Creation and Evolution: What Must Christians Believe?

I was asked to participate in the current Patheos Book Club discussion about The Language of Science and Faith. In addition to my own reflection, posted below, I invite you to read an excerpt, read an interview with Karl Giberson, and look at other reviews of the book itself. Here’s my take:

Sometimes I forget that there are large portions of the Christian population who don’t believe evolution happened, who think the earth is 4,000 years old, and who assume the universe and all that is in it was created in seven 24-hour days. Of course, when I say I forget, what I really mean is that I don’t encounter many people with these views. Even though we all call ourselves Christians, and we all say we read the Bible as the Word of God, I tend to dismiss those views altogether.

Karl Giberson and Francis Collins are two Christian scientists who believe in evolution, an old earth, and a long process of creation. And they treat Christians who understand the Biblical texts differently with great respect. The Language of Science and Faith was written with Biblical literalists in mind, and as a result I found myself skimming through the chapters that defend various aspects of evolutionary biology and geology. I don’t need to be convinced. Still, the tone of the book—offering gentle but firm correctives and explanations for the compatibility of Scripture and scientific discovery—humbled me.

Giberson and Collins combine their own scientific knowledge with orthodox theology and a helpful history of ideas in order to advocate for “theistic evolution,” a view that asserts God’s hand and sovereignty (although perhaps not God’s control) over creation while simultaneously affirming the freedom of creation to evolve. They call their view Biologos, “a holistic explanatory scheme promoting the belief that evolution is a correct science, and that it effectively describes the method by which God created the panorama of life forms that makes the earth so interesting.”

It is easy for me to accept a biological explanation of things, but the philosophical and theological implications of evolution have troubled me for a long time. What do we make of the apparent wastefulness of creation? I think, for instance, of the 25% of pregnancies that end in miscarriage. What do we make of the apparent cruelty of nature? The mothers who eat their young? The earthquakes and tsunamis and hurricanes that wreak destruction? If evolution is an undirected process of mutation over time, does that mean that life is purposeless? And how do we understand the theological concept of being created in the image of God if we originated from a common ancestor with all other forms of life, including plants?

To some degree, Collins and Giberson address these issues. I would have preferred a book that spent more time on these questions than on defending the science itself, but that’s really an unfair complaint given what this book set out to do. They propose that “God has endowed nature with a degree of freedom.” Just as human beings have “free will,” so nature “has an inherent liberty… the unfolding patterns of nature are not restricted to machine-like, predetermined paths.”

On the question of the creation of human beings, Collins and Giberson basically shrug their shoulders. They believe God did it, but what exactly that means remains unknowable from a scientific point of view: “the Genesis account does not tell us how God created—only that God did create and that human beings are a part of God’s plan and not an accident.” Although I tend to agree with their conclusions, again I wish they had spent more time offering insights into the distinctiveness of human beings within God’s creation.

I recommend this book for any Christian who struggles to understand the Biblical account of creation and the reigning biological explanation for our environment. The Language of Science and Faith is well-written. It gives enough detail to answer plenty of basic questions, but it never gets too technical (I only took two years of high school science, so if I can follow along, so can most others). And it is written with graciousness and thoughtfulness. Let’s hope that Christians across the spectrum of belief are willing to engage these ideas with equal humility and respect.

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).

Comments

  1. While I am not necessarily a young earth person, who believes in a six 24-hour day creation, or that the earth is 6,000 years old (not 4,000 as you indicated), I do believe it is possible, so I don’t “write them off” as you do. When I form a viewpoint about a controversial subject, I think it is important to say, “but I could be wrong.” I am equally troubled about some of the views of Biologos, because I believe there had to be a “First Adam” in order for the “Second Adam” to be necessary. But, then, I could be wrong.

    • Alison, Thanks for your comment. Perhaps I should have been more clear that I think I should develop more humility in my thinking towards people who don’t assume the Biologos position.

  2. Caravelle says:

    “but I could be wrong” is an extremely vague statement that applies to everything one says, even non-controversial subjects. The more interesting question is, under what conditions could I be wrong ? What would the implications be ? How likely is it ? What is the evidence either way ?

    Just because someone “writes off” certain opinions doesn’t mean they don’t accept they could be wrong. It just means they think it’s unlikely enough that they can choose to put their time and effort elsewhere.

    So for example, “I do believe it is possible“, what does that mean ? Scientifically speaking, the Earth being 6000 years old isn’t a controversial question at all. It could be possible if, say, God created the Earth 6000 years ago and made it look exactly as if it was 4.6 billion years old, but that’s not the position of most young-earth creationists.

  3. And as a Christian who does understand the Genesis account to be the explanation of how God created the world in the beginning and the Scriptures to be the source of truth, I’m always surprised at Christians who forget that evolution is only a theory, requiring faith, just as believing in a literal understanding of Genesis 1 requires faith. Perhaps these authors didn’t spend much time “offering insights into the distinctiveness of human beings within God’s creation” because the notion of evolution renders human beings indistinct in creation.

  4. Annette,

    Most people on the evolution side, at least those who have given it any thought, don’t have “faith” in it in the conventional sense of the word. They are convinced of it based upon evidence and logic, in much the same way a person might be convinced of anything else. If new evidence, or a new logical argument they hadn’t thought of, is presented, they are open to changing their opinion.

    Do you think it takes “faith” to think that the earth is round? There is an overwhelming amount of evidence for it, and most reasonable people will acknowledge that, while technically possible, it is highly, highly unlikely. (just as it is possible that we all live in a computer simulation a la The Matrix, or that it is possible that the government is made up of reptilian aliens disguised as humans)

    I’m sure if there were a significant population arguing for the “flat earth hypothesis”, they would probably accuse the “round earthers” of basing their beliefs on faith, and being closed minded. As opposed to simply having looked at the evidence, heard the arguments, and formed an opinion. The main difference between the “flat earth hypothesis” and the “young earth hypothesis” is that the latter still has a lot of adherents.

    BTW, you say evolution is “only a theory,” which is simply not true if you intend “theory” to be a synonym of “hypothesis” (which you clearly do).

  5. Annette,

    Most people on the evolution side, at least those who have given it any thought, don’t have “faith” in it in the conventional sense of the word. They are convinced of it based upon evidence and logic, in much the same way a person might be convinced of anything else. If new evidence, or a new logical argument they hadn’t thought of, is presented, they are open to changing their opinion.

    Do you think it takes “faith” to think that the earth is round? There is an overwhelming amount of evidence for it, and most reasonable people will acknowledge that, while technically possible, it is highly, highly unlikely that it is flat. (just as it is possible that we all live in a computer simulation a la The Matrix, or that it is possible that the government is made up of reptilian aliens disguised as humans)

    I’m sure if there were a significant population arguing for the “flat earth hypothesis”, they would probably accuse the “round earthers” of basing their beliefs on faith, and being closed minded. As opposed to simply having looked at the evidence, heard the arguments, and formed an opinion. The main difference between the “flat earth hypothesis” and the “young earth hypothesis” is that the latter still has a lot of adherents.

    BTW, you say evolution is “only a theory,” which is simply not true if you intend “theory” to be a synonym of “hypothesis” (which you clearly do).

  6. Just to clarify a couple of things the other comments brought up.
    1. It doesn’t matter to me if the earth was created in 6 24-hour days. When I say “I could be wrong,” I refer to Francis Shaefer who believed there were several ways to interpret Genesis 1 that still fell under the umbrella of creationism. But it does matter that Adam & Eve were the first people. Without a literal Adam & Eve, there is no sin, no fall, no savior and the story of our redemption is simply a fairy tale.
    2. The young earth view can also be called the “apparent age” view. God created Adam & Eve, the animals, etc., not as infants, but as adults, the trees as fully grown trees, not seedlings.
    3. The people I know that hold to evolution believe it is a proven fact, not a theory or even an hypothesis.
    4. Amy, my objection to Biologos (not you – and I hate it that I disagree with you on this topic because you are brilliant and kind), is that they treat people like me, who do not hold to their view as stupid, or they think I’m making a joke. At least this is the response I get from them personally, when I suggest to them the importance of a “First Adam” (i.e., well, Jesus was confused when He talked about the first Adam; or, Jesus probably didn’t have any scientific training at the time like we have, so he didn’t really understand how God fits into the universe). I try to understand that they want desperately to justify two belief systems, but not even Darwin believed that was possible. I think it is one of those theological issues where each side kind of feels sorry for the other side (and maybe a little superior) for believing the way they do.
    By-the-by, I have a wonderful, wonderful friend in Ireland, a godly man, who doesn’t think there has to be a literal Adam. I love him all the same, and don’t doubt at all his devotion to God, but I probably wouldn’t let him marry my daughter. Just saying …

  7. alison said: “3. The people I know that hold to evolution believe it is a proven fact, not a theory or even an hypothesis.”

    For all intents and purposes it is. Although “proven” is a bit fuzzier term in science than it is in math, and most scientists don’t like to use the word. Evolution is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence, to the same degree that a round earth is.

    BTW, I find it bizarre that you wouldn’t let someone marry your daughter based on his slightly different interpretation of ancient texts. Just bizarre.

  8. Evolutionary Christians are cool; fundamentalist Christians are followers of a very ignorant variation of Christianity.

    How do fundamentalist Christians think of evolutionary Christians? Simple, they think evolutionary Christians have lost their faith and denied the bible.

  9. Excellent article, Amy. Biologos is also a website. (link: http://www.biologos.org).
    @Annette~
    “I’m always surprised at Christians who forget that evolution is only a theory, requiring faith…”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What science means by a theory is completely different from its alternate meaning in everyday language. The word “theory” used in common speaking is defined as a “guess” or a “hunch”, but when it’s used to describe a scientific explanation of how natural things work, it’s not a guess or a hunch at all. It’s a huge, peer reviewed collection of facts, evidence, confirming experiments and conclusions. Only after all that, is science willing to call something a theory—and even then, it’s still falsifiable by new evidence. Evolution is as solid a theory as the atomic theory of matter. Sometimes science, through its own detachment, tends to withdraw itself too far off the pathways of public understanding— much to its own detriment. This is surely the case with evolution, a strong theory that needs more popular understanding.

  10. rob,
    When you say: “Evolution is overwhelmingly supported by the evidence,” what exactly are you referring to as “Evolution”? If you are referring to change within a kind, nobody disagrees with that, but should that be considered “Evolution,” since even creationists believe in that type of change? The real issue is in regards to change beyond the “kind” level, to which there is absolutely no evidence for in the fossil record, nor can it be observed happening today. The big bang theory (vacuum fluctuation included) has been disproven scientifically, as has abiogenesis (life from non-life).

    With absolutely no evidence to support trans-kind transformation in the fossil record, or evidence of that type of change taking place today, all that is left is to try to include things in your theory that are not really evolution per se, and to claim that change within a kind, proves change beyond a kind, and that is an assumption that is based totally on faith.

    By the way, the Bible clearly indicated over 2500 years ago that the earth is round. If you really understand how fast change can occur in earth’s appearance, it certainly does not appear to be 4.6 billion years old either. How much has earth’s appearance changed in the last 100 years? Go back 44 of those and you are back to about the time of a great flood, of which there are over 300 known historical accounts of in ancient cultures. It usually comes down to what a person wants to believe. All evidence has to be interpreted.

  11. Rob,

    I’ve found that the creation v. evolution debates in blog comments are generally unproductive, so I’m simply going to clarify for others who may read this what I’m saying. My concern for Christians who grapple with trying to mesh Scripture with science (and I don’t believe they are incompatible by any means–I respect the discipline of science) is to consider their starting points–what is foundational in their world view–because that will certainly affect their position on all of this.

    Many scientists would argue that since we can observe natural selection, descent from a common ancestor would be true as well. This leap is a presupposition that the current processes we observe could cause the origin of completely novel structures. Because it isn’t consistent with information theory and the laws of nature, this idea of evolution is, in this sense, a theory. I understand that science has its own definition of theory and that by this definition evolution is not a theory. Again, it all depends on your starting point.

    My starting point for understanding all things is God and his Word. I don’t expect there will be many adherents to that, but then I don’t necessarily base my convictions on sheer numbers of people who share it.

  12. Gilberson and Collins would have us believe that evolutionism corrects our misinterpretation of Genesis just as Galileo’s discoveries corrected misinterpretations of Psalms in the 17th century. There are problems with this view. Gilberson has made it clear that he does not believe that Adam and Eve were real people created by God in the beginning, even though Jesus clearly taught that they were (Matthew 19:4). Not surprisingly then, Gilberson and other Biologos writers also reject the historicity of man’s fall into sin, even though Paul clearly taught it (I Timothy 2:13-14). So they have no coherent explanation for evil and suffering in the world. Biologos spokesmen are not advocating a corrected interpretation of the Bible. They are rejecting clear Biblical teachings.

    Another problem with Gilberson and Collins is that they have failed to reconcile evolutionism and the Bible at a foundational level. How are we to make sense of God’s sovereignty without God’s control? How can God direct a process that is inherently random? Why is God needed in a process that is in essence a natural one? These and other questions are not answered.

    The primary reason is that evolutionism, as framed by its leading proponents, is an intrinsically materialistic faith system. It purports to explain all reality without resorting to the supernatural. Consequently, attempts to reconcile it to the Bible are futile. Biologos has one foot planted on a mistaken notion of science and the other on a theological banana peel. We are better off correcting evolutionism by the Bible, rather than the other way around.

  13. In my limited experience and education of the Creationism vs. Evolution debate, the two world-views have necessarily been mutually exclusive; but, for quite some time now, I’ve seen a concurrent need for both. (E.g. Aren’t the sciences, esp. biology, a manifestation of the wonder and miracle of God?)

  14. Furthermore, I see that God has given us the ability to reason, using science and the empirical method to carry out such wonderful and noble causes as discovering cures/treatments for the many diseases and illnesses of the world.

  15. “The big bang theory (vacuum fluctuation included) has been disproven scientifically, as has abiogenesis (life from non-life).”

    As an astrophysicist, I’d be curious to see how the Big Bang theory has been falsified. Could you supply some evidence to support your claims? That goes for your other statements as well. (The flood, the Bible saying the Earth is round, no so called macro-evolution, ect. A definition of kind would also be helpful.)

  16. I think Stephen Enjaian has brought out some important points that are really at the heart of why so many Christians reject the long history of life on Earth and the descent of humans from a common ancestor with other primates. Natural Selection is a profoundly wasteful process which creates many more failures than successes, and requires so much struggle and suffering among candidates. Only a blind, natural process could be indifferent to so much suffering. It seems wholly incompatible with a sovereign, loving God. Indeed, the reconciliation of evolution and Biblical theology raises many more questions than it answers, and only serves to magnify the problem of evil, the Achilles’ Heel of Christianity.

    That is why former Christians like myself have ultimately come to reject Christianity as a truly overarching explanation for the facts of life, and that is why the vast majority of creationist organizations reject the modern evolutionary synthesis. All prominent Creationist organizations will tell you that evolutionary theory undermines Biblical doctrine starting with Adam and Eve and the story of original sin, and with heavyweights of reconciliation like Giberson, Collins and others offering no real coherent explanation for this disparity it is not difficult to see why many Christians feel threatened by the facts of evolution. Hence the misinformed claims of evolution being “only” a theory based on presupposition and differing interpretations of the evidence, despite the overwhelming harmony of the evidence with the modern theory of evolution. It is not about evidence, despite the protestations of folks like Arv, but ultimately about the threat that such naturalistic explanations pose to the weak doctrine of original sin.

    • To tyaddow,

      You are correct that this discussion is not ultimately about evidence, but for a different reason. Darwin thought that the cell was a simple mass of protoplasm, but the discoveries of biochemistry and information theory have exposed that view as hopelessly absurd and have made evolutionism untenable. Evolutionism cannot account for either the evidence of design or the origin of the information that produced it. Harold Franklin, a devoted evolutionist and one of the world’s leading molecular biologists wrote: “we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations” (The Way of the Cell, p. 205).

      We agree that the accomodationist response is inconsistent, but I find the atheist way of handling the problem of evil just as unacceptable. The late atheist Bertrand Russell once challenged Christians to tell what they would say at the bed of a dying child. That’s a fair question. What is the atheist answer? Tough luck? That’s essentially what Richard Dawkins says. How is that better than the Christian response?

      Positing an indifferent universe is merely an attempt to define evil out of existence. It leaves atheists with the same problem of evil but no answer. Christians hold that God is not indifferent to evil, but took it on Himself in the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, through whom suffering will ultimately be redeemed.

  17. Arv Edgeworth :

    All evidence has to be interpreted.

    Or, for some people, flatly denied.

    Transitional fossils exist and illustrate how some groups of animals evolved into other groups. Creationists deny this by misunderstanding what a “transitional fossil” consists of, and by asserting all transitional fossils clearly belong in one group or the other. Which is irrelevant on the one hand, and hilarious on the other when they can’t agree with each other on which group the fossil clearly belongs to. Here’s one illustration for hominid skulls :
    talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/compare.html
    And for anyone who’s interested examples of transitional fossils :
    talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.html
    talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

    Multiple lines of evidence do show that the Earth is much, much older than 6,000 or 10,000 years. Creationists deny this by bringing up examples of fast change (irrelevant, the question is whether slow changes also exist) and by denying radiometric dating wholesale, which is unnecessary because it’s not the only evidence for an old Earth (cf lake varves) and has the strange implication that all scientists are either liars or complete morons for not seeing some very obvious flaws in the method (actually, those flaws are taken into account).

    There is no physical evidence for there having been a global flood, nor for the human population ever having been reduced to eight people, let alone less than 6000 years ago.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6000_BC

    The Bible says lots of things on the shape of the Earth. It says the Earth is a circle, it says it has four corners, it says one can see all of it from a high enough mountain, something about pillars, etc.

    And the claim that the Big Bang and abiogenesis have been scientifically disproven is plain bizarre.

    But whatever, everything is interpretation and all we know is that we know nothing and the true sage never sets her alarm clock because how do we know there even will be a tomorrow ?

    (all links delinked but should work with copy-paste)

  18. @Annette: Gravity is “only” a theory. But it doesn’t require faith. The “evolution requires faith” argument is fallacious, basically something some high school youth pastor said once and then everyone who heard him started saying it until it went around the world. But I could be wrong…

  19. Caravelle says:

    Stephen Enjaian : Harold Franklin, a devoted evolutionist and one of the world’s leading molecular biologists wrote: “we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations” (The Way of the Cell, p. 205).

    Quite true. Of course the fact that we don’t know how the first cells evolved yet (they probably did evolve, abiogenesis is distinct from evolution but it’s likely the first replicators weren’t cells at all, or not as we know them today) doesn’t make the theory of evolution invalid or “evolutionism” untenable, any more than the fact that we can’t solve the three-body problem makes “gravitationism” untenable.

    Positing an indifferent universe is merely an attempt to define evil out of existence. It leaves atheists with the same problem of evil but no answer.

    It doesn’t sound like you know what the problem of evil is. The fact that evil exists, and is a bad thing is indeed a problem, a practical problem. Up to now I think everyone’s agreed that the only solution we have is “let’s do something about it”.

    But the thing referred to as “the problem of evil” for religion AFAIK isn’t the fact that evil exists, but the fact that a good and all-powerful God would allow evil to exist. That’s not a practical or moral problem, it’s a logical one. Positing an indifferent universe doesn’t define evil out of existence, and it doesn’t contribute much to the problem of “how to deal with evil” (although it has implications on the *nature* of evil that can be quite useful), but at least it’s logically consistent on that front.

    @Amy : I came to your blog through this post, and have commented three times up to now without talking about your posts directly which occurs to me isn’t very courteous, so for the record : I like your blog ! I don’t have that much to contribute on the other posts is all ^^

  20. Caravelle: “Of course the fact that we don’t know how the first cells evolved yet…doesn’t make the theory of evolution invalid or “evolutionism” untenable, any more than the fact that we can’t solve the three-body problem makes “gravitationism” untenable.”

    That is a fallacious comparison. The three-body problem has to do with models to predict the motions of masses that attract each other according to a known law of physics. Evolutionism falters not only in its total failure to explain how a random, step-by-step process can produce an irreducibly complex molecular system. It is not merely a matter of scientists not yet understanding. It is the fundamental contradiction of saying that complex biochemical machines look and act exactly like engineered systems, yet cannot be designed.

    “But the thing referred to as “the problem of evil” for religion AFAIK isn’t the fact that evil exists, but the fact that a good and all-powerful God would allow evil to exist. That’s not a practical or moral problem, it’s a logical one.”

    That would be true only if Christianity did not also hold that there is a greater and redemptive purpose even in suffering. That may be difficult to accept, but it is not logically contradictory.

    “It doesn’t sound like you know what the problem of evil is. The fact that evil exists, and is a bad thing is indeed a problem, a practical problem.”

    Then perhaps you should define what you mean by “the problem of evil.” Materialism, followed to its conclusion, says that there really is no evil, only accidents. Accidents are not evil. They are meaningless. If they are meaningless, then we just put up with them.

    Herein is the practical problem for the philosophy of materialism. When people act on the belief that their actions have no meaning or purpose, then they become nihilistic and a part of the problem, with staggering ramifications.

  21. Caravelle says:

    Evolutionism falters not only in its total failure to explain how a random, step-by-step process can produce an irreducibly complex molecular system. Natural selection is anything but random. And irreducibly complex systems can perfectly well be created in step-by-step processes where each step is perfectly functional. Here’s an example with a mousetrap :
    http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html

    It is the fundamental contradiction of saying that complex biochemical machines look and act exactly like engineered systems, yet cannot be designed. Evolution is a design process, that by nature will result in things that can serve a purpose (what purpose that is depends on what the selection pressures are). Engineered systems are systems built to serve a purpose. There’s no contradiction in why the two would look similar.

    That would be true only if Christianity did not also hold that there is a greater and redemptive purpose even in suffering. That may be difficult to accept, but it is not logically contradictory.
    Positing that evil has a good purpose is indeed one of three ways a religion with an all-good all-powerful god can resolve the problem. I never said religion doesn’t have ways to do this; I was simply correcting your mischaracterisation of how it works with an indifferent universe.

    Then perhaps you should define what you mean by “the problem of evil.”
    I did. In the quote you responded to in the previous paragraph.

    Materialism, followed to its conclusion, says that there really is no evil, only accidents.
    Nope. It does have the implication that we can’t just assert evil exists, we have to know what we mean by the word. Everyone agrees that pain, suffering, the things and especially the people that cause pain and suffering are bad and it would be better if there were less of them. And fighting to reduce pain and suffering in the world while increasing happiness and joy is perfectly meaningful from a materialist point of view.

    When people act on the belief that their actions have no meaning or purpose, then they become nihilistic and a part of the problem, with staggering ramifications.
    I like the coyness of the “staggering ramifications”. The fact is, people are people and act like people, whatever their philosophy. Most people will find purpose and meaning in their lives and actions, whether they believe this purpose comes from a god, themselves or some other source.

    In fact I’d say that people who really don’t have any meaning or purpose in their lives have “staggering ramifications” only for themselves since they won’t do much. I’d wager those people who killed thousands or millions in the name of ideology and power were very purposeful indeed, be they materialistic or religious.

  22. Rob, It is bizarre, but it has to do more with believing that two people who marry should put an equal value on the truthfulness of scripture than on any one issue if ultimately they want to have a harmonious life. But what I said was a bit tongue in cheek.

  23. Annette @ 15 – Very good comments. My starting point it that I believe in God and believe that his word is true. To me the scientific discoveries of the last 50 or so years point to God; to my friend, the atheist, they point away from God. I take the position that when science and Christians disagree, science is sometimes right. When science and God disagree, God is always right. God cannot and will not contradict Himself. I know that’s simplistic (Rob, if you’re reading this), but that is where I stand.

  24. Caravelle: “Irreducibly complex systems can perfectly well be created in step-by-step processes where each step is perfectly functional.”
    I’m not sure that the mousetrap drawings that you cited prove the point, unless all actually work, which I doubt. Professor McDonald said that his drawings were “not intended as an analogy of how evolution works,” but then attempted to draw such an analogy, twice. Perhaps he sensed that refuting the mousetrap illustration is not enough, since there are still “no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations,” and no evolutionary explanation for the information necessary to organize those systems.

    “Evolution is a design process….”
    That’s not what leading evolutionists say. Here are two of many examples. Richard Dawkins: “Life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” William Provine: “There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life and no free will for humans.”

    “And fighting to reduce pain and suffering in the world while increasing happiness and joy is perfectly meaningful from a materialist point of view.”
    Materialism holds that the cosmos is indifferent and we are merely dancing to our DNA. If DNA doesn’t care about the suffering of others, then why should we? A materialist may work to alleviate others’ suffering, but that is not an outcome of materialism, which offers no incentive for altruism. Since in materialism there is no ultimate foundation for ethics, every person makes his own rules. The logical and common outcome has been to increase suffering. A review of the past century shows that the genocides and other state-sponsored mass murders were carried out by people acting consistent with the presumptions of materialism. Experience shows the human propensity to find one’s purpose and meaning in deliberate, even gratuitous actions that cause suffering to others.

    Redefining evil as merely a practical problem fails to address the cause. It denies that evil is a deviation from the way things ought to be, a wrong that should be made right. In fact, evolutionism implies that suffering and its causes are the norm, intrinsic to the process.

    Saying that “people are people and act like people” is tautological. It is much more helpful to recognize that there is a moral order and acknowledge the moral component and human role in suffering.

  25. In order to believe that the world is older than what the bible teaches (approx. 6000 yrs), one must believe in death before sin because it is clear that sin brought death (Romans 5:12) and as such there was no death before sin.

    Jesus himself taught that Adam and Eve (who were real people, Luke 3:38) were created from the beginning (Mark 10:6). By stating that the earth is older than when Adam and Eve were created, one is calling Jesus a liar which then becomes heresy borderlining blasphemy against God.

    Why is it so difficult to believe that if God can created the entire universe (not thru the big bang which is the big dud) but by His spoken Word, that He could have created the entire earth and everything that is in it in one day, just as he created the heavens, stars and the moon. How powerful do you think God is? Is it not possible that He could have done it one a moment rather than 6 days? We know were our month (time for moon to revolve around the earth), our year (time for earth to revolve around sun), then where does the week come from if not from the 6 day work/1 day rest example given to us in Genesis 1.

    Yes, I beleive a true “born-again” Christian MUST submit themself to God’s Word whether they think otherwise because it declares oneself as “smarter” then God which is exactly what Satan (in the Garden of Eden) attempted when speaking to Eve. Its called PRIDE. The greatest and largest sin of all. It is pride that declares ourself as wiser then God, smarter then God and not needing God and His grace and mercy upon us born sinners core to the bone.

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).

    I encourage all readers who declare themselves to believe in God to also believe in His Word. It’s all we have; without it, we have no hope.

  26. Nice writeup Julia. To your point about about Collins not taking enough time to focus on the theological implications of evolution, he doesn’t because there’s nothing really to focus on and he knows that. I have seen him speak and have studied his views. You are right in what you are thinking but not wanting to say about life having a much different context if evolution is true, and I understand the theological confusion that results from that. I wrote about it a few years ago when I was looking if the evolution and the general biblical narrative can coexist. I’m not trying to offer link spam here, but feel free to check it out http://www.christianevolution.com/2012/05/is-theistic-evolution-possible.html

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