The standard secular timeline, from an alleged ‘big bang’ some 15 billion years ago to now, is accepted by most people in the evangelical Christian world, even though many would deny evolution. Some would even say that to dispute billions of years is to place an unnecessary stumbling block in the way of any scientifically-minded potential converts.
This is in contrast to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator made flesh, as well as several of the biblical authors, which makes it plain that this is wrong—people were there from the beginning of creation. But in the evolutionary timeline, people have only been around for one or two million years—this puts them toward the end of the timeline. This means that He is most definitely claiming that the world cannot be billions of years old.
For example, dealing with the doctrine of marriage, Jesus says in Mark:10:6 (bold emphases added): “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.”
In Luke:11:50–51, Jesus also says: “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias … ”.
Today, the vast majority of Christians in not only secular academia, but also theological institutions, Bible colleges, etc. believe—and many teach—that the secular ‘billions of years’ is fact. When one tries to find out how they deal with these repeated references, responses vary. But the ‘explaining away’ that takes place (whenever the problem is not simply ignored) invariably makes it plain that the authority being deferred to is not the Word of God, but rather current secular opinion.
The most striking (and sad) example of this switch in authority source I know of comes from a personal experience. In Melbourne, Australia, many years ago, I had arranged to sit down over a hot drink with a distinguished university professor, a Christian who was well-known for his active opposition to a straightforward view of Genesis. At that time, he was actually the head of a grouping of Christian academics which had been openly set up to provide opposition to the inroads our ministry was making. Over the years, this group has unfortunately been very effective in persuading most Christian training institutions that compromising on biblical creation in favour of secular thinking (evolution, long ages) is the only ‘respectable’ position.
This professor himself, in addition to his secular science qualifications, was well regarded in the theological arena as well as being very biblically literate. He had at that time already been a frequent guest lecturer at several leading Australian evangelical training institutions.
During our courteous exchange, I asked him about the above comments by Jesus in relation to the age of the world. I asked, “Isn’t it clear that Jesus taught and believed that the world was young?”
I expected him to do as other Christian evolutionists have done—to try to find ways to torture the text to escape these obvious implications. Instead, he said that he totally agreed that Jesus believed in a recent creation of all things.
Somewhat taken by surprise, I said, “Well, how do you deal with that, then?” His answer simply stunned me, to put it mildly. He said: “Jesus didn’t know as much science as we do today.”
The Lord Jesus repeatedly made it clear that His words and actions were on the Father’s authority, in all respects. Some examples are firstly John:8:28: So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me”. And John:12:49–50: “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”]
If even Jesus’ words in Scripture can’t be trusted on some issues, how are we supposed to trust anything in the Bible at all? One thing is very clear from all this. Namely, that the erroneous belief that ‘science’ insists that evolution and long ages are ‘fact’ is the most serious challenge to biblical authority, and thus to the faith in general, that Christendom has ever faced. If even Jesus’ words in Scripture can’t be trusted on some issues, how are we supposed to trust anything in the Bible at all?
Other leading theistic evolutionists have similarly made plain their belief that Jesus was mistaken. For example, on the American theistic evolutionary site BioLogos, led by Francis Collins, there appeared the following: “If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.”
What a tragedy that so many Christian leaders have been bluffed and intimidated into assuming that secular interpretations of the evidence should dictate their understanding of God’s Word. And right at a point in history when there are more scientific reasons than ever to confirm the utter rationality of trusting the Bible, not evolutionary conclusions.