The Compromise of
“There is nothing unscriptural about the concept you would
label ‘theistic evolution,’” said the young man in his letter. “Evolution
appears to be the mechanism of creation in an ancient world. Man
appeared only very recently on the scene. I feel that God imparted
souls to primates that had reached a stage of development sufficient for
God’s plan for man – Adam and Eve included,” he went on to say. And
so one more stands forth to try to defend the corrupt and utterly
false doctrine of “theistic evolution.” Unfortunately, this is not
just an isolated incident. Amidst all the discussion of whether atheistic
evolution or special creation is true, a group of people has arisen which
claims that both are true. These people hold to “theistic evolution”
(also known by the synonyms of “religious evolution,” “mitigated evolution,”
“progressive creation” or “threshold evolution”). Their name is Legion;
their tribe is increasing! And many (such as the young man who wrote
the above-mentioned letter) are militant in their belief and anxious to
recruit others to it.
What Is Theistic Evolution?
The word “theistic” comes from the Greek word theos,
meaning God. Therefore, when one claims to be a “theistic” evolutionist,
he is claiming to believe in both God and evolution at the same time.
As Dr. J.D. Bales has remarked:
There are many in the religious world, and a
few in the New Testament church, who think that Genesis can and must be
harmonized with evolution. They are theistic evolutionists who maintain
that evolution was God’s method of creation (“Theistic Evolution &
Genesis.” IN: Gospel Advocate. January 24, 1974, p. 52.).
Dr. R.L. Wysong, in his book, The Creation-Evolution
Controversy, has stated:
Basically, theistic evolution contends that abiogenesis
(the spontaneous formation of life from chemicals) and evolution (ameba
to man through eons) have occurred, but a creator was instrumental in forming
the initial matter and laws, and more or less guided the whole process
(Inquiry Press, East Lansing, Michigan, 1976, p. 63.).
The point is clear. The theistic evolutionist believes
organic evolution was simply “the way God did it” as he brought the universe
and its contents into existence. And although there are almost as
many “varieties” of theistic evolution as there are people who espouse
it, a few characteristics are common to all. For example, the theistic
evolutionist believes in: (a) an ancient universe/earth (multi-billion
years old), (b) wholly natural processes responsible for life as we see
it once initial matter was “struck” into existence by God, (c) figurative
(non-literal) interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.
Is Theistic Evolution Popular?
Is theistic evolution popular? Indeed it is!
Many people today take it as a “way out” of having to make a decision in
favor of either evolution or creation. It has become the “middle
of the road” position which so many Christians have already taken on other
issues (e.g., verbal, plenary inspiration; the virgin birth; miracles;
etc.). As Dr. Wysong has pointed out:
Theistic evolution has been advocated in the
past by men like Augustine and Aquinas. Today it is vogue.
It is downright hard to find anyone who does not believe in evolution in
one form or another, and it is also difficult to find anyone who does not
believe in a creator in one form or another. This hybrid belief has
given reprieve to those not wishing to make a total commitment to either
side” (op. cit., p. 63).
People have accepted theistic evolution for a number of reasons.
One of the reasons often given by theistic evolutionists for their acceptance
of this position is that they believe it is not only not contradictory
to the Bible, but is, in fact, compatible with the Divine Record.
Dr. Neal Buffaloe, for example, has plainly stated: “the concept
of evolution is neither degrading to man, detrimental to human dignity,
nor in conflict with the Bible” (“God or Evolution?” IN: Mission.
April, 1969, pp. 17, 20, 21.). John Clayton, in his book, The
Source, has commented: “If we look carefully at the issue about
which we are talking, however, we can find that evolution and the Bible
show amazing agreement on almost all issues and that one is not mutually
exclusive of the other” (privately published by author, South Bend, IN,
1976, p. 130.).
Still others believe in theistic evolution because they
feel it simply doesn’t matter all that much. As Dr. Buffaloe remarked:
“What do we care that the animal is a product of evolution as long as man
the spirit is begotten of God?” (loc. cit.). No doubt
there are many who possess such an attitude. And if space permitted,
there are many other reasons that could be given as to why people believe
in theistic evolution.
One important reason, however, for the current popularity
of this false doctrine is that Christians have become intimidated.
They have been intimidated by fancy “facts” and impressive credentials
and flowery words and phrases set forth by some in the scientific community,
and they have become victims of propaganda campaigns which teach that “anyone
entitled to a judgment” accept evolution, that “belief in evolution is
a part of the learning process in all thinking persons,” and so on.
The intimidation of pseudoscience has convinced
them that somehow evolution must be “worked into” the Bible. How
wrong they are!