2. ‘Through Faith We Understand . . .’1
There can be no doubt that the theory of evolution functions as a strong bulwark for the kingdom of Satan today. Most people in Britain and elsewhere stand firmly in opposition to the claims of the God of heaven, and they are strengthened in doing so by the confidence with which the idea of evolution is promoted, particularly by those who have scientific credentials. And evolution is usually promoted in such a way as to imply that there is no need for a Creator. It is not a large step to a belief that God does not exist.
It is no accident that scorn is poured on anyone known to believe in what is usually described in a derogatory way as Creationism – and this is especially so if they have an academic position in the world of science. No doubt Satan is extremely active in tempting men and women to oppose the truth about creation and to promote evolution – a theory which, very likely, would long since have been totally discredited were it not that the only viable alternative is to believe that the God of the Bible created the whole universe. And the Bible indeed calls everyone to this belief in the true God; it demands: ‘Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves’ (Psa. 100:3). Everyone ought to receive this as a statement of the obvious; yet how unwilling people generally are to submit to this fact! Scientists seem to be more or less conscious that if they accept the existence of God, their consciences will then tell them that they ought to turn to him in repentance – a thought which is no more welcome to most people in twenty-first-century Britain than it was in first-century Athens.
There can be no doubt that the widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution and the corresponding rejection of the scriptural doctrine of Creation are major factors in contemporary resistance to the gospel. We may note that, in spite of the superficiality of so much American religion, there is widespread acceptance in that country of the fact that God created all things; yet within the scientific community there is the same militant opposition to the doctrine of Creation. For instance, the American organisation, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), insists vehemently that science is a totally-naturalistic activity, claiming that ‘reliance upon naturalistic explanations is the most basic characteristic of science’.2 In other words, to introduce into the study of nature any idea with religious implications – particularly, the idea of God as Creator – is unacceptable in science.
In a 1981 resolution, the Academy stated: ‘Religion and science are separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought whose presentation in the same context leads to misunderstanding of both scientific theory and religious belief’.3 Phillip Johnson comments:
If the NAS were to declare explicitly that science favours atheism over theism, the pretence that science and religion are separate subjects would have to be abandoned. It would follow that creationists should have a fair opportunity to argue that the naturalistic conclusions presented to the public in the name of science are philosophical assumptions rather than empirical findings and that there is nothing in the nature of science that requires legitimate empirical research to be based on a dogmatic adherence to metaphysical naturalism’4
– in other words, adherence to a philosophical belief that nothing exists beyond what in some way can impinge on our senses, that nothing exists beyond what we can see and hear and handle. Such a view demands that there is no supernatural, and especially that there is no God.
Johnson argues elsewhere:
Understanding the crucial role of philosophy in Darwinism is the key to understanding why the theory is so controversial and why scientists want so badly to dodge the hard questions. Biologists have authority over questions of biology, but they have no authority to impose a philosophy on society. Once the public understands what they are doing, the biologists will lose their power to exclude dissent. That is why it is so important for them to insist that ‘evolution is a fact‘. Change that to ‘evolution is a philosophy’, and the game is over.5
We should not be too easily disturbed about possible conflicts between science and the Bible. The physical evidence is what it is, though much more may be gathered in the future; the basis for the conflict lies in the interpretation of the evidence, which is liable to change from one age to the next. The Epistle to the Hebrews teaches us that it is ‘through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God’ (11:3). In Scripture we have clear testimony that the earth and all the heavenly bodies were created by God’s direct command, and we are to receive that testimony by faith. There is no alternative; scientists may theorise but it is only by a form of faith that they can accept these theories – of ‘the big bang’, for example – as true.
In the end, the difference between one form of faith and another resolves itself into a question of authority: that of God or of the scientific community. We ought to have no difficulty in believing God rather than man. W S Plumer quotes an earlier writer:
That the worlds exist we know by our senses; that they were originally made is obvious to our reason; but that they were made by the word of God, and that out of nothing, could be known only by revelation and understood by faith.
And Plumer himself goes on to make a statement which is no less true today:
Unbelief in our day . . . is very offensive to God . . . For if the ancient worthies [of Old Testament times], who had but a few revelations, yet believed God, embraced all the promises they had and acted accordingly, how criminal must we be, who live in the full blaze of gospel light, and yet faithlessly turn away from the holy commandment, and by unbelief show that we have no confidence in God.
A few sentences later he quotes from Scripture verses which are highly significant in this context: ‘If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater . . . He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar’ (1 John 5:9, 10).<6
- The other three articles from this 2008 Theological Conference paper can be found on the Banner of Truth website:
Part 1 – ‘Much of the Power and Wisdom of God’.
Part 3 – The Consistent Scripture Testimony.
Part 4 – ‘God Has Given Me All Things’.
- As reported by Phillip E. Johnson in Darwin on Trial, Monarch Publications, 1994, p. 14. It should be noted that, while Professor Johnson deals with Darwinism in a highly-effective fashion, he does not accept that the Scripture account of creation should be read literally.
- Quoted in Darwin on Trial, p. 123.
- Philip E Johnson, Reason in the Balance, IVP USA 1995, p. 190
- Philip E Johnson, Testing Darwinism, IVP USA 1997 pp. 56-7
- Commentary on Hebrews, Baker reprint, 1980, pp. 453-4
Rev Kenneth D. Macleod is editor of The Free Presbyterian Magazine, from the September 2009 edition of which this article is reproduced with kind permission.
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