God and Evolution contradict each other?


(Emily) #1

I believe that God used Evolution to create all things. Even though, as science states, evolution is a completely natural process and random chance. I read somewhere that you can’t hold the view that God created everything through Evolution, because of what I stated above.

I don’t think that’s true. God can do anything He wants so I don’t see that as a valid argument. If Science and Christianity were as incompatible as people claim, we wouldn’t have people like Francis Collins or C.S. Lewis.

I ask because I am questioning the historicity of the Bible, of Christ as well.

Thoughts?


(Thomas) #2

I always maintained that evolution was simply a consequence of creating life on Earth. It changes it’s hosts to adapt to an ever-changing World. Sin wasn’t specially created by God yet it is a consequence of free-will. Perhaps evolution is to physical life what sin is to free-will?

I’m still learning myself, but I’m honestly not too bothered by evolution. I actually struggle to understand why evolution became so demonized in the first place. If I was creating life, I would install measures that caused my creations to adapt and grow on their own.
Everything on this planet is a process, evolution is no different.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

The idea of randomness gets plenty of air time on these discussion boards. Here is a recent post and discussion you might find interesting: http://biologos.org/blogs/kathryn-applegate-endless-forms-most-beautiful/biochemistry-randomness-and-god

If you use the search function on the homepage and type in “randomness” you will get plenty more hits.


(Kathryn Applegate) #4

Thanks for asking these questions, Celticroots. A few comments on your first paragraph: "Completely natural processes,"I believe, are still under the dominion of the Creator, even if they happen with a regularity that gives the impression they occur on their own. And while randomness is real, it doesn’t necessarily mean devoid of purpose or without cause. Finally, evolution itself isn’t random; it is a highly selective process that works upon random (with respect to the needs of the individual, as far as we can tell) variation in a population. So as you and many others on this forum believe, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that God created through the gradual process we call evolution.

You say you are questioning the historicity of the Bible and of Christ. I can sympathize; I have gone through periods of intense questioning myself. Many people worry that if we unravel our way of thinking about Genesis (ie if we move to a non-literalistic interpretation) than we’ll eventually do the same with the Gospels and become liberal Christians who no longer believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. That does happen to some people, but it’s not inevitable!

I think we should start more discussions with Christ and work our way back to Genesis. I once heard a wise Bible scholar say Genesis is one of the most difficult books in the Bible to interpret. The Gospels, on the other hand, were written by people who knew, saw, talked with, and walked with Jesus. They heard him preach. They watched him die. They saw him raised. I am a Christian not because I understand the whole Bible (there is SO much I don’t understand) but because I believe the witness of the Gospel writers is credible. I believe the Bible is the inspired and true word of God, even though I don’t expect to have a perfect understanding of it in my lifetime. We aren’t saved by our intellectual understanding, but by our trust in God. (And being a Calvinist, I rest in the fact that it is God who calls and saves us. It is God’s faithfulness–not my own act of placing my faith in Him–which I cling to for salvation.)

You might enjoy reading Tim Keller’s Reason for God. Keller does a great job of taking people’s real objections to Christianity and providing a reasonable response. Not a complete answer, but a good starting point.

Praying for you today, Celticroots. Take heart. You aren’t alone in this fight.


(Dr. Ted Davis) #5

@Celticroots,

I understand why “randomness” might crowd your faith. In fact, the word “random” can be used in multiple ways by various people in different contexts. It can be confusing–even sometimes to scientists, who don’t always use the word as carefully as they should. “Randomness” in science actually has a specific mathematical meaning, namely, that future outcomes of certain natural phenomena cannot actually be predicted with certainty–in other words, we can’t know for sure exactly what will happen, as in tossing a coin. It’s a mistake for anyone, including scientists, to assume that mathematical “randomness” necessarily implies randomness in an ultimate philosophical or theological sense.

Perhaps it would be helpful to read something about this, specifically on the topic of “randomness,” evolution, and God, something written by a Catholic astrophysicist who understands the relevant parts of philosophy, theology, and science better than many other scientists–and better than many theologians also (IMO). Here’s the essay: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/12/chance-by-design

The final section is especially important for the Christian believer.

Here’s who the author is: http://web.physics.udel.edu/about/directory/faculty/stephen-barr. Steve is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, which means his peers regard him as one of the top people in his particular specialty (http://www.aps.org/programs/honors/fellowships/). So, he knows his stuff on the science side. He probably understands “randomness” better than most biologists, b/c it’s so widely used in physical sciences, and most physical scientists have a much better grasp on mathematics than most biologists. (Obviously there are exceptions, but as a generalization this is certainly true.)

More generally, I strongly recommend this book by Steve: http://undpress.nd.edu/books/P00848

I hope that some or all of this is helpful, Emily.


(Dr. Ted Davis) #6

@Celticroots,
I’m not sure exactly what you mean, when you say you are questioning the historicity of Christ. You might mean this: that Jesus never really existed, and that he was just made up by the founders of Christianity.

If that’s what you mean, then (speaking as an historian myself) that dog just won’t hunt. I know hundreds of historians, including many historians of the ancient world, and not one of them agrees with that claim, even though most of them are not Christian believers. I have heard of one historian Richard Carrier (http://www.richardcarrier.info/jesus.html), who advances that claim, but I’ve never met him. He is trained in classical history and literature, so his expertise is relevant to making such a claim, but honestly I don’t know anyone else competent to judge that claim who agrees with him. Even Bart Ehrman, the famous BIble scholar who’s no longer a believer, thinks that Carrier is just wrong.

IMO, Carrier is to the historicity of Jesus what holocaust deniers are to European history or what YECs are to mainstream natural history (pick your analogy). He’s denying what everyone else regards as factual, for ideological reasons. For goodness sake, most academic historians aren’t Christians; they don’t believe (for example) that Jesus was raised bodily from the grave, or that Jesus performed great miracles himself. But, they don’t doubt that Jesus existed and was crucified by the Romans–like thousands of other people in the Roman Empire at that time.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #7

@Celticroots

Emily,

I understand your question because we are accustomed to draw a bright line between Nature and God, however God creates and works through nature as well as directly.

Matthew 5:44-48 (NIV2011)
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus is saying that just as God the Father uses Nature, the sun and the rain, to demonstrate love for everyone, we must also love everyone.

I believe that God created humans in God’s Image through evolution. How do I know that? Well, I know from the Bible that God did this. I see that God created all of creatures, including humans, through evolution, so putting the two ideas together I get a third.

But one may ask hoe can nature create a being who is superior to0 nature? That is just it, Nature by itself could not, but God through Nature can.

The “world” without God is empty and desolate. This is the ironic meaning of Ecclesiastes, “Vanities of Vanities! All is Vanity. There is no Meaning and Purpose in this Life.”

However one does not have to be a Christian to know that Life is Good and Real and full of Meaning. This is the Nature that God created. People take it apart trying to control for their own purposes and instead destroy it.

God is Good. The universe created by God is Good. Humans are Good when we allow God to live in us and when we live for God and others as well as ourselves.

Nature is not hostile to God, but quite to the contrary. It is the tool created by God to be our home and the basis for our possibilities. Similarly the randomness of nature is not a threat, but a challenge. Every day is a random challenge for us to make something out of it. Usually we succeed, but some days we are more successful than in others.


(system) #8

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