Articles and Outlines - Rapid Response Report - Darwinism and the Christian Worldview


Darwinism and the Christian Worldview

Author: Bill Crouse
Date: 11/8/2003 3:19:32 PM


RAPID RESPONSE REPORT


DEFENDING HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY IN A POSTMODERN WORLD


10/10/2003  Vol.2  #9



Editor:  Bill Crouse


DARWINISM AND THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW


Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians (10:5) advises them to make every thought obedient to Christ.  Apologetically, I believe this means we must put every idea through the filter of the Christian worldview.  What doesn’t go through the filter must be thrown out.  Paul’s language is actually a little stronger.  He says: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of Godů  To demolish an argument means that you have to destroy it presumably through argumentation.  Paul gives us many examples of this in the NT, e.g., Gnosticism in the Epistle to the Colossians.      


Darwinism, since its inception has been a highly influential idea that stands in opposition to the Christian worldview.  What I’d like to do here, is simply do a “bare bones” comparison of some of the major ideas of Darwinism, and show how they are contrary to Christian thought.  I’m calling it Darwinism because I believe it is more descriptive than evolution which simply means change.  The basic fundamental assumptions of Darwinism are naturalism and materialism.


While some evangelical scientists (e.g., Howard Van Til and Hugh Ross) and a few theologians (Bernard Ramm and Clark Pinnock) believe that God used some kind of evolution to bring about the variety of flora and fauna (even man) in the world, it is not conceivable that Darwinian naturalistic evolution could somehow be harmonized with the Christian worldview.  Here’s why (in my opinion, of course):


1.  Darwinism by definition leaves no place for purpose.  Randomness and chance are integral to this brand of evolution.  According to the Darwinists what we see in the fossil record, and in current processes, is the result of the workings of blind chance.  The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that life is purposeful (telos) and that history has meaning.  God is the intelligent designer of the universe.  The intricate complex design that we see in the cell and in its DNA is only the illusion of design according to Darwinists like Richard Dawkins et al.  (See his book: The Blind Watchmaker).


2.  Darwinism does not see a qualitative difference between man and the animals.  This difference between man and animal is only quantitative, i.e. man has more brain cells, etc.  The Bible teaches that man is significant because only man is created in God's image.  The philosopher, Mortimer Adler, noted that if the difference is only quantitative than there is no basis for treating man differently than the animals.  He writes:


 If a difference in degree suffices to justify a difference in treatment, why would not superior men be justified in treating inferior men in whatever way men think they are justified in treating non-human animals because the latter are inferior in degree.  (The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes, p.8).  Do you see any of this today?  Ever hear of PETA?  Man, don’t get me started!


3.  Darwinian evolution sees man's problem as having too many holdovers from his animal past (e.g., violence and aggressiveness).  The evolutionist says man does not need redemption just more time, or at least some behavioristic or DNA tinkering!  (Which by the way, is so inconsistent since they are now bringing in their own ideals for what man should be!).   The Bible teaches that man fell from an innocent state and that he is now in need of redemption.  We must not forget here that nature itself is affected by the fall and needs to be redeemed or restored (Rom. 8).  The question we must ask here, is how, or when did nature get in this state.  It’s a difficult question especially for the theistic evolutionist since they presumably teach that the natural realm before the historic fall of Adam was exactly as its state today.


4.  The Darwinian worldview is in direct conflict with the character of God.  Blind evolution is wasteful and inefficient.  It thrives on struggle, pain, and death.  This is in contradiction to the nature of God as revealed in Scripture.


5.  Darwinism is in direct contradiction to Biblical morality.  The Sermon on the Mount teaches that the meek shall inherit the earth and that we are to love our enemies.  Darwinism speaks of the survival of the fittest.  It should logically, and if consistent, teach that the unfit should be destroyed.  The Bible, as we know, teaches quite the opposite.  Darwinian evolutionary ethics teach struggle and survival.  Christian ethics teach self-sacrifice and love.  


6.  This materialistic worldview of necessity must argue that all living things evolved over billions of years.  But the Bible never gives any overt indication that God, even if He did use some kind of evolution, did it over millions or billions of years.  The Bible very clearly states that God created everything in 6 days (Exodus 20:11).  It even goes to great length to give a chronology up to Abraham.  This is not to say that there are not problems with the chronology or gaps.  But to insert millions of years in the gaps does not seem to be within clear reason or good hermeneutics.  The age question is difficult, and we can’t deal with it here in detail, but if the Scripture is all we had, and we used a consistent hermeneutic, it would certainly yield a fairly recent creation.  Again, we are, or at least try to be, opened minded about this question.  After all, there are some scientific arguments for an old earth that are not easily dismissed.  The question is:  can we assume long eons of time and at the same time interpret Scripture in a normal way.  This is usually accomplished by inserting gaps or by translating the Hebrew word for day in a non-literally way.  My difficulty with this is that you are continually forced to opt for the harder interpretations rather than the normal.  There are several important issues here that need further study by OT scholars and theologians:  What were the ancient Hebrew concepts of time and cosmology, and of what genre is Gen. 1?  


7.  Darwinians believe their form of blind evolution is still taking place (the present is the key to the past).  The Bible says on the 7th day God rested.  What could this possibly mean but that He ceased His creative activity?  It certainly doesn’t mean He was exhausted from His labor and needed a nap!  My mind is not closed here, but I fail to see an interpretation that could satisfy some theory of theistic evolution.


8.  Darwinism is radically materialistic, i.e. there is no spiritual dimension, spiritual causes, or life after death.  The Bible not only asserts this spiritual dimension, it teaches that it is the key to understanding the material world (see Paul’s writing in Eph. 6 and IICor 10).


9.  With the Darwinian theory of evolution there can be no true meaning to life other than what is arbitrarily assigned to it.  The Bible reveals to us the mind of the Creator. Therefore, we can know the meaning of the facts.  True knowledge is possible.


10.  For Darwin, and those who developed his ideas into a full-blown worldview, the universe is a closed and self-existing (autonomous) system.  The Christian worldview in contrast teaches that a personal God sustains the universe, and that it is open to re-ordering by God if He so chooses.   Darwinists believe only in natural law, materialism, and a rigid determinism.  The Bible teaches a spiritual dimension that cannot be perceived, but which has effects in the material world; it allows for the possibility of miracles.


I’m sorry this got to be longer than I intended, but I would be remiss if I did not include some references for further study.  I highly recommend:  What is Darwinism? by Charles Hodge, and Carl Henry’s discussion of similar issues in Volume IV of his God, Revelation and Authority.


 


ARTICLES OF INTEREST


Several years ago I wrote a review of the movie, Contact, based on the novel of the same name by Carl Sagan.  In this review I wrote:


When sharing the faith with a person of an opposing worldview seems to be going nowhere, it's often helpful to ask the question:  "What would you allow to go against your worldview?"  In other words, what evidence would render your worldview untrue?  It's even a good question to ask ourselves.  What undeniable fact (or facts) would falsify the Christian worldview?  The Apostle Paul notes in I Cor. 15, that the strongest fact would be the discovery of Christ's body in the tomb.  He goes on to say that if Christ is still in the tomb our faith is in vain (vss. 12ff.).


            Now if you do ask the above question with the one you are conversing with, be sure to find out first if they believe the universe is a rational place.  Do they believe in truth, absolutes, and laws of logic?  If this is not so, the conversation will bog down and go nowhere, because if the universe is not a rational place, facts and reason do not matter.  Such belief is irrational.  Their appeal will be to such subjective factors as feeling and personal experience.  Only a few years ago this would be rarer than it is today.  Due to the spread of Eastern philosophy and the New Age craze, more and more belief systems are irrational.  Sadly enough, this cultural trend is beginning to affect those in the Christian camp.  While tenaciously holding to some semblance of Christianity, they often do so divorced from its factual and logical construct.  For example, today it is common to find Christians who claim to follow the historic faith while also believing in reincarnation or other contradictory tenets of eastern religion.  Others claim to have no concern if the narrative events in the Bible have never occurred.  In other words "Nothing could falsify my faith."


I discovered the presence of this irrational attitude several years ago when I posed the hypothesis of intelligent life on other planets.  The question was:  What would it do to your faith if intelligent beings were discovered to exist somewhere in the universe?  Could your faith survive?  Could this new fact be made to fit in the Christian worldview without tension?  I was shocked with most of the answers.  Most did not see any problem whatever with a possible discovery of life on other planets.  My own interest in this issue (extraterrestrial life) led me to read widely on the subject.  What I found was that non-Christians and those hostile to Christianity,  had the opposite opinion.  Most were not shy to write openly that such a discovery would be the death knell of historic Christianity.  Some, like scientist-writer, Carl Sagan, were not at all bashful in expressing their exuberance for the coming of that day.


Last month The Atlantic Monthly published an article speculating what might happen to the world’s great religions if life were to be found somewhere in outer space.  The author is the well-known (25 books) and provocative Australian scientist, Paul Davies.  He writes:


[T]he discovery of just a single bacterium somewhere beyond Earth would force us to revise our understanding of who we are and where we fit into the cosmic scheme of things, throwing us into a deep spiritual crisis that would be every bit as dramatic as the one Copernicus brought about in the early 1500s, when he asserted that Earth was not at the center of the universe.


  Davies should make all of us hang our heads.  As far as I know he is not a professing evangelical Christian, but in this article, E.T. And God, he clearly points out the implications of such an outer space discovery, and is surprisingly astute to the theological issues.  I just wish an evangelical apologist had beat Davies to the punch.  Nevertheless, this article is significant in that he clearly delineates the task of the Christian apologist in the light of the issues raised.  What’s at stake here is more than the uniqueness of man.  For me, the discovery of intelligent life on other planets would be akin to removing the keystone of a stone arch.   Davies notes:  [W]e must consider the uncomfortable possibility that in astrobiological terms, God’s children may be galactic also-rans.


  Davies has really hit the hot buttons.  I highly recommend this article; wish I could make it required reading!


  On another note:  Interesting articles are still being written about the forthcoming movie, The Passion.  Here’s a review by one of our favorite theologians, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky.  His review is online at Crosswalk.com.


  If you’re not familiar with Oriana Fallaci here’s your chance.  You are not going to believe this but she is from the heart of  “old Europe” and dares to buck the PM trend.  Her article: Rage and Doubt of a Threatened Civilization depicts how Europe is dealing (or not dealing) with Islam.  The article appeared in The Sunday Times.  If you want the original source you will have to register.


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For Christ and His Kingdom


 




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