My faith in Jesus Christ is real, not because I believe, but because God sovereignly regenerated me and gave me the gift of faith.
Truth is transcendent and is not subject to the “proofs” of our rational thought processes. That is, something is “true” not because we are able to prove it, but we are able to prove some truth simply because it is true. Truth is transcendent. And there will always remain some truth that is unknown and unknowable.
At the same time I am a reasonable person. If someone could offer incontrovertible evidence that the message of the Gospel was false, I’d be obliged to believe it. Of course, as a finite being, I could be deceived into believing anything. But given the handicap of limited knowledge, I am forced to believe what is rational, reasonable and logical to me.
I believe that God is perfectly rational, logical and reasonable. In any case, I know for a fact that world I live in is a rational ordered universe that is subject to universal natural laws.
I can think of five “deal breakers” by which evolutionary theory would render orthodox Christianity meaningless. I might still believe in a “God” if these evolutionary deal breakers could be demonstrated to be factual. But it could not be the God of the Bible incarnate in Jesus Christ.
If evolution is true, there is no original sin. If there is no original sin, Jesus’ death on the cross was an arbitrary event. It might serve as an example to us, but it could never be a source of redemption and salvation.
The Five Deal Breakers
1. Prove by the laws of physics that the material universe suddenly appeared out of nothing. Or prove that the universe always existed.
2. Prove that life can be synthesized out of non-life by creating a cell in a laboratory.
3. Bio-engineer a new life form that is a totally different genus from the original.
4. Prove hominid evolution. In other words, humans are genetically human. Apes are genetically apes. There is a huge gulf. Prove a third form existed that bridges the gap. It can be neither genetically human nor ape, but a third genus.
5. Discover life on other planets that could not have come from earth — especially highly developed or sentient life forms.
Any of these would disprove the Genesis account as being factual and would prove that evolution is not only possible but probable.
I’d like these to forever be known as “Jay Rogers’ Five Evolutionary Deal Breakers.”
I’ll let them stand for 113 years.
By 2121 A.D. if none of “Jay Rogers’ Five Evolutionary Deal Breakers” can be demonstrated soundly, I propose that the Darwinian theory of evolution be buried once and for all. If I am still alive at age 159, I’ll bring the dirt.
Number 1 is probably impossible to do in principle. Science doesn't have access to knowledge before a certain small amount of time after the proposed "big bang", and this is a hard limit from the laws of physics. Also, science works, at least partially, by induction -- which means that you can't "prove" in any firm sense that might be required by your scenario. So I think it would be considered unreasonable to request number 1.
Numbers 2 and 3 seem to be a technology challenge, and very difficult to do, but why would success in either of these endeavors support evolution or disprove Christianity? If scientists 10 years from now said that they had used their combined knowledge and technological prowess to build a life form from the ground up, why would this "render orthodox Christianity meaningless"? I don't get the connection.
Number 4 might be impossible, but suppose that scientists found a "transitional form" (to use their terminology) frozen in ice, and were able to reconstruct the DNA sequence (plausible). Currently, the DNA of a human is approx. 96% common with a chimp (not counting the so-called "junk" DNA). What if they found that this ape-like human were 98% similar? Again, why would this have anything to do with historic, orthodox Christianity? If this sort of thing would cause you to lose your faith, then it sounds like you are already in trouble.
Number 5. I have no expectation that scientists will find life anywhere but earth. However, the Bible says nothing about life on other planets. So why would this be a "deal breaker" for Christianity?
Again, I am interested in the type of "scenarios" that you are proposing, but none of these will do what you want them to do. They will be dismissed either by humanists as unrealistic or by Christians as irrelevant.
Thanks for your blog.
That's what the "deal breakers" are all about. If we are really to have a debate among the scientific establishment, then a list of these "deal breakers" similar to Luther's 95 theses need to be developed.
Ultimately evolution is unproved and unprovable and so it will be 100 years from now.
I'd like for these "deal breakers" to ultimately move the academic consensus toward something like the following admission:
“Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.”
By the way, those words were penned by Sir Arthur Keith, author of Foreword to The Origin of Species, 100th edition.
This might not completely satisfy you, but it is getting close.
3. That is not how NST works. It is very small changes over very large periods of time at the species level that results in new species. When the organisms grow far enough apart genetically that they can no longer breed, then they are a new species. When they grow even further apart genetically, they become a different genus. Life has been on earth for about 3.8-4.1 Ga. That's a very long time for a lot to happen biologically. This is how life evolved; there is actually less dispute about this mechanism that there is about the theory of gravity.
4. There is not a huge gulf, unless you call the ~1% difference in our genetic makeup and that of a chimpanzees a huge gulf. The third form that bridges the gap is an extinct common ancestor. It is not a gap, but an ancestor. We have found hominid ancestors of humans that are 6-7 million years old. Based on DNA and fossil evidence, the common ancestor between us and other apes live from 15-20 million years ago. Consider that we have found only thirty T. rex specimens and they lived approximately 66 million years ago. It is not easy to find fossils, but we will eventually find one, just as we've found transitional species between aquatic and terrestrial animals.
5. You'll have to wait, as we all will. A new telescope is being developed that should allow us to look for planets that are the size of the earth and that might support life. It will probably be some time before we can probe other star systems for life. There are approximately 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the known universe. If only a tiny fraction of these stars has planets around them and a tiny fraction of those can support life, the odds are that there is other life in the universe. Unfortunately, other stars are far away from us, and we can't travel very fast yet.
I find point 4 a bit odd. Given retroviral DNA, the human chromosome 2 vs chimp 2p/2q, and the chromosomal structures shared between humans and chimps, the odds of our not sharing a common ancestor are significantly worse than one : 1,000,000,000,000,000 statistically speaking. Generally speaking, creationists are happy to explain away pretty much anything with “God did it”, but that’s a rather poor answer in this case.
Charles (the one above me) you clearly don’t know the whole story and have a weak faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.
Charles, without faith we have nothing.