by The Rev. Mark T. Buetow
First of all, don't panic! Your biology teacher didn't create you, die for your sins, or make you a new creation in Holy Baptism. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all about that work. Second, your biology teacher is just teaching what he or she's been taught. They can't help it if they've learned to trust in an unproven theory developed by a man who spent too long on a ship looking at animals he never saw in the zoo when he was a kid. (That would be Darwin...) And it's not your biology teacher's fault that the scientist who wrote the biology textbook your teacher learned from isn't the Lord who actually created and sustains all things. After all, if the Lord wrote a book about where things come from, like, say, the BIBLE—well, we know with certainty that what is written in it is true, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. So you see? No need to panic if your biology teacher is an evolutionist. Rather, because YOU know where the world comes from and who the Savior is, you can sit back and learn what exactly it is the world thinks about where it came from without having to get all bent out of shape! That means you can study and learn all about evolution, still get your “A” and still be a Christian.
But for some people this is a big deal, so let's consider a couple of important ideas. The first is this: We believe, as God's Word teaches us, that the Lord made all that there is out of nothing in six literal days. That's what the Book of Genesis says. While this is important, it's NOT the Gospel. The Gospel is that our sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus who died for them and rose again. Can a person trust in that and still think the earth took gazillions of years to have evolved the platypus? Of course they can. Because faith means being in Christ through Baptism. Or, to put it another way, the BIG DEAL is always Jesus, not “how many days” did it take to make the earth. Beware of those so called “Christians” who look down on others who don't believe and take every word of the Bible literally, as if someone is outside of God's grace because they haven't understood every word of the Bible just yet. (Such people don't either, by the way. Just ask them what's there in the Lord's Supper!)
On the other hand, however, creation DOES have everything to do with the Gospel and Jesus. And here's why: When the Son of God came to save sinners, He came to be one of us. That means He became a man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary. God became a Man. He put on human flesh. Why? To bleed and die like we do and in that way save us from our sins. The Book of Hebrews says that God didn't become an angel. He became a man. He didn't become a fish or a small furry mammal or a monkey and then a human. As the book of Genesis says, everything is “according to it's kind” (Gen. 1). This is important. It means that man IS unique among all of God's creatures. Rather than just the end product of a love affair between stupid monkeys and smart monkeys, Man has always been at the top of God's creation. Even before Man had sinned and rebelled and run away from God, the Lord chose to become one of us to save us.
The sad thing about your biology teacher is not that they try to follow science. It's that the science they follow leads them to the conclusion that Man is just one more random organism out there in the universe. There's the Devil's lie in all this: that Man isn't really special, The Gospel teaches us that we are the center of the Universe. Maybe not the physical universe, but the center of God's universe. After all, He made everything out of nothing and topped it all off with man made in His image. And as if that were not enough, when that top-of-the-line creation failed and fell away, God Himself came personally as one of us to redeem us from that sin and death. That means man is special, not in himself, but because the Lord became one us and saved us.
So your Biology teacher is an evolutionist? No worries. Just pray that he or she might know the Word of God and be turned in repentance to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray that your teacher will, if they don't, know that Jesus came not to change or evolve us into something better, but to rescue us from sin and death and put us back in the place we used to have, back when the Father made all things by His Word in the first place. Don't worry, your teacher may teach evolution but Jesus who became Man and saved the world from sin and death is the same yesterday, today and forever. No evolving with Him. Just saving and forgiving!
Rev. Mark Buetow is Pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Du Qoin, IL. Pastor Buetow is Editor of the Higher Things Reflections and Internet Services Executive.
Created: September 22nd, 2008