Charles Hodge: Heretic (4)

A guest post by Marc D. Carpenter:

The following is an excerpt from Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology (Volume. 1, Chapter 10). I am finding that the Reformed tradition on creation is theistic evolution — one more reason to reject the Reformed tradition. One of the main heresies of theistic evolution is the heresy that death occurred before the Fall. If each day of creation is not a literal day but is thousands or millions or billions of years, and if there were genetic mutations and natural selection over generations of plants and animals, then there must have been death over and over again before the Fall. This is blatant heresy that is irreconcilable with orthodox Christian faith, and it cannot be held by true Christians. I have found so far that C. Hodge, A.A. Hodge, B.B. Warfield, and W.G.T. Shedd were proponents of macro-evolution.

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, Chapter 10, Section 6:

Geology and the Bible.

The geological objections to the Mosaic record are apparently the most serious. According to the commonly received chronology, our globe has existed only a few thousand years. According to geologists, it must have existed for countless ages. And again, according to the generally received interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis, the process of creation was completed in six days, whereas geology teaches that it must have been in progress through periods of time which cannot be computed.

Admitting the facts to be as geologists would have us to believe, two methods of reconciling the Mosaic account with those facts have been adopted. First, some understand the first verse to refer to the original creation of the matter of the universe in the indefinite past, and what follows to refer to the last reorganizing change in the state of our earth to fit it for the habitation of man. Second, the word day as used throughout the chapter is understood of geological periods of indefinite duration.

In favour of this latter view it is urged that the word day is used in Scripture in many different senses; sometimes for the time the sun is above the horizon; sometimes for a period of twenty-four hours; sometimes for a year, as in Lev. xxv. 29, Judges xvii. 10, and often elsewhere; sometimes for an indefinite period, as in the phrases, “the day of your calamity,” “the day of salvation,” “the day of the Lord,” “the day of judgment.” And in this account of the creation it is used for the period of light in antithesis to night; for the separate periods in the progress of creation; and then, ch. ii. 4, for the whole period: “In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

It is of course admitted that, taking this account by itself, it would be most natural to understand the word in its ordinary sense; but if that sense brings the Mosaic account into conflict with facts, and another sense avoids such conflict, then it is obligatory on us to adopt that other. Now it is urged that if the word “day” be taken in the sense of “an indefinite period of time,” a sense which it undoubtedly has in other parts of Scripture, there is not only no discrepancy between the Mosaic account of the creation and the assumed facts of geology, but there is a most marvellous coincidence between them.

Bottom line for Charles Hodge: If the Bible is in conflict with geological “facts,” then change the Bible.

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