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Critique of "Why I rejected 'theistic evolution'" by David A. DeWitt

Dr David A. DeWitt received a B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University. Currently an associate professor of biology at Liberty University, he is active in teaching and research. Liberty University recognized Dr DeWitt with the 2000-2001 President's Award for Teaching Excellence. He teaches upper level biology courses in cell biology and biochemistry as well as ‘History of Life.’ The latter is a required course on the creation/evolution controversy. His primary research efforts have been to understand the mechanisms causing cellular damage in Alzheimer's disease. He has authored and co-authored articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Brain Research and Experimental Neurology.

On January 12, 2004, Dr. DeWitt submitted an article to Creation Ministries International (CMI) titled Why I rejected 'theistic evolution' which goes through once more the "dangerous" implication of evolution with God-belief. This page's contents are not meant to attack or to question the author's scientific credentials and will therefore be considered legitemate to his field. It does however, answer and respond to some of the typical misinformations handed out by Creationists who speak out against anything having to do with evolution.

"Theistic evolution is a significant threat to the Christian church.  It undermines the very foundation of the Christian faith and causes people to doubt the truth of Scripture."

There is no sort of "significant threat" to the Christian church about evolution. Only Creationists set out with this presupposition to lay out their case. Many Christian denominations have accepted the Theory of Evolution and see no reason why it should interefere with the faith's tenents. Creationists are the only ones who see evolution as a vital threat to their religious faith and see it as casting doubt upon Biblical doctrine.

"Almost all we hear is ‘evolution’—in schools and universities, zoos, museums, television, movies, etc.  So if we don't teach the implications of evolution and the problems associated with it in our churches, no-one will know any different.  Evolution will seem right because people don't hear the evidence against it and no one questions it."

No one is suggesting that evolution is to go unquestioned. The Theory of Evolution is continually changing with new discoveries. No one denies this, nor do they try to cover this up with excuses. This is not something to be ashamed of. And if evolution seems right to mostly everyone, does it really mean that this will cause the majority of Christians to question their faith?

"There were two things that really turned me to biblical creation instead of theistic evolution.  The first were the passages that say that the word of the Lord is flawless.  I came to realize that I trusted what the Bible says about salvation, that Jesus rose from the dead, that He could cure the lame, blind, mute and deaf.  He turned water into wine—all in an instant.  He multiplied the fishes and loaves, walked on water.  I believed all of those miracles, that they happened just as they said.  I trusted the Bible in all of those places, so why not also in Genesis where it says God created all things by His word in six days?"

Is it the Bible's science or the Bible's spiritual message that is flawless and the most important? Evolution does not deny the possibility of miracles from divine intervention. Science does not suggest nor excludes the supernatural, it simply explains things by naturalistic means in a mechanistic way that can be tested through experimentation and results gathered through empirical observation.

"The second and most significant point is where evolution cuts to the heart of the gospel.  Evolution absolutely requires death … millions of years of it, struggle for existence, survival of the fittest millions of years before man comes on the scene.  In this scenario, death is not the enemy but the very means by which God created everything.  But the Bible is very clear about this:  the wages of sin is death.  Death came into the world through Adam's sin.  Therefore there was no death prior to the fall of man and therefore there could be no evolution whatsoever before that time." 

"Sin" is a theological concept that should rightly remain within the realm of theology. In the instance of "death", it is also probably appropriate to say that it also should remain within theology. Why does it have to be a literal death? Isn't sin considered to be the inherent "fallen" nature of man? Why should literal death have to be the answer and not spiritual death?

"If death and evolution are what God used to create (or even if He simply permitted it to reign for billions of years before sin, as ‘progressive creationists’ teach) then death is not the ‘last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26), nor is it the wages of sin.  And if this is the case, then what becomes of Jesus Christ, whose very purpose in coming was to break the power of death and pay the penalty for our sins?  I believe this may be the most powerful argument against both theistic evolution and progressive creation, i.e. all compromise positions on Genesis."

It is true that Christianity regards Jesus as the defeater of literal death, that much is true. However, this does not stem from Genesis but instead Ezekiel 37. A literal death in Genesis would imply some problems of its own.

"The Bible tells us that God cares for his creation.  A sparrow doesn't fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father, and yet, although our omnipotent God could call things to exist, instead he chose to use a death-driven process, a struggle for existence where the weak perish and the strong survive?  This doesn't make any sense.  It is inconsistent with God's character, His holiness and His love."

As Creationist Russ Miller affirms to us: "Natural selection is scientific, it is God's quality assurance program." The struggle for survival would then be a mechanism for the will of God through nature. This would then account for why "sparrows fall" according to God's intended purpose. No contradiction exists as of yet.

"When we begin to question the truth of the Bible, in any part, then we are really on thin ice.  The Bible stands or falls as a whole.  We can't pick and choose which passages to believe and which ones to reject because on what basis can we do so?  Man's fallible opinion?"

It is not so much concern for "picking and choosing" scriptual verses as it is helping to better understand them. Without questioning texts such as the Bible, we blindly go along by modern standards of reading which can distort historical antiquity.

"Besides the problem of death before sin, those who believe in billions of years make God far away and distant.  Out of 15 billion years that the universe supposedly existed, and the 100’s of millions of light years across it is, man occupies such an insignificant amount of time in an insignificant amount of space—and how could God really care about what I do?" 

This is an argument similar to what atheists use to logically 'disprove' God's existence: the immense size of the universe is too large for a personal Creator to have possibly created it. Of course, this rules out anything about omnipresence and suggests that Creationists believe God to be a limited being.

"The universe is a vast place, but everything was created for man to have a place to live.  Have you considered that on judgment day, when it is the end of man it is also the end of the universe?  ‘The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare’ (2 Peter 3:10).  If the end of man is the end of the universe, and the purpose of the creation is for a place for man to live, why would God have a universe for 15 billion years before man when He could make him from the beginning?"

Simple. The universe was preconstructed to support life before it was started. Its intended purpose was predetermined. There is no theological problem here.

"This is exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 19:4: ‘“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female … ?’”’  Jesus emphasizes that Adam and Eve were made ‘at the beginning’.  This only makes sense if He is talking about Day 6 and not after 15 billion years."

Jesus and many Rabbi contemporaries of his time commongly spoke in parables. What rules out the possibility that many of these parables are derived from the Old Testament?

"Clearly, the theory of molecules-to-man evolution is incompatible with the clear teaching of the Word of God.  Therefore, theistic evolution (and its stable-mate, ‘progressive creation’) is incompatible with the Christian faith."

Clearly, theistic evolution is only incompatible by a literal reading of the text and logical fallacies. Once again, Creationism fails to provide any refutation of the compatibility between religion and science.

Related articles

Ten Dangers of Creationism - Rebuttal to AiG's "Ten Dangers of Theistic Evolution"

Common Creationist arguments

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