Author: Pastor Paul A. Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
Goal: The goal of this study is to show how the philosophy of evolution, which was already around at the time of Christ, is prophesied in Scripture to grow to a world-wide influence before Christ’s final return to earth.
Background information: As we look at the Scriptural text it will be important to know that the philosophy of evolution dates from before the time of Christ. Empedocles, who was a 5th century B.C. Greek, is known as the “Father of Evolution.” He sought to explain the creation in purely natural terms. He tried to explain the origin of present day world without the supernatural, relying on only natural principles. Many other philosophers followed him, even describing “primitive” life forms evolving into “higher” life forms. Even hairy, stocky, bent over “cave men” who could only grunt were described before the time of Christ. Aristotle tried to systematize this into a working “scientific” theory. The Apostle’s world knew of evolution, but it was not as influential as it is today.
1.Read 2 Peter 3:1-8 carefully. The Apostle is here trying to prepare the church for the rise of unbelief which is still coming in his future. This is the point of the “reminder” in verses 1 and 2.
Verses 3 and 4 explain the principle on which them mockers of Christianity base their belief: “From the time the Fathers went to their rest everything has stayed as it was since the world was first created.” (Beck)
2.Discuss: How does this principle compare with the principle of naturalism (that all things happen by the slow natural processes that we still see today)?
Does this principle of thought, used by the mockers, seem to rule out rapidly occurring and supernatural changes in the creation?
3.Evolutionists believe in uniformitarianism. This is the belief that the processes which shaped our present world, like valleys and mountains and even life, happen at the present rates in which these things are now occurring.
Creationists believe in catastrophism. This is the belief that at various times in history great catastrophes took place which are responsible for much of the present shape and form of the world. An example of such a catastrophe would be the great flood at the time of Noah.
4.Discuss: Would it appear that these mockers believe in uniformitarianism or catastrophism?
Does the text indicate that they believe that uniformitarian principles shaped the world from the very beginning – from the creation?
The Apostle’s answer (verses 5-7) to these mockers further highlights for us who he is talking about.
What, according to the Apostle in verse 5, do these mockers forget? Is this a uniformitarian, natural, event or a catastrophic (in the sense of sudden) supernatural event?
5.Discuss: Does it appear that the principles of biblical creationism are being contrasted with the principles of evolution? How?
The Apostle also lists a second event that the mockers forget? What is it? (verse 6).
Was the Flood a catastrophic event or a slow, normal event?
The flood, with its great outpouring of waters from deep beneath the ground, and from the skies, would have resulted in giant tidal waves even as the water began to rise. What effect would this have had on forests, riverbeds and mountains?
Would the effects of such a great catastrophe still be evident today? (For more information you might like to read Alfred Rehwinkel, The Flood, or Henry Morris, The Genesis Flood.)
6.A third fact that the mockers forget is that the Word of God is the only constant in the world (verse 2). It has created the world, preserved it even through catastrophes, and saves men from the final destruction of the end of the world.
In other words, evolution and its uniformitarian ideas end up forgetting the Word of God that saves us. And this is the final, spiritually fatal result of evolution!
7.Discuss: How is this same concern expressed in Colossians 2:8?
Can a responsible witness against evolution be a witness for Christ and His saving power?
How does belief in evolution of any sort destroy faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
8.If Christian children are educated to believe that only the uniformitarian principles of evolution shaped our world are they more likely to leave Christ and adopt an evolutionary belief?
Would it be worthwhile for the Christian to learn the Apostle’s three-point defense as contained in this text for the purpose of witnessing?
Is the rise in the belief in evolution in the 21st century another evidence that the hour is growing late and that the Christian should not delay in making his witness?
Can creationism be an important mission tool in our world? How?
Suggested closing: Pray Psalm 19 in unison.
Copyright © 1986 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com