The Genesis Crisis

Some people like to dismiss this debate as a secondary issue, not directly related to the gospel. But it is clearly an issue that goes to the authority of Scripture.

The doctrine of inerrancy becomes useless when men like Wright, Keller, and Waltke let atheists weigh in on what parts of the Bible are acceptable to believe. And while they don’t explicitly deny Scripture, their reinterpretation relegates it to a meaningless text. It is true that not all scholars who take such positions call themselves evangelicals, but they wield great authority in evangelical circles, and their capitulation is spreading like a disease.

 

Most of us are familiar with politicians who obfuscate simple questions with complex political answers. Who can forget Bill Clinton’s “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”? Unfortunately, obfuscation exists in the realm of theology as well. God may not be “a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33), but there are scores of biblical scholars, theologians, and pastors who insert plenty of it into the first few chapters of Genesis.

Evangelicalism abounds with theologians who don’t know what the meaning of the word “day” is. The Hebrew word for day, yom, appears more than two thousand times in the Old Testament and would attract virtually no debate were it not for six specific appearances in Genesis 1. But those six days of creation are now at loggerheads with modern scientific dating methods. Rather than stand firm on the biblical account, church leaders acquiesce to unprovable theories and confuse the clear and consistent biblical teaching on origins.

A History of Skepticism

A French naturalist of the 1700s, Comte de Buffon, scoffed at the six days of creation and the straightforward biblical genealogies that dated the earth around six thousand years old. He said it had to be much older—about seventy-five thousand years old. Since that day, scientific dating results have followed the same trajectory as the American debt ceiling. By 1862 it was 100 million years; by 1913, 1.6 billion years. Today the estimate sits at 4.5 billion, but it will surely change again as soon as someone comes up with a better, more convincing guess.

The truth is, science can’t offer us one, comprehensive answer for how we got here. There are lots of acceptable theories—except, of course, the plain reading of the Genesis account.

The Mythical Middle Ground

Regardless of historical science’s inability to get its story straight, its various conjectures are given unquestioned authority and exert enormous academic and ideological pressure. And in the face of that pressure, many theologians and biblical scholars attempt to harmonize creation and evolution in hopes of maintaining both their academic credibility and their orthodoxy.

Popular author and theologian Tim Keller is a good example. Keller uses a false dichotomy to justify his attempt to harmonize evolutionary theory with the biblical text, saying that we shouldn’t have to “choose between an anti-science religion or an anti-religious science.” [1]

It’s worth remembering that true empirical science is measurable, testable, repeatable, and observable. Therefore evolutionary theories require at least as much blind faith as the Genesis account, if not more. And yet the wonky religions of Big Bang Cosmology and Darwinian Evolution have done an amazing job of frightening theologians with their façade of pseudo-scientific evidence.

Theologians who refuse to compromise and cave to that façade are not “anti-science.” They are against bad science. If a scientific theory conflicts with God’s inerrant Word, it is the theory that requires revision; not Scripture. True biblical scholarship seeks to arrive at exegetical conclusions in conformity with the biblical text, not impose humanistic conclusions upon the text, thus changing its meaning. Those who insist on mixing oil with water combine pseudo-science with pseudo-exegesis and come up with convoluted solutions that neither scientists nor scholars can agree on.

Accommodating Lies

Celebrated theologian N.T. Wright actually claims that he sees “emerging hominids” when he reads the opening chapters of Genesis:

Genesis one, two, and three is wonderful picture language, but I do think there was a primal pair in a world of emerging hominids, that’s the way I read that. … the way that I see it is that God called one pair of hominids and said “OK, this place is a bit chaotic, you and I together, we’re going to have a project. We’re going to plant this garden and we’re going to go out from here and this is how it’s going to be.” [2]

N.T. Wright is a proud supporter of BioLogos, an organization Phil Johnson has aptly renamed “Evangelicals and Atheists Together.” BioLogos is an organization with the mission of inviting “the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”[3] That’s like being on a mission to draw a round square. They’re trying to make evolution compatible with the Bible when it’s not even compatible with science.

Read More