Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ten so called dangers of theistic evolution

Answers In Genesis the current hub of the young earth creationist movement (the other being Institute for Creation Research) has written several articles devoted to tearing down the mainstream Christian position on evolution (to make their view look more credible). Well one of them is the "Ten Dangers of Theistic Evolution."

They basically spell out the reason they are trying to tear evolution to the ground (and doing a bad job I am afraid).

Note: For those of you who seem to think so, I am attacking Answers In Genesis, I am not quarrelling over an unimportant issue. I am correcting AiG in a realm I think they are clearly mistaken.

Well lets get right into it. The first problem involves the common misconception among young earth creationists that theistic evolutionists somehow devalue God, or say that he is not as powerful. It is also based on the "no death before sin" argument for young teaching in the bible;

Danger no. 1: Misrepresentation of the nature of

The Bible reveals God to us as our Father in Heaven, who is absolutely
perfect (
), holy (Isaiah
), and omnipotent (Jeremiah
). The Apostle John tells us that ‘God is love’, ‘light’, and
‘life’ (
John 4:16
; 1:5; 1:1-2).
When this God creates something, His work is described as ‘very good’ (
) and ‘perfect’ (Deuteronomy
Theistic evolution gives a false representation of the
nature of God because death and ghastliness are ascribed to the Creator as
principles of creation. (Progressive creationism, likewise, allows for millions
of years of death and horror before sin.)

Well, young earth creationists have a problem with animal death. According to their idea of God animal death is evil so God is evil. This is not a biblical teaching, I have talked about this before.
Only human death is evil, it is talking about spiritual death not physical death. God is still love. Besides I do not believe God is directly guiding natural selection, more he was guiding the force which influence natural selection. The next objection is not much stronger;

Danger no. 2: God becomes a God of gaps

At first this seems like the most ironic hypocritical statement I have heard coming from AiG, well lets look at their reasons, is it?

The Bible states that God is the Prime Cause of all things. ‘But to us there
is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things … and one Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things, and we by Him’ (
Corinthians 8:6
However, in theistic evolution the only
workspace allotted to God is that part of nature which evolution cannot
‘explain’ with the means presently at its disposal. In this way He is reduced to
being a ‘god of the gaps’ for those phenomena about which there are doubts. This
leads to the view that ‘God is therefore not absolute, but He Himself has
evolved—He is evolution

And somehow God is not the prime cause of all things according to theistic evolution (sigh). I could do nothing but shake my head when they said that it means God is evolution. No, no, no Mr. Gitt (the name of the person writing this) according to Theistic Evolution God guides evolution he is by no means the process itself, you are the only one who is claiming such a thing. Neither does Theistic Evolution imply God is evolving, and of course according to Theistic Evolution God is the cause of all things, ever heard of the Big Bang (yes there are some who disagree I am simply making a point)? And young earth creationists seem to have a much larger problem with "gods of gaps" since they evoke God directly right and left as the with virtually everything, if you do that if a natural explanation is found you are going to create an environment where your religion contracts every time science expands, that is a religion killer.

Danger no. 3: Denial of Central Biblical

The entire Bible bears witness that we are dealing with a source of
truth authored by God (
Timothy 3:16
), with the Old Testament as the indispensable ‘ramp’
leading to the New Testament, like an access road leads to a motor freeway
). The biblical creation account should not be regarded as a
myth, a parable, or an allegory, but as a historical report, because:

Before I let them continue I agree that the Old Testament cannot be discarded or ignored, only liberal Christians say that and I am conservative. I agree that it is the key to understanding the New Testament. And I agree that it is more then a myth, parable or allegory. This is another widespread young earth misconception. Now that we go that over with lets go on to why they think this.

--Biological, astronomical and anthropological facts are given in didactic [teaching] form.

...Yes, they are, very good...Genesis 1 however is not, and besides there are times when a day doesn't always mean a day

--In the Ten Commandments God bases the six working days and one day of rest on the sametime-span as described in the creation account (Exodus 20:8-11).

And this is a good reason to interpret the word yom as day because...Anyway why could God really mean six ages and still give us the layout for a week?

--In the New Testament Jesus referred to facts of the creation (e.g. Matthew 19:4-5).

That could have just as easily been referring to the beginning of mankind and yes I agree, Man And woman evolved (or I'll say were made) both male and female.

--Nowhere in the Bible are there any indications that the creation account should be understood in any other way than as a factual report.

2 Peter 3:8? And The bible has lots of facts and lots of allegory and we should be able to distinguish it using out reason, apparently you don't.

Well I was only able to make it through three of the dangers. So I don't make an inconventiently long article I am going to save the other seven for another post. There are a lot of other things to be covered. Until then, God bless. I mean that both to my fellow Christians( both theistic evolutionists, old earth creationists, and AiG fans) and atheists.


Logic Lad said...

Sorry, i don't have a lot of time now and i think your posting deserves another reading. quick question, how do you tell which parts of the bible are literal and which allegorical?

C. David Parsons said...

Theistic evolution is contrary to the word of God and common sense. Those who promote the ideology are polite adversaries of God.


The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth.


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Anonymous said...

- You are so wrong. Read Genesis again, it is the book of beginnings. It lays out a foundation for life - in every respect. It clearly teaches that the earth is young. Remember there were no number gaps in the original also Moses is desribing NEW creations. He never talks about past tense creations - Genesis is showing us the creation of virtually everything we see. Open you eyes PLEASE and stop regurgitating what you here. Evolution is No fact - just listen to the elite's - they are shot FULL of holes.
Wake up brother!

Created Rationalist said...

Anonymous; if you are a bible scholar who has looked the text and say there are not gaps in the geneology then I will look into it.

"also Moses is describing NEW creations. He never talks about past tense creations"

Your going to have to explain how that dammages theistic evolution in any way at all.

"Genesis is showing us the creation of virtually everything we see. Open you eyes PLEASE and stop regurgitating what you here. Evolution is No fact - just listen to the elite's - they are shot FULL of holes."

1. The fact that Genesis is showing us the creation of everything we see is not a problem for theistic evolution, God takes an active role in whether through supernatural or natural methods.
2. Well can I see this evidence that shoots evolution full of holes? I myself am a former anti-evolutionist, perhaps new evidence will convince me otherwise.

"Wake up brother!"

That is also my message to you anonymous.

GodCreatedBrains said...


I want to quote something that you posted: "The Bible teaches that the first man’s fall into sin was a real event and that this was the direct cause of sin in the world. ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’ (Romans 5:12).
Theistic evolution does not acknowledge Adam as the first man, nor that he was created directly from ‘the dust of the ground’ by God (Genesis 2:7)."

Can you please clarify this for me, I was under the understanding that you believed the bible was the inerrant inspired word of God and when God stated something clearly in his word that you believed it. Is it true as you stated that you don't believe God's statement that he created Adam from the dust of the ground as the first man?

Created Rationalist said...

GCB, yes I do believe the bible is the inerrant word of God. And I do believe Adam was the first man. You remeber that according to theistic evolution there were primitive hominids which existed before humans, well I believe that the first anatomical and genetic humans were Adam and Eve, despite the fact that they lived amongst hominids such as nneanderthals and homo erectus.

Logic Lad said...

Sorry to go back a few comments, I have been a tad busy of late. I was hoping that someone could answer the question I posed earlier? ie if parts of the Bible are allogary how do you spot them from the true parts?

Created Rationalist said...

Logic Lad, I must apologize for not answering earlier. Well, the way I distinguish the literal and the allegorical is through three steps
--the original meaning of the hebrew/greek text
--its doctrinal necessity
--and lastly is scientific plausibility.

First you look at the original meaning of the hebrew and greek words, lets take the flood story for example. In the chapters describing it, the word for mountains can mean high hills and the word for earth can mean a local strip of land, and there are also several other expressions which could indicate it wasn't a global flood but a local one. Also we must look at the doctrinal necessity. the scope of the flood isn't particularly important. Also when the flood occured everyone would have had to have lived in a single area. Also unless I am mistaken there is little if any evidence for a global floodm, so scientific plausibility says the flood is local.

Of course one objection might be raised "Wouldn't this mean the ressurection of Christ would have to be allegory?" Well, it is important to understand that there are also miracles in the bible which knowingly suspend the laws of nature. So if it is a miracle then the rules are different. Also something like the ressurection of Christ is somewhat of an essential to Christianity. So we must say that it was
1. a miracle and,
2. literal

The flood on the other hand was an event which wasn't a miracle so it must have been local.

Logic Lad said...

Just a couple of questions

I just want to clarify, do you believe that there was an actual flood or is it just a parable about wiping the slate clean?

If a miracle is a knowing suspension of the laws of nature how do you tell them from an allegorical story for which there is little / no actual evidence?

If doctrinal necessity is more important than scientific plausibility then how can you claim to not believe as fact everything in the bible? Is not the fact it is written down there more important than any evidence that it did or didn't happen?

Created Rationalist said...

Well, this applies when it can logically be a miracle. If it can't be a miracle then it is either an allegory or false. The flood could have been a miracle but it is more likely that if it actually happened that it was not miraculous.

So take the ressurection, it is not scientifically plausible but it is plausibly a miracle from the text. So we can say it was a miracle. Now the creation up to Adam is rather essential but it can be read as an allegory so we can say it is an allegory. Now a problem which couldn't be miracle (atleast not a direct one) would be David becomming king of Israel. That is a historical event and quite crucial to the entire bible. So if it is disproven that David was ever a king Christianity is in trouble.

--If something is wrong if taken as literal but the text allows it to allegorical then it is allegorical.
--If the text is literal and must be literal but it still defies the laws of nature, but it is obviously a miracle (such as parting the red sea) then it is a miracle.
--If something is literal and can't be taken as allegorical or a miracle then the bible's validity is called into question.

Lastly I personally think the flood was an actual event which took place in a local area, there are some who think it was an allegory which it could have been.

I hoped that helped...

Logic Lad said...

You may be able to shoot my next statement down as I am sure you know more about the subject than I do, bible studies ended for me about 15 years ago when I started my A' levels.
(deep breath)Aside from biblical text there is no third party, independent evidence for the ressurection.(let the shooting commence)
So, as for the flood, you have an event related as fact for which there is no evidence outside the words of scripture. Admittedly there is no evidence that the resuurection did not happen, as there is quite a bit of lack of flood signs, but still i am sure you will not propose that something happened purely because it cannot be shown that it didn't.

From where I stand I cannot see what criteria you are using to evaluate the validity of either claim. I suppose it comes down to how do you tell if the text is literal?

finally i have to ask you about the phrase 'plausibly a miracle'. If a miracle is a willing suspension of the laws of nature then a miracle would be anything that an infinite intelligence could imagine. there is nothing that is not plausible as a miracle as by deffinition a miracle is outside of any rules of percieved reality and hence all bets are off.

Created Rationalist said...

It might be a little late to reply but I will try,

"Aside from biblical text there is no third party, independent evidence for the ressurection.(let the shooting commence)"

Hmm, I'd say there is circumstantial evidence for the ressurection. One part of it being the inadaquecy of most theories from Higher Criticism which attempt to explain it away. I wouldn't mind going into a discussion on the ressurection But this isn't about the ressurection its about the flood, so...

"So, as for the flood, you have an event related as fact for which there is no evidence outside the words of scripture. Admittedly there is no evidence that the resuurection did not happen, as there is quite a bit of lack of flood signs, but still i am sure you will not propose that something happened purely because it cannot be shown that it didn't."

Well I must first explain why I believe the flood probably happened, Noah is mentioned in the geneologies leading to Christ, and you can probably understand why you can't have a mythological ancestor for Christ. Also I don't think God would just allow for made up stories about someone wo illustrate a moral lesson so it would seem the flood happened in pre-historic or historical times. Here is an interesting article about the possible location of this hypothetical flood

As far as I am aware I am not sure if there is evidence for an epic local flood which wiped out most of the human race at this moment. However I'll look into it.

"finally i have to ask you about the phrase 'plausibly a miracle'. If a miracle is a willing suspension of the laws of nature then a miracle would be anything that an infinite intelligence could imagine. there is nothing that is not plausible as a miracle as by deffinition a miracle is outside of any rules of percieved reality and hence all bets are off."

That is true, I believe the entire reason I brought up the fact that it wasn't a miracle was because I was trying to explain how the flood wasn't a miracle and how the ressurection was. Well it is true that the flood could very well have been a miracle. My objection to this being that a flood does not necessarily entail a miraculous event. I hope I was able to adaquetely answer your questions.

Logic Lad said...

Better late than never :) given the age of the topic and the debate in general i don't see a short delay as a problem.

I have never come across the term theories from higher criticism, hooray, more homework to do, and I would be very interested in picking your brains about the resurrection, but as you said lets look at the flood.

I think we need to look at this from a sort of a neutral point of view.You are using a single text to proove that a specific person existed and from that conclude that a highly unlikely event happened again only mentioned in this one source, if the source in question was not the bible would you readily accept this a legitmate train of thought?

And why should we not have a mythalogical ancestor for Jesus? a number of historicaly significant people have claimed descent from all sorts of gods, spirits and various heros of old. At the time Jesus lived it was a fairly standard way of making yourself more important, very popular amoungst the Greeks and Romans.

As to God allowing things, well surely the point is God allows people to do what they want? it's that old free will thing that is so often used to explain why a loving god allows so much nasty stuff to go on.

Thanks for the link, i will read it when i am not pretending to be working :)

I don't think you will find anything on a local flood that killed the majority of humanity, there will have been ancient floods that killed off tribes and the like but humans have been too well spreadout for far too long to allow any local event to do much damage to the overall population. However the presence of flood myths in many cultures does imply that there may have been a fairly major and catastrophic flood some time during human racial memory. I would be very interested in any links or references you find along this line of thought. I will have a little poke around the web as well and see what can be found.

I Concur that there is no need for a local flood to be a miracle but surely any direct intevention from a deity is a miracle hence God giving Noah the heads up would qualify. Not to mention rounding up 2 of every species would have required a big dollop of supernatural assitance.

Just jumping back to your previous post i am still a little hazy on how decide if something is allegorical or literal? given that any concivable action can be achieved by a miracle how can any part of the Bible be taken as allegorical? For all we know there may well have been a world consuming flood, then God simply willed away all the water, provided sustenance to all the creatures until the plant life had regrown and then arranged the genetics to allow 2 of each kind of animal to repopulate the earth. as soon as you invoke the potential for miracle everything is possible.

Created Rationalist said...

I must admit this is by no means a snappy conversation being that I took nearly a month to reply :).

It is true that I am refering to a single text to prove that Noah did indeed exist. But I believe that the Noachian epic is mentioned in contemporary sources. One is the the a tale from Sumerian mythology which tells of a man named Ut-Napsim who was warned by the gods of a great flood and took all his animals and his family on board a massive boat to survive the flood. The story I just described is obviously mythological being that the reasons for sending the flood are silly, and the shape of the boat in the story is rather improbable. Nonetheless it paralells the genesis flood in many respects. And while the Sumerian legend is obviously mythological the Genesis account of a devastating flood is much more reasonable is more likely to have happened in time and space.
A more detailed account on the net

In the long run you could very well have a mythological ancestor of Jesus. However I think this is one thing that seperates the bible from many contemporary traditions such as Sumerian mythology, Babylonian mythology, and Greek Mythology. Jesus's line goes back to ordinary historical people who were priests, poets, philosophers, sheep-herders, kings, hunters etc. Unlike mythology these people are not glorified but are flawed just like us. Noah as well as being a chosen many of God was a sloppy drunk, Abraham even though he is called the father of faith lapsed in his piety several times lying more then once. Jacob although being chosen as the father of the Israelite kingdom was a treacherous deciever who tricked his brother out of his birthright. King David was called a man after God's own heart even though he was an adulterer and murderer. I am not saying that other mythologies don't have these things but often they do exaggerate deifying their ancestors or rising them to demigods. The bible on the other hand doesn't do this.

It is true that in historical times there doesn't seem to have been a catastrophic flood. However it is possible that the flood occured in prehistoric times when the human population was small and isolated. Also it is possible that God only placed a human sould into a fraction of the population. It it started only with Adam and Eve and only they and their descendants has souls then it would be more likely that the flood would wipe out the human race in its entirety. And after the flood the "spiritually aware" humans would repopulate the earth and end up overwhelming the soulless population.

I agree that God warning Noah of the flood would be divine intervention, however it is true that the flood in itself even if God was behind it he could use natural processes to start the flood.

How you tell whether something is allegorical or literal is whether or not the text says it is. Psalms for example is largely a book of poetry so it owuld have many allegories and analogies. a historical book such as 1&2 Samuel is an account of the history of Israel rather then being poetic in nature it reads like a dry history book with an assortment of names, dates, and sequential events, etc. Another way to know is that the when the bible says something like "And the Holy spirit came down upon Jesus like a dove" when it says "like" or "as" it is an allegorical or figurative description of something, usually it is rather obvious, in Revelation chapter 1 it talks about Jesus's hair being white like wool, now of course we should contrue this to mean Jesus's hair is made of wool but that it is blindingly white.

In essense allegory is poetic, uses figurative speech, lacks detail but is written in beautiful language, and more of a literary device then a historical text.

History is plain, straightforward, linear, and has many small details.

I hope I was able to answer your questions. Sorry if they are not very rigorous I am somewhat warn out from working and will do what I can to clarify.