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Saturday, 18 August 2007

Four Evolution and Faith Posts of Interest

I will be spending the next week in the great outdoors and won’t have access to the Internet. So while I take a break from blogging, I’d like to recommend the following four posts on Evolution and the Christian Faith.

1. The Lesson of Ancient Seas by Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouws

I’m probably partial to Fuller for several reasons. One of my favorite authors is Nancey Murphy a professor at Fuller, while Authority and interpretation of the Bible, a book that had a significant impact on my thinking as I posted here, also came out of Fuller. If Evangelicals had looked more to Fuller for intellectual guidance, Mark Noll may not have had any reason to write The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Still, I guess I was pleasantly surprised to see the current president of Fuller publicly state that evolution is not theologically threatening, and may in fact be positive for the Christian faith.

In his post, Mouw recounts how he abandoned YEC ideas at a young age. He begins his post with the following:

I was 15 years old when I stopped believing in a “young earth.” And it happened, of all places, at a fundamentalist Bible camp. I worked there on the kitchen staff, and one of my fellow workers, a college student, was reading Bernard Ramm’s A Christian View of Science and the Scripture, which had only recently been published. When one of the speakers at the camp denounced Ramm’s book as heretical, my friend secretly showed me his copy - in that context it might as well have been an issue of Playboy! I got him to lend me the book and I read it, and the two of us discussed it at length. We were co-conspirators in a private act of theological rebellion.
I think many of us that grew up in the conservative wing of the Evangelical church can identify strongly with this. Unfortunately, very few of us had access to material like Ramm’s book that espoused both credible faith and credible science.

Mouw ends his post by stating that Evolution may actually be inspiring.

“When Christ took on human nature, the DNA that made him the son of Mary may have linked him to a more ancient heritage stretching far beyond Adam to the shallows of unimaginably ancient seas. And so, in the Incarnation, it would not have been just human nature that was joined to the Divine, but in a less direct but no less real sense all those myriad organisms that had unknowingly over the eons shaped the way for the coming of the human.”

I find that to be an inspiring theme to add to our understanding of the Incarnation. That long process, beginning in “the shallows of unimaginably ancient seas,” was not
wasted time. It was preparation for the One who would come with healing in his wings, a healing that will only be complete when the Savior returns and announces, “Behold, I make all things new.” And what he will renew in that act of cosmic transformation is all the stuff that he had carried–in his own DNA!– to the Cross of Calvary.

Inspiring indeed.

2. Evolution Revisited by Larry Taylor

Larry touches on two themes that I’ve been thinking about recently. The first is the claim made by some Evangelicals that the theory of evolution is the result of a conspiracy. I hope to post on this in the near future. The second, is the fact that Christian anti-evolutionism in general, and Young Earth Creationism in particular, is dangerous. Taylor states of his scientist father:

As far as I can determine my father died an agnostic, in part because he was not able to reconcile what he knew to be true from chemistry and biology with what his fundamentalist upbringing insisted was dogma. I inadvertently helped drive a wedge between him and faith by pushing a very narrow gospel, complete with YEC propaganda, on him. My intentions were good – I wanted him to be in heaven – but my zeal was unfortunately not backed with knowledge.
An excellent post.

3. Wrestling with Evolution by Tim Challies

Sometimes it is tough to keep the blood pressure down when faced with the latest YEC rhetoric denouncing all Evolutionary Creationists as compromising heretics. I must admit that at times it sparks in me the most uncharitable and un-Christian of thoughts. As such, it is refreshing to come across someone committed to YEC ideas that is open to understanding other points of view, and more importantly, admitting that one can “treasure the Bible” and “affirm the truths of the historic Christian Faith” even while accepting the evidence for biological evolution. Tim does this in his post where he reviews Francis Collins The Language of God, a book I briefly reviewed here. I don’t agree with Tim’s answers, or even how he asks some of the questions, but I certainly appreciate the tone of his conversation, and his willingness to seriously consider other points of view. Thanks Tim.

4. Creationism or Evolution Rant by Chris Tilling

I’ve always enjoyed good rants, and this is a particularly good one. Actually, calling it a rant may be a disservice. Most rants are little more than empty rhetoric; biting, funny rhetoric but not usually insightful. This post probably has too much good content to be considered a rant.

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