Jesus and evolution: Or, for whom did Jesus die?

This is the rough draft of something I would like to address more deeply at some time in the future. Most of the time when we talk of those for whom Jesus died, we automatically think of the extent of the atonement. But here I would like to speak of the actual beings for whom Christ died – is it pre=humans, present humans, or post-humans? Surely, this is an important question, particularly for those who claim the name of Christ along with the name of Darwin.

It is alledged by the theistic evolutionists that they have both science and scripture on their side. But for this to occur, some portions of scripture must be altered in some way so that it fits with the science of evolutionary theory. Adam must be figurative or represent a group of people, because the science demands that you can’t just start with one man. Those who support the traditional scriptural view will then contradict this with other scientific evidence and attempt some sort of defense of the clarity of scripture. So far, this has proved to be ineffective, since in most cases both sides have tacitly admitted that liberty is to be maintained on this topic. This gives us the present condition we find ourselves in – the American church crumbling away into cultural irrelevance.

It is my opinion and conviction that this charade of charity must stop. Theistic evolution, or any other evolutionary theory, must be seen to be heresy. Those who believe such or teach such should be disciplined or excommunicated. And the reason for this should be obvious to all – any evolutionary theory denies the purpose and value of the person of Jesus Christ.

So how can I say this in opposition to so many learned, degreed pastors and teachers who maintain otherwise? Truth doesn’t need credentials, it just needs to be believed. Do we believe that Jesus Christ came to save people? People who are sinners? People who need salvation from a holy God? And was not this salvation planned before the foundation of the world? Isn’t the main problem in the world today the problem of sin?

But evolutionists of any stripe will certainly beg to differ. Or at least their theory does. Evolutionary theory says that people only recently evolved into being. It is stated that these people used to be non-people (monkeys, apes, chimps, etc.) and it is assumed that one day these people will yet again become non-people because evolutionary theory maintains that everything is constantly evolving and changing, and that for the better mostly. At some point, a theistic evolutionist must logically believe that people won’t be people any more one day, and therefore cease to need Jesus Christ, since Jesus came only to save people.

When put this way, you see how irrelevant the ministry of Jesus Christ is in the whole of earthly history. His ministry would only be of any value for a very short period of time geologically. And even that value can be minimized because any short-comings we presently have today can be explained away by appealing to our lack of evolution. Because if God is using evolution to bring about His plans, then what we find in scripture must be inadequate at best, or just plain wrong at worst.

The message of scripture paints a wholly different view of the universe. The message of the Bible is that all of creation is from Jesus, through Jesus, and to Jesus. Billions of years of death and destruction to finally get to humans as a product of evolutionary forces does not glorify God. And if evolutionary theory is correct then humans will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs with some newer, better species coming after us. This totally undermines the scriptural view of Jesus Christ as the savior of people and not other animals, past or future.

On the basis of Jesus Christ dying for people, then we must say that any evolutionary theory is heretical because it denies the basic message of scripture and what it says about the purpose of Jesus Christ’s ministry.

7 thoughts on “Jesus and evolution: Or, for whom did Jesus die?

  1. I declare that you’re a heretic.

    You’re setting up a false dichotomy between faith and facts. This false dichotomy has already lead to children who study facts in schools and universities to be lead into believing that faith contradicts facts and so faith is false.

    The pool of atheists is growing because increasingly Christians are meddling with subjects they don’t understand.

    As such I declare this false teaching anathema and I demand that you be exiled from the church.

  2. Wow! There’s no middle ground with you is there?

    We’re all either religious fundamentalists or full blown heretics.

  3. Interesting article. If I may ask two questions?

    1) How would you respond to the church fathers who consistently understood the creation narrative to be metaphor? How would you respond to Augustine who openly ridicules those who read Genesis literally – and this in the fourth century? Or Origen? John Wesley? John Calvin? I guess what I’m asking is why we have to read Genesis literally when wet have a longstanding church tradition that has understood it as metaphor dating back to the second century?

    2) What makes you think only humans are saved? That certainly isn’t rooted in scripture, so how do you arrive there?

  4. I’ll try to respond to as much of these comments as I can.

    I’m not trying to prove or disprove the theory of evolution but merely to point out that it is inconsistent with the penal, substitutionary theology of the atonement. Obviously, if you don’t already believe that, then this discussion is of no interest to you. Also, if you are a staunch believer in evolution, this is probably of no interest, either. But I am particularly aiming my comments at those who (like Tim Keller) seem to want both – evolutionary theory combined with Reformed orthodoxy. In my opinion they seem to be mutually exclusive.

    As for T.E.’s questions. I don’t believe Augustine ridiculed those who read Genesis literally since he believed that men had only been on the earth about 6000 years. He certainly took issue with the beliefs of Epicurus, who did have old earth, evolutionary beliefs. I would not base any beliefs on Origen, because of his fanciful imagination. I’m not aware of Calvin believing anything other than a 6 day creation, or the same for John Wesley. But regardless, the fact that the Bible teaches that God created the universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th (Exodus 20:11), seems to indicate that Genesis 1 should be read literally.

    As for humans only being saved, I would ask you to consider that there are some who have sinned, but aren’t saved, nor can be (the angels who fell with Satan). Hebrews 1 addresses Jesus being made like men, not angels. Hebrews 2 also addresses the necessity of Jesus being like us in verses 10-18. This is capped by the great profession of Jesus being tempted like us, but without sin in Hebrews 4:16-18. Then comes the wonderful proclamation in Hebrews 13 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    If Jesus never changes, His human nature never changes, and therefore, if human nature does change our salvation goes with it. If humans are evolving, then Jesus will ultimately have no meaning for them. “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17

  5. Interesting piece.

    “At some point, a theistic evolutionist must logically believe that people won’t be people any more one day” The theistic evolutionist has no reason to believe that his descendants won’t have the same human nature he has.

    “It is stated that these people used to be non-people” No, the theory states that people’s ancestors were non-people.

    “Evolutionary theory maintains that everything is constantly evolving and changing, and that for the better mostly” Evolutionary theory does not necessarily maintain this. One can see the world as both being and becoming. I am constantly changing myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an underlying person.

    I’ll leave the scriptural issues aside, but philosophically this article has problems.

  6. Jordan, I totally disagree. The current idea, as you can easily see from the biologos site, is that pre-humans (of whatever sort) at some point became human. What I am saying is that there is no reason whatsoever to expect that this evolution (which supposedly has been going on for millions of years) will suddenly stop and leave humans as they are now. The idea of the survival of the fittest means that, ultimately, evolution does cause things to get better.

    So unless you can demonstrate, philosophically or scientifically, that humans will not continue to evolve, you must assume that they will. The question then will be, will this post-human need a savior?

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