Aye jpm. We’re all fools. Grammatico-historical churches cannot otherwise honestly address such issues. They can only honestly address them in that light.
What about the parable of the mustard seed? First century Jews thought that a mustard seed planted in the ground died and was resurrected as a mustard plant. Today we know that is not true does that mean we toss out the Bible.
The fact remains the Bible is allegedly divine communications to humans. On Earth from God in heaven couched in human language using human grammar syntax vocabulary including idioms & World view.
If you don’t fault God in heaven for communicating in ancient Hebrew. Then you shouldn’t fault God in heaven for utilizing ancient Hebrew idioms and. Worldviews.
God chose the best human language available on the surface of the planet at those ancient times. It might well be that had God chosen to communicate to any other group in any other language. The idioms in world views would have been even less scientifically accurate. In our modern times.
God in Heaven communicates through human mediums on Earth. Obviously that is going to color the divine message as it were with human foibles and. Ignorance.
But the same doesn’t necessarily reflect on the God in heaven himself.
And you could say even more scripture says that God made informed and fashioned humans, obviously that. Crafting process requires some amount of time.
You could identify that formation process as evolution or at least cultivation as it were artificial selection.
Evolution is mutation and selection but this selection can be natural or artificial guided by an intervening intelligence.
Mutations arising naturally, but God in Heaven, choosing and selecting those that best serve him.
The widespread human sense that “God in Heaven favors some over others” Could be construed completely consistently as God’s “divine hand” intervening into evolution on earth and guiding it. Turning it into a cultivation process of artificial selection.
Then I would say the mustard seed story fit exactly with what I said.
I mentioned that if my interpretation of scripture was that it was based around modern world views then perhaps I should change my interpretation is wrong and what needs to be considered is what was an ancient Jewish persons worldview and reflect on scripture from that paradigm.
After all a ancient Jewish persons understanding of the world was that they were living on a flat earth floating or supported by pillars with a dome over it that protected them from space water. There is even a strong possibility that they believed that the stars were celestial intelligent beings moving about as a sort of living clock.
So that was the minds that God had to convey his message to in a way they would understand it and be able to reflect on it.
I agree completely with your theological point, Erik.
From the scientific viewpoint, evolution involves a lot more than mutation and selection. The theory also includes factors such as (off the top of my head) competition, cooperation, recombination, gene flow, and drift.
I find your contribution to this Forum most welcome, Kelly. It deals with the most important reason for Biologos’ existence: at adolescence , reconciling religious Faith and the world of Science that surrounds us . In my case, I was educated K-8 in a sheltered parochial school and began high school on a ‘science track’. I was about your son’s age when I was introduced to the ‘theory of evolution’. It excited me so, and I could hardly wait to get home and discuss it with my Mom. This was 1937 and I was 13.
Her response: Maybe YOU descended from monkeys, but I DID NOT!!
I was disappointed. Luckily, I had enough good sense, even at that young age, to realize that up to that point. (40+ yrs), she had lived a happy, purposeful life based upon ( Catholic-based) YEC principles, and thus, until I knew more about the theory of evolution, I should NOT try to ‘fix’ something that wasn’t ‘broken’.
I continued on with a lifelong career in science (I am a 70 yr. member of ACS), and since evolution made better and better sense to me as I progressed, I admittedly came close at times to casting aside my Christian Faith for atheism or at least agnosticism. Works by the Jesuit, Teilard de Chardin (and his interpreters (e.g. Ilia Delio) helped keep me on track, as did the contributors to this Forum. I am sure you will find the earlier responders to your post have some very helpful suggestions based on several points of view: e.g.
(1) @Relates; (perhaps the most ‘orthodox’)
(2) @mitchellmckain; (perhaps the most science-based)
(3) @Boscopup; (like me–the Prodigal returns)
The ‘Al Leo’ Worldview is somewhat a blend of the above, but it may be a bit too UNorthodox for your liking. I believe in a God who dearly loves what He has created but has infinite patience and, rather than give each ‘created element’ some sort of 'perfection ’ at the beginning, He gives each some sort of freedom to interact with its changing environment. Elements in the Cosmosphere interact according to physicals laws, but evolution allows elements of Life (after He began the Biosphere) to struggle somewhat to survive in a changing environment. Thus the life forms that He created on planet Earth become more complex, more capable by passing on somewhat Selfish Genes.. Not entirely Selfish, though. Some co-opertive, altruistic behavior began to take hold in the later stages (beginning with symbiosis in eukaryotes, and becoming noticeable much later in birds and mammals). So I believe that God saw the potential of one of His creatures having the potential to strive to become a True Image of Himself (or better ‘of Herself’) To do so, these creatures (Homo sapiens, it turns out) had to ‘die to their Old Selves’–their Selfish Genes–and to perfect their Love of Neighbor. To overcome the innate reluctance for humans to do so, God sent Jesus into this world, a human who was so perfect and loving that He rightly could claim Sonship with God.
Jesus calls each of us to ‘take up the Cross’ (cast aside selfishness) and follow Him to create a New Kingdom. When we cast aside this generous invitation, we sin. In other words, I believe we were not created Perfect and then Fell; rather, we were created to become Images of our Creator but declined the invitation.
Kelly, I pray that you and your son find the Truth which you seek.
To say I am the most science based is a fair assessment. I make no bones about the fact that I started with the scientific worldview and this was the perceptual filter through which I read the Bible. It is unavoidable that we all read the Bible with some perceptual filter or another, for scientists have demonstrated that there is no perception independent of belief. Furthermore I am always defending the epistemological superiority of science, only drawing the line against the naturalist premise that the scientific worldview represents the limit of reality.
Yet you can also say that I am fairly orthodox. Enough that I find aleo a little too unorthodox at times. I am Trinitarian and I stick pretty close to the Bible, taking Genesis to be historical just not without some symbolism involved in the A&E story. I am not Calvinist or Arminian but open theist. I am a 5 solas Protestant in the western (non-Baptist) evangelical tradition, though I tend to agree more with the Eastern Orthodox on a number of theological issues.
aleo’s “decined invitation” as opposed to a “fall from Grace” way of looking at things is not unreasonable considering how brief the whole Eden state of man was anyway. I have a bigger problem with his focus on altruism versus selfishness which I think already has an adequate explanation in evolution. The difference between man and animals is simply language and the human mind constructed in that medium. And I think the fall was about self-destructive habits called sin which not only separates us from God but is much like a degenerative illness destroying all of our free will, love, and growth potential.
Just one more thought and please, correct me if I’m wrong but the Biblical tradition has it that the watchers of Genesis 6, actually did supply their occult followers with advanced scientific and engineering knowledge, such as mathematics and metallurgy and writing and astronomy.
Conversely, Abrahamic followers have received powerful prophecies and wise social customs, but never it seems received advanced scientific engineering knowledge.
The language is imagery of the Bible, especially Genesis, one gives me the impression that he God in Heaven is aware of advanced water scientific principles, that awareness diffuses through so to speak? however. The fact remains the God in Heaven chose Abraham not say Archimedes or Aristarchus.
And yet there have been others who have claimed to have received “help with their science homework” so to speak.
Mitch, I too find science a useful filter through which the Bible (especially the OT) should be interpreted. And yes, I am Unorthodox to the extent that I can NOT consider Abraham as the "Father of my Faith". Like another, more recent, leader (that here shall remain nameless) I see him using Faith as an excuse to promote his own selfish interests.
Erik, can you honestly claim that the social customs outlined in Deuteronomy (and elsewhere in the OT) are WISE?? For the times, certain dietary restrictions may have had results that were practical and positive (foregoing pork and certain seafoods), but some interpersonal relations (e.g.,“an eye for an eye…”) are still accepted by many–to the detriment of all humanity.
The main point I want to emphasize is that Abrahamic faiths have never claimed to receive. Scientific technical engineering industrial. Or other such knowledge.
Kinds of communications they claim to receive from Heaven are powerful and salient. In other ways, but they are not as it were “help with science homework”
Meanwhile, there have been those who have claimed to have received advanced technical knowledge. And those would be the secretive occult faiths Which the Bible interprets as followers of the fallen angelic watchers.
So you are at least 95 Al.
Hi Everyone, I am very new to this type of forum so excuse me if I am off topic. I was reading about
creation, evolution, Adam and Eve and The Fall. I really didn’t question my idea of creation until the sudden and tragic death of my 19 year old son. His death has been so traumatic for me that I started
questioning everything I thought I had believed. It has been 6 years since his death but I am still wrestling with my beliefs.I know the main points of the Christian faith are about christ, death, resurrection and being raised from the dead. However, none of this would have been necessary if
there was not original sin… the Fall etc. We have moved to 4 different location’s since my son’s death and I have found if you bring up the issue of human evolution within the church, they look at you as if you have major problems or are not really a Christian. I met with 2 pastors of the church I have been attending for the last 6 months. I did not realize they were young earthers. I wanted to discuss the different accounts of the Genius story and one week before meeting with them, I sent them short 15 video made by Debra Haarasma and her husband pointing 5 different views and had asked them to review it before we met. To my great disappointment, neither of them had. They basically refused to talk about some books of the Bible being written in poetic method and some books written in different genre. They said in my pain, I was just putting a wall up walls against God by wanting to discuss these things. I must admit, I was much more happy believing in the literal account of Adam and Eve but as uncomfortable as it is, I just can’t jive the two with modern science. I am sorry if I have gone off topic but I am finding it hard to fit in with the young earth folks at my church (I always feel like I need to keep it a secret or I will be shunned for my emerging ideas and yes, unsettling beliefs.) I have done google searches far and wide and have not found a single church in which they believe in human evolution…unless they are very liberal and do not adhere to basic tenant’s of the Christian beliefs. Does anyone know a church in the South Florida (Delray Beach area) where they believe in evolution?
Like I said, finding Biologs has definitely been a blessing and a curse. It was much easier being blissfuly ignorant of the scientific discoveries. Also, one more thing. My pastor who is a young, hip kind of guy and believes in a young earth, anyway, he sent me clips online. One entitled, "The Danger of Biologos"written by the publication called, Answers Magazine. I guess sometimes I wonder…could those of us who believe in Theistic Evolution be right when , I am not exaggerating, probably 98% of the church thinks it is evil. Please share your opinions. Thanks, Kate
Truth is not determined democratically – I know an atheist who routinely cites demographic numbers in a rather sad ad populum fallacy addiction.
God’s providence is wonderful… in Christians’ lives and in providentially guided evolution. Hence my adopted identity of ‘evolutionary providentialist’.
Hi Kate. So sorry for your loss and that you have not found much compassion or understanding in your church communities as you have worked through your grief and questions. That would be very lonely and discouraging.
It is helpful to remember that in many congregations there are people who do not share the views of the leadership when it comes to science, but like you, they may have experienced negative reactions when they have shared their views, so they now keep quiet. Sometimes it takes awhile for kindred spirits to reveal themselves. Also, there are churches in which pastors are open to multiple perspectives on origins, but again, they might not be super vocal about it because they don’t want to create controversy. More and more Christian venues are broaching the topic though. An EC friend of mine who has worked on the Integrate curriculum for BioLogos was recently asked to share about her perspective as a biology teacher at a CRU event for young people. When she shared her testimony of accepting evolution and loving the Lord, it moved many in the audience to tears and she had over fifty kids wanting to speak to her after her talk about more information on harmonizing science and faith. The Evangelical magazine Christianity Today has a new editor in chief who served at on point on BioLogos’ advisory board and who wrote a book called Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith. Their science editor Rebecca Randall regularly features work by evolution accepting Christians, like this article from yesterday about Josh Swamidass’ new book. The science faculty at the majority of CCCU colleges accept evolution and teach it to their students within a Christian framework. So I think the “people in the pew” perception that evolution is only the domain of atheists is shifting and will continue to shift.
I hope you can find some support in this online community and feel free to share your ongoing struggles and questions. Anytime you would like to start a new thread about something, just go to the main page (click on “The BioLogos Forum” at the top) and click on the gray box at the top that says “+New Topic.”
First of all, I echo Christy’s advice to you, and greet you also with hopes that you’ll find a congregation of compassionate and caring people who are open to truth.
Nor are you likely to; most churches aren’t about such “sciencey” stuff, much less picking something controversial out of science and landing on that to advertise as some central part of their identity. That would be “virtue signaling” of a rather unhealthy looking extreme even to many of us Christians who have no problem with God using evolutionary mechanisms. So I suggest that the best you should hope for in this regard is to find a church that doesn’t make a big deal of all this (either way) and has leadership that at least doesn’t exhibit hostility toward science, and (even better) encourages active curiosity in all areas (including science) in the pursuit of truth and understanding, welcoming all regardless of their comfort or discomfort with various scientific outlooks.
Kate, just want to echo Christy in encouraging you and hopefully being a positive influence. If you are in some areas, It does seem like 98% of churches are young earthers, but that is quite regional and globally, the church as a whole is probably majority old earth, and Pew polls seem to indicate U S church members are only 30-40 % YEC, with the rest old earth of some variety or undecided. I will agree that the YEC crowd tends to be the most vocal. Of course, denominations differ.
Thanks for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about your son’s death. I am the father of 4 grown kids, so I can imagine (but not truly know) the pain you have experienced.
I have also felt out of place in evangelical churches at times due to my acceptance of the science of biology. I find more peace when I try to focus on the good qualities I find in church communities.
Also, I have come to the place where I don’t think of remaining silent on origins (most of the time) as a lack of honesty. I am simply choosing to put first things first.
I do worry about the students who might get lost in the alleged battle between “godless science” and “faithfulness to literal truth.” I exposed my own kids to evolutionary creationism to help inoculate them against the problem. I think they might have helped a few of their peers before they took wing from our house.
Thousands of religions and denominations all pointing at the others and saying that they are evil.
They are all correct!
The only deception here is the implication that by pointing their fingers at other people that they are somehow an exception… that they themselves are not evil… or even less evil. Sorry. Nope!
2 Thess 2 has long warned that, in The End of Earth Time (Rev 20:7-9), heaven will send a “deluding spirit” to most of humanity (who will have forsaken the truth, for honeyed words they wish were true, evidently a malevolent twist on the term “good news”, preachers will come to them with “good [for them] news” and they will buy it “hook line & sinker” as they say)
yes, it is quite ironic, that everybody everywhere simultaneously feeling themselves individually special & unique, makes them all the same