A Neglected Origins Debate

The Because of Us perspective that I have outlined defeats the claim that evolutionary contingency is incompatible with Christian Faith. So I now want to make it clear that this position is not a theological contrivance born out of a felt need to accommodate neo-Darwinism with Christianity. It is a position that originates from pondering my own existence.

Begin with a simple question – Did God intend me to exist? I would maintain the Christian answer is ‘yes.’ For example, when Christians have children, we view the birth as a precious gift from God. That birth, like our birth, was not only intended, but part of God’s plan.

Or put it this way. There are three possibilities.

A. There is no God, therefore my existence was not intended.

B. There is a God, yet my existence was not intended.

C. There is a God and my existence was intended.

I adopt position C and I also think this is the mainstream Christian position.

So we need only take the next step and ask a second question.

How did I come into existence? How did we come into existence? We were born. And how did that happen? On one particular day/night, our parents chose to have sexual intercourse and it happened during a time when our mothers’ ovulated one of thousands of possible eggs that, in turn, was fertilized by one of our father’s millions of sperm. We were brought into existence because one particular sperm fertilized one particular egg and it cannot be otherwise. If any other sperm or any other egg was used, we would not exist as who we are. Our existence is dependent on that one sperm and that one egg, each of which underwent its own particular pattern of chromosome recombination during the process of making that one sperm and one egg.

I’m not sure how anyone can escape the fact that chance plays a prominent role in our individual origin, as it was the chance fusion of a particular sperm and particular egg that brought us into existence (for example, we all know there is a 50/50 chance a pregnant woman will have either a boy or girl and whether we are male or female is an intrinsic part of our created identity). The existence of our brothers and sisters testifies to the importance of that particular egg and sperm that brought us into existence.

Once we recognize the central role chance plays, in accord with the divine will of God, in the origin of each and every human being born, I don’t see why suddenly the role of chance, in accord with the divine will of God, is a problem when it comes to the origin of the first humans. Why is one origin issue endlessly debated while a more important origin issue is completely ignored?

To summarize, the “Because of Us” scenario I outlined is not about accommodating neo-Darwinian evolution with Christianity. It stems from contemplating my own existence and how I came into existence. That it also happens to undercut those who insist we must choose between Christianity and neo-Darwinian evolution is a splendid bonus.

In fact, if you take away the “Because of Us” perspective that I paint, just how would you account for your own existence?

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6 Responses to A Neglected Origins Debate

  1. Bilbo says:

    Denise O’Leary seems to be the most vocal critic of Theistic Evolution. As far as I can tell, her chief objection is that by accepting neo-Darwinian evolution (or some other non-teleological process) as true, then Theistic Evolutionists have surrendered the evidential high ground for Theism.

    I have trouble with O’Leary’s objection, for two reasons. First, either the evidence supports neo-Darwinism, or it doesn’t. If it does, or if one thinks it does, then believing neo-Darwinism to be true would seem to be the reasonable thing to do, regardless of whether one is surrendering the evidenctial high ground for Theism.

    Second, there seems to be plenty of other evidence for Theism.

  2. Bilbo says:

    The problem with accepting neo-Darwinism, as I see it, is the problem of natural evil. It seems to many (myself included), that in order to arrive at us, God has chosen a method that is full of pain and death for many creatures, over hundreds of millions of years. It’s difficult for me to accept that God would have chosen such a method willingly. That’s why an explanation such as an ancient Satanic rebellion that resulted in a fallen natural world long before we arrived makes sense to me. There are other explanations. I’m not sure how one goes about deciding which is best.

  3. datcg says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for addressing these issues. I value your commentary. My original questions kinda grew below into some statements about where I currently stand in the process of thinking through our existence and current theory.

    Interesting perspective about recombinatory chance with our genetic makeup.

    Q1. Did God take a chance with Yeshua ben Yoseph?

    Q2. Why would the Creator wait 13.7 billion years “Because of Us”

    Q3. How long did his other creations(Messengers, Malik, aka Angels) exist prior to our existence?

    Q4. Why are humans that are created in His image so impatient to begin their own creations?

    Q5. Would we wait 13.7 billion years to recreate “Us” if we knew How? Why?

    Q6. How many years will it take for life science engineers to recreate new life forms? As in new combinations never seen before on earth that can reproduce. The artificial selection and breeding we do today, plus all the progess in genetic science suggest it will not take long.

    Q7. What can possibly stop humans from recreating new life forms in the future for the next ten thousand years? Information is growing exponentially along with our ability to process it faster and then mimic or recreate what we learn.

    Q8. Back to the original Q1, what about each individual is unique? Why do some overcome in the end? Some do not? While our genome, traits, boy, girl, physical attributes have large experiential input on our existence, it still cannot explain all of our choices in life, mainly the eternal one offered by Christ and the Creator of Judeo-Chrisitian doctrine. In the end, male or female, life circumstances good or bad, we all must make a choice to believe in the Cross. That single signal disrupts all our being. So whatever chance there is between sperm/egg can be overcome; if you like, to experience a new rebirth into the family of the Creator. This is what I understand. We are taught by the scripture like seeds dying in the ground, we first must die spiritually and most physically before we share a new body eternal and new experiences, memories, understanding, revelations, joy. In the end, our choice is not accidental, random or chance, is it? If we have heard the Word? It is a conscious act of surrender on our part to a King, a Creator, which goes against most of our current thoughts on freedom. It is contradictory to the American experience precisely because there is no democratic vote. Yet we do see in every nation people yearning, searching for leaders to “protect” them and make life “easier” for them. I’ll leave out the billions who never heard of the Christian message of redemption, unless you want to address it as chance too.

    I ask these questions sincerely as I wrestle with the Why of our existence and our future. I’m not sure the “How” of our existence sheds light right now on the Why if some theory is possibly wrong.

    I am a believer at looking forward to understand our past in these issues. I think there are many possible answers to 6 and 7, but if we assume no accidental interventions, or physical events limiting our progress, only integrity and noble causes might stop some new life forms from being created by humans. But not the rogue elements surely.

    Most nations around the world are already experimenting with transgenetic experiments in animals. I can only imagine some of the horrible creations of the future that science fiction writers have well anticipated in their stories. The only way science(legitimate or rogue) is stopped in the future is by an original Creator I think. This may explain some of the chaotic future projected in Revelations and why Christ returns.

    I have no problem with Guided evolution, FL, etc., being compatible with the Judeo-Christian Faith. I do doubt a single Common Ancestor. And I do doubt current theory about the ages based upon shear ability of the Creator of such a universe and his possible motivations to be with his creation sooner than later.

    My real issue with evolution and uniformitarian views comes in contemplating why any creator would wait billions of years for his creation to be born so that he may enjoy it and it may return the joy. Does not make any commen sense to me. Intuitively if fails on first thought. We have the ability to Create new information from our imagination ever more rapidly today. What took 10yrs to develop and create last century, takes days to create this century. Computer modeling has revolutionized all applications and pursuits and will only get faster in the future. The only reason many creations are held back and delayed are government regulations.

    I cannot answer the reason for delay by our Creator or by us. The only possible reason I can think of for a 13.7 billion year wait to enjoy his creation is that the Creator has many more worlds of creation He is tending to with his messengers. That would not make us special, just one of many world creations. We already know according to scripture that his other creations are quite special as well. We were not his first creations.

    I have come to think that time is meaningless and creation can be extremely compacted by our own progress in the future. And what we think about space travel today is limited if in fact there is a Creator. That due to the many problems in astronomy with the Big Bang theory failures(dark matter/energy, etc.), that scientist may be wrong with current theory. New discoveries possibly show our galaxy at the center of our known universe. If this is true, it explains many problems with current theory. It also allows for a faster creation period and undercuts current paradox of Creation/Evolution issues based on time.

    The central issue to me is Why wait? It is not a physical issue. Current theory may be right. The question is Why wait? We are made in the image of a Creator and we are impatient to innovate and create new things ourselves every single day. We want plants that grow faster, bigger and more easy to maintain. Same with our food, clothes, technology, homes, transportation, even our own bodies – steroids for example. Why is this drive in us all? Even the most lethargic people, the lazy, the slothful, or even the green nature people still demand better, faster, more efficiency in their lives. And with all of our experiences, we crave simplicity through our technology.

    Maybe patience comes slowly to us over time. But I cannot imagine myself waiting to create cures in medicine or stronger bones, or better ways for healing our bodies and fighting bacteria, cancer, etc. Nor can I imagine waiting for new creations over billions of years even if my life is eternal. I’d want to see the new creation, how its mind works, all the “chance” happenings in its life within a reasonable amount of time, not 13.7 billion years.

    Maybe you have a more reasonable way to see this aspect of creation and of the Creator.

  4. Michael says:

    Hi Bilbo,

    I agree with your two points fully. I also agree that ultimately, we must confront the reality of evil. This will be done in due time.

    Hi datcg,

    I really like your thinking here. You bring up many deep points that I’d love to explore. Let’s talk about the waiting issue.

  5. Bilbo says:

    Mike writes: “Let’s talk about the waiting issue.

    Well hurry up and talk about it. We haven’t got 13.7 billion years for you to tell us what you think. 😆

  6. datcg says:

    Hahaha Bilbo…. you impatient wabbit!

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