One of the central reasons Darwinism should be repugnant to all thinking Christians is the fact that it enshrines death as the primary method of progress. To posit millions of years of natural selection and survival of the fittest through the mechanism of death is to posit the fundamental usefulness and therefore goodness of death. But the Bible teaches very clearly that death entered the world through one man named Adam.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Rom. 5:12, 14).
If you try to limit this to the death of man, with millions of years of dying animal life mutating usefully (a massively problematic thesis given the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) up through an interminable series of “hominids” and suddenly, voila! God chooses one of those upright apes to bear His image, you still completely undermine the gospel. First, the Bible clearly says that God made the first man out of the dust of the earth, not a lucky ape-dude with a slightly enlarged cerebellum. Related, you have to do a particularly gnarly looking bit of exegetical acrobatics to get Jesus to mean anything other than God created people at the beginning of creation when He said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.'” (Mk. 10:6). But second, you cannot have millions of years of death and dying and violence and mutation and then have anything remotely approaching the picture given to us of the Garden of Eden. This is not a world full of death and violence and species dying out. You cannot cram that story into days of ages or a “Framework Hypothesis.” You are telling a story that contradicts the Biblical narrative entirely; it’s not just a different riff on the timeline.
But I also said it undermines the gospel, and what I mean is that the central point of the gospel is the fact that Adam brought death into this world by his sin. And Jesus is the new Adam. By His death, He breaks the power of death. By His resurrection the curse has been broken, and He has begun making all things new. Easter is the celebration of that event. To posit millions of years of death and decay and violence and extinction prior to the first “man” who is then offered endless life in the midst of a death-infested world is not the same story at all. It’s anticlimactic, and the so-called “Fall” is really not much of a Fall. It’s more like the “Bummer” – Bummer, I guess we just keep dying like everything else in this world has for millennia. Furthermore, the Bible is absolutely clear that the curse of death is what infected the world because of sin. Thorns and weeds began to grow at the Fall not before (Gen. 3:18). The whole creation groans in birth pangs for the redemption of the sons of men (Rom. 8:19-21). The created order was subjected to bondage at the Fall, and in some way creation remembers life before the Fall. It aches to return to that paradise. Evolution insists that there never really was a paradise that was lost. But the gospel teaches us to sing:
“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found”
Two final points: First, all of this strongly suggests that micro-evolutionary mutations and adaptations did occur after the Fall, where many animal species likely developed various predatory instincts and bodily characteristics that matched those instincts. The vision of the reign of the root of Jesse pictures lions lying down with lambs and eating hay with them and a little child reaching his hand into a viper’s den unharmed (Is. 11). In other words, the reign of the Child King, Jesus, brings with it a healing of all of creation, restoring it to its pre-Fall state.
And lastly, while some theistic evolutionists seem to be greatly bothered by God creating a world in which there is an appearance of great age, this really shouldn’t be a problem at all. Adam and Eve were created fully mature, not as newborn infants. They appeared to have lived for perhaps 20 or 30 years, but they hadn’t. They appeared to have sloughed off millions and millions of dead skin cells, but they hadn’t. They were created mature. Likewise, I have no doubt that the fully grown trees in the garden had many rings, the dirt in the garden was probably full of the sorts of minerals that would indicate organic decay. The same point is made in the fact that Adam could look up into the sky and see many of the stars God had created three days earlier millions of light years away. This means that God created the stars, and He created their light already reaching earth. In some cases, He also created light in motion with stars that had already apparently gone out of existence. Eden was on a mountain (a river flowed out of it), and no doubt that mountain was made by the appearance of great age, with many rocks piled up in various layers, composed of different minerals, etc. Ditto for all the moon craters and moon dust. None of this is a problem at all. And actually if you think about it for a moment it’s all very glorious.
The universe is one of God’s books – it speaks to us, it tells us about our Maker. So it makes tons of sense for God to create the world with an apparent history pre-loaded. This is like buying a brand new computer that already has tons of software pre-loaded on to it. You do not look at the date of manufacture on the computer, say January 2018, and conclude that Apple lied to you since all that software could not have been developed in one month. How much more so is the infinite God free to preload the universe with evidence of His work in an instant? This is not God lying to us because He told us explicitly that the world was made in six days. It’s not lying if you tell someone the truth explicitly. So God told Adam and told all the generations following that He made the world around 4000 B.C., such that if we look up into the night sky or dig down into the world and see the evidence of ages beyond that point, we would know that God put it all there for us to understand more clearly how the world works, how decay occurs, how time works, how light works. God buried gold down one of the rivers running out of Eden and told Adam to go find it, and all of these apparent age-markers are just more of that treasure, like history books pre-published, science textbooks buried in the ground, flung into the sky for us to find, for us to read, so that we would worship our Maker.