et’s get hypothetical and pretend that the Genesis Creation account was never meant to be taken literally. Although God was communicating with us about the work of creation, suppose the texts themselves were to be understood metaphorically, symbolically, nothing more.
Given that premise, what, then, was the Creator seeking to reveal about our origins?
Two points, even in a broad and liberal reading of Genesis 1, come through.
First, look at these verses: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. . . . And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. . . . And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. . . . And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:3, 9, 11, 26, 27, KJV).
Everything was planned, precise, calculated; nothing random, arbitrary, chancy. It would take a Dadaist interpretation to derive randomness out of Genesis 1.
Second, look at these: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. . . . And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind” (verses 21, 24, 25).
The texts reveal unambiguously that each creature was made after its own kind; that is, each one was made separately and distinctly from the others.
Even from a nonliteralist interpretation of Genesis, two points are obvious: nothing was random in the act of creation, and there was no common ancestry for the species.
Now, along comes Darwinian evolution, which in its various incarnations teaches two things:
randomness and common ancestry for all species. How, then, does one interpret Genesis through a theory that, at its most basic level, contradicts Genesis at its most basic level?
If evolution were true, it would mean that for thousands of years (from the Israelite period up through and beyond the Protestant Reformation) the Lord’s church was kept in darkness regarding human origins, until God, in His infinite wisdom, raised up His divinely appointed one, Charles Darwin, an atheist, to finally reveal the truth about the proper interpretation of Genesis.
And though we shouldn’t judge someone in the nineteenth century by our standards today, God’s man Darwin also held racist views that would make David Duke look like an ACLU lawyer. Even worse, thanks to Darwin and his theory of human descent, racism had now been given a “scientific” rationale. Finally, many of Darwin’s teachings are rejected by evolutionists today. Even Richard Dawkins (the most vociferous of the evolution apologists) wrote: “Much of what Darwin said is, in detail, wrong.”
So, if evolution were true, then the Lord used an atheist racist with detailed errors in his teaching as the divinely appointed one to finally set the church straight on the book of Genesis and our origins.
I don’t know, but if Charles Darwin were right, it would seem that the One who is “the Word” (John 1:1), the One who created language, could have done a much better job of communicating with us than He did. Why inspire a creation account that teaches nonrandomness and a noncommon ancestry of all species when God used randomness and a common ancestry as His means of creation?
Am I being a closed-minded, right-wing dogmatic intellectual bigot not to see something radically wrong here?
Though I disagree with those who don’t read Genesis literally, their position is not absurd. What is absurd is to read an evolutionary schema into a biblical account that, even with a broad and free interpretation, denies it at the most fundamental level.
Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. He also hosts a television program on the Hope Channel called CLIFF!