Saturday, February 25, 2012

Touching On Evolution & Hermeneutics

I’ve already mentioned that I was raised in the RCC. My first years were spent being taught by the nuns and I must admit they actually did a fine work of presenting the Gospel message to me and I understood Christ died for my sins, and that He was my savior. It was there I was taught that the OT sacrifices – especially the Abraham-Isaac story – pictured Christ’s future sacrifice. It was also there I was taught a literal Adam and Eve.

When I reached my teens I found myself in a secular school and confronted with the “fact” of evolution. Now I’m not particularly bright but those nuns had done a great teaching job and I immediately saw the ramifications of evolution; a mythical Adam and the need for a savior or even a creator. In search of an answer I consulted the priests and ministers who taught our half-hour weekly Christian Education classes. Sadly, getting answers from them was not fruitful. They wouldn’t or couldn’t refute evolution yet avoided addressing the implications of subjectively choosing which portions of the Bible were to be understood as truth or literal events. Those men were no better than social workers dressed up in clerical garb.

Later, I spent some time in a church which produced some impressive refutations of evolution. Unfortunately, that same organization also claimed to be the true spiritual Israel and the only authentic church led by a modern day apostle – in other words, it was a cult. On the one hand we were encouraged to diligently study the inerrant Bible in a literal manner for ourselves, yet on the other hand we were fed various “codes” to use. For example, whenever we came across the word “Israel” in the OT or NT we mentally inserted – not just the word “church” – but the name of that particular organization. That exercise never sat comfortably with me.

That I later embraced the New Age and other erroneous ideas is the subject of another story. I must take full blame for having gone down that path. Had I been more diligent and discerning I would have found my answers years ago. Except for the grace of God, I might still be lost in it.

Now I’m back on track and I see the same two issues plaguing some Christians. One is the compromise of evolution and the other is hermeneutics.

Some Christian evolutionists take an elitist stance. They assume creationists are in denial and/or cannot meet the so-called academic challenge of evolution. Creation Ministries International addresses the implications surrounding Christians accepting the evolution hypothesis in Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos. Also worthwhile reading is CMI’s Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2. CMI is run by scientists like Jonathan Sarfati. They aren’t exactly intellectual lightweights – many of the technical papers they write are peer reviewed. Spend enough time reading at their website and you will see CMI successfully interacting with skeptical “boffins” who write in questions hoping to trip them up. There is no valid scientific excuse for a Christian to embrace evolution. The ramifications of doing so are dire.

The other issue comes down to how some Christians deal with scriptural references which would seem to contradict their theology. The amillennial treatment of Revelation (literal thousand years & binding of Satan) and a multitude of OT references to Israel’s future and relationship to the church, are uppermost in my mind here. One good example is how Kim Riddlebarger deals with Isaiah 65:20 HERE. Essentially, he appeals to the likes of Motyer and argues that Isaiah had to use “metaphors” to express what he couldn’t fully comprehend about the glorious future. Of course, Riddlebarger et al take the view that Isaiah couldn’t have understood it because his report doesn’t comply with their own understanding of how it should read.

During some recent online discussions I’ve been called “blasphemous”, “heretical” and “clueless” for rejecting supercessionism and Amillennialism. The individual even offered to pray for my salvation. I’m glad we weren’t discussing the rapture! Sadly, this attitude is a growing trend.

I feel greatly indebted to Paul Henebury’s recent outstanding work in addressing (and exposing) the methodologies people use to get around OT passages which don’t comply with their respective theologies. I encourage people to visit his blog and spend some time studying his commentaries. A great place to start is HERE and then work your way to recent installments.

Other notable articles by Paul:

Forty Reasons For Not Reinterpreting The Old Testament By The New: The First Twenty

Forty Reasons For Not Reinterpreting The Old Testament By The New: The Last Twenty

No comments: