Well, I’ve attempted to somewhat hijack a couple of threads with this topic, so I thought I would try to give it a full airing.
Point the first: The theory of evolution does not have a goal or an endpoint. Rather, new species are created through descent with modification, and those that fit best in their environment live (until the environment changes). It is possible that dinosaurs could have been the dominant land animal for earth’s entire history (i.e., no humans ever) if the environment had always remained optimal for dinosaurs and had not changed so that the mammals took over. I think that to “accept the theory of evolution” means to believe all of the above is true.
Point the second: A Christian must necessarily believe that God intended to create humans. A Christian need not necessarily believe in the literal truth of one of the creation stores in the Bible (or anything else really). Therefore, the defining characteristic of a Christian for this purpose is one who believes in a god that intended to create humans (I know this definition includes lots of other religions, but Christian evolutionists are the ones I run up against).
So, it is impossible to be a Christian that accepts the theory of evolution because it is not possible to believe the points discussed in both paragraphs above. At best, Christians can believe in “evolution light” or something, which is a theory that one type of creature changed into another until humans popped out as the pre-planned endpoint of the process.
There’s no objective definition of “Christian”; no Official Bureau of Standards for religion that defines it. You are a Christian if you say you are a Christian.
You are also making the error of trying to apply logic to religion. Religion is about faith, not reason; you can’t disqualify someone’s beliefs as Christian just because their worldview is internally contradictory, no matter how incoherent their version of Christianity is. It’s religion; it’s not supposed to make sense.
There are many Christians who wholeheartedly accept evolution. Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins are a couple of famous examples. One quote I read (Polkinghorne?) said something about God creating a universe where creatures could evolve sho would come to know him.
It’s possible for Christians to believe in both Jesus Christ and evolution. It’s the same reason it’s possible to reconcile the big bang theory.
The unassailable reason will always be “God caused it.”
Dinosaurs → apes → man. God caused the natural selection to happen.
Big bang —> solar system accretion → earth formation. God caused it.
String theory proven → parallel universes → aliens. God caused it.
[insert any future science knowledge]. God caused it.
… which ultimately leads to the same question, “what caused God?” which then leads to the Anselm type answer of “God is that for which no greater being is conceivable” or similar Thomas Aquinas“prime mover” definition.
This is all metaphysics stuff which can’t be proven or argued for either side.
Rand Rover, I think the religion vs science debate has been completely dissected into every possible angle to a total stalemate.
With that said, I’m still on a personal mission to figure out which religion is the correct one. I guess I’m a glutton for self-torture.
I completely disagree. You can perfectly believe that god messed up with evolution in order to make sure that humans would appear. For instance threw a big meteor on earth so as to put an end to the reign of the dinosaurs and help the mammals (and doing this doesn’t even touch evolution directly). Or latter made sure that an ape with a bigger brain would be born, while letting the rest of the creation evolving on its merry way…
(Oh! And having played “SimEarth” long ago : maybe he didn’t really care what kind of intelligent creature would evolve, providing he would win the game and would have been equally happy with bright octopuses )
I think you’ve actually got a point that most people who believe in some sort of “guided evolution” don’t really understand evolution or its incredible explanatory power. That said, there’s nothing about evolution that depends upon a chaotic, non-mechanistic universe, so God could certainly have set the initial conditions in place such that the pure process of natural selection would inevitably result in humans. And if it is (as it appears to be) a chaotic, non-mechanistic universe, then it become extremely difficult to distinguish pure evolution from “evolution lite” anyway. (Which, of course, makes pure evolution the more parsimonious explanation and the likelier to be true.)
I understand what “lord and savior” mean, but I’ve never understood what “*personal *lord and savior” mean. What do people mean by this? What benefit in clarifying the concept do people get by adding “personal”?
If someone believes in Zeus and Thor and believes that Jesus never existed and all that he was alleged to have taught was wrong, they can call themselves Christians till the cows come home, but they’re not Christian.
It’s always sounded vaguely to me like it’s a thumbing of the nose at papism, though I don’t have anything to support that.
I.e., you have a personal relationship with God, with none of the saints, ceremony and sacraments standing in the way. I always picture a southern Baptist saying, “Have yew accepted Jesus as yore personal Lord and Savior?”
If you know the statistical properties of a system, you can design it so that you (eventually) get the result you want even if the system is random.
A simple analogy (can’t think of something better right now) : you want to see the sequence HTH (Heads Tails Heads), so you start flipping a coin until you get it. When you get the sequence, it occurred randomly, even though getting that sequence was the whole purpose of your experiment.
So, it’s possible that God set up the Universe with such a set of probabilistic laws and initial conditions that eventually a human would emerge somewhere in the Universe, even though it happened randomly.