Further Thoughts on Evolution and Theology

I’ve been mulling over this topic for a long time, but not in the way I used to. The question of “creation versus evolution” is no longer a pivotal, no-compromise-allowed, authenticity-defining question for me, so I can tackle it much more peacefully. In fact, tackle isn’t the right verb at all, because it’s more like the topic and I stroll amicably through the park, sharing our differences and laughing about the fiery, perhaps misguided, passion we had in our younger days.

There was a time not so many years ago when, having recently read a few Creationist books, I nearly took the leap and said, “H E double hockey sticks, in spite of all the amazing things I learned and accepted after a great deal of scrutiny during my geology degree, I think I might just decide to become a YEC after all.” And that’s what it would had to have been: a leap of faith, and even more substantially, a leap of doubt in the many many discoveries (and interpretations) I had come to appreciate from highly respected, seemingly honest and sincere experts across many disciplines of science.

In the end, I decided I was most comfortable believing what I felt convinced about in the history of scientific inquiry along with the biblical revelation on the condition of mankind. I guess one could say I’m just believing what I want to believe, but surely everyone knows that deep down, that’s what we all do. We generally do what we think is best, and we believe… well, what we believe.

The beauty of the ancient earth framework is that it forms a fantastic context for describing so many phenomena we see in nature. The incredibly weathered, archaic appearance of the continental shields; the spreading of mid-ocean ridges at particular rates that can be calculated – in the hundreds of millions of years – and matched to reversals in polar magnetism; the fascinating and unique biogeography we find in isolated populations, even on the continental (e.g. Australia) scale; these all fit naturally and elegantly into an ancient earth framework, but result in awkward challenges for 6-day creationists. I can’t even be bothered starting on radiometric dating, because I usually find the YEC arguments against it unbearable to read.

In the face of evolutionists’ success at explaining so many facets of what we currently observe in nature, YEC’s fall back on the need to alter the very rules governing the universe as we know it, and this is precisely where they focus much of their effort these days: on historically (often radically) different rates of radioactive decay, tectonic plate movement, magnetic pole reversals, erosion and sedimentation, and even “microevolution”. This is what makes me uncomfortable, because so much of it feels forced, based on conjecture, although an entrenched YEC would definitely reprimand me for referring to the opening chapters of the Bible as conjecture.

At the end of the day I feel like the Bible is telling us a couple of big-picture messages: that we and everything in the universe were created by God, and as his subjects – who can only come willingly – we have certain privileges and obligations. It shows us a way to live that is higher than the rest of the selfishly struggling created order, and – after demonstrating repeatedly how awful we are at doing so ourselves through the course of history – provides us with an example and enabler in Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I have no problem accepting that God’s mechanisms are different to how the ancient Israelites/authors perceived them. I think what He’s done is fantastic and that the people who have sought and served him as he’s asked us to have made the most positive, fantastic contributions to humanity throughout history. There have been a lot of misguided, terrible actions undertaken in the name of Christendom, but you’d have to be completely ignorant not to recognize that these were absolutely incompatible with the teachings of Jesus, and that many more atrocities have been committed outside of a religious context.

Accepting evolution and God means you can cast aside all statistical arguments against the former, along with a lot of unnecessary philosophy that stems from an awareness of those improbabilities. You can believe that God did it all intentionally; not just the big events, but that he set it all in motion, cradled the universe in his hands as it formed and developed. And not just the universe, but even you individually. That all of what may appear to be random chances through the course of ancient, primordial history was leading up to you, sitting and reading this blog post and marveling at the vast depth of God’s wisdom and love. In retrospect I hope it’ll be made clear to us what the order was behind all of what we can only now perceive as randomness. It’ll be another reason for us to bow down and give credit/worship to the mastermind behind it all.

So that’s where I stand these days. I enjoy science, I enjoy faith. If you like these kind of topics I suggest you check out the GeoChristian (http://geochristian.com/) and Naturalis Historia (http://thenaturalhistorian.com/) blogs, both of which I enjoy reading on a regular basis. To borrow from Kevin at the GeoChristian blog, I’ll close with a simple phrase:

Grace and peace.

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2 thoughts on “Further Thoughts on Evolution and Theology

  1. BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINE? BY STEVE FINNELL

    Do most churches teach or preach basic Bible doctrine in the two hours of preaching and teaching on Sunday morning? No, they do not. Why is that? 1. Most church leaders do not understand basic Biblical concepts. 2. Many church leaders who do understand basic Bible teaching refrain from teaching the truth for fear that they might lose their leadership positions. 3. Others honestly believe they will lose church members if they teach Biblical facts. [The truth is most people will not accept the truth. Is that a valid reason for not preaching God’s word?]

    How would the members of your church congregation answer questions concerning basic Bible doctrine and Biblical concepts?

    QUESTIONS:

    1. Did God create the heavens and the earth in six twenty-four hour days?

    2. Is Jesus the only way to salvation?

    3. Is theistic evolution supported by Scripture?

    4. Is the God of Christians and Muslims the same God?

    5. Is it worship to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints?

    6. Is the doctrine of once saved always saved found in the Scriptures?

    7. Is water baptism essential for salvation?

    8. Did God predetermined certain men to be saved and all others to burn in hell?

    9. Does the Bible teach universal salvation?

    10. If a man does not have time to be baptized in water before he dies will he still be saved?

    11. Does the Bible teach that men are saved by grace alone?

    12. Does the Bible teach that God imputes faith into men so they can believe and be saved?

    13. Does the Bible teach that men have no free-will?

    14. Does the Bible teach that the apostle Peter was the first roman Catholic Pope?

    15. Does the Bible teach that there are modern-day apostles who are prophets of God and can perform miracles?

    16. Does the Bible teach that men, today, can be saved just like the thief on the cross?

    17. Does the Bible teach that Christians can continue in a sinful unrepentant lifestyle and still inherit the kingdom of God.

    18. Does the Bible teach that water baptism is nothing more that an act of obedience?

    19. Does the Bible say that water baptism is not essential for the forgiveness of sins?

    20. Is the sinner’s prayer God’s terms for pardon?

    21. Can men deny that God raised Jesus from the grave and still be saved?

    22. Does the Bible teach that men will receive a seconded chance for salvation when Jesus returns to earth?

    23. Do church creed books contain more truth that the Bible?

    24. Is Jesus also God the Father?

    25. Are men only saved according to terms of pardon under the New Covenant?

    26. Under the New Covenant are the Jews still God’s chosen people?

    27. Does the Bible teach that a single pastor should be the authority of each church congregation?

    28. Does the Bible teach that pastors or priests have the authority to forgive Christians the sins they commit against God?

    29. Does the Bible teach that prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are still available to the contemporary church?

    30. Does the Bible teach that speaking in tongues is evidence of your salvation?

    31. Does the Bible teach that the KJV of the Bible is the only trustworthy translation of God’s written word?

    32. Does the Bible teach if men are sincere in their belief that they will be saved even if it is contrary to God’s terms for pardon?

    33. Does the Bible teach the doctrine of original sin?

    34. Does the Bible teach that all men are born totally depraved?

    35. Does the Bible teach joining a denominational church can save men from sin?

    36. Does the Lord add the saved to His church or do church leaders add men to the Lord’s church?

    37. Did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost have theirs sins removed before they repented and were baptized in water?

    38. Is sprinkling and pouring mentioned in New Testament Scriptures as a mode of baptism?

    39. Is there any case under the New Covenant Scriptures where a person was baptized in water before he believed in Jesus.

    40. Was John the Baptist baptizing men into Christ?

    41. Is the baptism of John the Baptist a valid baptism today?

    42. Does the Bible teach that men are save by faith alone?

    43. Will men spend eternity in hell because of Adam’s sin or the unforgiven sins they themselves commit?

    44. Does the Bible teach that some men are born as heterosexuals and some men born as homosexuals?

    45. Did God create multiple Christian denominations?

    Do the members of your church congregation understand basic Bible doctrine and Biblical concepts? If you do not know, then why not ask them?

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    • Hey Steven….. So you’ve copied and pasted a somewhat relevant blog post of yours in its entirety… I’ve decided to approve it even though it’s basically an ad for your own blog. Do you have specific thoughts on this post or am I meant to search your blog for relevant items?

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