Alan blogs at Downshore Drift, where this post originally appeared.
Apparently, I am part of the 33% of Americans who do not believe in Evolution, according to a recent Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project study (Al Mohler’s article yesterday got me thinking about this today). And, I am completely fine with that. I am not trying to be different or unique or have my head in the sand when it comes to Science and its claims. I have actually studied and read quite a bit on this subject over the past 20 years, and although I am not a scientist by any means, I consider myself at least reasonably well informed and interested in the subject. My area is history and the social sciences, however, so I read things differently than others, perhaps. I am particularly interested in how human thought and philosophy has developed over time. So, when I study Science, I do not just study the latest theories and assertions, but I place them into historical context and trace the development of scientific thought over time. We have thought a lot of different things throughout human history and I do not think that we are through in developing theories as to how the world works or how we got here or where we are headed. Also, I am a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, so there’s that.
But, without further delay, here are the reasons that I reject Evolution in the macro-sense (micro-evolution, hybridization, and mutations and changes within species is not what I am disagreeing with here). I am not making scientific assertions or defenses here. I am simply sharing what I think and why I have come to the conclusions that I have. Take it for what you will.
- To start, I have no issue with basing my beliefs in what I see Scripture saying on the subject. I see nothing in the Bible that says that we or other species evolved over time. There are many theistic evolutionists* who believe that God guided the process. That is fine, although I would disagree. I do not think that that is what the text asserts. Now, I recognize that the Bible is not a science book and it should not be read as such. Could God have created using guided evolution? Sure. But, I don’t think the Bible tells us that. Still, if someone believes that, we can have good discussion, but I am not going to make that a sticking point necessarily. The main issue is whether or not one believes that God created or if it was blind chance that got us here. The world is so incredibly beautiful and complex and incredible in all of its vastness and smallness and wonder, that it makes perfect sense to me that what Scripture seems to clearly assert – that God spoke and the material universe came into being – is what actually happened.
- I do not trust Science to know exactly what it is talking about on this issue. I am not saying that because I claim to know more, but because I really believe that human understanding is limited. I think that all that we can do is observe and make assertions based on what we think our observations are telling us. In other words, we are in 2014 and we are looking back over potentially millions of years. We are trying to figure out the meaning of what we see – or what we think we see. How do we know for sure? Many people do not believe in God because they cannot be sure and do not see direct evidence of His existence but want others to accept evolution without direct/conclusive evidence. In other words, they change the rules of the game to suit their side. To be fair, it is better to see Evolution as a rival theory to Theistic Creation rather than seeing it as fact and then seeing religion as mere faith. I get that Evolution makes sense if God is removed from the equation or if certain presuppositions are accepted or if it is your belief that that is how God created. But, I honestly think that it makes most sense when you have people looking backwards in time trying to figure out what they see but reject the idea that God could have done it or that God did not do it instantly. It is still a theological statement, even if it is from the negative, declaring either that God did not create the world or that God created in that way. Perhaps they are staring right into God’s creative work and do not know it? Maybe they are piecing together clues of something that they do not understand? That has happened before, hasn’t it? Humans often get things wrong. My point is that when I study this, I have more questions than answers and have seen nothing that appears conclusive to me.
- The role of Science, I believe, is very important. It is an explanation and investigation into how the world works. From a Christian perspective, engaging in Science can be seen as worship as we seek to understand the world that God created. Science is completely compatible with Christiainity if one accepts that God is rational and reasonable and that He created a world that can be investigated and understood. So, I love Science and every Christian should. But, when we go beyond what we can observe and then make claims that are based on biases and further claims that lead us to certain conclusions, we are not still doing Science. We have crossed a line and no, Christianity is not compatible with alternative assertions.
- Timeline: As I said, the main issue for me is that God created. That Bible clearly states this. I also want to assert what the text clearly asserts. I am not locked in to the earth only being 6,000 years old. It could be much older. Lots of things in our timeline get messed up pretty severely if we try to place a world-wide flood and reboot of the entire human race in one place just at 3,000 BC, as is required if we use the timeline of the earth being created in 4,000 BC. That means that all of ancient history is completely wrong. Or, we do not at all know how to look at the past. There is no doubt, though, that ancient societies all over the world have flood cataclysm stories in their past and mythologies. Something happened. I think that it is more likely that the earth is quite old and that God created long ago. Or, perhaps there are things that we do not see? I am okay with the mystery.
- I understand that some struggle with this and I do not want to diminish the struggle. I am not here making a conclusive argument against evolution. I am saying why I reject it and why I have no intellectual problem doing so. I believe that all things are possible with God. I believe that God created. I believe that God could have made things complete or with what we understand as “age” and I believe that God is capable of making a human out of the dust into what we presently see. That is not a leap of faith for me. It makes perfect sense. And, I find it to be an intellectual argument as well as a faith argument because I do not accept that intellectual arguments can only be based on a secular playing field. Who sets the rules here? Why is the idea of God illogical? Why is God creating spectacularly and instantaneously something that is outside of the realm of possibility? I do not see where it is.
- I do not think that Evolution adequately explains the world or the human experience. Why do we care about beauty and art and falling in love and how the world works? Why do we tell stories and write plays and laugh and travel and aspire to great things? Why do we find such intense satisfaction in certain things and have disdain for others? None of what I have mentioned here is necessarily connected to any kind of evolutionary process, nor does it have an evolutionary explanation that I have found satisfactory. Sure, evolutionary biologists and psychotherapists will tell us that there is a reason for what we choose rooted in evolution and what we need to survive and evolve. They will even tell us that our belief in God was needed – for a time – to help the human race cope and put aside fear and evolve. But, now, God is no longer needed because we have reached the point of reason as our guide and can go on without ancient fantasies. But, if you group up everything that you don’t have a real explanation for and say that Evolutionary process/biology is the reason for it – even when we cannot understand it or it makes no sense to us – then isn’t that the same thing as saying that “God” is the reason for everything, even if you can’t see Him? There is a lot of speculation that passes itself off as fact and it has never been convincing to me. Of course, I have my own biases. But, then again, so do the proponents of evolution. Which leads to my last reason.
- Perhaps this comes from my postmodern conditioning, but I do not trust that proponents of particular views are objective. Everyone has an agenda or works from presuppositions. What are they? Science claims objectivity, but it isn’t – it is limited by perspective and asserts certain things. Sure, math is pretty objective, but once you take the facts that you can observe and then start making leaps on what those facts mean, you have slipped from hard science into philosophy. The arguments against religion made by Enlightenment and Modernist thinkers can easlily be turned back on their own truth claims until all sides go nuclear and we are left not knowing much of anything other than what can be definitively proven. I don’t think that reality only consists of what can be definitively proven, but at the same time, I am not going to accept the Evolutionists “facts” when I see those “facts” as dressed up assertions and philosophical speculations that combine certain actual facts with the logical results of presuppositions.
The Secular Evolutionist claims to be intellectually satisfied. That is fine. I accept his claim. As a Biblical Creationist, I can make the same claim. We begin from different presuppositions. The Secularist has set the playing field and claimed that his view is rooted in “facts” and my view is rooted in “faith” or superstition or fantasy. I reject that self-serving assertion. I don’t have the “faith” to believe in Evolution and the “facts” that have been presented to me are entirely unconvincing, especially when I know that the “facts” have changed over and over and over again over the past centuries (or decades, or years, or even months, as new “facts” come out all the time disputing old “facts”).
So, what we are really talking about here are competing truth claims or even competing religions or philosophies. We are looking at metanarratives that claim to best explain life, our origins, and our destination. I find Christiainty and its claims to be utterly convincing and to explain ultimate reality, the nature of man, what is wrong with the world, and how things are made right better than any other perspective that I have seen. And, to be gracious, I fully expect adherents of other views to think the same thing about how they see the world and I give them room to do so without thinking that they are morons, necessarily. From that basis of respect, let’s talk and discuss which view fits with the reality that we actually can observe and not just what we might speculate on. I am always happy to have discussions.
*Many scientists who have moved to a belief in Intelligent Design would be considered theistic evolutionists. In other words, they believe that God created using evolution as the means and that He guided the process. That is a theological claim based on a combination of readings of Scripture and scientific observation, in my opinion. People are free to believe that and that belief does not, in all cases, cancel out Biblical fidelity in other areas, necessarily (when we get into whether or not there was an historic Adam, for example, I think that we have moved beyond Scripture pretty strongly and we need stronger evidence to claim that Adam was just a mythical representative of humanity than our own theories on the matter). I disagree with theistic evolution though, for a lot of reasons – too many to get into here.