Rightly Dividing God’s Word Keeps us Focused on Jesus’ Appearing By Jonathan C. Brentner As…
Evolution or God’s Word?
By Dave Hunt
Most non-Catholics were surprised when Pope John Paul II, in a paper to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences October 23, 1996, spoke in favor of evolution. But in fact, he only reiterated Catholicism’s official position. Consider these excerpts:
In his Encyclical Humani generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man…. Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God….[T]he exegete and the theologian must keep informed about…the natural sciences…truth cannot contradict truth….[T]he theory of evolution…has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence…of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory.1
No doubt the embarrassing fiasco of Galileo’s trial was in mind when the Pope warned Church theologians to “keep informed about…the natural sciences….” Pope Urban VIII threatened an elderly and very ill Galileo with torture if he would not renounce his claim that the earth revolved around the sun. On his knees before Rome’s Holy Office of the Inquisition, in fear for his life, Galileo recanted of this “heresy”-but not in his heart. That the sun and all heavenly bodies revolved around the earth remained official Catholic dogma, repeatedly affirmed by “infallible” popes until 1992, when the Vatican at last admitted officially that Galileo had been right.
Lest science continue to make fools of the “infallible” Church hierarchy, the Pope cautions Catholic theologians to check with scientists before interpreting Scripture. Yet Peter, whom Catholics say was the first pope, declared that Scripture is inspired of the Holy Spirit (2 Pt 1:21). Surely the Holy Spirit needs no help from scientists! If the Bible is not infallible when it speaks to science, then why trust it regarding God or salvation? Edward Daschbach, a Catholic priest, explains that to take the Bible literally would require admitting that the woman on the beast in Revelation 17 is the Roman Catholic Church! He writes,
The Church, then, does not accept…the literal interpretation of the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis….When creation-science advocates ply their fundamentalist tools to this final scriptural book [Revelation], the Church often becomes a target for vehement attack….2
Evangelicals such as Chuck Colson who have joined forces with Rome claim that Catholicism agrees with them on biblical inerrancy. On the contrary, Vatican II declares, “Hence the Bible is free from error in what pertains to religious truth revealed for our salvation. It is not necessarily free from error in other matters (e.g., natural science)” [Emphasis in original].3
This is no light matter. If the Genesis account of creation isn’t reliable, then neither is the remainder of the Bible, which rests upon it; and Christ is proven not to be God but a mere man who foolishly took the story of Adam and Eve literally (Mat 19:4-5) and could not be our Savior. The American Atheist knows the issues: “Destroy Adam and Eve and original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God and take away the meaning of his death.”4
In May, 1982, honoring Charles Darwin on the 100th anniversary of his death, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences issued this statement: “[M]asses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution…beyond serious dispute.”5 The New Catholic Encyclopedia says,[S]pecialists…over a period of 100 years, have assembled the necessary evidence …evolution has been established as thoroughly as science can establish facts….6
Not so. Growing numbers of even non-Christian scientists oppose evolution. Astronomer/mathematician Sir Fred Hoyle says, “The scientific world has been bamboozled into believing that evolution has been proved. Nothing could be further from the truth.”7 Biologist Michael Denton, author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, says science has so thoroughly discredited Darwinian evolution that it should be discarded. Mathematics professor Wolfgang Smith calls evolution “a metaphysical myth… totally bereft of scientific sanction….”8
Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, confessed, after more than 20 years’ involvement, “[T]here was not one thing I knew about it. It’s quite a shock to learn that one can be misled for so long.” Patterson “started asking other scientists to tell him one thing they knew about evolution.” Biologists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York were speechless. Says Patterson:
I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, “I do know one thing–it ought not to be taught in high school.”9
Notwithstanding, in Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1978), the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to teach creationism even as a theory alongside of Darwinism. Evangelicals rightly complain about evolution being taught as fact in public schools, yet it is also taught as fact in Catholic schools.10 In The Catholic World Report, Stephen F. Smith writes, “[I]n Catholic school here in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, we were taught that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was gospel truth.”11 Biochemist Michael Behe says of his days in Catholic schools,
I…[was taught] life…came from God, and…the leading scientific explanation for how He did it was Darwin’s theory of evolution. I…saw no conflict with Church teaching.12
In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Oxford University zoologist Richard Dawkins, a leading evolutionist, calls biology “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”13 Indeed! One cell, the smallest living unit, could have 100,000 molecules and 10,000 intricately interrelated chemical reactions going on at one time. Cells couldn’t arise by chance! Dawkins admits that every cell contains in its nucleus “a digitally coded database larger…than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica put together.”14 You can’t even imagine the odds against chance creating a 30-volume encyclopedia! That’s for one cell-and there are trillions in the human body, thousands of different kinds, working in unbelievably complex and delicately balanced relationships!
The astronomical odds make evolution mathematically impossible. Hoyle calculated that the odds of producing just the basic enzymes of life by chance are 1 over 1 with 40,000 zeros after it. By comparison, the odds of plucking a particular atom out of the universe is 1 over 1 with 80 zeros. Even if each atom became another universe, the odds of plucking a particular atom out of all those universes by chance are 1 over 1 with 160 zeros. One chance in 1 with 40,000 zeros after it just to produce the basic enzymes! But enzymes perform incredible feats, which fact further compounds the already impossible odds.
Why does blood clot only at the point of bleeding and not within the veins and arteries-and stop clotting when the bleeding stops? Imagine the billions of animals that would have bled to death or been killed by improper blood clotting before this incredible process was perfected by chance! The immune system is even more astonishing, says Behe: “The complexity of the system dooms all Darwinian explanations….”15 And so it is with hundreds of other life systems. Remember, these complex systems must be operational to be of value; they couldn’t evolve in stages.
In his excellent 1996 book, Darwin’s Black Box, Behe documents the incomprehensible complexity of life at its most basic chemical/cellular level-a complexity unimagined by Darwin. Behe, who says evolution “should be banished,”16 demolishes Darwin’s theory by offering multiple examples at the biochemical level of intricately designed “irreducibly complex” elements which could not have evolved:[Evolution] cannot explain the origin of the complex biochemical structures that undergird life. It doesn’t even try….The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself-not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. 17
In support of the Pope, Donald Devine writes, “Prehuman man apparently existed for millions of years….This is not a refutation of the Bible but a confirmation of it-that it took God to breathe in a soul before man could be man.”18 On the contrary! Theistic evolution, by requiring prehuman ancestors of man (for whom no evidence has ever been found), contradicts not only Genesis but the entire Bible.
Moses says that God formed Adam from “the dust of the ground,” then later formed Eve from “one of his ribs” (Gen 2:7,18-22). Prehuman ancestors cannot be reconciled with that account, an account authenticated by Jesus: “Have ye not read, that he which made them in the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Mat 19:4-5). Christ confirms the Genesis account by quoting from it. Paul, too, attested to its accuracy when he declared that “Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Tim 2:13-14-see also 1Cor 15:22, 45; Jude 14). They were not a pair of prehuman creatures into whom God infused human souls.
Furthermore, Paul says that sin entered the world through Adam, and death by sin (Rom 5:12). If Adam and Eve had ancestors who had lived and died during thousands (or millions) of years of evolution until God humanized them, death would have operated on earth before Adam sinned-a clear contradiction of Genesis, of Christ’s teaching, of Paul’s preaching and of the gospel. (New York’s Cardinal O’Connor says Adam and Eve may have been “lower animals.”19)
Evolution, this “most bloated of sacred cows,”20 has been a powerful tool of Satan to persuade millions that the Bible isn’t reliable. As Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson puts it, “The whole purpose of the Darwinian evolutionary story is to…show that you don’t need a preexisting intelligence…[for] creation.”21 Johnson shocked the academic world in 1991 with his book, Darwin on Trial. With the precision of a trial lawyer, he destroyed Darwinism and indicted evolutionists with having “abandoned the truthful and accurate reporting to which science has traditionally been committed in their zeal to extirpate and dismiss religion….”22
Evolution would have filled the fossil record with billions of intermediary creatures, yet not one of these “missing links” has been found! Imagine the debris of the millions of tiny increments over millions of years it must have taken to develop lungs from gills, wings from nothing, the stomach and digestive system, eyes, kidneys, the brain and nervous system throughout the body, the blood stream, sperm and ovum for mammals, the egg and its shell for birds and reptiles, etc. Impossibility is compounded since each of these systems is incredibly complex and could not evolve gradually, but must be fully functional to sustain life and aid in “survival”-for example, the bat’s sophisticated radar system.
How many millions of Arctic terns drowned before the first one “learned,” by chance, to navigate thousands of miles across the ocean? How many salmon lost their way and never made it back to their birth stream to spawn before this uncanny ability was developed? How many spiders starved before the amazing mechanism for making webs chanced itself into existence-and who taught spiders to use this contrivance? How many eggs of all manner of birds rotted before the instinct to hatch eggs developed? How was it learned and passed on? There are countless impossibilities for “chance.”
Today’s concern for “endangered species” contradicts Darwin. Evolution wipes out the unfit. One cannot believe in evolution and also work for ecological preservation of species. As evolution’s ultimate product, man should mercilessly stamp out every rival for survival. The contradictions are endless.
In his latest book, Reason in the Balance, Phillip Johnson argues that only creation by God can account for man’s moral conscience. Nature has no morals. Man’s sense of ethics and morals disproves evolution. If evolution is true, we ought to shut down all hospitals, cease all medications and let the weak die. You can’t reconcile kindness and compassion with evolution’s survival of the fittest.
But man is compelled by conscience and compassion, proof that he is made in the image of a God of holiness and love. By rejecting the overwhelming evidence of design in the world about him (Rom 1:18-32), and by refusing to obey God’s laws inscribed in his conscience (Rom 2:14-15), man has fallen victim to his own ego and to all manner of evil. Nevertheless, God loves man, and in love and grace He came to this earth through the virgin birth so that, as the perfect, sinless man, He could die in our place, paying the infinite penalty His own justice demanded for sin. It is on this basis alone-Christ’s full payment of sin’s penalty and man’s acceptance of that payment-that man can become a new creation in Christ. Let us stand true to this gospel of Jesus Christ and to God’s Word which declares it; and let us stand firm against every attempted dilution, perversion or compromise of God’s truth! TBC