October 19, 2017

Three Views of Science (2)

Al Isaak

(This is part 2, part 1 appears here.)

The Compromise View

faith-for-the-familyWhile antagonism is not a justifiable view of science, neither is the imaginary harmony of evolutionary “theories” and the first chapter of Genesis. “Theistic evolution,” as it is called, has been popularized by such men as Bernard Ramm, and has found its way into an alarming number of pulpits and Sunday schools.

Evolution is often presented as verified knowledge, but it cannot even be classified as science because no human has observed any part of the “amoeba to man” transformation. The teachings of evolution are not even theories or hypotheses. A “theory applies to an explanation that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle explaining a large number of’ related facts, occurrences, or other phenomena in nature, mechanics … an hypothesis applies to a proposed explanation for a certain group of facts, admittedly unproved, but accepted for the time being as highly probable or as an experimental guide” (World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, Vol. 2 [Field Enterprises Educational Corp., Chicago, 1965], p. 2028).

The so-called “evidences” which are contrived to support evolutionary “theories” — fossil record, dating methods, homologous structures -when examined carefully, actually support the Christian’s faith in·creation by God and the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis 6-8.

Many scientists, including a number of professing Christians, categorize evolution with science. The Dewey Decimal Classification system used in most libraries even incorporates this inaccuracy by grouping evolutionary theories with the sciences while creation is grouped with religions. It would be more accurate to classify both evolution and creation with religions because both are based on faith.

There are several reasons why professing Christians have been unable to distinguish the vast difference between the teaching of Scripture and evolutionary “theories.” Many people simply have not been taught correctly-they have not heard the truth about Scripture or evolution. Others feel that the issue is not worth investigating. They may be tempted to adopt the position of Norman MacBeth and say, “It is refreshing and profitable to look at the phenomena of life with the unreasoning wonder of a child” (Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason [Gambit Inc., Boston, 1971], p. 145). But we are no longer children. We need reasonable answers rather than unreasoning wonder. Undoubtedly many people feel that it is unimportant how the first 11 chapters of Genesis are interpreted, or the first chapter of John’s Gospel, or any other portion of Scripture that reveals creation. But it is very important.

For a young Christian, the persuasive influence of a congenial, although unregenerate, biology or geology teacher may lead the student to replace his creationist convictions with acceptance of theistic evolution or similar ideas, such as threshold evolution, progressive creation, and scientific creationism. The student may temporarily rejoice, believing that he has finally conquered a great obstacle to clear thinking. But he will discover, sooner or later, that theistic evolution is untenable; and he will find himself in an even worse position than the creationist or the evolutionist.

The conditioning to tolerate theistic evolution actually began more than a century ago when Gregor Johann Mendel presented the results of garden pea plant studies. Mendel was attempting to demonstrate that we can predict, with a certain degree of accuracy, the characteristics of offspring. He gave reports in February and March of 1865 before about 40 members of the Natur-Forschenden Verein (Nature Searching Society) in Brunn, Moravia, but apparently none of the members recognized the significance of his discoveries. Mendel’s small audience didn’t comprehend his mathematical interpretation of heredity.

They also failed to notice that Mendel’s results were in conflict with Charles Darwin’s evolutionary “theories” published in the Origin of Species six years earlier. Darwin’s proposals, which were not based on experimental evidence, proposed that organisms are continually changing and producing new species. This is the false evolutionary premise of infinite time and infinite variation. Darwin’s unscientific “theories” have been revised many times, whereas Mendel’s mathematical interpretation of his data has been confirmed by hundreds of experiments with a variety of plants and animals.

After considering the implication of Mendel’s discoveries and Darwin’s “theories,” we should realize that they are directly opposed. But when we pick up a genetics book and read that “Mendel’s work was needed to explain how Darwin’s ideas of natural selection could operate” (Sullivan, Navin, The Message of the Genes [Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1967], p. 11), we must realize that we are being indoctrinated with an impossible merger of true science (Mendel) and pseudoscience (Darwin). Uncritical acceptance of this nonsense keeps the religious compromise of theistic evolution from disturbing our conscience.

We cannot correct the situation by condemning the men who first heard Mendel’s reports. Many of them perhaps did not understand Mendel’s mathematical insight, although some are said to have “ignored rather than tried to understand them” (Carson, Mapton L., Heredity and Human Life [Columbia University Press, New York, 1963], p. 201). Their minds were probably influenced by Darwin’s recent publication.

Mendel’s publication was “rediscovered” in 1900 by three botanists in three separate countries. “It was instantly recognized as unique and fundamental, and within a few years his ideas had beeri so confirmed and extended, not only for the plant with which he had worked, hut with so many species of animals and plants and even for man himself, that it became increasingly evident that here was a truth so general that it applied to the whole world of living things” (Dunn, L. C. and Dobzhansky, Theodosius, Heredity, Race, and Society [The New American Library, New York, 1952], pp. 46-48).

Neither Mendel nor Darwin can he ignored, so their writings are somehow blended in most modern biology books. There are various blends, but any manner in which the writings of these two men are mixed must -result in contradiction. In a similar way, purposeful creation by God and aimless, universal evolution are impossible to “cut and paste” together.

The Biblical View

For the Christian, there is no neutral ground on the issue of science. Our guiding principle should be: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We must return to the fundamentals in our study of science and the Bible for all other pathways eventually lead to destruction (II Peter 2:1, 2). If we fail to define the boundary between true science and pseudo-science, between our Biblical, creationist position and the theistic evolutionary position, we encourage our children to accept compromise in other areas, such as the miracles recorded in the Bible. An inaccurate definition of science and its relation to the Christian’s testimony hampers the spiritual growth of fundamental Christian churches and schools.

True science and the Bible complement each other. The Bible is not intended to be a science textbook but whenever it speaks about science it is completely accurate. This is true because God is omniscient and, therefore, His revelation to humans is always accurate.

A true view of science will strengthen Christians and expose false teachers; it will stimulate Christians to study to show themselves approved before God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15). We need dedicated believers who will diligently apply the Bible to science and who are able to expound accurately on both.

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Originally published in Faith for the Family, January / February 1974. Republished here by permission.


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