|Theistic Evolution, is it defensible?
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
BACKGROUND: All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness: that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17). Paul warned us to: guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and opposing arguments of what is falsely called "science"- which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. (1 Tim 6:20-21). Finally Paul warns us in 2 Tim 3:7 that in these: last days difficult times will come when men will be...Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
SCIENCE AND GOD. In this essay we will take a look at some of the “empty chatter” the Bible calls modern science. It is important to know what the leaders and shapers of evolution think about God before we let them influence our own interpretation of scripture or our relationship with the Creator-God. Christian young people in secular schools often overlook this point in their eagerness to learn all they can from their textbooks and professors. What do leading evolutionists say about God and Creation? Given the importance of science in our daily lives this is an relevant point and will be considered at some depth.
Science has given our modern world so much that it seems few people doubt what scientists say in other matters as well. Let me share an example. Shortly after receiving my doctorate degree in Zoology I was attending a Wednesday night church prayer-turned-business meeting. A heated discussion regarding the purchase of choir robes ensued. Someone remembered my new acquired doctorate and gave me the floor. Yes, I had recently learned some things about alligator thermoregulation, but had absolutely nothing to offer regarding choir robes, yet they thought my education gave me all knowledge. So it is with scientists. Each scientist has their own area of expertise, but lets not let our respect for that knowledge or for science in general blind us to their ignorance in things spiritual.
Let me state unequivocally at the outset it has been my personal experience as a Biology student in dozens of undergraduate and graduate classes and as a guest lecturer in scores of universities and scientific meetings that evolution is ALWAYS defined by evolutionists as a NATURAL process. In other words, if God had a part in the process it is simply NOT evolution. Many Christians think evolution is a scientific way of viewing Creation...that it may be the method God used in Creation. Nothing could be farther from the truth! We will return to this topic after some examples and farther development. As we will see in a few weeks Creation was a miracle not a process. Evolution as understood by the worlds leading evolutionists totally EXCLUDES God as Creator. Let me provide several examples.
A leading children's encyclopedia says. "There is probably not a scientist living today that does not believe in evolution." I read this while I was in 5th grade and was devastated for I believed in God and the Bible, yet wanted with all my heart to become a scientist. I was lucky for it only took me 15 years to recognize that this statement was but a lie from the Enemy. Unfortunately many young people never see this kind of teaching as a lie and are forever lost for Kingdom or their Christian growth and Bible study slowly dies.
From the Botany textbook I had as a student: "In the years following Darwin's Origin of the species (1859), the theory of evolution gradually replaced the concept of special Creation." Notice evolution and Creation are mutually exclusive. It is one or the other, not both!
Let me illustrate. To counter the above statement that all scientists accept evolution some Christian teachers make statements like, “The true leaders of science see God in nature.” Although it sounds good, it is simply not true. While teaching a graduate course in Invertebrate Paleontology at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in San Diego, CA I arranged to take my class for a behind-the-scenes tour of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at nearby La Jolla. The research director, Dr. Fred White had been my major professor while working on my Ph.D. at UCLA and we kept in touch. All of my ICR students were from conservative Christian colleges and had a deep interest in science. Most wanted to teach science in Christian schools.
Dr. White provided an excellent grand tour and showed the class each of the major research projects going on at the time. He also told us a little about some of his own reptilian thermoregulation research from UCLA and how his own work with reptiles had helped reduce infant mortality during heart valve repair. He even related an incident at the seal lion tank where the Queen of England was nearly bitten by an overly friendly sea lion. After the tour we discussed the trip. I was hoping the students had been impressed with the level of scientific research we had just witnessed. Instead they were most impressed that here was a leading world-class scientist who actually accepted evolution and did so wholeheartedly. For Dr. White it was THE common denominator that pulled all science…and his world together. His many illustrations and evolution charts in his office made obvious. It was an eye opening experience for my naïve Christian students. Students, that is what the science world is like and you must be prepared to deal with it, without compromising your faith in the Word of God or your own personal relation with Him.
Upon my arrival at UCLA I was required to take an intense qualification exam. It was oral and lasted several hours. I stood alone facing my entire graduate committee plus several “visiting professors”. In rapid order I was asked diverse questions on all subjects I had taken courses in plus other areas they thought I should know in order to study at such a prestigious university. Well over 80 percent of the questions dealt with evolution because they thought it was the most important of all topics. Due to years of intense study in this area, albeit for the “other side”, I was the only new Zoology Ph.D. candidate out of over 20 to pass that year and I was not required to take remedial course work. Now back to our topic.
Isaac Asimov is one of the world's most influential scientists, not for his science, but for his prolific writing. He along with Carl Sagen produces immensely popular science books and greatly influences people's view of science. Dr. Asimov says regarding origins: "In the beginning how did life begin? It seems quite certain that life developed. NOT AS A MIRACLE, but merely because molecules combined with each other along the line of least resistance. Life could not help forming under the conditions of the primitive earth any more than iron can help rusting in moist air." Notice how God is totally excluded from Creation. He is not even admitted as the First Cause. Evolution is ALWAYS defined fully natural thus is by definition atheistic. If God played a role in the process it is not evolution. There is simply no scientifically defensible middle ground. Few theologians seem to grasp this important point for few have the time, inclination or training to read original scientific papers. In their eagerness to add God to evolution…to harmonize science and the Bible…they pervert both science and the Word of God.
The next quotation from the famous British Biologist Sir Julian Huxley is more to the point: "In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural. The earth was NOT created: it EVOLVED. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it; including our human selves, mind and soul, as well as brain and body. So did religion." There is no doubt where Professor Huxley stands in his relation to God. We should think twice before we let his view of origins influence our interpretation of God's Word.
This is from the world-renowned American evolutionist of Harvard University, George G. Simpson. He was president of the American Association for the Advancement of science, one of the world’s foremost scientific organizations. I was present when he gave the following address. In part he said: "Evolution is a fully natural process. Inherent in the physical properties of the universe by which life arose in the first place and by which all living things, past or present have since developed. Organisms diversify into literally millions of species then the vast majority of those species perish and other millions take their places for eon until they too are replaced. If that is a foreordained plan, it is an oddly ineffective one..."
What Professor Simpson is saying is that if this is the way God created living things, then God was stupid. He goes on to say: "...A world in which man must rely on himself... is by no means congenial to the immature or the wishful thinkers...Life may conceivably be happier for some people in the other worlds of superstition. It is possible that some children are made happy by a belief in Santa Clause. But adults should prefer to live in a world of reality and reason." Let me again say that in secular universities and even in some Christian science departments, students espousing belief in God and Creation will be ridiculed far worse than if the believed in Santa Clause or the Easter bunny. I have seen it happen numerous times. Prepare and be wary young people! Know why you believe what you believe. Your role is to learn about evolution for it has influenced all of science in the same way you might learn ABOUT the Greek gods. Let me also add that your role as student is NOT to argue with your professors. Pray for them but your arguments will fall on deaf ears and will only bring your ridicule or worse. You must also be very careful discussing your view of origins even with students. If you feel God wants you to earn a graduate degree at a secular university go for it with gusto, but this is NOT the time to cause ripples. Remember graduate degrees are never earned in the sense an undergraduate degree is earned…by accumulating the necessary course work. Graduate degrees are bestowed at the pleasure of your graduate committee.
I know of an education doctorial student at Oklahoma University who was denied her degree because she would not lead her junior high class to search for their own personal spirit guide (Read: "Demon possession"). Nor would I have done it, but not every issue is worth going to the ditch for. Do not look for trouble…or see your secular university as a mission field until you have that degree on the wall. Two weeks after earning my Ph.D. from Texas Tech my committee found out that I did not accept evolution and had published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly. They actually formed a committee to annul my Ph.D. They were unsuccessful, but the fight was real. I was never able to get a letter of recommendation from either of my graduate schools. My graduate committee at Baylor found out I was a creationist 2 months after graduation with my Master’s degree and wrote to inform me they would never have accepted me for graduate study had they known I did not accept evolution. Be prepared and seek Divine wisdom and protection.
Why was evolution so quickly and widely accepted? Many educated people would quickly say the evidence amassed by Darwin, and since, was overwhelming. NOT SO! Morality was and is at the basis for accepting evolution. Sir Julian Huxley was, until his death, the world leader in modern evolution. When asked why the scientific community so quickly embraced evolution, he did not mention the evidence. Instead, he said, "The reason we leapt at evolution was the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores." So it is today, acceptance of evolution removes God from Creation and from conscience.
Or from another famous Huxley from Great Britain, Thomas Huxley Grandson of Aldous Huxley, one of Darwin's strongest supporters: "I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning. The philosopher who find no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics: he is also concerned to prove that their is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do--The philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom."
These scientists are not evil; they are simply lost and need God-as-Savior, but their willful blindness to God-as-Creator makes this difficult. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Prov.14:12) Truly, The fool has said in his heart. "There is no God." (Psalms 14:1)
Two things should now be obvious to those of you who have endured to this point. First, evolution as defined by leading evolutionists is a fully natural process. There is no room for a First Cause. Secondly, the reason evolution was and is so eagerly embraced is not the scientific evidence, but instead is at the core a moral issue.
APPLICATION. There are but three major positions regarding the origin of the universe and the origin and diversity of life: Atheistic evolution, Theistic Evolution and supernatural Creation. There are an endless variety of intergrades or modifications such as the Gap or the Day-Age theory.
Atheistic evolution is the belief that matter and natural law are eternal and sufficient to account for the complexities found in the universe and can account for the origin and diversity of living things including man. There is no need for God and thus one can do as he or she pleases for there is no absolute truth, no sin, and no judgment. This is what the world’s leading evolutionists and most scientists’ embrace. This is what most secular university professors and textbook authors accept. This is the teaching that permeates modern science from biology to physics to history and the social sciences. This is what the Living God warned us about repeatedly.
Supernatural Creation is plainly taught in scripture and was generally accepted in the science world prior to Charles Darwin. Thousands of scientists around the world do embrace it, but at extreme cost for we have been black listed by the ACLU and others. It is what your small group leader accepts and is the central topic of this Bible Study.
Theistic Evolution is an attempt to embrace and even to reconcile modern science and the Word of God. Even the term “theistic evolution’ is a contradiction, an oxymoron for “theistic” means “belief in the existence of one God view as the creative source of man and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world” (From the Merrian-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary) while evolution is always defined as a natural process apart from God. Conversely if Creation was not a miracle, if it can be explained by natural law it is NOT Creation. Or seen another way, the theistic evolutionist has neither the support of leading evolutionary scientists nor that of conservative Bible scholars. It is but an impotent attempt to reconcile one of conflicts between modern science and the Bible. Even if you vehemently disagree with this statement, please stay tuned and let me show you how weak is the evidence for evolution for it is surely a house built on shifting sand. I agree with Pastor Ted Haggard that at some future time scientists will look back and wonder how such a technologically advanced society could be so deceived into accepting such a scientifically unsubstantiated claim as evolution. The Apostle Peter prophesied its acceptance in these end times and said the reason would be “Willful Ignorance.” II Peter 3:3-7
Let me close this week’s discussion with a deep and profound poem. It often seems people in the arts are more accurate and forthright in assessing contemporary society than are academicians. The following insightful satirical poem on the modern mind was written by the British journalist Steve Turner and is quoted in a recent book by Ravi Zacharias (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries). The poem has become acutely relevant in the midst of our current epidemic of school violence.
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.
We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
His good morals were bad.
We believe that all religions are basically the same--
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness,
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation.
We believe that after death comes Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it's
compulsory heaven for all
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.
We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.
We believe that man is essentially good.
It is only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.
We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.
* * * * *
If Chance be the Father of all flesh
disaster is His rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of Man
worshipping his Maker.
by Steve Turner
PRAYER. Dear God, protect each of us and those we love. Teach us the truth of thy Word. Grant us wisdom and understanding that we might not be tossed about by the winds of false doctrine. Help us always to be ready to give the reason for the hope that is in us. We Praise you as Maker of heaven and earth. Amen.
Comments, questions or farther discussion? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org