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From the Dust: Framing the Debate
So why are Christians nervous about evolution and why do we even use a phrase like the ‘e’ word? The word itself has a negative connotation in many groups.
Ard Louis on Intelligent Design
In this short video, physicist Ard Louis expresses some doubts about Intelligent Design, noting that his primary resistance to the movement is based on theological grounds rather than science.
Can science and scripture be reconciled?
In Christian belief, God reveals himself in both the written book of the Bible and the created “book” of the natural world. Thus, the truths we find in scripture should not conflict with the truths we find in nature. Yet at times the two revelations seem to be saying contradictory things about how God made the world. Since God does not lie, the conflict must occur at the level of human interpretation: either a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in nature, or a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in scripture. Conflicts motivate us to reevaluate both interpretations. Christians may disagree on whether the scientific or the Biblical interpretation needs to change, but we can agree that God speaks to us in both revelations. (Updated on March 10, 2012)
On what grounds can one claim that the Christian God is the creator?
The science of evolution is consistent with many religions and with atheism. Science alone cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Some scientific evidence, such as fine-tuning, points to a Creator, but even this does not support Christianity over other religions. However, Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with scientific accounts of our origins. Though belief in the Christian God is not scientifically provable, it is not irrational. Commitment to Christ is a reasonable choice supported by a variety of evidence from history, philosophy, and the testimony of others. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit works in each person’s life to bring them into relationship with Jesus. (Updated on March 10, 2012)
Are science and Christianity at war?
Some people see science and religion as enemies, at war for leadership in our modern culture. Others see science and religion as completely separate and unrelated facets of life. However, science is not the only source of facts, and religion reaches beyond the realm of values and morals. In fact, religion can have a positive impact on science, such as in the development of modern medical ethics. Many early scientific leaders were devout Christians, as are some scientific leaders today. Science can also enhance the spiritual life of believers. Christians rejoice in scientific discoveries that reveal the glory of God the creator. (Updated June 27, 2012)
How have Christians responded to Darwin’s "Origin of Species"?
Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists. (Updated on July 10, 2012)
Beginning with the End in Mind
In today's video, Oxford physicist Ard Louis discusses the famous debate between renowned evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris over the idea of evolutionary convergence.
What Do You Mean When You Say "Evolution"?
In this video clip, Oxford University biophysicist, Ard Louis posits that one of the reasons Christians are hostile to evolution is that they latch onto a particular definition, which puts it in conflict with their theological convictions.
Are gaps in scientific knowledge evidence for God?
Every field of science has unanswered questions and gaps in our understanding. Scientists typically view these as open research questions. Others sometimes argue that if science can’t explain how something happened, then God must be the explanation. Such arguments are called “god-of-the-gaps” arguments. The risk in these arguments is that science is always developing. If gaps in scientific knowledge are the basis for belief in God, then as scientists fill in the gaps, the evidence for God disappears. The God of the Bible, however, is much more than a god of the gaps. Christians believe that God is always at work in the natural world, in the gaps as well as in the areas that science can explain.
How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin?
Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-171), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.
A Paradigm of Compatibility
In today’s video, Brian McLaren explains his own comfort with accepting Scripture and evolution, seeing the process of evolution as a wonderful opportunity for adaptation, growth, and development and a reflection of God’s glory.
Saturday Sermon: “Science vs. Faith: A False Dichotomy?”
If God has indeed created all things, pure scientific truth should never be a “problematic thing” for Christians. If anything, scientific truth enriches the faith as it reveals his majesty and provides Christians with a deeper understanding of God.
Bad Science and Weak Theology?
Many scientists feel that the ID movement is an attempt to locate gaps in our scientific knowledge and then to presume those gaps can only be filled by intervention of an external intelligence. It is important to note that ID leaders do not view their work this way.
Distinctions, Part 2: "God as a Scientific Theory?"
Over the past two decades, the intelligent design movement has been working diligently to offer a parallel version of modern science, one that can scientifically show God at work in creation.
Fine-Tuning: A Deeper Story?
In this video, five notable scientists (John Polkinghorne, David Wilkinson, Rodney Holder, Peter Williams and Graham Swinerd) offer their perspective on the strengths and limitations of the fine-tuning argument as a pointer to God.
Reducing Irreducible Complexity, Part 3
I am asked all the time to explain, in a nutshell, why irreducible complexity is not a valid argument in favor of intelligent design. However, I have never heard anyone put it in a more cogent form than Oxford biophysicist Ard Louis in this video.
What is the "fine-tuning" of the universe, and how does it serve as a "pointer to God"?
Fine-tuning refers to the surprising precision of nature’s physical constants, and the beginning state of the Universe. To explain the present state of the universe, even the best scientific theories require that the physical constants of nature and the beginning state of the Universe have extremely precise values.