Results from the Hubble telescope in space are causing sci enlists to revise their thinking regarding the age of the universe. One result in particular has scientists scratching their heads. It seems that the universe is only about 8 to 10 billion years old, while the stars are from 12 to 14 billion. Obviously the stars cannot be older than the universe, yet scientists have no explanation for the contrary evidence.
Science has been like that through the ages. Each time scholars thought they had established truth, along came something else that overthrew their nicely packaged theories. On the other hand, the Bible for the past 3,500 years has been saying the same thing. It declares that "in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day" (Ex. 20:11).*
Many people have tried to reconcile the account of earth's origins as record ed in Genesis with the accounts from science. Evolutionary science suggests that the earth and life upon it took millions of years to evolve. The Bible tells us that life was created fully mature only a few thousand years ago. I will not become involved in the debate as to whether that was 6,000 years or more ago except to say that we now know that Ussher's chronology was faulty and that the Bible does not tell us that the earth was created in 4004 B.C. There are gaps in the genealogies. We could extend the time back by several thousand years more. However, even if we do that, it will not satisfy the evolutionary hypothesis, which demands millions of years.
In this short article I would like to focus on a theological reason for a short chronology and a special creation. Let me state my thesis boldly: The cross contradicts evolution. You cannot believe in evolution and in the cross of Christ at the same time. The same science that seeks to disprove Creation also seeks to disprove resurrections. Arguments employed for jettisoning Creation are the same arguments used to do away with the cross and the historical Jesus.
But the cross and Creation are inextricably joined.
Evolution and sin
Witness Paul's argument: "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Evolution cannot account for the origin of sin and of death. Evolution teaches that death is a normal occurrence and process. The Bible teach es that death is an enemy, an intruder. The Bible teaches that humans began perfect. Evolution teaches that humans gradually develop and become perfect. Yet without an understanding of the origin of sin, we cannot understand the need for a Saviour.
The Bible tells us: "Death reigned from the time of Adam.... Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (verses 14-19). Jesus came to live and die for us because one man, Adam, sinned and brought death to all of us. We became sinners because of one man. We are saved because of one Man. If Adam had not sinned, then there would be no need for Jesus to come and die for us. There would be no need for the cross. Adam is a historical person; so is Jesus. It is like two parts of an equation. You cannot have one part without the other. We cannot hold on to the cross while at the same time denying the historical record that explains why we need the cross.
Jesus did not come just to reveal God's love, important as that is. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (verse 8). The text says that Christ died for us, not for God. If God was simply seeking to demonstrate His love, then Christ would have died for God, for God's glory; He would not have died for us. But He died for us as our substitute because His death needed to take the place of the death we deserved to die since the wages of sin is death (see Rom. 6:23). Christ came as a "sacrifice of atonement" (Rom. 3:25) for us. He came to live the life that Adam should have lived. Jesus became the Second Adam in more than just a figurative sense. Just as all are lost in Adam so all are saved in Christ, that is, those who accept His gracious offer of salvation (Rom. 5:18).
The scientific evidence regarding origins can be interpreted to support a special creation within the past few thousand years as well as interpreted to support long ages. But since the Bible ties the cross of Christ and salvation to a special creation I must let special revelation determine how I will understand natural revelation. That is why the cross must contradict evolution.
*All Scripture passages in this article are from the New International Version.