A few years ago I was diagnosed with “severe degenerative disc disease.” This is a lower back issue. For the last six years, the pain has often been tremendous, keeping me from doing many things. Last year, I thought God had healed it, but if he did, he did not do so for long. Last week the pain was so bad I could not walk for days. I am back on my feet today, but residual pain has kept me from doing some things I really need to get done. I take care of my mother full-time, lifting her, changing her, and moving her from place to place. We have had to make some adjustments with her care for now. When the pain comes on, there is a constant pain that goes down into my left hip from a nerve that is being affected. “Severe degenerative disc disease” sounds much worse than it actually is, but it feels as bad as it sounds. The outlook is good. Essentially, it will end up taking care of itself as my spine fuses on its own in my fifties (just a little over ten years to go!).

I was thinking about the pain and its severity the other day. You see, I have been prevented from exercise to some degree, and I love to work out. I love the way it makes me feel. I can always assess how good my workout was by taking account of my pain level the next day. When I can hardly move my arms, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction that my workout was not in vain. We call this being “sore.” If you are not sore the next day (at least to some degree), the workout was a failure, as the lack of soreness is a sign that you did not challenge your muscles enough to tear them down. In this sense, working out intentionally injures our muscles. Sometimes, the soreness is so severe that I cannot straighten my arms. Other times, I walk funny because my legs hurt so badly from the “hip sled.”

But here is the issue: I can deal with the soreness from a good workout all day long. The more pain, the better. Often, when I think about it, the pain from a good workout can just as severe as that from my “degenerative disc decease.” But from one of them, I get a sense of victorious satisfaction. From the other, I feel debilitating defeat.

Why? Why does the same severity of pain bring about such contrasting attitudes?

Charles Darwin began his journey, according to his testimony, as a Christian. In fact, there was the possibility of him going into ministry before his ride on the Beagle. However, there were some things that changed his mind. No, it was not his “discovery” of evolution that changed him. In fact, it was something else that pushed him into this evolutionary paradigm: meaninglessness. More precisely, meaningless suffering. In his book Saving Darwin, Karl Giberson gives three primary observations in nature that contributed to Darwin’s eventual rejection of God. The first was a species of rhea. They were flightless birds. “Why would God create a bird with so much unused aerodynamic paraphernalia?” A bird with wings that could not fly, according to Darwin, made the wings meaningless and sad (p. 33). The second was a goose that, though it had webbed feet, never went into the water. “If this was the handiwork of God, it was a cruel joke” to make him try to walk on meaninglessly webbed feet (ibid). Finally, there was the Ichneumonidae wasp. The mother wasp introduces a paralyzing chemical into a caterpillar and then lays its eggs inside. The hatched wasps have instincts that cause them to eat the host caterpillar in such a way that keeps the caterpillar alive as long as possible. From Darwin’s perspective, God could not be responsible for such a horrific and painful process.

There were two other pains that Darwin could not reconcile with his Christian worldview. One was the doctrine of hell. Concerning the idea of eternal punishment, Darwin wrote near the end of his life, “I can hardly imagine anyone who would wish Christianity to be true . . . The plain language of the text seems to show that men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother, and almost all my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine” (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, p. 87). Then there was the death of his daughter, Annie, at the age of 11. This came towards the end of his faith, when he still struggled to believe in a good God. His prayers for his daughter’s survival went unanswered. The remainder of his faith died with her.

Why all of this about Darwin? Because it shows how powerful the idea of meaningless suffering is. One can ascribe meaninglessness to all kinds of things, but when pain loses the force of meaning, its power is enough to rob us of all meaning.

Pain and suffering is a matter of perspective. If we can look up and find the hand of God behind the hurt, then we can bear it. But when God’s hand seems far from our pain, we become disillusioned. I don’t fault Darwin for his loss of faith. Well, let me put it another way. I cannot imagine losing a child, especially at the age of eleven. While I sit here today hoping and aspiring to be able to handle such a tragedy in a way that is fitting for my faith, I honestly don’t know how I would respond.

My sister committed suicide at the age of 33, after a long battle of depression. We all called on God to heal her to no avail. I can look at that right now and find a bit of meaning. In my own subjectivity, I try to put the puzzle of her death together and, whether my interpretation is right or not, I can see a picture of some hope. But, looking through a different lens, I can also see an interpretation of compounded tragedy and pain that seems meaningless. My mother had an aneurysm and stroke that happened two years later, at the age of 56. She is unable to walk or talk (except some really odd phrases) and seems to have a child’s mentality. I take care of her full-time, as there is no one else that is strong enough to lift her. I often grope to find meaning here too. It just depends on the day.

Let me say this again: It is not just suffering and pain that is at issue. It is that which seems to be meaningless suffering and pain. It is the type which may cause us to think that life makes more sense if God is not in control. It is the difference between being sore from a workout and having a sciatic nerve that lays its eggs in your life.

I was telling a friend the other day that there are two types of Christians out there: those that find immediate hope and reasoning behind every pain and are perpetually joyful, and those who simply ”punt to the eschaton” (the end) to find their joy and meaning. More often than I would like, I punt to the eschaton. I am not saying that is the right thing to do, but it does have some biblical warrant.

However, the thing that must unite us as Christians is that there is no such thing as “meaningless.” That word does not need to be in our vocabulary. We should not have a dictionary which gives it any life. It is a word reserved for the atheist, the deist, and the pantheist, but not the Christian. I am not saying we don’t look it in the face from time to time (God knows I do), I am just saying that we cannot allow ourselves to camp there. That campground is off-limits for Christians. There are so many things out there that have webbed feet on dry land. There are so many sciatic nerves which cause us to cry “why?” There are so many mothers who are unable to walk or talk. There are so many children who die untimely deaths. There are so many times when our pain seem meaningless. But our faith is not dependent on finding immediate understanding and fulfillment for our pain. Sometimes we do punt to the eschaton knowing that there is meaning behind it, even if we don’t know what that meaning is today.

Darwin’s problem was that he put God on trial. He required God to give an immediate answer for the oddities of pain. He placed himself above God and became God’s judge, jury, and executioner. When God did not show up to give him the answers he wanted, he left the faith.

Isa 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Do we really believe this when we are going through what seems to be meaningless pain? Or do we play God and require him to give an account of himself? Do we really believe that all things work together for good for those that love God (Rom. 8:28)? Is the “webbed feet on dry land” destroying your faith?

Pain is a matter of perspective. All things can be either soreness from a workout or a meaningless sciatic nerve. God knows what he is doing with ducks that don’t swim and wasps that lay eggs. And he knows what he is doing with you. Just trust him even if you don’t ever get the answers to the “why?” questions.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    45 replies to "The Reason Darwin Left the Faith (And How We Can Learn Through His Pain)"

    • TL

      Where did you get the idea that Darwin left the faith. Just because he, for a time, held a view of evolution that we reject, does not mean that he rejected God. I read something in an old book that on his deathbed he said that the theories of evolution were just the ramblings of a young mind or something similar. Darwin did not promote them, but others did.

    • Dr. David Tee

      I’ll take Darwin’s own words over anyone else’s. In his autobiography Darwin simply said his conversion did not take. In other words, he may have acknowledged God in some sort but he never really believed in the first place. Darwin was NEVER a Christian in any sense of the word.

      Invoking God’s name in one’s books or life does not make one a believer. Darwin used God because the Bible did. He was fighting against creation.

      His flightless bird example simply demonstrates how little Darwin knew about breeding and species making him as non-scientific as one can get. Though the irony is, evolutionists reject anyone’s opinion about evolution f they are non-scientists, yet Darwin and most of his band of merry men did not hold 1 science degree.

    • Anja

      Thank you. I really needed to be reminded that suffering is never meaningless for the Christian. Think I might forward this one to some family members…

    • J.J.

      Excellent post, Michael. Along similar kinds of lines, Bart Ehrman says it was a class he taught on the Problem of Evil, not textual criticism, that brought him to agnosticism.

      And to “TL” above, there’s no reliable indication that Darwin ever recanted his evolutionary views or had any kind of deathbed conversion. His daughter Henrietta was there when he died and she has objected to any kind of deathbed conversion as an urban legend.

    • TL

      When did Darwin write his autobiography? If you don’t mind my asking.

    • mbaker


      I have said this to you privately, but now will say it to you publically. Suffering is not fun and yes, it does test our faith.

      So thank you for pointing out the differences in human faith and God’s faithfulness in this post. That is so important to get us through the bad times we all must suffer at some point in our lives.

      God bless.

    • TL

      OK further thoughts. We know Darwin’s autobiography was not written by him, since it was written 5 years after he died. What we have here is two people’s words opposing each other. Just because his sister said something does not make it true. Frankly, my brother and sister could not be trusted to give an honest and true view of my life if I were to die today. And I’m not too impressed that Henrietta edited her mother’s private papers as well. Sounds like an agenda to me.

      The way that Christians enjoy vilifying each other, it doesn’t surprise me that so many want to do so to Darwin because of his early theories on evolution. Frankly, I’m much more inclined to believe Elizabeth Cotton (Lady Hope) who was well known and involved in Christian ministry.

    • TL

      Other than the using of Darwin, this post was exceptional. 🙂

    • Rebecca Trotter

      One idea which you leave unexplored is that suffering takes on meaning through how we allow ourselves to be shaped by the struggle of it. Through aquiring endurance, patience, compassion. Or how it forces us to let go of those things we take our identity from until all we are left with is our identity in Christ. As much as we wish to avoid suffering, the reality is that suffer teaches us things we are hard pressed to learn any other way. Often we cannot know what the purpose of our suffering is until it has done its work on us. But for one who clings to their faith through suffering, no suffering – however severe – is meaningless.

    • mbaker


      Amen to that. Well said.

    • I agree with most of what Rebecca T. said with the exception of “is meaningless.” Things that seem meaningless are often lessons in disguise. Philosophically what may be meaningless to one person has the opposite meaning to another. Juxtapose this to the ontology of God, and you really don’t want to go there. None of us are all that to do so. Just get to the root of what it means to have meaning. An entire semester can be taught on just this one premise alone so let’s not go there for now. Just consider that what may seem meaningless often is not. Especially when God sets it into motion. Isa 55:8-9 outlined above speaks volumes about our limitations. This brings me comfort knowing that I don’t have to go there when times seem meaningless. I for one have always found some meaning when others did not. Without that which seems meaningless, the Book of Ecclesiastes and the experiences of King Solomon which seemed to him meaningless, brings meaning to the rest of us. I like the conclusion of that Book:
      13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

      The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. 2009 (Ec 12:13–14). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

    • Staircaseghost

      Watching with rapt attention to see the level of intellectual and moral hygiene this blog community displays towards TL’s comments.

    • Francis

      Michael, regarding your back, have you considered doing core muscle strengthening exercises? I’m not certain that it’ll help, but I figure that it’s always a good idea to have a strong back to shift the stress away from the vertebrae.

    • C Michael Patton

      Gibson tells about how Darwin evangelized the sailors on the Beagle when he first arrived. He even used apologetics that were the same apologetics that many of us would bring.

      Whether Darwin lost his faith or never believed to begin with matters little (as it matters little in all such cases). What matters is learning from these things and coming to the aid of ourselves and others when our faith is troubled. That is the purpose of this post.

    • […] The Reason Darwin Left the Faith […]

    • @Dr. David Tee # 2: Amen there mate! My father (RIP) was a scientist and physicist, and though during his life he was a moderate R. Catholic, and sadly held to evolution, but during his death & dying he told me (and others) he thought Darwin’s theory had holes like Swiss-cheese. And he acknowledged God as both his Creator & Savior In Christ before he died! And this was brought about by God In Christ, and certainly not me. Indeed GOD as Creator & Savior is always sovereign & faithful, to His Word!

    • C Barton

      It appears that Darwin had a fallacy in mind when regarding God’s dominion over the things mentioned. Yes, God made all creatures, which beget after their own kind. But Genesis also says that when sin entered the world, things began to wear out and die, and briar and thorns sprung up from the soil, etc.
      My point being that God created a world that if violated could sadly produce the horrors and aberrations described. But we know that He, rather than wiping it all out, decided to come in human form and redeem it; as it is written, that the whole of creation will one day be redeemed in Christ.
      If Darwin failed to see this, then the tragedy is in his lost opportunity, and not in God’s apparent indifference to suffering and horror.
      And yes, I’ve personally become acquainted with suffering, but I now understand not to blame God, any more than I blame the sun if I am cold.

    • Hal

      What about sin? According to Scripture, suffering is a consequence of sin, which was a choice all of humanity made. Yes, suffering is redemptive for Christians who are teachable, but it was not meant to be this way. As Paul says in Romans 8, all of creation (wasps and caterpillars included) groans with longing for the eschaton.

    • John S

      punting is not weak, it is crucial. If a Christian stops looking to the day of Christ’s return he is losing his vision. We are on a journey toward our home country, our beloved family and God Himself. I’m not interested in settling down at the I81 rest stop, whether I understand why my engine is overheating or not.

      Easy for me to say with little suffering, but I want to be reminded of these truths when my suffering comes. And that I deserve hell right now apart from the mercy of God in Christ.

      It is better to go to the house of mourning
      than to go to the house of feasting,
      for this is the end of all mankind,
      and the living will lay it to heart.

    • EricW

      Viruses and parasites. Do a Google search for “worst parasites” etc. Prepare to be grossed out.

      If anything will make you question the “goodness” and “meaning” of God’s creation, those will.

    • TL

      EricW and Barton, I appreciate your insights. Certainly, anyone can and many do misread what God has done. And it makes life more difficult when we do. This is part of human frailty.

      Learning to trust God and His intentions in spite of the difficulties and pains of life is something every person struggles with. And learning to treat others graciously in the midst of their confusions, pains, misunderstandings, questions, etc. is part of that process.

      I also have learned much through suffering of many kinds too horrible, too numerous to share on a site such as this. But because God saved my soul and my life when I was seriously ready to end it all, I no longer am tempted to blame God for any of it. Usually I blamed myself. 🙂 Now I just try to look for answers. Growing and learning in Christ is something we never stop doing. Either we are growing toward God or growing away and need to turn around.

      I am aware Michael Patton, that when I comment here, I often step in with something a bit different. I mean you no harm. And I thank you for your patience.

    • Truth unites... And divides

      Thankfully, Jesus’ suffering on the cross wasn’t meaningless.

    • Caleb G.

      As to Darwin recanting on his death bed, it is an urban legend. See James R. Moore’s book The Darwin Legend and this post by Simon Yates (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hope.html).

      I think Michael makes an important point here. Pain is not the problem, but meaningless pain is. Yet according to Ecclesiastes (at least from 2:1-12:8) life is meaningless.

      Modern geology and biology makes the problem of natural evil much more acute because suffering and pain go back millions of years. David Attenborough summarizes the problem well when he said:
      “I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature. To which I reply and say, “Well, it’s funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the Almighty, always quote beautiful things. They always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses.” But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he’s five years old. And I reply and say, “Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well,” and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action.” BBC documentary Life on Air (2002) I find all this natural evil hard to square with an omnipotent, omnibelevolent God. Not to say there is no solution to this. Just that I have difficulty putting it together.

    • Ben

      I’ve always been impressed with Job’s response to the most unimaginably bad day short of our Lord’s crucifixion…after losing everything he WORSHIPED GOD. Notice, too, that his correct response in the beginning didn’t prevent him from literally questioning God later. (Friends like his would have worn me down much more quickly.) At the very least his story is recorded for us as acknowledgement of the struggle with the apparent senselessness of suffering, but also as an example of a proper humble trust of our Lord. And Job didn’t even have the whole picture of redemption that we do looking back at the Christ.

    • C Michael Patton

      The Darwin link did not work. Maybe it had a virus…I mean an amoeba.

    • Dr. David Tee

      He talks about his religious belief starting on page 85 and page 86-87 he shows how he lost his faith.

    • C Michael Patton

      I think Darwin’s beliefs about natural selection are extremely weak, especially now that we see things through a much finer scientific lens than he did. But to think that it all rests on Paley’s argument is both incomprehensible and very naive about the limitations of his own field. Of course left unanswered is the problem of ontology and ultimate beginnings.

      As well, his faith, like Erhman’s becomes dislodged due to the discrepancies in the Gospel accounts? It is so sad that anyone has ever believed that such a discrepancy, even if truly one, could be used as substantial evidence against the faith. I have heard it a million times, “Then I began to see the contradictions in the Bible…” I wonder how many of us use this argument so decisively against other historical claims.

    • C Michael Patton

      The strongest argument I have ever heard against the reality of a good and involved God is that of waste. When I look at how many children and babies in their mother’s womb, I get a bit disturbed. Before the 19th century 1/3 of all people did not see the age. 3. Just seems like creative waste. But the fall did happen.

    • Dan

      I like this post a lot. I really do. I appreciate your honesty, both about your own experience, and about how Christians deal with apparently meaningless pain.

      But I am confused though when you say in one place that you don’t fault Darwin for his loss of faith, but yet you think that he was wrong to “put God on trial.”

      Were Darwin’s ultimate conclusions, in your view, justifiable or not?

      I don’t think it’s fair to demand that any one particular religious idea of God be exempt from being put on trial by the best of human reasoning. After all, there are myriad other gods and versions of God that you put under the microscope and reject. Why does this one get the benefit of the doubt?

      Now of course, we all tend to give this benefit to the religious tradition of our upbringing, or the one that captured us somehow at the moment of our conversion, but what happened to Darwin is that he gained experiences and knowledge that wrenched him out of this comfortable prejudice, and allowed him to ask the “why” questions without fear of irreverence. The experience of suffering doesn’t have to lead to a loss of faith, but it can and should be one of those experiences that wrenches us out of that comfort zone and allows us to ask these sorts of questions more objectively. Saying that we’re not allowed to “put God on trial,” isn’t helpful. It just puts us right back where we started.

    • Melody

      The whole time while reading this I kept thinking of It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford.
      He wrote it while sailing over the spot where his four daughters drowned. That wasn’t the first of his suffering and it wasn’t his last. Such a contrast between men and what they contributed to this world.

    • […] C Michael Patton suffers pain caused by a chronic degenerative back condition and observes a contrast in the pain which he experiences now and the pain he used to experience in his body after a good workout. One pain was good, the other seems like a sign of defeat. And that sense of defeat, of pain that has no meaning can be the beginning point of a path that leads away from God. ht. […]

    • Geoff Chapman

      Michael, thank you for your nuanced and careful writing, I enjoyed your article very much.

      When you mentioned punting to the eschaton I thought of Paul’s words in Romans 8, that nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. I have heard that spoken of as a purely eschatological promise, but in various places in Paul’s writing he seems to say that his suffering is made manageable not only by the promise of the future but the experience of Christ’s love in the present, e.g. 2 Cor 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by.”

      That is not to say that he diminishes the travail of suffering. As he said, if there is no resurrection we are to be pitied above all men. But I wonder if Paul not only understood his suffering from the right perspective as you suggested, but somehow lived out his suffering in a way that enabled him to say experientially that to “live is Christ”? I wonder if he offered up his “living sacrifice” as a fellowship offering?

    • Flyaway

      Paul said the thorn in his side was a messenger from Satan. But God used it for good by keeping Paul humble. I’ve had the after exercise soreness for over thirty years caused by fibromyalgia, and I don’t even have to exercise! It has made me set different priorities. I spend more time praying and in Bible study than I did before the pain. My exercise consists of working on my ab muscles. I can do a little walking. Salonpas hot patches help too. I cut them in small patches so they aren’t so painful when I pull them off. This life is only a minute in light of eternity. I try to think about all the good things God has blessed me with –like indoor plumbing! ( I used to live on a sailboat.) Be kind to yourself. Try to distract yourself from the pain. I enjoy listening to music like hymns, and Christian rock. I listen to podcasts when I’m flat on my back and can’t stand the pain. Moist heat from an elasto-gel I warm in the microwave helps. Most of all asking God to guard my mind and heart with His peace and knowing that He is in control and I don’t have to worry is best. Especially don’t worry about your mom. I worried about my parents and it did no good. I haven’t missed a meal and I have a roof over my head so I’m in good shape.

    • Chad

      This sure resonated with me. Back pain is also a part of my life and I can understand how it can be debilitating and very discouraging. Having to tell my kids that I can’t play catch with them because I can’t walk makes me wonder what the point of this is. It seems like I have to go through the process then of coming to the point of letting go of control and just believing that God loves me and just because I am in pain does not mean that he is not there. It is easy to say “sometimes life sucks” when someone else is in pain, but harder when it is happening to us. Praise the Lord for His grace for me when I doubt. Thank you for your insight, it helped me through my day and made me cry tears of refreshing.

    • Karen

      Beautifully written and timely for me to stumble upon.

    • Tony Breeden

      Thank you, Michael Patton, for missing the point by a country mile!

      The point Darwin struggled with was not whether suffering is meaningful but whether a loving God created a world of suffering. Suffering becomes meaningful in a Biblical worldview because we understand that His original creation was very good but is now fallen through Adam’s sin, resulting in death, suffering, parasitoidism [such as the aforementioned wasp], disease, etc. As a result, creation cries out for rebirth, as the Bible states. As Christians we also know that God uses suffering to temper our faith and character, but that man – not God – is ultimately responsible for such suffering. In an evolutionary worldview, man is the result of a process including that includes death, disease and suffering, so that death did not come by sin as the Bible describes. Darwin could not make sense of the suffering he saw in nature because he had been taught that God created all animals exactly as the appear today, rathwer than being taught that God created originally good animal kinds that were corrupted as sin entered the world.

      This is the danger of not making the Bible our ultimate authority.

    • Caleb G.

      I’m afraid you seem to be missing Michael’s point.

      While the position you articulate was tenable before the discovery of geological time, it is no longer. According to the fossil record death, suffering, parasitoidism, disease, etc. existed on earth for millions of years before humans appeared on the scene. This is not the result of an “evolutionary worldview” because scientists, many of whom were Christians, recognized this before Darwin. Certainly good can come out of suffering. Vaccines and surgeries come to mind. But the sheer volume of suffering in the world which includes the horrific results of “natural disasters” does raise the question of theodicy in view of the Christian idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-benevolent God. The recognition that “natural evil” extends back millions of years only heightens the problem. William Dempski proposes that the effects of Adam’s sin were front loaded into the world millions of years ago. I disagree with his solution but at least he recognizes the problem. In light of the history and extent of suffering on this planet, I understand why Darwin and others see it as meaningless. Some suffering I can conceive of as being meaningful in the long run. But other suffering I cannot see as meaningful. This does not mean it is ultimately meaningless, but it is how it appears to me.

      For further discussion see these posts by Randal Rauser

    • Tony Breeden


      I am in no way missing the point. Your notion that geologic time is proven rather than based on all-natural uniformitarian assumptions that fail to take into account the superior revelation of God concerning Creation, the Fall and the Flood have no bearing on this discussion other than as an admission that you take the fallible finite ever-changing word of men who were not there and [statistically speaking] whose minds are at emnity with God as your ultimate authority over the revealed Word of an omniscient Creator who never lies and was there. Even Huxley, darwin’s bulldog, evidenced more faith than such as you, for he said that given a deity, he had no problem conceiving that the universe could have sprang into existence over six days at the volition of that deity; being an agnostic, he didn’t think he could know whether such a deity existed, yet Christians show such little faith in their deity that they cannot trust him at his word whenever men in lab coats contradict His word from an investigative worldview and method that excludes God from all consideration from the outset!

      You are correct to reject Dembski’s ridiculous notion of punishment before crime, but what solution can you offer, having thus compromised the clear revelation of Scripture with the word of scientists who chain their investigations to pure naturalism?

      Think about it. No, reall. THINK about it.

      And, next time, Michael can answer my comments if he has the integrity to back his words, thank you very much.

    • Caleb G.

      I have a simple question for you. Does the moon produce its own light? If you say “no” then you have failed to take into account the superior revelation of God concerning Creation.
      Think about it. No, really. THINK about it.

      I sympathize with your position because at one time in my life I would have said something very similar. Please answer this question: Is there any possible evidence that could be produced that would provide clear enough evidence to you that the earth is billions of years old?

    • Tim

      Thank you for this post. I’m experiencing daily pain and this lifted my spirits.

    • Daniel McCarthy

      I appreciate the honest post Mike. The reason behind pain, suffering and death is one of the greatest questions mankind wil face. In the East, under Buddhism, one is taught to deny pain. The goal of Buddhism is to release oneself from pain (in a nutshell).

      With Christianity, we find the God answers these questions throughout His revelation. For instance, God explains in Job that we cannot conceive of some of His reasons to allow suffering. Jesus tells us that a man was created disabled to testify to the greatness of God.

      In my life, I had a sister that died a horrible death. At the time, I was a pagan enjoying what this world offers. Her death led me down the road to Christ. In turn, the Spirit has worked through me to bring many hundreds of people to Christ.

      I think we also must realize that the Fall occured before Adam and Eve. Satan fell and has been plundering God’s creation (including his fellow angels).

      Therefore, we may not know why suffering took place. We also may have people that were meant to suffer for the benefit of others. We also may have people tempted to turn from God due to the power of Satan.

    • Clint

      Henceforth do I pledge to use the phrase “punt to the eschaton” as often as I am able. Although for some people, who may be of a more Kierkegaardian persuasion, a “Hail Mary pass to the eschaton” may be more appropriate.

    • Andrew Shanks

      Darwin was brought up a Unitarian, that is, he was not taught Jesus is God, was persuaded to Theism by rational argument, and slipped away into Agnosticism as is bound to happen if one is not brought to bend the repenting knee to Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16). He was never brought to a lively faith, nor to joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).

      When God made the world he said it was very good (Gen 1:31). That it is not so now is Man’s fault, not God’s. One day God will judge all, condemn rebels to eternal punishment, and restore a new heaven and a new earth which will never be ruined by rebellion. The new will be better than the old in many ways but especially in one way it will be far better than the first (very good) creation is that it will be good FOREVER. This current world is just a blip of time, just a wink of an eye, in the eternal scheme.

      In the mean time, these thoughts comfort me as I look after my blind son. He cannot walk or talk and he understands almost nothing.

      “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

      There is much in the book of Lamentations, but I choose:

      “Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways and turn again to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:39,40)

      If I am living, and have the second birth too, I have no cause to complain.

      “God is treating you as sons, for what son is he whom a father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:7)

      “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have kept thy word.” (Psalm 119:67)

      Let us believe and trust in God and God’s word, even in those things we cannot understand; assuredly hope for blessings not yet received given through Jesus Christ; and love, trust, adore, and greatly esteem God, even when we feel he is angry with us.

    • […] The Reason Darwin Left the Faith (And How We Can Learn Through His Pain) […]

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