Responding to theistic evolution
Published: 24 December 2016 (GMT+10)
Lance W. from USA wrote in:
You know that the Bible is a great account of the history of the people of Israel, and of their faith. The Bible is also a document written many generations written after the fact by today’s standards, a primitive and superstitious people. Was the Old Testament God a God of War that would destroy his own creation for the benefit of the Israelite’s or a benevolent and loving god. Man has made God in his own image, not the other way around. If God had made man in his image he would have realized that Adam needed a mate. Did God make a mistake or is this a male dominated societies way to explain male dominance over women. After all, he made all “other creatures” male and female. You mistaken the truth of the Bible for literal translation. Evolution and an Earth that is 4.5 billion year old does not make god obsolete. God may have created everything, but that does not exclude evolution as his creation as well. Time as a standard has changed over time.
CMI’s Joel Tay responds:
You know that the Bible is a great account of the history of the people of Israel, and of their faith. The Bible is also a document written many generations written after the fact by today's standards, a primitive and superstitious people.
There is no basis for saying that just because the Bible is written many generations ago, it was written by a primitive and superstitious people. This is nothing more than the fallacious informal argument known as chronological snobbery (a form of argumentum ad novitatem). Just because something is old does not necessarily make it incorrect. Furthermore, the Bible is not just the writings of mere humans, but is the inerrant and infallible Word of God, from God to man via verbal plenary inspiration. It is the height of arrogance to suggest that we would know better than what God Himself tells us about his creation and works. Your objection only makes sense within a worldview that first presupposes that the Bible is the work of mere man, but such an argument is irrelevant, since the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and not the work of man’s imagination.
Was the Old Testament God a God of War that would destroy his own creation for the benefit of the Israelite’s or a benevolent and loving god.
If God is the Creator, then indeed it is God’s right to lay down his rules for his creation. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. In Luke 17:26–27, the judgment that will soon come upon all who reject Jesus’ words is compared to the worldwide flood in Noah’s day which destroyed the whole world except for those in the Ark. Contrary to what you have claimed, it is precisely because God is good, that God has to judge the wicked. Just as a good judge cannot simply let a guilty criminal escape scot-free (that would be an evil and corrupt judge), the Bible tells us that God, because He is a good loving God, will judge all who are wicked. It is precisely because God is good that wicked sinners are judged. All people stand condemned before God for their sins (John 3:9–11; Romans 3:12–16, 20-23; Rev 20:15). There will be a coming day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be poured out on all who have sinned. Fortunately, even though sin and death entered through Adam, God in his love, has made a way out through Jesus. Those who believe in Him will be saved through God’s grace (Romans 5:12–21). I implore you to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
On morality, there is no basis for objective morality apart from the Bible. So why object to God killing sinners when death and suffering is supposed to be “very good” according to evolutionary thought? Your very objection against what you claim to be “evil” assumes that there is such a thing as objective morality, yet you have no basis for objective morality the moment you embrace evolution with its millions of years of death and suffering before sin. The problem of evil is a real problem for evolutionists since the death and destruction of individuals is seen as a good thing leading to the progression of species. In rejecting God’s right to lay down objective moral standards and by appealing to evolution, you are left with an unsolvable problem of evil. Theistic evolution is intellectually unsustainable.
Man has made God in his own image, not the other way around.
Consistent with the rest of your comment, this objection contains nothing more than mere assertionism—the practice of simply asserting a view over and over again without any supporting arguments. Rather than creating a God in your own image, according to your own imagination, I implore you to submit to the clear teaching of God’s Word which tells us in Genesis 1:27 that God made man in his own image. In fact, in Exodus 20:4–6 and even in the New Testament, in Acts 17:29–31, the Bible warns against making God in the image of man according to your own imagination; commanding all people everywhere to repent because there will be a coming judgment for those who continue to make God in their own image. Proverbs 30:5–6 warns, Every word of God proves true; … Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
If God had made man in his image he would have realized that Adam needed a mate. Did God make a mistake or is this a male dominated societies way to explain male dominance over women. After all, he made all “other creatures” male and female. You mistaken the truth of the Bible for literal translation.
Once again, you resort to assertionism without any basis for doing so. Having already rejected the basis for objective morality in the Scriptures, what basis do you have to objectively protest that God cannot make Adam before Eve? Since God is the Creator, it is God’s right to create the way he chooses, and to lay down laws for his own creation. In fact, the more you attempt to appeal to objective morality against God, the more you undermine your position since there is no basis for objective morality apart from the Bible. The reason given for marriage is itself based upon God’s created order of Adam being created before Eve. God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and then, from his side, God made Eve, so that Eve was taken out of Man—and for precisely this reason, man and his wife are to be joined together in marriage so that they might become one flesh (Genesis 2:21–24). This relationship between man and woman becomes the analogical counterpart of Christ’s relationship with his church (Ephesians 5:31–32). The created order of Eve from Adam’s side is also the reason why marriage is only applicable to humans and not animals, so of course there is no need for female animals to be created after male animals—marriage does not apply to animals! Jesus Himself believed and taught this (Mark 10:6–9). So having rejected even what Jesus Himself taught, on what basis can you claim to be a Christian, much less demand that God could have used evolution? Evolution denies that Eve was created from Adam’s side. This destroys the doctrine of marriage and the doctrine of Christ’s final union with believers.
Furthermore, why would Eve’s creation after Adam require her to be of a lower spiritual status than Adam? This is again nothing more than just further assertionism on your part.
Evolution and an Earth that is 4.5 billion year old does not make god obsolete. God may have created everything, but that does not exclude evolution as his creation as well. Time as a standard has changed over time.
On the contrary, evolution over 4.5 billion years not only makes God obsolete, it destroys the Gospel which tells us that death entered the world through the sin of one man. Christ came to undo the curse so that through Him, those who believe might be restored back to eternal life through Jesus Christ. Evolution and millions of years, destroys the reason for Christ’s work on the cross. It destroys the hope that all Christians share in the restoration of all things, where just as it was at the beginning, there would once again be a day where God would dwell with man, and where there will no longer be death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain (Revelation 21:4). If death was part of the perfectly good process that God used before sin entered the world, then death is not an enemy which needs to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26), there would be no need for a resurrection of the dead, nor a resurrection of Christ. And if in Adam, we did not all die, so in Christ, we will not be made alive (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23); salvation becomes impossible, and you are still dead in your sins.
JT, I just wanted to thank you for your very clear and precise writing. I am particularly thankful for your explanation of the meaning behind Eve coming From Adam's side. I will endeavor to remember this explanation; it is a topic which I tend simply to accept as fact and just move on, so I am not much for argument, but I am learning thanks to you and CMI. Merry Christmas!
In defence of the Bible's so called ' God dreamt up' collection of musings by alleged primitive and superstitious people, if one takes time to actually read the Bible you would find the stories in it far too well recorded and authored be a fabrication, even though many other writers were involved, some, generations later it only had one author! (We are not that clever and you would only have to look at 'man generated religious deities' to see they offer little or zip!)
As for primitive people, for one, they had the technology to construct the pyramids with absolute precision a technology we today, would be 'hard pressed' to equal.
Thank you, Joel, for giving a detailed critique.
Dear Lance, please let me say this as gently as possible: we are in self-deception if we don't FIRST check and see if our bible's-relationship-to-science understanding / approach moves us toward or away from God. Does it please God, or does it grieve him?
Keeping that thought in mind, let us note several things:
1. The most serious problem with the theistic evolutionary approach or position is that it is not only an issue of truth, and of properly vs. self-deceptively understand that truth. It is much worse.
Theistic evolution is also disobedience--an even bigger problem.
God addresses how we should respond to truth-claims. WITHOUT EXCEPTION, we are to submit EVERY truth claim to the NT-discipleship obedience command to "test all things, hold fast what is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21). (See also 2 Cor. 10:5b's "capture every thought, to obedience to Christ".) No alternatives allowed.
Yet Theistic evolution is characterized by deliberate disobedience to this command. Theistic evolution is a chosen disengagement with a scripturally-informed critical inspection of the science-involved truth-claims of scientists. Theistic evolutionists tell them that they are allowed to develop their ideas and conclusions "free of biblical constraint". This is direct rebellion--though most Theistic evolutionists, meaning well, don't realize that they're doing it. (They're still saved, but this disobedience must deeply grieve God.) How can we think that God is OK with us if we do such disobedience?
2. Likewise, God can't approve of a Theistic evolution approach if it trash-talks the Holy Spirit. Right?
Since the Holy Spirit is fully God, His quality control of biblical inspiration (2 Peter 1:20-21) MUST be PERFECT. But look at how your comments view the Holy Spirit's skill in this. Not good, is it?
Hey JT, I think this is the first thing I have seen written by you. Have to say, nice to see such clear logical thoughts, So important that CMI continues to emphasise the need for logical and reasonable arguments, and just presenting the arguments in such a way is a great aid and benefit, thanks! :-)
Theistic evolution is an unsustainable idea as evidenced by Lance's post. Obviously God did not use evolution-why would He use a flawed process dragging on for millions of years when He could create instantaniously if He so chose.
As man was created with intelligence and the Bible tells us man began inventing almost immediately after creation it could be possible the level of technology reached may have been higher than today's culture as they would have initially been blessed by God.
God created the universe and all in it including earth just as the first chapter of Genesis says,supernaturally. He based our week on those six days of work and seventh day of rest.
God never makes mistakes and it is important to know we are degenerating because of mutations-genetic entropy as John Sandford explains it.
People in the preflood era were not only living over 9 centuries, their intelligence was far superior to ours. Yet wickedness increased by the time of Noah- we are all sinners in need of salvation.
If I did not take what Lance W wrote literally and were to say that Lance was parsing the God of the Bible, obviously, Lance would be objecting loud and clear provided I took Lance’s objection literally. Now, Lance’s assertion that the earth is 4.5 billion years old does not even stand up scientifically and logically because the half-life of C14 is just 5730 years and in the evolution worldview diamonds are more than a billion years old. Even if the whole diamonds are of C14 only, in billion years, diamonds should not have any C14 but diamonds do have C14 today. OK Lance hates the God of the Bible and Lance wants Christians to read out of the Bible what Lance reads out of the Bible (assuming Lance read the Bible first hand). But the worldview that Lance offers does not stand up historically, logically and scientifically!!
As the article rightly states when the sceptics own worldview is put to the test (1) logical fallacies abound; (2) mere opinions are exposed; (3) behavioral inconsistencies works against them - i.e. if we have no choice in what we do because of chemicals in our brains, then why is the sceptic outraged if someone steals their car! (4) self-refuting arguments - i.e. appeal to morality and absolutes while having no justification for them and rejecting those very things at the same time; (5) and many others.
Evolution and an Earth that is 4.5 billion years old? And if the high priests of evolution changes it to 20.6 billion years old would the sceptic be seen as primitive for believing in a young 4.5 billion year old earth? Would it falsify evolution? A worldview that can't be falsified is a philosophy that's made in man's arrogance.
Having thought about the assertion that “the Old Testament God a God of War that would destroy his own creation for the benefit of the Israelites” I have considered that in destroying the nations that opposed Israel, God was protecting the means by which He was fulfilling His promise of mankind’s salvation, that is the incarnation of His Son, Jesus. There is no doubt that Israel holds a special place in God’s heart but the ultimate purpose was the Incarnation. God is no pacifist who is either a coward or believes He has nothing worth fighting for.
I think that more can be said about Lance's claim that "If God had made man in his image he would have realized that Adam needed a mate". Genesis actually records that God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”. So clearly God did realise this.
However, Genesis then goes on to say that God brought all the animals to Adam, but "for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.", which some critics take to mean that God's intention was that Adam's helper be an animal, because God didn't realise that Adam needed a human partner. Why else would God bring the animals to Adam between the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve?
Because, as I've long understood it, God wanted Adam to see his need for a helper. Rather than God just giving Adam a helper he didn't actually want, He got Adam to appreciate that he was missing something without Eve, which would have increased his appreciation for her and for God's provision.
Re theistic evolution - I can't imagine why God, who is all powerful and able to create by His Word, would resort to a to an evolutionary system of random accidental mutations in order to bring His creation to fruition.
When we judge God why do we think He wouldn't judge us?