Q&A

John Stonestreet on marriage and evolution

Q&A
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, at 4:26 pm

Our issue dated Aug. 8 includes an interview with John Stonestreet, speaker and fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and senior content advisor for Summit Ministries. Here are some additional comments by Stonestreet, who is the author of Same-Sex Marriage and Making Sense of Your World, and co-author of Restoring All Things with WORLD’s Warren Cole Smith.  

How long will marriage still be defined as the union of two persons? With a separation of marriage and procreation, and sexuality and procreation, limiting marriage to two will have a short shelf life. Why not three? Why not four?

Ten years ago, at dinner with a Princeton professor very much in favor of same-sex marriage but against polygamy, I had fun accusing him of being a twoist. A twoist! We are now at the point in our culture where observable biological reality and observable biological differences are irrelevant to the conversation about marriage and pairing. That also means moms and dads don’t contribute distinct and unique things to their kids. That’s brand new.

How long will that theoretical construct stick? People can see that dads play differently with their children, whether boys or girls, than moms do. No-fault divorce has stuck around for an awfully long time despite remarkable evidence to the contrary.

The children of divorce talk about how painful it is. Exactly, but we are driven more by worldview than data. Our worldview interprets the data rather than the data interpreting our worldview. Bad ideas have a lot of staying power until worldviews shift and we get back to the idea that there is a givenness to human nature. Now we are pretty good at denying observable reality.

Let’s turn to the battle concerning origins: If one person believes in evolution and another in creation, what practical difference does that make? It has to do with where a person believes human dignity comes from. A culture either humanizes us or dehumanizes us so people have their dignity compromised. Is human dignity grounded in something eternal, or do others have the right to bestow dignity on a person, or not?

We hear it said that if Christians insist on creation rather than evolution, the kids will wander away and we’ll lose a whole generation. That argument is similar to the argument for entertainment-driven youth groups: If we don’t have really cool music and smoke machines and a rock band and Christian Fear Factor taking place on Wednesday nights, we are going to lose the kids. Those youth pastors haven’t read Neil Postman [author of Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985], who taught that entertainment makes us silly, makes us care about things at the end of the day that don’t really matter.

Fear Factor leads to silliness factor? If entertainment makes us silly, then Christian entertainment will make us silly Christians. Youth groups by being “relevant” make themselves irrelevant to what people really need.

The BioLogos Foundation is one of the groups saying we should accept theistic evolution and thereby fight irrelevance. BioLogos is telling us that unless we capitulate, we are going to be in the dust of history. That is the same argument we are hearing right now on same-sex marriage.

What is the theological problem with theistic evolution? The evolutionary theory BioLogos embraces is not theistic. It inherently does not require any involvement from God. A second problem: Does it ground human dignity? If you give up on historic Adam and Eve, what does it mean to be made in the image of God? That is no small thing in Scripture. Creation of Adam and Eve establishes our position in the entire created order. We are not just an accident. We are made to be sovereign over the created order. If you throw out the whole creation narrative there goes the whole redemptive narrative …

Romans 5 … Jesus is the second Adam—but if there is not a first Adam, then what is the second Adam? If there is not a first Adam to give us guilt, there is not a second Adam to give us righteousness.

Some call Darwinism the acid that gets rid of a Christian worldview, but I hear you essentially calling it an acid that dissolves the social bonds that connect us and make us see the image of God in people we even don’t like. The 20th century needed Darwinism and its mechanism to justify social theories. It wasn’t just randomly connected with Nazi theology, but was part of the eugenics idea. Darwinism corrodes human dignity. If we are biologically determined we will be sociologically sovereign. We will essentially impose our will on the social order. We will pretend that observable realities are irrelevant, constructs of our own mind. 

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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