As featured in the Bluffton Packet.
In my experience, one of the perspectives that most limits young people from being willing to confess a belief in Christian principles is the perception that – if you become a Christian – you are necessarily in opposition to scientific thought or, more the case, thinking altogether. This is, of course, a relatively modern notion that has been purported by those seeking to capitalize on conflict methodology.
In fact, there really is no reason for Christians to generally be in opposition to scientific/technological development or theories. Most Christians that I know, young and old alike, actually love scientific/technological advancements for the comforts they provide and for the relationships that they can help to solidify. I don’t suspect that most people are willing to give up the comforts of motorized travel, cell phones, social networking or anesthesia for theological reasons.
Conversely, there are some issues that many Christians have become convinced that they should be direly concerned about. The theory of evolution is one of them. Simplistically put, the main disagreement behind such theoretical angst tends to be that both sides of the dispute dislike the arrogance that the other side has in holding their opinions. Whole organizations have been developed and millions of dollars have been spent among disagreeing Christians in order to advocate the particular stance that their camp holds. One might argue that such division helps to advance the Reformed motto: Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda! (reformed and always reforming) according to the Word of God. Others though might wonder if such conflict promotes unity in the church and if such allocated funds might better be used serving the poor.
Personally, as one who actively works between the realms of science and theology, I have found that talking about evolution as it pertains to the creation of the universe is oftentimes not a productive endeavor. Regardless of one’s personal convictions on the subject, the topic is not Biblically a salvific issue. In my opinion, if such discussion causes conflict in one’s church, then it is sometimes better not to get into our personal interpretations as to how God created everything.
That being said, I don’t think that Christians should be against the theory of evolution. Actually, I think that they should be, and necessarily are, very in favor of it. Allow me to explain.
According to the Bible, after Jesus is resurrected, he appears to his disciples for forty days. And, in addition to being raised from the dead, it seems that Jesus is quite a bit different than he was before his crucifixion.
On one-hand, Scripture tells us that when Jesus is resurrected he indeed has a physical body. He has physical flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). He has touchable wounds (John 20:24-31). Jesus is even regularly hungry (Luke 24:41 & John 21:1-14). On the other hand though, the resurrected Jesus doesn’t seem to be like us at all. He can show up instantaneously in a crowd (Luke 24:36-46) even through locked doors (John 20:19-22). He appears in many different unrecognizable forms (Mark 16:12-13) -even to people who have followed him for years and know him intimately (Luke 24: 13-35). He can even ascend into heaven. In some ways, the resurrected Jesus is just like a pre-resurrected living human being, yet in other ways, he is clearly – instantaneously – an evolved form of Jesus.
If Christians are indeed to, take up their cross and follow Jesus and eventually be resurrected to eternal life, it seems to me that this eschatological evolution should be something that we are all not just in favor of, but striving toward.
2 thoughts on “Why Christians Should Be For Evolution”
Dear Pastor Benek:
I must respectfully disagree with your statement that “Christians should [not] be against the theory of evolution”, if by “evolution” you mean the commonly taught neo-Darwinian theory of evolution of all life forms from a common ancestor (common descent) by means of random mutation and natural selection. This evolution has never been observed, is untestable, is unfalsifiable, and therefore is not science.
On the other hand, if by “evolution” you mean genetic change over time leading to variability of life forms within the reproductive boundaries of taxa, then this has certainly been observed and has been confirmed countless times in scientific experiments and studies that, among other things, have given us all the domesticated plants and animals that we have today.
Your essay further confuses the issue by apparently equating all change with evolutionary change. To say that the resurrected body is “quite a bit different than” the pre-resurrected body does not imply in any sense that one evolved from the other. The resurrected body does not arise from random processes of recombinant DNA being selected for by a hostile environment, as required by the theory of evolution. Resurrection is a planned and purposeful event, directed by omniscient Intelligence, and preordained before the pre-resurrected body was even conceived. This is the exact opposite of evolution. To suggest the existence of something like “eschatological evolution” as a pathway to reconcile evolutionary theory with Scripture invites confusion and conflict – with both science and theology.
If such confusion and conflict drives non-believers away from hearing the gospel message, then how the church handles the issue of evolutionary theory certainly is a “salvific issue”. That is why I teach science in a Christian school and that is why I conduct conferences for an organization called Answers in Genesis; to help both believers and non-believers understand that science confirms the Bible. Please let me know if you would like me to make a presentation for your youth group or church body.
In His service,
Ph: (843) 290-1811
Thank You for your comment. It is an interesting one.
Allow me to reply by starting with your third paragraph since the first two only conjure speculation about my personal intentions and do not actually address the eschatological implications that my article speaks to.
While I am not particularly interested in debating the validity of the term “evolution” since you yourself in your first two paragraphs have identified that it has numerous definitions – and at least one which you affirm – your identification of the term in paragraph three seems to discount the theological concept that human beings are fallen from an intended state, which could easily account for randomness that you seem so concerned about.
A resurrected state could therefore be the correction of this fallen-ness and thus could systematically be in accord with a theory of evolution eliminating any perceived confusion and conflict.
The first sentence of your final paragraph thus would then be a non-issue.
My larger theological concern with your reply to my post is that by discounting the possibility that God could create the universe however God wanted to, via a particular interpretation of Scripture, you have (unintentionally I believe), theologically put God “in a box.“ A God in a box is obviously only then a god.
Of course, the theological basis for my article is only interpretation as well, but to err on the side of God’s sovereignty, I think, is far better than to err on the side of one’s own.
On an unrelated note though, since we probably share several students, if you ever have any interest in having a theological forum or discussion club of some sort at your school I would be very interested in such an endeavor. Personally, I think that opportunities for students and educators to stretch our minds via varying perspectives can be beneficial to all if done in the love of Christ. Sometimes it is only through the bonds of community that we can envision the intricacies of the vast tapestry that God has woven for us and with us.
Thank You for your commitment to Jesus and our Youth/Children,
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