© 2003, J.W. Skeen. All rights reserved
The central definitional concept of evolution is "the development of a thing or set of things into something else."1 This translates into words like transformation and self-creation. Investigation of New Testament evidence will reveal that Jesus and the other New Testament speakers (writers) talked about creationary completeness and growth. Growth is the unfolding of an organism into itself, i.e. its maturity. This paper will seek to give evidence that to follow Christ is to be a creationist at heart.
In Genesis three we find the seeds of the philosophy of evolution in Satan's lie to Eve, "you shall be (future) as gods, knowing (pursuit of knowledge as an end in itself) good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). Evolution as it is being defined today is, ". . .[humans are] the product of time, chance and change without supernatural assistance."2 This definition is only possible today because of the rejection by many of a Creator-God. At the seed of the beginning of the method of evolution in the affairs of humanity-- evolution only appears amidst human endeavors3 --only the desire for change was introduced ("you shall be") to the first parents of the human race.
Unbelieving humankind began a career4 of self-improvement and concern for human welfare and advancement. They began a course laid out for them according to the "gospel of self."5 Satan could not speak to them of the non-existence of God or the millions of years of their evolutionary history, for they had walked and talked with God in the garden. They had seen God's glory and heard His voice; they could not be deceived as to God's existence or their own history. Note the similarity to believing Christendom.
But they could be deceived to think more highly of themselves than they should. Satan could appeal to human pride. Humankind, in Adam, chose to believe Satan rather than God. Once humankind fell, as recorded in Genesis three, it became vulnerable to the subtleness of Satan, as Satan could now twist the selfish pride of humans against them.
Satan, in a perverted sense, is wise. He can take knowledge and energize it into principles for action. His type of wisdom is described in the Bible as craftiness or intellectual cunning, which is always painted in a bad light. Second Samuel 13:3 describes a man name Jonadab as a "very crafty man." And Genesis 3:1 describes the serpent (actually Satan behind the serpent) as "more cunning than any beast of the field." Both passages describe manipulation of another that the other would do what the manipulator wanted to be done. Second Samuel 13 describes sexual rape and Genesis 3 the fall of humankind, both brought on by shrewd maneuvering that showed a knowledge of a person's inner desires.
To further fill out this point, this writer thinks it is necessary to quote at length one particular portion of James Van Fleet's book, Power with People. What is said will shed light on the shrewd maneuverings of control and power. This information is important for our understanding of how power works in our lives, both against others and Satan and others against us.
Use the nine subconscious desires every person has as a guideline for gathering information. Do this, and you'll not waste time gathering useless information. Every bit of intelligence that goes in your files should be relevant to your success in gaining power with people, or it is not intelligence. These nine are: 1) emotional security, 2) recognition of efforts or reassurance of worth, 3) creative outlets, 4) a source of personal power, 5) a sense of roots-belonging somewhere, 6) immortality, 7) ego-gratification, 8) love in all its forms (including sex) and 9) new experiences. Now it's up to you to find out which one (or more) of these subconscious desires is the most dominant in your subject; which one you'll be able to use to guide and control his actions so you can gain power with him. Find out what he wants above all else in life. Do that, and you're in command.6
This is what Van Fleet calls the depth approach, "to influence and control the choices [one] makes in his subconscious mind that are to your benefit and to your advantage."7 Lest one think Van Fleet is talking about helpful human interaction, his link between finding the greatest of these subconscious desires and finding the other person's greatest weakness to be hammered at8 for one's own benefit ought to put that thought to rest. Van Fleet is describing for gain how to use another's interior being for his advantage. To bend it toward him that he will be benefited. Satan did the same thing to Eve and Adam. Sin is basically a perversion or twisting of a human's interior being. Satan does not create, he perverts. All sin, in one way or another, is a perversional spin-off of God's creative acts. Satan knows that evolutionary ideas and practices appeal to the fallen, sinful nature of humankind; and he exploits that fact to his advantage. His entire world system is designed to do to all of humankind what Van Fleet's strategies will do to those he seeks to gain power over.
Those who returned not to God embarked on another method of working out their behavior. A method "of continual change from one set of conditions to another, with increasing diversity and ramifications, in the effort to work out some far-off result which is not clearly defined to consciousness, and which constantly eludes pursuit."9 This method holds an idea of development, progress, and improvement.10 "It appeals to [human] pride and so finds abundant manifestations in all the many religions and philosophic systems of [the world] . . ."11
The basic presuppositions that Satan sought to incorporate into all religions and philosophies are the self-sufficiency and future progress of humankind. Do we not notice that it was from Cain (Genesis 4:17) that the building of the best possible world without God was first attempted. Do we not see that it was from the faith-child of Cain, Nimrod, that the first united attempt to usurp God from His throne was seen (Genesis 11:4).
Until 1859 and the publishing of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, evolution was only philosophical, but with the publishing of this book by Darwin came a turning point in Western thought.12 Darwin's theory of evolution was made in the name of science. It became a platform, which previously did not exist, from which the unbeliever could contradict creation with all its logical implications. Humans have always sought to intellectually justify their unbelief, hence the ready acceptance of Darwin's theory. 13
Darwin's theory of the biological history of humankind was later applied by Herbert Spencer14 to all areas of human life. Evolution has since the time of Darwin affected drastically the operational philosophy of our world. It became the intellectual foundation in which scientists and sociologists build their concepts.15 Evolution has influenced many people's outlook on religion, theology, philosophy, psychology, education, history, and historical sociology. 16
What was once "a result not clearly defined to consciousness" became conscious. Humans now see themselves not just the made but the maker of themselves,17 capable of transforming their own nature. It is this writer's premise that when one becomes a Christian in earnest, that person brings with them a life-time of evolutionary teaching and fallen, sinful interior desires that are sympathetic to evolutionary ideas and practices. And in order to fulfill Christ's purpose in one's life, that person must become a creationist in heart, not just in mind.
All Christians are concerned with change, or at least should be. Change for the Christian starts with one's basic approach to life from being a selfish person alienated from God to a repentant follower of Christ. A person is brought to this point of basic life change by God's grace through the wooing power of the Holy Spirit. The question arises, "How does change occur thereafter for a follower of Christ?"
This writer believes that change in the total person is based on the growth of God's creative act within the interior part, not the reformation or transformation of what is called the old man (Colossians 3:5-9) or old self (Romans 6:6). The old man is commanded to be mortified in Colossians 3:5. Which means to deaden,18 or to bring to inactivity. Nowhere is the Christian told in Scripture that this old man is going to be eradicated. Nor is the Christian told to transform or reform the old man. As a matter of fact, Ephesians 4:22 states that "he" is growing more corrupt according to "his" deceitful lusts (or passions). He is going down not up. It is what was crucified at the cross of Christ (Romans 6:6 and Galatians 5:24). And we are told to no longer live in "him" (Ephesians 4:22).
The flesh described in Galatians 5:24 as being crucified in its passions and desires refers to humankind's sinful, selfish, God-opposed nature. The crucified old self of Romans 6:6 and crucified old man of Ephesians 4:22 and Colossians 3:9 refer to the construct built on the flesh. The focus of this paper is to support the creationary concept of change. This information on the old man is given to cause doubt that Christian change involves the old man's reformation or transformation.
Second Corinthians 5:17 directly states that all who are in Christ (believers) are new creations. Thayer's Greek-English lexicon defines this word for creation as: the act of creating, founding, establishing.19 It points to something brand new, as compared to what was old. The Greek word "new" in 2 Corinthians 5:17 refers to new in quality, not just new in time.20 And the "have become" at the end of the verse points up the full arrival of this new thing. "Have become" is the perfect, indicative tense of "to be." The new thing has completely arrived on the scene. It is here now. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."
We will look at four passages that deal with the furtherance or growth of this newness--Ephesians 4:20-24, Romans 6:1-9, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and I Peter 2:2-3. Ephesians 4 starts out in verse 1 by stating Paul's purpose: "I (Paul), therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling which you were called." Paul's purpose is to exhort a walk (life style, life activities) that is worthy of being called a follower of Christ (v. 13). By the time Paul gets to verse 20 he has stated Christlike characteristics, how God has planned to bring these characteristics out of believers, and the character of the former walk and disposition of all unbelievers.
"But you have not so learned Christ," Paul says in verse 20, "if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus"--meaning, if indeed you are true believers and followers of Jesus. True followers of Christ are to put off the former conduct of the old man described in verse 22 as corrupting according to its deceitful lusts. "Put off" means to put off from oneself, used elsewhere in Greek of removing clothes from the body21 --to remove and then lay aside fits the idea well. The "former conduct" is the former manner of life, living, or behavior. The word designating corruption of the old man is a Greek verb that means destroy or corrupt,22 which is a present, passive participle. The idea is that the old man is corrupting in and of himself because of his deceitful lusts or passions. Notice Paul doesn't advise doing anything to this old man except to put him off--remove him.
In verses 23 and 24 Paul does tell us how to walk worthy of Christ, or how to change from the old man conduct. He says to renew the mind and put on (the opposite of put off) the new man. To renew the mind is more than intellectual belief. A truly renewed mind must seek the center of all relevant Christlike knowledge. All such knowledge must reach down to the newness within--the righteous and holy center of our interior court (v. 24). But even this is not complete. For unless after truth's journey within, truth journeys back out in our attitudes and behavior, it will not further the new man. Verses 25ff speak to this outward journey.
Notice in verse 24 that the new man is already there. He has been created. The "was created" is an aorist, passive participle. Pointing to the simple fact that the creation has already been done. No information as to how or how long it took, just the fact that the creation of the new man is done. This is an important fact. For the material for the renewal will find something already present to connect with. The word for "be renewed" is a present, passive infinitive. In other words, the renewing occurs based on the reaction of the renewal material and the new man. This does not imply that Christian change is a passive experience. My present "I" has two realities residing within. So far we know these as old man or old self and new man. Second Peter 1:5-7 makes it clear that the Christian has an active part ("add"--active voice) in growth. But Ephesians 4 makes it equally clear that true godly change only comes from God and His work in us.
Ephesians 4:24 says that Christians should "put on" a certain newness. Romans 6:4 instructs us to walk in newness of life. Ephesians 4:24 uses "new" in new man as an adjective. Romans 6:4 uses the same root word as a noun in either the instrumental or locative case. "To walk" simply means life style, conduct, behavior. Regardless of how one understands "new" in Romans 6:4, as either instrumental or locative case, the fact remains that we as Christians are to walk in accordance with the newness (this is a noun entity--it is something not just an idea). If "new" is instrumental then it would read "by newness" or "with newness." The idea would be that one moves with this newness--you and it move together. If "new" is locative then it would read "in newness." In whatever this newness is we are to move. Both create a mental picture of how one moves in relation to newness. Which one is correct may be a matter of opinion. Neither changes the fact of newness' presence.
"Newness" is followed by another noun in the genitive case. This noun, "life," is most likely a genitive of possession. Genitives are quite often seen with a strong adjectival flavor. As a matter of fact, a genitive has a more emphatic adjectival force than a simple adjective.23 The idea here then is kind of newness--life's newness.
Romans 6:1-4a conveys the fact that for the Christian absolute bondage to sin should be a thing of the past. The possibility of living contrary to the sin within is present. Verse 4b completes the idea unto living for life. Verses 5-9 explain further why this living for life is possible. It is possible because of the work of Christ on the cross and in resurrection. And His application of those acts to the believing heart. Verses 10-23 tell in further detail how this "living" is to take place. We need not look at these verses in detail. But we do need to see that we are to reject "deadness" and walk in "lifeness." The life that is new (quality) to us.
What happens when we walk in this life that is new to us? Our next major verse, 2 Corinthians 3:18, tells us. The context for our discussion of verse 18 goes back to verse 7 and proceeds forward to 4:10. Verses 7-17 basically describe the inability of mere law keeping to cause Christlikeness in a person. When Moses received the law tablets from God's "hand" he came away reflecting the law's glory in the brightness of his face. But the glory faded from his face because there was nothing within him to sustain the glow. Moses recognized this fact about himself and covered his face out of shame. He knew the law could not bring life. Most of the people however never understood the connection. And so continued to worship the law rather than God.
In Christ (salvation and all that means) this blindness is taken away. One knows that law keeping is inadequate to gain life and then only by the grace of Christ is life received. But there is more. For in Christ the believer can, to a degree, sustain the glory of the Lord Moses could not. And that is what verse 18 is all about. The believer with an open, unveiled face sees the Lord's glory (which is seen in all His attributes and acts) by living toward all His works in praises and practice.
As this "living" takes place, verse 18 says that we are "transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." "Transformed" simply means changed in form.24 Our entire being changes. Unlike the law, which did not change Moses, for the glory faded from him, the changing of the unveiled, beholding ones is real and lasting. The change is said to be "from glory to glory." Both words translated "glory" come from the same root word. The glory, whatever it is, in both cases is the same--the same type of glory to the same type of glory. The quality of the glory is the same. It does not say changing from a lower grade of something to a higher grade of something. But the changing is within "gloriness," only a fuller, more mature representation of it. This "within gloriness" idea is supported further by the case of the first "glory" and the preposition that precedes it. Both are in the ablative case--the case of source or point of departure.25 The preposition is "from" in Greek. In other words, movement is from glory. One is already in glory before movement occurs.
The changing is based on already present glory and empowered "by the Spirit of the Lord." Second Corinthians 4:1-10 continues to explain the Lord's part in the furtherance of this glory and why suffering and hardship plays a part in its manifestation. This change is understood to be growth of an already existing life, glory, or new man. All are descriptions of the same phenomena but from different viewpoints. Life is contrasted with death, glory with darkness, and new man with old man. The creationary concept of change entails growth of that which is created. Growth that then infiltrates all that we are, think, and do. First Peter 2:1-5 and14 basically speaks to what is needed for growth. It starts with "laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking;" or in terms we have used already, "put off the old man with deeds." Verse 1 is a prerequisite for verse 2. The idea is "lay aside the old man, mortify him (Colossians 3:5), so that as the newborn babes you are, desire the pure milk of the Word [of God], that you may grow thereby." John MacArthur puts its this way: "Only when we put aside 'malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander'--that is, the flesh--are we able to 'long for the pure milk of the word' and 'grow in respect to salvation'." 26
The word "grow" means to increase, grow up.27 Taking into the desiring heart the word of God results in growth. "That you may grow thereby" is a clause of result. Clauses can emphasize either purpose or result. This writer thinks that the result idea fits best here due to the context and data already gained from 2 Corinthians 3:18. Change or growth occurs as a result of God's grace through His design. In this writer's opinion the result idea also implies purpose on God's and the Christian's part. So which of these a person chooses will not change the fact that growth occurs when certain conditions or "ingredients" are brought together. And then as verses 3ff point out, growth is completing itself as the Christian lives out the word of God in relationship with God.
Ephesians 4:20-24, Romans 6:1-9, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and I Peter 2:1ff say much to support the creationary concept of change, but there are other verses that hint at such a truth. This writer will briefly mention a few. First Timothy 6:12, 18, 19 speaks of eternal life that is to be grabbed a hold of now, which is done by richness of good works (truly good works and eternal life are moving in the same environment and direction). First John 3:15 states that no murderer has (present, indicative) now eternal life abiding within him. Implying that others do have eternal life abiding within now. Romans 5:5 reveals that the love of God has (perfect, passive, indicative) already been poured out into, and thus dwells within, believing hearts. Second Peter 1:1 states that believers have received (aorist, active, participle) like precious, or equally precious, faith with the apostles. Second Peter 1:5-7 tells us to add to the like precious faith already received that we might grow thereby. Or as 2 Peter 1:4 puts it, "that we may be partakers of the divine nature." Jude 20-21 say that we as Christians are to build ourselves up on the most holy faith already present by praying in the Holy Spirit (faith), keeping ourselves in the love of God (love), and looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (hope). Galatians 5:6 informs us that only faith working through love is of any force unto true change, not works of the flesh (such as circumcision [simply doing something] or uncircumcision [simply not doing something]). And finally Ephesians 4:3 commands us to keep the already given unity of the Spirit that there might be unity in the church.
Christians in this age have been given a unique responsibility--to do battle face-to-face with sin. This is in the closest of conditions. The battle is as close as our own souls. The old man built on the sin nature battles the new man created within by God. Both are within the soul's "desiring system." This "desiring system" has a certain "form," with powers and inclinations, by virtue of being created in God's image. And because of our selfish rebellion against God the passions and desires within the desiring system become twisted and perverted toward self and Satan's world system. The old man is constructed. At conversion a created newness is placed within that same desiring system, destined to be the bands and cement between God and us ("Wants are the Bands and Cements between God and us. Had we not wanted we could never have been obligated. Whereas now we are infinitely obligated because we want infinity"28 ). This means that it is possible to experience old man desire and new man desire at or near the same time. This dualness of desire will not be seen in all events (although it may occur before and/or afterward), but it will continue until the redemption of the body (Romans 8:21-23 and I John 3:1-2); it will never go away. The old man desires (which have been hard-wired into our brains through past habitual behavior) can be weakened unto easier rebuke and rejection, but we will never be free from its presence as long as we live on this earth. Even in the most advanced of Christians this construct and basic sin nature can and will push its head up at unexpected times. But responsible living can still be chosen as the new man desires are felt and followed and old man desires are forsaken.
There are many more related verses. And when they are studied in relation to what has already been written in this paper a deeper appreciation for God's creative works (both original creation in His image and new man creation within that image) will be gained. And when gained, a grateful, praise-filled heart will be a result. Praises are the end of all creation. The reason and "very end for which the world was created."29 The heartfelt praise of a man can reach where he himself cannot go--the very bosom of God.30 God is happy when we praise Him for His works. He inhabits our praises with joy.
1Philip Mauro, The World and Its God (Greenville: Bob Jones, 1981) 69.
2Charles V. Taylor, The Oldest Science Book in the World (Slacks Creek, Queensland, Australia: Assembly Press, 1984) 124.
6Van Fleet 40.
7Van Fleet 41.
8Van Fleet 44.
12Paul A. Zimmerman, ed. Darwin, Evolution, and Creation (St. Louis: Concordia, 1959) 21-23.
18Fritz Reineker, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, ed. Cleon Rogers, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan) 578.
19Joseph Henry Thayer, The New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1981) 363.
21W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan: Revell, 1966) 319.
23H. E. Dana and Julius Mantey, Manuel Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: MacMillan, 1955) 72-75.
25Dana and Mantey 81.
26John MacArthur, Jr., I Corinthians (Chicago: Moody, 1984) 71.
28Thomas Traherne, Centuries (Wilton: Morehouse, 1985) 24.
Dana, H.E. and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. New York: MacMillan, 1957.
Friberg, Barbara and Timothy Friberg, eds. Analytical Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990.
MacArthur, John Jr. Galatians. Chicago: Moody, 1987.
MacArthur, John Jr. I Corinthians. Chicago: Moody, 1984.
Mauro, Philip. The World and Its God. Greenville: Bob Jones, 1981 (original edition published 1907).
Morris, Henry M. Scientific Creationism. El Cajon: Master Books, 1987.
Newberry, Thomas. The Englishman's Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979.
Rienecker, Fritz. Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. Ed. Cleon Rogers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.
Taylor, Charles V. The Oldest Science Book in the World. Slacks Creek, Queensland, Australia: Assembly Press, 1984.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. The New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1981.
Traherne, Thomas. Centuries. Wilton: Morehouse, 1985.
VanFleet, James K. Power with People. West Nyack: Parker, 1970.
Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Old Tappan, Revell, 1966.
Whitcomb, John C. and Henry M. Morris. The Genesis Flood. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1986.
Young, Robert. Analytical Concordance to the Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979.
Zimmerman, Paul A., ed. Darwin, Evolution, and Creation. St. Louis: Concordia, 1972.
James W. Skeen has a B.A. with a double major of Bible and Psychology from Toccoa Falls College, and Masters degrees in social sciences from St. Cloud State University and Florida State University. James is certified in Choice Theory/Reality Therapy from the William Glasser Institute. His articles have appeared in several written journals, e-journals, and e-magazines including The Christian Online Magazine and Christian Literature and Living.