august 2006

evolutionary theory
Friday, August 25th, 2006
Dear Ken,

These remarks are in response to a small portion of Ken Horn’s article, “Theology in a Nutshell 9: Humanity” on page 22 of Todays Pentecostal Evangel dated 9/17/06 (previewed on 8/25/06) most of the article seems to me to be good theology with fairly good biblical foundations. I am responding to the section marked, “Evolutionary theory is not fact or science” which I cannot quote here because it has not been released to the public and I have not received a response from Ken.

With over 40% of AG college students, staff and faculty subscribing to some form of young earth creationism, it is not likely that more than a few people in your readership will take exception to your remarks about evolution and science. They will feel as if you confirm their beliefs.

However, it is fairly plain that couching your objections to evolution in terms of a rejection of science and appeal to descriptions that only a few fringe practitioners of the discipline would countenance as authoritative is doing nothing more than increasing the level of magical thinking in the readership.

There is one error in your writing that is fairly common in our fellowship, fundamentalist and evangelical culture. That is suggesting Genesis can be classed as history or science on the order of twenty-first century history or science. When the first part of Genesis is clearly oral history with little relation to actual “History” and does not in any fashion fulfill the requirements of a document to be classed “History” as we would consider, say, an account of World War II, we do damage to the scripture.

It is not, as well, anything like “Science” as we would consider the materials science that leads us to develop electronic circuits that work. It is not science at all. Science asks the question “How?” When the scripture only tells us “That” God created, it leaves no room for scientific interpretation. Yet our propensity to engulf the text in pseudoscientific talk to “Prove” Genesis is true, again, twists the text from its natural intent.

I do not argue that the text is somehow false. It is not. But it is not history or science. We are curiously blind to the people that seem to crawl out of the woodwork at the punishment of Cain. His wife, the people who will see the mark on his forehead and take revenge for the death of his brother, the cities that are built by families that seem to sprout out of nowhere yet are all assumed to be Adam’s children. So many mysteries. So many unanswered puzzles. There is more going on there than what is stated in the text. An oral history, like Genesis, has a purpose and drives people to a moral conclusion. It is not, however, a straightforward account of everything that happened. The world is not that simple. There are dozens of problems with treating the text this way when the facts of the real world impinge.

I’m not looking for an authority to prove my point. All this seems fairly plain in the text itself. I am not immune to changing my opinion, but have already taken the full force of these changes as I grew in Christ, finding the standard young earth creationism view to be more magical than factual or faithful to the text. It appears that in this brief section of your article you have merely dismissed these views instead of engaging them.

Have you ever read Darwin’s “Origin of Species?” I would be inclined to listen to your response if you had.

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