As a Christ follower and Bible believer, I have often found myself wondering about "The Big Picture". What do I mean by that? Well, being a child of the 60s and 70s and growing up in California, the indoctrination I received in naturalistic evolution was complete. It is what I was taught in school--yes even then. It is what I saw at any park or museum I visited. I even read about it in the newspaper, with the now late Carl Sagan getting a full page, (I believe front page) to espouse "truth" as he understood it.
Now, in hindsight, I see it all very differently. Since then, I've read many books and articles written by many great intellectual minds. Many of them with PhD's in every scientific discipline. Each of them, fully convinced that the creation model, is the 'only model' that makes sense of the evidence as we see it today. I also came to a full persuasion that the Bible truly is the Word of God and can be trusted.
The Same Evidence
So, with all this in mind, How could these 2 diametrically opposed positions be reconciled, and what was "The Big Picture"? Or, how could our country which once embraced the Bible and the Judeo/Christian ethic find itself fully embracing a view which cannot be reconciled with the clear teaching of Scripture? As part of my research into this question, I was able to learn that it was all a question of worldviews! It had nothing to do with the 'so called' evidence! Whether the person digging up the fossil bone was a young earth creation scientist, or a fully committed naturalist/evolutionist. They both would have in their hand the exact same evidence! One of them would conclude that many millions of years had passed, and the other that only thousands of years had passed. How can that be?
Here is where "The Big Picture" comes in. It is vitally important to look at some history leading up to the writing of 'The Origin of Species', written by Charles Darwin in 1859. This is the book credited with launching the revolution, but truly the seeds of its teaching can be read in the words of Satan all the way back in Genesis chapter 3~~"yea hath God said . . ." It is commonly believed that Darwin had a new novel idea that no one had ever thought of before. This is quite simply not the case. His grandfather had proposed the same idea when Charles was much younger and many years before his famed trip to the Galapagos Islands. Also, many scientists in different fields had begun to propose the idea that many thousands of years had passed in a slow process leading up to, or preceding Adam and Eve. They were not yet ready to abandon the Bible altogether, but the clear undermining of it had already begun in earnest.
The Early Seeds of Compromise
It is easy to see that this trend was well underway long before 1859 just by seeing the attempts that numerous clergy made to try to stay 'up with the times'. There had been many attempts through the years, but below are 4 of the more prominent attempts. The first being proposed by a Presbyterian minister named Thomas Chalmers in 1804. It was called the gap theory and proposed a huge gap of time between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2. The second was proposed by an Anglican clergyman named George Stanley Faber in 1823. It was called the Day-Age Theory and proposed that each of the days of the Genesis account actually represented long periods of time. The third was developed in 1924 with no one individual to credit with its invention. It was called the Framework Hypothesis. This turns the historical account of Adam and Eve essentially into poetry with no specific historical significance. The fourth is Theistic Evolution. Even though, it was not new to the 20th century, it was largely rejected by evangelicals in the 19th century. It claims outright, that God used evolution in creation. These, of course, are not the only explanations, but are the four most prominent. There are also some variations within several of these ideas. What one may notice is that there is a steady digression as, once the compromise began to invade in the early 19th century, it continued to slip further and further from the clear message of the text. It also becomes clear that the authority of the Bible was replaced with an 'outside' source of 'truth' of which the Bible would simply need to be made to agree.
As mentioned earlier, it was becoming common for scientists to begin to speak in terms of much larger numbers, than the days of creation mentioned in Genesis. Two prominent Geologists played a big part in leading to this transition. One was named James Hutton and the other Charles Lyell. Darwin was well aware of their work and it laid the groundwork for his proposition. It was Hutton who gave a name to this slow process that is still in vogue today. The name is uniformitarianism. As we think about "The Big Picture", it would not be complete without recognizing that this view taints every position of modern science. This slow, gradual process, once embraced, could be stretched to essentially any time frame that may be needed, and is essential to today's evolutionary model. This is indeed a cornerstone of the story and stands in stark opposition to the clear teaching of Scripture.
A False Narrative
"The Big Picture" of which I have barely scratched the surface, is indeed a convoluted story. Time will not allow us to discuss the changes in our legal system, or the totally inaccurate narrative of the "Scopes Trial". It does not allow enough time to divulge the great deception that was foisted on the world through hoaxes like Java Man, Nebraska Man and the Miller/Urey experiment. Suffice it to say dear reader, that there is plenty to question in the narrative you've been hearing all your life--just as there was for me. Sadly, many of these deceptions and half truths are STILL presented in science textbooks today! There is another explanation given in the historical text of Genesis 1-11, which perhaps to your amazement, fits the evidence far better. A further clarification of these many consistencies between 'the evidence' and the 'creation model' will be looked at in much more detail in future blogs. But, our focus in this piece, is to see just a glimpse of the downward spiral of which we all feel ourselves being sucked down within our culture today.
With all of this said, it would be a mistake, at this point, to leave out the most important "Big Picture" issue. That is the influence of 'Spiritual Warfare'. In II Cor 4:4a, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, . . . ". Some may be surprised to think of Satan being called a god. But, this is consistent with the temptation our Lord faced while in His early ministry. After His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness as Satan comes to tempt Him on 3 occasions, you will notice that Jesus never says to Satan that he doesn't have the authority or right to make the offers. It is clear that Satan truly is alive and well and truly does have that authority. He is still exercising that authority now in the realm of the spiritual.
We have seen how that rather than an evolution of man that leads to greater complexity and order, we have instead seen a spiritual devolution that leads to more confusion and disorder. The cornerstone of this "Big Picture" is the spiritual warfare that has raged ever since the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 3.
So, the "big picture", simply stated, is the steady compromise that occurred throughout the 19th century to our present day. Also, the church was a willing participant of this compromise, as it abandoned on many levels the clear teaching of historical texts found in the Bible. With the book "The Genesis Flood", written by John C Whitcomb and Henry M Morris in 1961, the church began to wake up! But, unless we see the "Big Picture", and recognize that the slide had been firmly in place for over 150 years, it is easy to get discouraged, and wonder why so many have fallen for the deception. May we be found faithful in our age of great deception and compromise, and like the apostle Paul, find ourselves accused of being the people that ". . .turned the world upside down. . ." (Acts 17:6) for Christ!