Skip to comments.Burden of Proof: Why Most American Evangelicals Reject Long-Earth Evolution
Posted on 05/11/2012 10:56:54 AM PDT by ReligiousLibertyTV
[dc]O[/dc]n May 14, noted philanthropist and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is scheduled to give the commencement address at Emory University and receive an honorary degree. But there is a problem. In recent weeks Emory faculty and students have asked the University to disinvite Dr. Carson because he is a critic of evolutionary theory and advocate of creationism. Faculty and staff have written that Dr. Carsons great achievements in medicine allow him to be viewed as someone who understands science poses a direct threat to science that rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution.
The anti-Carson letter describes how there is overwhelming evidence of ape-human transitional fossils and how this evolution process has advanced an ability to develop animal models for disease and that even the work of Dr. Carson himself is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution. The letter then argues that the theory of evolution is as strongly supported as the theory of gravity and the theory that infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms.
In 2010, Gallup released a poll that found that 40% of Americans believe in strict creationism, the idea that humans were created by God in their present form within the past 10,000 years. Thirty-eight percent believe that God guided the process of human evolution from lower life forms over millions of years , and only 16% believe that humans evolved without divine intervention. Sixty percent of those who attend church weekly believe that we were created less than 10,000 years ago. Gallup notes that the numbers have remained generally stable for the past 28 years.
That the number of adherents of creationism remains so strong, even though Charles Darwins book, On the Origin of Species has been around since 1859 and has been taught in most public schools since the 1960s, is a testament to the persistent strength of American religious belief and faith over contradictory concepts.
Earlier this week, Forbes magazine staff writer Alex Knapp wrote an essay entitled, Why Some Christians Reject Evolution, arguing that many Christians reject evolutionary theory because it conflicts with the Protestant view of the doctrines of original sin and salvation.
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Perhaps the only way to explain how evolved human beings would end up with a soul is expressed in the hybrid evolution-creation concept advanced by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani generis (1950). Pius XII writes, "For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
In Catholic thought, this has been interpreted to provide room for the concept that human beings were created over millions of years through evolution, and that God ultimately provided pre-existing, pre-created souls to those He designated and that these souls reconnect to God through practicing the sacraments.
In contrast, American evangelicals tend to view Adam and Eve as actual living people, who were literally created by God as clay forms into which God breathed the breath of life. There was no death before the fall of humanity. The time frames are important because they rely on the Biblical chronologies Matthew 1 and Luke 3:23-28 to prove that Jesus was in the prophetically-designated ancestral line of David, and draw the genealogical line all the way back to Adam, the first created human being.
Many evangelicals reject the hybrid view of creation and evolution because it would necessarily require them to regard creation, as discussed in the books of Genesis and of a new earth in Revelation, as allegory and submit the pervasive teachings of the Bible referencing Creation and other supernatural activity to the realm of mythology or cultural contextualism. Acceptance of scientific views of evolution would then, by necessity, require a major reconfiguration of matters of faith and that is something that most adherents to strict creationism are unwilling to do.
Knapp, whose own religious beliefs are not indicated, notes that while some churches have found ways to incorporate the idea of change over time into their belief systems, for many Christians, evolution isnt a minor fact of science that can be resolved into the mythos of their faith. It is, rather, a fundamental attack on their faith and many things that they believe.
There have been a number of heated arguments on the campuses of a diverse array of religious universities regarding how issues of origins should be taught. Some have tried to walk the middle line of teaching intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution. Critics of those teaching intelligent design point out that trying to split the issue down the middle does no favors to either side and in the end is nothing but a weakened form of creationism, and an explanation that is of no value to secular science.
Within the larger context of American Protestant Christianity the debate continues without resolution. Among Christians, creationists are often asked to consider various forms of evidence of a long-history of the earth, but those advocating for a long-earth have largely ignored discussion of the genealogies of the New Testament and the concepts of original sin and salvation. Christian evolutionists have failed to provide a verse-by-verse rebuttal to the Biblical Creation narrative or to acknowledge the extent to which acceptance of creation would impact theology.
Instead theistic evolutionists operate on the supposition that Creationists will eventually bifurcate their religious beliefs from scientific understanding, because incompatibilities must be resolved in favor of science. This places faith directly in conflict with science and any resultant battle on these issues will take centuries if true academic freedom is to be granted, but can resolve faster if the voices of religious dissent are silenced and those who have openly criticized evolution are denied a seat at the academic table.
The attempt to purify academia by silencing the voices of critics such as Dr. Carson would be the first step toward a secular Dark Ages. So far, it appears that despite the controversy, Emory Universitys commencement ceremony will go forward as planned.
In response to the controversy at Emory, as of this writing nearly 2,000 people have signed a Petition to reaffirm Dr. Ben Carsons Welcome and Defend His Right to Express His Views. Click here to view the Petition.
Salamanders? Not likely. L Ron Hubbard said we’re all descended from clams!
I wade in here to say that I believe that the 6,000 to 10,000 year old earth/universe theory is as incorrect as the theory of evolution.
In the beginning God...that we probably can mostly agree is correct. Genesis 1:1 says, ‘In the beginning God created the the heaven and the earth.’
So when was that ‘beginning’? Probably ‘eons’ ago. I believe the Genesis ‘six day’ creation account, was as it reads, and was probably about 6,000 years ago. But the earth and heaven was already in existance.
We are told that before the ‘Fall’, when Satan (Lucifer) and his angels were cast out of heaven, Lucifer had been given dominion over the earth. The ‘Fall’ preceeds the Genesis account of creation. Therefore the earth and heaven also preceed the Genesis account of creation.
So Lucifer had dominion over the earth...over just a planet floating in space? No, there were creatures here too. There was a creation here before the Genesis creation. Fossil evidence supports this. The ‘Neandrathals’ were of that earlier creation...a creation destroyed by ‘flood’ at the time of the ‘Fall’. No missing link...there never was a link. That is all a part of the evolutionary pipe dream. That first creation was subject to Lucifer, who had been given dominion over the earth (and it’s inhabitants).
In Genesis 1:2 ‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’
This was chaos...God did not create chaos...all of the six creation days are restorative.
In Genesis 1:26 ‘ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’
God gave man dominion over the earth. Lucifer was long gone, and no longer had dominion over the earth. God gave this to man.
In Genesis 1:28, ‘And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’
Note, God told them to be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth. This is the same instruction God gave to Noah after the flood...REPLENISH the earth.
We easily understand why Noah was told to REPLENISH the earth...only if the earth had been ‘PLENISHED’ in an earlier creation would God instruct Man (Adam) to REPLENISH the earth.
So, how long between creations was the earth in chaos? We do not know...not really necessary to know that. It could have been many milleniums. Eons, if you will.
After the Flood, God placed a rainbow in the sky as promise to never destroy the earth by flood again. This was after he had done it now two times. We know he will not do it a third time.
I could go on, but you get the idea. So have fun and flame away!
I believe that science believes that the original “creation event” aka the big bang, took place about 15 billion years ago. As the bible says In John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. So all that existed was the mind of God and the creation story in Genesis is remarkably accurate as to what we understand of the order of events that shaped our universe as we see it today.
I think your post was perfectly brilliant and I very much enjoyed reading it.
We have the one planet (Venus) in our system which is likely ballpark for some sort of a 5K - 20K age and looks it i.e. 900F surface temperature, massive thermal imbalance, massive upwards ir flux, total lack of regolith, statistically random cratering, and a surface so pristine as to cause the old earthers to be talking about a “resurfacing event(TM)” .5B years ago. Earth and Mars don’t look like that at all and have to be substantially older than that, but not hundreds of millions or billions of years old.
Gerald L Schroeder, “The Science Of God: The Convergence Of Scientific And Biblical Wisdom”
As I understand it, even if that missing link was found, it would do little or nothing to prove evolution since there are numerous missing links besides that particular one...
The Apostles didn't have a creed...
"The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. It has been called the Creed of Creeds.
Legend has it that the Apostles wrote this creed on the tenth day after Christ's ascension into heaven. That is not the case, though the name stuck. However, each of the doctrines found in the creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The earliest written version of the creed is perhaps the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542)."
Then a powerful intergalactic mining operation took over the place and stripped it of all the top side deposits useful to life ~ phosphorous, calcium, sodium, etc. as well as meteor deposits piled up since the formation of the solar system.
Earth was also mined but not as thoroughly ~ which is why we still have 40% of our original crust.
So, who were these guys and when did they do it?
Heck if I know ~ we can put some limits to it ~ certainly more than half a billion years ago, and maybe a billion before that but not much earlier. The meteor debris and detris would be insuffcient to attract secondary goldmining and there'd go the profit in this process.
"In 2010, Gallup released a poll that found that 40% of Americans believe in strict creationism, the idea that humans were created by God in their present form within the past 10,000 years.
Thirty-eight percent believe that God guided the process of human evolution from lower life forms over millions of years, and only 16% believe that humans evolved without divine intervention.
Sixty percent of those who attend church weekly believe that we were created less than 10,000 years ago.
Gallup notes that the numbers have remained generally stable for the past 28 years."
This is despite the fact that about 80% of Christian denominations (by membership) accept theistic evolutionism.
Theistic evolution, in short, means God created & directed the processes of evolution to achieve His plan.
"This view is generally accepted by [note the chart in link] major Christian churches, including the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and some [actually most if not all] mainline Protestant denominations; virtually all Jewish denominations; and other religious groups that lack a literalist stance concerning some holy scriptures.The Roman Catholic church especially has a long history of respect for science, going back to Saints Augustine and Aquinas.
"Various biblical literalists have accepted or noted openness to this stance, including theologian B.B. Warfield and evangelist Billy Graham...
"...All of the traditional mainline Protestant denominations support or accept theistic evolution.
For example, on 12 February 2006, the 197th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth was commemorated by "Evolution Sunday" where the message that followers of Christ do not have to choose between biblical stories of creation and evolution was taught in classes and sermons at many Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Congregationalist, United Church of Christ, Baptist and community churches.
"Additionally, the National Council of Churches USA has issued a teaching resource to
'assist people of faith who experience no conflict between science and their faith and who embrace science as one way of appreciating the beauty and complexity of God's creation.'"This resource cites the Episcopal Church, according to whom the stories of creation in Genesis
'should not be understood as historical and scientific accounts of origins but as proclamations of basic theological truths about creation.' "
So the statistic that only about half (see chart noted above) of all Catholics, mainline Protestants and Eastern Orthodox -- denominations which account for 80% of all Christians -- only half accept their church's teachings on theistic evolution might tell us something...
evolutionsts believe in either;
a) gradual evolution, or
b) punctuated equilibrium
so much for consensus
I have one thing to say to "theistic evolosers": God does not use broken tools.
"In Catholic thought, this has been interpreted to provide room for the concept that human beings were created over millions of years through evolution, and that God ultimately provided pre-existing, pre-created souls to those He designated and that these souls reconnect to God through practicing the sacraments. "
This is a fairly serious misconstrual of Catholic doctrine. There is nothing whatsoever in the Catholic faith that points to the supposed existence of "pre-existing, pre-created" human souls. in fact, from a Catholic anthropological point of view, this is simply unintelligible.
The Catholic Church teaches that it is precisely the soul which makes a material "thing" (matter) a living human person: it is the "form" of the body. Therefore it is created immediately by God upon the formation of a new human body, i.e. at conception (since the zygote, even at one cell, IS a body,and IS ensouled, which is to say, alive.)
Anyone could have learned this in 2 minutes with a few mouse-clicks to the Catholic Catechism (Link). I was surprised to see this rather egregious blunder, and I hope it does not suggest an overall casualness about accuracy in this article.
Listen to info after 8 minutes in and buckle your seat belts !
Thanks for the ping!
This is not a problem for anyone who wants to understand it.
Evolution consists of two major factors: 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
In every generation of every species there are a small number of genetic mutations = "descent with modifications".
Most genetic mutations have no effect on either the appearance or functioning of their organism because they occur in regions sometimes called "junk DNA".
Those are, however, very useful in helping scientists calculate the most recent common ancestors within a species, or between species.
And once an organism becomes perfectly adapted to its environment, any mutation which causes a change will be a negative change, and natural selection will eliminate that mutation from the gene pool.
But as their environments changes (becoming colder, warmer, wetter, dryer, a new predator, etc.), some mutations will give some members of a species a survival advantage, so those genes will be passed on, and the species can evolve.
That explains how you get "micro-evolution" in every generation, but only "macro-evolution" during periods of major environmental changes.