Of all Christian doctrines the most difficult to understand is that of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). This doctrine is the complete opposite of ancient and modern evolutionary cosmogonies affirming that the universe and even the gods, emerged or evolved out of a pre-existing substance such as primordial matter or the watery chaos, which begs the question of where the substances came from. The Triune God's miraculous creation has its' foundation in the fact that He spoke all things into existence from nothing. Early Church Father Augustine fully embraced creatio ex nihilo, as did others. Church Father Irenaeus comments,
"God, in the exercise of his will and pleasure, formed all things...out of what did not previously exist."
Over and against creatio ex nihilo is evolutionism, one of the principle doctrines of ancient evolutionary cosmogonies such as the Enuma Elish and of Modernism. In 1907 Pope Pius X dubbed Modernism "the synthesis of all heresies" in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis.
The heresy of Modernism was inspired by tendencies prevalent in liberal Protestantism and secular philosophy:
"It was influenced by nineteenth-century studies by Kant and Hegel, by liberal Protestant theologians and biblical critics (such as Schleiermacher and von Harnack), by the evolutionary theories of Darwin, and by certain liberal political movements in Europe. The centers of Modernism were in France, England, Italy, and Germany. Two of its leading figures were Fr. Alfred Loisy, a French theologian and Scripture scholar, and Fr. George Tyrrell, an Irish-born Protestant who became a Catholic and a Jesuit, though he was dismissed from the Jesuits in 1906."
(Modernism, James Akin, http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/MODERSM.TXT )
Forty-three years later, Pius XII cautiously stepped away from Pius X's position even as he advised that his opinion not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine. That said, in his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), Pius XII stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points, the most essential being: If the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God.
Despite Pius XII's warning, large numbers of Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals have nevertheless heedlessly embraced Evolutionary Theory from the time of Pius XII to our own.
That they 'leaped without looking' is the underlying message delivered by Msgr. Charles Pope of the archdiocese of Washington. They have accepted the Theory of Evolution uncritically, noted Msgr. Pope. They hold a "rather simplistic notion" that the Theory of Evolution,
"... can be reconciled easily with the Biblical accounts and with our faith. Many will say something like this: â€œI have no problem with God setting things up so that we started as one-celled organisms and slowly evolved into being human beings. God could do this and perhaps the Genesis account is just simplifying evolution and telling us the same thing as what Evolution does.â€ (Can A Christian Accept Evolutionary Theory Uncritically? Joe Carter, First Things, Oct. 18, 2010)
But God is â€œobnoxiousâ€ to evolutionary theory, said Msgr. Pope, therefore He is excluded as a cause by evolutionary theoreticians:
" It would be fine if evolutionists (as natural scientists) were either silent on the question of God. Or, perhaps if they simply stated that things may be acted upon by an outside force or intelligence but that is beyond the scope of their discipline. But that is not what is being said by most proponents of evolutionary theory. They are saying that biodiversity results MERELY from natural selection and random (i.e. non intended or non-purposeful) genetic mutations. They are saying that observable effects of biodiversity are wholly caused by something natural, random and without any ultimate goal or plan. But a Catholic cannot accept all of this. Even if a Catholic wants to accept that things have evolved in some way (whether through macro or microevolution) a Catholic cannot say that this process is simply random, chance, blind, or with no purpose. We believe that God alone created all things, and that he sustains all things. Neither do we confess some sort of â€œdeistâ€ God who merely started things off and then lets them take their own course. Rather, God sustains and carries out every detail." (ibid)
Catholics and other Christians who accept Evolutionary Theory uncritically have given no thought to whether theological and scientific claims are compatible. For instance said Joe Carter, to be a â€œtheistic evolutionistâ€
"..in the sense that modern science will accept, requires one to adhere to polygensism (the theory that Adam was not one historical man but, rather, a euphemism for â€œmankindâ€). That position, however, is not compatible with the teachings of the Bible, the Church, or of Jesus. The polygensism problem is, for me, the biggest stumbling block to uncritically accepting the theory of macroevolution..." (ibid)
The fact is, the Bible and evolutionary theory can't both be true even though theistic evolutionists believe otherwise. They commonly rationalize their beliefs by stating that â€œyes, God created the heavens and the Earth,â€ but then He used evolutionary processes to produce the Universe and man we see today.
However, the uncritical acceptance of Evolutionary Theory places theistic evolutionists in the position of having to compromise Genesis 1-11. And to compromise the Genesis account is to compromise the whole Bible, which in turn compromises the Bibles' main theme: man's need of redemption.
The Genesis account speaks of man's relationship with God starting at the pinnacle of Creation week in the Garden of Eden after which degeneration commences. Theistic evolution turns the Genesis account upside-down by teaching that man started out at the bottom and evolved his way to the top via the old amoeba-to-fish-to-dinosaur-to-ape-to-man story, meaning that possibly millions of lifeforms arose and died before man finally appeared. But if this account is true, then God the Father is a God of death, not life. As such, man needs to be saved from Him, not by Him.
Either man started at the top and fell, as God's Word and His prophets who long ago declared the fall of man and his need for a Savior declare, or he started at the bottom and rose to the top, as evolution indicates. Both cannot be correct. Scripture teaches that man's fall is the reason for sin, degeneration and death. But if man is not fallen, then Original Sin does not exist and there was no need for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to come to this planet and suffer a cruel death on the cross.
Additionally, Scripture emphatically declares that time has a beginning and an ending. In this view, history is the unfolding of time and events that will end with the Kingdom of God. Evolutionary Theory turns all of this upside-down by placing time, events and man on an eternal Escalator going "up, up, up." Mary Midgley coined the phrase "the Escalator Myth" to refer to the idea that humanity is everlastingly riding an evolutionary escalator smoothly, progressively, ever upward toward some imagined state of perfection. (Scientific Mythologies, James A. Herrick, p. 100)
Now Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God Himself. But if evolution is true, then what becomes of Jesus Christ? Is there to be a future being greater than Him?
"Surely evolution will not have to reverse itself and concede that it reached its zenith with the birth of the Christ child a long, long time ago. Surely this colossal system will not have to concede that it is less able now to produce a greater than Jesus than it did produce two thousand years ago. If evolution is not now able to produce a greater than Jesus, then it seems the system has ceased to be evolution and has become devolution, at least in one sense (Taylor, 1974, quoted in "Can a Christian Still be an Evolutionist? Brad Harrub, Ph.D. ApologeticsPress.org)
Finally, if Evolutionary Theory is true, then man is a stew-pot of genetic material, making him a close relative of every life form from which he is said to have evolved. Additionally, since some of mans' prior 'kin' were neither male nor female, then it stands to reason that no man is really either male or female. Once again we see the inversion and destruction of the Genesis account:
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." KJB
Jesus Himself stated in Matthew 19:4 (cf. Mark 10:6): â€œHave ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.â€ But if Evolution Theory is true then Jesus Christ is a liar. And as long as we are tossing aside the Genesis account and Jesus Christ, then why not toss out all references to the Creation, starting with the gospelsâ€”Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:
" ... we also would have to throw out John, because the first few verses of chapter one review the beginning and Creation. Other scriptures such as Acts 4:24, Acts 17:25, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:16, 1 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 4:19, and Revelation 4:11 also would be called into question if the Creation account is merely a â€œnice story,â€ but not historically accurate. As a matter of fact, the only books that do not refer to the first eleven chapters of Genesis in some form are the books of Philemon, and 2 and 3 John." (Can a Christian Still be an Evolutionist? Brad Harrub, Ph.D. ApologeticsPress.org)
In the end we are left with two choices. Either God's Revealed Word, creatio ex nihilo and Jesus Christ or Evolution Theory, which inverts creation, destroys God's Word and turns Jesus Christ into a liar. As it turns out, Pope Pius X was right to define Modernism and its' principle doctrine evolution "the synthesis of all heresies."