Wow, that’s a polarizing billboard message in Sioux Falls, which I don’t agree with, because I believe in God as the Supreme Being! Equally polarizing, and maybe more troubling, to me, was what I heard on a radio-broadcast sermon recently. First, the theory of evolution, especially its millions and billions of years was mocked, and then the preacher said that if people accept evolution as the origin of things, they need to repent.
Woahhh, preacher(s)–I hear quite a few speak that way–be careful with your polarizing rhetoric that will confuse, and needlessly shame, many young science students who believe in God while they are taking science classes in school or college, and drive away others who were wondering about and considering faith, but now will run away faster because they see its adherents as closed-minded to much of scientific study. Actually, it’s likely not many young people were listening to the radio sermon, but many of their grandparents were, and out of concern for where the world is going, and with deep, loving concern for their grandchildren, they sometimes join those preachers in voicing that evolution theory is simply wrong, even synonymous with non-belief. That, along with all the other confusing things confronting young people, can unnecessarily throw someone off. Equally concerning is that at the same time, that large part of God’s Church is like an island–a fortress island that is protecting itself against worldly influences, (and proud of it!). Fortress islands will usually shrink, eventually to nothingness.
Personally, I am open to the theory of evolution. (I write that not as someone who is heavily left-leaning and on the fringes of belief, but as someone who’s biggest passion is seeing the spread of the Gospel.) Fossil records show much evidence of evolution, as do new understandings of naturally occurring mutations in DNA. (As a non-scientist, I give a well-referenced description of it in my book, A Search for Common Ground: Let’s Talk–http://peacewithinreach.com/my-books/.) In fact, it would be accurate to say I presently lean toward being an evolutionary creationist versus a young-earth/24hour-7day theorist. I included the word “creationist” as I definitely believe God is the ultimate Originator and Maintainer, who deserves glory for making an amazing world. This is not foreign for God-loving people, including some leaders you maybe appreciate–Richard Mouw, the theologian and president of Fuller Seminary. Pope John Paul II had much openness to evolution thought, but he drew the line at evolution of humans. Check out these websites to read what many God-fearing Christian scientists believe— http://www.biologos.org, http://network.asa3.org/.
But there are a lot of challenging QUESTIONS THAT ARISE with that theory: If we humans evolved from other, lower species, then how do we have the all-important,uniquely-human image of God in us? Well, as some say, everything, besides us humans, evolved; maybe that sounds more kosher, but isn’t that scientifically weak logic if you give credit to the theory of evolution? If we evolved from something, then doesn’t that take the literal Adam and Eve out of the equation? No literal Adam and Eve means no Fall into sin, right? Then, what is the need for our Savior Jesus? What about the truth of Scripture, including the creation story?
More on each of those questions next time (June 10 or 11), including the theological perspective of Dr. Richard Mouw, noted two paragraphs above.