“Unless we are actively looking or listening for something, there is a real and distinct possibility it will simply fail to reach our conscious awareness, at least not at the levels that are desired”
-Dr. Richard G. Colling
I realize that I am about to tread on some dangerous territory. There is a warning that you’ll hear about blogging. Anything that you put up on the internet is there forever even if you delete it someday. This makes what I’m about to write even more dangerous for me. I feel that the truth is needed and that recent events may lead to an even more dangerous area for many conservative Christians. I am writing about the controversial subject of the theory of evolution.
Yesterday stories came out about the discovery of the “missing link.” It’s so energizing and gathering so much momentum that even Google is supporting this. If you go to the Google search page you will see that they have designed their logo in a way that reflects this story. It’s catching on fast.
I see a few problems with this. Instead of shedding more light on the theory of evolution I believe that it is only going to cause more division. I have read as much information as is out there at this moment. According to what I have read, Scientists can confirm that this is an ancestor to a lemur. It is not clear that it is an ancestor to other primates. Jen Franzen, a scientist on the team that has studied this for the past two years stated,
We’re not dealing with our grand, grand, grandmother, but perhaps with our grand, grand, grand aunt
Because of the fact that there is some uncertainty (at least at this moment) this is going to cause larger divisions. Those who believe in the theory of evolution are going to find it very easy to rally behind this and see it as evidence that Darwin’s theory of evolution is fact. They will be even more certain of this theory. Those who don’t agree with this theory will find it easy to say that this is not close enough to prove anything, putting them even more on the defensive.
It is possible that more information will soon be available and this may prove to be closer than we all think. It’s possible that this will be the most important scientific discovery of our times. It’s possible that this will move Darwin’s theory into the realm of scientific fact. If that’s the case, this is where things get really bad.
If this happens, there are many Christians who will decide to no longer believe in God, or at least not Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. There will also be many Christians who will use this as even more of a reason to reject the value of reliability of science. Why is this? Why would this cause such a great schism, or at least widen an already existing schism?
There are many scientists who have been trying to prepare conservative Christians for this event. Scientists such as Dr. Francis S. Collins, former director of the human genome project. What Collins and many others have realized is that there is a false premise that created much of this debate. The premise is that for Darwin’s theory of evolution to be verified, the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible must be myth. This idea leads Christians to say “God is not myth, therefore Darwin’s evolution has to be false.” It also leads many others to say, “Evolution happened, therefore God must be myth.” Collins, and many others, disagree with the premise that leads us to these conclusions.
In his book, The Language of God Collins makes the argument that it is possible to agree with Darwin’s theory of evolution and still believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. Dr. Richard Colling made this same argument before Collins did, in his book Random Designer. Many of these scientists have been publicly rejected by the conservative Christian community. They may start gaining some popularity if recent discoveries make Darwin’s theory even more likely.
I do not know whether I agree with Darwin’s theory of evolution. I do see it as a possibility. If science some day “proves” this theory, I will submit to the knowledge of those who know more than I. I am a part of a Christian denomination that allows me to take this stance. This is where the Church of the Nazarene stands,
The Church of the Nazarene believes in the biblical account
of creation (“In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth . . .”—Genesis 1:1).We oppose any godless
interpretation of the origin of the universe and of humankind.
However, the church accepts as valid all scientifically
verifiable discoveries in geology and other natural phenomena,
for we firmly believe that God is the Creator. (Articles I.
1., V. 5.1, VII.) (2005)
I believe that Christians can believe in God and the Bible and still agree with the theory of evolution. We need to quit preaching the false premise that these two cannot coexist. We need to show that they can and it’s possible that they do. If we don’t start now, then as more scientific discoveries are made we are going to drive more people away out of ignorance or drive more people into ignorance.