This Lent, as I contemplate how Paul preached Christ crucified, I read about several new books contrasting the theory of evolution and the biblical account of creation found in Genesis. Two of them, from liberal sources- "Storms Over Genesis" and "Making Sense Of Evolution" -take the position that "science has proven evolution true, that we must rethink what the Bible says. A third, "The End of Darwinism", cites hoaxes like the Piltdown Man and the Nebraska Man that were used to "prove" Darwin's theory. The author, Eugene Windchy, calls us to recognize the hoax of evolution, and escape its influence.
These books made me wonder, "Are Christians getting everything the Lenten and Easter seasons offer?" After all, leaders in the majority of churches in our nation and world have claimed evolution to be "an open question", that evolution's arguments are weighty, or have adopted evolution for their denomination or synod. Their future pastors, priests, and teachers are so trained. In some congregations, evolution is proudly proclaimed; in others, it is quietly taught to the upcoming generation. I wonder what impact this teaching will have?
Christians who accept evolution face two crises, especially at Lent and Easter. The first questions the reason for Jesus' suffering and death. As evolution says we all got here by chance, developing from lower life forms, it negates what Genesis chapters one through three tell us about mankind having been created in God's image, having fallen to the temptation to disobey God, and through this sin to have plunged all mankind into sin, making us deserving of God's condemnation. If we don't have a sinful nature and aren't trapped in a sinful state as the Bible says (Passages to refer to here would be: Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3:11, Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12, and Romans 6:23), what was the point of Jesus' passion? Did he die needlessly? Foolishly?
The second crisis to faith comes with Jesus' Easter resurrection. The gospels proclaim that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the tomb, being seen by Mary Magdalene, the disciples, and many other eyewitnesses. We are called to believe in Jesus as the risen Savior and receive forgiveness of sins and life eternal in him (Again, please refer to these passages: John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:15).
How many Christians this Lent see the terrible price required for their sin, and Jesus' Easter resurrection, which proclaims that debt paid? How many more have been lead by evolution to doubt both Genesis' teaching of the Fall into Sin and the Gospels' telling of Christ delivering us? Does Easter fill you with the joy of knowing your Savior and what you have in him, or does the holiday just give you a chance to dress up and hunt for colored eggs?
St. Paul's Lutheran Church will offer a three-week study, "What Does the Bible Say?", after Easter, to allow those struggling in their church a chance to look at various teachings and practices from the perspective of God's Word.