Today, in part four, Dave Swaim (of Highrock Church) addresses one of the reasons that some Christians battle so vehemently against evolution.
"Maker of Heaven and Earth" (transcript, part 4)
So why do some Christians fight so vigorously against the very idea of evolution? I suspect that one reason is confusion between evolution and atheism. The real battle is not between God as creator and evolution as process. Whether God created in the way that the Young Earth Creationists describe, the Old Earth Creationists, or the Theistic Evolutionists propose, none is incompatible with the Bible’s insistence on God as our creator. The real debate is between theism, the belief that there is a God, and atheism, the conviction that there is not. And beyond, well, there’s nothing. Beyond what we can see, detect, or measure with the tools of science. Those two convictions—that the God described in the Bible, revealed in Jesus and experienced by the Holy Spirit exists or does not—cannot be reconciled. You have to choose. But the fact that many atheists affirm evolution does not mean, therefore, that evolution is inherently atheistic. Many atheists also probably think that we should help the poor, and may enjoy getting pizza when they get together. That doesn’t mean that helping the poor and eating pizza is inherently atheistic. We should resist atheism, not evolution.
Even worse, some Christians have overreacted by becoming suspicious of all science. But if we believe that God created everything then all truth leads to him. He is the way and the truth and the life. So faith doesn’t begin when science fails, the so-called “God of the gaps” approach. Some Christians are afraid that evolutionary theory might one day get so good that it will eliminate the need for these periodic interventions by God to keep the process going. But is that really all God does? Intervene every few hundreds of thousands of years to correct the creation that he made when it falls short? No! Maybe God made it right in the beginning so he doesn’t ever have to intervene to repair it: he intervenes to relate with us. So it’s really not intervention. It’s involvement in creation.
The Bible teaches us many essential things, some of which we may miss if we’re looking for answers about the age of the earth or the process of creation, which I don’t think are there. Opposing elements of evolution can be done on scientific grounds, but the scriptures themselves don’t demand it. So while we must reject an atheistic world view, there’s no reason to reject science. Of course, one reason that so many Christians have been lured into this faulty position is in reaction to some scientists who overreach and overpromise. They ignorantly suggest that science offers an alternative to God. Science can describe what is, but not why or where it all came from. So, while science is an incredible tool for uncovering all the marvels god created, scientists need to have appropriate humility about what they know. Some scientific theories, of course, are incontrovertible, like the speed of light or the Theory of Relativity. Well, actually that was incontrovertible until this week, literally, when researchers at CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, revealed that to their surprise neutrinos pumped from CERN to Geneva travelled faster than light. “That’s impossible,” you say, “They must have botched the experiment.” That’s exactly what they thought, which is why they kept this finding secret for three months so they could repeat the experiment, work out the kinks, figure it out and get it right. And they repeated that experiment 16,000 times and got the exact same result. Finally, they released those results this week. Maybe we’re all wrong about the speed of light. And that’s fundamental to this discussion because the speed of light is an essential way that we estimate the size and age of the universe.
Maybe you think that’s an unusual anomaly. But this coming week there is already a conference scheduled at CERN about why there’s so much less antimatter in the universe than the Big Bang Theory demands. A couple years ago, a researcher at Los Alamos National Labs explained why our models for plate tectonics are all wrong.1 And another presented a paper questioning the veracity of radiocarbon dating.1 Both of these tools have been foundations for the current theories of the age of the earth. No scientists can explain quantum entanglement, why, when you separate two photons by a distance of thousands of miles and then alter the movement of one, does the other one immediately react? Every scientist can clarify why that makes no sense, but they all agree that it happens. And while all scientists agree that genetic mutation happens just like the theory of evolution describes, no scientist can explain abiogenesis, which is an undirected process producing the first living organism from nonliving chemicals. That’s scientifically impossible, but atheists must believe it’s true in order to exclude the possibility of God. Now that is blind faith. And scientists all admit that our theories about what holds materials together requires the postulation of dark matter, so called because we can’t see it, detect it or measure it in any way. It’s not there, but something must be there in order for astrophysical formulas to work. In fact, those formulas insist that 95% of the universe is composed of something we can’t see, describe or detect, but must be there. All the science we’ve done so far is just on the other five percent. So, how any of those scientists could have the hubris to deny the possibility of God being there is just silly.
Given how little we know, you’d think that scientists would be appropriately humble about how much we claim to know. But if the data don’t demand we deny God, why do some scientists do it? It’s not a scientific issue. It is a spiritual issue that goes all the way back to Genesis. The ability to create implies the authority to command. And just like Adam and Eve, there’s an impulse in all of us to deny that there may be someone more powerful and authoritative than we are. We don’t want to worship God, we want to be gods. The stories in Genesis about pride and sin are as true today as they have ever been.