Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler said last week on his call-in radio show that theistic evolution–the middle ground between belief in evolution and that God created the world directly–is a “lie”–and that Christians can’t have it both ways.
Commenting on the media’s surprise after three Republican presidential candidates indicated in a recent debate they reject evolution and protests surrounding opening of a “Creation Museum” near Cincinnati, Mohler read an e-mail on Friday’s “Albert Mohler Radio Program” he said he received in response to something he recently wrote.
“Why do you insist on driving people away from organized religion?” the e-mail said. “I am a 60-year-old Baptist chemist, science educator, Sunday-school teacher, parent and grandparent. I believe in evolution, the how of life, and I believe in God, the why of life, and see no conflict in these beliefs. I understand that God had a hand in creation of the world and all the life in the world, and science helps us to understand more about those processes every day. When organized religion forces me to choose religion or science, I will no longer participate in organized religion. This is just one more reason that young adults are rejecting organized religion.”
Mohler described the e-mail as a challenge, and he took it. “You choose between belief in God and belief in evolutionary theory,” Mohler said. “If you write something like this, either you don’t understand evolution, or you don’t understand what it means to affirm that God created the earth, because there is nothing that is reconcilable between those two propositions.”
That, Mohler explained, is because at the heart of Darwinian evolution is the theory of natural selection, which rules out any supernatural outside influence. “Without natural selection, you have no evolution,” Mohler said. “You just have people who want to call their theory evolution.”
Semantics aside, Mohler said there are also theological problems associated with belief that humans evolved gradually from apes.
He agreed with a caller who pointed out that evolution requires death of millions of animals before the sin of Adam. If that is true, the caller said, then death is not the penalty of sin, and if death is not the penalty for sin, then Christ’s cross does not atone for sin.
“Tim, you’re caught thinking like a Christian,” Mohler said. “That’s drawing the lines, connecting the dots. And you’re absolutely right…. That is completely incompatible with texts going from Genesis 1 and 2 to Romans 5 and on. It’s incompatible with the whole picture of the Bible.”
Another caller said evolution rules out belief in a literal Adam, also raising questions about original sin and the atonement. Mohler played out both points.
“The grand story of the Bible is a story of creation, fall, redemption and consummation,” Mohler said. “It’s the story of God glorifying himself first by creating this universe, this cosmos, as we know it, and within that creation creating human beings–the conscious climax, apex of that creation–the only being made in his image, the only being able to know him, to be related to him, to worship him, of course the only creature also able to obey and disobey him consciously.”
“But the doctrine of creation stands at the very beginning,” Mohler said. “Without that you don’t have anything else that matters that follows.”
“If the world is simply a naturalistic accident,” Mohler said, “then there is nothing to Christianity, there is nothing to anything else, and religion is then nothing more than manmade artifact to make meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. It’s just a made-up meaning.”
Then there’s the issue of the Edenic fall. “You have to explain why sin entered human experience,” Mohler said. “You have to explain why the earth is in the condition it now is.”
“If you don’t have Adam and Eve, you don’t have the story,” he said. “You’ve got no starting point. You’ve got no basis.”
Mohler continued: “And furthermore, if we’re not all literally the descendants of Adam and Eve, then there’s no explanation of how Adam’s sin was imputed to us. And without that you have no need for the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. You have no explanation of the cross. You have no need for this.”
“And of course the whole thing at the most fundamental level doesn’t make sense,” Mohler said. “God can’t be the redeemer if he wasn’t the creator.”
Other evolutionary concepts like random mutation by chance, Mohler said, undermine teaching about God’s providence.
“If the world is simply operating on its own, and the main operation of the world is something you’re going to define as chance and contingency,” Mohler said, “if God is not sovereign over every atom and molecule in the universe, he’s not the God of the Bible. That’s just the bottom line.”
Mohler questioned what would prompt protestors to travel to Petersburg, Ky., to carry signs picketing the Memorial Day grand opening of the $27 million Creation Museum, built with private funds by Answers in Genesis.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve never protested anything in my life,” Mohler said. “I’ve never stood out on a sidewalk with a sign in my hand. To think of doing that at the opening of, frankly, a museum of Darwinism is simply beyond my motivation. What in the world would motivate people to do it against a museum dedicated to creation?
“I’ll tell you what will do it. The shaking of the foundations, that’s what’s doing it–the realization of evolutionary scientists that the vast majority of Americans aren’t buying their theory. You’re hearing panic in the high church of Darwinism.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.