Friday, April 23, 2010

BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW AND THE PITFALL OF EVOLUTION by David Q. Santos

BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW AND THE PITFALL OF EVOLUTION

David Q Santos

The follower of Jesus Christ is called to a life that is lived by a Biblical standard. Scripture provides authoritative direction for all matters of life. From ethical living to fulfilling the great commission the Bible tells Christians how to live. The believer’s first responsibility (after saving faith of course) is to find out what God has said about life. It is critical that the believer study the Bible (2 Tim 2:15) for spiritual growth. Scriptural knowledge should be like a pair of lenses over the believer’s eyes. Everything should be seen through these lenses.

The concept of a Biblical worldview is an important one that begins with what one believes about the Bible and directly guides how a Christian will live. A high view of Scripture will yield a high view of a personal God. Gary Stewart explained the importance of this issue when he wrote,
How do you view God? The answer is very important because the way a person views God and the quality of the relationship with God will be significant factors in how one deals with stress and crisis. Throughout the Psalms, we read of the human emotions that accompany the broad spectrum of circumstances in the psalmists’ and our own lives. There we find joy and sadness, fear and pain, exuberance and depression, victory and defeat, hope and despair. The emotions expressed in the Psalms are as diverse as the events that generated them. What sustained the writers throughout the course of these events was personal faith and a biblical worldview—the ability to view life in accordance with God’s divine perspective (see Pss. 102, 116, and 121). These same supports are available to us today.[1]
Stewart’s statement that a Biblical worldview is “the ability to view life in accordance with God’s divine perspective” is a good statement. A true Biblical world view seeks God’s perspective; past, present, and future. One could ask what a Biblical world view is. James Smith finds seven points that are included in a Biblical worldview in Genesis chapter one. He wrote,

The greatness of God is indicated in the fact that he was here when it all began. The implications of the first verse of the Bible are staggering. Here the Bible throws down the gauntlet to a number of “isms” which are antithetical to the Biblical worldview…

1. God exists. Thus atheism is opposed. The Hebrew word for God (’elohim) is used over 2500 times in the Old Testament. The word conceives of God as the one who by his nature and his works rouses man’s fear and reverence. ’Elohim emphasizes the power and transcendence of God.

2. Only one God exists. The verb in verse 1 is singular necessitating the conclusion that the world was created by one God. Thus polytheism is opposed.

3. The pluralistic unity of the Godhead is suggested by the fact that the word for God (’elohim) is plural while the verb is singular. Later revelation will make clear that the one God manifests himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus Unitarianism is opposed.

4. The universe had a beginning. Matter is not eternal. Thus materialism is opposed.

5. God is distinct from nature, for he created the heavens and earth. Thus pantheism is opposed.

6. Since God created the material universe he is obviously superior to it and therefore in control of it. Thus the doctrine of fatalism is opposed.

7. In creating the material universe God, a non-material being, of necessity had to interact with the material realm. Thus the doctrine of dualism is opposed.[2]
Many of these points are under attack by Biblical critics. Some are being downplayed in teaching and preaching. And worse yet, some are even being denied from pulpits around the world. The Bible teaches that there is a single personal living God who exists eternally as three persons. This God created everything out of nothing. Paul Helsheth finds four assumptions that are fundamental to having a Biblical worldview. He wrote,

What, then, are the fundamental assumptions of the biblical worldview, the assumptions that are nurtured by the theological disciplines and that constitute the foundation of education that is distinctly and consistently Christian? According to conservative Reformed scholars, the assumptions that inform the ability to reason rightly include, but are not limited to, the following four:[3]

1. The Creator-creature distinction. Scripture teaches that God spoke the universe into existence (Gen 1) and “upholds all things by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3). [4]

2. Creation is the “theater” of God’s glory. Scripture teaches that “the whole earth is full of God’s glory” (Isa 6:3) because every aspect of the created order “is declaring the work of his hands” (Ps 19:1; cf. Ps 8:3–4; Rom 1). [5]

3. The unregenerate “cannot understand” the things of the Spirit. Just as Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 1 and 2 that the wisdom of God is “foolishness” to those who are perishing, so too he demonstrates in Rom 1 that the unregenerate worship and serve creatures rather than the Creator because they are blind to the true significance of what they can rationally perceive in the created order. [6]

4. Those who are “spiritual” are the appraisers of “all things.” Whereas those who are “devoid of the Spirit” are without the ability to see reality for what it objectively is, those who are “indwelt, renewed, enlightened, [and] directed by the Holy Spirit”76 are, according to 1 Cor 2:15 and 16, the “appraisers of all things” because they have “the mind of Christ.” [7]

This author believes that the single highest hurdle for maintaining a Biblical worldview is the acceptance of the creation account as found in the book of Genesis. Alan Branch affirmed this point when he wrote that “Fundamental to the biblical worldview is a cosmology which affirms the world is neither ‘divine’ (pantheism) nor an extension of the divine (panentheism). The doctrine of creation ex nihilo is closely related to the truth of God the Father found in Scripture as opposed to God as ‘mother’ in pagan religions.”[8] To hold any other view than God creating the world out of nothing (ex nihilo) in seven days is to move away from Biblical truth. MacArthur makes this same point writing, “Creation ex nihilo is the clear and consistent teaching of the Bible. Evolution was introduced as an atheistic alternative to the biblical view of creation.”[9] He also explains the infiltration of evolution into the world,

Thanks to the theory of evolution, naturalism is now the dominant religion of modern society. Less than a century and a half ago, Charles Darwin popularized the credo for this secular religion with his book The Origin of Species. Although most of Darwin’s theories about the mechanisms of evolution were discarded long ago, the doctrine of evolution itself has managed to achieve the status of a fundamental article of faith in the popular modern mind. Naturalism has now replaced Christianity as the main religion of the Western world, and evolution has become naturalism’s principal dogma.[10]

As the world continues to move away from the belief in any supernatural creator (especially the God of the Bible) it becomes more important for a Christian to be founded in truth. Morris explained by writing, “That the theory of evolution, as an all-embracing worldview, is a philosophy of profound importance that must be reckoned with is becoming increasingly evident as its influence penetrates more and more deeply into every phase of modern life.”[11] Some might say that this is not an important issue. But evolution is a faith killer. Ken Ham quotes a college professor who wrote, “After 30 years of ministry on a secular campus I have concluded the number one reason Christians lose their faith is the teaching of evolution as an inarguable fact. The same professors invariably attack the reliability of the Bible.”[12] Evolution is the inroad for critics of Christianity to attack the Bible and a Biblical worldview.

The theory of evolution has grown in its scope. “Evolution is not merely a biological theory, but is rather a full-blown cosmology. The whole structure of modern public education, from kindergarten through the postgraduate schools, both in content and methodology, is built around the evolutionary framework.”[13] Evolution is a giant theory that defines the modern humanistic worldview. All state-run education permeates evolutionary teaching and anti-Christian views. Morris adds,

A Christian, therefore, simply cannot avoid confronting this issue of evolution. It now permeates every aspect of secular life, and most areas of religious life as well. Small wonder that many professing Christians and the institutions with which they are associated (churches, schools, seminaries, publications, missions, etc.) have long since capitulated to evolution, and have tried to adapt their theology and Biblical exegesis to modern evolutionary science and social philosophy.[14]
The contrast between the Biblical worldview and evolutionary naturalism is obvious to anyone who is examining Scripture in its normal, plain, and literal fashion; taking it as face value. The belief is to say that God used normal language to transmit His special progressive revelation. “The worldview expressed in Genesis 1–4 is not just different from its counterpart in the literature of the ancient world; it is opposed to it.[15] Opposite to the Bible is naturalism. “Naturalism is the view that every law and every force operating in the universe is natural rather than moral, spiritual, or supernatural. Naturalism is inherently anti-theistic, rejecting the very concept of a personal God.”[16] Evolutionists of today are not content to believe what they wish. They often find it necessary for everyone else to believe the same as they do. Evolution is not scientific fact, rather, it is a religion with its own set of apologetics. “Modern naturalism is often promulgated with a missionary zeal that has powerful religious overtones.”[17]

Because of this zeal and supposed fact even some Christian leaders have fallen to the falsehood of evolution. “Many who should know better—pastors and Christian leaders who defend the faith against false teachings all the time—have been tempted to give up the battle for the opening chapters of Genesis.”[18] Failing to maintain a Biblical worldview of creation is not a small matter. This doctrine is the basis for a high view of God. It is also directly related to other doctrines such as the fall of man and the depravity of man. These doctrines are crucial for a right view of anthropology and doctrines of salvation. “Evolution, on the other hand, not only must deny creation, but must also deny the Fall, and therefore also the necessity of redemption.”[19] To deny the creation is a path to a watered down false Gospel and the loss of a true Biblical worldview.


Work Cited
Arnold, Bill T., Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

Branch, Alan, “Radical Feminism and Abortion Rights: A Brief Summary and Critique,” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9, 2 (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 2004; 2005).

Ham, Ken, Number One Reason Christians Lose Their Faith, (Answers In Genesis), http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2007/11/04/number-one-reason-christians-lose-their-faith, accessed 12/24/2009.

Helsheth, Paul Kjoss, “Christ-Centered Bible-Based and Second-Rate? ‘Right Reason’ As the Aesthetic Foundation of Christian Education,” Westminster Theological Journal Volume 69, 2 (Westminster Theological Seminary, 2007; 2008).

MacArthur, John, “Creation: Believe It Or Not,” Master's Seminary Journal Volume 13, 1 (The Master's Seminary, 2002; 2005).

Morris, Henry M., “Seven Reasons for Opposing Evolution,” Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 122 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965; 2002).

Smith, James E., The Pentateuch, 2nd ed. (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1993).

Stewart, Gary, Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia : Are They Ever Right?, BioBasics series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publicationi, 1998).
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[1] Gary Stewart, Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia : Are They Ever Right?, BioBasics series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publicationi, 1998), 32–33.

[2] James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed. (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1993). Gen 1:1-23

[3] Paul Kjoss Helsheth, “Christ-Centered Bible-Based and Second-Rate? ‘Right Reason’ As the Aesthetic Foundation of Christian Education,” Westminster Theological Journal Volume 69, 2 (Westminster Theological Seminary, 2007; 2008), 397–400.

[4] Helsheth, 397–398.

[5] Ibid, 398.

[6] Ibid, 399.

[7] Ibid, 399.

[8] Alan Branch, “Radical Feminism and Abortion Rights: A Brief Summary and Critique,” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9, 2 (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 2004; 2005), 23.

[9] John MacArthur, “Creation: Believe It Or Not,” Master's Seminary Journal Volume 13, 1 (The Master's Seminary, 2002; 2005), 16.

[10] Ibid, 5–6.

[11] Henry M. Morris, “Seven Reasons for Opposing Evolution,” Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 122 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965; 2002), 254.

[12] Ken Ham, Number One Reason Christians Lose Their Faith, (Answers In Genesis), http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2007/11/04/number-one-reason-christians-lose-their-faith, accessed 12/24/2009.

[13] Morris, 254.

[14] Ibid, 255.

[15] Bill T. Arnold, Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 49.

[16] MacArthur, 6.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid, 11.

[19] Morris, 256.

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