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Science, evolution, the history of life and Christian faith

Started by AudioArtist, November 21, 2010, 07:41:28 pm

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AudioArtist

November 21, 2010, 07:41:28 pm Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 08:07:03 pm by AudioArtist
This is based on a discussion going on at CF, but I would really appreciate to hear what your thoughts are over here!

I used to be able to just say, "I don't know how to deal with what most scientists believe about evolution or common ancestry and speciation. They claim genetic change over time has resulted in the diversity of species we see now. Perhaps, because the Bible isn't a science text book, I can remain open about how God exactly made the universe and life, as long as He remains Creator and Lord of all creation. There is no problem posed to my faith by the theory of evolution, should it turn out that it is inconceivable that it is false. In fact, the issue doesn't matter to me."

But I'm wondering if that was very naive and shallow thinking. Central to the core doctrine of Christ as our redeemer is the idea that sin corrupted a good world, and that it was through Adam that sin and death (and all of the negative effects of The Fall) entered a previously 'good' creation. Christ is the second Adam, who came to pay the penalty of Sin by becoming a sin offering, and through Him God will also undo all the effects of sin in us and in the world. I'm really struggling with how this order seemingly does not fit in with what science is finding about the history and evolution of life - which is not a fall from a place of goodness to a place of fallenness, but from a place of lower complexity to a place of far greater complexity. Regardless of whether the evolutionists' bigger claims are true or not (they may well be false), there is no evidence that humans were ever not subject to the results of sin (one big result being death), nor does it seem like nature was ever anything other than disease-afflicted, violent, "red in tooth and claw", and filled with death and apparent 'waste' and extinction down the ages. How should we deal with the fact that we are told death entered into the world because of sin when the fossil record reveals death to have part of creation from its very beginnings? Paul did say that “all die in Adam” (I Corinthians 15:22). Perhaps Paul only understood this in relation to human beings. But wow can we understand this if the earliest humans were mortal? Would Adam and Eve have lived forever if they hadn't sinned? And how would that have fitted in with all the death in creatures preceding Adam and Eve (which fossil records uncover), including dinosaurs and many other ancient animals? Would death and extinction have continued to have been a part of creation while Adam and Eve and their ancestors lived on and on for eternity in harmony with God?

Most attempts at a synthesis by Christian evolutions I've come across don't impress me, because they tend to undermine important doctrines of the faith that I know to be true. But one can't just ignore the evidence stored up in the Earth, even if one is skeptical of certain claims by evolutionists (I myself find the idea that this all started with microbes - and through unguided processes, we're here - quite absurd.)  The issue isn't even necessarily evolution, but the records of parasitic and predatory behaviours and death before the first humans even existed. How can we match this data with a Christian understanding of the order of things?   

One somewhat crazy solution came to mind. I sometimes wonder if the Fall even actually took place on this planet as we know it, or whether it was a Heavenly incident (I know many say Genesis would not allow for such an interpretation, but I am not sure. It does seem that, now at least, the Tree of Life is not on Earth according to Revelation - unless there are a number of Trees of Life.)

Or perhaps this 'fossil record' isn't a decisive as I'm lead to believe it is.

Hisgirl

Robert,


You write so eloquently and with such intellect, that half of what you say and ask just cruises right over my head.   O0   However, I think I do understand what you're asking.  It has to do with how to balance scientific fact/research/discoveries with what the bible says or what the 'church' teaches as fact...is that true?


For me, I honestly don't even delve into those things.  My friend is going through a divorce, my other friend doesn't have enough money to make the bills and this other friend appears to be dying of cancer.  Who can worry about the scientists?  Can anyone ever come to a definitive conclusion apart from faith?  I mean seriously....if all the scientists in the world told you they could 'prove' 100% that you evolved from a speck of algae...would you believe it?   ::)
"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  My Mama

pastorzzub

www.creation.com

We had the CEO of the UK office preach for us this weekend and it was awesome.  Would have answered all your questions.

AudioArtist

Quote from: Hisgirl on November 21, 2010, 10:05:34 pm
Robert,


You write so eloquently and with such intellect, that half of what you say and ask just cruises right over my head.   O0   However, I think I do understand what you're asking.  It has to do with how to balance scientific fact/research/discoveries with what the bible says or what the 'church' teaches as fact...is that true?


For me, I honestly don't even delve into those things.  My friend is going through a divorce, my other friend doesn't have enough money to make the bills and this other friend appears to be dying of cancer.  Who can worry about the scientists?  Can anyone ever come to a definitive conclusion apart from faith?  I mean seriously....if all the scientists in the world told you they could 'prove' 100% that you evolved from a speck of algae...would you believe it?   ::)


Honestly, thank you for your post. It's good to be reminded of the more pressing and important things, and I really appreciate how you didn't just assume what I was saying and answer from there but instead took a different angle on it.

But when I ask these questions now, it's from a place of faith rather than doubt. Since my encounters with God, it's like: "I know God exists. I also know the Bible has power. How do a reconcile what I know with the apparent 'facts' of the history of life?" Whereas before, I would have asked the same questions with desperation and urgency and from a place of death, now I'm curious as to how we as Christians can speculate about the 'behind the scenes' aspects of Genesis (because, let's face it - there isn't that much information there, even if I believe what I do read!) It's currently more a call to help thinking this through than a plea for a lifeline - there's so much we don't know about how things looked before the first sin, how what we are told about the effects of sin fits in with all the destruction evident on the planet before the first sin, the nephilim, ancient creatures, the evidence for cavemen, all the extinction and death down the ages and their place in the Christian narrative, etc.

I will keep your friends in my prayers!


The Lord is my banner

Robert, I too struggled with this at one time.  When, as a new Christian, I discovered that the people I looked up to at church held that Genesis was true, I was gobsmacked. 


Fortunately for me someone gave me details of a creationist seminar in London a few weeks later, and another new Christian friend knew London so she helped me work out trains and tube and we had a wonderful day out!


I have always found nature fascinating, loved biology at school, then went on to nursing, so although no expert I do have some scientific understanding. 
I came away from that day18 years ago fully satisfied that the scientific evidence for creation is at least as strong as that for evolution, and in particular that the flood at the time of Noah explains a good deal of the confusion.


I am convinced that God created in the manner described in the bible, and science just needs to catch up.  The difficulty is compounded by the scientific community's tendency to behave in a Darwinian manner towards any who don't toe the line - creation science is ruthlessly scorned and ridiculed from within the scientific establishment, and consequently starved of talent and funding.


I expect there are often similar seminars in London, so check it out, I'm sure the day will prove stimulating!




Sarah

Have you watched the movie Ben Stein did  Expelled?  It is about creation and Darwin theory.  It was very interesting because he interviews scientists and professors. 
Embraced by the loving arms of the Father....

Pete

Quote from: Sarah on November 22, 2010, 08:08:34 am
Have you watched the movie Ben Stein did  Expelled?  It is about creation and Darwin theory.  It was very interesting because he interviews scientists and professors.


As I read this thread last night, I could not think of the name of that movie for the life of me!

It's a very good movie that explains how in the scientific community, simply exploring if there is some truth to creationism will result in you being an outcast and shunned.  IOW, the scientific community completely rejects creationism, or rather what the documentary refers to as "intelligent design", and you're not even allowed to ask questions about it (which is odd, since that's what science is all about).  But OTOH, Darwinism is simply accepted as the base truth, even though there are gaping holes and a myriad of questions surrounding it that remain unanswered.

It's a very interesting documentary, because you see these well-respected scientists dare to question Darwinism, and the science community just turns on them.  Essentially, creationism has been "Expelled" from the scientific community for no logical, sound, scientific reason, and Ben Stein's documentary does an excellent job of illustrating that.

For those of you in the US with Netflix, it's one of the movies you can "Watch Instantly", and I highly recommend it.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

jiminpa

Quote from: Pete on November 22, 2010, 08:32:48 am
As I read this thread last night, I could not think of the name of that movie for the life of me!

It's a very good movie that explains how in the scientific community, simply exploring if there is some truth to creationism will result in you being an outcast and shunned.  IOW, the scientific community completely rejects creationism, or rather what the documentary refers to as "intelligent design", and you're not even allowed to ask questions about it (which is odd, since that's what science is all about).  But OTOH, Darwinism is simply accepted as the base truth, even though there are gaping holes and a myriad of questions surrounding it that remain unanswered.

It's a very interesting documentary, because you see these well-respected scientists dare to question Darwinism, and the science community just turns on them.  Essentially, creationism has been "Expelled" from the scientific community for no logical, sound, scientific reason, and Ben Stein's documentary does an excellent job of illustrating that.

For those of you in the US with Netflix, it's one of the movies you can "Watch Instantly", and I highly recommend it.

O0
Which begs the question, why are they so afraid of questioning and dissent, unless they know their philosophy can't stand up to a challenge. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.