Billy Graham on Evolution

Billy Graham has been the pre-eminent evangelical Christian leader of the past fifty years. A short on-line version of his classic “Steps to Peace with God”, which describes how to personally encounter God, is here.

I found on the Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution site a post on his view on whether evolution is irreconcilable with orthodox Christianity. This post is excerpted below.

**********  Start of excerpt ************************

…when many voices in the Evangelical movement are claiming evolution cannot be reconciled with Evangelical theology, and that any compromise with evolution is virtual heresy, and that those who do compromise on this issue do not deserve to be called Evangelical, it is interesting to hear what Graham has to say about the scriptures and science, including evolutionary science:

“I don’t think that there’s any conflict at all between science today and the scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren’t meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. … whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.”  Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74

 ********************  End of excerpt ************************

Stepping back from evolution to the broader topic of the age of the earth (billions of years like the scientists say, vs. thousands of years indicated by a literal interpretation of Genesis), the Reasons to Believe site here lists about 40 well-known, impeccably conservative Christian leaders and writers that endorse or are at least open to an old-earth perspective. These include names like Gleason Archer,  Michael Behe, Chuck Colson, Norman Geisler, Hank Hannegraff, C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, C. I. Schofield, Lee Stroble, and B. B. Warfield.

 There are strong scientific and exegetical reasons to believe that this old earth perspective is a faithful reading of the Bible. Some of these exegetical considerations are sketched out in  Evolution and Faith: My Story, Part 2 .

About Scott Buchanan

Ph D chemical engineer, interested in intersection of science with my evangelical Christian faith. This intersection includes creation(ism) and miracles. I also write on random topics of interest, such as economics, theology, folding scooters, and composting toilets, at . Background: B.A. in Near Eastern Studies, a year at seminary and a year working as a plumber and a lab technician. Then a B.S.E. and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Since then, conducted research in an industrial laboratory. Published a number of papers on heterogeneous catalysis, and an inventor on over 100 U.S. patents in diverse technical areas. Now retired and repurposed as a grandparent.
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17 Responses to Billy Graham on Evolution

  1. Mary says:

    Good for Billy Graham!

  2. shanemark71 says:

    I think it would do well to be reminded of what paul said to the Galatians in ch 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. when we start to mix one view with scripture, then more follow and we end up with a watering down of Gods word and sadly we see to much of this already happening within the church today. God bless

  3. Charles E. Miller, Jr. BA in German, Old Dominion University; MA in Religion, Liberty University says:

    I agree that our Father in heaven could have used any method to create the human race; however, I believe that he used Old Earth Creationism: Day-Age Theory. This is accepted by Dr. David Snoke of the University of Pittsburgh. If evolution were true, where are the missing links? Do I believe in the Big Bang, yes, I do! That occurred when the Father spoke and the Word (Jesus) acted. In any case, we are all here. It is truly a grand creation.

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  5. John Bibby says:

    Oh….right….so we all should follow the teaching of Billy Graham….a mere man, rather than the teaching of the Bible, ie the Word of God, which actually DOES teach a young Earth and a Divine Creation in 6 DAYS! Just because you list several, so called eminent people who believe in an old Earth, does not make it Truth! This is termed an “Appeal to authority”!

  6. TBW says:

    This is called an “Applea to Authority”. That is the way the Catholic church used to operate hundreds of years ago, keeping their people ignorant of the Bible and dependent on the priests. That is what motivated the early Bible translators to get the Bible into the hands of the people and free them from the tyrany of the elites. Tyndale said, “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.”
    So, I would suggest, rather than asking what all these different teachers say about the topic that you go directly to the Scriptures themselves and ask yourself, “What does the Bible actually say?” You have the incredible privilige that was not available to people at the time of the Reformation in that you can go directly to the Bible itself, in multiple translations, and know first hand what God said.

    • If you “go directly to the Scriptures themselves and ask yourself, “What does the Bible actually say?” ” ” in a deliberately naive fashion you will find the Bible saying all kinds of things we know to be false.

      This includes the earth being stationary with the sun moving past it ( Psalm 104:5, I Chron. 16:30, Isa. 66:1, Eccl.1:5, Josh. 10:13), the sky being a solid dome with liquid waters above it (see ), and that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds ( Mark 4:30-32).

      This ignorant approach to Scripture is not virtuous or faithful. The Bible was written in ancient languages and in an ancient setting, addressed to a people with a very different physical worldview than ours. Instead of trying to correct their worldview, God graciously and wisely worked within it as He revealed essential spiritual truths to them. See more on this here: .

      Please see II Tim 3:16 on God’s purposes for giving the Scriptures. Likewise, Jesus said that the function of the Old Testament was to testify about him and his saving work (John 5:40; Luke 24:44). Peter (I Pet 1: 10-12) wrote that prophets spoke of the sufferings and glory of Christ. This is all theology and morals. There is nothing here about authoritatively teaching geology or biology. This is a biblical view of the Bible’s intent. Those who over-extend the Bible’s sphere of authority into general science or history are “adding to the word.”

  7. Kevin Baker says:

    Once again Billy Graham is the voice of reason and Christian love.

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  14. nick bishop says:

    What a brilliant man Billy Graham was. Seeing no conflict between science and faith.

    Exactly my line of reasoning.

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