Evolution, Literal Interpretation and Survival of the Unfit

Jim had a great comment which deserves a full post for a reply. He wrote:


Just a disclaimer – I am a Christian, and am not slamming typical Christian views.

First of all, re: your distinction between macro and micro evolution, could you define the word “species”? There are plenty of animals that cannot interbreed that would countermand your argument.

Second, why do you insist on interpreting the Book of Genesis literally? The Bible doesn’t tell you how to field strip a garand – it tells you how to live your life. I don’t think anybody thinks that the Bible is an authoritative view on how you should clean and service your 1911.

How does evolution affect your life, and how does it change the way you minister to the poor and homeless?

Jim, good post. Thanks. You wrote: “There are plenty of animals that cannot interbreed that would countermand your argument.” I assume you meant “can.” I don’t know of plenty. A few may be more correct. And of those few, I don’t know of any that can continue breading as this new species. Maybe if we give it a few million years 😉 Most common is the mule (the product of a horse and donkey). Mules are sterile; as are male tions and ligers. And all hybrids are man induced. I know of no natural hybrids.

Interspecies hybrids are rare and in most cases impossible (primarily) because of the chromosome numbers have to match (ex: chimps have 48 chromosomes and humans have 46). Let’s follow that thinking for a min… evolution teaches that this mutation occurred naturally. But keep thinking. One day, Bob (make him whatever species you want) is born from his normal chromosome matching parents. While very good looking and healthier than his friends at school, alas, Bob can’t mate because he has an extra chromosome. Eventually his successful modeling career ends and he dies. One magical day, this happens again. Again randomly to a set of normal chromosome matching whatsits. This one is named Sue. She is “lucky enough” to be born down the street from Bob (oh but he’s dead). Not so lucky. She dies.

My point is this. The likelihood of genetic mutation happening and successfully creating a healthier more advanced species is much harder to believe than a guy (albeit, with the oversight of an all all powerful all knowing God) survived a worldwide flood.

Where the Bible is written allegorical, I take it as such. Where it is clear it’s literal, I take it as such. What is your basis for deeming it allegory? Are you suggesting we should take Darwin’s tale as allegorical? Sorry. Of course you are not. I just get a little sarcastic before my second cup of coffee.

Evolution does not affect how I minister to the poor and homeless. If I believed in evolution it might. Because evolutionary thought typically leads to a “survival of the fittest” mentality. In other words, “I deserve to have a better life, they don’t. Why help them?”

To the contrary, as one who believes the Bible is the word of God, I am commanded to help those who are sick, naked and imprisoned (Matt 25:31-46). I also want to help, having been personally shown much grace and mercy from God. As a believer, I am sure you understand that.

Furthermore, it’s why I blog in the first place. Nearly all discussions eventually lead to the Gospel. It is my constant prayer that the Holy Spirit will use some of my feeble words to cause someone to consider their own “goodness” and ask themselves “yeah, why would God let me in Heaven?”

Again, thanks for stopping by and posting.

Answering Elsa: Could She Be Wrong?

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: So what’s your story, Elsa? Why are you interested in this discussion? What do you believe and what led you to that belief?

I don’t “believe,” nor do I consider belief to be evidence of any truths. I observe, acknowledge evidence, and use logic to form my opinions. I also acknowledge that any part of understanding can be flawed, and have no problem adjusting my opinions in light of new evidence and new interpretations, as long as they are well-founded.

Sure you believe. We all believe something. I find your intentionally distancing yourself from anything that even sounds remotely religious sign of some deep hurt or offense. I hope that’s just my inner-Dr.Phil. And not based in fact. But if someone in the church has hurt you, I’m sorry.

But you are right that because we believe something doesn’t make it true. I always demand evidence; which is where every evolution debate I’ve ever had ends. Where’s the evidence of trans-species evolution? I believe in micro-evolution or as we called it as kids, adaptation. But I see zero-none-nuthin-honey evidence of the kind of evolution proposed in Darwin’s “origin of species”

I found this page while researching Ron Paul, because I want to be informed about the candidates before I cast my ballot, as I’m sure you do as well. As for this conversation, it’s important to me that people base their opinions on facts, instead of basing them on misinformation, especially when it comes to something as important as choosing the next leader of our country. I’m sure you can see what happens when people do that, as evidenced by our current president, who not only doesn’t believe in evolution, but apparently doesn’t believe in science all together.

And thanks for allowing me to clarify my facts and opinions.

If “belief” in evolution is such a deciding factor for who you vote for and who you recommend others to vote for, then please inform yourself about the actual theory. There’s a good reason why a doctor would acknowledge evolution as a fact, and that’s because he understands the real theory behind it, not some strawman argument that creationists set up to refute.

And with that we come full circle. There is much I don’t know, I admit. But I think I am informed pretty well on Darwin’s theory and the problems with it. Any further articulation would just be rehashing things I’ve posted in the Ron Paul reply.

Thanks for the discussion.

Answering Elsa: Loving God and Hell Reconciled

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: As someone who believes the Bible is true, I also believe there is a hell awaiting for those who are “not good enough” to go to heaven. And I don’t want you are anyone else to go there.

Do you believe God loves all of his creation?

Yes, God does love his people. John 3:16, Rom 5:8

Also, do you believe that he will send those who are “not good enough” to hell for all eternity?

Jesus did. And so do I, Yes. God is Holy and just. A just God must punish sin/lawlessness. The place for those who have not repented and put their faith in Christ’s life, death and resurrection is commonly called Hell.

If you answer yes to both questions, how can you reconcile that, when you yourself, a mere mortal, have enough love inside you to not wish such a horrible fate on anyone?

Thank you for the compliment, however, any good inside of me is the work of God within me. Believe me there’s a side of me that would like to see some folks tossed in a lake of fire for all time. However, the Bible teaches this is not how God is most glorified. God is most glorified when sinners repent and put their trust in His Son for forgiveness.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but asking this question tells me you don’t understand how pure, how holy God is. We all have the tenancy to justify or excuse our own sins. But Jesus taught that hatred was murder of the heart and lust was adultery of the heart. The bible clearly teaches “all have sinned” and fall short of the Glory of God. There is none righteous.

If a child rapist and murderer got away with his crime, lived a long life only to die in his sleep are you saying that you wouldn’t want justice to await him? Of course you would. Especially if it was someone you know. If a holy God will punish murderers, will he not punish thieves, wife-beaters, liars, hypocrites, etc?

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Answering Elsa: Personal Experience = Truth?

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

It’s interesting, you and I are a lot alike in wanting to understand the opposing opinion. In my own quest, I have read apologetics that claim to disprove evolution by setting up strawman arguments, but have yet to find a refutation that is based on the actual theories. I have also read the Catholic perspective of the first Council of Nicaea, which I have not yet reconciled with the secular accounts of it. Also, I have read many ex-Christian “testimonies” of how they became a Christian and why they stopped believing, and it’s easy to understand the entire progression, based on my understanding of psychology. That said, I have no doubt that your “connection” with a perceived higher power is very real to you. But my experience and understanding tells me that this sense of strength and awe that you have comes from within, not from some external force, except to the extent that you are basing the “reasons” for your feelings on something which other humans who share your religion have defined.

While personal experience should not be totally dismissed, it’s not the end all to be all. Many people and religions base their reality on personal experience. Even some well intended Christians. Their must be some outside source of truth. Otherwise a man might here a voice that tells him it’s okay to rob banks, or he might just like the feeling he gets from robbing banks. That’s an extreme example, but it happens (not with bank robbers) but with serial killers and cult leaders all the time. The Bible when properly followed is a excellent external source of truth. The world would be a much better place if we followed the words and teachings of Christ. But beyond that: The good news of all the scriptures is that God is Holy, has created a people (who fell), yet provided a way for them to be restored and made righteous through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. All who will repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Him will be saved.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
(Romans 10:9-11)

Answering Elsa: Why Ron Believes the Bible

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: I won’t make you look up all the verses that support someone else position, unless you believe that as well? Which I don’t think you do. If so, sorry about the nuts comment. (grin)

I don’t believe things just because they’re in the Bible. But why do you? And, why do you also not believe other things that are in the Bible? How do you know which parts of the Bible are the inerrant Word of God and which parts are not?

Let me be clear. I believe all original scripture is inerrant and infallible. What convinced me of that? Basically it comes down to prophesy and context, and a little archeology.

There are so many fulfilled prophesies in scripture that after considering the odds of such an event happening on it’s own, I would be a fool not to admit that there is something behind it that can see beyond time. 66 books, over 40 authors, written over centuries and no inconsistencies. If a large part can be trusted, then it doesn’t take a lot of faith to believe the parts that you may have trouble with.

All scripture must be understood for it’s context and style. Some is historic, some poetic, and some is literal; and I think it’s fairly easy to tell which is which. Some abuse this and say that some literal texts also mean something else or they take one verse and twist it to say something other than it’s context would suggest. We all have to be wary of that. Not to say there isn’t something that we can apply from historical texts, but “context, context, context is always the rule.

Archaeologically, there is plenty of evidence that the Bible is the most historically accurate record around.

Let me encourage you, as someone who seems pretty smart, to lay down your presuppositions and study the fulfilled prophesies of the old and new testaments. Because there is more riding on this than just the accuracy of a book. If the book is true then the claims it makes are true: There is a God; He will one day judge us all according to our deeds according to His righteousness. (Again, I encourage you to read: Are you Good Enough to Go to Heaven?) IF (IF) this is true, it’s too important to be uninformed.

Ron wrote: Again, let me say, I can be and am often wrong.

As can I. By acknowledging this, you seem to acknowledge that you are not stuck in your beliefs, and can therefore adjust your understanding of things when you come across new discoveries that don’t fit your current understanding.

Sure. Again, I could be interpreting something wrong. But that wouldn’t change the scripture. As you hinted at before, it’s illogical to pick and choose which parts of the bible are accurate and which are not. It’s either inspired or it’s not.

Ron wrote: And I thank you for your points and questions. I do find it helpful to know what and why others believe as they do. Not because I want everyone to belong to “my religion” or anything like that but; because I’ve found real truth, freedom and peace through Jesus Christ.

You’re welcome, and I thank you for your respectful demeanor here. All too often, I’ve come across someone who gets defensive and starts attacking because they are so set on defending their position, instead of trying to understand the other’s point of view.

Not a problem. There’s a time for a strong reply. But you didn’t come out of the shoot deserving that. Besides, I want to be heard too. I don’t know how sincere you are about searching for the truth. But I can tell you with all sincerity that I have found it. And I too was skeptical — and continue to be. I think that’s fine. I think it makes me actually a stronger Christian. I worry about folks who shut off all doubt and just drink the kool-aid. So many Christians are lazy and unwilling to even think about objections. Beyond that, I should clarify my earlier statement. While I don’t care if you convert to my religion (religion won’t save you). I do care if you go to Hell and want you to be forgiven of your sins. I would hope to make some convincing arguement and you would repent of your sin and seek forgiveness from God, through the gift offered by Christ and his righteousness and atonement. And although that seems highly unlikely based on what you have said, I still hope for you and for others who have taken the time (the incredible amount of time) to read all of this.