A Former Young-Earth Creationist Responds to “Is Genesis History?”


(system) #1
"Is Genesis History? fails to represent scientists and theologians within the broader evangelical Christian community who hold alternative views on science and faith.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/a-former-young-earth-creationist-responds-to-is-genesis-history

(Clifford R Martin) #2

Thank you, Mike. Many of us, I’m sure, feel a deep disappointment with an organization that has done so much to help and support families and churches over the years. I am not so much disappointed in the choice of the Focus people to accept YEC as I am disappointed in the blatant dishonesty of their presentations. The Truth Project moves seamlessly from “Evolution is a lie from Hell” to primary spokesperson, Michael Behe … whom, as you note, accepts common descent, and a 3.6 billion year evolutionary process. If the organization preaches YEC (as it apparently does), it ought to have the intellectual integrity to stick with YEC supporting scientists, and not indulge in the deceitful pattern of bait-and-switch. But with this new film, it seems they are still up to the same old dishonesty.


(Larry Bunce) #3

By the definition of IQ, for everyone with an IQ above 100, there is another one below 100. My guess is that it takes an IQ above 100 to understand EC, especially if someone grows up in a YEC environment. Unless someone intends to be a scientist, there is no need for people to understand how to reconcile religion and modern science. Therefore, the EC position will always be a minority one.

Where we run into trouble when the general population thinks that science destroys religion is in the area of public education. In a democracy, a dedicated group of people can remove the subject of evolution from the public school curriculum. Our country will lose its position of dominance in the technology field if only children from homes rich enough to afford private schools can receive a proper science education.

I don’t believe a film like IGH would convince someone trying to decide between religion and science to reject science unless they grew up in an environment that already taught them to reject science, but the film certainly puts a wedge between those who accept both science and Christianity, and those who hold the YEC position.


(Neal Heires) #4

It seems to be a riddle: How can science claim the earth is billions of years old and the bible claim it took 6 days?
Answer: You must measure time correctly from God’s perspective.
It’s hard to believe that scientists that claim the earth is billions of years old seem to deny Einstein’s theories regarding time travel, and how it is observed differently by the traveler versus the observer.
Who is the observer in Genesis? Not man as he didn’t exist until the 6th day. God was. We observe the radioactive dating and red-shifting of light from a perspective of man today looking back, rather than form a God who experienced it. A the time traveler at ~99.999999999999999999999999% of the speed of light would experience a single day in the same period an observing man looking back would observe 13.8 billion years.
So that is how God did it in 6 days, through the knowledge and truth of Jesus Christ directing the power of the Holy Spirit - the extremely fast time traveler.
Finally, one common sense point on all this. Do you really think a creator would wait around for 13.8 billion years to get to the fun part of creating man in his image and starting a process that leads to salvation and joining Him in eternal life. I know I would get awfully bored waiting that long wouldn’t you. Of course God did it in 6 days, just have to look at it per his perspective of time just as Einstein discovered in his theory of relativity.
I would really enjoy a movie that would build on this theme, and then you would see a lot of young creation scientists building their faith and following Jesus rather than being overwhelmed by so-called scientific facts about time and age of the universe as a challenge to faith.
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(Brad Kramer) #5

I don’t think IQ is the right way to speak about the origins conversation. Every single one of the scientists featured in this movie is highly intelligent. Now, I do think it takes a high IQ to fully understand the science behind the earth’s age and evolution (all the scientists at BioLogos are way smarter than I’ll ever be), but not everyone needs to understand science to benefit from it. The reasons why people (even scientists) adopt YEC or EC or whatever go beyond IQ.

I do think that a large percentage of people from all walks of life don’t have the time and patience to dig deep into these issues. It doesn’t mean that they are just dumb or whatever. But they need things broken down to a simpler level. And that’s a lot of what BioLogos is trying to do—break down the tough and complicated topics involved in this conversation to a simpler level. To the extent that our stuff is chunkier and more academic than other organizations, it’s more a reflection on the recent creation of the movement (pun intended) and the ongoing work of translating scholarly materials into something average churchgoers and college students and homeschool moms and others can understand and use.

It is true that the EC position requires a higher tolerance for nuance and complexity than YEC (in some ways), but that doesn’t mean it’s just for smart people. Everybody holds to complex positions of one sort or another.

I strongly disagree with this. Issues of science and faith are part of a general understanding of how to live faithfully as a Christian in the 21st century. We do a great disservice to both the Church and the scientific world if we segregate these issues to speciality knowledge for those who are going into the sciences. Of course it is most relevant to those pursuing careers in sciences. But these individuals do not come out of thin air. They are often products of environments where science is seen as a worthwhile pursuit. And if the Church is not broadly interested in this conversation, the Church will not be this sort of environment for its young people.


(Phil) #6

Neal, I feel your ideas have a grain of truth in them, in that God probably sees time in a very different way than we do, but when we look at the age of the earth and how it all fits together, it is from our perspective that we must see it, measure it, and make sense of it all.

Also, I don’t think God would have gotten bored with the unfolding of the universe, and his descriptions of creation in Job do not strike me as those of a bored bystander. To think that we are the “fun part” is perhaps a little human centric. We see God looking at creation and declaring it good, and in the New Testament we read that his eye is on the sparrow and he clothes the lilies of the field.


(Brad Kramer) #7

6 posts were split to a new topic: Why “evolutionary creationism” instead of “theistic evolution”?


Why "evolutionary creationism" instead of "theistic evolution"?
#9

You appear to be viewing God as bound by time. He isn’t. Time is an attribute of the physical matter-energy universe God created. Therefore, God isn’t “waiting” for anything. God is omnipresent in all times just as he is omnipresent in all places. Thus, just as God doesn’t have to travel to India or to the moon or the Crab Nebula to observe any of those places, God doesn’t have to “wait” for years to observe something in the future.

“I am that I am.”
“I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Notice that it does NOT say that God was the God of those patriarchs.)
God is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“For I the Lord do not change…"
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come."

All of these scriptures describe a God who is TRANSCENDENT. He is outside of time. Obviously, God interacts with people who are bound in time—but God isn’t bound in time. I describe it as God is “experiencing” the reign of King David just as “simultaneously” as our moment in time and all moments future. God is at every point all along every timeline just as he is at every geographical locations and every. God is omnipresent at every time-space coordinate that exists.

Time can only be described and experienced in terms of matter-energy. (Matter and energy are just different manifestations of the same coin.) Try specifying a time without referencing matter and energy interactions. You can’t.

Only matter can be bound by time. God is not matter. God is spirit. So how can a spirit be bound by an attribute of matter-energy?

God is changeless. God is not bound by time. God didn’t “wait” until the universe was created and time began. God existed without time existing. To be bound by an attribute of the matter-energy universe, God would have to be a created entity. He isn’t. God is not restricted by length, width, or nor height. Nor is God restricted by seconds, minutes, or hours. Why should time have powers over God that the other dimensions do not?


(Neal Heires) #13

Thanks for the response, and indeed I essentially concur with you.
To God the Father is not waiting around and time has a different meaning to God for sure. However, God is love, and the whole purpose of creation was to create man in His image so He can love us. Perfect love requires an object of that love and we are truly blessed to be the object of His love. That is what I meant by the “fun” part is when He creates man and begins the whole process of salvation of mankind…
But I still submit that the 6 days is as God sees it, or at least as the Holy Spirit implements the will of the Father, and Jesus experience time as a man in our time.
However, if on maintains that Genesis describes the time for creation as man would see it, during this time we existed only in the Mind of God, and would in this form of existence also perceive it as 6 days.
Today we look back at the geological record and pretend like we are observing it in the present time, instead of in the actual experienced time in the Mind of God. I go back to the analogy of the space traveler that returns to earth after 10 years in his time and finds all of his progeny past away, and is then is told by those on earth that he is lets say 1000 years old, and he emphatically says not I am 35 years old. Change this to 6 days, much higher speed, and the earth is 13.8 Billion years old after his 6 day travel, and there you have the concept.
Finally on another comment on Evolutionary Creationists, I offer this perspective. The DNA of an ape is what it is, as is the DNA of a man. Meaning, to create an ape God made its DNA as it is today, and for a man he made a man’s DNA as it is. The fundamental principal of evolutionists, is that because of the similarities it is presumed that the DNA of an ape was used to create the DNA of a man. I propose that this presumption is totally FALSE.
If it was true than show me how this works in nature. Creation of species should be witnessed today but it is not except some suggest in a virus which one may ask what defines a virus species as the don’t need a partner to create viable offspring. Again it is presumed that creation of species happens somehow in nature over time somehow, but has not been witnessed.
In summary, scientific theories not based on biblical truth about the creation of species and understanding the history of the universe can be extremely misleading and lead to erroneous conclusions. Key message: Keep first the truth of the bible, then develop scientific theories that are consistent with biblical truth. Then you will unlock the mystery of science and discover the real truth.
And sometimes we have to be patient for the science to develop that is consistent with the bible. Poor Newton tried to match science with the bible but he couldn’t do it because he was thinking in terms of classical physics but relativity and quantum physics were not discovered until the 20th century. I could go on but better stop here.


(Phil) #14

I certainly agree with you on that statement, but would add that it appears he used evolution to make that DNA, and while the ape is not a man, they have some commonality in the deep past.

And they are, a recent example was given of rabbits, and ring species can be observed. By the very nature of evolution and the changes happening over very long periods, we are not going to see huge changes before our eyes, as we are here but for a short time, but the evidence of those things remain in the fossil record, and in our genes.

One question just to help me understand: Do you accept that there can be truth, scientific or otherwise, outside the Bible? If so, how does it relate to what you interpret as biblical truth?


#15

Thank you for your interesting reply.

Have you considered that the six days of Genesis 1 is that six days of God’s proclamations and not six day of fulfillment of those proclamations? This is a type of Framework Hypothesis, the Six Days of Proclamation theory. For each YOM of commands, God set in motion the fulfillment which took many millions of years. To me that solves the problems you present far more easily. It also fits what we actually observe in the universe: Evidence that things happened over many billions of years. Otherwise, God is a deceiver.

Well…not really. But it is NOT just a matter of similarities. It is the phylogenetic trees which organize those similarities. Scientists don’t simply notice vague similarities that catch their eye. It is the PATTERNS of similarities that are so amazing. So again I ask: Why would God create things in such a way to indicate a particular history (evolutionary history) in such detail if that history never actually happened? Why does God want us to think he is a deceiver fooling us with a false story? I don’t believe God is a deceiver!

To make that proposal, you have to sweep away enormous piles of evidence and make God appear to be a deceiver in the process. Do you find that at all disturbing? Are you sure that you’ve taken the time to learn of the many lines of evidence which support the Theory of Evolution?

Consistent with the Bible or consistent with a particular set of fallible human interpretations of the Bible? My frustration with people like Ken Ham is that he keeps assuming that his interpretation of Genesis is the same thing as “thus saith the Lord.” While scientists continue to compile evidence and incredibly predictive theories which explain that evidence, those who deny evolution and the geologic record and entire fields of science do so while proposing no useful explanations and predictions (and falsification testing) of their own.

Biologos has videos and links to educational websites for that purpose. Have you taken the time to see “how this works in nature”? Your next sentence suggests to me that you’ve not yet examined the evidence and read textbook presentations of how evolution works:

Wrong. New species are evolving all around us. We observe populations becoming isolated from other populations in nature and new species develop. Ken Ham & Company will pretend “That isn’t evolution. That’s just adaptation.” No, it’s hand-waving and denial of the evidence. Yet, even Ham has an Ark Encounter exhibit claiming that every species of the cat family evolved (though he uses a different) from the single “cat” kind parents which were on the ark. Yes, he claims that the many species of cats found around the world managed to evolve in 200 years. (He has zero evidence for that but it is a far faster evolution rate than the Theory of Evolution has ever claimed.) Anyway, a lot of Young Earth Creationist now admit that “micro-evolution” takes place----as if there is some imaginary barrier that stops evolution before it steps over the line and becomes “unbiblical”. But getting them to define that barrier and even what the kinds are and how they “hyper-speed evolved” after the flood means waiting forever—cuz it is never explained.

What led you to believe that nobody had witnessed new species evolving? Also, laboratory scientists even intentionally produce new species and agronomy scientists have created all sorts of new species, such as taking a diploid plant found in nature and manipulating evolutionary processes to make polyploid species with quite different attributes. (And obviously, those polyploid species can’t reproduce with the diploid “ancestor”. So they obviously are a very different species, a NEW species. I’m told that much of the work underway to produce perennial species to replace the presently common ANNUAL food crops involves this type of human-managed evolution.)

And may I also assume then that you oppose what the Ark Encounter claims about today’s many animal species coming from far fewer species that were on the ark (e.g., all of the many cat species, from lions to panthers to house cats, coming from a single set(s) of cat parents on the ark)? After all, it sounds like you are implying that no human has ever witnessed new species being created/formed?

Indeed, don’t you think it likely that the reason why so many scientists and non-scientists affirm the Theory of Evolution is because they/we have personally observed mountainous piles of evidence for it?

Yes, the Bible says that God created everything, including animals, each of which would reproduce “after its own kind”—and that is exactly what the Theory of Evolution states as well. It says that parents always produce offspring like themselves. In fact, if ever a mated pair were to produce offspring that was NOT very much like the parents, that would be a huge blow to the Theory of Evolution. Yes, “each after its own kind” is another idea which Genesis and modern science agree on. And many Young Earth Creationists nowadays even remind me that the Bible does NOT teach “species fixity”, and that is why AIG/Ken Ham now make allowances for evolution “within kinds”, which they say is usually at the “family level” of taxonomy. So I’m curious if you hold to much more “conservative” view that predates even Gish and Morris and their teachings from the 1960’s onward. (Before Gish, Morris, and Whitcomb, I remember a lot of pastors assuming species fixity from Genesis but Morris especially started getting people thinking beyond that.)

Don’t we also have to be patient for theology and hermeneutics to develop to where it improves its interpretations of the Bible to where theologians aren’t in conflict with science, the study of God’s creation? It sounds like you consider man’s interpretations of God’ revelations in his creation to be subject to errors and to much needed revision over time—but you aren’t considering man’s interpretations of God’s revelations in the Bible to be flawed and also subject to revision over time. Should we be patient with theologians (and non-theologians) as well as patient with scientists?

As for me, I accept the evolutionary processes God has created because I observe them so clearly everywhere I look—and I praise God for them. They are dazzling wonders, the product of God’s power and wisdom. Why should I deny what God has so clearly revealed for his glory? Meanwhile, I find nothing in the scriptures to contradict those observations of God’s handwork.

I used to be very bitter and angry toward those in my church background who had taught me to be adamantly anti-evolution and anti-old-earth. I knew and preached every anti-evolution argument known to man, as well as all of the standard claims about evidence for a young earth. Not until my study of Biblical languages started eroding my Young Earth Creationist hermeneutics did I start looking at the scientific evidence (and Dr. Morris’ citations) for myself. (One of my colleagues from a similar background even had a very direct private confrontation with Dr. Morris about misrepresentations of the evidence from his books. Lots of us have a very unsettling loss of confidence in our Christian heroes of the faith.)

Today I can say that my understanding of the evidence for evolution in God’s creation has greatly bolstered my faith in God. Indeed, without that resolution of my former conflict, I wonder if I by now would have joined the ranks of bitter ex-Christians. I made the transition from YEC to ex-YEC without losing my faith in Christ. Many don’t make that positive transition. I gained so much in the process—especially in realizing that the God of the Bible who I worship is far more powerful and wise than I ever had realized. The God who created evolutionary processes is a far more impressive God.


(James McKay) #16

Here’s a take on this one that you may not have considered that the Bible demands of our scientific theories. Fitting science to Scripture means that you must first and foremost be honest about it. The Bible has far, far more to say about the need for honesty and integrity than about the age of the earth or evolution. A large part of science involves measuring things, and on the matter of weights and measurement, the Bible is quite clear. For example, Deuteronomy 25:13-16 says this:

Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.

What does this mean for science? It means, for starters:

  • You must not have arithmetic errors.
  • You must not fudge or cherry-pick the raw data.
  • You must neither exaggerate nor downplay the significance of uncertainties, error bars and disagreements.
  • You must not take shortcuts.
  • You must verify the integrity of your interpretation by using controls and blind studies where appropriate.
  • You must not misrepresent the extent or nature of the evidence.
  • You must not quote mine.
  • You must not resist reasonable critique, and if your interpretation is shown to be in error, you must retract it.

These are the basic rules of honesty and accuracy that reviewers of scientific journals expect all scientific studies—including old-earth and evolutionary studies—to meet. Only when your scientific theories follow these basic rules will they be consistent with Biblical truth.

If you can’t come up with a scientific theory that follows these rules and fits your preconceptions about what the Bible text means, the logical thing to do is to ask whether or not you’ve understood the Bible correctly.


(Neal Heires) #17

Regarding rabbits evolving, I would like to see the reference. Species creation would require that the new rabbit species can interbreed only with itself and create viable offspring and not with other rabbits. I know scientists made a big deal of finches in the Galapagos islands being a witness of creation of a new species but failed the test of interbreeding. We need to be clear on what is the definition of a species.

Regarding the other comment on why would God organize DNA to deceive us into thinking it was an ordered evolutionary process and it wasn’t, I won’t presume to explain God’s will. Why is their evil in the world of a sovereign God? He has a purpose for it and it usually has to do with faith building.

Regarding my knowledge on the subject, I agree I am limited. I do have a son who has a PhD in biochemistry, and he and I have discussed the idea of tigers and lions as different species but they are not because they can be interbreed and have viable offspring. And what would happen if humans went on a long journey in space in a low gravity environment and had offspring for generations and then came back, they would look and be entirely different physically, but I still ask, could they breed with humans on earth and create viable offspring? (By the way, he does not agree with me either as he is in my opinion biased in the mindset of evolutionary scientific thinking. For what it’s worth, I am a new Christian just 5 years ago had believed in evolution.)

Still, whether God designed animal species instantly as in the Cambrian period, or gradually through evolution, I don’t think this is a bible conviction issue, except for the creation of man. You cannot say man evolved from an animal and still be aligned with scripture.

Regarding biblical truth question, I would agree that yes there is truth outside the bible, but scientific theories cannot negate or directly deny biblical truth. However, biblical truth always has to be taken in the context in which it is written, and sometimes this context is debatable.

As an example, one might argue that the a “day” in genesis really refers to a “period of time”, but the Hebrew term used for day means a 24 hour day. I was once under the persuasion of the “period of time” position, but have since switched. It is not what would be called a biblical conviction in which you either believe or you are not saved, but it taught me that perhaps we should be careful to keep with the biblical interpretation when it is taken in its proper context.

Finally to the comment by Jammy, indeed I agree that truth is truth. What concerns me about most scientists is they cannot accept that a living God can act on the universe, and all scientific truth has to be based on the absence of a God presence. So we are told that we must accept scientific theory based on an absence of a living God or we are in error. How then can science possibly discover the truth if indeed God exists? - and of course He does. If we can get scientists to accept the presence that a living God acts on the universe along with science, then we can indeed find the truth. And I believe this is what Biologos is all about.


#18

While most, or many, scientists are atheists and this would be true for them, how do explain the many scientists that are Christians? Or are you saying they can’t find the truth? The purpose of BioLogos is to show that there is no conflict between Biblical Truth and Scientific Truth.


(Phil) #19

I appreciate your reasoned reply. If all Christians had your degree of grace and understanding, we wouldn’t have to have a Biologos, in my opinion.
i will nitpick a bit with the following statement (if we didn’t disagree, why are we here?)

This is the position of some in the YEC movement to justify the false dichotomy. In truth, the I think the real position of science is that scientific theory is not based on the presence of God. God can be present, but science is not based on that, which is a subtle but important difference.

Regarding the rabbits, it was on a post somewhere recently on the forum, but I cannot find it quickly. Probably someone can chime in.


(Lynn Munter) #20

You cannot meaningfully even define “animal” without either including humans or excluding them specifically by saying “except humans” (or words to that effect). We not only evolved from animals, we still are animals.

Does that mean there is nothing more to what it means to be human? Of course not. But whether you believe it was the working of God’s will or not, humanity was indisputably patterned after (evolved from) the animals that preceded them.


(Neal Heires) #21

Bill,
I applaud Christians that are scientists as they will indeed find the truth. So indeed being a Christian and a scientist is not and should not be a contradiction.

Phil,
I agree that a scientist cannot let human religious belief bias his or her discovery of truth. But I do believe that you must choose one of two basic principles:

1.God does not exist and all is based on upward causation of matter to mind. OR
2. God does exist and all is based on the downward causation of Mind to matter.

You cannot say that 2 is true, but do scientific research based on 1. This will not lead to truth but to a dead end.


#22

Here’s a Potholer54 video that includes rabbit evolution:

Here’s the problem with letting you make the rules and definitions rather than the scientists: When we show you examples of the evolutionary process underway so that the populations are “separating” and headed towards total isolation (and no cross-breeding), you will do just what you’ve already done: You will reason that because they are not YET isolated and separate (unable to mix/breed), you will say that they never will be unable to breed. But if we show an example where the populations are now distinct and the species clearly separable and unable to breed, you will say, “God made them separate. They were never the same species.” So you have insulated yourself from ever accepting the evidence.

Even with rabbits that breed rapidly, no human is likely to see enough generations to see the evolution of a new species from start to finish. Even with rabbits, I would guess (and this is only a guess), that you would have to observe them for several centuries AT LEAST to see it all the way through to totally isolated populations. .

Of course, if we use an organism where a generation takes perhaps 40 minutes, we are dealing with bacteria. And no matter how many new species of bacteria are evolved while under human observation, the standard line is “That’s not evolution! It is still a bacteria!” (Of course, that’s a silly argument because bacteria are a huge taxonomic category of an entire kingdom, basically.)

In the case of the rabbit species, the southern rabbit species CANNOT breed with the Alaskan rabbit species—but both can breed with the rabbits in Illinois, the middle area of the range. So the northern and southern rabbits were once a single species but now they can’t (and/or won’t) breed. But this is a typical example of how evolution works. Ring species are a good way to illustrate the process.

Tigers and lions are different species! That’s a fact. You can’t simply make up a definition that preserves one’s beliefs. Tigers and lions rarely mate and only in captivity. They have different habits and social attributes. The reason they can have fertile offspring is that share a relatively recent ancestors. And here again, your definition allows you to protect your belief that evolution doesn’t happen. If tigers and lions were more like a horse and donkey and produced an infertile offspring, you would say that that is because a horse and donkey were made by God to be separate species. Yet, VERY RARELY (from what I’ve heard) there have been cases of a fertile offspring of a horse and a donkey. (Or perhaps that is only legend. I don’t know.) But they have different numbers of chromosomes and the mule splits the difference in chromosome numbers.

To me, the slam dunk evidence for the Theory of Evolution is that phylogenetic trees constructed from the genome mapping (which compares the molecular levels of each species) indicates the same evolutionary relationships as predicted by the traditional phylogenetic trees. Why would that be unless evolution explained their development? And when you compare the ERVs on the lion versus tiger genomes—and the human and chimpanzee genomes—I don’t see how you can deny the obvious.

YOM can mean either—so I don’t know what you mean by that. You can confirm that in any Hebrew lexicon.

Personally, I believe YOM in the case of the individual days in Genesis 1 are meant to refer to conventional solar days. But that doesn’t in itself tell us the purpose of the passage or how it should be interpreted. It doesn’t tell us, for example, whether just God’s commands happened in those six YOM or if the fulfillment of each command was confined to each individual day/YOM.

But what is the “biblical interpretation”? And how do we determine the “proper context”? I am entirely in favor of “keeping with the biblical interpretation” and heeding “its proper context”—but you and I have have very different ideas on each. That’s why there is disagreement among Christians. Don’t assume that people like me are rejecting the importance of either.

Why? First, humans are animals. Secondly, how do you know that my accepting the evidence that God has given us in our genomes (as well as many other types of evidence) that humans have evolved from older species of animals is not in alignment with scripture? I’ve spent a lifetime studying the Hebrew Bible and I believe that my understanding of human evolution is entirely “aligned with scripture.”

And how do you know that Genesis 1 is not some other genre than what might be common in English? What if Genesis 1 is an ancient Hebrew genre quite unfamiliar to us today? How do you know that Genesis 1 couldn’t be some sort of parable or a very ancient type of poetry from an oral tradition in another language that was later translated into Hebrew? There are many chiasmic elements and even symbolic uses of numbers within the Hebrew text. Those tend to be missed entirely in English but might have been obvious to ancient readers. Should we assume our modern day “natural reading” of the text or that of the ancients? Which assumption is “aligned with scripture”?

If evolutionary biology is entirely bogus, why did God “plant” in his creation so much misleading evidence? Isn’t that troubling? Is God trying to fool us? I don’t think so.


#23

But I don’t know anybody who affirms #2 who would say that their science involves any “God does not exist” component. It sounds like you are confusing philosophical naturalism with the methodological naturalism of science.

A mathematics book can deal in 2+2=4 without having to take any theological positions. And a mathematician can write proofs without taking a position on God’s existence. It is the same in all other fields of science. If you disagree, please describe an experiment or falsification test where a scientist has to declare “God does not exist” as part of #1 in your dichotomy.

I know lots of scientists, some of whom are atheists. Keep in mind that an atheist is one who lacks a belief in God. The vast majority of scientists I’ve known are agnostic atheists. They really don’t give much thought to whether God exists and don’t care whether or not I believe in God. It is simply not an issue with them. We are good friends. But when they do their scientific research, they don’t take any different theological position that a non-atheist scientist. Science is by definition based upon methodlogical naturalism. That’s because science does NOT explain the data based on theological ideas. It deals entirely in terms of the natural processes we observe. (God is NOT a natural process. God is transcendent. So there is no experiment where we test for God. There is no such lab instrument called the God detector.)

So when these scientists who just happen to be agnostic atheists do their research, they don’t havet to proclaim “God does not exist” because that is theology, and they are doing science. Science doesn’t require a theological position.

It sounds like you are expecting Science to go back in time to several centuries ago when it was Natural Philosophy. Philosophers look at reality in all of its aspects, including the theological. But scientists are dealing solely in the matter-energy universe of natural processes. The moment you bring theology into science, you are basically redefining science and evading explanations by simply declaring “God did it.” That can be good theology but not useful science.

In other words, you are demanding a false dichotomy in your two point list.

A friend of mine uses this analogy: A mathematician doing classical geometry constructs proofs on paper using ONLY a compass and a straight-edge. That doesn’t mean that protractors measurements of degrees and lengths are “evil” or nonexistent. It is simply a methodological restriction that allows the mathematician to prove things in a particular way that isn’t subject to errors in measurement. Likewise, when a scientist uses the scientific method and “does science”, he/she is restricting the methodology to the tools and procedures of the scientific method. And because there is no tool or procedure which allows one to study or detect God, the scientist doesn’t resort to “God-explanations” when explaining the data collected. “God did it” just doesn’t lead to natural explanations—because God is not natural! God is transcendent!


(Neal Heires) #24

Thank you for all the information. I must say you are providing me enlightenment on the subject.

I have to take some time to study your information, but based on what I read so far it does appear that species that separate over time can become separate and unable to join again and reproduce, thus becoming separate species. Since lions and tigers mostly produce infertile offspring I would agree with you now that they are different species already - my son got it wrong? Actually makes the Noah’s ark concept more viable doesn’t it. However, this still does not rule out that animals each of their own kind could have been created separately by God. Still, Genesis does not rule out evolution in creation of animals, but the time involved to do this is another issue.

Regarding your comment on days in Genesis, you suggest proclamation is different from fulfillment. However, it seems that God would have had to wait for the fulfillment before the next proclamation if this was the process, and thus would have taken more than six days in a row to make these proclamations. The statement: “and there was evening and morning the first day”, means that the day is concluded before the next proclamation. I still prefer the Einstein time dilation argument because indeed it would also explain even how time with God is infinite, just as it is to the photon (if it were conscious).

God the Father is infinite and sees the past, present, and future choosing reality per his will, the knowledge and truth of Jesus instructs the Holy Spirit to implement per the Father’s will, and of course Jesus incarnation allowed him to be in our time to speak to us and show us the way. All one God, three persons, without being triune God could not be God.

On man evolving from animals, this is the final BIG issue that gets to the heart of it all. Genesis and Paul says that Adam was the first man, and Genesis says he was created from dust and the breath of God. Dust can be viewed as the elements of matter, and some can even suppose that all life came from the dust or elements of the universe. So to say man was created from dust is indeed true even for atheists to agree. The breath of God making us created in his image though is the key creative element of man in God’s image, with the immortal soul, and that’s where atheists disagree.

in the end, perhaps we are all too enamored with the dust and matter part of man and not with the spiritual part of the creation of man.

Thanks again for providing me some insights I had not considered. Hope I have given you some too but if not that is ok too.