Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Evolution of Man

A fierce debate rages in today's America about the origin of life.  It is an incredibly important debate that I don't believe can be won by arguing scientific theories (e.g. Intelligent Design, Darwinian Evolution.)  The primary reason it can't be won on scientific evidence is that people have made their minds up on the topic already and can support their position with science.  What I believe Christians should do is focus on the implications of an origin without God and realize that God is bigger than this debate.

1. Implications of life without God

What is inherently better about "life"?  What incentive do I have to preserve my existence or the existence of those around me?  Why is preserving of a group of molecules that have somehow become self-aware more important than not?  A true atheist has no answer.  Any attempt answer that and you leave the realm of the natural and enter the supernatural.

If we are unable to answer that question, then everything falls apart.  There is no authority; no authority for government, no authority for decency, no authority for morality.  Without God no one could tell me that walking into your house and killing your family is wrong, or that walking into a classroom and shooting 32 people is wrong, or that people starving in Africa is wrong.

If atheists realized what they were saying they'd live differently or stop being atheists.

2. Evolution is not bigger than God

Let us assume scientists were to somehow discover "the missing link" or reproduce the "primordial soup" that resulted life, what then for the believer?  Does God cease to exist?  Is the Creation story now irrelevant and wrong?  The answer, of course, is absolutely not.  Rob Bell in his book "Velvet Elvis" takes this idea and expands it using the virgin birth to do so.  He spends a little more time fleshing out the argument using bricks and trampolines as a metaphor, but I'll leave it at that and perhaps get him some more book sales.  The heart of the matter is that we want to introduce people to God and not to a set of rules and doctrines that one can adhere to without knowing why.

 

As always there is plenty more to be said, but this at least gets some of the ideas out there.

9 comments:

Terry said...

Here's the problem with your argument of "it doesn't matter". First of all ALL models of origin are unprovable from a scientific viewpoint and therefore it is a matter of faith whatever version you believe. Second, by acquiesing to the argument of "so what, God is still God" denies the infallibility of the Bible. The Bible states how God created. If we take that out then the Bible is not God's word. Third, there is no sanctity of life -- your first statement about no authority. If you really deconstruct your second point then you can simply shrug your shoulders about abortion or the killings at VT. By shrugging your shoulders at evolution you start down the path of anarchy. What part of scripture do you then scratch? What's to say the virgin birth isn't true or then the gospel.

Sure many unbelievers don't believe those truths so if you are saying get them to trust Christ first then the rest will come I can see that as a starting place. But in the long run everyone will be responsible for what they did with the truth of God from creation on to the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.

Tim said...

The real debate is not about science, but about the existence of God. If there is a creation, and not an evolution, then there must a Creater with a reason for creating, and a set of rules for His creation. As you can see with some segments in our society, many people would be pleased with the scenario Richie described. It would be a highly destructive situation, which makes one think, that if discord and chaos were the "order" of the universe, why it hasn't ceased to exist already. I do think, Richie, that your second point somewhat answers your question, "Does it matter to a Christian?" After all, if all creation worships and glorifies God, then a study of that creation reveals things about God to us, as well as strengthens our faith in Him. It is like when God answers prayer, we are encouraged to pray more often. It becomes real to us. So science is important to Christians. Christians are supposed to seek God, and one way of getting to know someone is to study his work.

Greg said...

As Terry said, all theories about the origin of man are unprovable from a scientific perspective. Even if science could create a man from nothing in a lab today, science cannot prove how it actually happened in the beginning.

Evolutionists (macroevolutionists) have placed their faith in science. Relatively speaking, theirs is a new faith. "At the foundation of nearly every culture is a creation myth that explains how the wonders of the earth came to be ... A supreme being appears in almost every myth ... we continue to make theories on how earth was created. They are our new creation myths. We base our ideas on scientific evidence. However the creation myths were based on what people saw - their observations." Source: http://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths_4.html

We should be prepared to give reasons for our faith (1 Peter 3:15), including evidences for creation (good stuff here http://www.family.org/faith/a000000725.cfm), but we must also LISTEN to others. We should be humble enough to recognize that we're not going to able to figure it all out, and we should convey that humility to others as we present the gospel and our testimony. I know my Redeemer lives, but there are days when I doubt. That's OK.

Each persons chooses to reject Christ or accept Christ. The evidence of scripture and my experience keeps bringing me back to Christ.

I'm with Simon Peter, in John 6:67-69 ... "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

By faith, I believe that in the beginning, God created.

And yes, I agree 100% that this profession of faith has major consequences for how I live my life. If I were a mere animal, then I would only gratify myself. But I was made to glorify God, so I try to "consider others better than myself." This is not natural, this is God's work. Praise Him!

Terry said...

Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

The above passage pretty much describes an evolutionist. Remember I have been trained in that theory as a scientist (undergrad degree is a dual major Biology and Chemistry) and it is hammered home. What man has tried to do over the last century is remove God from his live. It started with evolution in the early 1900's and continued on thru the 1960s on by continuing to remove God from the public square.

If I can remove God from the equation then I have no guilt and I can do whatever I want. It has given rise to the militant homosexual agenda which forces immorality down on all of us -- continue on in the Romans passage for a description of what God has allowed because man has rejected the invisible things of creation.

Here's the other thing: because I just mentioned homosexuality as being immoral I'm now going to be labeled a hater when I said nothing approaching hate. The gay marriage issue is just the beginning; here's the slippery slope (which has already started: where do you draw the line?

God has already showed us what is going to happen so in some ways I agree with Richie when he says some of this stuff doesn't matter. Unbelievers will behave as unbelievers because they have no choice and they will act in their best interests only - to the determent of others - its all about me. However, we are called to be salt and light and we are told that the darkness hates the light. And we're told to be salt which can irritate and also flavor food but we are warned if we lose our saltiness - our impact - then the only good we are is for a paving surface.

So we should not hesitate to share our point of view but do it in a "loving" manner. No matter how we say it tho it will be taken as an offense by the other side.

Richie said...

I already know all of the arguments you guys have put forward and understand them well. I'm just saying that many other people do as well and simply ignore them, because they believe what they want to believe. I was trying to say that focusing them on the implications of an origin without God might help them realize that what they are saying is ultimately destructive. It is very possible that arguing the science of independent design might convince some people, but if someone has decided to be an atheist I doubt that would are going to budge. It might make sense to get them to understand their depravity and showing them how empty Godlessness is might be a step in that direction.

Greg said...

I knew that you already know all my arguments and understand them well. I just felt like jumping in and re-stating them, because they're critical :)
I absolutely agree that it makes eminently good "sense to get them to understand their depravity and showing them how empty Godlessness is might be a step in that direction."
I often think about how hard and senseless and confusing life may seem to an unbeliever.

Tim said...

The question you are asking is, I think, part of a larger question, which is, Should Cristians engage the culture on issues other than evangelizing the culture? I don't want to delve into that here, but perhaps it is something we should deal with in the future.

I agree that we are not going to convert people by stunning them with our brilliant logic or persuasive arguments. Paul talks talks about winning converts through the word of God, and not with words of human wisdom. I think sometimes it is an issue of pride. "Look at me, Lord. Look what I've done. I am so smart, and when I laid the hammer down, he no choice but to convert," as if people are computer programs that if you plug in the right variables, everything comes out spiffy for Jesus.

However, I would like to try and answer your question by giving you a couple of scenarios where it is important to know science.

1)You have been witnessing to someone, and he responds, "I want to believe, because what you are saying is true. But how do I reconcile what you are telling me about God with what science and evolution tell me about mankind?" You can then let him know that not all science and scientists point to evolution. Sure, the science won't bring him to Christ, your witness does that. But he needs to know that science supports the Bible in order to make his faith sure.

2)We are told in the Bible to take care of the earth and to care for the least of peoples. The popular science of the time, that of global warming, says that we are not taking care of the earth properly, and that in order to do so, we must implement certain processes, that would adversely affect not only the poorer segments of our society, but also contribute to the deaths of many people in third world countries. This would leave Christians in a dilemma - If I am caring for the earth, I am not caring for the least of these, but if I care about the least of these, I am not caring about the earth. However, if I am aware of what is going on in the world of science, I can identify global warming as bad science, and realize that I can care about the least of these by arguing against the policies that would be implemented under that bad science, while still taking care of the earth.

Chad said...

Man! Looks like I missed a heated conversation yesterday. I read everything this morning though, thank goodness CWS (Compressed Work Schedule) Fridays are slow!

I think Tim makes some very good points. Our understanding of Science gives us a greater admiration for the complexity and loving nature of God. Also, our understanding of Science does not turn hearts, but we need to have some knowledge of it to at least show unbelievers that Man's truth (which is incomplete, and hopefully growing) comes more and more in line with God's truth (which is complete and largely unknown to man).

Arguement almost always puts people on the defensive. Even if one side of the arguement overcomes the other, human nature hardly ever concedes. Even if the person knows the opposing view is the truth, they will not follow it. Such is the problem of our pride (sin).

I've found that during discussions with nonchristians about related topics, I let their bullets hit me, and don't fire back. I make sure they know I understand what they're saying, but I hold fast to what I know is true. I've had a couple people take notice and say things like "I can't believe how you're so logical, yet still believe in that!". I pray that testimony influences people in the future.

Going back to Richie's original comment. I agree that without God, there is no purpose for life. Unfortunately, as we all know, nonchristians don't know this. I don't believe that nonchristians believe in total anarchy, or truly believe that there is no purpose in life, they just don't know the real one. Most nonchristians' purpose is simply to live and survive. Even though that purpose is ultimately shallow, how can we show them without God changing hearts?

I like reading discovery channel RSS feeds. They often have things related to outer space and evolution findings. Most of the outer space articles tie in to the beginnings of the universe. I just find it really interesting to read, because it shows me how complex and detailed oriented God is. Also, I like to consider other people's views if only to understand how they are masking their search for truth. I hope someday those scientists will ultimately find what they are looking for, if not in the way that they intended.

Terry said...

I just read an opinion by Dinesh D'Sousa on the topic of Intelligent Design -- you can read it on Townhall.com.

Here's the bottom line in all this discussion: You trust Jesus Christ for your eternal destiny by what scriptures say about him and his death and resurrection but you then pick and choose what you trust in scripture as truth? What part is or isn't true? Take out one part of scripture and no you can't trust any of it.

And the true bottom line is one day it will all be revealed as true regardless of how man trys to rationalize it away.