Friday, 7 February 2014

Autonomous Human Reason vs. Authority of Scripture

Rick Phillips has some further good reflections on the Bill Nye - Ken Ham debate here.  Phillips recognizes, as does Al Mohler,  that debates like this are really not about the science.  Ken Ham recognized this and said so in his main argument.  Both Creationists/Intelligent Design proponents as well as secular humanists all observe the same data.  Darwinists and Creationists may even use the exact same microscope or telescope through which to view the data.  The difference in interpretation doesn't come through the microscope lens or the telescope lens.  It comes from the fact that they each view all they do through a much more fundamental and ingrained lens, one that is prior to the microscope's eyepiece.  That lens is the lens of worldview.  The worldview lens is closer even than a contact lens.  It never gets taken off at night, the observer never needs to reach for it when they need a closer look, as if it were something they put on and take off like reading glasses.  The worldview lens is even closer than the lens of one's naked eye.  The worldview lens is a lens that covers both heart and mind and it is something that is so constant and so ingrained that most of the time people are unaware of it unless someone points out the fact of its existence.  Even then it is difficult to recognize just how all pervasive this lens is.  It truly does affect how you see and understand all things.  There is no data point that is not, at least in some way, interpretted through this lens.

The worldview lens of the Creationist is one in which the authority of the Bible, God's Word, his special revelation to humanity, is the ultimate authority.  As God and his Word are constant and unchanging, for the Creationist scientific observation must somehow align with what God's Word says.  If there appears to be a contradiction between the phenomina we observe and try to interpret in the natural world and the authoritative words of Scripture, then the Creationist assumes that we either misunderstand the scientific data or we misunderstand the words of Scripture or we misunderstand both.  Francis Schaeffer taught us this well.  We only need to dig deeper in our interpretation of one or the other or both and eventually we will see that the contradiction was only apparent.  The Creationist assumes that because both the pages of Scripture and the created universe are products of God's Word, his sovereign spoken words of power, they will harmonize with each other.  God spoke both the Bible and the universe into existence (yes, through secondary means, but still through his sovereign spoken word as Creator and Revelator) and so the Creationist presupposes that because God cannot be self contradictory, neither can his special revelation (Scripture) and his general revelation (nature) contradict each other. 

The worldview lens that the secular humanist views all reality through is the lens of autonomous human reason.  If there is no God, as they assume, then man is the highest authority since man is the most advanced and intelligent of all beings in the world.  Man is an authority unto himself.  Man is the interpreter of facts and therefore the arbiter of truth (or at least of value and highest preference).  When one assumes that God does not exists, there is no area of investigation in the natural realm which is not affected by this foundational belief.  One comes to the fantastically complex and incredible universe, which has the fingerprints of an intelligent designer all over it, and dismisses immediately any possibility of a designer or maker.  The complexity cannot be a result of an even more complex designer and therefore there must be a different reason for it all.  Because to a secularist God is an impossibility, other answers must be found.  Thus the changing and shifting theories of beginnings, of origins, each one embraced as concrete fact for a time only to be discarded when some less problematic theory comes along.  Theory is traded for theory, each one vigorously defended by all the apologists for secularism, until a new, better, more comprehensive, less leaky theory comes along. 

When a Biblical Christian and a secular humanist debate creation vs. evolution, we must recognize that it is not primarily a scientific debate but a religious one.  There may be some discussion of scientific data, as there was with Ken Ham and Bill Nye, but all that data was subject and subordinate to the interpretive framework that both men view it through.  And that interpretive framework is, at its most fundamental level, a firm belief about the existence of God either one way or another.  When a person's most ultimate and controlling and all-pervasive and governing assumption is one about the existence of God, and what one believes about God governs how one views all the rest of reality, we call that religion.  And both the creationist and the secularist are, at the most foundational and fundamental level, making a controlling religious assumption.  The creationist believes God exists and sees all of nature through that lens.  The secularist believes God does not exist and views all nature through that lens.  Bill Nye, no less than Ken Ham, is a religiously committed man.  It just so happens that his religion has no place for the all-powerful Creator God of the Bible.  But that does not make him any less religious than a creationist.  Bill Nye was nothing if not an ardent, passionate and faithful adherent to his commanding narrative, that of secular humanistic Darwinism.  This narrative he receives from others and accepts on faith since he was not there to see the Big Bang, has never witnessed macro evolution taking place, and has never seen an organism gain complexity and function through natural processes.  These beliefs he holds by faith.  These are religious beliefs.  The atheist secularist would tell you that he doesn't believe in God because he has found no evidence for his existence.  But the truth is that the atheist secularist doesn't see any evidence for God because he has chosen not to believe in him.

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