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What’s wrong with the following quotations from well-meaning creationists?
“I don’t call evolutionists ‘scientists’ because there is nothing scientific about evolution.”
“Evolution is for stupid people, stupid because they refuse to acknowledge the Word of God in their lives.”
Nonbelievers have the wrong starting points for thinking about the world, and they need the Holy Spirit to draw them to the truth.Harsh words. But do you ever find yourself tempted to think or speak this way? It’s difficult not to get defensive in the face of relentless scoffing, but in Colossians 4:3–6 Paul reminds us of the importance of gracious words when sharing the gospel.
Our harsh words may arise because we’ve seen the damage that wrong thinking can cause. Or is it possible that our sometimes-unloving attitudes arise from our own inner fears? In some cases, we may be afraid that opponents’ arguments might somehow shake our carefully constructed “hope” in Christ, or that their debate skills may outshine ours.
The solution is not to disparage and demean others. We need to recognize what the main issue really is. It’s not our reasoning ability but our starting points. Nonbelievers are blinded and spiritually dead. They have the wrong starting points for thinking about the world, and they need the Holy Spirit to draw them to the truth.
So the problem is not necessarily the quality of their reasoning. Their reasoning may be valid, but if their starting assumptions are wrong, their conclusions will be wrong.
Our confidence rests in the certainty of our starting points—the promises of God and the certainties of His Word—not our ability to make sophisticated arguments and to demolish everything our opponents say.
Many staunch evolutionists are gifted scientists who have contributed greatly to our understanding of the natural world—even though they reject the Creator and reach many wrong conclusions. They, like us, are created in God’s image and capable of great insights into His world. So it is unhelpful to reject an evolutionist’s intelligence or his legitimate contributions to science.
God did not place us here primarily to make creationists but to make disciples of Christ. We’re not fighting flesh and blood; we’re fighting spiritual powers (Ephesians 6:12), and every nonbeliever is a precious soul who needs Christ.
So when you’re tempted to be unloving or fearful, remember the helpless condition of lost souls and their desperate need of God’s grace.