30 Second Elevator Pitch on God-Guided Speciation

(George Brooks) #1

If anyone works at a large corporation, there’s a good chance they will have to take a training session in communication… where you are asked to learn about “the Elevator Pitch”; this is where you have about 30 seconds to summarize the most compelling parts of a proposal for a colleague or manager as you share an elevator. It’s the sales pitch of your life … and you want him to understand the whole picture by the time the elevator opens and let’s him/her off !!!

So what would be your elevator pitch on God-Guided Evolution? What would you have to say to be optimally convincing? On an earlier thread, I proposed my Elevator Pitch for BioLogos. But this time I’m just going to list what I think is the most convincing evidences for God-Guided Speciation. I encourage others to offer their own versions … improving on whatever I have managed to throw together.

[[ IMPORTANT NOTE: After finishing this, and with the feedback of at least one other, I think it’s safe to say we wouldn’t actually want to inflict this kind of thing on anyone in the SPOKEN format. But as an exercise to strip one’s favorite talking points into the tiniest possible coherent sentence, I found this to be a very valuable approach! ]]

What has most convinced me that God created all the animals on Earth through his use of Evolutionary laws is a combination what God shows us through science - and - that God intended for some parts of the Bible to be interpreted only figuratively, while we understand God’s theology literally.

ONE: While God taught us about the sacrifice of Jesus to atone for the imperfections of all flesh, he doesn’t expect us to think God would really make the Earth and everything living in Six days. If God had wanted a literal creation story, he would have created the Sun on the first day - - not on the fourth day, making the first 3 days meaningless references to time.

TWO: If God expected us to believe Jesus knew everything the Father knew, he would have had Jesus teach what nobody knew in those days - - such as diseases are caused by germs, as well as demons - - or that God did not intend for us to tolerate slavery for centuries more, rather than letting Paul teach that even imperial tyrants are established by God. Or Jesus would have taught that stars are bigger than planets, rather than let the Bible teach ". . . a third of the stars of heaven [will be] … cast … to the earth. . . " even before Jesus returns!

THREE: If God expected us to take his creation story literally, he would have happily described the millions of years it took to create the Earth with thick layers of complex sediments, with its ocean depths with shifting patterns of magnetized rock, and great trees with hundreds of years of tree rings, instead of letting a scribe repeat a typical pagan myth that the Earth or living things could be made in hours and yet have the appearance great age.

FOUR: We can have the confidence in the testimony of our own eyes that God never expected us to take a six day story of Creation literally when we can see for ourselves that instead of finding human fossils mixed in with dinosaurs and elephants; or whale fossils mixed in with marine dinosaurs and sailors; or both placental and marsupial mammals all mixed together on Australia and New Zealand, because both kinds of mammals would have been able to step onto these massive slabs of dry land BEFORE they out into the middle of the Indian Ocean.

AND FINALLY: if God wanted us to believe that Noah’s ark really did survive a world-wide flood, he would have mentioned all the millions of terrestrial species he would have created once the ark had landed - - so that just three or four thousand years later, we would know where the present day’s millions of species came from, rather than creating the impression to all humanity that all these species evolved from the much smaller number that Noah could have saved.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

Well, I hope then that you didn’t mean anyone to take your 30-second directive literally then either. After speed-talking through your five points (plus intro) --that is an average of less than 6 seconds per point. (Try reading it that fast!) After your rapid-fire first paragraph, your elevator audience will all have glazed eyes.

So are we to presume that you know your audience is already Christian, or at least theistic? If I was in an elevator with strangers I wouldn’t try to pitch God-guided speciation to them. It may turn out to be like trying to persuade an audience of the merits of fish over beef only to discover that everyone you’re talking to is vegetarian.

However – since it is so easy to nit-pick at the work of others, I guess I better put up my own attempt as well. IF all of us already knew each other in the elevator and I was asked how I could possibly believe in both seemingly natural processes and Divine guidance at the same time, my first response might look like this:

“I know this great web site at Biologos.org where we kick around questions like this and get to converse with a lot of Bible-believing Christians who take science very seriously. Check it out!”

[That should clock in at less than 15 seconds, and even gives your elevator audience a chance to respond or ask for more information!]

More seriously, and probably more aligned with the spirit of your challenge, maybe it could look like this (and the elevator happened to get stuck between floors for a few minutes, trapping my victims in the elevator with me.)

Ahhh – so you also think that we are not all here by accident, then? Good, I share in your conviction about that too. What I’ve become increasingly suspicious about, though, is our attempts to sort out history into “God did this. Nature did that. A wicked man did this other …”. Not that all those things can’t be true, mind you, but we seem to have hung ourselves up on the notion that we are obligated to sort these into non-overlapping categories (at least two, if you peel off the first one as ‘super-natural’ and the latter two as ‘natural’). I think we creationists accidentally bought into an enlightenment whopper when we swallowed that. Similarly fundamentalistic atheists (many of them former theists) bought it too and found it easier to leave their Christian faith behind than their fundamentalism (the whopper that they still promulgate as new atheists). And it has been warping our understandings ever since! The funny thing is, we Christians are even a bit schizophrenic about all this too. I noticed that you thanked God for your lunch before, but yet you probably don’t deny that the restaurant folks, the delivery people, and farmers before them all played a part in getting that food to you. You would rightly think me silly for suggesting that it was either God or them and can’t be both. But yet when it comes to something like how did life get here, we suddenly forget the age-old wisdoms that survive in our ritualistic lives, and replace them with our modern notion that it’s either God or nature and can’t be both. Ahhh, and now I see they’ve fixed the elevator. Thank you, Lord! (the last sentiment heartily echoed by my audience.)

[patched up and reworded in places … the usual after-edits yada yada…]

(George Brooks) #3


I should probably adjust my opening narrative. I don’t think I would EVER inflict this on anyone in the SPOKEN format … not even in an Elevator by myself!

But the exercise did force me to leave out some of my favorite ideas… but which are very hard to present.

This is an exercise in CONCISENESS!

(George Brooks) #4

Excelleng point …
Philosophers beware… @Mervin_Bitikofer is on the march !!!

(Phil) #5

It is good to be concise, and those are some admirable attempts. Depending on your audience, however, even those brief messages pressure the audiences familiarity with many concepts. Sort of like preaching repentance to someone who has not idea what repentance means. While if stuck on an elevator with a group of strangers, my hope is that they would all just nod as I entered and kept quiet for the journey, I suppose I should give it a whirl, also.

I wonder if there is a reason for us being here, on this elevator, and perhaps you may wonder if there is a reason you are here at all, if you think of such things. We live in a wonderful universe, marvelous in it’s beauty and form, but only marvelous if it has both a purpose, and if there is someone to marvel at it. I believe that there is a purpose to the universe, and it was created by God fulfil his purpose that resulted in you being here today.
Some believe the universe was " poofed" into existence essentially as is. That position denies what we see and the marvelous workings of nature, and ultimately calls into question not only our senses and intellect, but also the nature of reality itself. Some feel that the whole thing is undirected and that ultimately our existence is just a freak chance of nature. That denies our purpose and meaning. My belief is that God has worked through nature to bring you into being essentially from stardust, and you are here for a reason.

If you are interested, here is a card to come to a meeting where this is discussed. We have coffee, light refreshments, a band will be playing, and there might be dancing…(feeble attempt at humor). We meet Sunday morning at the big building with the pointy roof…

Well, it needs work, and would be more directed toward a science naive audience, and fails to address specifics, but would be something to start, focusing more on philosophy than the science, I think that a lot depends on the audience, and if you were at a meeting of Christian homeschoolers the
approach would differ from if you were at a hotel where the a Star Trek convention was going on.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #6

Yeah … I definitely had the homeschooling audience in mind in my spiel. A Star Trek convention certainly would be different.

(Marvin Adams) #8

wondered if the invitation was accidental. My fist reply definitely was, as I moved my laptop and that must have initiated the send before I had composed the answer.

Anyhow, the task would be to hold a pitch aimed at a bunch of directors on the way to the boardroom to a couple of honeymooners on their way to the bedroom. Neither of them is likely to stop in their track so you need to plant a seed that will make them look later when they regain consciousness. So not to turn them off, here is my pitch to them when thy get ready to leave the lift:

Good luck with contributing to bio - logy today the logic of life or as I say combining bio and logos. It is all about love, the survival of the fittest, as being fit is not about overpowering or outmanoeuvring others but being selfless, to love thy neighbour like thyself, not oneself.
Have a look at biologos, the website talking about survival of the fittest.


I visit New York City as often as I can. It’s not unusual for street preachers to duck into a subway car and preach up a storm! They always seem to have naturally loud voices. Most people ignore them.Sometimes groups approach commuters on the subway platform. You can’t very well get away. (I don’t like ambush evangelization.) Other groups set up tables in the subway and distribute literature.

(system) #10

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