Question: You guys recently taught on evolution and how it is not found in the Bible, yet when I go to church my pastor teaches that creation is a “non-essential” and discussion on the subject just brings division. Could you help me with a Biblical approach to this?
Answer: Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation. Even many of today’s popular Bible teachers, pastors who are otherwise passionate and for the most part accurate in their teachings, have chosen to either mix evolution with the Bible or not deal with the subjects of creation and evolution at all. (Just as a reminder, a local church is both known for what it teaches and what it chooses not to teach.) Most people who have an issue with a literal, 6-day creation around 6,000 years ago will basically argue two reasons for choosing not to teach on a literal creation from the pulpit. First, they believe a literal creation is a secondary issue, one not worth dealing with. Secondly, they believe nonbelievers (and believers) will be offended, causing them to stumble at the Gospel.
To the first issue, it is perhaps reasonable to say one doesn’t have to believe in a literal creation to be saved, however, there is a critical, logical, and deeply biblical connection between a literal creation and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who sought to popularize evolution during Darwin’s time understood this connection quite well. Many of today’s enemies of the cross understand this too. A writer for the American Atheist once wrote, “It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.” (G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution”, American Atheist, 20 Sept. 1979, p. 30). It is truly disingenuous to say creation is a secondary issue. It is biblically better to say creation is a fundamental and foundational issue. There’s a real reason the god of this world has moved men to spend so much time, money, and energy to teach the lies of evolution.
One important side note regarding the connection between the Gospel and a literal creation — Many have argued one doesn’t have to believe creation to be saved, however few consider the following generations of people hearing the Gospel. Let’s say one person gets saved, then doesn’t believe a literal creation matters. He gets married and they have a child. As the child grows, his parents teach him Bible stories, but since they agree with evolution, the child begins to embrace worldly ideas and as he grows older begins to see the contradictions between evolution and Scripture. And since all he’s ever heard from school, Sunday school, and his parents is evolution as his history, he finds the contradictions between the creation account and evolution too hard to reconcile. Now believing only evolution as science having the answers for his history, he also believes it is only fair, logical, consistent to embrace evolution (the ideas of men) and completely let go of the Bible. Satan never thinks of just one generation but is always considering several moves ahead. Why should we do any less?
Regarding the second issue, no Christian saved by the grace and truth of God should ever make their teaching and evangelism choices based on the possible offenses of others. Jesus said to His disciples that He came not to bring peace, but a sword (division). Matthew 10:34. The truth of God’s Word will most definitely offend a world entangled in the lies of the enemy. Not that we seek to be offensive, but we also are not ignorant of the offense brought by the truth of God’s Word.
To avoid certain doctrines because they might offend those outside or those within the church is unloving, to say the least. Jesus promised that the truth of God’s Word will set men free, so why would we choose to withhold certain doctrines that can bring liberty to the hearts and minds of its hearers? Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared in Acts 27:20, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Whole means whole; cover to cover. We should not avoid carefully covering the truth of creation or the Creator. There are many lost people who have sincere questions about the literal creation in the Bible and serious misunderstandings of evolution. Why would we avoid dealing with one of the most crucial issues of our time, especially when the truth is on the side of the saints?
One final point, many Christians struggle with boldly and openly sharing the truth of God’s Word with the world around them. A big reason born-again believers choose to sit instead of stand has to do with one simple thing-confidence that God’s Word is true. Although Christians gladly receive the loving and merciful grace of God’s forgiveness, many do not realize the depth of God’s Truth. The teachings of this fallen world are designed to cause even Christians to doubt the truth, trustworthiness, and power of God’s Word. Why? It’s simple. If those called to shine in a dark world are fooled into believing the world already has some light of its own, then those with the true light will stay sitting, warming themselves and leaving the world entangled in their darkness. When Christians realize they can stand firmly on God’s Word from the very first verse, there is a deep freedom and excitement that begins to rule and reign. See John 17:17. Jesus didn’t just offer us life. He promised life abundantly (John 10:10) and this life will only grow in abundance when the entire Word, from cover to cover, is planted in the hearts and minds of believers.
Don’t hesitate to stand firm on the Word of God, regardless of what any man, even a pastor may say. Psalm 118:8 reminds us, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”