–by Carl Wieland
Many evangelicals, even many who deny evolution, accept the standard secular timeline, from an alleged ‘big bang’ some 15 billion years ago, to now. But several of the Biblical authors, as well as Jesus Himself, make it plain that this is wrong—people were there from the beginning of creation. Whereas in the evolutionary timeline, people have only been around for one or two million years—this puts them towards the end of the timeline. Thus, Jesus is most definitely claiming that the world cannot be billions of years old.
What does the Bible say?
For example, on marriage, Jesus says in Mark 10:6 (all emphases added): “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” In Luke 11:50–51, Jesus also says that as the first martyred prophet, Abel’s blood was “shed from the foundation of the world”. And in Romans 1:20, the Apostle Paul says of God: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Paul plainly indicates that people have been there (since otherwise they could not perceive anything) since the creation of the world. Not just since they were created.
Too many Christians believe in the big bang
Jesus, speaking around 4000 years after creation, was correct to say that Day 6, when humans were created, was effectively ‘the beginning of creation’ as seen from thousands of years later. Whereas a creation 15 billion years ago would put humans at the end of this secular creation timeline. It shows clearly the stark contrast between the secular timeline and Jesus’ statements. Today, the vast majority of Christian academics, whether in secular roles or in theological institutions and Bible Colleges, believe—and many teach—that the secular ‘billions of years’ is fact. Asked about such Bible passages, their responses vary. But the ‘explaining away’ that occurs place (whenever the problem is not simply ignored) invariably demonstrates that the authority being deferred to is current secular opinion, not the Bible.
Changing the Bible to fit society
The most striking example of this switched authority source I know of comes from personal experience years ago. I had arranged to ‘have a cuppa’ with a distinguished Australian science professor, a Christian well-known for his active opposition to a straightforward view of Genesis. He was then head of a grouping of Christian academics actively opposing our ministry’s defence of straightforward Genesis creation. Over the years, the group has unfortunately helped persuade most Christian training institutions that compromising on Biblical creation in favour of secular thinking (evolution, long ages) is the only ‘respectable’ position. This professor was also well regarded in evangelical theological institutions, where he was a frequent guest lecturer. During our courteous exchange, I raised the above comments by Jesus, asking: “Isn’t it clear that Jesus taught and believed that the world is young?”
A ‘stunning’ response
I thought he might emulate other Christian evolutionists I knew who had tried to torture the text to escape such obvious implications. Instead, he said that he totally agreed—Jesus believed in a recent creation of all things. Taken by surprise, I said, “Well, how do you deal with that, then?” (we both knew of each other’s position on creation). His stunning answer: “Jesus didn’t know as much science as we do today.” I said something about Jesus being the Creator, Himself God; He was there at creation, He doesn’t lie, etc. His similarly astonishing reply: “Ah, but that’s where it gets very complex—it has to do with the theology of the Incarnation, where Jesus deliberately laid aside many of the things that had to do with His pre-incarnate divinity.” Our conversation was near the end of its allotted period, but, still astounded, it took me till well afterwards to fully process the implications.
What it means
Firstly, and very importantly, the professor had clearly admitted that the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself confirm that He believed that things were recently created. Remember, this man was at the vanguard of all the professing evangelical academics being enthusiastically welcomed into Australia’s Bible colleges and seminaries—to tell them why it was okay to believe in evolution and long ages. Yet he obviously saw it as hopeless to try to deny what the Lord is clearly saying in this Bible text. His way of being able to nonetheless maintain his theistic evolutionary view was to claim that Jesus was not lying, just poorly informed. Because when He as God the Son became human, laying aside His divinity included divesting Himself of all knowledge about what really happened when He had created all things.
False teaching – dangerous doctrines
Had I had the presence of mind, I might have usefully said something like: “Okay, assume for the sake of argument that creation was by evolution, over millions of years of death and suffering—and that Jesus performed some sort of lobotomy on Himself—so He couldn’t recall what He really did. So He just understood Genesis in the most natural straightforward way, not realising what the actual truth was. What you’re claiming would then be this: God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but Gospel-crucial matters like the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”
The Bible is the truth
Actually, Jesus repeatedly stated that His words and actions were all on the Father’s authority—e.g. John 8:28: “I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me”. And John 12:49–50: “The Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak . . . What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” The erroneous belief that ‘science’ insists that evolution and long ages are ‘fact’ is the most serious challenge to Biblical authority (and thus to the faith in general) Christendom has ever faced. If even Jesus’ words in Scripture can’t be trusted on some issues, how are we supposed to trust anything in the Bible at all?
Science backs the Bible
Other leading theistic evolutionists also believe Jesus made mistakes. E.g. the following appeared on the theistic evolutionary site BioLogos, led by Francis Collins: “If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error.” This is all the more serious because Jesus and the apostles used the history they taught to back up the theology they taught, in areas such as e.g. the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15), marriage (Mark 10:1–12), atonement (Romans 5:12–21), and Heaven (Revelation 21–22:5). What a tragedy—the more so when today there are more scientific reasons than ever to confirm the utter rationality of trusting the Bible, not evolutionary conclusions.