Thanks for your comments.
> >1) The Lord himself warns us to test the fruits of every doctrine before we accept it as being true (Mt.7:15-20). On this basis - as I'm sure you'll agree - evolution has a poor track record. This alone, in my view, should be a major deterrent to all who accept Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. [To those who will point to the many bad things perpetrated by the Church, past and present, let me say this: wherever and whenever the Lord's teachings have been properly applied, great goodness and blessing have followed].
>Actually, I would disagree. Whenever biological evolution is properly applied, the result is an understanding of biology and paleontology. Any metaphysical (e.g., moral) results involve at least infusion of some metaphysical idea.
1(a): Is it your contention then that in the absence of a theory of
evolution our understanding in these areas would be deficient in some
way? Are you able to give instances of problems that might arise because
of such ignorance?
1(b): You appear to be suggesting that evolution has no metaphysical
associations. But what are the facts? It has progressively undermined
the word of God - specifically, in challenging the literal truth of the
early chapters of Genesis - and has thereby provided a plank for
biblical criticism, liberal theology, radical ecumenism and secular
humanism. Can it be anything other than a competing religious faith?!
> > 2) The Lord warns us further that we cannot serve two masters (Mt.6:24). Are you not aware that evolution carries with it a subtle imperative? How else can we explain man's enchantment with it? As far as the TE is concerned it is, moreover, the dominant master!
>Biological evolution itself has no imperatives. Even the scientific data itself requires metaphysical imperatives of "it is important to learn about the world and inform other people about what you learn", "what we can detect with our senses informs us about the world", and "it is important to tell the truth" in order to motivate its collection and dissemination.
>As a scientific idea, biological evolution has the appeal of a successful theory. It makes predictions (we should find transitional forms, we should find increasingly simple forms further back in the record, things that seem closely related by one line of evidence should be similar in other ways, etc.) that are widely confirmed, so scientists believe it to be useful.
>On the other hand, muddled concepts of biological evolution and Genesis 1-10 have been been widely used to try to discredit the Bible. We are sinful but do not want to admit it, so excuses for dismissing the Bible are always popular. However, this is a misuse of both science and Genesis.
2(a) Let me focus first on '...excuses for dismissing the Bible are
always popular'. Why this should be so leads us to the crux of the
matter under discussion. The Bible informs us that fallen man is an
enemy of God ; that his heart is 'deceitful and desperately wicked'
(Jer.17:9); that 'every inclination of his (man's) heart is evil from
childhood' (Gn.8:21). As Christians, therefore, we should be alive to
these things; and particularly since evidences of their truth lie within
us and around us! Well has Jesus said, "...apart from me you can do
nothing." (Jn.15:5). It is therefore reasonable to conclude that our
only safe course as Christians is to accept unreservedly the teachings
of the Lord and of the Apostles.
2(b) You claim that 'biological evolution has the appeal of a successful
theory'. But where is the conclusive evidence that evolution was the
process used by God to achieve his purposes? Where are these
transitional forms? And are such mythical creatures likely to be
functionally viable anyway in a 'survival of the fittest' scenario? The
data available to us is surely capable of a different interpretation -
one that is more in keeping with the literal requirements of Genesis 1.
For obvious reasons, atheists won't accept there is an alternative. But
why must TEs?
Matters of eternal significance to the human soul are so frequently
obscured in this life by a desire to achieve conformity with what are
essentially atheistic claims. Isn't it safer for us to accept the plain
language of scripture regarding the universality of Noah's flood, for
example, than to risk the fate referred to by Peter in his second letter
(2Pet.3:16). My belief is that the practice of distorting the scriptures
to accomodate the requirements of evolution - as occurs so readily these
days among Christians - is a recipe for disaster!
> > 3) I am troubled by the clear statements (Gn.1:20-25) that birds were created before land animals. How do you accomodate this fact within a divinely-ordained evolutionary process?
>I am troubled by the clear statements that creation took six days (Gen. 1) and one day (Gen. 2:4) and that forty-nine years is one day (Lv. 25:8) unless I conclude that the days of Gen. 1 are not referring to time. Of course, it would also be possible for God to have evolved birds from aquatic ancestors; however, the evidence from creation is against that.
3(a) On this occasion I wasn't really looking for an argument on the
meaning of 'day' in this context but rather to point to an interesting
inversion in the generally-accepted evolutionary sequence. This matter
alone, I suggest, presents the TE with a real problem. Believing God to
be sovereign in respect of an evolutionary creation, how - logically -
is he able to question a statement (that could only have come from God!)
regarding the order in which the created forms appeared? Clearly, it
just doesn't make sense - but it is typical of the muddled thinking that
is taking place these days.
3(b) Believing the Genesis sequence to be correct, this suggests that an
evolutionary reading of the fossil data is incorrect.
In conclusion, I observe that you have omitted to refer to my 4th
observation - the one concerning the numerical patterns underlying
Genesis 1:1. It is my belief that until these are recognised, and
incorporated into the global database, all discussions of the kind in
which we are now engaged can achieve very little in furthering the cause