect of sin is that man and the universe are on a downward trend:

For creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20,21).

After Adam and Eve sinned God pronounced judgment upon them and upon the earth:

To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Then to Adam He said, . . . Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you . . . In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground (Genesis 3:16-19).

The earth, as well as humanity, was to suffer the consequences of sin. Nature was created perfect but was corrupted when Adam disobeyed God. Evolution teaches that nature is growing better by change.

Different Order

There is a different order of things between the Bible and the theory of evolution:

Bible: First life was land plants (Genesis 1:11).
Evolution: Marine organisms evolved first.

Bible: Fruit trees before fish (Genesis 1:11,20,21).
Evolution: Fish before fruit trees.

Bible: Birds before insects (Genesis 1:20-31).
Evolution: Insects before birds.

Bible: Whales before reptiles (Genesis 1:20-31).
Evolution: Reptiles before whales.

Bible: Man before rain (Genesis 2:5).
Evolution: Rain before man.

Other Differences

Apart from the different order of things there are other differences between the Bible and the theory of evolution.

The Bible says birds and fish were created on the fifth day (Genesis 1:20,21), but the theory of evolution says that fish evolved hundreds of millions of years before birds appeared.

The Bible says the different varieties of marine life were created all at once (Genesis 1:20-21), while evolution states that marine life gradually evolved from a primitive single cell.

All Of Scripture

One of the issues rarely dealt with by theistic evolutionists concerns the entire teaching of Scripture. They emphasize that Genesis is to be understood poetically or as an allegory, yet the biblical account of creation is found in both testaments. Furthermore, essential doctrines of the Christian faith are built on the idea of a literal understanding of the account.

Experts Divided

The perception is often given that all scientists accept evolution, but this is not the case. The experts are divided. Though a majority of scientists believe in evolution, there are notable scientists who either do not believe it or who believe that it is a bad theory.

Which God?

If a person says they believe in God and evolution the question arises, "What God are you talking about?" It is certainly not the God of the Bible. He is not the God who created all things by the Word of His power, or the One described in the book of Psalms, who holds the breath of every living thing by the Word of His power. He is not the God described in the book of Psalms, who controls life and death, seed-time and harvest, wind and rain.

Those who accept evolution are left with a God who started the world on its way but then left it to struggle painfully upwards toward it knows not what. What a contrast to the God described in the Bible who orders all things in nature and among men after the counsel and purpose of His own will. David Rosevear comments:

But can we have our cake and eat it? Can we believe in a God who used evolution to bring about his plan? What kind of god would this be?

-He would be a god who does not say what he means or means what he says. The order of creation in Genesis is all wrong and the time scale is preposterous. He said he made plants according to their kind, with their seed within themselves to reproduce according to their kind. He said he made animals according to their kind also. If God used evolution, this account in Genesis is plain wrong.

- He is a god who uses death, struggle and chance to achieve his purposes - a cruel and gambling god (David Rosevear, Creation Science, Chichester, England: New Wine Press, 1991, p. 20).

Which Part Do We Believe?

Accepting theistic evolution means some parts of the Bible are true - while other parts are false. How do we decide what parts to believe and which parts not to? Is the Bible true when it tells us that Jesus Christ was God in human form but false when it says, "All things were made by Him?" Do we believe the story of Abraham in the book of Genesis but reject the story of creation in the same book? Can we believe anything the Bible teaches about God if we accept that some parts of Scripture are myths?

Testimony Of Jesus

Jesus testified that Adam and Eve were created by God:

Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? (Matthew 19:4).

Jesus said God "made" Adam and Eve. He does not teach that some subhuman creature had a spirit breathed into him and thus became "Adam." If Adam and Eve were subhuman animals before receiving Gods Spirit they would already have been male and female. This would contradict the statements in Genesis 1:27 and the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:4.
Jesus also confirmed they were made as adult male and female, ready for marriage.

Confirmed Genesis

Jesus certifies as accurate the very language of Genesis. This sets His authority against those who would read another account of Genesis. He was in a position to know what occurred at the beginning, since the Bible says He was there (John 1:1), and was the active agent of creation (Colossians 1:16).

Unresolved Questions

There are other questions for which theistic evolution has no answers. If people die because of sin, were pre-Adamites immortal? Did Adams contemporaries die when he sinned? Scripture says that mans sin was the cause of death:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).

The theory of theistic evolution leaves so many questions unanswered.


The problems with theistic evolution can be summarized as follows:

1. Forced Interpretation

It is not possible to reconcile the theory of evolution with a normal interpretation of the Bible. To hold to theistic evolution, one must interpret Genesis as poetry or allegory.

2. Finished Or Unfinished Process

Creation is a finished process. God has ceased creating and now He is preserving His creation. Evolution is an ongoing process that is still occurring.

3. Creator Or Natural Process

The Bible teaches that a Creator was intimately involved in the process of creation, while theistic evolution leaves things to natural processes.

4. Limited Or Unlimited Variation

Evolution teaches an unlimited variation between life forms, while the Bible makes it clear there is a limit to variation.

5. Upward Or Downward Trend

Evolution teaches things are progressing to the better while the Bible teaches man has fallen from His perfect state.

6. Different Order Of Events

The creation account in Genesis and the theory of evolution have a different order of events. Though theistic evolution wants to have the best of both worlds, the difficulties between evolution and special creation are ignored or glossed over.

7. Extinct Organisms Before Men

Man, according to evolution, came late onto the scene of life forms, with animals being extinct before his coming. The Bible says Adam was to have dominion over all the created forms.

8. Death Before Sin

The Bible says sin was the cause of death. Theistic evolution believes and teaches that death was in the world prior to sin.

9. Distinction Between Man And Animals

The Bible makes the distinction between man and animals, while theistic evolution assumes only a spiritual distinction.

10. Redefined Good

Theistic evolution has to redefine Gods creation as good because it believes there was death and sin before Adams fall.

11. Not God's Means

Evolution is a very inefficient way of bringing about new species. The whole idea of chance evolution goes against the character of God.

12. Man: Image Of God, Not Ape

Man is a special creation according to Scripture, not merely a trousered ape.

13. Creation Of Eve

Theistic evolution contradicts the Bible concerning the creation of Eve. Her supernatural creation refutes any idea of theistic evolution.

14. Which God?

The God of the Bible is not the same God in which the evolutionists believe. Theistic evolution reduces the role of God as Creator and makes Him more a spectator who supervises the ongoing process.

15. Testimony Of Jesus

The testimony of Jesus contradicts the idea of theistic evolution. He believed in a literal creation of Adam and Eve.

16. Evolutionists Reject The Compromise

The majority of evolutionists either ignore theistic evolution or laugh at it. They will have nothing to do with this theory.


It is theoretically possible that God could use the evolutionary process to "create" the world. It is hypothetically as possible as "special creation." However, this is not the issue. We are not engaging in speculative discussion or debating what God might do. Rather, we are discussing what God has done. There is a world of difference between the two. For the Christian, we must consider the question in the light of Scripture. We must find out what the Bible says God did.
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