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It Is Good

In this final week on this series of Christian Debates: Evolution and Intelligent Design, I’d like to add a couple of considerations to keep in mind as we discuss this issue.

In this final week on this series of Christian Debates: Evolution and Intelligent Design, I’d like to add a couple of considerations to keep in mind as we discuss this issue.

  1. Genesis 1-3 is not a scientific textbook. It is an account that counteracts pagan myths, which describe creation as an accidental act of procreation. It affirms that God is sovereign (and therefore worthy of worship as our Creator) and that creation is an act of freewill. It also asserts the goodness of the physical creation and the preeminence of humans, who hold the image of God.
  2. While in general in today’s world, we often set religion against science, the creation account, which affirms physical material as good, paves the way for scientific study. Creation reveals God. This does not mean that we consult science first in the matters of creation and the Genesis account second since the Bible is authoritative. Nor does it mean that the creation account limits us to a "literal" reading of a six-day, young earth theory since the Genesis account is not meant to be a scientific textbook. God created a world that humans are to cultivate. Though this task has been made difficult by the Fall, which brought emnity between humans and nature, each day we appropriate Christ’s victory over this emnity.
  3. The creation account sets the stage for the story that culminates in Revelation 22 with new creation or re-creation. God created the world good. Evil entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, and God acts to conquer evil and return good and his kingdom to earth.
  4. Darwin did not give rise to his theory in a philosophical vacuum. C.S. Lewis said that there is enough science in the world to prove anything. The questions we ask of science arise from certain philosophical mindsets. This is not to say that any discoveries we make are meaningless. The centrality of the sun and gravity came from such a case. But it does mean that we need to recognize that even science is not pure and objective. In Darwin’s case, the theory of evolution arose in a time of Deism and of the human optimism in progress. Since Darwin, scientists have given his theory a more nuanced, multi-faceted, and sophisticated approach with many considerations. But as we debate this issue, we need to remember that Christians believe God to be active in his creation (against the Deist view). The doctrine of creation ex nihilo is not objective but part of the Christian belief dependent on revelation.
  5. Finally, the Genesis account asserts that God created the world good and that death is a result of the Fall. Death did not occur during the creation process. Insofar that evolution theories require death, we must deny them. God created the world good.

Christian scientists, theologians, and philosophers continue to debate this issue. We do well to do so. But we must also remember that as we do so (and this is true of any debate in Christianity), that God desires that we love one another. In our love for one another, we remain in the light, and in our unity with each other in God, we show the world God’s glory.

Read part one: Christian Debates

Read part two: Humans Are Special, but Genesis is Fuzzy

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Heather Goodman received her Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and currently homeschools her three children. Her writing can be found in If:Equip, Art House, and other publications.

6 Comments

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    Sue Bohlin

    Post-Darwin Evolution

    >> Since Darwin, scientists have given his theory a more nuanced,
    multi-faceted, and sophisticated approach with many considerations.

    This is true. Scientists with a commitment to naturalism (which allows them to hide from the implications of a Creator) or a commitment to staying in what has become the mainstream definition of science (which excludes any role of a Creator by insisting on naturalistic explanations for everything) have finessed evolution theory over the years. But only with words, not with evidence. In fact, the more evidence that accumulates, the stronger the case against evolution.

    The nuances and facets of neo-Darwinistic evolution theory still do not produce a mechanism for explaining the origin of new things. God’s design allows for elasticity in responding to environmental changes, but that is not the essence of evolution. Random mutations and natural selection alone (the purported means of evolution) can never produce new body plans, or the development of sight or flight, much less self-awareness or a moral conscience!

    Evolution theory is helpless to explain the newest developments in biology: why embryonic cells, which all have the same DNA and thus the same blueprints, migrate to different places in the organism to grow into gut cells, or eye cells, or skin cells, or bone cells. The DNA can’t direct that process; it has to be something outside, like the director of a marching band telling the different musicians where on the field to march and what music to play.

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    David Austin

    When is a day not a literal day?

    This is a repeat of a comment on previous post "Humans Are Special, But Genesis Is Fuzzy" I apologize if you read it there but I thought I needed to repeat it here since the author makes the statement

    "Nor does it mean that the creation account limits us to a "literal"
    reading of a six-day, young earth theory since the Genesis account is
    not meant to be a scientific textbook. God created a world that humans
    are to cultivate."

    Here is what i posted on the previous post…

    —————- ——————- —————–

    To all;
    I dont have much time to comment on the views presented in this article but I must comment on the statement that implies that the DAY in Gen 1:5 is not a literal day.
    The author appears to imply that a day in Genesis 1:5 is not a literal day. She references the verse in 2 Peter 3:8 . Her contention that the day in gen 1:5 is not a literal day is not supported by modern biblical scholarship. Specifically, the scholars who translated the NETBible ( http://netbible.org ) example; If you go to Gen 1:5 in the NETBible and look at the notes you will read:

    "God called 1 the light

    • Avatar

      Heather A. Goodman

      I appreciate this look at

      I appreciate this look at Scripture.

      In the first post in this series, I affirmed that we do well to continue to talk about issues (and as you see in my final points, I don’t believe evolution to be how God created the world, though I don’t believe we have to subscribe to a young-earth view), but I want to be careful about a couple of things:

      1. As we do so, we must pursue it in love, for in our love for each other, the world knows Christ. I think Mark put it well in the second post in the series when he said that the approach his pastor took in weeding out the heresy of evolution, he was weeding out those who believe God created the world through some form of evolution. While we all affirm that God created the world, either more literally or through evolution, do we want to make this a core issue of Christianity?
      2. More importantly, often in these battles between evolution and Intelligent Design, while several of the points are pertinent to how we view God and creation, we lose the point of the creation account (which, in part, I described in points 1-3). While not denying Intelligent Design, a more literary approach takes into account the historical context (c.f. the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elis) and the overarching narrative of the Bible and has a foundation in the historical Church (Augustine wrote about literary patterns in Genesis).

       

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        Anonymous

        A few thoughts
        I am glad Mr. Austen brought in Scripture, pointing out the whole day issue. I find it sad when people try to take it and bend it to fit with evolutionary ideas (or taking other scripture out of context to make their point).

        I also think that this subject should be considered a core issue of Christianity. (And we should be able to do so and still show love to each other.) Creation & Genesis is an integral part of God’ story and his plan for us all and when we start to undermine that, it can only lead to questioning of everything else stated in the Bible (oh, God didn’t really mean it that way). I think it is important to keep the basics & foundations of God’s Word as just that – the core – whether they seem important or not.

        God knows a whole lot more than we do. The Bible is actually very scientific. There are many things mentioned in the Bible that science didn’t know about for a very long time, even recent science.

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    Lael Arrington

    Harmonizing Science and Faith

    Just interviewed Stephen Meyers (head of Intelligent Design think tank, http://www.Discovery.org) yesterday, and found his response to Francis Collins (new head of National Institutes of Health and an outspoken Christian who believes in Theistic Evolution) intriguing. Collins believes God front loaded all the design into the Big Bang and that natural processes then move everything forward. God may intervene w/ miracles, but rarely, rarely does. And Collins, who was head of the Human Genome Project, sees virtualy no evidence for it.

    But Meyers pointed out that there are no natural laws that self-organize life, especially the specified complexity of DNA’s information. We already know and understand the physical forces of attraction and chance and neither can remotely account for the specified complexity of even DNA, much less an entire cell. So how does Collins hope to discover some other natural law or force that could suffice?

    I understand Scripture esp [Col 1:16-17] to say that God is not only occasionally directing his creation, but that he quite literally holds it all together. If we believe that God is continually inserting his presence and activity in our lives, why would he not be involved continuously in directing the change over time that we observe in living things? I think it sounds plausible for Collins and others to say God loaded all his direction into the Big Bang so that it would unfold without his direction from there, but Meyers asks a good question I would like to see any theistic evolutionist answer.

    Collins counters that this is a God of the gaps approach and that Science will one day close the gap of how life self-organized. But isn’t it a God of the gaps approach to posit that God created the Unverse through some singularity like the Big Bang? You have no other explanation for the radio waves of the Bang so you attribute it to God?

    I recommend Collins’ book, The Language of God for throughtful reading on theistic evolution. I also recommend Meyer’s new book, Signature in the Cell, for further reading on this discussion supporting Intelligent Design. You can download or listen to the interview in a few weeks on http://www.thethingsthatmattermost.org.

    Lael Arrington

    (New Tapestry blogger)

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      Sue Bohlin

      Welcome, Lael!

      Welcome aboard, Lael! So glad to have you here!

      I’m looking forward to hearing your interview with Steve Meyer. (You might possibly be the best interviewer on the planet, but I’m biased. <grin>) It was fascinating to hear his comments last week at the Discovery Institute Insiders Briefing about his conversation with Dr. Collins.