Over at The Aquila Report, Dr. Donald Crowe has an excellent review of Dr. Peter Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam. After giving a brief summary of the book, Dr. Crowe begins to interact with the various claims Dr. Enns makes in his book. (For a longer summary of Dr. Enns’ book, please click here.)
Enns does not so freely use the word “myth” in this book as compared to his previous work. But a non-historical untrue story is a myth by another name. The apostolic testimony is that they did NOT follow cunningly devised fables [Greek muthos = myth]. He seems to chide his former colleagues at Westminster Seminary by reference to those who “insist that all those other [pagan] writings are clearly ahistorical while Genesis is somehow presenting history.” He calls this a weak position of faith. He may have a point here, if he would move them toward a greater trust in the Word of God, but he does not. He believes consistency demands that Westminster and every other Christian concede much more to the evolutionary view. The history of compromise in the Christian church is a tragic one. One compromise leads to another until there is no firm foundation upon which to stand. The Church is large part simply drew new lines in the sand while beating a hasty retreat. The tides of time washed each line away. Enns has drawn the last line at the resurrection of Christ, the next stop is the abandonment of the faith altogether. But it could be a renewed by the grace of God to a trust in the authority of Scripture from the very first verse to the last.
Usually, his references to creationists are condescending and misrepresentative. Creationists do not believe that the earth is flat, that it was created just as its looks now [for example, the Flood made massive changes], or that the earth is a fixed point over which the sun actually rises and sets. Nor do we believe the Bible teaches these things, however much we may speculate about the personal views of the writers. He correctly states the conviction that God created the world in relatively recent history, but seems to lump that together with a belief in a flat earth. But the recent creation is derived from the inspired chronology of Scripture, the flat earth is not. There is no evidence that he has read any serious work on the creationist view. Not being able to fairly state what creationists actually believe and being unwilling to inform oneself of their literature might be seen as a weakness in one’s case.
So many things are simply asserted based on a presupposition that evolution is true that it would take a book larger than the one he wrote to give biblical replies. But biblical replies have been written, it is just that most evolutionists do not bother to inform themselves of them. Every Christian should be informed on the biblical doctrine of creation and be equipped to defend the faith.
I had the experience in seminary of having a German liberal who told pretty much the same tales about the OT, making most of the same assertions. He was, as far as I could tell, totally unaware of conservative works on the OT. It is hard to understand until you know that the “liberal club” like the “evolutionary club” thinks they are above reading such things, they read only each other. Conservative writings, no matter how scholarly, are dismissed with a snicker. “Scholarly consensus” to them means they surveyed the “club’ members and all agreed with the liberal view. Sadly, from reading this book one would never know there were any other views.
Tragically, Enns seems much surer of evolution than of Scripture. That is a sad and unnecessary condition for a Christian. He mentions in passing something about the ultimately divine origin of the Bible, but it is left very vague. I had to wonder, “Where is the view of Scripture held by Christ and the apostles? “ Wouldn’t that be the Christian view? Jesus affirmed the Scriptures of the Old Testament, certainty including Genesis. He was a ‘jot and tittle’ believer where Scripture is concerned. Jesus has been accused of being a “fundamentalist” by some liberals. Paul believed that All Scripture was God-breathed. Enns can dismiss Paul as an ancient child of his times, but does not touch on Christ who had the same views. We should be aware that the originators and promoters of the evolutionary worldview—those same people who allegedly force us to mythologize Genesis—also tell us that the resurrection of Christ is mythical. This should lead us to doubt their conclusions on Genesis!
Dr. Crowe goes on to discuss how evolutionary science and Christianity are truly different worldviews:
Everyone has the same observable evidence. The difference in worldview and ultimate standard shapes the way we interpret or make sense of the evidence.
What is our ultimate authority? Do we have the view of Scripture held by Christ and the apostles? For example when Peter spoke of Scripture as follows: “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; (Acts 1:16, NKJ) Or Paul’s declaration, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” or the statements of Jesus affirming the Old Testament as well as His own authority. The Scripture cannot be broken; it is enduring truth down to the jot and tittle. The God-breathed revealed word is the ultimate authority, the standard by which all human statements are evaluated. If we judge Scripture by a human standard, the Bible is no longer our ultimate authority. Autonomy has raised its ugly head.
Or, is Scripture just the attempt of a downtrodden post exilic people to reconnect with their identity by their ancient primitive non-historical stories modeled after pagan mythology? Can Jesus escape these charges hurled at Moses and Paul? Whatever view of ‘inspiration’ Dr. Enns may have does not seem to involve much of divine influence or preservation from error. The book is rather short on positive affirmations, except for affirming evolution. By God’s grace, our eyes can be opened, and we can confidently affirm all that the Scripture teaches. Biblical theology is rooted in history. Real historical events accurately interpreted. The Bible tells what happened and what significance it has. Of course, if it did NOT happen, then it has no significance.
Next, Dr. Crowe addresses various misconceptions about what “science” is and how Christians interact with it:
What is ‘science’? In a Christian worldview, science is a God-glorifying endeavor as we explore God’s creation and marvel at his power, wisdom and purpose. When we look at the creation through the clarifying lens of Scripture, every observation leads to the glory of God. We have a God-given standard by which to interpretation everything we see and everything that happens. Modern science was begun by Christians desiring to think God’s thoughts after Him and learn more of Him by studying His works. Things observed are rightly understood by the standard of God’s revelation.
An evolutionary worldview rules out any consideration of the Creator. They define ‘science’ as naturalistic, thus excluding from the start the right answer! But what if God really did create the heavens and the earth? Would it be legitimate to rule out the truth and consider only wrong answers? Has ‘science’ no interest in what really happened? Let’s say that God did create the heavens and the earth. Then it is true, scientifically true and historically true. In that case the evolutionary presupposition only guarantees that the truth will not be found!
What counts as ‘science’? ‘Science’ has a positive connotation for most people, including me. People think of technological advances like cell phones or MRI, of combating diseases by knowing more of how the body operates, or the engineering and mathematical skills required to send a man to the moon or orbit satellites. But is calculating the acceleration of gravity really in the same category as speculating about the origin of the universe? In a Christian worldview, with Scripture as our ultimate authority, we learn so much from Geology about the extensive catastrophic changes brought about by the Flood. Careful observations and measurements, consistent experimental results and technical and medical advances—all these give us a positive response to ‘science.’
But evolutionists do a ‘bait and switch,’ trading on the positive achievements of real science. Another ‘bait and switch’ tactic is in defining ‘evolution’ as merely ‘change over time.’ Once this obvious fact is acknowledged, evolution becomes “the development of higher life form, including man, from single celled creatures, the origin of life from non-life, of intelligence from non-intelligence, and many other unacceptable conclusions. In the name of ‘science’ they exclude God from their thinking, as true “Romans One”[i] men, and begin telling their just so stories. Rejecting Genesis 1 as “religion” or worse, they explain the origin of the universe by “The Tale of the Amazing Exploding Speck.” According to this Epicurean-like story, long, long ago and far, far away, a tiny speck no larger than the head of a pin had been just floating around in dark frigid space for millions and billions of years [not that there were really “years” then]. With no outside forces in existence, it of itself exploded into the entire universe we see today. The billions of stars, whole galaxies, and all our solar system with the Sun, the earth and all the planets were packed into the amazing exploding speck. The unimaginably massive material mass of the universe fit into a pinhead! The pieces gradually assembled themselves into stars, planets, moons, and earth.
Why does this qualify as ‘science”? Why does this explanation of the origin of life– that claims extraterrestrial aliens visited earth and left a few spores behind—qualify as science? It is more like a deliberately chosen presupposition, a God-excluding worldview, a philosophy of life.
It is not ‘science versus religion.’ We all have the same evidence to observe. The difference is in how we interpret that evidence. How do we account for it? Should I use the God-breathed record from the omniscient Creator as my standard of evaluation and interpretation? Or should I rely on a philosophy which was designed to exclude all consideration of God? But what if God is the right answer? Should I rule out the right answer because of philosophical preference? Won’t that simply guarantee that I would reach a false conclusion?
Dr. Crowe concludes:
I cannot think of anyone to whom I would recommend this book. I understand that many Christians struggle with the conflict between what they have learned from the Bible and what they have been taught for 12-16 years in compulsory attendance at government run schools. These schools systematically exclude any serious study of God from history or science; anyone even suggesting such a possibility or criticizing the established religiously held belief in evolution will be silenced or dismissed.
I had these kinds of questions as a new convert in high school. I learned that many Christians had devised ‘interpretations’ that allowed for a kind of synthesis of the evolutionary worldview with the Christian-biblical worldview. These were ultimately unsatisfactory. By God’s grace I was shown a better way. The answer I found was not an acceptance of evolution as truth, but a confidence in the Word of God and a new way of looking at life. It is far better that we present to the world an antithesis to their worldview, rather than attempt a synthesis. …
So what is our ultimate standard? Is it the God-breathed record of the omniscient Creator or the current cultural consensus of speculation among evolutionists, the leading originators and promoters of which are anti-Christian “Romans One” men?
If we allow Dawkins and friends to force us to mythologize Genesis, then every miraculous work recorded in the Bible, and to regard Paul as merely an ancient culture-bound man with mistaken opinions—how will we defend the resurrection of Christ? After all, the same crowd that demands Genesis be mythologized, also thinks the same about the resurrection.
(Before we hop on the evolution “bus,” we ought to find out who is driving and where they are headed.) We may praise God that there is a better way.
Let us cease the pathetic, unrealizable quest for academic respect from the Romans one crowd. Instead we must as Christians answer this call: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5, NKJ).
You can read the whole of the article here.