‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Here are some thoughts on Evolution, Creation and the Fall courtesy of Denis Alexander writing in a Guardian Comment is Free article at Christmas Evolution, Christmas and the Atonement: We are not descended from Adam and Eve – but still, Jesus was born to save us - 23rd December 2011
It is firstly to be hoped that Christians on both sides of the creation-evolution divide can learn to dialogue with each other. So this is offered in the context of respectful dialogue. Alexander speaks of the ‘Fact’ of evolution, but we may wonder what experiment he might point sceptics to in order to justify such a categorical statement. Many people remain sceptical of evolution for lack of hard evidence, and no amount of mere rhetoric will persuade otherwise. Of course there is evidence for micro-evolution, but Alexander's claim for evolution extends beyond what can be demostrated through direct observation i.e. it is not repeatable science. Furthermore, scientists usually express reticence even with experimental support, so why use such strong language when the 'evidence' seems to be in the form of a narrative?
Alexander blames the doctrine of the Fall on Augustine, and instead claims that Origen’s view of Adam and Eve and the Fall more closely mirrors his own. However, VJ Torley has pointed out that Origen’s view wasn’t actually that different from Augustine Philo and Origen are not your friends, Dr. Alexander: A short survey of what two Biblical allegorists taught about Adam and Eve
Writing further he comments that “Nowhere does the Bible teach that physical death originates with the sin of Adam, nor that sin is inherited from Adam...” There are though that many Reformed theologians who say that the Bible does indeed assert that; for instance Commentaries on Romans by Osborn (IVP) and Moo (Eerdsman), (i.e. Romans 5:12); Henri Blocher has written similarly in a chapter in a recent book editted by Alexander's friend Sam Berry (with Noble) Darwin, Creation and the Fall
But what I find most perplexing is this final statement ‘Evolution's gift is a complex brain that endows humanity with free will, enabling personal moral responsibilities towards our neighbour and towards God.’ Does he really believe that not only has our physical make-up evolved, but moral awareness and responsibility have evolved too? Of course he believes that God is behind evolution too, so why does he feel the need to write such a statement that appears to the uninitiated to be a challenge to Christian theology in terms of who we are as human beings made in God's image; that is with volitional, emotional, rational and relational capacities? Surely the glory belongs to Jesus Christ at Christmas as the Creator of all things (John 1:3 'Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made').