Theologically conservative members of the Christian Reformed Church ought to be concerned by the current trend in their denomination. One reason for concern is the fact that The Banner has repeatedly printed articles that push theistic evolution as an acceptable position for biblically faithful Christians. This situation calls for both discernment and response on the part of faithful Christians, both in the CRC and in other Presbyterian and Reformed denominations. Discernment is called for since the presence of such articles reveals the continuing creep of theological liberalism which will ultimately leave the Christian Reformed Church as yet another monument to apostasy from the faith. Response is called for because we are commanded as Christians to “give a defense for the hope that is within us” and to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”
In the September 2013 edition of The Banner, Dr. Harry Cook writes that while he does support some form of evolutionary development, he also has “some reservations” about the accepted explanations of evolution. It is a relief to know that Dr. Cook has reservations about the evolutionary hypothesis, however, there are good reasons to have more than just reservations. The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not we can maintain a distinction between “evolution as a legitimate biological theory and evolutionism as a godless worldview that we as Christians cannot accept” as Dr. Cook maintains.
The biological theory of evolution is itself comes as part of a package deal—the modern scientific worldview. Should we as Christians accept this package deal? Our answer must be a resounding, “No!” The modern unbelieving scientist wants to have it both ways; he wants to be able to hold to two contradictory positions simultaneously. On the one hand, he wants to hold to the idea of an open universe, in which anything can happen, and no hypothesis must be reject right from the start. At the same time, the modern unbelieving scientist wants to hold to the idea that everything happens according to the strict laws of scientific explanation and teach that natural laws determine everything. If one is inclined to be charitable, this tension renders the scientific worldview inconsistent at best. If one is inclined to be frank, it renders the scientific worldview completely incoherent.
Since all scientific endeavor is built on the foundation of the uniformity of nature, one might rightly ask how the evolutionist can account for this remarkable uniformity, especially since the evolutionary hypothesis from the outset says that the universe is governed by chance. It is at this point that the theistic evolutionist cries, “But we believe in God!” We would do well to ask the theistic evolutionist, “How do you know that God will uphold the future as He has upheld the past?” The Christian scientist who holds to theistic evolution can no more answer this question than the unbelieving scientist can account for the uniformity of nature. The biblical creationist, however, can appeal to Scripture—specifically to Gen. 8:22. The theistic evolutionist cannot appeal to Gen. 8:22—at least not consistently, because he is just as committed to the idea of an open universe as the unbelieving scientist, and because he has already abandoned the biblical account of creation found in Genesis 1-2.
Dr. Cook closes his article by stating, “…as Reformed Christians, we have always trusted that the ‘books’ of creation and Scripture both testify to their Author. As those who, through Christ, have come to know the Creator as our Father, we must continue to read both books together and allow them to lead us into the truth about God and creation.” Yes, Dr. Cook, as Reformed Christians we do trust that both creation and Scripture testify to their Author. But as Reformed Christians we have also always recognized that even in the Garden, before the Fall, Adam needed special revelation from God in order to correctly interpret natural revelation.
As Reformed Christians we do read both books of creation and Scripture, but as Reformed Christians we also understand that Scripture is our final authority. That is something we would do well to remember as we evaluate the claims of theistic evolution.