No. 209 EVOLUTION AND THE WAGES OF SIN
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.*
Dr. E.O. Wilson, Harvard entomology professor and chief spokesperson
for the field of evolutionary sociobiology, and bitter enemy of Biblical
Christianity, has for decades written insightful articles supporting his
viewpoint. Several years ago, he explained his own background and how
he came to his present stand.
"As were many persons from Alabama, I was a born-again Christian.
When I was fifteen, I entered the Southern Baptist Church with great
fervor and interest in the fundamentalist religion; I left at seventeen when
I got to the University of Alabama and heard about evolutionary theory."
(E.O. Wilson, "Toward a Humanistic Biology"; The Humanist,
September/October, 1982; p. 40).
Interestingly enough, many of the leading anti-Christian voices in
this country today come from Christian homes. They know, perhaps better
than many Christians, that evolution and Biblical Christianity are in-
compatible-irreconcilable world views, as has been pointed out many
times on these pages. In this article, the point at which evolution and
Christianity most seriously conflict will be explored.
Whatever else evolution may be, it requires tremendous lengths of
time. According to evolution, single-celled organisms underwent spon-
taneous generation from non-living chemicals some three billion or more
years ago. Multicellular life arose about a billion years ago, with fish
appearing about 500 million years ago. Dinosaurs flourished from about
230 to 65 million years ago, after which time mammals began to rule the
earth. Man descended from ape-like creatures within the last three
But evolution also involved death. Organisms have been living and
dying for aeons in the "struggle for existence," with natural selection
allowing the "survival of the fittest" while insuring the extinction of the
less fit. For instance, it was the extinction of the dinosaurs which allowed
the mammals to dominate and eventually lead to man's emergence. All of
this multi-billion-year "history" is recorded in the fossil record, where the
remains of multiplied trillions of dead things are entombed in rocks
supposedly dating from times long before man. As Carl Sagan wrote,
"The secrets of evolution are death and time-the deaths of enormous
numbers of life forms that were imperfectly adapted to the environment;
and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident
adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable muta-
tions" Cosmos, 1980, p. 3.
In other words, death plays a prominent part in evolution. In fact, to
an evolutionist, death is normal, death is good, death provides the fuel
for evolutionary change; death produced man. Charles Darwin, in the
very last paragraph of his treatise, Ori_qin of Species, after explaining his
proposal of evolution by natural selection, and after championing the
concepts of extinction and bloodshed as the mechanism for evolution,
wrote his conclusion:
"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most
exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the produc-
tion of the higher animals [i.e. man, ed.] directly follows. "
In other words, death is the natural order of things, and death brought
man into existence.
But how does the Christian religion understand death? As recorded in
the Bible, just a few thousand years ago God wrote with His finger on a
tablet of stone (so we couldn't misunderstand) to inform us that "in six
days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is,
and rested the seventh day" (Exodus 20:11), thereby providing a model
for our work week (the Fourth Commandment). No time is found here
for billions of years of evoution (see Impact #184), only a rapid, super-
Furthermore, things were quite different in the original creation. Evi-
dently, man and all animals possessing true life in the Biblical sense (with
the "breath of life," with blood in which is "the life of the flesh," with
consciousness not present in the plants and perhaps certain of the in-
vertebrate animals) were created to live forever. There was to be no
carnivorous activity by man (Genesis 1:29) nor animal, for "to every
beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that
creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given them every
green herb for food: And it was so" (v. 30). No meat eating, no blood-
shed, no death for any "living" thing in the original creation.
Mankind, especially, was created to live forever. Adam and Eve were
created "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27), the holy, sinless, eternal,
deathless Life-giver. That image is now marred by sin, but originally it
was not so, for the Creator called all in that world "very good" (v. 31),
and placed in it the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9). What sort of world could
the God of the Bible call "very good"? At the very least, the original
world must have been far different from our present one.
God did place in that world an opportunity for both man and woman
to prove their obedience to their Creator and return His love. As Crea-
tor, He established (and only because He was Creator did He have the
authority to establish) the rules for proper conduct, as well as the
penalty for disobedience. He declared, "Of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: For in the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
The lie of Satan, however, has always included the idea that there is
no penalty for sin. In tempting Eve to disobey, "the serpent said unto the
woman, ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). As we know, the lie was
believed, the penalty for sin denied, and sin entered the world. But even
though the authority of the Creator was disputed and ignored, that
authority remained, and He acted in His holy justice. The resultant curse
on all of creation was the curse of death, and touched not only man-
kind-"for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19)
-but the animals (v. 14), the plants (v. 18), and even the earth itself (v.
17). At that point, the "creation was made subject to vanity (or
futility)"-the "bondage of corruption." Indeed, "the whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:20,21,22).
Note that it was "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin" (Romans 5:12). This death not only entails spiritual death, but also
physical death, as is made abundantly clear in the classic passage dealing
with the physical resurrection of the dead. "For since by man came
death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:21-22).
If Adam's sin did not bring physical death, Christ's resurrection from
physical death does not bring eternal life.
It is obvious then, that death is very important to the Christian world
view. Death is the result of the entrance of sin into the world. But it is
much more than that, for it is also the atonement for sin-the just pay-
ment for sin. The first death recorded in Scripture occurred when God,
Himself, slaughtered animals to provide a covering for sin-the clothing
for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). Later, we see that the system of blood
sacrifices for sin had been instituted, for God accepted Abel's animal
sacrifice while rejecting Cain's bloodless sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-5;
Hebrews 4:4). As developed in both Old and New Testaments, "without
the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin" (Hebrews 9:22, see
also Leviticus 17:11, etc.).
Thus we can see that God was not only acting in His justice in pro-
nouncing the curse of death for sin, but in His grace, as well. For, by
establishing the penalty for sin to be death, He made it possible for Him
to send His beloved Son to come and die to pay the ultimate penalty for
sin as a substitute. The "wages of sin" may be death, but "Christ died
for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:4). Only the holy Creator, the righteous
Judge, could be the sinless Substitute.
Evolution and the Bible most seriously conflict at this point (their
respective views of death, which are central to each viewpoint). If evo-
lution (or even just the concept of an old earth, with death and fossils
predating man's sin) is correct, then death is natural; death is normal;
death produced man. Most importantly, in this view, death is not the
penalty for sin, for it preceded man and his sin. But if death is not the
penalty for sin, then the death of Jesus Christ did not pay that penalty,
nor did His resurrection from the dead provide eternal life.
While belief in creation and the young earth may not be essential for
salvation (many Christians wrongly believe and do many things the Bible
teaches against), if evolution is right, if the earth is old, if fossils date
from before man's sin, then Christianity is wrong! These ideas destroy
the foundation for the Gospel and negate the work of Christ on the
cross. Evolution and salvation are mutually exclusive concepts.
Many times evolutionists understand this issue better than Christians.
In his article, "The Meaning of Evolution," atheist G. Richard Bozarth
claims that "Christianity has fought, still fights and will fight science to
the desperate end over evolution, for evolution destroys utterly and
finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary.
Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will
find the sorry remains of the son of God. Take away the meaning of his
death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is
what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing" (American Atheist,
February 1978, p. 30).
Thus the issues of death and time reveal the utter incompatibility of
evolution, in any form, with Christianity.
But the story doesn't end there. The Bible reveals not only the origin
of death, but how this issue will one day be resolved.
There will come a time when this world, so marred by the effects of
sin and death, including fossils and graveyards "shall melt with fervent
heat, the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up....
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:10,13).
The ultimate victory over death will then be realized. "And God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: For the
former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). In our eternal, death-
less home, we will have continual access to "the Tree of Life.... And
there shall be no more curse" (Revelation 22:2,3).
This, then, is the message of Creation! Far more than the origin of
species and the age of rocks, it is the big picture-the work of Jesus
Christ from eternity past to eternity future. As Sovereign Creator, and
only because He is Creator, He had the authority to set the rules and
the penalty for disobedience, and to judge that disobedience. But as
Creator, and only because He is Creator, could He redeem the fallen
creation under the guidelines He had established.
And only as the Creator-the Author of Life-could He arise from the
dead of His own accord. Then, as Creator, Judge, and victorious Re-
deemer, He alone is worthy to take the throne of the universe and reign
"Thou are worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: For
Thou hast created all things" (Revelation 4:11).
Index - Evolution or Creation1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231