Re: How to discuss evolution with friends. WAs RE: YEC and loss of faith:

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 15:37:12 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Is it legal to teach ID in schools?"

    Hi Shaun

    This is where the rubber meets the road, at least for me. I too attend a
    conservative evangelical church of quite some size. A very good one too, I
    add, with strong evangelism pastoral work and missionary support. There is good
    teaching and an emphasis on home groups and continuing education. There are a
    number of strong YEC folk there, and I periodically discover more. One lady
    actually works for AiG's local branch and I was harangued on Sunday by a guy (a
    psychiatrist) who tried to convince that I did not know anything about geology,
    that the YEC organisations were full of nobel prizes, and the vast majority of
    Christians in geology were YEC. At least we parted with his comment that "The
    important thing is that we love Jesus" and a handshake.

    In more than 25 years discussing, arguing and fighting (sometimes) this issue I
    think this exchange captures an important aspect. In the local church, the
    local expression of the body of Christ, we need to main this sense of unity,
    even in disagreement. Often it is not worth the damage to make an issue of it.
    But there are limits. Personally I don't say much unless I am asked. If I am
    asked I tell it is like it is. If it preached as a major part of a sermon, I
    object. When I speak that an alternative picture of Biblical authority and
    Divine action is presented. Above all, patience, love, and grace. That is the
    goal anyway, I often fall short of it.

    I would be interested in how people in positions of pastoral responsibility
    (Like Michael) cope.


    Shuan Rose wrote:

    > Hullo List,
    > In my opinion, the constant proprogation of YEC views as THE only true
    > interpretation of Genesis can lead to a loss of faith, as it almost did in
    > my life when I confronted the evidence for evolution. Evolution may not be
    > the perfect scientific explanation for the diversity and elaboration of
    > life, but it is better than OEC and incomparably better than YEC, which has
    > been completely falsified scientifically.
    > The next question for me is how I explain this to my YEC friends. I go to a
    > conservative evangelical church, and most folk there appear to be YEC. In
    > fact, the church puts out a tract attacking evolution as ungodly. When I
    > mentioned that I beleived in evolution, I was challenged on this. One of my
    > friends even wants the church to bring Answers in Genesis(GROAN) to town for
    > an evolution/creation debate!
    > My position is not helped by Dawkins & Provine, with their proof of
    > evolution = atheism formulas.
    > Its enough to make you wish for the simple life of an atheist!
    > Seriously though, I would like some guidance on how to deal with evolution
    > when the topic comes up with my YEC friends.
    > regards,
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On
    > Behalf Of george murphy
    > Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 7:48 AM
    > To: Walter Hicks
    > Cc: Ted Davis;;
    > Subject: Re: YEC and loss of faith
    > Walter Hicks wrote:
    > > george murphy wrote:
    > ...................................
    > > > & finally, my point stands that there is no good argument for
    > YEC beyond that
    > > > based on its dubious assumptions about the character of biblical
    > narratives.
    > >
    > > I once heard a viewpoint that says that God created the Universe with
    > > man in mind. In fact: that by the Gospel of John this is conveyed very
    > > clearly. If then the universe is created for man, is it so obvious that
    > > God would have it do 20 billion years of preparation for the coming of
    > > historical mankind. If that "history" is what is needed for the backdrop
    > > to mankind, then so be it. Do you think that God could not just as
    > > easily start the clock ticking some 10,000 years ago? Yeah, I know that
    > > you probably hate the "history built in" argument. Do I perhaps see an
    > > a-priori bias for "naturalism" that refuses to even consider anything
    > > else?
    > >
    > > I don't subscribe to YEC, but I think the arguments generally presented
    > > here don't hold overwhelming weight.
    > I don't think a full-blown evolutionary view of the world is a slam
    > dunk from the
    > standpoint of either science or theology. There are a number of things that
    > current
    > evolutionary theory hasn't explained well (in particular, the origin of
    > life), and there is
    > some latitude in biblical interpretation. I can understand how informed &
    > sensible people
    > can hold varieties of PC or OEC, though I think they're wrong in significant
    > ways. But YEC
    > is a quite different matter, & that's what we're talking about. It is
    > scientifically
    > worthless & theologically unnecessary.
    > God didn't create the universe simply with humanity in mind but
    > humanity indwelt by
    > God - i.e., for the Incarnation. See Eph.1:10 and Col.1:15-20. This
    > requires that there
    > be an intelligent species for the Logos to enperson. & if God acts to bring
    > about such a
    > species in the world through natural processes - so that it's possible for
    > that species to
    > understand the world on its own terms - then that species will arrive via
    > evolution. That
    > takes a long time - & all the anthropic "coincidences" then become of
    > theological
    > interest. But the whole idea is not simply an anthropic but a
    > _the_anthropic principle.
    > I'll be glad to send to anyone who's interested my article "The Incarnation
    > as a
    > Theanthropic Principle" which was published in _Word & World_ a few years
    > ago.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Interface"

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Feb 12 2002 - 16:14:11 EST