This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.
Genesis 5:1–2

Why should not Nature take a sudden leap from structure to structure? On the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand why she should not; for natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by the short and sure, though slow steps.
Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species)

One way in which theistic evolution is impossible to square with the biblical worldview is in the doctrine of Man, in anthropology. In this brief article, we will provide a sketch of both the biblical and Darwinian perspectives, and show how antagonistic they are to one another.

The Bible teaches that God created Man in his own image, after his likeness (Gen. 1:26–27, 5:1, etc.) The specific denotation of the creation in the imago Dei is something that requires an extended, exegetical study that I am not prepared to undertake today. For our purposes here, I will be content to make the following observation:

The Imago Dei is the Chief Definitional Characteristic of Man’s Nature.

When God creates Man (in Gen. 1), the only defining characteristics given are that he is to be “in our image, after our likeness” (v. 26) and “male and female”:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Given the parallelism between the clauses, which is present in 5:1–2 also, it is safe to conclude that the sexuality (“male and female”) of Man is an aspect or outworking of the imago Dei, or at the very least, closely bound up with it.

Moreover, pressing the terms, it is of the utmost importance to recognize that Man is not made with the image of God, or given the divine image as something to bear. Rather, he is made in the image, and after (1:26) or in (5:1) the likeness of God.

We may therefore conclude that the image of God is either exactly identical with the nature of Man, or it is something so inherent, so central, so definitional, that nothing more need be said to communicate what is essential about Man than that he is God’s image.

Evolution is at Odds with this Doctrine.

Darwinian evolution envisions a gradual process in which the various species, and mankind also, emerge out of previous forms. This emergence is the result of “natural selection” working on random mutations from generation to generation to generation to the necessarily-billionth order. It is a pervesely speculative theory with no possible scientific demonstration, because it is a history rather than an explanation of phenomena in operation today.

For reasons that escape the writer of this article, some Christians are confused enough to regard this theory as compatible with the Scripture. They have progressively, in Darwinian fashion, dreamed up something they call theistic evolution. They pay no attention to the plain fact that the Darwinian theory was invented to eliminate God and the Scriptural witness to his creation, and instead blindly insist that we as Christians cannot be “left behind” and must heed what scientists say to us, or people will not take us and Scripture seriously. This attitude is sadly one of compromise, forgetting that “the wisdom of this world is folly with God”. But God will not be mocked: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:19).

The theologians who attempt to reconcile Genesis with Darwin have spilled much ink to prove that the first chapter of the Bible is a hymn, an exalted song, a supra-literal, a pre-scientific writing—in sum, an uncertain but artistic conglomeration of sounds and letters that tell us nothing specific except that “God somehow created everything”.

The simple point I want to make here is that evolutionary theory is irreconcilable with the biblical doctrine of Man as the image of God. The reason for this is found in the gradual, step-by-step nature of the Darwinian view. This gradualism implies that there are no radical jumps between Adam and his immediate sub-human ancestors, but rather, everything we see in Adam was produced in a sequence of infinitesimal changes.

Now if this is admitted to be the case, we must ask what the creation of Adam in God’s image entails. Compare Adam’s father, whom we shall call Homo ante Homine, “the Man before Man”, or HaH for short (cf. Psalm 2:4). Because of the gradualism that produces Adam out of HaH, there must be nearly-exact correspondence between Adam and his ape-father HaH. HaH is 99.99% (or more) correspondent to Adam.

We ask the question: Is HaH made in the image of God? Since he is not Man, the answer to this must be in the negative. On this view, then, the image of God can be conceived of in only two possible ways:

  1. The 0.001% (or less) which distinguishes Adam from HaH is the imago Dei.

  2. The imago Dei is something which is superadded to Adam, such as a distinction or blessing bestowed upon him, but not something genetic or essential to his biologocial nature.

Both of these clearly undermine the biblical doctrine of the image of God. In the first way, the image is reduced to an infintesimal distinction bewteen Adam and HaH’s genomes, a single nucleotide of no inherent importance. The first approach is impossible because a single gene cannot be the reason why God would say that he made Man “after his likeness”.

In the second way the image of God is no longer what Adam is, but something laid on him, like a garment. This is likewise futile because it externalizes and decentralizes the very thing which the Scripture internalizes and centralizes. Man is not said to be made and then given divine likeness. He is said to be made in the image. Moreover, the Scripture plainly teaches in Gen. 5:1–3 that Adam transmited the divine image to his descendants, which is borne out again in 9:6, and in the geneology in Luke 3:23–38.

This second view introduces a terrible dualism between Adam’s biological nature and his spiritual essence. It requires that the breath of life, Adam’s spiritual nature, be a thing completely separate from his body. It ruptures the organic bond between Man’s body and spirit, in which his spirit animates his body, because the body was living in virtually the same form for countless millennia.


One therefore sees how contrary the evolutionary framework is to the teaching of Scripture. It requires gradualism at the very place where the Scriptural witness requires abrupt divergence. It would have God, as it were, remain in silence after Gen. 1:24–25 and watch “hominids” emerging from among the beasts of the earth “according to their kinds”. Instead of God’s voice, the silence of a hundred-million years of undirected, random development.

Christians who believe in the truth of Holy Scripture should have no time for such nonsense. God speaks before creating Man, and defines the sharp boundary between Man and all the other creatures he has made by making him in his image. The immediacy of God’s creative act is underscored by the account in Gen. 2 where it is stated explicitly that “the man of dust” became “a living creature” because God breathed into his nostrils “the breath of life”, a reference Holy Spirit’s role in the creative act.

It is impudent and impious folly to attempt to shoehorn endless ages and billions of species into these verses. It is dishonouring to God and obviously the result of compromise to the wisdom of the world. Let us have done with it and avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20–21).