Recently, Our Man in Kentucky* Al Mohler posted an article on his blog explaining just how important it is that all Christians reject evolution outright, without exception or qualification. His reason? Evolution contradicts scripture. He writes,
I am willing to accept the authority of science on any number of issues. I am fundamentally agnostic about a host of other scientific concerns — but not where the fundamental truth of the Gospel and the clear teachings of the Bible are at stake.
Parenthetically, it must be said that it is very difficult to reject one branch of science — evolution, say, without destroying significant parts of others — nuclear physics, say. Anyway, Mohler’s concern is that those who reject a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 are guilty of a wholesale rejection of Christianity itself. He says that those who adjust their interpretation of scripture to conform with science are turning their backs on the theological truth of the matter, writing,
There is every reason for Christians to view the [ancient and aged] appearance of the cosmos as graphic evidence of the ravages of sin and the catastrophic nature of God’s judgment upon sin.
Hm. We at psnt.net choose to ignore every reason. We accept the risks.
Mohler also emphasizes the severity of this conflict between religion and science, going so far as to compare it to the Reformation in its urgency and scale. If he had gone back another 1100 years, he might have discovered the following, written by St. Augustine in the early 4th century in The Literal Meaning of Genesis.
It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation… Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by these who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
– De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20
But wait, there’s more:
With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation.
– De Genesi ad literam, 2:9
Our point is that the idea of adjusting one’s interpretation of difficult texts in the face of compelling physical evidence is as old as the Christian tradition itself. When we here at psnt.net decide that a certain passage of scripture must be recast because of scientific advances, we are not playing fast and loose with the Bible, nor are we merely “picking and choosing,” as some non-theists would like to think. Instead, we are merely following a centuries-old tradition of orthodox Christianity.
Al can do what and say what he wants. On this issue, though, we like Gus.