This article was first published in the Spring 2000 issue of Bible and Spade.
Despite all attempts to do so, there is no way to reconcile evolution and the Biblical account of Creation. Examining the theological basis of the Biblical Creation, Austin Robbins demonstrates there is simply no room for evolutionary thinking.
Evolutionary doctrine is insistent on a very long history for the earth’s formation. Long ages, even exceeding 4.5 billion years, are deemed essential for development of the earth’s crust and formation of living forms from some primeval origin.
The Bible, in contrast, indicates a relatively short history for both the earth and the entire universe. Even a superficial reading of the Biblical account demonstrates apparent conflicts between it and the popular evolutionary views of our society.
Is there any way to reconcile these two opposing view-points? For over a century many have made serious attempts to do so. Underlying all such attempts is an uncritical acceptance of the basic tenets of the evolutionary philosophy, as well as an unspoken (sometimes openly denied) rejection of normal rules of Biblical interpretation.
Man’s Place in Creation
It is not the purpose of this article to address the so-called scientific basis of evolution. The issue here is theological. If God created the universe, and I believe He did, He certainly could have given us details about it. This, too, I believe He did. The question is: “What did He tell us and how does it relate to our understanding of the world’s history?”
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Gn 1:26, KJV).
... and God said unto them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gn 1:28, KJV).
The NIV is even clearer for the modern English reader:
Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock and over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground (Gn 1:26).
The words in these passages leave no room for doubt about the extent of man’s dominion over the earth. “Every,” “all,” and the extensive listing of various creatures (including fish, birds, living things, cattle, beasts, creeping things) indicate the totality of man’s rule over the earth.
Man’s total dominion over all God’s creation was restated by David:
What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet, all flocks and herds and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim in the paths of the sea. (Psalm 8: 4–8)
The writer of Hebrews, a millennium after David, reinforced the idea. Quoting Psalm 8, he added “...in putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb 2:8). He stressed the point as if knowing someday someone would say man never really ruled all Creation, he only controlled part of it. Today, some Christians say that very thing! So the writer of Hebrews emphasized, “God left nothing that is not subject to him,” or, as New Testament scholar Kenneth Wuest (1966: 57) wrote, “He left not even one thing that is not put under him.”
Implications of man’s universal dominion over all Creation are devastating to evolutionary doctrine and all attempts to accommodate Scripture to fit it. Evolution says man was a late-comer on earth with eons of time rolling by before the first creature possibly considered to be man appeared. Millions of creatures lived and died, myriads were already fossilized. Even the soulless brutes who supposedly gave rise to Adam’s race met their deaths. For eons before Adam, death struck everywhere, from lower forms to remarkably humanlike creatures!
Yet, a history of long ages before Adam, myriads of creatures living and dying long before Adam had a chance to name them, and the ground which Adam trod being the final resting place of his physical, if not spiritual, ancestors, is all in direct contradiction to what God said. Scripture could not be clearer. Mankind, in Adam, was given rule over all Creation, and that includes fossilized creatures!
In objection to this is the possibility that the writer of Hebrews and David, a prophet himself, were not speaking of Adam, but Jesus. Hebrews 2:9 is taken as upholding that view. “But we see Jesus...” We don’t see man having dominion, but Jesus with that authority. Unfortunately, this misses the point of 2:8–9 entirely.
Verse 8 is clear that man was in charge of everything. Nothing was left out. No creature existed that was not subject to man. The question is: was that man Adam or Jesus? The last half of verse 8 and the beginning of verse 9 gives us the answer. “Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to him (man). But we see Jesus...” Thus at the beginning of 2:8 man was in charge, but at the end of 2:8 he is not. What we see today is not the original order of things; something in history altered it.
What happened? Genesis 3 tells us man, who had dominion, sinned. He disobeyed the loving God who made him and lost the high position in which God placed him (“a little lower than the angels”). So, today we cannot see everything subject to him. Furthermore, man’s sin permeated all Creation. “The whole creation groans...” (Rom 8:20–22) with disease, destruction, decay and death.
“But we see Jesus...” What a contrast! Not the sinful, lost, struggling with nature “him” (Adam) at the end of 2:8; but “...Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (2:9).
Death before Adam? NO!
Death because of Adam? YES!
Just as death entered the world because of Adam, we can have life because Jesus tasted death for everyone. Jesus tasted death for you. He took your sin in His own body on the tree. He died to be your Savior. In Adam you are dead. In Jesus you can be made alive forever!
The Second Adam, Jesus, who “tasted death for everyone,” will one day be “the death of death itself!” He will reign and He will put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death! (1 Cor 15:25–26).
Smith Jr., Henry B.
2007 Cosmic and Universal Death from Adam's Fall: Journal of Creation, 21.1, p. 75-85.
1966 Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI.