The Christian and Evolution, Does It Miss the Purpose?

evolution misses the purpose?
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In this tenth and final part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the tenth danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it misses the purpose.

Does Theistic Evolution miss the purpose?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

In no other historical book do we find so many and such valuable statements of purpose for man, as in the Bible. For example:

  1. Man is God’s purpose in creation (Genesis 1:27-28).
  2. Man is the purpose of God’s plan of redemption (Isaiah 53:5).
  3. Man is the purpose of the mission of God’s Son (1 John 4:9).
  4. We are the purpose of God’s inheritance (Titus 3:7).
  5. Heaven is our destination (1 Peter 1:4).

However, the very thought of purposefulness is anathema to evolutionists. ‘Evolutionary adaptations never follow a purposeful program, they thus cannot be regarded as teleonomical.’ Thus a belief system such as theistic evolution that marries purposefulness with non-purposefulness is a contradiction in terms.

The claim is that evolution misses the purpose. But the whole of science can not talk about purpose at all. It is silent on matters of meaning and purpose. Sure, some would like to suggest that it gives evidence for certain conclusions of meaning and purpose (that there is none), but others take the same evidence and suggest that it demonstrates completely opposite conclusions (there is meaning and purpose). Science in and of itself is silent on the matter. Therefore the theory of evolution is as well.

Some argue that evolution itself is not teleological, that is, it has no end. But science itself can not demonstrate this. They can show that purely natural explanations occur, and that nature has no end. But they can not demonstrate that God is or is not behind nature, using its very laws for his ends. Theistic evolution makes the claim that God is in fact behind nature, using its laws for his own purposes. Since the theory of evolution (and all of science) is silent on purpose, it is up to other metaphysical commitments to decide that matter for each individual.

Summing it Up

Science is silent on matters of purpose and meaning, no matter what some might suggest. Theistic evolution can agree with all the points made in this argument. The theory of evolution itself does not contradict them. Some might suggest that man alone is not the entirety of God’s purposes for theological reasons, but that has nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

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The Christian and Evolution, Does it Misrepresent Reality?

evolution biblical authority
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In this nineth part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the nineth danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it misrepresents reality.

Does Theistic Evolution misrepresent reality?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

The Bible carries the seal of truth, and all its pronouncements are authoritative—whether they deal with questions of faith and salvation, daily living, or matters of scientific importance.
Evolutionists brush all this aside, e.g. Richard Dawkins says, ‘Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants’.
If evolution is false, then numerous sciences have embraced false testimony. Whenever these sciences conform to evolutionary views, they misrepresent reality. How much more then a theology which departs from what the Bible says and embraces evolution!

This argument doesn’t seem entirely coherent, so let me attempt to rephrase it in such a way that makes some sense. All evolutionists deny the truth and authority of the bible and thus misrepresent reality. Therefore evolution misrepresents reality.

Connections Please

First off, I’m not sure there is a logical connection between what evolutionists do or do not deny and what evolution itself says (an evolutionist could deny something not on the basis of what evolution says), but let’s assume that there is some connection for sake of argument. If this is the argument, that all evolutionists deny the truth or authority of the bible (implying that the theory itself requires this), then all it takes is for one evolutionist to exist who does not deny the truth nor the authority of the bible to refute the argument.

Thus, that Francis Collins exists refutes this argument. And there are many others I could have chosen.

Looking Deeper

But deeper here is the argument that because certain evolutionists (possibly even a large majority) say that the bible is not true and has no authority the theory of evolution itself denies that truth and authority. This is simply just not the case. The logic is flawed in and of itself because there is no necessary logical implication that requires the conclusion.

The argument assumes that evolution does in fact deny the truth of the bible without proving that as the case. It might deny a particular interpretation of the bible, but it does not deny the truth and authority of the bible per say.

Summing it Up

There really is no valid logical argument here. It raises issue with one evolutionist (Richard Dawkins), but a theistic evolutionist would also have issue with Dawkins at this point. Claiming the theory of evolution is dangerous for the Christian because some who agree with it argue that we shouldn’t trust the bible is like arguing that we the theory of gravity is dangerous because some who agree with it argue that we shouldn’t trust the bible.

Just because some evolutionists try to make evolution say the bible is not trustworthy, doesn’t mean that evolution actually says that. It does not.

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Does Science Allow for Revelation & Divine Action? Keith Ward Explains

I’ve heard theological discussions concerning the possibility of divine action and revelation in relation to science. Keith Ward gives a philosophical discussion about this possibility in relation to science. It’s long, but worth the watch. It provides a lot to think about.

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The Christian and Evolution, Do We Lose Creation?

Christian And Evolution.  Creation Lost?
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In this eighth part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the eighth danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it causes a loss of creation concepts.

Does Theistic Evolution cause us to lose creation concepts?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

Certain essential creation concepts are taught in the Bible. These include:

  • God created matter without using any available material.
  • God created the earth first, and on the fourth day He added the moon, the solar system, our local galaxy, and all other star systems. This sequence conflicts with all ideas of ‘cosmic evolution’, such as the ‘big bang’ cosmology.

Theistic evolution ignores all such biblical creation principles and replaces them with evolutionary notions, thereby contradicting and opposing God’s omnipotent acts of creation.

In this argument the claim is that evolution contradicts, or causes the loss of, these two creation concepts. Let’s examine each one individually.

  1. God created matter without using any available material.

    It is debated whether or not Genesis itself actually teaches this, but it is certainly a biblical concept altogether that God created ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing. The theory of evolution begins with matter, it does not itself talk about how matter came to be. Therefore, evolution in no way contradicts the teaching that God created matter out of nothing.

  2. God created the earth first, and on the fourth day He added the moon, the solar system, our local galaxy, and all other star systems. This sequence conflicts with all ideas of ‘cosmic evolution’, such as the ‘big bang’ cosmology.

    First off, the theory of evolution itself does not discuss how the universe itself came to be. This argument hi-jacks other scientific propositions and claims that evolution itself teaches them and therefore is at odds with the Scripture. Nonetheless, the big bang theory does contradict their proposition, so let’s examine it anyhow.

    The argument is based on the assumption that Genesis 1 is talking about how God created the material universe. John Walton has demonstrated adequately that it is not talking about material origins at all, but rather that it is discussing functional origins. If this is the case, then the sequence of creation has nothing to do with how the material things came about, but is the recording of how God (and in what order) assigned the functions to the universe for the purposes of mankind.

    But let’s assume that’s not right. Let’s assume it is talking about material origins. Even in this case their argument still fails. If read literally, then God made light before there was anything capable of producing light (and must assume that there was some other source of light, even when the text does not say this). It talks about 24 hour periods before the sun and moon came about. It talks about separating light from darkness, but darkness is not anything other than the absence of something (light), so how could it be separated out? These difficulties are for those taking Genesis 1 as a literalistic material origin account.

    It seems then that the text indicates we ought not to read it literalistically. The first chapter of Genesis is a prose poem, using Hebrew parallelism to get its point across. It is not talking about six 24 hour time periods. Only by making it say such things is Genesis at odds with the big bang theory.

Summing it Up

The theory of evolution itself in no way even talks about the two issues raised in this argument. Science can not account for where material itself came from, so it is entirely silent on the first count. The second issue deals with another theory in science (not evolution, but the big-bang theory), but even that theory does not contradict what Scripture really says about creation.

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The Christian and Evolution, Does it Remove Biblical Chronology?


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In this seventh part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the seventh danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it causes a loss of biblical chronology.

Does Theistic Evolution cause us to lose biblical chronology?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

The Bible provides us with a time-scale for history and this underlies a proper understanding of the Bible. This time-scale includes:

  • The time-scale cannot be extended indefinitely into the past, nor into the future. There is a well-defined beginning in Genesis 1:1, as well as a moment when physical time will end (Matthew 24:14).
  • The total duration of creation was six days (Exodus 20:11).
  • The age of the universe may be estimated in terms of the genealogies recorded in the Bible (but note that it cannot be calculated exactly). It is of the order of several thousand years, not billions.
  • Galatians 4:4 points out the most outstanding event in the world’s history: ‘But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.’ This happened nearly 2,000 years ago.
  • The return of Christ in power and glory is the greatest expected future event.

Supporters of theistic evolution (and progressive creation) disregard the biblically given measures of time in favour of evolutionist time-scales involving billions of years both past and future (for which there are no convincing physical grounds). This can lead to two errors:

  1. Not all statements of the Bible are to be taken seriously.
  2. Vigilance concerning the second coming of Jesus may be lost.

First off, a loss of biblical chronology, if that is even affected by theistic evolution, is only a problem for certain theological systems. That is to say that those who read future events based on time scales of prophecies from the Old Testament might have problems if the chronology they lift out of the Bible is not correct. Thus, although important and helpful, it is just not the case that chronology is the basis for proper biblical understanding. Still, let’s look at the issues one at a time.

Examining The Issues

  1. The time-scale cannot be extended indefinitely into the past, nor into the future. There is a well-defined beginning in Genesis 1:1, as well as a moment when physical time will end (Matthew 24:14).

    The theory of evolution does not deny a beginning. In fact, most scientist accept the big-bang theory which suggests the universe is something like 13 and 1/2 billion years old. Evolution is felt to have begun on earth somewhere around 4 billion years ago. Genesis 1:1 does not contradict this scientific understanding in any way. The theory of evolution also in no way says there will be no end. If one postulates that matter and energy is infinite (no beginning and no ending) this is not based on any scientific theory, but rather upon their own metaphysical assumptions.

  2. The total duration of creation was six days (Exodus 20:11).

    Evolution does indeed suggest that life as we see it did not come to be in six days. Theistic evolution accepts the time table that evolutionary theory lays out. This might seem to be in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture. However, this is most certainly NOT the case.

    That the total duration of creation was six days is one interpretation of the Bible, one that many would conclude is incorrect. Keep in mind, this has not always been the church’s understanding of the six days in Genesis (six 24 hour periods). Augustine suggested, well before Darwin, that Genesis is not as straightforward as we might think. More can be found on this here. Additionally, others have suggested that the days of creation are not dealing with material origins and thus the six days of creation is not a material creation but a functional one.

    Biblical chronology does not require that the account given in Genesis must have taken place within six 24 hour periods.

  3. The age of the universe may be estimated in terms of the genealogies recorded in the Bible (but note that it cannot be calculated exactly). It is of the order of several thousand years, not billions.

    The genealogies in scripture are not there to give an age of the earth. To use them in this way is to distort what the Bible is doing. It is tracing the history of Israel back to the known beginnings. Many have demonstrated that the genealogies have gaps, and suggest that they do not demonstrate a chronology of all history, nor intend to. Even those who do not accept the theory of evolution still accept that the earth is old (see here). Some theistic evolutionists suggest that Adam and Eve were historical, but were the end product of the work of evolutionary processes.

  4. Galatians 4:4 points out the most outstanding event in the world’s history: ‘But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.’ This happened nearly 2,000 years ago.

    The theory of evolution does not contradict the timing of the incarnation. It does not deny that Christ came 2000 years ago, nor that it was the “fulness of time.”

  5. The return of Christ in power and glory is the greatest expected future event.

    The theory of evolution is silent on the return of Christ.

This leads us to suggest the last two summary points are blatantly false.

  1. Not all statements of the Bible are to be taken seriously.

    Theistic evolutionists take the Bible very seriously, every statement of it. Just because interpretations differ in no way means the text of Scripture is not taken seriously

  2. Vigilance concerning the second coming of Jesus may be lost.

    Since the theory of evolution is silent on the second coming, it is hard to see how vigilance will be lost. If someone loses vigilance about the fact that Christ will return, it is likely due to something other than what the theory of evolution states.

Summing it Up

We have seen that the loss of biblical chronology, while not necessarily a problem, is not actually happening. Certainly the theory of evolution denies a particular interpretation that leads to a certain chronology, but to label this as the only biblical chronology is just not correct.

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Man and Monkey – If We Evolved From Them, How Come They’re Still Here?


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If there is still anyone out there who thinks the question, “If man evolved from monkeys, how come monkeys they are still here?” is a good question to ask (yes Stephen Baldwin, I’m looking at you), let me answer this simply.

We did not evolve from monkeys.

If you were asking this question right now you might be saying, “I knew it!” But it’s not what you think. We evolved from ape-like or monkey-like creatures. These creatures were the ancestors of what are today known commonly as monkeys (as well as us), but they are most certainly not monkeys we have today.

Why is this so hard to understand? Is this still even something that is difficult to grasp? I’m just not sure why this question persists.

Maybe what is confusing is the whole “monkey-like” or “ape-like” part. Maybe we should call them something else. Scientific names are hard to remember, we need something easy. Something that makes it clear. Hmm…. Got it, let’s call them notmonkeys (pronounced not-mun-keys).

We evolved from notmonkeys, not monkeys.

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The Christian and Evolution, Does it Undermine the Work of Redemption?


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In this sixth part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the sixth danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it undermines – by mythologizing – the biblical basis of Jesus’s work of redemption.

Does Theistic Evolution undermine the basis for Jesus’s work of redemption ?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

The Bible teaches that the first man’s fall into sin was a real event and that this was the direct cause of sin in the world. ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’ (Romans 5:12).

Theistic evolution does not acknowledge Adam as the first man, nor that he was created directly from ‘the dust of the ground’ by God (Genesis 2:17). Most theistic evolutionists regard the creation account as being merely a mythical tale, albeit with some spiritual significance. However, the sinner Adam and the Saviour Jesus are linked together in the Bible—Romans 5:16-18. Thus any theological view which mythologizes Adam undermines the biblical basis of Jesus’ work of redemption.

This is usually the strongest argument waged against accepting the theory of evolution. Several paths have been proposed that resolve this difficulty, but none without its own problems. However, this does not mean that evolution is therefore not the case, it could easily mean our understanding of what is actually the case is limited. Keep in mind that all theological constructs have their issues, that is necessarily the case because they are man’s attempts at understanding God. For some problems on a literalistic understanding of Genesis see here.

Understanding the Problem

Pete Enns talks about the role of literalistic interpretation and the fear associated with it as it relates to understanding this passage.

N.T. Wright has some good words to help frame the issues of our understanding about Adam and Eve. Rather than summarize, go ahead and listen to them, it’s only five minutes long.

Summarizing Possible Solutions

Here’s a few understandings that I’ve come across that address the issues. They are not meant to be in opposition to one another; in fact, they might be complimentary in some ways.

1. Adam and Eve are not historical. Paul’s understanding of Adam and Eve represents an ancient understanding of human origins. Romans is theologically correct about the need for and work of redemption that Jesus performed, even though it uses an analogy between a metaphorical Adam and a historical Jesus. Pete Enns has done important work in this area. Here’s a brief video on his view.

2. Adam and Eve are stereotypical figures that represent the human race as a whole. The story shows human capacity for things going wrong, which indeed did happen. This requires the work of redemption by Jesus, another representative figure of humanity. Alister McGrath talks about this view.

3. Adam and Eve are historical. God chose the right time, place, and organism into which he put his image. The “dust of the ground” is simply figurative language that allows for evolutionary processes to have created humanity. These were Adam and Eve as historical figures thousands of years ago. Thus, there is no problem with the need for nor the work of redemption that Jesus performed.

(Tim Keller has recently written on this topic. You can find some of my thoughts on his article here.)

Summing it Up

We’ve looked at several views of Adam and Eve that are consistent with both the narrative of Genesis, as well as the Bible as a whole. Additionally, these views demonstrate that the theory of evolution in no way necessarily undermines the basis for the work of redemption by Jesus. The Bible clearly states that all have sinned and are in need of redemption. The theory of evolution does not undermine this.

What do you think?

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The Christian and Evolution, Does it Undermine the Incarnation?


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In this fifth part of our series, The Christian and Evolution, we will look at the fifth danger attributed to theistic evolution in the article, 10 dangers of theistic evolution by Werner Gitt. That is, that it undermines the doctrine of the Incarnation.

Does Theistic Evolution undermine the Incarnation?

Here is their argument quoted directly from the article.

The incarnation of God through His Son Jesus Christ is one of the basic teachings of the Bible. The Bible states that ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14), ‘Christ Jesus … was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7).

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how this argument suggests that evolution undermines the incarnation. The statement above leads me to conclude that because Jesus “was made in the likeness of men” and man was created by the process of evolution, this is somehow supposed to be contradictory. To my mind there is no logical contradiction between these statements. In fact, if we see Jesus as being made in the likeness of man, and that likeness means evolutionary heritage, then that God was willing to do that only serves to increase the humility of Jesus in his incarnation.

Summing it Up

Evolution says nothing about the incarnation. God simply chose to become humanity at a point in time and space, regardless of how humanity came to be humanity.

If anyone is able to help me understand this argument, like something I’ve missed, I’d be glad to hear it. So, let me know what you think.

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