Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Wesleyan Criticism of Theistic Evolution

The purpose of this post is to argue that Wesleyans should reject theistic evolution. To do so doesn't require defending a literal view of the Genesis creation account.

Theistic evolution functions on principles that are contrary to God's revealed character. It is absurd to argue that a good God who is involved with His creation would create a world that runs on principles that contradict His nature.

As Wesleyans we believe that everyone has great value. We have value not because of our genes, but because God created us.

As Wesleyans we believe that God cares for the weak. He hears the prayers of the widow. He protects the fatherless. He defends the poor.

As Wesleyans we believe that God heals the sick. He gives sight to the blind, and speech to the mute. God makes us whole.

All of these values contradict the principles of natural selection. Natural selection rewards the strong, the powerful, the aggressive, the fertile, the selfish, the genetically perfect. Natural selection is efficient, but it is not loving.

Jesus says that the last will be first. Jesus says that blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek. Jesus says that the meek will inherit the earth.

Jesus himself was not physically attractive, and he had no physical descendants (Isaiah 53). Yet he was also perfect. God's definition of perfection does not include the attributes that are required for natural selection.

Natural selection is a result of the fall. God created a perfect world, a world without death. Yet we live in a world in decay. We live in a world where the strong survive and the weak often perish. The fallen world we live in is not the way God originally created it. When we argue on behalf of theistic evolution, we are arguing for a world that has always been fallen, and we are arguing that God created a world that contrary to his intrinsic character.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. -Romans 8:20-21

8 comments:

Tony-Allen said...

Just out of curiosity, Kevin, what do you think of the belief that the six days of creation are actual six "periods" of time?

Kevin Jackson said...

Hi Tony-Allen, I don't have a position on that. It could be six periods, it could be six literal days. I do believe there was an actual Adam and Eve.

Todd 'Stepp said...

That was an interesting post. To "piggy-back" on Tony-Allen's comment, what is an example of a non-literal view of Gen. that would be consistent with your proposal?

(I noticed that you indicated that one need not have a literal view, but you did not indicate that you held a non-literal view. Thus, I am curious about your answer to my question.)

Tony-Allen said...

To Kevin: I do too. The argument that the "days" refers to "periods of time" comes from a take on the Hebrew word used for "days," and suggests that it could mean an unspecific amount of time.

While that could be possible and perhaps only God knows for absolute certain, I think it's also a dangerous area to trend. I call it the "lexicon fallacy" - in other words, you look in a lexicon and find any alternate meaning to a word and use it as the definite meaning :)

SLW said...

I thought it interesting that you took on evolution on a strictly theological basis. Death is the big issue that either Old Earthers or Theistic Evolutionists have to explain in a way that makes theological sense. I don't know if that's possible.

Even though not taking a literal view of Genesis 1-3 leads to wild speculations (in my view) with their own theological issues, I'm quite sure that the Genesis account is no where near the whole story. There's much God didn't deem necessary for us to know, apparently. However, what he did tell us, shoots theistic evolution out of the water, imo.

Kevin Jackson said...

Todd, An example is old earth creationism. Three ways this could work: 1)The gap theory - the earth was created and destroyed and then created again. 2)Adam lives for a long time before his fall 3)Gaps in the genealogy accounts.

The goal of the post wasn't to advocate a specific view, just to argue that theistic evolution is not a viable option in and of itself.

I lean towards literal interpretation of Genesis myself, although I'm non-committal on the issue.

The Seeking Disciple said...

A great book on this subject is COMING TO GRIPS WITH GENESIS. It is well written by both theologians and scientists on Genesis 1-2 and why we should take them literally and as six 24 hour days.

I hold to a literal view. My reasoning is probably child like but its that God can do anything He wants to do. He could have created the world in six seconds, six days, six hours, or even all in a blink of the eye. But it seems to me, from reading Genesis 1-2, that He did it in our time, 24 hours. Further, 2 Peter 3:10 indicates that the world will be burned up and it seems quickly. If God can do these acts in 2 Peter 3:10 quickly then He surely can create quickly.

Just some thoughts.

Dawn said...

I take the Genesis account of creation literally. Moses reiterates this in Exodus 20:11. Also, the wording "evening" and "morning" says, to me, that these creation days are literal. Like Roy state, God could have done it in the blink of an eye, but didn't. I believe he did it as a pattern for us to follow in our lives.