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Christianity & Creation: Can Darwin’s theory be reconciled with the Bible?

The Bible is the inspired word of God.   It is the only eyewitness account of how man was created, and where we can accurately trace our origins.   It is the most reliable source of information for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)  When the theories of learned men contradict the inspired testimony, the fault is with man’s understanding, not the inspired account.  But “ what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?  Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.” (Romans 3:3-4) But regarding creation and our origins what is the truth?

There are smart scientists on both sides of the evolution debate, but their testimony is meaningless when compared with the knowledge of God.   Even in many Christian churches, evolution is being woven into the church’s beliefs. But can Darwin’s theory be reconciled with the Bible? Was the earth created in 6 literal days or billions of years?  As stated in earlier articles, my testimony regarding these answers really has very little weight. In fact even a scientist’s testimony would not be qualified to explain all these areas sufficiently. But we can trust the testimony of one who is greater than myself and any multitude of scientists. The Bible refers to Jesus as the faithful witness (Revelation 3:14). His testimony is valid, for God cannot lie, and He knows all. (Titus 1:2, Revelation 19:6)

So let us study the Bible to find the answers to these important questions. But before we do so, let us pray….

Dear Heavenly Father,

We thank you Lord for granting us wisdom and knowledge about your love for us. Today we humbly ask that you continue to enlighten us through your Holy Spirit. Bless us dear Lord, may we have open hearts and minds as we study your testimony. Teach us your ways Lord, and be with us now we ask and pray in Jesus name, amen.

In the beginning: From lower life forms?

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spake, and it was;” “He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:6,9). He “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.” (Psalm 104:5).

After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion over all that his eye could behold; for “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over . . . all the earth. . . . So God created man in His own image; . . . male and female created He them.” Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions. God created man in His own image. Here is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man’s narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, molluscs, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was “the son of God.”

Six literal days or billions of years?

Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man.

In the law given from Sinai, God recognized the week, and the facts upon which it is based. After giving the command, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and specifying what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh, He states the reason for thus observing the week, by pointing back to His own example: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11). This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the days of creation to be literal. The first six days of each week are given to man for labor, because God employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. On the seventh day man is to refrain from labor, in commemoration of the Creator’s rest.

But the assumption that the events of the first week required thousands upon thousands of years, strikes directly at the foundation of the fourth commandment. It represents the Creator as commanding men to observe the week of literal days in commemoration of vast, indefinite periods. This is unlike His method of dealing with His creatures. It makes indefinite and obscure that which He has made very plain. It is infidelity in its most insidious and hence most dangerous form; its real character is so disguised that it is held and taught by many who profess to believe the Bible.

What about the fossil record?

Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than the Mosaic record teaches. Bones of men and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, etcetera, much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for thousands of years, have been discovered, and from this it is inferred that the earth was populated long before the time brought to view in the record of creation, and by a race of beings vastly superior in size to any men now living. Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods.

But apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the Flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many respects from the present, but the time when these conditions existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the history of the Flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.

It is one of Satan’s devices to lead the people to accept the fables of infidelity; for he can thus obscure the law of God, in itself very plain, and embolden men to rebel against the divine government. His efforts are especially directed against the fourth commandment, because it so clearly points to the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth.

True science is true to divine revelation

God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God’s word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. Because the Creator and His works are so far beyond their comprehension that they are unable to explain them by natural laws, they regard Bible history as unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments, will be led to go a step further, and doubt the existence of God; and then, having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity.

These persons have lost the simplicity of faith. There should be a settled belief in the divine authority of God’s Holy Word. The Bible is not to be tested by men’s ideas of science. Human knowledge is an unreliable guide. Skeptics who read the Bible for the sake of caviling, may, through an imperfect comprehension of either science or revelation, claim to find contradictions between them; but rightly understood, they are in perfect harmony. Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and a correct theory of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements. All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations.

God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

The conclusion of the whole matter

The truth is crystal clear, light and darkness cannot dwell together.  Truth and error cannot cling to one another. We can agree based on the above statements that we cannot believe that man evolved from lower life forms and also that we cannot believe that some men are of a higher pedigree than others. “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) As a quick note, the above statements beginning after the prayer are actually all from Ellen White’s book entitled “Patriarchs and Prophets” chapters 2 & 7.

Sometimes we may encounter men who believe in the Bible but also believe in some modern “scientific” principle which contradicts the Bible. With people such as this it would be well for us to patiently and in humility share with them some of Ellen White’s statements or principles as laid out in the above paragraphs. The Bible shows us that even good men of God often make mistakes for it is written…

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him (Jesus) to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” ~ Luke 9:51-54

Although James and John were trying to defend Jesus, they were in error. It would certainly be unfair to apply their statements to the belief of Jesus Himself. Jesus would not be guilty by association until He would actually make a verbal agreement to such statements. We should not judge Jesus by the statements that other men make. Likewise we cannot judge prophets or people by the statements that others make of them. Our only trust must be in the word of God and His messengers.

Full of compassion Jesus “turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”(Luke 9:55-56)

After three years of following Jesus the apostles were still making mistakes, but after three years Jesus was still patient with them. Certainly “the LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression” (Numbers 14:18) Saul the persecutor of the Christian church later became Paul the great apostle. Peter, one who would deny Christ three times during the time of Jesus’ greatest trial would later be filled with the Holy Spirit and preach boldly and unashamedly at Pentecost. Likewise with us, men may see our faults, our past sins and think that no good can come from such a person as ourselves. But Jesus has the wonderful ability to see through our present faults and see what we will become by His transforming grace. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

Jesus Christ gave everything for you, how shall we not then give everything for Him? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) Is that your prayer today? That we be transformed by God’s grace. A pure mind, free from sin, transformed by His power and Holy Spirit. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) Jesus said “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) The word of God is life, and by beholding we become transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18). May we continue to abide in God’s word, may we be changed by beholding the precious character and words of Jesus, and may we stand for Biblical truth no matter what others may say. May the Lord bless you as you choose to follow Him!

Words from the Bible are in blue.

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