Genesis and Salvation - What's the Connection

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 24, 2015 5 comments


by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next one is here.]

We are getting closer and closer to the actual theological questions Mr. Tyler Francke claims no young earth creationist can answer. However, we still have two more links to discuss in his intro before we apparently do something no one has done before with these questions. This week's link takes us to a blog post called “Is evolution a ‘salvation issue’? The Bible is clear, despite YECs’ attempts to muddy its message.” This blog post, despite seemingly having the answer to the question correct, has a great deal of spun information Tyler uses to apparently make up an issue that's really not there. In fact, he essentially tells us this is not a Biblical creationist issue and proceeds to tell us why it is. We'll also find, in a not-so-shocking turn of events, that he is ridiculing Ken Ham and his statements.

Tyler starts out well enough with his introductory paragraph but wastes no time assaulting Ken Ham in the second as well as Dr. Jason Lisle (who has a great blog). The topic here boils down to whether you can be an evolutionist and be saved. The obvious answer to this question is, “Of course.” This, strangely, is exactly what Tyler says Ken and Jason say. He then goes on to tell us why this really isn't what they believe. If you saw the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, you'll recall that Ken actually specifically addressed this issue and clearly stated that a belief in a straightforward reading of Genesis has nothing to do with salvation. To be honest, I feel like this should be enough, but Tyler seems to want to make this an issue that no one else has. Truthfully, I believe Tyler is just grasping at straws to find reasons to complain about the ministries he's mentioned. He makes the claim that Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are simply in it for the money. This is an absolutely disgusting allegation. Tyler is stooping exceptionally low in this blog post. Not only does he misrepresent what Biblical creationists believe or say, but now he's misrepresenting their motives. This is odd since he can't possibly know what is in the hearts of the people who work in these ministries. I'd better stop there or I may get carried away. So let's take a look and see what he's getting us into.

It is accurately stated that having a firm foundation in Biblical truth is important to understand the Gospel. Tyler tells us Ken and Jason believe “that the denial of evolution and rejection of an ancient earth are of the utmost importance for all Christians.” This is true on the surface, but not for the reasons Tyler indicates. More on this later. But Tyler quotes Ken Ham saying in regards to an historical Adam and Eve, “Now, I want to make very clear that belief in a historical Adam and Eve is not a salvation issue per se, but it is a biblical authority issue and a gospel issue.” This seems fairly simple. Ham has stated what Tyler wants to believe here—that evolution and a young earth are not necessary for salvation. He talks about statements made by Dr. Jason Lisle where Jason states that the issue of evolution is not a “salvation issue” at all but can lead us to a slippery slope away from the Gospel. So what's the problem? That's what I'm wondering, too. These guys are agreeing with Tyler.

We then see that something being brought up here is the fact that not believing in some parts of the Bible causes us to more easily not believe other parts. It truly is an issue of whether or not the Bible is our authority. If we place naturalism on equal footing as the Bible and the secular scientist has the same standing in regards to truth as God does, we can easily fall away from the faith or become a universalist—one who believes that all mankind is saved regardless of that person's belief (I realize many theistic evolutionists are universalists but this is one of the reasons for me writing on this in the first place). If we erode the authority of Scripture to something that is only determined by what we understand from a naturalistic perspective, we lose just about everything in the Bible. As Jason points out, and Tyler indicates, if we allow the authority of a man to outweigh God's written Word, we lose the resurrection since this is obviously not something that would happen naturally. But if you believe that Jesus Christ, under His own power (the power of God) raised Himself back to life after being tortured and killed by Roman soldiers, I'm not sure why believing that God created the heavens and the earth about 6,000 years ago is so difficult.

Tyler seems to think that although both of these men (and so many others) have clearly stated that renouncing evolution is not necessary to be saved—that accepting Christ as your Savior, believing in His sacrifice for you, is the only thing necessary for salvation—that they both somehow believe it IS necessary to be saved. The point is really simple. Salvation is truly a “come as you are” idea. But Jesus doesn't expect you to stay where you are if you receive Him as your Savior. Tyler quotes, rightly, several Scriptures that indicate what is necessary for salvation.

“Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” —Acts 16:30-31

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” —Romans 10:9

He mentions more, but that's the idea and this is right. However, these passages are talking about initiating this thing we call the Christian life. A thorough look at the Bible will easily lead you to believe that conversion (which is not the goal of the Great Commission) is not what we're looking for. “Make disciples” doesn't mean get someone to accept Jesus Christ and move on to the next person. It means to actively pursue Jesus Christ in your lives and help others do the same. We're not only saved from making mistakes or some other such watered down version of the situation. We're not just saved from hell and that's the end of the story. We are seated at the right hand of the Father. We are now dead to sin and alive to God. We were eternally separated from God because of the rebellious nature of flesh. And that's the end of the story if God had not made a way for redemption. But, praise God, we are free to live a life worthy of the calling. Our life in Christ is so much more than just declaring with our mouth “Jesus is Lord.” It's about action—because faith without works is dead. So the Good News is far more than just getting saved from hell. It's about truly living—living the Christian life.

So what does this have to do with the topic at hand? Good question. In our relationship with Christ, we should be seeking Him. We should be actively seeking Him in prayer and meditation. But we should also study His Word. What's included in that? Of course—Genesis is the foundation that the rest of the Word stands on. In fact, I'll say that without Genesis, the rest of the Bible doesn't make any sense. It's like building a house without have a foundation under it. It'll collapse eventually. This is exactly what Ken Ham and Dr. Jason Lisle are talking about. Over time, as we study the Bible and try to make sense of all this, if we're believing that the foundation—the very parts of Scripture that tell us WHY all this is going on—are not an historical account, what's the big deal? Why do we need saved? Genesis tells us. But if Genesis is a myth, so is the Fall and, therefore, our sin nature. Jesus said if you don't believe what Moses wrote, you won't believe Him either. Who wrote Genesis? That's right—Moses (see this for more info). I suppose this means we ought to take what he wrote a little more seriously.

As we evolve in our relationship with Christ and as we study His Word, we develop a deeper understanding. But if we have nothing to base our faith on (the WHY of this whole story of redemption), we run the risk of either falling away from our faith altogether or we may believe that Jesus is A way to God but not necessarily THE Way to God. Is this a sure fire result? Of course not. This is why both of the men of God that Tyler is ridiculing state quite clearly that this is not a salvation issue. But they both indicate that it is risky and CAN lead to falling away or belief in a false Gospel. The Gospel is about life. It's not just what happens after you die. Here and now we are to be made into the likeness of Christ. “Get out of hell free” is the 4th grade version of the Gospel and is of little use to the believer. Living a life to the fullest is what Christ has guaranteed for us both here in this world and in the next.

Next week we're going to touch on some of the erroneous interpretations of the statistics and some other things as we wrap up this blog post by Tyler Francke of www.godofevolution.com. I hope you'll stick with us and I pray you'll have a terrific Christmas celebrating the night that heaven and earth collide!

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5 comments:

Nathanael Eisner said...

Dear Ambassador Steve,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

I am still loving your series, but I noticed a slip you did above on terminology. We as Scientific Biblical Creationists should never use the word “evolve” for anything. It is giving evolution credibility when we use it for the “advancing” and “development” of things. In actuality, those who began using the word in this way have themselves misunderstood the word. The word means a bunch of random unguided processes, yet the word is always misapplied to things which are structured and overseen. Technology doesn’t “evolve”, it costs thousands of man-hours and money to improve, and is very much done on purpose, not accidentally. In the same way, for both reasons above, our relationship with Jesus and understanding of Scripture do not “evolve”. Creationist Christians must be extremely vigilant not to use this word outside the context of discussing the enemy’s position.

Thank you for everything! Sorry for feeling compelled to bring this up, but it’s important to me that we keep our position “holy”, set apart from theirs.

God bless!

Steve said...

Thank you, Nathanael, for your encouragement and your continued support.

In regards to the use of terms, I generally prefer to take a stance that is antagonistic towards those who have usurped my lexicon. The term "evolve" in its simplest sense just means to change, although a more detailed explanation of its meaning is to develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form. I refuse to allow secularists to hijack words so that I may not be permitted to use them. In fact, there are often cases I use words specifically to throw it back in the face of the usurper.
I completely understand what you're saying, however. I would like you to know that I chose to use the word "evolve" for exactly this reason. Please always feel free to let me know if there is something you're not sure about. This is a great example. I hope you continue to enjoy this very looooong series.

Nathanael Eisner said...

Well, what do ya know… it had its origins in English in 1616… before Darwin. Okay, I guess you are right… and its meaning in previous languages was far from what we see it as today. It was first used in Greek for military actions and then in Latin for unrolling things. I did not know this, thanks for inspiring me to look it up!

However, I’ll still likely not use it, because it is too tied to falsehood. I want people to think of my meaning, and not first think of error. It’s a rule in fiction writing, don’t use a new word just to use it, it can detract from immersion and make the author stand out. The author is to be invisible at all times. I am a writer on both fronts: fiction and none. This is why I used the analogy I just did. We’re both different, and that is okay.

Also, it just occurred to me… when I considered the KJV never uses the word, that it was published 5 years too soon for its first use. I wonder what that has to say? The translation done in the height of English could not use the word… definitely curious. But it’s all new to me, I thought Darwin started it.

God bless!

Steve said...

Thanks, Nathanael. You dug pretty deeply, which I encourage everyone to do. Let's try to think through thing rationally and see if they hold water rather than just accept what others have told us. I'm not saying you were doing this in this instance, but in general people are too quick to accept what others tell them on a topic. If Christians would educate themselves on a great deal of things we'd have a lot less heresy and a lot more Christ in the Church.

Blessings to you, sir, and thanks again for keeping up with us :)

Nathanael Eisner said...

Just to be clear, I only quoted people where I already agreed with them previously. I used quotes so heavily to give them all a second chance at having their best points answered and not merely sidestepped. As your next part went into detail about.