LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Evangelical Christianity and evolution are incompatible beliefs that cannot be held together logically within a distinctly Christian worldview, R. Albert Mohler Jr. says in the Aug. 15 edition of TIME magazine.
TIME solicited the views of four experts with different answers to the question “Can you believe in God and evolution?” Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., comments from an evangelical Christian perspective.
Other participants include Francis Collins of the Human Genome Research Institute who argues for theistic evolution, Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker who articulates the naturalistic evolutionary position, and Lehigh University professor Michael Behe who makes a case for intelligent design.
Mohler, a young-Earth creationist, says the Bible is clear about the way in which God created the earth in six days. He argues that Christianity and evolution offer opposing views of human origins.
“Given the human tendency toward inconsistency, there are people who will say they hold both positions,” Mohler writes. “But you cannot coherently affirm the Christian-truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time.
“… I believe the Bible is adequately clear about how God created the world, and that its most natural reading points to a six-day creation that included not just the animal and plant species but the earth itself.
“But there have always been Evangelicals who asserted that it might have taken longer. What they should not be asserting is the idea of God’s having set the rules for evolution and then stepped back. And even less so, the model held by much of the scientific academy: of evolution as the result of a random process of mutation and selection.”
Pinker argues that the moral design of nature “is as bungled as its engineering design,” evidence itself that life did not arise from an intelligent and good creator.
“Many people who accept evolution still feel that a belief in God is necessary to give life meaning and to justify morality,” Pinker says. “But that is exactly backward. In practice, religion has given us stonings, inquisitions and 9/11. Morality comes from a commitment to treat others as we wish to be treated, which follows from the realization that none of us is the sole occupant of the universe. Like physical evolution, it does not require a white-coated technician in the sky.”
Behe says he does not reject Darwinian evolution on theological grounds but disagrees with it for scientific reasons. God could have made life any way He wanted to, says Behe, a Roman Catholic.
“I think God could have made life using apparently random mutation and natural selection,” Behe writes. “But my reading of the scientific evidence is that he did not do it that way, that there was a more active guiding.
“I think that we are all descended from some single cell in the distant past but that that cell and later parts of life were intentionally produced as the result of intelligent activity. As a Christian, I say that intelligence is very likely to be God.”
Collins, who considers himself a Christian, says believers may view evolution as a bona fide explanation for the origin of the universe.
“I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature,” Collins says. “… I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified.”
But theistic evolution usurps the biblical teaching of man being made in the image of God, Mohler says. Evangelicals must affirm the special creation of humans by the sovereign Creator who rules, cares for and governs His creation, Mohler says. The God of Scripture is not merely a “blind watchmaker” who steps back from His creation and watches in a detached fashion, Mohler says.
Stalwart evolutionists in recent years have moved away from theories that involve God, Mohler points out. While he disagrees vigorously with their views, Mohler says the evolutionist’s rejection of God and embrace of pure naturalism is more consistent than theistic evolution’s attempt to wed the God of the Bible with natural selection.
“I think it’s interesting that many of evolution’s most ardent academic defenders have moved away from the old claim that evolution is God’s means to bring life into being in its various forms,” he says.
“More of them are saying that a truly informed belief in evolution entails a stance that the material world is all there is and that the natural must be explained in purely natural terms. They’re saying that anyone who truly feels this way must exclude God from the story. I think their self-analysis is correct. I just couldn’t disagree more with their premise.”
To view the entire article, visit: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1090921-1,00.html.