Yesterday’s Debate – Discussing Evolution
Once again with sadness we take note of a pernicious article appearing in the Banner (http://www.thebanner. org/features/2013/05/tomorrow-s-theology). This article is even worse than the articles in a previ ous issue of the Banner promoting doubt about the fundamental truths of Christian religion. This article goes beyond promoting doubt, for it promotes rejecting the historic Christian faith and replacing it with new teachings that are consistent with the conclusions of unbelieving scientists. The title of the article is “Tomorrow’s Theology.” The writer is Edwin Walhout, a retired pastor in the CRC.
In the first part of the article Walhout presents the godless theory of evolution as fact. And he gives the lie to the popular notion that in the CRC different views or theories about creation are to be tolerated. Toleration was touted only when those who believed in evolution were in the minority. In those days it was said, “Those who do not believe in evolution must not shut down debate. No, they must not say that only they know how to interpret the Bible’s teaching about creation. The Bible tells us only that God created not how. This means that different views must be tolerated.” The time for “tolerance” has passed. Walhout writes, “I am not going to argue whether evolution is true; I accept that the findings of modern science are reliable and must be taken as established fact.” Later he writes, “we need to take seriously in our theology the theory of evolution, now developed into established fact” (emphasis mine—CS). Walhout’s meaning is that the debate is over and there is no room anymore, as far as he is concerned, for those who believe God created the cosmos in six 24-hour days. And it means something that this was published in the Banner. The powers that be in the CRC have moved past merely attempting to make room for evolution (which was never their true intention in the first place). In his editorial in the March 2013 edition of the Banner, Editor Bob DeMoor protests the notion that the magazine pushes an agenda. His inclusion of Walhout’s article in the June issue, an article that promotes evolution as the only explanation for the origin and development of the world, testifies to the contrary.
Walhout does not demonstrate any of the “established facts” of evolution. This is because there are none. Walhout ignorantly accepts as “facts” some of evolutions wildest theories. One of the so-called facts Walhout accepts is the Big Bang Theory! He writes that it is “generally recognized that the universe began with an enormous explosion—the ‘big bang.’” The fact is that this is only a theory. No scientist observed the origins of the universe, therefore no scientist can ever propose anything more than a theory about the origins of the universe. And when scientists propose their theories, they usually assume that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (). But Peter says these unbelievers are “willingly ignorant” of the flood, which drastically changed the makeup of the earth, so that what scientists observe now cannot teach them about the world prior to the flood, much less about the origin of the world. Nevertheless, Walhout is ready to accept the unproven theories of unbelieving scientists about the origin of the universe rather than believe the special revelation of God.
Walhout also accepts the theory that one “kind” (on the category kind see, for example,) can and does develop into another kind which includes the theory that monkeys developed into humans. He claims that scientists “demonstrate how life appeared and how it has matured and diversified over millennia. They see this process of development producing a life called homo sapiens, and they trace this development from its common ancestry with other forms of life.” Walhout questions whether it can be maintained that “Adam and Eve were the first human pair” since “the human race as we know it today [shares] ancestry with other primates such as chimpanzees.”
There you have it—God did not create each kind so that each would produce after its kind; no, God created some tiny, simple substance that eventually exploded into a large mass of inanimate material;1 through the process of evolution, that inanimate material evolved into a simple kind of living creature;2 and that simple living creature not only produced after its own kind but over billions of years produced (evolved into) another kind of creature; and for billions of years many creatures have evolved into other kinds of creatures.
But scientists have not “demonstrated” any of this!
That scientists observe similarities between all the creatures in the world is no surprise. The Bible explains why this is. Men and monkeys were both created or formed by God from the earth. Therefore, men and monkeys do have some similarities to each other. But why the vast difference between men and monkeys? Walhout would have us accept, with no proof whatsoever, that this difference developed over billions of years by the process of evolution. He refuses to reckon with the scientific fact that there is no proof in the world that one kind develops into another. In his book Darwin on Trial, Phillip Johnson demonstrated that the fossil record actually stands against the theory that one kind develops into another. In other words, even though scientists espouse many theories about how kinds develop into other kinds (monkeys into men), they have never found the “missing link” or “demonstrated” even once that one kind became another kind.
One can make these arguments and more. But Walhout and the CRC are not interested in debates anymore. Evolution is yesterday’s debate. For Walhout and the CRC it is time to think about tomorrow’s theology.
Tomorrow’s Theology—Incorporating Evolution
For a long time “Christian” theologians and scientists have attempted to harmonize evolution with the Bible. Those who warned against this endeavor pointed out that if this was attempted it would not be long before things were reversed and the Bible would be made to harmonize with evolution. This is exactly what Walhout demands in the main body of his article. The main part of the article is that the church’s theologians must adapt what the church believes to the theory of evolution.
Walhout’s simple and accurate premise is that if the theory of evolution is accepted, then Christians need to modify what they believe. Modification must be made, says Walhout, to what Christians believe about creation, Adam and Eve, the fall into sin, original sin, salvation, and eschatology (the study of the end times). Does the Bible teach us the truth about these subjects? Yes, but now what the Bible teaches must be tweaked to harmonize with the “established facts” of evolution. The church’s theologians are urged by Walthout to view scientists, many of them atheists, as having more authority to determine what the church should believe than does the Bible!
The truth of the matter is that there is little difference between Walhout and atheists. Of course, he would say that the big difference is that he believes in God while atheists such as Richard Dawkins do not. But if Walhout does not accept the biblical teaching about God’s creation of Adam and Eve, the fall into sin, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the consummation of all things in the second coming of Jesus Christ, but on the contrary believes that the latest scientific theories ought to inform us what to believe about these subjects, then Walhout’s religion has more in common with atheism than it does with historic Christianity. Walhout has given up the heritage of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Kuyper, Bavinck, etc. and has joined the ranks of Charles Darwin, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, etc.
Walhout tries to compare his rejection of the cardinal truths of the Christian faith to the Reformed faith’s repudiation of the corrupt doctrines and practices of Rome. But this is a deceitful ploy on Walhout’s part. He dishonestly portrays the Reformed faith as if it is always open to “new theology.” But he knows better. He knows that the Reformers did not reject, for example, the doctrine of purgatory because it was old-fashioned and did not fit in with the advanced thinking of the sixteenth century. The Reformed faith bases all of its beliefs on Scripture. All teachings contrary to Scripture are rejected. The doctrine of purgatory was rejected because it is contrary to the teachings of; ; and other passages. Every truly Reformed church, man, woman, and child also rejects, on the basis of Scripture, the theory that man evolved from monkeys. This theory contradicts the Bible’s teaching in Genesis 2:7 that God created man from the dust of the ground.
Walhout is not Reformed. By placing science above the Bible he has rejected the Reformed motto of sola scriptura. The result is devastating. Evolution is accepted. The truths of the Christian faith are changed, and that means they are denied. That the Banner published this article is evidence that the CRC is now well on the road of apostasy. It is now possible in the CRC to believe and teach that God did not create Adam and Eve, man did not fall into sin, Jesus is not a Savior from sin, the church’s purpose is not to spread the gospel for the salvation of sinners, etc.
Empty theological liberalism is where the theory of evolution leads. This is an urgent warning to the Presbyterian and Reformed denominations that tolerate attempts to harmonize evolution with the teachings of Scripture. If today’s theology includes evolution, tomorrow the denomination will be dead.
1 Giving Walhout the benefit of the doubt, I assume he believes that God created this first particle out of nothing and does not believe matter is eternal, although he does not state this in his article.
2 Scientists have never observed or demonstrated that something inanimate can evolve to become animate.