Welcome Greg to the Forum

(Greg) #67

Please understand that the gospel is a means to a specific end. I have demonstrated that a gospel that saves us from financial poverty to riches is not the Christian gospel. A gospel that saves us fr illness to health is not. I believe that scripture is clear that a gospel that offers a free ticket to heaven without respect to God is not the gospel either. Look at Eph 2:8,9.
For this, the hypothesis called common decent evolution does such a diservice for the understanding and realization of gospel rooted faith.

It pushes the idea about God so far out of the picture within peoples minds that the gospel appears more like the ticket than it does an eternal relationship.

It badly misdefines God as more of an impotent seed planter who gives nature the reigns for design than the all powerful wise God who formed plants and animals according to their kinds.

Out of it has evolved great apostate theologies in general.

If God is seen as more impotent and nature “smart,” the tendancy will be for folks to think that evolving a good nature to appease God instead of gospel surrender to a perfect God who would be ever unaccepting of our deeds for reconciliation.

Lastly common decent evolution (the naturalistic form) is highly unintelligent: normally believers in evolution suggest that matter, time, selection and mutation can create, for example, an animal that procreates…but when one really thinks thru this, it is utterly impossible. Or a flying animal from a ground animal-the process needed to adapt this change would inevitably cause the adapting animal impossibility of ground survival while gaining clumbsy appedages of half wings!

In my perspective, the only reason a person w belief in the God of the Bible would choose to cling to an evolutionary worldview is due to the fear of what man will do to them if they stand up for God as ultimate Designer and Creator of kinds. Guess what? If one has fear this way then guess what much of the world will say of you when you declare that they are sinners in need of a Savior? Part of the gospel message is that if we “confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, then you will be saved” This was spoken to the people in a time when Christians were being butchered because of their faith! And perhaps not you as only God knows our heart…but there are Christian scientists afraid to even stand upon the highly logical and Christ exalting premise that God is Designer and Creator of kinds?? They are not even calling a persons sin to account!

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #68

I disagree, the Mormon Church is flawed even today:

(Neil Rickert) #69

I’ve never understood that way of thinking.

I was a Christian at one time, and I never saw that as a problem with evolution. It seemed to me that if God came up with evolution as a means of creating biological diversity, then that was a stunningly brilliant decision.

As an agnostic, I don’t see that evolution has pushed God out of the picture. Scientific explanations do not appeal to God. But they do not deny that there could be a God behind everything that we see.

My chief objection to ID, is that it is not science. It is philosophy. And I wish the ID proponents would stop pretending that it is science.

If I adopt a theological perspective, then it seems to me that ID is bad theology. The ID proponents seem to have set themselves up as superior to God, and they are dictating to God the means that he is allowed to use for creation.

(Edward Robinson) #70


I have found myself agreeing with a number of your statements. However, there is one that you might want to reconsider:

Are you aware that this is exactly the charge that ID folks level against many TE/EC folks?

From the point of view of many ID folks, the TE/ECs, especially some at BioLogos, have a marked theological preference for a God who uses only natural causes in creation, and never “intervenes” or “tinkers.” But who are the TE/ECs to tell God that he should never “tinker” but should work exclusively through natural laws?

The ID folks I know don’t object to the idea that God could have employed natural means in the course of creation; they object to the assumption that he must have used only natural means. And while BioLogos has a technical “out” on this charge, since they allow that God “could have” acted directly at points in creation, it’s clear that they have a metaphysical or theological preference for a God who doesn’t do so (and some of them have acknowledged this preference).

We can see this both in direct statements of their “theological aesthetic” and also in the way some of them argue about, say, “the problem of evil.” Some of them will say that if God is directly responsible for creation, then he would be implicated in evil, and since God in their eyes would never be directly responsible for evil, it must be “evolution” – that impersonal process which God set in motion but doesn’t supervise or tinker with in detail – that is responsible for evil (horrible parasites, genetic deformities, badly wired retinas, badly constructed human backs). Ken Miller and Ayala (who used to be a sort of patron saint of BioLogos, in its early years, called in to do heavy hitting against Meyer and Behe) have made this theological argument. But this is deeply flawed reasoning, because an omnipotent and omniscient God would foresee the evil that evolution would do and be able to do things differently to avoid the evil, and thus, having himself freely willed the evolutionary process, would be morally as culpable as if he did the evil directly himself. And in any case, the BioLogos crew in their faith statement profess to believe that all of the Bible, not just parts of it, is divinely revealed and true, and the Bible itself represents God as directly causing evil in many cases, and even has God say so. (See the opening of Isaiah 45.) So from the ID point of view, it’s the TE/ECs (or some of them) who have the bad theology, bad because it imposes human tastes on God regarding how he should act (God shouldn’t act like a “magician” or “tinkerer”), and because it asserts a view of the relation between God and evil that is not Biblical.

It is interesting that both TE/EC and YEC are hung up on the “problem of evil,” though they resolve it in different ways. YEC can’t believe God would create evil, so it blames all the evils (even natural evils such as predation) on Adam’s rebellion. TE/EC can’t believe God would create evil, so it sets up “evolution” as a sort of Demiurge, responsible for all the “bad parts” of creation while God in his pure goodness sits above the action, “looking the other way” while evolution does its dirty work. Neither ID nor OEC is hung up on “the problem of evil” in this way. Both are willing to accept that some evils may be part of God’s plan, and both try not to let their personal aesthetic inclinations dictate Christian theology by telling God the right way to act.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #71

Certainly not how I see it. I think you mean specific people in the TE/EC movement.

(Edward Robinson) #72

Yes, Joshua, which is why I earlier in the post wrote:

though I failed to repeat “some of them” in my final statement. Sorry if this caused any confusion.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #73

All good. I just want to be clear that the problems you identify with TE/EC are not inevitable problems. Christians can affirm evolutionary science without taking those turns. I know you agree. When engaging with anti-evolutionists like @greg, we need to make that unavoidably obvious.

(Edward Robinson) #74

That was the reason why Jon Garvey took on the public correction of certain people at BioLogos and certain other TE/EC figures, to show that one needn’t adopt a bad or impoverished Christian theology in order to harmonize Christian faith with evolution. He has called for Christian theology to be more firmly rooted in centuries of mature theological reflection, and less on knee-jerk assertions about what God would do, or how God ought to act. Venema would write multi-part series with very detailed technical discussions of “synteny” to cover the “Bio” part, but no one on BioLogos was writing multi-part series with very detailed discussions of the Greek Fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin etc. on divine sovereignty over nature, or the origin of evil, to cover the “Logos” part. Jon has essentially been trying to carry out the original alleged mission of BioLogos, to bring bios and logos into coherent theological relation, but for the most part BioLogos fans have rebuffed his efforts or ignored them, though you, when you were at BioLogos, were an exception to this. (Another who was willing to listen, though a commenter rather than a columnist, was Jay313,)

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #75

Just make sure that @greg can understand that the problem isn’t evolutionary science itself but how it’s been presented to him by others and you’ll have done good here.

(Neil Rickert) #76

I have not paid close attention to the ID vs TE debate.

Yes, I have run into “the argument from evil”, though I usually see that coming from atheists. I never thought that was an effective argument.

(Bill Cole) #77

This is an interesting point. I think where the conflict comes in is it can be stated as science because of the inference to the best explanation standard. This is the standard Darwin established as a way to argue historical sciences. If you embrace the conflict, the conflict in among itself is interesting as we are at the “edge” between science and philosophy. We can move to either side as we define the scientific standards. If the scientific standard becomes strict adherence to the scientific method (directly test your hypothesis) then a lot of evolutionary theory gets kicked up to the philosophy camp.

I think Joshua asking for a new way forward is the right comment.

The new way in my opinion would not necessarily end the conflict but instead embrace it on both sides as healthy discussion.

(Edward Robinson) #78

I don’t think I’ve responded to Greg directly yet, but I would agree that the idea of “evolution” in itself, i.e., of descent with modification, does not necessarily conflict with Christian doctrine. There is no need to reject evolution merely because it postulates a process of organic change, as opposed to the separate creation of individual species. One might reject certain particular formulations of evolution for theological reasons (for example, I think Ken Miller talks about evolution in a theologically bad way), but I don’t think that descent with modification is by itself a theological danger to Christian faith.

You can tell Greg I said so. :smile:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #79

9 posts were split to a new topic: Science and Philosophy

(George) #80


Shucks… ID as philosophy is not bad because it is a philosophy. Some philosophies are helpful to science.

You could say, instead, that ID takes a metaphysical position (that science can tell the difference between a miracle and a mystery)… and insists metaphysics IS physics!

(Greg) #81

Then why are these so adamantly anti ID? The reason i use the idea of aliens as the possible seed planter is to demonstrate that in the realm of possibilities, a naturalist who seems bent on anti-god also seems bent on a faith called naturalism which is just as subjective as aliens

Natural Theology vs. Design Arguments vs. ID
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #82

I see no problem with design, but disagree with most ID arguments I’ve seen.

(Greg) #83

Well dear Sir: It is one type of conversation talking w a person who says that they are a Christian and abandons scriptural principle in everything from God as direct Creator of kinds to the gospel being suffering symbolic of the type of suffering occurring in evolution. It is a very other type when someone like yourself says they are just not a Christian at all.

According to the very principles directly from the Bible, when one observes your language that you were once a Christian but now you are not is about as sensible as my son suggesting to one of his friends that he was once a Rogers but is currently not. My son was born into the Rogers’ family and cannot not be a Rogers!

Likewise when a person is reborn into a restored relationship with God by repenting of his propensity for disobedience to God and accepting forgiveness of his sins by grace through faith in Jesus who died for them, then they are family! This means that if YOU admitted known sin before God, chose to turn from your sinful patterns of life and accepted full pardon and forgiveness by the blood of the Lamb of God, then you are still a child of the Living God and still my brother in Christ my friend! On the other hand, if Christianity took on more of a form of a religious label and a set of good behaviors with little to no interest in pleasing God as your Father and Friend, then i completely dont blame you one single bit for moving on. What a putrid thought of wasting a Sunday going to church as sort of a club of like minded behaviorists who all share commonality of wearing a plastic smile for impressing one another.

My wife, my brither and i were talking (on our boat nonetheless on beautiful Norris Lake TN) this weekend about how sad the sight the pastor of my parents church yrs ago who was seemingly of good theology and seemed like a decent shepherd to his congregation who was living a double life…the second one being a life of sexual impropriety unseen by his church for years and years. You see, he was preaching sermons, wearing a handsome smile while abandoning one of the very most important Scriptural principles in the Bible to do with his very own salvation in IJn ch 1:

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(Greg) #84

My wish is that you will see that the power of presumption is POWERFULLY STRONG in how we assess arguements from a differing perspective. ID is simply standing upon a faith that suggests that an Intelligent being’ direct involvement is a more reasonable explanation for the arrival of complex life on this planet than from the hand of energy and chance.

Believers in common decent evolution traditionally hold the faith and presumption that energy and chance have the ability to achieve complex life as we see it today.

God made us in His image and gives us the ability to reason…which is the more reasonable guess: 1. that energy chance and time made things like sexual organs for procreation or 2.God (Higher being) designing them and creating them directly. In every thing that we know, understand and even see in real time in the labratory, hands down #2 is more reasonable and i believe that this is exactly who you are at the core of your Christian being!

If the above is rationally drawn out, and one compares the science that trusts in the natural to do what is just utterly the impossible and the science that trusts that nature is truly incapable of these feats and concedes that the hand of a Designer must have been directly involved, then i have to declare that the latter form of science is just plain the better of the two.

To me, science riding the coattails that energy and time can produce reproductive organs RIGHT NOW or the organism dies out in a few years is fit for a carnival booth and nothing more. I know that is not who you are, so why do you want to appear so tight with these in your insinuations, statements and proposals and yet so distant from ID?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #85

This is very true. ID is standing on faith, not on strong arguments. It is powerfully strong because of presumption. That is the problem with it.

(Greg) #86

Ok then when you comeback pointedly to show that you see wrong assumptions we call faith on the ID side but do not show a hint of understanding that belief in common decent evolution requires FAITH as well…faith that largely if not exclusively relies on chance energy and time to for the formulation of what all intents and purposes appears to be specifically PLANNED AND DESIGNED, then we have hit a dead end. You say this: [quote=“swamidass, post:85, topic:1199”]
This is very true. ID is standing on faith, not on strong arguments. It is powerfully strong because of presumption. That is the problem with it.

What is most surprising to many Christians who see this tendency displayed of no interest to recognize that the brand of evolutionism you espouse demands so much blind faith is that the Bible demands that our faith IS NOT about trusting our intuitions or from a mathematical formula. Instead, God’s Word says that ALL people are without an excuse bc creation clearly points to the Creator. However from there the Bible gives principles, parameters, definitions and commands related to that God which are the basis of what all believers are to trust by faith.

Doesnt it make you nervous that there are so many layers within the largely naturalistic evolution camp which, as i have clearly outlined, sway away from Christian faith in everything from creation to even the gospel?