D’Souza, Darwin and God

Dinesh D’Souza, a writer and thinker for whom I normally have a good deal of respect, got the relationship between evolution and Christianity exactly backward, and effectively, though inadvertently, demonstrated an important point I have tried to make many times in the past.

D’Souza’s point about Charles Darwin is that his theory of evolution did not cause him to lose his faith, though he does assert that it has caused others to lose their faith. D’Souza bases this on the fact that Darwin was already angry at God for the death of his daughter at age 10, and also Darwin’s refusal to believe that good men such as his grandfather who were unbelievers could be in hell. Darwin therefore was already moving away from Christianity when he started to formulate the theory of evolution. Therefore, says D’Souza, Darwin’s loss of his faith and his belief in evolution are unrelated events.

I would posit instead that they are closely related, as Darwin himself said, though D’Souza has the proposed cause and effect backward. Many Christians who believe in evolution make this same mistake, and think that we creationists are just blindly holding onto ignorance out of fear of losing our faith if we realize the truth of science. No, instead we recognize that evolution was simply intellectual cover for what logically did indeed come prior, the rejection of the God of the Bible. If one rejects the God of the Bible then one must find a way around one of the most common and compelling arguments for the existence of that God, which is the nature and existence of the things we see around us. So Darwin is rejecting God, and being of a scientific mindset, he must answer the question of how everything came to be, and he hits on this idea, the theory of evolution. As some of D’Souza’s own quotes of Darwin shows, he regarded any divine involvement in science as the death knell of his theory:

When Darwin’s co-discoverer of evolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, wrote him to say that evolution could not account for man’s moral and spiritual nature, Darwin accused him of jeopardizing the whole theory. “I hope you have not murdered too completely your own and my child.” Darwin’s ultimate position was that it was disastrous for evolution to, at any point, permit a divine foot in the door.

So Darwin certainly saw a connection between the two. But D’Souza merely says that it was “complicated”, like the way people talk about their relationships on Facebook when they don’t want to explain it more clearly. D’Souza likewise says that we have to distinguish between Darwin the unbeliever and Darwin the scientist. Why? Darwin didn’t distinguish. To him, evolution was necessary to avoid the God of the Bible, and evolution serves this same purpose for many other scientists, as D’Souza’s own quotes again demonstrate:

According to Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”


Biologist E.O. Wilson writes, “If humankind evolved by Darwinian natural selection, genetic chance and environmental necessity, not God, made the species.” Douglas Futuyma asserts in his textbook Evolutionary Biology, “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of life superfluous.” Biologist William Provine boasts that in the modern era, “evolution is the greatest engine of atheism.”


Darwin’s most ardent champion, Thomas Henry Huxley, took a different view. Huxley was vehemently anti-Christian, and he was attracted to Darwin’s theory precisely because they saw it as helping to overthrow the Christian case for divine creation. Huxley noted that evolution’s “complete and irreconcilable antagonism” to Christianity constituted “one of its greatest merits in my eyes.”

Christians or theists who believe in evolution are very anxious not to see this point, as some of my own interactions with them in the past demonstrate. They want to believe that they’re just separate issues, but they’re not. Evolution is one of the many tools, and one of the handiest tools for the scientifically minded, to avoid the truth about God. And those quotes above just demonstrate that without the theory of Darwin, one has little choice but to believe in a God who created everything. None of D’Souza’s handwaving can change the fact that there was the very closest of relationships between Darwin’s unbelief and his science. D’Souza never even attempts to examine whether the event that came before (anger at God over the death of his daughter) had any influence on the event that came after (the formulation of the theory of evolution). He simply assumes the wrong cause-and-effect relationship is what we theists believe and then disproves an argument that we don’t make.

Now this doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in evolution is trying to avoid the truth of the Bible. But this is the purpose of the theory, and the way it functions in most of our secular world. Peter didn’t recognize that the Judaizers were trying to steal the faith, and he was led astray. Many Christians are likewise led astray by those trying to destroy the faith. Belief in evolution doesn’t necessarily turn one into an atheist. But it sure helps a lot if becoming an atheist is what you’re trying to do anyway.

So the point is not that we creationists are afraid of being turned into atheists if we believe in evolution. It’s just that we recognize that the major engine promoting evolution is the atheistic impulse, the desire to avoid the truth of God’s word, and we see no reason to go along. I see no reason to carry water for people who hate God and the Bible. I see no reason to justify their attacks against my Lord and Savior and call the theory something other than what it is. I see no reason to disbelieve Scripture’s clear teachings in favor of this atheistic attack on God. And I see every reason to warn other Christians, like Paul warned Peter, not to fall prey to these deceptions. The evidence may seem compelling and the arguments may seem overwhelming. Satan has always been good at what he does. But their real intention is clear. And God’s word is clear. He made all things by the word of His power in six days, some six to ten thousand years ago. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Inerrancy at Stake

Well, I’ve about wrapped it up over at the Evangelutionist.

The last statement from GJG, the main guy I’m arguing with:

So it all comes down to that question. How does accepting a scientific approach to natural history in any way compromise fundamental Christian doctrine?

My response:

I already answered you a couple of times, but you didn’t apparently like the answer. And I’m sorry, but I think I’m just about done with the civility you value so much. The core doctrine you’re compromising is inerrancy and infallibility. You think the Bible has errors, lots of them, beginning to end. And you think that science is possessed of sufficient authority to correct Scripture, when the opposite is in fact the case. You think yourself in a position, possessed of sufficient wisdom, to correct the mistakes of Moses, Peter, Paul, and anyone else in the Bible that doesn’t match up to your level of understanding (even Jesus? He mentions Abel in Matthew 23:35- is Abel a real person?). And you say that the YEC-ists are lacking in humility! Your doctrine isn’t insulting to me. It’s insulting to God. You are lacking in humility. You are the one confused. You think your little telescope, your Discovery channel special, your Carl Sagan magazine article can correct the Holy Scriptures? You think your test tubes and Geiger counters are a more accurate source of information than the Holy Spirit? Moses talked with God FACE TO FACE (Deut. 34:10), as God said He would never talk to any other man until Christ came, and you think you know better than him. Appalling arrogance, and makes me realize what a waste of time this whole thing is, thinking you’d ever listen to me when you won’t listen to Moses. Scripture doesn’t need your help. You need its help, because you’re on the path to death. You apparently believe that God, who said that the mythologies of the nations around Israel were abominations, then used those abominations to teach Israel religious truth. Do you think God incapable of telling the the truth about His own creation in a way that they could understand? Do you really think the Israelites were such idiots that if God had told them “the universe is in fact very old” that they couldn’t understand it, despite the fact that other ancient cultures believed that too? That God could have told Moses (face to face, remember), that some of his details about who was whose parents and how long they lived weren’t right? And maybe Jesus (created all the world, remember) could have dropped a bug in Peter’s ear that Genesis 1 was just a “fable” before Peter would embarrass himself by relying on that fable in the very same passage that denies that he follows fables? Maybe you’d like to rewrite the Bible the way it should have been done? Could have avoided all those poor souls going down to hell because God wasn’t smart enough to write the Bible the way you thought He should have? You should be on your knees asking forgiveness. I could go into quite a bit of detail, how your doctrine destroys the parallel Paul makes in Romans 5, which wrecks the doctrine of imputation of sin and therefore the doctrine of imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The whole covenantal structure is standing on quicksand when the actual historical events that established the covenant may or may not have actually occurred. Original sin is foundering when Adam’s existence is called into question. Death is supposed to be the penalty for sin according to lots of passages (Romans 6:23 for one), but death is just part of God’s mechanism for progress if you’re right. Another contradiction. But you’ve failed to understand or deal with my arguments from the beginning, just accusing me of illogic and ignorance (even accusing me of being ignorant of the meaning of the word ignorant!). I’ve spilled thousands of words on this already. It’s all there. These are the doctrines you compromise as I’ve said from the beginning. I mention Bultmann because I thought you might be interested to know whose arguments you’re using, and what bitter fruit those arguments have borne. And just as a personal exercise I’ll try one more time with my argument about 2 Peter: Peter says that following a myth would be bad, and denies that he does it in verse 16 of chapter 1. Yes, he’s talking about Christ. If your argument is right, then just fifteen verses later, he does just what he said is a bad thing to do by using the flood as proof for his argument- he is following a myth. You seem to think following myths (”religiously, not historically”) is OK, but the word (”muthos”) or the concept everywhere in Scripture is something to avoid. A myth is something that is false, a lie, in Scripture. You say the mythological nature of the flood doesn’t affect his argument, but you apparently don’t understand his argument then. Here it is: Major: God punishes false prophets. (Proof: Flood, Sodom and Gomorrha)
Minor: False prophets exist today.
Conclusion: God will punish those false prophets as well. If the proof for the major premise didn’t happen, then the argument doesn’t work. And also just as a personal exercise, I’ll try this part of my argument again as well: What bar is there to using your exact interpretive method, as many have, to discount the resurrection of Christ? If historical and religious truth can be separated, couldn’t they be separated there as well? Couldn’t I believe in the principle of forgiveness of sins and resurrection and atonement without needing to actually believe in a virgin birth (which science tells us is impossible)? Or to put it another way, who are you to decide which doctrines of Scripture can be tossed aside and which are essential? Who are you to decide that any given truth that God saw fit to communicate to us in Scripture can just be discounted? I say these things for the benefit of anyone else who may be reading. It’s clear to me you’re not going to listen to any arguments I make. Why should you? I’m not greater than Peter. I’m not greater than Moses. You ignore them; you’ll ignore me too. John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? You appear very much to be more interested in being well-regarded by your fellow “scientists” than being approved by God. I won’t judge your heart, but I will warn you. See the above passage and prayerfully consider whether this applies to you or not. This is why I believe Genesis 1. I believe it because I love Jesus, my Savior, who died for my sins and rose again. I am not my own. I belong to Him. And He told me to believe Moses, without qualification. So I’m going to believe Moses, and all the “science” of the world be damned. Jesus didn’t tell me to believe Moses “religiously but not historically”. He just told me to believe him. If Jesus thought that belief needed a caveat, He could have mentioned it somewhere. See, all I care about is what I’m going to answer for myself when I’m standing in front of His holy throne. I don’t care if it turns people off to the gospel. That’s God’s business. He elects, He calls people to Him anyway. It’s not my job to make Scripture more palatable. It’s an offense, a stumblingblock, and it always has been. I’m not ashamed of it. So, worst case scenario- I’m completely wrong and you’re right. I think I will be able to claim good intentions, that God’s words on this point were a little unclear. I’ve lost nothing, really. I just believed God’s word. I have a hard time thinking God will condemn me for that. But switch it around- I’m right and you’re wrong. What are you going to do when you’re standing in front of God and He wants to know why you didn’t believe the plain teaching of Scripture, and taught other people to do so as well? Whose honor are you interested in receiving? Again, the essential doctrine is the cross of Christ. What’s the link? Verse 46 above. Jesus says if you don’t believe Moses then you won’t believe Him either. I think there’s a little too much at stake here for you to play your little word games. Just believe Moses. He spoke face to face with the creator of the universe, and he knows more than you. I know that you, in your breathtaking arrogance, don’t think that’s true. But I’m going to take the revelation of God over all your little scientists and rock hammers and telescopes and chemistry sets any day of the week. All who contradict the word of God will be weighed in the balance and found to be nothing, the chaff that is blown away. Repent, I am urging you. Your doctrine is the doctrine of devils, and leads to death.
UPDATE: His response is here.

Evidences of an Old Earth

From this discussion:

Touchstone and GloverGJ,
I just can’t leave it alone. I’ve learned from past experience not to say I will not reply to an argument anymore, because often I can’t resist.

So. The OT says that a legal matter could be decided on the evidence of two witnesses. You’ve implied I must be ignorant of the scientific evidence. So I’ll tell you this, to make you aware of my educational background and capacity to understand your argument: I’m not a scientist. But I have received a B.A. degree from a secular university, including classes in physics, astronomy, chemistry and calculus. I have taught calculus, geometry and trigonometry on the high school level. I am trained in logic. I am aware of the arguments regarding the speed of light, the distance of stars and the Doppler shifts we have observed. I am also aware of the arguments regarding radiometric dating of rocks, though to a lesser degree.

So let me ask you- what are, in your minds, the strongest two arguments for the old age of the earth? What are the two witnesses you would appeal to? Please don’t make it lengthy- let’s just name the evidences and briefly summarize them. If I need to do research to understand the arguments, I know how to do that research. You will know from my replies whether I understand well enough or not.

Update: Here is the discussion on Evangelutionist’s site. It’s quite lengthy. The discussion revolves not so much around the specific evidences, but on the question of epistemology, the basis for our knowledge and understanding of things.

I am endeavoring to show that belief in old or young earth is a choice you make. Judge for yourself whether I am successful or not. The evidence does not compel belief in an old earth as there are possible explanations for the evidence. Even if the evidence says what they say it does, there is simply the possibility that God created it that way six thousand years ago, with some processes already advanced:

All of the data you presuppose could have simply been created in that state by God six thousand years ago. I know that such a solution is usually mocked, but really, why should it be? There’s a perfectly good reason why God would create the light of the stars already on earth, and that’s that He wanted us to see the stars. Stars are very useful for navigation and other things. And all of these heavy elements and radioactive isotopes must have their purposes too. Just because we don’t know why God would do something like that doesn’t mean He didn’t do it, or that there isn’t some reason of which we are unaware. Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced? It is necessary for you to prove this in order to make your case. And there’s another possible reason that He did it that way, and that is the real possibility that He did it in order to test people, to see whether they would believe Genesis 1-11 or the theories of God-hating idolaters. Unworthy of God, perhaps you might say? Isn’t that deceptive, dishonest? But God told us He would do exactly that: Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 “and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’
3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. This isn’t the only passage that tells us God would do this. Revelation mentions it several times. Many passages speak of God clouding the minds of people with madness and giving their minds over to lies to punish them for their rebellion. It’s not really deception when God told us He would do it for the purpose of testing us, and provided the truth in clear and unambiguous language as well. He said He would introduce misleading and difficult evidence into play to see whether or not we would believe what He has clearly told us. I think that’s exactly what’s going on here. Another example of this exact thing is the story of Micaiah and King Ahab in 1 Kings 22, where the prophet tells Ahab that God sent lying spirits to deceive him through his false prophets so that he would go to war against Syria and be killed. God at the same time provided the true witness in the form of Micaiah, telling him the truth, so that Ahab would be tested, to see whether he would follow God or not.

His response:

“Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced?” Absolutely not – such a thing is impossible to prove. Neither can you prove that the earth was creation this morning and all of our childhood memories are false. You can never prove these things. As a result, the “appearance of age” argument is the only logical YEC argument out there. If you agree to this, then we can stop all of this silly arguing over the “evidence” because it will always favor an old earth, and you will always have a logical way to dismiss it – since the “actual” age as revealed by God is much younger. If this is your position, why concern yourself with the evidence for an old earth in the first place?

The point is to show the fact that this belief is a choice you make. The evidence does not require it. It may be a hard choice in the face of the pressures the world puts on us. But everything about Christianity flies in the face of the world. This is no different. Christians must make hard choices and suffer the scorn of the world.

Compromising with the Beast

We have been studying through the book of Revelation, and I have been preaching through the book of John. These two particular books have come together for me in an unexpected way.

The book of John has a repeated focus on the issue of epistemology- where do we get our information from? Where do we get our understanding of the facts presented to us?

John 7:15-17
15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
17 “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

Here’s one important principle concerning knowledge, and the correct analysis of doctrines: Truth only comes as a result of being dedicated to doing God’s will. Those who are not committed to doing God’s will cannot know the truth or falsity of a doctrine. They will understand only lies. This is because:

Revelation 13:
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast…

This is the false prophet. He has a resemblance to Jesus; note the horns like a lamb. But his power is to deceive, and he deceives with signs so convincing that they would lead astray, if it were possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24). In Revelation, the power of the beast and the false prophet is extended over the whole world except for the elect. This must mean that the signs and wonders are broader than simply supernatural signs, but all kinds of lying evidence. Many people in the world who are not believers do not even believe in miracles or supernatural reality.

Jesus exhorts us in John 7:24 not to judge things according to appearances, but according to righteous judgment. And He just defined that as being accomplished by being committed to do God’s will. In John 8:31 Jesus tells us that it is being His disciples that give us the ability to know God’s truth, and that it is this truth which will set us free from slavery to sin. Knowing the truth and enslavement to sin are therefore contraries. Which agrees with Revelation’s perspective. In Revelation 14, it is the followers of the Lamb who have been sealed in their forehead and are the only ones who can learn the hymn of praise to God. Those with the mark of the beast in their forehead or on their hands, by contrast, believe the lies of the beast and worship the lying image. Jesus goes on in John 8 to say that they reject the truth because they are the sons of the devil.

So where do we get our information from? Do we get it from the interpretations of the world? The opinions of unbelievers about things? Do we get it from so-called Christians in the church who do not trust the Bible as the final authority in all matters to which it speaks? Or do we get it from the word of God, as understood by those who take it seriously?

This line of thinking was touched off by this post on Lee Johnson’s fine blog. He is reacting to a poll on the Boar’s Head Tavern at which Christian bloggers have taken a poll on various issues. Lee is lamenting the fact that of the 23 who took the poll, only two held to a Young Earth Creationist view. He also pointed to the fact that ten did not hold to an inerrantist view of Scripture. I went and read the BHT for a while, and not only do most of them not hold to a YEC view, they also say that those who do are “dishonoring God” and have a weak view of the Bible. I have heard all these comments before of course.

One of the purposes of the book of Revelation is to draw back the curtain and show the spiritual realities that lay behind the world we see with our eyes. The spiritual reality is that there is an ancient dragon, Satan, who hates the church with all his might, and is trying everything he can to destroy us. He has dispatched for this purpose the beast from the sea, who is the power of this world, and the beast from the earth, the false prophet, who is the lying philosophies of this world. Believers are exhorted throughout the book not to compromise with the world for even one inch. They will bring a great deal of pressure on us. They will bring economic pressure on us, political pressure on us, epistemological pressure on us. This last is to say they will present to us amazing “signs and wonders” that will seem to be utterly irrefutable, evidence with which we cannot argue. But we must devote ourselves to doing God’s will, and this means that people who do not believe in God have absolutely nothing to say to us on this issue, or any other issue touching the truth of God’s word.

As I have said before, nobody ever gets to a “framework hypothesis” or any kind of old earth view from the Bible. They get it from so-called “scientific” evidence and the arguments of the world, which they find so compelling that they must re-read Genesis in this light. They sometimes claim that this is because God’s natural and special revelation must agree, and this is true. But evolutionary beliefs are not natural revelation. They are man’s interpretation of natural revelation. Natural revelation is, “Look, there’s a rock, there’s a bone. That bone or that bone-shaped rock has X amount of Y radioactive isotopes in it.” When man says what those things mean, then it’s no longer natural revelation, it’s the opinions of men. And if those opinions differ with Scripture, it’s clear where our sympathies ought to lie. Any belief which differs with Scripture, no matter how compelling it may seem, is a lie of Satan, a lie of the beast, which is intended to destroy the church. We cannot compromise with such views for a second.

I am sending this out as a plea to all Christians. Wake up. This is a war. It is a spiritual war for your souls. It does not matter in the slightest what you think you know about the fossil record or carbon dating or redshifts or speciation or anything else at all. What matters is whether you believe the Bible or not. Don’t judge by appearances- don’t judge by what you think you see with your eyes. Judge by righteous judgment. And the issue does matter. How you view Genesis 1 and 2 will affect a lot of things, as I go into some here. If you can jettison all of your scientific beliefs and tell me from Scripture itself that the world is fifty billion years old, then that is an argument I’m interested in hearing. But your accommodations, your reading of Genesis 1 and 2 in such a way as to encompass Darwinistic thinking is no different than the early Christians saying they could go worship at the pagan temples and participate in their feasts and still worship God in their hearts. What did Paul have to say about that?

1 Corinthians 10:
18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?
20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

Do you know better than God? What do you think God wanted you to know when He divinely inspired Genesis 1 and 2? If He wanted you to know that the world is fifty billion years old and came about through millions of tiny changes, then He’s either a very poor communicator or a liar. Which of those roads do you want to pick? And if He didn’t care about you knowing the details of the physical creation, why spend so much time talking about those details?

Do not fellowship with demons. The lie of Darwin is one of the fiercest attacks against the church in a long time. It doesn’t matter what the scientists say or Pharyngula says or the Smithsonian Institue says or anyone else. It matters what the Bible says. God said what He meant to say. Submit yourselves to His will and believe the Bible.

I am not saying that everyone who rejects a literal view of Genesis 1 and 2 is a servant of the beast. But I am saying that everyone who rejects that view in order to accommodate a philosophy that rejects God and rejects the Bible is compromising with demons.

I’ll let John have the last word. First a note- we’re not sure exactly what the Nicolaitans believed, but it’s clear from Revelation 2-3 that they believed that some participation in the paganism of the world around them was acceptable, which is essentially the argument of those wishing to accommodate Genesis 1-2 to Darwinism. If there are any demons at all in the world today, what do you think they’re teaching?

Revelation 2:
12 ” And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘ These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
14 “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
15 “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16 ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ‘