Evolution and Christian Faith -- By: Phillip E. Johnson

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 15:1 (Winter 2002)
Article: Evolution and Christian Faith
Author: Phillip E. Johnson

Evolution and Christian Faith

Phillip E. Johnson

(A message delivered at the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey, PA, May 13, 2001, printed by permission.)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men (John 1:1–4).

Whenever I speak from the pulpit on creation and evolution, this is always my text. I start with the beginning of the gospel of John and not with the beginning of the book of Genesis. The reason that I have made this choice is that the first 14 verses of the gospel of John are really the Bible’s most important teaching on creation. This is where we get the meaning of the doctrine of creation. If you start with Genesis you are immediately led into historical questions, questions of interpretation, and very complex scientific questions: are we talking about 24-hour days or is this symbolic of some different concept? Starting with Genesis gets you into very complex questions that are beyond the capacity of most people to answer. We have to talk about geology and physics and Biblical interpretation and a great many difficult subjects. In John we have the plain meaning of creation and its importance to our lives.

Another problem with starting with the book of Genesis is that many get the impression that the creation/evolution debate is only about the book of Genesis. After all, there are 65 other books in the Bible, so it cannot be that important a debate on that basis. However people settle that issue, we still have all the rest of the Bible with Jesus, sin, salvation, the cross, resurrection, and so on, so it does not really matter very much, does it? Well, that would be a big error, because the debate over creation and evolution is not just a debate about the historical details of Genesis. It is about every single one of those books of the Bible. It is about whether God is real or imaginary. That is what the debate is about. Is God real or imaginary? Did God create man or did man create God? This is the subject.

So we start with this fundamental truth, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with the God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Notice “He” was with God in the beginning, not “it” was with God in the beginning. The Word is not merely a concept; it is a Being with intelligence and purpose, a Being who was with God and who was God.

I became a Christian in my late 30s. I was already an established senior professor at the University of California at Berkeley, a University which can lay claim to b...

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