You may have heard the news a few weeks ago, reporting on remarks made by U.S. Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia. Congressman Broun, in a speech at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia, said that evolutionary ideas, including embryology and the supposed big bang, are “lies straight from the pit of hell.” (To learn more, read Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell’s report in News to Note.)
Dr. Broun’s statements sparked name-calling and have upset many people who do not agree. Broun is a medical doctor, but many people who hold an evolutionary worldview didn’t like it when he called himself a scientist. But it’s absurd to say that a medical doctor is not a scientist, considering how much science they must study to earn medical degrees. But this sort of name-calling is not surprising. These secularists cannot tolerate dissent from evolutionary ideas and millions of years.
A response article appeared recently on the Huffington Post religion blog, written by Adam Hamilton, a United Methodist pastor and author. Unsurprisingly, Hamilton disagreed with Dr. Broun. Before Hamilton began his rebuttal of Dr. Broun, he explained that he loves the Bible and studies it a great deal before he preaches each week.
I have no doubt that Pastor Hamilton does study the Bible. But, sadly, he still falls into the error of believing that evolutionary ideas can be mixed with God’s Word.
His argument against creationism is nothing new. He stated, “The creation story is placed at the beginning of the Bible not because God felt we needed a science lesson as a preface to the rest of the Bible. Instead it is a lesson in theology.”
So, how does Hamilton explain the early chapters of Genesis? Well, he views it as a lesson for humans—that we’re drawn to do the forbidden. “When we do this,” he writes, “paradise is lost.” Except there’s a problem with that statement—paradise is already long gone! It was lost when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
You know, if Hamilton thinks we’re living in paradise, he hasn’t taken a very hard look at the state of this sin-cursed world. So, really, Hamilton sees Genesis 1–11 as God’s version of a fable—it tells a story with a moral.
But if that’s true, then why did so many people in Scripture view Adam as a real person? And how did Adam, if he is just mythical, give birth to a son (Seth) who would also be an ancestor of Jesus?
Referencing Broun’s remarks about evolutionary ideas, Pastor Hamilton continued, “But to suggest that the creation story was intended to teach science, and that any scientific theory that contradicts these accounts is a lie ‘straight from the pit of hell’ is to misunderstand and misrepresent these chapters.”
God’s Word is clear in the creation account in Genesis. The creation of the universe and everything in it is explained as a miraculous creation by the power of the words of God in six literal days. It would be difficult to misunderstand that.
So why would Pastor Hamilton accuse Dr. Broun of misrepresenting Genesis? That’s simple—Dr. Broun expressed a view of God’s Word that conflicts with evolutionary ideas. But what Hamilton needs to realize is that any belief that conflicts with the creation has to be lie—otherwise, God’s Word can’t be trusted.
If there was no literal Fall, then there is no such thing as sin. And if we are not descendants of a literal Adam and Eve, then we didn’t inherit a sin nature, and there is no need for a Savior!
Hamilton went on to make a number of claims about why the Bible can’t be trusted, based on the Old Testament laws regarding slaves and the punishment of rebellious children, homosexuals, and adulterers. We have addressed claims like these before.
For further explanation, read the articles, “Doesn’t the Bible Condone the Killing of One’s Rebellious Child?” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell and “The Bible and Slavery” by Paul Taylor and Bodie Hodge.
Pastor Hamilton ultimately concluded by writing that when we read the Bible “carefully” (i.e., when we give up a literal Genesis), “we find that we can turn to its highest aspirations and its most profound and beautiful directives while still being able to appreciate and value the insights from science and other fields of study.”
As I’ve said many times over the years, biblical creationists do appreciate science—just not evolutionary ideas. Observational (or operational) science—which is repeatable, testable, and observable—does not require evolutionary beliefs to understand.
But Pastor Hamilton’s criticisms of Dr. Broun are nothing new or surprising. What is sad, however, is that Hamilton’s biggest problem with Dr. Broun seems to be that he has made the Bible the basis for every area of his thinking, while Hamilton has not. And what’s worse is that Pastor Hamilton—if he is teaching these views to his congregation—is leading his church into serious error.
Pastor Hamilton’s compromise with man’s religion of evolution and millions of years is the typical low view of Scripture that is so prevalent in much of the church today—sad!
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