Many people, although they may not know the term, are theistic evolutionists; that is, they believe God used evolution to create the universe and everything in it. For some, this is an acceptable compromise—belief in at least some aspects of evolution and belief in God. The first provides scientific respectability, while the second satisfies an inward conviction that there must be a Creator. For these people, evolution is compatible with the Bible.
But is it? Since Darwin’s time (mid-late 1800s), many who knew what the Bible says have tried to reinterpret Scripture to make it compatible with the theory of evolution. The fact that there are about twenty theistic evolution theories indicates the general dissatisfaction with each. It also suggests that reconciling evolution with the Bible is not as easy as some claim. You will soon see why.
Better-known efforts to reinterpret the early chapters of Genesis include the day-age theory,1 the gap theory (pages 495–496), the framework theory,2 the revelation theory,3 and progressive creation.4 Each theory uncritically accepts some aspects of evolution and then reinterprets Genesis to force it to accommodate those aspects. These reinterpretations contradict obvious meanings in Scripture, interpretations of the text made by ancient and modern Hebrew scholars, clear statements of many Old Testament writers, all New Testament writers, and Jesus Christ Himself.
Hebrew Professor James Barr at the University of Oxford wrote:
... probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguished all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. The only thing I would say to qualify this is that most such professors may avoid much involvement in that sort of argument and so may not say much explicitly about it one way or the other.5
Some theistic evolutionists sincerely reject certain tenants of evolution, but may not realize that they have accepted key evolutionary assumptions on which these theories are based. Those assumptions may appear “scientific,” unless the evidence is closely examined. The most common of these assumptions is that Noah’s flood was only local and the earth is billions of years old. The two beliefs are related, because not comprehending the flood, explained on pages 109–405, usually leads to a belief in a 4.5 billion-year-old earth. Understanding the flood will reveal a young earth and the origin of earth’s radioactivity. [See pages 357–405.]
No single theistic evolutionary theory incorporates all 74 beliefs listed below.6 However, each perspective is compatible with one or more of the primary theistic evolution theories. Almost no compelling scientific evidence supports any of these evolutionary positions, and much evidence refutes them. [See “The Scientific Case for Creation,” pages 7–107.]
Notice how many ideas in the left-hand column below are uncritically accepted by mainstream society—even many theologians. Notice also how these ideas have subtly alienated many from the Bible—which both contradicts theistic evolution and lays the foundation for some of our most basic beliefs and institutions. Undermining this foundation has obviously contributed to many societal problems. [See “What Are the Social Consequences of Belief in Evolution?”