Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Creation! Evolution!

On Sunday, CNN published a post on its Belief Blog by Karl Giberson, vice president of the BioLogos Foundation. The title of the post was “Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you.” The post (as of the time I’m writing this) has received almost 3,000 comments, ranging from the thoughtful and provocative to the outraged.

I’ve never been able to get myself excited about the creation vs. evolution debate. I’m aware of it; I’ve read a lot about it and studied it. I know enough about it to spot the flaws in Giberson’s argument. But I can’t get excited about it. (I can’t get excited about all the “New Atheists” either.)

This week’s chapter discussion for Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis ("What Lies Behind the Law") anticipates Giberson and his argument. Lewis says there are essentially two views (with minor variations) of what the universe really is and how it came to be there. The materialist view aligns with the belief in evolution. The religious view aligns with creation. Because we don’t have all the answers and proof we would like to have, and likely never will have, both require some measure of faith.

When I was younger, the questions around evolution and creation were of greater concern. But I know when the “creation versus evolution” argument stopped being so worrisome for me.

As part of a masters program, I took a course called “Science, Creation Science and Pseudo-Science,” taught by a professor of astronomy at Washington University in St. Louis. His position was unequivocally materialist, yet he acknowledged the issues inherent in the theory of evolution. (I admired him so much that I took another course with him and chose him to be one of the three professors for my final oral examination.)

Part of the course was a study of the definition of science, and we examined several different approaches. The one that the professor (and apparently most scientists) was most comfortable with was this: “Science is what scientists say it is.” That idea permeated many of the books we read that semester, including The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

That understanding was what eliminated any concern I had about “creation vs. evolution.” Science was just as fallible as any other part of humanity.

My professor would be upset with that last statement, but he would also have understood why I made it.

Our discussion of Mere Christianity is being hosted by Sarah Salter and Jason Stayszen. To see the links posted for this week’s discussion, please visit Jason’s site, Connecting to Impact.


Karen Kyle Ericson said...

I believe in creation- and also realize the world was designed to change. Interesting perspective this man has. It seems they are getting desperate to believe in evolution.

Helen said...

I know I believe in God. I personally think He could have created the world in six days, so why not? It is also possible that the early chapters of Genesis were written in poetic form, and that He used evolution. But the point of it is that either way, someone had to create the universe.
In other words, I don't get too excited over the debate either.

Dusty Rayburn said...

I choose to place my faith in God rather than the theories of fallible man.

It's not often we encounter a Materialist who will admit there are problems with their approach.

David Rupert said...

I've always thought that evolution took a great more deal of faith than creation.

The evidence just isn't there...

Anonymous said...

what an interesting character, your professor.
thanks for the good story.

Anonymous said...

I understand exactly what you mean. There are few 'issues' that I feel the need to get up in arms about. Great discussion of this hot-button topic, Glynn. Thank you.

Ryan Tate said...

Why are you so smart, Glynn?

You might just be the most interesting man in the world. I love to read stories of your past experiences.

Great thoughts and insights here for the book discussion. Thank you again.

Ian T. Curtis said...

Paul seemed to have evolution in mind when he penned Romans 1. When you run from the knowledge of a Creator God, evolution is an alternative to hide behind because if it is true, it removed human culpability. I am firm creationist, and Jesus likewise affirmed Genesis' authority in the gospels; so I suppose my faith in Genesis' truth is bound up in whether or not Jesus can be wrong. If He's wrong (proving that He's fallible) then I have alot more to worry about than whether creation or evolution is true!

HisFireFly said...

Amen to what Dusty said:

"I choose to place my faith in God rather than the theories of fallible man"

and double Amen to the words of Ryan Tate:

"Why are you so smart, Glynn?"

Jeanne Damoff said...

I love how you handled this. Being married to a biologist who is also a creationist, I hear more about this issue than most people probably do, but rarely do I hear/read a more succinct and sensible summary. Thank you.

Bottom line (and the essential problem with the BioLogos approach) is you can't have it both ways. It's like trying to build a house on two different foundations. It just doesn't work.

So we all have to decide where to place our faith (because, like you said, either way it's a matter of faith). As for me and my house, we land firmly on the side that God's Word is unchanging and infallible, and man's perspective is constantly shifting based on the latest discoveries of science.

It's a choice between rock or sand. I'm pretty sure I know which side Jesus would land on.

H. Gillham said...

Faith it is.


S. Etole said...

I like the way you view things ...

sonny said...


i believe in god. i am a hindu, and i without a doubt believe in rebirth and karma and all that it signifies...
i have faith.

i also have a mind that thinks and questions and thinks some more and questions more...and children who ask double the amount of questions that i answer honestly...and with conviction..

i really dont think ...that someone can wave a magic wand and create a world...doesnt make sense to me.
there is a LOT one can create...depends how one defines creation.

but if its this earth we are discussing here...definitely evolved...:))