5. Theistic Evolution

In my efforts to understand evolution, I came across a website about Theistic Evolution.  Parts of the author’s story about his experience with Young Earth Creationism resonates with me.  In the article “Theistic Evolution” he explains what TE is.  One paragraph in his  Credo – What I Believe section in particular stood out to me:

I reject the idea that evolution and Christianity are always and must be in opposition to each other. I reject the notion that if the scientific theory of evolution is true, then Christianity must be false. I reject the idea that people who accept evolution must be atheists. I reject the idea that the scientific theory of evolution fundamentally denies the idea of God the Creator. I reject the idea that evolution and Christian faith are inevitably in conflict with each other and cannot be reconciled.

As I read this paragraph, I thought, “Yes, yes, yes!!”

Although some evolutionists are atheistic and militantly anti-Creation – think Dawkins – Evolutionary Theory is not, not, NOT atheistic.  Creationists claim that it is and that is one of the reasons why they believe that a person cannot be a Christian and believe in evolution.  It’s the whole Once-a-person-accepts-evolution-he-is-on-his-way-to-becoming-an-atheist’ argument. I agree and disagree with this statement.

If one has been told that evolution and creation are mutually exclusive and/or that one cannot be a Christian and believe in evolution, then yes, when one is confronted with the data for evolution, one would be forced to abandon Christianity.   YECists have told that person that he cannot believe in both. On the other hand, if one has not been told that the two are mutually exclusive, then there would not be that disillusionment.

<< 4. Is Young-Earth Creationism ‘Science’? | Creation/Evolution Page | 6. Getting off the YEC Bandwagon >>
Advertisements

About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Religion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. “Although /some/ evolutionists are atheistic and militantly anti-Creation – think Dawkins – Evolutionary Theory is not, /not, NOT/ atheistic.

    One of the problems with your articles is that you don’t really bother to back up many of your assertions, such as this one. It’s not atheistic because….? You don’t say.

    It’s more than “some” evolutionists who are atheistic—it’s most of the leaders in the field of evolution. Further, a number of experts on the subject have admitted that it /is/ atheistic

    “Gould argues that Darwin’s theory is inherently anti-plan, anti-purpose, anti-meaning (in other words, is pure philosophical materialism). Also, that Darwin himself knew this very well and meant it to be so.”(http://creation.com/charles-darwins-real-message-have-you-missed-it)

    Michael Ruse: “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.

    … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.”

    William Provine: “belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”

    Given, that, your claim that evolution is not atheistic needs more than assertion to back it up.

    “Creationists claim that it is and that is one of the reasons why they believe that a person cannot be a Christian and believe in evolution.”

    As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, this claim about creationists is false.

    “If one has been told that evolution and creation are mutually exclusive and/or that one cannot be a Christian and believe in evolution, then yes, when one is confronted with the data for evolution, one would be forced to abandon Christianity.”

    Or to abandon evolution. Especially given that the evidence for evolution is severely lacking.

    “YECists have told that person that he cannot believe in both. On the other hand, if one has not been told that the two are mutually exclusive, then there would not be that disillusionment.”

    The problem with this is that people can see the contradiction for themselves, so will be disillusioned anyway. The Bible teaches that the world was created in six days, that Adam and Eve were not evolved from other animals, etc. It takes a fair bit of explaining to explain away that clear contradiction. Creationists have found that it works quite well to admit to the obvious contradiction and point out the fallacious claims of evolutionists.

    Like

  2. Evolution is a science. It neither requires one to reject God, nor does it require one to believe that a God exists. Whether or not God exists is a non-issue. As such, evolution is a-theistic, not atheistic.

    Because evolution is a scientific theory, all teleological ideas are ruled out. Also, ideas about the supernatural are ignored as well. Teleological ideas must be included in Creation Science, but they are not included in mainstream science. (I believe Touchstone answered this in greater detail in his response to you.)

    Does Michael Ruse speak for all evolutionists the way AiG, CMI ICR, etc, presume to speak for all YECs?

    Like

    • I missed this reply, sorry.

      “Evolution is a science.”
      An argument by assertion is not logically valid.

      “It neither requires one to reject God…”
      On the contrary, it DOES require one to reject God as described in the Bible. Sure, it might be compatible with some /other/ concept of God, but not the one that the Bible reveals.

      “Because evolution is a scientific theory, all teleological ideas are ruled out.”
      Ignoring the question-begging premise, if teleological ideas are ruled out, so is much of the argument for evolution, employed even by Darwin:

      “The human body has something akin to its own junk drawer. You can think of organs like the brain and the heart as belonging to your silverware drawer or the cupboard where you keep your plates — they’re useful items you need every day. But the body’s junk drawer is full of vestigial organs, or souvenirs of our evolutionary past. We don’t use these items for their original purpose anymore, and these parts are stunted mementos of that original function.
      How do we know what each organ’s original purpose was supposed to be? For that, we turn to Charles Darwin. While he wasn’t the first person to identify bodily structures that seemed to serve no purpose, he did propose why we have them. His concept of common descent, a tenet of evolutionary theory, holds that all organisms started with a common ancestor but diverged and changed as certain traits proved more favorable and necessary for survival. In Darwin’s 1871 book “The Descent of Man,” he identified about a dozen of man’s anatomical features he believed to be useless because we don’t use them in the same way that other creatures do. This, to Darwin, was proof that we had evolved from our primitive ancestors.” http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/vestigial-organ.htm

      Notice how the supposed /lack of purpose/ was used as argument for evolution. (And, of course, Darwin was wrong in such cases.)

      “Also, ideas about the supernatural are ignored as well.”
      Yes, but why? For good, scientific, reasons, or for philosophical/ideological reasons. It’s because of the latter, not the former. If a supernatural explanation is the correct one, why is science forbidden from acknowledging it?

      “Teleological ideas … are not included in mainstream science.” Except (at least) evolution. So I guess that means that evolution is not science.

      “Does Michael Ruse speak for all evolutionists the way AiG, CMI ICR, etc, presume to speak for all YECs?”

      Well, Ruse was a witness for the evolutionary side at the Arkansas creation trial, so he could be considered a representative for that side.

      However, that side is somewhat disjointed, with atheists disagreeing on whether to attack or try and accommodate religion. See http://creation.com/bcse-and-ncse-in-atheist-spat.

      In any case Ruse is not the only one; I also quoted a number of prominent evolutionists.

      Like

  3. As Christians, IMHO we have to be careful not to get too entranced with any of the theories that are currently on the marketplace. It could be YEC. It could be TE. It could be not yet introduced proposal. In the end, we have no way of conclusively knowing which of those theories have successfully explained the apparent (I believe it is only an apparent and not a real) discontinuity between the geological record and the Bible, short of the Lord telling us or giving us a time machine trip back to see how it turned out – which He has never promised to do.

    I suspect that we simply do not have all the pieces of the puzzle and so what looks like a contradiction, isn’t really one. I am not convinced at this moment with TE but I am also not wholly satisfied with YEC’s proposals. However, I firmly believe in what my pastor once said “Do not let something that you do not understand at this moment affect what you do understand and believe.” The desire to tie everything into a nice box marked SOLVED is a manifestation of intellectual overreach and the desire to have the secuity of knowing everything. However, faith requires just enough knowledge to make an informed decision, and enough darkness to make the decision scary! 😉

    Now we know only in part, but there will come a day when we will know the truth about this issue as with all other issues. It may not be in this present heaven and earth, though! So until then, let’s preserve our irenicism and have an open mind to listen, evaluate and consider, to speak fairly and graciously to and of each other, and to do so with the knowledge that we are all believers in the same Saviour and Lord and to press on with what IS our overriding duty – which is to take up the Great Commission and preach the Gospel to every creature!

    Like

    • Thanks, Wayfarer, for reading and commenting on my blog. Your email address appears in my inbox, so I know who you are! 🙂 Hello!

      At this point in time, I have to say that the parts of YECism that are unsatisfactory to me make it a deal-breaker for me.

      I can agree with your last statement. I want to say more, but I think I’ll just stop here.

      Like

    • Wayfarer, you make some very good points in your posts here, but I believe that there is more that needs to be said.

      Biblical creation (YEC) is a view of history that is based squarely on the biblical record. Note that I say “based on”; it does include things that are not clearly stated in the Bible, such as the existence of an Ice Age (although there is a hint of that in the Blble). But biblical creationists are the first to say that some of their views need to be held lightly.

      The other side of the coin, however, is that other parts are based on what the Bible clearly and unambiguously records. Surely (in principle), no Christian worthy of the name would propose to remain tentative about clear statements in Scripture. Such clear statements include Jesus dying for our sins and the world being created in six days. Should we include Jesus’ death in the things that we “have no way of conclusively knowing”? (And keep in mind that “science” tells us that a dead person coming back to life is impossible.) Why is creation in six days any different? Numerous Christians have said that the reason that they don’t believe that creation occurred in six days is because of the “findings” of “science” (i.e. the historical views of naturalistic scientists). That is, there is no real /Scriptural/ reason to doubt that creation was in six days.

      Your pastor’s advice to “not let something that you do not understand at this moment affect what you do understand and believe.” is very good. Okay, so you don’t understand some of the biblical creationists’ arguments. But that should not stop any Christian believing what the Bible clearly teaches (and which Jesus clearly believed), which is that God created a “very good” world, and He did so over a period of six days, both of which are completely at odds with not only naturalistic evolution, but theistic evolution also.

      Like

      • “But biblical creationists are the first to say that some of their views need to be held lightly.”

        I think they need to loosen their grip some more.

        Like

      • Hello Philip,

        From what you have written, I think that you are probably a believer in the Bible’s inerrancy and truthfulness not just about theological things but also about everything it means to record according to the cultural, historical, and societal and linguistic context that it was recorded in. I am too. As a result, revealed truths about Christ’s birth, death and resurrection and the significance of it and other such matters are non-negotiable truths for they are clearly revealed.

        Flowing for the same reasons, I naturally find theistic evolution’s presuppositions and theories very difficult – in fact, frankly speaking, virtually impossible – to accept because they seem to clearly contradict Scriptural revelation. If it falls to a choice between man’s interpretation of the geological record and the Bible, we have to go with the Bible…

        However, on the other hand, YEC and specifically Ken Ham’s AIG version seems to me to be possibly overrreaching in some ways. Yes, God created the heavens and the earth. But when it comes to YEC and AUIG’s attempts to reconcile the geologiocal and archaelogical record with the Bible, I get the feeling when I am hearing the presentations and read some of their material that some evidence is being forced into a mould that does not necessarily fit the evidence exactly. There is a desire to reassure the believer that is so strong that it can cross over into glossing over the evidence. For example, is it theologically important for the purpose of the Genesis story for the days of creation to be 24 hour days? Will it somehow negate the purposes of God in inspiring the writer of genesis and the redemptive plan of God if the “day” turned out to be longer or even far longer than 24 hours? Genesis must be read within and according to its own historico-cultural and linguistic framework. Is that the true intent of the writer?

        By all means, we should be uncompromising over the fundamentals, but must we be conclusive about something that we should rather be irenic to some extent over?

        On a more fundamental level, I think it is very very important for us as Bible-believing Christians to draw a distinction between all versions of YEC and the Bible itself. YEC and AIG are all sincere attempts to read the geological record with Scriptural revelation and therefore are merely theories of how creation could have happened. They can be good theories for the most part. But even if any part of YEC’s system or AIG’s system is or can be invalidated, it does not invalidate the Gospel.

        For that reason, IMHO we need to be careful in presenting the Gospel to an unbeliever and then converting him or her to YEC instead of to the Biblical story of redemption by God through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. It is a subtle distinction – but it is there nonetheless because while it is a lot more God honouring than evolution, YEC and AIG are ultimately still at the end of it all, just man’s attempt to theorise of how it all started and happened…

        Like

  4. Hi! 😀 I never knew you were into this area and have read so deeply on it! How did you ever find the time with the demands of family etc?

    I have skimmed some of the posts in the other threads on your blog, and this issue looks like one that you have thought a lot about and have even suffered because of it to some degree due to the…shall we diplomatically say, “overenthusiasm” (or less diplomatically, almost cultic behaviour?) of some misguided YEC proponents. Still, the messenger could be a horrible person and he could have distorted the message, but the core of that message can still have muich truth in them…so I hope that you will keep listening with an open mind to the YECs who may still have something interesting and relevant to say. After all, unlike the secular evolutionists who frequently are almost violently averse to Christianity, the YECs and you are in the same Body and are your brothers and sisters in Christ after all…so when the former group suggest that Christianity itself corrodes the intellectual honesty of its believers etc, I hope that you will stand with the YECs to defend His Name against them…

    Also, and please do not be offended if I may gently suggest that we know from personal history, observation and even history that trauma due to a negative experience with something can cause the victim to react against it and to flee to the opposite side of the spectrum. I hope that you did not become a TE proponent because of that and that you will not allow yourself to have your objectivity clouded over by the negative experience that you have unfairly been exposed to in the past…God bless you and I hope to see you again next year!

    Like

    • I don’t know how I find the time either! 😀

      At the moment, I am holding on to the belief that ‘God is Love’ and ‘They will know we are Christians by our love’. That is all that matters, in the end.

      Thank you again for reading my blog and leaving meaningful and thoughtful comments. God bless you and I hope we can meet up again next year!

      Like

      • “That is all that matters, in the end.”

        Believing what God said does not matter? Like believing Him when He said “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them”. Or when He said “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Or “at the beginning of creation [not billions of years after the beginning of creation, as evolution would have you believe] God ‘made them male and female.”

        Like

      • ‘Believing what God said does not matter? Like believing Him when He said “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them”. Or when He said “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Or “at the beginning of creation [not billions of years after the beginning of creation, as evolution would have you believe] God ‘made them male and female.”’

        No, it does not matter, in the end.

        The early Christians in Galatia were arguing about whether it was important to be circumcised or not. Paul had some harsh words to say about that. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal. 5:6b)

        Nowadays, it seems the YECs are arguing that it is important to believe in a literal reading of Genesis 1-11. But this does not matter, in the end.

        Like

    • From my reading of Kathy’s posts here, I think your comments here are close to the mark. Kathy says that she “became a condescending, arrogant, judgemental scoffer”, and blames YEC influences for this. But from what I’ve seen, she is now condescending, arrogant, judgemental, and scoffing towards biblical creationists (YECs).

      She describes YECs as instilling fear, as being hyper-literalists, and of basing their arguments on ignorance. She has often used a mocking tone, and has used a guilt-by-association argument by linking creationists with flat-earthers.

      Along the way, she makes a number of false claims about creationists, such as using the “it’s only a theory” argument and claiming that YECs say that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution (in this article).

      One thing that is noticeably absent is much in the way of actually addressing their arguments. Too often, their claims are simply dismissed. Why isn’t creationism science? Because, she says, science disagrees, and because creationism isn’t science. This is little more than argument by assertion.

      Kathy says “Calling [creationism] science does not make it so. Teaching it to others as ‘science’ is deceitful.”. But of course she doesn’t apply the same logic to evolution, and the second sentence merely begs the question.

      Her critique of the first episode of the Jonathan Park series made the comment that “It would be great to listen to as an exercise in ‘Spot the anti-Evolutionary Ideas’, or to spot the straw man arguments, or to see how many times evolution is misrepresented.”.
      Yet a creationist series should be expected to have “anti-Evolutionary ideas”. I’m not sure how straw-man arguments and misrepresentation of evolution differ from each other (it seems to be a case of making one criticism sound like two), but she only managed to provide one example of all these supposed faults, and that one didn’t hold water.

      In other replies to me, she claimed that she rejected creationism because of the evidence, but evidence is something that she seems to avoid giving; mostly it’s straw-man arguments (“only a theory”), mocking, criticising “tone”, and simply asserting that creationists are wrong (see Misconception 1 for an example); the very sorts of things that she accuses biblical creationists of but has trouble demonstrating.

      I have also pointed out the “tone” of some vehement anti-creationists, but they are explained away as aberrations, whereas creationists—nowhere near as vehement—cannot be aberrations, it seems, but the norm.

      I’m very sorry to be so personally critical, but deriding creationists for being so nasty as to (supposedly) deride evolutionists is not something that I am happy to ignore.

      Like

      • ‘Along the way, she makes a number of false claims about creationists, such as using the “it’s only a theory” argument and claiming that YECs say that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution (in this article).’

        Some Creationists DO say ‘it’s only a theory’ when talking about evolution. This is not a false claim. It is a wrong understanding of the word ‘theory’ and the better YECs encourage its followers not to use that argument. But it is used.

        Some Creationists DO believe that one can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution. Ken Ham is one such person who held this belief at one time. (Not sure if he still does; if he does he is careful not to say it publicly.)

        ‘I’m very sorry to be so personally critical, but deriding creationists for being so nasty as to (supposedly) deride evolutionists is not something that I am happy to ignore.’

        I am flummoxed as to why you would choose MY blog to participate on. It is a personal blog that does not get much traffic at all. Surely if you want to address anti-creationism and reach a larger audience, there are better avenues? If my arguments don’t hold water (as you say), why keep participating here?

        Like

      • “Some Creationists DO say ‘it’s only a theory’ when talking about evolution. This is not a false claim.”

        Would it also be correct to say that evolutionists believe that carbon dating (which has an upper limit of 100,000 years) proves that the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago? Just because “some [evolutionists] DO say” that does NOT mean that it’s a valid criticism to make of evolutionists generally. Similarly, just because some ignorant creationists say that “it’s only a theory” doesn’t mean that it’s a valid criticism to make of creationists generally, as you did.

        “Some Creationists DO believe that one can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution. Ken Ham is one such person who held this belief at one time. (Not sure if he still does; if he does he is careful not to say it publicly.)”

        I have never heard Ken Ham say that, and I’ve been familiar with his ministry for over 25 years. Further, given that on another article you confused somebody saying that evolution leads people astray with them believing that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution, I can’t help wondering if you’ve done the same thing here.

        “I am flummoxed as to why you would choose MY blog to participate on.”
        I explained that in my first comment on your blog; it is low traffic (which means that I don’t spend ages debating with a multitude of people) and we are both in Melbourne.

        “If my arguments don’t hold water (as you say), why keep participating here?”
        Because you don’t yet see that they don’t hold water?

        Like

  5. ‘Similarly, just because some ignorant creationists say that “it’s only a theory” doesn’t mean that it’s a valid criticism to make of creationists generally, as you did.’

    It still doesn’t make the claim false.

    ‘I have never heard Ken Ham say that, and I’ve been familiar with his ministry for over 25 years.’

    Go here and read Comment #19.

    If you have an argument, leave a comment there.

    If you want to reach a larger audience there are better avenues than a personal blog by a Melbournian mum.

    Like

  6. Wayfarer, thank you for posting this! I agree with pretty much everything you have to say. (And you probably took less time to compose this post than I would have taken!)

    Like

  7. “It still doesn’t make the claim false.”

    As an unqualified generalisation, it does.

    “Go here and read Comment #19. If you have an argument, leave a comment there.”

    Sorry, but YOU are making the claim and YOU are using that link as evidence, so it’s appropriate I respond here to you.

    WebMonk provides no evidence supporting your claim (and accusation of Ken Ham lying), just his own claim/opinion.

    I don’t know if WebMonk is a Christian or not but if not, you are taking the word of a non-Christian over a Christian on what the latter has said, or if WebMonk is a Christian, you are taking the word of a Christian publicly accusing a fellow Christian of lying, yet providing no evidence of such. I don’t believe that either is appropriate, /especially/ given that you asked him for evidence and he has not supplied it.

    I do agree that some statements by Ken Ham and other leading creationists can be misinterpreted if only read superficially, but that’s all I would agree to. That is, creationists make plenty of claims (with evidence) along the line of evolution undermining Christian belief, and of the /inconsistency/ of believing in evolution and Jesus, but as one who has followed the CSF/AiG/CMI ministry for about the same length of time as the thirty years that WebMonk mentions, I categorically reject the claim that “The theme and thrust of [the] message for thirty years has been that if you believe in evolution, you can’t be a Christian.” For evidence, here (http://creation.com/is-it-possible-to-be-a-christian-and-an-evolutionist) is an article published in /Creation/ magazine 22 years ago directly and clearly answering that question. The article is by one of the doyens of creationism, Duane Gish. Duane Gish worked for ICR in America, and the article had previously been published in the magazine of the Creation Science Movement in the UK, which indicates that even then this was a widespread view among leading creationists. (At the time Ken Ham was an editorial advisor for the Australian magazine, and would have signed off on all its articles.)

    Wayfarer, you thoughts about my beliefs are accurate, and I appreciate your considered comments.

    On the importance of accepting 24-hour days, please see http://creation.com/the-big-picture (incidentally, an article by Ken Ham, from ten years ago, also saying that you can be a Christian without being a YEC).

    “… is it theologically important for the purpose of the Genesis story for the days of creation to be 24 hour days?”

    You go on to mention the possibility of it being “far longer” than 24 hours. I’m not sure what you mean by “far longer” (a week? 1000 years?), but if it’s long enough to have suffering and death before Adam (and I don’t know of any view that says the days were, say, two weeks long) and before God pronounces His creation “very good”, then yes, it’s important theologically. Otherwise, death and suffering is “very good”.

    “Genesis must be read within and according to its own historico-cultural and linguistic framework. Is that the true intent of the writer?”

    According to Oxford Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament James Barr (NOT a YEC), “…probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience…”. That is, 24-hour days are what the author intended.

    “…IMHO we need to be careful in presenting the Gospel to an unbeliever and then converting him or her to YEC instead of to the Biblical story of redemption by God through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.”

    We also need to be careful to not let the new believer’s faith be undermined by secular views such as evolution and deep time (and compromise views such as theistic evolution) which have destroyed the faith of so many. We need to be careful to not allow the secularists to draw an artificial distinction between “religious faith” and “scientific fact”, as so often “scientific fact” wins.

    “YEC and AIG are ultimately still at the end of it all, just man’s attempt to theorise of how it all started and happened…”

    No, they are not “just” man’s attempts. They are God’s clear recorded testimony of what happened. Sure, many of the /details/ are man’s attempts, but the basic facts—including that He did it in six days, and that death is the result of man’s sin—are God’s testimony.

    Like

  8. WebMonk provides no evidence supporting your claim (and accusation of Ken Ham lying), just his own claim/opinion.

    How do you know WebMonk is lying? To quote Ken Ham, “Were you there?”

    Unless you are actually Ken Ham himself, or you have personally attended every single seminar Ken Ham has ever spoken at (unlikely), you really have no idea whether or not WebMonk (and Tim Helble) are lying or not.

    If you have issues with what WebMonk and Tim Helble are claiming, take it up with them.

    ‘No, they are not “just” man’s attempts. They are God’s clear recorded testimony of what happened. Sure, many of the /details/ are man’s attempts, but the basic facts—including that He did it in six days, and that death is the result of man’s sin—are God’s testimony.’

    What I’m hearing you say, Philip, is, upholding YECism is important because
    1) God has told us how He did it – clearly and unambiguously – in the Bible
    2) Trying to ‘tweak’ God’s Word in any way would be compromising
    3) Compromising on what God has told us could lead to a crisis in faith and cause people to leave the faith

    The actual evidence to support YEC is of secondary importance. Or, rather, it should support the three main points above.

    ‘I categorically reject the claim that “The theme and thrust of [the] message for thirty years has been that if you believe in evolution, you can’t be a Christian.” ‘

    Well, these YEC organisations need to try harder to get their message across, because it seems many people are simply not getting it.

    What I (and many others) hear is: “If you call yourself a Christian and yet believe in evolution, you are a compromiser; you are not putting your faith in what God has said in His Word; you are putting your faith in sinful man’s ideas and not in God; your faith is/could be at risk; you are not a true Bible believer.” In other words, ‘You are not a Christian.’

    The message these YEC organisations are sending out is basically, ‘Yes, you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, BUT…’ If they truly believe that one can be a Christian and accept evolution, I would rather they put a full stop at the end of the word ‘evolution’ and leave it at that.

    Like

  9. Hello Philip,

    On the 24 hour day issue, what I meant to say was that it could be a 24 hour day or it could be longer than that – would it be theologically significant? For example, if it were a 1000 year day (just as an example), it would make no difference to the existence of the Fall since all that happened before the Fall. So it has no effect on any doctrine. Even if it were a million year day – which is not what I am saying, but I am just suggesting for the purposes of explaining this point – it does not matter, does it, since all that happened before the Fall.

    Ergo, if we make a 24 hour day in Gen 1 to be a theological Fundamental for salvation, that is unnecessary and in the end, it is also overeaching the biblical evidence.

    On James Barr’s impressions, I am not sure when that quotation was made by him. It may have been made a long time ago – Barr had a long career. That may not be true of all views of world class scholars now. Also, Barr’s scholarly career was spectacular – he made more discussion-changing contributions to different areas of theology than virtually any scholar I can recall. I appreciate in particular his contribution to hermeneutics. But he was not right in everything he said IMHO. And at the end of the day, scholars are still men grappling with limited knowledge and bereft of divine inspiration, though gifted with some measure of illumination.

    I agree that we must give believers a better basis of understanding the geological and fossil record than the present geological and evolutionary theory which is surely not only a dead end but a spiritually deadening one at that. I am all for creation science research. However, let that not be at the expense of overreaching the evidence because when that is done, it gives ammunition to enemies of Christianity to accuse YECs of intellectual dishonesty or bankruptcy, and that is too high a price to pay for relative and temporary certainty to the masses.

    What I was referring to about YEC and AIG’s views as man-made was to their attempts to reconcil;e the geological and fossil record with Scripture – not to the assertions of Scripture themselves which are invioolate and inerrant. Let it be known to the believers and the church that those reconciliations are just theories and that even if it is fouind to be incorrect, that does not invalidate Scripture. But I have seen AIG teaching those theories as almost synonymous with Scripture – and that is a dangerous tactic that can be reversed by the enemies of faith to great cost to the church.

    Like

  10. “Evolution is a science. It neither requires one to reject God, nor does it require one to believe that a God exists.”

    It may not require one to entirely abandon the concept of a disassociated God, who set up the Universe and let it run itself (which we do not have evidence for). However, in order to make it compatible with the Christian Bible you have to turn Genesis almost entirely into metaphor. It’s not just how long a day is, it’s ordering (what came before what), it’s the appearance of things that shouldn’t be there and the things you would expect to see that are left out.

    And if you get that far it then begs the question whether there was a literal Adam and Eve in the way the Bible describes. Again, we have no credible evidence of that. If there’s no Adam and Eve, what does that do to the idea of original sin? Many theological strains consider the state of human sinfulness to be a directly descended trait of Adam and Eve . . . a theological version of inheritable traits, so to speak. So if you have some non-Christian conception of the supernatural/deity(ies) you might be about to find some vague common ground, but I do find it hard to see a way for someone of intellectual integrity to allow both for the God of the Bible and evolution.

    This is what I think the Christian literalists/fundamentalists know and the Christian moderates choose not to think about, that once you start to break the Bible down into categories of (a) possibly real or supported by archaeological evidence and (b) obviously totally and wholly made up from scratch or borrowed from existing mythology, the doctrine itself starts to unravel. It’s not that many steps from a metaphorical Genesis to undercutting the divinity of Jesus. So literalists double-down against things that are so plainly true that to most reasonable people they start to look ridiculous–which is why YECs still exist and profess the Earth is under 10,000 years old despite the fact that we can directly observe light from stars that are hundreds of millions of light years away.

    Like

  11. Hello hktelemacher,

    It’s all about presuppositions and ideological constructs. In your mind, evolutionary theory is the omega point and the zenith of the trajectory of human intellectual development. So you see everything through those glasses and creationism looks ridiculous to you – hence the views espoused in your posts. You assume that the Bible has to be judged according to evolutionary assumptions and reconciled to it.

    That is why you think that any person of intellectual honesty canot but reject the Bible and adopt evolution – not because that is truly the case, but because you are unable to consider any other kind of view, because your faith in evolurionary theory and the power of your mind is inviolate.

    Doesn’t that sound almost religious to you?

    Like

  12. @hktelemacher

    You make some very valid points.

    I find it fascinating that atheists and fundamentalists agree on one thing, ie, that if Genesis isn’t real, then Jesus’ divinity isn’t real either (simplified).

    Like

  13. @Wayfarer

    Am I religious then because I do not consider it possible that the world is flat?

    Like

Go ahead. Tell me your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: