Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Darwin's Personal Struggle and the Church

This year, being the 200th birthday of Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his infamous book On the Origin of Species, I want to devote some time to thinking about Darwin's impact on the world as well as to devote some time to thinking about what impacted him.

Did you know that the idea that the Earth is billions of years old did not come from Darwin?  This thought was deeply entrenched, not just in men of science, but regrettably even in the church long before Darwin came onto the scene.

Now picture this:

"The doctor tries to look away as he says, 'I'm sorry.  I've done all I can.  Your daughter is dying.'"

How would you respond?  You see your 10-year-old daughter suffer terribly for several weeks and then you hear the news.  Not being trained well by his Christian culture or by his own church in the book of Genesis, Darwin is pushed over the brink.  "As far as we know, it made him turn away from God once and for all."

"Without the Bible's explanation that Adam's sin brought death and a curse on the world, there is no satisfying answer to why evil exists on Earth.  The church failed to give Darwin a satisfying answer for the sight of the snake devouring a baby bird or the pain of losing his daughter.  Those in the church who claimed that God brought Adam's 'very good' world into existence through millions of years of death and suffering made God out to be an ogre and a liar."

What do you think?  Could God call the created universe "very good" if he used millions or years of death and suffering to do it?  Or is it better to assume that all creatures were created in a literal six-day period and then given the label "very good" (Genesis 1:31) before death had entered the world?  And probably most importantly, are we missing a key part of the gospel when we leave out the extent to which Adam's sin affected world?  How will future sufferers react to a God that casually allows death and tragedy into the world before sin, while counting it all very good?

I welcome your responses.

(Quotes taken from Answer Magazine, p. 33 Jan.-Mar. 2009 edition)

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