Straddling the Fence?

As you read Paul Little’s chapter on Scripture and Science, you see that the whole chapter is based on the following words at the end: “In everything we read and everything we hear, we must ask ‘What is this person’s presupposition?’, so that we may interpret conclusions in this light.  There is no such thing as total objectivity.”

I would agree.

In my experience I have been close enough to the study of science to know that even the most factual presentation of data allows for some subjective interpretation.

Over the years I have tried to “straddle the fence” when it comes to the origin of man. Being a person with some education I know of Darwin’s Origin of Species even though I have not read it.  I have heard discussions of the work and I know the book’s “presupposition”.  You might say I am a theistic evolutionist.

Being a theistic evolutionist means that I believe in God but I also have some positive regard for science.

When it comes to evolution, a theistic evolutionist believes that God created the first spark of life and then directed His creation through the process of evolution. God is the originator and God is the designer but science is part of the process too.

Some Christians reject the theistic evolutionary position. They argue that one cannot “straddle the fence.”

They argue that God would not use such an inefficient mechanism to design the world. Why would God want to interfere with the development of life on a constant and long-term basis?  Jacques Monod, writer of the book War Against God states that natural selection is the “blindest and most cruel way of evolving new species.”

What happens to the Garden of Eden for the theistic evolutionist?

The Garden becomes an allegory and if that is the case, what does the sin dynamic in the Garden mean? By sin dynamic, I mean the fact that Adam and Eve chose to eat of the apple and they chose to introduce sin and sinning into the life of man.

Jesus is analogous to Adam in the Garden of Eden and the sacrifice of Jesus brings us to see that justification and sanctification are possible due to the death on the cross.

Critics of theistic evolution therefore say that “If Adam was not a historical individual, and if his fall into sin is not historical, then the biblical doctrines of sin and of Christ’s atonement for it collapse.”

What does this view, this attack on theistic evolution rest upon? It rests upon the “entire message of the Bible” [David Noebel, Thinking Like a Christian].

What does the view of theistic evolution rest upon? The idea that God is so powerful that He is capable of using anything, even evolution to generate all species.

Noebel states that theistic evolution “is unacceptable for the Christian. That it is our contention that the proper Christian worldview requires a belief in the Creator as He is literally portrayed in Genesis.”

Why has theistic evolution come about? Because many Christians who respect science don’t want to throw it totally away when they read the Bible.  They seek to find a way to acknowledge science and also have God as their Savior.

Noebel says you can’t have it both ways: “Christians who wish to integrate faith and reason would do well to abandon evolution as a rational explanation for the origin of the species.”

Does David Noebel have a presupposition? Of course he does.

He takes the Bible literally.

Is this wrong?

No.

Are there other ways of looking at the Bible? Other ways of conceptualizing God?  Other ways of conceptualizing the origins of man?

Yes.

We go back to the beginning of the chapter “Do Science and Scripture Agree?” and see that Paul Little writes “Most of the apparent conflict stems from making the Bible say things it really does not say and from scientism, a philosophic interpretation of scientific facts.” Scientists make statements beyond the facts and Christians make the Bible say what it does not say.

Remember, objectivity does not exist; subjectivity always enters the picture.

Who is right? Who is wrong?

You decide.

Based on your presupposition.

 

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