April 23, 2014

Bruce Waltke on Staying in the Discussion

Posted by Chaplain Mike.

Bruce Waltke is a renowned conservative Old Testament scholar. He served on the translation committees for the NASB and NIV Bibles. Waltke is a professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia and a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. His commentary on Genesis is one of my favorites.

In this video from one my favorite sites, BioLogos, Waltke appeals to the church to stay in the discussion when it comes to issues of contemporary science, particularly the issue of evolution. He cautions:

“If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult…some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.”

Personally, I have never understood the fear Christians have when it comes to the findings of science. And it strikes me how ignorant most Christians are of earlier battles from which we should have learned. The classic example is how the church handled Copernican theory and Galileo. The church had “Biblical truth” and evidence on her side against the “godless” theory that the earth orbits the sun rather than vice versa.

Of course, one could still take a consistently “Biblical” position (as understood in a 16th century way) and end up a “geocentrist.” Maybe you’d like to follow teachings like those found on fixedearth.com, where it is taught that the earth is not going around the sun, and that it does not even rotate. Or, you could join the Flat Earth Society, which reflects the views of Samuel Rowbotham in the 1800′s who, based on literal interpretation of Bible passages, held that “the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth.”

Christians have nothing to fear from science. What we should be afraid of is being marginalized, not because of our thoughtful and considerate faith, but because we think it is somehow faithful to refuse to imagine we might be wrong in some of our assumptions or commitments.

I, for one, am thankful for serious Bible scholars like Waltke, who has not stopped thinking and who continues to use his gifts in active engagement with truth from many different sources.

Comments

  1. Regarding evolution I don’t think Christians fear science, as you put it, but are, as usual, wary of scientific theories with more self-serving anti-Christian oomph in them than scientific evidence.

    Once again: micro evolution, real; macro evolution, no evidence. Dog breeders in Mesopotamia knew of the former. It’s not news.

    For the record: when modern day evolutionists say evolution is real and that they study it and that it impacts our world through various disciplines leading to breakthroughs etc., etc. they are talking about ‘micro-evolution’. They disdain the term though. They refuse to use it. They want to assume macro evolution takes place within the workings of micro evolution. Yet there is no evidence for macro evolution. There are articles, just as there are zillions of scholarly articles saying Marxism is the best system known to man. In reality? The articles don’t prove what they are saying.

    To round out the Christian wariness of evolution look up ‘scientism’ on Wikipedia.

    Interest note as well: evolutionists want the word ‘devolution’ stricken from the language. The Bible teaches devolution of mankind. From the Garden to now man has devolved, not evolved.

    Also, there is something called creative evolution. From a Model T Ford to a Ford F150 is creative evolution. It needed an intelligent force behind it and the effort of that intelligent force. It is not mechanical evolution. Mechanical evolution doesn’t exist. Even micro evolution is not mechanical evolution. The information already exists for the changes.

    • There is a difference between “evolution” and “evolutionism.” The real enemy to Christian faith is not the model of evolution. The existence of people like Francis Collins and others who write on the BioLogos site show me that it is possible to have a genuine and vibrant Christian faith and still think that the evolutionary model is valid. The model of evolution does not require one to be a naturalist, and naturalism is the real enemy.

      • Actually, modernist Christianity (which I call heresy) is the real enemy of traditional biblical Christianity.

      • The problem with the model of evolution that Francis Collins considers valid is that it has God directing an undirected process.

        If we just fix the logical error above we get that God is directing a directed process. This is no longer Darwinian evolution, but Intelligent Design.

        • Anair, your comment is a good example of what Waltke is saying. We can differ about the evidence and our understanding of the process, but let’s not bury our heads in the sand and abandon the discussion.

          • Anair, MWPeak and Josh T

            With deepest respect for your respective intellects and passion to know things…we do not begin to know absolutely how God “directs” anything.. neither I, nor you, nor anybody else… Nobody does. That’s what makes us human and that’s what keeps us humble. The most one can do is to recognize the difference in capacity that an omnipotent and eternal God has for recognizing or directing things relative to the way humans do it… e.g. God sees the world “Sub specie aeternitatis” (under the auspicies or aspects of eternity) and we merely see it “sub species temporis” (under the auspices or aspects of time). As such, it is not illogical to conclude that an omnipotent eternal God not limited by temporal or propositional standards (that humans MUST rely upon to survive, function and thrive in a hostile world) is free to manage and “direct” the course of a divine will in any way that such a God chooses to even if it means “directing an undirected process” as Anair stated above. The Westminster Divines spelled this out clearly:

            WCF Chapter 5 clauses 2 and 3

            II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

            III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

            As I understand it, our logic (deduction, induction, abduction, and conduction) are all on the list of seconday causes that God has ordained as well.. ergo, God is free to work EVEN “without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.”

            Therefore we must conclude that MWPeak’s proposition “even the evolutionary idea is bound by laws and limits that had to have been put into place by God’s design” and Josh T’s line: “God directing a process that is random and undirected by nature,” are both nice pieces of rhetorical articulation, but they fall short of acknowledging the full range of limitless possiblities of what an omnipotent and eternal God can do to create or care for His creation… Even if that means to direct the course of a created order in such a way that befuddles scentient temporal beings like us.

            So much for knowing ABSOLUTELY how God directs things…

            your thoughts?

        • I must humbly agree with Anair. This is the major problem I have, that between directed by God and undirected in nature. Now a response to my previous post (below) brought up some valid points for me to think about, but there is still that haunting question.

          Also, from what I have studied, I do not believe Intelligent Design is as insidious as many people think. It is essentially agnostic in its premise and I find no problem with asserting that the mechanisms in nature arrived by deliberate means as opposed to random means. After all, even the evolutionary idea is bound by laws and limits that had to have been put into place by God’s design.

          • (For the record I started out as a theistic evolutionist and have been through several different views and have mostly come back to my original position).

            God directing a process that is random and undirected by nature was my biggest beef against theistic evolution. But then I realized at least at least three things:

            1) All creationists teach their children that God “created” them (while understanding how human reproduction process works), but Creationists also generally teach their children that if evolution is true, that means God did not create humans because for God to “create” it means he did it in a short period of time.

            2) The Jews in the OT (and the disciples in the early part of Acts) drew random lots to determine things. Jonah was determined to be the guilty party and thrown overboard by the same process. So if biblical theology doesn’t have a problem with God ordaining and/or using random events to do his will, then why should I? Let me state here that no use of a random drawing of lots could ever be proven to have God’s hand in it (just as if evolution’s evidence is entirely shown to be random, it does not preclude God’s involvement).

            3) –this is my opinion here– I dropped the idea that God has providentially hidden scientific information in Scripture as some kind of proof to us moderns. So I don’t think we need to look for scientific parallels in Genesis 1 or anything. If we allow ourselves to interpret the Bible “scientifically” as such, we walk right into anachronistic interpretation that disregards author intent, literary devices, and more. And if we ignore such things, then we have nothing to base our interpretations on but our own modern way of thinking.

            Just thought my own line of thought might be useful to somebody. :)

      • Chaplain Mike wrote, “The model of evolution does not require one to be a naturalist, and naturalism is the real enemy.”

        What is the definition of “naturalist” here? I always thought of a naturalist as someone who studied bugs, flowers and the like in the field. So that can’t be what you mean here, I take it.

        • I think he means someone who believes that nature is all there is—no God involved.

          • Yes, in this sense “naturalist” means one who holds philosophically to the notion of naturalism, a thoroughly materialistic view of the universe.

          • Oh, OK, thanks, JeffB and Chaplain Mike. When I think of the universe having a beginning, it’s mind-boggling, (But if I try to think of it as always existing, that’s mind-boggling too.) About as mind-boggling as thinking about God always existing. Try to stop and REALLY think about that sometimes. What is eternity? The problem is that we humans are thinking in terms of time and God exists in eternity. We talk about when we die that we will be in some kind of paradise with Jesus until the second coming of Jesus/resurrection of bodies/heaven and earth becoming one. But, eternity being what it is, perhaps all that will happen instantaneously when we die. Perhaps we won’t be aware of any “delay.” I don’t know. It’s interesting sometimes to think about and others times, I just choose not to even think about it because it is unknowable, really.

        • Lukas db says:

          A naturalist is one who believes that ‘nature,’ however defined, is all that exists. To the naturalist, there is no super-nature – no supernatural, no transcendent, no God.

          It seems an easy trap to fall into – for scientists to become naturalists. The reality they investigate is restricted to the natural world; it becomes real to them in a way the transcendent isn’t. And so they come to believe that the ‘natural’ – that which corresponds with the rules they are investigating – is all that exists.

          • Thanks, Lucas db.

          • OK, I am thinking about the term “naturalist” again. What is the difference between a naturalist and an atheist? Would some people who don’t believe there is a God prefer to call themselves naturalists because they are for something…nature…and not “lacking” something as “atheist” would be “no God?” Just curious.

          • (P.S. to my note above: You will need to go up above to Lucas db’s note to click Reply as there is no Reply to click on my message.)

          • Lukas db says:

            Well, for one thing it is possible for a naturalist to be some sort of pantheist. Since the overarching ‘deity’ or mind is part of nature, no problem for them.

            Also, an atheist is not necessarily a naturalist. They may believe in things beyond the universe – just not God.

          • Jack McLaughlin says:

            Joanie

            I would say that you are “on” to something in regard to the difference between “naturalism” and “atheism”. In a sense you are looking at two sides of the same coin. Generally speaking, we are all believers. A theist BELIEVES that “there is a personal-infinite God, (i.e. God exists). There is both uncreated reality (God) and created reality (nature). An atheists BELIEVES that “there is no (“A” from Greek, meaning ‘no”) personal-infinite God. The other side of the coin for an atheist is that he/she BELIEVES that there is something that is REAL. That real is nature, and there is nothing but nature. Nature is the whole story, period.

            So you are correct. “Atheism” is the word to describe the negative side of the coin. “Naturalism” is the word to describe the positive side of the same coin.

          • Thanks, Jack. That is a good explanation.

        • See, and I thought by ‘naturalist’ we were talking about folks that walk around naked…

    • Neuropuck says:

      there is no difference between micro and macro evolution. They are simply terms that describe the ends of a continuum that creationists have glommed onto because they think it makes their point.

      There is plenty of evidence for evolution, at all scales.

      • RE: “there is no difference between micro and macro evolution”
        Neuropuck,
        You are wrong on this pont. Micro evolution is defined as the observable change that occurs when a species changes within the boundaries of its genetic information (breeding dogs for example).
        While Macro evolution is change above and beyond such genetic boundaries, (apes to man for example) and thereby requires the creation of different and most often more complex genetic information. I find it interesting and also quite revealing to note that some of our larger naturalist museums need to fall back on the “Peppered Moth” or similar micro-evolutionary examples of diversity WITHIN a species (i.e. micro) to “demonstrate” evolution. If macro evolution is so rampantly evident as you falsely state, then please give me some clear examples of it.

  2. Weslie Odom says:

    Isn’t there also “overwhelming scientific data” that people can’t rise from the dead or walk on water?

    • Heh.

    • There’s “overwhelming scientific data” that people don’t rise NATURALLY from the dead or NATURALLY walk on water. Of course, Christianity has never claimed that anyone rose naturally from the dead. The claim is that One was raised SUPERNATURALLY from the dead setting Him apart from all men as the Son of God. A unique event? Of course. But so was the origin of the universe in the Big Bang, the origin of first life, and the origin of new life forms. Science does not fail to accept these things just because they were unique, unseen, and unrepeatable. Now if one says that one CAN’T rise from the dead SUPERNATURALLY then this is a faith-statement of atheism. This is not science.

      • Right. God supernaturally created Adam and Eve directly in a very short period of time,

        • The Bible says God sends various kinds of weather and natural disaster directly also. Does this mean the meteorologist and the natural scientist are promoting heresy?

        • MAJ Tony says:

          OK, so how short of a period of time? A day? OK, how long’s a day? Twenty-four hours? One thousand years? An indeterminate “period of time?” Genesis proves nothing, because it’s not intended to be a scientific document. If God had some person write or memorize the first Genesis account of creation thousands of years ago, and told that guy all the scientific information that we have concerning the cosmos and geology, etc. that poor guy would have been totally lost. YEC fails here again because it fails to take into account the wisdom of the Creator in getting his story told In principio (in the beginning). God feeds milk to infants, and solid food to adults. Science is part of that solid food.

      • Lazarus???

  3. I second Chap. Mikes comment, the foundation that recorded this video is BioLogos. Which is also the name of a newer theory on Theistic Evolution that states God created through evolution not by stopping in every 100,000 years but by guiding the process every step of the way. Like Aquinas would say, God was and is the force behind the continual creation and sustainment of the universe . . .

  4. As one who long ago rejected the idea of including Young Earth Creationism in the so-called “essentials of the faith,” and who has 3 of Hugh Ross’ books in his library, I really appreciate the video clip. We are, indeed, in the process of marginalizing ourselves, if we haven’t already.

    I have no problem with the idea of worshipping a God who may have used an 11 billion year process to create the universe as we know it. In fact, I am more concerned with those who try to use 2Peter 3:8 as a mathematical formula, instead of viewing it simply as an illustration of how God views time differently that we do.

    Indeed, if one compares 2Peter 3:8 with Psalm 90:4, where a thousand years is compared with God’s day, or even to one of His watches in the night, the illustration becomes even clearer, further demonstrating the fallacy of trying to use Peter’s statement as the above-referenced mathematical formula.

    So I, for one, hear the good professor loud and clear.

  5. I have no fear of science. In fact, I find science sometimes fascinating. Also, I don’t think one’s spiritual condition is determined on whether one holds to a young earth creationism or old earth creationism. However, I do question the faith of those people who say modern homo sapiens (those created in God’s image) evolved from lower-level primates. That is one thing that cannot be compromised with. Of all the living beings in the world God created human beings directly. Besides, I have yet to see a news report that says that scientists have found the missing link between humans and primates.

    • Can you give me the logic on this? I’m interested to know how belief in this kind of evolution produces a contradiction of orthodoxy.

      • You deny the Adamic headship of humanity. The reason why human beings are sinners is because of Adam’s original transgression. You take that away you leave a Christ who is not the substitutionary head of the redeemed. Both Adam and Christ must be literal historical people in order for the pattern of redemption to make sense. Sin is not a result of our existential condition or natural environment. We were not created sinners with beastly appetites. Adam and Eve were created directly by God without sin. Sorry, but we did not evolve from lower tree-swinging primates.

        • Mark-

          You bring up a good point, and one that many are working through (including those at Biologos, and the posts by RJS at McKnight’s Jesus Creed), but none have come to the conclusion that it can’t be solved.

          Some things to keep in mind:

          What is the genre of Genesis, especially chapters 1-3 (or 1-11)? Conservative OT scholar John Walton has written a book on 1-3 that has really been beneficial on that.

          Were Adam and Eve supposed to be considered literal individuals, or representative of a group?

          What does the incorporation of the Image of God mean in Genesis? Were there other “people” but 1 (2, or more) got this Image?

          What does it mean to pass along the the impact of the Fall? Is it in the sense of a Federal head? An Augustinian view of “original sin”, or the Eastern Orthodox view of the consequences of death and mortality that we are born into? Or others?

          These issues do not necessarily the core essentials (orthodox) teachings of the faith.

          • sorry, that last line should read: these issues do not necessarily impact the core essentials…..

          • Lukas db says:

            I know a professor of biology who has proposed that Adam and Eve were the result of a miraculous, virgin conception in some higher ape. God miraculously, in one generation, bridged the gap between ape and human – and allowed for there to be a literal Adam and Eve as well.

            I and nearly everyone else found this idea ridiculous when we heard it. He himself admits there is no evidence – that it’s just an idea.
            But it would kind of solve the problem, wouldn’t it?

          • Lukas, I would go at this from another angle. Certain proponents of Artificial Intelligence seem to think that, given a network of sufficient complexity, an AI would automatically or naturally attain sentience and self-consciousness and therefore be a true intelligence. I don’t accept that this would ‘just happen’, but let’s keep the notion in mind.

            Not getting into the morass of the arguments about human consciousness (starting with such a question ‘does such a thing even exist?’) but I would say the point at which our first parents could be considered our first parents would be ensoulment – this being what it is to be made in the image and likeness of God, and not ‘having two arms and two legs and walking upright etc.’.

            Therefore, I don’t necessarily find any difficulty in thinking that a hominoid (not just a higher ape) attained a point of development at which sentience was possible, and that God then ensouled that pair/original population/however one wants to fight over it.

            All this is just personal opinion and not to be taken as The Official Catholic Position on anything :-)

            Michael Flynn over on his blog has had a couple of posts on this topic; the most recent is this one:

            http://m-francis.livejournal.com/139135.html

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Therefore, I don’t necessarily find any difficulty in thinking that a hominoid (not just a higher ape) attained a point of development at which sentience was possible, and that God then ensouled that pair/original population/however one wants to fight over it. — Martha

            I used a similar idea in the backstory of an SF novella that’s currently at the publisher’s. An alien Creation liturgy that implied Creation by Uplift from a non-sentient predecessor species, as the congregation rises to their feet from all fours, from animals to people.

            Anthology editor cut out a soliloquy/corollary by an observing human character that elaborated on it a bit. Turns out all the closely-related predecessor species to the alien “people” are extinct — no low-tech physical evidence for evolution. The actual observation/soliloquy went like this: Imagine Genesis 1 implying Uplift from an evolutionary predecessor if the only living primates on Earth were humans and lemurs. Their Skeptics and Rationalists must have had a field day…

          • Lukas db says:

            Martha:
            I actually agree with your viewpoint more than the one I expressed. It seems to me that trying to determine a *mechanism* for ensoulment is probably a bit futile. I just presented my old teacher’s idea because I find it strange and interesting. it creates, for example, another parallel between Christ and Adam – enhancing the whole Christ as second Adam idea alluded to by Mark above.

            I’ll check out the link you posted.

        • Neuropuck says:

          “Sorry, but we did not evolve from lower tree-swinging primates.”

          yeah, we kinda did.

        • I see the logic there basically. I personally believe in a historic first Man, but I don’t know that you deny original sin by believing that the Man from dirt scenario is a poetic picture rather than a historic account. What if at some step along the way in the evolutionary process, God gave his image- the ability to volitionally love and obey or despise and disobey- to the man, who was the product of a providential process beginning with directly created single celled life? And that man disobeyed, condemning all future generations? I do see how denying original sin is unbiblical because it means Christ’s substitution is unnecessary. I just don’t see that belief in “macro” evolution as they call it means a denial of original sin. And certainly not macro evolution where other species are concerned.

          Nate

    • That does provoke a question. Can evolution apply only to none-human parts of nature and special creation be reserved only for humans?

      • It could, but does it need to?

        Perhaps if we, as other have, focus on the Imago Dei aspect (what does it mean, when did it begin, how was it impacted by the Fall, etc…), then perhaps the evolutionary questions will not be such a concern.

  6. Perhaps someone might be able to help me with this.

    If the model of evolution is a model contained within nature with genetic changes and natural selection, then wouldn’t a supernatural intervention by God redefine the model from evolution to design? It seems to me that the evolutionary model would exclude any sort of supernatural intervention. Now I could see it working if we moved God from being transcendent (God exists outside of nature, creation ex-nihilo) to panentheism (God exists within nature and creation affects pre-existing eternal matter).

    And as for evolutionary history, it seems to me that because science is sort of immediate, in that it is based on observation, the idea of a nature that is millions of years old and in a state of movement from simple to complex, with the assumption that such movement is improvement, seems more like philosophical speculation than scientific observation.

    This remains a very hard issue for me.

    • Well, we all know that panentheism is not a legitimate option for Scriptural orthodoxy.

    • It is true that evolution is a theory contained within nature. However, this is also true of the theory of gravitation, and yet we see no reason to disbelieve that gravity is a part of creation as God planned it. And Christians do not doubt that, if He so desired, God could intervene miraculously and disrupt this law – say, to allow someone to walk on water. Belief in evolution does not in the least require disbelief in the supernatural for it to function – no more than belief in gravity.

      It is true many evolutionists disbelieve in the supernatural. This is a philosophical choice hardly compelled by their scientific convictions. Is it not possible to believe that God can simply allow the rules of the natural world to function until He sees fit to interfere? This is what Christians believe all the time. I’m not sure how evolution would change things.

      As for your second paragraph: yes, if a scientist believes that evolutionary movement is improvement, they would be thinking philosophically and not scientifically. A more objective way to describe the situation would be to say that we exist in an entropic eddy – a place where, due to an external source of energy and a complex set of building materials, chemical entropy does not necessarily occur. And when it does not, the results tend to replicate and create more highly ordered systems. That is, things are degenerating far more often than they are becoming more complicated; for every beneficial change, there are thousands of disastrous ones. But the beneficial ones (that is, those that facilitate replication – i.e., via reproduction) survive. This whole system is only sustainable because of an abundant energy source to compensate for all the failures – the sun.

      But this is becoming rather ornate. Suffice to say, scientists recognize the problems you bring up. They try to find explanations – and some good ones to some questions exist. Others are rather problematic. I think the real problem with evolution is the question of how life started, not the proposed mechanism that occurs after it did. I feel that there is more going on than simple evolution – such as, for instance, a supernatural guidance. This would not contradict evolution; it would in fact make it far more probable.

      Also remember, regarding the huge timescales, that though evolution requires them it does not serve as evidence for them. The age of the earth and universe that are scientifically felt to be accurate are derived from fields like astronomy and geology, not biology. Most astronomers and geologists feel the world is only logically explicable as we find it if enormous timespans are allowed for.

      Sorry for the book.

      • Luke,
        It is not a good analogy to compare the “theory” of evolution to the law of gravity for several reasons:
        1) evolution is a theory at best – weak as it may be – we can perhaps at least give it “theory” status even though it fails to provide prodictive value and by the definition of good science is a poor theory due to the fact that its proponents can not or will not agree or provide conditions under which it is falsifiable. A theory must make “if, then” type predictions AND identify which results falsefy the theory – otherwise it has no predicive value.
        2) Gravity is a LAW not a theory. this is so because its effect can be proven true on a frequent and repeatable basis without exception. It makes predicitons that are of value. Consider the value of Classical Newtonian Physics. Of what value to mankind has Evolution been??? (unless perhaps you are Hitler or Stalin looking for justification of your actions)

        • Lukas db says:

          I’m not trying to suggest that the theories of gravitation and evolution are on par. I’m just trying to demonstrate that I don’t believe that, even if they were, this would present any real theological problems.

        • Actually Steve, gravity IS a force observed and described in theory, and not a settled scientific law unto itself.

    • Is anyone saying that evolution theory and design are mutually exclusive? If so, that’s not a very tenable position. If an evolutionist says “there, that proves there is no sovereign design!” they’re obviously operating very sub-rationally.

    • I am still struggling with trying reconcile God and evolution, but I have a thought. There are three “ideas” that are being considered:

      1. That all life on earth came into existence over a long period of time, beginning as simple lifeforms and becoming complex lifeforms.

      2. Nature itself carried out the work of moving life from simple to complex.

      3. God Himself carried out the work of moving life from simple to complex.

      4. There is agreement on the simple to complex development, but debate on whether God or nature did the actual work.

      Thoughts?

      • Lukas db says:

        I would add:

        5. God used nature as His instrument in moving life from the simple to the complex. Perhaps other forces or even direct intervention were also involved.

      • Lukas db says:

        That’s a good elucidation of the situation, though. Far more succinct than my attempt.

      • Thank you.

        If I choose to reject a literal Genesis and special creation, I still want to lean towards a Deist position. It seems darned strange for God to bring about mankind through natural processes and then to suddenly decided to do sensational things like the plagues in Egypt or parting the Red Sea or a virgin birth or a resurrection. For consistency, I am more comfortable looking at everything from a naturalist position, but without rejecting God as a first cause.

        It would mean denying Christian orthodoxy to be sure, and that would be a whole other subject.

        So the search continues …

        • Lukas db says:

          It’s true that theism presents unique difficulties. It is a sort of dynamic tension between panentheism and deism. I, personally, am not quite willing to give up hope that such a tension can be maintained; but certainly panentheism and deism are more obviously logical solutions.

  7. Oh another thing. We cannot allow modern scientific research to be the hermeneutical crux for interpreting Scripture. If we do that we might as well take the path of Rudolf Bultmann and say that all the supernatural events in Scripture (i.e., the Red Sea parting, the axehead floating, Sarah giving birth to Isaac, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of our Lord) must be demythologized for the sake of modern sensibilities. The God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead can create all things in 6 literal 24 hour days.

    • Science should not be the hermeneutical crux for interpreting scripture. But neither should scripture be the hermeneutical crux for interpreting science.

      To work properly, science must observe facts and determine their relationship with theory as objectively as possible. It must not strain the facts to fit a preconceived interpretation of either reality or scripture.

    • To argue that God’s omnipotence means that any claims that science makes regarding the age of the universe are meaningless is also to argue that God created a universe in which the evidence leads to belief in an untruth. After all, if He created a fully mature universe in six days, that means that all our measurements of the distance of other stars from our solar system are mistaken and that, therefore, our conclusion on the age of those stars is mistaken. Those measurements are based on the speed of light, but a mature universe (six day) creation means that light must have been created already on the way here.

      This leads to the rather odd conclusion that God created a universe in which the data leads one to believe in an untruth about the age of the universe.

      • Thank You! YEC calls God a liar, given that God wrote the laws of physics, which is the backbone of all natural science, and gave Man a brain to figure them out and use them fruitfully.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        To argue that God’s omnipotence means that any claims that science makes regarding the age of the universe are meaningless…

        At which point Faith ceases to become “The substance of things hoped for” and becomes “denial of all physical evidence.” I think we’ve seen this before, on Art Bell at 3 Ayem. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

        (This is also a frankly Islamic view of God’s Omnipotence, placing God beyond Good and Evil. Whenever I see or hear the three-liner “God Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It.”, I want to add a fourth line, for Truth in Advertising: “Al’lah’u Akbar!”)
        This leads to the rather odd conclusion that God created a universe in which the data leads one to believe in an untruth about the age of the universe.

        And if you believe the observable physical evidence all around you, God Burns You In Hell for All Eternity. Been there, done that, had some of my brain cells survive.

        Gosse first proposed the idea that God created everything with the perfect appearance of evolutionary age in Omphalos, back when Queen Victoria was on the throne. He got piled on from both sides for it; according to Gould, he went into writing Spectacular True Crime from then on. Much less controversial.

      • Just to play Devil’s Advocate, but it could also mean that we don’t have all the evidence yet. After all, at one time all the evidence pointed to a geocentric universe, a flat earth, etc. The cool thing about science is that it is always testing and always revising and the best it can ever say is “the current data suggests.” Who knows when new data will come to light? Darwin’s model, for example, had no understanding of microbiology. The current model that is descended from his theory has accordingly revised itself as it attempts to incorporate the new data.

        • The problem is one of divergence versus convergence. The data does not converge on YEC, never has. As far as I understand, it’s always diverged from YEC. What it converges ON is the issue.

        • I have no problem in saying that we do not have all the evidence. And, I have no problem in saying that when we follow the evidence we may need to change our minds on some issues. Let me go farther. I do not have a problem in saying that I am willing to be corrected on my Christian theology. I have no problem in saying that in the future I may need to change my mind on some of my theological views.

          Can you see the parallels?

    • Mark, I actually came to a much different view than yours studying Scripture, not science.

      • same here

        I think we can be faithful to Scripture as true and not just myth while at the same time not reaching the YEC conclusion.

    • Link courtesy of Michael Flynn’s lj, a digest of the mediaeval debate on such matters:

      http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2009/10/creationists.html

      “They say, ‘We do not know how this is, but we know that God can do it.’ You poor fools! God can make a cow out of a tree, but has he ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so. – William of Conches”

      …St Augustine was to prove more influential and set the tone for much later Hexameral literature with his ‘Literal Interpretation of Genesis’. What Augustine does here is very interesting. The rules he sets down for biblical interpretation are firstly that they have to be logical. Secondly, they also have to explain the expressions used in the text. Most importantly, interpretations given must be in accordance with the currently received state of scientific (natural philosophical) knowledge. So, given Augustine’s criteria, a not particularly smart interpretation of Genesis in the 21st century would be that the earth is really 6,000 years old when it blatantly isn’t.

      Augustine himself rejected the idea of six days of creation in favour of an instantaneous event, where God created everything in a moment. Over time (for time was created with creation) rational seeds (rationes seminales) which had been implanted in the world would develop into different shapes and forms under the influence of local conditions, or to fit with local conditions. What is created in an instant therefore becomes actualised over time.”

  8. Hi Wesley,
    There is no “overwhelming scientific data” countering those supernatural events – people that say this simply misunderstand the nature of science. See this article by Keith Miller

    To David’s point , there is however, pretty good evidence for macro evolution. See this article on evidence for macro evolution and common descent

    So I accept both Christ’s resurrection & God’s creative act through the process of biological evolution.

  9. Christiane says:

    Chaplain Mike,

    In my Church, there is no conflict seen between scientific investigation of this world and our faith.
    From the document ‘Gaudium et Spes’ (sp?), comes this quote that explains the reasoning:

    “”…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

  10. “If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution”

    What the data leads to is where the argument has always been (when free of red herrings). The problem today for Darwinian evolution is exactly that the data leads away from it.

    Christians don’t need to reject Darwinian evolution out of fear, they can reject it on scientific grounds based on the best explanation of the data. It is expected that over time the best explanation will change and be refined, but on theological grounds we can always reject an “undirected process” as an explanation.

    Evolution absolutely occurs.
    Undirected processes never occur.

    This is nothing new or interesting.

    • Well, technically no one is proposing an undirected process. They just differ about what or whom happens to be directing it.

      • “evolution works without either plan or purpose … Evolution is random and undirected.”

        Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine, Biology (1st ed., 1991), p. 658; (2nd ed., 1993), p. 658; (3rd ed., 1995), p. 658; (4th ed., 1998), p. 658; (5th ed. 2000), p. 658

        • Lukas db says:

          I believe this quote suffers from poor word choice. The authors are attempting to make the point that evolution a) doesn’t have goals; and b) operates without the direction of mind. It is still directed; it is just directed by the ‘laws of nature’ – those rules that we see natural phenomena consistently conforming to around us. And if they can operate by themselves, without direction, they themselves can act as a directing force. Note, however, that this line of reasoning is little better than nonsense.

          The argument goes further back. It is not: what is directing evolution? It is: what is directing these laws of nature? This is where scientism runs into problems. It believes the entire universe is an undirected process. If this can be accepted (and I cannot accept it), it at least takes care of the evolution problem. This is like bringing an elephant into your house to stomp on a spider.

          • Okay, can I throw some more fuel on the fire?

            The effect of the Fall upon the material universe – discuss, particularly with reference to why things might be turning in a direction not originally intended by God’s design.

          • Even more fuel, Martha: How do we know this ISN’T in God’s design?

            I’ve been chewing on a theology lately that has the Fall as God’s plan after all. It’s hard to imagine because it almost suggests that God is the author of sin. But on the flip side, the sovereignty of God holds up better, as does the centrality of the cross in human history. It makes the cross Plan A, not Plan B. And we know that the serpent loses anyway–in fact we know that from Genesis, not just Revelation.

            Not sure what to think of this, but I’m sure it’ll be on the exam.

        • Ah, the felix culpa, Ted (as they’ll be singing in the Exultet come the Vigil of Holy Saturday) :-)

    • Hmm, science rejected the Darwinian model quite a few years ago. They treat it as a good start in understanding but flawed and mistaken in many things. The current secular evolutionary model is not Darwinian.

  11. Evolution is a theory propounded by scientists about events that occurred in the past. Since there are no observational records, it becomes, not a proposed scientific law – which can be verified by reproducing the conditions and replicating the results – but a narrative about the past. The “evidence” for evolution is historical evidence, and such evidence can be rearranged in a number of different ways, yielding different proposed narratives about the past.

    It is simply inappropriate to pronounce the theory of evolution as “proven” in the sense that the theory of gravity is.

    and gosh… heaven forbid that Christians would be so “uncool” as to be out of step with the latest opinions of learned Ph.D.’s. People might look down their noses at us and call us ignorant. We couldn’t abide that. The opinion of men is a critical part of our self-image…

    unpack the sarcasm at your leisure.

    • Lukas db says:

      Things will get difficult if you wish only to believe in things that have been proven beyond dispute. Try to ‘prove’ that the Bible is the word of God beyond dispute.

      The reason why evolution is being discussed is because it is uncertain. I believe Chaplin Mike’s point is not to support evolution, but to support discussion that is based upon facts rather than _a priori_ assumptions.

      Also, the evidence for evolution is mainly, but not only, historical. New species have been observed to develop in the plant kingdom, due to random mutation. Some scientists have been systematically growing bacterial cultures in different environments for decades, the results being fairly different strains of bacteria. The question at this point is whether the observed changes result from natural genetic plasticity, or whether they indicate an actual new development.

    • When you say that there are “no observational records”, are you arguing against a uniformity of natural causes? In other words, did God recreate the laws by which nature operates at some point, or do their consistency over time point to an intelligible creator? If you believe that we can’t know the past because God changed his Laws of Nature at some point, what is your biblical evidence for this creative activity? Did He take a Sabbath rest on the 7th day and then “start up” his Creative activity again to recreate the world after the Fall, rewriting all the previous natural laws in favor of new ones? Did He do this again after the Flood? Or is assuming that God recreated the Laws of Nature prior to the new heavens and new earth reading modern theories of science backwards into Scripture?

    • “Evolution is a theory propounded by scientists about events that occurred in the past. Since there are no observational records, it becomes, not a proposed scientific law – which can be verified by reproducing the conditions and replicating the results – but a narrative about the past. The “evidence” for evolution is historical evidence, and such evidence can be rearranged in a number of different ways, yielding different proposed narratives about the past.”

      While we’re on the subject of competing narratives drawn from positive observations, I would LOVE to hear your differential theory on how your microwave works.

  12. Why naturalist evolution is the only meaningful way to “do” science is a circular assertion, and thus beyond me when Christians feel the need to “give in.” Intelligent Design offers a working scientific model that is not at odds with a Christian Theistic worldview and still thoughtfully engages the “science.” The issue, of course, isn’t the “data” it’s the interpretive lenses used to actually interpret it. Christians who think they can integrate naturalist assumptions (or scientism) with Christian assumptions, to me, are on the same wave length as those who think they can integrate Aristotle with Christian theology like Thomas Aquinas believed.

    • But Chaplain Mike made a good point. The Church made the same type of arguments with Galieo and Copernicus and they turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong. So, what differentiates a medieval Roman Catholic pronouncing on what science may not find to be accurate from a modern Evangelical pronouncing on what science may not find to be accurate? (Other than the unguided assumption.)

      I am convinced that evolution was guided. However, Intelligent Design has become a byword for trying to sneak young earth creationism into the public school system. I find this frustrating because the philosophical version of Intelligent Design (the teleological argument) dates back centuries and did not necessarily include young earth creationism.

      • thank you, Fr. Ernesto. It is frustrating when people don’t ponder the errors the church has made with regard to science in the past. Thus we keep repeating those same errors…

      • This is another point of contention of me. I do believe that many well-meaning Christians wanted to use Intelligent Design to promote biblical creation in school and many argued that teaching ID would lead to YEC. Yet I do not recall hearing much about the possibility of teaching Darwinian Evolution leading young minds into atheism or agnosticism.

        It just seems to me that atheism and agnosticism are actually perceived as lesser threats to Christians and safer intellectual stances than YEC.

        Sometimes I wonder if there can be a OEC (Old Earth Creationism) or is Creationism in and of itself the problem.

        • The problem with ID and OEC is that, while they don’t discount an evolutionary process, you can neither prove nor disprove them, like/because you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of the intelligence and/or creator thru natural science. ID and any form of Creationism are strictly theories to answers of WHAT drives our existence, not so much HOW it’s driven. Evolution merely answers the HOW and to a degree, WHY. Darwinism tries to answer both WHAT & HOW, and really fails in some key areas (try to reconcile “survival of the fittest” with “sympathy is greatest in higher evolved organisms”) so you might say it fails in the WHY department.

          • Which is why social Darwinism, which was quite popular at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries has been given up. Many credit World War I with beginning the destruction of that viewpoint and World War II as finishing it off.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Especially when that gang of pulp villains running Germany took the intellectually fashionable ideas of Eugenics, mixed thoroughly with a variant of Social Darwinism redefining “survival of the fittest” as being between Races instead of individuals, and acted on it as far as they could push it.

      • I will admit, though, that the most compelling argument for me to reject a six-day creation and accept evolution is the fact that the church has been wrong in the past when it conflicted with science. That is a hard fact to ignore.

        • Actually, what’s been ignored, at least with respect to Science and the RCC, is that the RCC has actually been the cradle of science in Western Europe, contrary to popular legend. The whole Galileo dust-up has been used by anti-Christian and anti-Catholic elements to make both the Roman Church and Christianity in general to appear to be something they are or should not be, which is anti-science. The problem was Galileo unwittingly alienated one of his biggest supporters, Pope Urban VIII by essentially calling him a “simpleton” by putting the words of said Pope into the mouth of “Simplicio,” and did so at a very inopportune time. Had the Church done nothing in the context of the time, there may have been tremendous ramifications for both the faith of the people, Catholic AND Protestant, and that could lead to tremendous social upheaval. Consider the consequences of the Pope NOT condemning Galileo.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Have any of you read the science-fiction novel 1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint? (Stuck-in-the-Past time-travel sub-genre.)

            What REALLY happened in the Galileo Affair vs what Everybody Knows Happened is what fuels one of the novel’s story arcs (the one that ends with an assassination attempt on the Pope), and Flint tells the story completely straight.

            (Galileo was apparently quite an intellectual bully, the type Who Always Has To Be Right And You Have To Be Wrong. It ended up alienating and making enemies of most everyone he came in contact with, so when he called Pope Urban an idiot in print and the fight was on, most everyone who knew him was happy to see the Roman Inquisition take him down a peg.)

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            P.S. The Galileo Affair also went down during wartime — the Thirty Years War, the peak of the Reformation Wars, which made most of Europe into one big war zone. Like all of Europe at the time, the Church was on a War Footing. And when you’re on a War footing, anything that might disrupt or weaken the home front gets slapped down HARD.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Intelligent Design is a descendant of the Natural Theology of the 16th-18th Centuries, the idea that since God created the Cosmos and is consistent, the Cosmos should reflect God’s “touch”. More of a philosophica underpinning of science than science proper.

        Intelligent Design (nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean know what I mean) is just a coat of camouflage paint for Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles. The name has been hijacked.

        Chaplain Mike has put his foot through the hornet’s nest on this one. Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles IS the entire Gospel these days — Christ got thrown under the YEC bus long ago.

        • I’m with HUG on this one. The name has been hijacked. When I first heard the term I thought it would be a bridge (a missing link?) between Genesis and science. Next thing I knew, “Intelligent Design” is no different than Young Earth Creationism.

          The biggest problem I have with YEC is not so much the science (they are not scientists) but the sloppy theology. Insisting on a literal, 24-hour day from a narrative like Genesis is neither necessary nor perfectly accurate. The Hebrew word “yom” doesn’t always mean a 24-hour period, as some of the YEC proponents insist. Do a search in your Strong’s Concordance and see. It can mean an era, a day, or simply the daylight hours. The same word “yom” is used in “God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night’” (roughly a 12-hour period) as well as in “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (a 24-hour period) And it’s in the same verse.

          The YEC proponents have painted themselves into a corner with such a narrow interpretation. My God doesn’t fit into that box. In the beginning He created the heavens and the earth. How he did it or how much time He took is in His sovereign plan.

          As for Christ getting thrown under the bus, HUG is not only colorful but correct. YEC is one of the many buses that He got thrown under by well-meaning Christians in their idolatrous–yes, idolatrous–zeal to corner the truth market. The truth belongs to God, not to any of us.

        • Thrown under, or had it dropped on?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Thinking it over (and using another IMonk metaphor):

            More like run over with it.

      • ” However, Intelligent Design has become a byword for trying to sneak young earth creationism into the public school system. ”

        Hear, hear. This is the problem with the whole Creation versus Evolution debate: some on one side is trying to use science for the purpose for which it was not intended and some on the other side are trying to use Scripture for a purpose for which it was not intended.

        How long is a day in the six days of creation? I have no idea, and I’m not particularly going to die on the hill of ‘it was 24 hours by earth rotation’ (after all, a day on Mercury or Jupiter or Pluto is a completely different length of time). Does it matter whether God made Man? Yes, it does. Does it matter if that was in one day or twelve million years? No, not especially.

        The scandal is when Scripture is waved about in denial of plain reason. If there are good solid reasons for the rocks of the earth being more than 6,000 years old, then saying “No, you’re wrong and if you deny it, it’s because you follow Satan” is not going to sound any better than saying “Demons cause disease not germs”.

      • And again, I have to ask, how many teachers of evolution in schools and colleges have an expectation that to accept evolution is to reject scripture anything more than myth? There is the assumption that evolution has left the only acceptable options as ranging from atheism to deism.

        When I was an undergrad, I studied New Testament under a brilliant man who denied the resurrection of Christ and Theodicy under a panentheist who rejected scripture as merely human legend. Both argued that scientific evidence for evolutionary history was so compelling as to make the concepts of resurrection and ex-nihilo creation seem like child’s tales.

        So it would appear that the OEE (Old Earth Evolutionists) have their Uber-Alies as well.

  13. I would enjoy a lengthy conversation with this man! –

    NASB is my prefered translation……

  14. Right at the top, I will say that I believe in creation as stated in the first book of Genesis. I even believe in 6 days/24 hours and the 7th day God rested. This is easier for me to believe than scientific theories I’ve heard.

    This is something science believes: “Science believes time answers all questions, if given enough time. If something is impossible it will become possible. If something is improbable it will become probable.” Man’s, and the universe’s, evolution would have indeed taken billions and billions of years to come together. According to this, nothing can be proveable. And science needs to prove. It takes great faith to believe this supposition.

    Science is based on skepticism. We are taught as Christians to believe. We ask questions, we study, but in the end, we believe. It ends our skepticism. “Faith is believing in what is not seen.”

    There is a website called guidetothecosmos.com by Robert L. Piccioni, Ph.D. He said this: “We are defined by our genetic code–our DNA that contains 3 billion base-pairs. All our DNA is 99.9% the same. What are the odds of 3 billion randomly arranged base-pairs matching human DNA? About the same as drawing the ace of spades over and over from each of one billion decks.” Science cannot disprove God.

    Jesus validates the creation story. “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, …” Matt. 19:4; also, “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” Mark 10:6

    In the Gospels Jesus referenced the creation of man and woman, the account of Jonah, the cities of Sodom and Gommorah and their destruction. When Jesus validates these accounts from the Old Testament, that’s good enough for me. (These particular accounts seem to be the most questioned as to their “realness” and yet He uses them as examples for teaching as if they were true events.)

    I believe in keeping an open mind and discovering things. Many scientists are attempting to achieve the goal of eliminating God from the picture entirely. That is the supposition they start with. They are not open-minded. They are taught to only speak to themselves and not to the public. Where is the two-way dialogue?

    The problem is between faith and proof. “So he (Thomas) said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. . . Then He (Jesus) said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands, and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. . . And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!’”

    It will take billions and billions of years to prove the resurrection.

    • Just to respond to one point you made: perhaps it will help you understand the issue of time making the improbable more likely if you think of it as shooting dice in a casino. If you only shoot the dice once, it is possible you will win but the odds are against you, so if you win, it is much easier to believe that you cheated or that someone helped you.

      However, if you throw the dice over and over and over and over and over (and over and over times infinity!), it then becomes MUCH easier for those hulking casino security guards to believe it when, after however many thousands of throws, you FINALLY win!

      So if it is *possible* for species to evolve via the process of evolution, then yeah, it would seem strange if it happened over a relatively short period of time. But given “billyuns and billyuns of years” it becomes way more of a real possibility.

      And by the way, I sympathize with your views nonetheless, as I am a Christian. Just saying, there’s nothing wrong with believing that God is the one who built the casino and established the odds. :-)

    • #John1453 says:

      except for the problem that the text of Genesis, when read in the way that the ancients would have, does not indicate that God created in 144 hours.

      Second, there is not one iota of evidence that the earth is young.

      Third, the hard sciences (the ones with falsifiable hypotheses), consistently and without fail indicate a great age.

      Fourth, as quoted above: ““They say, ‘We do not know how this is, but we know that God can do it.’ You poor fools! God can make a cow out of a tree, but has he ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so. – William of Conches”

      In so far as the age of the earth, it is irresponsible for anyone to open their mouth and state that the earth is young, and a disservice to both non-believers and fellow Christians. If one can’t be bothered enough to learn enough to come to a rational conclusion, then one should keep one’s yap shut. The only (semi-) rational conclusion for a YEC type believer, is that God created things with the appearance of age.

      (though why he would do so is anyone’s guess).

      Evolution is another matter, because it deals with history and non-falsifiable ideas and because their is disagreement even among secular scientists about the validity of any of the various theories of evolution.

      regards,
      #John

      • To add to God creating everything “old”. He also placed all of the fossils in the rocks to confuse us. One of the earlier posts said, why would he do this if he wanted us to discover the TRUTH?

        Both the beliefs in creation and evolution are faith-based. Science requires theory, testing, and empirical data. If we were able to observe and report the creation and development of this planet and the species that occupy it, the observer would have to be immortal and pretty old by now.
        I personally find the idea of evolution intriguing and thinking of creation in a scientific manner, with all of its conjecture, makes the world we live in even more awe inspiring.

        Each of us are amazingly unique. Some are sheep others are goats. All “satanic” connotations aside, I prefer to run with the goats. It’s a big world and, to quote a certain pointy-eared Vulcan, “Fascinating.”

        Some day I will find out the truth of it all, but I won’t be able to tell anyone. I’ll be dead.

    • ‘In the Gospels Jesus referenced the creation of man and woman, the account of Jonah, the cities of Sodom and Gommorah and their destruction. When Jesus validates these accounts from the Old Testament, that’s good enough for me. (These particular accounts seem to be the most questioned as to their “realness” and yet He uses them as examples for teaching as if they were true events.)’

      No offense intended, but Jesus also validated that the earth is flat in Matt. 24:31. What he ‘validated’ is that God created man and woman ‘in the beginning’, not that they were created on the 6th literal 24-hour day. Just as he did not see fit to explain that the earth really isn’t flat, he probably didn’t see fit to explain all that happened ‘in the beginning’ (either in Matt. 19:4 or Genesis 1).

  15. Christiane says:

    Has any read the book by Gerald Schroeder: ‘Science and God’: the Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdon”

    This is an interesting book for me because it attempts to RECONCILE the two views: Young Earth and Old Earth. But it is the way Schroeder approaches his attempt that fascinates me. Schroeder is an orthodox jew, and teaches at a Jewish college. He is also a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (physics).

    The attempt is not dismissive of either viewpoint and there is actually some rational and thought-provoking material in that that Schroeder pulls together with some skill.
    It’s worth looking at, just to appreciate the attempt at reconcilation of the two views.

  16. The Guy from Knoxville says:

    Can I throw out a question(s) – Why is it so hard to accept that God created all we know as Earth, the occupants on it and the universe in a timeframe of 6 days….. what is so wrong with the idea of creation as described in the Genesis account??

    • Because hanging onto a simplistic literalism of “It was six days of 24 hours each” and tallying up the lists of the patriarchs to arrive at a 6,000 year old earth means that when good evidence which can be proven or falsified is produced to show that the rocks are older than 6,000 years, then the false dichotomy is produced that “Your claim has been shown to be false therefore all you claim is false.”

      In other words, “God made the world 6,000 years ago” is false because the world is older than 6,000 years, then the claim of “God made the world” is considered to be false and the claim that “God exists” is considered to be false.

      Taking increasing natural knowledge into account is not surrending to secularism, but it it is treated as such, then it appears that believers are clinging to falsehoods and that faith does indeed mean ‘believing impossible things’ and faith is made ridiculous.

      To quote a chunk of St. Augustine’s “On the Literal Meaning of Genesis” which is about as much as I could find online, about the creation of night and day:

      “21. But another explanation might be offered. Although this work of God was done in an instant, did the light remain, without night coming on, until the time of one day was complete; and did the night, following upon the daylight, continue while the hours of the nighttime passed by until the morning of the following day dawned, one day, the first one, being then complete? But if I make such a statement, I fear I shall be laughed at both by those who have scientific knowledge of these matters and by those who can easily recognize the facts of the case. At the time when night is with us, the sun is illuminating with its presence those parts of the world through which it returns from the place of its setting to that of its rising. Hence it is that for the whole twenty-four hours of the sun’s circuit there is always day in one place and night in another. Surely, then, we are not going to place God in a region where it will be evening for Him as the sun’s light leaves that land for another.”

      But if I make such a statement, I fear I shall be laughed at both by those who have scientific knowledge of these matters and by those who can easily recognize the facts of the case. – that’s the point in a nutshell (he also points out that night and day were created before the creation of the sun, so how do we measure a ‘day’ in that case?)

      • How do you know a rock is older than 6000 years old? You were not there when the foundations were laid, were you? The dating method for rocks is not very reliable, and in the end, all of those dating methods have to make a lot of unverifiable pre-suppositions, one of which is that the age of the earth must be very old because otherwise macro-evolution could not occur.

    • Scott Eaton says:

      Guy, are you paying attention at all?

      • The Guy from Knoxville says:

        Yes Scott I am and have….. it was just a question that I wanted feedback on. It was not ment to be argumentative. My own personal belief is that it happend as Genesis describes – do I understand or comprehend it all…. of course not – no one does but that doesn’t change the fact that it is there.

    • #John1453 says:

      Because God is a rational being in his essence and gave us reason and intellectual powers (we are in his image, rational but not all powerfully rational)

      AND

      because God created a universe that functions in a regular law-like manner.

      The use of our intellect in understanding God’s law-like universe leads inexorably and compellingly to only one conclusion: the earth is old (or at least is measurably old in accordance with the law-like regularities that we observe).

      In conjunction with the above, the text of Genesis does not compell us to believe in a 144 hour creation period. Rather, there are rational and orthodox interpretations of that text that permit a belief in a longer time period.

      The only possible alternative for a YEC is to believe that God created the universe to appear old.

      regards,
      #John

      • The Guy from Knoxville says:

        I used to be YEC but not any longer. I do believe the Earth is much older as many here have concluded and I think correctly. However, even with this being the case – the Earth being old -does not mean that God didn’t create it just the way Genesis states whenever the event occured. I suppose if you wanted to use Peter’s statement regarding God’s time that 1 of God’s days is equal to 1,000 Earth years then you could probably add 7,000 years to creation and come out with 13,000+ years but there is the thought that Earth is possibly even older
        than that. Yes, I know the day = 1,000 years might seem silly but I put it out there because in that sense Earth is at least twice as old as YEC believes.

        Anyways, you all can tear that one apart and call me a dunce…… It’s just food for thought or comment even it it’s dumb or silly.

    • Thank you, Guy. God is BIG enough to do it anyway He wants. Children have no trouble believing. Jesus said our faith should be like that of a child. I feel like He’s up there laughing and enjoying the humor of watching us entertain ourselves with suppositions that can never come to an end instead of simply doing the work He left for us to do which is bring His word to all nations before He comes back. Some science is like archaelogy, trying to either prove or disprove the real existence of God. A lot of time and money is being spent in these two enterprises. Wish more of that time and money would just be invested in truly important advancements such as medical, energy, and the general welfare of man and the earth.

      • “Children have no trouble believing.”

        ….

        I remember being a child.

        Children have ALL TYPES of trouble believing in God.

        • What did Jesus mean about a child’s faith, then?

          • That children -who have faith- have a primitive, obedient faith that expresses love and trust unhesitatingly (the children came to Jesus) , in contrast to the unmoved, theologically-literate adults (who, out of their sins, invented reasons to be scandalized by Jesus and ultimately kill Him).

            But it’s silly to think that children can’t doubt God, or don’t trust God, or whose religion isn’t poisoned with superstition and selfishness and double-standards like their parents’.

            Especially since so many adults are so childlike even into their old age..

          • Patrick, You answer so lovingly. Matt. 18:1-8 explains Jesus’ regard for a child’s belief and humility. He goes on to say big people hurt children. And they’re going to have to answer for that. It seems like He’s saying, in pure form–before a child is marred–our spirit should emulate an innocent child. I love your first paragraph.

  17. This quote: “evolution works without either plan or purpose … Evolution is random and undirected.”
    seems to be at the heart of the matter.

    Try substituting some other natural process that can be described as based on what appears to be random, or described with statistical probabilities: say weather or trees falling. We all know weather or trees falling to the ground occur with a statistical probability – that is the world God created. The world appears random to many observers. But we can admit that storms occur somehow in a way that affects our trajectory in life (think Paul’s shipwreck) and we can understand that if a tree falls randomly and kills us, somehow it is an “act of God).

    Practically speaking we live in a world that God created where it is fully possible to be rational, logical and scientific and not see God. This is the world that requires Faith to find God. I don’t think we will dig up or discover anything that will prove God’s hand in the universe. That is not how God works. We will always need faith. However to understand certain scientific principles, say quantum mechanics or evolution, I believe a fair amount of study is needed.

    • We should all be able to agree that if God is all powerful, He is certainly capable of enacting his will in a way that appears random or statistical to us .

      • “We should all be able to agree that if God is all powerful, He is certainly capable of enacting his will in a way that appears random or statistical to us.”

        And that’s the rub, isn’t it. YEC says, “God is powerful enough to create the world in six days” but insinuates that He is NOT powerful enough to do it in 14B years through seemingly-random processes, nor wise enough to do it in a way that surpasses a simplistic, literal reading of Genesis 1.

  18. Kenny Johnson says:

    I have issues with Darwinian evolution — undirected, natural evolution through the process of random mutation and natural selection. Not because I have some religious problem with it, but because it doesn’t make sense to me.

    I also have a problem with a young earth. The evidence is clear that the earth and the universe are VERY old. The evidence is also clear that humans themselves have been here for far more than 6,000 years.

    So what am I stuck with? I believe that there is no doubt that some evolution occurred. I believe the evidence suggests that at least some animals share a common ancestor (eg all cats (tigers, lions, etc), but I’m not convinced there has been a single common ancestor for all living things. I think the evidence for intelligent design is overwhelming — and in most cases ignored because of the implications it would have. Even the Christian scientists who reject ID generally make philosophical or theological arguments against it.

    In the end, I’m probably in a small camp of Christians… who neither accept Darwinian evolution as true, nor reject that evolution occurred. I guess I’m not alone though… Michael Behe (prominant ID proponent) actually believes in universal common descent.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Problem is, if you have a problem with a Young Earth, the only thing you can expect from Born-Again Christians is “DIE, HERETIC!!!!!”

  19. I have to the conclusion that God has kept His “secrets” hidden from the knowledge of man until now so that man can be tested. Yeah, this is all a big test … (jn)

  20. David Cornwell says:

    I’ve never seen the threat concerning evolution. Science is constantly revised, makes changes, and progresses. I see nothing to fear except except the evil uses we put to science. About 50 years ago when I was a student at Asbury College, my science professor convinced me that the findings of science are not really in conflict with our Christian belief system. I’ve never understood the fear that this issue generates. Usually I just ignore the controversy and the criticism.

    • Ditto. Married a scientist and got an MA and theology, and still ditto. Never really understood all the hoopla.

  21. I may be misreading here, but it seems as though you are comitting the fallacy of bifurcation. It appears as though you are suggesting that there are only two mutually exclusive choices with regard to this issue, when in fact there are not simply two.

    You appear to be suggesting that the two mutually exlusive and only options are:

    1. One can be an (macro)evolution-denying Christian who fears the findings of science, is ignorant of earlier battles, is on par with those who believe the earth is flat, refuses to imagine he might be wrong in some of his assumptions or commitments, is not a serious Bible scholar, who has essentially stopped thinking and who refuses to use his gifts in active engagement with truth from many different sources.

    OR

    2. One can be a (macro) evolution-affirming Christian who doesn’t fear the findings of Science, is not ignorant of earlier battles, imagines that he might be wrong in some of his assumptions or commitments, is a serious Bible scholar who has not stopped thinking and who uses his gifts in active engagement with truth from many different sources.

    The problem is, these are not the only two choices before us. There is a third option, and it is in fact a reality for many Christians. It is:

    3. One can be a (macro) evolution-denying Christian who doesn’t fear the findings of Science, is not ignorant of earlier battles, imagines that he might be wrong in some of his assumptions or commitments, is a serious Bible scholar who has not stopped thinking, and who uses his gifts in active engagement with truth from many different sources.

    It obscures the issue when the fallacy of bifurcation is used to advance one particular view. We desperately need clarity with regard to these issues, not a false dilemma.

    I enjoy the work that you do on this blog. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    JT

    • well said…I’d like to think of myself in that third option category

    • If someone is in that third category, they are doing exactly what I have encouraged in this post—they have determined to stay involved in the discussion and not simply put their fingers in their ears and decry the darkness.

  22. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Or, you could join the Flat Earth Society, which reflects the views of Samuel Rowbotham in the 1800’s who, based on literal interpretation of Bible passages, held that “the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth.”

    Ah, yes, the “Zetetic Astronomy Movement” of the Victorian Era, “Standing for Scripture Against Godless ‘Science’.” With many of the same tactics-of-ridicule and If-You’re-Not-With-Us-You-Were-Never-REALLY-Saved you see now with Ken Hamm, Creation Museum, AIG, et al.

    “Catholics have the Vatican Observatory. Evangelicals have the Kentucky Creation Museum.”
    – some commenter on this blog way-back-when

    • On what side of whose bed you wake up on?!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Say what?

      • It just seems to be that you have a serious thorn in your side concerning YEC. You don’t just disagree, you seem to flat loath them.

        • Is the dialogue hindered by denominational confessions of faith that incorporate YEC? Isn’t it true that a Missouri – or Wisconsin- synod Lutheran, for example, could hardly openly reject the YEC theory without risking his membership? Same for certain Baptist and Calvinist groups. Correct me if I’m wrong.
          But the larger question is, should we go further than the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds, which say only (and wisely) that God created all things, but now when and how?

          • The Apostles’ and Nicene creeds are not part of the inspired canon of Holy Scriptures.

            Sola Scriptura—

          • Michelle says:

            @Suzanne–What part of the Apostles’ or Nicene creeds are not scriptural?

          • I think the LCMS folks don’t want to risk going down the path of the spiritually compromised ELCA (of course, I am not speaking of all ELCA members).

          • Suzanne, the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds predate the canon and have historically been universally accepted as the bare-bones basics for Christian orthodoxy. I think they’re a great common starting point.

          • Bass: IMHO such confessions of faith go beyond the Scriptures. Unfortunately, it’s not just the Lutherans, but a whole host of Christian groups who either officially or unofficially toe the line of YEC teaching.

    • Link courtesy of TitusOneNine:

      http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-templeton-prize26-2010mar26,0,1500604.story

      “As a young doctoral student in the 1960s, Francisco J. Ayala was surprised to learn that Darwin’s theory of evolution appeared to be less widely accepted in the United States than in his native Spain, then a profoundly conservative and religious country.

      Ayala brought a unique sensibility to the topic, because he had been ordained as a Catholic priest before undertaking graduate studies in evolution and genetics. What he believed then, and has spent his career espousing, is that evolution is consistent with the Christian faith.

      On Thursday, Ayala, an acclaimed researcher at UC Irvine, won the 2010 Templeton Prize, awarded annually in recognition of achievements in affirming spirituality. The prize is worth $1.6 million, which Ayala said he would give to charity.”

      I have no dog in this fight since I’m all the way over here on the other side of the Herring Pond. As I’ve said before in these kinds of posts, I was taught science by a nun and we did the whole “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” without either the necessity of “This is heresy!!!!” or “God is dead!!!!” being crammed down our throats.

      The weeping scandal of all this is that the schools are being made a battleground for ideologies. I don’t think school prayer is going to result in a theocracy, nor do I think that science being taught without disclaimers is going to result in godless atheism running rampant. I don’t know what the solution is, other than to teach your children their faith and trust in God.

  23. Here’s something interesting to add to the discussion. A rabbi from the Mishnaic period (approximately 70-200CE) named Nechunya ben HaKana wrote that time worked differently in the first six days of creation so that each day would appear by our reckoning to be much longer. He wrote that the mystical “42 letter name of God” (a popular concept in early Jewish mysticism) held the key to the age of the universe. His successor wrote that this alluded to 42,000 “divine years” between “In the beginning” and the creation of man. They say that based on Psalm 90:4, a divine day is 1000 human years, so a divine year would be 365,250 human years. So, between the initializing of creation and the creation of man would be approximately 15.3 billion years (365,250 x 42,000). Traditionally, Judaism has believed man has been around for 5770 years (as of fall 2009).

    Granted, that’s all very unscientific, yet it seems to incorporate both the YEC view based on the biblical account (5770 years since man was created) as well as evolution’s view of appx 15 Billion years.

    Did I mention that this rabbi lived at the same time as the Apostles?

    • That sounds rather like the bizarre Bible-coding that goes on today. What is the source for this information? (for those who would like to confirm its existence and credibility.)

      • A lot of the Bible-coding silliness is a bastardization of Kabbalistic numerology. Using the numerical values of words and stuff as an interpretive technique is a pretty common element in Kabbalah. For whatever that’s worth, of course. I first heard about the above from a Jewish friend who studies the Kabbalah. The idea of the “divine day” and the first six days of creation being very, very long period of times comes from an early Kabbalah work titled Sefer Temuneh compiled in the 1200′s and attributes the concept to the Rabbi mentioned above. The idea that using “divine days” to calculate 15.3 Billion years was first brought into current Jewish scholarship by Yitzak of Acco’s 13th Century work titled Otzar Hayyamim. Rabbi Yitzak was a student of Maimonides. In the Aryeh Kaplan (a Torah scholar and a Physics scholar) wrote a book in the 1970′s or 1980′s that discusses all of this called Kabbalah and the Age of the Universe. You can get that book for about $10 on Amazon.

        I’m certainly not a Kabbalah scholar (or student, for that matter). I just found that to be a very interesting bit of trivia.

  24. What I am about to say is mere speculation, because I have not researched the history. But I suspect that many who have pursued theories of evolution in the past were enthusiastic about the idea that something besides religion and the Bible could speak authoritatively about the origins of man. And in particular, something that that would speak contrary to the Bible, thus sapping its power. Yes, they were pursuing pure scientific interest, but they also lived in a culture that had been dominated by the Christian religion for hundreds of years.

    So I suspect that some of the historical animosity between Christianity and the evolutionary theory of the origin of the species is not only because evolution appears contrary to the Genesis account as many interpret it, but also because it was part of a larger cultural movement to discredit and weaken Christian influence generally.

    • With respect to purely natural evolution as a philosophy, I think your speculation is undoubtedly true—it’s what gave 19th century intellectuals “cover” for throwing out Christianity. But on the other hand, when it comes to the age of the earth, much of the undisputed physics, math and geology behind “old earth” claims was actually developed by devout Christians or by those whose primary interest was economic (not caring at all about anything philosophical).

  25. I haven’t read this book, but a scientest/Christian over on the Jesus Creed blog has been discussing it. It’s called Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins (Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context) Some of you may be interested in it. One of the things the Amazon site product description says about it is:

    “Although the idea that all human beings are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction in the West, another version of this narrative exists: human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet. In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-Adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes. He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science — evolution in particular — and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation. From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam’s Ancestors tells an intriguing tale of twists and turns in the cultural politics surrounding the age-old question, ‘Where did we come from?’ “

  26. Chaplain Mike,
    I wholeheartedly concur. John Milton was a devout Christian who wrestled with these issues 400 hundred years ago and came down squarely on the side of science and freedom of the Press–Galileo’s telescope even finds its way into Paradise Lost!

    • Didn’t John Milton reject the Trinity and hold to a form of Arianism? I don’t care how judgmental this sounds but a person who rejects the Trinity cannot be a Christian…let a alone a devout one.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Note the ad hominem argument dressed up in theological drag. Milton was an Arianist Heretic, therefore EVERYTHING he says or wrote is FALSE.

  27. “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” (Jesus, John 4:48) (Context, healing the “nobleman’s son”)

    “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:22-25)

    Why do we really need to know? (And we never will know.) To prove God? Impossible.

    • If knowing about evolution or the origins of the earth teaches us about disease or how to predict catastrophe, then we really need to know.

      Also, some people just find science interesting and easy. I don’t get it, either.

      • Do you have an example of the discovery of prevention of disease/or cure coming out of evolutionary science? How about predicting catastrophes? ANY examples?

        • Of course I do.

          Contrary to a Young Earth conceptualization of our planet’s constitution, we’ve got people (called seismologists – you remember them from 4th grade science class), who use theory to sharpen general predictions about when and where earthquakes might happen.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_prediction

          Your own Googling and/or a trip to the library will tell answer you succinctly as to the efficacy of their efforts, or the possibilities for development. It’s neat stuff.

          As far as disease goes, evolutionary science and infectious disease intersect practically at immunology and strategically in epidemiology, where population genetics influences the development of therapies to treat everything from sickle-cell anemia to Tay-Sachs to female hair loss.

          I think all of modern public health theory is based on evolution in some sense. Do we have any doctors around here who know better?

  28. Waltke here sounds very much like the liberal evangelicals of 100 years ago, with their faith that scientific process was transforming human nature. Evolution aside, I’m disturbed by statements like “we’re at a unique moment in history… a pinnacle of history.” His worry about marginalization seems misplaced, too. Why not hold to what is true and trust God to provide for our “relevance”?

    And it’s as if he has no awareness that “science” can be politicized and twisted to serve ideological ends — e.g. Dr. Lysenko and “hide the decline.” And there is strong ideological motivation to deny God’s existence and active role in creation and man as God’s special creation and image-bearer.

    All truth is God’s truth, but not everything that comes out of the scientific community is truth.

    • Yes!

    • I don’t think it’s our marginalization as a voice in the culture that concerns him so much as the growing miscellenization of the faith that being anti-reason engenders, and Christianity’s recession from winsome evangelism into an intellectual backwater,

      Also, I don’t know how you identify what he’s saying with “a strong ideological motivation to deny God’s existence”, but I think you should probably stop that train of thought before somebody gets hurt.

  29. Regardless of the outcome of scientific investigation about our origins (which may prove to be totally different in 100 years), a couple of points about Scripture need to be made.

    First, the Bible was written to people who lived in a very different time and culture, with a different worldview and scientific understanding, and had very different concerns. One of the key principles of biblical interpretation is to ask the ‘historical context’ questions: who wrote it, to whom did they write it, when did they write it, why did they write it, etc. Once we get a handle on these questions, secondary issues arise, like: what cultural factors are involved here? – such as eating meat at Corinth. If one did not know that most meat sold in the markets had been sacrificed to idols, one could take it that some were sacrificing their meat to idols then eating it.

    Seeing these cultural factors leads us to understand that God conveys spiritual truth in the context of the worldview of the original audience (the ancient readers or hearers). As John Walton points out in his book ‘The Lost World of Genesis One’ (and whether one accepts his major thesis or not, this point is valid), there is not one instance in Scripture where God attempts to correct the scientific understanding of the ancient Israelites. A good example is Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 24:31 where he says he will send his angels to gather the elect from the four winds. The ‘four winds’ is a reference to the four sides of a flat earth. That’s how Jesus’ original hearers (the twelve disciples) understood the world and Jesus made no attempt to correct them. I can’t imagine Jesus saying ‘The angels will gather the elect from the four winds, but while we’re here, the earth really isn’t flat, it’s a sphere that rotates on an axis every twenty-four hours and it also revolves around the sun every 365 1/4 days (give or take a second or two every few years), but back to the point . . .’ Jesus wasn’t interested in teaching astronomy or cosmology and if he had done that the disciples (who were slow enough anyway!) would have missed the spiritual truth altogether.

    The application of this to the creation account is that God is concerned to convey spiritual truth to the ancient Israelites in the context of their worldview and understanding of things like science; he makes no attempt to correct them. God is affirming that he is the creator and everything else in the universe is a created thing, and he does so in light of the ancient Israelites’ worldview – a non-scientific (by modern standards) worldview.

    Second, there is a larger theological issue at stake. Paul says in Romans 1:19-20 that God has revealed enough about himself (his eternal power and divine nature) through the created universe that all are without excuse. Thus, Paul would probably argue that God has NOT given us a ‘deceptive’ creation – one that looks very old but really isn’t – in order to (as some say) ‘test our faith’ to see if we can believe in a literal six-day creation in spite of the overwhelming observational evidence. That would make God a deceiver and Paul argues exactly the opposite – what we see in the universe points to God’s power and nature, thus all are accountable to a Creator.

    A good example of this is Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, which has been shown to be accurate by astronomical observation. According to Relativity, the universe must be expanding and must have had a beginning point (about 14 billion years ago). If the universe is really only 6,000 to 10,000 years old then God has deceived us by giving us a universe where the physical laws that HE put in place deceive us into thinking the universe is old. Thus, if I don’t believe – I DO have an excuse since God has stacked the deck against faith (which not only makes Paul wrong, but makes God a god not worthy of our worship or allegiance)!

    In an ironic way, those who argue that God’s Word is at stake if we don’t believe in the literal six-day creation actually put something much larger at stake – God’s character, integrity and honor. What is really at stake with the literal six-day creation is a particular method of interpretation, not the Bible itself.

  30. Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations.[1] When a population splits into smaller groups, these groups can—given sufficient time and enough environmental differentation—evolve independently and diversify into new species. Anatomical similarities, geographical distribution of similar species and the fossil record indicate that all organisms are descended from a common ancestor through a long series of these divergent events, stretching back in a tree of life that has grown over the 3,500 million years of life on Earth.[2]

    Darwinism implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on “civilized” people it was possible for “inferior” strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the “superior” strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirable — the foundation of eugenics. (Eugenics is the study and practice of selective breeding applied to humans, with the aim of improving the species.) (Cloning might be useful here.)

    I’m confused. There are many ideas of what “evolution” means out there. What kind of “evolution” are we talking about?

    I will reiiterate the “odds” of human DNA coming together “over time” by Dr. Robert L. Piccioni: “We are defined by our genetic code–our DNA that contains 3 billion base pairs. All our DNA is 99.9% the same. What are the odds of 3 billion randomly arranged base-pairs matching human DNA? About the same as drawing the ace of spades over and over from one billion decks.”

    I really don’t care how old the universe and the planet earth are. They indeed could be millions of years old. So God picked this “old” planet out of the universe to give to His created people, plants and animals. I definately don’t believe we “evolved” from one “common ancestor” mutating until now. (And, He is the creator of the universe.)

  31. I keep managing to come in at the end of these things. Ah well. To keep it relatively short, I’ll have to be a bit picky on what I respond to. Just for the record, I believe in a literal six-day creation, have trouble with the idea of “millions” of years and macroevolution for various reasons; but neither consider this a primary nor salvation issue. On the hierarchy of Things for Christians to Worry About, this one’s pretty bottom-rung for me. I grew up hearing all the pro-young earth/creationism arguments; and got the pro-old earth/evolution bit in college.

    But just a few things I’d like to ask/observe, in no particular order:

    1. From a literary perspective, I’m not really sure why using a literal 24-hr period is questionable given in other places outside Genesis, the phrase ‘in six days God created/Lord made’ is used, as well as that six-day creation being the reason Sabbath is on the seventh day. Not trying to be a pest, I’m just saying, logically, it’s hard to follow that if creation took 6 million years, we have Sabbath every week because on that day the Lord rested. Maybe I’m missing that, but hey .

    2. Per the whole “making it look older is deceptive” bit, I guess I just again have to ask what’s deceptive about making a plant fully grown instead of creating a seed and waiting for it to grow? Maybe I’m missing something, but in my head it makes more sense just to create a mature plant than a seed. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter. *shrug*

    3. One of my biggest problems in my Bio for Non-Majors class (I really should have taken the other one, btw) was the inordinate amount of time spent on what’s still considered a theory. I felt like I was in history class, not science class. Moreover…

    —I had trouble using the size of a skull to determine the humanity of a creature. The presentation on the evolution of man from apes simply bothered me on the simple grounds that I have a hard time with even unintentionally calling an entire species subhuman just because of its skeletal structure (no DNA or any means for actually testing the structures was presented, it was strictly the appearance of the skull, which more closely resembled human than ape—blame the picture; that’s what it looked like).
    —Whoever asked, yes, the professor told us Darwinian Evolution has basically been dropped, expanded, and revised. I don’t know that you can really fully debunk evolution as a whole with this argument, however, because it’s quite logical that as technology and resources become more available, so the completeness of our perspective comes.

    4. I think my one enormous problem that eclipses the others, as far as evolution goes, is this: For the evolutionary process to have begun (big bang, asteroid, whatever) to have occurred, supposedly unbreakable laws of nature would have to be broken for anything that exists to exist. Try as I may, I simply cannot understand how something can come from nothing without divine intervention. I did try. It still didn’t work. Maybe someone who’s been there can explain it.

    5. A friend of mine pointed out that ID doesn’t necessarily explain anything. I think maybe she’s on to something, the more I think about it. Especially with those people in that Expelled movie bending over backwards in absurd fashion not to appear biased in favor or against any type of Supreme Being. By necessity, the one who makes the cosmos must be beyond and altogether separate from the cosmos itself.

    6. The Church, unfortunately, has said and done some unattractive things over the years. But I don’t think that’s the best argument for a non-literal day or non-creationist view, no offense (and I’d say that the other way around, too).

    At any rate – Again, I consider this a peripheral issue, and I’m really only hopping in here because I wanted to contribute. Please forgive any poor wording on my part. I happen to love science even if I was only any good at the biology/A&P end of it.

    This was way too long. Later.

    • Love your points–especially point #1. Thank you.

    • 2. Per the whole “making it look older is deceptive” bit, I guess I just again have to ask what’s deceptive about making a plant fully grown instead of creating a seed and waiting for it to grow? Maybe I’m missing something, but in my head it makes more sense just to create a mature plant than a seed. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter. *shrug*

      The problem with having a plant created ‘fully grown’ is that it gives the appearance that the plant has gone through the growth proces from a seed. Would a thinking person (whose brain did, after all, come from his Creator) look at a full-grown plant and assume that it had always been that way? If everything we know about plants other than this particular one tells us that plants don’t just appear fully grown, would we not make the same conclusion about this particular plant?

      Likewise, to give a brief example, astronomers are able to calculate the distances of fairly distant stars with great accuracy using the parallax of the earth’s orbit around the sun (measuring the angle between a nearby known star and a distant star from opposite sides of the earth’s orbit). Many of these stars are far more than 6,000 light years away. If the universe had been created with the light from these stars already, say, half-way through their journey (as in a ‘mature creation’ model), would not a thinking person naturally conclude that the light began its journey at some point in the past, earlier than 6,000 years ago? Certainly. If that is the case, one would have to conclude that the universe has the appearance of great age? And if it really isn’t that old, then the one who created it with that appearance of great age has done something that would deceive a normal, thinking person, and done so intentionally.

      Again, referring to Rom. 1:19-20, if God created the universe with the appearance of great age (and allowed us to learn enough about the mechanics of it – physics, not biology – to figure that out) and it really isn’t that old, then, yes, men WILL have an excuse when they stand before God to account for their unbelief.

      • Greg

        The problem with having a plant created ‘fully grown’ is that it gives the appearance that the plant has gone through the growth proces from a seed. Would a thinking person (whose brain did, after all, come from his Creator) look at a full-grown plant and assume that it had always been that way? If everything we know about plants other than this particular one tells us that plants don’t just appear fully grown, would we not make the same conclusion about this particular plant?

        I guess I think of it that way in the same way we pretty well assume Adam and Eve were made as adults. I suppose God very well could have created babies and let them develop into adults, but even if he did, I don’t know that we’d be saying God created a man and woman so that a man and woman named Adam and Eve could be born. Maybe that’s just the way I’m thinking of it: If it’s not an issue for Adam and Eve to be born adults, then why not everything else? To me it’s not illogical for the First to have been made mature.

        I’ll think on it.

        Likewise, to give a brief example, astronomers are able to calculate the distances of fairly distant stars with great accuracy using the parallax of the earth’s orbit around the sun (measuring the angle between a nearby known star and a distant star from opposite sides of the earth’s orbit). Many of these stars are far more than 6,000 light years away. If the universe had been created with the light from these stars already, say, half-way through their journey (as in a ‘mature creation’ model), would not a thinking person naturally conclude that the light began its journey at some point in the past, earlier than 6,000 years ago? Certainly. If that is the case, one would have to conclude that the universe has the appearance of great age? And if it really isn’t that old, then the one who created it with that appearance of great age has done something that would deceive a normal, thinking person, and done so intentionally.

        I’m not going to pretend I was any good with astronomy, because I struggled with the math involved, and therefore wasn’t. So I can’t answer the question beyond just using the same line of thought as before. But I hadn’t thought of it this way, and so I’ll think on it now.

        Again, referring to Rom. 1:19-20, if God created the universe with the appearance of great age (and allowed us to learn enough about the mechanics of it – physics, not biology – to figure that out) and it really isn’t that old, then, yes, men WILL have an excuse when they stand before God to account for their unbelief.

        I really do hear the reason in your previous arguments, Greg; but I’m having trouble making the jump from maturity to deception–which means I’m having trouble with this statement as well. If there’s an earlier comment in this thread that explains it, just point me there; but my head isn’t around it yet.

        Anyway – Thanks for your time and patience. I look forward to the next round. 0=)

        Unrelated sidenote: I actually did hear some interesting ideas for an explanation of an older earth, but I need to dig up the blog that discussed it. Kinda neat, really. Purely speculative, but neat. (And would allow an older earth model.)

        • Kaci, I appreciate your points, but I think the difference is that we can’t go and observe Adam and Eve today like we can the physical universe around us.

          • But we can observe how a human is formed, just as we can in the case of the plants. That’s all I mean. Anyway, I’ll back off, as I feel like I’m harping. 0=)

      • Sorry for the formatting nightmare.

      • Mine is just one, un-authoritative opinion. But I want to go on the record as saying I believe God could hypothetically have created the universe in such a way that human reason applied to observed nature would lead to an incorrect understanding of how and when the universe began. And I would not feel that God deceived me, or that it represented a moral failing on God’s part.

        • Eaton, I agree that God could hypothetically have created the universe with an appearance of age that would lead a human to an incorrect conclusion (humans have been drawing incorrect conclusions about nature for millenia, but things do seem a little clearer now). But if he did so then Paul’s claim in Rom. 1:19-20 is wrong, for he claims that the very creation God made gives evidence of his nature – and I believe his nature is one of integrity and honesty. God is not playing hide and seek with us; the Bible proclaims that he is a God who reveals himself clearly for who he is, and Paul says he reveals some of that (namely, his eternal power and divine nature) through his creation and that is ‘clearly perceived’ using human reason (which is all an unregenerate person has to perceive with).

          • I see what you are saying, but I don’t personally think it would be dishonest on God’s part if hypothetically he created a star appearing to be 50,000 years old according to his own laws of nature, when in fact it is only 25,000 years old.

            I definitely don’t want to put words in your mouth, but for the sake of discussion, I think you believe that God purposefully created the laws of nature to be completely reliable, specifically to communicate to humans that God himself is completely reliable. And you also seem to believe that God intended humans to fully trust in the laws of nature, as an extension of their trust in God.

            If this were the case, it would seem to be a moral failing on God’s part if the inconsistency in the age of the star scenario actually occurred.

            I do think that nature is amazingly reliable, and I do think that God made it that way. And that reliability is a wonderful blessing to us humans in countless ways.

            But my personal view is that God’s eternal power and divine nature as described in Romans mean that he can supersede the laws of nature when he chooses. The obvious example is a miracle, which people often respond to with worship of God, rather than a sense that God was dishonest. Because the creation of the universe was so strongly a divine and supernatural phenomenon — like a miracle, but magnified exponentially beyond comprehension (my little attempt at poetry) — I am especially open to the idea that it superseded natural laws.

            So if someday science were able to tell us “Exactly 1 billion, two million, three hundred thousand, two hundred and sixty years old. That is how old the universe is,” I would still be open to the idea that the God did not actually create the universe that number of years ago. Depending on how solid the science seemed to me, I would probably wonder why God would make that appear so plain to me, and yet it still be possibly not true. But I think I would also remind myself that I am talking about the creation of the universe. Not a natural phenomenon like the sprouting of a new tree, or the hatching of a creature from an egg.

            (Just my personal view. I don’t want to attribute something to God authoritatively when it is just my view,) I don’t think God intends us to determine the time of the creation reliably through science. I think we can consider what science says about it. I think it may well line up with science in many ways. But I don’t think we can necessarily work our way backwards to the creation through purely natural means.

  32. “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, . . . Or who shut in the sea with doors, . . . When I fixed My limint for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’

    Have you commanded the morning since your days began; and caused the dawn to know its place, . . .

    Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? . . . Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

    Where is the way to the dwelling of the light? And darkness, where is its place, . . . do you know it, because you were born then, or because the number of your days is great?

    Have you entered the treasure of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth?

    Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? . . .

    Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out the Constellations in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinaces of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? . . .

    Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox . . . He is the first of the ways of God; . . .

    Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, . . . Everything under heaven is Mine.” From Job 38-41

    If this is not God talking–if this is only poetry or allegory or whatever–than I am undone. I have not been to seminary to learn how to read the Bible. Maybe the blessed Reformers who died to bring God’s Word to untrained laypeople, were wrong. (But I don’t think so.)

    Thank you for letting me contribute anyway.

    • The fact that you haven’t ever gone looking for the doors at the end of the sea (and wouldn’t, because you’re sensible) kind of gives away the fact that you consider this poetry or allegory or whatever, too.

      It’s quite a speech. So what’s wrong with that?

      • Actually I don’t consider it poetry or allegory or whatever, too.

        “The text indicates that the events of Job occurred in the land of Uz. That Job was the greatest among the people of the East, indicating that Job lived east of the Jordan River. Some have concluded that Uz was located in Syria or northwest Mesopatamia. Many of the proper names in the Book occur in the genealogy of Esau, the father of the Edomites. . . .

        Job was a real man, in a real place, in a real time. God allowed Satan to have his way with Job. When all was over, Job’s life was restored to him better than it was before. God spoke to him in a real place and a real time.

        The point of the documentation is that Satan was contending that there is an automatic connection between one’s spirituality and prosperity on earth. “The Lord declared Himself completely sovereign. He is not obligated to bless those who obey Him. All His actions are based on His gracious nature and His own free will. Satan’s challenge that prosperity is connected to people’s goodness, and consequently that people’s suffering is connected to their sin.”

        “The Book of Job teaches that the Lord is not bound to anyone’s preconceived theological system. In His speech God lowers Himself to Job’s level in order to answer Job’s questions. In the process, He reveals to all people that He is completely free, but also truly good. He is the sovereign and benevolent Creator who continues to determine the course of the universe according to His own hidden plan.” (Notes from The Nelson Study Bible, NKJV)”

        That is what I believe.

    • Why are you undone if it is not literal? It’s still truth.

      • Possibly because I should not even be reading the Bible if I cannot interpret what I am reading correctly because of lack of professional training. Like when the Church wanted to keep the Bible out of the laymen’s hands because they would not understand it. I have had good “laymens” teaching from my church, which I wouldn’t trade for anything. But I have had no “higher” education. I am simple.

    • Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, . . . Or who shut in the sea with doors, . . . When I fixed My limint for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’

      If this is not God talking–if this is only poetry or allegory or whatever–than I am undone.

      The question is not whether Job is poetic or allegorical. The question is whether this language is poetical or allegorical. That sure sounds poetic to me. Do you really believe this is a scientific description? Does the earth have a foundation with pillars (bases) sunk into the oceans to support it? That’s literally what the Hebrew says. (Job 38:4-6) Are there literal doors and bars that hold back the oceans? Were the oceans born and did they come forth from a womb? Were they literally wrapped in swaddling clothes? (Job 38:8-11) Are there literal storehouses where the snow and hail are stored up before they are poured out? (Job 38:22-23) Were/are ice and frost literally brought forth from a womb? (Job 38:29)

      Certainly God is telling Job there are things beyond human understanding (in very poetic language), but the things beyond human understanding in Job are not scientific things (though in his day they didn’t know where ice and hail were ‘born’ – but we do now!), but the problem of suffering and God’s will and his justice. To apply that as a cart-blanche statement that we shouldn’t try to understand things about nature or God and his revelation (whether ‘natural’ revelation or ‘special revelation’ – as found in his Word) because they are beyond our present understanding is anit-intellectualism and anti-theologicalism at its worst.

      This is the worldview of the ancient Hebrews:

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XAakLKI3wRs/S3WidTbq8eI/AAAAAAAAACM/ZWvA3YA2pVs/s1600-h/enns.ane.bmp

      No offence intended, but is this how you understand the world in which we live? If it isn’t then you really don’t believe the description in Job 38 is scientic either.

      • I should add (for fear of being branded a heretic – I’m at least a happy heretic) that just because something isn’t literal doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Is Jesus literally a vine and are we literally branches? Of course not – that is figurative language, but it expresses a literal truth – we are utterly dependent on him. Did got literally sink the pillars of the earth into the oceans? Of course not. Some people have ‘walked in the recesses of the deep and they have found no pillars. :-) It is poetic language, said in light of the worldview of the ancient readers (and of course, a historical Job) to assert that God is the creator of all things (and that some things are, and always will be, beyond our ability to fathom).

      • Greg–thank you for pointing to the difference between poetry and poetical language. I agree with you. Sometimes I use too many words and my point gets lost. I didn’t site this passage as “scientific.” My point was: “He is the sovereign and benevolent Creator who continues to determine the course of the universe according to His own hidden plan.” God referred to Himself as the Creator and Sustainer of all life.

        I explained my opposition to evolution that says one source mutating until now has produced all life on this earth.

        Thank you for your comments.

  33. A theme of this discussion is the age of the universe. There seem to be a number of assumptions about the age of the universe, such as:

    There is a simple point in time that marks the beginning of the universe.

    A certain amount of natural things came into being at that simple point in time, and every natural thing that exists today, and that has ever existed in the past, was derived from those things that were at the beginning, and was derived through natural means (maybe with a few supernatural miracles thrown in.)

    All those natural things that came into being at the beginning of the universe were in some sort of natural genetic state. For instance if the thing was a chicken, it would have come into being as an egg (Wait, that sounds familiar. Have I heard something like that before?) If the thing was a molecule, it would have begun in the same state in which a new molecule begins today (Whatever that is. I have to admit I have little knowledge of that science.)

    But why do we assume any or all of these things? Did time exist before the beginning of the universe, or did the creation of time coincide with the creation of the universe? I don’t know the answer. But if time did not exist before the creation of the universe, why would we assume we understand how the transition from no-time to time would look like? Why would we assume it is a simple point in time, based upon which the universe has an age?

  34. I think Christians absolutely need to continue engaging in the dialog. Mankind’s eternal destiny and the judgement to come are the real issues in the sciences! If there is no creator and originator of it all, then man is a free agent and his own God! We believe there is one creator of all science and mankind alone is made in His divine image and called to a loving, obedient relationship to Him.

    Let me hasten to clearly state that the theory of evolution when defined as: The theory of adaptation – and change – within living species over time, is plausible. What is at debate is the theory of the origin of life and the distinct species. The radix.

    Unfortunately Charlie Darwin did not write a thesis called: “The adaptation of the Species.” His postulation was on: “The Origin of The Species.” All branches of science agree and adhere to the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and entropy. All except the science of Biology. Why?

    Systems (both organic and in-organic) tend to unravel and wind down. They get more chaotic, they do not evolve or get more complex on their own and certainly not without design/information and added energy. Our institutions want us to believe these fundamental principles work for Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry but not for Biology and not for life???!!!

    The prize is the souls of men and women! If life is just the product of a random sequence of events and it all came from “nothingness” and is going into “nothingness” then we can eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

    The Word of God states:

    Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment.

    Marc – Canada

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Is this a veiled threat of Hellfire & Damnation?

      • No threat intended.

        God by His loving Spirit instructs all mankind through many means – even the creation and sciences (Psa 97:6) – of his ways and principles of holiness. Mankind is called into a vibrant loving relationships with both the Creator all things and with our fellow-humans.

        The Word of God clearly states that everyone’s life (thoughts and deeds) will be judged by God at the end of the ages. It’s God’s standard that will be the test and everyone will be rewarded according to each individual’s thoughts, choices and actions.

        Act 10:42, 17:31; Rom 2:16; 1Cor. 4:5; 2Ti 4:, 4:8; Hbr 12:23; Matt 5,6,7; 1Cor 3:8, 3:14; 2Pe 2:13; 2John 1:8; Rev 22:12.

        Peace.

        Marc – Canada

  35. After reading through this thread, I can see that just about every single person has missed the point. Waltke argues that not accepting evolution isolates Evangelicals from society, and makes us cultish. What he fails to realize is that trying to find a mediated position (be in Old Earth Creationism, Directed Evolution, or whatever), makes us more isolated & appear more cultish.

    In the eyes of evolutionists, it is proof that Evangelicals know that the science is right, but are unwilling to accept the inevitable conclusions of that science.

    Theistic Evolution is an ad hoc argument without weight. The evolutionists know that. The creationists know that. The only people who don’t seem to understand that are those poor fence sitters who want to please everyone.

    • I disagree. The argument that arose here seems to be between a process of researching the natural world for the purpose of improving life and, finite humans reading the Word that God has given us which is a faith process directed by the Holy Spirit. The supernatural is unproveable unless God gives a miracle. Science is tested and proveble. It is like trying to mix oil and water. I respect Dr. Waltke’s thoughts. I understand what he is tryting to say. But if Christianity is declared a “cult.” Then I’m afraid that I belong to one. I do not like to argue. I know how little I know. All I can say is the faith I have is very simple, and I take the word at face value.

      I also fear the misuse of the teachings of evolution based on history. If the meaning of evolution is that God did not create man and all life, and we evolved by chance from nothing, then Hitler was right. Man is not created in the image of God. And, God does not even exist. The fear of creationists is atheism.

      The debate became divided. I don’t think we missed the point. I think some of us disagreed with it. But each of us chose a side. And I believe that it will always be this way. Ultimately, there will be no resolution to this conflict. Until God tells us what it is when we get on the other side.

      But if good and wise men, at the right place and the right time, can come up with an evolutionary resolution that is true and that does not eliminate God. Wonderful. I can be there.

  36. PedalingParson says:

    It isn’t the data that points to evolution, it is the interpretation of that data. Once again it is a hermeneutical issue driven by a godless worldview. As much as I appreciate so much of what Waltke has to say on other issues, he is out to lunch here. At the end of the day he seems embarrassed by the implications of being out of step with the world. He seems ashamed of the gospel.

    • No, he is ashamed of a Christianity that is unwilling to examine itself in the light of compelling evidence and stay in the discussion, rather than simply putting its fingers in its ears and decrying the darkness.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Since when has The Gospel come to mean Young Earth Creationism?

      Is this some Christianese Newspeak I’m not familiar with?

  37. Excellent video! Bruce Sanguin explores what a robust evolutionary Christianity would look like, today on the KedgeForward Blog.

  38. Blindly accepting what the high priests of Science stick in our face, Waltke wants us to actually stop all real interaction, while scaring us in the process. My Bible says we’ll be hated by all, so I’d rather do good exegesis and let the chips fall where they may, and if in the process Evolution is shown to be a huge Escapist Triumphalist Sham, so much the better.

  39. The idea that any large number of Christians in the past believed in a “flat earth” is a myth. For a general reference read the article on Wikipedia: Myth of the Flat Earth. For a book specifically on the topic read Inventing the Flat Earth. For a more recent book containing refutations of the flat earth myth and some other myths given by the original poster and expanded on in the comments here read Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion. There are other books on the topic and listed in the notes to the Wikipedia article but I just wanted to list those I am familiar with.

    Christians today need to understand more of their own history and also understood that Romans 1:18 explains that unbelievers suppress the truth. In other words everything you hear from science or even your teacher in school should be suspect when it contradicts what God says in his word. Using a myth (flat earth, etc.) to convince Christians to disbelieve a supposed myth (a supposed myth that seems to be exactly what the Bible says) is not only bad theology but bad science too.

  40. Lyn Perez says:

    Bruce comments on the video recently posted.

    From Bruce:

    1. I had not seen the video before it was distributed. Having seen it now, I realize its deficiency and wish to put my comments in a fuller theological context.

    2. Adam and Eve are historical figures from whom all humans are descended; they are uniquely created in the image of God and as such are not in continuum with animals.

    3. Adam is the federal and historical head of the fallen human race just as Jesus Christ is the federal and historical head of the Church.

    4. I am not a scientist, but I have familiarized myself with attempts to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with science, and I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position. I apologize for giving the impression that others who seek to harmonize the two differently are not credible. I honor all who contend for the Christian faith.

    5. Evolution as a process must be clearly distinguished from evolutionism as a philosophy. The latter is incompatible with orthodox Christian theology.

    6. Science is fallible and subject to revision. As a human and social enterprise, science will always be in flux. My first commitment is to the infallibility (as to its authority) and inerrancy (as to its Source) of Scripture.

    7. God could have created the Garden of Eden with apparent age or miraculously, even as Christ instantly turned water into wine, but the statement that God “caused the trees to grow” argues against these notions.

    8. I believe that the Triune God is Maker and Sustainer of heaven and earth and that biblical Adam is the historical head of the human race.

    9. Theological comments made here are mostly a digest of my chapters on Genesis 1-3 in An Old Testament Theology (Zondervan, 2007).

    Bruce Waltke, Professor of Old Testament
    Reformed Theological Seminary “

  41. Waltke was forced to resign from RTS over this video:

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/04/09/video