Opinions on the validity of evolutionary theory are often viewed as being US vs THEM. People believe that the Christian church is “against” evolution and scientists are “for” evolution. Nevertheless, many thoroughly trained scientists firmly believe in Creation, and church leaders today from different denominations often have opposing views on the validity of evolution. Some insist we must believe the atheistic scientists and their interpretations. Pope Francis stated, “Evolution of nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation because evolution presupposes the creation of beings which evolve.”(1) Others Christian leaders insist that the Bible creation story is accurate. So in discussing the possibility of evolution, I can’t help but wonder what would Jesus say? (Also see my Prior blog, What Would Jesus Say?)
Respected authors from nearly all the world’s great religions and even many atheists have acknowledged that Jesus was a great man, a great teacher, a great intellect, or a great prophet. Billions of Christians believe, and Scripture teaches, that He was literally the Son of God and had access to the infinite knowledge of his Father in Heaven.
Jesus spent his early life studying the Scripture (the Torah) and he was so intimately acquainted with it that he amazed the scholars of the day at the age of twelve years when he stayed behind in the temple after his family left Jerusalem.
46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:46-49)
So first let it be established that Jesus had great knowledge of and respect for Scripture. In fact Jesus Jesus quotes directly from Genesis chapter one, treating it not as allegory or fiction, but as the real, historical Word of God, saying, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female…” (Matthew 19:4) and also “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:6 – parallel passage, but slightly different wording).
In addition, Jesus clearly accepted Noah and the flood as historical fact, saying,
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:37-39).
Jesus held a high view of all scripture, including the verse in the Bible and the Torah which states, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
Genesis 1:26 God (with Jesus and the Holy Spirit) says let US make man.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
This is important because the “US” here mentioned indicates that Jesus was present, with God the Father, at creation. (This is what is called the Doctrine of the Trinity. It is why Christians say God is Three in One.) Jesus had intimate knowledge of all the events which occurred at creation. If evolution had been God’s preferred mechanism, Jesus would have known and directed the evolutionary process. But that is NOT what he said. There are of course many, many other verses which are applicable to those who take the high view of scripture (as Jesus did) that have implications for the creation vs evolution debate. A few are listed here:
“I have made the earth, and created man on it. I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded” (Isaiah 45:12).
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 ESV)
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7 ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV)
So, all things considered, it is evident that Jesus knew all the details of creation from an intimate, personal perspective, and he taught nothing about accidental cosmology, nothing about randomness in creation. Every aspect of creation was purposeful. Everything was for the glory of God.
In fact, scientists who are professing Christians would do well to remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” By seeking first God’s Kingdom, no scientist will fall prey to vanity, or pride or empty deceit, but will rather seek real, eternal scientific and spiritual Truths! Or perhaps even more to the point… “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 ESV)
And finally, anyone who studies theology, knows that God created a perfect world, which is now under the curse of sin because of man’s actions. The theology of Christianity, sin, faith, and redemption is based on a perfect, created world, spoiled by the sin of humanity. It is based on a fallen world, and the entire fallen human race in desperate need of a Savior. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14) What happens to such a theology when death and evolution have supposedly been present for hundreds of millions of years before man ever appeared? It becomes worse than irrelevant. It becomes nonsense.
If there was no Garden, no perfect creation, no Serpent, and no sin, then what would be the purpose of a Savior? Why, in Heaven’s name, would a Loving God allow his only Son to die a torturous death on the cross, unless it was exactly what the Bible says, the only path to redemption and salvation?
For decades Christians have taken a back seat to secular scientists and atheists in speculation about the origins of the universe. But this no longer sufficient, no longer wise, no longer necessary. And scientists who are Christians are stepping forward by the tens of thousands to support the creation story.
“Those many Christians today who are active in the biological sciences are amazed as we uncover more and more of God’s creative actions in our daily research. We do not look for God in the ‘gaps’ in our scientific knowledge, but instead worship God for the whole of his created order, including those remarkable evolutionary processes that God has used for his creative purposes.” Denis Alexander(1)
“Put no more confidence in mortals. What are they worth?” Isaiah 2:22 Good News Translation