The Real Debate
by Dennis Michelson
The Real Debate
1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
1. THE ANTIQUITY OF THE HUMAN RACE
Warfield said, “The question of the antiquity of man has of itself no theological significance. It is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on the earth. It is only because of the contrast which has been drawn between the short period which seems to be allotted to human history in the Biblical narrative, and the tremendously long period which certain schools of scientific speculation have assigned to the duration of human life on earth, that theology has become interested in the topic at all. . . .
The Bible does not assign a brief span to human history: this is done only by a particular mode of interpreting the Biblical data.” (1911)
The teaching that the human race has been on the earth about 6,000 years has almost become a test of orthodoxy among some groups. The most influential of these chronological schemes was worked out by Archbishop Ussher in the 17th century and found its way into the margin of the Authorized Version in 1701.
The “date” of Creation is asserted to be 4004 BC (although Usher actually said 4138 BC). These data consist largely, and at crucial points solely, of genealogical tables. Note: some of the genealogies of Scripture appear to be compressed and it cannot be confidently affirmed that they always contain a complete record on the entire series of generations. The main purpose for genealogies in Scripture seems to be to establish lineage links rather than linear (chronological) links.
The question of the antiquity of man on the earth is rightly a major concern for the true scientist. Understand that (1) Modern science has as yet in its hands no solid, irrefutable data for a definite estimate of the time during which the human race has existed on earth. (2) The tremendous estimates of time we are accustomed to hearing will be revised.
These tremendously long estimates of the duration of life on earth and particularly the duration of human life are speculative and largely the creation of a special type driven by evolutionary speculation.
Dawson said, “The necessity for indefinitely protracted time does not arise from the facts, but from the attempt to explain that facts without any adequate cause.” Nothing could be more certain than what chance cannot begin in a moment, chance cannot complete in an eternity. The real issue to debate is not the antiquity of the human race but the unity of the human race.
2. THE UNITY OF THE HUMAN RACE
Act 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
Act 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Act 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
The question of the unity of the human race is of much greater significance than the debate about the antiquity of the human race. It is ironic that the prevalence of the evolutionary hypothesis has removed all motive for denying a common origin for the human race. The result is that the unity of the race, in the sense of its common origin, is no longer a matter of debate.
The assertion of the unity of the human race is imbedded in the very structure of the Biblical narrative.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The absolute restriction of the human race within the descendants of this single pair is emphasized by the history of the Flood in which all flesh is destroyed, and the race is given a new beginning in its second father – Noah.
Gen 9:19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
Throughout Scripture all mankind is treated by God as a unit, and shares not only a common nature but a common sinfulness. The fact of racial sin is key to Paul’s entire system of doctrine:
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Rom 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
1Co 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
It is only because all men were in Adam as their first head that all men share in Adam’s sin. It is only because the sin of mankind is one in origin that the redemption may be made available by the obedience and sacrifice of One – even Jesus Christ.
3. THE DESTINY OF THE HUMAN RACE
1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Central to the evolution-creation debate over man stands the question of who and what man is. It is the only study in which the knower is also the known. Consider primal Adam and Jesus Christ. The first Adam and the last Adam. Evolution concentrates upon man before the first Adam. Theology concentrates upon man’s possibilities after the last Adam. The good news of the Bible is not that man is the lofty climax of evolution – man has failed! The good news is that failed man can now be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ – not by the process of evolution but by the provision of redemption.