In many ways I would love to be able to support theistic evolution for it would allow me to say that God is creator and yet still maintain my intellectual credibility in the eyes of the world. It would sidestep a debate that often gets bogged down in insults, anger and misunderstandings and it would avoid arguments that can often detract from talking about other issues of greater importance. If there is one view that I hold that will regularly result in insults (from both non-Christians and, tragically, Christians) then its being a six day creation literalist.
But my own 'intellectual credibility' forbids me from taking that path. It boils down to a simple question of ultimate authority: is it man's reason, as found in 'science'; or is it God, as found in his Word? Given that, as I will explain, theistic evolution is not supported by the Bible, how then can I accept the ideas of men above God? That is why my argument against theistic evolution is theological not scientific - the Bible is our ultimate authority on this matter.
At its essence I see the creation/evolution debate as no more than a choice between God's description of events or man's description. It would be foolish to accept man's opinion of creation above the Creator's opinion on creation!
This is hardly an unusual position to be in. Academic thought and biblical thinking have often battled with each other in various fields. After all, the resurrection is a subject where we happily reject the notion that it is a scientific impossibility and accept the truth of the Bible on the subject. The point is, being scorned for truth is not surprising, the world scorns us for the truth that homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder and Sunday is the Lord's day. Why should we be concerned when a similar thing happens with creation?
As we venture into this debate let us bear in minds the words of Jesus: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5 v 11 - 12)
The Problem of Death
This is the main reason why theistic evolution and the Genesis account of creation are incompatible. We know that death comes in after the Fall when God curses Adam, Eve and the earth but evolution requires there to be death before the fall. Christian theistic evolutions get round this by saying that the death referred to in God's curse on mankind is a 'spiritual death' not a physical one.
Yet if we look at what God says this suggestion is hard to accept: "For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Dust is what our physical bodies turn into at death, it's not like our souls crumble into dust! Furthermore, if the punishment for sin really is only spiritual death then why did Jesus have to die a physical death? Why did he have a physical resurrection? Why does Paul exultingly cry: "Where O death is your victory; where O death is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15v55) In the context it cannot just be in relation to spiritual death for he is talking about a physical resurrection.
Let us also consider the nature of death - it is a result of illness, decay or violence. Can we say confidentially that God would have looked on his creation and called it 'very good' when such things were present? We know that these symptoms are a result of sin, the whole point about Jesus healing the sick was that it was a sign that he could heal the physical manifestations of the curse of sin. Likewise, when he raised others from the dead it proved his power over the curse of sin that falls on us all.
Furthermore, Paul speaks about the whole creation falling with mankind: "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now." (Romans 8 v 20 - 22). Even if you wanted to argue that death didn't affect man but only the animals then we run into the problem that the creation shares in the curse of sin. Paul implies that at one point creation was not subject to futility but now it is. Obviously, this refers to the fall where the ground is cursed because of man's sin. Pre-fall there was no futility, no groaning in creation, yet evolution suggests millennium of groaning and frustration as countless numbers die and are subject to decay.
While the Bible does use death as a description of what we are like spiritually before we are converted then it draws no dichotomy between physical death and spiritual death. We die physically because we are dead spiritually. Death is not 'natural' to this world but a result of God's anger against our sin.
Rejecting physical death as a curse for the fall means rejecting the need for Jesus to die physically. It suggests to that death came under God's description of his creation as "very good"; and it makes a mockery of the rest of the Bible's teaching on death.
Literal Adam and Eve
Either Adam was a real person who existed or Jesus was a liar and he hasn't saved us. These are the major theological implications for losing Adam. Without the first Adam then Jesus, as the second Adam, cannot fulfil his salvation purpose for it was because sin came into the world through one person that salvation can be won through one person. The Bible consistently treats Adam as a real person with a real family line.
Now, most theistic evolutionists argue that a literal Adam and evolution are not incompatible. But Adam is described as being formed as an adult from the dust of the ground. Hardly a picture compatible with theistic evolution where Adam, if he even existed, must have had two animals for parents.
Indeed, the whole being made in God's image thing is compromised if we are just products of a long line of gradually evolving animals. And the creation of Eve is lost too (if not a rib then how did it work? why would it be described otherwise?), which means that the Bible's teaching on complementarianism goes with it which means Paul is lying when he teaches on this.
Messes up Sunday
This is a neglected aspect of this debate but if theistic evolution is true and the universe wasn't created in six days then God is made out to be a liar when he says, as he gives the 4th commandment: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." (Exodus 20v11)
The fact that we have to dedicate one day in every seven to God is rooted in creation. Days here have to mean 24 hour time periods or we lose the weekly occurrence of Sunday. So to imply six day creation isn't true means that God is telling a shame faced lie to his people. We don't celebrate the Lord's day every five hundred million years yet if the Genesis day doesn't mean day then that's exactly what we should be doing!
"Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so." (Genesis 1v29-30)
Once again, according to theistic evolution this verse is just complete nonsense for we all know that evolution teaches that we evolved as carnivorous; therefore our ancestors before the fall must have eaten meat, therefore this verse is false. In fact, it implies that all animals were vegetarians - another contradiction with the evolutionary teaching.
Poetry view still doesn't work
People are swift to dismiss Genesis 1 as being allegorical or poetic so not actually a factual account. I don't think this as any biblical grounding but even if it did then the imagery of Genesis 1 still doesn't fit into the theistic evolution framework. Stars appear on day 4 after the earth. Light appears before any light source. Fish and birds come before land creatures. Even by their own yardstick theistic evolution fails. And while Genesis uses vivid and semi-poetic language so does John in his opening to his gospel where he talks about Christ creating everything. It's still a historical narrative even with the fancy language.
It is not my intent to make you go away doubting the Bible. As I said at the beginning, believe God rather than the reason of man. For the reason of man is naught but a sinful reason, blinded by rebellion to God, blinkered by a soul deep hostility and utterly incapable of understand spiritual things. If we must be mocked for our six day creationism then let us be mocked, we are mocked for much else besides. We cannot allow our desire to be intellectually credible overcome our faithful stance on Scripture.
Trying to force the Bible into the theistic evolutionary straitjacket is hard work; it seems at many times that you have to argue with Scripture itself, this is of no real surprise given that it is in contradiction with God's Word.
I understand that it must be hard for any reading this who are scientists and have this evolutionary framework thrust on them day after day and who might lose all academic credibility if you confessed to six day creation. My stance on this carries much less of a cost. But if we are willing to lose all for the sake of Christ can we not lose respect in the world's eyes for the sake of the truth of Genesis 1? As Jesus said: " And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19 v 29) How much more will we receive a hundred times more for all the respect we may forfeit for the sake of Christ?