God’s Plan for Creation: Biological Evolution Revisited

As people of faith, how are we to understand the topic of biological evolution? This topic has been raised in the pages of The Banner and elsewhere in Reformed circles. As Edwin Walhout suggests in his article “Tomorrow’s Theology” (June 2013), there is convincing evidence to support the thesis that biological evolution has occurred. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that opinions on the topic vary widely, as indicated by the responses to that article. I believe more needs to be said. So in the spirit of engaging the church in an open and continuing conversation, here are some suggestions for broadening the discussion.

Many Christian biologists—and I include myself in this group—accept the findings of biological science as a feature of creation that we have to account for. The combined evidence from fossils and from scientific comparisons of the anatomy, physiology, and DNA of various organisms is so strong that it can no longer be ignored. As a result, most Christian biologists I know accept some form of evolutionary development. In its refereed journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, the American Scientific Affiliation has published many helpful articles that support this viewpoint (see sidebar on p. **).
However, I do have some reservations about the standard evolution accounts. So as we consider the theory of evolution, I suggest that we keep several key points in mind.

Evolution: Biological Theory or Worldview?
Charles Darwin’s religious doubts and his views of God’s way with the world continue to be topics of much debate. Darwin had doubts about a God who interacts with this world and who allows the cruelty that we observe in ecosystems and in natural selection. Some authors suggest that his faith was particularly challenged by the pain of losing his beloved daughter, Annie, who died at the age of 10. Can we separate Darwin’s religious views from the biological theories that are the result of his work?

In our attempt to understand the discussions on evolution, it is important for us to keep in mind the distinction between evolution as a legitimate biological theory and evolutionism as a godless worldview that we as Christians cannot accept. I need only mention the title of the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins to indicate what I mean about the latter. Dawkins has expressed his criticism of the Christian faith in language the genteel Darwin would never have used (we will ignore the amateurish theologizing of Dawkins for now). Nevertheless, we need to acknowledge that a large body of literature presents the theory of biological evolution dispassionately and, in some cases, with respect for the Christian tradition.

Acknowledging Complexity
A second feature of creation that our faith would have us recognize is complexity in the world of nature. Whether we are walking in a rainforest or examining a muscle cell through an electron microscope, we can’t help but be struck by the beauty and complexity of creation. People experience this beauty and complexity in their everyday experience and, as scientists, in the biology lab. In both cases we feel a sense of wonder, even exhilaration.

Not all scientists are of a mind to acknowledge this complexity. James Watson, co-discoverer of the helical structure of DNA, states: “There is only one science, physics: all else is social work.” It’s true that physics is important. Even within our bodies, structures and processes obey physical laws. Nevertheless, many scientists—both Christian and agnostic—disagree with Watson’s statement. They hold that biological organisms and processes cannot be described in purely physical terms, for they obey biological laws as well.

One way of getting at what “creation” means is to recognize that biological structures and processes have integrity and descriptive frameworks all their own. There is a level of biological complexity within the creation. Such an understanding of biological organisms and processes enhances our ability to appreciate God’s design for creation.

Of course, when it comes to human beings and their culture, there are multiple levels of complexity that need to be recognized: language, logic, and religion, among others. All of these levels reflect the wisdom of the Creator, and they are the embodiment of God’s plan for human life.

A Process with Purpose
In the third place, let us notice that there is purpose in the evolutionary process—it accomplishes God’s intent for creation. We know from Scriptures that human beings, and in fact all biological organisms, are meant to be here. This is stressed by biologist and theologian Denis Lamoureux and by philosopher Jacob Klapwijk (see sidebar on p. **). There is purpose in the living world, even if we acknowledge that evolutionary processes imply moments of chance and randomness.

Recognizing that some of the processes that drive biological evolution depend on chance does indeed raise difficult questions. However, what is true for evolution also holds for human reproduction: Even though we know that the determination of gender in a baby is an apparently random process, expectant parents who are Christians might sometimes pray for a girl or a boy. Similarly, we trust that the course of history, chaotic though it is, is ultimately in God’s hands. Even the outcome of a toss of the dice, according to Scripture, is determined by God: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). God’s rule enters everywhere, even if we do not always understand God’s way with the world.

Selfish Genes
In his big book Sociobiology, E.O. Wilson proposes that animals behave in such a way that their own genes are passed on to successive generations. And because animal behaviour is thought to be determined or influenced by genes, a particular behavior can be selected for and thus made part of the evolutionary grand scheme. Richard Dawkins supported this view in his book The Selfish Gene. Genes are “selfish” in that they favor their own survival and the behavior patterns of the parent. Unselfish or “altruistic” behavior, a puzzle even for Darwin, can be explained in some cases by suggesting that it favors the passing on of the individual’s own genes through relatives (who will have some of the same genes). In other cases scientists suggest that animals practice reciprocal altruism in turns: “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.” In either case, we will defer to specialists in animal behavior to sort out this problem.

The theory becomes objectionable, certainly to Christians, when it is extended to human behavior, as Wilson does. Certainly human beings can rise above their biological past to lead unselfish lives and to do unselfish acts, regardless of the role of genes in animals. In fact, I see this as part of our being created in the image of God. Christians hold that unselfish behavior is not some puzzling anomaly to be somehow explained. Rather such behavior is part of the new life we have in Christ, who calls us to love others as we love ourselves. For Christians, such behaviors as donating blood or adopting a child, helping a stranded motorist or serving a cup of water to a stranger, are not a puzzle but a rewarding task. Here too our faith shapes our understanding of an aspect of evolution theory.

Needed: A Positive Debate
Contributions to the discussion on origins range from the simplistic to the profound. Unfortunately, too often the former predominate. Yet it is vital that we engage in a positive, worthwhile, and worthy debate. I say that for two reasons. First, when people, particularly students, are exposed to simplistic reasons for rejecting evolution, and then encounter sophisticated arguments for the process in the literature or in the classroom, they often reject the church or begin to question their faith. Instead, I suggest that members of the church read and talk about Scriptures, about biological origins, about evolution, and about natural selection, its supporting process. A good place to begin is with the literature written by Christians in the “Digging Deeper” sidebar (see p. **). Old Testament professors at Reformed seminaries could and should help advance the conversation by offering to participate in public forums and debates on religion and science.

Second, as Reformed Christians, we have always trusted that the “books” of creation and Scripture both testify to their Author. As those who, through Christ, have come to know the Creator as our Father, we must continue to read both books together and allow them to lead us into the truth about God and creation.

God’s creation praises its maker. That God’s creating work is an essential Christian doctrine, and that God’s creation praises him and deserves our loving care, is beyond doubt for the Christian believer. Along with the psalmist we proclaim, “Lord my God, you are very great” (Ps. 104:1).
Sidebar

 

Digging Deeper

The authors of these resources enthusiastically profess that God is the creator. They treasure the message of Scriptures, particularly as it is found in Genesis 1 and 2-3, Psalm 104, and Colossians 1:15-20. Nothing they write, or, indeed, in this article, contradicts that God created everything from nothing. Yes, there are implications in all of this for theology, and we will need to consider them thoughtfully and faithfully. The challenge to consider is that the interpretation of the Genesis accounts does not come solely from the evolution debate; there are other good reasons to continue the work on this fascinating topic. Clarence Vos has written about how we read biblical accounts (“How Should We Read the Bible?” November 2011); theologians are challenged to continue the discussion.

  • Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma, professors in the physics and astronomy department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., have co-authored a helpful introduction to the origins debate. Their book Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design is written from the viewpoint that God used processes of evolution to bring biological organisms into being.
  • Denis Lamoureux, who has a Ph.D. in theology and another in biology, has written two books on the topic of origins: Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution and I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution.
  • Reformed philosopher Jacob Klapwijk’s book makes the case for purpose in biological evolution in Purpose in the Living World: Creation and Emergent Evolution.

 

Two Websites for Further Exploration

  • The BioLogos website biologos.org was started by Francis Collins; it gives access to many informative authors and articles. Look for thoughtful essays, particularly the incisive article “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” by theologian Tim Keller. Articles on this website in “The Forum” by Dennis Venema on “Evolution Basics” and the essays by Andy Crouch and Ted Davis can help us understand current debates about religion and evolution.
  • American Scientific Affiliation: Science and Faith website, asa3.org, is a starting point for many helpful articles on science and the Christian faith. Click on “Resources,” then “For Churches and Groups,” and then “God and Nature Magazine.”

Web Questions:

  1. How does Cook’s article either open doors for more discussion on the topic of evolution and theology or shut them?
  2. Do you agree with Cook that “we need to keep in mind the distinction between evolution as a legitimate biological theory and evolutionism as a godless worldview that we as Christians cannot accept”? How do you understand the difference?
  3. Is it is necessary to have a “positive, worthwhile, and worthy debate” about origins? Why or why not?
  4. What groundwork would need to exist in order for us to receive conflicting positions and participate in a civil discussion?
  5. Cook says that “God’s rule enters everywhere, even if we do not always understand God’s way with the world.” If that is true, how do we handle our fear and doubt?
  6. How do both “books” (creation and Scripture) contribute to the truth about God and creation?

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Harry Cook is a biologist who has taught biology at Christian colleges for many years, most recently at The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta. He’s a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta.

See comments (50)

Comments

Harry, what would you say is the most complelling 'evidence' that you can think of, for believing evolution?

Microevolution, variation is real.  We see a variety of dogs, a variety of kitties etc. However, I doubt you can give even a single example of actual macroevolution, i.e. one kind of animal becoming another kind.

See Evolution vs. God trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gv2xbXkAfs) for the DVD that will be available in a couple of days, i.e. August 7th.

Why does the banner keep beating the same drum of promoting evolution?  Can someone point to an article that actually promotes what God's Word actually states, i.e. special creation.  The banner seems to be as un-balanced regarding this topic, as the secular media.

Richard Dawkins pulls no punches when dealing with Christians who also hold to evolution:

“I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I think they’re deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there really is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity … ”

Once again the banner chooses to publish an article with only one sided viewpoints. Harry could you only come up with authors and websites that promote evolution and a compromise of Biblical creation?  All the authors you suggest offer only versions of a compromised "theistic evolution" position.  To be honest I don't know much about The American Scientific Affiliation, but I am familiar with BioLogos.  If you want to find a who's who in the world of theistic evolutionists, than this is the place to go. The scientific and theological gymnastics that take place within this group is nothing short of amazing.

Why is it that there are no creationist books or websites listed? Is it perhaps that you haven't read any or is it that you wish to keep those viewpoints suppressed?  What about material by biologists Dr. David Menton, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson or Dr. Georgia Purdom, geologists Dr. Andrew Snelling or Emil Sylvestru, or work by Dr. Terry Mortenson who is both a theologian and has a PhD in the history of geology. These are just a handful of the hundreds of well known scientists who hold to a Biblical worldview of how to explain what we see around us in nature and when they deal with historical science.  They do not offer "simplistic reasons for rejecting evolution" but well researched and scientific. Certainly some of their material needs to understandable by laypersons so not all of their work goes into great depths, but in depth material is available as well.  You tell your readers to talk about and research the subject of evolution, but then you reference only material that supports your own position!

 

Websites that support a young earth creationist worldview include www.icr.org, www.creation.com, and www.answersingenesis.org.  You may not like what they say, but they all have articles written by Christian PhD scientists, researchers, and theologians, so it would only make sense to include them to give a balanced perspective. 

 

Harry, thanks for a fantastic article.  Arnold, it's not a matter of “balance” if the position you wish to support is wrong or bad science, and young earth creationism is both; it is dead science.  For 2 millennia Aristotelian physics ruled the scientific world, and then came the Copernican revolution, but people were still defending Aristotle for a few more centuries.  I think the last dissertation to publicly defend Aristotle’ physics was writing in the 1800’s.  Do we still need to defend Aristotle in when we speak about Copernicus?  Do we need to have a committed Aristotelian to counter Einstein’s theory of relativity just so we have a “balanced” debate in physics?  That seems to me to be a waste of time, and not very balanced or helpful at all.

Henry, as you have stated in another location, you are an expert in "literary interpretation", not in evolution, particularly not in "prehistoric dating methods", and I would suggest you are not an authority to say whether or not YEC is dead science.  But, furthermore, even if the universe and earth were older prior to creation of living things, still does not prove or demonstrate evolution.  And to carry it even one step further, even if the world was older after the creation of living things, still does not prove mud-to-man evolution.   Harry's article was generally not unreasonable, but Arnold is still right;  it is an unbalanced article, starting from only one presupposition.   However, Harry did not well explain the nuances of how evolutionary theory is melded in his mind with the realities of God's guiding hand, other than a blanket generalization that God is somehow involved.  That is where the rubber meets the road. 

Your argument about Copernicus is interesting, common, and not valid, as you would know.  There is no more justification in comparing Aristotle to Copernicus, than there is in comparing Aristotle to Moses, or Aquinas to the apostle Paul, as a basis for making a decision about this issue.

Harry, kudos to you for putting together your idea on how Christians might understand bio evolution.   Stressing of the difference between biology and worldview was good, but I am disappointed you did not demonstrate how an evolutionary biology would fit with a non-evolutionary worldview.  The details are significant and important.  I am also curious as to what reservations you would have about the standard evolution accounts. 

Some of your comments did not seem to me to be connected to “evolution”, at least not in the way you brought them up.   “Complexity”, for example… so what? 

Your comment about simplistic vs sophisticated arguments….  Could apply both ways, couldn’t it.   But furthermore, a sophisticated argument for literary interpretation does not justify an acceptance of a scientific theory, anymore than a simplistic argument for a scientific theory justifies a denial of a literary interpretation.     But I agree we should engage in a positive and worthy debate.   Objections to evolutionary theory should not be adhoc  ignored.  The bias for evolutionary theory should not be blithely ignored either.  

If evolutionary theory hangs together from beginning to end as a comprehensive philosophical necessity, then any and each scientific objection to it becomes increasingly significant.   If the objections to it are significant and valid, then all the writings that attempt to find a way to meld it with a re-interpretation of Genesis 1 become increasingly irrelevant. 

The question is not whether God could have used evolution to create life, including humans.   The question is whether God actually did so.  And the question is also, if God actually did so, why did He feel it was necessary to hide such a fact from Moses and his people?   Do we feel it is part of God’s nature to be deliberately “deceptive”  in such a way?    Or are we so enured to deception that we don’t recognize it anymore, and expect it everywhere?    

Scientifically, the lack of intermediary fossils continues to be a major problem after 150 years of theorizing.   The discovery of organic material which is dated much less than presumed rock “dates” in which it is embedded, continues to plague the theory.  The presumption of extinction of some non-extinct species, the existence of species which are similar or virtually identical to fossilized specimens, while not insurmountable theoretically, still cause difficulty.   The existence of “softrock” layers beneath sandstone, or interspersed clay and sandstone/shale layers might be problematic.  The possible speed of reef formation and stalactite formation and fossil formation seems to be unaccounted for, and perpetually discounted.  

Some of the examples of dating fossil rocks improperly are interesting.   For example, some known recent volcanic rocks cannot be dated by radioactive dating methods, since they date too old.  It’s like saying that a radar gun works really well at estimating speeds over 100km per hour, but once the speeds drop below 90 km per hour, the radar gun doesn’t work well because it shows speeds of 110km/hr.    Does this make sense?   Would you depend on this radar gun?  Wouldn’t you get a new one? 

I am willing to admit that a serious scientific problem for YEC is the distance of stars and the time for starlight to travel to earth.   But that is strictly speaking not an issue of evolution, but an issue of time or age.  Are theistic evolutionists willing to admit the serious problems posed for biological evolution based on evidence or lack of evidence? 

 

 

My question wasn't for you Henry - My question was directed to the author and by extension the banner editor.  I've heard your ideas before and I would suggest that your "science" is flawed because of your refusal to consider the implications both logically and theologically. But I'm not interested in getting into a discussion with you again.  If you think the "evidence" is so obvious, what are you worried about?  Are you afraid someone might actually critically analyze the evolutionary worldview and discover it has serious problems?  BTW, what does Aristotelian and Copernican physics have to do with the discussion? Do you really think that a scientist who is a YEC would deny observable science as in heliocentism and teach geocentrism instead? The people I listed as well as many others are well respected scientists. If we want people to consider what the debate really is about they need to hear from all sides. Goodness, even within the camps of Christians who are not YEC's there are very strong divisions. Don't make it sound as if your viewpoint is bulletproof. You talk about a teaching in history that was shown to be incorrect because of direct observation and repeated testing and corroboration.  But that's hardly the case when we are talking about the evolutionary worldview. Evolution has never been observed and cannot be tested or repeated. Or have you actually seen organisms gain genetic information through mutation? There is observable science such as the earth rotating around the sun but there is also historical science which requires faith in one's presuppositions and ultimately their worldview, such as when we study origins.  This is hardly observable, testable and repeatable.

 

You guys crack me up.  You dominate the discussion boards dismissing the almost universal consensus among scientific experts concerning biological evolution, and now I am to be dismissed as because I have specialized in hermeneutics and not science.   When my fellow academics, both Christian and non-Christian share a common understanding of our universe it opens an extraordinary fruitful space for academic disciplines to work together using each other’s expertise to deepen our understanding of the wonder of this world that does indeed belong to God. In my conversations with them I trust that they are not lying or somehow have misconstrued the facts or and have wool pulled over their eyes.  Hermeneutics is fundamental to all scientific procedures; all science models reality and is a work of interpretation.  All knowledge is interpreted knowledge, there is no way to get around that, and it is the original condition for all language and communication.  So I guess you folks believe that you are the authority on what the truth is and are the “experts” on this topic. 

Arnold, this is an open public forum which allows anyone to ask questions of the author and any commentator.  If don’t want to have anyone commenting on your posts, stop writing them.  As for my reference to Aristotle, he has everything to do with this discussion, as does the entire history of philosophy.  When an Aristotelian scientific model is used for 2000 years and then found to be inadequate to explain the world due to new scientific discoveries, it dies slowly because it has become so ingrained in how the world is understood.  So the point I was making is that there is a paradigm shift operative here analogous to what is going on in the debate between young earth models of creation and evolutionary models, or between a static and dynamic historical model of the universe.  So when you use terms like fair or balanced with regard to a credible alternative to biological evolution, I see this as a difference between old and new models, and not a difference between two credible scientific models.                 

Henry, I'm glad you are enjoying yourself.   Or that you are cracking up, as you say.  Interesting thing about scientific models:  they can give different results.   One example in the climate change field:  "The climate change scenarios are named for the climate models that produced them--ECH, CSIRO, CNR, and MIROC--with ECH projecting a future that is relatively cooler and wetter and MIROC projecting one that is relatively warmer and drier. The remaining two scenarios fall between these two extremes, with CSIRO generally being cooler and wetter than CNR." (USDA ERS)  Ironic, isn't it, that models are only as good as the assumptions and information fed into them. 

 I realize you claim that the creation model is an old one, but I disagree.  The creation models are probably younger than the evolution models.   The idea of YEC creation is perhaps older, but not the models.  Walt Brown has written of one model of creation and the flood that is considerably newer, for example.   Creation Ministries has a slightly different YEC model of creation and the flood.  There are more. 

The idea of evolution is also much older than the models that began to be proposed in the 19th century.   So I don't think your example really compares.   In any case, while it is an interesting analogy, it only works if you accept its assumptions beforehand.   By itself, it does not prove anything at all. 

I was not dismissing you personally at all, just denying your authority to claim that YEC science was dead.  In fact, based on what I have seen, even whether I agree with it or not, there is much going on to indicate that it is in fact not dead at all.  So your statement is not based on evidence, but rather it is a statement intended to dismiss and discount the point of view of YEC, regardless of evidence. 

It might seem that we dismiss the almost universal consensus, but that is not the case.  Anyway it is impossible to dismiss such a preponderance of assumptions and beliefs.  We are confronted with it everyday.  But it is basically "historical science", not observational science.   And pre-historical geo and paleo science has a lot of assumptions tied to it.   If one or two of those assumptions are shown to be incorrect, then the whole playing field changes.  One would think that examining those assumptions and the proposed evidence is a legitimate endeavor, and not to be dismissed by  a comment such as, "dead science". 

It wasn't an example, it is as I stated an analogy from a previous paradigm shift to something analoguos with the paradigm shift that has taken in every academic displine today and for some time now.  God's word of creation, for which Paul holds everyone accountable to, has spoken with such force, that to deny its truth, is anlogous to defending Aristotian physics with Steven Hawking.

 

I think we need to stop and think for a moment about the foolishness and obserdity of what is being promoted here. Why is the CRCNA, colleges, christian schools and the banner teaching such nonsense and propaganda in the light of Scripture? 

Really? They believe their great, great grand pappy was an ape? And before that a whale that sprouted legs and before that whatever. Next thing you know it the animated character Shrek will be a reality. If I was in Harry Cooks class at Kings College or a biology class at Calvin or Trinity, They would have to flunk me for believing in the Bible, and label me as a crazy, "simplistic", fundamentalist while proclaiming themselves as a "sophisticated" evolutionist as stated in the above article. 

Didn't Jesus say, "have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female..." (Matthew 19:4)  And didn't Jesus say, "For if you believed Moses (who wrote Genesis), you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" (John 5:46,47) 

Must we all dumb down to evolutionist's beliefs that are built on the shifting sands of assumption and speculation, without a shred of observable evidence that trees do not always produce after their kind, humans do not always produce after their kind, and that fish do not always produce fish?

"But we have renounced disgraceful, under handed ways, we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth, we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God."  (2 Corinthians 4:2)

"Buy the truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom, instruction, and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23)

 

A few years ago, while I was still a chaplain in the USAF, I was invited to join a discussion panel taking up the question of 'pacificism'. My take on the whole thing came down to this: It's a philisophical defense for cowardice. So is theistic-evolution. Defenders of this nonsense sold-out long ago. My guess it was sometime just before and just slightly after entering grad-school. They wanted to be more well thought of by their peers and professors than their lord. They wanted to have their opninions well thought of and their articles praised in peer reviewed journals. So they drank the cool-aid of sceintific consensus. Evolutionary biology isn't about science. It's about meta-physics. It's an attempt to explain the orgin of things. It cannot be done sceintifically. Sceintists keep trying because they have assumed the mantel of priesthood in modern age. Neat trick that.  Think of them as the pied-pipers leading our youth into oblivion. Mercifully, God is sovereign and none of his elect shall be lost. Nevertheless 'teachers' will have a lot to answer for in this regard. 

I think we ought to take Richard Dawkins assesment of the whole affair to heart. He at least understands what is fundamentally at stake here. Harry Cook doesn't or doesn't care.

 

And when will be treated to the thoughts of Dr. John Lennox on the subject? Not anytime soon I"m sure. We aren't being helped to think. We're being propagandized....somebody is working an agenda. Does any one else find it ironic that Calvin College is facing a 10% across the board budget cut? I can't be sure if a correlation or a causation problem. Who knows....

Lambert!   I am shocked.  Honestly. This kind of rhetoric "ain't Jesus".

Sounds more like the Sanhedrin in here.

Norman, surely Jesus, our LORD, would not want children to be lied to, concerning the fact that Almighty God did actually create everything in six days.  He even wrote it in stone in Exodus 20:11

Matthew 18

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

Matthew 12

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

2 Peter 1

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Did you realize that due to their long lifespans in those days Adam was still alive for quite some time during the lifetime of Noah's father.  Noah's lifespan overlaps with Abraham's father.  Therefore they knew the truth about creation and the global flood etc.  Can you imagine Noah asking his Dad about what Adam told him about the garden of Eden?  :)

"Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless."


(Professor Louis Bounoure, past president of the Biological Society of Strassbourg, Director of the Strassbourg Zoological Museum, Director of Research at the French National Center of Scientific Research. (Quoted in The Advocate, March 8, 1984.)

Norm: When Christian professors have more in common with atheists, I'm shocked.  Jesus called a spade a spade. He was plain spoken. Dawkins ought to be taken at his word. He understands what all the talk about evolutions is really all about. We don't. 

Sanhedrin....really??? wow...Would Jesus agree with you?   

When an atheist is given more trust and respect than your own brothers and sisters, yes I'm shocked. 

Who gives a rip what Dawkins thinks about what we believe or how we as Christians should approach the things we are learning in contemporary science?   If he's the devil, then he must be lying!

I am just shocked at the tone and the rhetorical condemnation. It sounds like a witch hunt.  Hence the Sanhedrin -- Pharisees and Sadducees vying for power and respect among the people. 

I am glad you have found the truth is best discerned by what card suit you belong to.  The young man I used to know was more open-minded and compassionate than that.

Edwin Walhout's article wasn't particularly helpful or "news" to me, though perhaps he intended it to be prophetic.  The test of a prophet is the fruit, remember?   The reaction to his article, however , has confirmed for me that the church of my youth is a fractious and reactionary as ever.  

 

I love Lennox!  Would love to hear him.  And why not?  

I am certain, however, that because of his views on Old Earth creationism, a less-than-fundamentalist  interpretion of Genesis 1, and his idea that animals died and ate each other before the fall,  any presentation would also be controversial.  If only because he never takes seriously the Young Earth version of science. 

Perhaps the Banner could invite Lennox to write an article for us on how to appropriate good science in a thoughtful Christian tradition without descending into rigid fundamentalism or the destruction of our historic creeds and confessions...

For those who are concerned for our children, please read this brief article on Dr. Bert Thompson who was affliated with Apologetics Press, a Young Creationist, and part of the fundamentalist "science teaching"... the author makes some very important points about "motivations" and the oddly shoddy workmanship of a capable  science teacher ....  and read to the very end of the article.

http://www.ntanet.net/footprints.htm

Evolution vs God. The reason why the church cannot capitulate to evolution is because "the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6)

It's God's word plus nothing. "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar." (Psalm 30:5,6)

Genesis can be trusted as written. "...for you have exalted above all things your name and your word." (Psalm 138:2)

What's happened to civic discourse when we end up battering each other with bible verses?

Do you see any atheists engaged in the dialogue on this topic in either the Banner, or on the Network? So, why do we need to disparage each other as if we are not brothers and sisters in in the Body of Christ? 

The devil must be having a good laugh at our expense, while all heaven weeps.

At the end of the day the discourse on this topic boils down to a disagreement on:

1. What constitutes good empirical science; and

2. Whether it is possible to entertain alternate theories on the development of the natural world that can fit within a Christian life and world view.

Unfortunately, within the broader Christian scientific community including the US judicial system the consenus is that YEC and ID is pseudo science - yet this does not mean they question the love individuals within the YEC & ID community have for their Lord and Saviour or the veracity of scripture.

Also, there is a general consensus that there are alternate theories on the development of the natural world that fit within a Christian life and worldview, and that they do not lead to aetheism as some in the YEC and ID contend.

If there is to be communal dialogue on this topic there needs to be civility and we need to acknowledge to we all rest within the Body of Christ.

 

Thanks Lubbert... I guess such conversations are best developed in person or one on one.  It's far too easy to posture and pose for a nebulous internet audience in this format. 

As one well-known creationist put it, (Young Earth) Creation science is hearing what Scripture has to say about the natural world and then going out to find the evidence for it.  It's a very different definition of science.  By this definition, such a scientist can never be proven wrong.  If your research points to a very different conclusion than what you figured, you simply ignore it and move on.  Indeed, YEC reps have admitted that no mountain of evidence could convince them they might be wrong their beliefs and conclusions. It's a matter of principle for them.  Every observation of the nature that they might make is simply a sermon illustration, so to speak.

I have wondered if, for the lack of a better word, a "cosmicological hermeneutic" could be spelled out in the Christian community -- only that would mirror the basic hermeneutical principles we use to let the Bible interprete itself.   Our reformed heritage is apparently built on such a hermeneutic and it is helped us avoid the errors of Biblicism and Traditionism.  But what if we let God's Second Book interprete itself as a matter of principle?  As one person in a different thread pointed out to me, we must remember that the Second Book is also a revelation of God and not just  "nature" per se. But a similar tension is found in Bible interpretation, too.  And because I know that the immediate reaction will be that the Bible is lens by which we see creation rightly and is the final authority, in practice this does not mean scientific research of nature is superfluous.  A good "cosmological hermeneutic" would honour this principle and spell out how to resolve any apparent contradiction. 

Berkhof (and others)  have said that if we want to let the God's written Word speak for itself, an investigator will need to explore three overlapping tracks -- the grammatical/logical; the historical, and the theological.  Many of the rules and disciplines of a threefold investigation of the Bible resemble scientific research principles and I believe Berkhof wrote his "Principles" to give the impression of good science. 

Could Christians develop a similar hermeneutic for scientific endevours?   Could it be done precisely because we are confident that nature is quite capable of manifesting God's wisdom and power and that the various aspects of nature will not fail to contradict this?   Could this be something that even secular scientists could understand and even respect?   Wasn't this sort of what Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven were working on?

better yet..."cosmological" *laughing*

See amazing new video "Evolution vs. God" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ  

Kevin, it is perfectly fine to quote Scripture to address heresy etc.  That is exactly one of the purposes of Scripture:

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We also have many examples of our saviour Jesus quoting Scripture for similar reasons.

Matthew 12:3  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Matthew 21:16  and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Matthew 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

And to rebuke Satan, the devil, Jesus quoted Scripture:

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:7  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

An example of a Christian who believed that what is in the Bible must be true, as Creationists also do today, is Matthew Fontaine Maury.

One day, when Matthew Maury was very sick, he asked one of his daughters to get the Bible and read to him. She chose Psalm 8, the eighth verse of which speaks of "whatsoever walketh through the paths of the sea," he repeated "the paths of the sea, the paths of the sea, if God says the paths of the sea, they are there, and if I ever get out of this bed I will find them."

He did begin his deep sea soundings as soon as he was strong enough, and found that two ridges extended from the New York coast to England, so he made charts for ships to sail over one path to England and return over the other.

Maury's description of ocean currents is interesting. He says: "There are rivers in the sea. They are of such magnitude that the mightiest streams of the land are rivulets compared to them. 

 

The state of Virginia built a monument to Maury at Goshen Pass in 1923 and put this inscription on it:

MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY
PATHFINDER OF THE SEAS
THE GENIUS WHO FIRST SNATCHED FROM THE OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERE THE SECRET OF THEIR LAWS.

Born January 14th, 1806
Died at Lexington, Va., February 1st, 1873
Carried through Goshen Pass to his Final Resting Place in Richmond, Virginia.

EVERY MARINER FOR COUNTLESS AGES AS HE TAKES HIS CHART TO SHAPE HIS COURSE ACROSS THE SEAS, WILL THINK OF THEE.

HIS INSPIRATION HOLY WRIT
Psalms 8 and 107, Verses 8, 23 and 24 Ecclesiastes Chap. 1, Verse 8

A TRIBUTE BY HIS NATIVE STATE VIRGINIA.  1923

Matthew Maury was a great marine charter and sailors had reasons to good reasons to bless him as well as curse him since not only did he chart significant ocean currents and save ships much time on their voyages but he also invented the mines that sank ships using those very charts of his.  

However, I'm not sure how this is evidence for anything in our discussion.  Like all scientists, he framed an initial hypothesis (pathways in the sea) and then discovered found empirical evidence (ocean currents) that overwhelmingly supported the hypothesis.  However, there are many Bible believing scientists, engineers, explorers, theologians, etc, whose deep convictions were overturned by overwhelming evidence.  Columbus was one (he was convinced that the earth is smaller than we think).  John Calvin (who believed the idea that earth revolved around the sun was inspired by the devil).   Charles Darwin (who was a parson fond of notion that the world evidenced nothing but God's gentle love until he observed overwhelming evidence for "the survival of the fittest").

Thank you for submitting the name yet another devout Christian who was committed to a life of careful research and improving the lot of mankind. I understand, Maury was a southerner who wanted to rid America of slavery.  He deserves to be commemorated.

Norman refers to:  " As one well-known creationist put it, (Young Earth) Creation science is hearing what Scripture has to say about the natural world and then going out to find the evidence for it.  It's a very different definition of science..."   I agree this sounds a bit doubtful, but on the other hand this is also what much evolutionistic science is doing;  it hears what Darwin(and evolution theory) has to say about the natural world and then goes out to find the evidence for it.  We have seen that this propensity has even caused fraud and enormous mistakes in fossil interpretation.   You have to start with some kind of hypothesis or some kind of postulation.   I'm not sure that any evolutionist would be willing to consider that the theory might not be true.  Well, sorry,  that is not quite right after all, since yes there are indeed a number of scientists who are former evolutionists. 

This is quite interesting: "The Hidden History of the Human Race" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRZL7tcLgX8 )

Before anyone gets excited I'll point out that I don't agree regarding the long timeframes mentioned, i.e. authors/presenters accept the mainstream geologic time frames (which are based on certain assumptions).  Also dubious about the 'ape-men' referred to.  Yoga that he mentions towards the end is not Biblical, of course.  I'm including it as it shows there is lot that the mainstream scientific establishment is ignoring as it doesn't fit into their paradigm.

As John mentioned, our paradigm is that Biblical Creation is true, whereas the evolutionist's paradigm is that evolution is true.   Therefore anything that is discovered that doesn't fit their paradigm is discarded.  As the author/presenter states: "They cover up almost as much as they dig up".  Examples such as human skeletons found inside coal seams.  Which of course is no surprise to those of us who believe in Biblical creation and that Noah's Flood was global.  What evidence might one expect from a global flood? "Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water".  What do we find: "Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-H1gC7i4Q0 )

There is no parallel there, John.  Remember Darwin's "Origin of the Species" didn't fall from heaven or claim to be inspired by a dream or an angelic translation of gold tablets. It was published after years and years of research across many disciplines.  And it was completely falsifiable!  

Creationism needs to come up with an alternative explanation that doesn't argue from religious dogma but from the evidence, like Darwin did.  In the same way that a Hindu scientist might look for evidence of previous lives or a Scientologist researcher might argue the evidence provided by an E-meter or a Mormon scientist might begin to assemble evidence for the Jaredites in America, this sort of "dogma- driven science" is what modern science is trying to avoid. 

So why can't Young Creationism come up with alternative theories (theories in the scientific sense)?  I mean, if creationists believe the earth itself is "full" of evidence for its young age and a global flood, then why not quietly amass the hard evidence necessary to overturn common secular explanations and THEN publically proclaim the dogma that you know in your hearts to be true as creation scientists!   Until then, do the hard work quietly and humbly and be prepared to be surprised by what you find.  

 John, you were at one time lamenting how all the bright minds are going to evolution and becoming atheists.  So is the number of new evolutionists growing or declining?   Is the rate of growing even faster than the rate of decline?  I bet you a cinnamon donut it's the former in both cases -- by far.  And I hope YEC is willing to accept some of the blame.  

 

Eeks!  Now we have to contend with Hindu fundamentalism.

Thanks for opening that can of worms, Joy.

Darwin's book is falsifiable.  Yes, it is false. :)  Point out anything in it that is true!

Michael Cremo said that he would like to write a book titled: "Darwin's Fairy Tales". :)

Christians should be careful not to place mainstream scientists on a pedestal, which is a form of Idolatry.  Also it doesn't show true Christian love to be mocking/disparaging of God's Holy Word and those who believe His Word.    

Psalm 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name
for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

 

Exodus 20 : Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Do you prefer 'Atheistic' fundamentalism, such as Evolution.

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

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Okay, Joy.  Here you go.  The conclusions from the first chapter of Origins:

"To sum up on the origin of our Domestic Races of animals and plants. I believe that the conditions of life, from their action on the reproductive system, are so far of the highest importance as causing variability. I do not believe that variability is an inherent and necessary contingency, under all circumstances, with all organic beings, as some authors have thought. The effects of variability are modified by various degrees of inheritance and of reversion. Variability is governed by many unknown laws, more especially by that of correlation of growth. Something may be attributed to the direct action of the conditions of life. Something must be attributed to use and disuse. The final result is thus rendered infinitely complex. In some cases, I do not doubt that the intercrossing of species, aboriginally distinct, has played an important part in the origin of our domestic productions. When in any country several domestic breeds have once been established, their occasional intercrossing, with the aid of selection, has, no doubt, largely aided in the formation of new sub-breeds; but the importance of the crossing of varieties has, I believe, been greatly exaggerated, both in regard to animals and to those plants which are propagated by seed. In plants which are temporarily propagated by cuttings, buds,& c., the importance of the crossing both of distinct species and of varieties is immense; for the cultivator here quite disregards the extreme variability both of hybrids and mongrels, and the frequent sterility of hybrids; but the cases of plants not propagated by seed are of little importance to us, for their endurance is only temporary. Over all these causes of Change I am convinced that the accumulative action of Selection, whether applied methodically and more quickly, or unconsciously and more slowly, but more efficiently, is by far the predominant power."

I am not a trained biologist or horticulturist, but what Darwin concludes here seems to make perfect sense.  The tremendous variability (Change) in domesticated plants and animals is largely due to a "selection" process (Selection). Did he tell a fib? 

Norman said, "The tremendeous variablity (Change) in domesticated plants and animals is largely due to a "selection" process (Selection). Did he (Darwin) tell a fib?

"For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish."  "Thus it is written, The first man Adam became a living being."             (1 Corinthians 15:39,45) The bigger question in light of evolution is, did God tell a fib?

This is just a very specific question, Kevin. You are welcome to respond to it. The challenge was put by Joy.   And thanks but I have a copy of the Bible already.

As Kevin quoted, the Bible clearly states that man is a totally separate kind of flesh to the rest of the creatures God made.  

What you quoted from Darwin's book is simply variation, i.e. micro evolution.  The creation account in Genesis includes variation, i.e. a variety of dogs, cats, cows etc. 

Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Genesis 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.


The first thing that needs to be addressed is “what is a kind?” Often, people are confused into thinking that a “species” is a “kind.”  A species is a man-made term used in the modern classification system. And frankly, the word species is difficult to define, whether one is a creationist or not! Instead, the Bible uses the term “kind.”  For example we have the canine kind, feline kind, bovine kind, equidae (horse) kind/family which includes Zorses and Zonkeys etc. ( http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/zonkeys-ligers-wholphins )

Goo to you via the zoo is a different matter entirely, i.e. macro evolution which is contrary to Scripture.  For example you would never find a cowkey (cow + donkey) fossil or alive. 

Incidently,Kevin -- since you wanted to be part of that "dialogue" between Joy and myself...

You quoted 1 Corinthians 15:39,45 as an answer to the question whether Darwin was correct in identifying "Selection" as the reason for the huge variety in domesticated animals. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you likely wanted to attack Darwin's main conclusion with that Scripture passage, not the first conclusion. You do believe that selection is responsible for the domestic varieties, don't you?

Personally I am loathe to quote Scripture where the purpose of the text is completely different that the purpose of the present discussion.  Paul is not trying to summarise natural history. He is illustrating the large difference between perishable human "flesh" and resurrected human flesh  -- Adam compared to Jesus Christ. 

If indeed Paul's purpose is to lay out for us a natural history of living things, we have some real problems to sort out...  In that case, Paul would be suggesting that the entire animal kingdom is blood related -- that is, "one kind of flesh".  All birds, from partridges to penquins also share the same flesh. Same goes for every single sort of fish -- all of them are blood relatives.

This seems to contradict the the idea that each recognizable creature was created separately from all other recognizable creatures and are not related by "blood" (life force).  When Eve was created, she was "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh".  She is "one flesh" with Adam and the Scripture record seems to want to underline this fact.   So Paul seems to be suggesting that animals are all formed from each other in the same way that Eve was formed out of Adam. 

Paul also saying that the resurrected Christ is of a completely different substance than the perishable Jesus.   He is raised as a completely new kind of being, very different from the crucified being Jesus was.  Yet this is still Jesus.

IF indeed Paul is laying out a natural history (which I don't think he is), we have an authorative conclusion from the Bible on the common genetic ancestory of the whole animal kingdom and a theistic explanation for the transformation of a species. 

"...Darwin's conclusion that made-made selection is responsible..."

that should read "man-made"... my apologies 

Jut another thought... I asked a simple question in this debate as to whether biological evolution has any place in reflective Christian community.   The question is, did Darwin's book express anything truthful and therefore useful for a Christian scientific investigations?   Someone else flipped the question around and said when comes to evolution, the bigger (more personal? more profound?) uestion is, did God lie?. 

I will throw something out there and maybe someone will tell me I'm out to lunch and I will give up on the thread once for all.

Since many creationist seem to see deception and scandal and lies and manipulation everywhere in the scientific establishment, is this perhaps a kind of projection coming from a deep suspicion that God might have fooled us?  That we are indeed angry and grieved with him that he doesn't smite down so many of the "foes" now marshalled against us?   That we feel the need to circle the wagons because we don't trust him to lead us into the wild blue yonder?   

More than once, it's been said that Satan's lead question is "Has not God said"?   There is nothing really sinister in asking this question. This question prompts us to look to His word.  But what Satan was hoping to do was catch Eve being even more zealous than she needed to be.  "We dare not EVEN TOUCH IT...or we will die".  That started the sad tumble into agony.

When people are constantly asking "Has God really said?" could it be a sign that the enemy is plumbing the depths of our pride?  Our fears?  Our concern that maybe God can't be trusted...and therefore I need to shout and stamp my feet and cast suspicion on every source of tension in our lives...

Just a thought....

Darwin's premise is wrong that observable micro-evolution can be extrapolated to macro-evolution which has never been observed.  He mentions domestic breeding.  However you can breed cows until the 'cows come home' and you will always have cows as a result.

Satan et al asking: "Have God said" is sinister.  The decision Eve had to make was whether God was telling the truth or Satan was telling the truth.  For Eve to know whether God was telling the truth she would have to be as smart as God.  Of course, no one can be as smart as God.

 

 

Thank you Joy for not bombing me with quotes but dealing with the question at hand.  Darwin doesn't just "mention" domestic breeding. His first chapter is all about the astounding variety we see in domestic plants and animals. Bulldogs, persian cats and holstein cows were not created in the Garden of Eden! They were bred by human beings from domesticated wild stocks with the results looking quite different than their gray wolf, wildcat, and aurochian ancestors. 

 

Darwin's point about these domestic varieties is not microevolution but 'selection'. Human selection. No one doubts this today. I suspect you don't doubt this either. And only in his second chapter does Darwin begin to ask if selection might also happen in nature. After all, if a gray wolf can become (with human help!) a yorkshire terrier with successive breedings over thousands of years, is it possible there is a "natural selection" which brings about significant changes to species over 10,000 or 10 million years?  Darwin surveys the evidence for it and discovers "survival of the fittest."

How can the question 'did God really say..' be a sinister one, Joy?  Don't you check to make sure you are not adding or taking away from his Word or taking his words out of context before you presume to speak them?  What makes the question sinister are the motives of the Serpent and the motives of Eve. Satan is always looking for a foothold. He gets one in Eve's answer where she zealously adds, 'and you must not touch it, or you will die.'  It seems she is even more literal and fundamentalist than God himself. God said nothing about "touching". When the consequences of disobedience are laid out, it seems God's understanding of his own Word is less literal than Eve's. The day they ate was not the day they died (Genesis 2:17).

We are all susceptible to pride and fear, Joy, and when they are mixed together they become a blind sort of zeal. If we can't acknowledge this, we are likely to talk "Evish" rather than the truth.

 

Suggest that you read the first few chapters of Genesis slowly and carefully, then you will better understand what actually happened.  Our Creator God created the different KINDS of animals during creation week, not species of animals.  That is, God created the dog kind, cat kind etc.  For example in the cat kind we have persian cats, burmese cats etc. but they are all domestic cats.  The original pair(s) of cats were given all the genetic potential to produce a variety of kitties but they would always be cats.  Similarly with dogs, cows etc.  We have my favourite Jersey cows and other varieties of cows but they are still cows.

While you reading through Genesis, including the Flood account, you will see that Noah didn't have to go round up the animals to board the ark, God said that the animals will go to Noah.  Therefore God could ensure that the best of each kind would board the ark to be able to have the best variety when they reproduce after leaving the ark.  We do not all share a common ancestor with cows, cat, dogs etc.  That is the nonsense of evolutionism.  

 As you might be missing the interesting quotes I have included a couple of good (related) quotes :)

“It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Mark Twain

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”   Dresden James

Norman, Joy is getting past your Darwin quote because she suspects where you are leading to.  But of course, Darwin observed many things, and the fact that his general theory or hypothesis is wrong, does not mean that he was a complete idiot, or that he didn't make some correct observations.  Obviously, selection in nature is a possibility, and in fact is observed.  That is not in question.  What is in question is whether selection leads to genetically incompatible species, or whether it leads to a general evolution unbroken from microbes to man.  The point of selection is that it is a reduction of possibilities, a reduction of the general information in a population within that selection. 

As far as best animals to go on the ark, I suspect that Joy meant animals with the widest variety of variability of genetic options, so that further speciation or varieties could occur.  So domestic dogs and cows and wheats are not different species, since they can mate, but they are different varieties within species.  Yes, scripture may be fluid in definition of kinds, since I don't actually recall a definition, but then science is sometimes also fluid in definition of species.  This is not so terribly important to the discussion of microbes to man evolutionary theory. 

John... Joy extended a challenge. She said everything in Origins is a lie... 'show me one thing that's true'.  So I did.   It kind of demonstrates how we not really "discussing'' and we are now trying to score points like a pinball game for "our side" with no regard for trying to understand the other point of view.  It also shows that the nineth commendment is broken all the time by fundamentalists. I am surprized that the moderators allow it. The frequency of it is horrific but there's nothing that can be done when people are being unreasonable, unloving, and unfair.  I don't see the same lack of concern for accuracy among those who have a more moderate Creationist view.

No question God will judge who is being faithful, not me.  And I am content with that fact. 

v/l/p/f/s

Dern, yes, perhaps we are all trying to score points, including you.  Perhaps Joy overstated slightly.  But I looked again at Darwin's first chapter summary, and realized that some points can be scored in identifying some problems with his statement.   He says that the conditions of life impact the reproductive system, and thus cause variability.  However, the conditions of life tend to cause less variability, not more, due to selection pressures.  It could be argued that a large cat family that contained leopard types, jaguar types, cougar types, sabre-tooths, lions and tigers which all interbred and also contained half-way intermediates between all types of cat, contained more variability than the present speciation that we find due to selection pressures (the conditions of life).  So the conditions of life can just as easily cause less variability.  (Point one.) 

Variability is governed by unknown laws, he says.  Well... if he says so.  But then he doesn't know, does he.   So what is he saying about variability then?   Contradicting himself?  (point two). 

The final result is infinitely complex?   He knows this?  How does he know it is infinitely complex?  Just because it exceeds our present knowledge?   (point three). 

"I do not doubt the intercrossing of species has played an important part..." he says.   How does he know?  Does he have any evidence?   I thought he was postulating that variety of species came afterward, not before, the original original.  Or is he confusing species with varieties and lines?  Dawn validly points out that domestic selection takes place within species.   (point four). 

Probably could go on, but you can probably find the rest yourself.  In any case, Joy may not be so far off as thought, even if she did overstate it a bit. 

"To sum up on the origin of our Domestic Races of animals and plants. I believe that the conditions of life, from their action on the reproductive system, are so far of the highest importance as causing variability. I do not believe that variability is an inherent and necessary contingency, under all circumstances, with all organic beings, as some authors have thought. The effects of variability are modified by various degrees of inheritance and of reversion. Variability is governed by many unknown laws, more especially by that of correlation of growth. Something may be attributed to the direct action of the conditions of life. Something must be attributed to use and disuse. The final result is thus rendered infinitely complex. In some cases, I do not doubt that the intercrossing of species, aboriginally distinct, has played an important part in the origin of our domestic productions. When in any country several domestic breeds have once been established, their occasional intercrossing, with the aid of selection, has, no doubt, largely aided in the formation of new sub-breeds; but the importance of the crossing of varieties has, I believe, been greatly exaggerated, both in regard to animals and to those plants which are propagated by seed. In plants which are temporarily propagated by cuttings, buds,& c., the importance of the crossing both of distinct species and of varieties is immense; for the cultivator here quite disregards the extreme variability both of hybrids and mongrels, and the frequent sterility of hybrids; but the cases of plants not propagated by seed are of little importance to us, for their endurance is only temporary. Over all these causes of Change I am convinced that the accumulative action of Selection, whether applied methodically and more quickly, or unconsciously and more slowly, but more efficiently, is by far the predominant power."

It seems that Darwinists are more concerned with defending Darwin than the Word of God.  They seem to have particularly bought into the evolutionism in his writings. 

He did also write on other topics, such as orchids.  Darwin, confronted by an orchid flower with its remarkably long nectar spur, theorized that there must be a moth that has a ‘tongue’ long enough to reach the nectar (that has to happen to effect pollination, since the moth’s body has to contact the orchid flower itself).  This moth was finally discovered in 1903.  This shows that God created the moth and this flower to co-exist.  

Darwinism is ‘On the Rocks’ ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te5aCPnwLHg )

Darwin’s Legacy Part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mxXICZ9mXo)

Darwin’s Legacy Part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMWGgY6wT30)

Darwin’s Legacy Part 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFKbgIr6ngE

Darwin’s Legacy Part 4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haDsxjsGP0A)

Darwin’s Legacy Part 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmlLjs2rHpI

Darwin’s Legacy Part 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCqRcMXVC5o)

Darwin’s Legacy Part 7 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWdA6-m4ZxQ)

Evolutionism is an attack on the Word of God:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” -MARTIN LUTHER

I'd be interested to know how many original source documents these proponents of theistic evolution read. I'm not interested in talking to internet trolls who contend that the "facts" of evolution are obvious-- show me peer-reviewed articles, please.

My research has been done through either peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals or direct quotes from knowledgeable Ph.D.s referencing such articles (not their personal opinions)......and I have yet to find compelling evidence in the fossil record for macro-evolution. I do find evidence for a universe that's ~13.75 billion years old, but no lizards turning to dogs, etc.

The lack of evidence for macro-evolution is one of the strongest evidences for something other than evolution taking place. But even worse is the evidence we do have. Let's just take one briefly - cambrian explosion (or any of the other evolutionary nightmares in the fossil record). Twice as many unique species as we have today and they appear in the fossil almost simultaneously. There simply isn't time for evolution to happen. It's not the gaps we have that disprove macro-evolution, its the evidence we DO have.

I encourage all to youtube "hugh ross" (Christian apologist and Ph. D. in astrophysics) and watch his debates with YEC and with atheistic scientists to get an idea of what options are out there if we look at the facts and not the rhetoric. He wins debates on a regular basis on secular campuses.

There's clearly too many people reading science textbooks and not the current journals, leading to these perpetuated views that are 20 years behind the current findings.

Being a newcomer to this website, I did not see this article until The Banner appeared in our church mailbox on Sept. 2nd.  Hence, I am rather late in joining the Comments. Perhaps other latecomers will dig deeply enough to find this, as my comments will address matters not raised above... 

What I wish to address is Harry Cook’s inconsistent, confusing and ultimately misleading way of defining and defending “chance.”  This arises from his use of human reproduction to explain “chance” to help us to understand and accept macro-evolution.  His illustration is a fine example of the Fallacy of Equivocation – of changing the definition of a key word part way through an argument, thereby negating the conclusion. 

Chance, as it applies to reproduction, is about mathematical probability – the odds that a baby will be male or female.  This is a perfectly legitimate definition and proper use of the word.  Notice, though, that chance, as defined here, plays no role in the physical or biological process of gender determination.  It is simply – and only – an abstract, mathematical description of probable results of another actual process. 

This bears repeating, as you may not be familiar with this distinction: chance/probability plays no role in the physical or biological process of determining gender. Chance has no power.  It contains no energy, nor any information.  It has no being, no substance.  It does nothing active or creative in any organism or, for that matter, in any material thing.  It merely describes the likelihood of a possible result. 

 

The reality is that all the power, energy and being that actually determines a baby’s gender at conception is – as micro-biology has shown – in the parents’ DNA.  Again, chance, as defined here, does nothing. 

Now, if this is what is meant by “chance” as the mechanism that works in concert with natural selection in macro-evolution, it is powerless, useless.  It is nothing active or creative. 

 

But this is where Mr. Cook switches definitions, after a fashion.  As I noted just above, “chance,” in macro-evolution, is the mechanism that supposedly works in concert with natural selection to generate new species over time.  It is most definitely not begin defined here as the mathematical probability of some outcome.  But this is how Harry Cook illustrates it, presumably to establish “chance” as a reasonable and scientific biological “thing.” 

 

Now, if chance in macro-evolution is not probability, what is it?  The evolutionist’s “dirty little secret” is that no one knows.  It is a complete mystery.  No scientist has yet proposed any plausible theory to describe the mechanics of “chance” that is open to real scientific inquiry [i.e. that is falsifiable].  Chance is simply a placeholder in the theoretical chain of “evolution,” lacking both a description and supporting evidence.   

 

So, when this switching of definitions is exposed, you can see that Mr. Cook’s conclusion is not supported by his premises.  His conclusion that chance is a reasonable, scientific mechanism that helps explain evolution is false and, if his readers do not recognize the fallacy, they are misled.  [The Ligonier Ministry teaching series called Creation or Chaos is a good resource for an antidote to this.] 

 

As an aside, it needs to be said over and over that “chance” as applied to macro-evolution is a phantom, a myth, an empty hypothesis.  Chance in evolutionary theory is biological alchemy.  It is, most definitely, not real science.   

 

Apologists for macro-evolution usually respond that the Theory of Evolution awaits completion, and that, just because we don’t know today what the “chance mechanism” is, only means that scientists have not discovered it yet.  Forgive me, but anyone who offers this explanation is indulging in wishful "thinking," not rigorous science! and should be roundly chastised for passing it off as the latter. 

 

Evolutionary biologists know less about “chance” [the "chance mechanism"] than physicists know about gravity – which is next to nothing, for gravity is, to use Churchill’s famous dictum, a mystery wrapped inside an enigma wrapped in a riddle.  But at least physicists are usually frank about admitting their lack of knowledge.

I find it revealing, though, that Mr. Cook is blind to this logical fallacy in his explanation of chance.  After all, logic is an essential tool of his craft [science].  Evolutionists like to claim the logical “high ground” and that we who reject macro-evolution are “simplistic” and illogical in our opposition. 

How is it that Mr. Cook is so blind to an error in logic that is, after all, rather simple, once one gets the hang of it?  One might suggest that this blindness is evidence of “blind faith” in evolution, as opposed to sound, logical reasoning backed by solid evidence.

 

 

It is disturbing and unfortunate that scientists frequently turn out to be poor logicians and even poorer philosophers and theologians.  What is we too often get is badly reasoned but “sophisticated” defences of evolution that are passed off as established scientific fact to the “great unwashed.”  If the CRCNA and The Banner wish to see the church engage in a real dialogue over this issue, they will have to do much better than they have in these last two articles about evolution.

Jim Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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