Do Evolutionists Believe in God?

If there was ever an illustration of the truths of Romans 1:18-23, this latest news item from National Public Radio is it:

Jesse Bering’s mother died of cancer on a Sunday, in her own bed, at 9 o’clock at night. Bering and his siblings closed her door and went downstairs, hoping they might somehow get some sleep.

It was a long, hard night, but around 7 a.m., something happened: The wind chimes outside his mother’s window started to chime.

Bering remembers waking to the tinkle of these bells, a small but distinct sound in an otherwise silent house. And he remembers thinking that those bells carried a very specific message.

“It seemed to me … that she was somehow telling us that she had made it to the other side. You know, cleared customs in heaven,” Bering says.

The thought surprised him. Bering was a confirmed atheist. He did not believe in any kind of supernatural anything. He prided himself on being a scientist, a psychologist who believed only in the measurable material world. But, he says, he simply couldn’t help himself.

“My mind went there. It leapt there,” Bering says. “And from a psychological perspective, this was really interesting to me. Because I didn’t believe it on the one hand, but on the other hand I experienced it.”

Why is it, Bering wondered, that even a determined skeptic could not stop himself from perceiving the supernatural?  It really bothered him.

It was a very good question, he decided, to take up in his lab.

Bering says that believing that supernatural beings are watching you is so basic to being human that even committed atheists regularly have moments where their minds turn in a supernatural direction, as his did in the wake of his mother’s death.

“They experience it but they reject it,” Bering says. “Sort of override or stomp on their immediate intuition [cf. Rom 1:18--"who suppress the truth in/by unrighteousness"]. But that’s not to say that they don’t experience it. We all have the same basic brain. And our brains have evolved to work in a particular way.”

You can read the full article or listen to it here. Sadly, but predictably, when the article tries to come to some resolution on the matter, it basically throws up its hands by saying such answers are “As unknowable — ultimately — as God himself.”

Let’s listen to Paul again in Romans 1–

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Obama on Origins

I just came across this interview conducted when our President was running for office. He was asked, “What’s your attitude regarding the teaching of evolution
in public schools?” His answer:

I’m a Christian, and I believe in parents being able to provide children with religious instruction without interference from the state. But I also believe our schools are there to teach worldly knowledge and science. I believe in evolution, and I believe there’s a difference between science and faith. That doesn’t make faith any less important than science. It just means they’re two different things. And I think it’s a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don’t hold up to scientific inquiry.

Hmmm. Is a Christian supposed to conform his mind to the world? Answer:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2)

Our President is right about one thing: there is a difference between genuine faith and this kind of “science,”  and that difference is:

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’–which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith (1 Tim 6:20-21).

But more on that in this coming Sunday morning’s sermon.

One last thought–what should control our “science”? Answer: genuine faith–

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible (Heb 11:3).

But more on that in this coming Sunday afternoon’s message!

Instructions to the Jury

judge_raulstonFor this month’s series on The Bible and Evolution, I’ve been reading the complete stenographic report of the famous trial held July 10 to 21 1925, the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. It’s been a fascinating read—well, to me anyway!

On the first day’s proceedings, Judge John T. Raulston gave the following instructions to the jury, and I would urge you to note the sections I have highlighted—very interesting!

Later today or tomorrow I’ll post the statute that John T. Scopes was accused of violating.

The vital question now involved for your consideration is, has the statute been violated by the said John T. Scopes or any other person by teaching a theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and in Rhea County since the passage of this act and prior to this investigation.

If you find the statute has been thus violated, you should indict the guilty person or persons, as the case may be.

You will bear in mind that in this investigation you are not interested to inquire into the policy or wisdom of this legislation…

The statute involved in the investigation provided that a violation constitutes only a misdemeanor, but there are degrees involved in misdemeanors (not by expressed provision of statue, but in reality), as well as in felonies, and in the very nature of things I regard a violation of this statute as a high misdemeanor, and in making this declaration I make no reference to the policy or constitutionality of the statue, but to the evil example of the teacher disregarding constituted authority in the very presence of the undeveloped mind whose thought and morals he directs and guides.

To teach successfully we must teach both by precept and example.

The school room is not only a place to develop thought, but also a place to develop discipline, power of restraint, and character.

If a teacher openly and flagrantly violates the laws of the land in the exercise of his profession (regardless of the policy of the law) his example cannot be wholesome to the undeveloped mind, and would tend to create and breed a spirit of disregard for good order and the want of respect for the necessary discipline and restraint in our body politic.

Now, gentlemen of the jury, it is your duty to investigate this alleged offense without prejudice or bias and with open minds, and if you find that there has been a violation of the statute you should promptly return a bill, otherwise you should return “no bill.”

From The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, pp. 6-7.