More and more I see the walls of Christendom open their gates to evolution in the hopes of gaining intellectual credibility. Is the hope of gaining intellectual credibility worth the risk of apostacy? The well-known antitheist, Richard Dawkins has spawned a new idea called the Clergy Project. The idea is that those clergy who have come to see the “truth of evolution” and no longer retain their faith in the Bible can find support from their apostate peers.
So, as Christians, how should we view the introduction of evolution into our theology? Should we be receptive to pastors who are preaching the accommodation of evolution into their views of Genesis?
It seems like the obvious question: ‘Well, did evolution happen, and if it did, how does it square with the account in Genesis?’ It seems to me that that’s the elephant in the room. And what Orthodox intellectuals would do would be to consider the question so abstractly that the question was left unanswered. When I was teaching Genesis myself in seminary, I was able to perform the same kind of magic trick—a sort of distraction: ‘Well, I’m going to talk over here, and it’s all going to sound very smart, but it’s not actually addressing the question.’
I had a conversation this morning with a Christian friend who felt that evolution is okay and should not be resisted. His only explanation in our short conversation was that I need to read the Bible appropriately. If we had more time to discuss, I’m sure that he is referring only to Genesis 1. I’d like to hear how the evolutionary worldview fits with the understanding of Genesis 3, Genesis 6-9, Genesis 11, Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:15-17, Matthew 24:35-39, Mark 10:6, Acts 17:26, Romans 5, Romans 6:23, Romans 8, I Corinthians 15, I Peter 3:20, II Peter 3:5-6.
If Genesis 1 needs to be read as mythology (apparently counter to the writer’s intent), what about the other passages? Do they need to be read as mythology too? If we have to read the historical parts as mythology to accommodate the evolutionary paradigm, which parts can we read as the writer intended?
Can Christians safely compromise the historical veracity of the Bible? I contend that in the hopes of achieving intellectual credibility, when the Biblical Creation account is mythologized, Christians have lost both intellectual credibility and biblical credibility.
This is like asking how darwin’s theory relates to the three little pigs – if you take it as literal history of course it contradicts it (as does everything about biology and, well, reality in general). But if you take it as a “moral of the story” type of story then science and history are completely irrelevant. Most parables are fictional and most fables contain impossible scenarios (the most common of which traditionally is talking animals), and ALL history from the time these texts were written was blended with mythology. Hardly an important leader or figure exists from antiquity that was not given supernatural powers by their biographers. Take it with a grain of salt.
As far as evolution it’s well observed and real and so so so so so well proven that rejecting it is (if you look into the matter and don’t just read fundamentalist websites) about on par with thinking the world is flat given all we know about the world. Which by the way, some fundamentalists still do.
We could go round and round on the never-ending circus-ride of throwing evidence back and forth, but that would be a waste of time. This is because both evolutionists and creationists have access to the exact same evidence. Everyone interprets evidence according to their pre-suppositions (the things that cannot be proven, but are assumed to be true.)
My pre-supposition is God, and he has revealed himself through his written word, through creation, and by entering into creation himself as Jesus. By definition, God cannot be proven using science, because he is beyond space/time. But without God, nothing can be proven to be absolutely true.
What is/are your pre-supposition(s)…the things you cannot prove, but you assume to be true?
I’ve heard the talking point about both sides having the same evidence and just interpreting it differently for a long time, but it’s just spin. Science doesn’t work that way, scientists don’t dig up a fossil and then interpret it and speculate, they use this or that model to actually predict what fossils should and shouldn’t exist before they go looking for them. Darwin predicted the existence of never-before seen living and extinct species with never-before-seen traits before they were discovered. Scientists say “if my model is correct this is what we should find when we sequence this genome”, or smash these two particles together or mix theses substances with each other or send a probe to get samples of martian soil or whatever. The prediction is tested by future observations and the parameters of what constitutes a successful test are laid out in advance. Creationists don’t do this that I am aware of, they never make predictions and test them. They just spin things as supporting their views after they’re discovered. They don’t engage in any actual science, at least when it comes to creationism.
As for my presuppositions I suppose the only one is that my senses perceive reality in some sense accurately, that is the only presupposition that we must all make. Beyond that I try not to assume anything. Evolution requires no un-testable assumptions, nor do my views about religion.
“scientists don’t dig up a fossil and then interpret it and speculate, they use this or that model to actually predict what fossils should and shouldn’t exist before they go looking for them.”
So, what are models? It sounds like the scientists that you’re talking about have presuppositions as to which fossils they expect to find.
Can creationists have models too? If they have a model that predicts billions of dead things would be buried in sedimentary rock because of a worldwide flood, could they not do scientific work to confirm or deny this model?
Models sound a lot like presuppositions. Some models are more flexible than others.
Everyone has presuppositions. You didn’t mention this, but you might also have a presupposition that there is no God. It’s a presupposition because it cannot be proven. It is assumed. The two main problems with having a presupposition that there is no God is 1) You cannot know anything for certain 2) Your worldview is filled with contradictions.
If you’re interested in learning why these are true, answer these questions:
1) Do you believe that there is an absolute moral standard? Why or why not?
2) Since you trust your senses, have they ever been wrong? Do you trust your ability to reason?Why should you trust your reason, if it came from mud?
Speaking of going round and round on the same evidence, what does the evolutionist say in response to organic soft tissue found in some old dinosaur bones? I was under the impression that models predicted scientifically that such tissue will decay completely within a time period on the order of tens of thousands of years at the most. Thus, the prediction would be that no dinosaur that is millions of years past extinction could even have a remnant of soft tissue. Do we alter the models? Or do we alter our millions of years assumption? Curious.