The Bible and Theistic Evolution

In introducing the papers in the three-volume work on evolution stemming from the 1959 Darwinian Centennial Convention in Chicago, Sir Julian Huxley eulogizes Darwin as follows:

Charles Darwin has rightly been described as the “Newton of biology”: he did more than any single individual before or since to change man’s attitude to the phenomena of life and to provide a coherent scientific framework of ideas for biology, in place of an approach in large part compounded of hearsay, myth, and superstition. He rendered evolution inescapable as a fact, comprehensible as a process, all-embracing as a concept.1


That this is a realistic appraisal of the status of the theory of evolution in the thinking of modem intellectuals is beyond doubt. Orthodox Christians may not yet be generally aware, however, of the serious inroads evolutionary thinking has been making into Christian theology and Biblical studies in recent years, even in hitherto conservative circles. Theistic evolution has, of course, been generally adopted in modernistic and liberal churches and seminaries for almost as long as Darwinism has been popular among scientists. Fundamentalist and other conservative schools and churches have, for the most part, reacted healthily against these trends and have maintained a vigorous insistence on the full reliability of the Biblical account of origins by special creation.

But especially since the termination of World War II, with the rise of neo-evangelicalism and the desire of erstwhile fundamentalists to attain intellectual recognition from the world, no doubt with the sincere desire to win more of the educated classes to conservative Christianity, there has come a continually increasing accommodation to theistic evolution in the thinking of these people.

Dr. J. Frank Cassel, head of the North Dakota State University Department of Zoology, is now President of the American Scientific Affiliation, an organization of some eight hundred evangelical scientists committed to the belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. In an article in the A.S.A. Journal, Dr. Cassel says:

Thus, in fifteen years we have seen develop in A.S.A. a spectrum of belief in evolution that would have shocked all of us at the inception of our organization. Many still reserve judgment but few, I believe, are able to meet Dr. Mixter’s challenge of, “Show me a better explanation”.

Some may see in this developing view the demise of our organization, but it seems to me that we only now are ready to move into the field of real potential of contribution—that in releasing Truth from the restrictions we have been prone to place upon it, we can really view it in the true fulness which the Christian perspective gives us.2

Dr. Cassel, as well as most other leaders of the American Scientific Affiliation, thus are now openly espousing theistic evolution. Dr. Russell Mixter, whom he cites, a former president of the A.S.A., head of the Zoology Department at Wheaton College, has likewise swung largely to the evolutionary viewpoint in recent years. He says :

Genesis 1 is designed to tell Who is the Creator, and not necessarily how the full process of creation was accomplished.3

This is a very popular rhetorical device of theistic evolutionists. But if the only purpose of the Creation account is to tell us that God is the Creator, then what is the value of the rest of the account? Why does not the record simply stop at the end of Genesis 1:1, which gives us this information quite adequately?

If space permitted and if such were the purpose of this article, it would easily be possible to present voluminous documentation of the asserted defection of a large segment of latter-day evangelicalism to theistic evolutionism.4 Neither the sincerity nor the good intentions of these brethren is questioned, but the writer strongly believes that the long-range results of these defections will prove tragic.




That the theory of evolution, as commonly taught by secular scientists, cannot be harmonized with an acceptance of the Bible, interpreted literally, should be obvious from even a superficial examination. Considerations demonstrating this fact include the following:

(1) The Bible repeatedly states that all things were created in six “days.” That these “days” are to be understood in the literal sense is evident from the fact that there is nothing in the context to indicate otherwise; that there is at least one other good Hebrew word (olam) meaning “a long time” which could better have been used here had such been the intended meaning; that in only a negligibly small number of the more than 1300 occasions when the word “day” (yom) or “days” (yamim) is used in the Old Testament need it have any other than the literal meaning, with such rare instances always being clearly evident from the context; that the word is never used elsewhere with a limiting numeral or ordinal (for example, “the first day,” “the second day” – Ed.) as it is in nine instances in the creation narrative, unless it has the literal meaning; that whenever the word “days” appears in the plural, as it does in Exodus 20:11 (“– in six days, the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is”) and Exodus 31:17, then it always is used with the literal meaning; and from numerous other similar considerations.

(2) The restriction that each of the various kinds of organisms was to reproduce “after his kind” is stated some nine times in the first chapter of Genesis, Although this statement may not preclude variation within each kind, it certainly says, if it says anything at all, that there are very definite limits to such variation.

(3) The order of creative events as given in Genesis 1 is substantially different from that supposedly deduced from evolutionary historical geology. Thus, according to the Bible, fruit trees came before fish and other marine organisms. Insects (“creeping things”) appeared simultaneously with mammals, birds were developed simultaneously with fishes and sea monsters, vegetation was created before the establishment of the sun and moon, and man was created before woman. All of these things are explicitly contradicted by the accepted order of the fossils in the geologic record, as well as by evolutionary theory.

(4) The references to “evening” (Hebrew ereb) and “morning” (Hebrew boqer) appearing in connection with each creative day can only reasonably be understood as referring to literal days. These words are used more than a hundred times each in the Old Testament, always in a literal sense.

(5) The Sabbath was emphatically instituted as a memorial of God’s completed creation, a fact which is stressed at least four times in Genesis 2:1–3, and is confirmed by Exodus 20:11; 31:17; Hebrews 4:3; 4:10, clearly showing that creation is no longer going on. These Scriptures also plainly show that the processes of creation were different from the physical processes by which the earth is now maintained (a fact which is also confirmed scientifically by the law of energy conservation, the best established of all scientific laws); thus it is impossible to apply the principle of uniformity, based on present processes, to the elucidation of the events of the creation period.

(6) There was no death or suffering of sentient life in the creation, pronounced by God to be “very good”, until after man brought sin into the world and God pronounced a Curse upon the earth (Gen. 3:17; 5:29; Romans 5:12; 8:20–22; I Corinthians 15: 21, 22). Therefore, the fossils of dead animals found in the rocks of the earth, which form the very basis of evolutionary geology and the most important of the supposed evidences for evolution, could not have been deposited until after the Fan and the Curse, probably largely at the time of the Noachian Deluge.

Such facts as outlined above are increasingly recognized by Bible scholars today, so that the “day-age theory”, for harmonizing Genesis with evolution, is not nearly as popular as it once was. A more common device now, reflecting the influence of neo-orthodoxy, is to treat the creation narrative as a “poem” or “allegory”, designed merely to express in dramatic form the great truth that all things originally came from God. In this view, none of the details are to be taken as actual statements of historical fact, but merely as stressing the orderliness and purposefulness of creation.

Obviously, such a method of exegesis will enable one to dispose of any other portion of Scripture which, for one reason or another, he finds distasteful. One wonders why the Holy Spirit bothered to insert so many irrelevant details in the account!


However, the entire Word of God, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures, is a unified whole, and one cannot dispose of one portion without affecting the rest. The creation account is referred to scores of times in later parts of Scripture, in both the Old and the New Testaments, and always in such a way as to indicate that the writer accepted the creation narrative as historical fact. Even the Lord Jesus Christ quoted from this account (see Matthew 19:3–6). Thus, denying the historical validity of the creation account also undermines the authority of the New Testament and of Christ himself!


Even if one’s theology would permit him to adjust what ever passages of Scripture he might find in conflict with evolution, it is still impossible to reconcile theistic evolution with Biblical Christianity. The very nature of Christian morality is squarely opposed to that of evolution. The genius of evolution is the struggle for existence and the attendant extermination of the weak and unfit. It is well known that an evolutionary philosophy is the basis of Communism, Fascism, and the many other anti-Christian systems of the day. The thesis of struggle and self-interest is completely foreign to Christianity, the very basis of which is love and selflessness. It is not possible that a God of love and goodness would institute a universal law that demands continual struggle and hunger and suffering and death.

According to theistic evolution, the divine purpose of evolution was the ultimate creation and redemption of man. How then was it necessary to spend aeons of time in a tortuous drama of evolution to accomplish this purpose? What was the purpose of the trilobites, the dinosaurs, and all the other animals of the distant past, who are said to have lived before man appeared? God is not the Author of Confusion! How could a God of love, looking into the rocks of the earth at the end of the “Day-Ages” of creation, seeing all the fossil evidences of long ages of catastrophe and death, judge it all to be “very good”? No wonder that most of the leaders in evolutionary thought (as quite evident from the Darwinian symposium mentioned above) do not believe in a personal, purposive God!

Carried to its only consistent conclusion, evolution teaches that man has gradual1y risen from pre-human beginnings to his present state of high development, and will presumably continue to evolve upward in the future, Thus, evolution denies the Fall and therefore the need of a Saviour. In the last analysis, the philosophy of evolution is therefore not only anti-Biblical, but anti-Christian and even antitheistic.


The supposed scientific basis of evolution, when critically analyzed, is extremely nebulous and contradictory, and has been adequately refuted time and again. The only reason why most people believe in evolution is because “most people believe in evolution”—a kind of mass delusion fostered by group pressure and fear of being thought old-fashioned. The Biblical Christian, in the judgment of this writer, should reject theistic Evolution wholly and unequivocally.

1. Julian Huxley: “The Emergence of Darwinism,” in The Evolution of Life (Vol. I of EVOLUTION AFTER DARWIN, University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 1.

2. J. Frank Cassel: “The Evolution of Evangelical Thinking on Evolution,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, Vol. 11, No. 4, December, 1959, p. 27.

3. Russell L. Mixter: “Man in Creation,” Christian Life, October 1961, p. 25.

4. For the purposes of this article, the term “theistic evolution” is taken to include “threshold evolution,” “progressive creation” and similar concepts, all of which accept the standard sequence of evolutionary geological ages which is the very foundation of the theory of evolution.