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Honest to God on the Issues #002: Evolution and Creationism November 16, 2012

Posted by Daniel Benjamin Smith (dsmith77) in Honest to God on the Issues.
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There are fundamental questions capable of changing the direction of the entire human race.

  • Where did we come from?
  • How did the universe come to exist?
  • Is there a God?

By and large, there are only two real alternatives – Creation or Evolution – though some individuals would discount either one or the other. Furthermore, the Creation-Evolution controversy is well known but it’s also incredibly complex in ways that most people are not familiar.

First, let’s talk about Evolution which is actually an umbrella term. It can refer to any of several different and specific scientific processes acting at different zoom levels of our world. It’s a common tactic for a proponent of evolution to provide an example from one area, say the mutation of a virus into a new strain at the micro level, and then claim that proves evolution is the explanation for what happens in a different area, like Man evolved from an ape-like ancestor at the Macro level. Dr. Rana of Reasons to Believe likens it to the Shell Game.

It takes someone trained in the sciences to understand such details and to provide a way to refute the truth-claims of evolution (that Man evolved from an ape-like ancestor) without mucking up the science. Which brings me to a particular bible passage, Romans 1:18-23:

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” – Romans 1:18-23 (NKJV)

This amazing passage states that the universe (the heavens) reveals God’s handiwork. What the bible says about God creating the universe cannot be separated from scientific facts. God is both Lord and Creator. Thus the Evolution – Creation debate is in fact a “false” debate. Modern Christianity has stepped right into a trap that C. S. Lewis warned us about long ago:

“[The Devil] always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.” – C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Young-Earth Creationism is the other error because it denies that the physical world, which God created, is the way that science says it is. Scientists merely observe the physical world and make interpretations and inferences about how it works. The scientific process itself is very pragmatic: whatever works is kept and built upon to create a fuller and more complete model.

Now, I am not proposing that the evolutionary explanation for the origin of humanity and the universe is correct. Far from it in fact. As a Christian, evolution is the obvious error in Lewis’ comparison. But Romans 1:18-23 merges belief in God with an accurate understanding of the world God made. The bible states that humans are fallen and sinful. How much more then must our own interpretations, both of scripture and of science, be treated with suspicion?

I cannot help you make the choice to accept this conclusion but I can point you to the organization which helped me. I spent years working through trying to find an integrated approach to science and scripture and I found it in Reasons to Believe. Do not believe all the lies you might have heard about them. They are honest, professional, and trustworthy. More to the point, they’re also logical and consistent. They’re scientists and Christians so they understand the particulars of this debate in ways that the rest of us cannot. I’ve looked at the alternatives and found them illogical and God is a God of logic, of sense, of consistency.

So I urge you, my brothers and sisters, to look to Reasons to Believe. Contact them. Subscribe to their podcasts. Read their books. According to I Thessalonians 5:21, test what they say and hold on to the good. I have followed them for 15 years and they have never faltered or failed to offer an explanation for all of the challenges posed by so great a debate.

Your science apologetics will soar through the roof when based on real science. Another tool in the Master’s toolkit to minister, counsel, and encourage.

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My Christian Worldview February 16, 2009

Posted by Daniel Benjamin Smith (dsmith77) in Faith, Science.
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Over at Rebecca LuElla Miller’s blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, I’ve been part of a lively discussion concerning my Christian worldview of science and how that interacts with my faith. The particular post in question is: Is God Cruel, Deceptive, or Incompetent?.

I invite those that wish to know more about my beliefs to read through the comments there, but here are a few quick excerpts:

“I guess what I’m saying is there must be a foundation for the belief. I trust what the bible says too, but I believe God invented the laws of the universe that are studied in science as well. Thus, they are also a trustworthy avenue of inquiry. Only when an interpretation of scripture and empirical evidence from science are found to be in agreement can I be certain that I have found the right explanation. (Otherwise, look to an incorrect interpretation of the scripture or the scientific data.) God inspired both and He can’t contradict Himself. Thus, both will be in agreement when understood properly”

And:

“Now, I don’t want this to turn into a debate about evolution. I completely reject evolution as an explanation for human origins. That said, evolution, when understood properly as merely the scientific principle of change over time, is something I do believe exists. Now, do not confuse the two! Since that last sentence is probably not clear enough, let me be even clearer. Evolution does not explain where humans came from. Only the bible can explain that. Evolution utterly fails to explain how even the simplest creature formed on its own without divine intervention. But as adaptation or ‘change over time’ evolution is a good, usable model for scientific inquiry. This should not be misunderstood as one species converting into another like apes into humans or dogs into cats. That doesn’t work, there is no evidence for it, and I simply don’t believe it happens or ever happened. But creatures do exhibit small changes over time. As climate changes creatures adapt or migrate. This is what evolution means. Separate this from the human origins issue. They really are separate (but obviously related) issues that often stay confused by well-intentioned Christians.”

To clarify:

“’For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:’ – Romans 1:20 (KJV)”

“’For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.’ – Romans 1:20 (NIV)”

“I think this verse clearly states that the natural world (what has been made) is a trustworthy source of truth. If it can convict of sin, then it’s a very powerful witness for God indeed. Thus, we can trust what we find in nature, in science, to tell us the truth about God. If it happens to conflict with scripture, I say look into the interpretation of the thing. Either the interpretation of scripture or the explanation of nature is faulty since both are done by fallible humans. It’s also possible that there isn’t enough information yet. Any of these things will give the appearance of an incompatibility when there really isn’t one.”

Finally:

“Somehow, I just don’t see God changing things and then covering it all up. That comes across as deception to me and that is outside God’s nature. Why is it so difficult to believe that God is so intelligent and so powerful that He got the entire universe right and working perfectly right from the beginning without needing to make any changes or exceptions, ever, along the way? It seems that an appeal to God having to manipulate His creation on occasion lessens His power and majesty. That’s a small God in my opinion. My God has no such shortcomings. But, just because He can doesn’t mean He did or had to.”

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