CMI: Dangers Of Theistic Evolution (Or "Evolutionary Creationism")


(Jonathan) #1

Here is an article from Creation Ministries International that highlights 10 dangers of evolution; Some of which I had been thinking about before stumbling upon the article.

https://creation.com/10-dangers-of-theistic-evolution

I hope to hear all of your thoughts on this!


#2

Hasn’t gravity been shown to be more dangerous than evolution?


(James McKay) #3

I won’t deny that the theory of evolution raises certain theological questions that need to be grappled with. Questions such as where do Adam and Eve fit into the picture, what do we make of animal death before the Fall, or where, when and how extensive was the Flood. These are all questions that merit serious discussion.

However, there is a far, far bigger danger involved with evolution denial, and that is the danger of not getting your facts straight.

Claiming that evidence does not exist, when quite clearly it does, will just make you look like a liar to anyone who is confronted with the real nature of the evidence. Remember that anyone you’re speaking to will almost certainly have a smartphone with them these days, and can type “evidence for evolution” or “transitional fossils” into Google as you speak.

Another, related danger of evolution denial is attempting to debunk a cartoon caricature of it that no real scientist believes or teaches. For example, if you’re claiming that evolution is about cats turning into dogs, or asking “if we evolved from apes then why are there still apes?” or if you’re likening it to dropping Scrabble tiles on a table and coming up with Shakespeare, you’re just going to end up looking clueless, if not dishonest. The theory of evolution does not work like that.

In some cases, this can undermine the credibility of your entire Christian witness. It’s not evolution itself that causes young people to lose their faith; it’s learning that their pastors and youth leaders weren’t being honest with them about it. They then end up asking questions such as, “what else are they lying to me about?”

I personally don’t expect anyone to accept molecules-to-man evolution all the way. But I do expect you to make sure your facts are straight about it. The fact remains that evolution is still a scientific, evidence-based theory, and that the amount of evidence for it is enormous.

On a related note, make sure that you are clear about exactly what is meant by “evolution.” There’s a YEC tendency to use the words “evolution” and “evolutionist” as a synonym for atheism, or even more generally as a snide umbrella term for anything and everything in science that they don’t agree with. Thus you’ll sometimes see references being made to “evolutionist” models of how the earth’s magnetic field works, or the amount of salt in the sea supposedly being a problem for “evolutionists.” Be careful not to do that. It just sounds passive-aggressive and hostile to science in general.


(Phil) #4

The amazing thing that they seem to be blind to, is that almost all of the 10 points , notably 1-4 and 8-10, are actually dangers of YEC.


(Curtis Henderson) #5

Much of what Gitt asserts in his top 10 is inconsistent with what evolutionary creationists actually believe. It seems as though his position is to insulate himself so much from the “danger”, that he never really confirmed what the dangers are – or whether or not his assumptions are correct. Gitt also seems to ascribe much of atheistic evolutionary thought to evolutionary creationists, as well. Again, likely from not actually checking these things for himself. Here is an example:

Danger no. 10: Missing the Purpose
In no other historical book do we find so many and such valuable statements of purpose for man, as in the Bible. For example:

Man is God’s purpose in creation (Genesis 1:27-28).
Man is the purpose of God’s plan of redemption (Isaiah 53:5).
Man is the purpose of the mission of God’s Son (1 John 4:9).
We are the purpose of God’s inheritance (Titus 3:7).
Heaven is our destination (1 Peter 1:4).

However, the very thought of purposefulness is anathema to evolutionists. ‘Evolutionary adaptations never follow a purposeful program, they thus cannot be regarded as teleonomical.’5 Thus a belief system such as theistic evolution that marries purposefulness with non-purposefulness is a contradiction in terms.

Jonathan, you’ve spent enough time here to get a pretty good measure of what is generally believed by the typical forum-goers here. Do you think that we see different “purposes” from the creation account than those listed here?


(Jonathan) #6

I had heard (implied, and maybe misread) from @jpm, I believe, that God’s decision to make mankind the crown of his creation was practically arbitrary, and highly evolved dinosaurs would have done just as well.

I may be missing the point of the question, but I’ll throw that out there! :wink:


(Jonathan) #7

@jpm, would you mind explaining (as I had no idea that there could possibly be dangers in the YEC views) ;)[quote=“jpm, post:4, topic:36732, full:true”]
The amazing thing that they seem to be blind to, is that almost all of the 10 points , notably 1-4 and 8-10, are actually dangers of YEC.
[/quote]


(Christy Hemphill) #8

[quote]The atheistic formula for evolution is:

Evolution = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods.
In the theistic evolutionary view, God is added:

Theistic evolution = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods + God.[/quote]

First off, I think this is not a description of evolutionary creationism. Evolutionary creationism is not a scientific model that is essentially the scientific model + God. Just like as a Christian I don’t have to affirm that theistic photosynthesis is chlorophylI + sunlight + CO2 + H20 +God. Or theistic reproduction is sperm + egg + God. Evolutionary creationism is not a scientific model, it is a theological affirmation that God is the Creator and his means of creation was the process scientists have described as evolution. No scientist I have ever heard defines evolution as matter + chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death + time. They define it as changes in allele frequencies in a population over time. So from the get-go we have someone who is not correctly characterizing what they are arguing against.

  1. Death does not equal “horror” or “ghastliness.” Death is part of the life cycle, even in a sinless world, if nature is anything at all like it is now. You can’t have the nitrogen cycle without death. I see no evidence in Scripture that nature in the Garden of Eden was such a fundamentally different kind of nature or that at the Fall God essentially had to recreate the world and make herbivores into carnivores, invent the nitrogen cycle, and purposely design every organism we find less than Paradise-y (mosquitos, viruses, thorn-bearing roses) as a curse. Deuteronomy 32:4 is an unacceptable proof text because it does not say that nature or creation is perfect. It says God’s works are perfect. Reading “everything in the universe” into God’s “work” in this context is not good exegesis, especially knowing that often in Hebrew couplets the second part paraphrases the first and if the second part is “all his ways are just” then it is God’s actions that are in focus, not nature/creation in general.

No, evolution is part of God’s creation and proceeds according to God’s will and plan, as does everything else in creation. Science does not explain God’s work, so in science, no workspace is allotted to God. But since evolutionary creationism is not “science + God”, but “God created via some processes science can describe,” this is just inaccurate.

[quote] The biblical creation account should not be regarded as a myth, a parable, or an allegory, but as a historical report, because:

Biological, astronomical and anthropological facts are given in didactic [teaching] form.
In the Ten Commandments God bases the six working days and one day of rest on the same time-span as that described in the creation account (Exodus 20:8-11).
In the New Testament Jesus referred to facts of the creation (e.g. Matthew 19:4-5).
Nowhere in the Bible are there any indications that the creation account should be understood in any other way than as a factual report.
The doctrine of theistic evolution undermines this basic way of reading the Bible, as vouched for by Jesus, the prophets and the Apostles. Events reported in the Bible are reduced to mythical imagery, and an understanding of the message of the Bible as being true in word and meaning is lost. [/quote]

I think almost every sentence here is demonstrably wrong, and lengthy discussions of why are all over these boards.

Huh? “Evolution knows no sin.”?? Okay. Neither does photosynthesis. Why would anyone be looking to evolution for moral instruction? How is sin made meaningless by allele changes in a population over time? How is sin an “evolutionary factor” in any scenario?

Do you understand what this means because I sure don’t. If you are going to say evolution is incompatible with the Incarnation, you have to actually explain WHY, not just quote a guy who says something indecipherable.

You don’t have to believe in a literal Adam created from literal dust to affirm a historical Fall or the sinfulness of all humanity. It is the sinfulness of all humanity and their need for a savior that is the biblical basis of Jesus’ work of redemption, not a historical Adam.

[quote]The total duration of creation was six days (Exodus 20:11).
The age of the universe may be estimated in terms of the genealogies recorded in the Bible (but note that it cannot be calculated exactly). It is of the order of several thousand years, not billions. [/quote]

As you know, there are well-developed, exegetically responsible ways to understand the six days of creation other than six 24 hour days in recent history, and even most conservative Hebrew/Old Testament scholars would deny you can calculate the age of the earth by adding up genealogies.

I think YEC encourages a simplistic, culturally decontextualized, Western-centric approach to reading Scripture that leads to irresponsible assertions about what God’s word teaches.


(Christy Hemphill) #9

The dating of the earth was not arrived at because biologists needed time for their evolutionary model. The age of the earth can be calculated using multiple tools. Even YEC scientists admit that they have no way of refuting that the earth certainly appears to be more than 500 million years old based on radio-active decay rates. (See here for the findings of the YEC funded RATE project)

[quote]

  1. God used evolution as a means of creating.
  2. The Bible contains no usable or relevant ideas which can be applied in present-day origins science.
  3. Evolutionistic pronouncements have priority over biblical statements. The Bible must be reinterpreted when and wherever it contradicts the present evolutionary worldview. [/quote]
    1 and 2 yes.
  4. No, it’s more like science and God’s word describe the same reality, though they most often speak to different aspects of reality. When they appear to be describing incompatible realities, we know we have something wrong. Scientific interpretations and biblical interpretations should both be open to revision in light of evidence. Evidence from science, history, linguistics, and anthropology are all important to consider when we are deciding what a biblical passage means. That is not the same thing as saying “Science always trumps Scripture.”

[quote]Certain essential creation concepts are taught in the Bible. These include:

God created the earth first, and on the fourth day He added the moon, the solar system, our local galaxy, and all other star systems.[/quote]

I disagree. It is demonstrably false that the Genesis account tells the chronological order of physical creation. To insist it does is to insist on believing something that isn’t true.

[quote]The Bible carries the seal of truth, and all its pronouncements are authoritative—whether they deal with questions of faith and salvation, daily living, or matters of scientific importance.

Evolutionists brush all this aside, e.g. Richard Dawkins says…[/quote]

No evolutionary creationist I have ever met cares what Richard Dawkins says about the Bible. Classic red herring. This quote does absolutely nothing to prove the assertion that the Bible speaks authoritatively on matters of scientific importance.

Conflation of theology and science. A specific scientifically described process can proceed in an apparently random way without requiring all of reality to be purposeless. There are plenty of good articles here explaining what randomness means in science and how it is compatible with divine action.

http://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/series/divine-action





(Emily) #10

According to people who are clueless about Evolution, we all evolved from fish. -_-


(Curtis Henderson) #11

Sorry, Jonathan, but I’m gonna ask again… Do you agree with what Gitt is saying in his danger #10, or not?


(Phil) #12

Hum. I think I speculated once a long time ago that if the asteroid had not hit, perhaps God would have used Dino’s as his image bearers rather than primates. Sort of goes along with all creatures being from the dust, and God giving them life, so maybe we should not be to prideful of our physical appearance. As it is not that that makes us image bearers. Just musings.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #13

Great summary of the problems – and I was about to post on how the “pre-amble” for the ten already derails the train before the author even got started. But you beat me to it. I want to push back on this specific response of yours, though, so that I can understand more.

My response to this (and I’m sure YECs would jump on this wagon too) is that you appear then to be driving a wedge between creation and God’s work. I can understand that the exegesis may not be good. I’ll take your word for that – It isn’t specifically mentioning all of creation. Got it. But isn’t that now just hiding behind technicality? In terms of lay-person application of scripture, are we not to consider all of nature / creation to be God’s work? I know that the whole question is packing way more into that verse than honest exegesis may bear, but on the wider testimony of all scriptures I am uncomfortable accepting anything that requires me to believe nature is parceled up into “God did this” (because it’s beautiful and we all like it) and “God definitely didn’t do that” (because we don’t like it at all.) It strikes me as a more sound response to think of this as worshipful hyperbole; I know – them’s fight’n words to fundamentalists who can’t abide the thought that technical veracity (on their own modern terms, no less) might be intruded upon by forceful emotive outburst or devotional passion.

But anyway, if I misunderstand your response, please clarify. Thanks.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #14

@Christy

… and one more thought … that demonstrates that I haven’t yet worked through the implications of my own response above …

While I still defend the conviction that all of creation is God’s work, I still find other Scriptures that rock this boat at least a little too. The man born blind … after Jesus quickly nixes the common notion of the day that this was because the man or his parents sinned, he goes on to say that it was “so that the works of God might be demonstrated.” On the surface here it seems like Jesus wants us to privilege the healing part as God’s special work (the ultimate build-up to a teachable moment, I guess!). But the implication is that the original blindness was part of that intent too, right? I wonder how Jesus would have responded to a followup question: “Okay - if it wasn’t because of anybody’s sin, is God adding suffering to people’s lives so that they will later have the opportunity to appreciate restoration?” That doesn’t feel right either, any more than a thief returning some of his stolen goods should put him on any moral high ground. I know that this exhibits a wrong attitude towards God who owns everything and everyone anyway – we are all here for God’s pleasure and purposes. On the other hand, God also gave us a sense of justice and indignation too, which probably means we are not to forego its use. It just seems to me like Jesus was willing to lift certain “demonstration moments” up as archetypal cases of God’s work above creation in general. I’m not sure how to tease those two categories apart, if indeed that should even be done.

[maybe this warranted starting a new thread … if any moderator thinks so, I’m game.]


(Jay Johnson) #15

Yes, you are spot-on in the first observation. The common feeling of the day was that God rewarded and punished in this lifetime, not just the next. Thus, health, wealth, and long life were viewed as obvious signs of God’s blessing, while sickness, poverty, and early death were seen as signs of God’s curse. This was part of the “great reversal” that Christ announced.

Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven. For their ancestors did the same things to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort already.
“Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets."

And let us not forget the end of the story. It is the blind beggar who sees, while the religious leaders remain blind because of their insistence that they see perfectly well.

On the one hand, the “work” of God is the healing, which I would not equate to God’s creative “work,” but to the miraculous “works” that identified Jesus as the Christ. “For the works that the Father has given me to finish–the very works that I am doing–testify that the Father has sent me” (John 5:36). “Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?’” (John 10:32).

In this case, then, the “work of God” is the healing, but the greater work of God is the spiritual sight that the man receives, while the religious leaders remain in a darkness of their own choosing. The latter is a much more fearful thing than being born blind. In Jesus’ consistent viewpoint, it is not the circumstances of this life that matter, for they are temporary.


#16

Don’t you realize that God all along intended for the while male American evangelical to bear His image and rule the earth?


(Roberto L Hernandez) #17

JES, I have some thoughts about “Danger no. 3: Denial of Central Biblical Teachings,” and would like to hear yours.

Would you say that the taking the chronology of parts of Genesis is a more centra teachingl, or would you say that Mateo 25 is?

37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’


(Christy Hemphill) #18

I consider all of creation God’s to be the result of God’s work. I have no problem describing nature as a work of God. But the word ‘work’ and the word ‘creation’ are not semantically interchangeable, even though God’s work includes creation. They aren’t synonyms. Humanity is the result of God’s work, but we can’t say that since all God’s works are perfect and all his ways are just, therefore humanity is perfect. You can’t just assume that any adjective that can be attributed to God’s action is a valid description of creation since creation was the result of one of God’s actions. That was my only point. That the verse doesn’t prove what they are saying it proves, that original creation existed in a state of perfection.

This is totally shooting from the hip and I have not looked anything up, but it seems to me that in the NT “powerful works” and “signs” are words used to describe God’s acting in human history in ways that are designed to bring about repentance and vindicate his name. I don’t think it is a synonym for “handiwork.” I think Jesus totally avoids the question of why (“for what reason”) the man was born blind and turns the focus on “for what purpose” his blindness (and by extension our own suffering) can bring glory to God.


(Christy Hemphill) #19

My turn for one more thought.

All God’s works are perfect. Creation is God’s work. Therefore creation is perfect.
I get the logic, I just don’t think it is an appropriate way to approach Scripture.

Because you can also get:

God hates all who do wrong. (Psalm 5:5) All people do wrong. (Rom 3:23, Ecc 7:20, Psalm 53:3) Therefore God hates everyone.

Logical, but wrong.


#20

Here is something that a BioLogos affiliate has said in the past:

“If the tenets of young earth creationism were true, basically all of the sciences of geology, cosmology, and biology would utterly collapse. It would be the same as saying 2 plus 2 is actually 5. The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason?”–Dr. Francis Collins, “Faith and the Human Genome”