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What Is the One True Christian View on Evolution?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

phylotree13 What Is the One True Christian View on Evolution?Trick question!  There isn’t one, despite what some people will tell you.  You see, the issue of exactly how God brought forth life on earth is just not something that is part of the essential teachings of Christianity.  What are the essential teachings of Christianity?  Those doctrines that were elucidated by the creeds and councils of the first five centuries of the church.  The question of how life formed was never a central part of these creeds and councils, so we can safely assume that the apostolic tradition was not particularly concerned with it.

Today, there are a great variety of views on the formation of life within orthodox Christianity.  Tim Keller gives a nice survey of the wide spectrum of views:

Some Christians in the highly publicized Creation Science movement . . . insist that Genesis 1 teaches that God created all life-forms in a period of six twenty-four-hour days just several thousand years ago.  At the other end of the spectrum are Christians who take the independence model and simply say that God was the primary cause in beginning the world and after that natural causes took over.  Other thinkers occupy the central positions.  Some hold that God created life and then guided natural selection to develop all complex life-forms from simpler ones.  In this view, God acts as a top-down cause without violating the process of evolution.  Others, believing there are gaps in the fossil record and claiming that species seem to “appear” rather than develop from simpler forms, believe that God performed large-scale creative acts at different points over longer periods of time.

I tend to lean toward the last view Keller mentions, but I am not completely certain and stand ready to hear differing points of view.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because there are too many non-Christians who are letting the question of evolution get in the way of their turning to Christ.  My plea is simple.  Focus on the central teachings of Christianity first.  Take a good look at Jesus Christ – who he is and what he accomplished.  After getting those things straight, you may want to investigate the origins of life to try and figure out how God created all the organisms we see around us.  Please put first things first and don’t let the debates over evolution divert you from the most important decision you’ll ever make.


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Comments

  • Mick Curran

    If it’s true that “too many non–Christians who are letting the question of evolution get in the way of their turning to Christ” and that is perceived to be a problem then perhaps the remedy might be to recommend to the American Evangelicals who presuppose belief in evolution is akin to atheism and who make a point of intruding into scientific debate with a truncated Bible and a stroppy attitude that they henceforth shut up. :)

  • Andrew EC

    Let me see if I have this straight:

    1. You, personally, think the Earth is on the close order of 6,000 years old (despite the fact that there are *trees* older than that).

    2. You think that because of your Holy Bible.

    3. You recognize that looks absolutely insane to anyone who isn’t convinced of #2.

    4. So, um, we’re not supposed to worry about it, because it’s not that important?

    Respectfully: that doesn’t make a lick of sense. If you think you have holy truths communicated to you by an omnipotent being, you ought to share those truths with us. And if one of those truths is that — despite all appearances to the contrary — the Earth is younger than Jarmo and domesticated wheat — then you ought to own up to the consequences of that.

    On the other hand: if you’re claiming that a book reveals holy truths about the nature of humanity and the universe, and that holy book has transparently false information in it, I think you should expect that nonbelievers will continue to be skeptical as to how holy and how true it is. Sorry.

  • Michael Crass

    I accept both of God’s books. The book of scripture and the book of nature. Evolution does not contradict the Bible, unless one already has a presupposition that it must. YEC’s seem to have a confirmation bias. Instead of re-evaluating their particular interpretation of scripture, they try make all scientific evidence fit into their interpretation, even if it requires totally comical explanations.

    It seems to me that the Bible is primarily a book about redemption and not science. We find out about redemption from the Bible and about the intricacies of creation from science and the book of nature.

    Understanding of both scripture and nature continue to be progressive. Revelation doesn’t change, but our understanding of it does. Some believe they already have all the answers no matter how much new information is found. That is putting both God and our minds in a box.

    It is a shame to see people reject the gospel of Christ because they are led to believe you can’t believe both it and the evidence from science. I am not yet fully convinced of any one particular creation paradigm. But I let mystery continue in areas where mystery exists and believe further light will make things clearer as I continue to search with an open mind.

  • Chisel

    @Bill Prat

    I’m curious as to what logic lead you to your choice in favoured theory?

    @ Michael Crass

    If you remove the quality of sentience from God would creation not be enough? Not to be deterministic but if the Creator set forth existance from it’s begining what need would their be to “create” or “design” evolution or life? Would these events not occur as natural forces(ie: physics and the elements) influenced?

    and yes, I include the begining of life and it’s evolution in this statement.

  • Bill Pratt

    Andrew EC,
    Who is your comment directed toward?

  • R. Eric Sawyer

    What little I understand of modern physics suggests that time itself is not an intrinsic property of reality, but is itself a thing having a beginning, a possible end, and is malleable by various properties such as gravity and velocity. In short, if there is a creator, it is entirely reasonable to assume that this creator exists outside of the boundaries of time, and transcends it.

    Given such as creator, is there any substantive difference between saying that he (or it) started everything, which now run by fixed laws, or saying he (or it) influences everything that happens as it happens?

    This idea does not require a Christian God (although the principle would certainly apply!); a creator described as a very few foundational principles in physics would do… Does a struck pool ball behave as it does because of the laws of physics operable in the “Big Bang”, or does it operate as it does because energy is conserved in this exact, particular operation? Timeless, or temporal; I think there is probably less difference than we think.

    For we theists and Christians, there are some technical issues attending to evolution v young earth creation. But as for the fact of God doing it, I think it makes very little difference. I would think a “clockmaker God” who started things up and then went on about his business is a non-starter

  • Tom D.

    Thank you.

    I see Christians arguing with other Christians about if evolution is true, or how much is true. Parts are true etc. etc.

    Evolution has become a politicized issue, and therefor can only divide and never unite.

    I think Andrew EC just copy and pasted that little bit, I’ve seen it before.

  • http://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/ limey

    Others, believing there are gaps in the fossil record and claiming that species seem to “appear” rather than develop from simpler forms, believe that God performed large-scale creative acts at different points over longer periods of time.

    If I read it right, the above is roughly what you tend towards.

    I have a couple of questions about that.

    1) Is there a discernible end to this period of creation? In other words, is there a point when the creation of new species stopped? When was that?

    2) To follow from 1, would you expect there to be any new species of anything created in the future?

    3) do you include micro organisms such as viruses and bacteria in your answers?

    Thank you
    limey

  • Todd

    When asked to explain evolution, most scientists will provide evidence of the fossil record, observation, and demonstrate how evolution has made predictable conclusions about the history of life on earth. They will also say that evolution does not explain creation. There are several plausible hypothesis about how in-organic matter became organic through a natural process that may ultimately be lumped in with evolution, or a similar type of gradual change. In all cases, the answers will be based in reality.

    When asking a Christian, you should always look for the miracle. At some point in the explanation, there will be a “then God did”. From Bill’s quote of Tim Keller: “… God created all life-forms in a period of six twenty-four-hour days” “…God was the primary cause” “…God created life and then guided natural selection” “…God performed large-scale creative acts”. As we all know, there is no substantiation for these claims. They are not based in reality.

    I prefer reality… but that is a choice.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Tom D: “I think Andrew EC just copy and pasted that little bit, I’ve seen it before.”

    If that were true then it wouldn’t be hard to google parts of his post and find whole phrases from it elsewhere. Given that Andrew EC’s post passes that test – it throws up no google results – I’d say that it is original, not copy and pasted. You should take a few seconds to do the same test yourself before you make such an accusation.

  • The Chisel

    @R. Eric Sawyer

    Your post gives plenty to consider. It has been proven scientificly that time slows with increased velocity. This however does not change that time still obeys fixed laws of physics. If an object remains at the same velocity, and same mass, than it’s relative time will be unchanged. I do not mention a “clockmaker” that “started things up and then went on about his business” but instead propose an non sentient omni-presence. Something that would eliminate the need for an “intelegent design” argument.

    I have to ask; Is science not compatible with Christianity, or is in not compatible with religious dogma?

    Bill Prat said: [Quote] “What are the essential teachings of Christianity? Those doctrines that were elucidated by the creeds and councils of the first five centuries of the church.” [/Quote]

    The statement leads the reader to think that the church is more important, or more influential than the central figure in Christian tradition.

    I cannot comprehend why if from the Christian perspective Man was made in God’s image that our faculties and intelectual capacities are so often excluded as relevant or circumvented entirely. Let’s follow this thought; God made Man – Man can think – thinking leads to science – science leads to emperical proof – emprical proof leads to the understanding of evolution –

    now the next step is where it get’s tricky.

    1 – evolution does not exist because of god? This therefore negates our intelect, and the atributes that God bestowed upon the creature created in his own image. It creates a paradox. It says that we cannont understand the universe, and being made in God’s image, then God cannot understand it either. I do not believe that a negative paradox, or the trivialisation of our faculties is the correct answer.

    2 – evolution cannot exist because of the church? scientific method and intelectual understanding threatens religious dogma, and calls Christian perspective into question. This is not meant to challenge a persons faith, but to reasses their perspective and understanding of the world.

    I don’t think that the argument of evolution has anything to do with either science or faith, but reallly boils down to economics. If you allow a questioning perspective, then a person may begin to question the need for the church (much like Christ himself) then the institution of the whole Christian church becomes threatend.

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    I’m sorry if I seemed to suggest that you were proposing a clockmaker god, clearly you had other fish to fry. My point about time is that it does indeed, as you point out, obey fixed laws of physics; if we were to use language more common to personal interaction, we would say that it is subordinate to the laws of physics.

    When I drop a pen, I can say that my pen is being this moment acted upon by gravitational force of the sum of the masses divided by the square of the distance.
    It is equally valid to say that my pen is acting in accord with one of the four fundamentals of the universe, part of the foundational characteristics of all that is. I think one of the manifestations of time being “inside” physics is that these two statements are essentially redundant. For there to be laws inherent at the beginning is the same as laws operating now, always and everywhere.

    The part about that which I find interesting is that by changing the language to that of personal interaction, we can get something pretty close to the monotheistic understanding of God: “X” happened because God willed it so, “X” happened because it is consistent with the way He created the universe, it is consistent with His character.

    The principle is the same, whether one posits a sentient, personal God, or a non-sentient, impersonal “unified field theory” as the ground of all things.
    ==============
    But more directly to your point: I think Science and Christianity are imminently compatible, there is only one set of “all truth,” although there are many subsets. Some truth I know by personal experience, some by revelation. Some revelation comes through Newton or Planck, some is revealed to us by the Creator directly. Most, experience or revelation of any source, is subject to misinterpretation, growing subtlety of understanding, and re-evaluation.

    The conflicts between the two are where I have made errors in my reasoning:

    God made the Heavens.
    God is perfect.
    Therefore the heavens are perfect.
    Therefore planets move in perfect circles, and are unblemished spheres.
    Therefore Copernicus and Galileo are heretics.

    Or I can misapply the science equally badly.

    The conflicts are where there is something I don’t yet understand, or I have misapplied what I do know.

    You spoke of “Something that would eliminate the need for an “intelligent design” argument.” I am rather uncomfortable with the theories advanced for the purpose of either filling or eliminating needs in our more core ideas. I understand that nothing advances without the desire to “plug the gaps” but it is also where wish-fulfillment will bite us (either of us) in the butt. While I do believe in an “intelligent designer,” I am not particularly fond of the arguments of the “intelligent design” theorists. They are (or so they seem to me) so strongly influenced by their desired conclusions, which I share, that I do not trust their analysis; particularly their statistical analysis which seems to me deliberately short-sighted.

    1 – evolution does not exist because of god? This therefore negates our intelect, and the atributes that God bestowed upon the creature created in his own image. It creates a paradox. It says that we cannont understand the universe, and being made in God’s image, then God cannot understand it either. I do not believe that a negative paradox, or the trivialisation of our faculties is the correct answer.

    Although I think that the claim that God cannot understand the universe if we can’t is a bit overstated, I think I take your point; in that if creation is not rational, and therefore understandable by rational beings, then it cannot be the product of a rational God. I totally subscribe to that, as I think would many of the architects of scientific method.

    2 – evolution cannot exist because of the church? scientific method and intelectual understanding threatens religious dogma, and calls Christian perspective into question. This is not meant to challenge a persons faith, but to reasses their perspective and understanding of the world.

    There are certainly conflicts between my understanding of evolution and my understanding of the Bible. There are further conflicts between “m.u.o.” evolution and m.u.o. Chirstian theology, based in the Bible. The rub comes, as I’ve said, in that most of the conflicts are probably in that “my understanding of” bit. Holding the two apparent truths in tension until resolved or disproved seems to be the only sound route.

    I don’t think that the argument of evolution has anything to do with either science or faith, but reallly boils down to economics. If you allow a questioning perspective, then a person may begin to question the need for the church (much like Christ himself) then the institution of the whole Christian church becomes threatend.

    I am assuming you mean what is often called “the institutional church” At least to my reading, one of the highest goals of Jesus is that people would be drawn into unity with one another in likeness to the unity of the Trinity. I take this to be the nature of the church, and a great deal of what I understand by the “Image of God” we invoked earlier.
    The institutional church often fails and impedes that goal, thus illustrating one of its own core doctrines on the defective nature of humans.

    Gone on way too long, you raise some provoking points that I hope I have understood correctly.

    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • The Chisel

    R. Eric Sawyer,

    Yes, thank you for the dialog and I enjoyed your post. I’m glad you did not misunderstand me as being inflamatory. It is quite simply not my intent.

  • Andrew EC

    Bill P: My post was aimed at you.

    Tom D: That’s a very weird criticism, and false in any event. But suppose it were true — what of it?

    I don’t mean to be easily exasperated, but this sort of argument is preposterous. The Bible *clearly* speaks to the creation of the Earth, and it just as clearly is demonstrably (and monstrously) false. Saying “oh, but that part isn’t really that important” and then adding “even though we believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God” under one’s breath is the worst sort of used-car shillery.

  • Bill Pratt

    Andrew EC,
    When I did I claim I believe the earth is 6,000 years old?

  • Andrew EC

    Bill — you said:

    “I tend to lean toward the last view Keller mentions [young-earth creationism], but I am not completely certain….”

    That indicates that you, presently, believe that the earth is 6,000 years old.

    Now, you do profess open-mindedness, and I do sincerely appreciate that you’ve caveated your young-earth creationist belief by stating that you’re not “completely” certain about it. Of course, we shouldn’t be “completely” certain of anything!

    I sense in what you’ve written — and please tell me if I’m wrong — that this young-earth belief is causing you a certain level of discomfort. You don’t want it to be central to Christianity. You want to be open to hearing other views. I humbly submit that this discomfort is occurring because a young-earth creationist worldview is absolutely and completely contradicted by everything we know about biology, astronomy, chemistry, geology, paleontology, archaeology, and history.

    Now, I chose that list carefully; I didn’t just grab seven words that end in ‘-ology’ and trot them out to sound impressive. Each and every one of those fields of inquiry confirms — and requires, as a baseline for investigation — that the Earth is on the order of 4 billion years old. When you choose to discard those fields of human inquiry in favor of a belief that the earth is six *thousand* years old — well, I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

    Look, this is your blog, and I am trying very hard not to be obnoxious. I do acknowledge and sincerely appreciate that you’ve let my comments go through un-moderated.

    I also think there are a great many wonderful things in the Bible, and there are a great many wonderful things that Christians do. Your post asks the question as to whether the Young Earth Creationism is a stumbling block to atheists accepting Christianity. What I’m trying to tell you is (1) that it is a stumbling block the size of a mountain, and (2) that the problems it creates cannot be handwaved away.

  • The Chisel

    Bill,

    I believe Anderw EC surmized your view when you stated in your blog entry

    [Others, believing there are gaps in the fossil record and claiming that species seem to “appear” rather than develop from simpler forms, believe that God performed large-scale creative acts at different points over longer periods of time.]

    Then you said “I tend to lean toward the [this] last view Keller mentions, but I am not completely certain and stand ready to hear differing points of view.”

    [The Chisel says:
    June 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm
    @Bill Prat

    I’m curious as to what logic lead you to your choice in favoured theory?]

    You don’t have to answer that. I realize that this involves ones personal understanding and perception of Divinity.

    I hope the dialog between myself and R. Eric Sawyer provided some material for contemplation, irregardless that you stated that you lean towards a Creationist point of view, and being Evangelical I doubt that you would steer away in the slightest from the doctorines of your church.

  • Andrew Ryan

    I enjoyed your discussion, The Chisel.

    But please, never use the word ‘irregardless’ – it makes no sense!

  • Bill Pratt

    Andrew EC,
    I’m afraid we have a misunderstanding. The last view that Keller mentioned was the following: “Others, believing there are gaps in the fossil record and claiming that species seem to “appear” rather than develop from simpler forms, believe that God performed large-scale creative acts at different points over longer periods of time.”

    This view is not young-earth creationism, but old-earth creationism.

  • Andrew EC

    Bill: My apologies for misunderstanding you.

    When you say “old-earth creationism,” do you mean (1) that the “days” of Genesis 1 are longer periods of time; (2) that there is a “gap” between Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 1:2; (3) that the creation account in Genesis is allegorical or otherwise not to be taken literally; or (4) some other view?

    Thanks!

  • The Chisel

    Andrew EC I think you’ve nailed it.

    It seems he’s saying he believes in an “old earth” but that God preformed periodic acts of creation.

    I often wonder how many creationists are dog owners, and if they understand how specific breeds are developed? For comparison, a chiuaua to a great dane. They’re the same species, but physical differences were acheived within a few generations of selective breeding.

    Now that’s on a tiny, tiny scale compared to world populations, and the pressure placed on a species due to natural conditions and the availability of food sources over thousands, tens of thousands, or many, many million years!

    as for gaps in the fossil record Bill, you shouldn’t allow that sort of arguement to sway you. some times geological forces make it nearly impossible to find intact specimens. It also seems like a weak, and hippocritical argument from that camp that may use “you can’t prove God *doesn’t* exist as a leverage point.

    There is a misleading factor to the laguage used around Evolution. One, that it is call the “Theory of Evolution”. I have to reiterate that Theorem is vastly different than Hypotosys. Hypothosis is an educated guess, a Theory is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established fact. Don’t allow bad symantics to sway you – because that’s all they are, symantics – not fact or or logic.

  • Bill Pratt

    Generally option 1. I find the old earth creation view of Reasons to Believe to be most persuasive.

  • Andrew EC

    Another serious question: Gen. 1:9-13 says that God created plants on Day 3 of creation, and Gen. 1:14-19 says that God then created the Sun on Day 4.

    If each “Day” in Genesis corresponds to thousands or millions of years, a straightforward, literal reading of Genesis 1 suggests that there were plants on earth for millions of years before there was a Sun!

    I assume you don’t believe that, of course — so how do you read Genesis 1?

  • Bill Pratt

    I take the words of Genesis 1 to be from the perspective of someone near the earth’s surface, so I don’t see the Sun being created on day 4, but instead becoming visible to an observer near the earth’s surface on day 4.

  • Andrew EC

    Interesting. I can’t read Hebrew, so I don’t know how to translate Gen. 1:16 (“God made two great lights”). I do know that every major translation I checked has that verb as “made” and not “made visible,” so it seems like a counter-intuitive reading of the passage to me.

    That being said, I still don’t see how “visibility” solves the problem. If the Sun isn’t visible to an observer on the Earth’s surface for millions of years, how do the plants survive?

    For that matter, how can there be flowering plants on Day 3 if God doesn’t create pollinating insects (“creeping things,” Gen. 1:25) until Day 6, millions of years later?

  • Bill Pratt

    The skies can be overcast and plants survive. If you are truly interested in this topic, then I would recommend checking out the Reasons to Believe website. They have written several books and articles on the interpretation of Genesis.

  • Andrew EC

    I am familiar with Reasons to Believe.

    I still don’t think I understand. If you’re saying that:

    a) Each “day” in Genesis corresponds to millions of years; and
    b) The Sun was “not visible” to an observer on the Earth for three “days” such that the observer would think the Sun had not even been *created* —

    then I don’t see how you can get around the contradiction with “plants can survive it being overcast.” Sure — for a day or so. But plants obviously cannot survive for MILLIONS OF YEARS in which the sun is “not visible” to an observer on Earth.

    Also: you dismiss rather quickly the insuperable problem that flowering plants cannot possibly have existed for millions of years before the insects necessary to pollinate them.

    Respectfully: I think RtB is actually the worst of both worlds. You’re getting a bad hermeneutic in terms of how to read Genesis, *AND* the resulting mishmash still doesn’t match up to observable science.

  • Keith Josephs

    This is excellent Bill. As a deconverted Christian who definitely based his Christianity on Genesis and “scientific” evidence, I am only now looking to see if there is possibly anyway I would get back into the fold. I don’t know if I will, but if I do it will be for the correct reasons the next time.

  • MSB

    Uh… He created light on day one…

  • MSB

    Archaeology, Chemistry, and History REQUIRE 4 Billion years of history?? REALLY?

  • MSB

    This last part I wholeheartedly agree with you on… RTB is definitely holding two logically incompatible presuppositions…

  • Phil

    “There isn’t one, despite what some people will tell you.”

    Well, there may not be one “christian” view, but there is only one Biblical view. That is the one that counts because the Creator, Who is also the Author of the Bible as well as our Redeemer, states very clearly in Genesis 1 that He spoke everything into existence in six days. Thus, no evolution!

  • Phil

    Keith, thankfully the Creator does not base our salvation on what we believe about “science” but ONLY upon what His Son, Jesus, did for us. Romans 10:9 & 10 explains it very well :-)

  • May Jim

    I’m really disappointed in Keller’s handling of the biblical text here. He is clearly simply taking the current in vogue scientific theory of evolution as derived through interpretation using methodological naturalism as true and finding a way to read it into the Bible to help protect God from being accused of error.

    Now, I understand fully why he does this. His motives are admirable. He deals with professionals in NY and feels that in order to relate to them, he cannot come across as some type of fundamentalist Christian who they would see as a “science denier”.

    But in doing so, he violates the clear meaning of the text and the words of Jesus himself when He tells us that He made the first male and female at the beginning of creation.

    The problem here is the authority of Scripture. So Keller is basically saying here is that Jews and Christians got it wrong for all these thousands of years and now thanks to Darwin and the evolutionists, we finally have figured out the correct meaning of the Bible, That doesn’t sit right with me. It violates the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture. It almost makes God into a liar because the text certainly doesn’t mean what it says. It means that people have been mislead for thousands of years. If so, what else is there that science might correct for us in the Bible?

    It means that to be consistent scientifically, he has to deny a global flood in order to preserve a belief in millions of years. This causes him to perform amazing mental gymnastics in order to find a way to make the text – both OT & NT- to mean that the flood was only local. To see the extent of mental gymnastics necessary to hold to this view, Dr. Hugh Ross, who isn’t even a Hebrew scholar, is a perfect example of this. I guess he believes that God asked Noah to build a huge boat to save the animals in his part of the world. The ark was absolutely huge. It would have taken a huge flood to float it and cover the mountains. Water seeks its own level last time I checked so not sure how it could have floated the ark above the mountains. Why go to all the trouble to build an ark, live there for a year, take animals aboard, etc etc when He could simply have asked Noah to move to a different area of the world? At any rate, even believing in a local flood means miracles were necessary so he can’t escape God’s miraculous involvement. But I digress.

    Keller’s view means that death, suffering, bloodshed, disease, thorns, etc were not the result of sin, but were part of God’s plan from the start. It means they were present in God’s original “very good” creation, in spite of what Gen. 3 says.

    If so, then what effect then did sin have on the world? Why does the Bible say that thorns resulted from the Fall if they were there all along? It makes God the creator of all these ugly things.

    I realize this is a political issue among Christians, and I realize that many have good intentions in twisting the Word of God to include evolution and millions of years, but in the end, when it strikes at the foundation of Christianity itself, the authority of God’s Word, I think we are further behind than ahead. We don’t need to make it easy for people to believe! Salvation is God’s work. We just need to present the truth and let God open people’s eyes. Where we can legitimately lower the barriers, fine, let’s do it, but not at the expense of the authority of God’s Word. If we do that, we might win one battle, but in the end, we will lose the war.

    Besides, we have answers for this in creation science. Creationists can give plenty of examples of people who came to Christ through their ministry so it is not necessarily true that it is a hindrance to salvation. It may be a hindrance for intellectuals, but let’s remember what Paul said in I Cor. 1 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom,…” He says that not many wise, not many powerful, or of noble birth were chosen.

    It seems to me that many Christians these days are far too willing to believe the just so stories of the evolutionists – the wisdom of men(who weren’t there, couldn’t observe it, can’t repeat it, but interpret the results through a naturalistic mindset) but balk at believing the sure, certain, and inspired written record of God’s Word. Why? Because they trust secular science based on methodological naturalism more than God’s Word. In so doing they confuse regular science that we use to improve our lives every day with historical science which cannot be repeated, observed, or tested. It must be interpreted and it is interpreted through a naturalistic worldview. Does anyone really believe they have it right? It is just a bunch of made up stories to try and make sense of what they find, but we don’t really know if it is accurate or not. I take that back. We do know that it is not accurate because of what God tells us. He should know. He created it all Himself.

    Just my stubborn opinion.

  • Andrew R

    “It means that to be consistent scientifically…”

    If you want to be consistent, then you can’t reject the science that gave us cancer treatments, planes, mobile phones, the farming techniques that feed you every day, and the very computing device you wrote your post on, and yet still happily use all the trappings of that science. The same understanding of nuclear decay that allows us to date the world in the billions of years rather than the thousands, allowed us to split the atom and have nuclear power. If the first were wrong, the second simply wouldn’t work.

  • May Jim

    Andrew, thanks for interacting with the post. But I think you have mistaken two different kinds of science. Creationists can do the kind of science that gives us cancer treatments, planes, mobile phones, farming techniques, etc etc as well as the most rabid atheist. This science involves the scientific method. It can be tested, repeated, and basically verified. Many Christian scientists are involved in this type of science, so your analogy really doesn’t apply here.

    With nuclear decay, the only thing we can say for sure is what the decay rate is NOW. This can be scientifically verified through experiment. However, we do not know if it might have changed in the past. The other thing to be aware of in using nuclear decay rates to determine the age of things is that you have to know how much existed in the beginning and this can never really be known. It is simply assumed.

    Have you heard of the RATE project by creation scientists where they used polonium halos to show that the billions of years are basically fiction. Check out ICR Rate Project for the details. Of course their results are roundly criticized because evolutionists cannot allow such a thing to be true. Their whole worldview would come crashing down. Radioisotope dating is wildly inaccurate. Samples from the same area can give radically different ages. Inaccurate ages are just discarded or ignored.

    Creation scientists are quite familiar with everything you are saying and they have problems with the assumptions upon which secular dating is done. If you are interested, you should at least read what the “other side” has to say in defense of itself. Check out an article entitled “The Dating Game – creation” for one explanation.

    I noticed you didn’t interact with the biblical problems that an old age stance creates.

    – Are you comfortable with a local flood in spite of what the Bible teaches?

    – Are you comfortable with death, disease, bloodshed, extinction, thorns, and suffering being created by God in His “very good” original creation as opposed to these things being the result of sin?

    – Are you comfortable with Jesus’ teaching that God made the first two humans male and female at the beginning of creation? (For old agers, “beginning of creation” must mean the end of history – or the last 0.0001% of history.) Was Jesus wrong?

    Is this being consistent?

  • Andrew R

    It’s a false distinction, Mary. It’s all the same science, using the same method. If you’re chucking out the idea of uniformity then the whole point of repeat ability becomes moot. Chuck out forensic science, check out ALL science.

  • rericsawyer

    This is one of the pretty few issues on this site where I am in main agreement with Andrew.

    This is true even though he and I certainly do not share the same view of the Bible! I do take it as authoritatively God-inspired, through which He intends to teach, reprove, correct (etc.) me to the end that I be equipped as He intends. I believe it is fully capable to accomplish that for which He sent it forth -and that it was indeed God who sent it forth.

    But that does not mean I understand it right, nor that the story as gleaned by science is currently right, nor that I understand the relationship between the two correctly. In fact, I am pretty sure I get all three wrong.

    What I am clear about is that all truth, whether revealed or discovered, is of God, and ultimately fits together, even if that fitting together is beyond my current understanding. Just as the Trinity, or Free Will and God’s Sovereign Will are beyond my understanding – most of the free will debates involve minimizing one pole that the other be upheld -that isn’t the path to truth, and I can’t count the number of debates I have had with followers of Islam that revolve around the “inconsistency” of the Trinity. There are truths that, for now, I simply have to hold in tension. As you suggest, on of the issues revolves around the doctrine of the fall, which I believe, even though I do not understand it. It does seem to be pretty well supported by its predictive power, and accurately describing the current situation!

    As to two types of science, they don’t exist. running the clock forward or backward lead to testable predictions, one as well as the other. Run it forward, and you discover principles, apply those principles historically, and you run it back, with predictions of results which may be discovered. And some which have not been discovered, but may (or may not) be. That is where science corrects itself. For all I know, that may be where part of the reconciliation will come from, science getting itself corrected.
    The flaw I see in science has nothing to do with science, but with adopting a methodological necessity as instead being a philosophical truth – Science gets on by asking “How does this work if no one (God, space aliens, my lab-mate goofing with my petri dishes) intervenes? What is the ‘natural’ process? ” It is a short, common, but I think unwarranted extension to go to “There is no entity which may intervene.” Science can have no opinion on this, other than statistical analysis. My goofy lab partner may have indeed spit in my petri dish, there may be a God who steps in t His will and for His purposes. I think there is.

    On either side, the pressure is to throw away half of the tension – to be like the Muslims who gripe at me that I must be a polytheist who is unwilling to see myself. It is monotheism, or polytheism, there can be no Trinity.

    Throwing away the source of tension, half the truth, is ultimately to throw away half of God’s gift on the grounds that it is hard to understand. I think that is a mistake.

  • Donny

    Andrew EC…
    As a long time searcher for “truth,” what I discovered the barrier that was in the way…is belief! It’s the most misunderstood and mis-taken phenomenon of all religions.
    Over the many years, as i see it, all organized religions have unconsciously substituted “belief” while the truth goes out the window.
    Check it out…belief occurs ONLY when people don’t recognize the truth. And make no mis-take…no religion can survive without “believing” in their particular dogma and superstitions.
    One pathway to the “truth,” is to investigate and distinguish belief from truth. One has to discover it for themselves.
    That’s one reason Jesus spoke in parables…and I am not a Christian.
    Happy Holidays

  • Donny

    R Eric Sawyer…

    You wrote: “In short, if there is a creator, it is entirely reasonable to assume that this creator exists outside of the boundaries of time, and transcends it.”
    Yes, and well thought out!
    However, maybe we humans also exist outside of time, or paradoxically, within each moment, but either idea might create havoc with devout believers of most organized religions.
    Check this out:

    THE BUDDHA ON BELIEF:
    Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
    Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
    Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
    Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
    Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
    But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ”
    The Buddha (circa 500 BC)

    So to me, the barrier to truth…is belief. But don’t believe me either! (Big Grin)

  • Donny

    Tom D.

    Not that belief is a bad word. Not at all. However, IMO, belief is the major barrier to the truth. And make no mis-take, all organized religions cannot exist without your belief in their beliefs, their dogma and even their childish superstitions.
    In your particular church, try standing up and saying, “I don’t believe,” and see what happens?
    As the impressive Wayne Dyer says, “Along with belief must come doubt!”
    IMO, inside their various organized religions, you MUST BELIEVE what they tell you! OR ELSE!
    While truth goes out the window.

  • Donny

    Todd..
    You said, “I prefer reality….but that is a choice.” Fine!
    But it’s certainly not a choice as a believer in any organized religion.
    How dare you think for yourself? (Sarcasm noted)

  • Donny

    Todd…
    Excellent opinion! And may I add, everything in the Universe changes…or evolving.
    It’s the Universal paradox…”What’s the one constant in the Universe?
    Answer: Change!
    Companion question: What’s the only thing in the Universe which never changes?
    Answer: NOW…the present! IOW, there is no past or future. It’s always NOW!
    In the myth of Genesis…it’s why Adam & Eve could not live in the garden…in Paradise. OTOH the myth of Genesis, is a wonderful (full-of-wonder) metaphor for how we live today.
    Happy Holidays

  • Donny

    What is the One “True” Christian View on Evolution?
    How silly and thoughtless!
    Christianity (per se) has no opinion one way or another about anything…true or false.
    However, individual Christians (how many are there?) have scads of opinions on evolution…endless and differing opinions or beliefs. Any of them “true?” Only if one’s beliefs are MIS-TAKEN as truth…which is the same grievous error going on in almost every house of worship.
    Simply put, beliefs are beliefs and truth is truth. For those who can think for yourselves (better watch out), is that a valid answer?
    That’s exactly why Jesus spoke in parables…and I am not a Christian.
    Happy Holidays.

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