Melissa Cain Travis poses a challenge to theistic evolutionists on her blog: Hard-Core Christianity.
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was a prominent paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. Although he was not a man of faith, that didn’t stop him from writing and commenting extensively on the relationship between science and religious belief. In his book, Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life, Gould proposed what is known as the “non-overlapping magisteria” philosophy (NOMA). In this model, science and religion address completely separate spheres of knowledge; science cannot comment on religion and religion cannot comment on science. According to Gould, they should happily coexist:I do not see how science and religion could be unified, or even synthesized, under any common scheme of explanation or analysis; but I also do not understand why the two enterprises should experience any conflict. Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world…Religion, on the other hand, operates in the equally important, but utterly different , realm of human purposes, meanings, and values…
—Gould, Rock of Ages
The NOMA view is becoming increasingly pervasive among Christian believers, often with disregard for (or perhaps ignorance of) the philosophical and theological ramifications. A prime example of this is the human origins debate. Theistic evolutionists promote the scientific consensus of human-ape common ancestry, making the (philosophical and theological) claim that the physical origin of humanity is irrelevant to Christ’s work on the cross as our Redeemer.
Let’s examine that. If God created man by way of an evolutionary process and (as theistic evolutionists claim) man gradually became “spiritually aware” at some point in that process, what do we do with the doctrine of original sin? What we have is a race of hominids whose behavior and mentality evolved based on survival of the fittest, without any awareness of God or morality. Karl Giberson, a well-known theistic evolutionist, says:“Selfishness… drives the evolutionary process. Unselfish creatures died, and their unselfish genes perished with them. Selfish creatures, who attended to their own needs for food, power, and sex, flourished and passed on these genes to their offspring. After many generations selfishness was so fully programmed in our genomes that it was a significant part of what we now call human nature.”
—Karl Giberson, Saving Darwin
Then one day, though one final neurophysiological mutation or perhaps a supernatural “ensoulment” event, these hominids receive their first moral mandate from God, whom they suddenly recognize. From this point onward, their behavior has life or death consequences. Some of the thoughts and behaviors that the evolutionary process (aka God’s creation process) has instilled within their very nature are now considered sin; moral accountability now applies.But, what does Scripture tell us about the advent of sin?
How would you respond to that account of the Fall? Does it square with what the Bible says about human nature? Think of your answer (leave a comment!) and then click here to read Melissa’s response.