Read the series so far.
Since the Enlightenment, when unaided human reason was promoted to a place above the authority of the Holy Scriptures, it has been presumed that mankind can, at least in principle, explain himself and his surroundings without recourse to “the God hypothesis.” Although they couldn’t agree among themselves about how to rely on the human mind, they “knew” at least one thing: God—if He or it existed, would have to pass their examinations and fit within their logical formulations.
The Creator would have to become subject to the creature. Of course, their examinations were naively inapplicable, and their use of logic off-target. The god of unbelief is always a straw man.
Unpreparedness Leads to Capitulation
One of the saddest capitulations to this point of view came from Christian scholarship. Christians themselves swallowed the “dictates of reason” nearly wholesale, and tried to equate faith with this newly emancipated view of reason. To boil it down, they resorted either to making Christianity “scientific,” or else to accepting the separation that had been created. The theological liberals were prepared to follow the second course (although they also saw no use in believing miracles). The conservatives who wanted to remain faithful to the Bible and its message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ, still felt the need to reconcile this faith with the new minted approach to science, and they tried to accommodate their beliefs to it.
The situation became even more pronounced once Darwin published his Origin of Species in 1859. Darwin provided a mechanism—natural selection—which, it was thought, eliminated the need to postulate a god who designed and made things. From then on many Christians, following their scholars, embraced a theistic form of evolutionism, wherein God was supposed to have used evolution to “create.” They did this because they thought at least a nominal kind of Christianity was the norm. Hence, they were unprepared for the great departure from this “Christian” norm when they were confronted with it. In short, they had not developed a proper biblical world and life view, and so their apologetics did not function within the biblical framework, but an ill-fitting foreign, and suddenly and antagonistic one.
Hooked on the Absurd
Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun. (Richard Dawkins)
Reading such a stridently sure and absolute assertion one might feel like throwing in the towel and embracing the evolution dogma. The sheer confidence displayed in it almost protrudes through the page. But before one gives in let it be noted that this same Richard Dawkins is on film telling people that has no idea how life got started and thinks it feasible that aliens started life off on earth (see the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed). Recall also what was said about his allegiance to the deterministic forces of nature in the last post. If Dawkins’ worldview is right, none of us can help thinking exactly what we’re thinking—and so all “reasoning” is illusory.
What do we do about this quote from someone who takes Dawkins’ logic and runs with it:
Evolution teaches that “we are animals” so that “sex across the species barrier … ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.” (Peter Singer, “Heavy Petting,” 2001)
That sentence, when one steps back and thinks about it, is so patently absurd, one wonders who would ever believe it. Singer commends “dignity” and bestiality in the same sentence! This is the same man who thinks new-born babies have no more value (or “dignity”) than slugs.
Of course, Singer is quite correct if evolution is true and God does not exist. Well, not only is evolution more in trouble today as a scientific theory than it has ever been (and it has always been in deep trouble as truth), it is really vacuous for Singer to speak about “status and dignity” at all. Evolution is the creation-myth of atheism, held in place by interested parties with the power and the money. It holds sway nowadays as science by judicial decree. This is irregardless of the fact that it is utterly destructive of everything we used to prize in society: justice, peace, and freedom to do the right.
Just prior to the beginning of the Second World War, the Nazis told the German people that they had to invade Poland to defend themselves against the Polish aggressors. Propagandists have always known that the bigger the lie, the easier it is for the masses to swallow. This is because people reason it is so silly it has to be true. And it is often the intellectuals who buy into the lie first; either for reasons of expediency, or because of misguided ideologies. (As an aside, those who never leave “school” will tend to be more idealistic than those who have to earn a living in the real world).
Christians to whom God has given children should be aware of where the rhetoric of the world leads. They should take note of what the Bible says about the world and its lusts, and how the wisdom of this world is so contrary to the true wisdom of God in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:20-24). They should learn from the mistakes of the past and never yield an inch in their allegiance to the clear sense of God’s Word. The world’s wisdom always terminates in absurdities like the touting of the irrational determinism of Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, or the moral perversity of Peter Singer. Without God their is no logic, no science, no stable ethics, and no love or justice. When unbelievers use these it is in spite of their worldviews. God in Christ must be the Source of these aspects of reality, and if we turn our eyes from Him (and all sinners do), we end up partnering with the world in its creation of the absurd.
Paul Martin Henebury is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He has been a Church-planter, pastor and a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics. He was also editor of the Conservative Theological Journal (suggesting its new name, Journal of Dispensational Theology, prior to leaving that post). He is now the President of Telos School of Theology.