An Unbelieving Professor at Calvin College


So we don’t need a historical couple tricked by a talking snake for the truth claims of Christianity to be true… [A] lot of Christians at Calvin College working in the sciences accept evolution, and they don’t see the conflict that you see there.

An episode of National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” entitled “Christians Divided Over Science Of Human Origins” discussed the differences of opinion regarding the creation account in Genesis. The two guests were Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Daniel Harlow, religion professor at Calvin College.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to the kinds of others—amoeba begot fish, fish begot birds, birds begot reptiles, reptiles begot apes, and apes begot Adam.” And it was so (Gen 1:24, Evolution Version).

From the excerpts below, Professor Harlow obviously does not believe in creation, and in the process, gives lip service to original sin and the substitutionary atonement work of Christ for sin. I find it impossible for a person who does not believe in the perfect historicity and inerrancy of the Bible to be a true, regenerated Christian. If a person ridicules part of Scriptures as myth, then he’s saying that God is a liar, because “all Scripture is God-breathed.” And if God is a liar, then he is no God at all.

…In our Bible classes, they learn two fundamental things. First of all, the literary genre of early Genesis is divinely inspired story, not documentary history.

Secondly, they learn very quickly that Adam and Eve are not central to biblical theology, despite claims to the contrary. If Adam and Eve were central to biblical teaching, it would be a surprise to learn that they are not mentioned in the entire Old Testament after Genesis Chapter 3 and 4.

If Adam and Eve are at the heart of the Christian faith, then Jesus and the apostles missed that memo. If you read the Gospels and read the Book of Acts, which purports to give the apostolic preaching of the Gospel, Adam, Eve and the serpent are not there. What is central to the Christian faith is the life, the saving death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So we don’t need a historical couple tricked by a talking snake for the truth claims of Christianity to be true. What we need simply is a recognition of the reality of human sinfulness, that human beings are in the grip of sin, and that we need a savior because of that.

…If this world is God’s creation, then we have an obligation as bearers of the divine image to study the creation. Science uncovers facts about God’s world. It’s his world, right? And if we’re going to ignore what mainstream science says, then we have no right to expect people to listen to us when we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think this anti-science, anti-evolution rhetoric typical of evangelicalism brings disrepute on the Christian faith, and it brings unnecessary shame upon the name of Jesus Christ.

Well, a lot of Christians at Calvin College working in the sciences accept evolution, and they don’t see the conflict that you see there. They accept, as I do, the miracles of Jesus. But they recognize what type of literature we’re dealing with in early Genesis.

Mohler took Harlow to task about his unbelief:

If we’re going to allow modern science to tell us what we can and cannot theologically affirm, then it doesn’t end with the discussion of whether or not there’s an historical Adam. It continues throughout the entirety of the body of Christian truth. And that is a disastrous route.

And frankly, you’re either going to accept that the Bible gives us the authoritative word concerning the entirety of our understanding of things relative to who we are as human beings, what God did in creating the world and what God did for us in Christ. If the Bible is not the authoritative source for that and instead has to be corrected by modern science, then the Bible is just there for our manipulation, and quite frankly, the Gospel is there for constant renegotiation. It ends up being another Gospel, the very thing the apostle Paul warned against.

Evolution is only a layover in a person’s final destination of unbelief. Mohler mentioned another Calvin professor, John Schneider (since resigned), who doesn’t even believe in the doctrine of the fall of Adam and Eve:

And for instance, when you take the issue at Calvin College there, Professor Schneider, he was very explicit. He was not just even denying an historical Adam. He was denying an historical fall. He was denying that there ever was a time before evil existed in terms of the cosmic experience.

And that is a direct refutation of the major storyline of the Bible. It’s a direct refutation of what the apostles tell us Christ came to do for us in saving us from our sins. It is a rejection of the human moral agency that is absolutely vital to understanding why we are guilty before our creator. And it’s just the process, again, of suggesting – and by the way, I reject the fact that we, all of a sudden, know that the Gospels are historical. I certainly affirm that. But then, we do not know that the opening chapters of Genesis are historical. Certainly, they’re more than history, but I would suggest, they’re never less than history.

If you have children studying at Calvin College, be aware that their young minds will be molded by some professors who are themselves unbelievers masquerading as Reformed Christians.

You can read the whole transcript of the interview here.



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