Why Do Evangelicals Doubt Evolution?

For outsiders like me, it can seem an utter mystery why intelligent, informed American adults remain skeptical about the truths of evolutionary science.

The BioLogos Foundation recently re-posted a 2010 video by evangelical scientist Jeffrey Schloss to help people like me understand evangelical skepticism.

Professor Schloss offers two main reasons why evangelicals oppose evolution.  The video is short and worth watching.  But the message is misleading.

Schloss argues that evangelical faith depends on the reliability of Scripture.  Accepting any ideas that challenge that reliability, he points out, would force evangelicals to make profound changes in their core religious beliefs.

Also, Schloss notes that some visions of evolution force evangelicals to doubt the omnipotence and benevolence of God.  If evolution implies a purposeless development of life, it must be rejected by evangelicals.

Such insights are important, but in the end they suggest misleading conclusions.

The vast majority of evangelicals who reject evolutionary science do not do so primarily for theological reasons, as Dr. Schloss suggests.  Rather, evangelicals who doubt evolution mostly do so due to their complex cultural identities as members of communities who doubt evolution.  In other words, evolution skepticism should not be understood as one rational decision among others, made by evangelicals (and others) based on reasoned theological considerations.  Rather, those who doubt evolution do so as members of communities reliant on authoritative statements about the theological impossibility of evolution.

In other words, people doubt evolution because they come from churches, families, towns, and denominations that doubt evolution.  They explain their doubt in theological terms, and such explanations are immensely important.  But they are not the primary reasons why people doubt evolution in the first place.

Perhaps this problem will make more sense if we try an analogy.  Historically, some economists suggested that people tend to make rational economic decisions.  By plotting a rational economic forecast, the thinking went, economists could predict the ways homo economicus would behave.  Unfortunately, real people don’t act often enough like homo economicus to make those predictions useful.  Some people do, naturally, but not enough to make homo economicus a useful explanatory tool.

I suggest that Professor Schloss is crafting a similarly misleading picture of homo theologicus.  Professor Schloss suggests that American evangelicals deny evolution due to two important theological considerations.  Doubtless there are some American evangelicals who have done so.  But more people make decisions for other reasons.  The theology is important, but it is not the place to start if we want to understand evolution skepticism.

Professor Schloss is doubtless fully aware of these sociological and cultural reasons for evolution skepticism.  He notes the many factors that go into evolution skepticism.  But by describing two theological ideas as the most important reasons for opposing evolution, he grossly mischaracterizes the nature of American evolution skepticism.

For those of us who hope to improve evolution education, this matters.  If we think of evolution skepticism as a rational theological belief, then we may decide that the best way to spread evolutionary theory is to explain evolutionary theory rationally and repeatedly.  We may be led to believe that reasonable independent actors have chosen evolution skepticism, and may thus be open to rationally and reasonably changing their minds.

That’s not how it works.  As my grad-school mentor Ronald Numbers has shown, the boundaries of acceptable “creationist” belief among evangelicals and other creationists have changed over time.  Such boundaries have not been something each individual evangelical creationist has reasoned out for him- or herself.  Rather, the meanings of evolution skepticism have themselves evolved.  And, as David Long’s ethnographic studies have demonstrated, personal commitments to evolution skepticism are not often changed by exposure to evolutionary theory.

Evolution skepticism is a complex cultural identity.  Americans do not choose to believe in either evolution or creationism in a sort of cultural cafeteria.  Rather, they are born (or adopted) into communities of belief.

Those of us who hope to spread the acceptance of evolutionary science must begin with a thorough and nuanced understanding of evolution skeptics.  Professor Schloss’ overemphasis on homo theologicus does not do that.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment

25 Comments

  1. Because I believe in the possibility of nothingness.

    Reply
  2. It is simple really. Evolution, in as much as it denies a creator, is left with the necessary consession that something has always been. Its a 0 problem. Something can not come from nothing because nothing plus nothing times nothing minus nothing devided by nothing will always result in nothing. Therefore, to avoid this little hickup in logic, we are told that there has always been something by the atheist evolutionist. Creationists accept that nothingness is a possibility, and therefore, because something exists the only rational explanation has to include a creator of, at the very least, the first something. Evolutionists have to deny the possibility of nothingness which is laughable. Ill admit to a creator any day when to deny one requires an obvious logical bellyflop.

    Reply
    • Oh, I see, thanks. But it pushes me to ask an impolite question. I think I would believe in special creation if that’s how I was raised. When I was young, I went to liberal churches (sometimes) and everyone believed in evolution. As an adult, my friends and co-workers are all evolution-believers. Not that I couldn’t convert to creationist belief, but it would be very difficult. And, for example, your example of nothingness makes sense to me, but it doesn’t convince me. I’m fairly confident that the mainstream scientists I trust will have a convincing rejoinder to your nothingness argument, even if I don’t know what it will be. In other words, I’m very aware that my staunch belief in the correctness of evolutionary explanations is bolstered by my social context, not only by the actual logical force of evolution theory.
      So now for the impolite question: Would your argument about creation ex nihilo still convince you if you weren’t supported in a social network of fellow creation-believers?

      Reply
      • “Would your argument about creation ex nihilo still convince you if you weren’t supported in a social network of fellow creation-believers?”

        I have no way of knowing that. What I do know is that no matter what, something doesn’t come from nothing. From that premise, there seems to be only one choice that doesn’t require a suspension of logic. I don’t think my argument reflects some popular opinion, so it’s really not fair to critique my reasoning as such.

      • Not that I couldn’t convert to creationist belief, but it would be very difficult.

        Why would that be difficult? The pursuit of truth should not require co-believers.

        I’m very aware that my staunch belief in the correctness of evolutionary explanations is bolstered by my social context, not only by the actual logical force of evolution theory.

        Two impolite questions: Do you care for finding the truth or for scientific validation? You seem to be eager for the latter. And what aspect of evolution (if any) do you find flawed?

  3. I should add that a secular creationist could embrace both the idea of a creator and a process of evolution. The atheist cannot.

    Reply
  4. Donna

     /  September 13, 2013

    @onesquarelight – Are you talking about Theistic Evolution only, or do you mean old earth models in general?

    Reply
    • I’m not talking about any particulars. I talking in general. Because of the undeniable possibility of nothingness, given that something exists today, the only reasonable conclusion must be that there exists a possibility of a creator of at least the first something.

      If one denies the possibility of a creator, they must deny the possibility of nothingness to remain logically consistent. But in remaining logically consistent they are forced to accept something that is illogical – that the possibility of nothingness does not exist. This means that premise is illogical. It’s illogical to deny the possibility of a creator.

      Reply
  5. Donna

     /  September 13, 2013

    That may have been a bad question, are you referring to ID?

    Reply
  6. Donna

     /  September 13, 2013

    Thanks. You can ignore my last question, they were meant to be together.

    Reply
  7. No one has taught me this line of thought. The problem of 0 is something I have arrived at by discussing atheism and evolution with atheists.

    The nature of truth is such that what I say or your evolution experts say doesn’t make either assertion true. Either the assertion is true or it is not. We can only hope that with our finite minds we can arrive at a logically sound conclusion. But we are prone to error aren’t we? Its always been my view that its my responsibility to personally defend my beliefs and know why I hold them. Because everyone else says so is so not a good reason Imo. Why would you dismiss something that seems logical in favor of something you’ve been programmed to believe?

    Reply
    • @onesquarelight: Other commenters have suspected that there is a fault in your ex nihilo argument (without being able to actually point it out) and unfortunately, I can tell you there is. Whenever I’ve seen staunch evolutionists challenged by that question, “how did something appear out of nothing?” the most common response has been, “If God created everything, then what created God?”

      Your ex nihilo argument therefore only displaces the question of “what created what” back one step, because God has always existed, therefore true and utter nothingness – the absence of any existent thing – was never a possibility.

      If you wanted to improve your argument, it would probably work better this way: All material substance cannot be infinitely old; therefore the material universe is a finite age (modern science seems to put the figure in the region of 14 billion years); therefore there must have been a time when the universe came into being; therefore there must have been some outside force (a “first mover”, if you like Plato’s/Aristotle’s/Thomas Aquinas’s terms) which caused the universe to come into being.

      As far as I can tell, I haven’t seen a compelling argument against the Platonic/Aristotelian/Thomistic argument of the first mover, despite the fact that it’s been a high profile thesis in pagan, christian and secular theology for about 2,500 years. The most I’ve seen in response is a “feh” of distaste for it being a tad esoteric and seeming to reduce God to a kind of “necessary gap filler” (which isn’t a fault; the reason we have a theory of dark matter is because a “filler” argument was required; we haven’t actually observed dark matter yet we rationally suppose that it exists). But other commenters, please correct me if I’m wrong.

      In any case, the most that the “first mover” argument can prove is that the universe was created by God. It does not tell us much about the nature of God (beyond the requirement that he be infinitely old and that he not consider it beneath his dignity to intervene in nature), nor does it prove that God did not use evolution to form life on earth. The last point is the point that the article is concerned about… so how would you argue that the Creator God necessarily did not use evolution?

      Reply
      • William Craig has proposed some deductive aspects of the nature of the first mover (spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncaused, and unimaginably powerful). From there it is easy to propose that the first mover shows intent and logic, abides by laws (not capricious) and has a personality, as is the classic Christian formulation. Science would deny that the first mover used evolution (multiple iterations) as it minimizes the power and ability of the first mover.

        If he can create 4 dimensions ex nihilo, designed form and function (life and non-life) would be easy. A child can easily pseudo-create both form and function (e.g. a paper plane) but it takes an educated scientist to pseudo-create a dimension (e.g. the Laplacian domain). Thus, if the first mover can actually create 4 perfectly inter-meshed dimensions, by necessity he can actually create form and function ex nihilo, not requiring multiple evolutionary mistake iterations ranging billions of years, a la YEC.

      • You’re right there, actually. I agree with you that we can deduce certain qualities from the first mover argument. What I find more dubious is the additional layers of argument. The more steps one takes away from the first principles, the shakier the structure one builds.

        I agree totally that God could make the world in the manner of the YEC argument. He could also, if he wanted to, make the world in innumerable other ways. I think we both acknowledge that God is infinitely powerful, and that he does not lack the power to do anything.

        Where I disagree is when you say that God must, by necessity, have created the world in the YEC manner, because the YEC manner is faster and more efficient than evolution.

        If your argument was that God is constrained not to take overly long to create the world, and that billions of years of creation time detracts from the majesty of a creator who could create things instantly, wouldn’t it have also been insulting to his majesty to take all of six days to make creation?

        Nothing is difficult for God to do. Creating the universe in six days is just as easy as creating everything within a nanosecond. And that would be just as easy as creating everything in a millionth of a nanosecond. God could create everything within an infinitely short amount of time and it would still require no effort at all. So if taking six days, a nanosecond, and a millionth of a nanosecond requires the same amount of effort, why wouldn’t taking billions of years also take exactly the same amount of effort? What seems long to us is but a blink of an eye to him.

        The second objection you raise is that evolution requires mistakes. But in my mind, it really depends on what you consider a mistake. I think that dinosaurs are awesome, I love ammonites and trilobites and all of those animals. If God was able to create not just one global ecosystem, but several hundred eras of vastly different climates and biodiversity, why shouldn’t he? Isn’t that awesome?

        The issue of death, which I’m sure you will raise, is more difficult one, and one which I cannot honestly say I have the answer to. The issue is why would God allow animals to die before the fall of man, if that was supposed to be the time when death came into the world. I acknowledge that that makes it difficult to accept evolution.

        Nevertheless, if God never intended animals to kill each other and die, so much of life on earth makes no sense. Several species of animal are very intelligently designed for killing. Carnivores typically have forward facing eyes for binocular vision, powerful front limbs, claws or talons, short guts for digesting meat, a highly developed sense of smell for tracking wounded animals, and a powerful instinct to chase prey down. Other animals are very carefully designed to evade or fend off predators – tortoises have shells, deer and rabbits are extremely fast and have eyes on the sides of their head, porcupines have quills, skunks spray, and many types of frog are incredibly poisonous. In addition, several species of animal can only reproduce if they die (some mother spiders), or if they consume their mate (angler fish). Did all of these traits suddenly appear after the fall, or did God intend for his animals to have these very finely tuned features all along?

        Some creationists hold that all animals ate plants before the fall. But if that was the case, what did blue whales eat with those massive baleen-lined mouths, if not krill? How would filter feeders like the manta ray avoid even accidentally ingesting animal-plankton?

        You’re an intelligent person, and I used to lean towards your understanding of the creation. But I hope you understand why, having looked at the majesty of the animal world, I can’t bring myself to swallow YEC. It’s built on sound foundations, but it’s overwrought, like a house on stilts, with extra beams tacked on every time one breaks or there’s a contradiction between observation and idealism. I don’t profess to have solved all the problems with an OEC interpretation of genesis. But I do not consider it fundamentally necessary to my faith to accept the reading that God created dinosaurs at the same time as he created cattle, or that blue whales were vegetarians, or that no hyena, lion, vulture, wolf or tiger was ever meant to have eaten meat to survive, or that the porcupine’s quills were merely for show. Wouldn’t God be more intentional about his creation than that? Wouldn’t he make animals both predator and prey? Why then should evolution be out of the question?

      • Hi Carla, indeed the more steps, the more the argument’s structure becomes tedious but not necessarily false. I wouldn’t say God MUST have created in a YEC manner but to me it seems more probable on a theo/scientific basis. As for 6 day creation also detracting from his majesty, that is not necessarily the case. The 6 days clearly shows order and planning as one would expect from the same creator who implements laws to govern natural motion. Additionally, God does not exist in the time domain nor does he have to do so theologically for creatio ex nihilo. Also, God might not have required the whole day to create, just that the timing of different created entities would have been divided by days.

        I am not comfortable with an all powerful concept where God could do anything in a nano-second. Theologically speaking, God is constrained by his nature such that, for instance, he cannot create another God. From an engineering perspective, the initial creation was not perfect but individual aspects were “good” and cumulatively they were “very good.” This would indicate to me that God allowed some process to work temporally and he was constrained (by the laws with which matter was to operate) as any designer so that the creation required 6 days. Now this is my own rendering, not a standard YEC view.

      • Evolution inherently requires mistakes in genetic copying. That a perfect creator would make mistakes as if he did not know what he was doing would detract from his power and foreknowledge. It would also deny his defining attribute of omniscience. In the YEC view, what you consider to be “several hundred eras of vastly different climates and biodiversity” would have been implemented at the same time which would be even more glorious than separate eras. Frankly, I can see no need for evolution that proposes to produce forward advancement by process degradation and chance co-opted functionality.

        Animal design: the YEC view would be that front-loaded design afforded secondary sub-functionality.
        Animal feeding: They would argue that the world was so different that we can’t know what was the initial and available diet for said animals and that extrapolations from the present geological and biodiversity configurations would be tenuous. Granted they may be right, but how does one test that?

      • Evolution is not out of the question. Rather, the particular form of evolution (unguided macro-evolution) is out of the scientific question IMO. Macro-evolution simply cannot work as far as we can reliably test without a designer or intelligence. And the first cause argument leads straight to a theistic God. As for OEC, I don’t get how evolution explains the majesty of the animal world. There is nothing majestic in death, suffering, functional inefficiency, mutational degeneracy and the like. So my questions to you would be: what exactly in the animal world necessitates a long time period? If the bible makes it clear that the 7 days were literally of 24 hours, would you give up OEC? How do you interpret the explicitly repeated ad nauseum phrase “after their own kind” as it contradicts evolutionary changes producing different kinds with time? I’m not too familiar with OEC so it is a pleasure to have you eruditely share your views.

      • (I can’t seem to press reply to your most recent posts 😛 pretend this is a reply to your last post)

        It is a pleasure to hear your side, too. I see we both agree that God could have used either YEC or OEC, or the various variations of those concepts. And I agree with you in that I do not support unguided evolution.

        Where YEC comes apart, for me, is when one looks at nature and tries to interpret what one sees. The science of natural history is matter of building models about what might have happened based on our observations, and these models need to be endlessly challenged and improved. We may not currently know exactly what happened or when, but just as you say, if I had to choose between two systems, I would make the choice based on a rational consideration of the evidence.

        “What exactly in nature necessitates a long time period?”

        You noted that matter has constraints, and that it generally behaves according to those constraints. I’m actually on the fence as to whether God can produce physical impossibilities or not. But let’s assume that, from the start of the universe, the speed of light has remained constant. It’s generally accepted as a universal constant, E=MC^2 and all of that.

        We have measured the speed of light and we know that light travels at the speed of light, no faster, no slower.

        Now let’s observe nature. We can work out how far away stars are. So from our measurements and some predictable math we can calculate the distance of the farthest object visible to the naked eye – the Andromeda galaxy.

        The Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.5 million light years away.

        Therefore, it must have taken at least 2.5 million years for the light to reach us.

        If we accept that the speed of light is a constant, then if God created the Adromeda Galaxy yesterday, we wouldn’t actually be able to see it unless we waited 2.5 million years.

        Since we can see the Andromeda Galaxy, and the light has reached us, we accept that the universe is at least 2.5 million years old.

        Astronomers can then use telescopes to see even further and further objects. It is from these measurements that we estimate – and it is a rough estimate – that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.

        Now, I am not sure whether God would create streams of photons at a distance from the stars themselves which correspond exactly with what they would have looked like millions or billions of years ago, even though at that point time shouldn’t yet exist. Sometimes we see stars explode millions of light years away… maybe when that happens, God is simply giving us a light show, and not showing us something which actually happened. But what do you think is more likely? That God created stars to shine on us to teach us about the laws of physics and marvel in his awesome creation, or that he made a bunch of light to appear and the actual stars which are 2.5 million lightyears away will always be out of sight?

        So you wanted to know how there could be anything majestic about a world of “death, suffering, functional inefficiency, mutational degeneracy and the like.” What I give is speculative, and not fully worked out, but it’s what I have at the moment. God said that his creation was good, good, and very good. At what point did he say that it was immortal? At what point did he say it was perfect in every respect? God himself is immortal and perfect in every respect, but he created mortal matter, he created atoms and substances which were dissoluble and separable, mutable and always in flux. Created matter is majestic in its variety and beauty, but it remains mortal, secondary to God’s nature. The very mortality and mutability of matter emphasises the immortality and immutability of God.

        It’s like standing by the edge of the sea and watching waves form and crash and reform again. That’s majestic, it’s powerful, it’s beautiful… but all of those beautiful waves topple over. They bow down and disintegrate before the infinite majesty of God. God’s ability to raise mountains and level them illustrates his majesty even greater than would be apparent if he raised mountains and never humbled them.

        In the same way, the death of individuals and the extinction of species does not detract from God’s majesty. Everything that we see around us changes. Flowers grow and wither. This is beautiful and terrifying, but it doesn’t indicate a less powerful or less magnificent God. It does the opposite – it highlights the awesome nature of God.

        “If the bible makes it clear that the 7 days were literally of 24 hours, would you give up OEC?”

        Given the talk about poetic effects, literary genre and so on, I don’t think that this side of heaven, I will ever get complete confirmation of whether the days were literal or figurative. But if the bible did make it suddenly clear, then I would. It’s not so much that God couldn’t have used YEC, it’s simply that the observation of nature which God created does not lead me to accept YEC.

        “How do you interpret the explicitly repeated ad nauseum phrase “after their own kind” as it contradicts evolutionary changes producing different kinds with time?”

        I cannot be entirely certain of my interpretation, but I take “after their own kind” to mean that animals continued to reproduce the pattern which we see today. It has long been recognised that animals fall within a tree of life. There is a rational order in that tree, as the animals with the most similarities are in groups together. Mammals are with mammals, marsupials with marsupials, possums with possums, and ringtail possums with ringtail possums. The phrase “after their own kind” refers to that phenomenon – that the distant species don’t reproduce with each other, and when species reproduce they produce similar looking offspring. One does not have to put the word “species” where “kind” is. I can see that a dog is a kind of mammal, and an ostrich is a kind of bird.

        (And birds and mammals are kinds of animal, and animals are kinds of eukaryotes. It’s a beautiful tree.)

        Again, it is good to talk with you. I hope we can both understand where we’re coming from.

      • I can’t seem to press reply to your most recent posts

        Why?

        Since we can see the Andromeda Galaxy, and the light has reached us, we accept that the universe is at least 2.5 million years old.

        For some reason(s), I don’t quite understand the starlight problem well enough even after reading articles on the issue. As such I would point out that it is said that this is a problem for evolutionists as well and that Humphries, Lisle and Setterfield have proposed explanations. My own take on this is that the initially created light (Gen 1:4) was scattered UNIFORMLY throughout the smaller cosmos thus since the maximum cosmic expansion rate is only 0.0255% of the speed of light, there is no issue with seeing distant events. I suspect I’m being too simplistic here so I’m reading (again!) on the topic. Sorry if this isn’t particularly helpful.

        Everything that we see around us changes. Flowers grow and wither. This is beautiful and terrifying, but it doesn’t indicate a less powerful or less magnificent God. It does the opposite – it highlights the awesome nature of God.

        Hmmm, I find that quite a tortured argument though. No designer willingly tries to create decay unless you are talking about nasty designers who implant time bombs in computers and washing machines so you have to buy new ones after some time. No programmer codes inefficiency and destruction unless they have malicious intent. Your argument seems to me to be like that of those who wanted to continue in sin that grace might abound. Their continued sin was to further emphasize God’s grace. Since death came through sin (breaking God’s laws), evolution as a process of death is also a result of sin so that it could not be the result of God’s initial intent.

        The tree of life: Well that tree has it issues and depends on the method which is used for classification. Any creature can be related to other creatures to different degrees based on different methodologies but even then that does not mean they are all evolved from a common source.

        While I understand where you are coming from, I find some of your views somewhat troubling as I suspect you also find mine. It is good though, that unlike others, you are in the process of evaluating and pruning your worldview. That alone makes you an Internet rarity!

      • “I find that quite a tortured argument though. No designer willingly tries to create decay unless you are talking about nasty designers who implant time bombs in computers and washing machines so you have to buy new ones after some time. No programmer codes inefficiency and destruction unless they have malicious intent. Your argument seems to me to be like that of those who wanted to continue in sin that grace might abound. Their continued sin was to further emphasize God’s grace. Since death came through sin (breaking God’s laws), evolution as a process of death is also a result of sin so that it could not be the result of God’s initial intent.”

        The Psalms and Job talk about how God created some animals as predators, and provides other animals as food for them. He is the Creator who can cause the deaths of animals and bring life into existence too.

        Psalm 104:19-21

        “You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
        the sun knows its time for setting.
        You make darkness, and it is night,
        when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
        The young lions roar for their prey,
        seeking their food from God.”

        Young lions are meant to be carnivores, as they were intentionally and fearfully made for that, and God graciously provides them prey for food.

        The death of God’s creation magnifies the magnificence of God:

        Psalm 104:29-31

        “When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
        when you take away their breath, they die
        and return to their dust.
        When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
        and you renew the face of the ground.
        May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
        may the Lord rejoice in his works!”

        In Job, God rebukes the man for being arrogant in the face of the awesome creator. God speaks of his wondrous creation, and includes predatory animals preying on other animals as part of that created order.

        Job 38:39-41

        “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
        or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
        when they crouch in their dens,
        or lie in wait in their covert?
        Who provides for the raven its prey,
        when its young ones cry to God,
        and wander about for lack of food?”

        Job 39:26-30

        “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
        and spreads its wings toward the south?
        Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
        and makes its nest on high?
        It lives on the rock and makes its home
        in the fastness of the rocky crag.
        From there, it spies is prey;
        its eyes see it from far away.
        Its young ones suck up blood;
        and where the slain are, there it is.”

        Is it by man’s wisdom that the eagle hunts its prey, or by God’s? Surely it is God’s wisdom that created predators. It’s not our place to tell God in our own wisdom that animals should all have been vegetarians. God made the lion, the raven, the hawk, the eagle – for hunting other animals and instilling the fear of God into all who will observe these creatures.

      • We have measured the speed of light and we know that light travels at the speed of light, no faster, no slower.

        This is not entirely true. The speed of light slows as it passes through different substances. The speed of light as often quoted is the speed of light in a vacuum.

        There is a theory which States the world could be about 6000 years old if the speed of light has slowed since the beginning due to an increase in space dust. At the time of creation light could have travelled much faster through space than it does now meaning light years are not constant over time. We look now at the speed of light and calculate time and distance using the current slow speed which would cause one to conclude that things are older.

      • Psalm 104:29-31 is stating that animals depend on God for sustenance but the verse about God’s renewal bolsters my point. It is God’s creative power that mainly brings him glory though his destructive power may also. His destruction is to lead us to him, not to show how glorious he is (Jer 13:16).

        Animal death (chance) and the post-flood allowance for meat eating (willful) were to show man the results of his sin on other creatures. This was not to show the majesty of God. Atheists regularly use death as a reason for the non-existence of God and are clearly not impressed by the majesty of a non-existent entity. OEC impinges on the character of God as love. And if there was pre-Adamic sin, why would we need salvation from that which was God’s intent to show his majesty? Also, your interpretation begs the question, to whom was God’s glory displayed for the billions of years of pre-Adamic death and destruction? And who broke God’s laws to necessitate said death and destruction (Isa 1: 28)?

        Ps 104:19-20, Job 38:39-41 and Job 39:26-30 do not refer to God’s perfect will as then there would be no need for a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1). Rather, they speak of God’s permissive will i.e. what God permits given man’s sin. You may like the debate between Kent Hovind and Hugh Ross [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNV6XYpX_XQ]. Therein, Hovind uses the terms ‘heresy’ and ‘cult’ which causes the audience to cringe. Sadly, I agree with Hovind. OEC seems to be an explanation rooted in present practicality (permissive will) thus dismissing the bible’s original intent. Sorry, but I have yet to meet anyone who had the fear of God instilled in them by looking at predatory creatures. Unfortunately, I know of naturalists (Dawkins, Attenborough, Suzuki) who would argue the opposite.

  8. Authority. in their minds, trumps evidence.

    Reply
  9. “Your ex nihilo argument therefore only displaces the question of “what created what” back one step, because God has always existed, therefore true and utter nothingness – the absence of any existent thing – was never a possibility”

    Carla, You are correct. God must have always been in order to be God. The question who created God makes no sense, for if God was created he is not God.
    What I refer to when I talk about nothingness is our physical world and our human reality; time and space and matter as well as our consciousness of it. You can get rid of it all and end up at 0 and still there is God.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s