I heard on the radio awhile back that the church was coming to a “Galileo Moment” with respect to the science of Evolution. Referring of course to Galileo’s defense before the Catholic Church of the Copernican heliocentric perspective (the Earth revolves around the Sun) as opposed to the (then) prevailing Aristotelian view (the Earth is stable and all revolves around it).
I am an old man, but I am still young enough to have been taught (by law – here in the USA) what all schoolchildren learn, that life Evolved and was not Created. Almost forty years ago I had to reconsider my childhood lessons when I came to know the Living God. Fortunately for me there was a flurry of media hype over the discovery of Lucy about that time. The theoretical aspect of Evolutionary Doctrine was underscored by the media of the day amid cries “the books” would need to be rewritten.
Since the radio said it would be a “Galileo Moment”, I figured it was time to look at the issue again.
It is important to examine exactly what the “Galileo Moment” was. In the early 1600’s the established scientific and philosophical community (which included the Catholic church) had a vested interest in the doctrine that the Earth was the center of the universe. This was the prevailing perspective taught and the one embraced by the State Church.
Galileo’s observations led him to the Copernican view, which the technology of the day was providing continued reinforcement of. The entrenched scholastics, concerned with their standing and reputations forced a showdown which resulted in the “Galileo Moment” (which was really precipitated by Galileo’s intended or unintended representation of the Pope as a buffoon in his publication of “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems“, it seems he was notoriously politically insensitive).
To re-examine the issue I did some research, which included reading “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, from which I hoped to get a clear definition of how Darwinian Evolution answers the question of the existence of life as we know it (it does not). From that book’s Wiki page I found another book by John Lennox which addresses many of the concerns I have over Evolutionary Doctrine. Mr. Lennox’s book, “God’s Undertaker” was clear, not overly technical (no PhD required) but detailed enough to be satisfying. In particular I found the philosophical evolution of the theory of evolution from the work of Epicurus and Lucretius interesting in the light of the quote from G. G. Simpson that all attempts to answer the question “what is man?” prior to 1859 were worthless and we would be better off ignoring them completely.
The relevance of the Galileo moment is precisely due to the established position Evolutionary Doctrine has as The explanation of existence. In the USA it holds this position by legal fiat, not by evidence of fact, and from what I see the technology of the day is continuing to undermine its claims to credibility. Computer simulations, molecular biology, the fossil record, the complexity of even the most primitive living cells all demonstrate what we intuit by simple observation – like produces like. It is the startling absence of transitional life forms that is the most effective refutation of Evolutionary Doctrine, and this has not changed in the last forty years (or the last 150). If anything our increasing ability to research and examine life at scale has only sharpened the edge between adaptation and evolution. Nevertheless it would take a “Galileo Moment” to admit these facts because at present, without Evolutionary Doctrine, there is nothing else to teach! I am at a loss to imagine how schools in the USA, supported from State coffers, could offer any alternative to the naturalistic worldview of Evolutionary Doctrine.
So it is not science that keeps this doctrine in place but law. Just as the Church in the 1600’s tried to hold back the progress of science, today the State finds itself in this same unenviable position, because to admit we do not know is to allow the impossible.
As I thought more about this philosophical conflict it occurred to me that even if we conclude our existence and the world we exist in requires a Creator God, we still have a major problem.
If there is a Creator God powerful enough to create the universe, that power does not engender worship but fear. If the world we see was made and not random whoever created it can be incredibly cruel based on the suffering that seems rampant in it. When I consider that power and glory my heart trembles and I want to crawl into a hole to get away.
The existence of a God powerful enough to create the universe may mean we should worship Him, but it doesn’t mean we will worship Him (well apart from Rom 14:11). This is because worship implies devotion and devotion implies love.
It is not God’s power revealed in His creation we worship (well if we do it might be argued we missed the point), it is the goodness, the love, the justice we worship. It is those characteristics of God we desire and experience which engender the true worship Christ said the Father desires.
That kind of worship requires we first open our hearts to understand what it is that God has done for us. Only then we can open our minds to understand what that means.