Church of England Apologizes to Charles Darwin
September 17, 2008 /
Wonder what ole Chuck is thinking about that apology right now…
I’ve got an idea for the Church of England (hold onto your hat, Graham): howzabout you apologize to the true followers of Jesus Christ who still populate your church rolls who’ve had to put up with your godless nonsense (and your current, silly Archbishop) for so long now?
…there’s nothing incompatible between Darwin’s scientific theories and Christian teaching – whaaaat? Here’s another example of someone who should just be honest, say he doesn’t believe the Bible, and be on his way.
Does everyone in the Church of England support his statements? If not, he should not be speaking for all of them, and he absolutely has no right to speak for the church.
I see nothing “compatible” between CD’s theory and “traditional” Christian teaching, and I make no apology for saying that.
Actually, I believe much of Charles Darwin’s theory is compatible with Christianity. His main point was that populations of species pass on beneficial traits to future generations, and harmful traits die out.
This is indirectly observable. We haven’t been around long enough to see if traits will totally die out, but we often learn that traits that seem unhelpful or inexplicable often turn out to be advantageous. In other cases, we’ve observed species adopting to circumstances. The English peppered moth is a great example. Originally white moths were more common since they were most camouflaged, but later the black moths could flourish since they had better camouflage.
He didn’t say anything specific about ultimate origins (God or Big Bang).
The conflicts arise when the theories are applied on the macro scale, since a single organism evolving into all the species we see today is in direct conflict with traditional interpretations of biblical unique species creation actives.
My problem with Darwin’s theory is that it feeds and validates the idea that creation occurred naturally and diminishes the biblical account and traditional Christian understanding that God created it by supernatural means.
Darwin didn’t say anything specific about God, but God is conspicuously absent from his theory. There may indeed be aspects of his theory that are correct; science does not always conflict with the Bible, but it never takes into account the existence of a God Who has supernatural abilities – it is supposed to be a search for truth, but since it doesn’t look for God it’s not surprising it never finds Him.
Evolution is not a theory that leads one to God. It presents creation as something that happened apart from God. The attempt to bring this idea into Christianity will always put Christians at odds because these two beliefs just don’t mix – each side is going to have a dim view of the other side; one thinking the other is simple-minded and old school, and one thinking the other lacks faith in the integrity of the biblical author and God’s abilities.
Science depends solely on what can be seen by the human eye and understood by the human mind. It does not acknowledge the existence of a spiritual realm or a spiritual God that is far superior to the physical realm. The discoveries of science are often big news – to us, but the fact is those things existed before we knew about them, before we saw them.
Case in point, the statement that the single organism evolving into all the species we see today conflicts with traditional interpretations of scripture – science would never consider that perhaps God implanted that ability into the organism in ways they haven’t discovered yet, and notice this finding allows one to dismiss the biblical account.
The biblical author wasn’t a scientist, so maybe he didn’t know what he was talking about; maybe God didn’t tell him to write that, maybe he was presenting his own ideas about God – just one of Darwin’s or sciences ideas can lead to a lot of maybes.
Natural selection only describes how well or not well an organism adapts to changing environmental circumstances; then extrapolates those adaptations to the whole species. But it can’t supply an objective definition for “fittest.”
Natural selection offers no explanation for the origin of life, and it supplies no justification for believing that species can jump their genetic tracks and become other species. An organism can only be or do what its DNA allows. Evolutionists claim to get around this problem by means of radioactivity (causing mutations), but radioactivity just damages genes — it doesn’t enhance them.
Darwin indeed did not mention God in his theory, but…
Science will come up with, well, scientific explainations of things, with no room for the supernatural. My PhD thesis (magnetic field of the star AB Doradus) made no mention of God.
Did that mean that I thought God had no part in that star’s magnetic field?
The first year of my PhD, the Christian Union had a mission. And one of the books used mentioned Laplace’s “I have no need of that hypothesis” in the bit about science.
But that is misunderstanding him. Too often there is the sort of argument for God which goes “science can’t explain X, therefore God is responsible.” This is the “god-of-the-gaps” method, and all Laplace did was close one of the gaps.
God-of-the-gaps arguments are not convincing as it creates hostages to fortune, with the proof of God’s existence holding water until a scientist closes that gap. And then there is the problem which I came across a few times while doing my PhD, namely a well-meaning Christian will mention a god-of-the-gaps argument, and I would have to gently point out that the thing that “scientists can’t explain” was an issue that has been solved. The god-of-the-gaps arguments put up an awful lot of scaffolding to support the Cross.
Also, god-of-the-gaps can argue no more than a creator, which could be someone who winds the universe up and has no further involvement. Personally, I prefer to start with an empty tomb, rather than “science can’t explain.”
There is the other issue that God is not a capricious God, creating a universe willy-nilly. There are hard and fast laws of nature which He put there, and He gave us senses to observe the world around us, and minds to find out the laws of nature.
Well, the topic here is centered more on Darwin’s theory than science as a whole; I have no problem with giving science its due but I think God should be given His due as well. Evolution, more often than not, is used as a way to refute and invalidate creationism. I don’t think that sciences inability to explain the origin of life is proof that they’re wrong about evolution any more than the Christian’s inability to explain the biblical account of creation proves that they are wrong – it only proves that neither one of them can “prove” what they believe about it. It takes faith to believe either one.
It is true that the Bible is silent on how God accomplished creation, other than what it clearly says – which is impossible for some people to believe and accept. I think the gap that exists is between those who can accept that God has the ability to do what the Bible says He did and that He was able to accurately communicate to His creation what He wanted them to know about it, and those who seek another explanation. I’m not trying to sound contentious, but this just illustrates how divided the thinking is on this subject.
The theory of evolution and the scientific knowledge and technology that has shaped the prevalent world view is relatively new considering how long the biblical account of creation has existed, yet it seems that those of us who hold to the traditional understanding are viewed with pity and condescension by those who know better.
Creationism has been stamped out in the schools, and any attempt to re-instate it is met with hostility; our school system would prefer that our children believe they descended from apes than that they were made in the image of God.
I’m not one who campaigns for this as I believe our society will never allow Christian prayer and creationism in school again, and I don’t attempt to reason this thru on the basis of science because I realize it gets perceived as
Sorry, here’s the end of my statement:
I don’t attempt to reason this thru on the basis of science because I realize it gets perceived as “scaffolding” of the Cross, which is pretty pathetic. God gave the creation account at a time when they didn’t have the science and technology we have today – why do we think it has to line up with science rather than the other way around?
Message to Dr. Malcolm Brown:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Ex. 20:8
This was a law that God gave to His chosen people which, if broken, was punishable by death. Would a God Who claims to have impeccable integrity base this law on a false claim about Himself? Moses brought down a tablet of stone on which he claimed God wrote His commandments; was he lying?
Dr. Brown, if you believe God or Moses is capable of this kind of deception, you should leave the Bible alone and go find something else to believe. If you respect and believe in the integrity of Charles Darwin more than you do the Bible, you should reconsider what you’re doing in the church.
I believe you owe God, and His church, an apology for holding the theory of evolution in higher esteem than you do God’s Word.
I like “god-of-the-gaps”, when appropriately used. Science cannot yet explain why matter emits gravity waves, but surely God does. The important bit is the “yet”. It might be 10 years, 100 years, or never, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if humanity eventually figures it out. I have a problem with “god-of-the-gaps” when used as an argument that man can never understand something. Maybe we can’t, but we’ll never know that for sure. Similarly, we won’t know how accurate evolution and creationism are to how things really came to be until it’s too late to debate.
In regard to the idea that the universe was created/formed/evolved over millions of years versus a literal six-day creation, I’ve never understood if it’s about having more respect for scientific knowledge, believing God is bound by and either cannot/does not operate outside of natural laws, trusting only what can be seen and observed by the five senses, disbelief in miracles, or proving that the Bible is a document written by men that is either flawed or has been changed and is not really inspired by God.
If it’s the latter, why/how can one trust any of it? Personally, I would not, if I thought that way. If the Bible is a book that I can go thru and pick and choose what I will accept – then it has no authority over me, I am exercising authority over it.
Paul said there ARE things man cannot understand, because they are spiritually discerned. Does that drive the intellectuals of the world crazy – to be told they can’t understand something without the help of the Holy Spirit? Does it sound insane for Jesus to say you need to have faith like a child? It takes humility to accept the fact that God doesn’t always tell you everything you want to know. This is not a cop-out, it’s a fact.
Is this one of the god-of-the-gaps arguments you all are talking about? I’ve had people confront me with arguments on a “scientific” level before, but it wouldn’t make sense to go toe-to-toe with them because the Bible was not intended to be a scientific document; its intent is to reach people on a spiritual level. One of the things I love about it, though, is that it never changes; whereas the findings of science change quite often – what is presented as a fact today may not be one tomorrow.
Again, I don’t have anything against science per se, unless someone is trying to use it to discredit the Bible, which is the bone I have to pick with the theory of evolution. I think people who argue the origin of life from science are not loath to take advantage of the fact that the creationist can’t easily argue it from that viewpoint, hence the condescension.
The Bible says heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word never will. Call it god-of-the-gaps, call it whatever you want to – science was never my thing even before I was a Christian, but I do have a passion for God’s word. Maybe that doesn’t pass muster with some, but I’m kinda more interested in pleasing God anyway.
I’m surprised my last comment got through. I got a 500 error with “We control you now” or something on the homepage. Anyway, it seems fixed now.
If God is so powerful as to create a universe, whether it took him 6 days or 6 billion is somewhat irrelevant. The Bible says 6 days, so I believe that has some meaning, though I can’t say with certainty if that’s literal days or eras or what have you. However, I think God could just as easily make a 6 day “young” earth as make an earth in 6 days that looks like it’s billions of years old.
I heartily concur!