MISHAWAKA, Ind. – A Philosophy professor with ties to an evolution-supporting organization resigned from a Christian college after the school affirmed its commitment to the biblical interpretation of the creation of Adam and Eve.
Dr. James Stump began teaching at Bethel College in 1998, working as a Professor of Philosophy for several years. Last month, Bethel College issued a statement to clarify its position on the origin of man. The statement affirmed the school’s belief in the special creation of Adam by God.
“This affirmation is essential to distinguish humanity from animals, as made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27; 2:7), to account for the work of Christ to atone for the representative sin of humanity through Adam (I Cor. 15:45), respect the genealogy of Luke 3, account for New Testament references to Adam by Paul (Rom. 5:12-17), and others,” the statement explained, adding that faculty would be expected to agree with this position.
However, Stump announced last month that he would be resigning from Bethel College due to the school’s interpretation of the Bible. Citing “tension” between his beliefs and the college’s statement, Stump wrote in a letter that he would be seeking “alternate work.”
Evidently, Stump doubts the literal interpretation of the Bible’s creation account and instead believes that human evolution is compatible with the Scriptures. He is currently the content manager at BioLogos—an organization that promotes God-guided evolution, rejects young earth creation beliefs, and urges Christians to accept the belief that the earth is billions of years old.
“We humans have been shaped through the death and suffering wrought by eons of evolution—life forms that came from the dust and returned to it,” Stump wrote in a BioLogos blog post in February.
Following Stump’s resignation, BioLogos criticized Bethel College’s decision to uphold the traditional interpretation of Genesis.
“We at BioLogos are disheartened by this decision,” wrote BioLogos President Deborah Haarsma. “It put Jim in the painful situation of having to choose between the scholarship to which he feels called and the academic community to which he has belonged for decades.”
“For many Evangelicals, the evolutionary creation position is unfamiliar and even seems impossible—they see no way that a person could love the Bible without rejecting evolution,” Haarsma wrote. “But at BioLogos, we do not see evolution as inherently atheistic. We love the Bible and we make the case for evolutionary creation: that God used the natural process of evolution to create all of life’s diverse forms, including humans, as supported by abundant genetic and fossil evidence.”
Many other Christians disagree with Haarsma’s analysis, saying the Bible and evolution are incompatible.
“[D]eath plays a prominent part in evolution,” Dr. John Morris with the Institute for Creation Research wrote. “In fact, to an evolutionist, death is normal, death is good, death provides the fuel for evolutionary change.”
“Evolution and the Bible most seriously conflict at this point,” he continued. “If evolution (or even just the concept of an old earth, with death and fossils predating man’s sin) is correct, then death is natural, death is normal, death produced man. Most importantly, in this view, death is not the penalty for sin, for it preceded man and his sin. But if death is not the penalty for sin, then the death of Jesus Christ did not pay that penalty, nor did His resurrection from the dead provide eternal life.”
“While belief in creation and the young earth may not be essential for salvation (many Christians wrongly believe and do many things the Bible teaches against), if evolution is right, if the earth is old, if fossils date from before man’s sin, then Christianity is wrong!” he concluded. “These ideas destroy the foundation for the Gospel and negate the work of Christ on the cross. Evolution and salvation are mutually exclusive concepts.”