Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Here is a Centuries Old Religious Reason for Evolution—On Video

What do Thomas Burnet, Gottfried Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, Erasmus Darwin and … Joel Hunter all have in common? They all made the argument that the evolution narrative is theologically superior because it is a sign of a more magnificent, more marvelous, greater god. You can see Joel Hunter’s version of this at the [0.30] mark in this video where he approvingly explains how thinking Christians think:

Probably, I would say, the vast majority of our people sitting in those pews, who are very uncomfortable with: “Look, it was six 24-hour days, and if you think anything else, then you don’t believe in Scripture.” These are science teachers; these are scientists; these are bright businessmen and businesswomen, and people who have been thinking. And they just say: “Wait a minute, God is God. God could choose any way He wants to create the world. And it doesn’t make it any less marvelous, as a matter of fact, it makes it more marvelous. Because He would be so intricate in its creation.

I doubt these thinking Christians are up on their Burnett or Leibniz or Kant or E. Darwin. This argument is common, but not because it is passed on but because it reflects a deep tendency in our religious thought.

When you hear people repeating religious doctrines that have been issued for centuries, you know there is a common bond. And that common bond is not Anglicanism, or Lutheranism, or Roman Catholicism. This common bond transcends denominations and parochial religious traditions. I call it theological naturalism because it, ultimately, is a theological mandate for a naturalistic creation narrative.

Religion drives science, and it matters.


  1. Quaint, but still a good argument against biblical literalism.

  2. Jesus spoke in parables. Paul said that what he said depended on the understanding of his audience. My Jesuit theology teacher said that the Bible uses myths, poetry, metaphor, etc to communicate the word of God. It is only Protestants that have to believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. They have to do this because they split from the Catholic church which is is based on tradition back to their founder Jesus Christ. Without the Bible the protestants have nothing. So they can not tolerate any criticism. However, for many Christians a literal interpretation confines ones interpretation of the Bible. The Bible is meant to be understood on many levels, over many epochs.

    In the final analysis it is not knowledge which leads to salvation. As I explained to my Jesuit professor, who was not pleased with a literal interpretation, it is faith that saves. It is better to have faith and blinders than no faith at all. He later changed his point of view and agreed with me in a subsequent lecture.

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  4. Ah, I love the smell of internecine feuds in the morning!

  5. At least we (CH) allow descent.