This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/missing-links--december-7-2015
Mr. Stump -
Thank you for your article.
Perhaps several definitions or distinctions would help the Christian layperson in reading your article. First, would you clarify the term evolution and distinguish between macro- and micro- evolution? It is the former that is the most controversial here, particularly among Christians. The latter is, I understand it, observable and repeatable, making it more fact than theory. Second, would you define the terms 'theory' and 'fact'? From this layperson's perspective, for something to rise above the level of theory to fact, it would have to, at the very least, not change to the degree that modern descriptions of macro-evolution have, and, perhaps, even be observable and repeatable. Lastly, what raises questions for me and many of like faith is to be told that something is beyond debate and established fact. This is certainly true of the described 'consensus' on both macro-evolution and of climate change. This posture seems designed to shut down rigorous inquiry, and from this layperson's perspective seems to be utterly unscientific, more of a philosophical assertion than a scientific one.
Thanks in advance for your kind consideration of my comments.
‘Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.’
- Psalm 33:8-9 NASB
Do you think we should once again return to challenge the topic of Germ Theory - - in order to re-examine the Bible-based merits of the “demon causation” of disease?
Something can have multiple causations. Understanding germ theory does not discount that Job’s physical ailments were caused by the actions of the devil. Or perhaps you are implying that the Bible’s view of demonic activity was “disproved” by the discovery of germs. If so, you have a different view of the Bible and God than I, Mark, and quite probably, the folks at Biologos.
While I have room in my views for true miracles … I am skeptical that spitting into dirt and applying the mud to the eyes of a blind man is a true story . . . If I were God, I don’t think I would spit into dirt as part of my big finale. But since I’m a Unitarian Universalist, I am not troubled that Jesus might not be the physical incarnation of God.
I have always been fascinated by the different ways that Jesus did miracles. Sometimes he just spoke, sometimes he did some physical thing (in this example, mud from spit put in the eye - sounds awful!) and have wondered why the different methods. Your answer is simple - Jesus is not God and the stories, as told, probably did not happen. Fair enough. For me, there is a different solution to the issue. Jesus reaches folks where they are at. He TOUCHES the leper, who has had, for years, to cry out UNCLEAN everywhere he went and never received the touch of a “clean” person. He surprises the religious leaders with the paralytic let down through the ceiling by healing his SINS and only later, his body. Jesus, in making mud from his spit, is clashing with our sensibilities. He takes something that would be horrible for a healthy person and uses it for good in the case of this blind man. That is a picture of what he does with many BAD things that occur in each of our lives. He can use them for our GOOD.
I have read that spit/mud was a common finale for faith healers of the day. But I’ve never found any other accounts. . . so I am not going to fall on my sword over it.
"Perhaps a closer reading of the Genesis creation accounts would grant
conservative Christians a more comfortable relationship with science and
actually motivate them to accept God’s mandate to care for the earth.” -
See more at:
That is a very patronizing statement by Pastor Ryan Gear. It implies both that conservative Christians have not looked at Genesis 1 and 2 (and parts of 3) close enough and that such action would “actually motivate them to accept God’s mandate to care for the earth,” as if conservative Christians do not care for the earth.
This disdain for conservative Christians troubles me. The use of the pull-quote by Jim Stump somewhat implies he is in agreement with the quote.
Conservative Christians, just like Christians with other monikers, care about this world. They help in many ways - digging wells, teaching farming methods, etc., in difficult areas of the world. They care about the people of the world and for their needs.
1:26 God tells us that one of the reasons He made mankind was so we would have dominion over the earth. The Hebrew word basically means be in charge or rule over it.
1:28 fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over the animal kingdom
2:8 God put man in a garden (presumably to tend it)
2:15 God tells man to work it and keep it (presumably this is the crucial verse - we are to attend to the land)
3:17-19 This is the curse spoken to Adam after he sinned. It said the land was cursed and would now be much tougher to farm due to thorns, etc.
Where is the crucial and overlooked stuff?
Also, conservative Christians tend to be aware of another set of verses…
2 Peter 3:10-13 This passage reminds us that this earth is only temporary and will eventually be burned up and replaced. 3:11 asks the question, since that is the case, what sort of people should we be in holiness?
That is a very important focus for conservative Christians. This life and this world are both temporary. I hope all Christians who eschew the label conservative also realize that and focus more on holiness than on “saving the planet.”
No, I wouldn’t question ‘germ theory’ - I understand that to be established fact in the sense that it is tested, verifiable, and repeatable. My question is this: what does that have in common with macro-evolution? Can it truly be a fact in the same sense?
The discussion prompts a second question. George, Biologos is a professing evangelical organization with a professed commitment to Scripture as the word of God. This would not seem to be consistent with your beliefs. What is your view of Biologos and reason for following its content?
Dear Kenya Me, I don’t think this is patronizing. I think it is overly optimistic…
I would really love some input and instruction on the original question - fact vs. theory, micro- and macro- evolution.
Might the author of the article or anyone else help enlighten here?
Firstly, I challenge your view that BioLogos is an “evangelical organization … with a professed commitment to Scripture as the word of God.” I think a more accurate representation of your words would be:
“an educational organization … with a professed commitment to harmonizing what we KNOW about the Book of Nature, with what we BELIEVE about the Bible books.”
Secondly, as for the characterizing of Evolution as a NON-SCIENCE - - are you saying ASTRONOMY isn’t a science? … because we can’t go into space and TEST solar systems and galaxies?
Evolutionary science DOES allow for testing. We can measure similarities in genetics and use it to predict rates of change/evolution in specific sections of chromosomes… we can test/predict effectiveness of different medicines or the affects of stress factors - - based on genetic similarities - - even for animals that don’t LOOK very similar.
The most RIGOROUS science comes from Geology - - which doesn’t require ANY theorizing about intelligence or design - - but tells us the Universe and the Earth is very very old.
Thanks George, you’ve partially addressed my concerns. Still, it seems you are importing what is verifiable in the present to explain the past, which I see as problematic. In my understanding macroevolution can be nothing but a theory since it is not testable, verifiable, repeatable. And, the theory is continually ‘adjusted’ based on new findings. How can that possibly be fact? Can facts change? I’m not asking you to answer necessarily, just expressing my perspective.
I think you are on to something about Biologos. Functionally, your description is accurate, and that is obvious from the articles you and I both read. But what Biologos publicly professes is quite different than what they functionally do. See the ‘What We Believe’ page here: http://biologos.org/about-us/our-mission/
George, I really appreciate you chiming in here. If I may say so, I am praying that you come to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ as both Lord of creation and Lord of your life.
*“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17, NASB)
This topic was automatically closed 4 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.