Kennedy at Seminary

Monday, October 31, 2005

Creation vs. Evolution

Before I post another class paper, a quick life update:
-I lost six ping-pong games against my friend Matt this evening, moving my career record aginst him to 0-21. I'm getting so close, even to game-point sometimes. One day, Matt, I will prevail.
-I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) Saturday. Finished in 31st place of 50-something men with a time of 24:13. It was the first time I'd run a race. It was 40 degrees when we ran Saturday morning. Rough.
-The intramural shirts are in. I can't wait to wear them.
-Our team won 27-0 in football last week, improving our record to 4-2. If things go well tomorrow, we're in the playoffs.
-Two weeks left in the quarter. Almost to the finish line.
-Went to a haunted house Saturday. Not very scary. Elaborate and gruesome, though. The best part was the end, where we had a find our way through a dark, foggy maze.
-Preached the funeral sermon in class today. It was 8 minutes and 44 seconds. Whoops. It was supposed to be 15. But hey, no one complains about a sermon being too short, only too long. We'll see what the prof has to say.
Ok, here's a paper on creation vs. evolution. I'm arguing against theistic evolution, a standpoint that tries to mesh the two. Hope it's enlightening.

Biblical faith and evolution cannot co-exist. The two ideas of how the world came into being do not fit together. A Christian cannot simultaneously believe that God created the world in six literal days and that the species emerged from an evolutionary process while God sat back and watched. Creation claims things that evolution says are not true. Likewise, evolution makes assertions that do not allow a place for Creation as the Bible records it. Therefore, a Christian must understand the logical inconsistencies between the two schools of thought and must make a decision between the two. Theistic evolution – the theory that God created by means of evolution – is not an acceptable option.
To define briefly, theistic evolution presents us with a front-loaded creation, as Cornelius G. Hunter explains it in Darwin’s Proof. According to the theory, God preprogrammed the history of evolution into the first living cell (143). God directly created the first life form and then stepped back and let the natural laws of evolution shape the world into what it is today.
First, we need to recognize our starting point when trying to reconcile the Bible and evolution. We need to take Scripture first and let everything else – including science – fall into place in line with what the Bible says. We take the wrong approach when we take science first and try to morph the Bible to fit what science says. The best way to approach the problem of evolution is to make sure we have the proper starting point: God’s Word. Scripture should shape our reasoning instead of allowing human reason to take priority over what God has revealed to us in the Bible.
To accept any theory of evolution, whether theistic or not, is to cast doubt on the Bible. The book of Genesis clearly states that God created the world in six days, known as the Hexaemeron. Evolutionists want to interpret the Hexaemeron as six periods of time, possibly millions of years. In Christian Dogmatics volume I, Francis Pieper advises us otherwise: “Scripture forbids us to interpret the days as periods, for it divides the days into evening and morning. That forces us to accept the days as days of 24 hours” (468). The Church historically has understood the days of Creation to be literal 24-hour periods, not indefinite lengths of time to accommodate a lengthy evolutionary process.
In addition to casting doubt on the six days of Creation, theistic evolution calls into question what the Bible says about the creation of man. Evolutionary theory states that man is merely an advanced version of a lower being. Humans are nifty monkeys. The Bible teaches otherwise. According to the Creation account, man is a special being, not an advanced animal. As Pieper writes, the Triune God had a special counsel before creating man. Instead of simply speaking as He did with the rest of creation, God formed man from the dirt. God breathed the breath of life into man and give him a soul. God created man in His own image. The Lord installed man as ruled over all creation. Man is special. Evolutionary theory gives a low view of mankind. The Bible says otherwise. Man is unique in God’s sight. God made a special effort when He created man. A Christian should not insult God’s creation of man by saying humans evolved from some inferior creature.
Another inconsistency between biblical creation and theistic evolution is death. According to the Bible, death is bad. Death is the result of sin. Death harms creation instead of advancing it. Evolution claims that death is good. Weaker life forms must die so that the strong may emerge. Natural selection presupposes that death is necessary to achieve a better world. In contrast, the Bible teaches that death is an unnatural, unfortunate consequence of man’s rebellion against God. “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). Theistic evolution must, by definition, accept two contradictory truths. It must say that death is good because it is the vehicle of evolution and bad because it is a result of sin. This contradiction poses yet another roadblock for theistic evolution.
It would be unwise to abandon what the Bible clearly says to make room for evolution. We should not question whether the Bible is telling the truth. We should not abandon the six literal days of creation. We should not degrade the unique creation of man. We should not call death good when the Bible calls it bad. If we adapt what the Bible says on one of these points, we are opening the door for changing what Scripture says in other places. If we cannot say for sure that the Bible is telling the truth about Creation, how do we know it is truthful in other places? Can we trust that Jesus was really born of a virgin, or should we seek a more logical explanation? Should we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, or does science tell us that bodily resurrection after death would be impossible? Where do we draw the line? Endorsing theistic evolution as an acceptable Christian belief is a step in the wrong direction because it opens the rest of the Bible for questioning.
A common misunderstanding influences the willingness of Christians to reconcile Creation with evolution. Many people do not realize that evolution is as much of a religious belief as Christianity. For some, theistic evolution is appealing because it seems to combine an objective, empirical view with a religious view. In reality, evolution is a religious statement. Theistic evolution presents a God who is transcendent and completely uninvolved in His creation. As Christians, we believe that God is transcendent but at the same time completely involved in the world He created. Theistic evolution teaches that God created a world designed to be governed by secondary causes and then He stepped back permanently. The theory can sound reasonable. Hunter cites Thomas Burnet, a 17th century Anglican cleric, in saying that we would admire a clockmaker more who created a clock that is self-sufficient instead of a clock that need winding all the time. Likewise, according to Burnet, it makes more sense for God to create a world that operates by itself without needing constant intervention from its Creator (90). Evolution is that self-sustaining system. Burnet’s view is nothing more than a religious statement of how much God is involved in the world. Burnet’s logic might sound reasonable, but it is not the way Scripture defines reality. Jesus says in Matthew 10:29: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” The Bible presents us with a God who is involved in every detail of the world. Evolution says the opposite. Both are religious statements. Neither is compatible with the other.
Christians believe in a God who cares too much about His creation to just sit back and let the world run its course. Fist of all, we believe that the world would cease to exist if God were not holding it together. Second, God reveals His love for creation in His involvement. The Gospel is the story of a God who cared too much about His creation to let it rot away in sin. He sent His Son Jesus to restore creation. The God who created is the God who saves. Aside from logical incompatibility, Christian faith does not have room for theistic evolution because it does not present us with the loving God made known to us in Jesus.

2 Comments:

  • Very enlightening - I like what you said in regards to approaching the problem - "make sure we have the proper starting point - God's Word. Scripture should shape our reasoning instead of allowing human reasoning to take priority..." - Thanks for the reminder.

    By Anonymous teq, at 1:42 PM  

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