The evolution debate will soon be history
When I first saw this headline I thought –
wow – it’s about time –
scientists have finally realized the Truth!
Unfortunately, the second sentence killed any hope of that –
Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.
I wrote this on May 28, 2012. It’s now a little more than 5 years since then – August 2017. I’m moving my original article over to this site, to be an early piece of the Science vs. God series. I also went back to the article I’ve quoted from on msnbc.com and so far, it’s still there. Updates to my original article are in text like this paragraph. That way you can tell what’s new.
Getting back to my original thought process –
My next thought – it’s going to be a really sad day when that happens.If the debate is over and everyone agrees that evolution is “king” – that means there’s no Christians left on earth – at least none that know what our religion actually says – and have the nerve to stand up for it.
Well, it’s going to be a sad day for some.
The rapture will have to happen before that occurs.
That could be good or bad -depends on your point of view.
The good news – some of us get to go Home.
The bad news – everyone else is left to deal with life with no Christians left on earth.
I think what’s sad about the point of view given in the article is the following –
“If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it’s solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive,” Leakey says, “then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges.”
Global challenges. That kind of rings a bell for me. Maybe you remember that event with the Tower of Babel?
Ge 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
Ge 11:3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Ge 11:5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Ge 11:8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
If you don’t remember, this was after the flood, as Noah’s descendants were becoming fruitful and multiplying. And let’s not forget the reason for the flood in the first place.
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Given where we are today, and given an all-knowing God, it’s not difficult to imagine that God knew this tower thing wasn’t going to end well.
We may thing God was being presumptuous to kill the tower project so early, but let’s look at what they were really saying.
For instance – “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens”
It doesn’t sound so bad in English – we’d think it was just a really tall tower. But it was more. Here’s what the word we read as “reaches” meant at the time –
7218 רֹאשׁ, רֹאשׁ [roʾsh /roshe/] n m. From an unused root apparently meaning to shake; TWOT 2097; GK 8031 and 8034; 598 occurrences; AV translates as “head” 349 times, “chief” 91 times, “top” 73 times, “beginning” 14 times, “company” 12 times, “captain” 10 times, “sum” nine times, “first” six times, “principal” five times, “chapiters” four times, “rulers” twice, and translated miscellaneously 23 times. 1 head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, height, front, beginning. 1A head (of man, animals). 1B top, tip (of mountain). 1C height (of stars). 1D chief, head (of man, city, nation, place, family, priest). 1E head, front, beginning. 1F chief, choicest, best. 1G head, division, company, band. 1H sum. 1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
It’s really, really tall – meant to shake the heavens. We know what that means today.
But wait – there’s more.
We also read – so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Let’s see what was meant by may make a name for ourselves. The key word in the phrase is “name“.
8034 שֵׁם [shem /shame/] n m. A primitive word [perhaps rather from 7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; TWOT 2405; GK 9005; 864 occurrences; AV translates as “name” 832 times, “renown” seven times, “fame” four times, “famous” three times, “named” three times, “named + 7121” twice, “famous + 7121” once, “infamous + 2931” once, “report” once, and translated miscellaneously 10 times. 1 name. 1A name. 1B reputation, fame, glory. 1C the Name (as designation of God). 1D memorial, monument. 2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Reputation, fame, glory, and possibly even being equal to God. After all, why else would a tower to reach the heavens be needed?
Does all this sound familiar? It should.
Isa 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
Isa 14:13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
Isa 14:15 But you are brought down to the grave,
to the depths of the pit.
This was about, along with the king of Babylon, Satan – who thought he could rebel against God. Not too different from what the Tower of Babel was all about. In the case of the tower, God preempted the attempt. Not that it wouldn’t happen again.
Getting back to Richard Leakey, if what we’ve seen isn’t clear enough as to what he’s saying – there’s this –
Any hope for mankind’s future, he insists, rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.
The thing is – evolution isn’t necessarily a bad word.It’s the thought / beliefs behind the word that are the problem -which is evident in what’s being put forth in the article in question.
To show what I mean – the following definitions come from a 2003 dictionary
creative evolution noun
1909 : evolution that is a creative product of a vital force rather than a spontaneous process explicable in terms of scientific laws
emergent evolution noun
1923 : evolution that according to some theories involves the appearance of new characters and qualities at complex levels of organization (as the cell or organism) which cannot be predicted solely from the study of less complex levels (as the atom or molecule) 3)Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
You see – it’s what’s behind the word that counts.
Is it God – as in creative evolution
or is it pure science – as in emergent evolution.
I think a side trip here to look at C S Lewis will be helpful. Below is the entire text of a very short article on C S Lewis’ views on creation –
No doubt many of you have seen the new movie based on the Chronicles of Narnia. The movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is getting rave reviews from critics and viewers alike. Many churches are promoting the movie to its members.
Although it is no secret, many young earth creationists who have enjoyed the movie probably do not realize that the author, C. S. Lewis, is an old earth creationist, who believed in evolution.
Many people, including many young earth creationists, regard Lewis as one of the great theologians of the last century. For instance, a search of the young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis reveals quotes from the works of Lewis. They are quick to use quotes from this great theologian in support of their young earth cause (even though Lewis would have denounced their brand of creationism). It is interesting that young earth author Jonathan Sarfati, in his book Refuting Evolution, uses a Lewis quote where Lewis argues against atheistic evolution…even though Lewis firmly believed in Theistic Evolution. Too bad Sarfati did not tell his readers the “rest of the story.”
The example left us by C. S. Lewis, makes it apparent that one can be a great theologian, and a devout Christian, and believe in an old earth (and evolution). Even young earth creationists recognize his influence upon the church.
It is clear that you do not need to believe in a young earth to be a solid Christian. This makes all the words and claims of young earth creationism as nothing more than a “loud noise and clanging cymbals”…you can ignore them all and be a great Christian, while believing in an old earth.
The author comes up with this conclusion –
The example left us by C. S. Lewis, makes it apparent that one can be a great theologian, and a devout Christian, and believe in an old earth (and evolution).
The problem is – and it’s a really big problem – the author left off the adjectives that he used in his own article to describe the type of evolution being discussed. You hopefully remember, the author also wrote –
It is interesting that young earth author Jonathan Sarfati, in his book Refuting Evolution, uses a Lewis quote where Lewis argues against atheistic evolution…even though Lewis firmly believed in Theistic Evolution. Too bad Sarfati did not tell his readers the “rest of the story.”
I have to say, it’s too bad the author of this article didn’t pay attention to the rest of his own article. C S Lewis argues against atheistic evolution – not in spite of his belief in theistic evolution, but because of his belief in theistic evolution.
When we look at dictionary.com for definitions of atheist and theist, we find –
theist – belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism ).
Obviously, as a Christian, C S Lewis believes in one God.
Just as obvious, the distinction between atheistic evolution and theistic evolution is so great that the two are mutually exclusive. To remove either word describing the type of evolution one believes in is to misrepresent their belief.
This distinction is so important, that I believe we need to keep it in mind as we consider the rest of the article. In fact – asking what kind of evolution is being discussed should always be asked when the topic comes up.
To show this, let’s look at something buried in the footnotes of the article above –
“I wish I were younger. What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders.”
The author tries to say that this statement means something along the lines of maybe evolution was true – that C S Lewis was sitting in the middle – essentially putting words in Lewis’ mouth –
As you can see, Lewis said he was inclined to think evolution was not true…he did not say it was not true. Thus, at most, he began straddling the fence between creation with evolution and creation without evolution. However, we have no indication that his view of creation without evolution would have been young earth or old earth.
We see two things here.
- Again, the adjectives are missing, or in one case – misleading. By leaving out atheistic evolution in the first sentence – Lewis said he was inclined to think evolution was not true – and changing the argument to creation with evolution versus creation without evolution, he has removed atheistic evolution from the discussion. More of the type of language twisting that Satan does.
- the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders. This is recognition, by C S Lewis, of the point I just made in items #1. And yet, by including it here, the author tries to make us think it helps his cause of saying trying to make us think C S Lewis said something other than what He did. Just like – “did God really say …?“
While the preceding analysis may seem rather long, I believe it’s necessary. When we encounter one of those “Did God really say …?” questions, we have to do what Adam end Eve did not – check with God and see what He really said. And if it comes out as “Did one of God’s people really say …?”, then we need to verify what was really said. That’s the example Jesus gave us when he was tempted by Satan –
Mt 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’”
Even for those who go for pure science – I have one question – where did those laws of science come from, Who created them? OK, that’s two questions. Can’t believe I missed that before.
The following quote talks about whether it’s possible to believe in evolution and still be a Christian –
For many unbelievers, evolution is an obstacle to faith. They assume that evolution disproves creation, thus demonstrating that the Bible is in error. But evolution doesn’t have to be an obstacle to Christianity. One can believe in evolution and still receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It doesn’t say, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and also believe in seven-day creation, you will be saved.” 4)Story, D. (1999). Engaging the closed minded: Presenting your faith to the confirmed unbeliever. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications
It’s the same point.
It’s not whether one used the word evolution – it’s what you mean by that word. What kind of evolution are we talking about? Atheistic or theistic?
Another point that I’ve learned to make on quotes like this has to do with what it takes to be saved. Saying that One can believe in evolution and still receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is, at best, misleading, because of the introduction of belief in seven-day creation. As pointed out with the article on C S Lewis above – believing that God created the universe does not require belief in seven-day creation.
What we have at this point is –
● Whether it’s required to believe in a 7 day creation
● to which I’d say it’s possible – God could have done it – but –
● it’s not required to be Biblically accurate, since the sun and moon that we use to define our “day” and “night” weren’t created on day 1.
● Whether it’s required to believe that God created literally everything
● to which I’d say it is.
● to deny that He is the creator is to not give Him credit – to put limits on Him – and to put ourselves higher than we are.
● and since I brought it in on the quote from engaging the closed mind – whether it’s required to actually say the words in that paragraph.
● this is a hotly debated topic. Some say yes – others say no.
● If you’re a regular reader – you know I’m in the second group. It’s up to God who is saved – not up to us. There is that section in Romans 1:18-20 that opens the door to the possibility that others can know God and presumably be saved –
Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Jesus also spoke of people who will be surprised as to whether they end up in Heaven of Hell. When talking about the end He says –
Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
And of course, the ultimate example –
Lk 23:26 As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then
“ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Lk 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Lk 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
Lk 23:36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Lk 23:38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”
Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
That guy didn’t say the words, but Jesus tells him – today you will be with me in paradise. Did someone forget to tell Jesus about “the sinner’s prayer”? Or maybe it isn’t the requirement we make it out to be?
I don’t expect that one could deny God & Jesus and not have some difficulties to overcome – but who are we to decide what God’s “allowed” to do?
At any rate – when we get to the point of saying things like –
“Any hope for mankind’s future … rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.”
I have to believe the line has been crossed.
This is saying that God has nothing to do with our future –
when God has everything to do with our future.
This is denial of God to the nth degree.
The reality of the situation is that our short term future, our life on this earth, isn’t what we need to be so concerned about. It’s out long term future – the infinite one after this life on earth that matters. It would be a shame to mess up that future by getting sidetracked into this kind of misleading argument that the hope for our future rests on science. It rests on the Bible.
Almost as if trying to backtrack a little –
the article goes on –
Leakey insists he has no animosity toward religion.
“If you tell me, well, people really need a faith … I understand that,” he said.
Except – he doesn’t understand. Faith isn’t just something that we “need” – as if it’s something for weak people to survive on. Faith is something for people who are strong enough to realize and accept that there’s a God who’s greater than us. Faith is hoping for a better life after this one. Ironically enough – for me, that same faith also comes with a desire to learn more from God – the One who created all of this when I get to Heaven.
Speaking of irony – the article continues –
“I see no reason why you shouldn’t go through your life thinking if you’re a good citizen, you’ll get a better future in the afterlife ….”
I’m curious – where does he think this afterlife is going to be? Who is responsible for it? And what are the criteria for getting there? Ultimately, where does he even get the idea that there will be one, because if life is really all random stuff that just happens – there’s no basis for even believing in an afterlife.
Perhaps that earlier statement isn’t quite so true –
Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.
Maybe he does have some doubts. Doubt’s that he isn’t quite willing to admit, Doubts that we should be aware of and not go down the path that even he may not actually truly believe.
Just in case any more words are still needed – there’s one more piece of irony in this article.
The author also says –
“If you don’t like the word evolution, I don’t care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up.”
Would you believe – God has already answered this charge – and others like it that would claim to be “better” than Him?
We see this in Isaiah –
Isa 29:13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
Isa 29:14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder;the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Which Paul references when He wrote in 1 Cor 1:18-21 –
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
It’s easy to call another person foolish – but what’s the answer when God says we are foolish?
I’ll even hold myself up as one of those called foolish in this article, because I don’t for one second believe what he says. I cannot turn away from God and deny His place in everything that He has created.
No, I’d much rather take up His offer – also from Isaiah – written at the very beginning of the book –
Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the best from the land;
Isa 1:20 but if you resist and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.”
For me – it’s not even a case of being scared of verse 20 – devoured by the sword.
No. For me, it’s the offer in verse 18 – the desire to learn – the desire to know the truth – to learn from the one who really knows – an offer from the Creator of all to reason together with Him.
One thing i got from that reasoning, as I’m updating this, is that the argument made earlier is bogus. To say You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up is to bypass the original issue. The real question involved with evolution – if we correctly look at it as atheistic evolution or theistic evolution isn’t whether there are detectable lineages – it’s over whether everything in the universe could have happened totally by random chance and survival of the fittest – or whether it required intervention from a higher power, namely God. Otherwise what the statement about lineage comes down to is an attempt to claim that random chance will create well defined lineages, but God cannot. That’s outrageous. The lineages are already laid out in the Bible. The statement we just looked at is like a modern-day version of “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Something like – “Did God really say that each kind of animal was completely different from every other kind of animal? Obviously, He’s hiding something from you.“
Considering what David said in Psalms 8:3-5 –
Ps 8:3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
Ps 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
Ps 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
– one can’t help but wonder -why God would make an offer to “reason together” with us.
But He did –
and it’s an offer too good to refuse.
For the author of this article and others who believe the same things, I sincerely hope they see “the Light” -take up the offer – and become like Peter –
Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
I believe there’s something in the author here. Something he’s not quite able to realize about himself. Something calling him to want to believe. And I pray for him that that little seed will grow. And then he too can turn and strengthen others who still believe as he does now. That he will see, and will show others – the only real difference between what he sees and learns versus what he says – is who gets the credit.
The “funny” part is – when we give God the credit He is due – we get to learn so much more.
Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
Will the evolution debate soon be history? The answer to that question may very well be how long until the rapture occur? I don’t see this debate going away any time soon. I certainly pray that Christians don’t just give in or give up. We haven’t even looked at the details of just how much science and the Bible have in common with each other in this issue. That’s coming. This article is to show the importance of the choice we make – do we give credit to God or do we give credit to random chance, and therefore refuse to give the credit to God?
One of the warnings we get from Jesus is this –
Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Like I said – the question of who gets credit for “evolution” – whether it’s atheistic or theistic evolution – is a huge deal. Who gets the credit, from your point of view?
References [ + ]
|1, 2.||↑||Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.|
|3.||↑||Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.|
|4.||↑||Story, D. (1999). Engaging the closed minded: Presenting your faith to the confirmed unbeliever. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications|