The fossil record fits best with progressive creation


#1

I was certainly guilty of “tunnel vision” for several years re the early chapters of Genesis - I used to believe in a literal “six days” of creation, but I eventually accepted the science that says the earth is possibly billion of years old and that life began possibly millions of years ago as relatively simple organisms.

For thousands of years, most Bible-believers held that all creation took place over six literal days, and it’s evident that many Bible-believers today have trouble accepting any other interpretation, as they seem to think a non-literal interpretation is somehow false and is giving in to an evolutionary paradigm. But this is not so, as I reject biological evolution and accept progressive creation over millions of years - a process which actually fits the fossil record much better. The fossil record does reveal a kind of “evolution” of creatures, but the many gaps and the distinct lack of transitionals suggest a process of progressive creation, rather than a contiguous process of biological evolution.

The Bible is not a science book - it’s purpose is to reveal the relationship between God and man as it pertains to salvation. Hence, the description of pre-Adam creation is described only figuratively in Genesis 1-2. It is described figuratively because what happened on earth before the creation of man is not important to salvation (besides being rather lengthy!). God left it to the intelligence of humans - ie, science - to eventually reveal what happened on earth before Adam and Eve. This revelation (provided by God’s creation - nature) didn’t occur until the twentieth century, revealing also that the age-old “six literal days of creation” interpretation, while understandable and acceptable, was false.

I should also add that accepting an old earth and old life opens up a whole new world of investigation for me. It’s all rather fascinating from a scientific perspective.

For a long time I used to cite Mark 10:6 as a “proof text” that Adam and Eve were present at the beginning of creation, but eventually I released that I was taking Jesus’ words out of context. The passage actually refers to the fact that God instituted marriage at the creation of Adam and Eve.


Tunnel vision regarding Genesis
(Randy) #2

Welcome, Edgar. Thanks for your thoughts. Isn’t science fascinating?
What is your background? You said somewhere that you came to the conclusion of ID about a month ago. How did you come to that point?

To lay the ground work–I accept you as a fellow seeker of truth, and also, as a brother in the Lord; so whatever conclusions we get to, it doesn’t matter if we disagree (this applies to nonChristians too).


(Christy Hemphill) #3

Hi Edgar, welcome to our forum.

I moved your topic to its own thread because it brought up a separate topic that I thought might generate some discussion.


(George Brooks) #4

@Edgar

So, why then, did God use Special Creation in precisely the way that most convincingly indicates God-Led Evolution as the mechanism of animal and plant creation?


#5

And attempt to reconcile evolution with Scripture ends in tears. A much more sensible approach for Christians is progressive creation over millions of years - it fits the fossil record much better than evolution and is theologically acceptable (no need to deny the plain words of Genesis 2:7 (re the creation of Adam from inanimate matter), for example).

Discoveries in geology (ie, radiometric dating) reveal that Genesis “six days” account of creation is figurative, but after Adam and Eve arrive on the scene, Genesis provides a literal account of history. Evolution leads exegetes to conclude that Genesis 1-11 is not literal history, which is just absurd, imo.


Lamoureux's Evolutionary Creation
(A.M. Wolfe) #6

Does it?

Honest question, not combative: What does it do with the facts of biogeography?

That is to say, why would God progressively create the great diversity of marsupials — Tasmanian tigers, kangaroos, numbats, koalas, marsupial moles, marsupial mice, and all the rest — exclusively on Australia, with the sole exception of opossums? I’ll tell you evolution’s story for this. It is that marsupials (specifically, a small opossum-like ancestor closely related to the monito del monte) migrated to Australia and diversified there in isolation, whereas everywhere else they were out-competed by placental mammals. (Paging @gbrooks9 for him to chime in with his wonderful Australian-mammal infographic.) How does progressive creation fit this distribution of facts better?

Similarly, why would God never create large mammals on isolated islands?


#7

Good questions. Firstly, I said progressive creation fits the fossil record better than evolution - I didn’t mention biogeography. As a recent convert (only about a month) to progressive creation, there are no doubt many questions I haven’t considered.

Regarding marsupials, were there not fossils of kangaroos found in China? Your evolutionary explanation could also be applied to progressive creation, which doesn’t preclude the forces of natural selection.
Furthemore, I have no problem with God creating creatures in only one part of the world. I don’t presume to know what God would or wouldn’t do.

The ‘isolated islands’ you mention may not have always been isolated.


#8

Edgar, welcome to the discussion. I won’t argue with you that there may be tears in the process as we see our cherished concordist interpretation fall to the evidence, but I assure you it doesn’t end in tears.

As for the fossil pattern predictions of YEC and PC compared to the actual fossil record:


(D. Lamoureux)

The actual fossil record shows an evolutionary sequence. Note that EC makes no prediction from the Bible because we reject scientific concordism. God accommodates his intended message using the pre-scientific understanding of the ancient world.

EC is the only tenable position for Christians willing to come to terms with the comparative genomic evidence for common ancestry. I confess it can be a difficult pill to swallow, shattering long-held convictions about what we think the Bible is teaching. It invokes charges of theological recklessness just as in the case of Galileo. In his time, everyone “knew” that the plain meaning of scripture was an immovable earth and geocentric universe. Do you still stumble over the biblical texts that reveal an ancient cosmology in the Bible? No, you interpret the texts in a way that coheres with your modern cosmology, as we all do.

There are a range of EC views on historicity and how these chapters ought to be interpreted in context. Ancient Near East literature (which pre-dates Genesis) helps us calibrate the genre and understand that early Genesis is a story of origins for the Hebrews. Most of this material was unavailable to those who preceded us in church history.

This may seem “just absurd” to you, but remember that the argument from incredulity is not often a reliable guide to truth. Scripture is true in all that it teaches but it’s our responsibility to interpret it faithfully. While Genesis was written for us, it was not written to us.


(George Brooks) #9

@jasonbourne4

I love your exhibits!!!

But here’a stumper for you … I bumped into a fellow named Mark Moore at PeacefulScience.Org,
under the profile name: @Revealed Cosmology. He has his own YouTube channel for lots of scholarly home-made videos, including this one:

“The Bible Does NOT Teach that Adam is the Father of All Humans”

While he sounds like a good fit for “hanging with Dr. Joshua” . . . he is not at all happy with the big story line of Evolution. To paraphrase, he believes:

  1. He is an Old Earther.
  2. But like most Old Earthers, he doesn’t hold with Evolution, or even God-Guided Evolution.
  3. He believes that periodically over millions and millions of years, God would use Special Creation to make a new species template of a “kind”.
  4. This species template would be allowed to “micro-evolve” as part of adaptation.
  5. So, a long series of special creations, with in-fill of adapting populations, LOOKS like Evolution.

When I asked him why wouldn’t God just run with micro- and macro- evolution, I read his answer a couple of times, and I just couldn’t figure it out.

But it has a lot to do with Christ-centered Genesis symbolism … he says.

What do you think of the model, @jasonbourne4


(George Brooks) #10

@Edgar,

If God wanted us to disbelieve Evolution … he wouldn’t have chosen a method of Special Creation that looks JUST LIKE evolution.

I think that’s pretty much the crux of the situation.


(A.M. Wolfe) #11

Biogeography refers to the distribution of different life forms in different places, as best I understand it. It is in fact a part of the fossil record.

I appreciate your honesty here and welcome you as a fellow truth-seeker here. Many here are bold about the things we think we know, but nobody here, I hope, pretends to have it all figured out.

Perhaps you mean this:

There is nothing to say that marsupials did not originally have a wider distribution than the Americas, Antarctica (which our putative possum passed through on its way to Australia), and Australia. But [1] they looked all rather similar outside of Australia, [2] once in Australia their body forms radiated out to fill every ecological niche, and [3] elsewhere in the world they were rather quickly outcompeted by placental mammals who could better protect their young.

Okkay, although I think this stretches the bounds of what most progressive creationists are comfortable with.

Sure, of course. One can always say, “Welp, I guess God wanted it that way.” But the more one learns about such things, the more the story of evolution seems to match up with the story of tectonic plate movements… and then all we can say is, progressive creation can equal the explanatory power of evolution, provided we say God chose to do things just the way evolution would predict it to be. I don’t think we can say it surpasses evolution.

This is certainly true for many Indonesian islands and some around the Bering Strait land bridge, for example. It is not the case for many volcanic islands.

I’ve had some things come up here that may make it hard for me to continue engaging in this fascinating discussion, so if others want to chime in, they’d be welcome to do so.


(Haywood Clark) #12

Firstly, secondly, and thirdly. However, you just keep asserting this without any explanation or demonstration.

Would you mind providing what you’ve learned from your study of the fossil record?


(T J Runyon) #13

I’d actually consider EC a sub-category of progressive creation. Progressive creation and common ancestry both can be true. I think this is something like William Lane Craig favors. So all the evidence for common ancestry, including biogeography, would still stand. Just on this model you wouldn’t expect transitionals and intermediates because speciation would be more saltational from God’s creative acts instead of more gradual change. But the problem I have with this view is we do have such fossils. So what amount of saltational change vs gradual change does PC predict? I don’t see how you could even begin to answer that question. So I think right now the current understanding of evolutionary theory is the best explanation for the observations we see. Including the fossil record. With what we know about taphonomy we should expect gaps and discontinuities as well. You have to be careful not to confuse appearance in the fossil record with appearance on earth. So PC has no explanatory advantage there. The presence of intermediates gives modern evolutionary theory the explanatory advantage here.


(George Brooks) #14

@T.j_Runyon

Don’t you mean they can both be true In A Limited Sort of Way?

If God uses special creation to create Homo erectus… and then again to create Homo sapiens,
Homo sapiens do not share descent with Homo erectus just because they are both on the planet Earth.

Common descent would be limited to “kin groups” or other applications of so-called “micro-evolution”.


#15

Why do you think that we shouldn’t see a fossil record with gaps if evolution is true? Darwin seemed to think that we should see a fossil record with gaps if evolution is true because the geologic record is incomplete, as is our search of the fossil record. Do you think this is wrong?


(T J Runyon) #16

I don’t see why it couldn’t mean universal common ancestry and that we couldnt be in the direct line of descent from erectus. Special creation doesn’t have to be at the level of species.


(T J Runyon) #17

But these are things I’ve just now started to think about. Problems could arise once i think on it more.


(George Brooks) #18

@T.j_Runyon

Well, yes, of course. But do you know any Creationist who would so precisely fit that tiny little spot on the gradient?

Those who insist on Special Creation are not likely to restrict special creation to Homo erectus… and let Homo sapiens “speciate” out of the erectus branch of humanity (or any other variant scenario like this).


(Matthew Pevarnik) #19

So species were spontaneously created then went extinct? Then some others that were very closely like it were created in similar locations to the ones that went extinct? Rinse and repeat? I’m trying to understand what you are imagining this process to look like.

I’ve recently come across this article that outlines some predictions that Darwin made from common descent and then evidence from each of those from the actual fossil record. The list was put together by YEC Kurt Wise out of all people:
https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/01/honest-creation.html

One example I think that is also worth thinking about is horse evolution. This website poses a question:

How can you explain the sequence of horse fossils? Even if you insist on ignoring the transitional fossils (many of which have been found), again, how can the unmistakable sequence of these fossils be explained?

Did God create Hyracotherium, then kill off Hyracotherium and create some Hyracotherium-Orohippus intermediates, then kill off the intermediates and create Orohippus, then kill off Orohippus and create Epihippus, then allow Epihippus to “microevolve” into Duchesnehippus, then kill off Duchesnehippus and create Mesohippus, then create some Mesohippus-Miohippus intermediates, then create Miohippus, then kill off Mesohippus, etc…each species coincidentally similar to the species that came just before and came just after?

I think part of the challenge of exploring the fossil record is where does one go to look? There are no presently existing peer reviewed databases. I’m not sure where you are trying to look at the fossil record to conclude that the ‘gaps are too large.’


#20

More importantly, how does one determine where the gaps are? Without evolution, why would you even say that there are gaps?

I think Progressive Creationism has failed to recognize that they are using the theory of evolution to determine where the gaps in the fossil record are. When we line up Pablo Picasso’s paintings we don’t perceive any gaps between paintings because they were all separately created. So why should we see gaps with Progressive Creationism?

It would seem to me that the only way to get the types of gaps we see in the fossil record is a combination of evolution and an incomplete fossil collection. Given the scant percentage of the fossil record we have searched I think it is fair to say that we would expect to have gaps in our fossil collections if life evolved.