February 28, 2006

Evolution Vs. Creation

Posted in Reflections, Theology at 1:30 pm by egalitaria

evolutionThe modernday Christian leaps out at arms whenever someone speaks remotely of the validity of the Theory of Evolution. Apparently, this goes in direct contradiction to the Creation as outlined in the book of Genesis. Scott Hume’s book “Collapse of Evolution” is such an example of Christians who vehemently cry out that evolution can never be accepted as an alternative theory. Facts and figures are produced to show for supposed inconsistencies in methodologies reached by scientists the world over.

I do admit that I do not know enough about the theory of Evolution in itself, to be able to argue a convincing case for or against it. But there has been such a wide spectrum of debate within the Christian circle as well. Can it be included into Christian theology? Or are they in direct opposition with the other? Are they mutually exclusive or can they be synergized?

The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel argues his case as journalist and lawyer, for intelligent design. He uses science as a tool, an aid, to explain the possibility of micro-evolution. Interviewing experts from the worlds of physics, chemistry, microbiology, astronomy and archaeology, he builds a case for the simple fact that there must have been a designer behind it all. The world in its perfection and absolute accuracy could not have come about by chance.

Richard Dawkins, professor at Oxford University and evolutionary biologist, wrote a series of books, all in support of Darwinism and natural selection. He explains that “God is a delusion and religion is a virus.” In a nutshell, he says two things: 1) Evolution cannot be denied, and that 2) This means that religion is redundant.

Now, all this leaves me scratching my head. Because although I am a strong believer in God and His creation, I do not at the same time want to blindly follow something when evidence might show me otherwise. I do not want to exclude alternative possibilities, especially when Science might show me otherwise. 

However, and this is crucial: I also realise that “Scientism” has become a religion of its own. Sometimes scientists may also cross the line to prove that the evidence points towards a this and a that. This is equally an unobjective endeavour, which we want to avoid as far as possible.

This is why a series of essays from Berea College was so refreshing.

Robert Scheider argues that it is absolutely ridiculous for anyone, Christians included, to exclude the validity of Evolution. Too much evidence has been given, and the theory of evolution is at the very heart of all scientific research today, including medical and biochemical. His essay here in particular is very convincing. He differentiates Evolution as a materialistic philosophy (science + evidence) versus an evolutionary materialism (bringing science forward to explain something). Basically, that evolution is true.

More interestingly, that this is not in opposition with his personal belief in a Creator God. Essays here and here talk fully about the significance of evolution on the theology of God. Interestingly, he highlights the fact that many a theologian in the early years were very enthusiastic about the discovery of evolution, and that they never saw it as a contradiction in terms.

I personally have not come to any conclusion myself. But it is encouraging to know that there is more than one possibility. This has been my stand: that the Bible never sought to give a historical account of what happened, especially with regards to the HOW the world was formed, but it is an account of the state of humanity, with regards to the WHY the world is what it is. This begs another philosophical entry on God and humanity, but let’s leave that till later.

For now, can I watch National Geographic programmes on intelligent babboons that eat maize with their opposable thumbs and appreciate their humanlike movement? Yes.

Can I look at the nuisance of a monkey dancing around on my cartop at work and say there’s a possibility we might share similar genetic makeup? Perhaps.

This is a whole new world.

9 Comments

  1. Alex Tang said,

    Hi,

    I like your comments and was amused when you talk about a monkey dancing your your cartop at work. Actually, if the monkey is a chimpanzee, there is only a 6% difference in our human and chimpanzee genetic makup.

    monkey dancing on cartop is amusing. what’s less amusing are the muddy pawprints they leave on my car!

    I agree with you that there should not be a vast dichotomy between theology and science. I think the problem arises because of language and basic assmptions of what are the limits of science and of theology.

    a lot of debate could be resolved in any circle by simply defining the basic terminology, which people often conveniently forget to do.

    Regarding evolution and creation, may I offer my two cents worth?

    http://www.kairos2.com/Critical%20Evaluation%20of%20Genesis%20One.htm

    thanks for the article. indeed a critical evaluation. continue writing!

    Shalom

    Alex

  2. Eugene said,

    Just wondered if you have also checked out Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”?

    Behe’s book talks about irreducible complexities in the biological life forms and nature, and how this points towards the existence of a designer. i haven’t read the book myself but can predict his flow of thought. unfortunately, (like all literature) there are criticisms as well. check this one out.

  3. Sushie said,

    interestingly enough, i went for this talk the other day. “Does God exist?” it was a debate. one of them was an atheist from Oxford Uni and the other an Islamic scholar from Canada. it felt so weird sitting there amongst the whole crowd of about 400 people, which 70% of them were Muslim. i expected to hear lots of views from the two speakers, but both were disappointing. none of them were convincing at all and kept faltering on their facts. it was that night during my quiet time when He gave me this verse.
    “Be still and know I am God…” Psalm 46:10.
    Answers all questions doesn’t it? 🙂

    hi sush, how are you doing. glad to hear you’re interested in these matters. continue to speak to different people and hear their views. it’s good to expand thought processes that way. what in particular was not convincing? have fun in snowy warwick.

  4. Leon Jackson said,

    I offer my thoughts here:

    http://leon-alicia.blogspot.com/2006/03/rethinking-evolution.html

    I think we Christians have been to scared of this, and are in danger of hating and fearing it when we dont understand it. I am not an evolutionist, but I have come to understand better why some would hold to it.

    thanks for your link. i appreciate your comments and how you sympathise with Theistic evolutionists, but i don’t quite understand your argument. you say that since the Theistic evolutionist is not committed to naturalism, why would he want to be an evolutionist. i don’t think it’s so much a matter of wanting to be such and such, but that he honestly considers evolution to be key. or rather, that denying it is out of the question. the quest is to see how it can or cannot contradict with religion, NOT to be a naturalist first and foremost and then use evolution as the means to an end.

    basically, if one objectively weighs evidence and logic, whether it is possible to deny evolution as a valid theory. and if so, how does this affect your belief system. Not the other way round.

    Having said that, I would still fight the culture war if I was in US, but not the same way some are doing so now.

  5. Leon Jackson said,

    By the way, this is a nice blog. From the design, to the content, to the engine and fonts – everything is just great.

  6. egalitaria said,

    thanks alex, leon and eugene for leaving comments. nice to meet you in cyberspace!

  7. Sushie said,

    it only lasted until the sun came up. heehee. after that, it was as if it had not snowed at all!

  8. egalitaria said,

    at least you had a good snowfall to enjoy, that covered the ground! mine was a miserable powdering of snow like icing on a cake. 🙂 say hi to people there for me.

  9. […] From what I’ve read, his arguments are basically similar to many of previous evolutionists, who have made the same points. The same words come across your mind, secularist, evolutionist, scientist, rationalist, facts not fiction, logic and reason, microbiology, atheist, and the list goes on. I hope, perhaps, that this new book sheds some new light in relation to current day issues, explaining for modern human behavioural patterns based on a belief in God. This sounds much like Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith”, but better written and more clearly thought through. I’ve blogged about my thoughts on evolution and creationism previously here. Will hunt down the book and do some digesting. Should do more of this than spend time pondering the sorry state of politics in the country – may not be worth my time after all. […]


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