Thursday, April 17, 2008

Couldn’t God Have Used Evolution?

During the Scopes Trial in 1925, ACLU attorney Clarence Darrow placed William Jennings Bryan (seen as the man representing Christianity) on the stand and questioned him about his faith. In his questioning, Darrow pitted Bryan’s faith in the Bible against his belief in modern scientific thinking. Darrow questioned Bryan about the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis. Bryan’s answer rejected the clear teaching of Scripture, which indicates that the days of Genesis 1 are six actual days of approximately 24 hours. Bryan accepted modern evolutionary thinking instead when he said, “I think it would be just as easy for the kind of God we believe in to make the earth in six days as in six years or in six million years or in 600 million years. I do not think it important whether we believe one or the other.”1 This is not the first time a Christian has rejected the intended meaning of God’s Word, and it certainly will not be the last.

Many Christians today claim that millions of years of earth history fit with the Bible and that God could have used evolutionary processes to create. This idea is not a recent invention. For over 200 years, many theologians have attempted such harmonizations in response to the work of people like Charles Darwin and Scottish geologist Charles Lyell, who helped popularize the idea of millions of years of earth history and slow geological processes.

When we consider the possibility that God used evolutionary processes to create over millions of years, we are faced with serious consequences: the Word of God is no longer authoritative, and the character of our loving God is questioned..

Here is a link to the rest of the article:

AiG: Couldn’t God Have Used Evolution?


Dave Barrett said...

"serious consequences" if the Word of God is no longer authoritative.
By authoritative you mean every word literally true. Have you considered the possibility that the Bible could still be still be authoritative in matters of faith and our relationship to God even if it has turned out not to be authoritative in understanding how the physical word operates -- the realm of science?

Sean McKee said...


That is a slippery slope.

For example if I start to say "Well the universe and life didn't come into existence quite how Gen 1 explains it. That maybe it was just written so that the simple people could understand it” then I am saying this part is not true but some other part is. So where does that take us.

Well Maybe the account of the fall of man is not quite the way the bible says or maybe it never happened at all. Well if Gen 3 isn’t quite the truth then maybe the story of Noah is not quite the way it happened if it happened at all. Well then maybe the accounts in the bible of people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joshua, Joseph, Samuel, and David (the “history stuff”) are not quite true. If Genesis 1 is not quite right then maybe all of Genesis is not quite right. If Genesis is untrustworthy then maybe it all of the 5 books of Moses that is untrustworthy. Maybe all of the OT is untrustworthily.

If the OT is not completely true then why believe any of it? Why believe that there is a Holy God that man has sinned against. Maybe God doesn’t really care that we sin. What really is sin anyway? The 10 Commandments are all the 5 books of Moses which is all full of fairytales anyway, right?

If I can’t trust the OT then I can’t trust the reason and need for Christ. I can’t trust that Jesus is the Christ because the reasons that he is the Christ are foretold in the OT (prophecies of who, how, and when he would come and what he would do).

If the bible is not reliable or untruthful in it’s historic accounts of things past then it has no authority to tell us what to do because it’s REASONS for telling us what we must do are untruthful. To answer your question it looses it’s authority “in matters of faith and our relationship to God”

Let me throw you a curveball. Say the world, plants, animals, and man somehow did evolve over millions of years. “Natural Selection” and Evolution implies that thing lived and died and changed. So if all this living and dying and changing happened before Adam then you have death happening before Adam and Eve sinned.

DEATH BEFORE SIN? What does the Bible say is the cause of death? SIN (Gen 2:16-17, Rom 6:23). Sounds to me like you cannot believe what God (through the bible) says about sin without believing how the bible says sin came about. The whole plan of redemption falls on it’s face.
So then here we are, just using the bible for “Principle to Live By” so you can have “Your Best Life Now”.

I’ll tell you one thing, if there is no Heaven or Hell or a Holy God that cares then why heck the bother? Sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll! I’m going out with a bang and take’n down anyone who gets in my way!

Sound like a lot of our youth today doesn’t it.

Dave Barrett said...

The story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden and the Fall does not have to be literally true in order to teach truths about the relationship of sin to death, obedience to God to everlasting life, etc. It teaches those truths just as well if it is viewed as a fabel or myth. There are clues in the Bible that these stories are not meant to be taken literally. Where did Adam and Eve's daughters-in-law come from, for example.

Sean said...

You are right. The story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden does not have to be literally true to teach those "true-isms". Like I said, if you look at the bible as a collection of "Principles to Live By" then they can be just stories like Aesop's Fables or the such. But - (like I said) if the “story” of Adam and Eve is just an “Aesop's Fable” of sorts then that changes everything. Christ's death and resurrection really isn't for the reason the bible says it is for. “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world...” (Rom 5:12). If this really did not happen then it's all a lie. It is just a way to keep people “inline” and help them feel good about themselves.

To answer your question about “Where Adam and Eve's daughters-in-law come from”, I will refer you to this link (Cain’s Wife—Who Was She?):

orville portforker said...

What I find comical is that evolution is considered fact when there is nothing further from the truth.

Evolution is nothing more than a theory, which in scientific circles is highly questioned and totally unproven.

For those opposed to God, the theory is more easily believed - but that is about the extent of its reality.

Johnny Persimmon Seed said...

I do not pretend to know the will and ways of god. But the will and ways of many men has always been easy to follow. The problem with the modern scientific community is many have become a version of the old Vatican, stomping and ridiculing on anyone who questions their authority or expertise.

Socialist Christian Hippie said...

Read "How to Read the Bible" by James Kugel. It is a quite fascinating and wonderful book. It talks about the history of the bible and why it was written.

There are quite a few other texts out there that will enlighten you on the writing of and the formation of "the Bible".

The Bible contains many additions and editings and outright errors. It has been through many translations, copies, and rearrangings before it was put into the general codification that exists today.

Even if we were to be strict "literalists" we would have to wade through myriad subtleties of language.

Here's an easy starting place: Psalm 23...the ending

I will live in the house of the lord "Forever" or "As long as I live".

Then there's the most famous "born of a virgin". Most scholars say that the "original language" version of the word used by the "original author" is "young woman". It is only in the greek translation that a double meaning is found (the greek term may indicate a virgin or a young woman). The greek was taken and then made to be "young woman".

Genesis seems to be more concerned with place names than reporting an exact history. The creation stories were probably not ever meant to be taken literally but are cobbled together from other myths of the day and to coopt common place names and put a Israelite spin on them (Israelite being a somewhat loose term. At the time of Genesis these people certainly didn't consider themselves jews)

I could go on if you are interested.

Sean McKee said...

Socialist Christian Hippie,

I could cite to you answers to all your 'biblical inconsistencies' as you raise them but that is not really the topic here. The question "Couldn’t God Have Used Evolution?" is for all the people who say they believe that the bible is true but say that God somehow used evolution. My answer is that Christianity doesn't work with evolution mixed in.

What good was Christ's literal death for our sin on the cross and bodily resurrection from the dead if Gen 3 is just a fable? If “The Fall of Man” really did not happen.

Socialist Christian Hippie said...

What does Jesus call us to do?

Love God by loving everyone.

You are to abandon possessions and personal relationships to follow God with a universal love for all. By following this path, you will act as evangelists to the cause.

Jesus death and resurrection is to show that there is no boundary to this love. Universal love is universal through time. Human time may end, God's love endures.

Because God's love endures, you can also be assured that even if you cannot abandon possessions and family you can still try to follow the path to the best of your ability and be considered worthy of God's love.

Many early (and modern for that matter) Christian sects saw no place for the "old testament". The "old testament" as we have it now was a fairly new document compared with the antiquity of the stories it contained. Genesis was probably written down around, maybe, 500BC or so? Parts of it, a little earlier, parts of it later. The Hebrews had (since it was a mostly illiterate world and society) little of a reading culture. The writing down of Torah was a contreversial move in its day. Many parts of the Torah appear to have been sung at one point.

Much of this is speculation because we have NO evidence of texts corresponding to the "old testament" before, again, 500BC or so, and most of that is inferred from other cultural finds.

Many of the texts were written in a similar form to what we have now around the time of the supposed King David. Much more can also be traced to the Babylonian Exilic period.

This doesn't stop the gospel writers and Jesus from being superb, inspirational, insightful, faithful, wonderful, God touched, miraculous people.

One must be open to God's truth beyond the words of the bible.

The bible is a tool. A wonderful tool. God's love, however, is not bound by it.

Today we could and should be adding book after book to it.

The minute we hold up the Bible as a be all and end all we have erected an image of God. Forbidden by the commandments.

Sean McKee said...

Yes we are to love God by loving others. He also told us this:
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
(18) Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus death and resurrection first and foremost reconciles sinful man to God. He took the punishment that we deserve upon himself so that we can stand in the presence on God.

"One must be open to God's truth beyond the words of the bible."
This is fine as long as it does not contradict the reveled word of God (the bible).

Fr. Jim said...

"24 hours day"
What silliness! Of course the text does NOT refer to 24 hours - the sun, which would be necessary for 24 hour days is not even created for the first 4 days.
The text is, in Hebrew, in the form of a poem, with the characteristic repetition of phrases - also an indication that it is to be interpreted in a non-literal manner.
Finally, the Hebrew word for "day" means "a period of time" which can include 24 hours but can also include much longer or non-distinct periods of time (i.e. "the day of the Lord")
The focus on "evolution vs. creation" only leads us away from the truth of this scripture by emphasising something that was never intended by God, the book's author. Far from being "truisms" these are vital to understanding the rest of the revelation found in scripture - that is God's original intent for order and purpose, the nature of God being good, the unfallen state of man being good.

Sean McKee said...

fr. Jim,

If "day" did not mean a day as we think of it then what is it talking about when it says "evening and morning"?
(Gen. 1:5, 1:8, 1:13, 1:19, 1:23, 1:31)

How long is an evening of a million years????