H.G. Wells, James McGrath and Martin Luther on Evolution & the Gospel

Some people will tell you that Genesis and microbes-to-man evolution are compatible, that you just have to believe that evolution over millions of years was the process by which God created. In fact, shortly after I re-dedicated my life to God 20 years ago, my wife asked me, “What about evolution?” I told her that I supposed God could use evolution.

That was then. Fast forward through the years and now I’m a science fiction author and creation apologist. I do not think that God could have used evolution now at all, and the major reason why (and there are many) is because of the Gospel. Once you think through the implications of evolution, it becomes readily apparent that Darwinian evolution and the Gospel are at odds, specifically because what happened in Genesis is the foundational basis of the Gospel.

Fellow scifi author H.G. Wells was an avid evolutionist. He certainly understood how evolution undermines the validity of the Gospel. Consider the following quote*:

“If all the animals and man had been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there had been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no fall, then the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which the current teaching based Christian emotion and morality, collapsed like a house of cards.”

Wells isn’t the only person to realize that evolution destroys the Bible’s stated reason for the atonement. I could give several other quotes (and I have done so in the past) demonstrating this connection.

Consider the sad irony of folks like Dr. James McGrath who not only says that God used evolution but that creationists are responsible for people losing their faith over evolution (!):

“They tell people they have to choose between the Bible and science, and then they find out that the science they were taught to reject in fact has very strong evidence in its favor, people often do what they were told, and discard the Bible, Christianity, and everything else that was part of their heritage.

Whose fault is that? It is entirely the fault of the young-earth creationist false teachers themselves. There is no one else to blame.

This is, of course, nonsense. He’s invoking the old Smeller’s the Feller argument. There is a certain dichotomy between an all-natural origins story and a supernatural origins story. It creates a real crisis point when people consider the two. It is not those who ask you to affirm the historicity of Gods Word who cause people to reject Gods Word. Its those who ask you to doubt the historicity of God’s Word for a man-made history predicated on pure naturalism who cause people to doubt God’s Word. Dr. McGrath might be able to hold these views on cognitive dissonance, but most men recognize an actual contradiction when they see one, and the Goddidit tape he uses to bind them together just doesn’t hold up.

The question is this: How long will compromisers like James McGrath, BioLogos, the signers of the atheist founded Clergy Letter Project, and all the rest of those who say God could’ve used millions of years of evolution continue to undermine the Gospel in their ill-fated attempt to make the Bible seem more credible? Fully one third of the US believes that God and evolution are compatible.  How long will they hold on to this cognitive dissonance for the sake of an all-natural theory designed to replace a supernatural God as Creator? In effect, how long will well-meaning Christians undermine the Gospel with the Serpent’s question: “Did God really say that?”

Reformer Martin Luther noted this about our adversary, the Devil, in his Lectures on Genesis**:

“He does not immediately try to allure Eve by means of the loveliness of the fruit. He first attacks man’s greatest strength, faith in the word. Therefore the root and source of sin is unbelief and turning away from God.”

This is, of course, the crux of the problem: the contradictory claims if molecules-to-man evolution and the Bible force one to accept one or the other as the ultimate authority. Even those who try to embrace both fail to do so, for in accepting neither all-natural science nor the supernatural record if the Bible as their ultimate authority, they in effect make themselves the authority over both, picking and choosing which parts of the other two authorities to reject or accept.

Whatever happened to Let God be true and every man a liar? Are we seriously to consider the God is able to save our eternal souls but is unable to convey history clearly – especially the historical facts upon which the Gospel is founded?

This is nonsense. Having begin in faith, we should take Him at His Word. I conclude with another quote from Martin Luther ***:

“When Moses writes that God created Heaven and Earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.”

* Quoted in Wells, H.G., The Outline of History—Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind, Cassell & Company Ltd, London, U.K., (the fourth revision), p. 616, 1925
**Martin Luther “Lectures on Genesis,” J. Pelikan, ed. Luther’s Works, Vol. 1., Concordia Publishing, p. 169
***Plass, Ewald. What Martin Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, 1523.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. jesusknight says:

    Some of my family likes the idea of millions or billions of years, I do not subscribe to that notion. I DO believe that God created the things in those six days with age, however (obviously to me, but apparently not thought of by some others). Adam was a man, not a boy. Eve was a woman, not a girl. Flora and fauna, and animals were adults and told to multiply, because they were at an age to do so. But the age was created by God, not by millions or billions of years. Just my two cents…

    Great article!

  2. thomas palmieri says:

    St Augustine as far back as the fourth century A.D. criticized Biblical literalists, for even in his own time the science of the day had advanced beyond certain things that were spoken of during Old Testament times. His point was that men of intellect would not accept the supernatural mysteries of the Christian religion if they had to swallow false science along with it. We know from science that light travels at 186,000 miles a second, and from this fact alone we are able to infer that our universe is over 13 billion years old. God does not lie, for He is truth itself. The Genesis account is a depiction of creation under the Jewish conception of sabbatical observance: God works for six days and rests, so man also shall work for six days and then rest in God on the sabbath day. The true purpose of the Genesis account is to acknowledge God as Creator, and to reverence Him by resting in Him on the sabbath. Those who strain at the literal facts of the creation account miss the underlying spiritual message that is the true value of the Genesis account of creation. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Surely the sabbath was not made for God Himself, God forbid!

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      The Bible doesn’t support your argument. Rather than being a depiction of the Jewish six days and a rest, the Scriptures explicitly state that the idea of six days and a rest refers back to the historical Creation Week.

      More than one scholar has noted that Augustine’s comment cannot be construed as an argument against a young earth creation. Rather Augustine feared that God taking His time over six days and appreciating each step impugned on the omnipotence of God. Thus He supposed God created everything instantly and the Creation Week account were given to establish the work week and sabbath rest. Yet we note two things: [1] he was proposing an even younger earth (by a week) than the traditional version and [2] Augustine’s worry was unwarranted as just because God can do something optimally or instantaneously doesn’t require Him to. As any Craftsman, he may take pleasure in the process.

      God didn’t lie, for the record. He stated up front that He created everything in 6 days but that then the Earth has suffered the effects of both the Fall and a worldwide Flood, drastically altering the Earth and its uniform processes at that two great interruptions. He didn’t lie. You’ve simply looked at the record as if all-natural processes were involved instead of a supernatural God with the Fall and Flood taken into account. It is you who deceive, but mostly yourself for never once considering that God meant what he said.

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