OK, this will probably be lost in the massive
amount of posts on this article, but I thought
I'd throw in my thoughts as well, just in case
somebody happens to read them.
Anyway, to start off, I'll freely admit I'm a
Christian, and that I do have qualms accepting
some of the "conclusions" people draw from evolution.
BUT, I don't really have a problem with
evolution, as it is currently postulated by
the scientists. There definitely is a gradual change in species as time passes; and it's foolish to deny this. What I do have a problem with is how some people take evolution as fact. Well, it is not. It's a theory, just like other scientific theories.
Newton's laws are theories. They aren't facts,
they are approximations to how the physical world behaves. General relativity is another theory, which is a better approximation under certain conditions. Evolution is a theory that
explains phenomena scientists have been observing. And just like other scientific theories, it is not 100% correct, but it does
describe the evidence scientists have found so far.
And so, I don't have a problem with evolution per se; but with how some people take it to imply God's non-existence. Well, it
doesn't imply either way! It's merely a
description of the evidence scientists have
collected. People shouldn't be using it to
prove God's non-existence; and people also
shouldn't be attacking it just because they
believe in God. Science is self-correcting as
far as evidence is concerned; sooner or later,
we will find out whether evolution is "true" or not. Arguments that use it to prove God's existence/non-existence are pointless and a
waste of energy.
And basing one's manner of life on unsure conclusions derived from something so easily
changed as a scientific theory is rather unwise.
Now on the other side, I think that creationists who stubbornly cling to a 6000-yr-old (or so) earth/universe to be too
dogmatic. They stand in the face of much
scientific evidence and archeological findings
that are simply too hard to explain away
without twisting facts.
I urge everyone who really wants to know
more to go and read Genesis. Even, go
and study different translations, or better,
read the Hebrew (use an interlinear or whatever aid). Find out what the text really
says, not what people says it says. First of
all, it never claims that the world was made
in 7 days. (And even the word for "day" in the
Hebrew may mean an age, not a 24-hour day.)
The 7 days, which may or may not be 24-hour
days (and really, it doesn't make much difference either way, as far as the Christian
faith is concerned), may actually not
be a description of the original creation. If
this is the first time you've heard this, I
highly recommend G. H. Pember's book, Earth's earliest ages.
Pember's book describes a possible alternate reading of Genesis that corresponds
very closely with the geological record. One
of the more striking points Pember makes is
that there must be a gap between the first two
verses in Genesis chapter 1. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." This statement merely states that God
created the universe; it doesn't say how, nor
does the rest of the Bible say how -- that is
not the point of the Bible. So far so good;
no contradiction here.
The second verse is interesting: "and the
earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." On the surface, one may think that this is an elaboration of verse 1, but Pember argues that
it isn't. First of all, the conjunction "and"
in Hebrew actually could imply a new idea; i.e., what verse 2 talks about is something separate from verse 1; it probably isn't talking about the original state of the creation. Furthermore, it seems odd that the
God of the Bible, who is Light, would create
a world with darkness. I won't rehash Pember's
argument here, but basically, he argues that
a lot of time must have passed between verse 1
and verse 2. (Read the book if you really want
to know how he arrives at this.)
This view is quite consistent with what
current scientific theories say about the
origins of the universe -- after the Big Bang,
a long time passed when matter coalesced and
slowly formed into stars and galaxies, and
eventually planets. What verse 2 describes is
the state of the earth after much time has
passed (and probably after the earth has been
formed for millions of years). I won't go into
what the Bible says happened during this time
(it says very little, there are small hints
here and there, but no details. Again, probably because most of this is irrelevent to
its message), but the darkness was probably
the result of God's judgment on a creation
prior to Adam and Eve. What the 7 days describe, then, is God's restoration
of an already existing world.
This is why land is described as resulting
from the parting of water -- there was already
water and land in existence; what God did on
the 3rd day dealt with material already in
existence. So, this cannot possibly
describe the original creation of the earth;
if it were, it would have describe the formation of waters and soil; not the separation of them.
Anyway, I just try here to very very briefly summarize what Pember goes into great
lengths to explain in his book. But my whole
point was, I believe that the Bible is a 100%
accurate account of the past; however, one
must be very careful not to read into the text
one's own interpretations of it. I'm not 100% sure that the alternative
interpretation I just described is the correct
interpretation; I believe it's probably the
right one, but it could just as well be wrong.
Nevertheless, the Bible itself I believe to be
Therefore, I think it's stupid for evolutionists to proclaim God's non-existence;
that's not the role of a scientific theory --
science explains the physical world; God, if
He exists, cannot be physical. And it's equally stupid for creationists to beat on
evolution because it goes against their
particular interpretation of the Bible. On
either side, I think what we need is humility:
the willingness to accept that we do not know everything, and what we know
is but a very crude approximation to what things really are, whether it be our theories
about the physical world, or our understanding
of what the Bible says.
I personally have a personal relationship
with God, and obviously I have full confidence that He exists, and that the Bible
is His infallible word; but that doesn't mean
that I think I know everything, that my interpretation of the Bible is
accurate. When evidence strongly suggests
otherwise, I will have to reconsider what I
thought the Bible said.
(Aside: the Bible does make very
clear statements about a lot of things fundamental to my faith, and I certainly believe it 100%; but there are many non-essential things that it's vague about;
these are open to interpretation, and I think
the proper attitude is to NOT impose one's
own understanding on it, but to be open to
reconsider things. As far as I've found, what
science and archaelogy has discovered do NOT
in any way contradict what the Bible said. It
may contradict what people think the
Bible said, but I've yet to see the Bible itself proven definitely false. There is no reason science and
faith can't co-exist.)
Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
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