Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Proof Is In!


Finally! Definitive proof that humans evolved from lower speceis. You know that I would never question the words of scientists. The fossil of the lemur is proof positive of Darwinian evolution. How do we know? Because some scientists say so. And believe me, scientists never overplay their hand or exagerate. Nor are scientists ever conflicted with aprior assumptions.


"This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of the mammals."


"The link they would have said up to now is missing - well it's no longer missing."


"This fossil is really a part of our history; this is part of our evolution, deep, deep back into the aeons of time, 47 million years ago."


Perhaps you are wondering how such sweeping statements can be made on the basis of one fossil. Well, if you're asking this then you're an idiot. Trust the scientists! Haven't scientists been consistent when it comes to their theories of human origins?
* Okay so I got a little snotty on this post. Usually when I am commenting on something controversial I try to take a few moments before I actually hit the "Publish Post" button. I rushed this one and came off sounding sort of like a jerk. Anyway, there are some wonderful scientists out there who do not at all fit the generalizations in this post. And while I continue to be dismayed at the way some paleontologists overstate the nature of their evidence this is certainly not true for all.

28 comments:

Kimberly said...

I saw this image on Foxnews.com. I'm always amused when scientists date their findings as millions and millions of years old...

Mike said...

I think scentists, in general, are a lot more humble about what they postulate as truth than religious leaders...

Todd Pruitt said...

Everytime I hear Richard Dawkins all I can think is "HUMBLE".

Which religious leaders do you have in mind Mike?

Is it arrogant to believe that God speaks authoritatively in His Word? Is it arrogant to believe that we can trust what God says in the Scriptures?

Mike said...

Richard Dawkins does not reflect all of scientic opinion or attitude just as Jimmy Swaggart does not represent all christian opinions or attitude.

Religious leaders I refer to are those that dismiss evolution without even a basic understanding of what it is (and, from my experience, that is most). How many Christians have read Origin of the Species? How many Christians would read it? I have heard many Christians state that Darwin said "we descended from apes or chimps"...which is just plain ignorance. This is not what Darwin said at all.

If we expect to engage the scientific community in faith we have to understand their objections and not make silly arguments based on poor understandings of science. We lose all credibility.

In response to your question "is it arrogant to believe that God speaks authoritatively in His Word?"...it is if you are Dawkins.

None of us likes to think of ourselves as arrogant...yet we are to those who disagree with us.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

"We are [arrogant] to those who disagree with us."

Are you kidding me? Is this something we did not already know? But who cares if Richard Dawkins thinks Christians are arrogant or ignorant? Is this a surprise to anyone? Is there anything a Christian can do to change Dawkins' mind short of abandoning Christ? Of course not. I'm not sure why you seem so interested in having the respect of hostile athiests.

Mike said...

I think I am trying to point out (maybe unseccessfully) is that our view of ourselves may be very different than how others view us. Now you can make the argument "who cares what Dawkins thinks?" but nonetheless he and others like him (including many other non-Christians) think we are arrogant whether we think so or not.

And while I may not agree with Dawkins on his view of God's existence I certainly do agree with him on evolution. I find that most Christians view evolution thru a microscope rather than stand back from it a look at it like a painting...and like a painting it is quite beautiful and makes me wonder at God even more so than if I were to take Genesis literally. Evolution is a beautiful thing and should not be viewed as an attack on our faith.

In fact if evolution is true (and I believe it is) then to deny it is to deny God's wonderful plan for his creation and our connection to it. It is time for Christians to accept this and move on...to questions of how do we love our neighbor and who is he/she? (which I think Jesus answered quite nicely)

Mark W. said...

IMHO, the danger here is that we create division over an issue that is not an essential of the faith. If one possesses true saving faith, whether they are a creationist, theistic evolutionist, or whatever doesn't affect their eternal destiny in the slightest. Isn't the proper focus "who" created not "how?" (See Deut 29:29 - if God told us explicitly HOW he created, could our minds handle it? Probably not.) I don't have all the answers but I'm not sure these arguments are helpful. I'll dig my heels in to defend the five solas, but a particular view of creation, no.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mark,

I definitely agree that the five solas trump the exact nature of the creation process.

My only concern is that some want to treat Genesis as a myth. I do not believe that Genesis insists on a young earth. I also agree that the creation account is most likely presented in theological categories rather than being a strict chronology.

However, my problem with theistic evolutionists like Mike is that Jesus himself and the apostle Paul affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve and the fall. I have not yet met a single theistic evolutionist who affirms the historicity of Adam and Eve and the biblical account of the fall. If those are myth then we get into some serious theological problems such as:
1. What else did Jesus and Paul get wrong?
2. If there was no "fall" then Romans is out the window.
3. If there was no "fall" then the entire gospel is compromised.

Anyway those are just a few of my thoughts. I agree that we should not divide over matters like the age of the earth and the exact mechanism of creation. I do however want to guard the historicity of the Adam and Eve and the fall because the Lord Jesus (and the entire New Testament) did.

Bill Legge said...

It's official, I'm an idiot. I've always sort of suspected as much, but what with being an idiot and all, it's hard to know for sure. Thanks for the confirmation, Todd.

Maybe one day I'll evolve into an imbecile, or hopefully, a moron. Maybe then, the idea that my family tree began with some fellow in a tree won't seem so silly to me.

Mike said...

"If there was no "fall" then the entire gospel is compromised"...and then the whole thing (Christian faith) comes crashing down in flames like the Hindenburg.

Todd is quite right when one's faith is built on the premise of biblical infallability.

The fact that Jesus and Paul referred to Adam and Eve and other early biblical events is not a problem for me...even if those events were not actually historic.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

So in your mind nothing changes about the Gospel if there is no fall, no original sin? What else can Jesus and Paul be wrong about? The virgin birth? Christ's divinity? The resurrection? Heaven and Hell?

And by the way, my faith does not rest on inerrancy. My faith rests on the grace of the Lord Jesus. It just happens that I believe in the Bible's attestation about itself. I actually believe that the Spirit of God "carried men along" to write what he would have them write. I know, it's silly believing that Bible stuff. It probably makes me arrogant.

Bill,
I've always like ring-tail lemurs so I'm cool with it.

Mike said...

Todd,

I am sorry, I just don't find those arguments convincing anymore, although I did at one time. Shouldn't we be at least a little wary of things that self-validate? I have often heard about what it means when the Bible was written by men who were "carried along by the Spirit". I just don't know what that means...I've not heard a good explanation from Keller, Beale, Mohler, or Westminster confession...although have read them all. Honestly, I don't think they know either. To me it would be refreshing for someone to say "I believe this, I can't really give you a good explantion why, but I believe it." at least that would be honest.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

We will have to disagree about the virtue of saying, "I believe in Jesus but I don't really have a good reason for it other than it feels good."

Mike said...

is that what I said?

Todd Pruitt said...

How is what I said substantively different from what you said?

Dave Rogel said...

I have been thinking about self-validation a lot lately, and that has gotten me into Correspondence and Coherence theories of truth (religion seeming to be quite well described by the latter). While I've barely scratched the surface of these topics, I have not stopped struggling with the concept of Biblical 'self-attestation'.

As far as I can tell, self-attesting statements seem to carry precisely as much weight as a person chooses (for whatever reasons) to put into them. If Person A has decided to place their faith in the Bible, then to that person, the Bible's statements of its own truthfulness are true--to the same degree and for the same reasons that the rest of the Bible is true. However, for Person B who does not believe the Bible to be true, using the Bible's words (which Person B does not believe) to "prove" the Bible's truthfulness makes no sense and leaves one reaching for his/her bootstraps, just to see if it will work.

Suppose the Philadelphia Inquirer printed the phrase, "The Philadelphia Inquirer never has published nor ever will publish anything which is inaccurate." By some Christians' logic, the statement would be true, because the statement confirms the accuracy of the paper, which would therefore not publish an inaccurate statement, thus validating the statement which validates the paper....and so on, in circles. I believe the words of the Bible to be true, but that decision to believe is not based on (or affirmed by) circular logic. We do not have proof of the Bible's truthfulness--thus we have faith.

As for the discussion of why we believe what we believe, that is VERY large can of worms. Supposedly, the whole reason we call Christianity a "faith" is because we do not know that it is true, but we choose to believe it--not necessarily just because it feels good, but because it is reliable (Coherence theory, or "infallibility", if you like) and other reasons other than empirical science. However, the actual implications of our religion being faith rather than knowledge is alarming to most people, so we relax our semantic standards and use belief, truth, and knowledge more or less interchangeably. I'm okay with that in the U.S., but it is troubling that people elsewhere are blowing other people up because of things they "know" using similarly lax definitions.

Sorry I jumped in on this topic--the comments simply touched on many of the specific things I've been thinking about lately.

Todd Pruitt said...

Dave,

You know you can jump in any time.

I don't expect unbelievers to accept the self-attestation of the Scriptures. The Bible tells us quite clearly that the unregenerate do not accept the things of the Spirit. His heart is in rebellion to God. The regenerate man however has the mind of Christ. He is a new creation in Christ. What was once inaccessable is now open to him.

Faith is not something that we come up with on our own. Like Lydia in Acts God must open our hearts. So I don't expect someone who is still darkened in their understanding to accept the Bible as God's Word. It does seem to me however that someone who knows the Lord Jesus will believe what God says in His Word.

I am not talking about blind faith. While faith is confidence in things we cannot yet see it is not unreasonable. There is much evidence that supports the reasonableness and coherence of biblical faith. Christians are not Hindus. Our faith rests on historic events - creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, etc.

Mark W. said...

Good thoughts Todd. I agree that the historicity of the fall / Adam & Eve is essential. John Stott's Romans commentary offers a very good treatment of these subjects in their historical context - I believe he references Derek Kidner's Genesis commentary, which is on my Amazon wish list. Keep up the good work pastor!

Todd Pruitt said...

Mark,

Kidner's work is excellent. I love his Genesis commentary as well as his Psalms. Very helpful. Also Waltke's Genesis commentary is outstanding.

COS Citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
COS Citizen said...

I've never understood this:

How does giving credence to Evolution conflict with an historical understanding of Adam and Eve? Certainly even in an evolutionary timescale, at some point in time one draws a line and that's Adam, that's Eve. Everything before is dust and ribs. (Mmmmmm ribs....)

Todd Pruitt said...

COS Citizen,

Definitely a possibility.

I love ribs.

Dave Rogel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Rogel said...

3. If there was no "fall" then the entire gospel is compromised.Certainly, if humans are not sinful and in need of reconciliation to God, the entire gospel is compromised. But why is a literal, serpent-listening-to, apple-eating "fall" crucial to the notion of humans being sinful (and thereby needing redemption)?

Conceptually, if there was no fall (i.e. if humans were still without sin), then of course the gospel would make no sense. I think that almost any Christian would agree with that. However, you seem to be contending that unless, at the bidding of an actual talking snake, the first human beings ate an actual magical piece of fruit that ruined mankind forever, then we might as well flush the whole gospel down the toilet. Why the "need" for historicity? This?

Jesus refers to Genesis to indicate that God created humans as male and female as part of an argument for not divorcing. How does Jesus' logic break down if God created humans, male and female...but they did not eat a magic fruit? What does a magic fruit have to do with the point that Jesus is making about God's plan for men and women? And why would it strike anyone as peculiar that Jesus, who used stories and metaphor extensively in his teaching, would also repeat an existing story that was familiar to everybody and described perfectly the beautiful, God-made, complimentary, male-female way in which humanity was created and ought to operate?

As for Paul arguing that "Men came first and Eve was foolish, therefore women should be silent in church" (paraphrased slightly), I've never quite understood the connection. Quite a grudge to hold all those millennia...although, I suppose that if you believe in imputed sin, then why not imputed foolishness? (Perhaps there was a reason he was single... :)

If Adam's fall was a metaphor for inherent human sinfulness (I believe it is), and if humans are indeed sinful (I believe we are), then we need Jesus just as much as we would if the fall were a literal occurrence. The gospel does not come crashing down, the sky does not fall, etc. We need salvation, snakes or no snakes, apples or no apples.

--Dave

Todd Pruitt said...

Dave,

Hmmmm. Where to begin?

I am assuming you have compelling evidence that leads you to believe that Adam and Eve and their temptation and fall are myth. Certainly you would not so confidently assert that without evidence. It is after all God's Word the historicity of which is affirmed in the New Testament. You have read Romans five have you not?

Also, where did you get "magic apple"? Is this the testimony of Scripture? Don't you feel that God's Word merits a bit more respect than that? Do you think that the Genesis account teaches magic and sorcery?

Todd Pruitt said...

Dave,

One more thought...

I would encourage you to read:
"Genesis" by Bruce Waltke
"Creation and Change" by Douglas Kelley
"Genesis in Space and Time" by Francis Schaeffer

Dave Rogel said...

Todd,

I never brought into question the historicity of Adam and Eve, only the "fall". And my use of "magic apple" was not meant to disrespect the Bible, but to question the use of a (potentially) metaphorical image as a necessary literal event. To me, the beauty and meaningfulness of Genesis 3:1-6 break down when the passage is treated as a factual description of literal events.

It reminds me of Jesus' reference to "living water". It is a wonderful image, and expresses Jesus' meaning perfectly, but if it were interpreted literally, it would mean some sort of strange aqueous blob, flowing here and there like a giant amoeba. (Again, I mean no disrespect; living water [figuratively] = strange amoeba [literally], one meaningful and theologically significant, one confusing and cartoonish.)

I have always seen the fruit in Genesis as metaphorical, but, taken at face value, it becomes silly (to me) and implies that the actual eating of the fruit (and not the desire in their hearts to have the knowledge of good and evil) caused the problem.

If to look upon a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in one's heart, would it not have been sinful for Adam and/or Eve to have longed for the knowledge of good and evil, but not actually to have eaten the fruit? Perhaps I'm seeing it wrongly (I never discount that possibility--ever), but it seems as though the eating of the fruit is a reflection of a decision toward sinfulness, not the sinfulness itself. That is why I questioned the necessity of the literal-ness of the fall account.

Regarding evidence, I never stated that I have evidence to indicate that the fall is a myth. The story just makes more sense (to me) as a visual, descriptive metaphor for the origin of sin. I also find the notion of the actual eating of a fruit causing sin to be at odds with Matthew 5:21-30 in which Jesus identifies guilt originating in people's inner motivations, not in their outward gestures. The story of the fall, taken literally, seems to be externally focused in a way that that leaves us thinking, "Boy, if only they hadn't eaten that apple", when in fact, by the way Jesus reasons in Matthew 5, they could have eaten or not eaten an apple, but the sin truly happened in their hearts.

Please tell me if I am way off-base in my reasoning, and I apologize for the perceived disrespect. As stated above, I was intending to point out (what I perceive as) the cartoonishness of a point-blank, literal reading of Genesis 3:1-6, not disrespect the Bible and the beautiful and profound (and sometimes symbolic) ways in which it expresses its ideas.

--Dave

P.S. I'll definitely check out the Schaeffer. He has a knack for making things make sense.

Todd Pruitt said...

Dave,

Your interpretation of the meaning of the fruit is correct. In fact I don't know of one scholar who holds to the historicity of 3:1-6 that does not treat the fruit of the tree as symbolic of self-deification ("I will be a god unto myself."). However, the significance of the sign does not mean that the sign itself does not exist. In other words holding to the historicity of 3:1-6 does not in any way negate or diminish the underlying significance of the eating of the fruit.

Indeed the text itself holds this forth. The eating of the fruit arose out of a desire to "be like God" (in the worst sense).

If the original sin was not as it is described in Genesis three then I wonder why God would not tell us what the actual event was.