William Lane Craig Schooled Me On Evolution

This is a great story that shows how Craig’s work makes space for evolutionary science.

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That is a great article! I found this section to be particularly helpful:

He explained that,

At the core of the Christian web of beliefs lie such doctrines as the existence of God, the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, the sinfulness of man, and so on. The reason you could not give up instead some minor belief like the scientific character or reliability of Genesis, but chucked Christian theism altogether, lies in your mistaken conviction that ‘the main core’ of the Christian worldview is ‘the fall of man,’ where the fall of man is apparently understood to imply, not only the doctrine of original sin, but also the origin of human disease and death as a result of human sinfulness. This is a horribly distorted view of Christianity.

I had never realized how rich and diverse the Christian tradition was on the question of death and natural evil. My own understanding of Christianity was terribly narrow, as Dr. Craig noted that

…the idea that human physical death and disease is the result of sin or the fall, though championed by Young Earth Creationists, cannot be found in the biblical text and is widely rejected by many committed Christians (including me).

Dr. Craig then offered one possible explanation for why God created a world with death already in it, and it was this paragraph alone that single-handedly made me rethink everything:

Perhaps God knew that a world of mortal creatures would be the most appropriate kind of place for a creature who would eventually fall into sin. It might be that such a universe is the best arena in which the human drama of God’s plan of salvation, including Christ’s death on the cross, would be played out. This world is a sort of vale of decision-making in which we mortal creatures determine, by our response to God’s initiatives, our eternal destiny. Suffering and death may not be the result of man’s sin, but it may anticipate man’s sin.

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Is someone saying the Roman Catholic Church has a “horribly distorted view of Christianity”?

That isn’t the Catholic view WLC is rejecting. His position is essentially the Catholic view.

A Catholic view, perhaps.

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Know who else we don’t have to strawman? YECs.

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Isn’t that essentially the view of many Babtists, if I recall? I’ve heard them say many times that to them, Catholics basically aren’t Christians.

The doctrine of Original Sin (OS) is one of the core teachings of the RCC and its obvious the article’s author (and possibly Craig) rejects this view.

This would exclude Roman Catholics as committed Christians because our Catechism says:

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p7.htm

I am not familiar with the teachings of babtists, but if they say Catholics aren’t Christians they are definitely unserious. Any idea if Craig is bab[or “p”?]tist?

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They sound quite serious when they say it, but I have no dog in that fight. I just think it’s funny. No idea about Craig’s denomination tbh.

It is funny but sometimes annoying to Roman Catholics when people of other denominations don’t regard them as Christians.

What made you think that he is talking about any particular denomination? He does not mention denominations or Catholicism in the article at all.

The statement does not even reject the doctrine of Original Sin, but only rejects the notion that accepting the Genesis account with a literal Adam and Eve and Original Sin means that one needs to also reject the science of evolution.

Note that the author of the article was raised Baptist and is now Catholic. He is not criticizing either. He is describing his own personal thought process and how Craig helped him keep his faith by helping him with his questions

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Craig said, in his reply to him:

That the Fall is responsible for human physical death and suffering is a Roman Catholic teaching and when Catholics defend this, the Bible is primarily used.

Craig rejects it, at least in the RCC sense.

Citation please

This article isn’t saying there was no Original Sin. What he is rejecting is that Original Sin was the cause of all physical death.

Note that he makes a clear distinction between physical and spiritual death.

Well Craig doesn’t outrightly reject it, but he is highly skeptical of it.

I didn’t say otherwise. I was only pointing out the Fall and Original Sin are key teachings of the RCC.

The RCC thinks otherwise.

Both resulted from the Fall according to the RCC.

Note that the author of the article is now Catholic. He converted to Catholicism after having this discussion with Craig

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So? His views are inconsequential relative to the Catechism which clearly describes the Fall as the cause of physical and human death.

Bill Craig has taught Sunday School at a Baptist church in Marrietta, Georgia for many years. So I assume he is a member there. His church is a member church of the Southern Baptist Convention. (That in itself should be a reminder that there is significant theological diversity among Southern Baptists. For example, the stereotype that all Southern Baptists claim that all Roman Catholics are going to hell is quite inaccurate.)

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If your assumption is right, then it explains some of his ‘anti-catholic views’. I mostly know him as someone who has debated a lot of atheists, not other Christian groups.

I will be sure to keep that in mind.

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Craig is a Southern Baptist, in so far as he attends an SBC church.

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Do you interpret this to mean that there was no physical death before the Fall, of either animals or humans?

Also, doesn’t the Catholic Church generally accept the science of evolution? If they do accept evolution, wouldn’t that mean that they would also accept an interpretation of Genesis and Original Sin that would allow some physical death before the Fall?

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