A SERIES OF COMMENTS RELATED TO THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

cevolutionWe are too often full of ourselves, making big fusses about small things — forgetting what matters. Therefore, in my last post the discussion got sidetracked.  Yet we can still use that discussion to make the larger point.

In a comment (on WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION?) replying to tildeb (here), Matthew introduced the subject of the Theory of Evolution.

What religious answers provide is a substitution of an honest “I don’t know” with a “But here is what I believe.”

Secular religious beliefs provide the same “But here is what I believe.” An honest Secularist will say, “I do not know.” Both worldviews begin with presuppositions. For instance. Where were you at the formation of the universe? You and I shall answer, “I was not there.” Where were you at the foundation of the earth? You and I shall answer, “I was not there.” Who or what determined the measurements of the universe and earth? You and I shall answer, “I do not know. But here is what I believe. . .” Your worldview beings with evolutionary presuppositions, whereas my worldview begins with creation presuppositions. Get my drift? You and I observe and measure the same facts, but we interpret those facts differently owing to different presuppositions and biases. There never was and never will be an objective scientist, whether Christian or Secularist. Both Christian and Secular scientists go into the lab with their respective religions. (from here)

With that  took off. Here is a sample.

I lend claims about reality – say, the explanatory model we call evolution – a very great deal of confidence not because I first believe it to be true. That’s the apologetic southern product of a northern facing bovine. I lend that confidence about a claim when the explanatory model produces applications, therapies, and technologies that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time regardless of any contrary beliefs they may hold… compared to lending confidence to an explanatory model that produces no applications, no therapies, no technologies that work for anyone anywhere ever. The explanatory model of, say, evolution continues to consistently and reliably produce not just new knowledge but new and productive avenues of inquiry. It is a model that keeps on giving us insights into how reality operates, how life really does change over time demonstrable and falsifiable through the genetics of common ancestry. All of this has exactly NOTHING to do with my beliefs about it but work regardless. So it has nothing to do with the beliefs I bring with me when I consider the world’s arbitration of claims made about it. (from here)

Of course,   added that the creation model “proposes that a mysterious agency of Oogity Boogity! used a mechanism best described as POOF!ism to create stuff like life.” So   tried explain that the Theory of Evolution is also religious in nature.

Every student of logic knows that definition is a matter of importance in logical discourse. Everything is a religion. Believers and unbelievers cannot escape this fact. Everyone has religious views. The word “religion” derives from the Latinreligio, which simply means belief and devout — nothing more, nothing less. For example, is evolutionism a religion? First, does evolution have a system of beliefs? Yes. Second, are evolutionists devoted to that system of beliefs? Yes. Therefore, evolutionism is a religion. Likewise, creationism is a religion. Question. If the people wish to separate religion and state, which is a religious view, then why are we teaching the religion of evolutionism in our classrooms? (from here)

When that did not go over with , I tried a different tact.

Is the Theory of Evolution a fundamental pillar of biology? Not really. There is a lot written that suggests the Theory of Evolution is important, but very little practical use is made of the theory. Evolution is used to explain taxonomy, for example, but we don’t actually use Evolution to do taxonomy.

So if the Theory of Evolution is ever proven to be seriously flawed (assuming we ever learn enough to discover said flaw), scientists will just edit some textbooks. The difficulty will be admitting the mistake, not dealing with it. (from here)

, of course, did not reply with an example of a practical use for the Theory of Evolution. Here in this excerpt he was as about as polite as he could be.

Perhaps you missed the bit that NOTHING in biology makes sense without the evolutionary explanation. Nothing. But to you, this doesn’t really matter, does it? You seem perfectly comfortable to intellectually shrug as if of little consequence that this explanation works to directly inform applications, therapies, and technologies that – oh, by some strange coincidence, just so happens to work for everyone everywhere all the time. Meh. Probably some chance result. (from here)

Therefore, I offered  a direct challenge.

You say Theory of Evolution is a pillar of biology. Thus far, in support of that contention you have spouted a bunch of meaningless generalities. If you can be more specific, I will have learned something. If you cannot, maybe you will learn something.

So here is a challenge. A man walks into a doctor’s office. He is ill. Is there any illness that man might have that a doctor who believes in the Theory of Evolution would treat differently than a doctor who thinks the theory is not true? That is, how could a doctor apply Theory of Evolution, supposedly a fundamental theory of biology, in his practice? (from here)

 responded mostly with insults (here). Frankly, if  is not defending his religion, his behavior is inexplicable.

Anyway, the comment trail following WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION? is more interesting than the post and I suggest perusing it.

As to that challenge I gave . Anyone is welcome to reply at this post. If you can prove me wrong, then I will have learned something, but here is what I currently believe.

tildeb – I asked the question to make a point. The Theory of Evolution is only an explanatory model. If it happens to be a good explanation, that is okay. If not, so what?

An idea can be idea about something we believe true or something we don’t believe. In either case, we can share the idea. If I tell you a car is coming, and you don’t believe me, then if I am telling you the truth, you will wish you had gotten out of the way. Whether or not someone believes or does not believe the Theory of Evolution, however, is not of much consequence.

My point? It is what I have said before. The Theory of Evolution is not a pillar of Biology. It does not hold up anything. We hold it up by speculating upon whether or not it might be true. Except for the fact some people are overly impressed, the fact that our speculations are quite elaborate changes nothing.

Anyway, thank you for visiting. (from here)

When I look at the problem of educating our children, what concerns me is this. If we put parents in charge, then we put the people who are most likely to CARE in charge of the education of children. If we put politicians in charge, we put people who care too much about something else (like the Theory of Evolution or their pocketbooks) in charge.

46 thoughts on “A SERIES OF COMMENTS RELATED TO THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

  1. “NOTHING in biology makes sense without the evolutionary explanation. Nothing.”

    It’s really fascinating, nearly every discussion I engage in returns to biology. It’s such a prominent theme my entire blog is about it 😉 It is actually in the workings of biology that I really came to recognize the existence of God. It is biology that led me away from feminism. Natural law is something that springs forth from biology and heavily influences my political values encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. It is biology that leads me to believe that parents are the best educators of children, that the state can never replace or improve on that biological bond we have with our children.

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  2. I would think, “like redemption comes before righteousness, creation comes before evolution.” This may seem an odd statement, yet, when put into proper perspective, it can not be disputed.

    Charles Darwin, in his book “Origins of the Species,” never believed in “evolution.” Primarily due to his inability to connect to what we perceive as being a “missing link.” However, he lends more towards “adaptation” of the species. This might further explain “extinction of” certain species…. (i. e. “their inability to adapt to an ever changing environment”).

    In either event “evolutionary believers” must consider evolution can not come from nothing, but first something must of been created for changes to come about.

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    1. I agree.

      In this post, I cited Romans 1:18-23. However, the beginning of Psalm 19 may have been a better choice.

      Psalm 19 Good News Translation (GNT)

      1 How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
      How plainly it shows what he has done!
      2 Each day announces it to the following day;
      each night repeats it to the next.
      3 No speech or words are used,
      no sound is heard;
      4 yet their message goes out to all the world
      and is heard to the ends of the earth.
      God made a home in the sky for the sun;
      5 it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
      like an athlete eager to run a race.
      6 It starts at one end of the sky
      and goes across to the other.
      Nothing can hide from its heat.

      Our experience tells us that everything has a cause. Yet I suppose some argue that our universe has existed forever. There is no first cause. Still, we must ask: how did that come to be? And that question brings us back to God.

      Thank you for your observation.

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      1. Thank you, Tom, for your acknowledgements.
        Though I may be wrong here, yet I think, Romans 1:18-23 may have lent it’s view more so towards illustration of your more immediate thought(s). As Romans 1:18-23 does acknowledge the “creation as having come from God and the senselessness of man’s disbelief in such creation.” Although Psalms 19 does reflect the glamorous nature of this universe spreading silently unto the world – it is, after all, the wonderment of creation and not the creation itself.

        I am lead t recall once reading a short story concerning “Natural Law and atheism.” Though it may not be thoroughly engrained in your ongoing debate concerning “evolution,” it does have some merit to the matter most at hand….. Natural Laws. I will herein give it to you in it’s entirety to be shared with your audience as well.

        The Nature of Belief by Jill Carattini

        “Miracles,” said my friend. “Oh, come. Science has knocked the bottom out of all that. We know now that Nature is governed by fixed laws.”

        “Didn’t people always know that?” I said.

        “Good Lord, no,” he said. “For instance, take a story like the Virgin Birth. We know now that such a thing couldn’t happen.”

        “But look here,” I said. “St Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary; if you’ll read the story in the Bible you’ll find that when he saw his fiancée was going to have a baby he decided to cry off the marriage. Why did he do that?”

        “Wouldn’t most men?”

        “Any man would,” I said, “provided he knew the laws of Nature—provided he knew that a girl doesn’t ordinarily have a baby unless she’s been sleeping with a man. St Joseph knew that law just as well as you do.”(1)

        It’s not difficult to find any number of people who have trouble with the nativity scene at the heart of the Christmas story. According to the Barna Research group even Christians are struggling with the virgin birth at the center of their own faith tradition. More than fifteen percent of Christians in the United States admit not believing in the virgin birth, a statistic which is readily increasing.

        Across continents, atheist campaigns each year ask the world to admit over its primitive nativity scenes that we know it is only a myth or to celebrate reason instead this season. The battle these voices propose between science and faith describes something like two opposing swordsmen sworn to fight to the death. Though it is an image supported at times by both sides of the fight, it is at best a blind spot in the minds of many and, at worst, a wishful delusion.

        In his 1945 essay “Religion and Science,” which begins with the above conversation, C.S. Lewis exposed one of the most common false assumptions at the heart of the science/faith divide, particularly as it pertains to the nativity of Jesus. The assumption is that this “primitive” nativity was likewise filled with primitive thinkers devoid of any sort of knowledge of biology or natural reasoning. Here and elsewhere, Lewis saw that we hold our scientific advancements as something like demerits for prior generations, perpetuating the mentality that the only accurate thought is current thought, the only mind worth trusting is an ‘enlightened’ one—of which we, of course, are conveniently members.

        Yet, Joseph knew enough about the laws of nature to at first conclude the infidelity of his fiancée. He knew that babies and pregnancies did not appear on their own and thus intended to divorce Mary quietly, until something changed his mind. The disciples, too, knew enough about the laws of physics to be completely terrified by the man walking on the water toward their boat. The crowd of mourners knew enough about death to laugh at Jesus when he insisted that the dead girl was only sleeping, and to walk away astonished when she came back to life. There were also the magi, astrologers who followed their scientific calculations to the child; Philip and Andrew who knew that the mathematics of two fish and a starving crowd were not going to divide well; Mary and Martha who knew that their brother’s death was the last word; and Thomas who knew the same after he watched Jesus crucified.

        In each of these objections, I thankfully hear my own. So much so, that it would appear fairly clearly that faith is not a turning of one’s back on the fixed laws of nature or physics or mathematics, but rather, a recognition in the very face of these laws which we know and trust that something from outside the law must have reached into the picture. I find each of these scenes both remarkable and reasonable precisely because of the reactions of men and women with a grasp of natural law and the same objections that any of us would have offered had we been present. It would be blind faith indeed if we were receiving a story that wanted us at the onset to fully reject the laws of natural reasoning in replacement of something else. What we receive instead is a story filled with undeniable indications—indications which suggest that something, or Someone, has startlingly stepped into the picture.

        I trust, Tom, this might lend some food for thought in your quest.

        May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless and keep you and yours always.

        Yours in Christ;
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to agree with altruistico. “evolution can not come from nothing, but first something must of been created for changes to come about”

    In my mind, this is the great downfall to the theory of evolution. All you have to do is continue ot go back in time until finally, even evolutionists have to admit that they do not know the original source of the material involved with creation.

    Either matter is eternal or it must have been created. It makes far more sense, and it is much easier for me to believe, that that an Eternal Almighty God created matter than to assume that matter itself is eternal. To take it a step further, if God created the original matter, why couldn’t He create everything in the world, as we know it?

    Thanks for posting the interesting comments. Lord bless you, Tom.

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    1. I agree with altruistico too.
      🙂

      Evolution did not solve anything for Atheists, not even if it is true. And the reason is the one you give.

      Here are a couple book reviews I did you may find interesting =>https://citizentom.com/2008/04/29/science-and-religion/

      The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief considers some of the theories scientists have proposed. The scientist who wrote the book, Francis S. Collins, reached the conclusion that our existence without God is just too improbable to be believed.

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    2. Thank you, Rob, for your kind comment and acknowledgement towards me. I do so appreciate them. And I too am in full agreement with you.

      I would hope that you might review my comment to Tom, if you have some time. I believe there is some merit in that response of which you might be interested in reading.

      May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless and keep you and yours always.

      Yours in Christ;
      Michael

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  4. It is a sign of small thinking, in my view, to posit that evolution is the antithesis of faith. Evolution, gravity, thermodynamics, atomic structures can all exist with no damage to faith-based life choices.

    I have always been puzzled by why some sects within Christianity are so averse to evidence of an “old earth” and evolutionary concepts. My sister and I visited the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky last summer. I highly recommend it to everyone. Extremely entertaining. As we drove away, I found myself wondering why anyone would make the considerable investment that had been made in that display simply to try to spin out a theory of a 6,000 year old earth. I still am somewhat baffled. In the preceding post/thread, Matthew provided some insight for me by suggesting that people of his viewpoint needed to hold the line on the 6,000 year old earth because, if that scenario were not literally true, the rest of Scripture would collapse (I hope that is a fair paraphrase). He referenced Jesus quoting from Genesis (something I have never found in the New Testament – there are, to my knowledge, allusions on the question of adultery in Matthew and Mark, but no real weighing in on the Creation story) and posits that Genesis must be literally true. A devout Catholic friend of mine responded to my query as to why the Roman Catholic Church seems to have successfully avoided controversy over evolution by saying that the Church regards the Creation account in the Bible as “didactic fiction” – God’s way of explaining vast forces to Man in terms Man can understand. Keith, in the other thread, reminds us that St. Thomas Aquinas was aware of this allegorical nature of the Hebrew Bible. In other words, guys, chill out. Nothing turns on whether the two Genesis stories are literally true.

    Genesis, scholars tell us, was written in around 800-700BC. It no doubt collected up more ancient stories from the surrounding Hebrew and neighboring cultures. Those who choose to view it as inspirationally planted in its authors’ minds by God have full power to take it that way. Having done so, there is nothing about later science that interferes with the powerful story-telling that undergirds these early creation accounts.

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    1. Across continents, atheist campaigns each year ask the world to admit over its primitive nativity scenes that we know it is only a myth or to celebrate reason instead this season. The battle these voices propose between science and faith describes something like two opposing swordsmen sworn to fight to the death. Though it is an image supported at times by both sides of the fight, it is at best a blind spot in the minds of many and, at worst, a wishful delusion.

      In his 1945 essay “Religion and Science,” which begins with the above conversation, C.S. Lewis exposed one of the most common false assumptions at the heart of the science/faith divide, particularly as it pertains to the nativity of Jesus. The assumption is that this “primitive” nativity was likewise filled with primitive thinkers devoid of any sort of knowledge of biology or natural reasoning. Here and elsewhere, Lewis saw that we hold our scientific advancements as something like demerits for prior generations, perpetuating the mentality that the only accurate thought is current thought, the only mind worth trusting is an ‘enlightened’ one—of which we, of course, are conveniently members.

      Yet, Joseph knew enough about the laws of nature to at first conclude the infidelity of his fiancée. He knew that babies and pregnancies did not appear on their own and thus intended to divorce Mary quietly, until something changed his mind. The disciples, too, knew enough about the laws of physics to be completely terrified by the man walking on the water toward their boat. The crowd of mourners knew enough about death to laugh at Jesus when he insisted that the dead girl was only sleeping, and to walk away astonished when she came back to life. There were also the magi, astrologers who followed their scientific calculations to the child; Philip and Andrew who knew that the mathematics of two fish and a starving crowd were not going to divide well; Mary and Martha who knew that their brother’s death was the last word; and Thomas who knew the same after he watched Jesus crucified.

      In each of these objections, I thankfully hear my own. So much so, that it would appear fairly clearly that faith is not a turning of one’s back on the fixed laws of nature or physics or mathematics, but rather, a recognition in the very face of these laws which we know and trust that something from outside the law must have reached into the picture. I find each of these scenes both remarkable and reasonable precisely because of the reactions of men and women with a grasp of natural law and the same objections that any of us would have offered had we been present. It would be blind faith indeed if we were receiving a story that wanted us at the onset to fully reject the laws of natural reasoning in replacement of something else. What we receive instead is a story filled with undeniable indications—indications which suggest that something, or Someone, has startlingly stepped into the picture.

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    2. scout
      If you want an example of Jesus quoting Genesis, check Matthew 19:1-12. I am expect you have read the text, but we …. Well, I suggest you consider what the Bible itself says about the wisdom of man.

      What people mean with the words they use sometimes leaves me scratching my head. Sometimes that is true of the Bible too. Even though God inspired it, men still wrote it and men still read it. Even when people communicate well, context makes a difference. Therefore, to at get the context right, I think it best to try to read the Bible as the people to whom it was originally written would have read it, and I pray for understanding. After a bit of prayer and considering what the Bible itself says, I think it best to believe Moses authored the first five books of Bible. Of course, I think it unlikely he wrote the portion that describes his death.

      How well do I understand the Bible? I am no scholar. So I listen to scholars. Nevertheless, I tend to be skeptical of those who postdate various books later than either the Bible itself or tradition would indicate. Sometimes these scholars just postdate books because they don’t believe the books anyway. Thus, if there is an accurate prophecy in a book, then we have to have a theory that explains how at least that part of the book was written after the prophecy. Since it proves nothing except the fact that scholar does not believe the Bible, that strikes me as rather silly.

      Anyway, I am not especially concerned about the Theory of Evolution. Did God literally create Eve from one of Adam’s ribs? I guess so, but I have no idea how God would do such a thing. For all I know Adam evolved from a monkey, and he was the first true man. Yet none of females about him seem to have any sense (Don’t all men still occasionally feel that way?
      🙂
      ). So God gave him a suitable mate by using DNA from one of us ribs to upgrade a female monkey. We just don’t know. We don’t even know what we don’t know.

      As far as I am concerned, when Jesus referenced the Old Testament, he gave it all the authority it needs. In fact the New Testament references the Old hundreds of times. Therefore, if we believe the New Testament, then it makes no sense not to take the Old Testament as truthful.

      As altruistico indicates, when someone finds it easier to believe the miracle than the alternative, that someone becomes a believer.

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      1. Tom: Matthew 19 was the scriptural reference I had distinctly in mind in my previous comment (along with the parallel reference in Mark 10). I didn’t “want an example” – that WAS my example. My point then and now is that Jesus did not provide explanation or commentary on the Creation Story, and I thus do not understand why our commenter Matthew believes that if one doesn’t accept Genesis literally, Jesus becomes irrelevant or meaningless.

        The reference in Matthew 19 simply says “Have ye not read , that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female . . . .” This statement is not about how Creation occurred or its agencies or what the timeline for its development might be. It is merely an introduction to Jesus’s main message about the nature of marriage, divorce, adultery.

        Jesus knew his audience well and he knew what their reference points would be. Part of Jesus’s genius (which I believe to be Divine, but even non-believers might well acknowledge that it was indeed genius) was his ability to teach principles from fictional stories or by allusion to commonly held notions of the time. I see no reason for Christians to regard the Hebrew Bible as literal (although parts of it are clearly historical fact) when Jesus himself frequently taught us through metaphor, allusion, and parables.

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        1. Evolution, gravity, thermodynamics, atomic structures can all exist with no damage to faith-based life choices.

          I believe that what is described in Genesis happened. I believe in the “laws” of gravity and thermodynamics because we can demonstrate they work. Atomic structures are a bit more complicated. However, the math seems to work. That is, up to a point we can demonstrate that the equations work.

          The Theory of Evolution is an hypothesis. Nothing more. To say with certainty the Theory of Evolution is true requires unjustifiable faith.

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        2. Tomorrow morning, a rather long reply to Matthew on the topic. Watch for the pingback; it is scheduled for 6am Pacific if the new system works properly.

          I hope you’re feeling better!

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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  5. Richard Dawkins, who is an agnostic, accurately stated that evolution and creation cannot coexist. Two different religions and worldviews. (Other renown agnostics acknowledge this truth.) Yet, we witness Christians attempting to mix these two religions and worldviews together. For instance, the Roman Pope stated last year, “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so. God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” This is utter heresy according to the Word of God, not me. I was disappointed with and nauseated by his heretical comment, but then again, the Roman papacy is more so a political institution. (Thankfully, the Roman papacy is neither in charge nor representative of the church, except Jesus Christ. That is another topic to discuss at another time.)

    Sadly, Christians want to look “relevant” with their secular neighbor; however, the Word informs Christians not to conform to the world, since the world is an enemy to God. Theistic Evolution, Gap Theory, and Day-Age Theory are easily refuted by reading the Word of God alone, though studying Christian apologetics are helpful in the matter. If evolutionists literally subscribe to their religion, and their apologetics are excellent, then why cannot Christians do the same? Why are Christians so frightened to take a stand for the Truth that is Christ Jesus? It continually baffles me. Christians are too consumed with appearing relevant to the world than defending the Truth and proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus. In fact, when I was a staunch “atheist” back in the day, that was my major critique of Christians. Some Christians knew I was right, whereas other Christians shied away about the issue.

    If I take the St. Augustine approach regarding Genesis, then the whole Bible becomes irrelevant. If Genesis is “allegorical,” as some individuals prescribe, then it logically follows that Christ Jesus is metaphorical as well. Why be a Christian then? Christianity becomes folly and vain. Yes, I am a reborn Christian who believes that the universe and everything therein is between six and seven thousand years old, and believes in a literal creation, literal Adam and Eve, literal global flood, literal Tower of Babel, and so on and so on. Indeed, that makes me a “fundamentalist” Christian. (By definition, everyone is technically a fundamentalist.) These are my observations throughout the decades.

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    1. Matthew – I don’t disagree with your point of view. Neither do I entirely agree. Even though I admire the way you defend your position, I just don’t know.

      I agree that Genesis is not allegorical, but the Creation story is awfully short. In just two short little chapters, Genesis describes Creation from our point-of-view. That is, God says what He did, and He explains for us the relevance of what He did.

      If God were to fill in all the details, we would never understand, not one of us. Did God create the universe 6000 years ago or billions of years ago? Does that have anything to do with what God wants us to believe? I doubt it. I think Genesis 1-2 is it just a clear statement that God created everything, and it was very good.

      I also know that as the story grows closer to our time there are more details, and it is easier for us to relate to the experience of the people the Bible tells us about. Then we have less excuse for not understanding.

      Even so, the fact Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on a cross and then rose from the dead — and for our sake — that boggles the mind. That’s a hurdle. I am a sinner, and God had to die to save my soul? That’s not something we want to believe. Neither is it something we find easier to understand. So few of us love anyone enough to suffer and then die in their place. Yet Jesus did that for us.

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  6. @ Matthew: Jesus spoke to us in allegory and metaphor. Why is it a leap too far,then, to think God might do the same to explain things beyond the ancient Hebrews’ or our comprehension? I think there is a huge logic flaw in your supposition that if Genesis is allegorical, Jesus is too. That’s like saying that if there is no tooth fairy, there are no teeth.

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    1. I would just like to know why the creation story has to be allegorical. What does Genesis 1-2 say that is too hard to believe? When we are talking about God creating the universe, we don’t have any idea how He did it anyway. So we need an allegory? To show what?

      There is a temptation that comes from pride. Because the Bible is ancient, we must appoint some people to study it. We need to know the historical context, and we need accurate translations. Nevertheless, when we participate in Bible exposition, we must set aside our pride. We must avoid saying the text says what it doesn’t say, and we must also be honest about what the text actually says.

      When the writers of Bible use symbols or when Jesus spoke to us in allegory and metaphor, there really isn’t much doubt that is the case. Quite often, Jesus explained His parables to His disciples. The creation story in Genesis, however, contains no such explanation. The text is matter of fact and remarkably brief. Hence, if we want to find more in the story than is there, we have to invent stuff, stuff we have no way of proving. The text says what it says, and it does no one any good to say it says any more than that.

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      1. The text is old, but not as old as, say, the Iliad or the Odyssey. It is not beyond the reach of scholarly examination. There is little question about what the text says, the discussion is about what the text means. Was it a collation of lore prominent in the Hebrew areas of Palestine in the time of Solomon and his successors? To answer your question, Tom, everything about Genesis is hard to believe. There is absolutely no available empirical evidence to support the story of a world created in six 24-hour days a relatively short time ago. To believe it, we must act on faith, not reason.

        Genesis was written for the early Hebrew people. They may have needed allegory to explain Big Bang-type events. Newton and Einstein were a few millennia off. Why would allegory not be more explanatory than quantum physics? Again, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that the Triune God did not speak in allegory and metaphor. In fact, quite the contrary, my red letter Bible tells me that that is exactly how he spoke to Man.

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  7. @ Matthew, as a Catholic, I’ll have to disagree with you calling what the Bishop of Rome said, “a heresy”. It’s alarming to myself– while defending the founding of this nation with the Constitution– that there is utter disregard for many of their deistic tendencies and the influence of the enlightenment on these men. In fact, the history of Catholic Church should be a valid lesson for those so quick to deem what people say as, “heresy” (see, Galileo) Even fundamentalist in modern times seek to paint Newton as heretic, ( http://www.toriah.org/articles/snobelen-1999-1.pdf)

    Science is no enemy.

    Again, You opine that the Pope is no authority, yet, lay the ground work to instill your opinion as the undisputed truth. Simply, from choosing the prose of your peroration as, ” Eh…eh eh I say that there dem Jesus Christ is authority, it says it right here in this good book.

    In the end, as I’ve experience, it’s most likely that certain fundamentalist simply wait for the opportunity to call the Pope a heretic, or Catholics for that matter, because of their Know-nothing like prejudices against Catholics in general, which I find both appalling and degrading. I, myself, believe in intelligent design, this also gives me the ability and the capability to understand and accept the idea of Evolution. I reject the assertion that I seek to be relevant to my secular neighbor; rather,I would assert instead, it’s your quixotic attempt to keep up the constant reassurance and validation that what you believe is the truth. I am sure though, as a Papist, you don’t even consider me a follower of Christ. Which I’ve always thought a bizarre viewpoint.

    “that they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.'” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.” Judges 12:6

    Genesis is allegorical in my believe, and I say “Shibboleth”.

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    1. phadde2 – I was raised as a Catholic, and I don’t have anything against Catholics. I just have the attitude that every Christian church is an organization composed of human beings. Because we are human beings, we imperfectly understand what Jesus wants us to know.

      What mistakes do the Catholic clergy promote? It is a common one with human beings. We can easily forget to put God before ourselves.

      The Bible says it is the Word of God. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has on occasion elevated the authority of the priesthood over the authority of the the Bible. Is that the case with the Theory of Evolution? I don’t think so. Since “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer, there is no reason for the Catholic Church to take a position, and I don’t think Pope Francis has taken a position.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-declares-evolution-and-big-bang-theory-are-right-and-god-isnt-a-magician-with-a-magic-wand-9822514.html

      http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/10/28/pope-francis-comments-on-evolution-and-the-catholic-church

      http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/27/pope-francis-evolution-inconsistent-notion-creation/

      Unfortunately, the Theory of Evolution is the politically correct position, and Pope Francis has a habit of speaking with all the clarity of the Fed Chair. So the news media made an ambiguous statement sound like an endorsement of the Theory of Evolution.

      Anyway, every Christian Church has its issues, and it is not my job to point at a church and say that is the best and most correct Christian Church. What matters is that we believe in the salvation offered by Jesus. Jesus, not a peculiar interpretation of scripture or a specific Christian Church, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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      1. Fair Enough Tom, Perhaps I shouldn’t have got so fired up the comments, I apologize. It’s been my experience in my youth, in this nation, to be slighted for my connection to Catholicism. So much so that I see it as a cultural identity. I should keep in mind that in recent memory all Christians have been the target, and should ignore the denominational infighting.

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  8. Tom – why do you call evolution “politically correct”? I distinctly recall a Republican presidential candidate forum a couple of cycles ago where every candidate raised his had to say he did not accept evolutionary theories about life on this planet.

    The position of the Catholic Church for some time has been that the Genesis story is “didactic fiction”. This Pope is very much in the mainstream on that. Why is that position at odds with anything in the New Testament?

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    1. Your recollection appears to be off, scout, by a large margin. The question was posed to the field of ten GOP presidential candidates in 2008, and three of the ten raised their hands. TYhis screenshot will refresh your memory (Citizen Tom, you may have to tinker with this to get it to display):

      But that was 2008. The question was in the news also in 2004, it being a way for Democrats (especially Democrat reporters and debate hosts) to attack Republicans without actually touching on the real issues. During the 2004 contest, Kerry and Bush each published position statements on evolution, creation, and what should be taught in schools. A forum I was quite active in at the time, focused on evolution, immediately filled up with jeers at Bush’s “ridiculous” notion (as they put it) that the decision should be left up to the states as we don’t have the final answers. I put up the campaign statement, while the media had a field day with Bush’s “stupidity” and the forum resounded to unending insults of Bush’s policy statement.

      I had some fun with this for a few days, before revealing that I had published Kerry’s statement instead of Bush’s. Then I showed both; they were materially indistinguishable.

      ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Keith for the clarification that three (of eight, I think) presidential candidates put up their hands as not accepting evolution as a valid theory. My memory was faulty when I thought that all of them had. Of course the point remains intact – rejection of evolutionary theory is pretty mainstream in our national political life. Even some presidential candidates profess not to believe in it. Given the significant division of views on this within the country, I don’t see that rejection or acceptance of evolutionary theory is clearly the “politically correct” position. That was the point upon which I queried Tom.

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        1. It was three of ten.

          At the time, CNN conducted a poll, and 67% of the respondents were supportive of both creation and evolution being taught in schools. Ah, that was 67% of Democrats. The number was 77% for Republicans, not that different.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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      1. Again, thanks for the supporting data, Keith. Hardly politically incorrect, Tom. It appears that creationism is at least as mainstream as evolution throughout the land, based on on Keith’s numbers.

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      1. In case this is not clear, the YouTube video this screenshot is from is identifying the three Republican candidates who have raised their hands in response to the question ‘Who here does not believe in evolution?”

        ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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    2. Why do I call the Theory of Evolution politically correct? Well, I suppose the fact the “theory” is taught as FACT in the public schools has something to do with it.

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      1. I disagree with you that Evolution is taught as a “FACT” (is that the same as a “fact”?) in public schools. However, I can’t be in every public school so I don’t know exactly how nuanced the teaching is. Most people I know who accept some or all of Darwin’s explanations of his observations refer to his work as the “Theory of Evolution.” If it is taught as a FACT or fact, it is not a political decision. Like gravity, like Bohr-models of atomic structure, like any number of other scientific concepts evolution and its aspects (origin of species, natural selection) represent theories that explain physical evidence around us. Geological explanations for the rock formations and earth features we see daily are similarly theoretical, but they hold up well. They are not readily refuted by competing valid data sets. All strong scientific theories are not readily refuted by data. Evolution holds up very well as a useful scientific theory, particularly when coupled with such disciplines as geology, and our knowledge of dating methodologies.

        Of course, there is no need to teach religious creation stories, whether they be from the Hebrew Bible, Greek Mythology, Hindu lore, Muslim sources (which overlap strongly with the Hebrew Bible), the Book of Mormon, American Indian legends, etc. etc. in public school science classes, because they aren’t supported by empirical data and because they are religious beliefs that public servant science teachers aren’t qualified to teach. (I leave to one side the Constitutional problems it would create, simply because the practical ones are sufficient to make the obvious Constitutional problem one that we need not get into).

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        1. scout — I will readily admit I can be quite naive. In fact, as an adult, I was amazed to find people who disputed the “Theory” of Evolution.

          The fact is I went to too many schools not to have this assertion right. All through my primary and secondary education, I never ran into a teacher who questioned the Theory of Evolution or saw a text book that challenged it.

          In college, I majored in Environmental Science, lots of Biology courses. The “Theory” of Evolution provides the only accepted theory for species differentiation. If there was any doubt about the “Theory” of Evolution, other alternatives would be considered, but no other alternative is consider. The “theory” is to politically correct for any serious dispute.

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  9. Hi Ct

    Ever so briefly, Scout if you are handy.

    There is no reason Not to believe the Genesis account unless it is ambiguous, which it clearly is not. I would suggest it is written rather simply, so man would not have an excuse. Its not a matter of interpretation as it is of just believing.

    For example, God created man in His image, and did not do so with the cow Man is also distinctly different with the ability to create, kinda like the Creator.

    In the beginning God……this is either true or a lie. If it is true, the everything that follows is equally authoritative and credible.

    If it is not true, then we are the most miserable of men, living in the fog of nothingness with no reason for law or virtue. Is it easy to believe in a Creator? I think so, and the conscience which separates man from beast, is a fine help in seeing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CS – of course it is very easy to believe in a Creator. I wager that most humans, of all religions, do. It is much harder to conceive of a universe that came from nothing without agency or design. And I fully agree that Genesis was written simply to make its story comprehensible to people living nearly 3,000 years ago. That is not what we’re discussing here. The discussion is whether the Biblical creation story leaves room for non-literal understanding and whether what we know from science about the formation of the substances that form earth’s matter, what we can observe in the geology and biology of the earth, what we know about the decay of matter over time, and what we know about the flora and fauna that have populated earth over the last several million years can be understood consistently with the Creation story. I have never found there to be any problem reconciling all these threads because I, like you, regard Genesis as a story written simply to accommodate Man’s stupidity and ignorance. As time has passed Man has learned more. The story might not have to be told the same way today in order for Man to comprehend it.

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      1. Its all connected scout and I would disagree that ‘most humans of all religions do’ (believe) . You may have missed that little detail, the capital ‘C’ used in Creator, not creator.

        There is only One Creator, and the biblical account kind of narrows down the competition. As to Genesis needed for the ‘slow minded’ souls of 3,000 years ago, I would say their intellect far surpassed yours, and mine.

        There is a writing structure alone in the book which proves a divine hand. Written to accommodate mans stupidity? You are incriminating yourself?

        Now only to add: You are at decided disadvantage in your trying to ‘prove’ the nature of things that were. You see, there was a big eraser……..called the flood……………

        ‘The earth standing in the water and out of the water……………’ The world that then was, being overflowed with water perished……………’ If you speak of creation, then you must not stop in the garden of Eden. You see, there is the rrrrest of the story.

        This is why it IS critical that belief in THE Creator is needed in your discussion of how things ‘may have been.’

        Like

        1. Yes – I am incriminating myself, CS. Quite freely and cheerfully, truth be told. I am very stupid, as are all humans, compared to the Divine. Where I grew up (a decidedly rural area) we had an expression used to decribe confronting something completely beyond our comprehension. The phrase was “I feel like a hog staring at a wristwatch.” That level of incomprehension could well be used to describe humanity’s inability to comprehend origins.

          And, as for our ancient forebears, I did not disparage their intellects. The term “‘slow minded,” is yours, not mine. I suspect it took more ingenuity to invent the wheel or to figure out how to make leavened bread than it did to invent the light bulb or the telephone (just to use two more modern examples). What distinguishes us from our ancestors is not the quickness of mind, but the accumulation of knowledge. However, I stand by my impression that most humans of all religions have some kind of theory about the creation of the earth and/or the universe.

          The structure of Genesis is a little disjointed. It appears to be two separate books that got combined. The imperfection of Man is very apparent in the text, both symbolically, but also in terms of the actual words. Like all Scripture, it, in some way, may manifest Divine inspiration, but I disagree with you if your point is that its “structure” resolves the question of how Creation occurred.

          I’m afraid I lost your chain of thought with your reference to the Flood. Perhaps you could elaborate on that.

          Like

        2. Scouts concern: —————in the geology and biology of the earth, what we know about the decay of matter over time, and what we know about the flora and fauna that have populated earth over the last several million years can be understood consistently with the Creation story———

          Not to turn this into a flood diversion, just sayin, things aren’t quite the same as you would like to imagine

          Like

  10. Pingback: « DeHavelle.com
  11. How do you think “I imagine” things, CS? I’m not sure that we’re in disagreement. Perhaps that’s because you’re not being clear and/or I’m not being clear. I’m trying to say that Old Earth science can be comfortably reconciled with the Genesis creation story. Are you saying something different? If so, what does the Flood have to do with it?

    Like

  12. Further more, Matthew’s assertion by quoting Richard’s Dawkins:
    “Richard Dawkins, who is an agnostic, accurately stated that evolution and creation cannot coexist. Two different religions and world views.”

    Is nothing more than the logical fallacy of Argumentum ad verecundiam.

    It seems to me that the assertion that intelligent design, or Denominations who support it, are incompatible with Christianity, or not Christian, as they do not support on Creationism reminds me of the story of the cooper who was having trouble closing up a barrel that he was making. To remedy this, he decided to put a boy inside to hold the head in place. The Plan worked incredibly! The Cooper drove on the hoops and finished the job; forgetting all about the young lady or how was going to get him out.

    Like

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