Doubts, confusion and questions

Hey guys, this is my first post on this forum. I will apologise for the format of this post because my ideas are just as chaotic (if not more) than what this post will be. I will pose some questions. In which I have queries to about Creation, Theistic evolution, and Atheism (or evolutionary theory/ whatever other names for secular science etc).

I grew up in a church believing in Christianity. Like many of you probably did. I regard myself as indoctrinated to a certain extent (as we all are, to varying degrees; whether we like it or not), because I want to believe, and I do believe in God. God gives me meaning and purpose in life. I have had many spiritual experiences and credit them to why I am still a Christian.

Today I struggle with Creationism and Evolution theory. These two don’t work in my mind and I don’t believe it is because I am too dumb to understand Theistic Evolution. I feel like Theistic Evolution is a “last grab” for understanding that many of us take to try and rationalise scientific findings of today and the “irrefutable truth of the bible” (left in speech marks because theistic evolution takes scientific findings to explain away the bible rather than take the Truth of the bible to explain scientific findings). However, I am drawn to it, to try and make scientific findings consistent with the bible. There are more questions than answers and I want to hear your thoughts on some of my questions.

Questions about theistic evolution that I have problems with:

-At what point did we become God’s chosen “animals”, on the abhorrently slow timescale of evolution? We are not very distinct from the next hominem species that we arose from. This begs the question of consciousness, and when it arose but seems irrelevant considering, due to evolution, that consciousness would have happened slowly and not instantly. Genesis seems to make a clear distinction between Man and the rest of creation (animals). He breathed life into Adam’s nostrils.

-Why are there “kinds” of animals listed in Genesis? If in theistic evolution, the bible is not taken at face value and science can be amalgamated into the scriptures then why on earth would the writer of genesis need to list animals according to their kinds? Why not just say: God created, fish, birds, mammals; and leave it at that? Adding the word “kinds” seems to be a direct and very specific counter point to evolutionary theory.

-If the 7 creation days in Genesis could be interpreted as millions of years or whatever amount of time, why would God rest on the 7th day and why is this so heavily correlated and chronologically used throughout scripture? For instance, resting on the Sabbath. God creating the day night cycles as a precursor to this, creates the “week” that we see today. Seven, 24-hour days with the last day being Sunday. Making these 7 days into any timeframe does not provide us with a week on our calendar. So why would God need to rest? Why would he need to rest if an all-powerful God just had to add: time, a place and matter to eventually create an abiotic organism into a biotic organism? Then an all loving God creates death (not all these ridiculous death-creation theories; death: the process of dying). He creates death because it is His process, that He made, and then later, sends His only son to Earth, to conquer something that He made. If God can create death as a process, and not just any process. THE fundamental process that determines the success of evolution. To me does not make any sense. This could also be used as an argument in Creation theory too, however, not as direct and a result of us.

-The biblical flood is just a myth. Maybe it was localised?

18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.

The bible does not use the words: everything and all, very lightly. None of us believe that, when the second coming happens, that ‘ every eye will see him’ , means that only half the world will see Him, I believe it means that everyone will see Him. So, if I can take the creation stories as things that didn’t really happen because evolution is real, then why can’t I interpret the bible as one massive collection of stories? Where do we draw the lines? They are not clear when we take one part of scripture as false teaching (genesis in theistic evolution) and then say to someone or ourselves: “Apart from the creation stories and the flood and the tower of babel, we must believe that everything else is true”. Or maybe the whole old testament is just a story and the new testament is true? Do you see where I am coming from?

These are only a few questions that I have about Theistic evolution. To me it does not make sense when comparing it to the bible. Yet due to scientific evidence and research we are finding that the creation story is seeming more and more inaccurate. We see that science works, but it is not perfect and what we know many change in the future. Science is an amazing tool. Whether you believe that there is only macro evolution or micro. Will science eventually explain away the bible? Which is what it is doing in Theistic evolution. Or will science eventually find out the bible is correct?

I don’t know the answers, I am going to continue to believe in God, because it gives me hope. It feels like foundations are crumbling because of my questioning and doubts and I am losing some meaning. Sitting on the fence is dangerous, but questioning and doubting are good. ‘But if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything’-Alexander Hamilton etc.

I am scared that I will become an Atheist and lose all meaning, be wrong and end up in hell. Being a creationist seems blissful, but my forever questioning mind tells me to tread futher. Theistic evolution is on unstable ground, but also seems like a nice, happy medium (or maybe not). What do you guys think? And do you agree or disagree with some of my questions? Feel free to question me as much as you like.

Thanks for reading my post! Hope you have a great day!

‘Is it all an oddity?
Are we flakes of empty dust
Spinning on a ball of rust?
Maybe
But the light is ours to see
You had eyes, but sowed them shut
But the feeling in your gut won’t fade
Is it all a tragedy?
Are we flashes in a rut
Going in and out of love?
Maybe
But the answers will not change
Even when they’re covered up
All these questions in your gut won’t fade’- Starset, Other Worlds Than These

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There is a lot there so I’ll answer on and off in parts. The first thing that comes to my mind is perhaps some of the confusion over theistic evolution.

Atheist evolution and theistic evolution are both the same evolution. My understanding of evolution is not different from an atheists understanding of evolution. Evolution is evolution. The science is pure evolution. Theistic is added to simply show we believe in a god same as if someone said they believe in atheistic evolution it’s just to denote they don’t believe in God.

It’s not intelligent design. It’s 100% evolution. To me it would be comparable to saying I practice christian landscaping vs atheist landscaping. ( it sounds ridiculous i know) but the outlook does not change the prices of being a mechanic. Rebuilding a engine is rebuilding a engine.

Some believe we should drop the phrase theistic evolution for just evolution and it would have its pros but ultimately despite there being a slightly murky effect by tossing it in I think it’s beneficial for people of faith. The evolutionary process for passion flowers is the same regardless if you believe in God or not.

The Bible is not a science book. The Bible is not a human origins book. Why would God use just 3 chapters to cover the entire creation of everything and then spend even more chapters just to explain the food and cattle tribes had? That’s part of how we can study it out and see how it fits.

Ultimately it comes down to a few things concerning this.

  1. Even if science does not answer all the questions it answers more than enough to make us certain evolution is true. If there is any evidence to point towards creationism then there is more than enough to show evolution. There is no real science to creationism.

Then we can use, as I said earlier, literary investigation and see evidence that some questions are legitimately left open ended in scripture.

Such as who was Cain worried about and where did he find a wife and ect…

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I’m not going to answer all your questions (though I could recommend some books to help you out… I listed a few in another post today), but I’ll take on this one:

When I read Genesis 1 at face value, I get that God created animals to reproduce the same animal. So a cow gives birth to a cow, a sheep gives birth to a sheep, a dog gives birth to a dog. You don’t have sheep giving birth to dogs. All of that is entirely consistent with evolution. The parent gives birth to a child of the same species. Looking at two members a thousand generations apart, they could be different species, but parent gave birth to the same species all along the way, just like the progression of Latin to modern Spanish had each parent and child speaking the same language, while someone living in a Roman times speaking Latin is different from someone speaking in modern times in Spanish. A Latin speaking person didn’t give birth to a Spanish speaking person. It was a gradual population-wide transition over many generations, and you can’t exactly pinpoint one moment where one language became another.

The current YEC definition of “kinds” doesn’t make any sense as being what Moses (or whomever) had in mind when writing this. They only make that definition because they realize all the species on earth wouldn’t fit on the ark in a global flood.

Ok, since I mentioned the flood, let me touch on that question as well. You talked about the use of all or every. Now think about the perspective of the person going through the experience of a local flood. His whole world is decimated. Every animal he sees is gone. It’s legitimate for him to use those words, not to mention that eretz means “land”, not “globe”. In a similar vein, when there was a famine in the whole earth during the time of Joseph and everyone came to Egypt for food, it’s not talking about South America and Australia. It’s just talking about that region where Joseph and his family lived.

It’s good that you are determined to believe. I did fall into atheism for a while, and it’s hard to climb back out. I don’t recommend it.

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Welcome!
All your questions are great. I have noticed threads on most, if not all, but know that this is a great place to discuss them, and we all struggle (I do with the same ones as you, if not more).
However, two books…“Benefit of the Doubt” by Greg Boyd, and “Faith In the Shadows” by Austin Fischer, clarified to me that God LOVES our questions. He created our minds, after all. He knows there is no way that we can know everything. I do believe firmly that honest questioning that leads to atheism or some other unbelief or doubt would not lead to Hell, just as God does not throw little ones who can’t understand faith into punishment. In fact, with George Macdonald (whose views and books converted CS Lewis back to the faith), I think God is much better than that, and never gives up on us…though I can post more later.

God bless.

Fear not Matt. Many of us have come through this and the candle still burns. It gutters. But it still burns.

Sola fide.

Thanks be to God.

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Hi, Matt - and welcome to the forum!

[the emphasis in your quote above was added by me.]

I think the answers to your own question there are embedded in your own thoughts (or at least the seeds of answers are.) You do realize that “whatever amount of time” would include the six day scenario, right? Why would God need rest at all? No matter the time taken. And likewise, does God really stop working every seventh day and take a break? Jesus did not understand it that way. So regardless of one’s acceptance or rejection of evolutionary science, it is already apparent from scriptures alone that the structured seven-day week is given to help punctuate our time, and not because God needs it. It was instruction for our sake - and even more well appreciated by so many now for its apparent absence as weekends lose of of their distinction for so many in these times.

Welcome to the Forum, Matt

I’ll take a quick stab at a couple of these. A lot of these questions are answered much more carefully in the Common Questions articles at biologos.org

The way your phrase your question kind of presumes “image of God” is something that evolved. I don’t think it did, I think it was given. So the point we became image bearers was when God chose humans to be image bearers, which was could have been a long time after the species had evolved the capacities necessary to fulfill the calling. In the Bible calling isn’t something you “earn” by having the right abilities.

Genesis used the conceptual categories available in the language and culture. It used their taxonomies, not scientific ones. I think pointing out that animals reproduce according to their kind is a way of pointing out the good order and function in creation, (it’s the opposite of the chaos of the watery deep in the beginning). It’s not some kind of scientific anti-evolution statement. Taking the Bible at face value should mean trying to understand it in its own context, not imposing the meaning that makes the most sense in a 21st century scientific context and then asking why it wasn’t worded the way that would make the most sense to us. Genesis wasn’t written to say anything about evolution, for or against.

The structure of Genesis is used as an apologetic for Sabbath keeping, which is a major cultural marker for the Jewish people. If you take Genesis as a literary work that helped Israel maintain their religious identity in the face of paganism and exile, lots of elements make more sense than if you take them as things that need to fit with literal history and science. Reading millions of years into the days of creation is a form of concordism, which many evolutionary creationists try to avoid.

The Bible was written by a diverse set of authors over several centuries. You cannot take a single word and assume it has only one use. That’s not how language works. (And you picked words in translation. You compared ‘every’ in a verse translated from Greek to ‘every’ in a verse translated from Hebrew, from two totally different genres, narrative and Jewish apocaclyptic letter, and assumed they have to be used the same way.)

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Welcome to our corner of the internet Matt. Great to have your voice among us and I hope you find what you are looking for. I was a YEC for years before making peace with evolution. If you are interested, you can read about it here.

Forgive me, I have a habit of answering question-ers with questions. If you might allow me to ask you a question, early in your post you say:

I wonder, why do you think that the bible was written to equip us to make sense of scientific findings? What particular verses or passage lead you to that conclusion?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one. Every blessing, Liam

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I wanted to toss in another quick thought concerning is there is reason to believe that God used common concepts to explain things to mankind.

One of the simplest ones is this. The Bible routinely and mostly refers to God as a man. But do we really believe that God is a male? Is there a goddesses? No. God is not actually male or female. So why did he choose that over being the mother of Jesus and choose to go the route of saying the womb of god was fertilized by Joseph and mary was just a type of “concubine used to how and birth the child” and ect… Or well before Jesus was born. Why were the angels referred to as sons of god and not daughters of god and so on.

The reason is because that story, including that gender, was the one that best fit with society. So if god uses gender to connect to society why would we not assume their could be aspects to the rest of the Bible that was merely gods way of connecting to humanity?

John 1:1-4 (NIV2011)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:14 (NIV2011)
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

@Matt_Mc, Welcome to the discussion. I am glad that you are a Christian and take the Bible seriously so do I. However as a Christian I begin my understanding of Creation not at Gen 1:1, but at the beginning of the Beginning of the Gospel according to John 1:1. This extraordinary revelation says the universe was created by God the Father through Jesus Christ, the Word /Greek “Logos.”

This is a very different philosophical/scientific Greek perspective from the Hebrew and Near Eastern perspective of Gen. 1. I know we all grew up loving the Gen 1 story, but we need to go beyond the OT to the NT.

Also I must note that the word logos has a very distinct meaning. The Greeks had two important words for “word,” mythos and logos. Mythos means a truth that is based on tradition and authority. They believed in the gods because that is what they were taught was true and everyone believed it. Logos means a truth that is based on reason and evidence. We believe in Jesus because He has changed our lives and God is Love.

I accept the Big Bang as Logos because that is what the evidence indicates. I accept the fact that God created the universe from nothing, because that is what the evidence and the Bible indicate. Science has conformed the Biblical statement. Should reject the view that God created the universe out of nothing because science agrees with the Bible now?

The Bible and science agree that the universe was created out of nothing. The question then is how did the world get from the Beginning to where we are now? If we take the basic NT understanding of creation I think that there is no real problem with reconciling evolution with Christianity except for one basic question.

If the universe was created through the Logos, Jesus Christ, then natural selection by survival of the fittest is false. relentless strife or war id not the way the Logos created humanity and other species. Christian evolution must be different from the Selfish Gene. I thank God that the evidence indicates that the Selfish Gene of Richard Dawkins is a myth, rather not good science. John 1:1 - 4 is vindicated by ecological natural selection.

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Creation is eternal, not ex nihilo. Even if it were finite, Spirit isn’t nothing. And can you join up the dots how God being the ground of that being means evolution never happened despite there being nothing but evidence that it did?

One small comment here. The Bible is not a source of scientific truth. There is truth in the Bible but you can not use it to judge a scientific finding. How do you use the Bible to verify a measurement that the Bible does not address, such as the speed of light? Science simply points out where our human interpretation of the Bible is in error. Interpretation is not inspired and it is fallible.

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Hello and welcome to the group. I will try and answer then in the best way I can.

From the start before time began in my view. God had all things of creation planned out from the start. He didn’t go blind and didn’t expect all of this to emerge. God is all-knowing and knew what He was doing and made it all with us and the idea of being in relationship with Him in mind. I believe that while early human consciousness had the idea that there was something higher in the universe but it was Adam and Eve who would be the first to come into contact with God.

I am not sure on how to answer this one as I deal with apologetic in terms of history, theology and anthropology of the Bible and ancient world but I’m sure some smart science heads have answered this question already for you.

The seven day creation cycle is very close to the creation stories of the Ancient Near East but it has a theological twist to it. It states that God (Yahweh) alone made the universe and that He didn’t need to help of other gods to spirits to make the universe nor did He have to fight other gods or chaos creatures to rule/tame it. Humans are meant to be co-rulers with Him and not slaves for the gods as was common in other ANE creation myths. Here what i mean.


Of course there are other ideas presented as well you can look more into such as Proclimation of Days and the Poem Idea.

I am of the belief that the Flood as told in Genesis was historical but local and very violent.

I get you point of view. For me the history of Genesis 1-11 is “real” but told in the manner of story telling that was common in the Ancient Near East back then. People would have exaggerated some points of stories such as the idea that the flood covered the world to make a point of the world wide issue of sin for example. I view the history of the Old Testament as real historical events such as the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the taking of the land (though not as violent and genocidal as it is depicted in Joshua, it was common for victorious armies back then to blow up the numbers of dead or exaggerate the conquest to make a point that they are the baddest and coolest kids on the block to their enemies.) and i also believe in the history of a lot of the OT asides from Job and Jonah which I see as stories. Job goes into the issue of If God is good then why bad thing happen and Jonah is satire on the prophets making a theological point in how God loves even our supposed enemies. The New Testament we can trust is accurate because of the events the early Christians went through and how reliable the data has been passed down for the past 2,000 years.

God forbid it will not! Atheist have been screaming this for a long time but it will go no where. Science may explain the method of creation but it is dumb when it comes to how the universe emerged. How can something come from nothing? Only a Creator can solve this issue.

The one thing you need to know is that you won’t even have all the answers. We can only know so much and then once we reach dead ends we must go and trust God in the things we don’t understand and have faith that He knows best and that He is leading us to a good thing. That is the entire Christian hope. Though things may look bad or we don’t know the course God is taking us, we must trust God and know that it is for the best. My best hopes and prayers that you find peace in the answers you are able to find and no when to stop looking and trust in God in the things that confound us. Peace and God bless.

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God is not the Ground of Being, or the God of the Philosophers, but the Creator of the Universe God is the Source of the Universe.

Evolution did take place which is the reason why there is evidence that it did take place, and why Creation is not eternal.

You add more dots there. Can you join them up too please? As well as the original ones?

Hello Matt_Mc,

May I take a try at answering some of your questions?

Thanks for your continued hold to the Biblical creation point of view that’s based on our trust that God that gives us His word is our ultimate authority. Or should we instead depend on fallible man called scientists as having that authority?

As you indicated, the Bible makes it clear that God created man apart from the animals in His image, thus placing man in a status far above the animals. Did God command the animals the way He did Adam?

As we study the Bible, we find that God’s actions by which He created were carried out instantly by His spoken word. The field of science is our servant that guides us in deepening our understanding of God’s creation by His word.

Jesus instructed us to be as little children in the sight of God. I as a child believed my parents because to me, they know everything even though I sometimes betrayed that trust by doing a wrong for which I was punished. So do we rest ourselves with trust in God as our irrefutable authority.

The fact that science is defined as knowledge in the dictionary shows that its impossible for it to refute God when carried out correctly. Several scriptures clearly instruct us of the extreme importance of “my word(s)”–God’s word(s) that is. But we also see in Genesis that after God instructed Adam and Eve with His pure word, they were approached by a promoter of doubt. So are we likewise today.

Did God need to rest on the seventh day? Did Jesus that never sinned need to be baptized? He did so to “fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15),” and to set the example for us sinners to follow suit. So did God rest on the Sabbath day to bless and sanctify it to set a path for us to follow in remembrance of His mighty work of creating us. Hence the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8).

Death is the consequences of broken fellowship with God because of man’s choice to rebel against His perfect command. Jesus’ conquest of death (impossible to us) is His conquest of what man chose against God’s will.

All of the above is based only on the written word.

Does the field of science support the Biblical claim there was a flood or no? Why aren’t all scientist unanimous on that issue? Why are there scientists that staunchly support the Biblical claim with evidence against those that don’t? Should we place our absolute trust in a group of fallen men that are not unanimous in their conclusions?

Thanks again for continuing to stay with the Bible.

Evolutionary thought would be seen as in the forensic science category if it is such because it is a study of past events. Is forensic science easy? As pie? Why does it so often appear so easy to arrive at evolutionary conclusions about the past? I would have known nothing of black holes had it not been for scientists. Can scientists use a telescope to show us the earth taking shape whether by God’s spoken word or by chance evolution? I only know that the Biblical creation account is from a witness–God himself. The words of a witness quickly clear up forensic cases.

Thanx for the lines. Where did you find them?

We are aware of the fact that we were made in God’s image that places us in a much higher category than flakes of dust!

Ooooooooo! What do abortionists think of this!? Yes, thare are unfortunately some that see us especially the unborn only as flakes of dust. If someone thinks that of you and me then what other than the Bible would stop him from taking all of our belongings and eliminate us?

Can we yet say that this “ball of rust” is “very good” as described in Genesis 1? Isn’t it yet a beautiful place (beautiful flowers, scenery, sunsets, etc.) despite the fact that it was corrupted by rebellious, sinful man? I thought that Mars with its red color may be better described as a ball of rust although yet far better than the rash description given the earth in the lines above.

Isn’t there always a need to count our blessings hidden by our discouraged minds?

Earl

See John 1:1-4.

If we take the Gen 1 and 2 stories as parables rather than literal earth history there is no problem with science
The is no conflict between an evolutionary origin of life and the prospect that it was the means God chose. The order of the natural laws that govern physical existence could have made it inevitable that creatures like us would sometime come into existence. God may have even helped the process along. Its just that it happened here in this planet.
But we can believe that God gave to the universe that freedom in whic evolution happens with the intention that we will come to exist and that in due time God would enter the universe united to our substance, and that it happened in Jesus.

It is not neccessary to use scripture to oppose evolution or any other finding of modern science, as long as we affirm God’s intentions and involvement.

Hello cosmiscotus,

Your post:

Should we define modern science as such if it conflicts with the word of God? I never knew of any condition necessary for these to line up. Knowledge lines up with knowledge does it not? Where did the natural laws that govern originate? I thought that God’s spoken word was the means He chose.

Should I take it that you as a child thought that your parents wanted you to see the important things they informed you of only as allegories and that nothing from them was to be taken literally?

An addendum for you, Matt.

There’s no need to be scared, but only vigilant. Our trust is in God who is stronger than we are with our fallen nature.

We are kept by our wholehearted determination to hold on to God’s spoken infallible word based on our immovable trust. Our daily prayer lives are the means by which we guard against our tendencies to be drawn away by our fallen nature.

Earl

Theistic evolution undermines God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. For our race to be redeemed by one man, sin had to enter the world through one man. Adams death, as the penalty for his sin, allowed Christ to conquer sin and death for us all. I spent a lot of energy on this topic in my recent book, Reconciling Genesis and Science. I think it might help you sort out the questions you raise,
The science behind macroevolution is fatally flawed. Embracing TE is finding a way to embrace a deception by creating another deception.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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