"Knowledge Puffs Up"
by Laurence D Smart B.Sc.Agr., Dip.Ed., Grad.Dip.Ed
[Free to print and distribute. Copy must be in full.]
"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER". This is one of the catchphrases of the latter part of the 1990's. The politically correct use the expression to ensure that there is equality between people. "You can't know any more than me, because this gives you an edge over me. It means that we are no longer equal" they say - reading between the lines.
However, there is something more surreptitious that I have observed about the power of knowledge. In the Scientific Age, the Electronic Age and the Computer Age, knowledge has puffed people up. People have become more arrogant about themselves and what they believe, purely on the basis of the knowledge that they possess.
Knowledge has also created the 'expert'. It seems that everyone is an expert as soon as they gain a little knowledge on a subject. The media are the worst at identifying such 'experts', and elevating them in the public's eye. Of course, five minutes in the witness stand of a court would be all that would be required to prove that they weren't an expert.
When it comes to matters of knowledge and science, there are many real experts, each with their own ideas. Theories abound, even in matters that are presented in schools as hard core fact. There are constant wranglings in the halls of the intelligentsia over these theories. Each idea gathers its own proponents and each group believes that they are right. Each group pushes their own barrow and, to one degree or another, is affronted by the views of others. You only have to read the editorials, letters to the editor, or reply-articles in scientific journals to appreciate this.
Within the creation/evolution debate, the same occurs. There are countless theories in each and every facet of evolution. The use of knowledge as a bullying weapon spills over into this arena. Here the attacks are more vehement: here they are 'playing for keeps'. The most caustic attacks come from theistic evolutionists who attack creationists without mercy - the personal experience of which is very harrowing. It is as if The Inquisition had been re-convened.
The theistic evolutionists become "puffed up" because of the scientific knowledge they possess. With great arrogance they attack and belittle any Christian who dares suggest that life had such a 'fairytale origin' as creation. They treat as incredulous any appeal to Scripture, pointing out that science has proven everything that evolution proposes.
Concerning interactions between Christians, there is a very sobering discourse from Paul in I Corinthians 8 and Romans 14. He says that we have to be careful and look out for our weaker brother. He uses the important instances of food - the food laws, and food offered to idols. Paul says that he is not bound by any of these laws. Nor is he affected by eating meat offered to idols. He knows that idols aren't real, and his conscience won't convict him. He gives honour to Jesus and God the Father in all things, including what he eats.
Paul said that he would rather not eat meat at all if it would cause a weaker brother to eat meat and have his conscience condemn him for sacrilege. He does not want to cause another Christian to stumble.
In the Corinthians passage Paul says that "knowledge puffs up". Knowledge makes people arrogant and conceited, so, we need to be very careful. If our so-called 'knowledge' leads us to believe that evolution is true and it doesn't affect our relationship with God, then we must still consider the effect of our belief on others. If another's' salvation is lost because we believe and actively promote evolution, then we are acting contrary to what Paul calls us to do.
Remember, the essence of salvation is THE BLOOD, THE CROSS, and THE RESURRECTION. It is not evolution or creation. These latter two impact on our belief and acceptance of salvation, but they are not essential to our acceptance of it. It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to Jesus, convicting us of our sin and our need for a saviour. This is independent of our belief in evolution and creation.
Certainly believing in evolution can cause problems in a Christian's walk. The evolution issue can kick in before salvation and cause a person to reject the Holy Spirit's conviction. It can also influence a person after they have committed their life, causing them to be led stray.
Is it any different if we cause someone to be led astray from Jesus by our actions, or by pushing our belief in evolution as a fact? None whatsoever. In both cases we are responsible if someone's light is dimmed. In both cases we are responsible if a Christian fails to reach their full potential in Christ. In both cases we have been responsible for the loss of someone's salvation, if they renounce their faith.
It is an awesome responsibility. One which even the apostle Paul couldn't handle. He said that he would rather not be involved in an activity that would cause a brother to fall, than to take the responsibility for that fall.
While some Christian organisations are publicising that an unprecedented number of people worldwide are becoming Christians, the bulk of people are not being reached. One only needs to look at another set of publicised data to understand why many in developed nations reject Christianity. Simple studies have been published which assessed the beliefs of university students both on entering and leaving first year. Generally, 80% professed a belief in a god at the beginning of the year, while only 20% concurred 12 months later. What had caused the change? The studies indicated that the indoctrination of students at university with evolution was the prime cause.
If it is easy to turn people away from a belief in a god by teaching evolutionary-based courses, how much more easy is it for young, impressionable people to be influenced by an adult Christian who actively pushes evolution. It is these types of seeds that the enemy uses to harden people's hearts to the gospel. These people are responsible for putting a stumbling block in the way of others.
A strong message is preached in many churches that Christians have to be careful not to put a stumbling block in the way of a brother, or to cause them to sin. God's anger is incurred by such actions, and preachers rightly point our need to be careful. However, this preaching invariably points to lust, anger, insensitivity, sex, and power seeking, as the prime faults and concentrates on these. What about evolution and theistic evolution? If active proselytising for evolution and the denouncement of the Genesis account are causing people to lose their joy, faith, salvation, etc., shouldn't these be included in the list of things to avoid?
We need to follow Paul's advice in all things. There are many things that we can say, do, or fail to do, that could cause our brother to falter. If one of these is our belief in evolution, then we would be better to keep it to ourselves.
In Matt 12:33 Jesus said that "a tree is known by its fruit". Knowing the outcomes of a particular activity will tell us whether it is 'good' or 'bad'. A 'good' activity produces positive, edifying effects on Christians. A 'bad' activity causes Christians to lose their joy, their enthusiasm, and possibly their salvation.
Also, in Matt 7:20 Jesus said, "by their fruits you will know them". False prophets, and those who lead Christians astray are easily identified by the fruit of their work. Christians who follow their teaching become lukewarm, turn away from their faith, and may even renounce their faith.
Christians who actively persuade other Christians that they must believe evolution rather than Genesis, because science has proved that evolution occurred, can be categorised using the two references above. What is the end result of their teaching on young people and other Christians? The answer is obvious - they produce "bad fruit". The lives of young Christians are destroyed, and myriads of young people are hardened to the gospel.
The conclusion therefore is that the Holy Spirit does not inspire theistic evolution. Anyone involved in proselytising for theistic evolution should immediately renounce their believe in evolution, cease their witnessing, and affirm their faith in the bible.
A belief in creation supports a person's belief and history has shown that it enhances a Christian's life. It is not a doctrine that causes Christians to falter. Unlike evolution, it should be actively taught, for the edification of the Church.
Seeing people released as they come to Jesus for the first time is truly a wonderful experience. I receive this same blessing when I speak or attend seminars where the scientific fallacy of evolution is presented and the chains of evolution are released. The people receive their joy again and are liberated, just as they were when they were saved.
One man testified at a meeting, saying, "I feel like I've been born again, again".