I subscribed to three or four new magazines and journals this year. Two of them are my concern with this post.
The first is Salvo. I thought it might be fun and some challenging, critical reading. The first issue I received, issue 4, Winter 2008: ID (as in, Intelligent Design).
The second is The Christian Century. This was a trial four-week subscription. The first issue I received, volume 125, no 3. The cover: Faith after Darwin and A Visit to the Creation Museum. (I have already cancelled my trial subscription.)
The problem with both of these journals is that they purport, in some way or another to have some ties to the Christian community. Salvo is from the ‘Fellowship of St James.’ Christian Century…well…Christian sort of gives it away doesn’t it?
In The Christian Century Jason Byassee wrote, “Reconciling Christian claims about God, creation and humanity with the findings of Darwin and his successors is an important and daunting task, one that mainline theology has still not satisfactorily accomplished. AiG [Answers in Genesis; he is review the Creation Museum] can hardly be faulted for attempting the task, though its effort is a spectacular failure.” (26)
The problem here is that Mr Byassee thinks that Christianity needs to reconcile with the world and that the Scripture must be wrong. He builds on the assumption that Scripture is not accurate and that its claims are not truth. He also seems to disregard entirely the notion of the God-breathedness of Scripture. The Scripture does not need to be reconciled with the ‘findings of Darwin’ (which are the spurious rantings of an apostate). Rather, Darwin needs to be reconciled with Scripture. If the finding is not in accord with Scripture, the ‘finding’ must be flawed.
In Salvo, (pages 10-11) there is a list of words that must be defined in order to understand the issue. One of those words is ‘Creationism’ (which is just as pejorative as Darwinism): “A literal belief in the account of creation provided by the Bible. Creationists insist that each of the various animals present today on earth was created separately by God. They are thus opposed to the theory that humans and other species descended from common ancestors. Creationism, which also assumes a young earth, should not be confused with the theory of intelligent design.” [!]
The problem is not with the definition as such, but with the portrayal of those who believe in Genesis 1ff as mere Creationists. The problem is with the idea that those who believe in the literal account of the creation must be somehow not quite as caught up as those who believe in the grand theory of ID or Darwin. If I understand this, ID is little more than an attempt to mingle the two, God and Darwin, so that the best of both worlds can be had.
It’s not just Genesis that speaks of God as Creator: It is the entire Bible! Will those who write off Genesis 1-3 also write off Job? How about Colossians? How about John’s Gospel? How about Hebrews? How about the Psalter? How about Isaiah? How about Romans? How about the Revelation? How about statements made by Jesus himself where he specifically references Genesis as history? Are we to write those off as well? You see it is a slippery slope because once Christians write off the most fundamental statement of faith, ‘In the beginning God created…’, then it becomes easy to write off the rest of the Scripture too; which is exactly what Darwinists do.
The problem here is not with ID or with Darwinism as such. The problem here is with Christians who simply will not accept the testimony of Scripture. I think ID is a wonder mechanism for showing the distortions and flaws of Darwinian evolution, but to the extent that it refuses to accept Biblical testimony it is no better than Darwinism. If we cannot accept that it was God who made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, then how can we ever expect God to be powerful enough to recreate this world when Christ returns? If God is not powerful enough to Creation, then how can God be powerful enough to Redeem? For that matter, if God did not Create, then why would he Redeem?
This simply cannot be both ways: One cannot have Darwin and God. God either Created or He did not. Atheists and Darwinists are convinced he did not. So why would Christians reject Scripture and align themselves with those who do not believe? This is, at its very core, a battle over whether or not Scripture is Truth. This is a problem for Christians right now who feel the need to abandon Scripture and compromise and fornicate with the world’s gods. (I’d like to use stronger language here, but I’ll be respectful for now.) This is about Christians, not Darwinists or atheists, who have abandoned the Word of God. Byassee may mock those of AiG, but they are right. Salvo may have no use for those who believe in the mere literal understanding, but if Genesis is not literal then how can anything else be literal in Scripture?
I should have more to say about this later, but for now I’ll leave you with this thought. The compromise Christians are making in this area is terribly damaging. Christianity is really one short step away from abandoning its entire belief system because we have rejected our Creator. Is this not what the apostle said Romans?
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
It does matter what Christians believe about the Scripture. So mock away, I will take Christians who believe in Scripture over those who don’t any day of the week. And in the end, I suspect the Lord will too.
Soli Deo Gloria!
ps–clearly the issue here is that neither the Salvo issue on ID (Intelligent Design) nor essay in The Christian Century deal adequately with Scripture. I know ID is not trying to and I know that is not the point of ID. Still both issues Salvo and TCC at best mock those who do contend with Scripture. AiG may not have everything right, but being right on all counts is not the issue. The issue is, rather, what point of view does one have of Scripture? AiG takes a high view of Scripture which means, at worst, they take God at His Word so that all that follows Genesis 1:1 is also taken at face value and as Truth. I don’t see such a high view of Scripture coming from either of the other two examples I have referenced.
pss–this post is not about evolution, ID, or Creation as such. It is about the point of view Christians have of Scripture. So please spare me all the atheistic rants about evolution’s proof, and Darwin’s godlike status, and the sanctity of the Natural History Museums in the world.