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I'm sorry, Edwin, but to me it seems like you are only listening to about half or less of what is being discussed. I asked for examples of what science has discovered that indicates this "development" that you keep mentioning, but have not yet seen anyone provide examples. To what data are you referring? Part of what I have been mentioning is that the way data is interpreted by evolutionists may not be correct, so if it is not correct in interpretation, then even though it is part of God's revelation in nature, we cannot with certainty understand development the way that evolutionists understand development. Furthermore, there is an element of social regression in evolutionary faith, as I illustrated in my last post above.
Who is honest about the data of modern science? If we see DNA degradation in nature, if we see the mutation rates increasing cumulatively to the point that in a certain number of centuries it will no longer be possible for human beings to survive under the deleterious mutations, due to all the genetic defects, then would you still see progress or development? There is no observable evidence that one species or kind has evolved into another, no matter how many speculations have abounded. So what evidence do we have for this evolutionary development?
Scripture indicates that when God created things, it was good. It was later, through man's disobedience that things were not so good anymore. This to me seems somewhat anti-evolutionary. So whether you treat Genesis as symbolic or not, this is the message. And this is also what we see in creation itself, even though man works more and more to design and develop things which cope with or counteract the degradation we see in nature itself. God does institute a process of change in our relationship to him, yes. But this is the exact opposite of evolution. It is a dramatic, "catastrophic" event of being born again like the apostle Paul, or the repentance of the apostle Peter, or the struggle of the Reformation. It is the acknowledgement of God in the constitutions of the new nations of USA and Canada. But it is subject again to the obedience or disobedience of the people of earth. And it is counter to the philosophy of evolution.
At the time of Noah, people were so disobedient that God sent a flood to destroy them. You would think after that, that no one would disobey God, that all would fervently worship and be grateful. But not long after, man worshipped himself again, and many worshipped other Gods. Even though Christianity has spread and grown in the world today, how many north americans have abandoned faith and obedience? How does it compare to how non-christians have spread and grown in the world today? Is Islam part of the "development" of which you speak? How do you reference these things in your ideology of "development"?
When you say there can hardly be any valid objection to recognizing... you are begging the question. In fact, there are many valid objections, both to the interpretation of scientific data, and to the philosophical underpinnings for evolution and/or "development". If you say there cannot be objections, when there are objections, then the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the objections are not valid, and the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate the biological and evolutionary development. It does not help anyone simply to restate your position.
I had thought we were done, Edwin. And we are done. Unless we can leave the unproven generalities and get to specifics, it is no use pursuing an esoteric argument on vague philosophical generalities.
John, You keep writing about things that can’t happen; but what about the things that have happened? What do you do with the items that science has discovered?
I think it makes a vast difference what framework of thought a person uses. The objections you keep raising, perhaps correctly, all seem to be related to the attempt to explain things in terms of what is called The Enlightenment, the modern philosophical movement defined best by Immanuel Kant, in which the term God means simply a noumenal unknowable being.
But if we try honestly to put all the data of modern science into a truly Biblical and Christian framework of thought, then there can hardly be any valid objection to recognizing that there has been, and continues to be, a developmental process in the universe, a process we recognize as being in every instance the voice of God calling the universe into being.
I promised to add a last post about the last chapter in "Evolution's Achilles Heels", Edited by Robert Carter, PhD, and published by Creation Book Publishers, of Powder Springs, Georgia, USA. The first seven chapters emphasize what they call fatal arrows in the achilles heel of the evolution theory. This last chapter deals with human response in the context of this theory, in terms of ethics and morality. So, some quotes below.
William Provine said, " ... my views on modern evolutionary biology ... tells us loud and clear, there are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. No life after death... no foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning for life, and no free will for humans, either."
Richard Dawkins: "I am a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world, but I'm a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics."
"If evolution is true, reasoning is just an epiphenomenon of the brain and the results of the laws of chemistry and random processes."
CS Lewis: If evolution is true and accidental, "... then all our thought processes are mere accidents - the accidental by product of the movement of atoms. ... why should we believe them to be true?"
Dr. Susan Blackmore: "In the end nothing matters. If you really think about evolution and why we human beings are here, you have to come to the conclusion that we are here for absolutely no reason at all."
Jeffrey Dahmer: "I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime."
Matthew Piercy: "Evolution reduces humans to the level of animals, making it just as acceptable to put down a human as put down a dog."
Darwin: "At some future period...the civilized races will almost certainly exterminate and replace, the savage races through the world."
In both world war 1 and 2, Germans (and others) espoused various types of eugenics. A Nazi propoganda film of 1937: "In the last few decades, mankind has sinned frightfully aganist the law of natural selection. We haven't just maintained life unworthy of life, we have even allowed it to multiply!"
Stalin read Darwin's "Origin of Species" when he was thirteen. This book convinced him that God did not exist.
Mao Zedung's two favorite books were by Darwin and Huxley.
The columbine killers were wearing teashirts with "natural selection" printed on the front.
The Finland killer of seven students and teacher had revealed before his crime that "life is just a coincidence... result of long process of evolution and many several factors... ...It is time to put natural selection and survival of the fittest back on track. ...I have evolved higher."
So are all these quotes just accidental random events that mean nothing? or do they indicate something real and true?
John, You seem to get sidetracked on scientific matters with Roger when the subject I raised is theological. By the way I’m with Roger all the way on that issue. I don’t think you could persuade the younger generation of people that the earth is only 6000 + years old, any more than you could persuade them that the sun revolves around the earth.So I’d like to respond to something you raised theologically a while back, namely the question of sin. You explained in some detail how your mind would work if you accepted an evolutionary setting and tried to understand sin in that context. I respect the way your mind works but mine doesn’t work exactly that way.What is sin if we no longer define it in the context of an historical Eden and the traditional theology of a literal fall into sin from a state of perfection? A very valid and critical question. It does not mean a denial of sin as your scenario sort of suggests. A denial of our traditional doctrine of sin, yes, but in no way a denial of the reality of sin.Consider how the author of Genesis explains that way back in the origins of human history people became so bad that every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. Then consider what our historians tell us about the ancient civilizations that they have studied: they are all based on violence, slavery, greed, self-centeredness, exploiting some people for the advantage of others, etc., evil of all kinds. Even such advanced cultures as those of Greece and Rome. The phrase, “man’s inhumanity to man,” says it well. That is sin. It’s not the way God wants us to live. So the reality is there, is it not? Even when we do not connect it all to a historical fall in the Garden of Eden. So sin is not merely how bad we treat each other but at the same time it is a missing of the mark with regard to how God created us to live. God created us to live as his image while we go about constructing our civilizations, but we aren’t doing it. That failure defines sin, not a mistake on the part of a first pair of humans.So Christianity and all it involves is the way God is providing the necessary remedy, the internal power of the Spirit of Holiness, to enable us to work successfully at becoming the kind of humans we are created to be. The overall process of history, accordingly, is the process whereby God is teaching us how to be images of God. History is the process of our learning how to be human, not guilty of “inhumanity to man.” Obviously we have a long way to go yet, but let’s not ignore the real progress that the gospel has made in this regard since the time of Jesus.Edwin Walhout
Roger, I appreciate your interest and involvement. It gave me an excuse to gather my thoughts, and additional incentive to read and understand the book I am reading, and now almost completed. I agree it can be wearying, even while challenging to engage on this topic.
I do not put much stock in my own speculations.... I only put it forward to demonstrate what it means to take scripture at face value, while still considering scientific observations. I think it is entirely possible that God created the visibility of light at great distance from the source, at the same time as the source was created. I think the appearance of time when it comes to starlight is also just as legitimate as my previous speculation. But I don't think it impacts who God is the way the theory of evolution impacts the character of God.
Your comment on secondary causation ... is too much being made of it? I don't know, but when people suppose that Jesus didn't do miracles, or that Elijah and Peter did not raise someone from the dead, they do that because they don't believe God has the power to create miracles (going outside natural laws). Evolutionary theory exhibits the same unbelief.
Ironically, it would take a real miracle for evolution to happen.
Like you, I think enough has been said. I may add one comment later when I have read the last chapter of the book, which is on the relationship of human nature to the theory of evolution. But that's it..
Thanks for being considerate and charitable in your comments, Roger. All the best.
I don’t know John. Going back and forth with you makes me a little weary. Maybe it does for you, as well. I think that may be why Edwin dropped out a long time back.
As to your last response, you did a lot of speculation as to a naturalistic explanation of the first four days of the creation narrative in Genesis. You want to be true to the intent of Scripture and yet true to science (general revelation). Sounds admirable. And even though you admitted that what you stated could be totally out, you probably put more stock in such speculations you have made up than in evolutionary theory which has a lot of research behind it. It sounds a little bit to me, that for you, speculation is ok as long as it doesn’t agree with evolutionary theory.
Here’s another take (my speculation). I think there’s a possibility that as to primary causation Genesis is saying that God is the creator God. He stands above it all. That’s the important message for the ages. As to secondary causation a face on reading of Genesis made sense to the people of Moses’ day. That’s as far as their science would let them go in that early stage of history. And a day was a day, as Moses would have understood it. Today, as to primary causation, the message is the same. But today with the advances of science, people are still trying to make sense of origins as to secondary causation. And maybe on both sides of the issue there is both speculation as well as research. This includes Christians on both sides of the evolution/creation issue. Maybe too much is being made of secondary causation when reading the Bible.
I know, for you, an actual Adam, seems very important. Without him a lot of theology seems like it can thrown out or watered down. It sounded to me, as though Edwin was trying to come up with a way to be true to natural science and to the Biblical account. I know you disagree, and I understand. A lot could be at stake.
For me, I’m a theist. That means, in one way or another, God is involved. I’m not near ready to dismiss him. I’m not sure I want to keep this up endlessly. Honestly, I thought you would wear down before me. But looking over these responses, as well as others (to other articles) I think you are the energizer bunny. It’s been fun. And thanks for the food for thought. It’s been good.
What I mean by faith in evolution, Roger, is that people believe in it whether they understand it or not, and whether they can prove it scientifically or not. Whether evolutionists are atheists or not, they generally examine and assume evolution from the perspective that God does not influence it. Evolution is primarily history, paleo and geological history. Evolutionists will say that God has no direct involvement; this is an atheistic position, even if the evolutionists themselves are deists. It's like saying that everything that happened to King David, or Pharaoh, or Jesus, was just an accident of history. That God had no purpose in it. That God also does not do miracles, nor does his spirit influence anyone. It's that type of atheistic mindset that says that there really was no flood caused by God, and that destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was no act of God.
I am somewhat willing to stretch the length of days before the sun and moon became visible on Day 4, because of the possibility that it does not violate scripture itself. If a day was really long (measured in hours or by an atomic clock) because the earth was not spinning, or for some other reason, it would still be a day by an evening and morning. Think of a space ship beyond earth's horizon, which does not experience a morning and evening. But that is different to me than saying that millions of days or years happened during that period. I am willing to stretch the length of days if the evidence requires it, which it may not do when we fully understand what the physics is telling us. But extending the length or number of days after animals and fish and birds and man were created seems to me to violate the principle of the good creation in scripture and negate the entire point of the genesis story.
Speculating on the first few days of creation in the genesis account, we see that the earth was there, but had no viable form, and was dark. Then light was created, which we could say perhaps was the source of stars of the universe, and a source of day and night for the earth. The earth then became divided into waters above and waters below, the appearance of an atmosphere. Still no land. The third day, dry ground appeared, a very dramatic physical thing. Presumably mountains, valleys, seas, oceans. A major shift of elements and rocks. Before this, just water. After this, land. Was this associated with a difference in the properties of the earth such as its rotation, polar angles, etc.? The same day, we get seeds and plants and trees, presumably at the end of this day. The fourth day, separate lights, the lights that we identify today with day and night, ie. sun and moon and stars. We had light before, but now the lights are separated into distinct bodies such as sun and stars, and reflected on the moon and other planets. This is speculation, and could be totally out, or partially out as far as trying to find a naturalistic explanation. Whether God sent another planet or star to collide and cause the earth to begin its rotation and orbit, or whether He simply touched the earth with his finger to make it spin... well, we don't know.
But we do know that seeds and plants needed to be directly created, because they could not create themselves. Science tells us they cannot create themselves. We know that fish and birds and reptiles and other animals needed to be created, because they could not and cannot create themselves, not even by accident. There is no reasonable naturalistic explanation for how they came about. Once they came about, they seem to be able to change a bit, but not in a grand evolutionary sense. And scripture is pretty clear that God created man from the dust of the earth, not from some animal. God used some of the same principles for creating man, that he used for creating mammals. He used nervous systems, blood, endoskeleton, dna, and bimodal principles. But again, similarity of design does not mean similarity or inheritance of origin.
Jonathan Sarfati wrote a book called, "Refuting Compromise" which you might want to read if you are really interested in pursuing this idea of theistic evolution. It will probably clarify the difficulties.
I suppose you are right John, to some extent, when you say that both evolutionism and creationism involve faith. But that doesn’t mean that belief in evolution necessitates whether a person believes in God or not. Belief in Biblical creation does necessitate such belief. In fact, that is the beginning presupposition. A scientist should (and most do) do his evolutionary studies apart from any opinion about God. The evolutionist is simply looking for a natural explanation for the development of life. He looks at the facts or his findings and based on those findings comes up wth a theory of what those findings demonstrate. It’s when you add a philosophy (cosmology) to your findings that you come up with an “ism.” Hence evolutionism. But then this is a mixing of science and cosmology, and not true science. Creationism necessitates a cosmology, in fact begins with it. So, you see, the faith element is entirely different for the person who believes that evolution explains the origins of life. He may or may not believe in God.
Of course creationism or belief in a Biblical creation, begins with the presupposition that God has done this (brought into existence the world and all of life), in fact, has done this according to the outline laid out in Genesis 1 and 2. You, John, because you have some sympathy for the findings of evolution (dating and age findings) are now willing to stretch the Genesis account to include something never intended by the author of the Genesis account. I’m sure Moses was not thinking of days in terms of years or even millions of years for part of creation and twenty-four hours days for the rest. That takes away from the plain sense of reading the text. If God could create the animal kingdom in a matter of a few actual days he could do the same with the rest of creation. That’s the point of the Genesis account, not to differentiate the length of days in the account. That’s where the young earth creationists are attempting to be true to the text of Genesis. But they are beginning with big presuppositions which shades their whole scientific endeavor.
You have pointed out previously that buying into the theory of evolution necessitates an atheistic cosmology. Even the evolutionary scientists have claimed that. But certainly not all, or even a majority, have made that claim. And it’s not the begriming premise. And for those scientists that do claim evolution necessitates an atheistic perspective, they don’t really understand what God can and can’t do. Randomness does not exclude God from the process or development of life over time to its present forms. In fact Reformed Christians would say God works in and through what appears to be random or coincidence. In fact nothing happens by chance, even the falling of a single hair to the ground (again, or is it a bird). Isn’t that the point of Peter’s address to the Jews who had crucified Jesus but God was at work, despite their ill attempts, to accomplish the salvation of many. Isn’t that Paul’s meaning, when he says that everything happens by the hand of God, or when he talks about the Pharoah being a pot made for the seemingly ill purpose that God intended. Isn’t this what Christians have in mind when they talk about looking at a quilt from the back side and it looks ugly, but when seen from God’s perspective is beautiful (like seeing it from the front)? Atheistic evolutionism (evolution + cosmology) has a narrow understanding of what God can and can’t do, or what might make sense in the mind of God.
"The Banner is the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church in North America" This is a quote repeated over and over again, when you do a google search for the crc banner. When we say that it is not the official voice, who are we trying to fool? Ourselves?
Both evolutionists and creationists based their science on their faith presuppositions, Roger. I personally think that since since a day is measured by evening and morning, that before the sun and moon were created, the daylengths might have had more hours or seconds. I say, might have had; it's not something to be definate about. For this reason, the actual age of the elements of the earth might not be 6000 yrs. I have just read a chapter on cosmology, which highlights the different theories of the beginning of the universe. Issues such as the red-shift, expansion of universe, dark matter and dark energy are discussed. Some of these things are nothing more than pure theory, with no actual way of scientific experimentation. The main point is that there is no experimental way of proving these theories. We can only check to see whether they are consistent with what is observable, but even then, there is more than one theory that seems to be possible. It is the most complicated aspect of origins. So I will make no comments on it at all.
Hey John. I have to admit, you do have me at a disadvantage. Once again, I’m not a scientist, don’t even come close. So I have to rely on others, even as I hear you doing (the book you are presently reading), and you are a scientist. I don’t think you are on the cutting edge of research, but you do have some understanding of what’s going on in those fields. You ask me for examples, but isn’t that just you, trying to push me into a corner? What am I supposed to do, read some evolutionist expert, look for an example in his research or book, then bring it back to you, so you can tear it apart? I don’t know if what you or they tell me is really true, or how to scrutinize theirs or your findings. I really think those beyond yourself are the real experts. I can go to a hospital or a medical expert with serious symptoms of illness, and I have to take the word of the doctors when they give me a diagnosis. Even getting a second opinion leaves me in the same position of having to rely on the experts. It’s my opinion that there are many more experts on the side of evolution. You can bash their findings endlessly, even as I”m sure they could do to you. But they are not involved in this particular debate, so you get to do the bashing with no opposition. If they were involved in this debate, they would not walk home with their tails between their legs. And it would be foolish of me to think that they are not doing their work with integrity. So you can keep pushing me for examples, but that makes you sound like a bully. That leaves me with having to pick a side to stand with. To me, it makes much more sense to stand with those who have put in the abundance of work and research. It feels, to me, like choosing to stand either with a professional team or a little league team. I’ll go with the experts.
All that being said, what bothers me more, is the foolishness of the creationist perspective. Everything created instantaneously and simultaneously at a single point in history (all within six days). That means, as to dating, everything is the exact same age, to within a week (as to the original creation). I imagine young earth creationists (apart from geneologies) can date the origin of the universe to within a week, or at least to a year or two. You may think that science and dating methods can back this up, but to the scientific community it sounds like foolishness. And it does to me. Theoretically, young earth scientists should be able to determine whether the origin of the earth and all of life was 10,000, 8,000 or 8,543 years ago, using the dating methods that they have found to be accurate. That’s the theory for young earth creationists, and again it is based on a couple chapters of the Bible. That may make sense to you and to some Christians, but it’s a theory that has to be accepted by faith because it doesn’t have the evidence to back it up. That’s the nature of religious faith, believing that which is not seen. It has to be accepted by faith because it involves a huge miracle and it can’t be explained otherwise. And it’s based on faith that the church (some churches) expect its members to accept this teaching, and not based upon scientific evidence. It’s also the reason that young earth creationists spend the majority of their effort trying to disprove evolution rather than proving an instantaneous creation (that’s based on faith).
Roger, I understand your concerns. Even though I was never an evolutionist, I always thought it was difficult to discount radiometric dating. But the issue is not of a few examples that disprove the method. The problem is that the methods for dating something old cannot be proven, unless we can use something that we already know the age. The evolutionists will say that we know how old something is by the fossils in it. Then they select a method that will give them that approximate age. Once you get into the billions of years with an 80 million year error bar in it, they can jiggle the ages to fit the fossils. But the problem is that there is no objective way to verify the ages, or whether the dating method is using the right assumptions. Evolutionists will say that you must use a method that is accurate for the general anticipated age, and so a Pb/Pb method should not be used for dating things as young as 100,000 years, and C14 should not be used for dating things as old as a billion years. This sentence seems to make sense, but it doesn't. C14 method should indicate that there is no detectable C14 for very old carbon. Pb/Pb method should not give ages in the billions of years for a fifty year old rock, no matter what the normal error range is. Tossing out these anomalies in order to fit the preconceived ages is not scientifically legitimate. Replication should get rid of these anomalies if it was just experimental error.
If the methods do not give you the correct answers when you know what the answers should be, then how can you trust them when they give you answers and you have no other objective way of verifying them? It's not a matter of calculating incorrectly. They measured and calculated correctly. Their measurements were precise and careful. But their assumptions were incorrect. This was very obvious with the K-Ar method, which they admit, but they are reluctant to extrapolate original AR to "older" samples, because it messes up their hypothesis and their assumptions about age.
For fossils, it is not a matter of discrediting a few fossils. The fact is that there are only a very few supposed transitional fossils. There should be more transitionals than endpoint fossils, as Darwin and other evolutionists admit. Today some evolutionists admit that the lack of transitional fossils is a bigger problem today than it was 150 years ago. But they can only identify a very few transitionals out of the millions of fossils available. So when these are discredited, then even those disputed hypothesized transitionals fall short, and none are left. None. You generalize that there is an abundance of evidence for evolution, but cannot come up with even one or two examples for scrutiny. I think you say this as a matter of faith....
There is also the matter of evolutionists discrediting or trying to discredit fossil evidence which some creationists have highlighted. For example, some human footprints have been photographed and seen by a number of fossil hunters, as superimposed on dinosaur footprints. The evolutionists automatic response is that humans and dinosaurs did not live in the same eons, and thus the fossil is impossible. Again, it is based on their assumptions. Evolutionists supposed that the coelecanth fish fossil was a prehistoric fish found millions of years ago, and extinct, because it was not found in more recent sediment layers. They supposed it was an ancestor of the tetrapod, in other words a link to land dwelling animals. But they were wrong on both counts, because the coelecanth is still in existence today, in much the same form as the fossil form. Furthermore, its fins are the wrong shape for converting to feet, so again, no link, no transition.
Evolutionists apparently have no explanation for why the helium-zircon crystal dating method gives such a young earth age, and why it would not be as valid a method as the other radiometric methods.
It's not one or two problems. It's many problems. Serious problems. Problems that change the playing field.
Thanks again John for another insightful response. But I still question your insight. I notice that the latest book you’re reading goes to great lengths to disprove evolution, for example to discredit all the dating methods that scientists use to support an old earth (at least, that was the bulk of your latest response). I suppose those methods should be discarded because they are so unreliable. But they aren’t, are they? It is because, on the whole, they are reliable, therefore scientists continue to use those methods, refine them, and come up with other means to measure age that measures under different circumstances. But, on the whole, the methods used to measure age give a generally good idea of age, whether billions, millions, or thousands of years. Do they calculate correctly in every instance? Of course not. But you don’t take the exception (as your Dr. Jim Mason has done) to discredit the whole system or mechanism for determining age. That would be like finding a mix of chemotherapy drugs that works well in 90 percent of the cases for colon cancer, but then discredit the mix because it didn’t work well in ten percent. So it’s easy for you to find exceptions to different (maybe even every) dating method, and then say the exception proves the invalidity of the method. Again, John, you are grasping at straws to disprove evolution.
The fossil evidence is just one case in point. Young earth scientists can discredit some of the fossils found that evolutionists believe fill some of the gaps to support the development of life from earlier forms. But again the exception doesn’t disprove the rule. With the advances and growth in geological sciences the fossil evidence is now abundant. And now to find an exception and say this disproves the rule is silly. Even secular scientist will willingly admit that mistakes have been made. But you can’t discredit the abundance of evidence for the sake of the few miscalculations that have been made. The abundance of evidence is continually making a sound case for evolution.
But now for what is truly silly John, the suggestion that the earth and its inhabitants are no older than 10,000 years when nearly all the scientific evidence points to a much much older earth. And yes, the authors of your latest book, do begin with a beginning premise from the Bible that the earth cannot be older than 10,000 years. That’s the beginning presupposition for them. And to hold such a presupposition, your scientists have to disprove any evidence that says the earth is older. But pointing out exceptions in the present and mistakes of the past doesn’t fool many today.
Roger, I see you have still not provided any actual examples of recent discoveries that make evolution more possible. Okay, it seems philosophical generalities work better for you. But you are maligning and slandering to say that I disregard all evidence that would counter a non-evolutionist approach. Rather, I watch how others deal with this evidence and scrutinize it. For example, I have just read another chapter in "Evolution's Achilles Heels", the 20 page chapter on radiometric dating, by Dr. Jim Mason, who received a PhD in Experimental Nuclear Physics from McMaster U, Canada. He was employed in the defense industry, and was VicePresident of Engineering. He became a christian at the age of 40, and became a biblical creationist several years later.
In most of my years, I have always wondered about radiometric dating for age of rocks and fossils, because it seems so "scientific". It's outside of my areas of experience, although I have dabbled briefly with trace N15 isotope in looking at nitrogen cycling when fertilizer is added to soil, but that was a long time ago. At that time, it was thought that C14 (carbon dating) could reliably give radiometric dates up to about 40,000 years old. We now have equipment that can measure smaller amounts of radiation accurately, and so apparent ages up to 90,000 years can be determined with carbon dating. So is this a problem for young earth? Not according to Jim Mason. He points out that the K-AR (potassium-argon) method of dating said that a Mt. Ngauruhoe 1949 volcanic eruption and a 1975 eruption were either less than 270,000 years or 1 million years old. The method indicated that a 1954 eruption was less than 270,000, or 0.8 million, or 1.3 million, or 3.5 million years old. The accuracy is to 200,000 years. These tests were done in 2003. A method that indicates one million years of age for a 50 year old rock formation, seems to be a bit of a problem for the accuracy of the method. At minimum, it should indicate 200,000 years or less.
What about Mt. St. Helen's volcanic rock? The lava dome formed in 1984 had measurements done on it, both on whole rock and on constituent rock types. Whole rock was dated 350,000 years, while rock components ranged from 340,000 years (Feldspar) to 2.8 million yrs(Pyroxene). That's about 100,000 times the real age. And some rocks are dated as 8 times as old as other rocks in the same formation. Do you think that makes the method reliable? The excuse given by old agers are that the recent rocks have some original Ar in them. Okay, that makes sense, but why does that not also make sense for rocks they consider "old". Only a small amount of original argon in the "old" rocks would give false ages, and would make a 6,000 year old rock date as 18 million years old.
The isochron dating methods applied to Mt. Ngauruhoe rocks, finds dates of 133 million years for Rb-Sr (Rubidium-Strontium method), 197 million years for Sm-Nd, and 3.9 billion years for Pb - Pb (lead-lead). This does not seem accurate. The methods do not corroborate each other, and all ages are dramatically wrong. Some rocks from the Grand Canyon were dated using the isochron method of radiometrics, and Pb/Pb method dated the rocks as 600,000,000 years older (about 50% older) than the Rb/Sr method, even though experimental error is determined to be only 80 million years or less. That is a huge difference... more than half a billion years. Does that sound accurate to you? Is that a way of dating differences between layers of rock?
Some examples which might be easier to understand are carbon based. Mass spectrometers can measure much more accurately than the old geiger counters, and it would take a dating of more than 90,000 years old (15.6 half lives) before the C14 would be undetectable. In 2003, ten coal samples were analyzed. They had been dated at from 37 million to 318 million years old. If they were that old, the equipment should not detect any C14. However, they all contained C14. By C14, they were dated at 45,000 to 60,000 years old. What a vast difference compared to millions of years! Seven diamond samples were also tested. Diamonds had previously been dated at 1 to 3 billion years old. However, they still had C14 in them. By C14, they were dated at about the same age as the coal. So which method is accurate then?
Dr. Mason then goes on to explain that even 50,000 years is too old for a young earth. But again, what assumptions are being used? He says if the ratio of C14/C12 was much smaller at the time the vegetation was buried than it is today, then it would be much younger than it appeared by uniformitarian theory. If there was less solar activity, and there was more C12 in the atmosphere, then that would have lowered the ratio of C14/C12. Intense volcanoes at the time of burial would also have increased the amount of C12 at time of plant burial/coal formation.
Finally, radiometric dating using helium gives a different picture. Helium is a byproduct of U/Pb degradation. It diffuses out of rocks such as zircon crystals at a constant rate after being formed, so that will give a clue as to how long the process has been going on, when combined with the U238/Pb ratios. The diffusivity rates mesh really well with predicting a zircon age of about 6000 years. These zircon crystals have an alleged age of 1.5 billion years. So which dating method is right?
None of this information comes from 4 or 5 five pages in the Bible. It comes from the book of nature, which we consider also the revelation of God in nature.
Thanks John, for your response. As far as I can tell, you think that someone (Darwin) at the front of the line passed a message back to the rest of the scientists behind him and they all blindly believed what he told them. And now for the last 150 years all their research has been for naught because they thoughtlessly bought into his original theory. Their research has counted for nothing, in fact for the most part it is bogus. They are just spreading lies and trying to convince the public of Darwin’s and their own lies. It’s good to know where you stand.
But now, as to your theory. You are convinced that some 10,000 years ago, in the span of six actual days, God created all that there is. Of course with a span of six days, you or scientists can’t really distinguish between the first day, or the fourth, or the sixth day, because I doubt that there is any mechanism to distinguish dating to such precision (as to measure days). As to testing all the created world came about instantaneously. Ten thousand years ago, wham, bam, and the world in its present form came into being. Now tell me, John, what scientists are you following and believing to swallow such a tall tale and to disregard all the scientific evidence that would go counter to such a theory? Oh, ya, it’s those nine PhD’s in the book you’re reading. And their information comes from four or five pages (Genesis 1 and 2) written some four thousand years ago. Isn’t that the theory of origins they buy into? And you say to me, “When you say you will trust the experts, I say you don't know what you are talking about.” It sounds to me, as though you have already jumped off the bridge.
Roger, it is easy to say, "theistic evolution". It is easy to think that solves the problem. But it is meaningless. Timelines for evolution are not based on theistic evolution. They are based on randomness. Based on no interference, and on no intelligent design, but only mere accident. This causes interpretations that man and dinosaurs could not live together, or that animals invisible in the geologic record did not exist (when we know they did). We know that some dinosaur fossil bones have been found with organic cells in them, but this makes no sense for evolution old age. Whether it is theistic or not, you still must have evidence for evolution, and so far, the lack of intermediary fossils is astounding. Without them, you do not have evolution. If God creates one species from another simply by speaking, or even by rearranging genomes and adding additional genomic information so that a whole bunch of evolutionary steps can be avoided, well, then you do not have evolution. You have something else. So if you say, "theistic evolution" you should have something to say about what that is. Otherwise you are just saying abracadabra, and hoping the controversy goes away.
You are right, if evolution is theistic without randomness playing a role, then it is not me, but evolutionists, that will have an argument with you. Well, partly right. Jonathan Sarfati (PhD in Physical Chemistry) creationist has written a book called, "Refuting Compromise" in which he deals with theistic evolution as a compromise. I have not yet read this book so I can only imagine his arguments. His arguments will deal primarily with the scientific side. Based on his other books, his logic will be impeccable.
In a court of law, there are usually experts on both sides. This is also true in this case. Just as you and Edwin, two non-experts, have decided to follow a certain path without any knowledge to back it up, so even scientists often do the same. The geologists follow the path of the paleontologists, and paleontologists use an apparent "expert" opinion by a geneticist, while the geneticist follows a statement or two from a fossil expert. In the meantime, their own interpretations are colored by their assumptions, the pre-conceived notions about what is the most likely interpretation. For that reason, supposed experts in fossils have made huge mistakes of interpretation of various fossils, such as calling a tooth a neanderthal tooth and falsely building a whole theory around it, when in fact it was a pig's tooth, as confirmed by an anatomist. When you say you will trust the experts, I say you don't know what you are talking about. You don't know who the experts are, nor do you know if indeed they are truly experts, nor do you distinguish in what they are expert at. Even experts make mistakes, as identified by other experts. Experts are not infallible, and this has been shown over and over again in the field of evolutionary interpretation.
Every PhD is considered an expert legally. Yet they can disagree with each other, and often do. This book called "Evolution's Achilles Heels" is written by nine experts, nine PhDs, in subjects ranging from paleontology to geology, to mechanical engineering, to physical chemistry, to nuclear physics, to genetics. They point out the fatal flaws for evolution in a reasonable, comprehensive, understandable way. They are able to do this because they are not locked into the prevailing evolutionary mindset, although most of them were evolutionists at one time.
Throughout evolutionary science, expert opinions have changed, vacillated, and repented. Few evolutionists still follow more than half of Darwin's conclusions, because they have been proved false. Many previous assumptions about sediment being laid down by wind, are changing into the idea that sediments were laid down by water, not wind. Evolutionist assumptions about uniformitarianism are changing into a recognition of the necessity for catastrophism which is dramatically different than earlier "expert" assumptions. So, you have a choice: you can follow the wrong experts, or the right experts. Or you can realize that you should follow the truth, rather than people. (The blind leading the blind... lemmings falling off a cliff... if everyone jumps off a bridge, will you?.... etc., etc.)
John, as I have shared several times, I am no expert when it comes to science. So if you asking me for scientific evidence and examples to demonstrate that science is overcoming the hurdles of the past in demonstrating the reality of evolution, then you are asking the wrong person. What seems to me to be evidentiary is the testimony of the vast majority of scientific opinion and findings. You could not get the majority of the scientific community to agree on evolution without what they consider as strong supporting evidence. And this strong opinion comes from a variety of scientific fields, such as molecular biology, genetics, anatomy, paleontology, geology, and probably more. In contrast, I could take your word that there is no evidence to support evolution. Hmm, I think I’ll trust the experts when they tell me that there is an abundance of evidence.
Interesting side note to this discussion, is that Michael DuMez has just written an excellent article called "Jurassic Ark", in the the on-line Banner.
So, no examples then? No evidence that you know of?
John, you may think it is the other way around, but the fact that the scientific community in general (other than new earth Christian science) is continually gravitating toward evolutionary theory says otherwise.
What recent riddle has been solved to make evolution look more realistic? I would say in general it has been the other way around. Could you give one or two examples?
It would seem John, that God works through natural order and laws to bring about the healing of a terminally ill person, even though 50 years ago there would have been no possible healing, his fate would have been sealed, doctors would have said impossible. And even today, when a person is healed, Christians give thanks and credit to God. The laws were already there 50 years ago, but their discovery came later. Science is continually learning how to overcome the hurdles of the past. Why isn't it possible that hurdles today will be solved tomorrow, especially as science is in already in the process of solving some of the riddles of evolution so that it looks increasingly more realistic?
Edwin, I agree God is in control. Always, everywhere. Evolutionary theory does not agree with this, however. It assumes God does not exist. But the real point is whether God used evolutionary processes to create new species or kinds, or not. The point is not whether God is in control, since we agree on that.
If God used evolution to create, then God used death and destruction long before man came about, and therefore man's sin did not lead to death, nor was any curse on earth a result of man's sin, and nor did God punish mankind for its rebellion the way Genesis indicates. Cain's murder of Abel was a natural result of evolutionary processes rather than a sin meriting God's or man's disapproval. Therefore both the reality and the symbolism of this story is entirely lost. You have not dealt with these points.
I don't think I am emphasizing the negative really. Evolution seems to me to emphasize the negative... the accidental nature of progress, the huge amount of death and destruction required for change to happen, the lack of even attributing value to what happens, ie. the life of an ant, blade of grass, or amoeba is as valuable as the life of a man, in the evolutionary theory. That seems negative to me.
The age of the universe... why is this positive? Why are continental shifts, ice ages, etc., positive? Why is the similarity between humans and primates positive? Does it matter?
Why is it wrong to challenge the prevailing thoughts of the time? Why do you think this is negative, rather than positive? Was Darwin being negative in his time, by challenging the creation story as found in Genesis?
Theistic evolution is a theory trying to meld a theory that ignores God, with a faith in God as omnipotent. This is a tough challenge, but even if we can do it theoretically, it really needs to be verified scientifically.
So, for me, regardless of how I might want to interpret Genesis 1-3, the issue becomes one of looking at nature, and seeing whether there is another way to interpret the evidence of fossils, rock layers, genetics, and natural selection. These nine PhD scientists, and many others, are finding that there is another way to interpret them, and that in fact, the evidence does not consistently fit the theory of evolution. In fact, there are so many problems that evolution becomes an unworkable hypothesis. It doesn't even matter if a six day creation fits the evidence, since we can more and more clearly see that the general theory of evolution does not fit the evidence.
Some real questions: (Positive or negative)
Is it realistic to think that the Grand Canyon was created slowly over time, or quickly by drainage of a huge flooded basin?
Were evolutionary biologists like Haeckel mistaken or lying about the similarity of animal and human foetuses?
Were evolutionary paleontologists mistaken or lying about the categorization of human and "subhuman" fossil species?
If K_AR cannot reasonably accurately give the age of modern volcanic rock, can we still assume that they have made the right assumptions regarding measurements of "older" rock?
If dinosaurs are 65 million years old, can they still have stretchable organic tissue found in their bone fossils?
If layers of sediment represent millions of years of age, is it possible to have polystrate fossils imbedded thru several of these layers?
If mammal fossils or fish fossils are not found in certain rock layers, does that mean they did not exist when these layers were laid down?
These are just some starter questions; there are many more.
Roger, since according to natural laws, genetic difficulties, and lack of intermediaries, evolution does not seem to be scientifically possible, then for evolution to work, it would have to be intelligently directed, and virtually miraculous. Which you admit. So then if it happened, it did not happen thru the normal means and laws he created. So, how did God do it then?
Dear John, As I read the communiques you send I am getting the sense that you think that nature more or less functions on its own internal power, created of course by God, but that God is somehow out there watching so that at certain times he supernaturally intervenes, miraculously, to accomplish something that he wishes to do. I don’t know whether or not this represents your thinking, but if it does I have to say I do not think it is Biblical.
God isn’t just out there somewhere beyond our senses, popping in once in a while to make some adjustment in the world. He is everywhere present, omnipresent, active in everything that happens. That’s how he exercises his sovereignty, by the everyday and everywhere functions of the whole world, including human history. So when I say I want to listen to what God is saying in nature, this is what I mean. Trying to perceive just how he has been working throughout time and history, and still today in the world we live in. He speaks to us everywhere and in everything. That’s what it means to say God is the Creator and Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth. He does not have to pop in from time to time if he is already here everywhere, active every moment in guiding the processes he puts into place.
I have been long impressed, for example, with the Genesis account of creation, in which we read mentioned ten times that God spoke, and each time he spoke something happened. When God speaks something happens. Vice-versa, when something happens God is speaking in it. Isaiah writes that the word of the Lord never returns to him without accomplishing that for which it is sent. That’s infallibility, by the way. So to observe what happens in nature and in life and in civilization and in history is at the same time to come into contact with what God is saying, and we need to do our best to listen, believe, and obey what God is saying. That is what I have been trying to do during my retirement years.
One other thing that bothers me about the things you write. You seem to be emphasizing the negative rather than the positive. You write at length about why this or that cannot happen in the world of science. But what about the things that have been discovered and that obtain the approval of the scientific community at large? I mean such items as the age of the universe and the planet earth, the process by which the universe as we know it is being shaped, the history of planet earth and the continents, ice ages etc. Maybe the genetic structures of chimps and humans are not 97% as you write, but what do we make of the similarity itself that is there?
Why would it be wrong to try to figure out a scenario to explain all such items, and if one comes up with a developmental scenario, why would that necessarily be wrong? Personally I have come up with a scenario that makes beautiful sense of it all, respecting both the Bible and what little I know of science. But it does require some rather difficult adjustments in the thought processes. Love.
Well, once again John, you have responded to another’s response with questions, rather than acknowledging that a God directed or theistic evolution makes sense and still remains true to the theory of evolution. Most of your objections to evolution are overcome when one realizes that it is God directed. As an orchestra conductor is able to direct all the variety and number of instrumentalists to make beautiful music, so God can direct the evolutionary process to bring about a wonderful creation without interfering with the evolutionary process. Undoubtedly, as you point out, an evolutionary process without God would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. But with God at the helm, all things are possible. And so the process remains evolution. As the Bible points out, not a hair can fall from a person’s head apart from God’s will, or is it a sparrow falling to the ground? All of life happens (according to the Bible) according to God’s purposes, and yet he works through the normal means and laws he created. So also with a theistic evolution. And scientists are increasingly unearthing the evolutionary process that God has used. Maybe with time, the scientists will better understand the process that so far is wrought with problems, but eventually will make better sense. As least for now, to most scientists, evolution makes the most sense and is the obvious direction to pursue.
Roger, what is your scientific evidence for God directed evolution?
What is your scriptural evidence for God directed evolution?
John, it sounds to me that you are arguing a straw man of your own making. You seem to be saying that because evolution, as described by Jonathan Sarfati (or yourself), is impossible (impossible probabilities), therefore theistic evolution is also impossible. You imply or say evolution directed by God boils down to creationism. That’s not true. God can change the numbers that Sarfati suggests to anything God wants in order to make evolution definite. God can work through natural law (they are God’s laws, after all) in the same way he works to accomplish his purposes for individuals, the church, or the kingdom of God. Or don’t you think that God works through natural law to accomplish his purposes? You see, God is not subject to randomness and yet works through natural law. You say that “evolution requires the undirected, random mutations....” But theistic evolution is not undirected or random. Your argument holds no water.
Edwin, yes, I am throwing some science at you, because you said you believed in listening to God's word in nature, yes? How will you listen, if you don't? If ATP, and ribosomes, and the smallest cells, cannot be created thru evolution, then what can evolution do? In your idea of God-directed evolution, you have not explained what it is. I suspect you think that because their is natural selection of a sort, and because there are mutations, and because deep-time is postulated, that evolution must have happened. But none of these things are evolution by themselves. They can all exist outside of evolution. Evolution requires the undirected, random mutations adapting over time, genomes aquiring increase in size and information, and creating progressively more complex species thru time. God-directed evolution is somewhat of a misnomer, because it implies that God interferes in the randomness, and in the rate and type of mutations, to make huge improbable leaps. If that is possible, then essentially you are saying that things were created simply by God creating a new being with a new genome, all things after their kind, which is what scripture says. But that is not evolution.
In order to know whether your insights are valid, wouldn't you subject them to scrutiny? That would make sense, wouldn't it...?
Thanks for your reply on the theological problems.
As for Adam, it seems you insist that there is no lack of credibility of a type, if the type is not real. To me there is a lack of credibility. It would be like saying that you are following the teachings and person of an imaginary person. Yes?
If Adam didn't exist... like saying you are the third Edwin Walhout in this discussion... oops, I will have to quickly pseudonym another character to be the first. And then how would you respond?
How do you know the things in Genesis 3 are symbolic? or symbolic only? What evidence or proof do you have? I agree there is some symbolism attached, but does that make them only symbolic, or can they also be real?
Okay, interesting... you say that we all make the same choice as Adam and Eve (who are symbolic and unreal, according to you, and merely represent mankind). Yes there is a type of analogy there. But how do you know we all make the same choice as Adam and Eve? And if the choice Adam and Eve made was just symbolic and not real, how do we know that our choices are also just symbolic, and not real?
I am glad to hear that you do not have faith in evolution after all. It would definately let you down, since it changes every day.
It seems to me that when you say that God created the world developmentally, who could argue with that? Of course the world is developing, changing. We know climates have changed in the past. We know the flood was a huge developmental event, as was the spreading of people after the tower of Babel. We know nations come and go. We know Jesus was the fullfillment of prophecy; He came, he taught, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, and will return again. All this could be termed developmental. But it doesn't have much to do with evolution. Again, I am glad to hear that you don't believe in evolution. Sometimes it sounds like you do.
The truth is that the Bible says that Adam and Eve were real, created, talked with God, and were the ancestors of all people. That's the truth. Not my truth, but the Bible's truth. The other bible writers believed it. Jesus believed it. the new testament epistles believed it.
Sorry to give you a hard time on some of these questions. Your article upset some of my kids who saw it, and basically came down to them thinking that the crc is advocating that the bible is made of fables rather than truth.
Sorry, never heard of Edwin Zylstra.
Well, John, I am somewhat puzzled by how to respond to you. You keep throwing at me all kinds of scientific items that simply go over my head and to which I cannot respond one way or another. On the other hand you are now presenting a lot of theological problems that you see with what what you think I believe.
I have worked my way through many questions similar to those you raise. It wasn’t easy and didn’t come quickly, but I have come to a new vision of how God works that seems to me to be a much better way of understanding human history than our traditions present. Frankly, it does not appear to me from what you write that you are really asking for help in working your way through those questions. It seems rather that you are raising them, not for your benefit, but for destroying my insights.
That being said, let me say something about Adam and Jesus. There is no serious question about whether or not Jesus was a real human person. Paul does describe Jesus as the second Adam, the last Man. So doesn’t this require thinking Adam was a real historical person? Answer: No.
There is no possible way of ascertaining what Genesis Two and Three describe as actually happenings at the dawn of human history. Further, some of the aspects of those stories are clearly symbolical (a speaking serpent, a woman created out of a bone, a piece of fruit symbolizing sin, God walking in the garden, the location of the garden). Still further, the Apostle Paul in Romans 5, where he compares Adam and Jesus, says that Adam is a type of the one who is to come. So to abandon the notion of the historicity of Adam still allows us to retain the notion of this typological connection.
We can easily find the symbolical meaning of each element in the Adam stories, and then go on to see also the connection of that symbolism with Jesus. For example, in the story of the sin of Eve and Adam. The symbolism here is simply that this is a picture of us all; we all make the wrong choice apart from the Lord Jesus. We are all sinners. But Jesus faced his own temptations, and instead of yielding as did Eve and Adam, he resisted temptation because of his loyalty to his Father in heaven. That’s the typological connection. Jesus did what Adam and Eve failed to do, and what we fail to do, that is, obey God, so the significance of this is that faith in Jesus also results in our living in obedience to God.
We can do the same wih every one of incidents relating to Adam in Genesis, seeing first the symbolism involved and then the typological jump to see how that relates to Jesus and then to those who follow Jesus.
It makes perfect sense, but it does require us to be willing to give up some traditions. Why can’t we think of Adam in the way we think about cave men, before there was even language? The process that paleontologists are discovering about the provenance and development of the human race makes perfect sense. Why should it make us think it contradicts the Bible? All truth is from God, no matter who discovers it. Scientists have made mistakes, but so have theologians. Scientists work hard to correct them when they see them, and so should we when we see them. And that, to conclude, is what I have been doing to the best of my ability in my retirement years.
Also now to your latest missile. I suspect you are barking up the wrong tree: What does it take for me to give up faith in evolution? I do not have faith in evolution, I have faith in the God who created the world developmentally. As I see that Roger has also said. So your question comes across to me this way: What would it take for you to give up listening to God and listen to John Zylstra instead? It took God seventy or so years to get me to listen to him, and I am not about to stop now! So perhaps you may wish to consider the counter question, presented as bluntly as yours to me: What would it take, John, for you to give up your opposition to the truth? (By the way, I had a roommate in college by the name of Edwin Zylstra. Do you know him?)
John, I’m not sure who you are debating with in some of your later responses, especially the last one, but it doesn’t seem to be Edwin or even myself. He has said many times, and I agree, that the evolution of the world and life, is theistic. A theistic evolution sees God’s involvement throughout and doesn’t involve randomness in the least. Your questions and comments would be like my asking of you, what are the possibilities of someone speaking a word on six consecutive days and a different part of the created world would comes into being. If evolution is theistic, then randomness or possibilities plays no part, and you have no argument.
Chapter 3 of the book, "Evolution's Achilles Heels" was written by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, a PhD in Physical Chemistry, and chess master in New Zealand. His chapter is on the origin of life. He covers several topics in 32 pages, but what I found interesting was his discussion of probabilities, and the elemental basic requirements for life. Apparently, the hypothetical minimum genome consists of 387 protein-coding genes, and 43 RNA-coding genes. This would be for a mycoplasma which is about the simplest organism found. Mycoplasma genitalium (a bacterium) has the smallest known genome and contains 482 genes comprising 580,000 bases.
The chance of attaining the minimum, making very generous assumptions (generous means unrealistic), is about (10) to the power of -5000. Like guessing a 5000 digit PIN on the first try. Evolutionists say that given enough time randomness makes anything possible. Sarfati says there are 10 to power of 80 atoms in the universe. 10 to power of 12 atomic interactions per second. 10 to power of 18 seconds since the evolutionary big bang. This makes only 10 to power of 110 interactions possible. The chance of getting the minimal life is one in 10 to the power of 4925. Not enough time. No chance. Impossible through randomness. It is statistically impossible.
This does not include all the probabilities necessary for developing this simple life into all other life forms through sheer random chance of obtaining favorable mutations and additions of information which are not lost. So Edwin, what would it take for you to lose your faith in evolution?
Theoretically, God could employ whatever method He wants to create. If he had chosen to employ evolution, then he could direct it or undirect it any way he wants. With God all things are possible. But speculating on that without considering the ramifications or without considering the inconsistencies, seems rather useless and perverse. I would say to the contrary that there is a meeting of the minds on the point that if God had used evolution to create, that it would have theological implications. The theological implications are those that I have already raised, and to which you have not yet responded... in other words, if God did not create the world good, then why does it need to be renewed, and what does it need to be saved from? On what basis does God ask us to do things against our natural inclinations with which he created us in the first place?
There are numerous other theological implications, such as what is the meaning of the references to Genesis 1 that we find scattered throughout the new testament, if Genesis 1-3 is a mere fabrication? How can Jesus be a second Adam if there was no first Adam? etc., etc.
You might tackle the question as to why Charles Darwin, his grandfather Erasmus Darwin, Richard Dawkins and numerous others find so much atheistic joy in believing in evolution?
You ask the question, but do not seem to understand the consequences of what directed maco-evolution would be. In what way would it be directed? Like God directing the weather? Like God punishing David for his sin of adultery? Like God sending Israel into captivity? Is it merely directed by God-created natural laws, or by God's direct intervention to make evolution possible. You see, natural laws, and the evidence of fossils, population genetics, observable rates of deleterious mutations, probability theory, all seem to indicate that evolution of microbes to microbiologists is not what we would naturally expect. So if it happened, it would have required dramatic intervention to cause the specific types of mutations necessary for "onward and upward" evolution to take place, as well as divine intervention for abiogenesis. However, this type of evolution is dramatically different from the general theory of evolution postulated and taught in schools and universities today, which postulates the parameter of randomness, and assumes that processes in the past were similar to those observed in the present. This is why I asked you earlier if you believed in God of the gaps... in other words do you believe that whereever evolution theory falls short, that God must have created the circumstance necessary to allow evolution to continue?
Since you are not a scientist, it remains for you to answer the theological question: Why would God redeem us from the very death and destruction that was used as a process to create man? Why would God redeem us from all the natural inclinations to profligate sex, thievery, lying, cheating, etc., which are simply part of our evolutionary survival mechanisms (if evolution is true)? Is God being consistent by asking us to behave differently than the way he created us? Finally, could you say theologically that evolution was now complete and finished, or that it is still continuing? Did God really rest from his creating work, or did he not?
There is also the moral and ethical question of speculating on something that is not true. In other words, if evolution is not likely, or not probable based on scientific problems, then is it morally legitimate to speculate on what we would have to change in our theology as if evolution really was true? Seems to me its a lot like dating other women while married, in order to decide who to marry when your wife dies.
John, in your last sentence you speak of "undirected macro-evolution." But what about "directed macro-evolution?" Directed of course by the Creator God as in Genesis One and throughout the Bible. Which, to my unscientific mind, would be what appears to be truthful Biblically. Do you suppose God could have employed such a developmental method to bring the world and the human race to the point at which we are today? My theological concern has been what effect, if any, would such a development have on our traditional theological definitions. There doesn't seem to be a meeting of the minds on that point.
With consideration for Jolanda's comment that one should not dominate a discussion... which I appreciate, I can only say that Edwin Walhout dominated the page of the Banner with his article, and comments, objections, etc. did not have the same space or weight permitted. His article made some of my children question the integrity and faith of the crc, and others were also affected similarly. So I think it is legitimate to respond to every concern and question and "truth statement" made. I certainly don't mind if someone else responds instead of me, but I hope I will be forgiven for filling in the gap in the meanwhile.
I have been reading the book, "Evolution's Achilles Heels" by the 9 PhD scientists. It's somewhat technical and difficult, although yet written in a way that the points can be understood. I've finished the first of 8 chapters, which is a chapter on Natural Selection by Dr. Donald Batten. What is the point of this chapter in a nutshell? Well, creationists also accept natural selection. But they believe that natural selection works against evolution, not for it. It is a conserving action, weeding out harmful mutations. It does not create additional genetic information, but generally reduces the genetic variability within a species or a kind. Haldane's dilemna of population genetics indicates that in 10 million years with a fixed beneficial mutation rate of one per generation, under idealized and unrealistic conditions, the maximum amount of the human genome that could be generated is only 0.02%. Under realistic assumptions, the amount would be much, much lower. However, the genetic difference from the supposed common ancestor is at least 5%, and probably 12%, so much more time would be required to generate the genome, even if the genome was somewhere 50% similar to ape and 50% similar to human. At a 5% difference, it would take 250 times longer under idealized conditions. And this is only under the assumption that new genetic information could actually be generated, which does not appear to be the case, since observed mutations are almost always deleterious, or even when beneficial, are caused by a loss of information, or a loss of a genetic inhibitor, or activation of an inhibitor, and not by actual increase in new genetic material.
In the Second chapter, "Genetics and DNA", Dr. Carter points out that evolutionists assumed 97% of human DNA was junk DNA, because of their presuppositions. This was found to be in error, and in fact every indication is that almost every part of the DNA plays a role and function. Most genes in the individual DNA often play a dual or triple regulatory function, so that the 23,000 genes in the human genome can produce 100,000 proteins. The ENCODE project, which spent $3 billion to map the 3 billion letters in the human genome found out all sorts of things that make it more unlikely that evolutionary processes could have ever resulted in the development of new species from different species in a macro sort of sense.
God's creation is much more complicated and complex than we have thought in the past, which makes it less and less likely that undirected macro-evolution could be the mechanism for generating the creation we see today.
Last night I was listening to Hank Hanegraaff (Bible Answer Man broadcast) on the radio, and I found it interesting that he became a Christian at the age of 29 by examining the evidence for creation science. When he realized the poverty of evolutionary thought, then the message of scripture made more sense to him.
Another Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, also is quite strong in his opposition to evolution. Born in India, he was an atheist until the age of 17, when he became a Christian after attempting suicide. He is considered by some to be the leading Christian apologist of this time, and has been preaching internationally since 1977, as well as speaking at universities, colleges, and other groups of young adults. A very sharp guy.
And then, as I mentioned previously, the speaker Peter Sparrow, who was convinced by anti-evolutionary evidence that maybe God was real after all, and became a Christian at the age of 19.
Don't underestimate the power of apologetics as a tool for witness.
Edwin, you suggest that God brought the world into its present physical condition thru evolutionary processes. This appears to be a faith statement on your part. Since you don't say that your idea of evolution is different than the general theory of evolution as proposed by Darwin, Dawkins, et.al., then it is necessary that you have an explanation for how and why God is in control of this process. Evolution was promoted both before and after Darwin as an explanation that could eliminate God in the equation; it was not promoted as a way of honoring God. So you would need to explain how it honors God, and how it is indicated by scripture, and how biology/geology/paleontology proves it, and how this demonstrates God. What evidence do you have for an endpoint? How do you know that human beings are the endpoint... according to the theory, they could just as well be an intermediate inferior step towards the progression of something better. In a way, this is what Hitler proposed in terms of racial superiority, that one race could be superior to another. Why was he wrong?
So, if God is playing a role... then what role is God playing? Is your idea of this role consistent with who God is, how he has revealed himself in scripture? When we think of the natural laws of physics, mathematics, such as gravity and consistency of numbers and objects, we see God as a God of order, of beauty, symmetry. Evolutionary theory would see God as a God of disorder, randomness, accidents, death and destruction and survival. If this is how God created, then what does the world need to be renewed from? What does it need to be saved from?
I note that you did not address the fact that scientific evidence/knowledge is indicating less and less support for evolution over time, as I noted in the example of human and chimp genome dissimilarities. What would it take for you to lose your faith in evolution?
Edwin, I will reply to this in a separate post so it is at the end of the thread. You will see it below.
John, You write at the end, "But this is not a biological evolution. This is a spiritual renewal, a being born again, a dedication to God, and a fulfillment of God’s promise. It is wrong to conflate this with evolution in which God plays no visible role, or in which God cannot intervene.<"/p> I trust that you are not suggesting I am defending a concept of evolution in which God plays no role. I am suggesting that the process of the physical development of the universe since the beginning of time can be characterized as the way God has brought the world to the condition it is in today, and that this guidance, this sovereign control, applies as well to the control of human history as well, all of this working steadily toward the telos God has in mind for the future.
Yes, there will always be differences between believers. Some differences will be marginal or traditional, or semantic. Other differences will be serious. We need to discern the difference.
As far as the science question you raise, could someone show evidence why a six day creation would fit the evidence... well, I don't think its perfect proof, but this book I am reading written by 9 PhDs in science attempts to do that. If evolution is discredited, then evolution cannot discredit the possibility of a six day creation... so that is a starting point. But also the actual layering of sediment, formation of valleys, mountains, volcanoes, ice, should fit into the scenario of this six day creation and a catastrophic world wide flood. It may be that we simply don't fully understand the implications of such a flood, but I think we are getting closer to it. I personally have a problem with understanding how light from distant galaxies can travel and fit within that time period, unless it was created in process just like the stars, or the universe expanded very swiftly in the beginning, or light, being created on the first day made the first day somewhat timeless. But given the evidence or lack of it, I have much bigger problems with seeing how evolution could have happened and left no evidence.
Scientists also have their paradigms, and that is why the nine PhD scientists who wrote the book "Evolution's Achilles Heels" would disagree with Richard Dawkins.
Edwin, thanks for the apology. So you admit lack of expertise in science… which is good, because even though I work in science, I do not claim to be an expert in all of these things. However, knowledge is constantly changing or enlarging and being refined. What you heard from a biologist about chimpanzees being 97% the same genetically as humans is dramatically wrong, for example. In 1975, they said that the dna sequence that could be compared was 99% identical. However, taking insertions and deletions into account, they share 96% of the sequence. In later work, the genomes were found to be 87% similar (Britten). However, what is not mentioned is that 35 million base pairs differ between the shared portions. In addition, the chimp genome actual size is about 8% larger than the human genome. After taking into account genome size, insertions, deletions, the starting point of 25% random similarity (because of only 4 bases), orthologous proteins, and structural differences, the conclusion is that the genomes are only about 70% similar.
As far as progress through history, I have no arguments that a certain progression takes place. The examples you cite in the old testament, are obviously God working with his people. The events are foretold and they come to pass (Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah). God gave the Torah; it was not somehow randomly and accidentally arrived at. God sent Jesus; He was not a result of accidental mutations, selections and adaptations. So there is a big difference when God actively works with his people and his people respond in obedience, compared to some blind, accidental, random, and survivalist evolutionary progression.
There is no doubt, and I totally agree, that the gospel has a magnificent effect on social, governmental and educational activities in society. I just watched “Amish Grace” yesterday for example which demonstrates this clearly. But this is not a biological evolution. This is a spiritual renewal, a being born again, a dedication to God, and a fulfillment of God’s promise. It is wrong to conflate this with evolution in which God plays no visible role, or in which God cannot intervene.
Yes it is indeed God’s world, but the evolutionists from Darwin to Dawkins, would like to change that.
John, I apologize for the suggestion that you may not be listening to God. I did not intend to insult you, but I guess I did. You have a much right to say the same of me from your point of view. For whatever good it might do, I withdraw the comment. I’m sorry for it. We are all trying our best to listen for the truth that God has for us.
Further, I have nothing whatever to say in reply to your scientific insights. I have no expertise whatever in that field. I can only say I have been convinced by what Van Till wrote back in the early nineties and what the two Calvin profs wrote in the scientific journal a couple of years ago, and what I heard from a biologist about chimpanzees being 97% the same genetically as humans.
My concern is theology and Bible interpretation. And I do see progress, development, in the Bible. Genesis One describes the successive stages in the creation, moving step by step toward the shaping of the world as God wanted it to be. Each day’s work presupposes the work of the preceding day. That’s development, is it not?
Similarly the work of God in shaping the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Abraham was called out of the polytheism of Babylon into monotheism, the one only God of Israel, Yahweh. That’s a good and necessary development. God gave Israel the Torah at Mount Sinai; that too is a step forward for them, shaping a coherent nation out of a group of slaves. The return from Babylonian captivity was also an advance, once for all eliminating idolatry from the people.
I think we need to see also that the ministry of Jesus is also a step forward in God’s plan to save the world, the extension of the gospel to all nations, not merely to the Jews. So I see also this same process continuing as the gospel overcomes all obstacles in the ancient Roman empire, resulting in 390 in Emperor Theodosius declaring Christianity to be the only legal religion in the empire. That’s progress, development. Then look at what the gospel did for the barbarian tribes that overran the empire. It transformed them from destructive to constructive, producing the beginnings of the western civilization which we have inherited.
You have constantly pointed out the failures and inadequacies and evils that still plague us. Nobody denies that. But for myself I keep looking at what God has done and what he is continuing to do, and I am confident that the work he has begun he will continue to do until such time as he determines will be the telos toward which he guides all things.
God’s work has encountered major setbacks all throughout history, but God always has a way of using those setbacks as the occasion for making a major step forward in his plan to get us as a human race to greater obedience. We can have all confidence that God will use the evil things you mention in order to have us rebound from them into a better world. That’s what I believe with all my heart. This is God’s world, not the devil’s.
Thanks, John, for your simplistic answer in regard to the differences between denominations. All those (from different church groups) going to the Baptist church the other evening to hear a speaker with a narrow message condemning evolution, went because of a common premise (that evolution is a religion and is false). You all were able to set aside your many differences in order to celebrate your common core belief. But within that group if the topic got changed unexpectedly to the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” or “infant baptism” or God’s plan for Israel at the end of time or what does it mean when Jesus said, “this is my body... and this is my blood...” or can women be ordained as ministers in the church, or to what extent is Jesus fully God, or are children of believers members of the church or what is the continuity between the Old and New Testaments, or how many dispensations (Dispensationalism - dispensations of how God saves people) are there described in the Bible or what is the proper interpretation of the book of Revelation or is baptism necessary for salvation, and the list goes on almost endlessly as to the topics where there would be complete disagreement between those same church groups.
Your premise of sharing a common interest and persuasion as to evolution, is like asking if the same group could get together and enjoy a football game together, or if all football enthusiasts agree and are comfortable in their beliefs as to God. The fact remains, you can make the Bible say anything you want it to and most of the differences are not minor. The differences were serious enough to cause church denominations to split and form new denominations. Or I could ask you, would you feel comfortable leaving the CRC to become a Pentecostal or Roman Catholic? There’s your answer, John, about the homogeneity of church groups and as to the importance of how the Bible gets interpreted.
The many differences as to Bible interpretation says there are no clear answers in the Bible and that there are inconsistencies and contradictions. Otherwise, all Christians would be on the same page. And my attempt to rationalize those differences and smooth them over may be different than your attempt, or the Baptist attempt, or the Pentecostal attempt, or the Roman Catholic attempt. And the fact that there are so many interpretations says the Bible is not as clear a Revelation as you make it out to be.
As to the meeting the other night, the speaker could shed a lot of light as to why evolution does not make scientific sense. If speaking to a panel of scientists, could he also show the scientific evidence as to why a young earth with a literal six day creation would make perfect scientific evidence?
Tonight our family went to a Baptist church to listen to a speaker from Australia explain how evolution was a faith, and how evolution contradicted the scientific evidence. At this presentation, there were members from a Gospel Chapel, two Baptist churches, Mennonite churches, CRC, Pentecostal churches, Alliance church, Lighthouse church, Rom Catholic, and probably some others. That kind of answers your comments on differences between denominations. Similarities between christians from different denominations are ocassionally stronger than similarities within a particular denomination. Neither the similarities nor the differences prove anything about the truth of scripture.
The speaker mentioned that Jesus was a young earth creationist. He quoted the verse where Jesus said, "In the beginning, God made them male and female..." If people were only created/evolved in the last few 100,000 years according to evol theory, then they certainly were not created "in the beginning". So changing the interpretation of Genesis also leads to changing the truth of what Jesus said.
But for me the interesting things were the evidences against the necessity of evolution. He gave the example of how the Carlsbad limestone caves were originally dated as 260 million years old. Then that was changed in the 1950s to 7 million years old. Later it was changed to 2 million years old. Finally the sign was removed completely. .... Same cave. Same evidence. Different ages. Why? well different assumptions and different interpretation. Science in this is not so straightforward as non-scientists seem to think.
How about formation of stalactites? Supposedly it takes thousands or millions of years to form... 0.13mm per year... but, there are man-made mine caves less than 100 years old which have sprouted Stalactites which are almost twenty feet long... which at the average rate would make them 24000 years old. Obviously, some of the estimates and assumptions do not match the known evidence.
He pointed out that Darwin said the number of transition fossils should vastly outnumber the endpoint fossils. To date it is still difficult to prove that any one fossil is a transition fossil, never mind that there should be countless undeniable numbers of them, not just one or two scattered possibilities. Both Jay Gould and ___ Patterson experts in paleontology have apparently agreed on this point, and yet they are evolutionists.
The speaker himself has a degree in science (biology/paleontology) and diploma in Education and was an atheist until the age of 19. At that time he became a Christian when shown the poverty of evolution theory. He claims to be an exception to the rule that apologetics do not convert people, since it was directly the evidence against evolution that converted him to follow Christ. He has been speaking against evolution for the last 40 years, and as a travelling ministry for the last 17 years.
Now I'm off to read a book called, "Evolution's Achilles Heels", written by 9 PhD scientists from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Romania, and Canada with forward written by another PhD and the book edited by yet one more PhD. I personally don't think you have to be a PhD to understand all this evidence, but for those impressed by titles... It is only 260 pages, and should be an interesting read.
Edwin, had commented some time ago, about John and I going back and forth, and maybe missing the original point of his article, as Edwin saw it. As comments passed back and forth, it was obvious that we didn’t see eye to eye on the issue of evolution or creation, and of course that debate spilled over into other areas of theology, which may or may not be related, depending on how you see the implications. Then John brings a Philip Westra perspective and concern into the picture. What I’m seeing, is that everyone has a box, John, Edwin, Philip, myself and others. And somehow we all think my own box of correct Biblical interpretation is the only valid one. Is that really true, that my box (and those that agree with me) is the only true box?
The Bible contains 66 different books or letters, written by a large variety of authors, over a long period of time, involving a variety of cultural settings. Christians, in general, claim that these 66 books, taken together, make up the inspired (therefor true) word of God. These various books apparently contain a consistent message that somehow hangs together without contradicting itself, although taken from 66 different books. If there seems to be contradictions, they are only apparent, and it can be shown how conflicts for the most part can be shown to fit together when the apparent conflicting pieces are seen in light of other Scriptures. Both John and Edwin have tried to show the consistency of their Biblical understanding. They have also shown how the viewpoint of the other person is inconsistent with the Bible’s message in light of other Scriptures. We are each trying to present a better argument to demonstrate that I’m right and you are wrong when it comes to the teaching of the Bible.
Theologians have been doing this same thing from before the time of Augustine and have continued right up into the present. Just think of the multitude of Christian (at least, they call themselves that) denominations that there are at present. Each denomination has their master theologians such as Calvin, Zwingli, Luther (the list could get extensive). There the Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Baptists, Freewill Baptists, Particular Baptists, Dispensational Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Mormons (they think of themselves as Christians), Orthodox, Methodists, each with their own seminaries having a host of Phd theologians on staff. These theologians think that those outside of their own denomination are misinterpreting the Bible (an inconsistent message with contradictions) and their job, in their own seminary, is to do Biblical research to show how they can make a truly consistent (no contradictions) theology. But none of these groups agree with each other or they would join together as denominations. These differences are great enough that these denominations and groups separate from the others and have remained separate for years or centuries. But each group, although having differences from the others, thinks their group is the only with a consistent theology without inconsistencies.
Yet they all claim the Bible is the inspired word of God and contains no contradictions (unless you look across the fence at another denomination). Reformed denominations have defined their basic theology by the three ecumenical creeds and the three forms of unity. But there are few other denominations that would agree with those confessions, especially, the Canons of Dort. But these Creeds and Confessions, in the Reformed mind, is what demonstrates the Bible’s consistent and noncontradictory message. But even within the CRC confessional group there are those who look over the fence and try to wed Arminian theology to a five point Calvinistic theology, making their own box a little different from the denomination’s but showing from Scripture how their own box makes the best sense.
Within a given denomination, say the CRC, there comes a time when they want to ordain women deacons, elders, and ministers. But the Bible clearly teaches that women are not to have authority over men. So the CRC theologians get to work to show how maybe it’s time for a change and now when seen correctly, the Bible can teach that both men and women can have authority in the church and hold these positions. How about a man being the head of his household, once understood differently than today, thanks to the good work of our theologians. As in other denominations. a homosexual lifestyle will be approved for membership and service in the CRC, thanks to our theologians who will be able to bend Scripture to say what we want and call it a consistent Bible message of God’s love and justice. I think many are working on that one even now.
All this happens, despite, the Bible’s teaching that the Holy Spirit will lead his church in all truth. So what does this all say about the differences that John, Edwin, Philip, and a hundred others (including myself) have as to what the Bible really teaches? Does John really have the only truly consistent box, or is it Ed? I will admit the many inconsistencies of the Bible. You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. In fact they are glaring, such as with the teaching of Jesus and Paul as to salvation. I think it may be better to make a choice, and I will choose Jesus. His teaching is so much more reasonable and fits with common logic. Have a great weekend.
You are right it is primary to consider what God is saying to us. But it is debatable that what you are looking at is from God. It is debatable what is "moving ahead" and what is moving backwards, or regressing. The world today often thinks that homosex is a completely natural activity, for example. I would characterize that not as moving ahead, but as regressing to a more primitive state. The world often wants to promote that all religions and values are equal in value; this is not "moving ahead" but moving sideways into an absurdity.
During the rennaissance, many enlightened philosophers were heralded as leaders and "lights" of the day. Many were atheists, agnostics or mere spiritualists. They were thought to be moving ahead, but in fact were often moving backwards to greek philsophy or semblances of it, and side stepping God's authority of creation and redemption of our daily lives. Some of them planted seeds that led to eugenics, and ethnic cleansing, and to racial superiority. Racial superiority is a direct natural consequence of the theory of evolution. Is this what we are moving forward to?
Psychologists consider themselves scientists as well, and have in the past often promoted certain behavioural and psychological theories which have done great harm to individuals as well as to society as a whole.
I'm a scientist too. I have some understanding of what kinds of evidence are required for a theory to stand up against challenges. I have a reasonably good understanding of C14 half lifes, and understand how similar principles apply to K-Ar, and other rock-dating methods, etc. I have seen fossils of pachyrhinosaurus being excavated. I understand genetics enough to understand selection of characteristics through heredity, and I have some cursory understanding of various types of GMO and GEO. I understand technological progress and development in the areas of direct seeding, GPS plant protection and nutrient management, robotic milkers, real-time moisture monitoring, 4-R method of crop nutrient management. I understand that some soils have declined in quality, while other soils have improved in quality in the last fifty years due to improved understanding and management. To suggest that I want to close my ears is ludicrous. Might I ask if you have really checked out and come to grips with the scientific objections to the "grand theory of evolution"? I mean scientific objections, not scriptural objections. Or perhaps it is you who wants to close your ears?
You know, John, it is only of secondary importance for you to understand me or for me to understand you; what is of primary importance is for us together to understand God. I am hearing God speak to us via the scientific community, and, frankly, you appear reluctant to listen. You appear to be listening to what God said to our forefathers centuries ago but to be closing your ears to what God is saying to us now. Is it so strange that God might be asking us to move ahead in our thinking and in our obedience? You would not be wanting to close your ears if that were so.
Thanks for your replies, Edwin. Developmentalism. That is what you believe in... apparently. Hmm. See I believe that God develops things, and we develop things... but I believe not in developmentalism. I believe in God and trust scripture.
Although the renaissance did believe in enlightenment, but that did not have much to do with God's purpose, but rather with a humanistic approach to life.
So you believe in sin... but have difficulty explaining it, if it is simply a natural outworking of evolution which god used to create. How could you say that sin is not just a human construct? Why is sin not just the natural impulses of the evolutionary process? And if it is, why would god want us to change these predatory impulses? The predatory impulses which he created? (I mean lying, stealing, lusting, adultery, cheating, killing....)
The reason why distinguishing evolution and naturalism is significant, is that naturalism implies that God has nothing to do with evolution. On the other hand, if God does have something to do with evolution, then you need to ask what and how. Because evolution certainly defines sin differently than God does.
You say that Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father. That he is ruling in the world. Where do you think he was sitting when the world was created? When you attribute progress or "more just" to Canada and USA and Europe (presumably) than Egypt and Greece and Rome I would agree that you are possibly right. But the issue is not developmentalism. The issue is God's grace and the witness of Christians. For example, the abolition of slavery in the USA and the destruction of the slave trade in Britain. Mostly motivated by christian men. But keep in mind, the USA was already a country for almost 100 years before that, and settled as colonies 200 years before that. And not by barbarian hordes.
Anyway, it is not in citing examples of this and that, which we can prove progress or not. One nuclear bomb seems to outweigh a lot of progress, especially since it is part of the progress. Scripture is a better guide. And scripture promises times of blessing, and a time when Satan is released, that great beast. It also promises a judgement of those who disobey God. It also promises that there will be a time when no one has to teach his neighbor about God or salvation, because everyone will already know. But this seems to be heaven itself. There is no sense of an evolutionary process leading us to become better. Rather there is a declaration of needing faith and God's spirit, not to evolve, but to become new. To be born again.
Thanks for your reply. At least we are beginning to understand you.
John, you want me to respond. OK.
Item # 1. 1) The author </em>(Walhout<em>) frames the whole thing in a reading of history that is simply inaccurate. Purgatory, indulgences, relics, etc. did not form the "backbone of Christianity" 500 years ago. When these became too important, the Reformation happened. To put creation, sin and salvation (think Apostles Creed) on par with these is simply wrong.
Response. I believe in creation, sin and salvation. I also believe in the Apostles’ Creed. I would not put the items mentioned “on a par with” more important doctrines. I am simply affirming that the time has come when God is asking us to re-examine our traditional formulations in the light of scientific discoveries, and if found defective, to improve them. Who knows, it may even result in another upheaval the size of the Reformation?
Item # 2. 2) Apart from the concluding blurb from a synodical report, Walhout fails to mention anything about how the church has already been wrestling with these issues for the past 150 years. This includes the various ways Genesis 1 has been interpreted well before Darwin came along, the numerous scholars who have described Adam and Eve as the representative head of the human race, and the work of scholars today in wrestling with these questions (i.e. books and articles by the Haarsmas at Calvin College).
Response. It is because I have read these and similar books and articles that I have come to the conclusions I have. There isn’t room in one Banner article to summarize all that; I articulated the insights that such documents have suggested to me.
Item # 3. 3) This article lacks helpful distinctions, such as the difference between evolution and naturalism,which help us ask and answer the important questions.
Response. What one person considers “the important questions” will probably vary from person to person. I addressed those that were important to me, and in my judgment important for the church as a whole to address. To expose what the article does not do may help some, but it would be much more helpful to address the items it does propose (as in the next item #4).
Item # 4. 4) He does suggest evolutionary theory calls for a reworking of doctrines like creation, sin and salvation. About sin, he says, "We will have to find a much better way of understanding what sin is, where it comes from, and what its consequences are. Theologians will have to find a new way of articulating a truly biblical doctrine of sin and what effect it has on us." In other words, evolutionary theory will enable theologians to be true to the Bible in our theological articulations. The implication being that now we will really understand the Bible. I think the problems in this are obvious. I am a bit floored that anyone in this forum might suggest that sin and salvaiton are not core doctrines of the Christian faith.
Response. I did not suggest that sin and salvation are not core doctrines of the Christian faith. They are. I simply suggested that we may need to find a better way of understanding them. The paradigm of developmentalism will help us to do that.
Item # 5. 5) The author makes a prediction about the future, a prophetic claim, if you will. If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we humans with our best sciences cannot predict the future. Unless Walhoutreceived this from God himself (including being from Scripture), he should not put this forward as something that will inevitably happen. Being a false prophet is a serious matter in the Bible."
Response. What prediction is he talking about? That people a millennium from now might look back on our times with amazement? If so, I do plead guilty. It’s interesting that he says history teaches us we cannot predict the future, but in this case I am pleading the actual precedent of history, the exact opposite of what my critic suggests! From where did I receive this? Where does anyone receive truth from? All truth is from God. So, in so far as my article is truthful, of course it comes from God. I think he misread the article if he says that I am predicting that it “will inevitably happen.” It appears to me that it will happen, but this is a far cry from inevitability. And his last comment. Indeed it is a serious matter to be a false prophet. However, perhaps my critic should raise a mirror. What if it turns out I am right and he is wrong? Would that make him the false prophet?