Looking for answers…and not from Ken Ham

Welcome! You have already received some excellent suggestions. While there are many evidences of an old earth, to me the most telling sign of common descent with modification that defines evolution is ERVs. I do not know if your background has included them, but basically they are the coffee stains and streaks on the copies that tell you what copy machine and where your copy of the agenda came from. These viral scars on the DNA code are passed through time from species to species, leading you to a common ancestor.

However, that evidence is secondary to realization I had in college that an old earth and the relatedness of creation was real and true, and if it was true, then my lingering thoughts of a literal interpretation of Genesis were false, if the Bible were also true. The choice was not science vs. faith, but rather a reconstructed, integrated faith vs.falling away.

2 Likes

As others have mentioned some of the best evidence is the geological layers. But they are only important if you understand how to interpret the data.

But first thing to know is that the layers are laid on top of one another. Now you can have oddities caused by earthquakes, mudslides and so on but those are outlier ( not common ) events and they tend to have great scientific answers. The way they are layered is called superimposition. Older layers on the bottom. Newer layers on top.

When we look at these layers we see the fossil record. This is important because we can see morphological developments. Such as we never see humans in the same layers as dinosaurs. We never see humans in layers older than dinosaurs. We never see dinosaurs in layers after humans. We have never found a human that was killed by a dinosaur. We never find dinosaurs that have human weapon damage done to the bones.

We don’t see bipedal primates showing up earlier than the earliest primates who walked around on all fours. We don’t see humans before earlier primates. We don’t find angiosperms predating gymnosperms.

So when we look at the geological layers we see within them a steady and ever evolving line of linages. We see morphological changes.

A flood can’t answer these issues. A global flood would have species in all layers. Not in order. If it was in order it would be consistent. We would not see big and small animals in the same users but not in other layers. The facts they are in different layers let us know it happened at different times.

When we see chimps we see a lot of similarities. Morphologically and even more importantly genetically.

Here are two great podcasts about evolution and geology

2 Likes

As for does scripture directly say evolution is the process? No.
Does scripture indirectly say evolution is the process? No.

Does scripture leave room in its interpretation that evolution is the process? Probably not in the way you think.

We don’t look at scripture to tell us how the climate works, or how tornadoes work, or how fire works , or anything.

Try to use just scripture to explain how the weather works to someone who has no idea how it works.
Try using just scripture to explain algebra or chemistry. You can’t. That’s because the Bible is not a scientific textbook.

Likewise try using scripture to teach about Germania, a complete understanding of the Roman Empire or Sumerians. You will not get to far. That’s because the Bible is not a world history book. It’s not even a complete history of the Jews. Christ, the most important figure in the entire set of scriptures still has very little as far as a autobiography goes. It tells us just a little bit of a few years of his life with the majority of blank. That’s because the Bible is not a autobiographical/biographical story.

Now the Bible mentions a bit of science and history. But that’s not it’s main goal.

So when we come to something like genesis 1-2 we must ask ourselves what’s the genre, what’s the narrative and what’s the literary techniques being employed.

So ask questions like is genesis 1 main point what was created on each day? Is the narrative of day six simply about when humans was created. Are there any literary techniques being used such as what’s important about the time frame of a week ( 7 ) or what does Adam’s name mean. Is it wrote as history or is it being wrote as a mythology tale. If we can determine reasonably that it’s being written as a non literal tale
When we then see something in the New Testament mentioning it we can be fairly certain it’s hyperlink and to understand it we much must consider that original context.

This is where many of us struggle initially. We don’t understand the proper context. We get the context of the story within the story. But we don’t get the context of the writing style. We don’t understand ancient Hebrew world views or how they shared those tropes, patterns and jokes.

When we are watching a horror film and we see promiscuous counselors not paying attention to some dying kid we can be fairly certain some monster is about to show up. When the monster kills the guy first and then then goes after the girl and she trips and falls down three times we are never really shocked. We recognize that as a common trope in horror.

But when we are reading the Bible and it suddenly mentions that God told someone to do something and then it mentions they headed out East we typically just presume it means nothing more than they went east. We don’t realize that it often has meaning deeper than that.

When someone comes up to us that’s 7 foot tall and 400lbs and they say their nickname is Tiny we know
It’s a joke. It’s a funny oxymoronic nickname. But when we see the names of Ruth’s husband we may miss out on the joke.

John Walton’s “ The Lost World “ series is pretty good at doing this. Also the podcast, “ The Bible Project “ also covers a lot of this.

So before asking ourselves does genesis teach evolution, it’s better to ask what’s the purpose of genesis. Then decide if that purpose dismisses the possibility of evolution.

1 Like

Only in general terms. Nobody can ever say why it doesn’t rain in a sky full of cloud. Like we had in England for the whole of August. Not even God.

For decades - four - I was a TE in the have your cake and eat it too mold. The rocks don’t lie and neither does Genesis. I was extremely primitive for the first decade… or two, denying evolution and that it was divine intervention all the way to tohu and bohu and beyond. A bit of a handicap for a biologist. That dinosaurs were Satan’s World and all the crazed circle squaring one has to do. By the fourth decade I’d got to full on evolution with a side helping of Eden grafted seamlessly in. I mean abiogenesis and the human mind were naturally impossible, right? As born out by Fermi’s paradox in our practically infinite but strangely finite sole universe. Right?

It was the dawning of eternity that changed everything, that put nature as the ground of faith. Nature un-denied. Nature un-prevaricated. Nature clear as a cloudless day. Faith? Desire that Jesus be for real.

I echo what @jpm said: retroviruses are as close to a ‘smoking gun’ as you can get, IMO. In fact, the genetic evidence as a whole is.

If you want an overview of what retroviruses are and why they are such compelling evidence for common ancestry then watch this short lecture by Dr. Graeme Finlay, who is also a Christian.

On retroviruses and pseudogenes watch this short lecture by this forum’s very own @glipsnort.

You could also search for Denis Venema’s various posts on the BioLogos site on genes and evolution.

To get a better understanding of all the evidence for common ancestry, pick up a copy of Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True. At various points Coyne specifically addresses the claims of Creationists. From a Christian perspective, Darrel Falk’s book Coming To Peace With Science is also a very good introduction to all the evidence, and he also specifically addresses Creationist claims.

1 Like

On evidence for an ancient earth, and for evolution in marine invertebrates, I can provide some points.

The southeastern US has something like 40 distinct fossiliferous layers (not all in the same spot, but you can tell what order they are in from comparing hundreds of sites), varying in their constituents as you move both horizontally and vertically. They are in a very clear sequence, based on the fossils contained. As an example for some of the relevant layers: The Lower Goose Creek Limestone has an extinction rate in the mollusks of 83%; the Upper Goose Creek Limestone, 82%; Raysor Marl, 80%; Darlington beds, 78%, Elizabethtown beds, 68%; lower Waccamaw Formation, 65%; upper Waccamaw Formation, 56%; Bermont formation, 15%; Wando Formation 0%. You can also look at specific types of fossils, and where they are found in the layers.

For evolution within the layers; Argopecten, Chesapecten, and Otodus are well-studied examples.

Radiometric dating also gives extremely good evidence for an ancient earth:

1 Like

Oh my this is so much good information! Thank you everyone for all of the info and resources. I’m looking into each one and have ordered some of the books mentioned as well.

I live in WY and I’m very happy to be able to be more open minded to science and not have to try and find all the scientific answers only from scripture as it doesn’t seem to be the purpose of the story. I feel like some chains are coming off.

Thank you for your openness to share you knowledge. It’s very encouraging. Many YEC (won’t name names) often call believers who move towards other interpretations “compromisers” so I appreciate the willingness to share with me and not put down my lack of knowledge here as I move away from YEC and open up to new ideas.

I’ve also found this website to have a ton of information today. I didn’t realize there was so much so I’m very excited to take it in and think on it.

Thanks again!

8 Likes

There is no end to the information that validates the antiquity of the earth and the universe, and new evidence always supports it. A personal favorite is this, by a Christian:

4 Likes

It is possible to read Genesis very literally, just as Ken Ham does, and to recognize the ancient age of the earth without the confusing pseudoscience of biological evolution. If you want to understand how this can be, I refer you to my book published by Amazon’s Kindle Press, found at this link: https://smile.amazon.com/Resolving-Age-World-Argument-Biblical/dp/B092HCV2T6/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=L.+Ralph+Rohr&qid=1632746649&sr=8-3.
Ralph :slight_smile:

1 Like

Good to meet you, Ralph. Do tell us about yourself: Is your background in science, theology, Biblical studies?

Best,
Chris Falter

EDIT: I found the website https://sowhatistruth.com/ when I googled your name. Is that your site?

2 Likes

My cult used to do that decades ago. It gave up that pseudoscience as the science of evolution was so clear. Even so I had a side bet on Eden until a decade ago. It’s amazing how tenacious these memes are.

1 Like

Yes, that is my blog site. My background is in science (formal, M.D.) and biblical studies (informal and personal). You can find my thoughts about Genesis reading and age of earth on that blog site, and in my kindle book on amazon :slight_smile:

Hi Ralph, perhaps you be kind enough to share one or two thoughts here on the forum. That way other users can engage with them directly.

Anything relevant to the topic being discussed in the last half dozen or so posts would be particularly welcome.

2 Likes

Genetics. The effort is made to explain this away as required for the design. But too much of it is simply not used for anything EXCEPT maybe evolution. The information contained in the genetics is vast and is now telling the story of where it came from in great detail now that we are learning to read it.

Not exactly, but there are certainly places in scripture which do not agree with YEC and Adam and Eve being the first homo sapiens. Genesis chapters 4 and 6 which talks of an earth filled with people already and explaining that the sons of Adam and Eve married the daughters of those other people out there.

Certainly the book of Job tells us that (at that time) we knew NOTHING about how God created things and thus Genesis has NOT explained how God created everything in some kind of creation for dummies text.

I recommend most reading the posts of this forum.

There are some important philosophical/theological issues in addition to the direct Biblical and scientific evidence…

  1. What is life? Everything in science tells us that this is NOT some magical non-physical addition to matter in order to animate it, but rather is a dynamic interactive process derived from the properties of matter.
  2. From AI we are learning that intelligence is not as important or special as we have thought. It really come down to little more than the ability to follow a set of instructions like a computer. And that includes the ability to make complex and sophisticated designs.
  3. Thus we should realize that the portrayal of God as a great watchmaker (creator of dead machines) is a product of Deism, while the portrayal of God in the Bible is that of a shepherd (creator of living things). Because creating living things is NOT a process of clever design but one of love, care, teaching, and guidance.
2 Likes

Hi Ralph,

Well into my adulthood, I had the same view of evolution and the Bible that you express on your website. Then one day a dear friend of mine, a geologist, planted a seed that challenged my thinking. I write about the experience in this blogpost. I hope you will read my post, even as I read a few of yours.

The upshot is that almost everything I thought I knew about the work of biologists, paleontologists, and geologists was wrong. Clearly, this is not as critical as being wrong about the cross and the resurrection would be. At the same time, I feel badly about the friends I alienated from the gospel by propagating untruths about biology, paleontology, and geology. I am trying hard not to repeat that error. :slight_smile:

Grace and peace,
Chris

6 Likes

Whoever attempts to translate Scripture whether they are exegetes, scientists, Christians etc… They will only be partially successful on their own because it is the teaching, mentorship and friendship of the Holy Spirit which fully reveals and opens up God’s Word in the Bible.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John 14:26.

Be aware this was a warning as well as reassurance from Jesus Christ. Just one
or two words mistranslated can alter the whole meaning of Bible a verse or verses. For example: “Jesus died” has a very different meaning to “Jesus had to die.”

Foster and develop a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, He is a Person, part of the Holy Trinity. It is only in this way that you will be sure about what you read in The Word of God.

The Words in the Bible are NOT dead words on a page; they are alive, and they posses the ability to change what they convey. Biblical Truth is not grasped in one fell sweep but rather it is revealed by the Holy Spirit in line with an individual’s growth and development in Jesus Christ.

Lots of Christians are waking up to the reality that our Triune God wants a relationship with those who believe in Him. A knowing OF The Father, rather than a knowing ABOUT The Father.
“TASTE and see that The Lord is good.”
Psalm 34:8.

It is only this close loving relationship which changes everything; it is where knowledge moves up several notches to incorporate Almighty God’s Wisdom; and it is where the peace which passes all understanding originates from, and is lived out.

I pray you will find this relationship because it lies within the grasp of every believer, it is not just for Christian Mystics or Contemplatives. To access this reality is so very simple and fundamental; its roots are within every single person on earth. After all we are ALL made in The Image of Alimighty God, there are no exceptions or mistakes. There is only the creation of distance, doubt and fear which is the job of the enemy.

2 Likes

Sorry about the typos, but I have had to write my previous message in a hurry,!

1 Like

Entropy from thermodynamic laws says that all things in the universe, without any external input, move from order to disorder, and cannot do otherwise with its self contained unusable energy. Evolution begins with unexplainable existing matter, energy, and motivation to reverse thermodynamic laws. Just google creation vs evolution. You will find many books. Hope that helps. I researched evolution while in university a few years ago, and found it to be full of gaps and unfounded assumptions. The bible is easier to verify.

1 Like

Hello Reginald -

I think you have misunderstood the relationship between the laws of thermodynamics and biology. Rather than repeat the long conversation that occurred on this forum just a month ago, I am going to supply a link to the first post. You can read the responses from there.

You are right that evolution does not explain the origins of the universe; it does not even attempt to do so. I stand with you in agreeing that the Lord God created the universe and everything therein.

Blessings,
Chris

3 Likes

“And secondly, is there anywhere in scripture that gives us reason to believe evolution was the correct process? Or is it just that science shows evolution and scripture leaves room for that interpretation?”

As others have already pointed out, Scripture generally does not give scientific information, but it does strongly command us to take an honest approach to what we do.

There are a few things, however, that could be considered to provide some rather indirect support for evolution. First, the account of Jacob getting Laban’s goats, though obscure in exactly what he did, suggests that Jacob was directing some evolution by artificial selection. Secondly, the approach that God takes to revelation is rather evolutionary. Instead of just handing Adam a copy of the Institutes of Christian Theology, God instead gives information rather gradually, building up over time. Thirdly, the general pattern of events uses natural laws - the use of miracles is minimized. Even when a miracle happens, it tends to be only the minimum needed - feeding 5000 with a few loaves and fish is followed by saving the leftovers; water turned to wine has to be served in the ordinary manner; visions and an angel are used to get Peter and Cornelius together so Peter can preach to him, the axe head floats but has to be put back on better, a wind parts the sea but the timing is rather convenient…

Thus, evolution does fit with the general pattern of God’s action as seen in the Bible. But that’s pretty much it.

2 Likes

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

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.