Worldly Winds (7)
… knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3.3, 4
Science and knowing
Science, as we have seen, is a reliable means of knowing the physical universe, up to a point. Those who work in the various fields of science proceed by observation, hypothesis, testing, and confirmation to declare their findings and conclusions about the material world and how it works. Using this method, science has brought many important truths to light, and has led to many wonderful inventions and technologies to benefit humankind.
Any branch or division of knowledge that stops short of giving glory, honor, and deference to God is only dealing in partial truth. The truth is in Jesus Christ, for of Him and through Him and unto Him are all things (Rom. 11.36). Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14.6). When science makes conclusions, applications, or – as the case may be – speculations that depart from or contradict the truth that is in Jesus, then science has become something other than a way of knowing truly. It has become a kind of religion, and one that intends to cancel Biblical religion in the name of science.
We see this tendency in many ways, for example, in the field of cosmogony. Cosmogony is that branch of science which studies the origins of the material universe; and right away we have a problem. First, we cannot observe the origins of the material universe, and we have no accounts of human beings pondering this notion or positing ideas about it before about 4,000 years ago. Cosmogony is not a true science; it is instead a philosophical discipline.
But it is more than that. Cosmogony proceeds on the foundation of two basic assumptions, two articles of faith: That the universe has always operated the way it does at present, and that evolution provides the most reliable framework for understanding the beginnings of the cosmos and all things else. Neither of these assumptions is susceptible to being proven by the methods of science. Each is merely an assumption, a faith stance and not a fact, and therefore not necessarily the only or best way of understanding the cosmos. Each contradicts the teaching of Scripture.
Each of these assumptions takes a valid observation about certain aspects of the cosmos – evolution – and sets it as the driving force and explanation of everything in the universe. This goes beyond the methods of science and is an act of faith which we may refer to as evolutionism.
Evolution is part of the process God uses to manage and sustain the created world. We see it in all kinds of ways, and not just with respect to the physical world. Evolution occurs in the realms of ideas, culture, and even human psychology. We might even say that the idea of God redeeming and reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ evolved throughout the Scriptures, as insight built on insight, type added to type, and symbols and prophesies compounded to such an extent that the first Christians were able to look back through Jesus and see Him throughout the Old Testament, precisely as He had said (Jn. 5.39).
But whereas evolution is a demonstrable fact of certain aspects of life, evolutionism is not. Rather, evolutionism takes one process by which Christ upholds the world and everything in it and makes it the driving force of all reality, subjecting everything that exists to a putative process of gradual development over long periods of time, and reducing everything to matter and time, governed by chance.
Evolutionism today holds a hegemony over all frameworks of knowing, so that every source of knowledge is only reliable which wears the glass slipper of evolutionary thinking. Anyone who hesitates or questions evolutionism might not be appropriate as a teacher in America’s schools, as Jeffrey Mervis explained in an article in Science (“Why many U.S. biology teachers are ‘wishy-washy’”, 6 March 2015).
Mervis reported that apparently some teachers consider evolution a “controversial topic” and prefer not to address it head-on. In his view they “lack the necessary knowledge, conviction, and role models to teach evolution properly.” Students also resist bowing to the religion of evolutionism. One survey indicated that, in spite of the best efforts of science teachers, “religious faith” remains a strong alternative view for many students. What’s wrong with these people who “routinely disregard solid scientific evidence in forming their views” about the cosmos?
What’s wrong with them – teachers and students alike – is that they’re not being given evidence but speculation, and views of the cosmos that are not persuasive, given their belief in God and His Word.
Problems with evolutionism
Evolutionism challenges and dismisses the teaching of Scripture about the origins of the cosmos, life, and humankind. Whereas Christian cosmogony sees the creation period as a unique time in the life of the cosmos, evolutionism, projecting backward from present observations, assumes that the cosmos has always operated as it does now, and thus it must be much older, and have begun in a much different manner than what we find in the Bible.
Evolutionism has been adopted as a convenient way of describing the physical world and everything else, without having to resort to God. Indeed, as C. S. Lewis explained, it’s even worse than that: “Has it come to that? Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism depend not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice? Was it devised not to get in facts but to keep out God?” (“Is Theology Poetry?” in Weight of Glory)
Indeed it was, and indeed it does. Wherever evolutionism finds a home in serious thought and conversation, God and His revelation are on the way out. The two religions simply do not mix. The Bible, subjected to evolutionism, has to be re-explained so that it becomes merely a word from men which is largely irrelevant to contemporary life. Lewis wrote that evolutionism has become “the deepest habit of mind in the contemporary world.” But he added, “It seems to me immensely implausible.”
But when theologians and pastors genuflect at the altar of evolutionism, the Bible loses its integrity and reliability, humankind becomes merely another form of animal life, angels and the spiritual realm cease to exist, morality becomes uncertain and relative, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is transformed into a psychological phenomenon merely. As one well-known theologian explained to me some years ago, when I challenged his view of the resurrection, “T. M., really, everyone knows that dead people don’t rise.”
Once the ill wind of evolutionism begins to fill the sails of your soul, Biblical religion is on the way out. Peter was leery of those who doubted the cosmogony set forth in Scripture, and we should be as well. He was speaking of his own day, of course, but he might just as well have been speaking of ours.
For reflection or discussion
1. How does evolutionism undermine the reliability of Scripture?
2. Evolutionism denies that morality is absolute. How does this affect the way some people read the Bible?
3. How can you tell when your thinking is being affected by the ill wind of evolutionism?
Next steps – Preparation: Review your own thinking about the Bible, morality, and the world around us. Do you see any evidence of evolutionism in your thinking?
T. M. Moore
At the website
You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 49. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.
Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click here).
We hope you find ReVision to be a helpful resource in your walk with and work for the Lord. If so, please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can contribute online via PayPal, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.