Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Evolutionary Middleman: Beyond the grave, Part 3

John Hoopman kindly asked a question last week, and I devoted a post to answering. In the title-linked blog (which may contain additional dialogue in the "comments" section as we proceed), he responds to my answer by claiming that I have a "fear of nature" that causes me to look to the supernatural. Here is the text, so you don't have to navigate there:

Other than being a theist, he [that's me] seems like a reasonably bright young man. Feel free to click on the link and read the whole post. But, again, he validates my position that fear of death is, if not the primary factor in supernatural belief, certainly one of the main factors. Chip Crush writes:

The question again is, "What is the single greatest thing that you think your faith gives you now, or will give you in the future?"

It's a simple answer. The single greatest thing that I think my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior has given me in the past, gives me now, and will give me in the future, is eternal life. I have eternal life, and will have eternal life by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

I would like to point out that Chip put the emphasis into the previous paragraph. It’s clear that he gives some validity to my point and he fears nature. He fears it to the point of rejecting it in favor of the supernatural. He goes on to say:

But a person is not their body. A person is more than mere flesh and blood. We continue to exist after the first death. This death is merely a door to a different kind of life. We'll be in paradise or hades (sheol) after walking through this door of the first death.

Science has repeatedly tested the notion of the self being more than the body. Every scientific study has produced evidence that shows they are one and the same. This does not (as always in science) disprove a “soul”. It only says two things.

1. Thousands of tests, experiments, studies have revealed no evidence of a soul.
2. Everything we know about Homo sapiens can be understood in terms of a unitary self that is in no way divided.

Chip concludes by going back to his greatest fear, which he alleviates by his being able to constantly refer to life ever-lasting, every time he has the opportunity to try to convince another. Surely with every success, he becomes more certain that he is right. How else could he have convinced someone?

So there you have it, John: a simple answer to a good question. My faith gives me eternal life. Would you like to have eternal life? Come to Jesus, and live forever.

I'd enjoy carrying this out in dialogue, and it will be interesting to see if John is willing. First of all, concluding that my Christian faith is based on a fear of nature is unfounded. That conclusion would be akin to suggesting that John's belief in gravity is based on his fear of falling from the sky (or fear of floating away). The link between the two claims is a missing link, or at least has yet to be shown empirically.

However, I suppose we could say that John's faith in science is based on his fear of God (or lack thereof). As Romans 1:18-23 declares, "
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." Furthermore, John 3:19-21 makes the same claim, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

John is a sinner, and though the logical thing to do in his wretched state would be to repent and "come into the Light," to turn to God for forgiveness and salvation - "eternal life" being a restored, lasting, and intimate relationship with the Intelligent Designer (Christians, read: Creator and Sustainer of all things) - he does not do that. Instead he remains in the darkness, thinking himself to be hidden from God so that his evil deeds will not be exposed - at least for now. He has suppressed the truth by his wickedness and is wallowing in hopelessness and Godlessness; thinking himself to be wise, he has revealed his foolishness. His thinking is futile and his foolish heart is darkened. Alas, he is an evolutionist; he has exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like man and animals.

Anyway, John's next assessment of my response attacked the existence of a soul. He kindly and rightly noted that "science" cannot disprove the existence of a soul. But he claims that "science" has neither proven the soul's existence, nor revealed that humans have any existence apart from their bodies. Just as John saw "clearly" what he claimed to be my "fear of nature" as the motivation for my faith, so I see "clearly" his deification of science here. John is "faithfully" relying on science to prove his identity as an animal.

Admittedly, I am also relying on faith to reveal my identity as a child of God. But there is a difference. I also have been made alive in my inner being; I have experienced the existence and life of my soul in a way that John has not. He is dead in sin and trespasses and knows not the life that God breathes into His people by His Holy Spirit. Therefore, faith in science is all John has. I have faith and experience. And ultimately, where John is blinded by the god of this world, my eyes have been opened by grace by the Sovereign Lord, and having the mind of Christ, I am able to determine, once again by grace, right from wrong regarding spiritual things. 1 Corinthians 2:12 says, "
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
" John, sadly, is a "natural man," and as 1 Corinthians 2:14 declares, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Perhaps, through our dialogue, John may be brought into the Light, made alive while he was dead. And so I genuinely pray with the Apostle Paul "
that out of His glorious riches [God] may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
" (Ephesians 3:16-17).

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