“Nashville,” a fine 1975 film directed by Robert Altman, features a song about a marriage maintained “for the sake of the children.” That song runs through my head when I hear church-connected evolutionists claiming that kids taught Darwin was wrong will abandon Christianity.
You can see the “Nashville” lyrics at lyrics.net/lyric/3560410, and you can listen to my reworking, performed by WORLD interns Ryan Hill and Emily Scheie, in the video clip linked here. The song is now what a theistic evolutionist might sing:
“Unpack your bags and try not to cry. / I can’t give up Darwin—there’s three reasons why. / There’s Jimmy, and Kathy, and sweet Lorelei: / For the sake of the children, we must say goodbye.
’Cos Jimmy has fear that he’d blow his career / His bio term paper is something to see. / And Kathy’s eighteen now, a sorority queen now, / And I will protect what her major will be. So unpack your bags.?…
Sure I love Scripture, I’m not just a hipster, / But I’ve got to stay with what now has such cred. / Laurie’s just walkin’, she just started talkin’, / Evolution’s the first word that she ever said! So unpack your bags.?…”
Will some college students turn from the Bible if professors push Darwin and their pastors push back? Yes, some will, especially if they believe that science demands faith in evolution. But science does not—see, for example, the Center for Science and Culture website at discovery.org/csc. Furthermore, science is not the only source of knowledge about the world: God created science, and the Bible teaches us about God.
Or does it? We might think chapter 2 of Genesis teaches that “God formed the man of dust from the ground,” and Eve from Adam—but if they were the product of evolution, than early Genesis becomes a myth, and everyone who assumed the history to be true (including Jesus and Paul) were naive. Original sin becomes a theoretical construct rather than harsh reality, so why do we desperately need Christ?
If for the sake of the children we can’t give up Darwin, and if by doing so the kids don’t turn their backs on the Bible, they have a Bible with lots of pages torn out and its overarching theme—creation, fall, and redemption—slashed. If we jettison Genesis, Jesus who made miracles will eventually go too. Jimmy, Kathy, and sweet Lorelei may go to church a bit longer, but they’ll eventually find a more amusing club.
What’s the alternative? Theistic evolutionists say we must bend or die, but when we bend on something so basic, where do we stop? Is our chief task to glorify our Creator or to be glorified by other creatures? When Darwin trumps the Bible, what are we worshipping?
This spring I reported on a tempest at Bryan College. The administration and board of trustees did not want professors to profess theistic evolution. Many faculty members thought administrators and trustees acted high-handedly, even deceptively, by clarifying the Genesis-affirming statement of faith to stipulate that God specially created Adam and Eve, “and not from previous life-forms.” I don’t know the nuances of the procedural questions but I do know what happens when colleges slip-slide away from the biblical position on what man is and what God does. (See "Soaping the slippery slope,” WORLD, Aug. 25, 2012.)
Since the theological issue is so central I emphasized it rather than the organizational one, and some twitter feeds swelled with complaints. I enjoyed one tweet that semi-defended me: “Olasky wants to do good and has often reported well. With certain hobby horses.” Hmm: two out of three, not bad. But it got me to consider two hobby horses over the years: WORLD’s defense of the Bible during translation controversies, and WORLD’s emphasis on creation rather than evolution. They have in common a belief that the Bible is God’s Word, so we are wrong to smooth off what to some are rough edges.
Therefore, we should sing to theistic evolutionists, “Pack up your bags and try not to cry. / The Bible trumps Darwin, there’s three reasons why. / The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost too, / For the sake of the children, we must teach what’s true.”