Saturday, September 02, 2006

Theistic Evolution: A Higher View of God?

As Pope Benedict XVI begins his weekend conference on the issue of evolution, creation, and, some believe, intelligent design, the evolution lobby has been seemingly up in arms and pleading with he pontiff to abandon his views which he published as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Among these evolutionists is Kenneth Miller, a professor at Brown University. Besides being an outspoken advocate against intelligent design, Miller claims that Christians who reject evolution have a lower view of God than he does. His argument is that he believes God can use whatever means He desires to bring life to earth. Christians who reject evolution, believe that God isn't omnipotent and can only use one way to bring life to earth, namely, creation.

There are two main problems with this view, commonly called theistic evolution. The first is with the "evolution" part of the term. Intelligent design advocates don't oppose evolution because God couldn't have done it that way. They oppose evolution because God didn't do it that way. The argument is not, "God is limited on what He can do and He was only allowed to use design." The argument is, "God is able to use whatever means He wishes (including evolution), but the evidence is that He chose to use design."

For example, to get from Dallas, Texas to Chicago, Illinois, you can fly or you can drive. If you choose to fly, it doesn't mean that you were limited in your options and couldn't drive. You simply didn't drive. The the same manner, it's not that God couldn't have used evolution, it's that the evidence has been showing that He didn't use evolution.

The second main problem with theistic evolution is with the "theistic" part of the term. For Christians who hold to evolution, as does Kenneth Miller, a serious problem arises as to when the fall of man occurred.

Genesis Chapter 3 records the fall of man, when Adam and Eve took and ate the fruit from the the forbidden tree. Unlike with Genesis Chapter 1, Christians are typically unified on the idea that at this point (Genesis 3) sin has entered the world, which is why God must expel Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Evolution, survival of the fittest, and natural selection, are based on the idea that something is wrong, usually fatally wrong, and if evolution does not take place, the species will die. In order to survive, the species begins to evolve, to adapt to the environment, and to become better fitted for survival.

The problem lies in that if sin and death didn't enter the world until after humans were evolved, then how were species at risk of dying? Why were only the fittest surviving? The Bible makes explicity obvious that before sin entered the world, there was no death to living things. There would be, therefore, no need to evolve. The survival of these species would not be at any risk. Survival of the fittest would not be applicable at that time, since all species were surviving. Evolution would be pointless, since there was no need to evolve, seeing that all species were surviving. Natural selection would be non-existent because evolution was not occuring.

Theistic evolution assumes an already fallen and sinful world. There exists only two ways, then, for a Christian to reconcile the fall of man with evolution.

1. Accept that evolution is not a random and natural process. Instead, when the species would evolve, how they would evolve, what they would evolve into, and so forth would all be directly designed and guided by God. This, however, is considered intelligent design. Assuming no natural processes and no randomness, the very definition of evolution is shot.

2. Accept that man existed first, sinned, and then the evolution process began. The problem with this view is that evolution argues a process that took life from the simple, low-ordered species to the complex, high-ordered species. Going backwards would again shoot down the very definition of evolution.

So, the problem with "theistic evolution" is both with the "evolution" and with the "theistic." Knowing this, who really has the higher view of God?

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