The creationist-evolutionist 101
Part of the trouble with the way I think is I can’t narrow down in a linear way
All the details of people’s questions I want to get the foundations right then build up from there.
In our society the starting point for a lot of people is that nothing is certain and that is the combination of a lot of cultural evolution and immediately that is going to clash with where we are coming from. So the question I want to pose to people coming from that point of view, or that we are trying to communicate, is how can you be certain there is no certainty? and if there is a basis for certainty how do we get that?
I came across this quote from Blake
And I think that's a pretty an accurate description of how a lot of people think about truth Its inaccessible and ultimately breaks down into being individualistic and There is no correlation between the individual parts.
Responding to that ….
Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not believed
basically reacting against a position of certainty, that everything is prescribed, but in doing that he makes an absolute statement as well that
That truth can never be understood and the trouble with reacting like that is that ..
If everything is uncertain then the ground that your standing to challenge anything is also uncertain
And he’s also admitting that he doesn’t know the truth and in response to what he’s saying and a lot of society is saying is they are saying that we don’t know and we are
going to have to accept that and to believe it.
I want to kind of take us back in history to where the real problems between science and faith began and the conversation between them began in my opinion. That
Because of the certainty of faith…… and then science developing between that region
and logical thought framework the assumption of certainty was so embedded that people just took it for granted there was a sense that the church could explain everything and everything was pretty much certain but that started to obviously not be true as knowledge grew and grew
So Descartes decided that w
We will eliminate the uncertainty and start with the thin and came up with this concept of hyperbolic doubt
Hyperbolic doubt is a systematic
To arrive at a list of beliefs that are true and doubtless. By elimination you come up with something that can’t be shaken and then build everything up from there
So in all his thinking he came up with this
This unshakeable statement ‘I think therefore I am’ as his foundation and then he built all the previous certainties that were taken for granted from this foundation.
The Existence of God and reason and how we can basically
His system of beliefs ours system of knowledge started at this point the reason I am choosing this point as
The problem point of the future relationship between science and because hidden in this starting point is assumptions that he wasn’t aware he was making. Sill he is making assumption of his own personality that there was things that he though no one would ever challenge but they did and ultimately that individual rationalistic foundation wasn’t solid enough to rebuild all the certainties that people had experienced through faith.
People have got lists of objections to this and basically the problem he starts with is that everyone has a point of certainty that they can find but the experience of science and culture since then is that this is not the case. It wasn’t enough to explain everything. So people have certainties within their world view derived from faith within their culture that has been passed on but because those certainties actually came from a different foundation when it was shifted onto this rationalist… it was never going to be able to support an explanation for everything.
This kind of approach set us up for where we are now pretty much, there isn’t in the popular mind there is not that union that has been spoken that the truth has been shattered and that’s been a long drawn out process.
Now the bible talks about certainty, in Hebrews 11 it says that faith is the certainty of things hoped for but there is limits on that and part of the problem from faiths perspective with community
We've got all the answers and there has been a portion of the church which has used the line don’t confuse me with the facts I’ve made up my mind already
Everything is uncertain, and because faith is certainty we’ve got all the answers were inevitability going to collide and have people fighting it our in our culture… to lead on to
how that battle works out into creationism and evolutionism a lot of it will be in reference to the whole schools debate and I will go on to look at different positions and the potential for something good to come out off that and we can we will be taking a hold of what we do know and trying to get hold
For us to start at the possibility of certainty and Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life, he made some very definite statements about who he was and promises that truths I communicable and accessible that we are not just stuck with our own perspectives
but that as we reach out the truth reaches back and it’s a relational from the promise of what Jesus was saying I want to look at how we a s a church get a hold of that Knowledge puffs up but love builds up ….. (whole verse)
If one loves god one is know by him
There’s limits to certainty that offered within Christianity and as Christians its really important to get hold of this because there is nothing more in term of people who are seeking is a church that say s we have all the answers but is out of touch of where people are and out of touch with the questions
The bible warns about the type of knowledge that is just ideas that puff up and where our certainty comes from is that aspect the relationship of the church.
This is a quote on Augustine
Usting from Thomas Aquinas
The truth without wavering.
This is what I’m after us to get hold of as Christians and within that to get more of a hold of
And to provide a way for people to bring questions and get revelation.
The Christian basis of marriage is love and relationship and everything we know we know in part
We prophesy in part but we are looking forward basically to when these parts come together, when Jesus comes back there will be no one holy we will know fully then even as God knows us.
OK, for the church I want to give us a vision of how we can be more than we are at the minute. Because of God’s plan to unite everything under Christ he has given us as his members different parts that other parts of the body don’t have. So God’s got a plan, he’s given us partial knowledge, and his plan is that he won’t let us get away with not needing each other and this is about Jesus.
‘ he who descended is the very one who ascended… so the body of Christ may be build
up Attaining to the whole measure of the goodness of Christ’
There is a verse that says we have the mind of Christ and its not… I find myself I don’t have the mind of Christ and it is only within that relationship that us perceiving how Jesus sees things from his perspective is the only way we are going to get hold of that. So what I want to be doing is looking for the different parts and getting the connections. Within the mind of Christ we need to get a hold of…. we’ve got to work out relationally
with people from different perspective’s and approach it with humility. We need to start from a point of being partial places of accepting being partially certain and Get hold of the creative potential of the uncertainty that God has given us as well.
I wanted to put up the verse about hope but I lost the connection but it’s a verse that talks about hope saying something like you don’t hope for what you have, he who hopes doesn’t hope for what he has because he has it already.
But in the context of where we are going the eternal stuff as a church we are trying to get hold of is faith is described as certainty, there's also hope is described as eternal so there's always going to be that bit that’s uncertain and while we are here that’s going to be the
bigger part until we are fully known
God's going to give us a foundation of certainty and a foundation that comes from the relational know but
The uncertainty is always going to be bigger and its like every question you get answered you increase the boundaries of your little patch of knowledge and the coastline between the vast unknown gets bigger, its one of the things that we should be aiming for as our faith works out. Its not the reduction of things we are questioning or have questions about. We can increase our faith, we can increase our love and work it out and be more certain about things but the very process of us investing in stuff that ‘s eternal means that we are going to be investing in hope and hopefully changing our questions for bigger ones.
Until that point when we see Christ face to face and we know fully.
There are many descriptions of heaven but they’re all little pictures and then Paul says we can’t even conceive what its going to be will be like, its the beset we can think of and
way beyond that but the best we can think of is the biggest picture we can get hold of to describe it but the reality is going to be bigger and so as Christians we want to be getting a hold of what’s certain yes but we want to be pursuing more questions and that
fundamentally opens us up to interacting with the world, cause there are a lot of questions out there, and we don’t know all the questions that are out there. And if we’ve got something to give, if we do have this incredible gift of certainty then we’ve got to give to
the world that thinks nothing of certainty.
Ian de Costa - Why do you think that scientists don’t believe in God? Are they so certain in their scientific principles that they think they can’t be wrong?
I think it’s a common problem that absolutely every one faces whether we are scientists or not. Even is that even tough someone may say nothings certain there's things that we’ve
There are things we have in our belief system that we didn’t create, that we didn’t take
down to a basis and build up. there are bits that we just naturally know, that we perceive. Everyone has random bits of certainty knocking around, sometimes they change and I think the very nature of it being partial means that there’s potential for totally different
perspectives… I saw a picture, it’s a photograph of a guy holding out his hand and further down the beach there was someone, it looked like there was someone standing on his hand and purely from one angle you create the perception that its part of the bigger
reality but But if you then communicate that as the whole thing, as a man standing on a hand, you don’t integrate that with the other parts, inevitably there is going to be total contradiction somewhere,…. and if people don’t have that, can step into that relational
knowing who God is that’s going to be a bit that always is totally absurd to them in a sense because of that limited perspective that they have. There is a knowing Jesus promises that’s alien to people its, that isn’t just about perception and Jesus promised that
he who obeys my teaching will know it is true, he didn’t say the clever people will know that its true, in fact so many parts of scripture warn against the wise man of this age. Its part of Gods love of his sense of irony that he set it up so that knowing him is equally accessible to all and the people who think they are better than everyone else actually have bigger hurdles in terms pride and the grandeur of their own ideas.
So I think part of why people react so strongly is that if they do have a point of certainty that just comes from being human there is revelations of truths that God provides every human being but if someone has set themselves up as their own basis for knowledge without recognising that they know part and that Gods way of revelation is relational they are going to miss that .
Michael – they are certain for other reasons as well, scientists make lots of certain statements regarding the evolution of man is obviously things to do with creation and evolution of man and are we descendants of apes, and there are definitely big discrepancies
There are scientific things that are solid
I want to pick you up on one thing you said, the way the bible is written, I’d say Christians, often we set ourselves up for conflict by the way we understand the bible.
Michael – the world was created in 7 days but there is so much scientific evidence against that. But maybe God did a magic trick to make it look like it was created over a long period. Scientists seem to try and work inside, their brain doesn’t think in a way that is interpretable like the bible, it is factual based, so the bible is something they would question because its not based on facts.
What I want to get onto is looking at the possibilities that are open in how we know when specifically looking at creation. Having set the framework that there is a certainty that is partial that we’ve got a hold of and how do we interact with the uncertainty that we are told.
Scientists have a bone to pick with us about our certainty and knowledge and I want to establish that as a relational revelation. I want to see how we build that to the actual detail of questions about 7 days and our approach is critical because one way we look at how we interpret that, how you get rid of thinking you know something when you read the bible and how we can explore and get bits of jigsaws puzzles and put them together.
Rich – the bible still has the relevance today that it did 2000 years ago, but there needs to be.. the bible still has the same core of relation.
Can I …. Question. Its very easy to talk about God who reveals himself but Gods also a God who hides himself. Part of the way that
Inevitable development of science within that framework but part of that’s inevitable within Gods purpose, a God who gives grace to the humble and I don’t want to sound like I’m backing away from peoples questions because there are so many
Bring him to the world but I feel like its escaping the fact that god has .. as well and people who aren’t going to take a hold of that, he who obeys my teaching know that its true, that s Gods revelation a start of the big
You obey my teachings, approach him with humility, you are going to find a starting point that’s going to be that recognising of our smallness and our inability
The way of survival o f the fittest and the rooms being more powerful than the wisdom being used to exploit the world and exploit people, God knows that and ..
Michael - So where would you start going about a discussion with someone
I think basically you’ve got to connect with the person not just their questions. Because you connect with the person their questions are important, that’s the key. A lot of it is going to be connecting with what their real questions are. For someone who is going to become a Christian, in reality the questions about creation and evolution are fundamentally going to be a smoke screen to deeper stuff because of Gods insistence that he is going to reveal himself to specific type of part (???), he is not just going to reveal himself to anyone.
Another Augustine quote.
‘Usually even if your not a Christian you have something of this world,
glimpse of the sun and the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals the shrubs and so on, all this knowledge, it is disgraceful and a dangerous thing…… we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation…’
The first thing about communicating is about love obviously and that means listening and approachability, and it means taking those questions seriously and looking for engaging answers for people and also that we do have something to proclaim, the basis of our certainty we start with, another verse states:
‘ let not the wise man… let him who boasts boast about this…that he understands and
knows me that I am the lord who exercises kindness, justice….’
Fundamentally these are the things we need to embody when we are communicating .. and proclaim that I am certain about something and there is nothing that anyone can say that takes it away.
I remember dad’s testimony, he was an evangelical atheist before he became a Christian and he used to delight in ripping apart Christians interpretations of their faith. But there was a Christian girl in their church youth group who used to just respond with ‘Willie I
don't know about all that stuff but I just know that Jesus loves you’ and that used to really get up his nose cause there was no way he could actually get around it. I’m not saying that OK we are going to have this approach from now on with everyone, but if we don’t
have that testimony of that certainty that is unassailable we won’t have something to offer.
When dad became a Christian he was actually at a meeting where the speaker was talking to Christians about going on mission and I think Dad was agreeing with a lot of what the speaker was saying, basically along the lines of if you really believe this your gonna do something about it, and dad was saying yeah Christians and not up to much they are not really a world changing bunch. And at the end there was an alter call for people to give their lives as missionary’s and people were filtering towards the exit and dad was moving along with all the people and this girl asked him
Willie will you not go and speak with the pastor, and he kind of brushed her off and said no I wont and he says she just touched him on the arm, and said ‘Willie will you not go and speak to him’, and he says he turned round and followed her right up to the front.
The first thing he said to the guy was I know there is something that god has for me and from that moment they said was at that moment all the questions that had been rigorously violent at Christians it was like a complete u-turn and the tension for us in dealing with non-Christians is to get into that.. we need to
The question for us as Christians is we need to interact with these questions but the important thing is about staying in that point that it’s the truth that Jesus has revealed himself to us, that is certain, and the reality of Jesus revelation is that we are not in a situation where we can’t communicate that, we are not dealing with something that has to be downloaded from my head into yours, we are talking about the God of creation who is here and is able to reveal himself to this other person and he’s called us to be in
relationship and respond as he reveals himself so that’s communicating foundation
Michael – there are times you meet friends who have a stance on certain things that it doesn’t matter what you do talking wise, these days there seems to be a ‘live and let
live’ and lots of non Christians love each other.
We are in a difficult situation because no one likes to avail himself to the weak, poor in spirit, the downtrodden. We live in a society that is the richest most educated and well off and everyone can find a group of people they are comfortable with somewhere. and love them.
Part of the trouble of communicating is that people aren’t in a place where they can hear.
Michael – do you think there is any point in having a debate with someone then?
Certainly, but debate the main purpose of debate is the relational link, is there when someone suddenly realises that all these things that they think is are confident and secure are smoke, they lose there job and realise money is smoke, if someone dies and they start to connect with the rest of the world and ask this question, how do you change it. .. justice???
Michael – it seems that we are trying to get hold of a new way to communicate with people. E.g. You must have been in debates with the Islamic society or science people in a situation where relationship already exists eg with your friends. Sometimes on TV you see a big debate where you see Christians and scientists it is either completely futile too de….
Last year, that’s the goal for this series for us to engage with questions, get a hold of questions, lets discuss these ill put stuff on the web I want to … get hold of something that we can present that’s saying there are answers, explore more, and what you see as an
intractable problem in this area isn’t intractable. Part of what I want t o come out o f this as well is how to communicate with the church, is that change from a dogmatic position of fear peoples perception very often of Christianity is of the moral right wing bible bashing and the trouble before you even get into the creation and evolution debate in schools is the epistemology, the basis of knowing and approaching society but also about the heart that isn’t about humility and listening at all is about projecting in an antagonistic
sense, in a sense the homework for them, and extra one, is get the questions they are asking and interact with them on an individual basis. Every time I think about this it creates another sermon on epistemology, about how you know. So I have to start there and interact with that to get us thinking in those terms. Once you get hold of the actual questions of where its at for people is… peoples questions.
How do people feel, should we have a bit of a break now, have a loo break and a drink.. a discussion.
This was probably very different to what a lot of people were expecting, what questions have I not answered.
I am saying that we are certain about some
Alejandro - Are you certain because of faith or…?
Let me describe it like this, the foundation that Descartes set up about what an individual is aware of as the foundation ‘I think therefore I am’ that’s inadequate it crumbled and created the fragmentation.