An Evolving Foundation

In the modern period, there has been a concerted and, to some extent, successful effort to divorce science from religion, especially from Christianity.

Belief in Christianity, unlike belief in unguided evolution, has a foundation. Its foundation is what God has said, first in his Word and also his world. With that foundation, science can be grounded. Without it, there is no place left for the scientist to stand. He is unable to produce the coherence needed for science to thrive.

 

In the modern period, there has been a concerted and, to some extent, successful effort to divorce science from religion, especially from Christianity. As we noted, that effort moved with lightning speed after the introduction of the theory of evolution.

The subject of evolution could occupy volumes. We will be brief in our discussion. There were evolutionary theories prior to Darwin and many that developed since Darwin. As a general rule, when the term “evolution” is used, it almost always includes the idea of an unguided process of species development and change. There are theories of evolution that are “theistic.” They suppose that a god guided the process from the beginning. For the vast majority of people, however, “evolution” means an unguided process of biological development.

Without question, evolution has become the dominant concept in biology and other like sciences. Not only is it dominant, but for some it is the only respectable position to hold.  The noted scientist Richard Dawkins in his enthusiastic support of evolution, said, “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

Though Dawkins may be speaking in hyperbole, Christians recognize that to say you don’t believe in evolution is like saying you don’t believe in air or sunshine. Such a statement will normally produce, for those who hear it, either pity or vitriol. You will be looked at as either naïve or ignorant. How could someone not believe in evolution in the twenty-first century?

Stating the Challenge

There are a multitude of answers to that question, but we should recognize a couple of things in response. First, the theory of evolution itself has gone through numerous changes and mutations since its ascendancy in the last hundred years. The theory of evolution is actually numerous theories of evolution, each one attempting to explain how life can begin with something that is nonliving. Second, the main reason that Darwin’s theory caught on and developed is not, in the first place, because it was a completely new and previously never conceived theory. Ideas like Darwin’s can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Greece.

Instead, the main reason Darwin’s ideas were affirmed and promoted is because they were planted in the soil of the Enlightenment. Since the Enlightenment was intent on abolishing all external authority and was wanting to find the answers to life’s questions by way of human reasoning and experimentation alone, evolution was the significant hinge that allowed the Enlightenment door to swing open as wide as possible. With a theory of evolution in place, we could all now affirm that from the beginning to the end of life, we are in no need of a god. The world, as a matter of fact, runs on its own steam and is not a product of any causing and controlling deity.

But there is a problem with this Enlightenment/evolution view. The problem is not its popularity; that much is certain. Dawkins’s statement shows how strongly people hold to some view of evolution. The problem is that the theory is utterly incoherent.

The incoherence is this. Someone who believes that evolution is a random and chance-produced process believes also that the universe is only natural (not in any way supernatural) and only made up of matter, or “material” (nothing immaterial or spiritual). Everything that we believe, on this view, is produced somehow by the material that makes up a human being. All of our beliefs are a product of the matter that composes our bodies.

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