The Tale Of Two GravesErwin W. Lutzer | February 8, 2009
Selected highlights from this sermon
Since it’s beginning, Darwin’s theory of evolution has had a massive hold on humanity. Darwin’s beliefs in time, chance, and natural selection attempt to unseat our need for God and our respect for His Word. It fuels the rebellion of humanity against God.
There is a battle between evolution and creationism, and I need to say that there is virtually no middle ground and the stakes are enormous. As a matter of fact, everything is at stake – everything.
Recently I read the book, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins – 374 pages. Dawkins says about people like us (and I may give a quote before I give a brief critique of his book), “As a scientist I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds and not to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect. Science must take the place of religion.”
If you ask me what I think of Richard Dawkins’ book, I think it represents a profound abandonment of all rationality. This would be better discussed in a one-hour lecture but I shall give it to you in about ninety seconds.
The thing is if you begin with chemistry in the beginning of the evolutionary process; there were these molecules bouncing around, and then they became more complicated, and in some way chemistry became biology. Then all the way up the chain until you get to human beings, and you get to the human mind, and because it is a chain that is filled with nothing but molecules which is matter, that means that matter can think. Because we can think, apparently matter can. My friend, if matter thinks, there’s no such thing as right or wrong. There’s no such thing as up or down. Matter is matter, and if matter thinks, you cannot have a rational discussion at all. You remember that Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” and if I had the time to tease this out into a long lecture I’d point out that on every single page of the 374 pages Dawkins is saying, “I think, therefore I was created,” all the way through the book. You couldn’t write a book like that if atheistic evolution was true.
Well, there’s another reason, of course, why I am preaching this series. It is not about the God delusion. It is about the Darwin delusion. The origin of species is 150 years old and so there’s lots of discussion about Darwin and his impact upon science and sociology. Darwin, as you know, postulated the idea (which wasn’t new – it was floating around but he gave it scientific credibility) that life began in what he said in one of his letters was a warm pond, basically in slime, and these cells somehow through pure chance began to organize themselves and they became more complex, and thanks to natural selection, finally you have all the way through over millions and millions of years these small incremental changes, and finally you have life the way we experience it today. Presto! It’s all there.
You know the big three – holy trinity and evolution – is first of all time. You don’t think this can happen? Give it another billion years because anything can happen in a billion years. So you have time. You also have natural selection and then you have that thing called chance, and chance has just done such wonderful things. My friend, may I have a little bit of humor. Chance hasn’t done one single thing ever. If I throw a coin into the air there’s a fifty percent chance that it may be heads, a fifty percent chance that it may be tails, but chance did not throw that coin into the air.
If you’re pushing a car with no driver there’s a chance that it will go to the right, and a chance that it’ll go to the left, but chance is not pushing the car. Chance has never moved so much as one single molecule ever. Chance as a force does not exist, and yet you read the books and oh, chance did this. Chance did that. Oh, really? Chance has done nothing.
Oh, but if you get a million years, chance can do this. Let’s suppose you were to put bits of metal into a barrel and you were to shake it, hoping it’ll become a wristwatch within time. And you continue to shake it and you say, “Well, you know it’s not happening.” Well, shake it for another hundred million years. Anything can happen over a hundred million years. Chance will do it. Chance won’t do it, and chance did not produce life.
Now why is it that the evolutionary idea of Darwin was accepted so readily? Huxley, who was a friend of Darwin, said in an interview, “The reason that we accepted it is because we didn’t want God to interfere with our sexual mores.” Let’s hear it from Richard Dawkins. “We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore are obliged to make our behavior conform to a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now because we make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world and because we do, we no longer have to justify our behavior. We are architects of the Universe. We are responsible for nothing outside of ourselves. We are the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, Amen.” Wow! This is what he also says. “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we still would be justified in preferring it over rival theories. Why? We do not want a god to rule over us.” I have a longer quote that I decided not to give because of lack of time in which one writer says, “Despite the fact that it is so counter-intuitive, despite the fact that it is filled with fascinating stories, we must accept evolution because we are committed to materialism and we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.” That’s why if you haven’t seen the movie, “Expelled,” you should. In the end of the movie Richard Dawkins is asked about the creation of life or how life began and he actually postulates the idea that maybe it was seeded here from beings from another planet. So that’s what it’s come to, but don’t you dare bring a divine foot into the door.
What Darwin has done is to give us permission to rebel against our creator. If you come here to the Moody Church you know that almost all the time I give an exposition of Scripture. Today is a little different. I’m going to be using Scripture, but the next messages in the series will have to do with Genesis Chapter 1 and Genesis Chapter 2, and then later on we’ll talk about the flood, but today I’m setting it up so that you understand the issues. How has modern man rebelled against God the creator with a clenched fist? Let me give you some examples.
First of all man rebelled against God by the blurring of the sexes. It says in the book of Genesis that God created them male and female. That’s the way he created them, it says. And what do you have today? You have rebellion against the male-female creation project of God. Somebody working for Inter-Varsity was giving a survey in one of our universities and at the top it said, “Male or Female,” and he received several complaints. “Who are you to pour me into your social construct that I have to be either male or female?”
Homosexuality is a rebellion against the created order. I am going to ask you to turn to two passages, and this is one of them. In the book of Romans, take a moment so that you see this for yourself, what God has to say about rebellion against the male-female creation. It says in Romans 1:19, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world….” You know right well that there’s a God, and we’ll see this when we talk about creation next time in this series. Now then let’s skip for a moment to verse 24. It’s talking about how man became idolaters and in verse 24 it says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up…,” and three times in this passage it says God gave them up to their own lusts.
I’m not speaking to those of you who are struggling with homosexuality and you’re struggling against it, but this is an indictment of those who embrace it, those who are proud of it, those who think that it is an alternate lifestyle, and that homosexual behavior is totally sanctioned by God. The Bible says it is rebellion against the created order. So, first of all you have the blurring of the sexes, and of course, when the previous prime minister of Canada wanted to have same sex marriage, he appealed to Darwin and the evolutionary theory. In other words, families are changing, we’re evolving, and this happens to be another stage in the evolutionary spiral.
Secondly, you have the devaluation of human life. God says he created man in his own image, and so you have abortion. In fact, in a journal there is an article entitled, “From Evolution to Abortion,” and of course it’s a straight line because human life isn’t special. You also have euthanasia. Peter Singer, who teaches in one of our universities, says that infants up to the age of two can be put out or should be euthanized if they have deformities, and he argues that we should do it because we do it with piglets. We do it with little pigs that are deformed, and we should do it with infants as well, because he says, “On the continuum we are not that different.” We are after all only intelligent animals, and we’ve come a little further but we are basically animals. As the monkey said in the zoo, “Am I my keeper’s brother?” [laughter]
Let me speak also now of the animal rights movement. You know that it’s people for the ethical treatment of animals – PETA I guess. The founder says there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig, is a dog, is a boy. She also said that in Nazi Germany there was the killing of six million Jews, but she says, “Six billion chickens will die this year in our slaughter houses.” So there you have it. I mean six million Jews. Wow! Yeah, but six billion chickens over here.”
Folks, we’re living in a time when human beings are no longer valued as special creations of God. That’s why it’s so critical that you understand the next message in the series, and then the one after that where we’re going to talk about the creation of man, and its importance for today.
Let me give you another implication of Darwin, and that is racism. Is it any wonder that Adolph Hitler quoted from the “Origin of Species” several times in his book “Mein Comf (My Struggle)” and years ago I was at a friend’s house and I noticed that he had an entire book that was written to show the impact of Darwinism on Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. See, what the Nazis were thinking is this. Since survival of the fittest is what nature is all about, Hitler said, “Why can’t we be as cruel as nature?” What he and his cronies were actual saying was, “Let’s hurry the process along; since the inferior races don’t survive we can help the process by getting rid of the inferior race, namely the Jews who were sub-human (the German word is untermensch).”
Aborigines in Australia were considered to be the missing links and in the early 1900’s in a museum in Australia they were defined as being animals thanks to Darwin, and they are part of the evolutionary cycle.
Now I titled this message, “The Tale of Two Graves,” and I need to say I got this idea from Ken Ham. You may be acquainted with him and his “Answers in Genesis,” and at some later time I’ll let you know about how you can access his material, but because I’ve been to both of these graves I decided to use his idea.
The first is the grave of Darwin in Westminster Abbey. Those of you who have been to Westminster know that after you get through the tour and you see all of the greats that are buried there, they will also take you to the grave of Charles Darwin. When Darwin died his family wanted to bury him in their churchyard in a little town called Down, but all of Darwin’s friends insisted that he be buried in Westminster Abbey, and they appealed to Parliament and they gave arguments as to why he should be buried there. In the book, “The Evolution of Racism,” Pat Shipman talks about this decision, and I am quoting now. “It was a deliciously paradoxical occasion; a public celebration of the life and work of a man who had done more than any other to destroy the power of the church, all to take place in the premier religious setting of England.” There is no church as famous as Westminster Abbey in England and probably around the world, and she said it was done obviously for propaganda reasons.
So there is Charles Darwin. The churchmen of his time praised him. They said that he was a great scientist and that somehow his views could be reconciled with Christianity. What they didn’t know was that when they said that they were actually abandoning Christianity in favor of some kind of ethical teaching, which may be derived from the Gospel and from the New Testament, but they were cutting out the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and so Darwin was buried there. And the whole idea was that he has invaded the space of the Church. David Livingston is buried there. Well, if he’s buried there then Darwin should be buried there as well. And so it is today, isn’t it?
Isn’t it true that Darwin basically takes up all the space, eats up all the oxygen even in our churches where we give him a great deal of credit, and we believe his views, and then what we do is we try to take these views and make them compatible with Christianity. I’m talking not only about those that are more liberal philosophically and theologically. I’m talking about Evangelicals.
For example, there are those who have the gap theory. The gap theory says that there is a huge gap between Genesis 1, verse 1 and verse 2. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and that’s when the creation took place, and then there was the fall and there was a whole creation. You can take all the geological ages and you can shove them in there and then there’s a recreation and that’s the six days of creation. That’s one possibility.
The other is to say that the days of creation were actually long eons. So when it says that God created light or God created vegetation that means these happened in really long millions and millions of years. After all, a day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day, so that verse is pressed into service to somehow give credence to that view. And then, of course, there’s Adam and Eve themselves. Some Evangelicals say, “Well, you know Adam and Eve don’t represent two actual people in a garden. What happened is God used the evolutionary process and over a period of time they evolved to become Adam and Eve,” and so Darwin is on the foundation stones of the Westminster Abbey, and he becomes the regulatory principle of interpretation when we get to the book of Genesis. The problem with all of those views is that each one of them would say that there was sin and there was death before the fall of man, that the fall of man occurs in Genesis 3 and if the geological ages actually were previous to that where you have the fossil record, that means that there was death before sin entered into the world, and we know that that would be unbiblical. Furthermore, Genesis 1, as we shall see in the next message, gives us very little room to maneuver.
Now just so that you know what I believe, and so that you don’t leave here and say, “Well, you know he quoted all these people, but where does he stand?” I’ll tell you where I stand. I believe in six twenty-four hour days of creation done by God miraculously. [applause] Is there anybody out there who agrees with me? God spoke the worlds into existence. I don’t believe that the earth is nearly as old as some people think it is. I don’t know that we can ever date it, and the reason for that will become clear also in the next message, but I need to say here that we don’t need to go to science and then take all of science and read it back into Genesis 1. You know it is often said that nobody was there when the world was created. Well, pardon me, but I believe God was there, and so why don’t we take his record and look at what God says about it, and then we can interpret science after we have understood what God has to say about creation. Then we can work with the scientific data and say, “Where does it fit and how do we interpret it?”
I think we ought to take a page from the book of Martin Luther. Luther said on one occasion, “Never suppose yourself to be smarter than the Holy Ghost.” I think that’s a bit of wisdom here. Let’s simply look at what the text says. Let’s understand it, and then let us see if there’s any bit of wisdom that comes from science that means that we must change our view. I am not a scientist, and the next book on my list to read is entitled, “The Blind Watchmaker,” by Richard Dawkins (also the atheist), but if any of you out there, either watching on the internet or listening by radio, have some powerful information which if you accept this information that you must accept on good scientific ground, and if you hold it and it overthrows the idea of six days of creation, twenty-four hours each day, give me that data, because I need to tell you that I’m still looking for it.
The first grave that I’ve told you about is the grave of Charles Darwin. Now let me tell you the story of another grave. In the fifteen hundreds there was a reformer by the name of John Knox. Knox lived in Scotland. He became the chaplain to King Edward, and after Edward died and his sister, Bloody Mary, took over the throne in England, Knox went to Geneva and it is there that he learned his theology from John Calvin. He came back to Scotland and was the leader of the Scottish Reformation.
Mary, Queen of Scots, who was ruling at that time, six times called him into her palace because she was angry with what he was preaching, and Knox feared no man except God. He was a great reformer; maybe not always kind but always truthful, upfront and blunt about truth. Now when you go to St. Giles Church there in Edinburgh, and you see where he preached, as I had the opportunity of doing a few years ago while leading a tour to the sites of the Reformation in England and Scotland, you of course ask, “Where is he buried?” So I asked, “Where is he buried?” I already knew but I wanted to the guide to tell us. She said, “Well, you have to understand that there was a cemetery around this church but we needed parking so what we did was we just simply put pavement over the whole graveyard, and if you go to car park 23 (and it is 23 – I checked it out), you will see there on the pavement a nameless yellow tile, and that’s where he’s buried.” I went there and there was a car standing in number 23 so I got under the car and looked and sure enough, number 23 was there and that’s where Knox is buried.
I think that this becomes a symbol for something. It’s a symbol for Europe that has accepted the Darwinian theory, and where Christianity is marginalized; and it’s becoming a symbol for the United States, where we have attributed so much to science and so much to Darwin. Our young people do not know how to defend the faith, and as a result of that, those who preach the word of God, those who believe the word of God, and scientists who believe in six-day creation are marginalized. If you see the movie, “Expelled,” you’ll know that if you even hold to intelligent design you’ll probably be fired from your university because remember we cannot allow a divine foot in the door. And that’s where we’re at, and so those who believe we pave them over, and we marginalize them.
My friend, today, could it be that we’ve been intimidated so much by science that we’ve lost our ability and our voice to speak truth about matters about which God has spoken with clarity? You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, what really is at stake in this big debate?” I began this message by saying that everything is at stake, and I’ll tell you everything is at stake. Redemption is at stake, because you see if you do not have the fall of man (for example, the first few chapters of Genesis); if Adam and Eve weren’t real people (Paul says, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive), if Adam wasn’t a real person but he evolved over a period of time, what does that say about Jesus? But furthermore, if there was no such thing as original sin, if we cut out the first chapters of Genesis like some people say we should (the first eleven chapters with the flood and all), and if we simply ascribe that to mythology and simply say, “Well, it needs to be reinterpreted because of the fossil record,” we’ve lost original sin. And if we lose original sin we lose the need for redemption and the Gospel.
Listen to this atheist. I’m quoting now atheist Richard Boza. He says, “It became clear that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and Eve and original sin. Without original sin, what purpose is the purpose of Christianity? None.”
The Gospel is at stake. Not only that, the whole doctrine of society is at stake. Why do we have marriage? Why do we believe in one man, one woman? And by the way, because of the creation ordinance, there are those who aren’t Christians who also believe that because this is known as natural law. But why do we believe it? It is because God constituted it. Why do we have a seven-day workweek? You know during the French Revolution they wanted to so chisel out any impact of Christianity in France that they went to a ten-day workweek. They said, “Seven – that’s based on creation. We have to have a ten-day work week with the tenth day a day of rest.” They discovered it didn’t work. You can read about that. It was rebellion against creation, but why do we have that? It is because creation took place in six days and God rested on the seventh. Why do people wear clothes, or why should they wear clothes? Well, you can find that out by reading the early chapters of the book of Genesis.
So all of society from our standpoint is at stake. Furthermore, the authority of Jesus is at stake because he believed in Adam and Eve. When he was faced with the issue of divorce he went back and he said, “He who created them made them male and female,” and so you have the authority of Jesus. You have the authority of Paul. Everything is at stake in those early chapters of the book of Genesis. Furthermore, I’d like to suggest that conversion itself is at stake. This will become clear next time, but God created the worlds, we like to say in Latin (maybe it’s the only Latin we know) ex nihilo, out of nothing. God spoke and they were created. God lined up all the angels and he said, “Watch this.” You remember it says in the book of Job that the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy. They said, “Wow!” (or something like that). So God created ex nihilo.
But here’s the good news. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, God does a similar miracle. It’s not quite as big, it’s not quite as evident, but it’s a very similar miracle. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” God creates within you something that wasn’t there before. It’s called a new nature so that you begin to have new desires and so forth. Now, take your Bibles. This will be short but turn to Second Corinthians, chapter 4. This is important for you to see the parallels between the new creation and the creation of the worlds. You’ll notice it says in Second Corinthians 4:5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord (I say amen to that) with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Next week’s sermon begins with Day 1 where God created light. Imagine the earth is dark and God speaks and light shines out of darkness, and nobody really knows what light is, but you’ll notice that the same God who said, “‘Let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Notice that both the creation of the worlds and the creation of the new nature are number one done by God. God speaks and they happen. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made. The host of them by the breath of his mouth.” When you got saved God spoke and said, “I create within you a new nature that wasn’t there before.” It is done by God, and both of them are immediate. There’s no evolutionary process in Genesis 1. I mean how could you look at day 1 as an eon. God spoke and said, “Let there be light, and there was light, and the evening and the morning were the first day.” How do you create light over eons of time? God speaks and the light is there, and in the very same way when you got saved it happened instantaneously. Now there could be all kinds of things that lead up to it until you are convinced to believe, but the moment you believe in a nano-second (I’m not sure how long that is but I don’t think it’s very long) the Spirit of God worked in your heart and created within you that new nature. It was done instantly by God. [applause] What that means also is you are either a Christian or you are not. Now today you may transition from one to the other through faith in Christ, in which case God will create that within you, but you’re either one or the other. Either you have the new nature or you haven’t.
So it’s done by God, and both bring light out of darkness. The earth, the Bible says, was “tohu” and “bohu” (that’s Hebrew for without form and void). Darkness was upon the face of the deep, and God speaks. Some of you within your souls, if you were really honest, would admit that there is darkness. You are also without form in the sense of without meaning, and you are experiencing all that darkness and that confusion and that disorder. When God speaks there is light, and both lead to the image of God.
The first creation led to Adam and Eve being created in the image of God. The second creation says that we are renewed in the image of God. There is a renewal that happens when we receive Christ as our Savior. The best description of this, and I hope I do remember the words, because I don’t have them before me, is what John Wesley wrote when he was talking about the light of the Gospel coming into his soul. He said, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night; thine eye diffused my quick’ning ray, I woke, the dungeon filled with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed thee.” That’s the story of his conversion [applause] and that’s the story of ours as well. The Creator, God, sends light to the heart to which we respond in simple faith, and we believe and we are saved. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things are becoming new (and have become new).”
My friend, we don’t have to concede anything to science. Science is wonderful. We have scientists here within the church, but I want you to leave here today absolutely confident that what God has said about creation is true, and science flows from the miraculous works of God who spoke and they were. I don’t know if this is quite right to say but I am proud of God. I love the idea that he spoke into nothing and there was something. No scientist has ever done that. No, no, no. “Oh, we know how to create life.” Oh really? The scientist said to God, “Oh yeah, we can take dirt just like you did. You took dirt and created man. We can take dirt and create life.” God says, “Let me see you do it,” so the scientist reaches down and gets a handful of dirt, and God says, “Ah nah nah nah, get your own dirt.”
[applause] Only God can speak and have it happen.
Father, thank you today for your holy word, and thank you that we have a sure word, and that we believe that Moses was inspired when he wrote Genesis 1 and 2 and the whole book. Thank you, Father, that we need not speculate. Thank for the mystery, and thank you for your grace, and thank you that you are the Creator, but you are also our Father. And for those today who have never received Christ as Savior – they’ve never believed on Him, may they know that this light that shines out of darkness can shine in their hearts if they simply say, “Jesus, be my Savior. I trust you as mine. I receive your gift of forgiveness and light.” Do that for us we ask in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen.