PS. I address only two points in the article for reasons of brevity. I
disagree with some other points, but I feel these are the main ones (and
the ones I'm most familiar with).
Keenan E. Dungey
48 Brookside Circle
Greenville, SC 29609
July 19, 1998
The Lutheran Witness
1333 S Kirkwood Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
As a professor of chemistry, I appreciate LW addressing such a
volatile issue as evolution ("Is God an Evolutionist?" Jul '98). Dr.
Menton is knowledgeable and points out many of the difficulties in
evolutionary theory. Many educators today teach evolution as a fact rather
than a scientific theory, and confusing and contradictory evidences are not
debated in the public arena.
However, Dr. Menton makes two arguments that I feel must be addressed.
One, he defines science in such a way as to remove the historical sciences
from the picture. This is to accomplish his goal of undermining the
credibility of evolution as science. However, many scientific disciplines,
such as astronomy, chemistry and geology, as well as biology, have
historical components. In addition, it is false to say that because we are
describing an event that occurred in the past, we can't make predictions
which are testable today. For example, Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest
and mathematician, hypothesized in the 1920s that the universe is expanding
from a "primeval atom", which exploded. We weren't around to videotape the
"big bang," but we can test this hypothesis by observing the world today.
If such an energetic explosion occurred, we should be able to find traces
of energy throughout the universe. This cosmic background radiation was
detected in 1964, and so (along with other evidences) scientists generally
accept the big bang theory.
Second, he states that "if there were no compelling reasons to believe
otherwise, the Bible clearly implies that the six days of creation were six
ordinary days." In other words, if evolution didn't insist upon an old
earth, we should take a literal interpretation of the six days of creation.
Actually, geology had established that the earth was very old before Darwin
proposed his evolutionary theory of life. And it wasn't until the past
century that the church began to insist upon a literal interpretation of
Genesis 1-3 (for example, Augustine took a poetic ). But Menton wants us
to believe that the geologic evidence isn't compelling. He states that
geological dating methods "hardly constitute an exact science." However,
modern radiochemistry can determine the age of rocks very precisely without
reference to any fossils that might be in the rocks.
God is omnipotent and omniscient and He could have created the
universe in any manner He so desired. He has given us the freedom and
ability to inspect His creation to determine exactly how He did create.
Science, although not the only source of truth (as some evolutionists
insist) is a very powerful method for systematically studying God's
creation. By insisting upon a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3, we are
tying God's hands by assuming that He performed a variety of unnecessary
miracles (such as arbitrarily changing the speed of light) to produce the
universe as we understand it today.
Science and religion do not need to be in conflict (unlike the
illustration of the Christian ichthus eating the Darwin fish). God has
given us His Word and His World, and minds to study both. We should
neither blindly accept evolution as a fact, nor ignore scientific evidence
when interpretting Scripture. By using reason and faith together, we can
know God better.
Keenan E. Dungey, Ph.D.