QUESTION: Is evolution compatible with the God of the Bible?
- A couple of things: You have to distinguish between macro evolution and micro evolution. There is not just one monolithic theory of evolution out there. Micro evolution means that there are developmental changes within species. That’s documented, we know that they exist. But, macro evolution is a whole philosophical view where all life emerges fortuitously from a since cell.
- First of all: No, that’s not compatible with the Bible. Second of all, it’s not compatible with science. … I was teaching a senior philosophy elective in university at one point and this question of evolution came up. It wasn’t a science class, it was a philosophy class. I stopped for a second and took a poll of the students. I asked, “How many of you in this class believe in evolution?” Every single hand went up. I had 30 students. I said, “Fine. Now, as a matter of understanding epistemological systems let me just ask you to tell me WHY you believe in evolution. We can’t go through all the tiny details, but, let’s get the big arguments; the ones that have been the most persuasive and most convincing to you”. And, I went up to the blackboard and I said, “Number 1….” and there’s silence. I said, “Come on now, we want to evaluate this as a philosophical view. What is it that persuaded you?” One student who went on to his phD in Harvard, he was a very brilliant student, he said, “Well, the argument that’s persuaded me is the idea that all living things are made out of the basic same proteins, amino acids and so common substance equals common source”. Then I started to look at some of the laws of logic and fallacy and showed how that is a fallacious argument; which he saw. So, I said, “What are the other arguments?” I couldn’t get any. I tried. I wasn’t trying to intimidate anybody. Finally it came out, “That’s what I was taught in my high school biology class.” And that was the biggest reason I could get out of these people.
- Now keep in mind that a question of the origin of life, is not in the final analysis a biological question. It is an historical question. Biologists can pitch in, by looking at structures of cells and that sort of thing, but they can’t really tell you how it started.
- I would simply add that the dominant evolutionary model is pure naturalism and materialism. The closer you look at what is now presented as evolutionary theory which does have its own genetic roots in Darwin and Darwinism, let’s remember that Darwin did not invent evolution. Evolutionary thought was around long before Darwin. In fact, Darwin’s grandfather was notorious in Britain as an evolutionist before Darwin was ever born. Nonetheless, when you talk about evolution and you talk about what is taught in the high schools, and what you’re likely to confront in almost any form you are talking absolute naturalism, which means the universe is a closed box. Everything has to be explained in purely natural principles and you need to understand that that rules out ANY intervention, any sourcing, any creation, anything like that.
- EVOLUTION is NOT COMPATICLE with CHRISTIANITY. PERIOD. The more you understand Christianity, the more you understand evolution; you will see the incompatibility.
- They are right. But, you know, the irony of it is as we well know. Today for any academic in the arena, to even say anything like that is to risk completely being an outcast. Very few philosophies in the world are as bigoted as liberalism. (R.C.Sproul interjects, “It’s hard to find a “liberal” liberal.”) Liberalism is the most bigoted philosophy around today. I made that comment at an open forum and I got a letter from a Congressman and he took issue with me. He was a liberal and he was very upset with the statement. I said, “If you truly are a liberal, tell me why it is that in all the mainline divinity schools, when the conservatives were in control, students were taught what the counter perspective is. I think, R.C. was mentioning earlier, he was reading many of the theologians in his day and many of them he would not be in sympathy with, but he had to understand them. Now you try to get a liberal scholar into these Divinity Schools, see the bigotry that comes through.
- I had a friend of mine who did his doctoral dissertation on the Trinity. He is now teaching at the University of Moscow. It was a group of three. I forgot if it was Yale or Harvard, that disallowed the publication of that dissertation, even though one of the theologians said “it was the best treatment on the subject he had read.” But the three, the tribunal rejected it for publication because it was not gender sensitive; God was referred to in the masculine.
- This is exactly the story of evolution here. Look at the intelligent design idea. The way it’s being hit, as if it’s something of imbecilic value, and yet there are some bright minds who are trying to speak out on it. But then, if you find out that Anthony Flew has rejected atheism because it’s no longer tenable, you don’t read it anywhere, in any one of their journals because its an embarrassment to them or when Oscar Wilde was dying, he asked for a minister to come because he figured his life of sensuality was an absolute waste. They don’t publish all those things.
Just to amplify that and I appreciate you (Ravi) raising that issue because when you think about it, Intelligent Design is NOT the Christian doctrine of Creation, by all means. It would have been, public relations wise, very wise for the evolutionary establishment to have said, “This is no threat” because it’s actually talking about something antecedent to what we’re concerned at the beginning with. But, they are so defensive about it; they are the true fundamentalists. They say, “You can’t even talk about what comes before (ID) what we are talking about (evolution). They don’t even have good public relations managers. They don’t need them because they have the means of enforcement.
…and if they don’t like it, they just change the terminology, infuse
Here is Charles Hodge’s classic work, “What is Darwinism?”: