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Friday, August 5, 2011

A Challenge to Theistic Evolution

The following was written (by me) in response to some comments made on another blog a while back. I stumbled across this last night and thought it provided some good insight into why theistic evolution doesn't hold it's own weight. The quote at the beginning was written by a Christian who was rebuttling this TE.

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I know you may say your natural reading of the text isn't necessarily my natural meaning of the text etc. but words have specific, objective meanings, and in the context of the Bible most of these words, chapters and books can be understood straightforwardly in their immediate context and in the context of the rest of the Bible.

While it is true that people interpret the Bible in different ways, we are called to "rightly divide the Word of truth." We are also told to "test all things." God made it perfectly clear what He was talking about; that's why the same things are stated in the Bible in so many different ways, and when we put them together, we see exactly what He is saying (if we didn't see it clearly the first time). So for you to say that one might read it this way, but another reads it that way, is to say a slightly modified version of, "It's true for me, but not for you." However, I'm sure you know that something can't be both true and not true at the same time and in the same sense. Therefore, if the creation account is allegory, it cannot be historical as well. Likewise, the creation either took place over billions of years or in six literal days -- both cannot be true. Besides, if God had used billions of years, He would have told us so -- He is not a liar!  Instead, we have these words from His own mouth: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:11).

Psalm 33:9 states, "For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." It only took ONE word from God to create each thing; that's why Genesis says, "Then God said.... and it was so," so many times. “God said it, ‘and it was so.’ …. That is a technical phrase that means it was made permanent. It became a fixed, established condition. Again, this militates against the idea of progressive creationism” (John MacArthur).

God did not need billions of years to accomplish the creation! But some people say that He could have USED billions of years to create the world if He had wanted to. Well, why didn't He then? Because to do so would be to go against His nature -- He is perfect and good, and He does everything perfect the first time. However, billions of years suggests that nothing will ever be perfect since it is constantly evolving over those years! And don't you know that if something evolves, that means that it has to go without certain features for a while -- it would not be able to survive. Take for example, the bird. If this creature has simply evolved, here is how the story would go: 

In the beginning God created a bird. But this bird was no ordinary bird, for it had no wings for the first billion years! No wings means that it can't fly! No matter, in a billion years, the bird will be ready to go! However, after it evolved it wings, another problem arose: it had no beak -- but that will have to wait until another billion years! No beak means that the bird cannot eat; it will starve to death well before the billion years have expired! Once the beak had evolved, the bird found that it could not swallow it's food, for it had no esophagus -- it had not evolved yet! Well, that will have to wait until another billion years! But once it had evolved its esophagus, there was just one problem: it had no eyes for which to see the food! Guess he will have to wait another billion years!

You see where I'm going with this right? No animal, let alone a human, can survive with only a small portion of what it has right now. It's like a machine; if the parts are not all connected, it's not going to work. That is what the human body is, and that is what each animal's body is -- a machine that is perfect and fully functioning the way it is now; anything less means that nothing can survive! And to think that God would use such a cruel process is beyond comprehension, and it is not Scriptural! In 2 Corinthians 1:19-20, Paul states, "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us--by me, Silvanus, and Timothy--was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." What Paul is saying is that God is not both yes and no at the same time; what He has promised He will do. Likewise, if God said, "Yes,  I created the world in six days," He cannot say, "No," at the same time! 

If we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God to us, we cannot treat the book of Genesis as mere fiction or allegory; we must treat it as the inspired Word of God!

"The idea of theistic evolution is counter to the biblical record of creation in practically every passage." ~ Henry Morris

“As far as Christianity is concerned, the advent of the theory of evolution and the elimination of traditional theological thinking was catastrophic. The suggestion that life and man are the result of chance is incompatible with the biblical assertion of their being the direct result of intelligent creative activity.” ~ Michael Denton

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen." ~ 1 Timothy 6:20-21

*** Addendum: Blogger wouldn't let me comment on my own post so here is a response to the comment below made by The Anonymous Moderate:

The Anonymous Moderate,

First of all, I would like to request that we discuss this in a civil, Christian manner, since I believe we can carry on an intelligent conversation without appealing to sarcasms (see my comment policy). That being said, let me address the points you brought up.

What I've said is not a misrepresentation of theistic evolution. Believe me, I've studied both sides quite thoroughly; and I'm not really convinced that there is a "middle ground" where evolution is concerned. You might like to read my other articles on theistic evolution where I explain fully why I don't believe theistic evolution is plausible -- and it's not just the days of creation that I base it upon.

But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that God did -- as you suggest -- say He created the world in six literal days, referring to His being outside of time; but it was really billions of years for planet earth. There are a few flaws with this reasoning. First, as I mentioned in this article, that is like saying "It's true for me and not for you"; flip that around to say, "It's true for God, but not for us (since we live within time)." But the law of non-contradiction states that "A cannot be both A and not A at the same time and in the same sense." But Jesus, as God in the flesh, stepped into time. This poses a problem for the argument, because now we have God incarnate within time -- that would be the same sense (of time), contradicting the law of non-contradiction. What then becomes of God's six literal days of creation which are really billions of years for us on planet earth? Does it change for Him now that He is on earth?

Your view seems to rests upon the passage in 2 Peter 3:8 that states, "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." However, the context of chapter 3 indicates that it is not referring to creation at all; it was instead referring to God's punishment of the ungodly -- how it can seem to us like it's taking Him a long time to deal with them, when He is longsuffering toward them, waiting for them to repent. So it's not saying that a thousand years of creation for us is like six days to God.

But I would like to know how you reconcile Psalm 33:6,9 with your view -- “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast”? If, when God spoke, it was done, doesn't that indicate it was done immediately, that it didn't take billions of years to evolve? Furthermore, if Jesus could speak a miracle into existence in the NT -- such as healing a leper -- and it happened instantaneously (i.e He didn't sit around and wait for billions of years for the miracles to happen) at His word, why can't He, as God (see Col. 1:16-17) create the world instanteously?

You mentioned that the days of creation aren't a central issue for theistic evolution, yet you use the days of creation to defend your view that it is billions of years old. Actually, the issue of the days of creation, is peramount to creation -- theistic evolution or not; because if Genesis 1 is indicative of God creating the world in billions of years, then we must interpret every other passage of Scripture which mentions the word "day" in that manner also which doesn't make much sense and can have drastic consequences if Scripture doesn't mean what it says. (One example: Jesus taught a literal six-day creation; does that make Him a liar? He seemed to think it was important enough to treat Genesis 1 as literal history with a literal six-day creation.) I already brought up this passage in the article, but I wanted to do so again here: "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work.... For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:9-11). If we use your view, did God mean that the Israelites were to work for billions of years and then get a billion years off? Of course not!

Henry Morris did some research in the Hebrew language and concluded, “The terms ‘evening (Hebrew ereb) and ‘morning’ (Hebrew boqer) each occur more than one hundred times in the Old Testament and always have the literal meaning –that is, the termination of the daily period of light and the daily period of darkness, respectively. Similarly, the occurrence of ‘day’ modified by a numeral (e.g., ‘third day’) is a construction occurring more than one hundred times in the Pentateuch alone, always with a literal meaning. Even though it may challenge our minds to visualize the lands and seas, and all plants, being formed in one literal day, that is exactly what the Bible says! We are not justified at all in questioning either God’s power to do this or His veracity in telling us that He did.”

1 comment:

  1. You're misunderstanding what theistic evolution entails and to better educate you I just would like to say, good blog. First of all, theistic evolution isn't an interpretation thing because there is only one interpretation of the Holy Bible but many implications. The Word is the Word. Now, the amount of days our Heavenly Father took to create this planet shouldn't be on your top priority list and if it is, you seriously need to reexamine yourself big time. For all we know the six literal days that our Heavenly Father speaks of applies to Him being outside of time, it was like six days to him. He's using our language to give us a piece of what's thinking, you see. Within the planet itself it's more than six days because we're in time; thus since when we are in time, we go through the fabrics of time. The whole billion of years theory remains a possibility.

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