Teaching Evolution in the Church?

This post is in reaction to an article written by Paul Wallace that I read in the Huffington Post. In it Mr. Wallace writes about his efforts at teaching evolution in the Church.

What the author seems to assume is that belief in evolution is the only reasonable response to the question of origin. If evolution is the only reasonable explanation of what we see, then it would be foolish to deny that claim.

I will set aside the difficulties inherent in evolutionary theory because there are many voices more qualified than I to enumerate them. Even if we granted that evolution is an adequate explanation, it is not the only reasonable explanation.

My point is that those who hold that evolution is the only reasonable explanation of origin do so because of their fundamental assumption that there could not be a creator or intelligent designer. They do not find a creator because they assume that he cannot exist and therefore ignore any evidence that he does. The first wrong assumption is that God cannot exist and therefore he could not have created.

The second wrong assumption in this article is that there is a dichotomy between faith and reason. This is the “if you don’t pray in my school, I won’t think in your church” fallacy. God, in Scripture, does not ask us to suspend our reason, he asks us to allow him to transform it. Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that this transformation is the most reasonable response to God. In fact the word translated reasonable (NKJV) is logikos from which we get our word logical.

We do not suspend our reason in order to believe, but we do open ourselves to the possibility of God having acted in the past, present and future of human history. Without this possibility we do not have Christianity. The whole focus of Christianity is Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh who came specifically to intervene in human history on our behalf.

My question for those who would teach evolution in the church is why would you seek to undermine the foundational truths of Christianity and still try to call it Christian? Why call it Christian if you don’t want Christ? Call it whatever you want but it is not Christianity.

Perhaps the drive to undermine Christianity lies in the demands that Christ places upon us. Jesus doesn’t bid us come and evaluate his philosophy, he bids us come and die with him. He does not offer neatly packaged explanations of reality, he offers mystery. He does not offer transcendent conquest of life’s difficulties, he demands surrender and contentment.

At the core, I suspect that this evolution vs. creation debate is more of a submission issue than an intellectual one. If there is a God who is powerful enough to create what we see than it would be foolish to refuse submission to him.

Therefore since we refuse to submit, it is much easier to pretend God doesn’t exist. If I don’t look at him or acknowledge his presence, perhaps God will go away and leave me alone.

But then oh, how alone I would be.

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About Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.

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2 Comments on "Teaching Evolution in the Church?"

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3 years 8 months ago
I’m quite perplexed as to what you write here. If by “origin” you mean the creation of the universe then from what I read Paul Wallace (and many other Christians as well) do not believe that evolution explains that. Many Christians do however see evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth. I am confused as to why there is such opposition to evolution in Christian circles. What core doctrines does the diversification of life by a process of mutation and adaptation deny? You also misrepresent Paul Wallace by saying he assumes a dichotomy between faith… Read more »
Mike Croft
Mike Croft
3 years 3 months ago

I have found John Lennox’s position to be very helpful. He makes the distinction between mechanism, as described by our scientific examination of nature, and agency through philosophical revelation. In that respect, he doesn’t see any conflict between science and intelligent design, since one describes the “how” and one describes the “why” (or “who”).

The way he presents his arguments is very tactful towards Christians who might find that position difficult or offensive, which I find very refreshing.

If you have a spare hour or so, this is a good video of his on the subject: