What is the root of creationists' objection to evolution?
  • SimonSimon March 2012
    Sorry to engage with David's tangents, however I used my earlier post to raise the point that even amongst IDers we have to remember that there are a range of views. So when asking "what is the root cause of creationists objections to evolution" we have to remember that different creationists probably have different objections (although as mentioned above the atonement objection is probably one of the most topical).
  • davidmihjn March 2012
    Exchemist, you are so filled with anxiety that you have trouble reading. This is why I feel it is necessary to use the words unintelligent, irrational, and ignorant in discussing religion and science. There is no disagreement between us about metaphysics and science, but you think there is.

    Metaphysics is a method of inquiry that does not give explanations. Repeat: NOT. Only science gives explanations. There is no such thing as a supernatural explanation. Take for example the question: What is knowledge? According to metaphysics, knowledge is the openness of being to the self-manifestation of being. I wouldn’t call this an explanation of knowledge. Would you?

    The cosmological proof of God is based on the theory that a finite being needs a cause. Since finite beings exist, an infinite being (God) exists. This does not explain the existence of finite beings because we can’t imagine what would motivate or cause the infinite being to create finite beings. The only thing that could motivate God is self-love. Finite beings exist because God loved Himself as giving. But God could just as well love Himself without giving.

    The Big Bang, the origin of life, and the evolution of life pose as yet unsolved scientific questions. Maybe the universe is not intelligible. Because of this possibility, these scientific questions are evidence that God does not exist.Repeat: NOT. Maybe a being that begins to exist at some point in time does not need a cause. Maybe a finite being does not need a cause.  The proof of God is based on the assumption that the universe is intelligible. This assumption is based on the success of the scientific method.

  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith March 2012

    Regarding the Fall, many Christians have problems with the whole evolutionary narrative because it is fundamental to their beliefs that (1) the created world before people sinned was good (and they struggle to see how cancer, agony, etc., even in animals, can be called "good") and that (2) there is some connection between sin and physical human death, such that Jesus' physical human death has some direct connection with the problem of sin. Most, I think, who hold to a "theistic evolution" approach would say that human physical death was an expected part of human existence, even before people sinned.

    Putting that another way, if you asked a typical Christian on the street to summarise what they believe, they might say something like this:

    1. God made everything good
    2. People sinned and bad things like suffering and death entered the creation
    3. Jesus by his suffering and death dealt with these consequences of sin

    All three of those must be denied, or heavily qualified, if one tries to make Christian faith fit comfortably with the evolutionary narrative.

    All the best,

  • Michael March 2012


    Many before the rise of geology  - which gave us great age and the fact that animals died long before humans appeared (note that iit is geology and not the far later ideas of evolution) accepted that animal death was not related to human death and sin so that picture you paint falls down historically. Alos it was not a great issue, if it was an issue at all, if we go back 40 years or less. The problem has been forced on us by the rhetoric of creationists and is not inherent in a more traditional thoelogy. If you reader even evangelicals thoelogies before 1980 it scarecley figures exoept possibly in writers like Berkhof

    Have read a lot of early 19th century theology i.e pre Darwin aminall death before humans is accepted as ok and not related in any way to the atonement. That was the majority view but a few opposed but were shouted down by evangelicals in particualr

  • SimonSimon March 2012
    Hi Anthony - thanks for your two points:

    (1) the created world before people sinned was good (and they struggle to see how cancer, agony, etc., even in animals, can be called "good")

    Is it meaningful to refer to something as "good" prior to free-choice/morality? ie could something have been "good" without sin? Perhaps prior to the fall everything just "was"? Likewise even saying that "everything was according to God's will" before the fall and then the fall caused things to be "not according to God's will" is problematic as it suggests that God is not omnipotent/ omniscient. Personally I think God always foresaw the fall once evolution reached a certain point. This raises all sorts of problems to do with theodicy - although that probably justifies a whole new thread!

    (2) there is some connection between sin and physical human death, such that Jesus' physical human death has some direct connection with the problem of sin.

    I don't agree with this one either. I think the symbolism of Jesus's physical death was extremely important, however the bible makes it repeatedly clear that matters of the spirit are far more important than matters of the physical body. Jesus came to show us the way to spiritual salvation, not physical (although how heaven will work is perhaps again a different topic!).

  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith March 2012
    I wasn't intending to discuss the validity of those arguments - merely trying to express why many Christians have issues with evolution, in response to exchemist's question.

    Michael - I wasn't talking about the history of academic theology, merely about what a lot of ordinary Christians think today.

    Simon - the resurrection of the body is a pretty fundamental Christian doctrine. I think you even quoted it recently. The salvation Jesus came to bring involves "the creation itself" being "set free" (Rom 8:21), and I think that's not just talking about "spiritual" salvation.
  • exchemist March 2012
    Aha, now we're getting some good stuff. Thanks to all.

    First, davidmihjn, thanks for the clarification. I admit I suspected you of ID-type fallacies. Sorry for that. What I had in mind by "supernatural explanation" is the ID-style, "God did it" explanations of supposedly "irreducibly complex" features of organisms. It's a relief to know that in argument with you I am not, evidently, dealing with this fallacy. However I think I would still contend that such things are indeed offered by ID people as supernatural "explanations". (By the way, you are obviously a prickly character, as I am too on occasion, but it really would be more pleasant if you could keep under control your flashes of contempt for people who don't immediately see your point. Internet communication is a very imperfect medium and misunderstandings are common, even among intelligent people who are trying to be rational. As to ignorance, we are all ignorant to some degree - the purpose of these discussions is to try to reduce this a bit, n'est ce pas?)

    Anthony and Michael, what you have to say about the Fall is interesting. I was a bit shocked the other day to be told, in a Catholic catechism class, that the orthodox view remains that there must have been an actual historical event in which a specific early man and woman disobeyed God and caused the Fall. To me this seems most unlikely. I'd always regarded the story of the Fall as an allegorical depiction of what must surely have been a progressive process, in which man's unique ability to tell right from wrong emerged as he evolved, hence his unique moral responsibility arose and also, crucially, his tendency not to exercise that responsibility correctly (i.e. original sin). It seems that view makes me somewhat heterodox. I was not at the time able to pursue WHY the orthodox Catholic view apparently requires a historical act of disobedience......      

    Regarding the problem of death entering the world due to the Fall, the Catholic view seems to be (I am no theologian - this is just what I took from the Catechism discussion) that this is spiritual, not physical death and it is that distancing from God that Christ came to rectify. So thankfully I am not expected to believe, implausibly, that home sapiens became at some point in his evolution from the other animals immune from death, only to screw it up by disobeying God. This seems to be in line with the "theistic evolution" view (though please don't sign me up for the complete "theistic evolution" package until I know more about it)  - and possibly with Simon's position.      

    Anyway, I now have greater insight into why evolution is the particular target of the creationists, so thanks for that. It looks as if the full answer will prove to be connected with the theological ramifications of the Fall (Atonement and so forth) but this is getting complicated. 

    Final thought: I see the subject of the resurrection of the body has come up. This is something else that bothers me, but maybe it deserves its own discussion thread. 
  • SimonSimon March 2012
    Hi all,

    I've moved David's most recent post on this thread to the following new thread as I fear it was getting off topic.

    We had a discussion amongst the moderators yesterday and decided that instead of deleting off topic posts we would create new threads for them. The only exception will be if people are being overly offensive or if another user specifically complains.