I told Richard, a trader at our daughters’ farmers’ market that my wife and I would not be there next Saturday. We were going whale watching, they being on their annual northerly migration from Antarctica.
Richard answered: Isn’t evolution fantastic?
Is it? Did it even happen?
The conversation went like this:-
Him: Isn’t evolution fantastic?
Me: No but creation is.
Him: Don’t know about that.
Me: Richard, evolutionists start with the conclusion that there is no Creator-god and work backwards to find the ‘supporting’ evidence. Have you heard of Socrates?
Me: The Socratic principle states that you follow the evidence to wherever it leads. Court cases follow that path. The admissible evidence leads to the conclusion: eg did he or didn’t he do it?
Him: That may be so in court cases but science doesn’t work that way.
Me: Oh yes it does. Good science works exactly the same way. It doesn’t start with a conclusion although a line of inquiry may begin with an idea, a thought or hunch, a possible explanation. Research then tests that idea seeking to determine whether it is the explanation, the conclusion.
The brief conversation was over. Richard had another commitment.
The Bible clearly says God’s followers should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. (1 Peter chapter 3 verse 15).
Our hope for what?
True, Richard did not ask me anything about my Jesus-based hope or my creationist worldview. He asked: “Isn’t evolution fantastic?” implying it was an established indisputable fact.
The Christian hope is not: ‘I hope it’s true’, like the small child who says to Mum: ‘I hope Miss Smith is at school today’, not knowing whether or not she will be.
Rather, it’s like the drowning man with a lifesaver swimming through the swell to rescue him. As that lifesaver is the drowning man’s only hope, so Jesus is our only hope.
Our hope for what? To spare us from hell, to save us to heaven, and to give us a full life ‘till then.
Richard had casually stated in question form what is widely accepted as fact. As if: because it is widely believed therefore it’s true. In courtroom language that is a non sequitur: it does not follow.
A journalist wrote about US President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee that a view existed that because a woman alleged historical sexual misconduct by the nominee, therefore it was true. That too is an obvious non sequitur.
Neither a widespread belief nor an allegation makes that belief or allegation true.
“There is a time for everything…a time to be silent and a time to speak”
(Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 1 & 7)
Intellectually I could not let Richard’s blind acceptance silently pass by, there being NO evidence to support the evolutionary mindset. A mountain of speculation, inference and opinion (including supposed ‘expert’ opinion) is not evidence.
Even staunch evolutionist Oxford University Emeritus Professor Richard Dawkins frankly concedes this is his book The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution.
Further, adaptation (eg by animals) to a change of environmental conditions does not support the mindset envisaging the transformation of one creature into another distinct animal. Adaptation is just that: not evidence for what it is regularly preached as vis proof.
Richard’s question brought the issue of creation -v- evolution into the conversation, which quickly widens into the origin of everything.
Accordingly, it was legitimate for me to “give an answer” about the origin of all things although this huge topic was not going to be resolved during a brief chance conversation.
Nevertheless, God tells us to “always be prepared” to grab the moment.
Ready, willing and able
To be “prepared” involves being ‘ready, willing and able’ to give an answer. ‘Prepared’ is not a religious word but rather one of everyday language.
At the very least, to be ‘ready’ involves being alert or vigilant to seize the opportunity that presents itself and not lamely say: ‘I wish I had said something. I just stood there’.
To be ‘willing’ at least means to be inclined or disposed, to not shy away from that opportunity to say something meaningful.
And to be ‘able’ at least involves being sufficiently equipped with adequate knowledge to make a reasonable attempt to respond.
This does not mean we have to be able to argue expertly on every topic. We may have to do some research and get back to that person if possible.
Not good enough
But it is simply not good enough to excuse ourselves by saying: I simply didn’t know what to say. We should be able to make a reasonable response rather than simply let obvious error in thinking pass us by.
Do we owe God anything?
We are to: make ‘every’ effort to add to our faith…knowledge…If we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ‘ineffective and unproductive’ in our knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ. (2 Peter chapter 1 verses 5-8).
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My ‘witnesses’…to the ends of the earth. (Acts chapter 1 verse 8). We are…Christ’s ‘ambassadors’, as though God were making His appeal through us. (2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 20).
A soft landing
As unworthy as we are, it’s a very satisfying destination don’t you think?
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html