Christian Apologist: Are Theistic Evolution and Evangelical Christianity Compatible?

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Christian apologist and co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) Norman Geisler took the stage at SES's 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference on Saturday to speak on theistic evolution and the biblical and scientific challenges that it poses on evangelical Christianity.

Geisler, a renowned philosopher, theologian and evangelist, addressed the crowd of pastors, scholars and attendees and began by explaining the in-depth details of theistic evolution while emphasizing that evolution is not compatible with Christian beliefs.

At its essence, theistic evolution is the belief that God used evolution as His means of producing the various forms of physical life on earth, including human life. In general, theistic evolutionists believe that God performed at least one supernatural act – the act of creating the physical universe from nothing.

"The Biblical challenge that theistic evolutionists argue is that a 'literal Adam' is not possible, they insist on a poetical interpretation of Genesis," said Geisler, meaning the accounts of the Earth's creation in the Bible are more rhetorical accounts than literal interpretations.

He noted that Genesis is not poetic in form and debunked the argument that it was written in figurative language.

"The use of verbs to describe sequential acts, the frequent use of direct object signs of relative pronouns, and the stress on definitions indicates that it's prose and not poetry," said Geisler, quoting an Old Testament scholar, Dr. Walter Kaiser.

He also said the notion of a poetical interpretation of Genesis is the reasoning behind the theistic evolutionist's idea that the creation of the Earth, as stated in the Bible, cannot be taken literally.

He also noted that there are no contradictions between Genesis chapters one and two, as believed by some evolutionists.

"Scholars say that you can't take those chapters literally because they contradict each other but they're actually complimentary accounts," said Geisler.

He said the first chapter of Genesis states the chronological approach to creation and chapter two is the topical approach. Chapter one also speaks of God as the creator, while chapter two speaks of Him as Lord, in the same manner, Geisler said the first chapter recounts the creation of animals while the second talks about their names.

Part of his lecture also focused on the scientific challenges of theistic evolution. According to Geisler, scientific evidence also supports that there was a literal Adam.

"There's proof, chronologically, beginning with the earliest genealogy, and geographically because humanity dispersed from the Middle East. Genetically, we produce after our own kind, so there must have been a first kind like us," said Geisler.

He continued, "Biologically, all human beings can interbreed which shows that we all have a common origin and chromosomally, all humans are traceable."

Geisler said the common belief among few evolutionists is that a population of about 100,000 was needed in order to begin the human race.

"Cosmic evolution, something from nothing, cannot be explained on any rational basis alone. Biological evolution, which is evolution from non-life to life, we know that's wrong. Macroevolution from microevolution, you can't get macro from micro. Psychological evolution, non-conscious life to conscious life, doesn't happen," said Geisler.

"Is theistic evolution compatible to evangelical faith?" he asked. "No."

His simple explanation was because theistic evolution does not take the book of Genesis and its accurate account of creation literally while adding that Evangelical beliefs are dependent on literal interpretations of the Bible.

"Both systems do not match because you'll either have to reject the inspiration of the Old and New Testament, the authority of Christ and essential Christianity or accept that there was a literal Adam," said Geisler.

To simplify his explanations, Geisler said believing in evolution is like believing that pots and pans evolved from a teaspoon.

"What if this doesn't convince the evolutionists? You can bring the horse to the water but you can't make it drink. All we need to do is provide the evidence and they'll make a decision, but just because they don't accept the evidence doesn't mean it's not true," he concluded.

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