Thursday, November 04, 2010

Christianity is not Compatible with Evolution

...theistic or otherwise. Several major reasons present themselves:

1. Paul's theology requires a literal Adam and Eve.
-Some will argue God could have endued mankind with souls at some point or specially created Adam and Eve, but...

2. The Scripture uses the argument from design (teleological argument) over and over and over again.
-Scripture attributes all of nature to a designing Creator.

3. Any suggestion of evolutionary origins within the early church would have been immediately condemned as Epicureanism.
-The early church was not unaware of the concept of evolution. Epicureanism, a major philosophical enemy of the early church, promoted such an idea.

In view of my last point we can safely conclude that the early church would have argued fiercely against any evolutionary theory. And in fact the early church fathers did just that, to the point of meshing Christian theology with neo-Platonism. However, the early church would've most commonly used the argument from design. The argument from design is what the Roman philosopher Cicero employed as part of his attacks on Epicureanism.
The importance of the argument from design lies in the fact that the authors of Scripture knew no better way to defend God's creation against the claims of those who would ignore God and His plans. It is an old argument that has supposedly been overthrown by scientific thought. However, the supposed weaknesses of the argument are places where we find that the authors of Scripture are not afraid to presuppose some elemental truths. Today's material empiricism laughs at any form of presuppositional apologetic. But by definition, the response of faith is at it's core, presuppositional. In any case, the argument could be made that there is no such thing as an argument without presupposition. We bring to the table our bias and perception and goals. Arguing without admitting those presuppositions in the name of empiricism is a recipe for error of the most subtle sort.
The foolishness of the cross and a world that hates the Christian message because it doesn't know Christ describes a Christianity that holds certain presuppositional truths.
What presuppositions do we need to make to confidently employ the argument from design in today's world?

A. The problem of non-sequitur logic
We need to suppose that the appearance of design is not merely the result of natural laws operating in an orderly fashion

B. The problem of purpose
We need to suppose that the designer has a purpose for His creation

C. The problem of identity
We need to posit the particular identity of the designer

D. The problem of infinite regress
We need to suppose that the designer exists on a completely different level than us

D. The problem of poor design
We need to allow that apparent defects in design are being specifically allowed by the designer

E. The problem of circularity
We need to suppose that the concept of order is understood outside of the universe in which order is being observed

Jehovah God exists as the triune God (identity) and he exists on a completely different plane of being than us (infinite regress). This God intended to create the world for His glory (non-sequitur, purpose). Mankind fell and brought God's curse upon the earth (poor design) but He has written on our consciences the ability to recognize His nature and demands (circularity).

As we look at Paul's response to the Athenian philosophers we find Paul making most of these presuppositions:

Acts 17 NLT
22b “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way,23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

Paul makes similar presuppositions when he speaks to the pagans at Lystra:

Acts 14 NLT
15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17 but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.”

Rounding out these presuppositions takes us to several passages in Romans:

Rom 1 NLT
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Rom 2 NLT
14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. 16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.

Classical apologetics has always argued the possibility of a God. But the possibility is irrelevant when such a possibility is not necessary to account for reality. This is the pickle that evolution has put the church in. But Scripture firmly posits a creator God with a plan, and doesn't dabble in possibilities. Christians have to go back to believing, not just in God, but in a creator God. We need to take seriously the Biblical condemnation of those who would posit a Godless universe:

Rom 1:19-23 NRSV
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles."

The NT Christian apologetic was not a call to see God as _possible_ but to get a man to acknowledge the knowledge of God written upon his heart from birth and manifested in creation.

We are but beginning to explore the profundity of a God who is also a CREATOR.

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