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Is Christianity Today twisting the Bible to fit Darwinian evolution?

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That’s the accusation by editor Tom Gilson at The Stream. He is responding to a review by Jay Johnson of Loren Haarsma’s When Did Sin Begin?:

Christianity Today is asking how we can fit evolution with the Bible. I’m trying to figure out why…

Why Try Jury-Rigging the Bible to Fit a Failed Theory?

Evolution doesn’t fit the facts of nature, so why should it fit the account in Genesis? Why even try to make it fit?

We can’t solve that problem by adding God into the evolution equation. Most theistic evolutionists today are pretty stingy about what they’ll let God do there anyway (as if it were up to them). They want Him in the background, so nature can run without Him. That’s just the same evolution, though, with “God” sprinkled on top of it. It’s an insult to both God and evolution.

Others say God gets involved from time to time. In that case, Genesis is just fine as is. There’s no need to doubt that God that made Adam and Eve by special creation, just as it says in the Bible. (If you want more on this, here’s more — 1,000 pages more!)

Can We Harmonize Christianity Today With Evangelical Christianity?

So where does this leave us? Christianity Today is supposed to be the voice of evangelical Christianity. Here, though, it has totally capitulated to a naturalized view of human origins. It’s giving in to a view that many evangelicals reject for good scientific reasons.

I’d say that leaves us with one more “harmonization” problem to solve. Christianity Today has always been supposed to be the voice of evangelical Christianity. It’s supposed to be biblical. How does that fit with reality today? Answer: It doesn’t.

Tom Gilson, “Why Would Christianity Today Try Twisting the Bible to Fit Evolution?” at The Stream (April 8, 2022)

Note: Gilson ends by recommending skeptic Neil Thomas’s Taking Leave of Darwin (2021) instead.

Any thoughts on what gives with Christianity Today?

17 Replies to “Is Christianity Today twisting the Bible to fit Darwinian evolution?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    I’ve never understood Lite Christianity or Lite Cigarettes or Lite Beer. If you’re going to smoke, smoke real tobacco. If you’re going to drink, drink straight whiskey. If you’re going to believe, take the Bible uncut and unfiltered.

    Aside from honesty, the Lite approach is poor branding and poor business. People buy Product X because they like Product X. People don’t buy Product X because they wish it was Product Y.

  2. 2
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Evolution?
    That’s like twisitng the Bible to support caloric theory, or phlogiston, or string theory, or some other dead cat. Especially evolution, a discredited theory that survives on its raw power in cooorrupt institutions such as the media and academia.

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Christianity Today is supposed to be the voice of evangelical Christianity. Here, though, it has totally capitulated to a naturalized view of human origins. It’s giving in to a view that many evangelicals reject for good scientific reasons.

    I think the problem is with biblical literalism which Evangelical Christianity was noted for at one time – so, in other words, the YEC approach to origins eventually gave way to compromises with modern science. But that’s the slippery path. As traditional creationism was abandoned, then the next steps lead along to Christian Darwinism. That’s what gives us the strange phenomena of Christians working to defend Darwinism even as it is falling apart.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    If you’re going to believe, take the Bible uncut and unfiltered.

    Of course that would need you to learn several dead languages, and a knowledge of the cultures around the time the Bible was written. Frankly, I don’t think many people have the time.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, that’s why there are competent translations [nowadays I start with ESV and AMP, try Bible Gateway and The Word or eSword], introductions, dictionaries, technical commentaries and even encyclopedias and interlinear translations with original language dictionaries on tap. In a few clicks I can now access what I once had to do an expedition across a city to find in a specialist library with help of specialist librarians. There is no difficulty of lay people who have not swallowed crooked yardsticks being utterly unable to read with understanding more than enough to see for themselves. BTW, notice how the NT matter of factly endorsed the KJV of their time, the Septuagint. KF

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – all of those sources give information which is both cut and filtered. That’s why, for example, there are so many translations of the Bible. There is not one uncut and unfiltered translation, because that’s not possible.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, in the diversity of witnesses there is truth, and I suggest an interlinear is by no means cut. Translation does not entail disqualifying distortion and sound commentary, dictionary entries, introductory material etc is credibly objective. Which, too, is my context for pointing to the Septuagint, great great . . . grand daddy to the KJV. KF

  8. 8

    Yes, there is a real need to look at Genesis in the original Hebrew. That’s what my book “The Long Ascent” attempted to do (placing A&E about 11,300BC). But as for twisting scripture, the root is right there in the last phrase of the last verse in Genesis 4. ” then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”

    Delitzsch and protestant commentators don’t know what this means. It sounds good, but soon after this we get the Flood. Jewish commentators knew immediately what this meant. In the Hebrew, the name of God was sacred, and the subject of the 2nd commandment. When these men “call upon the name”, they are naming God, which is a method of taking control and dangerous. Why? I’ll explain.

    When Georg Cantor proposed his transfinite numbers, he was criticized by the Left for talking about infinities which were impossible to construct (by Aristotle’s dictum), and therefore never more than “potential” infinities. So he was assigning theorems to “potential” objects which were not actual. He was criticized by the Right, for violating Plato’s dictum that only God was infinite, everything else finite. So he was constructing theorems about God, which was clearly blasphemous. Georg died in an insane asylum. This story was told by David Foster Wallace in his fascinating book, “Everything and more”.

    Georg’s work was picked up by three mathematicians in France, but after making initial progress, one dropped out of math, one (IIRC) committed suicide, and another had a disaster happen. Wallace himself, noted this problem in the introduction to his book, beginning with Euclid’s fifth postulate. Then after writing his book, committed suicide. The subject of infinity was evidently radioactive.

    From France, the mantle passed on to 3 mathematicians in Russia. But unlike their forebears, they were Russian orthodox. They claimed John 17 as their proof text, where Jesus prays for his disciples using the language of names. “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”

    Believing in the power of names, they made a practice of saying the “Jesus prayer” 24/7, a discipline called “hesychast” and taught by the monks of St Athos. Using this spiritual knowledge, they tacked Georg Cantor’s transfinite numbers showing that through the power of names, they could name and categorize various infinities, and thereby make theorems about them without ever having to construct them (Aristotle’s dictum). In my paraphrase, I don’t have to jump off a 10-story building to know and understand what it feels like. I do not have to construct an infinity, to make proofs about it, I need only name and define it.

    So back to Genesis 4. When men began to “call on the name”, the Jewish Rabbi’s were unanimous, they were attempted to name and define God, they were categorizing and limiting Him, they were the ones in control of the relationship. And this violated both the Creator-creature distinction and the later given 2nd commandment.

    When Loren Haarsma or Christianity Today engage in theology, they are endangering their souls if they do not recognize this third rail of human nature and human language. It is a danger often seen in hindsight, but seminary has a very bad effect on some people. Christianity Today’s founding editor was Carl FH Henry, and strove to be the “thinking” Christian’s magazine. It too has foundered on that third rail of Genesis 4. We might take to heart the rabbi’s attempt to put a fence around the 2nd commandment, lest we too be electrocuted by it.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    RS

    We might take to heart the rabbi’s attempt to put a fence around the 2nd commandment, lest we too be electrocuted by it.

    Christianity is considerably different than what rabbis teach.

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Of course that would need you to learn several dead languages, and a knowledge of the cultures around the time the Bible was written.

    Or you could trust someone who was authorized by God to explain it to you.

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    SA – unfortunately God doesn’t give out signed authorisations. And ther are far too many people claiming to be authorised to be sure who’s right.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, that’s where first duties of reason come in, what is right will be thoroughly sound, honest work. KF

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    RS, great to see you, care to expand? KF

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    unfortunately God doesn’t give out signed authorisations

    I’m very sure you don’t know that, but if you’ve gathered some knowledge through your study of religion, faith and the workings of God among people through history – that’s very good to hear.

    And ther are far too many people claiming to be authorised to be sure who’s right.

    Maybe so, but one or more of them could be right. So, it’s important to keep an open mind.

  15. 15
    Bob O'H says:

    SA – even if one or more is right, how would we know who they were? This is why I agree about keeping an open mind: I think there has to be an element of doubt. I would expect those trying to push their view of God etc. to also be aware of this. So I think I’d only trust people who didn’t claim that they had been Authorised By God.

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    You’ve started to build a criteria for discovery:
    1. A person truly authorized by God would be aware that people will view them (or their claims) with doubt
    2. The person also would not claim to have been Authorized by God.

    Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean you have to trust everything. Plus, your criteria that would convince you of the authenticity of the message will have some personal elements that won’t work for other people. But for a start you could temporarily eliminate a lot of claims.
    As you said, and that seems good – you’d have some expectations for what actually should be evident in a person who had that kind of authorization from God.
    An obvious thing to look for would be the person is consistent in what is being said and not changing the story under pressure or for political advantage. The person is not a known con-artist or seeker of financial benefits. So yes, it’s a matter of trust.

    Good Friday is this week. At the crucifixion, the Jews said to Jesus “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross”.
    So, they had a standard. “If you’re truly authorized, we need to see this.”
    At the same time, they had seen or heard of other events of the same quality as a person coming down off of the cross like that, and it didn’t move them. So, we have to be consistent on our part also.

  17. 17
    Fasteddious says:

    Bob: If you look at various Bible translations over the centuries, you will see that they are in very good agreement, except perhaps in some vague areas or trivialities. You presumably do the same when you read science articles: accepting them tentatively, until supported over time by others. Why not do the same with the Bible? No need to study Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic or Latin (although such studies are worthwhile), as KF says, you can get a solid understanding of what was written by checking different translations, and reading commentaries (e.g. to get some cultural context).
    In any case, rather than sitting on your high fence waiting for “proof” or “certainty” (which you will never get, for religion or science), why not do as much homework as you think sufficient (not setting the bar impossibly high), and then take a “plunge of faith” (not so much a leap)? Christianity is largely an empirical faith anyway: backed up with a lot of evidence. For one approach, see for instance:
    https://thopid.blogspot.com/2014/06/empirical-faith.html
    Peace!

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