<$BlogRSDURL$> abbr, acronym { cursor: help; font-style: normal; font-weight:bold; color: #2a548d; /*border-bottom: 1px solid; */ }

Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Friday, January 14, 2005


Evolution And Scripture

David has decided to take on a question (that I asked here) in a short series of posts (so far: Parts 1 and 2). There is no doubt that David has a far stronger command of Scripture than I do, so I will not try to counter his arguments point by point by citing conflicting passages (if they exist at all). Rather, I will offer a few thoughts that occurred to me while reading his posts. My purpose is only gain better understanding of his position and of my own.

With respect to David's first post:

In his first point, David writes:

If God created by using something like evolution, it was a directed evolution, with a goal in mind, and this is quite incompatible with what most people mean by evolution. Gen. 1:24 says, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." In other words, God created intentionally. Even if something like evolution took place, it was not randomness driving the process, because God already had a plan for what the end result would be.
To address the first part of this statement. "Directed evolution" is only necessary if you do assume that Life is unique to Earth. If, on the other hand, life exists in other places around the universe, then probability might allow for intelligent life arising somewhere. In that case, why would God care where intelligent life came to be, so long as it exists. As for the second part, I'm not sure that I agree with David's conclusion . "Let the earth bring forth" is not, in my mind, the same as "He brought forth". To me, the text actually implies that the "earth" is the immediate cause of the "bring[ing] forth" of "living creatures" while God is the ultimate Cause. David concludes this point with:

Even if something like evolution took place, it was not randomness driving the process, because God already had a plan for what the end result would be.
I agree with the second part of this statement. God may very well have had a plan for the "end result", namely: intelligent beings capable of recognizing Him. What I do not see from this passage is that God particularly cared what the intermediate steps where that lead to the final outcome.

The second point included this passage:

Scripture talks about God's creative word happening immediately when he speaks. See Psalm 33:6 and 9, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth ... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth."
My only question here is: What is 'time' to God? Does the concept of 'time' have any meaning when speaking of God's works? I suppose that for us to speak of such things we need some sort of reference to time...but I do not see how the literal "word of the Lord" can be constrained by our concept of time.

(I will skip point 3 because I dealt with that issue above) Point 4 again deals with the directness of God's actions. Yet again, I do not see how any of this excludes the possibility that the passages are speaking of God as the Ultimate Cause acting through proximate (comprehendible) causes.

The final point (#5) of the first post deals with Adam and Eve:

Genesis clearly teaches that God created Adam and Eve in a special way -- in the image of God -- far different from the rest of creation.
Some have attempted to do away with this problem by saying that Adam and Eve are not meant to be understood as literal individuals -- but in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22 and 45-49, we learn that Adam was a real historical individual who represented mankind. (There are many other passages affirming that Adam and Eve really lived, as well: Luke 3:38, Acts 17:26, 1 Cor. 11, 2 Cor. 11, 1 Tim. 2, etc.)
Let's say that Adam is a true historical figure (ignoring for now the discrepancies between archeology and Biblical generation-counting), I still do not necessarily see a problem. Assuming that some natural process lead to the development of humans from a non-human ancestor, there still must have been a 'first' human. Obviously the veracity of this 'scientific' explanation is dependent on our understanding of speciation...which is quite lacking. However, from my point of view the important thing about human beings is that we can form the conception of God. That ability is what separates us from animals and, in my view, lead to God endowing us with a soul.

On to Part 2 of David's series. This post is divided into two parts entitled: "The Fall" and "Theistic evolution is deistic". Here we go...

In this first section, he basically affirms that Scripture establishes that Adam was a true historical person. David posits that this eliminates evolution as a possibility since there would never have been a 'first' person. As I mentioned above, I am not sure this is true. However, there would be some serious disagreements between the naturalistic and Biblical accounts if we considered Adam's lifespan (and those of his descendents). David doesn't mention that and I don't have a great explanation for it except to suggest that the Bible is the inspired Word of God...written by human beings. I readily admit that this is a suspiciously convenient universal fallback position...but there may very well be something to it. The problem is that such an assertion goes to the very nature of the Bible and Christian faith themselves...a topic I am not going to get into here.

The second section deals with David's assertion that "Theistic evolution is deistic".

Theistic evolution is deistic. Deism is the view of God as the great clock-winder, as I mentioned above. He set creation up in a certain way, and he let it go. In countless places, Scripture rejects this view of God: We see God working many miracles (just read the gospels), and intervening in spectacular ways in history numerous times. There are so many occasions I won't present a list, but just consider some of them:
I suppose you could argue that God does intervene in his creation as I've just described -- but that he CREATED using evolution directed according to the laws he established. But why? Some have argued that it's unscientific to admit the possibility of supernatural intervention in the origin of life, and we should not do it when a scientific explanation would do just as well. But if God can create as he sees fit, he is not limited by whether or not something seems "scientific" to us. As I mentioned above (in referring to Grudem), there are a number of passages which affirm God's direct activity in creation. It seems to me that Scripture is quite clear that God in fact actively participated in creation -- not just of physical laws, but of life. I guess the question is this: Is it more important for you to have an explanation which seems "scientific" because it rejects the active involvement of God in creation, or to believe the Bible when it teaches that God does as he sees fit -- including actively intervening in his creation and being actively involved in creating?
I completely agree that God is free to "create as he sees fit" and it is entirely possible that he did so just as David claims. I do, however, have a reason for taking the opposite stance. Simply put, to assert that God created life as David describes is to destroy science as we know it. While it is entirely possible that we've simply gotten all this 'science' stuff wrong, doing so would (in my opinion) destroy our ability to understand the world in any way, shape or form. If David is correct then we cannot trust that observable event --> observable event. Where does that leave us? Am I missing something? (Yes, that's a serious question...I'm not being a smart-arse.) It seems to me that if we go down that road we might as well go back to the Dark Ages.

In the end I guess that's my basic problem in this whole discussion. If we abandon the concept that we can understand natural phenomena, then we are completely in the dark. Sure, we could still make small molecules that effect the body in this way or that...but I think that something very fundament would be lost. Taken to its logical conclusion, the idea of Intelligent Design removes on of the most potent scientific questions: Where do we come from? The purpose of scientific research into that question is to answer it so wouldn't the answer, once found, leave us in the same place? To me, the answer is 'no'. Discovering a scientifically sound answer to the question Where do we come from would shed light on a long-unanswered question while leaving the validity of the scientific endeavor intact.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?