Theistic Evolution and a New Gnostic Myth

There are many attacks on Sacred Scripture today, many from a decadent culture, and some from within the ranks of church hierarchy and theologians. Theistic Evolution is perhaps one of the most prominent theological heresies to raise its ugly head with the help of such "stalwarts" as William Lane Craig and Timothy Keller as its apostles. Why do I insist it is a heresy, and how do I prove my point? By way of proving my case I want to examine a fairly definitive article defending Theistic Evolution (called "Evolutionary Creationism" in the article) appearing on the Cross Examined website, an "apologetics" website that is grossly in error on this issue and has lost credibility as a result.

The article, posted on January 13, 2018, is titled "If Evolution Were True, What Would Happen to Adam and Eve?", and is authored by Evan Minton, a self proclaimed apologist. In the article Minton offers an outline of how Evolutionary Creationism fits in with his biblical faith. The following is that outline, which he humbly calls the "Strattonian Model".

1. God exists and possesses omniscient middle knowledge.

My response: The concept of "middle knowledge" is one developed by a Roman Catholic Jesuit theologian, Luis de Molina. According to this theological position, Middle Knowledge is like natural knowledge, in that it is prevolitional. This means that God would possess a form of knowledge that He has no control over, since it would be independent of His will.This theology is the basis for what is known in Protestant circles as "Molinism".The logical outcome of such an idea is that the Molinist God is not truly a transcendental Being, since Middle Knowledge would be beyond His power to control, but rather the Molinist deity would, to some extent, be controlled by it. So the Evolutionary Creationist deity starts out as less than truly transcendental and all-powerful. Minton's deity is no longer the Absolute, but a secondary power to Middle Knowledge.

2. Big Bang (God chooses and actualizes this world and all that will happen in it!)

My response: Note the words used: "chooses and actualizes", both of which subtly imply the use of preexisting material from which the cosmos is made a reality following a "big  bang", which could be viewed as a denial of Creation ex Nihilo, the orthodox position on creation. Not to mention that the so-called "Big Bang" is itself a matter of speculation with some significant problems. Somehow, for Minton it has become part of his theological mythology of creation. Some of the problems with the Big Bang theory are, for example, the universe doesn't have different temperatures in different directions, which would be evidenced if the Big Bang were a reality. The universe also doesn't possess a measurable spatial curvature that is different from zero, even though a universe that's perfectly spatially flat requires a perfect balance between the initial explosion and the matter and radiation density. And finally, the universe doesn't have any leftover ultra high energy relics from the earliest times, even though the temperatures that would create these relics should have existed if the universe were arbitrarily hot.1 So Minton's mythology begins with a scientific theory filled with evidentiary holes.

3. The universe unfolds...

My Response: While I have no doubt Minton would suggest that an unfolding, evolving cosmos somehow fits the Genesis account, it simply doesn't. If the universe evolved (unfolds as Minton slyly puts it), then we have the process of decay and death before the Fall of humanity, which directly contradicts the biblical account found in Genesis chapter 3, as well as the Apostle Paul's statement found in Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men-" It is a theological impossibility to have decay and death, which would be necessary in an Evolutionary model such as Minton's, before the fall of humanity. As humanity has not yet emerged in his mythology, it can be described as nothing short of a theological absurdity that ignores the biblical data.

4. Our solar system and earth came into existence.

My Response: Minton's mythology has the solar system and earth come into existence, not by divine fiat as much as natural laws over billions of years of time, "guided" by God, making them more the product of time than of any creative fiat. What he's trying to do with his wording is make the claim sound more palatable to Christians, while really advancing the cause of Scientism as it encounters theology. To say the earth "came into existence" is a biblical statement, whereas what Minton really means is that after billions of years the earth was eventually suitable for life as we know it. These are two very different beliefs with regard to the origin of the cosmos.

5. Life evolves exactly the way God knew it would via his design in the finely tuned initial conditions of the Big Bang.

My Response: The question arises as to why an all powerful Being would choose to use a flawed mechanism, requiring His intervention in order to violate evolutionary chance results, only so that, in the end, an inferior, substandard life form, subject to the defects of aging, disease and death would be produced. Would it not make more sense for an all-powerful God to simply create as Genesis says He did? Isn't that more consistent with His nature and character, or is Minton implying that God isn't all-powerful, but limited to certain processes which are then superior to Him, even as the so-called "Middle Knowledge" is superior to Him? Doesn't this deity Minton proposes reflect more the Demiurge, an inferior "creator" spirit of ancient Gnostic heresy, than the God of the Sacred Scriptures? While I agree the cosmos is finely tuned for life, I have to take great exception to the blasphemous way in which Minton's theory impacts the nature and character of the Biblical God.

6. Homo sapiens evolved as planned (not by accident).

My Response: This is one of the more stupefying comments Minton makes, since the fact is the fossil record actually provides a plethora of evidences against human evolution. Try as they might, Evolutionists have failed to provide a single transitional human "ancestor" such that would be required for their theory to be true. For example, the proposed link known as Lucy rests entirely upon a set of footprints found at Laetoli in Tanzania. When asked how they know they weren't the product of a homo sapien, they claim the footprints are too old. Never mind that their dating methods rely on a few presuppositions that haven't proven true either, they're confident of their claims. We should also not ignore the fact that, of the 47 bones found in 1974 belonging to Lucy, most of the bones for her hands, feet, and skull were missing, making it impossible to claim she had the anatomy necessary to make the footprints. In fact, since the initial find, more bones of Lucy's species have been recovered and the feet curl as is common in tree dwelling apes, and her hands are very similar to a chimpanzees. In other words, she's an ape. Of course, the proponents of human evolution have long been known to exaggerate the fossil record in support of their claims, and even to forge it. Some examples are Piltdown Man, Nutcracker Man, Archaeoraptor, and the Cardiff Giant. 

7. God "breathes His image" (soul) into the homo sapien making the first human in another act of special creation.

8. God does the same thing with a female homo sapien and then "breathes his image" into her making the first female human.

My Response: This would not be an act of special creation. The orthodox theological term "special creation" means that the universe and all life in it originated in its present form by divine fiat or decree. Minton's failure to meet the criteria of special creation is obvious. What Minton is actually proposing is that his mythological deity engages in an act of transmutation, akin to the occult arts of the alchemist who seeks to change lead into gold. In this case, Minton's Demiurge enacts a transmutation of a souless, animalistic being merely appearing human, into a soulful human being. How Minton explains the transmutation from one species to another when the physical form remains exactly the same isn't clear. One is left to assume he believes not only in transitional forms, but evolutionary consciousness, which would place him in the category of such occultists as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Benjamin Creme, and Alice Bailey. It is also important to note that Minton takes a great liberty with his paraphrasing of Scripture. Rather than adhering to the biblical text, which states that God, upon creating Man, "...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7), Minton has his mythological Demiurge guiding an evolutionary cycle that produced something less than human, which Minton's Demiurge then "breathes" his image into. I can't stress enough how vastly different this is from the Biblical account. If the presence of a "living soul" (nephesh in Hebrew) is the image of God in Man, then animals too possess that image, since they are also described as being "living souls" in Sacred Scripture. As we know that, of all created beings, only Man is declared to have been created in God's image and likeness, the act of breathing into Man the breath of life cannot be what confers that image. Genesis 1:27 is also very clear that humanity bore God's image at the moment of creation. I would agree with Dr. Mike Heiser that the commonly held view of what it means to be created in the image of God is a bit skewed when viewed in light of the entirety of Scripture. As Dr. Heiser points out, we are more properly known as "imagers", beings capable of obediently administering the will of God in our respective realms of influence. This excludes animals  or "souless homo sapiens", since they lack the characteristics necessary to do so, as well as excluding the absurd notion of some characteristic in the DNA that is mystically changed through an occult process, which is necessary in Minton's model.

9. God separates Adam and Eve from the other “soul-less” Homo sapiens (who are physically identical, but not spiritually), and places them in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life (as long as they eat of this tree they will never experience a physical death).

My Response: Not only does Minton explicitly contradict the Scriptural doctrine of the origin of Man, and of Man as the image of God, but he also proposes that we accept that a good, just God created "souless" human-like beings, destined to a miserable existence of ignorance, separation from their Creator, and meaningless existence. The implications here on the character of God are astoundingly frightening. Minton also continues to offer no explanation as to how disease, decay and death, which necessarily must exist in his mythology of evolution, exist before the Fall, as noted previously. It isn't sufficient to say, as I'm certain he would, that no such promise existed before the transmutation of his mythological homo sapiens, since the conferral of "living soul" status existed before the creation of Man in the creation of animals, and evolution necessitates disease, decay and death.

10. After the fall, Adam and Eve are expelled from the paradise of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life (now they will eventually die).

11. After Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, kills their other son, Abel, Cain is expelled from the world’s only “human tribe.” Cain is scared of other soul-less Homo sapiens who may kill him (Genesis 4:13-14).


12. Cain finds a physically identical but soul-less Homo sapien female as a wife (Genesis 4:17). The human soul is always passed on to offspring (avoids "bottle necking" problems).


13. The human soul is a trait preferred by natural selection (as it allows for rationality).

14. Soon, all Homo sapiens have souls created in the "image of God". Therefore, now all Homo sapiens are human (all humans are Homo sapiens, but not all Homo sapiens have been human).

15. This is exactly the way God planned and designed life to unfold. It all started with the Big Bang!

My Response: Minton runs into another problem here in his twisting of the Traducianist position on the origin of the soul. If indeed Cain mates with a souless homo sapien, the best that could be hoped for is a physical hybrid of the two. There is nothing in Minton's mythology, nor in evolution, that permits for the transference of a non-physical characteristic such as the soul. Evolution is, by definition, a purely physical phenomenon. Cain's offspring would simply carry a few learned characteristics, not inherent spiritual ones. Keep in mind that Minton's mythological "souless" homo sapiens would not even be on the level of animals, as animals are described in Scripture as being "living souls." This would make the offspring of Cain and this mythological homo sapien nothing more than hybrid animals. As for natural selection: it doesn't prefer rationality, but functionality- what works in a specific place and circumstance for survival. Rationality isn't at all necessary nor preferred. For example, the few tribes left in the world who have had limited to no contact with the civilized world still engage in irrational practices and beliefs, as did most of the world's population at one time. Even modern societies engage in irrational behaviors that sometimes threaten their own existence, such as war, drug use, alcohol abuse, etc. Rationality isn't at all necessary in an evolutionary worldview, only what is useful for survival in the moment and circumstances. In the end, Minton's Demiurge is an unjust God for having created homo sapiens who are meaningless, lacking in rational approaches to His creation, since He uses a process of disease, decay and death to create homo sapiens over billions of years when He could have done so in an instant by divine fiat, and who isn't all-knowing, as His "Middle Knowledge" is beyond His power to control, and exerts control over Him. Minton has created a Gnostic myth of Scientism, lacking a real, historical Adam- in fact, denying his existence as a unique creation of God. What happens to Adam and Eve in Minton's mythology is they are replaced by golem like creatures that bare no resemblance to the biblical figures whatsoever.

By contrast, the Genesis account of creation is consistent with the nature and character of God as Omnipotent, Omniscient, Loving and Just, and presents a rational and logical creation of the cosmos and Man. Throughout the history of the Christian faith the common consensus has been that Adam, a unique creation of God, is a literal, historical person. Scripture treats him as such as well. So much so that Sacred Scripture actually gives us an age for him at death. The New Testament authors are consistent with this view (see for example I Corinthians 15:45). Thus the Patristic writers, defending the inerrancy of Scripture, accepted the historical fact of Adam. For example, Irenaeus presupposes a literal historical Adam in his discussion of salvation and the curse that followed the Fall of Adam.

Tertullian also presupposes a literal, historic Adam as the first man and progenitor of the human race. He states,

“I cannot easily be silent about that thing concerning which also the very head and fountain of the human race, and of human offense, is not silent. I mean Adam, who was restored by penitential discipline to his own Paradise.” 3

The examples from the Patristic witness of the early church are numerous and span all of the Church Fathers. This understanding of Adam as an historical and literal person is a mark of orthodoxy, and has informed Christian theology across denominational barriers down to our modern era. Indeed it is a fact to say that New Testament Soteriology and Christology are founded upon this historical consensus and understanding. 
The consensus of the church on this issue went largely unchallenged (outside of minor philosophical debates or heretical sects such as the Gnostics, whom Minton shares a theological affinity with) until the development of what has become known as Darwinism. Darwinism, of which Minton is obviously a disciple, presented the case against a divine Creator and replaced the historical, literal Adam with the “scientific” myth of the gradual evolution of humanity from ape-like creatures millions of years in the past. In such mythology there is no room, nor need for a historical, literal Adam. Today many Christian teachers, pastors, and would-be apologists like Minton, in an effort to accommodate Evolutionary Theory, which they wrongly perceive as unassailable science, have capitulated on the historical consensus. In simple terms, they have rejected the necessity of the historical, literal Adam. Rather than “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered” (Jude 1:3), they have simply compromised that faith.

Jewish scholar Louis Jacobs is quoted as saying, “There is no doubt that until the nineteenth century Adam and Eve were held to be historical figures, but with the discovery of the great age of the earth . . . many modern Jews [and Gentiles] have tended to read the story as a myth.”(Jacobs, L. 1995) 4 For such Theistic Evolutionists, Adam ceases to be a real person, and is instead demoted to a mere symbol of the human race in its infancy. 

These modern attacks on the historicity of Adam are not new (in fact they were addressed by the Church Fathers), and in their current form find their origin not so much in Darwin himself, but in the work of a Jesuit priest, of whom it can fairly be said that he is the modern father of Theistic Evolution. This Jesuit was a pantheist philosopher and self described paleontologist by the name of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Chardin's philosophy is what can be described today as Scientism. He wrote  of evolution:

“It is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow, and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts.” 

The problems with these challenges are numerous and will be discussed herein not from the scientific viewpoint, but from their theological and, to some extent philosophical viewpoint. 

In addressing the challenges to the Biblical understanding of Adam what must first be stressed is their impact on Christian theology as a whole. As noted, the rejection of the Genesis account of creation and the literal Adam (albeit under the name of science) undermines Soteriology and Christology. Indeed the entire Soteriological history of Sacred Scripture is rendered a fallacy if Theistic Evolution is true, and Adam is not a unique creation of God and literal, historical person. If there was no Adam, then there is no inherited depravity. And if there is no inherited depravity, then there is no need for a “last Adam”, as Paul calls Christ (I Corinthians 15:45). Even such adherents of Scientism as Richard Dawkins noted this impact on the theology of Christianity.

“Oh, but of course, the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic? So, in order to impress himself, Jesus had himself tortured and executed, in vicarious punishment for a symbolic sin committed by a non-existent individual? As I said, barking mad, as well as viciously unpleasant.” 5

Teilhard stated rather honestly that:

“Creation, spirit, evil, God – and more specifically, original sin, the Cross, the Resurrection, the Parousia, charity – all these notions once they are transposed to an ‘evolutionary’ dimension become amazingly clear and coherent.” 6

So rather than allowing Scripture to interpret itself, Teilhard (along with the modern Theistic Evolutionists) attempt to view Scripture through the lens of evolution. Teilhard states openly what most modern Theistic Evolutionists rarely ever dare to admit; that is, fusing evolutionary principles with Christian theology produces an entirely different religion- one that ultimately collapses and fails in light of orthodoxy, as we can see in Minton's mythology of the Demiurge. Furthermore, it is one that cannot embrace the inerrancy of Scripture, since Scripture presents an historical and literal Adam.

Consider as well the various genealogies of Sacred Scripture, many of which trace family lines back to Adam. Those who suggest Adam is symbolic of all of humanity face the problem of proving that any genealogy would include a vague grouping of unknown people as if they were a distinct and literal person. Furthermore, if there is no historical Adam then the very genealogy of Christ as given by the apostle Luke (through Joseph) is fallacious as it includes Adam as a literal person, tracing Christ back to Adam through Joseph. (see Luke 3:23) Also, the exact designation of Adam's age at death (930 years in Genesis 5:5) does not fit the symbolic or allegorical hypothesis. Thus to deny Adam is an historical person is also to deny the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture and to ignore all contextual evidence to the contrary.

The denial of Adam as an historical person also undermines Soteriological history. If Adam is not a real historical person, then the Law is unnecessary, as there is no substantive foundation for sin offerings. A symbolic literary figure cannot be used to substantiate the very concept of sin with any degree of veracity, as it would merely be one myth among many in the ancient world. And connected to this is the fact that, if there is no need for sacrifice, no foundation for the inherited proclivity to sin (and indeed the concept of sin itself), then Christ, as Dawkins pointed out, allowed himself to be beaten and murdered for absolutely nothing more than a mythical symbol and fallacious theological extrapolations based on that mythical figure. Simply put, one cannot be an orthodox Christian and at the same time deny the literal understanding of the Genesis account of creation and the historical and literal Adam. Nothing that follows the story of Adam and the Fall means anything whatsoever if he is simply a literary device. 

What must be said is that Theistic Evolution exemplifies a sort of scientific Gnosticism. A denial of the Genesis account of creation and historical Adam by Theistic Evolutionists (and others) undermines all the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith, and is the establishment of an entirely different religion masquerading under Christian theological terminology. In pursuit of a synthesis between Evolutionary myth and Sacred Scripture Minton and his ilk really just present us with a cheap reiteration of Gnosticism, more akin to the Valentianians or Cathars than orthodox Christianity.




1. The Big Bang Wasn't the Beginning After All https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/09/21/the-big-bang-wasnt-the-beginning-after-all/#7764ed4755df
2 http://drmsh.com/core-ideas-in-the-unseen-realm/
3 A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, David Bercot, page 13
4 Louis Jacobs, as quoted in The Importance of an Historical Adam, Simon Turpin, at www.answersingenesis.org

5 Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion, pp. 253
6 The Phenomenon of Man, Pierre Tielhard de Chardin, 1940, page 219

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