Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY posted yesterday on the University of California's decision to refuse to certify science courses that teach creationism using certain textbooks from BJU Press and A Beka Books. You can read the original LA Times article here.
Last week, My friend Pat Berryman over at The Edge in Auburn Hills wrote recently about The New Scarlet Letter—intolerance. In his comments, he referenced a recent Larry King Live episode that featured a discussion on Intelligent Design (or ID) and whether or not it should be taught in science classrooms in public schools. For those unfamiliar with it, Intelligent Design is a theory championed by men like Philip Johnson, Michael Behe, Michael Dembski, and others that argue that an irreducible complexity in nature presupposes an intelligent design. Irreducible complexity is basically the idea that a given organism has a certain structure that cannot be reduced to a prior form. In other words, this structure could not have evolved through natural selection or mutation because the elements were not there, and there is no explanation for how they got there, apart from an outside intelligence.
ID is a form of creationism to some degree. Secular science views it as a "foot in the door," or the proverbial "camel's nose under the tent flap." Barbara Forrest, a philosphy professor at Southeastern Louisana Universy and a member of National Advisory Council of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State wrote a book entitled Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. (You can read the transcript of the program here. It is the last half of LKL that night.)
Some in the Christian community are in favor of ID as that very thing ... a foot in the door. They believe it at least opens the door to a different discussion than is typically held in public education about theories of the origin of the universe. And to be sure, it is a form of creationism. On the other hand , others, such as Ken Ham and the folks at Answers in Genesis believe that ID is dangerous. They say,
While design arguments used in the Intelligent Design Movement may seem very appealing at first, the central problem with the ID movement, as stated numerous times by AiG’s newest speaker Dr. Georgia Purdom, is that it divorces the Creator from creation. The Creator cannot be separated from creation; they reflect on each other. (To hear Dr. Purdom's presentation on this topic, download the podcast/MP3 of her talk at the 2005 Creation Mega Conference.)What is being passed off as science about origins in most public school classrooms is frighteningly ignorant. I am no scientist, and if I can see through it, it gives pause to one to wonder why the teachers themselves can't see through it. As I understand it, that is why Johnson, Behe, Dembski and the others started down the road of intelligent design. They could see the problems. Evolutionary theory is so laughably absurd that were it not for its lone alternative it is doubtful that anyone would believe it. However, since the alternative to evolution is God, evolution continues to be believed.
We need a return to actual science. We need to call theories what they are ... theories. Evolution is simply that ... a theory about how things came to be. It is a theory chock-full of holes. I firmly believe that the longer science continues to progress, the less evolution will be accepted. It is, in a sense, like Copernicus who shocked the world with the idea that the sun is the center of the universe. Now, it is widely accepted. As time and progress marches on, the theory of evolution will go the way of geo-centrism.
Yet man will not turn to the Creator because his sin has blinded his mind. The apostle Paul, writing the Ephesians reminds us what God says about man's intelligence.
Ephesians 4:17-19 17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.Futile, darkened, ignorant, hard of heart, and callous—not exactly a recipe for stellar thinking. God, through his common grace, has granted to these kind of people the ability to make astounding discoveries. Only through His special grace will God grant them the repentance that leads to life, that will open their eyes to the Creator and bring them to faith in Him.
Romans 1 tells us that these people have no excuse.
Romans 1:19-23 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For 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. 21 For 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. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and 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.The saddest thing is this: For all their scientific skills, they cannot see clearly enough to see what is clearly shown. God exists and has made it obvious to all who will look. But they, professing to be wise, have shown themselves to be fools. They worship the intellect of man, such as it may be, and fall at the altar of man's passions and desires rather than falling at the feet of Christ the Creator and submitting their minds and hearts to him.
How do we minister to a generation like this? Preach Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). Remember that the god of this world has blinded their minds until God who caused the light to shine out of darkness causes the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ to shine in their hearts. (2 Cor 4:1-6).
On a practical note, do not allow the secular side to frame this as a debate between "science" and "religion." It isn't. Both sides use actual science, and both sides engage in faith choices. All scientists have their bias. As Ken Ham asks, Which is the best bias to be biased with? It is best to be biased with the existence of the Creator God who told us what he did.