If evolution is true there is no need for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is the gospel? Answering this question from scripture is more difficult than modern Christians desire to contemplate. Books filled with words, seminars filled with Power Point presentations, and trash cans filled with tracts, all in one way or another seek to distill down the gospel to a few easily communicated ideas.
But meditating deeply on what the gospel is leaves one with more questions than answers. In Matthew 4:23 we read that Jesus was going about in all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. Exactly what was Jesus proclaiming? The apostle Paul often refers to the gospel he was called to preach with terms and concepts that defy neat definition. Certainly Jesus’ message and Paul’s preaching bore little resemblance to our tidy modern, tract-ready, gospel notions.
But we can agree with some certainty that whatever Jesus proclaimed and whatever the apostles preached, it would not make sense if those who heard it were simply material beings formed over time by purposeless processes that never had them in mind. That is, the message of the gospel has no meaning if evolution is true; in a purposeless world of purposeless existence what would good news mean?
If evolution is true men and women have no more need for a savior–a messiah–than a stuck rock has need of liberator or a falling leaf has need of a rescuer. Stuck rocks do not know or care that they are fixed in place and falling leaves have no more desire to go up than to go down. Aside from something fundamentally different about humans, the preaching of the gospel is no different than proclaiming liberation to rocks and preaching rescue to leaves.
But what if there is something different? Paul refers in Romans 1 to his apostleship to call people from something to something. They are called from “among the Gentiles” to obedience that comes from faith. And those who are called are called to belong to Jesus Christ. And further, this gospel reveals a righteousness from God.
Righteousness? Obedience? Faith? What meaning do any of these words have if evolution is true and there is no fundamental difference between people, rocks, and leaves?
The gospel has meaning only if, as Paul teaches in his letter to the Colossians, the from of the gospel involves taking off an “old self” and the to of the gospel means putting on a “new self”. And importantly this new self is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Image of its creator? Consider that! A new self being renewed in the image of its Creator! Where have we heard language like that before?
Unless human beings are created in God’s image in the first place, what meaning can be understood by any proclaiming to fallen, sinful humans the message being re-created in righteousness according to the good news of the Gospel? None, I say.
Again, if evolution is true there is no need for the gospel of Jesus Christ.