I’ve come to believe that accepting the overwhelming evidence for evolution and common ancestry is very important for Christians, for a number of reasons.
Avoiding a faith crisis if/when a person who has been taught creationism realizes that their worldview doesn’t hold water, and potentially applies that conclusion to the whole Christian faith
Combating the stigma (often reality) that Christians are “those conspiracy theorists” who deny science, which could drive people away from Christ
Ensuring that people, especially youth, feel free to learn about and explore science, instead of dismissing it, which would benefit humanity and our progress
Obviously, these conversations must be had with humility and grace, but they must be had nonetheless, especially with younger people. Maybe, you don’t need to prioritize convincing your church’s 80 year old grandma that her worldview is rooted in pseudoscience. But overall I think it’s important. What do you all think? What are some other important reasons?
Another reason I think is important is that if Christians want a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation about pressing ethical issues facing our society (AI, transhumanism, reproductive tech, gene editing, response to climate change, environmental justice, disparities in medical care, etc) they need to be trained in science and represnted in scientific vocations. If Christians treat science as a discipline tainted by lies of the Devil, it’s hard to inspire the youth to pursue their gifts in STEM fields.
I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say that evolution does not “include” God. The scientific disciplines are the study of the natural world, which God created and oversees. Learning about science is pleasing to God, I think.
There is a difference between believing that science is understanding God’s creation and therefore science is about God. (which I do) And a scientific theory that not only ignores God (because he is not scientific) but proposes a means of developing creatures that excludes God’s influence.
Evolution is describng a sequence of events that are based on random deviations. Now whatever you think random means, it does not mean that god is controllling them. It may have some sort of pattern, but it is not supposedly under the control of God. So as someone put it Humanity is the product of a cosmic accident. Or rather a series of cosmic accidents. Each change occurs for no reason other than it can. It stands or falls, not on the will of God, but the forces of nature under the umbrella of Natural selection.
Ok, so God could have invented the system and we have just identified it. But would God, as we know HIm from Scripture, invent a system that He does not control or influence?
Did God invent the equivalent of a Lottery win generator? (each succesful change being a winning number) And the final result is Humanity? Because, to all intents and purposes that is what TOE is. Sequences of random changes that develop the diversity of creatures that either exist now or did in the past.
Without delving too deeply into the workings of evolution and being accused of not fully understanding it, I am just saying that IMHO the evolutionary theory (TOE) excludes God in its workings.
I mean, when you say that “God isn’t scientific” I think you mean that God cannot be scientifically derived, which I think is true. I don’t think learning about the natural world is excluding God, or asserting that God isn’t present or powerful. It’s just, a different realm of study. Would say that our mathematical models to explain the mutual attractive force between objects exclude God? I certainly wouldn’t. It’s just, gravity. We observe it, we perceive it. I think it’s something to celebrate.
why does everyone who is trying to defend evolution throw up other scientific theories as a proof?
The whole criticism of evolution is not that it is scientific, The criticism is that it is claiming to create without God’s guidance but using survival instead. So humans are at the top of the tree, not because God created us (in His own image) but because we were able to communicate better and develop the use of tools and eventually industry. Not to mention weapons that the rest of nature cannot match.
Yes it is a theological criticism not a scientific one, but that does not mean that science is automatically attacked by theology for no reason other than it is science. Whether God is part of mathematics is academic. It would not change what we understand. If God is part of evolution it most certainly does change TOE.
Volcanoes are claimed to be created without God’s guidance and so is their survival. Their survival depends on how well they are adapted to their environment – I expect some erode faster than others, for example.
God is part of the creation of the universe, but it most certainly does not change the science of cosmology.
That’s why you’re dead in the water, not moving, stuck on a reef of your own construction.
It says enough. And the Bible does not talk about the creation of anything in terms of science, including humans. It does not conflate science and theology like you do so compulsively and obsessively when talking about evolution.
I do not claim God to be part of it, scientifically. But I know how to not conflate science and theology.
We agree. And it is exactly like cosmology, because it is science and not theology.
Why teach anything? Most of what we learn isn’t important for the careers of most people. So why don’t we focus on just the things we need for that? Well… most people don’t know what career they want to pursue. They usually only figure it out by getting an introduction to the topic… as well as seeing what others they don’t like is about. Helping people to discover talents and interests is what unlocks the greatest potentiality in people. Just decide for people what they are going to do and educating them only for that is far more wasteful, because we never discover hidden interests and talents.
Evolution is the science of biology, which is frankly one of the more useful sciences and practical for many careers.
Good questions, which I wish more people thought more deeply about them, before trying to maximize efficiency in learning. My short answer to the questions is:
Critical Thinking Skills.
This essential skill in free societies doesn’t come by focusing solely on “job skills training.” A broad education that includes the sciences, math, languages (first AND foreign), literature, writing, and even (I hate to admit it) PE, is a must for training the mind. A variety of thinking skills can only be learned by actually doing them.
So, not a direct answer to the question of the OP, but certainly related.
I don’t believe it’s necessary for the theory of evolution to include God. Just like gravity does not need to include God. Meteorology does not need to include God or use phrases like “ god sent this or that storm “.
Science and faith are focused on different issues. Science is not here for the supernatural. The theory of evolution does not promote God or deny him. Where your faith kids does not affect how evolution works, just affects how you may apply that knowledge.
I think it depends a good deal on what we mean by “teach evolution.”
If, from the pulpit, pastors are teaching evolution – or home repair, or automobile maintenance, or parenting, or marriage advice, or any other thing so far from the Gospel – they are misusing the pulpit. Even if Sunday school classes, or Bible studies are, they are off topic. The message of the Church is the Gospel.
In school, or in whatever way people are educated, all the material in every subject area should be accurate and up-to-date. An accurate understanding of evolution should be part of that education. Science, history, social studies, literature, math, language should all be up to date and should provide students many different access points to the material to help them develop the fullest picture possible of their world, that is: providing connections across the curriculum.
This is best practice.
In basic education as in all areas of learning over the course of a lifetime.
Unless TOE is shown to include God, that is that it is the means that God used to create us, then teaching it is harmful
TOE claims that humanity is the product of a cosmic fluke (Not my words)
That is not something Christians would want to be promoted.
The current teaching of Evolution does not include any reference to God because God is not recognized by the science that teaches it.
I am sorry, but as a Christian I see this as wrong.
OK, Richard, consider this a friendly challenge. Genesis 1:1 and 1:3 are mighty arms of prophesy keeping careful guard over 1:2 [[ which anchors the initial mechanical aspects to the extant cosmology. ]] They say, to the modern ear, “I AM invented time, space, matter, and light (energy) - when you my children get around to the Age of Science you will name that the Big Bang.”
Since God invented the table of elements and its unique chemistry, not just evolution but abiogenesis are built into the capability of the universe. Yes, God knows what will happen, and (quoting Genesis) it is good. Teaching a literal Genesis is loaded with grief - Day Two shows the vault of the sky (firmament) inserted into the midst of the waters such that a “sufficient” supply of rainfall is above it. Day Four sees the rest of the visible universe placed into the height of the vault of the sky - beneath all those waters. Creation, which is from God hence pure and truthful, shows Planet Earth orbiting the nearest star at a radius of ~93 million miles.
Genesis works, according to the secular world, as a badly formed origin story in one particular sense. Like all other origin stories, each one germinating around tribal campfires at the dawn of language, Genesis uses story containing set elements. Each vignette is simple, vibrant, easy to recall and memorize, and holds a nugget of profound wisdom. Or in other words, theology. Genesis fits this pattern to a T. Its flaw is that there is no human hero figure (we have to wait for the reality of the New Testament for Jesus to appear) - in short Genesis is all about God and not as much about human hero figures per se.
Yes we see Adam and Eve falling into sin. The hard-edged truth is in Evolution: across 3.8+ Billion years, every single forbear has done two things - survive long enough to reproduce, and do so. We are clearly the scions of a long line of survivors and reproducers. The wired-in tendency to do these things means that we are incapable of living a holy life. Some of the time we are adults, but not ALL the time.
TOE, by the way, is a severe misnomer. Evolution is fact and the theory that explains it is called Natural Selection, or more precisely Descent With Inheritance.
Science centers itself on fact, ability to observe and deduce, to repeat an experiment and get the same results each time. Science is all about FACT.
Faith or belief is, by definition, that set of cherished ideas for which any factual basis is incomplete (else they would be facts.) Faith allows us to espy God’s clues such as the first and third verses in Genesis, and know that God Created an entire universe so that we would exist in it.
Does the secular world obsess over what God made while ignoring the Maker? So be it; this is a “fallen world.”
They do say that to the modern ear but I think a perfectly legitimate translation of early Genesis 1 has preexisting primeval material that God works with. Whether or not Genesis 1 describes creation ex nihilo is very much open to debate.
“They do say” isn’t a forcing argument - it has no heft. Yes Genesis 1 through 11:10 carries the form of prior mythology; none of it is factual. The theology is God-oriented: God made this and put us in it, with responsibility to care for it. Right and wrong are implicit all the way through.
Things like he Flood are, like the earliest form of Earth being vast and featureless waters, part of the pagan landscape. There has to be a Flood narrative to recast it in God’s terms; God’s target is paganry. God experiences the deaths of so many Children that he decides to endure paganry rather than being an endless series of Floods.
Match that against the pagan version - humans were an afterthought who bred too successfully, and their function to provide nourishment (the smoke from offering fires) nearly died with them. The starving gods relaxed when their Noah precursor went onto dry land and offered up meat and grain. They resolved never to risk starvation again, so decided to limit human reproduction via diseases.
Genesis is a direct rebuttal of the pagan coterie of promiscuous, thoughtless, lazy, needy, killable deities. God is One, created everything, and values righteous behavior.
In short, Genesis is a pointed self-reveal. It is theology.