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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






10 August 2005

Evolution and Faith


Q: Many things I would ask. I’ve been baptized and took communion in the Lutheran church, but my parents never really went or stressed going to church when I was younger so I fell out of the church. I find myself questioning if there is a god and thinking that maybe Jesus was a man who just tried to get people to treat others as well as they themselves would want to be treated. I guess my first question is, how do you explain evolution (dinosaurs and remains of early man)? I sometimes think that we are all just clinging to hope that we might have something after death and that we will not eventually fade from the memories of others and be forgotten.

Weighing Creation and EvolutionA: I don’t explain evolution — at least not that psuedo-scientific, quasi-religious theory commonly taught by the disciples of Darwin. I deny it. I accept that God created the world as we are told in the book of Genesis and that the Creation was marred and twisted because of sin entering into it through our first parents.

Fossils and the like are merely things we observe. We may attempt to impose current thought on them, but their story can be interpreted variously according to the preconceived notions of those examining them. An evolutionist looks at the fossils and sees gradual change and “improvement” of life on earth. A believer looks and sees things that God created which later died — many of them in the great Flood at the time of Noah — and sees that unhealthy change, decay, and death are the norms in the “natural” world.

As for hoping for something after death, I certainly do. This is not because of the evidence of rocks and dead creatures, but through the evidence of the Resurrection of Christ and a Holy Spirit-created faith in his Word. The rocks can tell us many things, but we don’t always hear what they have to say. Even more so, the Rock who is Christ tells us what we truly need to know — that through His suffering and death our sins are forgiven — but likewise we don’t always hear Him.

I won’t — indeed, I can’t — prove Christ by arguing evolution vs. Creation. Jesus takes the burden of proof on Himself through His Word and in His Church. If you want to argue with Him, I sincerely recommend that you first carefully review His case by Bible reading and listening to the preaching you once occasionally heard. Brush up on His claims about Himself and ponder His claim, through Baptism, on you. Just because you were cheated of Him in your youth doesn’t mean you must cheat yourself now.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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