Herald Journal Columns
Aug. 4, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

The argument between creation and evolution

By Rev. Grant T. Bode, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Did you know that the ancient Greeks already theorized that life came about by evolution? There are a number of Greek philosophers who taught a form of evolution as the means by which all things come into existence.

For example, Anaximander (c. 610-546 B.C.) taught that living beings evolve in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggested the view that men originated from animals.

There continues after him a long line of philosophers who picked up his theory and continued its "evolution" as a theory (even yet today).

Even the noted philosophers: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, wrote much on the subject of "arche" a Greek word which means origin, principle, beginning.

It is not by chance that the Gospel writer John chooses the word arche to describe how Jesus, the Word of God, was there at the very beginning, for through him all things were made.

As a side-note the theory of evolution attributed to Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was not new to him, nor to his age. He was taught evolution at Cambridge while learning to be a minister of the Gospel.

Instead of becoming a minister, he was influenced by a pair of professors into becoming a naturalist/biologist and wrote on the subject of natural selection and the origin of species throughout his life.

The world movement towards humanism and rationalism ate it up like candy.

But what does the scripture say about origin, beginnings, and principle? The ancient Israelites were contemporaries of Anaximander and had been a community for a 1,000 years even prior.

They believed something quite different. They believed there was one God who created all things (see Genesis 1-2). They believed this God was active in the shaping of our world not only geologically, but also universally (meaning God's fingerprint is on everything, without him nothing was made that has been made).

The Jews, as they dispersed into the Roman world, held on to their belief in a Creator and did not "give it up" in order to fit in with Greco-Roman culture around them.

Neither did Christianity.

The New Testament written in the context of a Roman world nevertheless teaches and confesses Creation. In the face of opposition, persecution, and intolerance they remained faithful to the doctrines of the Bible, even if it meant martyrdom.

Some knowledgeable on Church history may say that some church scholars introduced various theories as how God made all things, some even dismissed the first 11 chapters of the Bible as mythology.

Notice though the Holy Christian Church never accepted these foreign theories of the minority, and even in the creeds of the church the very first thing we confess in worship as we speak the creed is that God the Father Almighty is the maker of heaven and earth.

John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, teaches us not only about who Jesus is in his gospel, but also what Jesus taught.

Jesus taught that He was the Messiah, that He would be crucified, die and be buried, and on the third day rise again. Jesus taught that there was one God, and that this God was his father.

Jesus taught that his father in heaven has placed all things in his hands (see John 5:16-47). And just as Jesus redeems us with his blood shed at Calvary, so too He sends forth the Spirit to sanctify us by making his dwelling within our heart and mind.

And Jesus even participates in our creation, just as the father and the spirit also participate.

The conundrum is that no person today has actually seen the genesis of this world. We have to rely on faith. Faith in the "theory" that we hold, whether it be creation or evolution.

Creation is constant and provides a universally viable answer to our desire to know (science).

The belief that God creates all things by his word in a matter of six days is unchanging and solid, while the theory of evolution by its own admittance is continually changing its presumptions and assumptions.

Jesus says, (Rev 22:13) I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

I find Jesus to be a pretty trustworthy fellow. If he claims to be there at the beginning (creation) and will be there at the end (judgement day), I trust he knows.

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