Why Evolution is Incompatible with Christianity
A common belief regarding origins is that God used both Cosmic and Darwinian Evolution to create the heavens and earth as we know them today. In this view God initiated the Big Bang, then let Evolution be His tool to form the world and all life in it. The six days of creation in Genesis are considered to be ages, not literal days, in order to match the Genesis account to evolutionary theory. This is called Theistic Evolution. The problem with Theistic Evolution is that it is incompatible with the Gospel, the central tenant of Christianity. This is a look at the issue from a doctrinal perspective.
The Gospel, which means "good news," is the main message of the Bible. It is a message of redemption for a world lost in sin and rebellion against God, and this through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible presents a cohesive and unfolding revelation in both the Old and New Testaments that lays out the cause of mankind's fall from a relationship with God, the dark and hopeless state that fallen man is in, and the work of God to bring hope and redemption.
A spiritual war
The Bible also shows that in conjunction with this hope, there is a war going on. It is a spiritual war for individuals' souls. The weapons deployed are truth on one side, and deception on the other. One side would bring the truth of the Gospel that can save and redeem a person, and deliver them into God's Kingdom, and the other would blind mankind to the good news in order to keep them out of God's Kingdom. In this article we will examine how the theory of evolution is a tool in this war to bring deception and distort the Gospel message so that it would no longer be effective. But first we must understand the Gospel message.
Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians, "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:3-6).
Paul correlates the miracle of creation with the miracle of the new creation. The same God, the Creator, who "commanded light to shine out of darkness" has also commanded a different kind of light to shine. Paul first refers to day one of creation in Genesis, where God said, "Let there be light." This is physical light. But to those who are blinded by "the god of this age," who cannot discern the Gospel, who are spiritually in darkness and do not know God, another kind of light is created. This is the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God." This is spiritual revelation and requires a miracle the same as day one of creation. This light is the "good news" of the "glory of Christ," also said to be found "in the face of Jesus Christ." Jesus said, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46).
A new creation
Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning the new creation: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:17-19). This is the good news, the reconciling of sinners to God through the redeemer Jesus Christ. This "word of reconciliation" is that which the god of this world, Satan, would blind mankind to.
The Scriptures tie together the first creation with the new creation, with the first presented as a model that points to the second. The creation account in Genesis is a foundation that the Gospel message is built upon. To distort the creation account is to undermine the foundation of the Gospel. When Evolution is injected into the creation account, it changes the biblical model that is pointing to the new creation, and as a result, attacks the saving message of the Gospel. The following is why.
A common aspect of all religions is a system in which an individual works his way upward to a better state. There is an inherent realization that a better state is needed, that something is presently wrong within oneself and in the world. In this the focus is upon oneself, and a work required for one to change himself. The Biblical worldview presents the reason for this: mankind is in a fallen state and is alienated from God through the sin and rebellion of Adam and Eve. This fallen state has produced all manner of evil in the world, and in the nature of mankind. Religion is an attempt to climb out of this state. But Christianity is different; it involves God doing a work to lift mankind up.
Entering His rest
Rather than to work, the writer to the Hebrews implores them to enter a rest that is found in the Gospel: "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest,"' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'" (Heb. 4:1-4).
We see a connection in this passage of the Gospel with the work of creation. God completed the work of creation and rested. This is used as a model to point to another rest, God's redemptive work and His rest in that finished work. There is now a call, through the Gospel message, to enter into the rest of God. The rest described here is a rest from the work to seek God, be found righteous by Him, and to enter into His eternal Kingdom. This is shown in verse ten: "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His" (Heb. 4:10). This is referring back to what the writer said in the previous chapter: "but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Heb. 3:6). To be a member of the "house" of Jesus Christ, His people, requires a confidence in His person and work, and a rejoicing in the hope of what He brings. This "confidence" and "rejoicing" is to rest in the good news of Christ.
A slave to sin
The world is filled with those who are laboring and striving to reach God's Kingdom. They have no rest. They have no certainty of success. They have no assurance that although they are seeking it, that they will indeed enter into that eternal life.
In the struggle to reach God, or for some, to reach a better state, each of us is faced with his own shortcomings and failure, as Paul the Apostle describes in Romans: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:18-23).
Those working toward self-righteousness face this problem: there is a law, or principle, of sin in the nature of man that is constantly in the way, bringing him down in failure. Even if one wills to do good, the principle of sin in the nature of man, his flesh, makes him a slave to sin. Paul says that this principle is "bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Although this passage in Romans is directed to those believers who have not yet experienced the power of Christ in their lives and who still are depending on the flesh, it shows a general principle that it is not within the power of mankind to deliver himself.
But there is the good news of the Gospel. Paul continues, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7:24-25b). The Gospel speaks of a rest from the work to reach God and His Kingdom. It presents a way to attain to this apart from self-work. It shows a peace that is possible between a sinner and a righteous God. It presents a way to escape from the "captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." The writer to the Hebrews shows that there is a rest that is connected to the rest of God after the creation work was finished. "For we who have believed do enter that rest." To rest is to stop working. The "rest" connected to the Gospel is a rest from working one's way to God. How is it possible to rest, when the fallen world, and any individual in it, is in such a bad state?
Rest is possible because the work of reconciliation and redemption has been accomplished by God Himself. It is not for a person to attain to the work of salvation, but it is a work of God accomplished on our behalf through Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to Titus, "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7). Paul says that salvation is "not by works of righteousness which we have done." It is "according to His mercy." We are "justified by His grace."
The way to benefit from the accomplished work is faith. The model involves the creation account, as used by the writer to the Hebrews, to implore that they would not fail to enter the rest as the unbelieving Israelites did in the Exodus from Egypt: "For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest,"' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Heb. 4:3).
An unfolding model
The writer says, "the works were finished from the foundation of the world," referring to the work of creation that was finished on the sixth day. This in itself is not the rest the Hebrews are implored to enter, but a model that points to a second rest: the rest that the Israelites were to have in their God, who delivered them from Egypt into a promised land of their own. As God did the work of creation and then rested, so He also accomplished the work of creating a nation of people for Himself, brought out of the land of Egypt. But an unbelieving majority of Israelites perished in the wilderness, on the journey to the promised land, because they failed to rest by faith in that work of God. This account is used by the writer to the Hebrews to implore them to enter a third finished work, the work of redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, and to not miss out because of unbelief.
Therefore the work of creation, a model that ultimately points to redemption in Christ, has an intermediate fulfillment, the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. That in itself is a model also, with its fulfillment in the redemption of the world. The Scriptures present this unfolding revelation to reinforce an all-important concept: a work is finished and a rest is possible that can be entered into by faith. In the end, this concept must be accepted for one to receive eternal life that only Jesus Christ can give.
The creation account
We will examine this unfolding model by first looking at the creation account. In Genesis chapter one, the creation of the heavens and earth is detailed in a six day sequence. The first day's work is specified and then completed with this statement: "So the evening and the morning were the first day" (Gen. 1:5b). Each subsequent day is also ended by the same statement, "So the evening and the morning were the ... day," listing days two through six. Immediately following, the Scripture states, "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done" (Gen. 2:1-2a). There is no open-ended account of creation. It is specifically listed in numerical stages. The work is said to be "finished." Scripture also specifically states that "God ended His work which He had done." The aspect of a finished creation is important, because as seen in the book of Hebrews, the Gospel message is based on the finished work of Christ. The work of creation is used to point to Christ's finished work, so that model must be a finished work to accurately portray its fulfillment. And indeed, the Bible states, "the works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Heb. 4:3).
The creation account has a second aspect to it, in regards to it being a model. This is the rest that God had after completing the work. Genesis continues in chapter two, "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3). The aspect of God's rest reinforces the concept of the work being finished. There is no work left to do, so God then rests. The fact that God "blessed" and "sanctified" the seventh day of creation shows the emphasis He places on it as being a finished work. This will translate to an emphasis on the sanctity of Christ's finished work of redemption.
The numbering of the days includes the seventh day when God rests. This one-week unit entails a complete work capped with the idea of rest so that no further work is indicated. As a model, this points to Christ who has completed the work of redemption and needs to do no further work to enable salvation. Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 110 to attribute God the Father as saying to the Son, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" (Heb. 1:13b). Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God the Father "raised Him" (Christ) "from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:20). Jesus Christ, having completed the work, is now seated at the right hand of the Father. The work of redemption is completed.
The Sabbath Day
The creation model has a third aspect. This is the Sabbath day. This is a command to the nation of Israel, as embedded in the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11). God rested on "the seventh day" of creation. This was a day of God's rest. In commemoration of that, God established the seventh day of every week to be a day in which Israel rested. This is the Sabbath day. The rest that the people were to have every seventh day is a recognition of the rest that God had on the seventh day of creation. The people did not do any of the work of creation. God did that work entirely on His own and then finished it. For the people to rest also is a testimony that no work remained, and especially that they had no part in that work. God presents this as a model to teach a parallel lesson, one concerning a different work of creation: the creation of the nation of Israel.
Because the Sabbath day rest is a model that points to a rest in a second work of creation by God, it is said to be a "sign." This is presented in the book of Exodus: "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you'" (Exodus 31:13). It is said to be a sign between God and Israel. What is the sign? Their rest in honor of God's rest is a sign "that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you." This sign is based on God's work of creation as seen a few verses later: "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (Exodus 31:17). The work that the sign consists of is the work of creation. The work that the sign testifies of is the work of Israel's sanctification.
Israel was to know through this sign that "I am the Lord who sanctifies you." To sanctify is to set apart. It is to set something or someone apart from that which is common, to that which has a purpose. It is not just to set apart from, but also to set apart to. It entails both separation and consecration. In this case God set a group of people apart from Egypt and unto Himself. He created a separate nation consecrated to Himself as His special people. God spoke of this work to Moses: "And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.'" (Exodus 19:3-6). The work in this was God's: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians." God brought the plagues that caused Pharaoh to relent and release the Israelite slaves. God also parted the Red Sea and then closed it up again upon the pursuing Egyptian army. He also said to Moses, "and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself." God both separated Israel and consecrated them to Himself. He is "the Lord who sanctifies" them. It was not the people who were able to accomplish the feat. It was God's work, and His alone. This is the sign of the Sabbath. The people who were to rest every seventh day in honor of the rest God had in the work of creation, were to also rest in the hands of God as His work in being a nation set apart and dedicated to Him. They did not create themselves; God did. They were to depend upon Him, and rest in Him, and not in their own strength and work.
The writer to the Hebrews warns against ignoring the work of God and not trusting in Him. He quotes the latter part of Psalm 95: "Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, "They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways." So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest."'" (Heb. 3:7-11). In the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites who saw the work of God but were unbelieving perished in the wilderness and did not enter into rest in the promised land. God let them remain in the wilderness for forty years until that unbelieving generation died out and a new generation who trusted in God was ready to enter. Only Joshua and Caleb, men of faith, endured through that journey.
When the new generation of Israelites was about to enter, Moses recapped their history of God's work in delivering them from Egypt and bringing them to the border of their new land. The sign of the Sabbath day was about to be fulfilled. God had told Moses concerning the Sabbath, "for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Exodus 31:13). The work of sanctification was about to be completed. God had delivered them out of Egypt, and had led and sustained them for forty years. They were now at the border of their new land. In recapping their history, Moses again listed the Ten Commandments. But now he made one significant change. In listing the Fourth Commandment about the Sabbath day, Moses changed the reason for it. Instead of using the sign, he used the fulfillment that the sign was pointing to. The reason for the Fourth Commandment as originally listed, when Israel had just begun their forty year journey, was, "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:11). This was the sign. Now that it was fulfilled Moses lists the fulfillment as the reason for the Fourth Commandment: "And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day" (Deut. 5:15). The original listing of the Ten Commandments, at the beginning of their journey, contained the type. The second listing, at the end of their journey, contained the anti-type.
A rest available today
The work of creation, God's seventh day rest, and Israel's Sabbath day rest is a model. That points to God's work of sanctification in redeeming Israel from Egypt, His completed work in doing so, and Israel's rest in their God as the One who did the work. After Israel did enter the land, and after God gave them victory to settle into it, the Scripture states, "So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass" (Joshua 21:43-45).
However the model and its fulfillment do not end with Israel finding rest in their land. The writer to the Hebrews mentions Joshua who had led Israel into the promised land: "Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, 'Today,' after such a long time, as it has been said: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:6-11).
The writer shows that the Sabbath rest goes beyond a rest in God's work of creation. That points to a rest by Israel in God's work of redemption from Egypt. But that itself is not the ultimate rest that Scripture is pointing to. "For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." There is a rest available "Today" as he indicates: "For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest,"' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Heb. 4:3). This verse is structured on two models that point to a rest today in the Gospel message. The first model is God's work of creation that was finished. The second model is Israel's redemption, and in this case, speaks of those who did not enter the promised land because of unbelief. Both of these are used to speak of a third work of God and a rest available today.
The ultimate rest that the Sabbath day is pointing to is found in Jesus Christ. Paul says to the Colossians, "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Col. 2:16-17). The Sabbath is called a shadow of something to come. It has no substance in itself, just like a shadow cannot be picked up and handled. An actual object is required in order to cast a shadow. In the case of the Sabbath, that object, or substance, is Jesus Christ. The Sabbath day is the shadow; Jesus Christ is the reality that casts the shadow. To look at the Sabbath day is to look at a shadowy outline of Christ.
Therefore, the work of creation, God's seventh day rest, and the Sabbath day rest, are a testimony of Christ. Furthermore, as seen in the model of Israel's redemption, the sign of the Sabbath showing that "I am the Lord who sanctifies you" is detail to that shadow. Jesus did a work of sanctification, that is, separation and consecration, and has finished that work. Now, God is resting in His finished work of redemption. He needs to do no further work. It is completed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Scripture states, "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'" (1 Cor. 1:30-31). The work has been completed by Christ and cannot be added to, else self-boasting would be possible. But Paul makes the case, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." Because God did all the work, God gets all the glory. All believers' separation and consecration to God as His people is encompassed by Christ becoming righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to them. Christ did the work; those who would be a partaker of that work are called to put faith in Christ and rest in His finished work.
Jesus Christ the Redeemer
The six day work of creation points to the work of Israel's separation from Egypt and consecration to God as a special people to Him. It is a sign, "that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you." This in itself is part of the shadow of the Sabbath that points to Christ. If we examine the events of Israel's exodus from Egypt we see that, indeed, it points to Christ as the Redeemer of the world. Consider the parallels between the redemption of Israel from Egypt, her setting apart, and the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ, the setting apart of those who believe in Christ:
Before their deliverance, the Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt, with a foreign ruler, Pharaoh over them. This was broken only by a work of God: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage" (Exodus 20:2).
Redemption in Christ is based on a corresponding situation. Egypt is a type of the world, with Pharaoh a type of Satan, the "ruler of this world." The Israelite's bondage is a type of slavery to sin. Paul describes the unregenerate life: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Eph. 2:1-3). Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:34-36). A work of Christ is required to be set free from bondage to sin, and to be set apart from the world where Satan rules.
- The Passover
The event that enabled the Israelites to leave Egypt was the Passover. God commanded each Israelite family to sprinkle the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their home, and to roast and eat the lamb. Then God said, "For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:12).
Paul wrote, "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7b). The Apostle John wrote, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29). The Apostle Peter wrote to the believers, "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19). Again, Paul writes, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). Redemption in Christ is first made possible because Jesus died on a cross to take upon Himself God's judgment on sin.
- The Red Sea
Exodus chapter fourteen shows how the Israelites left Egypt by passing through the Red Sea. God parted the waters to allow them through, but closed them up again when Pharaoh's army tried to pursue. After this, the Israelites began a new life apart from Egypt.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1-2). In like manner, a believer is baptized into Christ through the symbolism of water. The book of Romans shows, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:3-4). The start of a new life through Christ comes through the identification with Him in His death and resurrection. The Gospel message includes not only the death of Christ on the cross to atone for sin, but also His physical resurrection after three days. Baptism symbolizes the death of the old life in the immersion, and the beginning of a new life in the rising. Just as the Egyptian armies could not survive passage through the sea, so too, the flesh of the believer, the old nature, is considered to have died with Christ on the cross. What rises with Christ is the new nature of the believer, a gift of life in Christ. Baptism is foremost a spiritual immersion into Christ through faith. The physical act that follows is a testimony to the new faith of the believer.
When the Israelites first left Egypt and began to journey through the wilderness and were hungry, God began to daily give them manna each morning. This sustained them for those forty years. (See Exodus chapter sixteen).
The Jews of Jesus' day made reference to this miracle, as their assurance that Moses was a man of God. John records, "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.' Therefore they said to Him, 'What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."' Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Then they said to Him, 'Lord, give us this bread always.' And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst'" (John 6:29-35). God's provision for the spiritual sustenance of the believer is Jesus Christ Himself, and the words He speaks. He is the "bread of God" who "comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." As John also said, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12).
- Water from the Rock
In the wilderness, the Israelites found no water and were thirsty. Scripture records, "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel" (Exodus 17:5-6).
Paul correlates that rock with Jesus Christ: "For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:4b). Jesus showed how this would be fulfilled in Himself: "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:37-39). It took the striking down of Jesus, His death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension, for the Holy Spirit to be given. The presence of the Spirit is like "rivers of living water" flowing out of the heart of the believer. This is the life of God Himself, indwelling the believer. For this to happen, Jesus had to be struck just like the rock was struck by Moses.
- The striking of the rock one time
Moses, that great man of God, was prevented from entering the promised land because of one act of disobedience: he struck the rock a second time for water when God instructed him to only speak to the rock. Scripture records, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals'" (Num. 20:7-8). But Moses responded differently: "And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank" (Num. 20:10-11). God had said, "speak to the rock," but instead Moses "lifted his hand and struck the rock." Previously in the wilderness, the first time, Moses had struck the rock. Now he was to only speak to it. God's response was, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them'" (Num. 20:12).
As seen in the previous point, the rock represents Christ who was struck in His crucifixion, to enable the giving of the Holy Spirit. The sacrifice of Christ to atone for sin is a one-time event. It does not need to be repeated. The writer to the Hebrews states, "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another - He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (Heb. 9:24-28).
Moses represented the law, of which the writer speaks, "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Heb. 10:1-4). Under the law, repeated sacrifices were needed to cover sin. The sacrifices were never finished.
The writer continues about Christ, "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Heb. 10:12-14). Christ's atonement for sin is a completed work, and no further sacrifice is needed. Jesus was struck one time, and now the speaking of faith is all that is needed to benefit from it. Because of the symbolism involved, God could not allow Moses to lead Israel into the promised land. The model of sanctification involves rest in a finished work, but Moses action corrupted that model to show a continuing striking was needed. But concerning Christ, "by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
- The Bronze Serpent
When the Israelites complained against God and Moses in the wilderness, God sent serpents against them and many died. They then repented and pleaded with Moses for help. Scripture records, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived" (Num. 21:8-9). The bronze serpent on the pole represented judgment on that serpent. The gazing upon it, in faith, caused God's judgment to be averted from the Israelites.
Jesus made a correlation between this incident and Himself: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). Jesus was lifted up on a cross, as the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole. Looking to Jesus in faith saves an individual from God's judgment which has been placed upon Christ instead. Immediately Jesus explained, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
This incident shows the necessity of personal faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The model shows that if the serpent had bitten "anyone," when "he" looked at the bronze serpent, "he" lived. Jesus said, "whoever believes" in Him should not perish. Redemption in Christ requires a personal response.
- The Priesthood
It was during the exodus that God established the Judaic priesthood, to put intercession between the people and a holy God. This showed that sinful mankind could not directly come into the presence of God, who is holy and will not bear sin in His presence. The High Priest was to make animal sacrifices to cover the sin of the people he interceded for. God established this principle: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11).
The writer to the Hebrews speaks of Jesus Christ as High Priest: "Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself" (Heb. 7:23-27). The believer's confidence to be reconciled to God is in Christ, for "He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
- The Tabernacle
God's plan to redeem Israel and bring them to Himself, was for Him to dwell in their midst, and for them to dwell with Him. To do this God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle and locate it in the center of the camp. The inner room of the tabernacle was called the "Holiest of All," and there the glory of God's presence dwelt.
The tabernacle was an elaborate model of the holiness of God and the way to approach Him. The writer to the Hebrews spoke of the Judaic priests who served here: "who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, 'See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'" (Heb. 8:5). The tabernacle had to be constructed precisely, since it pointed to "heavenly things." The writer speaks of Jesus: "Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man" (Heb. 8:1-2). And again, "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation" (Heb. 9:11).
Redemption in Christ is the reconciling of sinful man with a holy God. The believer is able to stand before God, not on his own merit but by the person and work of Christ. Jesus makes possible for one to enter and stand in God's presence, as the writer again says, "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:19-22). One can "enter the Holiest," not with trepidation but with boldness, "by the blood of Jesus." The assurance to do so is the assurance of faith.
- Separated as God's Special People
God's purpose in setting apart Israel was to make for Himself a special people, dedicated to Him. As He said, "you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5b-6a).
Peter the Apostle wrote to the believers in Christ, "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-5). And again, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10). This is the end result of sanctification, to be set apart and dedicated to God for His purpose. In this place God's people are to bring Him glory, and to serve Him. Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).
The nation of Israel was to know through the sign of the Sabbath, "that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Exodus 31:13). God did the work of creation, rested in that finished work, and had Israel rest every seventh day in honor of God's rest. The sign pointed to God's work of redeeming the Israelites from Egypt, and the rest they were to have in that work. In examining the work of Israel's redemption, we see that it points to Christ's work in redeeming the world. The work of Jesus Christ is a finished work, and cannot be added to. The Sabbath rest is a shadow that points to a rest in the completed work of redemption by Jesus Christ. He has set apart and consecrated a people for God, those who put their faith in Him.
A corruption of the model
Now having looked at the doctrinal aspect of the creation account, and how it is the foundation for the Gospel message, we will examine the implications of replacing a literal biblical account of creation with a theory of evolution. What we will see is a corruption of the model of redemption in Christ. This has three aspects: the corruption of the model of Christ's redeeming work, the corruption of the model of Christ's finished work, and the corruption of the model of the believer's rest in that finished work.
- Christ's Redeeming Work
- The Supernatural
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution denies the supernatural. It presents a creation without a Creator. It presents a universe with no accountability to a higher power.
The Gospel message: The Bible begins with the verse, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Scripture presents God as preceding creation, and as the One to whom the creation must answer. The writer to the Hebrews attributes God the Father as saying to His Son, "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands" (Heb. 1:10). Paul also writes of Jesus who did the work of redemption: "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11). The world has an accountability to Jesus Christ not just as Creator, but also as Lord and Savior.
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution denies intelligent design and purpose. It presents random and purposeless change as the mechanism of creation.
The Gospel message: The Bible shows that God's plan of redemption was in place before creation. Paul writes to the Ephesians, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5). God had a plan "before the foundation of the world." According to "His will" he chose to create a people for Himself, and predetermined that that relationship would be through Jesus Christ. This plan existed before creation and shows that purpose is behind it. God knew beforehand that mankind would fall in sin, for Jesus is said to be "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). It is with this foreknowledge that God did the work of creation with the intent to make it a model pointing to the work of the new creation. The design of creation is shown in Scripture: "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens" (Proverbs 3:19).
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution shows mankind as slowly evolving from a lower life form and denies the immediate appearance of modern humans. In contrast Scripture presents Adam and Eve as the first humans, with no precursors. This is significantly important in regard to sin and God's remedy for sin. Scripture shows sin has spread to all of mankind through Adam, because all of mankind has descended from Adam. Scripture also shows the result of sin is death which first appeared after the Fall of Adam and Eve. But Evolution requires death from the beginning before humans had evolved. Therefore the scenario of Evolution denies the sudden fall of mankind into sin, it's consequence of death, and the need for salvation from a fallen sinful state.
The Gospel message: Scripture states, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Sin "entered the world" through Adam. But also "death through sin." It took sin first, through which death then entered. The biblical sequence is first sin then death. And this through one man. The result is death spread to all men "because all sinned." A literal account of Genesis is necessary for this Scripture to be so.
The phrase "just as through one man (Adam)" presents a logical contrast: "For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many" (Rom. 5:15). The contrast is that through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, but also through one man, Jesus Christ, the gift of grace and salvation comes to mankind. The point is that through a single man came the Fall but through a single Savior comes redemption. Scripture reaffirms, "For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17). In denying a literal Adam Evolution is also denying the Savior Jesus Christ.
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution presents a bottom-up sequence of change to create improvements in small increments. Over much time this is said to produce higher forms of life. No assistance outside of the evolutionary mechanism is necessary. Evolution, as a replacement to the biblical creation model that points to Christ's redeeming work, denies the need for salvation from above.
The Gospel message: God's people are a "new creation" in Christ. This is an immediate and top-down work of God. Scripture shows that fallen mankind cannot make himself better and work himself up to a place with God. Paul writes, "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:21-24). And again, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Salvation is not a goal that can be worked toward through self, incremental improvement. It is a gift, given through grace from above.
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution presents that life began in a spontaneous, undirected, and random manner. It shows life beginning as self-generated.
The Gospel message: Scripture shows that spiritual life cannot be self-generated. The believer must be born again from above. John wrote, "Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again."'" (John 3:5-7). Jesus showed that spiritual life cannot be brought forth from that "which is born of the flesh." It must begin through the Spirit of God. Apart from the work and person of Christ, there is no life. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b). John wrote, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). This spiritual truth is denied when the model of Christ's redeeming work is replaced with the scenario of evolution.
- The Supernatural
- Christ's Finished Work
- A Completed Work
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution has no point where it stops. It shows change on a permanent basis.
The Gospel message: Creation, as a model of the work of redemption by Christ, has a well-defined completion point. Scripture records, "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done" (Gen. 2:1-2). The numbering of the seventh day caps the numbered six days of creation. The work is well-defined as finished. This is an important aspect of the work of redemption: it is also finished. Regarding the seventh day of the creation week, Scripture says, "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2.3). God's seventh day of rest is both "blessed" and "sanctified" by God. To sanctify means God has set it apart as special and as a day of purpose and meaning. This points to the sanctity of Jesus Christ's finished work of redemption. On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished." He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. All that needs to be done to provide salvation for mankind is finished. What remains is a required response on the part of those who would receive the benefits of this work. This aspect of redemption is denied when the model of Christ's redeeming work is replaced by evolution.
- A Completed Work
- The Believer's Rest in Christ's Finished Work
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: The endless bottom-up change of Evolution corrupts the model of the rest that a believer must exercise in the finished work of Christ.
The Gospel message: Salvation requires the rejection of one's own strength and ability to justify oneself through works, and the acceptance by faith of Christ's finished work of redemption. The believer must trust in Christ and rest in Him. This is to cease working to obtain merit with God and to not attempt to earn one's favorable standing before God. This is humbling. The believer must disavow any self-righteousness and look to the righteousness of Christ. Scripture says, "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works" (Heb. 4:10a). Again, speaking of salvation by grace instead of works, Scripture shows, "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work" (Rom. 11:5-6). The biblical creation model of redemption shows the work is finished which allows rest on the part of the believer, while the evolutionary model denies it.
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: The evolutionary model denies the need to place faith in anything outside of natural processes. It elevates mankind's understanding such that anything outside of that understanding that seems to be above and beyond the natural universe is designated "religion" and something incompatible with science. It cannot accommodate the unknown or unknowable, even if it exists.
The Gospel message: The Bible indeed presents God in many aspects as higher than the understanding of man. He is shown to be infinite, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and almighty. As such God requires faith on the part of mankind because of mankind's finiteness. The Bible shows, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). But it is not blind faith that is required. God gives both evidence of His existence, and makes known His will to mankind in Scripture. The response of faith to that will is the humbling of one's strength and ability, the humbling of one's intellectual pride, and the humbling of one's self-resourcefulness before Almighty God. This is the first response necessary for reconciliation between a rebellious and prideful people and Almighty God. Scripture says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6b).
- The Need for the Holy Spirit
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: The naturalism of Evolution not only rejects the supernatural, but also the need for it. Evolution presents an orderly world that is built up through itself only. This denies the need for God.
The Gospel message: The Gospel message is one that shows the desperate need that mankind has for not only a Savior, but also for One who comes alongside to help and sustain. It presents the need for God Himself to be involved in an individual's life. Those who come to God must reject their own resources and depend on Him. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Jesus showed how fruitfulness would be accomplished: "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17). Rest on the part of the believer is possible because of the on-going power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
- A Future with Purpose
Evolution's attack on the Gospel: Evolution presents a universe of accidental existence without purpose. All life begins and ends without meaning. There is no goal for that which exists, for that would involve design which evolution denies.
The Gospel message: The model of redemption includes the Sabbath day. God says in regard to this, "for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Exodus 31:13b). The Sabbath rest points to the work of Christ who sets apart and consecrates a people to God. The believer's rest is an acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has done this setting apart and has established the believer in God's kingdom to serve His purposes. This shows design and an eternal purpose that God has for those He has set apart. Existence and meaning has fulfillment only in the Creator. The required rest testifies that it is not for mankind to determine his own purpose. It is not for him to set himself apart to that which he desires. Paul speaks of God's purpose: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10). This shows two kinds of works: that which is the work of redemption, "His workmanship," and the good works that one is called to in Christ's work of sanctification. The work of setting God's people apart and establishing them in God's kingdom is Jesus Christ's, and that work is finished. But the believer is "created in Christ Jesus for good works." God's plan is shown: "which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." God's people are set apart to serve Him in good works. This is ongoing and eternal according to God's purpose.
Just prior to this Paul writes of the eternal fellowship that God desires with mankind: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-7). The Creator has designed His creation for a purpose; Evolution denies that purpose.
The Genesis account of creation is a foundation that ultimately points to the need to place faith in, and rest in, the work and person of Jesus Christ. The reason Evolution is incompatible with Christianity is that it undermines that foundation by attacking all aspects of that which points to the Gospel message. The Bible elaborately ties the creation account to God's redemptive plan. Would God use (theistic) evolution for the actual mechanism of creation? This would be fully contrary to the creation account's ultimate purpose of pointing to the need for faith in the completed work of redemption by Christ. Point by point Evolution denies the Gospel.
A simple belief in God's existence is not sufficient; to pursue God by good works is not sufficient; one must place faith in Christ and rest in His completed work as Scripture shows: "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame'" (Rom.9:30-33). The Gospel message calls for rest in Christ and a rejection of self-works as a means for a righteous standing. This is an acceptance of a top-down work of God on one's behalf. Evolution denies any top-down work and portrays a bottom-up sequence of self-improvement. The appeal of good works as a means of being accepted by God is an appeal to the pride of mankind; it is an appeal that mankind can fix his problems and improve himself. Jesus Christ is the "stumbling stone" to that pride for He represents the need for a righteous standing apart from self-works.
The same applies to those who deny God completely and would build up a society apart from God. The worldview of Evolution supports such an endeavor. But the Gospel message testifies of accountability toward a Creator, a reason for existence that is planned by the Creator, and the need for a Savior.
A strong delusion
Scripture shows a time will come when there will be widespread deception that will sway many from the truth of the Gospel: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:9-14). A delusion is something not real but that appears to be real. A "strong" delusion seems incontrovertible. It seems well buttressed with facts so that it is not contestable. But nevertheless it is a delusion and a lie. Scripture warns such will be coming upon a world that "did not receive the love of the truth."
Satan will direct "all unrighteous deception" toward "those who perish." Failure to "receive the love of the truth," to not "believe the truth," and to have "pleasure in unrighteousness," can lead a person to be caught in the "strong delusion" and to "believe the lie" that will sway many prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Contrasted to these are those who are set apart "by the Spirit and belief in the truth." Paul writes, "to which He called you by our gospel."
"Come to Me"
Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). Finding salvation through Jesus Christ is not burdensome or difficult. Paul writes, "But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, 'Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?"' (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'" (Rom. 10:6-13).