A CBS Poll published Oct 23, 2005 shows that most Americans believe in, *gasp*, special creation. Buahahaha! Silly evolutionists – either Americans are a bunch of boobs, or you are… hmmmm.
- God created humans in present form – 51%
- Humans evolved, God guided the process – 30%
- Humans evolved, God did not guide process – 15%
That excellent question was posed by my current carpool buddy. I have these responses:
1. We must be careful not to make creationism, or any other non-essential doctrine a barrier to faith.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. – Romans 14:1
This warning is to Christians regarding unbelievers or new Christians – with those new to faith and/or weak in faith, we should be careful not to confuse them or introduce more complex or doubtful ideas about what faith is before they are ready. They must first have a good foundation of the essentials of faith before moving on to less central ideas.
This is especially true because most, if not all of us who come to faith in Jesus have spent our life till then soaked in worldly, unbiblical views which are deeply embedded in our thinking and habits. It takes time to undo them, and we can’t expect to undo all of our twisted thinking, often wrapped up with damaged emotions, before accepting the gospel. Once we invite God into our lives, we can begin the processes of sanctification, transformation, and healing from the inside out.
We must remember the adage:
In the essentials, charity
In the non-essentials, liberty
In all things, charity
We need to allow one another liberty in non-essential doctrines. However, this does not mean that a simplistic view of the gospel is our only concern.
2. We must teach and show Christians that faith is about all of life, not just one’s “personal relationship w/ God.”
Christianity is more than a pocket religion that assures us that God is happy with us. It is a full-orbed, integrated world view that allows us to operate our entire lives with consistent principles, logic, and reasoning. It has immense wisdom regarding finances, relationships, work, civil government, art, and any other endeavor we might engage in. This is because, as Nancy Pearcey put it so excellently in her award winning book Total Truth:
In every profession [or human endeavor], the prevailing views stem from some underlying philosophy – basic assumptions about what is ultimately true and right. That means Christians need not feel out of place bringing their own assumptions into [their endeavors]. (pp. 64-65)
Paul the apostle encouraged biblical thinking for Christians, using a metaphor of battle, stating that we make war in the realm of our own thoughts, and in the minds of others when we preach:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3. Teaching a simplistic view of Christian thought causes many to leave or easily dismiss Christianity.
If we keep these truths from them thinking believers, they may reject Christianity because they find it lacking in depth, and they may never see the great interconnectedness of spiritual truth with all other disciplines of truth (science included).
With regard to unbelievers, they may look at our simplistic view of faith and find it weak and superstitious – a “God in the gaps” faith that doesn’t seek to use reason and logic, but likes to say “just trust God” to every enigma that life presents. This could not be farther from the truth. Real faith can be understood simply, but it also has depths of experience and intellect that are as deep as the eternal God. And it transcends mere intellect, encompassing it, then surpassing it by miles, making our intellectual quest look like a child’s effort to understand the why of everything.
The truth is, the God who made everything knows how everything should work, and is waiting for us to seek His wisdom for all of life, not just how to pray.
4. Evolution is not a harmless idea, but a philosophy with grave implications for individuals and society.
First, in the realm of individual faith, many people are duped by atheism, missing the riches of a relationship with God – God’s love, forgiveness, and hope. Evolution provides the atheistic world view with a key pillar to rest on – an explanation of our origins without God. In fact, noted atheist and ardent evolutionist Richard Dawkins summed it up well when he said
Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist
One of the chief ways we can keep people from the error of atheism is to tear away this pillar of falsehood so that they might come to see Christ and be saved, healed, and transformed.
Second, many individuals reject Christianity because they believe that science and faith are at odds, and that evolution has disproved the Genesis account of the creation of man. We need to show that modern science was birthed out of Christian thought and reason, and that science (and archeology) overwhelming support scripture, and vice versa. All truth is connected. Science has not proved evolution, nor has it disproved creationism.
Third, regarding society, the idea that we are evolving into something better always leads to social Darwinism, i.e. eugenics. Eugenics, which begins with the goals of improving the gene pool via birth control, selective breeding, and genetic engineering, may inevitably lead to the evils of selective abortion and killing of the weak and “genetically damaged”, government control of who can have children, and forced genetic modification “for the good of society.” And sometimes it leads to genocide.
Lastly, there are many theological implications of evolution which are at odds with Christian theology. These differences can not be ignored if you want a coherent, integrated system of truth and thinking. Most people who believe in God and evolution probably have an unbiblical view of God in order to make a harmony of these two. Evolutionary theological implications which differ from Christian theology include:
Man’s Origins – an accident of chance, not created with a purpose
Man’s Nature – just a higher animal, not made in the image of God
Value of Human Life – same as any animal, not made special with immortal soul
Man’s Purpose – to preserve our genes, not know, love, and serve God
Morality – a human construct, not a divine law with penalties and blessings
And the list could go on.
We must be careful to preach the gospel as it’s own thing to those who are outside of faith.
In non-essential doctrines, we must allow our fellow Christians room to disagree
But for those who are seeking, the existence of a well developed world view may actually remove their mental barriers to faith, rather than creating them, so we must continue to develop and teach them.
In order for Christians to become mature, they must learn to think biblically in all areas of life, so we must continue to develop Christian thinking in all disciplines.
In order to keep society, including science and government, from error (which always leads to suffering), we need to develop and promulgate Christian thinking (which we believe is thinking rightly, or in accordance with what is really true) in the public arena, for the preservation of our society.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. – Jesus (Matt 5:13)