DWISE1'S CREATION / EVOLUTION QUOTES


Here are some quotes that I have gathered relating to creation/evolution. They are arranged alphabetically by source.

It should be pointed out that in creation/evolution, quotes are presented to make a certain point. My list of quotes here is no exception. I believe that most of these quotes show that:

  1. creationists do teach that their faith would be falsified if evolution and other scientific findings are true,
  2. that many Christians have lost or nearly lost their faith because of creation science, and
  3. that many people are driven away from Christianity because of creation science.


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Book of Job 13:7-12 (King James Version):
  1. Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
  2. Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
  3. Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye [so] mock him?
  4. He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
  5. Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?
  6. Your remembrances [are] like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.

The same passages as quoted from the Living Bible:
"Must you go on 'speaking for God' when He never once has said the things that you are putting in His mouth? Does God want your help if you are going to twist the truth for Him? Be careful that He doesn't find out what you are doing! Or do you think you can fool God as well as men? No, you will be in serious trouble with Him if you use lies to try to help Him out. Doesn't His majesty strike terror to your heart? How can you do this thing? These tremendous statements you have made have about as much value as ashes. Your defense of God is as fragile as a clay vase!"

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"De Genese ad litteram", Saint Augustine, fourth century:
"It very often happens that there is some question as to the earth or the sky, or the other elements of this world -- respecting which one who is not a Christian has knowledge derived from most certain reasoning or observation, and it is very disgraceful and mischievous and of all things to be carefully avoided, that a Christian speaking of such matters as being according to the Christian Scriptures, should be heard by an unbeliever talking such nonsense that the unbeliever perceiving him to be as wide of the mark as east from west, can hardly restrain himself from laughing.

"And the real evil is not that a man is subjected to derision because of his error, but it is that to profane eyes, our authors (that is to say, the sacred authors) are regarded as having had such thoughts; and are also exposed to blame and scorn upon the score of ignorance, to the greatest possible misfortune of people whom we wish to save. For, in fine, these profane people happen upon a Christian busy in making mistakes on a subject which they know perfectly well; how, then, will they believe these holy books? How will they believe in the resurrection of the dead and in the hope of life eternal, and in the kingdom of heaven, when, according to an erroneous assumption, these books seem to them to have as their object those very things which they, the profane, by their direct experience or by calculation which admits of no doubt? It is impossible to say what vexation and sorrow prudent Christians meet with through these presumptuous and bold spirits who, taken to task one day for their silly and false opinion, and realizing themselves on the point of being convicted by men who are not obedient to the authority of our holy books, wish to defend their assertions so thoughtless, so bold, and so manifestly false. For they then commence to bring forward as a proof precisely our holy books, or again they attribute to them from memory that which seems to support their opinion, and they quote numerous passages, understanding neither the texts they quote, nor the subject about which they are making statement."

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Orson Scott Card, Secular Humanist Revival Meeting (quoted from memory):
"But my heart goes out to those well-meaning mamas and papas who send their children to the "God's World" [creation science] class. Now the stupid children are safe enough; they will just laugh at evolution and be happy fools for the rest of their days. But the parents of the smart children live in dread of the day that they know will come, when their child comes home from school and says: 'Today I learned what evolution really is and YOU LIED TO ME! If you lied to me about that, then what else did you lie to me about? Did you lie about the Resurrection? About Sin and Redemption? About loving my neighbor? Was it all just lies? How could I ever believe you again?'

"To all those well-meaning mamas and papas, I say that this book [indicating the "God's World" creation science textbook], this book is full of lies. If you can only defend your faith by lying about what others believe, then you stop right there. Your faith is doomed. The best of your children will not follow you. You are the Last Generation."

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Theodosius Dobzhansky:, American Biology Teacher vol.35 (March 1973):
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

Theodosius Dobzhansky, American Biology Teacher, 25:125-129, p. 129:
"Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light, it becomes a pile of sundry facts -- some of them interesting or curious, but making no meaningful picture as a whole."

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Ed, formerly "ceaa151b@aol.com", from http://people.ne.mediaone.net/ixthus/a7.html.":
"Since then, I have corresponded with several Christians who have traveled the same path as I have. One thing that is always agreed upon is the damage young-earth creationism can do to souls; how many believers they have seen fall away. We have been taught that the Bible demands a young earth interpretation and when the facts of nature become inescapable - our faith becomes shattered! My pastor was wrong, the opposite was the case. If "R" had been offered the truth from the beginning, he would never have experienced the turmoil he went through. When "R" could no longer deny that the universe was billions of years old, the only option left for him was to deny the Bible. How many others have been disheartened in like manner?"

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Paul Ellwanger, author of the "Balanced Treatment" model bill on which Arkansas Act 590 was based, from the closing of a letter written to Tom Bethell, which was admitted as evidence and cited by Judge Overton in his Decision of the Court:
"... -- the idea of killing evolution instead of playing these debating games that we've been playing for nigh over a decade already."

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JP Hunt, student in Ray Baird's 1980 "balanced treatment" class at Emma C. Smith Elementary School, Livermore, CA, in "Creation vs Evolution: Battle in the Classroom", KPBS-TV, aired 7 July 1982:
"Someone that I know has become an atheist because of this class, because the creationist theory was so stupid, he thought. Well, if religion requires me to believe this, then I don't want to have any part of it."

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Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science, John Knox Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984, page 26:
"It may be true that scientism and evolutionism (not science and evolution) are among the causes of atheism and materialism. It is at least equally true that biblical literalism, from its earlier flat-earth and geocentric forms to its recent young-earth and flood-geology forms, is one of the major causes of atheism and materialism. Many scientists and intellectuals have simply taken the literalists at their word and rejected biblical materials as being superseded or contradicted by modern science. Without having in hand a clear and persuasive alternative, they have concluded that it is nobler to be damned by the literalists than to dismiss the best testimony of research and reason. Intellectual honesty and integrity demand it."

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"Footprints in the Dust", by Revd. Dr. Ernest Lucas, Tutor in Biblical Studies at Bristol Baptist College, http://www.csis.org.uk/Articles/Papers/Paper1/paper1.htm:
[After critiquing the moondust claims in Henry Morris' Scientific Creationism (1974) and in Richard Milton's The Facts of Life (1992), both of which were based solely on a 1960 article in Scientific American: ] "Does the failure of these authors to be up to date really matter ? Yes, for several reasons. First of all, Christians should be concerned about the truth. The God we are committed to is the God of truth (John 15:26). Of all people, Christians should be most punctilious about using only those arguments that are based on sound methods of scholarship and the best evidence available. This is a matter of obedient Christian discipleship, not simply a desire to look good in the eyes of other scholars. Secondly, following from this, it is dishonouring to God when Christian scholars are found to be using sloppy arguments based on out-of-date evidence - and I know secular scholars who have little respect for Christianity because of this.

"Finally, it is a matter of considerable pastoral and evangelistic importance. Christian scholars who wrongly claim to be presenting sound 'scientific' arguments are misleading their fellow Christians who read their books. Most of these readers do not have either the opportunity or the inclination to check up on the reliability of the arguments used and evidence presented. Some of those readers may in time be stumbled in their faith because of their misplaced confidence in what they have read. Christian students who, with more zeal than wisdom, confidently confront lecturers with arguments culled from books like "Scientific Creationism" have sometimes been made to look foolish when the lecturer has been able to show that the argument does not stand up to the evidence, even the evidence available when it was first put forward. That has not only shaken the faith of the Christians, but Undermined their witness to their fellow students. Perhaps publishers of books on 'scientific creationism', and the managers of bookshops which sell them, ought to consider putting a spiritual health warning on them."

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Attributed to David Milne by Fred Edwords, 1984:
"Creationism is more fun than science!"

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Bill Morgan, Creation Science Association of Orange County newsletter, Jun 98:
"It would be a disaster for well meaning Christian parents to spend a large amount of money to finance their child's education so that they may attend a private Christian college, only to find out it killed their trust of the Bible.
...
"Of the schools in Southern California that replied [to questions about whether science department took a stand on whether God used evolution to create and how old the earth was], Ken Ham said only Master's College and Christian Heritage College took a stand to trust Genesis (I am sure Southern California College in Costa Mesa would pass this test too). Parents, be very careful and check out where you are sending your precious children."

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Glenn R. Morton, http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/auth.htm.":
"After receiving a B. S. in Physics I spent one year in graduate school studying the philosophy of science. I entered the oil industry as a seismic processer where I began to learn geology on the job. Before this education in geology was complete, I published 27 articles and notes in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, presented a paper at the first International Conference on Creationism, and ghost wrote the evolution section in Josh McDowell's book Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity. During this period I switched sub-disciplines within geophysics and began to interpret seismic data. There was a major problem; the data I was seeing at work, was not agreeing with what I had been taught as a Christian. Doubts about what I was writing and teaching began to grow. Unfortunately, my fellow young earth creationists were not willing to listen to the problems.

"By 1986, the growing doubts about the ability of the widely accepted creationist viewpoints to explain the geologic data led to a nearly 10 year withdrawal from publication. Eventually my doubts about the reliability grew so large that I was driven to the edge of becoming an atheist."

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Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research in a letter (emphasis is mine):
"The evolution model, in general terms, is not just Darwinism, but any naturalistic concept of origins (including most of the world's religions, ancient and modern). The creation model, in general terms, is not just the Biblical record, but any cosmogony which postulates a transcendent personal Creator to account for the universe and its basic components. Evolution says one CAN explain the origin and development of all things in terms of continuing, natural processes. Creation says one CANNOT so explain them."

Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, Biblical Cosmology, page 33:
"No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of Scripture."

Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, Science, Scripture, and the Young Earth, page 6:
"The data of geology, in our view, should be interpreted in light of Scripture, rather than distorting Scripture to accommodate current geological philosophy."

Henry Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974 [1985 2nd ed.], p. 255:
"There seems to be no possible way to avoid the conclusion that if the Bible and Christianity are true at all, the geologic ages must be rejected altogether."

John Morris, What is the Purpose of Creation Ministry, in Institute for Creation Research Back to Genesis Report No. 78, June 1995:

"If evolution is true, then the Bible is not true."

John Morris as reported at the 1986 International Conference on Creationism:
"If the earth is more than 10,000 years old then Scripture has no meaning."

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Scott Rauch, http://www.calvin.edu/archive/evolution/199801/0077.html:
"I still hold some anger because I believe the evangelical Christian community did not properly prepare me for the creation/evolution debate. They gave me a gun loaded with blanks, and sent me out. I was creamed."

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Reported by Robert Schadewald at the 1986 International Conference on Creationism:
"[Glenn R. Morton, practicing petroleum geologist and staunch creationist, asked John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR)], 'How old is the earth?' 'If the earth is more than 10,000 years old then Scripture has no meaning.' Morton then said that he had hired several graduates of Christian Heritage College [which formerly housed the ICR], and that all of them suffered severe crises of faith. They were utterly unprepared to face the geological facts every petroleum geologist deals with on a daily basis."

Corroborated by Glenn Morton in Why I left Young-earth Creationism.

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Evangelical Christian and Ph.D. candidate in geology, Steven Schimmrich, Kenneth Ham and the Dinosaurs (site currently under construction):
"'Why should I care?'

"If you're not a Christian, you should care because creationists are trying to get this type of garbage taught in public schools as "science." This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, science and teaching it as such is the equivalent of teaching astrology in astronomy classes or crystal healing in geology classes. If you care about the education of our children, then you should care about this issue.

"If you are a Christian, you should care because this stuff is being taught in Christian schools (students from Judah Christian School in Champaign, Illinois were taken to the Answers in Genesis seminar). What happens when these children learn more about science and find out that they were lied to - that dinosaurs and man could never have coexisted, that there is abundant evidence for an old earth and no evidence whatsoever for a young one, and that the fossil record does not support a Biblical flood model? Will they conclude that they were lied to about other things as well? Lied to about Jesus Christ and the resurrection?

"I think Christians should be scrupulously honest and above reproach when they are engaged in scholarly pursuits such as science. Instead they have a reputation for being a bunch of loons. It harms the cause of Christ."

Evangelical Christian and Ph.D. candidate in geology, Steven Schimmrich, What is a Creationist? (site currently under construction):
"I've read many of the materials written by young-earth creationists such as Steve Austin, Thomas Barnes, Carl Baugh, Duane Gish, Ken Ham, Henry Morris, John Morris, Gary Parker, and Harold Slusher among others. I'm also very familiar with the material put out by Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society. In addition, I've also attended lectures and seminars by several well-known young-earth creationists.

"In general, I've been dismayed by the lack of scholarship, research, and ethics displayed by these men who claim to be devout Christians. They totally misrepresent mainstream science and scientists, ignore evidence contrary to their claims, and display an amazing ignorance of even the most basic fundamentals of science and scientific inquiry. Their materials are aimed toward laypeople who are in no position to evaluate their claims. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but who is better qualified to judge the accuracy of K-Ar dating, an evangelist who reads creationist literature and has never taken a physics or geology course in his life or a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry (who may also be a devout Christian) who has spent 25 years studying K-Ar dating in granites?"

Evangelical Christian and Ph.D. candidate in geology, Steven Schimmrich, What is a Creationist? (site currently under construction):
"In science, skepticism is a virtue. If the claims of young-earth creationists are true, virtually all of modern science is grossly in error. If you want to overturn all of science, you had better have extremely compelling evidence. I have found, in my own personal experience, that when many creationist claims are critically examined they completely fall apart."

Evangelical Christian and Ph.D. candidate in geology, Steven Schimmrich, What is a Creationist? (site currently under construction):
"I do believe that there are some real problems in evolutionary biology -- primarily in the areas of abiogenesis and human evolution. I also believe that there is evidence for "intelligent design" in the world that is ignored by many scientists because of the axiom of methodological naturalism in scientific inquiry. Unfortunately, it's difficult to discuss such issues with most scientists because the waters have been muddied so much by the poor-quality work done by the young-earth creationists. I also believe that the issue of creationism has prevented many people in science from seriously investigating Christianity because of their mistaken belief that you have to "check your brain at the door" before becoming a Christian."

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Dr. Eugenie Scott, National Center for Science Education (NCSE) Executive Director, quoted from memory and summarized:
She revealed that many colleges, especially those in the "Bible Belt", do not teach evolution to their biology students, so many degreed biologists out there have had no training in evolution. Then she related her own experiences teaching the lower-division physical anthropology course, in which she definitely did cover evolution. Every semester, a few biology seniors would enroll in her class looking for an easy A. In every such case, at some point in the semester, she would see the "ah-ha!" light suddenly come on in those students' heads as they said to themselves, "So that's why ..." Dr. Scott offered this as living confirmation of Dobzhansky's famous quote, that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

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Steve Smith, http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/ssmith.htm.":
"There is a very real danger in these pronouncements [by Christian sources, including the ICR, that if evolution is true then neither the Bible nor Christianity can be true]. When one bases their faith upon the rise or fall of a scientific theory, they are on real "sinking sand." When I left for college, I believed these sorts of either/or statements - many people do. If I had learned the facts of geology or biology or physics or astronomy or anthropology or geochronology or ... under the teaching of someone other than a godly professor, the crisis to my faith would have been much more severe. I feel it is very unlikely that I would be a Christian today. I would probably be a bitter agnostic and not because of science but because my Christianity set me up to fail.

"I suppose that is why this Creation/Evolution issue is so important to me. I know that I sometimes talk about this topic so much that others get tired of hearing it. I know my wife does and I'm sure that my pastor does too. But when one has a close call with spiritual death, it becomes a critical issue. Every year, I see young Christians go away to college with the idea that science, in one form or another, is some sort of Satanic conspiracy. Sooner or later they end up struggling with their faith in the light of new knowledge. Some will survive because their faith is strong enough to overcome any evidence - many do not. I have met some bitter people who left the church because they believe that their religion "lied to them". I hate seeing this when I believe that it is so unnecessary. We as Christians need to be real clear about what is important to our faith and what is not."

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Gregg Wilkerson, co-founder of Students for Origins Research and former young-earth creationist, at the 1990 International Conference on Creationism:
"Creationism by and large attracts few to the gospel, but it turns many away."

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John Wilkins, Head of Communication Services, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, in newsgroup message to Glenn R. Morton, quoted in "The Effect of Scientific Error in Christian Apologetics" at http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/whocares.htm:
"Any faith that cannot live in the world as it is, is defective, and not to be considered by a rational thinker, on pain of self-contradiction."

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Two unnamed contemporaries of Darwin quoted in Andrew Dickson White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Second printing, 1917, p. 71-72:
"If the Darwinian theory is true, Genesis is a lie, the whole framework of the book of life falls to pieces, and the revelation of God to man, as we Christians know it, is a delusion and a snare."
"If this hypothesis be true, then is the Bible an unbearable fiction; ... than have Christians for nearly two thousand years been duped by a monstrous lie. ... Darwin requires us to disbelieve the authoritative word of the Creator."

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A Christian who opposed creation science on CompuServe's Science Forum, 1997, summarized from memory:
Satan, being the Great Deceiver, never creates a lie by itself, but rather always creates lies in pairs. The first and lesser lie is intended to alarm the faithful and to drive them to embrace the second and more pernicious lie, trapping them there. That Christian viewed both creation science and evolution as lies, but evolution was the lesser lie which Satan uses to frighten Christians and to drive them to embrace the truly pernicious lie, creation science.

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http://members.aol.com/steamdoc/writings/apologetics.html Science and Christian Apologetics Allan H. Harvey steamdoc@aol.com Preface This was not originally written as an essay; it was a talk delivered to the Couples fellowship of First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, Colorado, on March 25, 2001, as part of a series on apologetics. What follows is the text for the talk, except that it has been edited in a few places where there were references to local people and situations that would not mean anything to the reader who encounters this on the WWW. Also in a few places I have fleshed out into complete English things that I had as shorthand references in my speaking notes. Science and Christian Apologetics A previous speaker talked about there being 2 categories of apologetics: positive apologetics (making the case for Christianity), and negative apologetics (answering objections). In talking about science today, I’m going to deal with answering objections. I have sympathy for some of the positive arguments (the Big Bang [consistent with the Biblical beginning], and the fine-tuning of universe so that we can exist). The arguments related to biology have a pretty bad track record, so I’d tend to avoid those. But that’s not today’s topic. Maybe I can start by saying I wish this talk wasn’t necessary. I think science has become a bigger apologetic problem than it should be, and, I hate to say, a lot of that is our fault as the church. Not because we don’t know enough science (though that can be a problem, too), but because we’ve got some basic misunderstandings about how science and nature fit into Christian theology. So I’m not going to talk much about science, I’m going to talk about what I think are the real sources of our problems. If we can get those things straight, I think most of the apologetic problems go away. I want to start with an observation about apologetics in general. When people say they reject Christianity, a lot of the time what they’re really rejecting is something else. Maybe they’re rejecting televangelists, or some hypocrisy they saw in their parents or their parents’ church, maybe they’re rejecting the politics of the Christian Coalition, or some opinion about science that they think is an essential part of the faith. I think an important part of apologetics is to recognize these misconceptions and clear them out of the way so people can consider the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ. There may be things they’ll reject there (Paul said the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing), but at least then you’re dealing with the real issues and not these distractions. I have an example of this from my own experience. When I was working on my Ph.D., I shared a lab with a man from Taiwan named Albert. One day there was an evangelist making noise on campus, and Albert asked me a question out of the blue: “How can you be a Christian and believe all that Creationism stuff?” I managed to mumble something about how “that stuff” wasn’t what Christianity was all about. But Albert’s question had illustrated the problems we have with science and apologetics. Albert knew that the claims of so-called “creation science” about the Earth being only 6000 years old and so forth were ridiculous, like saying the Earth was flat. Can’t blame him for not wanting to be associated with that nonsense. But what’s worse is that that was the first thing that came to Albert’s mind about Christianity. Not the death and resurrection of Jesus. Not even the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments. The anti-science noise had drowned out the Gospel so all Albert had heard was a false Gospel, one that was centered in a particular interpretation of Genesis rather than being centered in Christ. [Gal. 1:6-9] Of course another problem was that, in the 2 or 3 years I had known Albert, I had failed to share my faith with him well enough to correct his misconceptions. Fortunately for me, that’s not our topic today. My concern is what can we do to correct the misconceptions that people have (both people like Albert and some Christians) that the findings of science (geology, astronomy, biological sciences [including evolution]) are incompatible with Christianity, that embracing Jesus means rejecting science. And it’s a serious problem. It’s serious because there are people like Albert out there who know science, and we put stumbling blocks in the way of them even considering Jesus. You hear missionaries talk about unreached people groups; here’s a group of people that aren’t hearing the Gospel because they can’t get past the huge credibility barrier put up by the things some Christians say about science. But it’s also serious because of its effects on Christians, and I’m especially worried about children. If we teach our children that they have to choose between science and faith, we're setting them up for a fall. Because some of them are going to grow up and study the real world God made and learn that what the church has told them about science is false. If we’ve taught them that the Gospel or the truth of the Bible depends on those things, then its like the house built on sand, their foundation gets washed away, and their faith may go with it. I think Jesus had some words about those who set people up to stumble on issues like this: [Luke 17:1-2] “Stumbling blocks are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.” So, how do we give our children a foundation that won’t crumble the first time they take a college science class, and how do we keep science from being a stumbling block to people like Albert? I’ve thought about these things a lot, and I’ve decided that at the root of our problems are two fundamental mistakes, and both of them involve taking our human philosophy and letting it dictate to God what he can and can’t do. I hope you’d all agree that dictating to God isn’t a good idea. The first problem is dictating to God how he can communicate to us in Scripture. People have come up with doctrines about the Bible, using words like inerrancy or perfection, and I’m not saying those doctrines are wrong. But sometimes they’re so extreme that they don’t allow God to use stories or figurative language to communicate truth (which is silly since Jesus taught that way all the time). Or they don’t allow God to use simplified concepts in order to get his point across. For example, when Genesis was written people thought there was a solid dome above the Earth holding back the waters above, so God used that framework in Genesis (firmament in Gen. 1), but some people can’t allow that. Those are what you might call “fundamentalist” views, but they creep into the rest of the church, to the point where a lot of people want to treat Genesis as a science textbook, and they think for it to be true all the details have to “line up” with science. That’s a bad approach for two reasons. First, it just doesn’t work – to make all the details “line up” you have to twist science or twist Scripture or both (Genesis doesn’t even line up with itself in that sense, because the order of creation is different between Ch. 1 and Ch. 2). But, maybe more important, reading it that way dishonors God as the Author of Scripture. Imagine what Jesus would have thought if after he told the parable of the sower, one of the disciples had said “Thanks for that informative lesson about agriculture.” Jesus wasn’t teaching about agriculture, he was using agricultural images that the people were familiar with to teach about responding to the Gospel. Any time we’re reading the Bible we should be asking what’s the message, what’s God’s purpose here. Genesis is teaching important things like how the stuff we see around us isn’t divine, it’s all the creation of God, and we are too. To try to get scientific details of how that happened out of Genesis is asking it questions God wasn’t trying to answer, and I don’t think God wants us to do that. As Peter Barnes put it in a sermon a year or two ago, what matters is the fact of Creation, not the means of creation. I also like the line attributed to Galileo: “The purpose of the Bible is to tell us how to go to Heaven, not to tell us how the heavens go.” If we can remember that, we can avoid the apologetic problems that come from trying to defend some scientific claim that the Bible really isn’t making. So that’s take-home point #1: The Bible is not a science textbook. The second problem where we dictate to God is telling him how he is and isn’t allowed to create. There’s a common view that the world runs completely on its own, except maybe for a few interventions where God sticks his hand in and does something. Of course atheists have this view (and then they say that the number of interventions is zero), but a lot of Christians have it too, they have the idea that in order for something to really “count” as God’s work, it can’t be natural, God has to have worked in some sort of miraculous interventionist way. There’s actually a name for that, it’s called “God of the Gaps” theology. “God of the Gaps” theology divides the world into 2 categories. There’s things we can’t explain (gaps in our understanding where we say “that’s where God is” [in primitive times thunder and lightning were gaps]). The second category is things where we do have a natural explanation, and therefore God isn’t in those places. The result of “God of the Gaps” theology is that every time science finds a natural explanation for something, one more gap closes up and God gets squeezed closer to nonexistence. This forces Christians who have this theology to attack science in order to make room for God. Maybe my most important message today is that this “God of the Gaps” theology is wrong. The reason it’s wrong is that God is sovereign over nature. (Take-home point #2) The Bible tells us that everything that exists is upheld by God’s power. God isn’t just in the gaps, he’s the creator and sustainer of the whole fabric of creation, including the things we call “natural.” So what does God’s sovereignty over nature mean for our apologetics? It means that science isn’t any threat to Christianity. Scientific results don’t count as points against God, they’re just uncovering how God did things. It means that if somebody has the idea that some scientific explanation (evolution or whatever) has eliminated God, the wrong thing to do is to argue against the science – that’s defending the God of the Gaps and it’s a losing strategy (unfortunately, it’s the strategy of a lot of Christians). The right thing to do is to remember that God is sovereign over nature, that the atheist argument that natural explanations mean God is absent isn’t science, it’s completely unjustified philosophy. We can tell people that natural explanations may eliminate the God of the Gaps, but they don’t eliminate the Christian God. Now, if you were listening carefully, you heard me mention the E-word – Evolution (term that really needs to be carefully defined, but we don’t have time). In some places, especially more fundamentalist circles, there’s a knee-jerk reaction that the E-word is anti-Christian, it’s evil. It may be a new concept for some people that the theory of evolution, whether it’s true or not, is at least OK from the standpoint of Christian theology. So I want to make that point with a less controversial example. Let’s talk about rain. We know several atmospheric scientists at NCAR who could explain how rain happens, and it would be an entirely natural explanation, there’d be no point where they’d say “and this is where God intervened.” But the Bible tells us that God is responsible for rain. So is the Bible wrong? Or maybe we should condemn our friends at NCAR for promoting these naturalistic, atheistic theories of weather? No, we just have to remember that God is sovereign over nature, so explanations on a natural level are perfectly compatible with the Biblical teaching that, on some higher level, God is the one making the rain. Now, most of us have no problem applying that logic with rain. But with the evolution of life, logic goes out the window and you hear things like “Darwinian evolution explains things in terms of natural mechanisms with no reference to God, so Christians have to oppose it.” But that’s just like saying we should oppose the explanations of rain. Just like rain or gravity or any other natural explanation, we need to realize that evolution doesn’t mean God is out of the picture. Now that I’ve pointed out our two apologetic problems (trying to make the Bible a science textbook, having a God of the Gaps rather than God who is sovereign over nature), where do we go from here? First, we can get our own house in order. We can learn to read the Bible with its purposes in mind, and not try to ask it questions it isn’t trying to answer. We can reject any false Gospel that depends on a particular interpretation of how God created. We can affirm God’s sovereignty over nature and reject the “God of the Gaps.” If we can keep our children away from that horrible teaching that says Genesis 1 has to be true according to somebody’s narrow literal interpretation or else we might as well throw our Bibles in the trash, and if we can get them to understand that scientific explanations don’t mean God didn’t do something, they just tell us how God did something, they’ll be much better prepared to face the world. Second, we can be ready to give people good answers. If they say that science contradicts the Bible, we can tell them that the Bible isn’t making any scientific claims about those things. If they think that scientific explanations have eliminated God, rather than argue against the science, we can point out that natural explanations of how things happened don’t eliminate the Christian God, because our God is in charge of the whole picture, not just the gaps where we don’t have explanations. If they want to argue “creation vs. evolution,” we can point out that it’s not a “versus” – those aren’t mutually exclusive opposites, they’re answers to two different questions. “Creation” is the answer to “What is all this?” All this is the creation of God. “Evolution” is the answer, or a plausible answer, to the different question, the less important question, “How did God do it?” Finally, we need to remember that these science things are not the real issue. Jesus Christ is the issue. These arguments are stumbling blocks, obstacles in the road to be moved aside so people can hear the Gospel. That’s a danger of some of those arguments for the existence of God – if you’ve convinced somebody of the existence of God or some sort of Designer, “that and a quarter might buy them a Coke.” Sometimes that might be a first step, but we always have to remember that the real destination is the Gospel, the real destination is Jesus. In closing, I want to recommend a couple of books that I think will be helpful on these issues. The best introductory book in my opinion is The Galileo Connection by Charles Hummel. I can also recommend a new book, Toward a Christian View of a Scientific World by George Murphy which is fairly introductory. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this essay are the opinion of the author of this essay alone and should not be taken to represent the views of any other person or organization. Page last modified March 25, 2001


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First uploaded on 1999 February 26.
Last updated on 2001 April 21.

E-Mail Address: dwise1@aol.com.