Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Can Evolution and Creation Co-Exist?

After serving the Lord since 1989 I find myself increasingly surrounded by professing believers and leaders who do not have issue with evolution. My oldest daughter is now a freshman at one of our Nazarene Universities and I am hearing bits of info about how liberal and humanistic so many of our current day professors are. When I attended Eastern Nazarene College back in the mid 80's I did not give it much concern because I was on fire to learn the bible and head out into ministry. But now some 20 years later I am discovering that not all Nazarene's believe in the biblical account as God gave it. My hope in this that this blog will help other Nazarene find a place of like mindedness in the scriptures. I hope we will all discover more fellow Nazarene's who hold to a biblical worldview and a solid interpretation of God's word.

Jesus commended the children for their simple faith to believe. Yet some how we have a generation of such brilliant professors that they must undo the simple story of creation to fit into their own understanding of man made methods wisdom.

I wrote Professor Karl Giberson who embraces both Jesus and Evolution.


Letter Written to Karl Giberson of Eastern Nazarene College 3-6-2010

Professor Karl Giberson, March 6, 2010

It has been many years since I sat in your class as a student. I graduated in the class of 87.
I am 47 years old now and have been in the ministry with the church of the Nazarene
pastoring since 1989 preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I read sometime
back in the Christian Scholar about your most recent book "Saving Darwin" and then
read some excerpts from Amazon.

Needless to say my immediate reaction was" what? are we teaching evolution in our
Denominational CHRISTIAN Colleges that we support with our prayers and financial
budgets ?" Our very own church manual states that we believe in creationism as outlined
in the bible in Genesis 1:1. page 371 paragraph 903.8 The Church of the Nazarene
believes in the biblical account of (Gen 1:1) We oppose any godless interpretation of
the origin of the universe and humankind. However, the church accepts as valid all
scientifically verifiable discoveries in geology and other natural phenomena, for we
firmly believe in God is the creator."

So I wrote to one General Superintendent using you as an example of concern. Here was
my question to them.

“Is there an avenue or accountability structure or system in place whereby our church
colleges and universities and its professors can be held accountable to maintaining our
doctrinal heritage and purity? Many universities in our country started out Christian
and over time have deteriorated into campuses where humanism dominates.”
(the summary answer to this is below)


After reviewing your websites, articles and your critics, I find that you are indeed
embracing both evolution and Christianity. I don't see how that is possible. I would like
to understand how a science Professor finds balance with theological concepts that are
foundational to the salvation of man. This is a serious inquiry. I'm finding out that you
are very controversial among both evangelicals as well as the atheist community which
seems odd.


I realize that the Bible was not written to be a science text, but rather a revelation of God
to man about salvation which includes a lot of other information that is both historical
and scientific in nature.

The reply I received back from the general church shocked me to say the least. I was
given the following quote as a summary answer to the question above within a 3 page
reply.

"The mission of our church depends on our unity in the Spirit. It does not require a
monolithic and rigid adherence to one interpretation or another on these issues. We
rely on Dr. Bresee’s admonition in these matters: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials,
liberty; in all things, charity.” We choose to be committed to one another, to
stand shoulder to shoulder in our attempt to “spread scriptural holiness through the
land.” I believe that is the unifying objective for all of us."

What I really got out of this reply was that our position on creationism as a church verses
evolution is a non-essential and is open to multiple interpretations. I could not disagree
with this more, but certain answers from you would help me to determine if I absolutely
agree with that comment or not. I do agree to have unity in the Spirit, so therefore I am
writing and appealing to you as brother within the Church of the Nazarene in the spirit of
grace.

I would be very open to a conversation on the phone if there is a time that fits your
schedule.

Karl, if you would please answer for me the following questions I would greatly
appreciate it and it would give more clarity on your position as it relates to evolution and
creation.

1. Do you believe God created Adam in one day (24 hours period) or something
different?
2. Do you believe there was an actual man named Adam who had a mate named
Eve?
3. If you do believe a man and women named Adam & Eve are true biblical
historical people? Approximately how many years ago do you believe they
existed?

Sincerely,

Peter Migner, Pastor

Reply from Karl Giberson on the same day

Dear Rev. Migner:

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. I am sorry that time does not permit me to engage the great number of people who seek out personal communications with me. I have written several books, and blog regularly at www.biologos.org. Any questions you have about my views are addressed in considerable detail in venues like those.

God bless you in your continuing ministry.

Karl

3 comments:

  1. I believe Karl has done an excellent job of answering your questions in his books. We used one of his books (published by NPH) in an MA Religion class on Genesis I took at Olivet 13-14 years ago while preparing for pastoral ministry. If you haven't read his "Worlds Apart: The Unholy War between Religion and Science," I highly recommend it.

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  2. George (wonderer0563@gmail.com)November 11, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I posted the previous comment and did not get my email included correctly which is:

    wonderer0563@gmail.com

    Sorry about that.

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  3. I am glad to see a Nazarene Pastor questioning this publicly. I became aware of Nazarene professors teaching evolution approx. 1 year ago. I was shocked and as I began questioning this position, I was explained to, by a friend, who is a former pastor/current professor, that in the Church of the Nazarene we are basically free to believe whatever we want about creation. This was confirmed by the answer from the General Superintendent. I am just a layman, have never been to seminary and do not have a degree in theology or biology. But it was explained to me that the Bible is allegorical in many places and the account of creation can not be taken literally, as it can not be scientifically proven. Part of my problem with this is that the virgin birth can not be scientifically proven, so who decides if it is allegorical or not? I was pretty upset at first, which I am over, due to never having heard, or expected to hear, a Nazarene pastor or evangelist, preach anything like this from a pulpit. What really got to me was that I have also learned that Nazarene professor(s) are advocating that Adam and Eve were not probably not actual individuals, but representatives of a group of people that had evolved. Pastor Migner asked the Adam and Eve question of Professor Giberson and was directed to the website www.biologos.org. Included on that website is the following quote:

    " I think belief in God is incredibly complicated and that there are solid and defensible reasons to reject belief in God. I am turned off by simplistic apologetics arguments that presume that any open-minded thinker, when confronted with the evidence, will certainly have to accept belief in God, if not fundamentalist Christianity."

    which is can be found in the article located at the following link:

    http://biologos.org/blog/doing-battle-with-jerry-coynes-army-of-straw-men/

    Obviously, Pastor Migner has also heard about the Adam and Eve hypothesis, which is addressed in other areas on the biologos website. My problem with the "Adam and Eve evolved" hypothesis is that any reference to them in the New Testament does not allude, in any way, to them not being actual individuals. I am just a layman and I am sure that many with degrees would perceive me as an uneducated individual who just has to be told "just believe, don't think about it." An example of this would have been the time I was talking to a seminary trained individual about whether or not Judas had an option or was he forced into betraying Christ. I was told that was something that I should just not think about. All I wanted to do was discuss it with someone who I knew had more training than I did. I was not questioning God nor was it in any way going to undermine my faith in who I serve. It is possible that this individual had the "uneducated" view of me, (In addition to my being an "Appalachian Hillbilly!" :) but I prefer to think of myself as someone who serves a dependable God, in whom I put my trust and who is faithful to tell us the truth. I, in no way, want to cause any division of any kind, but I deal with teenagers who need to know that there is an absolute truth out there, that the Bible is a dependable document and that there is, without doubt, a Savior who loves them and died for them. And some of these teens may end up at a Nazarene University.

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