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Author Topic:   Is Evolution the Work of Satan?
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 2969 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 1 of 104 (589245)
11-01-2010 5:47 AM


Some Christians -- notably physician and geneticist Francis Collins and biologist and philosopher Francisco Ayala -- believe in both evolution and an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God. For example, Ayala said:

The point should be valid for those people of faith who believe in a personal God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent, as Christians, Muslims, and Jews do believe. The natural world abounds in catastrophes, disasters, imperfections, dysfunctions, suffering, and cruelty. Tsunamis and earthquakes bring destruction and death to hundreds of thousands of citizens; floods and droughts bring ruin to farmers. The human jaw is poorly designed; lions devour their prey; malaria parasites kill millions of humans every year and make 500 million people very sick; about 20 percent of all human pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion because of the flawed design of the human reproductive system.

People of faith should not attribute all this misery, cruelty, and destruction to the specific design of the Creator. I rather see it as a consequence of the clumsy ways of nature and the evolutionary process.

(Quoted in Science and Religion Today, http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/...ns-templeton-prize)

Does the theory of evolution really get God off the hook for permitting natural evil (i.e., suffering caused by nature, as opposed to moral evil, caused by human misdeeds)? It seems to me that Ayala is begging the question. If God created the evolutionary process, why is it so clumsy? Why does it cause so much suffering?

A traditional Christian response to the problem of natural evil is to blame it on original sin:

Then to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat from it; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it will grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

(Genesis 3:17-19)

But accepting the theory of evolution negates the original sin argument. How could natural evil be caused by original sin if animal pain and suffering predated the emergence of humans by hundreds of millions of years?

Another response to the problem of natural evil was suggested by St. Augustine of Hippo. He reasoned that God must permit evil to exist so that free will can exist. In his view, moral evil exists because of human free will and natural evil exists because of Satans free will.

Do Christian believers in evolution see Satan playing a large role in the evolutionary process? Or is the natural evil of evolution, contrary to Ayalas view, a reason to reject the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God?

Edited by Stephen Push, : No reason given.


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Message 2 of 104 (589249)
11-01-2010 6:59 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Is Evolution the Work of Satan? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 3 of 104 (589254)
11-01-2010 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stephen Push
11-01-2010 5:47 AM


If one accepts that Yaweh created everything (including allowing original sin into the world by foolishly leaving sin as an option) one must accept that every thing happens exactly as he planned.

In short if anything bad happens in any way Yaweh planned it that way from the outset.

Praise god!


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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 4 of 104 (589259)
11-01-2010 9:37 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Larni
11-01-2010 9:01 AM


Is Reality Written In Stone?
Stephen Push writes:

Do Christian believers in evolution see Satan playing a large role in the evolutionary process? Or is the natural evil of evolution, contrary to Ayalas view, a reason to reject the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God?

I see no reason not to believe in evolution, and also see it as occurring naturally and without any supernatural lobbying of either power.

Faith and Belief should, in my opinion, be entirely open to speculation. I was just thinking about the characteristics of God the other day. Is it logical for God to intervene in my daily request lists? I dont say that God is incapable of turning a building into a rabbit or turning me into a pencil. Just because, however, that God is hypothetically capable of such atom rearranging displays, why should God do them? Why should God make me wealthy? (and why should He make the third world wealthy either, by the way.) My point? Why should God interfere in natural processes rather than let them take their course?

We humans learn from our mistakes. I sincerely hope that we collectively do not have to learn the hard way about many facts and realities that lay on our horizon. To believe in an involved Creator is, as my friend jar suggests, catering to a fantasy and believing in a God that WE imagined and created. On the other hand, if one is to believe in God at all, why believe in a God who is not at all able to altar the course of our fallible decisions and desires? Thus, I believe that God makes us aware of higher altruistic perception, but never forces it on us.

Larni writes:

If one accepts that Yahweh created everything (including allowing original sin into the world by foolishly leaving sin as an option) one must accept that every thing happens exactly as he planned.

In that case I certainly hope that He planned on helping me learn how to cope.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


Message 5 of 104 (589266)
11-01-2010 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stephen Push
11-01-2010 5:47 AM


But accepting the theory of evolution negates the original sin argument. How could natural evil be caused by original sin if animal pain and suffering predated the emergence of humans by hundreds of millions of years?

*puts on theologian hat *

Since God is omniscient and lives in eternity outside time, obviously he'd know what was going to happen and could, so to speak, get his retaliation in first, and punish all those cute little monotremes and pterodactyls for something that we were going to do ...

Mysterious ways, eh?

How about we try Descartes' solution? Animals don't have souls, so they don't actually suffer any more than a machine does. That would fix it. Yes, it's absurd, but this is theology.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 6 of 104 (589269)
11-01-2010 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stephen Push
11-01-2010 5:47 AM


Could It Beeeee?
Stephen Push writes:

Another response to the problem of natural evil was suggested by St. Augustine of Hippo. He reasoned that God must permit evil to exist so that free will can exist. In his view, moral evil exists because of human free will and natural evil exists because of Satans free will.

Do Christian believers in evolution see Satan playing a large role in the evolutionary process? Or is the natural evil of evolution, contrary to Ayalas view, a reason to reject the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent God?

This is my dogma and tentative conclusion on Satan:
1) God initially created a freewill Lucifer. Lucifer was a super-cool Archangel. Somehow, (probably fore knowingly) this arch angel had a desire to break away from the Boss. God never directly created this act of rebellion yet allowed for its manifestation. Some thus say that God created evil, citing Isaiah. Others, such as myself, would argue that God simply allowed for the possibility of evil, and that we humans have been aping the initial rebel for eons now. We are responsible for our choice to rebel, but in fairness, often don't understand why we shouldn't rebel.

Satan would never be the cause of evolution nor of alternative thought processes which formulated the theory. I could actually believe that God wants people to think, thus controversy always exists.


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jar
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Posts: 30936
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 7 of 104 (589272)
11-01-2010 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stephen Push
11-01-2010 5:47 AM


I have never been able to find Biblical support for the concept of Original Sin, certainly not in the Garden of Eden story.

The idea that there is some original sin is more likely just an easy cop out to not have to deal with the reality that we are human.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 8 of 104 (589274)
11-01-2010 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
11-01-2010 11:10 AM


Human Copouts
Why is the idea of evolution such a threat for fundamentalists?

Can we evolve to where we have to address the uncomfortable challenges of our future, or will we as a species forever prefer beliefs which provide excuses and cop outs to our social responsibility?


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 216 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 9 of 104 (589278)
11-01-2010 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
11-01-2010 11:10 AM


Original sin and satan
I have never been able to find Biblical support for the concept of Original Sin, certainly not in the Garden of Eden story.

The idea that there is some original sin is more likely just an easy cop out to not have to deal with the reality that we are human.


The idea of "original sin" is not just theological nonsense, it is one of the most evil notions ever to grace the fevered mind of a shaman.

And no, evolution is not the work of satan. It is a scientific theory. It explains what we see in the natural world. If some folks don't like it, that's just too bad. It isn't going to go away.

/morning rant.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 2969 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 10 of 104 (589282)
11-01-2010 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Dr Adequate
11-01-2010 10:46 AM


Since God is omniscient and lives in eternity outside time, obviously he'd know what was going to happen and could, so to speak, get his retaliation in first, and punish all those cute little monotremes and pterodactyls for something that we were going to do ...

What is the point of making monotremes and pterodactyls suffer for Adam's sin?

How about we try Descartes' solution? Animals don't have souls, so they don't actually suffer any more than a machine does. That would fix it. Yes, it's absurd, but this is theology.

I know that is the popular view of Descartes, but I think a good case can be made that that was not his position. But perhaps that discussion is off-topic.

Anyway, few, if any, Christians would take that position today. Ayala doesn't.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 11 of 104 (589292)
11-01-2010 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
11-01-2010 11:14 AM


Re: Human Copouts
Why is the idea of evolution such a threat for fundamentalists?

It isn't, though they perceive it to be a threat.

My understanding is that they noticed that students were entering the biology class as Christians, but graduating as atheists. So they put 2 and 2 together, came up with 5 as the answer, and blamed evolution.

As far as I can tell, what really happens in biology class is that the students come face to face with the cruelty of nature, and they are unable to reconcile that with what they had been taught in Sunday school.


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ringo
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Posts: 16361
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 12 of 104 (589296)
11-01-2010 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by nwr
11-01-2010 12:21 PM


Re: Human Copouts
nwr writes:

As far as I can tell, what really happens in biology class is that the students come face to face with the cruelty of nature, and they are unable to reconcile that with what they had been taught in Sunday school.


Students begin to study biology at an age when they naturally begin to question what they've been told. Any reality-based subject would probably have the same effect.


"It appears that many of you turn to Hebrew to escape the English...." -- Joseppi
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 13 of 104 (589309)
11-01-2010 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by ringo
11-01-2010 12:45 PM


Re: Human Copouts
Students begin to study biology at an age when they naturally begin to question what they've been told. Any reality-based subject would probably have the same effect.

Yes, I agree with that.

The correct solution for religion, is that they should paint an honest picture of the world. That way, when students begin to find out how reality is, they won't be confronted with the realization that they were misled.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


Message 14 of 104 (589338)
11-01-2010 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Stephen Push
11-01-2010 11:47 AM


What is the point of making monotremes and pterodactyls suffer for Adam's sin?

The exact same point as punishing weasels and narwhals for it.

Don't look at me, I didn't make this stuff up. But any Christian who thinks (as apparently they do) that it's OK to punish a narwhal for the failings of humanity need hardly cavil at the pterodactyls suffering a similar fate.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


Message 15 of 104 (589339)
11-01-2010 7:16 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by nwr
11-01-2010 2:53 PM


Re: Human Copouts
The correct solution for religion, is that they should paint an honest picture of the world.

In what sense would that be religion?

Your suggestion reminds me somewhat of the old joke about the man who tried to teach his mule to live without food.

Unfortunately, just as he'd achieved complete success the darn thing died on him.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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