In this post, I am trying to provide an answer to the question:
Can You Accept Evolution and the Bible as Fact?
Ultimately, as I describe throughout this post, you cannot accept both, since the Bible clearly specifies the nature of creation and how the Earth came to be, and it is completely incompatable with the scientific notion that species have evolved and mutated to reach their current day state.
In effect, you cannot believe that God created man ‘in his image’ and with purpose, and believe that man was created from natural selection, a process which God has no direct control over. They are two fundamentally different ideas.
I also explore some common misconceptions about the belief in YEC, since they are so prevelant.
Look anywhere at most big media publications, and what do you see? Liberal Christians or even atheists denouncing YEC (Young Earth Creationism), and people like Ken Ham, while praising the gentler, liberal Christians. These reporters and activists often claim that these people are ignoring the relevant parts of the Bible, and they argue that the Bible should not be taken literally.
Here is a prominent example. In it, the author says
His [Ken Ham] interpretation of what he calls ‘the Christian message’ is derided by most scientists and educators
By ‘interpretation’, the author, of course, means taking the Bible literally, and not applying a metaphorical outlook. But, the author implies (through using air quotes) that this is not the true Christian message.
The Perception of YEC
The author paints an impressively misleading picture:
Young earth creationism gained currency only about 60 years ago, and has remained a marginal creed within Christianity
YEC is not a new idea, nor is it only now popular. Creationist science (and I hesitate to even call it science) is a relatively new idea that is essentially a pseudoscientific justification of the earth’s age conforming with the Biblical evidence. However, up until science was able to disprove the Bible, it was well accepted truth that the Earth’s age was less than 10,000 years old. For example, the Ussher Chronology posits a date of creation in 4004 BC.
Isaac Newton wrote that:
any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation
(Newton, I., The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, published posthumously 1728, cited in Renfrew, C., Before Civilization, Penguin Books, pp. 22–23, 1976).
He calculated the date of creation to be 3988 BC see here. In fact, tons of famous scientists in the day believed the Bible to be accurate, including Kepler. The calculation of the date of Creation to be around 4000 BC, in fact, had been a mainstream, if not majority, view in both Christian theological circles and academia since the 11th century see here.
The reason the modern day YEC movement has gained traction is because of groups such as “Answers in Genesis” have provided pseudoscience to back up the Bible. But it wasn’t always like that. Young Earth Creationism is at least 1000 years old, and before that, they just didn’t have a way to calculate the age of the Earth, so there was no debate. YEC is backed by the Bible and scientists before we had a way to determine the age of the Earth in a secular manner. But now, scientists realize
I wonder if the author had not looked at the historical development of Young Earth Creationism, or he purposely painted believers of YEC as a “marginal” group? Today, they are a marginal group, but to say that the belief in a young Earth started 60 years ago is completely ridiculous.
Why are there liberal Christians?
I mean, I really wonder. If you are able to say “Genesis is just a metaphor, there was no week of creation”, and essentially discount the word of God, why should they not say “Jesus is just a metaphor, there was no messiah”? The answer is, that if you accept this modernist view, it’s just different valid interpretations of God, which makes the whole point of writing a completely infallible document null and void. I think that the creationist tract “Jocko Homo” by a methodist minister named B. H. Shadduck explains the position against theistic evolution best. I have an archive on this site
With such a theory, they propose a compromise,—“Let us keep a God to our notion, and you may evolve the Bible also.” The scholar who believes the “fact” of evolution, doubts the infallibility of the Bible.
The fact is that the Bible is not meant to be “another book”. It is (supposedly) the word of God. So, to doubt it is to doubt God, and to believe it is the word of God and disagree is to usurp authority over God. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, just as you cannot believe the Bible and evolution.
Ironically, the farther and farther away these so-called “Christians” get from the literal interpretation of the Bible, the more rational they are (they accept evolution, the age of the earth, etc). I see this as evidence that the Bible is the cause of miseducation and irrationality. I think these liberal Christians should take one more step and go ahead and denounce all beliefs held in superstition or faith.
Can faith and science coexist?
Absolutely not, at least if you want a coherent set of beliefs. I think it’s best said that faith is the opposite of science; while science is the belief because of evidence, faith is the belief without evidence. After all, if there was a proof of the Bible (or indeed any other “holy” book), the followers wouldn’t need faith. Conversely, I wonder if these liberal Christians require “faith” to accept natural selection? No, that’s silly, because natural selection is well-attested; it doesn’t require anything to be fabricated, and they wouldn’t accept natural selection if there was no evidence. So, why don’t they apply that same standard to the resurrection? Or their religious views in general? I think it’s because they still want to fit in as a Christian, but that is not a good enough reason to claim belief in something that isn’t true.
Even the most fundamentalist Christians admit that science trumps faith, as long as you seperate them:
If youthful minds are taught that faith is at variance with science, they will later accept science and abandon faith.
And referencing those Christians which accept evolution and reject Genesis, yet also believe in an afterlife:
If the Bible is mistaken in telling us from whence we came, how can we trust it to tell us where we are going?
I still don’t see how people can be professed “Christians” and accept evolution. They are at odds.
If you can imagine moral deviltry and a heavenly hell then may we conceive of “Christian” evolution.
God Made Man, But A Monkey Supplied The Glue
Some people say that God created man through evolution, indirectly. They essentially posit that God created the universe with certain physical laws, and then man came about as a result of evolution. This is called Pantheism, and it is incompatable with the Bible. Being a pantheist means that there is no personal God, and it directly contradicts even a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis. In Genesis, God creates man in his image, and it is clear, even as a metaphor, that God was purposeful in his design. Evolution is the opposite of this, it takes lower forms, and is formless and agendaless.
The idea that God created man purposefully and the idea that man was created by a process from lower beings without the input of God (aka evolution) are completely opposed, and you cannot accept both.