Ok, what am I missing here?

(Mark Kellam) #1

Ok, just so you guys know I am no rookie to the debate forum game. In fact, I was involved in apologetics on wap sites before Facebook became the norm. I headed a chapter of Reasonable Faith and taught apologetics (Systematic Theology) for a while on a website of my own that I created. This is all now in the distant past and these days I enjoy discussing issues that are controversial, and more importantly dangerous. Why mention those things? Because in all this time the basic debate or controversy has never changed. It can be reduced to actually one topic. Is the Bible literally true, metaphorical (when it’s convenient), or complete fiction that is “based on a true story”?

I am a big fan of Dr. Collins and I have been following his progress in the spiritual growth he started. I am worried now that will stay at a certain “stage” of development that was outlined in the parable of the sower of seeds…“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants”. I wrote a book about this (never published it) and ended up contacting Dr. R.C. Sproul about this very thing (I was actually taking an online course on apologetics with him at that time). Here is the bottom line. If evolution is true then the bible is not true, and if Genesis 1-1 is not true then there is no logical reason to believe any of it.

I’ve seen this “the Bible corresponds with evolution” idea before, and it’s extremely dangerous, and here’s why. No, it doesn’t correspond with the biblical account of creation at all. The biblical account states that God created all life forms “as-is”. So to try to make this as short as possible I want to give everyone the view from the eyes of the outsider, the fanatic, the skeptic, and the spiritual differences that can appear as “truth”. Here is what you that endorse evolution look like to those that are not scientifically literate. You can learn a lot by looking at your conviction from a perspective of those that do not know what you know, or think you know.

Here is the bottom line on evolution theory, and the simple logic and reason problems it creates:

First of all, it is a positive truth claim that demands validation. You are basically repeating the claim over and over to validate the claim The only evidence you are offering to support the theory IS the theory itself. The only physical evidence you are offering (DNA) ALSO validated the biblical account of creation in Genesis [all things were created from a common material].

This is where the biblical account leaves evolution theory behind.

1- It goes on to state that all living things were created “as-is” and will remain and reproduce “after their own kinds”. In case you haven’t noticed all your algae is still algae and your birds (finches) are all still birds.
2- It states that all living things must return to this same common material (dust)

Now, here’s the problem. These things found in the biblical account of creation are ACTUALLY OBSERVABLE NOW…

…no excuses needed.

(Christy Hemphill) #2

Welcome. I wanted to clarify that this is not a debate forum, it’s a discussion forum. The point is not supposed to be to win arguments, it’s supposed to be to gain better understanding of other people’s perspectives and to clarify one’s own thinking. The distinction matters.

(Christy Hemphill) #3

What do you mean by “literally true”? It looks to me like you are posing some kind of false choice between figurative language and truth value.

If I say my children are a treasure, is that not true because it relies on an explicit metaphor?

If I say my sins have been cancelled and I stand before God completely justified, is that not true because it relies on several implicit conceptual metaphors like SIN IS LAW-BREAKING and GOD IS A JUDGE?

(Mark D.) #4

Looks to me like the repetition is the result of continual validation of the theory. DNA has made it possible to map the connectedness of organisms better than the mere morphology of the past.

I’m not a scientist myself but I enjoy learning something about it and this is probably the best place on the internet for an interested lay person. Seems to me that a good chunk of the discussion that goes on here is centered on science itself though there is probably at least as much musing over how that reconciles with people’s faith.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #5

Would you say that you believe in the fixity of species? Or how far exactly do you aim to define what a ‘kind’ is? I’m not sure what you mean by point 2- indeed everything dies and many lineages go extinct over time.

(Phil) #6

Where to start?

I cannot agree with that statement. Look at the evidence from geology, astrophysics, physics for an old earth. Look at fossils the ages and changes in fossils.Llook at DNA, which confirms what was inferred. Look at bacterial antibiotic resistance. Look at the variety of animals on the planet and the fossils of all that are extinct. Consider taking a class in evolution such as offered by Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux.
On the other hand, some of ideas that come out of the young earth camp have no physical evidence at all to support them, and cannot form a cohesive framework that explains the observations that are made.
However, if you are comfortable with your understanding of such things, may you be blessed in life’s journey.

(Mitchell W McKain) #7

The Bible is chock full of metaphors and when His disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables (which is frankly the ultimate use of metaphor) Jesus replied…

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

So Jesus is saying that there are people who do not want to see, hear, or understand the truth and so Jesus uses metaphors so that they have the freedom to close their eyes, ears, and minds by taking those metaphors literally and thus refusing to see the real meaning. And if Jesus who is God speaks to people in metaphor while on the Earth and among us then what should we expect of God’s word in general?

Here is the bottom line. If evolution is not the truth, then the creator is either irresponsible, evil, uncaring, or simply doesn’t know what He is doing. And in that case there is no good reason to believe in God and therefore no logical reason to believe any of the Bible.

No that is only dangerous to your chosen way of life and thinking, because if you open your eyes, ears and mind, well gosh, you might have to admit that you were wrong – heaven forbid! I’ve seen this “you have to choose between science and the Bible” idea before, and it’s extremely dangerous to the well-being of the whole world in general and to Christianity in particular… and here’s why.

It enables people to believe what other people tell them ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. It enables this mentality that one should believe whatever some person says is a command from God for no better reason than they simply claim that the Bible says so. They can say that it is God’s will that all the people of a certain color be sold into slavery and treated like animals, because the Bible says so and the whole country cooperates by passing laws to make it illegal for anyone to oppose them or help those how have been systematically murdered and abused. They can say that it is God’s will that all the Jews be marched into gas chambers and exterminated like rats because the Bible says so and so whole countries cooperate until millions of innocent people are dead.

BUT… the Bible doesn’t say these things!!! So what? The Bible doesn’t say that that evolution is wrong and the plain fact is that the Bible is more consistent with evolution than creationism. But it is rather evident that people can distort the Bible in many many ways and they have done so repeatedly. And if you systematically get people out of the habit of honest inquiry and into the habit of ignoring the objective evidence, then you can hardly expect them to pay attention to what the Bible actually says and be honest about that either.

No, there is no such words in the Bible. Thus you are editing the text to fit what you choose to believe. You might want to closely examine why you think that you can get away with that?

What I have noticed is that the human genome still has the DNA for tails in it and a huge portion of the inactive DNA in the human genome is the same as the inactive DNA in chimpanzees. To me that is like a message directly from God that these little fellas are our brothers and while you may see demons arranging your DNA or God using your DNA to tell you lies, I do not.

What I refuse to ignore as you apparently choose to ignore is that that over the last 4.5 billion years for which we have fossilized evidence show that life has been changing constantly all that time. Algae doesn’t turn into tomato plants while you watch them in a microscope, but algae-like single celled plants certainly do change into tomato-like plants over the course of billion of years in that fossilized evidence. And as confirmed by over 140 different labs in 50 countries using up to 20 different methods of dating, we know that some dinosaurs with feathers first appeared 200 million years ago and the oldest fossils we have of creatures with wings, found right here in Utah, is also from 200 million years ago. But to be sure they were nothing like what we call birds today, because like I said all the living things on this planet keep changing.

The thing about the objective evidence in science is that it piles up so relentlessly that we can ask more and more detailed questions. We can find the age of the universe to an increasingly high precision. We can find the percentage of DNA in different people around the world that came from the different human subspecies like the neanderthals and the denisovans. We can calculate when the common ancestors of any two species existed in the past. As we keep finding more and more answers to every question we can imagine, it is the people who stubbornly keep refusing to look at any of this accumulating evidence that look like they are living in a total fantasy world of their own self-deception.

No… they are not. 99.999% of what is observable right now is NOT mentioned in the Bible anywhere. And a few things mentioned in the Bible are not observable because they are now extinct.

Oh and the literal treatment of the biblical account??? No that is certainly not observable: No golems made from dust or bone. No magical fruit which give knowledge or prolonged life. No talking snakes. No observable evidence for a world wide flood. No observable evidence for an earth less than 10,000 years old. Only evidence which contradicts the earth existing before light let alone before the sky. Only evidence which contradicts the claim that first life was seed and fruit bearing plants, let alone that such plants existed before the sun and moon. And only evidence which contradicts the claim that birds and flying creatures came before those which crawl on the ground.

In fact all this makes the Bible just look stupid, but I don’t think it is a problem with the Bible but just people like those Jesus talked about Matthew 13 who don’t want to see, hear, or understand and so they read the Bible in a way that closes their eyes, ears, and minds.


@Truthseeker1 Since you appear to want to drag in Dr. Sproul as an authority perhaps you should consider the fact that he doesn’t agree with what you are arguing. In support of that statement I offer " A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture" by Keith Mathison which is available as a free Kindle download.


I haven’t finished reading it yet but it appears to refute your statement quite nicely using Dr. Sproul’s own words.

(Tim) #9

Where in Scripture does it state that Genesis is either literal or figurative? I think that any attempt to reconcile Genesis with a modern world view is a dubious way to prove what is true. Modern understanding is going to trump what Genesis says. However all other ANE creation accounts take the same evolutionary aproach that Modern humans take. It would seem to me that they took all authority of the written word as figurative of some exact truth that was lost to humanity.

Is Genesis different in the aproach it takes to state what actually happened, when compared to all othe ANE accounts? I think my issue is throwing out what is literal, just because it appears figurative. I also think that to God 36.5 million years would still be a YEC position if a day equals 1000 years. If a thousand years is standard life to man, then God views that as 36.5 billion years, so 14 billion is a mid life crisis.

Why would God deceive or mislead humans if the universe had the appearance of 14 billion years, especially if God “just” expects us to take everything figuratively instead of being “just” closed minded literalists? Trusting science to give us info on what Genesis states whether literally or figuratively; is shaky ground to begin with, as science evolves. Genesis is what it is.

I think that the big question is was God lying with the record of the Word; or was God lying with creating a mature universe. I am not sure we have evidence of a earth that has been spinning for 4 billion years. We do have evidence of a earth with the appearance of 4 billion years that is only a few days old in God’s view.

(Chris) #10

I think I need clarification here. Many of today’s dog breeds have only been developed within historical times, many within the last few hundred years. So these dog breeds were certainly not created as is. The same can be said of many domestic varieties of animals and birds. Examples of observed speciation are rarer but there probably are a few examples; the London Underground Mosquito is a possible one.

Perhaps what you’re saying is that we can observe new varieties and species appearing in the created kinds? E.g. the London Underground mosquito is still a mosquito. I would agree with that.

More AIG Hyper-Speciation problems
(Laura) split this topic #11

34 posts were split to a new topic: What Is Information?

(Mitchell W McKain) #13

Like I observed before words “as-is” are not in the Bible, nor anything meaning that they will remain their own kind. And nor does the Bible use the words “after their own kind” in conjunction with reproduction. Instead the Bible uses the words “according to its kind” when it says God made them. And so what shall we make of this? That each creature had a kind before God even made them? Isn’t that exactly what evolution says? Evolution shows that living creatures did not pop into existence from nothing but evolved from creatures which were already there: all varieties of birds from flying creatures which came before them, all varieties of carnivores from carnivores which came before them, all varieties insects from insects which came before them, all varieties of fish from other fish before them, all varieties for flowering plants from a flowering plant which came before them, varieties of non-flowering plants from non-flowering plants which came before them. And god made these earlier creatures in the same way: all the varieties creatures living out of the water from creatures which first came out of the water, and all the seed bearing plants, flowering and non-flowering from seed bearing plants which came before these, and all the varieties of seedless plants from the seedless plants which came before them. And so on and so forth God made all living things according to the kinds of living things which came before them in a branching tree just like evolution and the fossil record shows us.

So once again you can see that the actual unaltered words of the Bible agree far better with what the objective evidence shows and it is only by adding words and changing the Bible do the creationists make the Bible contradict the discoveries of the honest inquiry of science.

(Christy Hemphill) split this topic #14

A post was split to a new topic: More AIG Hyper-Speciation problems

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #15

Genesis 1:1-5 (NIV2011)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Mark, welcome.

Here is Gen 1:1-5 and it has nothing about evolution in it, so I dee no issue here between the Bible and evolution, except all this happened on 1 day, but the Big bang took place within 1 minute.

Yes, the Biblical account seems to day that the Universe was created as is, even though we know that the world is constantly changing. Certainly God is not going to say something that is clearly false.

Therefore it seems clear to me that God was speaking in short hand, not trying to nail all the facts down because these4 were not important to what God was saying, which was 1) God created the universe ex nihilo; 2) God created the universe within time and space; and 3) God’s actions are intelligible.

You are mistaken. Evidence for evolution is the fossil history which shows how life forms evolved into current forms, including humans. DNA is a verification and back up in that the genetic story affirms the fossil story. There is no indication in Gen 1 that God created different forms of life out of a common , material, but science indicates that God did.

You right to say that there is no contradiction between the Bible and Evolutionary Creation, except for those who think that God needed to speak to ancient prescientific people using the same language that we modern folk understand. In other words we are to think that God had to tailor the Bible for our use, rather than the use of the people to which it was addressed.

If you want a different understanding of God’s Creation, please read the beginning of the Gospel according to John.

(Phil) #16

“When God made everything good and perfect in Genesis one it did not neccessarily mean kind and loving. It meant mature and complete.”

@Timtofly, God could have done it that way, but one of the big problems is that we see history as well as age. If you are not familiar with the Omphalos Hypothesis, read here and note why most reject it, as it makes God a deceiver.

That problem of having a world that was inconsistent with the Truth and the Light was what lead me away from that interpretation.

(Marshall Janzen) #17

When the Bible gives us pictures using different imagery to reveal the same concept, it suggests that imagery shouldn’t be pressed too far. When Jesus speaks of the shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the woman seeking the lost coin, and the father seeking the lost son (Luke 15), it’s best not to cobble them all together and form a picture of God as literally a female shepherd who sired sons.

That’s obvious. But when we stop treating the beginning of Genesis as God’s last word on creation, similar clues appear:

  • In Genesis 1, God creates like a human ruler who makes decrees during the day, takes the nights off, and rests on the seventh day. The creation of living creatures spans four days.

  • In Genesis 2, God creates like a potter who forms creatures from dust and fires them with divine breath. The creation of living creatures (forming a human, growing a garden/orchard, forming the animals) happens in quick succession, though without an explicit timeframe.

  • In Job 38, which unlike Genesis is presented as God’s direct speech without human narration, God creates like a master builder who measures carefully, sets the earth’s cornerstone and the rest of its foundation, then walls it off from surrounding floodwaters. God takes ownership for creating living creatures without giving a timeframe.

  • In Psalm 104, God wears many hats: builder, warrior, governor, gardener, agriculturalist. Here God continues to actively create living creatures to the psalmist’s day (vv. 27-30).

These accounts disagree in the literal picture of creation they present. They use different time frames. But are we supposed to simply piece them all together to arrive at the facts of how and when? Or are we to ignore a few of them and insist on the details in the one or two we like the best? I think that, instead, each one reveals important truth about God’s power and involvement in creation. We do best to read them with as much care as we read Jesus’ parables, not reifying them into literal pictures that contradict each other or God’s creation itself.

It’s worse than that. The biblical account states that the way you get variety in a kind of creature is by influencing what the creatures look at during mating (Genesis 30:25-43; note particularly the “thus” or “in this way” in the final verse). Somehow this idea, present in the Bible for millennia, has failed to take biology by storm. (I don’t even know of young-earth creationists who incorporate it in their alternative to evolution, though it would seem an easy fit. How did the feline kind diversify after the flood? Some felines looked at the toppled remains of forests, trunks of every shade stacked on top of each other, and gave birth to tigers. Other cats contemplated the receding waters, dotted with the upturned remains of fish, and gave birth to leopards.)

The Bible doesn’t seem that interested in showing the boundaries of created kinds. For people, we do have texts that show that different nations are related. Ham has a son named Egypt (Gen. 10:6), for instance, showing that Egyptians are human too. I wouldn’t want to press that verse to disagree with what has been found about the actual origin of the nation of Egypt, but it still has value in showing the unity of humanity.

But the Bible doesn’t have similar verses showing that Bovidae had three children called Ox, Sheep and Goat. We simply aren’t given enough information in Scripture to reconstruct the roots of supposed created kinds. Instead, what seem to be modern species, even ones largely distinguished through domestication, are found from the earliest pages. Perhaps the scope of heredity is another of those secrets that it was the glory of God to conceal, and the glory of God’s image-bearers to search out (Prov. 25:2).

(Christy Hemphill) #18

Metaphor based thinking is ubiquitous in human cognition and communication. Most of the time metaphors are conceptual, not just literary devices that highlight a point of similarity by describing one thing in terms of another (like we learned in lit class).

Humans use metaphors derived from domains of embodied human experience to reason and explain more abstract domains all the time. One of the major errors people make in critiquing Genesis interpretations is assuming that metaphor has to mean “fancy poetic stuff” as opposed to something humans normally use to communicate.

Conceptual metaphors can’t be reduced to a literal meaning. They are the foundation of the cognitive process itself. If I say, “My anger was simmering under the surface, but when I heard the news, it just boiled over into rage,” there is no way to get behind the metaphor ANGER IS A HOT LIQUID, because that is how anger is being conceived of. You lose elements of meaning if you say, “I was somewhat angry, but when I heard the news I got very angry.”

Same with the creation story that depends on underlying conceptual metaphors of God as an artisan/ruler and creation as work. Those conceptual metaphors are part of the communicated meaning. God is not literally a human worker who takes the Sabbath off, but the metaphor of God as a human worker is foundational to understanding the abstract idea of God as creator.

(Chris) #19

@Truthseeker1 ? Are you still here?

(Tim) #20

Adding the word “false” to a phenomenon does not make it false, unless there is proof of motive to do so. Now “did it convince humans” may be proof of motive or just coincidence. If God knew from the Beginning that it would, is that motive enough?

If an omniscient being wanted people to have choice without any forced manipulation, lying to them and dececeiving them may be legitimate but not malicious.

I am not sure if living with the notion that God did everything to go against what I choose to believe is a very satisfactory notion.

(Tom Larkin) #21

Welcome to the forum. This debate is relatively insignificant in comparison to the saving grace Jesus has provided through his life, death and resurrection. The problem is however very important in that the perceived conflict of evolution and the Bible causes many people to reject faith and causes many people of faith to reject science. I am a biochemical engineer who has been studying the Bible for a number of years, with an approach that I was not going to let what I don’t understand get in the way of what I did understand. What I understand now is the Bible is the Word of God, to be taken literally. I have a fundamentalist view of the Bible.

Through my studies, one thing popped out at me that in Genesis and other books the genealogy leading to the Messiah was always given after the genealogies not leading to the Messiah. For example, Cain is given before Seth, Ismael is given before Jacob. This is consistent all the way through, with one exception, Adam. This led me to the conclusion that Genesis 1 and 2 are sequential, the creation of the Garden and Adam comes after the events of Genesis 1. I have documented this in a book, Genesis and Evolution, available on Amazon or a free PDF is available on the Peaceful Science website. I have found this to much more consistent with the rest of the Bible, a quick example is that the conflict with the creation sequence of Genesis 1 and the creation of Adam and the Garden immediately goes away. I have found no indication in scripture than the Garden creation was a local event.

I also go into detail in the book as to what is science and what is non-science. Science is executed using the scientific method, with data and conclusions being published in peer reviewed journals. The data behind the theory of evolution is staggering and it is about to explode as now you do not need a fossil to extract dan samples, they can be extracted from the dirt if there is confidence some had been there. I also go into detail on the dating methods in use, over 40 and how multiple dating methods are used to confirm data from each other.

I loved Dr.Collins books and I would recommend reading them, however the idea that Adam and Eve were “representative” I have found troubling. I believe as the Bible states Adam and Eve were directly created by God. Paul writings are very clear in that through one man sin and (spiritual) death has entered the world and through on man we have (spiritual) life.

I hope you have found the replies on this sight helpful, there are clearly a diversity of opinions which is what you need in a forum.

Tell your friends!

Origins of the Genesis stories