Did Billy Graham say this about evolution? What do you think about it?

(Oyunbold Shine) #1

Graham once wrote: “I don’t think that there’s any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things that they weren’t meant to say, and I think we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course, I accept the Creation story. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man … whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.”

(SeanO) #2

@Oyunbold_Shine I think I would need to hear Billy Graham expound what he meant by ‘any conflict at all between science and the Scriptures’ and ‘we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times’ to state my opinion of those statements strongly. If I understand correctly, I would say his use of ‘any conflict at all’ may be too strong because I believe modern science - if by modern science we mean the opinions of modern scientists - may very well be wrong about some things and Genesis correct - for example, all humanity coming from Adam and Eve whereas modern geneticists generally try to say the initial population had to be in the thousands at least to explain current variation (Hugh Ross explains this one well). Also, I would agree that Christians throughout history have claimed that Scripture said something that was actually just their interpretation of Scripture. For example, Genesis means the world was created in 7 literal 24 hours days and the earth is 7 thousand years old - that is a legitimate interpretation, but it is just one possible interpretation - an opinion.

In the article you posted Joel Houston is quoted as saying “Evolution is undeniable”. Does he mean micro-evolution or macro-evolution? It sounds like macro-evolution, but if that is what he means I think it is simply false to say that it is ‘undeniable’ that monkeys became men - this is an issue that is certainly still open for debate even in secular circles.

Here is a video where John Lennox gives a more nuanced answer to the question ‘is the Bible a book of science?’ He says that the Bible deals with ‘why’ questions about our purpose and, while not very many, even a few ‘why’ questions about how things came to be - about the physical universe. In other words, while the Bible is mainly a Book explaining the history of God’s work and how we relate to Him, it also contains some truths about the physical world that could be called science. So there is a small amount of overlap.

In my opinion, the issue Graham is addressing is a level 3 doctrine. Everything below is from the linked article that discusses how doctrines have different levels of importance. Christians who disagree on anything but absolutes should be able to fellowship together - only absolutes should ever divide absolutely, while convictions may separate denominations.

What are your thoughts on these levels of doctrine? How does this change your view of Graham’s statement? Look forward to other thoughts.

  1. absolutes define the core beliefs of the Christian faith;
  2. convictions , while not core beliefs, may have significant impact on the health and effectiveness of the church;
  3. opinions are less-clear issues that generally are not worth dividing over; and
  4. questions are currently unsettled issues.

Where an issue falls within these categories should be determined by weighing the cumulative force of at least seven considerations:

  1. biblical clarity;
  2. relevance to the character of God;
  3. relevance to the essence of the gospel;
  4. biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
  5. effect on other doctrines;
  6. consensus among Christians (past and present); and
  7. effect on personal and church life.

Can we trust carbon dating?
(Oyunbold Shine) #3

Thanks for the prompt answer.
I will read about the “Levels of Doctrine”.

(Timothy Clary) #4

@Oyunbold_Shine, interesting question. I agree with @SeanO that we should get more information about what Dr. Graham believed before drawing too many conclusions. “Evolution” is such a charged word, and can be defined in multiple ways. Some people lump macro evolution and micro evolution into one category- this is not accurate. Whenever I hear the word, I want to ask for clarification- “what exactly do you mean by evolution?”, and then tailor a response.
Definitions are essential. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to 3 scientists for “directed evolution” of enzymes. When I read that, I laughed. Someone has redefined “evolution” to mean something other than the classical definition of “random genetic mutation followed by natural selection”. Now, we have scientists using the term for a process where they direct a process (not random), and then select the bits they like (not natural, but laboratory-controlled) and continue the experiment. The scientists are using mutations to find new enzymes and calling it “evolution”. The problem begins when other people read about this scientific research. They see the word “evolution” and assume the classical definition, and then make the faulty assumption that “Hey! Evolution must be valid!” In my opinion, I think this kind of thing has led many a well-meaning Christian to entertain the notion of evolution as a possible mechanism for creation (directed by God, of course). They aren’t aware that the scientists have misused the word.
Micro evolution (adaptation) is well-established. Scientists are still looking (futilely in my opinion) for evidence of macro evolution. Using the general term “evolution”, without further clarification leads many to draw wrong conclusions about the topic.
I hope this helps- evolution is a difficult topic, in and out of the church- it will be helpful to all if we remember the word “evolution” has multiple definitions in modern usage.
God bless all here

(Oyunbold Shine) #5

Thank you