4 Things Americans Can Learn About Faith and Evolution From Great Britain and Canada

(Steve Buckley) #11

years, or decades?
At 6 years, I was just beginning to realize that I was having some problems with things in it I did understand, and didn’t know how to deal with.

Actually, I waas referring to the hebrew words, Yom, and Yomim for this specific instance.
The addition of the IM, is making the word- Yom, plural.
Same with the word- Eloh for God, and Elohim, for God-plural.

Depends on what you think the Day of YHVH is, and consists of.
According to what I read in Daniel, it’s the day when Jesus returns, and sets up his kingdom. According to another prophet, it’s a day of darkness, and not of light.
Sounds to me like a day.
Daniel tells us that from the time of the desolation, to the coming of the Anointed, it’s 1290 days, and blessed are those who endure to the 1335th day.
So, as we read in Matthew 25 of the Judgment of the Nations, I’d say it appears there are 45 days of global judgment of the nations, after which, the Kingdom starts.

Yeah, you’re not giving me anything to consider you know this.
As I mentioned above— I’m not referring to the english language. Had you asked, instead of assumed, I might consider that you’re understanding me.
And oddly enough, as you mention Python programming language below, I find it curious that you have no problem understanding there is a clear awareness of the words/syntax used in programming, but in human languages (from which programming languages are derived) you’re stuck on multiple interpretations of single words.
If this is so, how in the world are you able to communicate with anyone? This reminds me of what Paul says regarding the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14-- babblers, incomprehensible, foreign language speakers. Or in 1 Cor 15, about unintelligible sounds. Or even further back, in Genesis with the Tower of Babel.
If you’ve been programming in any language, let alone python, you are acutely, and perhaps even painfully aware of the necessity for concise, even succinct syntax to make sure the computer does what you want.
Why are humans any different, that you think God would play games with people??
Especially in light of the passage—
With the Pure, I am pure, but with the devious, I am shrewd.
I do see where in proverbs, it’s written—
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint, but happy are those who keep the law. For a long time I wondered what this was saying, then it began to dawn on me that it’s say— when people don’t understand why what God says is important, they cast it off, or ignore it. But those who do keep the law, have understanding why, and enjoy happiness.

Really? I don’t see evolution as being supported by anything but a faulty framework of shoddy interpretation.
I’m a cancer survivor. My world was whittled away to just surviving for several years as I had multiple bouts with stage 4 metastatic cancer. Or, as Job says-- I looked in front, behind, to my left, and to my right, and I could not see Him. My doctors still say that I am a miracle after 14 years from my last of 6 surgeries, and while I should be dead, they’re quite pleased that I am alive.
Something I learned in going through my cancer— all the fluff, and extra, unimportant things of life get cut away, and only the raw truth remains. All of man’s opinions, all their ideas, all the stuff created by man to hide behind gets stripped away, leaving only the human being, and their frailty. The character of the human remaining is then shown for what it really is. Good, or bad, light or dark.
During all of this, I got to actually study physics, and math. In there, I did some reading on a part of the human anatomy, known as the lymph system. This is quite an impressive component of our circulatory system. It’s not a well-understood part of our physiology, just ask any doctor. If you’re affected by it, you have to go to specialists, of which there are perhaps a couple dozen the world over today.
If cancer gets into the lymph system, it has free access to every part of the body, and can set up home wherever it desires.
Once it does, it typically kills quickly. Yet, without the lymph system, all the way to the microscopic level— we’d die.
I have both textbooks written on the subject-- mostly because mine was negatively impacted by my cancer treatment. In examining this part of the body, aside from several other components of the human anatomy… I see nothing but design written all over it. An extremely intelligent mind was at work in designing the human anatomy.

That’s ok Bill. I wasn’t looking for approval from my fellow humans, nor my fellow believers. They’re not the ones I’ll have to answer to in the end. Neither will you, nor any of the rest of our fellow humans. If you’ve spent 6 decades reading the bible, you know this. Even if you disagree, you’re still aware of it.

Indeed. As discussed above, I find it curious that you recognize the necessity for understanding computer language, its syntax and conciseness of meaning, but then drop the rules of clarity, and allow for multiple interpretations of Greek, and Hebrew language.
Especially with the Greek language. It’s one of the most concise tongues in existence, with several words which break down even our own english words into different terms.

Really? Looks rather clear to me… detailed? no. But even that’s explained in Deuteronomy 29:29.
It says he spoke the cosmos into existence- Psalm 33:9
It says he formed the man from the dust. Gen 2
and Fashioned the woman from the side of man. Also Gen. 2.
It then says that Jesus holds it all together by the word of his power- Hebrews 1:2-4.

I am rather curious that intelligent human beings would jump to a process which requires billons of years, when the Hebrew language is quite concise, states days. I’ve yet to find anything in Yom, or Yomim which gives millions of years for days.
I’ve seen some of the different hypotheses about this, and none of them are enough, by themselves.

So, all this said, I’m not looking for approval, or even agreement. I simply asked the question— do those people who accept evolution as an explanation have a steady diet of reading the bible?
You’re saying they do. Ok.
My next question then becomes— why would you think God did it differently than he said he did?
I got that there’s not enough details for you. Quite frankly, there’s not enough for me either. But as I said above-- my ideas of life got stripped away with my cancer fight.
I’ve been spending the last 12-14 years learning what it means to live with, and beyond cancer.
In that, I’m working with the biblical text, and not man’s attempts at explaining things from their limited realm of understanding.
I will say this, in Proverbs 25:2, it’s written that it’s the Glory of God to conceal a matter, and the honor of kings to search it out.
So, in light of that, I’m not opposed to scientific research and discovery. Indeed-- it’s why I studied physics and math. It’s why I read on the lymph system.
We are however limited by time. We lack the technological wherewithal to create a time machine, and travel back to actually observe this firsthand, instead of taking the opinions of people who likewise weren’t around to witness either creation, or evolution take place.
And I inevitably tick off evolutionists with this, but if evolution were really true, there’d be another type of human on the playing field today.
Humans have been constructing great works for millennia. With all this construction, and the obvious demonstrated need by such, for us to have multiple arms, and hands, where are our second set of arms/hands?
I worked in the sheet metal construction industry for quite a while before I went to college, and a little bit recently. The need still exists. I constantly heard jokes, and frustrations expressed by people in the construction trades, wishing they had a second set of arms/hands, yet such don’t exist.
We then have mothers who’ve told their children they have a second set of eyes in the back of their heads. There have been mothers since there have been humans. Mothers have always had to make sure their children are safe, and don’t get into sufficient trouble as to wind up sick, injured, or dead. Yet… we don’t see where mothers actually do have a second set of eyes.
I get that the interpretation of evolution has changed since I was introduced to it 45 years ago, but it’s gotten to the point where those who profess a belief in evolution don’t even know what it is anymore, and for every person I talk to, I hear a different idea. It’s gotten to the point where all I see is what the writer of judges said at the end— every man did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25.

As this is the case, I’ll stick with the creation narrative. It’s simple, yet true, uncomplicated, and consistent.
Besides, I have 1 Corinthians 13:12 to promise that one day I’ll be given the answer. Either through discovery, or direct revelation (not clearly stated either).

The problem with the how— the copious details of the step by step process is not included in the biblical description. And I think I know why.
If God were to have given us the scientific treatise on the full details of creation, Genesis 1:1 alone would be a 15 million volume collection of 1000 page texts. The balance of the creation narrative would be another 10 million volumes, of 1000 page texts. The contents would be so complex and detailed that even our finest minds, spending entire human lifetimes would be stumped, and all the collections of notes by now would take more lifetimes working through. In the end, it’d be so complicated that science would come to a stand still, because the answers are right in front of them, but they have no cipher by which to make sense of it.
Knowing this, God kept it simple enough for a child to understand, and know God (Matt 18:3), and left it open so intellectuals could still learn and seek to understand more. This is why we have Deuteronomy 29:29, and Proverbs 25:2.
Oh… and to make it all the more interesting, God said he’d reveal his secrets to those who fear him, because he delights in such people. Psalm 25:14, and 147:11. He made it even clearer in Psalm 37:4, and then explained what it means to delight in Him, so we can get it, and succeed. Isaiah 58.

For myself, I’m finding it challenging enough to learn to know God, and have come to the place where I’ll let more diligent minds play in science. I have confidence in what God has promised his people that by following him, he’ll make everything known when we come to see him face to face. Not that I ceased being curious. Rather that I finally realized that my questions will only ever obtain (at best) speculatory answers from my fellow humans. I’m weary of speculation. Cancer stripped that from me. Fighting to live took its toll, and left me with the I AM of Moses. As I’ve been learning more, I’m finding— I AM is all I need. The great I AM, is sufficient for me. The most curious and diligent minds in the entirety of the cosmos would get lost in Him for millennia, and never realize it. As Ezekiel says in chapter 47, it’s like entering a river, and the further you travel along that river, the deeper and deeper it gets, until you’re in over your head.
Thankfully, as CS Lewis’ character said about Aslan, he may not be safe, but he is good. YHVH, the I AM… is Good. And I’m finding my curiosities satiated in and by Him.
Let me know if some construction worker ever shows up with 4 arms, 4 hands, and a mother with 4 eyes, 2 of them in the back of their heads. As preposterous as evolutionists may deem this, to me, after observing the human experience for as long as I have, that’ll be evidence that evolution is real. But lizards growing tails back, changing their skin color to match their backgrounds, critters adapting to their environments… none of that is evolution. It’s adaptation, and that is a created attribute, not an evolved one.

(Jon) #12

There’s no such thing as “God plural”. The word elohim only has one morpheme, “elohim”. That morpheme can be read either singular or plural, depending on grammatical context. It’s cognate with the Ugarit 'l-h-m. When you write “eloh”, to which Hebrew word are you referring?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #13

Thanks for sharing your story, Steve. That is amazing that you’re here! Prostate cancer took my dad – fairly quickly; he had declined to pursue any treatment for it. It may have spared him many declining years with possibilities of dementia.

At only five (decades) myself, I hope I don’t get prostate (or any other) cancer too soon. But if I live to be dad’s age, I may also be glad if the Lord also spares me what so many are going through as their physical minds succumb to time. And most of those five decades of mine also involve devotional reading and study of the Bible. And that is why I am glad my confidence is simply in Jesus and his saving grace for us all; rather than in human understandings and particularities of creed.

You wrote:

I don’t think anybody here is claiming that. They (or at least I) think that God did it differently than you say he did.

I really love an old hymn by Frederick Faber found in many church hymnals: “There’s a wideness in God’s Mercy”. The third verse (at least in our denomination’s hymnal) is: “But we make God’s love too narrow by false limits of our own, and we magnify its strictness with a zeal God will not own.” The other verses are good too. I’ll just paste the whole thing below. I know these are not chapter and verse quotes straight from scriptures, but the more I read scriptures and get to know Jesus, the more I am convicted that the author of this hymn was himself steeped in Scripture. So my prayer is that on judgment day I/we won’t be found to have put many false stumbling blocks of our own devising between others and Christ.


Actually computer languages, while designed to always generate the exactly same result don’t always do so. So you can say that even computer languages suffer from the problem of different “interpretations”. Human languages always result in multiple possible translations when going from one language to another and then you have to add in all the problems with understanding how the original audience understood what was written given their culture and traditions. Remember the Bible was written for us but it wasn’t written to us.

Example, you understand how rain is formed correct? The water cycle, evaporation, transportation, condensation. If you want to dig a little deeper you can get into the thermodynamics of exactly what causes it to rain. If you want to really dig into it you could build computer models that forecast if it is going to rain tomorrow. Now, how does the Bible describe how God makes it rain?

If God wanted to put evolution into the Bible would the people it was written for understand what he was saying? There are so many processes that are NOT described in the Bible why would it matter that evolution is just one more of those? God is in control of all of the processes that make this world function even when they are not specifically called out in the Bible.

(Phil) #15

If you have not read the last issue of the ASA journal, there are some interesting articles on Alzheimer’s dementia and spirituality.

(Christy Hemphill) #16

Programming languages are derived from math, not human languages. Although you can represent some features of human languages in math-like ways, human languages cannot be reduced to simply rules of logic, syntax, and meaning units. How we understand one another is much more complex than that. Obviously there are always multiple ways to interpret any human utterance because so much of what we say is interpreted with reference to our immediate context. God chose to reveal himself in human language; stories, histories, poems, prophesies, and laws. Nothing resembling the straightforward logical notation of computer programming.

I am a linguist. I have studied NT Greek. Have you tried to read Paul or Hebrews in Greek before? “Concise” is not the word I would pick to describe most of the sentences. All languages have single words which do not overlap semantically with single words in another language. The indigenous language I study has a verb that means “placed inside something in a horizontal position.” The fact that we have to use seven words to translate one word doesn’t make that language more concise than English. The word for my friend is “one who walks beside me” So in that case, English is more concise. A lack of one to one semantic correspondence is totally expected when translating.

The age of the earth is calculated by measuring things.

Yom means day. The normal kind. So what? The point of Genesis 1 is not to date the earth.

I am someone who accepts evolution as an explanation for the diversity of life on earth. I believe God is the creator and sustainer of all life. I have a pretty steady diet of reading the Bible. And studying the Bible. And talking about the best way to translate difficult passages in the Bible. It’s fine that you don’t find the evidence for evolution convincing. (It doesn’t really sound to me like you’ve looked at it very closely, but that is beside the point.) But your argument basically boils down to: “I read the Bible and think X. Therefore everyone who reads the Bible will think X also. People who think Y don’t read the Bible.” That’s not very compelling.

Maybe the passage in question doesn’t mean what you think it means?

Not exactly how natural selection works. Nothing about evolutionary theory would predict humans evolving a second set of arms or eyes in the backs of their heads over 10,000 years because that would be useful to them. Kind of proves the point that you haven’t spent much time actually understanding what you don’t accept. If you want actual evidence of the predictive power of the evolutionary model, you can look at this list: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/evidences.html

If you are happy with your worldview and interpretation of Genesis, more power to you. We don’t have any need to convert you to our way of thinking when it comes to accepting scientific consensus. But it’s not cool to assume other Christians are spiritually deficient because they have a different perspective in this area.

(George Brooks) #17


I hope you are around for my next birthday, my good sir. You are one cheerful fellow! You would be more fun than a box of party favors.

Seeing as I am a Universalist, you can understand that I am not quite so emphatic on all that suffering and gnashing of teeth Dental Plan some contemplate.

The “Chess Master” scenario is my guide to both human and divine psychology. Everything else is just melodrama.

Below I provide 2 links to sensible discussions on Universalism:


And this is a thesis from Across the Pond in the UK. It might not support all of my thoughts on the matter, but I thought you might benefit from its analysis.


I would have to agree with @Steve_Buckley. The main reason that people in the US have a bigger problem with evolution vs the Bible is because, in spite of the decline in America, there are still a lot more people who read and believe the Bible here than in the other more pagan countries. When I hear Hugh Ross’ interpretations of scripture I feel much the same way I do when talking to a Jehovah’s Witness. He twists the obvious meaning (in the Hebrew and Greek) so much it is ridiculous. He plays word games. The clear meaning is 6 24 hour days about 6000 years ago. It appears to me that he places much more faith in theories of men than he does in God’s word. It is a lot easier to do that in one respect. You will get the world to tell you how great and intelligent you are, but they will not respect you. This will be especially true if they read the Bible for themselves and see how far you differ from it. You will have to come up with all sorts of long explanations for why it doesn’t mean what it says. The JWs do the same thing. Read our literature and we will explain what the Bible really means. By the way, I am not saying a Christian cannot believe in evolution or long ages, but it is to his own detriment and to the detriment of those around him.

(Jon) #19

No. Anti-evolution sentiment is highest among Christian groups who are the least biblically literate, and fundamentalist groups are typically the least biblically literate, despite how much they claim to read the Bible. Various studies have shown that evangelicals and the groups typically found in the Bible Belt have low biblical literacy. Biblical literacy is higher in less fundamentalist groups. This is also why it’s areas like the Bible Belt which consistently produce fanatical Christian cultists, and wildly inaccurate prophets of doom.

(George Brooks) #20


But what is the underlying cause behind this dynamic? … that so many people are willing to deny the evidence of their senses, because of something written 3000 years ago by people who literally didn’t know the difference between a star and a shooting star.

I think it is the very absolutism that you observe with the “Bible Knocking at the Door” crowd. You attempt to associate this view with Evolutionists, but the similarity is more apt on the other side of the coin.

Very intelligent and reasonable mena and women look into space with calibrated instruments, and they see a reality that does not fit into an old text written by someone who could not see these things at all.

In contrast, YEC’s and JW’s and Latter ‘Yom’ Saints make scripture do summersaults to arrive at their conclusions - - which have one big thing in common: regardless of the reasons and the logic, their conclusions don’t fit with the observations of our senses.

(Christy Hemphill) #21

One difference between OECs like Hugh Ross and ECs is that OECs are looking for scientific concordism in the Bible whereas ECs are trying to understand the biblical texts in their ancient near east context, like any conservative Evangelical Bible scholar would recommend. I agree that some of the OEC attempts to make the Bible describe modern science are tortured and far-fetched. The Genesis narrative describes a week. The question is how do we go about understanding what it was trying to communicate to its original audience and are we justified in treating it as a literal historical account of the dawn of time or is it best understood as having some other function. Those are the kinds of questions you find discussed in BioLogos articles. We don’t need to make yom mean a million years. We don’t need to match geological ages to creation week. The difference between concordist approaches and non-concordist approaches is pretty significant. More on that here: https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/the-problem-with-trying-to-read-science-out-of-scripture


I kind of doubt your studies. I have read a lot of dopey studies from respected institutions of ‘higher learning’. I would have to read the ones you are referring to myself of course, but I find much more Biblical literacy among people in churches that teach the Bible and believe it is God’s word than in those that don’t believe it. Of course, Paul does say that there are not many wise by the world’s standards in the church. That is because they are not so proud of their intellect that they think they are too smart for God. They just humbly believe him and God rewards them for it.


I don’t think you have to deny the evidence of your senses. I think you can prove that Christianity is true and the Bible is not only true, but written with the help of the God who created the universe and knows quite a bit about shooting stars.

(Jon) #24

I think you doubt them because they contradict what you prefer to believe. Most of these studies were conducted by Christians, including evangelicals. I think you might have a view of Biblical literacy which is more like “Whether people agree with me” than actual Biblical literacy. But we can check that. I could ask you some questions about the Bible and you could answer them.


There is nothing wrong with understanding the context that the Bible was written in, but from what I have seen with this ‘context’ idea is that often they forget the biggest context of all. That context would be that the scriptures were written by men who God gave the words to. If you treat it as anything but a historical account, you are missing the obvious meaning of the text.


I only have about 20 more minutes, but ask away.

(Curtis Henderson) #27

Hello Bill, personally, I believe there is a difference between God’s inspiration of the Word and His dictation of the Word. Paul writes in three separate instances that he is using his own words, and not God’s. It is quite likely that other authors do the same in other portions of the Bible. I am not suggesting that the Holy Bible is the work of men on their own, but I do believe that it is fallacious to assume that God dictated every word of what is presently in our English version Bibles. II Timothy 3:16-17 teaches that Scripture is God-breathed, but it is human interpretation that assumes that each word is directly dictated.

(Jon) #28

Let’s start with an easy one. Who wrote the Pentateuch?


Moses wrote it.


I think the scripture indicates that every word in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek was given exactly as God wanted it. I don’t think that means the men became robots, God is much smoother than that. He used their personalities to write absolute truth in their words.