Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why We are Troubled by Darwin’s Inroads into the Church



Evolutionists are just as evangelistic about their faith as we are. And so it’s no surprise that they are trying to push their faith on Evangelicals. However, it is surprising that the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is joining in this effort. According to WORLD Magazine:

  • The NAE...”is in the final stages of formalizing an agreement to collaborate with the American Association for the Advancement of Science…on a project to build a better dialogue and understanding between the scientific and evangelical communities. The collaboration is part of a Templeton Foundation grant received by the AAAS.” (Sept 22, 2012, 12)
This means that the AAAs and the NAE want us to become theistic evolutionists (TEs, or CEs – Christian evolutionists). Clearly, building “a better dialogue and understanding” is not part of their true agenda. The NAE chief operating officer refused to talk with WORLD’s Marvin Olasky, who concluded that:

  • The clear goal of AAAS and Templeton is to bolster the “motivation, imagination, and capacity” of pastors who want to influence their congregations to accept evolution.
Well, why not also bolster the AAAS? Seems like a one-way street! But what is the problem with updating our Christian theory with a touch of scientific “advancement?”  There are many ways that marrying Jesus to Darwin undermines the Christian faith. Here are some of them.

This marriage unbiblically elevates evolution to the level of Scripture. Instead of Scripture critiquing all other truth claims (2 Cor. 10:4-5), evolution now stands in judgment over Scripture. Jesus had warned against serving two masters (Mat. 6:23-24) by showing how one of them would eventually get the boot. In all of my conversations with CEs, it has been apparent that the Bible got the boot. It was always coerced to conform to Darwin and not the other way around. Consequently, when science is allowed to trump Scripture, there is no end to the compromises that Scripture is forced to make.

Evolution introduces a competing and entirely alien worldview. The consistent message of Genesis, and the rest of the Scriptures, is that God had made everything “very good” and we screwed it all up, requiring a future Savior (Gen. 3:15) to bring about a “restoration” (Acts 3:21).

According to evolution, life was a dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest struggle from the beginning. Consequently, Adam and Eve screwed-up nothing, and sin and death had their origins from the inception of life, in contrast with Genesis 3.

As a result of this marriage, Jesus, the “second Adam,” has to be re-envisioned. He is no longer the Savior from the effects of the Fall – sin and death, the work of Adam – but the Savior from God’s “glorious” but bloody evolutionary plan.

There can be no “restoration,” because a restoration would be a restoration to our dog-eat-dog beginnings – not a very pleasant prospect.

This alien worldview also undermines morality in many ways. If the “survival-of-the-fittest” is God’s glorious plan to bring us onto the scene, then we can should regard this God-given methodology as normative – a model for our guidance. Consequently, who can blame Cain for killing the na├»ve and less well-adapted Abel! Besides, if there is no absolute distinction between us and the beasts, then there can be no absolute distinction between the way we treat man and beast.

Evolution disparages the Biblical accounts. In order to make room for Darwin, Scripture – at least the first several chapters of Genesis – have to be relegated to non-historical allegory. For instance, Genesis 1:30 states that God gave the birds and beasts green herbs to eat. However, this contradicts evolution’s insistence regarding the bloody struggle of the survival-of-the-fittest. Therefore, the CE dogmatically asserts that the Bible “isn’t a science or history text,” but a theology text - the way to find salvation.

Thus, evolution illegitimately separates theology from its necessary historical foundations. However, we cannot separate the theology of the cross from the history of the cross. To remove the historical fact that Christ died on the cross is to deny the Gospel – that Jesus died for our sins. No history, no theology!

We also find this inseparable relationship between history and theology in Genesis. Peter reasons that God means business about a future judgment. He cites His past (historical) judgments as evidence – the flood and Sodom (2 Peter 2:4-9). However, if these accounts were merely parabolic or allegorical, then we’d have no reason to believe that the future judgment is any more than an allegory. Clearly, this was not Peter’s intention.

Closer to home, Jesus bases His teachings on marriage on the historical events of Genesis 1 and 2:

  • "Haven't you read," he [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' [Genesis 1:26-27] and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' [Gen. 2:24]? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has [historically] joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6)
If God hadn’t actually created them and historically joined the two together, Jesus’ argument against divorce would be insupportable. (If God hadn’t historically joined them together, then there is no need to keep them together!) Therefore, if Genesis isn’t history, then Jesus was mistaken.

Many CEs deny that Adam and Eve were actually historical. However, if we deny their historicity, then we have to deny everything that the New Testament says about them. However, Paul also affirmed the historicity of the Genesis 3 account:

  • Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—(Romans 5:12)
Without any doubt, Paul made an historical claim and based a lot of other theology on the historical Adam (1 Tim. 2:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45).

The many genealogies also assert that Adam was an historical person. Besides, if Adam isn’t historical, then Cain and Abel aren’t historical, and Abraham and David aren’t historical – all the way up to Jesus. Consequently, if Adam wasn’t historical, the genealogies would lead us to believe that all of his so-named descendents are likewise unhistorical. Therefore, to compromise the first chapters of the Bible is to compromise everything else.

The CE worldview kills apologetics – the defense of the faith. Proofs build upon what is clear and generally accepted in order to prove what has been unclear and disputed. This also pertains to apologetics – theistic proofs and proofs that the Bible is actually God’s Word. Consequently, we start with what we can see and touch – the physical world (evidences of miracles, fulfilled prophecy, extra-Biblical testimony…) – and apply these areas of agreement to areas of disagreement. Jesus performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies to provide a foundation for our faith. However, the CE claims that the Bible is both mistaken and unconcerned about events in the physical world. This undercuts the possibility of any comprehensive proof.

The CE also disparages ID as science and proof. This too goes against the testimony of Scripture that we are “without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20) when we deny the physical evidence for the existence of God. Consequently, the CE worldview has limited the Christian faith to only subjective/personal appeals – “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)

The Bible provides no justification for the CE claim that the Bible is about the spiritual world, while evolution is about the physical. (They make this insupportable distinction in order to relieve any possible contradiction between Jesus and Darwin. After all, they deal with two entirely different realms, right?)

However, even evolutionists will admit that evolution knows no boundaries. The atheist Daniel Dennett refers to this theory as an “acid” that will corrode away all religious belief, and I think he is right! Indeed, evolution is now being evoked to explain everything – psychology, morality and even religion. Nothing is beyond its grasp.

When I raise these concerns with CEs, they tell me that, “we have to be humble about our interpretation of the Bible.” (If only they were as humble about evolution! Almost uniformly, they inform me that the Bible is marred by the ancient and errant beliefs of their time. But who cares about that anyway, since the Bible isn’t about the physical world but the spiritual!)

However, based upon my many dialogues with CEs, they seem to have become so “humble” about the Bible, that they no longer know what to believe, and sadly, it doesn’t seem to trouble them. In fact, they tend to exalt Biblical uncertainty and doubt as the virtues of the sensitive and thinking man. As a result, their worldview is almost inseparable from that of the educated West. How tragic!

8 comments:

  1. If I may add another anti-evolution point. Looking at human beings from a strictly scientific point of view, it is unlikely that we could have survived without divine influence. We possess neither claws, nor fangs, nor brute strength. We are ill equipped physically fight off predators, or to be predators for that matter. Yet, we hunt, kill, and eat animals. We are primarily hairless, and thereby more susceptible to heat and cold then most mammals. Yet, we populate the entire Earth in all climates. In spite of all of our "evolutionary" shortcomings, we are the dominant animal of this world. This is the design of our father.
    Genesis 9: 1.And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
    God made us in his image, gave us high intelligence, and gave us dominion over the earth. Only the largest and fiercest of animals dare to attack humans, and almost all animals show some degree of fear when they see us coming. A world that simply evolved by survival of the fittest would have lions and tigers and bears (oh my) ruling it instead of the hairless, weaponless, proportionally weak and slow primates that humans would be without God.

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    1. Interesting! Indeed, we must have been tool users from the beginning!

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  2. It should be shared with folks like the author and his readers that in following the Bibles statements to pay attention to the evidence given by God in nature, in advoiding adding anti-evolutionary doctrines to the Bible and in acknowledging that the Bible is silent on some issues and mysterious on others that Christians who accept science are remaining more true to the Bible than are those like the author of the OP who add meaning to the Bible and ignore the admonitions that nature bears witness to God.

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    1. Nature does bear witness to God but certainly not every scientific theory.

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  3. You and all of your commentators appear to honest and reasonable people but you all lack even a glimmer of modern common sense! Seriously, what make your computer work? Do you know well the people who built it used a scientific theory not scripture.
    Evolution or the gradual change of species over time is a fact not a faith. Yes, many people have faith in the professional integrity of evolutionary biologists, much like many people have faith in the professional integrity their medical doctor. But evolution and evolutionary theory are not beliefs biologists in this field of research don't use scripture or faith they use facts and scientific reasoning. It is the scientist who bears witness to nature and not your scripture. Please, I implore you; pick up a some modern science texts or take a few university level classes in science. Your all seem to be lacking basic science education. Believe what you like but don't expect everyone to just read scripture and see the world thru its lens. I've done this and it reveals little truth or understanding of the world around you.

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    1. Oh, you want me to read your science texts, "but don't expect everyone to just read scripture and see the world thru its lens." In other words, "I want you to adopt my thinking, but don't expect me to even look at yours."

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  4. Mr. Mann, jumping into this a bit late but then we've had this discussion before. I like the manner in which C.S. Lewis approached the uneven "history" of Scripture. Here's a brief quote from one of his letters. "In what sense does the Bible "present" the Jonah story "as historical"? Of course it doesn’t say, "This is fiction," but then neither does our Lord say that the Unjust Judge, Good Samaritan, or Prodigal Son are fiction (I would put Esther in the same category as Jonah for the same reason). How does a denial, a doubt, of their historicity lead logically to a similar denial of New Testament miracles? Supposing (as I think is the case), that sound critical reading revealed different kinds of narrative in the Bible, surely it would be illogical to suppose that these different kinds should all be read in the same way?"

    Mann, your approach to the Bible is illogical; you force it to say what it was never intended to say.

    I agree that the fossil record (or most other aspects of the evolutionary scenario) is not nearly as neat and tidy as evolutionists would argue. But the same could be said for the differing "genealogies" of Christ, which obviously are not a complete family history but point to a lineage showing how God uses whatever He chooses to achieve His ends.

    Parts of Scripture are history--other parts are not. Your quest for certainty won't resolve the tension. There's a helpful post from CT (What Galileo's Telescope Can't See) that looks back at science from a biblical perspective.

    I've come to appreciate that the closer we get to scientific truth the fuzzier it gets; certainties begin to evaporate. We know the earth revolves around the sun, but since we're clueless about what gravity is, only that it is, we really don't know why. What we touch, see, and feel, is (as far as we know) forms of energy. So getting hung up on how life came to pass or "evolve" is an interesting topic that Scripture touches on in very broad strokes. It tells us who without getting into how. What's so discomforting about that?

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    1. Firefly,

      You correctly claim, “Parts of Scripture are history--other parts are not.” So then, how can we determine the historical from the non-historical? Exegetically - by applying sound principles of interpretation, by proceeding from the known to the unknown.

      Let’s take your example of Jonah as a model. You regard it as unhistorical, while I regard it as historical. Why? Well, first of all, 2 Kings 14:25 regards the prophet Jonah as a real prophet. Jesus too!

      • Matthew 12:39-41: He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

      This should not be taken parabolically (as you suggest) for several reasons:

      1. Jesus doesn’t say, “According to the tale, “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish.” Instead, He seems to affirm that this actually happened.

      2. Jesus then states “so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” If the “Book of Jonah” is no more than a parable and Jesus knew this to be the case, then He is affirming, “In the same way that Jonah was fictitiously in the whale, I too will be fictitiously buried for three days. However, this could not have been His meaning.

      3. Jesus warned Israel that “Nineveh will stand up at the judgment” of them. However, if all knew that Jonah was simply parabolic, they would have scorned Jesus: “As it was fiction that Nineveh repented, so too is it fiction that Nineveh ‘will stand in judgment.’”

      I can’t see anything “illogical” about such an interpretation.

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