Many Christians are willing to accommodate the claims of evolutionary theory by adding millions of years of history into the creation story by means of scenarios such as the Gap Theory or the Day-Age Theory. These alternatives to a natural reading of the first chapter of Genesis have in common a belief that God was the agent of creation, but He did so over a long period of time, rather than in six normal days.
What concerns me about these theories is another thing they all have in common: death before the Fall of man. These theories present the animal world as having been created over millions of years prior to the creation of man. During these years animals are thought to have lived and died and in the process, many became fossilized. Yet we are told in Scripture that death entered the world through Adam's sin, and that not only mankind, but the whole creation was corrupted through sin. (Romans 5:12-16; Romans 8:18-23)
What these theories propose is a created world, one in which all is declared by God to be good, and in which death and destruction are natural processes, rather than corruptions. The Bible does not record the death of any animals until immediately after the Fall when God Himself clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. Many theologians presume that at that time Adam and Eve were instructed in the use of animals as a symbol of the sacrificial "Seed," of Genesis 3:15, the Redeemer who would one day come in human flesh and undo the curse brought on by Adam's sin. (This is the sacrifice Cain rejected.)
If adherents to these theories also include mankind in the evolutionary process, a host of other theological problems are introduced. Adam becomes a figurative man rather than an actual man. The doctrines of Original Sin, of the headship of Adam and hence the respective headship of Christ, of the institution of marriage, even of the promised Redeemer of Genesis 3:15 all suddenly lack an historical foundation. The basic doctrines of the faith and of the Gospel are compromised.
Why are we willing to compromise these things? It seems we are intimidated into doing so by the claims of science.
Don't get me wrong. I love science and have a scientific bent. I spent two years of college as a biology major before I switched to education. I married a biochemist. I am not anti-science. However, we must keep science in its place. We must acknowledge that the further science gets from directly observable phenomena, the less useful it becomes and the less assurance we can have in the veracity of the conclusions we draw from it. I was surprised when teaching my son chemistry this year to find the Bohr Model of the atom, with which I spent a lot of time working in my college days, was now briefly discussed in the history section of my son's textbook, and replaced by a model that was just beginning to gain some recognition way back then. (Am I that old?) Many similar examples could be given, such as the ever-changing and hotly-debated theories of astronomy.
Christians, then, ought to consider very carefully whether they should be willing to throw out the foundations of our faith for the shaky claims of science--claims that can be and are disputed even on strictly scientific grounds, and cannot be tested because they deal with historical, rather than present, phenomena. Macro-evolution, that is, evolutionary change that resulted in the production of new species and explains the existence of the diverse flora and fauna present on the earth today, is no more a sure fact than theory of circular orbits of all electrons was in the 1970's. A theory prevailing in public or scientific opinion, does not make it necessarily true. So, brothers and sisters in Christ, will we compromise the foundations of the Gospel for a popular scientific theory?
Note: If you wish to further explore the scientific debates on the origins of life, see the Answers in Genesis site. Their material ranges from simple presentations writen for children, to materials for non-science professional adults, to a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is suitable reading for science professionals or others with a high level of scientific background and understanding.