Blog
The new (and maybe not all that new) rallying cry from the churches since the Task Force began its work has been “Listen to us!” The Task Force did listen...
April 21, 2015 0 6 comments
Resource, Agenda
The Agenda for Synod 2015 is now available on the Synod Resources page of the Christian Reformed Church in North America website.
April 8, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog
I am not sure I’ve ever heard a deacon speak up at classis. We will soon be able to test whether this is simply a failure of my own perception.
April 7, 2015 1 16 comments
Resource, Report
The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met on February 26 and 27, 2015, at the Burlington Christian Reformed Church in Burlington, Ontario.
March 17, 2015 0 2 comments
Blog
While simply sending deacons to meetings of Classis and Synod will not create change on its own, it is part of a new future.
February 11, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template
Submit your nomination to serve as a Deacon Adviser to Synod 2015!
January 13, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog
The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met on Sept. 25 and 26, 2014, at the Prince Conference Center on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
October 9, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I have deliberately kept a low profile for the past year since the Banner published the article, Tomorrow’s Theology.  I have watched as the church responded, and now that Synod has acted upon the various overtures related to it, I think it appropriate to re-enter the conversation.

...
July 3, 2014 0 94 comments
Blog
The last substantive motion of CRC Synod 2014 came from the floor. The restoration of the ethnic advisors. Ethnic advisors have served Synod for a number of years due to the lack of ethnic diversity. The plan was for there to be advisors until 25 delegates were from non-CRC-majority culture...
June 20, 2014 1 7 comments
Blog
Changes in the missionary support paradigm at Christian Reformed World Missions have created some controversy. A former missionary and current missions leader gives a personal perspective.
June 18, 2014 3 5 comments
Blog

A little while ago I listened to Rev Joel Boot as he gave his final speech as interim executive director. The first thing I thought was it takes a special person to do that job and we should thank God for the job Rev. Boot did. As I was listening I found myself wishing I could someday visit the...

June 17, 2014 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

There is a lengthy and thorough report of this committee. At the end of the agenda item there is a request for input which I assume to be for synod delegates to complete.

I wonder if those of us in the pew can participate in this?

Do we need a new post for this? It is a complicated...

June 15, 2014 0 1 comments
Blog
The succession plan outlined in the Board of Trustees (BOT) supplement to the Agenda for Synod indicates that both the previous interim Executive Director and deputy Executive Director will continue on in other roles until March of 2015. Does any other organization work this way?
June 9, 2014 3 5 comments
Discussion Topic

I am delighted that there will be joint sessions of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) this month in Pella, Iowa.

This may sound like a recurring refrain but here we have the CRCNA (a bi-national synod) meeting with the RCA (a...

June 3, 2014 0 1 comments
Blog
Having served on the search committee that recommended Dr. Steven Timmermans to the Board of Trustees for interview and nomination, I will not fully relax until the final vote is tallied and announced. Let me explain.
May 30, 2014 2 2 comments
Blog
The church has always had a strong commitment to Christian education. This ecclesiastical commitment remains critical today. In particular, the historic creeds and Reformed confessions of the CRCNA give the college and its faculty a well-articulated faith context in which to work.
May 21, 2014 2 2 comments
Blog
All three offices share in the great challenge of the church leadership: the equiping of the saints, together, but also each in its own way.
May 13, 2014 1 0 comments
Blog
Five overtures in the Agenda for Synod 2014 call for action related to The Banner. All of them represent responses to last summer’s heat wave generated by the publication of two articles...
May 12, 2014 0 53 comments
Blog
All advisers are asked to remember their role at synod—which is to help the delegates from the classes and churches to make decisions for the whole Christian Reformed Church. Synod 2014 will consider a report that more clearly defines these advisers and their roles...
May 12, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
The Board of Trustees meets three times per year to implement matters assigned by synod and carry out interim functions on behalf of synod. "BOT Highlights" are published following each meeting and distributed to churches by way of the stated clerk of classis. Here's the latest issue.
May 9, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
A time of worship for the whole community–a time to sing and pray, a time to talk to God and listen to what God has to say to us.
May 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
In a historical first, the annual synod of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) will be doing some business together when they meet simultaneously in June on the campus of Central College in Pella, Iowa.
May 2, 2014 1 0 comments
Blog
Most churches have ministries geared for children and youth, but many kids with disabilities don’t feel at home in these ministries.
May 2, 2014 2 0 comments
Blog
I’m glad that in June the CRC and RCA Synods are meeting at the same time in Pella, Iowa, and worshiping together from the same hymnal. I welcome the joint recommendation to both of our synods to acknowledge how much we have in common...
April 24, 2014 0 2 comments
Blog
Soon after his promotion from lecturer to professor of Old Testament studies at our Theological School in 1914, Ralph Janssen was to face growing suspicions of "liberalism."
April 22, 2014 2 4 comments

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John Carver is the creator of the Policy Governance model. See http://www.carvergovernance.com/model.htm. This model is used worldwide by the boards of many non-profit organizations, including many Christian organizations. I have firsthand experience with two boards of organizations in the Reformed tradition that use the Carver model. I recommend the book Good Governance for Nonprofits: Developing Principles and Policies for an Effective Board by Frederic Laughlin and Robert Andringa for practical advice about implementing the Carver model. I know that at least Robert is a Christian.

I can not follow the Carver comments. Where does that come from?

Joel, your initial reaction to rule yourself out as a writer of this objective look may been  the right one. The very fact that it took 4 years to get to this final report from your committee puts truth to the statement "The Task Force heard repeatedly that the current system includes far too many “hoops” and is needlessly complex". The report that I read in the Agenda does nothing to change that statement.

Let me summarize what I read.

First, a few positives. The affirmation of the local congregation was very good to read. Leaving Calvin Seminary and World Renew Boards in place was an excellent recommendation.

Second, a glaring omission. The vision statement of the CRCNA should have been placed at the heading of this report. It was not, so the reader has no idea from what baseline you were working. It follows here so that my comments (following) are seen in the correct light.

“The Christian Reformed Church is a diverse family of healthy congregations, assemblies, and ministries expressing the good news of God’s kingdom that transforms lives and communities worldwide.”

Third, some negatives and supporting comments. The Agenda Report with its 18 circles (page 358) and 21 ovals (page 359) was a rainbow of complexity. Congregational Health was shown as part of one circle but I could not find it in any of the ovals. With 30% of congregations under 100 members the church is far from getting close to its mission statement.  Ministry share requests were about $375 per confessing member in 2014. The church only collected $140 per member. (I used 2013 yearbook professing members). This implies churches paid less than 40% of Ministry shares. Let’s define “health” of a local congregation!

The report in Point 2 of the TFRSC report has the priorities in the wrong order. Gospel Proclamation is shown in the circles (page 358) but it is only one of 11 other areas of focus.

At the heart of the circles is of course the bureaucracy of the CRCNA.  It is this group that has come up with the idea of Global Missions. Our congregations need support as its health is fragile in many parts. Mixing Home missions with World Missions will cause the CRCNA to lose much of its know how on the international level and water down its expertise.

A sixty member COD is an impossible number to work with. The largest companies of the world do have a governance assembly that big. The Executive Committee will have unprecedented powers.

A final comment, the CRCNA has to divest itself of Calvin College. If we could somehow monetize that asset the church would have a great reserve for fixing the health of local congregations. If the church going to go for a wholesale organization let’s take a long term view. Synod should not jump to conclusion and not encourage moving forward but stepping back and see how we need to realize our vision of healthy congregations.

This man named Carver, is he a new Reformed church order guru or did we just find him in a business model and decided that since it works in business it will probably work in the church?

 

Larry

You're right, Terry. Thanks for pointing that out. It was a slip of the pen and we've fixed it in the original post.

Joel:

I don't understand the following statement:

This also will fit much better with the current Board of Trustees’ decision to move toward the Carver model of governance and concentrate on policy while the administration engages in governance.

In the model that you reference, policy and governance are not two distinct modes of operation. The BoT would govern via policy; staff, through the leadership of the Executive Director (administration), would operate the denomination in accordance with those policies set by the Board. I'm not sure that I understand the distinction you were trying to make. Did you mean "implementation" or "execution" rather than "governance" as the role of the administration?

The question is how to get deacons involved in Classis and Synod? Would a stipend for those losing wages be an effective measure? Some Classes have stipends for elders to attend Synod. Perhaps that is a route to explore...

Thanks, Terry for your remarks. I wonder what the participation rate of deacons is at Classis Atlantic Northeast? I left CANE in 2008 and at the time, deacons delegated to Classis was relatively new, but participation/attendance at Classis was not a very high percentage. Has that changed considerably over time? I believe Classes that allow women deacons will likely have a higher percentage of attendance than Classes that have not yet approved that measure.

 

Who cares if the deacon can or cant speak at Classis, or synod, or who has what role if the work of the church of either office is not being done effectively.  We have much to say and are amazingly articulate in our own assemblies but are mute in practical matters in our congregations and especially in our communities.  We have the cart before the horse.  Let's go for what's working and rewrite our playbook.  

Hi James,

I really appreciate these posts and the questions. They are good questions to ask. Three years after the document you referenced here I know that some movement has been made towards creation care in our denomination especially at the denominational offices in Grand Rapids. I'd love to hear about how churches are engaging with creation care across the continent. Did synod just ratify a document that now sits on a shelf? Creation care starts at the grass roots. True creation care is the day to day, boring, non-newsworthy living of the members of the congregation...I wonder if there's a way of finding out if the document brought a shift or is just collecting dust. 

I have to admit I like free things. But I also agree that it is a bit silly the "stuff" that gets sent/given away in the name of "promotion". I do have to say that I love the paper pens that Canadian Food Grains Bank and the paper covered USB sticks that Blessed Earth gave out a few years back. Useful and more sustainable materials. Something to think about.

PS I really appreciate your column and questions. Thank you.

Cindy Verbeek

I think that looked at from a historical perspective, the office of deacon is incredibly flexible and has manifested itself in many different forms.  Your note about nominating people according to skill sets brings up an interesting historical note, Harry.  In Geneva the deacons were divided up into procurators, what we would call administrative deacons, and hospitalars, who had the care of the poor and sometimes lived among them.  Calvin defended this distinction exegetically.  Maybe in our new setup it will make sense to make use of it again.  

Terry,

Thanks for "jumping in" to share your perspectives and thoughts as someone who has been intimately involved in this process for several years now. I am grateful for interest and responses that Norman's post has generated thus far. I encourage those who are following this conversation to share their thoughts on the post itself or in response to any of the comments made thus far. 

I appreciate Norman and Terry's comments. The church made an interesting change when it broadened the skill sets for the ED of the Denomination. Now when you look at the skill sets of those who are nominated to the BOT and the Boards of the various ministries, the "quota's"  for Ministers and Lay people come into play.The "Lay" people for that do not have to be Elders or Deacons but certainly can be. Looking at skill sets has became a factor on one of the Boards I served on and that is good.

If that review of skill sets could be applied to those selected to go to Synod, the distinction between Elders and Deacons could largely fall away. Now of course you need a skill set evaluation at the congregational level if you want to be consistent. But here is where the problem comes in. Pastors on the payroll can always (I hope) get time off for Synod/ Classis. But for lay people this is more problematic. Not only they have to devote time to local work in the role of Elder or Deacon but they can also be delegated to Classis and Synod.

Despite all of the new technology, and how it was supposed to help us, it has probably done the opposite. It is harder than ever to "get away" from the job. In our church polity we have to rely on the wisdom of church Councils and Classis to select the most capable (and I hope with appropriate skill sets) people as delegates to the Ministry Boards and to Synod.

I will make (repeat) another bold suggestion. Could the church not take Calvin College out of its governance structure and also find a totally new way to govern World Renew (e.g. give that role to the Deacons)?

I'll try to address your various points from my perspective as a deacon, a deacon who recently attended a classis meeting (and spoke at the meeting), and a member of both task forces that wrote the subject reports.

Your opening and concluding observation about not being sure about ever hearing a deacon speak at classis might be more indicative of the agenda and culture atmosphere of what classis meetings are like to deacons. Have the deacons been encouraged and mentored by pastors and elders to actively participate in the meetings and committees? Are the topics and discussions relevant to deacons? Do the deacons have a voice in shaping the meeting agenda? In my experience, certain pastors/elders may dominate the discussions. At the last meeting of Classis Atlantic Northeast, the delegates broke into small groups of four to pray for one another and also discuss a topic. Deacons participated equally with the elders and pastors in these small groups. This is one small example of how deacons can be encouraged to have a voice at a classis meeting. I've been told that almost every deacon from one of the churches who has attended a classis meeting in recent years has returned with renewed energy and excitement about ministry.

A couple points regarding the church order changes:

  1. The proposed changes are the result of four years of work over two task forces. The churches have had ample opportunity to comment on the changes and suggest revisions. (One specific revision suggested via overture in 2013 has been incorporated into the 2015 report.) I am sure that future synods will have additional changes based on experience working with these proposed changes.
  2. I hope that at this synod an advisory committee is assigned the sole task of working on this report. The advisory committee in 2013 was assigned additional work that didn't allow it to fully focus on the report it was given.
  3. Changes viewed individually rather than in the context of all the other changes may be questioned, but we looked at every church order article with a big picture view of the offices to ensure that the articles communicated the vision of the offices of elder and deacon that we, and hopefully the church, wants to see.
  4. We have no expectation that these church order changes, in themselves, will be the primary means of revitalization of the offices of deacon and elder. That's why there are other recommendations in the report that are just as important as the church order changes. In my opinion, this report should be viewed as the beginning of a journey of revitalization and not the final word on what needs to be done.

Finally, addressing your concern about imposing a model on the entire denomination, well, isn't that what being a denomination with a church order is all about? Isn't requiring elders and pastors to be delegated to classis meetings already an imposed model? I encourage classes to be creative and share their experiences with incorporating deacons into the structure of classis.

If, as some suggest, the roles and responsibilities of the offices reflect or are intended to reflect and perform the functions of Christ as prophet (pastor), priest (deacon) and king (elder), what does it say about our denomination's view of the role and responsibilities of the deacon (priest) when we don't include them and give them a voice and vote at synod?

 

Norman, I full support the full inclusion of deacons at all assemblies.  We work together in God's kingdom and we need to share information, encourage one another, and partner together.  So, we need every opportunity to be in the same room together.  I understand your uncertainty, and we'll have a big learning curve.  I'm hoping that the changes we have to go through will leave lots of room for evaluation and flexibility so we can make accommodations.

Norman, I did find your reference to deacons not participating at classis meetings quite disturbing, and I shared that with you privately.  No elder, minister or deacon can be evaluated by the number of words that are being said at a classis meeting.  I might even suggest to you that some people (ministers in particular) probably say too many words at Classis and do not add a whole lot of value to the meeting.

I have been very blessed being in the presence of all God's servants.

Diane Plug

John Klein-Geltink, a deacon from Classis Chatham, emailed his response to this post and asked me to share it here--for some reason he was unable to post it directly.

Hello Jack
When I read the report I was rather put off as are other deacons.For the past 13 years a number of deacons of Classis Chatham have served on the Classis Chatham Ministry Committee and attended Classis meetings and voted on all matters. We even asked to set time at classis to have churches share Diaconial ministry at local communities,which did happen at our last May meeting.Deacons also designed questions to be discussed at Church visits about the nature of diaconial work in their commuttees.So I am not sure what Norman is talking about.
 

To those who might have missed it, there is a post on The Network's site for Deacons entitled, "What's Up With Deacons Going To Synod?." The post itself is a letter written to CRC Deacons by The Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon. Given the interest sparked by this particular post, I think anyone wanting to better understand this issue might find it helpful. You can get directly to the post by going here. You might also be interested in reading a letter written in 1939 by a deacon that addresses the matter of deacon inclusion/representation also posted on the page for deacons here.

 

Jeff,

I think you--and others--might appreciate and benefit by reading a letter written in 1939 by deacon Hendrik Schoonekamp about the need for and importance of deacon inclusion and representation. You can read it on The Network's page for Deacons here.

While I support the idea of including deacons at Classis meetings, I wonder about the participation. It is hard to find deacons that are able/willing to take a day off of work for a Classis meeting. I often wonder about the possibility of deacons having their own meetings and reporting to Classis. A number of years ago I was in another Classis that made the change to include deacons. The attendance of deacons was minimal at best. We need full participation of deacons to make it work well.

True, deacons have their hands full at the local church level.  This has sometimes been used as an argument for not delegating them to the broader assemblies.

But couldn't the same thing be said of pastors?  Of elders?  Yet there is no talk of them staying home.

Ultimately, doesn't it all go back to fully reflecting the work of the risen and ruling Christ, though the offices, at all levels of assembly and decision making?  It will be interesting to see what might take place when this becomes a reality.

 

 

Here is the summary of the Synod's Agenda. Look how neatly all the ministries of the CRC HO Departments & Ministries have been pigeonholed into the five streams. The CRC Extension Fund in Canada, which is 3 times large than the US (Loan Fund) one, is not even mentioned anywhere.

Faith Formation
Calvin College
Discipleship and Faith Formation Ministries
Servant Leadership
Chaplaincy and Care Ministry
Christian Reformed Church Loan Fund, Inc., U.S.
Pastor-Church Relations 
Pensions and Insurance
Safe Church Ministry
Global Missions
Christian Reformed Home Missions
Christian Reformed World Missions
Loving Mercy and Doing Justice
Committee for Contact with the Government
Disability Concerns
Race Relations
Social Justice and Hunger Action
Urban Aboriginal Ministries
World Renew
Gospel Proclamation and Worship
Back to God Ministries International
Calvin Theological Seminary 
Worship Ministries

The order is very telling. Gospel proclamation is last. With a 557 page Agenda it will be an interesting Synod. Why Deacons would even want to participate is a question for me. They have their hands full at the local church level.

I for one am excited to see what the changes might bring. I have been at classis meetings where elders barely spoke a word. According to this line of reasoning, perhaps we shouldn't delegate them to classis, either.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments for us to consider as we look ahead to Synod 2015. I share your concern about the possibility--perhaps even likelihood--that the delegates to Synod 2015 could get "bogged down" with all the recommended changes to the articles of church order. You raise some important questions and I would like to hear what others are thinking about it as well.

Not yet, but he anticipates being ordained as a commissioned pastor. The exception would enable him to serve in that role in multiple classes, instead of only in the classis in which he has been ordained.

I do not understand the wordig in number 4,  Has Dr. Timmermans been ordained?

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.

posted in: MY BANNER ARTICLE

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.

Edwin Walhout

posted in: MY BANNER ARTICLE

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?

 

posted in: MY BANNER ARTICLE

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

posted in: MY BANNER ARTICLE

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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"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.  

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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).

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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So, no examples then?  No evidence that you know of?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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