I suspect that a thousand years from now Christians will look back at the 21st century and say, “How could Christians have let themselves think that?” They’d have in mind our theology—some of the doctrines that are so precious to us and that we consider to be the backbone of Christianity.

And we do the same thing, don’t we? Of the people who lived 500 years ago we say, “How could they really have believed those things to be so important in their Christian faith?” We have in mind such doctrines as purgatory, indulgences, relics, the authority of the pope, apostolic succession, transubstantiation, the Inquisition, the sacramental system, Mariolatry, and so much more.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if a thousand years from now, or even in 500 years, people look back at our cherished doctrines and exclaim, “How could they believe all that?”

Why do I say this?

Because something is happening in our world that is likely to shake our systematic theology to its foundations when we better understand its implications. It won’t change the Bible or the theism that shapes our way of thinking. But as future theologians work at uncovering the implications of this discovery, they may find that some of the doctrines that form the essential structure of our creeds and confessions miss the mark. New insights and new doctrinal formulations will replace those we now treasure. People in the future will study the same Bible but understand it differently. Something is happening in our world right now that will bring vigorous theological revision for generations to come.

What is that “something”?

It’s an insight that began as a hypothesis in 1859, gradually developed into a scientific theory, and is fast becoming recognized as established fact. I refer to what we have been calling “the theory of evolution.”

Scientists recognize generally that the universe began with an enormous explosion—the “big bang.” They provide various scientific avenues to demonstrate the great age of the universe, perhaps as old as 15 billion years. The varied scientific disciplines provide convincing demonstrations of the continuous development of the universe since its beginning, such as producing over billions of years the vast reaches of space and the seemingly infinite number of stars and planets and galaxies that dot the heavens.

Our planet, Earth, has been part of this development. The scientists who study these things demonstrate how life appeared and how it has matured and diversified over millennia. They see this process of development producing a form of life called homo sapiens, and they trace this development from its common ancestry with other forms of life.

There may, of course, be areas of disagreement among scientists about certain items. But very few competent scientists will challenge the underlying process of development. These scientific discoveries can all be subsumed under the rubric of evolution—or, if one cannot get past the negative connotations of that term, we can use the alternative term development.

Implications for Theology
The question facing Christian thinkers is this: What effect does this process of evolution have on Christian theology? Do modern scientific discoveries have any implications for the way we understand the purpose of Christianity? If so, what are they? I am not going to argue whether or not evolution is true; I accept that the findings of modern science are reliable and must be taken as established fact. I also accept that the Bible’s basic teachings are just as definitive as those of science. So what might the implications for our theology be? If evolution is the catalyst for change, in what areas might we need to reconsider our traditional theological understanding?

Creation: We have traditionally accepted the words of Genesis 1—that God created the world as we know it today in seven literal 24-hour days—at face value. Bishop Ussher’s chronology even suggests the exact year when that that happened: 4004 bc. But there is no way we can possibly continue to hold that doctrine any more than we can hold the doctrines of a flat earth and a geocentric universe. One week for God to create the vast universe as we know it? That just doesn’t comport at all with the reality of a universe billions of years old. So we have to find a better way of understanding Genesis 1, a way that embraces scientific insights honestly and a way that also embraces the reality of God’s creative activity.

Adam and Eve: Traditionally we’ve been taught that Adam and Eve were the first human pair, Adam made out of dust and Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. But sustaining this doctrine is extremely difficult when we take seriously the human race as we know it today sharing ancestry with other primates such as chimpanzees. Where in the slow evolution of homo erectus and homo habilis and homo sapiens do Adam and Eve fit? We will have to find a better way of understanding what Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve, one that does justice to Genesis and also to what the Bible teaches about their connection to Jesus.

Fall into sin: We have traditionally understood Genesis to show the first human beings, in a state of innocence, living sinlessly in the Garden of Eden. They are then tempted. They yield to temptation and God sends them out of Eden. But if we take the discoveries of historical science seriously, where could we fit that story in? It would be extremely difficult to locate any such Garden of Eden, and even if were able to do so in modern Iraq, where is the scientific and historical evidence of a pristine origin and expulsion from that Garden? Furthermore, at which stage in human development would we place this event? We will have to find a much better way of understanding what sin is, where it comes from, and what its consequences are. Theologians will have to find a new way of articulating a truly biblical doctrine of sin and what effect it has on us.

Original sin: According to this doctrine, the fall of Adam and Eve is an actual historical event that plunged the entire human race into sin. Ever since, both the guilt of sin and the pollution of sin, theologically speaking, have been passed on from parent to child in such a way that we all come into the world tainted by them. We say that our children are conceived and born in sin. But if Adam and Eve are not understood as real historical people, then there can hardly be an inheritance of sinfulness from parent to child all the way back to Adam—in which case the entire doctrine of original sin falls by the wayside. We will have to find a better way of understanding not only what sin is but its effect on the population in general—a way that does justice both to the Bible and to science and that helps us understand how sin works in our own lives under God.

Salvation: We have traditionally understood the work of Jesus as dealing with the two aspects of original sin: guilt and pollution. Jesus removes our guilt by dying for our sins on the cross; he removes our pollution by sending us his Holy Spirit. This makes good sense, but if the doctrine of original sin needs to be revisited, theologians need to consider whether our understanding of Jesus also needs to be revised. Does the theory of evolution have any implications for how we understand Jesus’ ministry, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension? How does Jesus fit into the ongoing process of evolution in the fullness of time? How does his ministry impact people in later generations? We’ll want our theologians to tackle this issue in a truly biblical way, preserving everything essential to the biblical story while fitting it into a new paradigm that defines meaningfully what Jesus Christ has done and what it means for us to be Christians.

God’s purpose in history: Evolution is a way of understanding history that describes a process of development taking place from the beginning of time. We, then, need to be asking questions like these: What is God’s purpose in all of this? If there is a meaningful process taking place in time and history, where is it going? What does God want the human race to become? What is our future over the long reach of time? Traditionally we have talked about an end of the world. But if we take evolution seriously—that is, the 15 billion years that already have passed—what are we to think about what the world will look like a billion years from now, or even a mere million? Can we see anything of God’s purpose for time and history, and can we get a glimpse from science of what that future might be—one that preserves what the Bible teaches but also is true to science? Our philosophical theologians will need to take a serious look at these questions. Major changes may well be in store for our eschatological doctrines.

I could go on and give my own insights about these doctrines, but this is sufficient to make the point that we need to take seriously in our theology the theory of evolution, now developed into established fact. Huge changes may well be taking place in tomorrow’s theological world, but we ought not be afraid of facing them. On the contrary! We should be excited and challenged by God’s grace to move onward and upward into more realistic insights into his Word and will. Who knows but that God has brought us into the world for such a time as this, to listen to what he has been saying and doing for billions of years and to take the lead in improving our understanding of biblical theology accordingly?

There are various ways we could respond. One option is denial—saying evolution can’t be true because it contradicts the Bible. Another option is inattention: who cares? Still another option is carelessness, or jumping to immature conclusions. The best option is prayerful attention, listening carefully to everything God is saying both in his original creation and in his redemptive gospel. If we can find the grace to do this humbly and obediently, surely we may trust the Lord to guide us into all the truth he wishes us to understand.

Committee on Creation and Science Report

E. The present apparent conflict between Christian faith and science over questions of origins cannot be easily resolved. Not only are there various interpretations of the evidence confronting natural science; there are also various plausible interpretations of Genesis 1. Thus all sides in the debates about origins should acknowledge that that they do not have a completely satisfactory solution to the problem and that therefore certain criticisms made by some of their opponents are at least partially justified. In the midst of such disputes, the church must firmly confess that which is the clear teaching of Scripture and central to the Christian faith; but cognizant of the legitimate freedom of science to examine the evidence and of the legitimate freedom of exegesis to interpret Scripture, the church must not bind consciences beyond that confession.

F. The Scripture clearly teaches that God is the Creator of all that is, that he created all things good, [and] that man and woman were made in his image to serve on God’s behalf as stewards of the world that he made. This biblical teaching of Creation stands in judgment over all naturalistic, evolutionistic worldviews.

J. . . . Some hold that this clear biblical teaching necessarily requires an explicit rejection of any theory which posits the existence of evolutionary forebears of the human race, that there is a clear clash of paradigms between prevailing evolutionary theories and the biblical account of origins. They argue that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to see how a responsible exegesis of Genesis 1-3 does not rule out the evolutionary account of human origins. Others are not fully convinced that this clear biblical teaching requires such a rejection, for various reasons. . . . Some take Scripture (Job 38:4; 1 Cor. 13:8) to teach that God has no intention that we know all the answers in this area. Some believe that we are called to somehow take account of both of God’s revelations whether we currently know how to do that or not and that traditional conclusions would be compelling on scriptural grounds were it not that nature seems to be authoritatively telling us something else. That is not to say that the scientific theories are right, but only that neither we nor the church is presently in a position to state authoritatively that Scripture speaks definitively on this issue.

—from Report 28, Committee on Creation and Science, Section VIII: A Summary of Conclusions, Agenda for Synod 1991, pp. 408-9

 

 

Tomorrow’s Theology

  1. What is your gut reaction to Walhout’s statement “Something is happening in our world that is likely to shake our systematic theology to its foundations”?
  2. Is it possible to “not fear but face” these changes, as Walhout suggests? What is God’s purpose in all of this?
  3. How does Jesus fit into the ongoing process of evolution in the fullness of time? What does this mean for Christians?
  4. Walhout encourages theologians to take evolution seriously and also to tackle this issue in a truly biblical way. Describe the kind of faith needed to bridge the (seemingly dualistic) divide between these two realities.
  5. What is your prayer for theologians and scientists? What is your prayer for the church? What is your prayer for yourself as you meet new challenges to your understanding?


About the Author

Edwin Walhout is a retired minister of the Christian Reformed Church living in Grand Rapids, Mich. To read more by this author, visit Smashwords.com, where over two dozen of his e-books may be downloaded.

See comments (38)

Comments

"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact" -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

We've all seen pictures of the devastation caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. We can watch video of it happening. We can compare the before and after "google earth" shots. And yet we look at the Grand Canyon, the mountain ranges, we dig up fossils of recognizable plants, we marvel at the huge deposits of fossilized bones and come to the conclusion that this must have taken a couple billion years..."                     

Rosemarie Radcliffe   

 

Here's an example of how the pains-taking work of scientific research and confirmation through overlapping disciplines haughtily dismissed with a misapplied quote and the rediculous idea that the consensus of modern science boils down a lame hunch.  From her point of view, science just gets in the way of the obvious and distracts good TV-watching people with the facts.  In the same way, Sir Doyle -- a spiritualist and necromancer -- had reasons to get revenge on the scientific establishment of his day after his "experiments" were thoroughly debunked.

This is what I mean by bearing "false witness" in order to promote young earth creationism.  Similar dismissive claims about secular science are found throughout this thread of comments.  Each time it happens, God's name is maligned and the gospel is disparaged simply because what is said by these Christians is not true.  Another example of how any conversation about science get completely skewed by such misrespresentations (see my critique of Margaret J. Helder's speech "How to respond to Secular Science" )

http://network.crcna.org/forums/global-mission/creation-vs-evolution-impact-witness-and-faith

I recommend to Rosemarie that between her jabs and putdowns and tit-for-tat prattling, she every so often read the biographies of contemporary secular scientists and how they came to make significant contributions to our understanding of the natural world.  Perhaps she might summarize "Origins of the Species" and without sarcasm or bullying, simply processing what Charles Darwin went through to come to to the conclusions he did.  

At the very least, don't bear false witness against your neighbour.

Wow, talk about the kettle calling the pot black!

What about all the lies/frauds/hoaxes of the evolutionists?

Of course we all know about piltdown man(fraud) , nebraska man (pig's tooth).

There are other that are still in textbooks to indoctrinate children to believe in evolutionism. Many are documented in "Icons of Evolution, Science or Myth".

A Professor of Biological Sciences (LeHigh University) review states: "Jonathan Wells demonstrates with stunning clarity that the textbook examples Darwinists themselves chose as the pillars of their theory are false or misleading. What does this imply about their scientific standards?  Why should anyone now believe any of their other examples?"

Also Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley review states: "It shows how devotion to the ideology of Darwinism has led to textbooks which are full of misinformation."

Examples of the lies in the textbooks:

Peppered Moths ( http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/image/the_peppered_moth)

Haeckels Embryos ( http://harunyahya.com/en/Articles/19164/haeckels-embryo-drawings-are-fraudulent )

If they took all the lies out of the textbooks they probably wouldn't have anything to indoctrinate the children to believe in evolution.

The important thing about such frauds is that they were discovered to be frauds by evolutionary scientists, not Young Earth creationists.  At least the secular scientific community has the courage to critique themselves and admit their mistakes.  Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case with the scientific blunders of fundamentalists.  

Of course, Jonathan Well's book "Icons of Evolution, Science or Myth", is going to get rave reviews from Young Earth Creationists... What would be great is if any ordinary secular scientist would also been delighted by his erudition.  Unfortunately, the book has been thoroughly debunked (not just summarily dismissed, like yours truly, but claim by claim proven to be misleading and completely without evidence).   You can find the easy to read  critiques of Well's hoax right here... but I'll bet you dollars to donuts you won't ever read them.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/

BTW.. do you work for a publishing company? Just wondering.

Incidently, Joy... The first glowing "review" you quoted for Well's book was from Michael Behe. Behe is a biologist who has accepted "common decent" idea crucial to evolution science, including the common decent of human being and apes.  Funny that he didn't take issue in any way with Well's critique of "the tree of life". 

Are you sure you want to endorse Behe?  Or is it you just want to gloat in his uncritical review of terrible Wells' book?  And doesn't this sort of deception give you any pause that perhaps God's name is being besmirched by his naughty, sloppy, less-than honest children?  

that should read, ... "...his uncritical review of Well's terrible book".  I apologize for any confusion.

Oh one more thing I forgot to say, Joy... Wells also believes in the common ancestory of humans from animals...  I think I might have misunderstood you, Joy, if not downright misrepresented your beliefs.  I thought you were a Young Earth believer.  Perhaps it's even more important, then, for you to read a good critique of Well's way of looking at science... from a scientist who knows what he is talking about and who even gives Well's a point (out of a dismal failing grade) for those old misleading embryo drawings which have become today's text book case on how NOT to illustrate your evidence.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#Miller-Urey

It is rather telling that you reference 'talkorigins', which is hardly a 'Christian site. 

Evolution is, indeed, the pseudoscientific basis of religious atheism.

Will Provine at Cornell University is a scientist who frankly acknowledges this.

As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.

Thanks for listening so carefully, Joy.

 

Obviously, this thread has run its course and I missed all the fun. I did learn something, though.

Especially in this last exchange with Joy... how can we expect the scientific community to take any creationist literature seriously when Christians refuse to listen to them and listen only to the YEC demogogues on their fundraising and book-marketing circuits?  Joy thinks it's "very telling" that I actually read secular scientific literature.  Her prejudice, I think, it is symptomatic of how too many Christians approach this matter --  with blinders on.

I am also amazed at how comments refer to creationist literature , books and websites with little critique of the views they hold up as warriors against evolutionary consensus.  A number of these "creationist warriors" turn out to be people who hold to the view that the earth is very ancient, the flood was not world wide (if it happened at all), and believe that all life decended from a common ancestor, including human life.  This leads me to believe many Christians don't even read through the literature of their own heros.  Citing Micheal Behe, as Joy does above, is a good example of this.  

"For example, both humans and chimps have a broken copy of a gene that in other mammals helps make vitamin C. ... It's hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans. ... Despite some remaining puzzles, there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives.” The Edge of Evolution, pp 71–2.

I think Joy would take huge exception to this statement of Dr. Behe.  That is the confusing, if not hypocritical stance of many fundamentalist commentators, often mixed in with bold type Bible verses use for decoration rather than for their relevancy.

This is where I am coming from:

If anyone teaches anything different and doesn’t agree with sound teaching about our Lord Jesus Christ and teaching that is consistent with godliness,  that person is conceited. They don’t understand anything but have a sick obsession with debates and arguments. This creates jealousy, conflict, verbal abuse, and evil suspicions.  There is constant bickering between people whose minds are ruined and who have been robbed of the truth. They think that godliness is a way to make money!

1 Timothy 6:3-6 (CEB)

"Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities. They should be obedient and ready to do every good thing. They shouldn’t speak disrespectfully about anyone, but they should be peaceful, kind, and show complete courtesy toward everyone.  We were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, and slaves to our desires and various pleasures too. We were spending our lives in evil behavior and jealousy. We were disgusting, and we hated other people.  But “when God our savior’s kindness and love appeared,  he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done."

Titus 3:1-5 (CEB)

 

 

This

So…………………. for the past few weeks I have done my best to keep up with the discussion in this forum, I have read some stuff by Garrison Keiller, and, last week, I saw the familiar “co-exist” bumper sticker.

Heated exchanges in this forum have identified what seem to be mutually exclusive perspectives. While the impression is given that the discussion was about matters of eternal significance, the tone betrays what in many families would be referred to as a nasty case of sibling rivalry.

This morning, as I drank my coffee and enjoyed the unusually cool California summer morning, these questions bubbled to the surface of my not always clear thinking:

  1. What is the meaning of the phrase “mutually exclusive”? Many mutually exclusive things seem to co-exist quite nicely in Lake Wobegon.
  2. Alternatively, what is the significance of the bumper sticker that commands us to “co-exist”? Who does the commanding? Who, or what, can co-exist? Can everything be tolerated? If not, what cannot, what is the remedy, and who decides?
  3. Is it (important, necessary, possible, inevitable) for conflicting (views, perspectives, interests), to continue to co-exist, (for now, until the end of time, indefinitely)…?
  4. Is the community (group, church, family, nation, human race) itself of ultimate value? If so, there seems to be a need for reconciliation at all cost.
  5. In the big scheme of things, are we ever permitted to say that my (group, tribe, clan, perspective), is more valuable than your (group, tribe, clan, perspective), and mine must survive and thrive, even, or especially, at the expense of the survival of yours?
  6. If so, where is the line? Is it my ethnicity first? Or within that, my country first? Or within that, my city first? Or within that, my group (church, clan) first? Or within that, my family first? Or within that, me first? If there is a line, who put it there? Based on what?

I don’t pretend to know the answers to these questions. I know some shortcuts. Sunday School answers. Every easy answer seems only to lead to more difficult questions. 

So I offer these thoughts in the hope that those of you reading them, will pause……..and think.

If, as you claim, the evolutionists find 'their own frauds, how come the examples mentioned are still in the textbooks.  Haeckels embryos were found to be a fraud over a hundred years ago by the University.

If they removed all the lies out of the textbooks, they wouldn't have any so-called evidence to support evolution, which would then fall flat.

When an evolutionist had to admit to a creationist speaker that what is currently in the textbooks regarding evolution is either lies, fraud or misleading, the evolutionist asked what should be put in their place.  Amazing!  If their evidence is so lacking perhaps they should get a better theory, such as creation.

John Calvin said in 'Genesis': 

‘Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.’ page 78

‘I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years, had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in the contemplation of his works.’ page 105

Here John Calvin is rebuking those that claimed that it didn't take a whole 6 days for all of creation but that our Creator God did it in an instant.  Imagine how horrified he would be today to hear those who profess to be Christians claiming that God used evolution needing extremely long time spans.

God's name is actually being besmirched by those who would rather believe those who lie and take away from His glory in His wonderful work of creation.  Corrupting it with nonsensical evolution which would mean death and suffering before sin.

You might have learned the answer to that question, Joy, if you would have bothered to read the brief rebuttal article I cited.   As I already said, the drawings are now a secular textbook case on how NOT to illustrate your evidence when doing science.  You gotta get your sources updated, Joy.  Despite the unfortunate illustrations, the evidence for evolution by comparing embryos remains very strong and hasn't been countered by Young Earth Creationists.   That's probably why the illustrations have hung around. 

You wanna quote Calvin on this?  Here's some reformational thinkers take on new fangled scientific conclusions:

"Those who assert that 'the earth moves and turns'...[are] motivated by 'a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;' possessed by the devil, they aimed 'to pervert the order of nature.'"

- John Calvin, sermon no. 8 on 1st Corinthians, 677, cited in John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portraitby William J. Bouwsma (Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), A. 72

* "People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or 'man'] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth."

  • - Martin Luther, Table Talk

     

  • "The eyes are witnesses that the heavens revolve in the space of twenty-four hours. But certain men, either from the love of novelty, or to make a display of ingenuity, have concluded that the earth moves; and they maintain that neither the [stars] nor the sun revolves...Now, it is a want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly, and the example is pernicious. It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in it."

    - Melanchthon, famous Protestant Reformer and one of Luther and Calvin's friends -- as cited on the Internet in Wayne Aiken's incredibly long and amusing collection of quotations, "Freethought Fortune Cookie".

  •  

     

Norman made a good point about some of the statements by Calvin and Luther, it seems.  Just because an individual makes many true statements, does not mean that everything they say is true or inspired by God.   This is also true for Walhout.   Just because he may have preached the gospel in many instances, does not mean that he is true in this case.  Then,  Behe stating as quoted by Norman, that a copy of a broken vitamin C controller gene in humans and chimps denotes common ancestry... wow, this statement is as fallacious whether stated by Behe or any evolutionist.  And then to leap from that to "there is no doubt that all creatures are biological relatives"? Great leapin jehosephat logic leaps.  If there was a mutation in one species, why not in another?  

The same condition is true for Norman as well.  Some true statements does not mean that everything he states is true.  Every statement essentially needs to be taken by itself.  Norman  states that "As I already said, the drawings are now a secular textbook case on how NOT to illustrate your evidence when doing science.  You gotta get your sources updated, Joy.  Despite the unfortunate illustrations, the evidence for evolution by comparing embryos remains very strong and hasn't been countered by Young Earth Creationists."  However, in about two seconds of checking, it is obvious that a 2002 textbook by Raven and Johnson contained the same drawings as done by Haeckel, with no allusions to a "historical mistake".   Perhaps this textbook is no longer in existence, but the fact it was published in 2002 only eleven years ago, even though the drawings have long been known to be inaccurate, suggests strongly that what Joy says is true.   Even Norman goes on to say "the evidence for evolution by comparing embryos remains very strong and hasn't been countered by Young Earth Creationists..."  Isn't it obvious that Norman rather contradicted himself here?   Isn't he suggesting that it is justifiable to use inaccurate drawings under certain conditions if you can blame someone else somehow?   It would seem that is the general rationalization used by these textbook publishers as well. 

Norman also states that "how can we expect the scientific community to take any creationist literature seriously when Christians refuse to listen to them and listen only to the YEC demogogues ..."   Based on that comment, perhaps Norman will understand this question:  How can we expect creation scientists to take the evolutionists seriously when they refuse to remove common errors and misperceptions from school science evolutionistic propoganda literature?  How many times have the evolutionists apologized to the creationists for these drawings (it certainly does not seem Norman is apologizing here, but rather almost justifying), or apologize for the fraudulent pictures in National geographic, the fraudulent papers and hypotheses about various bone fossils found that were deemed as clinchers as intermediates between humans and other primate species? 

There is a large difference in the science of measuring planet motion, and the science of interpreting fossils.   The logic of saying that if no fossils are present, then therefore there have been no animals of that type present, has been definatively proven to be false.   This makes one of the underlying assumptions of fossil interpretation completely invalid.  And that fact is pretty hard on the theory of evolution.   

I don't like to bomb people with quotes like this.   However, some people do -- Scripture, church fathers, scientists for or against -- often with no concern for the context or the original intentions of the authors.  For instance, John, you applauded Paul Hansen's article contra -- "A New Theology?".  Hansen appears to have found an ally in Behe, likely because his "Irreducable Complexity" for Intelligent Design.  But did Hansen also know that Behe believes in the common ancestory of all creatures, including humans?   Same for the regular thread poster "Joy" who quotes Behe and Wells with great approval yet my guess is she would toss both in the trash heap of heretics if she actually knew what they believed. 

So my quote of Behe and Calvin was in that context and to make that point.  And I hope you would be as gracious to the falliable Walhout as you might be with the fallible Calvin and Luther.  

 

oh ... and mutations happen in all species all the time. Rarely does it mean anything... Behe's point is that this genetic mutation in the very same gene is not found in other animals and it seems to be good evidence that chimps and humans are very close relatives, sharing a common ancestor.  The chances of this happening independently are too astronomical -- unless God wanted to fool us. Behe would point to ID design, I'm sure.

It's definitely not Almighty God who is trying to fool you, more likely the evolutionists. Again, they exaggerate the purported similarities between humans and chimps.

The reality is that there is already a 11.4% difference between the number of DNA base pairs of humans versus chimpanzees.

Humans have 6.2 billion bases; Chimpanzees 7 billion bases in their respective genomes. (Nature 2005 437(7055) 69-87)

Latest alignment: 4.8 billion bases

Maximum demonstrated identity 68% - 77% 

Rearrangement not included 10% - 20%

 

Human / Chimpanzee differences:

  • Based on only 80% of genome
  • Not including all non-aligning DNA
  • Heterochromatin not considered
  • Chromosome scrambling ignored

 

Now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

 

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

The chromosomes are quite interesting, i.e. we have 46 and chimps 48.  Evolutionist claim that we have a 'fused' chromosome.

But what about tobacco which also has 48 chromosomes!  Has anyone heard them mentioning that? 

Perhaps there's a 'fuse' in the panel that needs replacing :)

I agree with you. God doesn't fool people that way.  And Behe's statement wasn't really trying to argue the whole case about chimps and humans.  Some bats, guinea pigs, some fish species, and half the  bird species also have a "broken" gene such that they cannot synthesize vitamin C.  Most primates can synthesize C but not the suborder <i> haplorhiness </i>.  Humans are included in this suborder.

The question remains, if every species of animal was created separately and so not related, why do groups of species like trout and salmon share such "broken" genes?  Why does it <i> look like </i> this trait is inherited?  

Evolutionists have found this to be a worthy path of research:

   http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Vitamin-C.aspx

Creationist speculate that the genetic inability to produce vitamin C might be tracible to the Garden of Eden. Except if this were a lesson for humans to be relationally dependant on the Lord in paradise, why were chimps also included in this lesson?  

http://www.icr.org/article/3271/

 

 

 

 

Joy, Norman, let's move in a different direction. We are Christian brothers and sisters. Let's show by our comments that we "defend and promote the honour and reputation of my neighbor". Maybe we are approaching this discussion the wrong way; as if it's a war to be won. Here's a different perspective: http://biologos.org/blog/faith-science-and-metaphors

What do you think?

I welcome the suggestion. :)  Give me a day to ponder the article, Rosemarie. 

 

It is misleading when presented as 'faith versus science'.  Let's look at the definition(s) of science:

1.a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

1.b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.

1.c. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.

2. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science.

3. An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.

4. Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.

[via Old French from Latin scientia knowledge, from scīre to know]


Science is basically knowledge, for example conscience means 'with knowledge'.   However, especially evolutions insist on limiting science to 'natural phenomena', i.e. ruling out the supernatural which would include creation.

As biologos compromises the Word of God, I'd rather not read what they have to say as they place more faith in what fallible scientists say than the Word of God.

Something related that is rather interesting is: http://creation.com/back-problems-how-darwinism-misled

"Darwinism misled researchers into developing a harmful set of treatment techniques for certain back conditions.  These therapies were based on the idea that humans at one time walked on all fours and that back problems were produced primarily by complications resulting from humans’ newly evolved upright posture.  Back problems supposedly exist today because humans now walk upright on vertebrae that originally had evolved to walk quadrupedally.  This theory has led to a treatment protocol that now is recognized as often impeding healing, and has caused enormous pain and suffering.  Treatment techniques used today are in many ways the opposite of the older, now disproven Darwinism-influenced techniques."

Give it a chance, Joy. I did not find this article reading the biologos website. I found it when I went to find information about the pastor who wrote it. It was on his Facebook page. (I did wonder why the biologos site was so careful to say that the author's views were not necessarily their views.)

I too am frustrated with misleading definitions. Is every fossil just "dug up" or is it automatically "prehistoric"? Is the geological column just identifiable layers of rock or is it layers of rock with long ages attached? It takes so much effort just to get on the same playing field. And then we don't play, we fight. :(

Rosemarie, the reason we 'don't play' regarding this issue is that it is not a game, actually not even about science.  The theory of evolution didn't come about simply because the evidence seemed to suggest it, which of course it doesn't (only micro-evolution/variation within a kind).

Charles Lyell wrote on 14th June 1830 in a letter to George Poulett Scrope:

I am sure you may get into Q.R. [Quarterly Review] what will free the science from Moses,...

You mention the rock layers:

Isn't it curious that erosion seems to be recent.  Supposedly they claim those layers cover millions and millions of years and yet there is no sign of erosion between the layers.

The movie Expelled shows more what it's about, even though it's not a 'creation' film.  Judging by the degree of hostility coming from the evolutionists/anti-creationists it's not just about science.  

In North Korea it seems that 'everyone loves their dear leader'.  We know what would happen to any North Koreans who dare show any dissent.  They would be sent forthwith to the gulag.  Similarly scientists etc. in the scientific establishment who even dare question (macro) evolution or even mention possiblity of Intelligent Design will see their career land in the 'gulag'.  There are a number of examples of people who have been fired/demoted/black-listed etc. for not believing in evolution.  It's a religion and 'heretics' are not tolerated in the 'establishment'.  So when they claim they have a 'consensus' you can know it's not geniune.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EPymcWp-g )

Joy Adam.  I think the article is a nice, perhaps eloquent plea for people to take a step back and breathe in this issue.  Re-imagining the tension in metaphors like the two books or the two wings or the two maps might help us take that breath. (One caution -- both the Scriptures and Nature are "revelation" and they are not the same thing as "faith and science".  They have different purposes -- the first two are God manifesting himself and his plan to humanity while the other two are human beings responding to this manifestation). 

I am absolutely certain that such  a plea will fall on deaf ears...because, a you have noticed, there is a war going on -- a spiritual one and a socio-political one.     I am interested in the first one. 

sorry.. that last post was for Rosemarie Radcliffe

This is interesting, i.e. an early Flood tablet that dates from about 2200 B.C.  The similarites to the Genesis account is obvious:

"The springs of the deep will I open. A flood will I send which will affect all of mankind at once. But seek thou deliverance before the flood breaks forth, for over all living beings, however many there are, will I bring annihilation, destruction, ruin. Take wood and pitch and build a large ship..."

http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-gilgamesh-early-flood-tablet/

Joy... aren't you confusing metaphysics with (empirical) science. Science is about the natural world, as per your definitions above #1.a. & 1.b. The question of who stands behind the created order is a metaphysical and/or theological question.

Aren't you involved in a similar reductionist enterprise as those who are strict scientific positivists. They deny metaphysical and/or theological enquiry, and your approach ultimately negates scientific enquiry. Both are binary poles revolving around each other.

If you are claiming that Biblical Creation is metaphysical due to the definition of 4.b.  then likewise Evolutionism is also metaphysical, by definitions 2&3, i.e. speculative:

met·a·phys·i·cal  adj.

1. Of or relating to metaphysics.

2. Based on speculative or abstract reasoning.

3. Highly abstract or theoretical; abstruse.

4. a. Immaterial; incorporeal. See Synonyms at immaterial.

    b. Supernatural.

 

As Almighty God is obviously far beyond our mere senses and the beginning of the world took place before any of us were around, isn't it rather arrogant to cast doubt on what He has told us in Scripture, including inscribing Himself in stone in Exodus 20:11

em·pir·i·cism  n.

1. The view that experience, especially of the senses, is the only source of knowledge.

Joy... you need to focus. Under discussion is the definition of science you've provided. It accurately describes empirical science.

1.a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

1.b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.

By it's very definition it rules out dealing with the supernatural. Nontheless, you go on to state "...evolution[ists] insist on limiting science to 'natural phenomena', i.e. ruling out the supernatural which would include creation" contradicting your first point.

You can't have your cake and it as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can't have your cake and "eat" it as well.

Of course the evolutionists like that definition because they like to claim that evolution is 'scientific' simply because it excludes the supernatural, i.e. excludes Almighty God.  That is why it is particularly puzzling that those who profess to be Christians, i.e. claim to believe in God (supernatural) would cling to a theory that rules out God.

In reality ‘science’ simply means knowledge, as stated in the definition I included in previous comment.  For example from Noah’s Webster dictionary: 

SCI'ENCE, n. [L. scientia, from scio, to know.] 

1. In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind. The science of God must be perfect.

 

2. In philosophy, a collection of the general principles or leading truths relating to any subject. Pure science, as the mathematics, is built on self-evident truths; but the term science is also applied to other subjects founded on generally acknowledged truths, as metaphysics; or on experiment and observation, as chemistry and natural philosophy; or even to an assemblage of the general principles of an art, as the science of agriculture; the science of navigation. Arts relate to practice, as painting and sculpture.

 

A principle in science is a rule in art.

 

3. Art derived from precepts or built on principles.

 

Science perfects genius.

 

4. Any art or species of knowledge.

 

No science doth make known the first principles on which it buildeth.

 

I place my faith and trust in Almighty God who made everything the way He said He did.  Rather than trust in fallible men who have letters after their name, and reduce or rule out God regarding origins:

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Romans 1:22

Hi Jonathan [Wilson]…

Let’s try restating my previous comment that was deleted.

Joy states on August 13, 2013 – 11:21 pm that she is prepared to accept the following definition of empirical science:

1.a.   The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

1.b.   Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.

1.c.   Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.

2.      Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science.

3.      An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.

4.      Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.

She then states that evolution[ist]s insist on limiting science to 'natural phenomena', i.e. ruling out the supernatural which would include creation.”

If empirical science is by definition about natural phenomena, it does not meet the rules of logic to turn around to argue that empirical science ought to deal with supernatural phenomena.

Moreover, she is engaged in “labelling” when she defines anyone who she views as disagreeing with her this topic as an “evolutionist”, i.e. evolutionists like that definition because they like to claim that evolution is 'scientific' simply because it excludes the supernatural, i.e. excludes Almighty God.” See August 29, 2013 – 1:49 am

Using the same the thinking process I might argue that Joy is, as she terms it, an “evolutionist who rules out God.” From what she writes I know that this is not the case.

There are scientific positivists who because of their philosophic worldview take the position that because God cannot be empirically proven, he does not exist.

Nevertheless it is a leap in logic to assume that all individuals who engage in empirical research and have alternate positions to that of ID or CRS, by definition “…rule[s] out God.” See August 29, 2013 – 1:49 am

She knows that is not the case. See her comment on Biologos August 13, 2013 – 11:21 pm. That she disagrees with other faith-based positions is fair comment, but what is inappropriate is the mischaracterization of these positions and individuals to convey the impression they all rule out God.

Lubbert, my impression is that you are slagging Joy.  You state she should focus, but you don't examine your own logic.  The definition includes five possibilities.  In 1a-c, it describes variations. 

"1.a.   The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.   1.b.   Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.  1.c.   Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.  "

1a is phenomena in general.  1b is natural phenomena.  1c is objects of inquiry.   So Joy is not wrong in saying that evolutionary theorists concentrate only on 1b.  As soon as you say that God interefered, or that evolution only explains 30% of natural biohistory, or that God began the process supernaturally, or that God controls the biostatistics, then evolutionists will say that is outside of the realm of science, because they define science as only attributing to "natural phenomena".   Joy is maintaining that God can and did create outside of natural means, in otherwords, by supernatural means which resulted in an outcome that can be naturally perceived.  Just as the blind man was supernaturally healed, but yet his healing was naturally perceived by himself and others. 

The biggest problem with most of those who claim that evolution is a tool used by God to create, is that they cannot explain how God used the tool;  what I mean by that is they cannot show how their description of evolution is any different from the atheists description, which rules out any input from God on a-priori assumption.  So the supposed conundrum of  God "fooling" people in the layers of rock, fossil record, and apparent time in geology, is supposedly avoided by switching the conundrum to God "fooling" people for thousands of years by the record of creation as found in scripture. 

An "evolutionary creationist" can claim that God is not ruled out.  But merely stating this does not demonstrate very much.   Scripture shows that merely claiming faith does not prove you have faith;  it must be accompanied by works (evidence of life).   To say that there is an alternative to Intelligent Design as a starting point for a christian, is to suppose that the creation was stupidly designed?  or not designed at all?   If so, then how does that demonstrate creation by God who said it was created (designed) good?  

Evolutionary theory says much more than just assuming God wasn't involved.  It also implies a principle that excludes God from healing our diseases, and a principle that excludes God from blessing the growing of crops, or safety on the highway, or healing from depression, or the blessing of employment, or respite from war.   If you want to include God in evolution, you probably need to call it something different than evolution.  And if you want to use "evolutionary creationism", you need to be clear how it is distinguished from "evolution".   

 

Think about this:

God did not create a baby, he created a man named Adam.

God did not create an egg, he created an adult chicken(How do I know this? Well, when was the last time a chick or an egg survived without its mother?)

Therefore, God created all living things aged, NOT "new" as we know things to be "new."  This being the case, why would God create the living earth any differant? He wouldn't.  He would have created the earth as he created all things living on it.  That is, at a mature state, a state that can perpetuate life and reproduction and will continue to age.  God created the earth at a mature age in appearance, just as he did Man and Woman, and just as he did all the animals. 

Glory be to a most perfect and holy creator, our Heavenly Father, who out of nothing, did in seven days what the most inteligent scientists believe took billions of years.  Psalm 14:1 "The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good."

It truely saddens my heart that such material is printed by a "Reformed" publication and someone who claims to be reformed in Doctrine and Life.  The crux of the discussion is not even evolution and science, but where is the Reformed Church headed?

Here's another article in response to this one: http://creation.com/defense-of-six-day-creation

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