Summary: This sermon examines the idea that the world was created randomly without God. The impact of this idea and its natural conclusion. It concludes that God is necessary, the idea of sin is logical and ends by pointing to Jesus
Today I would like to talk about the theory of evolution and what should a Christian do with it. I am not a scientist so I will not enter into the debate did God create the world in seven days or 7 billion years? When I grew up we were taught that evolution happened slowly and over a long period of time. Now we are taught that evolution can have long periods of nothing and then a short rapid period of evolution. As I don’t know which theory is true, I want to more speak about the idea that the world was created without God at all. I want to argue that the idea of creation being totally random is foolish and that God guided the world into existence, by whatever means.
Genesis 1 – 2:2
Pastor Timothy Keller runs a Presbyterian church in Manhattan. He tells how: “ A young couple once came to me for some spiritual direction. They ‘didn’t believe in much of anything’ they said. How could they begin to figure out if there even was a God? I asked them to tell me about something they felt was really, really wrong. The woman immediately spoke out against practices that marginalised women. I said I agreed with her fully since I was a Christian who believed God made all human beings, but I was curious why she thought it was wrong. She responded, ‘Women are human beings and human beings have rights. It is wrong to trample on someone’s rights.’ I asked her how she knew that.
Puzzled, she said, ‘Everyone knows it is wrong to violate the rights of someone.’ I said, ‘Most people in the world don’t “know” that. They don’t have a Western view of human rights. Imagine if someone said to you “everyone knows that women are inferior”. You’d say, “That is foolish.” And you’d be right. So let’s start again. If there is no God as you believe and everyone has just evolved from animals, why would it be wrong to trample on someone’s rights?’ Her husband responded: ‘Yes, it is true we are just bigger-brained animals, but I’d say animals have rights too. You shouldn’t trample on their rights, either.’ I asked whether he held animals guilty for violating the rights of other animals if the stronger ones ate the weaker ones. ‘No, I couldn’t do that.’ So he only held human beings guilty if they trampled on the weak? ‘Yes.’ Why this double standard, I asked. Why did the couple insist that human beings had to be different from animals, so that they were not allowed to act as was natural to the rest of the animal world? Why did the couple keep insisting that humans had this great, unique individual dignity and worth? Why did they believe in human rights? ‘I don’t know’, the woman said, ‘I guess they are just there, that’s all.’”
This conversation reveals how our culture differs from the ones that have gone before. People still have strong moral convictions, but unlike people in other times and places, they don’t have any visible reason for why they find some things to be evil and other things good. It’s almost like their morals are free-floating in mid-air — far off the ground.
The Evolutionary Theory of Morals
A common answer today comes from evolutionary psychology. This view holds that good people, those who act unselfishly and cooperatively, survived in greater numbers than those who were selfish and cruel. Therefore good genes were passed down to us and now the great majority of us feel that unselfish behaviour is ‘right’. There are, however, many flaws in this theory, and it has been given some devastating evaluations. An individual’s self-sacrificing, good behaviour towards his or her family might result in a greater survival rate for the individual’s family therefore result in a greater number of descendants with that person’s genetic material. But in the animal kingdom, however, the opposite is usually true. In the animal kingdom the strongest survive, the weakest are killed. From monkey’s to fish many animals fight with their own kind for the right to reproduce. Selfishness produces competition, competition produces natural selection. Natural selection kills off the weak and the disabled. If there is no God, the strong who kills the weak should be a trait we all admire.
If there is no God we would be like the rest of the animal kingdom and not have right and wrong. Birds, mamals, fish do not have right and wrong, they act on their instinct no matter who gets killed, hurt or injured.
Yet today we believe that sacrificing time, money, emotion and even life especially for someone ‘not of our family’ — is right. If we see a total stranger fall in the river we jump in after him. In fact, most people will to do so even if the person in the water is an enemy. How could that trait have come down by a process of natural selection? Such good people would have been less likely to survive and pass on their genes. On the belief that everything about us is here because of a process of natural selection, that kind of goodness should have died out of the human race long ago. Instead, it is stronger than ever. We do care about the weak, we do care about the frail, we do admire those who are selfless.