By Greg Neyman
© 2015, Old Earth Ministries
Published 18 May 2015, Edited.
(This article can be freely copied and distributed, as long as it is unaltered and a link back to the original article appears on the page)
Mention evolution in a church setting, and you set off a firestorm of debate. This topic is highly debated within the church, and sharp battle lines are drawn between both sides. Even among Christians who believe the universe is billions of years old, there is sharp division between those who accept evolution, and those who don't. In this article, I hope to explain how I (and thus, OEM) view evolution
First of all, let me state up front that personally, I am a progressive creationist, similar to Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. There are some points of Dr. Ross that I disagree with, so I guess I'm 'off the reservation' when it comes to being a politically correct progressive creationist. One of these topics is evolution. While I still believe in progressive creation, I believe the evidence for evolution is good, and it should not be ruled out as a possibility.
Here is the logic I use to support this idea. When evolution was first proposed (let's use the publication date for On the Origin of Species as an arbitrary reference point - 1859), it was a new field, and we did not fully understand evolution. As time progressed over the last 150+ years, we slowly accumulated more knowledge, and we came to understand evolution better.
Let's say that in 1859, we understood 10% of evolution. As time progressed, we understood more and more, so that today we understand 60% (just a guess). Over time, evolution has been attacked, by both YEC's and OEC's, but these attacks have done nothing to disprove evolution. They have pointed out problems with some components of evolutionary theory, but as time goes by, some of these problems have probably been answered, and probably more of them will be answered in the future.
The real question that progressive creationists need to ask is this...is evolution compatible with the Bible? To answer this question from a progressive creationist perspective, I visited Dr. Hugh Ross' website, Reasons to Believe. I clicked on view articles by topic, and chose evolution. The list of articles that came up all argued against evolution from a scientific point of view, and not from a theological point of view. However, from the logic above, as we gain more knowledge of evolution, these scientific points will probably disappear. The real question remains then...is evolution compatible with the Bible? As I clicked through the pages of evolution articles on RTB, none of the articles addressed evolution from a theological perspective.
After watching this debate for the last 15 years, and being a conservative, literal Genesis person myself, the main reason that I see for criticizing Christians who believe in evolution is because many evolutionary creationists don't accept a literal, inerrant Genesis (RTB does have articles on this). However, there are a growing number of evolutionists who do accept a literal Genesis. A literal belief in Genesis and evolution was proposed by Glenn Morton, a former YEC, back in the 1980's, and others more recently have done so, such as Dr. Matthew McClure in his book, Creation and the Origin of Species: A Biblical Perspective on Evolution. Because you can accept a literal Genesis and believe in evolution, Old Earth Ministries posts material in support of both evolution and progressive creationism, thus fulfilling the goal of supporting ALL Christians who know that the earth and universe are old.
I have great respect for Dr. Ross, and look up his articles to affirm my own beliefs. I wish Dr. Ross much success, as his message is one that people today need to hear. However, when it comes to evolution, I believe RTB would be better off to reallocate their time and resources. While there is value in criticizing evolutionary theory, and pointing out its weaknesses so they can be addressed, if there is no theological reason for rejecting evolution, why argue against our Christian brothers and sisters?
YEC's will continue to attack evolution, but it is my belief that all old earth believers should unite and focus their energies on overcoming young-earth creationism within the church and not each other. To quote Billy Graham,
"I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God."1
This pretty much sums up my beliefs on creationism. I couldn't care less if I'm right about progressive creationism, or if evolution is true or not. I believe in Jesus, and that's all I need to know. I study God's creation to see how He did it, and science has confirmed that the earth is billions of years old, but how we got here, whether through evolution or direct creation, doesn't matter to this progressive creationist.
1 Source Book: Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
Did you know that you can be
a Christian, and believe that the earth is billions of years old?
You can even believe in evolution and be a Christian. There is
no conflict between science and the Bible...all one needs is a
proper understanding how to merge science and the Bible. To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.