Reasons that Evolution is Bad Theology – 1-3

Many Christians are perfectly happy with the theory of evolution, and the idea that the earth has been around for billions of years. If they can come to terms with it, why would I think it was important to tackle it?

Well, firstly, there is the question of science. If evolution cannot meet the standards of good science, then it fails to be what it claims to be, and we should not believe it. We will address the scientific shortcomings of evolution in future posts, demonstrating that evolution is bad science.

But evolution is also bad theology, and here are three reasons why:-

1) Evolution is not what’s in the text of the Bible. Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Creation versus Evolution | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Will Intelligent Design save Evolution?

“Intelligent Design”, or the theory that there is just too much “specified complexity”, or what you and I might call “design” in the universe for there not to be a big God-shaped Designer out there too, is sometimes dismissed as creationism-lite, on the basis that Creationists believe in God too. We creationists, especially we full-fat creationists who don’t have anything “lite” if we can avoid it, are not overly keen on the title, but the non-creationist ID types get a little hot under the collar about it.

I instead argue that there is a significant danger that “Intelligent Design” will change into Evolution-lite, and that anyone fair minded out there might want to consider that belief in God used to be labeled “God of the Gaps”. Here’s why.

Creationists agree with ID-ers that, when you think about it, God is obvious. Being obvious, technically, you wouldn’t even have to think about it, but they accept the whole ‘design=designer’ thing, and are very happy about all the work the ID people are doing. But they both run up against what I shall call the John Blanchard Problem, after his book- “Does God Believe in Atheists?”. If God is obvious, and pretty much undeniable, why are there so many people denying him, and claiming he’s not obvious at all? When push comes to shove, they have to say that it comes down to a fairly fundamental point on which anyone who has ever taken any side in any argument might agree with – that people tend to believe what they want to believe, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. Or as a creationist might put it – a sinner searches for God in the same way that a thief searches for a police officer.

So, as Intelligent Design marches on, and as more and more people get queezy with the whole idea that if you leave a big dead rock for long enough that it will eventually sprout civilisation, they will need to find something they can believe in. You won’t find a Christian God, with all his demanding rules on their wish-list – and so they are likely to go for some other more malleable sort – a God they’d like to believe in – one they can create in their own image, so to speak. And they won’t want the embarrassment of walking up to the creationists and saying “Aw shucks, it turns out you were right”. So there’s every chance that, instead, more people will begin to believe in directed evolution. Evolution, with a helping hand from God to get past the inconvenient, improbable and impossible bits – but a God who is happy to use millions of years of death and suffering for things to get slowly better, rather than one who made the world perfect, only for us to introduce death and suffering when we decided to ignore him.

Evolutionists once claimed that God was only invoked by people to explain the gaps in their knowledge, and that as time went on, and knowledge increased, there were no gaps for God to hide in any more. Intelligent Design threatens to give people an evolution they can and want to believe in – but this time using their own made-to-measure God as a glue to fill growing gaps in evolutionary theory, rather than abandoning the discredited theory once and for all.

 

Posted in Creation versus Evolution | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Belief in Evolution undermines all beliefs, including Atheism

Richard Dawkins once claimed that Darwin made it possible for a person to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. We hold not only that Atheism and Evolution are both wrong, but that they are also incompatible with each other.

The theory goes like this. I believe God made me and, along with Rene Descartes, that he isn’t generally trying to deceive me, what with him being good and all. Consequently, it is logical for me to accept that the body and brain he gave me to allow me to function and reason might actually be up to the job. I can trust my conclusions, because they are the result of a trustworthy machine, designed to produce trustworthy conclusions, including my conclusions about a trustworthy God and the trustworthy brain he gave me. This is a consistent worldview, and so could be right.

Darwin on the other hand gets a bit stuck. He believes his body and brain to be the result of natural selection – time, chance, and fortuitous mutation. He has the brain and reasoning he has, not because it enables him to get to know his Creator, but because it gives him a slim survival advantage over other things that don’t have quite the same arrangement, and for as long as it takes for something else to come along that has a different arrangement better suited to the prevailing conditions. So it is not immediately clear why an evolutionist would trust any of his conclusions about God or evolution – after all, they’re just the product of selective advantage that’s mostly about eating and breeding, and not about the nature of the universe and any creator at all, and in any case is just waiting to be bettered. This is a self-defeating worldview. If you believe it, you automatically have no good reason to.

Or, as Darwin himself put it- “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

And that of course, would include any convictions about evolution in the mind of any man who has let Darwin make a monkey out of them…

 

Posted in Creation versus Evolution | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Question on Steve Chalke.

Q1 – In your “In the Beginning” presentation, you quote Steve Chalke to show how compromising on the historical nature of the Genesis creation account is associated with other doctrinal error. However, your quote has him saying that the cross is not a form of cosmic child abuse, when other times I’ve heard the quote he seems to be saying that it is.

Answer: – First, a bit of background for those who don’t know – Steve Chalke is a broadcaster and former minister who is prominent on the “evangelical” scene in Britain. One organisation he represents is getting involved with the Government’s Academy Schools programme, and because similar schools in North-East England have allowed pupils to consider creation as well as evolution as theories of human origins, he was questionned about whether his schools would be doing the same. His answer was “My personal belief is that… those who wish to read into Genesis chapter one that God made the world in six days… are not being honest and scholarly. It won’t be taught in the school because I think it’s rubbish. It’s a bizarre thing to claim the Bible suggests that. Genesis is saying that behind creation is a good God.”

Chalke also ran into controversy for views in his book “The Lost Message of Jesus”, co-authored with Alan Mann. Here they state “the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse – a vengeful Father punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed” (p.182)

So, Chalke isn’t saying that the cross was Cosmic Child Abuse – but he is saying that if you believe  that Christ stood in our place and took our punishment for our sins, that you believe it was Cosmic Child Abuse. And if you, like most evangelicals, believe that, and if you are right to do so, then the cross would be Cosmic Child Abuse, according to Steve Chalke. Consequently plenty of evangelicals got pretty annoyed at Chalke’s dismissive attitude towards a core belief.

Chalke sees the main point of disagreement with the idea of God as “vengeful and vindictive”, which he sees as being at odds with the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Chalke’s God is non-violent. This of course sits well with his rejection of the historical nature of the Genesis account of creation, as it is difficult to see how a “non-violent” God could punish Adam and Eve (and all their descendants) with death, or wipe out all but 8 people in a global flood. It also raises questions about what a non-violent God would do with people in the future – would such a God be capable of eternal punishment? Consequently, it is easy to understand how some are calling into question Steve Chalke’s credentials as an evangelical.

What we can learn from this is that conventional biblical teaching is very much at odds with modern thinking, and that there are many people in churches who favour the modern thinking over the biblical worldview, and also that the idea of a God who punishes, and can still be a loving God, is foreign to many minds.

What many find objectionable is that Christ is the innocent victim of a punishment for someone else’s crime, and that God’s punishment of him is seen therefore as unjust. This however ignores one major issue. It’s the injustice that is the point. None of us really want justice. If the world was made to be resolutely just, we all would perish. Our need for the injustice of escaping the punishment, is balanced by Christ taking our punishment for us – we, the guilty, go free, because Christ, the innocent, takes our punishment, that he never deserved. We can’t have one without the other.

Steve Chalke and others have embraced a different philosophy involving a cuddly God who would never hurt anyone, thereby highlighting how much work there is to do within even evangelical churches to ensure their members are worshipping the God who is there, rather than the God they are hoping for.

For another view on Steve Chalke and penal substitutionary atonement, see here

Posted in FAQ | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Render Unto God…

Who likes paying taxes? I know I don’t, and I expect you don’t either. In my case, some might think it hypocritical. After all, I am employed in local government. Therefore every penny I pay out has already been paid in by someone else. And my observation that, on average and when you combine all the various taxes, everyone in the United Kingdom is paying between 40 and 50 per cent of their earnings to the government, is a conclusion I can arrive at largely because of my taxpayer-funded schooling and university education, and my slight addiction to news programmes, including mainly those produced by the taxpayer-funded BBC.

So my argument is basically that I don’t make the rules up. I have seen enough good use of taxes to see why they exist and enough bad uses of taxes, sometimes systematic, to wonder if they really need to be as high as they are. (I say this protected by having had 6 different public sector employers to date, so no-one need assume I’m talking about them).

But there are other arguments available. Kent Hovind, for example, is currently waiting in jail for apparently following his professed beliefs that he is not a citizen of the United States, that his “business” was in fact a church, and that the US had no taxation jurisdiction over him.

Mr Hovind is not your average tax-evader. Firstly, he was fairly open about his beliefs, though this contributed nicely to the evidence against him in court. Secondly, there were ways he could have achieved at least some of the similar results legally, by incorporating and having the government recognise the charitable status of much of his work – though this would have meant handing something to Caesar that Hovind didn’t think was Caesar’s to hold. Thirdly, I’m going to make the wild assumption that tax evasion isn’t usually just about the fun of getting away with it, and has a large element of greed about it, but Hovind is famous for telling people that if they want to copy his DVDs and distribute them for free, they can go right ahead and do that and not give him a penny. This has inspired me to do the same. That doesn’t sound like a greedy guy’s guide to making money, and so maybe Hovind’s motives for his peculiar interpretations of tax law and practical theology are not so easy to caricature.

This event has caused a lot of people from various perspectives to return to Christ’s comments in Matthew 22, Mark 12 and Luke 20 that we should “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” And even though I don’t like paying the government money that they will use to kill unborn children, I still think that these and other passages tell me that I should pay my bit, and let God worry about Caesar.
But the thing that keeps me wondering is that Jesus was so good in his battles with the scribes and Pharisees to regularly give answers that were astonishingly clever on so many levels, so that I’m often left with a “I-wish-I-could-think-of-something-like-that” kind of feeling. And I’m tempted to think that maybe we’ve all been ignoring the second part of the statement – “render unto God that which is God’s”.
You see that’s the hard bit. Christ said we could work out who owned not just the coin, but the entire system it depended on, by seeing whose “image and superscription” was on the coin. So what does God own – those things bearing his image and superscription. Every human alive today bears at least a fractured and degraded version of the image of God, and every Christian is sealed by his Spirit, and so this applies to us doubly so.

If we gave ourselves properly to God, would there be anything left for Caesar to tax?

It may not be right to with-hold tax, but is there a case for limiting our income and expenditure, so that we give Caesar as little to tax as possible?

Kent Hovind has been living in a way that resists Caesar, and is now being crushed by that godless system. He may or may not have done it wrongly, but he has been prepared to pay the price. I guess the rest of us need to ask ourselves, “How come I can live my life in a way that funds the godless system? And why does the godless system not feel the need to challenge me about it?”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

‘ink about it.

According to the Beeb “Palaeontologists have drawn with ink extracted from a preserved fossilised squid uncovered during a dig in Trowbridge, Wiltshire,” and said squid is believed to be 150 million years old, which is really not the sort of belief I can support.

Now I know that t’internet and blogs and such have made pen and ink really a thing of the past, and that 150 million years is the sort of time you need to get people to accept that evolution can get past the astronomical odds that beset its every move, but is ink really so much older then those first writings in Genesis which bare witness of a much younger world?

Dr Phil Wilby of the British Geological Survey said “”It is difficult to imagine how you can have something as soft and sloppy as an ink sac fossilised in three dimension, still black, and inside a rock that is 150 million years old.”

Quite.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Natural selection

Poor Professor Michael Reiss, laterly Director of Education at the Royal Society. Today he has succumbed to the liberal elite’s prejudices against creationists, despite being less of a creationist and more of a card-carrying member of the liberal elite himself.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment