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Meat Computers

University of Chicago Professor, and aggressive proponent of evolution, Jerry A. Coyne writes in a recent USA Today article, “what neurobiology is telling us: Our brains are simply meat computers that, like real computers, are programmed by our genes and experiences to convert an array of inputs into a predetermined output.” This is simply the necessary outworking of evolution, he argues.

He’s right about that. If evolution is true then there is no free will. And if there is no free will doesn’t that raise a lot of questions about moral responsibility? Coyne admits that it does: “If we can’t really choose how we behave, how can we judge people as moral or immoral? Why punish criminals or reward do-gooders? Why hold anyone responsible for their actions if those actions aren’t freely chosen?” Coyne argues that we should still punish criminals in order to create environmental conditions that will discourage bad behavior in others, but certainly there is no moral responsibility.

We see, then, that there are, indeed, consequences for abandoning God. Morality doesn’t exist. By definition we can do no wrong. There is no punishment, no eternal punishment certainly. And ultimately no responsibility for anything I might have done. Even if I myself think I’ve chosen to do something bad, I’m really only self-deluded. I had no choice. That’s the same whether it’s eating that box of Krispy Kremes all by yourself, cheating on your wife or knocking off the neighborhood liquor store.

This is why the Biblical account of Creation is so very vital. When man was created in the image of God, he was created to have a moral will. God entrusted man with the ability to choose. Man could choose whether to eat the fruit in the midst of the Garden. That also meant that man could choose to reject the One whose very nature He was to reflect. God created us with great power, dangerous power: the power to reject God Himself.

Like his mother and father before him, Cain faced a moment of decision, a moment of choice. “Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”(Genesis 4:5-7)

For Cain as for us it wasn’t his DNA and environmental factors that forced a decision. He was challenged by God to master the temptation that faced him, to make the right choice.

Unlike evolution, Scripture gives man no place to hide. We are responsible. And while the philosophical outworking of evolution—“I’m not responsible”—seems at first attractive, it ultimately leads us to a purposelessness of life and no hope beyond the moment.