Is it true that accepting theistic evolution is equivalent to rejecting that Jesus died for our sins?
I found the article below condemning the teaching of theistic evolution. Is it correct, or maybe do they have some errors?, Thanks![editor’s note: the article referred to is immediately below and my response is below that]
THEISTIC EVOLUTION- What Is Theistic Evolution?
Proponents of theistic evolution claim that God created man by evolutionary processes, that is man is said to have evolved from lower forms of life. If this were the case, then all life, including man and his presumed ancestors, would have been subject to death throughout history. This is because theistic evolution depends on death to weed out lesser fit organisms to make room for the development and refinement of surviving species. However, the Bible tells us that death came about as a result of sin. If Adam had not eaten of the forbidden fruit, if he had not fallen into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what need is there for redemption? None! What all of this means is that we cannot give up the Genesis account of creation, but we could the doctrine of Geocentrism and get along.
THEISTIC EVOLUTION- Scriptural Difficulties with Theistic Evolution
Genesis 3 unmistakably asserts that death overcame man when he transgressed God’s command. Death, according to Scripture, had no hold on man until some later period following his creation. This flies directly in the face of theistic evolution theory. Still, proponents of theistic evolution may try to skirt these passages by regarding the opening portion of Genesis as non-historical. But such recourse can only lead them to even more disastrous avenues. Theistic evolutionists can allegorize Genesis as much as they want, but to do so, they have to contend against Scripture itself. Paul, in such passages as Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, clearly treats the Genesis account in historical terms and he speaks of human death as God’s judgment on sin. It was for this very reason—to answer for God’s punishment for our sin—that Christ died. This is the very heart of the Gospel. Quite frankly, Theistic Evolution, in my opinion, is a contradiction in terms, somewhat like talking about burning snowflakes.
THEISTIC EVOLUTION- Conclusion
But if human death were not God’s judgment on sin, as proponents of theistic evolution would have to maintain, what then did Christ die for? Those clinging to theistic evolution dogma would have to admit that Jesus lied when He claimed to die for our sins. Consequently, the atonement is robbed of all meaning, while the Gospel is hollowed to an empty shell. In their attempt to fuse evolutionary theory with Scripture, theistic evolutionists only wind up perverting God’s Good News into no news, as we remain dead in our sins.
The author of this article makes a rather big error, despite some fairly logical argument. He is assuming that Calvinisitic predestination is correct biblical teaching when it is not. He is assuming that there was no physical death in the world before the fall of Adam and Eve. The problem with this is that the Bible does not say this. Long before Adam and Eve lived, dinosaurs and grasshoppers and fish and trilobytes were dying. We have a tremendous amount of evidence to support this conclusion!
Death is not evil, but the Calvinist assumes that death is somehow evil. The Bible never says that physical death is evil. Nor does it say that there was no physical death of animals before the sin of Adam and Eve. It is true that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they died. The death they died is spiritual death. Like it says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If we say that the death they died when they ate the fruit was physical death, this would be problematic, as they clearly did not die physically when they ate the fruit. Did eating the fruit somehow limit the length of their physical lives? I am not sure and Genesis 3 does not settle this question. I do not appreciate the implication of this author that all theistic evolutionists take Genesis allegorically and as non-historical. I accept most of the implications of theistic evolution, but definitely believe Genesis 1-3 is historical. This person implies that if we accept that evolution happened, then we have to give up Genesis 1-3. This is an error and I am a case in point. All we have to do is allow that the death experienced by Adam and Eve was spiritual death and separation from their intimate relationship with God and this contention disappears. I believe that this is easily the most likely interpretation of both Genesis 1-3 and Romans 5-6, as the context does not fit physical death for many reasons.
This (the interpretation that the death experienced by Adam and Eve was spiritual death and separation from God) also explains Romans 5:12-21. I will admit that this is one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament. Romans 5:12-14 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and int this way death came to all men, because all sinned–for eore the law was given, sin was in the world…Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of ADam to the time of MOses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.” I have already said this is a difficult passage, but I believe that it is much better interpreted as applying to spiritual death and separation from God. When Jesus died on the cross, physical death did not come to an end. Those who are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:4) still die physical death, but they participate in the death of Christ and spiritual death no longer has mastery over them.
This person says: “But if human death were not God’s judgment on sin, as proponents of theistic evolution would have to maintain, what then did Christ die for? ”
But this is a false premise. It is a straw man argument in which a peson sets up the weakest version of the opponent’s argument and argues against this rather than what someone like me is saying. I believe that death is God’s judgment for sin. Physical death is not a punishment. God did not intend for us to occupy these bodies forever. 1 Corinthians 16 makes it clear that God has better bodies prepared for us. God’s judgment for sin is not physical death….it is hell and separation from God. This is clearly what the Bible teaches. Nowhere dies it teach that physical death is a judgment for sin.
This author also says: “Those clinging to theistic evolution dogma would have to admit that Jesus lied when He claimed to die for our sins.”
Again, this is really rather disrespectful and is not a Christian way to argue. I believe that evolution happened, but I certainly do not teach that Jesus lied. Such straw man argumentation styles do not do honor to Jesus.
It makes me sad when Christians attack those with whom they do not agree rather than find out what they believe and try to behave respectfully. I believe that Genesis 3 and Romans 5 is not talking about physical death, but I am willing to say that this is a possible interpretation. Either way, I would not condemn and judge a person who has this interpretation. If a person holds to the young-earth interpretation, I do not feel it is helpful or useful to get into debates about this, but rather we should all point people to Jesus and not argue about the unimportant question of the age of the earth.
I hope this helps.