Monday, 10 June 2013

Understanding God's Word Through His Creation - 10


While the conflict between science and religion is a 19th century myth invented to serve as an anti-religious polemic, the conflict between theologically conservative Protestantism and militant atheism, based on the former’s rejection of evolution is very much real, and is leading to the loss of faith of those who are well aware of the evidence for evolution, but believe that there are only two options – evolution and atheism on one hand, and special creationism on the other.

Framing the debate in this way is misleading, as it ignored both the historically positive reception accorded to Darwin by late 19th century evangelical scholars, as well as the fact that today, the overwhelming majority of evangelical biologists and geologists accept evolution and have no problem accepting science and the Bible. While our community has never accepted evolution officially, it has traditionally had an open mind towards science. The example of CC Walker is instructive here in that not only did he accept mainstream science as an accurate witness to the natural world, he recognised that the creation narratives were not given to teach science, but emphasise that it was God, and not the false deities who created the world. In other words, Genesis was given to tell who created the world and why, not how.

Publicly attacking evolution is now backfiring on us, with a number of prominent Christadelphians who have made a point of attacking evolution being criticised mercilessly by defenders of mainstream science, and the resultant post-mortems being posted on-line. These serve not only as terrible publicity for our cause, but should remind us that attacking evolution is not the hill on which we should elect to fight and die.

In fact, we should be capitalising on the fact that Christadelphian theology is relatively immune to attack from evolution, as we do not believe in original sin. In fact, it is quite probable that Protestant Christianity may well end up rejecting both Original Sin and the immortality of the soul, as both cannot be consistently integrated into an evolutionary framework. It will be ironic if evolution turned out to be the best friend Christadelphian theology ever had, and tragic if we fail to seize this unique opportunity. 

This article first appeared on my Facebook page here