Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creation and Evolution

As of late there has been a lot of internet discussion concerning a fundamentalist view of the natural world and its creation [Creationist] and a secular/scientific view of the natural world and its creation [Darwinian molecules to man evolution]. 

Now, I know that the above definition of the Creation vs. Evolution debate is simplistic and many that believe in molecules to man evolution will call themselves people of faith in God.  This blog is not to debate this point.  I have used the generalized definition above to simply stake out the two sides. 

I am writing on this topic to talk philosophically, not scientifically.  I am not a scientist.  I do not claim to be one.  As a matter of fact I remember having inward joy at leaving the science building my sophomore year in undergraduate school because I was done with the physical sciences courses that were demanded in my major and minor.

This blog is about presuppositions.  A presupposition is something assumed beforehand.  Often times it is so assumed that it is left unspoken or unwritten.  What I am writing about is the fact that often in the debate of Creation vs. Evolution there are unspoken presuppositions on both sides that will, by definition, force the opposing side into one view or another. 

For example, my presupposition about life is that God directly intervenes in the natural world.  Yes, He has established rules that govern the natural world; however, He has from time to time suspended these rules in order to showcase His glory.  For example, it is an article of my faith that Jesus was conceived of a virgin, [obviously a suspension of the natural rules governing conception] He is God in the flesh, [obviously suspending the natural rules about the nature of humanity] He died - but then His soul re-animated dead, decaying flesh and He walked out of a tomb three days later. [Natural rules dictate that dead men do not come back to life] He then ascended to heaven [a real locality - for physical things must inhabit physical places] and He will physically return again.  These are basic presuppositions for the Christian as spelled out simply and eloquently in the Apostles Creed. 

What that means is that I believe in a God who will, from time to time, suspend the rules that govern the natural world [for He made them].  The secular scientist does not share this presupposition.  His/her assumption is that the natural world is either all there is - or - it is not his/her place to take the supernatural into account.  Therefore, the scientist will look at the physical world and attempt to understand his/her surroundings by the observation of this physical world only using as his/her basis the regularized natural rules. 

These are two amazingly different presuppositions that will force both parties into totally different directions.  For example, a scientist looking at the Grand Canyon would rightly, from their presupposition, come to a conclusion that it would take millions, if not billions, of years to form this Canyon.  And this would absolutely be true if their underlying presupposition is correct - that all there is to make the Canyon is the Colorado river or some other natural events that follow the current rules that govern this nature.  However, what if the underlying presupposition is incorrect?  What if God intervened, say, with a catastrophic geologic and climatic event?  What if God flooded the entire face of the earth?  What then? 

Now, again, I am not a scientist; however, I do know that if the person assumes a flood that covered the face of the planet the conclusions about how geologic structures were formed would change.  They must. 

Therefore, what I often want to interject into this debate is a bit of backtracking.  I do not believe that the molecules to man evolutionary scientist is somehow misusing things or intentionally trying to denigrate faith.  They are starting at a presupposition of no intervening God.  Nor do I believe that the Creationist is attempting to misuse science in the name of defending their intervening God.  I believe the two sides come from their viewpoints at two different presuppositions; and that is really what ought to be debated.  Is there a God who intervenes in His natural world?  If there is, then we would look at things differently.  That is what ought to be debated. 

From my point of view, I believe the main doctrine of Christianity has to do with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As the Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:14, "If Christ be not raised our preaching is useless, and so is your faith."  Christianity is a religion that has at its center the miraculous - God became a man [the nature of Jesus] a dead man came back to live after decaying in a tomb.  This is Christianity.  Jesus Himself is one big miracle: God encapsulated in flesh.  If a scientist were to cut open the body of Jesus, he or she would not, "observe" God coming out.  Yet, the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is essential to the Christian faith.  Furthermore, believing that a dead man came to life is essential as well.  If you can swallow that camel - if dead men come back to life - then flooding the earth, or creating the earth in a heartbeat, is really...not that hard to imagine.  So what I always say to my Christian friends is this - why not believe?  What is the argument for not believing the Bible's account of things?  If God raises the dead - then feeding five thousand, walking on water, casting out demons, etc....are mere fleabites in comparison. 

My two cents.  God bless,