Creationism, Evolution, and the Perfection of God

Posted by Whit Barringer , Sunday, March 02, 2008 8:10 PM

So... I haven't been dead, but I've certainly been busy. I got to go to my favorite band's concert (!) on Thursday, and I've been scrambling to get assignments done here and there. But I've come out scarred and ready to face another week.

Somebody posted a thread entitled "Creation vs. Evolution" on a forum I frequent. Oh, how many times have we all seen that debate before. I was responding to a comment that said (paraphrased): "What does it matter if the arguments are repeated? The facts of the case don't change." Basically, what's the point? We're at a stalemate. To that, I said this:

I respectfully disagree with that. On one hand, if you're saying (what [a poster who is also a science teacher] suggested) that Creationists do not change their information, you are indeed correct. Their base of information is the same, though some of the arguments get a bit more creative over time. I was looking as some pictures on Facebook, and one of them came up from the creationist museum in Kentucky. It said something like this:

According to the Bible, thorns came after the [death or seed of Adam, I don't remember which]. Since we have found thorns with dinosaurs fossils, that means man and dinosaur must have lived together.

Honestly, that seems very silly. That reasoning isn't logical, because it excludes - without any evidence - that anything could have existed before. It's a very insulated reasoning that really only works with very insulated people who don't question whatever they read or hear.

As for the evolution argument, it indeed changes. While its base, much like Creationist belief, has its unchanging roots - these roots are the roots of discovery and observation, not the words of men who didn't understand basic scientific laws and theories. But the change in evolution is not creativity to try and outwit creationists (let's be honest - that's what all the changes in creationist theory are meant for), but it's empirical observation and research. Scientists don't pull evolution out of the blue and then say that it's proof. They have systematic ways to determine if something lends itself as proof of evolution (such as a "missing link").

I think that's where the credibility issues comes in with the Creationists. There is no system. There is no scientifically unbiased research. As [two previous posters had] demonstrated, there's an arbitrary pulling of verses that are taken to mean weird and unpredictable things. There is no system of symbolism and meaning in the Bible, as anyone who reads it comes up with a new meaning. This becomes obvious because many scientists are Christians. They obviously take some other meaning in the text, right? If something is so completely and irritatingly relative and arbitrary, no science can't be derived from it.

I'm one of those people who discovers things about herself as she's typing her opinion. This is no exception. I have always had trouble with both creation and evolution theory. Faith forced me to keep from excluding the former, but evolution theory had too many gaps for me to fully realize it as the dominant theory. Then I saw Intelligent Design on Trial (an excellent account of the landmark decision on Kitzmiller v. Dover), and a lot of my uneasiness was quelled.

That could have been where it stopped, but something else caught my eye that I wanted to respond to. Paraphrased: The Bible could have been divinely inspired and still flawed. Another poster said (somewhat illogically, I think) that if God is perfect, but the Bible is not, and God inspired it, then God really isn't perfect. To this, I said the following:

That reminds me. In a class last semester, someone tested out a religious theory that required a new interpretation of the Trinity. I can't remember all of it, but one part said, "Jesus is the Universe." Then this person went on to say that "good and evil are in the Universe." Someone asked him if good and evil are in the universe, then does that mean that Jesus have good and evil within him? And, after coming so far, this person said after a frustrated silence, "You just have to take a leap of faith on that one."

The point being this person had limited his or her worldview through the narrow microscope of Christianity. It's the equivalent of putting on blinders. Yes, you see the world, but you can only see it with the sheen of Christianity's judgment of good and bad and evil. To paraphrase someone in a documentary I saw a few days ago, "The church is responsible for the deaths of many because of its teachings." Christianity has no room for science because it developed ways to judge without dependence on the natural. When you have to turn to the supernatural (a.k.a. unseen/unheard) to support what you say - and you succeed - then nothing natural can actively change your mind.

But back to God and perfection. I can understand idea of "divinely inspired" in the very lax terms that some believe it means. Whenever I am overwhelmed to the point of tears by beauty, I would accept that as divine. But that's not what is meant 90% of the time. It means, as I was saying above, that there's been an appeal to the supernatural to lend something credibility - which, in itself, by its own definition, is incredible. "Divinely inspired" is a term that is meant to evoke an infallibility or an absolutism that lends itself to impossible arguments. "You want to have sex? You shouldn't, because God said so." Well, did God say it? No, probably not. But because we've got that blasted term "divinely inspired", we are supposed to take the words of men as the words of God. Nevermind that each man wrote as a product of his time, with its own prejudices, environment, customs, and ideas (which is the real reason the bible changes).

Anyway, God could still be perfect even if the Bible is imperfect, but that means that we have limited tools to understand God (or if that offends you, we'll say "God's will"). Which means that we have to look for another way to achieve our salvation instead of through an imperfect text that blinds us. To cure our blindness, we have to look to see God beyond the imperfect hands of men.

I'll probably post more on the idea of a perfect God later on, but for now this will do.

Have a wonderful week.

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