Evangelicals believe the Christian God reveals himself to every human through:
- Divine Revelation (The Bible)
In this post, I want to focus on the Christian God revealing himself to us through creation. On a clear night, I can look skyward and see a vast array of stars and planets. Recently, Jupiter and Venus were in perfect alignment, a wonder to behold in the Western sky. Last week, the New Horizons spacecraft sent back pictures of Pluto, amazing both the atheist and the Evangelical.
Both atheists and Evangelicals look to the sky and contemplate its vastness and awesomeness. When Evangelicals look at the sky they see the handiwork of their God. They are certain that the Christian God created everything. Atheists, however, point to science and its explanations of the universe. They have a lot of questions, questions science has not yet answered. These questions may or may not be answered in the future. Evangelicals, using the creation framework in Genesis 1-3, are satisfied that the Christian God created the universe. No matter what science tells us about the universe, the Bible explanation is the superior and final explanation. If science conflicts with the Bible, science is wrong.
When Evangelicals use the creation argument with me, I agree with them. I don’t really agree with them, but for the sake of argument, I say, OK, I agree that someone can look at the night sky and wonder if a God created everything. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that a God, a divine force, the first cause, the master holographic programmer created or designed the universe. Since science has yet to tell us all we need to know about the beginning of the universe, perhaps one day we will discover that a God of some sort created everything. I doubt it, but it is certainly possible, just like it is possible the Cincinnati Reds will overcome a 16.5 game deficit in the standings and win the World Series.
Once I grant the Evangelical position, I then ask, how does one get from A GOD to THE GOD, the God of the Evangelical Bible? What is there in the night sky that says the Evangelical God created the universe? It is at this point the Evangelical says, THE BIBLE SAYS, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Once Evangelicals appeal to the Bible, they’ve lost the argument. Why? Because science tells us that the creation account in Genesis is not true. Once drawn back into the confines of the printed page, Evangelicals are forced to defend all sorts of absurd beliefs, beliefs that can only be swallowed with a large dose of blindness and faith.
But, Bruce, look at the various creation myths. Don’t they ALL testify to there being a creator? Again, Evangelicals are not arguing for a generic, adaptable creator. They are arguing for a specific creator, the one spoken of in the Bible. Even here, I am willing to grant the Evangelical’s assertion. The question remains the same. Why is the Evangelical creation myth true and all others false? Why should I believe the Evangelical myth and not one of the other creation myths?
By appealing to the Bible and the creation account recorded in Genesis 1-3, Evangelicals also must defend everything from a talking, walking upright snake to polytheism. Since the night sky itself is not enough to tell us the Evangelical God created the universe, Evangelicals must appeal to the presuppositions they’ve derived from the Bible. With one hand, they point to the sky and with the other hand point to the Bible. As I have stated many times before, the Abrahamic religions are text-based. For Evangelicals, the Bible is the foundation upon which their religious house is built. Destroy the foundation and the Evangelical house comes tumbling down.\
The problem with using “creation” as evidence for the Christian God is that it isn’t really evidence, especially if you consider how much more educated humans have become within the past 2,000 years from when the religion started. I would point out that it is the same fallacy you have with any ancient religion: argument from ignorance. This is why we are seeing an evolution of the Christian God over a long period of time. As we learn more about science and accept it, religion must try to change itself to fit the new knowledge we have. The more it does, the less likely it seems to be true.
“For the Evangelical, the Bible is the foundation upon which their religious house is built. Destroy the foundation and the Evangelical house comes tumbling down.”
I would clarify that further by saying that the Evangelical’s “unique view and understanding of the Bible” is what his house is built upon. Anyone who has a Biblical viewpoint is basing it not on the Bible itself—but rather on his or her understanding of the Bible—or someone else’s understanding of the Bible that has been voiced and accepted—with or without putting their own critical eye on it.
Our true understanding of the universe is miserably flawed and provisional, relative to what is out there yet to be understood. And yet, it is orders of magnitude better than the stuff written in holy books. The details of those hypotheses have all been proved wrong. Perhaps there will be enough knowledge someday that we can create and test a functional scientific hypothesis for a Creator. Until then we can really only go by the history of science, which shows us that stuff tends to have naturalistic answers. Gaps in our understanding are being filled daily. When we say “we don’t understand X YET”, we’re not being arrogant; it’s just an observation that predicts future understanding based on past performance of the scientific fields.
Religions can choose to catch up or not. Those that don’t can be a force for evil. I was just reading yesterday that many U.S. states with southern and eastern coastal exposures, which will be the most adversely affected by climate change, haven’t seriously started planning for it. Their elected officials don’t believe that God would allow it, so it can’t be true. When the residents of those states, especially poor people, start getting hammered by higher and higher storm surges and their state refuses to deal with the problem — that’s evil. And that’s one of many examples, just the one that came most immediately to mind. U.S. Christians aren’t even the worst offenders; science denial is common in other religions with more evil outcomes.
Sorry about the rant. I know many people see creation as a separate issue from other aspects of science denial, but to me it is all tightly intertwined.
I agree, especially regarding climate change and the religious denial of it. Their inaction could potentially create a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy to which will be agreed with biblically. Some even go further with this regarding the other prophecies of “the end of days”. To me, this apathy of what’s going in the world is the most dangerous part of religious belief. It has now gone as far as our own US political system as well.
The Book of Revelation says how the world will end, so why try to help prevent the inevitable?
Florida is already having to deal with it, and they’re doing so by minimizing and ignoring it. For instance, they’re referring to costal flooding as, “nuisance” flooding. It’s just a “nuisance,” not a real problem. They have forbidden government employees to even discuss climate change and what it’s doing to their coastline – as though not talking about it will somehow mean it’s not happening.
Their actions bring a whole new meaning to, “Whistling Dixi.”
Careful there Bruce. Witnessing someone turn water to wine does not a god make. I can do this. Jesus was just an ordinary guy. If he could do it, so can you. Just by taking 2 fish and feeding a multitude of 5,000 very hungry people is no miracle either [in His day]. Taking a wooden staff and throwing it to the ground turning it into a live serpent [Egyptian cobra] is dangerous but doable. Walking on water that is over 5 feet deep using just sandles is also doable. A friend and I have spent years studying the so called “miracles” of the Bible by believing that they actually happened and then working them out so that a child could do these. Remember. These “miracles” were supposedly witnessed by crowds of people. Magicians [prophets] simply don’t reveal their gimmicks [especially in those days]. My goal next year is to go to those exact destinations in the Middle East where these “miracles” happened 1,000s of years ago. Need to do this with a publisher, then, make the underpinnings of all these “miracles” available to every man, woman and child in the U.S. My goal. My personal goal to aid all the religously abused to break away. It may not help everybody but, wielded strongly enough, my friend and I can put an enormous dent in that biblical armor. Every blow counts. My 2 cents.