The Good News

Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics

Origins of Life, Part 2

Diagram of gene duplication based on http://en...

Gene Replication

So, how do we resolve the conflict between the theory of evolution and the Genesis record of the creation of the earth.  A better question might be, is there a conflict?  I take us back to the quote of the Catholic clergyman,

As to the Divine Design, is it not an instance of incomprehensibly and infinitely marvellous Wisdom and Design to have given certain laws to matter millions of ages ago, which have surely and precisely worked out, in the long course of those ages, those effects which He from the first proposed. Mr. Darwin’s theory need not then to be atheistical, be it true or not; it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of Divine Prescience and Skill. Perhaps your friend has got a surer clue to guide him than I have, who have never studied the question, and I do not [see] that ‘the accidental evolution of organic beings’ is inconsistent with divine design — It is accidental to us, not to God.

Christian Smith argues in his book that the relationship of science to religion was deliberately set as a conflict.  But that is an exaggeration used by scientists, educators and even church leaders to increase each groups cultural power.  The truth is that many scientists see no incompatibilities between faith in God and their work in biology or chemistry.

According to Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God,  two studies were conducted in 1916 and 1997 which show that many scientists believe in God though they also may believe in evolutionary principles.  In the 1916 study 40 percent of scientists polled say that they believe in a God who actively communicates with humanity.  Forty percent said that they did not believe this and 20 percent were unsure.  In 1997, Larson and Witham repeated this survey asking the very same questions of scientists.  They reported in Nature, that they found that the numbers had not changed significantly since the first survey.

Enter today the evolutionist polemicist, Richard Dawkins, and others of his philosophical bent.  Mr. Dawkins and others believe that the origins explanation can only center on particle physics, string theory or laws that govern the elements of the material world and can’t conceive of a scientist who does not believe much as he does.

His notions and theories are rejected however by many in the scientific community.  Rather, they go about their business ignoring his polemics.   Thomas Nagel has said of Mr. Dawkins’ project:

The reductionist project usually tries to reclaim some of the originally excluded aspects of the world, by analyzing them in physical–that is, behavioral or neurophysiological–terms; but it denies reality that what cannot be so reduced.  I believe the project is doomed–that conscious experience, thought, value, and so forth are not illusions, even though they cannot be identified with physical facts.

Many scientists believe Dawkins is wrong.  Science cannot explain everything.  This also explains why scientific thought can be compatible with religious belief.

So, where should we be as Christians or honest seekers regarding the apparent conflict between the secular explanations of origins and what the Bible communicates about the intervention of a God into human history?

As I stated at the beginning of part 1, some aspect of the theory of evolution have been developed to the degree that they are acceptable to someone who believes in God.  Certainly I believe that God has guided the entire process and yet left space for mutations and other changes within animals and plants.

Here is summary quote on the congurience between evolution’s theory and a creationist view:

If “evolution” is…elevated to the status of a world-view of the way things are, then there is direct conflict with biblical faith.  But if “evolution” remains at the level of scientific biological hypothesis, it would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christ belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which–at the level of biology–God has gone about his creating processes.  (David Atkinson, The Message of Genesis 1-11, IVP)

So evolution provides explanation of how biological processes work but do not exclude the possibility or the probability that there was divine intervention to supervise beginnings and continuing processes.

Sometimes Christians come off as if we have all the answers to life’s deepest questions and never waver in our beliefs or understanding.  That simply is not the case and I hope is not implied here.

There is a great statement in the New Testament that points how the struggle that we Christians go through at times.  Matthew 28:17, “When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.”  That’s right, believers saw the risen Jesus but from that statement we can only conclude that they could not bring themselves to firmly believe that Jesus the Son of Man, had risen from the grave. That is, in spite of the face that he was before them and that they could even touch him, yet they doubted what they were seeing was actually happening.

I will be the first to admit that I do not have all of my convictions firmly formulated.  I was to believe in Him and His resurrection, but as a military officer said to Jesus when He was here, “help me in my unbelief.”  I certainly am in the process of growing in my faith and convictions.

 

About these ads

2 responses to “Origins of Life, Part 2

  1. " The Right Divide" 01/2011 at 9:25 pm

    I definitely understand your point of view and Origins of Life part2 provides the balance I believe you intended to demonstrate. In your post you stated “So evolution provides explanation of how biological processes work but do not exclude the possibility or the probability that there was divine intervention to supervise beginnings and continuing processes.”

    Some portion of the scientific community would have no problem placing God at the beginning of the evolutionary process but every Christian should reject the idea that mankind evolved in to what we are today. If man is the product of evolution there is no need for God. There would be no need for a Savior. On what basis do we relate to God? This view would relegate God to the Big Bang which I believe is a mistake. The creation narrative is succinct because man is expected to accept his beginning with God and honor God with the powers of will and intellect that formulate these ideas.

    “20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:20-22, NASB)
    You said it best “I will be the first to admit that I do not have all of my convictions firmly formulated. I was to believe in Him and His resurrection, but as a military officer said to Jesus when He was here, “help me in my unbelief.” I certainly am in the process of growing in my faith and convictions.” You believe….belief in God is what saves (John 3:16).

    Like

  2. papapound 01/2011 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks “The Rightly Divide.”

    You said:
    ” If man is the product of evolution there is no need for God. ”
    That statement goes somewhat beyond my thinking and understanding. I believe man was created by God as Genesis 2 states. So I am definitely not a Deist, that is, one who believes that God, the Creator, started the whole process and left all the “run on it’s own.”

    “On what basis do we relate to God?” You gave a great verse as a reference for that: Romans 1:20-22. I add, on the basis that God, the Creator, gave his life for us. Also, much of my apologetic goes to those great events. If Jesus did not die? If he was not God in human form? If the words of the New Testament are not true?, then, how significant is the questions of origins in the scheme of things for me?–not very.

    I don’t know how the solar system was orchestrated in the beginning but orchestrate is the term I have to use because of the precision that exists in our finely tuned universe at the present. If there were no master design and plan, then there would be no precise laws that govern how the universe functions and we and the universe would quickly return to a primitive state with no possibility of organic matter being life on earth or anywhere else.

    Like

Would you like to add your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 334 other followers

%d bloggers like this: