Sunday, January 14, 2007

Charles Spurgeon and the GAP Theory

Although Charles Spurgeon clearly denounced the theory of Evolution, did he prescribe to the GAP Theory, which includes death before Adam?

Spurgeon states: "Can any man tell me when the beginning was? Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvellous skill, before he tried his hand on man. But that was not the beginning, for revelation points us to a period long ere this world was fashioned, to the days when the morning stars were begotten; when, like drops of dew, from the fingers of the morning, stars and constellations fell trickling from the hand of God; when, by his own lips, he launched forth ponderous orbs; when with his own hand he sent comets, like thunderbolts, wandering through the sky, to find one day their proper sphere. We go back to years gone by, when worlds were made and systems fashioned, but we have not even approached the beginning yet. Until we go to the time when all the universe slept in the mind of God as yet unborn, until we enter the eternity where God the Creator lived alone, everything sleeping within him, all creation resting in his mighty gigantic thought, we have not guessed the beginning. We may go back, back, back, ages upon ages. We may go back, if we might use such strange words, whole eternities, and yet never arrive at the beginning. Our wing might be tired, our imagination would die away; could it outstrip the lightnings flashing in majesty, power, and rapidity, it would soon weary itself ere it could get to the beginning. But God from the beginning chose his people; when the unnavigated ether was yet unfanned by the wing of a single angel, when space was shoreless, or else unborn when universal silence reigned, and not a voice or whisper shocked the solemnity of silence; when there was no being and no motion, no time, and nought but God himself, alone in his eternity; when without the song of an angel, without the attendance of even the cherubim, long ere the living creatures were born, or the wheels of the chariot of Jehovah were fashioned, even then, "in the beginning was the Word," and in the beginning God's people were one with the Word, and "in the beginning he chose them into eternal life." Our election then is eternal. I will not stop to prove it, I only just run over these thoughts for the benefit of young beginners, that they may understand what we mean by eternal, absolute election." (Election, 1855, emphasis mine)

Answers in Genesis teaches that there was no death before Adam, and that if there was, it would "make nonsense of the atonement message and would also make nonsense of Hebrews 9:22 and Genesis 3:21. One can't have death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering before the first death and bloodshed, which is the whole basis of the atonement." (Answers In Genesis)

AIG adds: "The meaning of death, therefore, is that it is the penalty for sin. This is the reason Jesus Christ suffered death on a cross. Those who believe in millions of years of history teach that death was in the world long before Adam sinned. If physical death was not the result of sin, then death would not be the penalty for sin. This would make Christ's death on the Cross meaningless." (Answers In Genesis)

In terms of Charles Spurgeon, AIG explains: "There were many theologians and Christian leaders in the past (and present) that uncritically accepted old-earth views. Dr. Terry Mortenson discusses this, and even uses the same quote by Spurgeon to show how he compromised on this position, in his booklet:


Eric said...

Wow... I know at least a couple of Spurgeon-philes who should read this. Thanks for the post.

Richard Coords said...

You're welcome.