arely has there been a belief so ridiculous or contrary to the Scriptures that, once it becomes popular, some Christians haven't attempted to incorporate into the faith. In its long and often crude lust for cultural and intellectual correctness, the church has become what Jacques Ellul called "an empty bottle that the successive cultures fill with all kinds of things." Roman paganism, Platonism, Marxism, even Nazism have all had baptized aficionados struggling to cram these "things" into the bottle, now so warped and piecemeal it resembles a kaleidoscope image inspired by someone needing Prozac.
Of all the bizarre mismatches, though, none's worse than the attempt to harmonize evolution with Christianity. Evolution? Please! Nazism's a snugger fit.
Though raised on evolution, I one day found myself a born-again Christian who saw, immediately, an impossible conundrum between what I was taught my whole life and my new worldview. Within the first few days someone gave me the book The Genesis Flood, by Henry Morris, and for the first time I realized that the "proof" I was dogmatically given for evolution wasn't as solid as I had been led to believe from grade school through college. Over time, and after more reading, I was soon purged of all macroevolutionary presuppositions. In fact, if (heaven forbid) I ever lost my faith, I could never go back to evolution. Alien seeding or the Babylonian creation story seems more plausible than the standard scientific paradigm of origins.
"But," someone would say, "it's science." Exactly. And science is still only a human endeavor, and as such it comes burdened with all the prejudices, foibles, fears, and presuppositions of anything human. However much I respect science and stand in awe of its achievements, scientists can be as bigoted and dogmatic as historical critics (well, almost).
Now, it used to be that, for Adventists, evolutionary theory was a threat from without; as unbelievable as it seems, some among us have now accepted theistic evolution--the idea that God used the process of evolution, over millions of years, to create humanity.
These folks, though, don't worship the God of the Bible, for that God didn't use a long, protracted, and vicious dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest paradigm--one that goes against everything He has taught us about love and self-sacrifice--and then lie to us about it by claiming He created life here in six days when He didn't. Plus, that God didn't ask us to keep the seventh day as a memorial, not to the six days of Creation as He explicitly told us in His Word, but to a brutal, hateful, merciless process that took millions of years.
What amazes me isn't so much that people can believe in evolution (after all, I used to), but that those who do still want to be Seventh-day Adventists. I can respect someone who, believing in evolutionary theory, rejects the Adventist Church entirely. I have no respect for those who think they can meld the two.
For anyone, especially our young people, struggling with these issues, I say: Keep seeking with a fervent and honest heart. As long as you stick to the Bible (and Ellen White's books and articles) you will not go wrong. For those among us who have already decided--despite the Bible and Ellen White--on evolution, there are plenty of other churches for you. Ours isn't one. And to those teaching in our schools who believe in evolution and yet take a paycheck from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I say: If you honestly reject a literal six-day creation in favor of theistic macroevolution, fine; now turn that honesty into integrity and go somewhere where you won't have to cloak your views under the anfractuosities of language.
I speak, I believe, for millions of Seventh-day Adventists when I declare that whatever the age of the earth itself, we will never make room for anything other than a literal six-day creation for life here--never. And for those who want more, you'll have to fight us for every extra minute--much less your millions of mythological years beyond--of which the Word of God knows nothing and with its first verses utterly denies.
Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.