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Thread: Does Evolution Destroy Christianity?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Does Evolution Destroy Christianity?

    Is evolution a defeater?

    The link can be found here.

    ----

    If evolution is true, is Christianity in trouble? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    As readers know, I am a layman in the sciences. Much of the material is fascinating and I like the history and the philosophy, but I do not discuss how it is done. I am not trained in that area and I respect the field too much to speak about it where I don't know.

    This is also why when it comes to evolution, I do not say yea or nay either way. I am not a scientist so who am I to speak? For this, I actually owe the new atheists some thanks. When I saw how badly they botched areas that they hadn't bothered to really understand, it got me to realize I needed to make sure I don't do the same thing to be consistent.

    I also got much of this doing some research in seminary on the relationship between science and Christianity. I found that many of the theistic arguments we use today are dependent on science, yet people were making strong theistic arguments before the rise of science. Could it possibly be a danger to marry an argument for theism or an interpretation of Scripture to a particular scientific viewpoint? What happens if that science changes? Besides, is this the way the ancients read it?

    Genesis had been something I had a hard time understanding. If this isn't a scientific account, how should it be understood? You see, I think in our modern age we are so scientific that we read science into everything. John Walton was the one who cleared away the chaos for me and allowed me to see it in a whole new light.*

    I have thought about this for years now and arrived at the position I am at. I can still hold to inerrancy, though I do not see it as an essential, and still hold to a historical Adam and Eve, though I question them being the only humans alive at the time, and still hold to all the essentials of Christianity. It's not a big deal to me then. I can go to an atheist and grant them evolution and ask them then to tell me their real arguments against theism or Christianity. The Thomistic arguments had become the best arguments for my theism and those do not rely on modern science at all.

    I have said that if I woke up tomorrow and saw a headline that said, "National Academy of Sciences Now Convinced Evolution is Pseudo-Science" I would say "Cool" and move on. On the other hand, if I saw one that said "Southern Baptist Convention Now Convinced Evolution Must Be Accepted As Fact" I would say "Cool" and move on. I really mean it. The resurrection and theism are still the same.

    Imagine then my delight in seeing someone post in the Unbelievable? forum on Facebook that evolution destroys the Adam and Eve myth and thus invalidates Christianity. There is so much wrong with this that it's hard to know where to begin. This is something that is the case of two fundamentalisms arguing against one another.

    Two fundamentalisms? How is that so? Simple. A fundamentalist Christian and a fundamentalist atheist. Let's look at how both of them have approached the text and the issue.

    Believe that it must be either evolution or creation and not somehow both? Check.

    Believe that the text must be interpreted literalistically? Check.

    Believe that the text is best understood by what a modern individual reader in the West would think today about the text? Check.

    Believe that Genesis must be a scientific account? Check.

    Believe that Adam and Eve must absolutely be historical? Check.

    Believe that even if they are, they must absolutely be the only human beings alive? Check.

    Believe that Christianity has to necessarily have inerrancy? Check.

    Believe that one problem in a text invalidates all of it? Check.

    Believe that somehow the resurrection of Jesus is called into question if there is a problem with Adam and Eve? Check.

    Believe that there's no need to read any scholarship on the Bible to better understand it? Check.

    The only difference between these two is really their conclusion. It's not their methodology.

    I have a problem also with a theology also that says that the only way God can be God is if He creates by divine fiat. This is often God-of-the-gaps. If another way is found, then somehow God is out of a job, as if God's only role is to create. It's almost as if you'd think that the Bible has nothing to say about God having a sustaining role in the universe in constantly holding all things together by His power.*

    Let's use another Biblical example. Conception and birth. The Bible says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The ancients knew as well as we do that sex makes babies. This is not in dispute. They knew the basics, but there's no doubt we know a whole lot more about the process and what goes on inside the womb than they ever did. If you hold to a traducian concept as well, then you hold that the soul of the child comes from the parents as well somehow. This means that you can have a birth take place without God directly intervening at any step of the process.*

    Does that mean that we are not fearfully and wonderfully made? Not at all. It just means the way we thought we were fearfully and wonderfully made might have been inaccurate at one point.*

    Let's also consider that the case for the resurrection does not depend on Adam and Eve. You still have all this data for the resurrection of Jesus that you have to explain. You might have to change your interpretation of passages like Romans 5 some, but it's not a defeater.

    I have met some who say that if there is no Adam and Eve, then there is no original sin. If no original sin, no need for the atonement. If no need for the atonement, no need for Jesus's death. If no need for Jesus's death, then Christianity is false.

    Well, let's suppose that there was no Adam and Eve. I don't agree, but let's go for the sake of argument. I don't need them to know the reality of sin. I just need to turn on the evening news. Unless you can convince me that humanity is living in a world where everyone acts perfectly, my argument still stands. This is not a defeater.

    As for Genesis, part of the reality of learning to interpret a text is to realize that your first natural reading might not be the proper one. It could be, but you need to establish that. This is especially so with a text from another culture, time, place, and language.

    Let's also remember that there are several devout Christians out there that accept evolution and are thoroughly orthodox and sincerely love Jesus. In this debate within Christianity often, one's orthodoxy and commitment to Christ and Scripture should not be called into question without cause. A different interpretation does not mean you are a better Christian than someone else.*

    As I said at the start, I am not saying at all that evolution is true. I am just saying it doesn't matter to me. If you are a Christian and you want to argue against evolution, God bless you, but I give this advice. Make your argument a thoroughly scientific one. If evolution falls, let it fall because it is shown to be bad science. If you're someone who doesn't know how to do something like work out a Punnett Square, you really have no basis arguing against evolution. If you make it the Bible vs. science, you will not convince anyone unless they are already convinced the Bible is reliable. You won't find atheists like that.

    None of this is to say Genesis or any part of the Bible is unimportant, but remember the foundation of Christianity is in new creation. It's the resurrection of Jesus. Go there to establish Christianity.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    IMO, the literal reality of an original "Adam" is necessary for the presentation of Jesus as the "last Adam" to be meaningful. And I believe His role as the last Adam to be as important as any of His other roles.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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  3. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    IMO, the literal reality of an original "Adam" is necessary for the presentation of Jesus as the "last Adam" to be meaningful. And I believe His role as the last Adam to be as important as any of His other roles.
    I'm expecting someone to reply to this with "the ancients didn't care much about literal history". I mean, yeah, there were some who didn't, but many who did. Especially in early Jewish and Christian writings.

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    I hold to a historical Adam, but I don't see how the lack of one would discount the evidence for the resurrection.

  6. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    I hold to a historical Adam, but I don't see how the lack of one would discount the evidence for the resurrection.
    Same here.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

  8. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Ditto.

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    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Cool

    No

    Wayne Grudem, OTOH: https://www.crossway.org/articles/12...tic-evolution/

    And in this PDF, in more detail: http://www.waynegrudem.com/wp-conten...ue-handout.pdf

    Creation through evolution, regardless of the mechanisms involved, is still creation. The idea that God is cancelled by evolution can arise only if one thinks of God as just another object within creation. As for Genesis 1-11, I think it is all theology in the clothing of mythology and fairytale; “God-breathed”, to be sure, but not less mythological or fairytale for that.
    And mythology may be the only or best way of talking about the creation of all things; to say parts of Genesis are myth or fairytale is a denial that they happened as narrated, but is in no way a denial of their theological value and significance, or of their literary value, or of their inspiration by God (whatever that may involve).

    As for the argument that Genesis 1-11 must be real history, because it is treated as such elsewhere in the Bible, and because Christ and the Apostles treat it that way, I think that argument is weak. If Genesis 1-11 is not historical, it does not become historical just because it is thought elsewhere in the Bible to be historical. It has to be dealt with on its own merits, as the piece of writing it is, no matter what other parts of the Biblical may represent it as being. If Adam in Genesis 1-5 is not meant to be historical, what is said of him elsewhere in the Bible doesn’t make him historical. Exegeting what the NT says about him, or says the OT or some other source says about him, is no replacement for exegeting what Genesis itself says about him.

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    ... If Adam in Genesis 1-5 is not meant to be historical, what is said of him elsewhere in the Bible doesn’t make him historical. Exegeting what the NT says about him, or says the OT or some other source says about him, is no replacement for exegeting what Genesis itself says about him.
    So Christ's role as the last Adam is just blah-blah. He was not really the first of a new humanity. And since death is not ultimately traceable to one man, we don't really need to depend on another Man for life (Rom. 5). And we really shouldn't put much stock in anything Luke says, because he presents a phony genealogy as real history. And we shouldn't even pay any attention one way or the other to the instructions in 1 Tim. 2:8-15, because part of the argument is based on fantasy.

    Cool!
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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  12. Amen Cerebrum123, Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  13. #9
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    No

    Wayne Grudem, OTOH: https://www.crossway.org/articles/12...tic-evolution/

    And in this PDF, in more detail: http://www.waynegrudem.com/wp-conten...ue-handout.pdf

    Creation through evolution, regardless of the mechanisms involved, is still creation. The idea that God is cancelled by evolution can arise only if one thinks of God as just another object within creation. As for Genesis 1-11, I think it is all theology in the clothing of mythology and fairytale; “God-breathed”, to be sure, but not less mythological or fairytale for that.
    And mythology may be the only or best way of talking about the creation of all things; to say parts of Genesis are myth or fairytale is a denial that they happened as narrated, but is in no way a denial of their theological value and significance, or of their literary value, or of their inspiration by God (whatever that may involve).

    As for the argument that Genesis 1-11 must be real history, because it is treated as such elsewhere in the Bible, and because Christ and the Apostles treat it that way, I think that argument is weak. If Genesis 1-11 is not historical, it does not become historical just because it is thought elsewhere in the Bible to be historical. It has to be dealt with on its own merits, as the piece of writing it is, no matter what other parts of the Biblical may represent it as being. If Adam in Genesis 1-5 is not meant to be historical, what is said of him elsewhere in the Bible doesn’t make him historical. Exegeting what the NT says about him, or says the OT or some other source says about him, is no replacement for exegeting what Genesis itself says about him.
    So, Christ, the Logos, the one through whom everything was created, didn't know that Genesis was a "fairytale"? Not only that, but God the Father was ignorant of this as well, since Jesus only taught what He was told to by His Father.

    John 8: 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up[a] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

    John 12:49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

    Sorry, not going to buy that the Godhead was ignorant of how creation took place.

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