Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

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Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:56 pm

Can someone be a sincere Christian and believe in evolution?

Your response should be at least one paragraph in length. Support your answer with some of the following elements: scripture, items from the reading, personal experience, and insights from other conversations or readings.

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Re: Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

Post by Brittony on Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:31 pm

I have found this so hard to answer.
In Genesis 1, the whole chapter talks about creation. God made every living thing, including man. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and overall the Earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the Earth (Gen. 1: 26 ESV).” Also, “…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and beathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living creature (Gen. 2:7 ESV).” That was man and for woman, “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept too on of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man (Gen. 2:21-22 ESV).” According to scripture there isn’t any evidence to suggest that God created man and evolution had taken place, people came to be by God creating them out of dust. However, to be qualified to be a Christian is to believe Jesus is the Lord and Savior one needs to, “...confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Rom. 10:9-10 ESV).” If one confesses and believes this then they’re a genuine Christian. People naturally bring in their own ideas and theories to make “logical sense” of the world around them but as Christ is patient with us and shows mercy, I believe the Holy Spirit will uproot those false theories to refine us more and more to the image of Christ, and that’s in all His actions, thoughts, and heart. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:18 ESV).” So I think, at least for right now, I think that one can try to believe in evolution as a Christian but will eventually be revealed the truth.

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Re: Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

Post by kellyrenelantz on Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:50 pm

I think someone can be a sincere Christian and believe in evolution, depending on to what extent they believe evolution. By definition, evolution is "descent with modification from preexisting species :cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms :the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations."

I think that because God is distinct from creation (Romans 1:25) we can believe that it is okay for God's creation to adapt and change to the world around it. I think this can also reflect a creative and all powerful God, whom formed all these things so uniquely. Because we live in a fallen world, I think genetic mutations can happen - I don't think people born with Down's Syndrome were mistakes or against God's will for creation. In that same token, I don't think birds or other creatures mutating to better thrive in our ever changing world is against God's design or not what He intended.

I do believe some theories of humans evolving from primates do contradict the Bible as God made man in his own image and that humankind is distinct from the creatures He gave us dominion over (Genesis 1:26-28). There are events we know to be true from Scripture (like the flood, Creation of the Earth) that are not supported by evolution theories and in those cases, Scripture is the highest authority and we must reject those teaching.

I think it is dangerous to see science as against God, because God created science. But as Christians, we must remain strong in what Scripture tells us about Creation. I think we can look to science to help us prove God in many instances.

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Yes, but carefully.

Post by SHKelly on Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:29 am

God as Creator is one of the core attributes that we worship and credit to him. The Bible even begins with the words “in the beginning, God created…” All throughout the Bible God is worshipped and obeyed because he created us. “Oh come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Ps. 95) “I made the earth and created man on it.” (Is. 45) “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them…” (Ac. 4) In this prayer, the speaker appeals to God for boldness. He begins the prayer by acknowledging him as Creator and as the Sender of Son and Spirit. For the prayer (and me), because God created all things, he can give and intervene and answer our prayers. Also, it is of note that all the major creeds begin by stating belief in “God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.” This is the position set forth by Scripture and held by Tradition. That is, until the last 150 years when Darwinism, Naturalism, and Atheism have posited an apparent dissonance to God as Creator and Sustainer through Evolution, Big Bang cosmology, and advances in science like Archeological findings about the fossil record, DNA research, and telescopes that allow us to see things the Biblical characters could only dream about.

As stated in the Bird, if we hold that God inspired the Biblical authors, and that he created the World, then, in essence, God wrote two “books;” the Bible and Nature. Therefore, because God is the author of both, he cannot contradict himself. Of course, as good Protestants, the Bible is the “big” book, the final authority, the unchangeable Word of God, and nature is the “small” book, containing indicators and signposts that corroborate what we know about God. So, if something in nature seems aberrant in our understanding of Scripture, it should cause us to reexamine our interpretation of the Scripture. BUT, if our understanding of the Scripture’s meaning cannot be understood differently, we must circle back to the Science and see if IT can be understood differently.

This creates a sort of interpretive spiral, with Scripture as the end-all, that leads us closer to truth. With all that being said, the question of evolution, “old earth,” and natural selection can be considered.

Darwin observed, and thousands after him, that species adapt to their environments and the most adapted animals pass on their genes and their traits become the dominant ones over time. This evolution within a species, or “micro-evolution” is something that no one can deny. And we shouldn’t gut react every time someone says that something evolved. Where the rub comes in is when this observation is multiplied by 4.5 billion and made into a system for understanding human life.

The Bible says that God created the world and everything in it. It also shows him governing natural processes (storms, movements of peoples, formation of mountains, etc.). It is very clear to me that God works through processes that he creates. God created the human reproductive system, and yet can be understood to be intimately involved in the creation of the child. God can put the earth on its orbit and axis, and still be understood and worshipped for seasons, weather, etc. In Genesis 1 and 2, the words “bring forth” are used to describe plants and animals coming from the earth. I think it is totally reasonable and doesn’t reject Scripture to say that that wasn’t instantaneous (see Gen. 2).

So, I would say that God uses the “natural selection” to develop species and has given them the genetic tools to adapt to their environments. Who else could give us those things?

One thing to note is oil and fossils. If God created everything 6000 years ago, then he would have had to create oil and make fossils and rocks appear older than they are. That seems deceitful. I guess God could do that to confuse us and make us “check ourselves before we get rekt” but that doesn’t seem to accord with his character. Just a thought.

One problem for me is Adam. An Evolutionary Naturalistic worldview would have to say that Adam was a symbol for all mankind and that we emerged from our Neanderthalic stupor to become humans and that God didn’t “form us from the dust” or “breathe in us the breath of life.” Also, if the Evolutionary model is correct, then there would be a lot of these humanoids popping up all over the world, making Scriptures that refer to us as one race from Adam misinformed at best and lies at worst.

This leads to an even bigger problem that I have and that is the nature of redemption and the Atonement. In Romans 6, Paul basically hangs the entire work of Christ on him being the new Adam. Just as in Adam (one historical person from whom we all spring) we all inherit death, through Christ (one historical person from whom we all will respring) we inherit life. Without our lineage connecting to one person Adam, the work of Christ in atoning becomes muddled and tricky to parse out.

I honestly don’t know everything about the science, and I don’t have all the answers about what Scripture says or doesn’t say, but I have some things that I think can be said confidently. “Yes” to micro-, intra-species evolution and adaptation, “No” to macro-, inter-species Evolution. “Yes” to a possibly old-earth understanding of time, “No” to that leading to Naturalism and Evolution. “Yes” to Scriptural authority, “No” to pretending that Genesis 1 is a science textbook. “Yes” to God as Creator, “No” to six-day Creationism as the sole way to understand that.

So can someone be a Christian and believe in evolution? Yes, but very carefully.

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Evolution and Christianity

Post by Lindsay Leeson on Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:49 am

Christians believe that God created the world, and all things in the world, seen and unseen. I have not studied evolution thoroughly, so I won’t give a good explanation to what evolution is exactly and what evolutionists believe. Rather, I will state what a Christian must believe about God the creator. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore our authority. To show what Christians believe about God our Creator, we must go to the Bible. It seems to me that the bible explains that God is the only creator of the universe, He has all authority over all earthly kingdoms, He is distinct from creation yet also constantly at work in creation, and creating humans was the climax of creation. The third statement above may help us to see how evolution and Christianity can be compatible. Bird states that “God determines the constancy of the universal laws of nature that govern the earth and seas” shown in Jeremiah 33:25. This makes me think that if evolution does exist and God is the creator of the world, God may have created and set evolution into motion at some point of time in history. Another way I can see evolution and Christianity being compatible is because while the Bible gives many details of what God created and how He created things, we don’t know the exact timeline or how He specifically made them. Again, I don’t know much about evolution, but one thing Christians believe is that God made the world out of nothing. If evolution believes that the world had to have come from some other matter then it would not align with the Christian belief. Overall, I don’t know enough about evolution to take a stance, but if someone were to ask me, I would say God is bigger than our minds can comprehend. I believe it is possible that He created and enabled evolution to exist but have not researched enough on the topic to make a claim.

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Re: Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

Post by Dane Miles on Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:34 pm

This question is never an easy one to answer while maintaining the admiration or respect of various Christian schools of thought. Based on that, I'm going to answer the question based on the Bird reading, and then based on my own interpretation of the Word.

First, Bird seems to advocate for a sort of "Mere Creation," wherein the believer must maintain that nothing exists outside of God's creating, and that God holds all together. However, Bird does not go much further than this -- he does not delve himself into the debate of a literal seven days, young earth or old, etc.

I affirm Bird in his stance. Personally, I am uncertain if God sovereignly chose to use what we see as evolution to create species in this Earth. It is certainly evidenced that evolution within species is a common aspect of biology, and even cross-species evolution has been supported by some great scientists of the faith (Francis Collins comes to mind). Whatever way God chose to create, the only concession I've found to be biblically needed is that mankind was somehow distinct from the rest -- that God, via some mechanism, has implanted into man His very spirit and likeness which no other created thing exhibits.

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Evolution and Christianity

Post by KenjiK on Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:27 pm

I like what Bird says in p.162-163 of his book, that observing creation should lead us to worship and that creation exhibits signs of order that derive from the divine mind that so beautifully fashioned it together. To be a sincere Christian is to do and believe those things. So the topic of evolution can be a silly one(in terms of determining whether someone is a genuine, sincere Christian) as long as those two things are apparent in a Christian. Some people may see the beauty of creation through what they observe in evolution. I just don't think believing in evolution(whichever extent) doesn't make God the creator of it. I do think that things start to get iffy when He's not accredited as "the creator" of at least the beginning of it. But evolution doesn't contradict with that. I would also say that there's gotta be some deep explaining of some of the scriptures if you believe in evolution. If you're able to do that, there's nothing wrong with being an evolutionist.

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Response

Post by Matt Ostermeyer on Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:25 pm

Though we currently live in a world that rejects the ideas of creationism and passionately adheres to the teaching of evolution in their school systems, I believe it is more of a bold assumption to make that creation took the course of evolution rather than creationism. Nothing within the scriptures seems to imply that evolution has taken place in God’s creating plan. One can say that the reason for this is that humans were the ones who penned the bible. However, as we know, Scripture states, “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). According to this Scripture we can believe all of the writings of scripture as the very word of God that flows from God’s Spirit.

Then, when we take a glance at the word of God, we have trouble finding any instance of evolution. In my eyes the only potential example is that of Genesis 1. The Scripture guides us through the path of creation (light, sky and water, land, vegetation, sun and moon, water creatures, land creatures, mankind). This series of creation follows the path of evolution. However, never once are we confronted from the reality that humans were created from another creature over a slow course of time.

In Genesis 1:26 God says, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock, and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So they created mankind. The Word says that he formed Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). There is no indication that Adam was created from another creature. The Lord says that Eve was formed from the rib of Adam (Genesis 2:22). This distinctly challenges the view of evolution. The idea that gender itself came from the male version of the same creature. Regardless, it seems from the beginning that these people had relationship with God and were given authority over the other creatures of the Earth as if they had a special distinctiveness. It would be odd if God had created a “King Jesus” who was born by natural birth of the flesh. However, instead God created him by the Spirit. I believe that this entrance of Jesus parallels our entrance into the world. That we were not created from that which we were set to rule over, but were created with special distinctiveness from that which we rule over. It feels odd and unbiblical to say that creatures who share in the likeness of God are descended from fish, monkeys, etc. which do not reflect the image of God.

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Re: Theology Discussion Topic: Evolution

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