Are young earth creationists actually leading people away from the Gospel? This is not necessarily the argument that made by Vance McAllister at the Euangelion blog, but he does bring up some very good points. In a blog well entitled “Creation v. Evolution: the danger of misplaced dogmatism,” Vance challenges readers to consider the debate from a more philosophical perspective. He writes:  

I want to remove the stumbling block to the Gospel message that is being created by a dogmatic presentation of Creationism. Not the belief in a young earth and creation without evolution per se, but the “either/or” teaching that comes with it. I am not here to argue for an old earth or evolution, necessarily, but against the false dichotomy that so often comes along with Creationism. More and more people are being taught that an old earth/evolution and Christianity are wholly inconsistent and that if you believe one, you can not really believe the other. Such a blanket statement puts two very distinct groups in crisis and I am convinced that souls are being lost to the Kingdom as a result. This may sound a bit over-dramatic, but I have seen too many people distracted from the Gospel message by this issue.

I really don’t think it sounds over dramatic at all. In fact, for a long time I was one of these people. I can still remember the names and faces of those whom I have encountered in the past with whom this became the dividing issue. I would present the “Gospel of the Young Earth.” Sometimes I would not even get to Christ. Yes, I was a dogmatic young earther. Why? Because that is what all Christians are. You believe that Christ rose from the grave and your believe in a young earth. Well, if only I could redeem the time with those people.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t have this issue figured out. In fact, I don’t talk about this issue much unless it is trying to help people (both young earthers and old earthers) see that it is not quite as cut-and-dry as people like to make it.

I agree with Vance. He tells of a (the?) major danger of “the Gospel of the Young Earth” with regards to young people:

First, there are Christians, especially young people, who have been raised in a dogmatic Creationist households or attend such a church, and have been taught that evolution, or even an old earth, are evil and absolutely contrary to Scripture. That if you believe Scripture, you can not also believe in these “lies”. They are taught that those who do believe both are deluded or compromising Christians, probably not even worthy of the name of Christian. They are taught these as absolute truths, rather than one interpretation among the many that sincere Christians hold. These young people are ingrained with this teaching and accept it fully. Then they come into contact with the scientific evidence and begin to suspect that evolution or an old earth scientific might actually be supported by the evidence. This creates a severe crisis of faith. They have been taught that if evolution or an old earth were true, then the atheists are right and the Bible can not be trusted and God did not create everything after all. I have seen this crisis in action. I have discussed this matter with those who either had abandoned Christianity or were about to because of this dogmatic teaching, and did my best to explain to them that the conflict was not inherent and that they could, indeed, believe in both. Most did not even know that there were Christians who accepted evolution, which shows how sheltered their lives had been.

 Thoughts?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    181 replies to "The Gospel of the Young Earth"

    • Vance

      Oh, and I provided the names of two ANTI-evolutionists who I think really DO discuss the matter reasonably and thoroughly, even if I disagree with their conclusions in many areas.

    • Don

      At the risk of inflaming the situation, I don’t think that this issue should be thought of in terms of individuals getting hung up on the issue and so not coming to Christ. You can argue that there are many who would not, and are not, have come to Christ until this issue was dealt with. The question should also not be isolated from wider questions of hermeneutics and the relationship between Christianity and the wider culture, especially modernism and post-modernism. I would like to make the following points:
      1. Most, perhaps all, Christians are not fully consistent in their thinking. They hold together positions which are in reality contradictory. That we do this however does mean such issues are not important. They lead to other errors and even if we do not see it, others do and walk away.
      2. At the level of society in general and the history of the gospel in the West over the past 150 years or so, evolutionary thought has established a huge barrier to people coming to faith in Christ. It is one of the principal reasons Christianity at the public debate level has little or no credibility in the eyes of the world. We can believe it at a private level, or for its benefits, but can make no public claim to it being true. This applies to both modernism and post-modernism which share the same foundation at this point.
      3. It is easily demonstrable that interpretations of Genesis 1 have been largely guided by priority being given to the truth of evolution, and that such an approach to scripture has not stopped there but has influenced all the central doctrines of Christianity for those (as a group, not necessarily as individuals) who have committed themselves to this approach. This battle is still raging in all sorts of areas that on the surface have nothing to do with Genesis 1.
      4. It is wrong to claim that there is no contradiction between Christianity and evolution. Evolution, as a theory, does not need God, indeed it rejects his presence. It is why for people like Gould and Hawkins, despite the massive problems, know that evolution is true, because there is no alternative. It is an apriori position. The fact that some want to marry the two as if there is no problem only shows just how good we are at holding contradictory positions together.
      5. No, no particular view of Genesis 1 is needed for salvation, neither is it an issue for everyone, nor should it be raised with everyone. However, as an in house issue, it has very wide ramifications and should not be ignored.
      6. One of the useful insights of post-modernism, and there are some, is that even science is done from a particular perspective which limits its truth claims. Secular science is not and can not be neutral. Change the perspective and it is amazing how the evidence can be read in another way. This is why the Bible must take precedence because it alone has the true perspective because it comes from the only one who really is neutral, because only he knows everything and only he was there when it happened because he did it.
      7. Finally, someone above said that the scientific evidence fits a developmental scheme perfectly. I am sorry, but you have no idea what you are talking about. Go home and do your homework!

    • C Michael Patton

      I am with you on number six.

    • tnahas

      Amen Don!

    • Hawke

      GJG wrote:
      “Thanks Hawke – no offense taken. I get the sense that you are not satisfied with either the YEC or OEC approach. If so, then I think you might be on to something because they are really just two sides of the same coin. That coin is called “concordanism” – the view that somehow the Bible, although written in pre-scientific times to a non-scientific audience, is supposed to contain information about the “heavens and the earth” as understood by modern 21st century Christians.”

      Actually, I am not fully satisfied that either camp fully grasps the culture of the time of the writing (not that I do either). Some may want to think that everything the Bible applies to us today, in which I would say, no it does not. Some may say the message was hidden until a certain era, I would not necessarily agree with that either. I do not believe that Genesis was intended to be taken as a scientific-over-analyzed view of how God created the heavens and earth and various life forms. I take the Genesis account serious, but I do not push or over-extend an Occidentalized view of the scripture in that sense. When the Bible is silent or there exists some vague concepts, I believe that we should leave them as such. I am not stating that anyone here is pushing the Bible to speak outside itself, but that I am skeptical when some say that they have a special revelation (or hidden meaning-Gnosis) on the interpretation (in other forums of course, not the folks here).

      I do not believe that Genesis was intended to be a detailed report, but a simple synopsis. My view is that the ANE culture at that time would not have fully understood what we do now, and they would not necessarily think that people (Gentiles-non Hebrew) would have been reading their writings today (although God would). By that, I mean that I do not believe that God would have allowed oral tradition/scripture to be overly-confusing to the people at the time of Genesis even before the actual penning of the account. I think that it was written in relevancy to the people of the time. Do some of the teachings apply to us; of course, they do in many ways. I think one really needs to be familiar with the setting in which the text was written to fully understand the writings in general. Some writings do will not warrant the use of literary forms or study of genre, but some will.

      I think some here forget that Scientists have what they call peer-review. There is an overwhelming amount of confusion about evolution on the internet. I do not believe that a theory is necessarily able to be proven emphatically, but it does have facts involved to support the theory. I think the science community is careful on its findings, however like most things today the hyper-liberal view seems to be the most published (e.g. Dawkins). I have heard many scientists comment that they were appalled by Dawkins behavior. I do not think he does science any favors when he touts his loud atheism. As the motto goes, “no one will care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This is not limited to science but to anti-Christians as well (e.g. Christ-mythers, such as Gerald Massey, Godfrey Higgins, or Freke and Gandy).

      Hopefully that came across with humility?

      CJG your book looks interesting, and I will have to purchase a copy. Thanks for the discussion about evolution and OEC.

      Dennis

    • Gordon J. Glover

      I’m with you on number eight.

      I know I should be working right now, but I can’t resist the urge to respond to our brother Don. His view of the natural sciences (point#4 above) is very common among Christians, and is one of the main reasons this debate continues.

      Let me ask some rhetorical question to try and illustrate my point: According to your view of science, what would you think about the science of meteorology – that is, trying to explain the weather without referece to the creator of heaven and earth – who, as Jeremiah tells us, causes the clouds to ascend from the ends of the earth and sends rain and lighting? Are all meteorologists atheists, or is it possilbe to accept the the theological truth that God is sovereign over all things (including the atmosphere), and yet still attempt to explain it all in terms of natural forces?

      And what about medicine? We know from the Psalmist that it is God who “heals our deseases” – so what of these doctors who rely soley on natural cause and effect to treat our physical ailments? Is it possible to believe the theological truth that God is sovereign over our health, and yet still attempt to explain it all in terms of natural forces?

      Why then, is there such a “controversy” when christian biologists, who believe the theological truth that God created us from the dust of the earth and fearfully and wonderfully knit us together in our mothers wombs, also attempt to follow the forensic trail of clues as to how God accomplished this? And why would you charge them with ignoring the Creator and Sustainer of the universe just becasue they seek to explain the available evidence in terms of natural forces? While at the same time, giving a pass to doctors and meteorologists for doing exactly the same thing?

      -GJG

    • Hawke

      Response to Don on 12 Sep 2007 at 3:14 am

      Post # 152: (my response-or lack of, below each point)

      “1. Most, perhaps all, Christians are not fully consistent in their thinking. They hold together positions which are in reality contradictory. That we do this however does mean such issues are not important. They lead to other errors and even if we do not see it, others do and walk away.”

      My Response: I would agree with this for the most part, and this is not just limited to Christians either. To err is human, and to find someone that is and has been 100% consistent in his or her thinking for his or her entire life would be most likely nil. I do believe that is why one must look at all sides (one’s that are valid through logic of course). Self-evaluation is one of the hardest disciplines, thank God for TTP!

      “2. At the level of society in general and the history of the gospel in the West over the past 150 years or so, evolutionary thought has established a huge barrier to people coming to faith in Christ. It is one of the principal reasons Christianity at the public debate level has little or no credibility in the eyes of the world. We can believe it at a private level, or for its benefits, but can make no public claim to it being true. This applies to both modernism and post-modernism which share the same foundation at this point.”

      My Response: The Scopes Monkey trial is still debated today, what could have been said to better represent both sides. I think the issue of people not coming to the faith in Christ goes beyond the scope of evolutionary thought. For those Calvinists (In which I agree) no one comes to the LORD unless he allows him or her through Christ. Why people leave Christianity is of course one of the major research projects for many such as Barna. Are people influenced by what they hear, I would say yes. I think that discernment comes with age and listening to numerous faceted viewpoints. Emotions are difficult to control especially when coming to Christianity or Science for that matter. I do believe peer-review works on both sides of the fence to keep things accountable. To that effect, I do not think that Dawkins comments about/against Christianity are even considered by Christian theologian/scholars; they merely dust off their sandals and keep going.

      “3. It is easily demonstrable that interpretations of Genesis 1 have been largely guided by priority being given to the truth of evolution, and that such an approach to scripture has not stopped there but has influenced all the central doctrines of Christianity for those (as a group, not necessarily as individuals) who have committed themselves to this approach. This battle is still raging in all sorts of areas that on the surface have nothing to do with Genesis 1.”

      My Response: That could be. In fact, some of the approaches could have (although not necessarily) been merely a knee-jerk response to certain individuals or groups (Luther, Calvin, early forms of Protestants in general, not to exclude Arius and Athanasius). Some will divide over the most simplistic non-essential ideals, after all emotions are valid, but not necessarily a defacto standard to finding truth.

      “4. It is wrong to claim that there is no contradiction between Christianity and evolution. Evolution, as a theory, does not need God, indeed it rejects his presence. It is why for people like Gould and Hawkins, despite the massive problems, know that evolution is true, because there is no alternative. It is an apriori position. The fact that some want to marry the two as if there is no problem only shows just how good we are at holding contradictory positions together.”

      My Response: I would agree with your claim as to some that state “to not allow a divine foot in the door” as the saying goes. But is that really the majority view of all scientists? I would say no. Dawkins philosophy could be based upon an apriori position, but all science is based upon philosophy, and surely Christianity makes use of philosophy, therefore we cannot throw out philosophy. But I say Dawkins, while being a highly regarded evolutionist, which not all scientists agree with his philosophy against Christianity. On the internet there seems to be this rumor of a qualifying statement that must be made before becoming a scientist (e.g. whether it’s for a meteorologist accepting a global warming concept to insure future funding or not). I have no idea if such a thing exists for them or any other pre-agreements that need to be made before becoming a certified scientist in order to receive funding, I cannot really say. As far as there being no alternative for Dawkins other than evolution, that might be true philosophically speaking. To know that God does not exist one would have to be omniscient, and omnipresent. One could perceive a conclusion based upon a deductive argument but of course, the omniscient and omnipresent claims must also be validities. This is why some state there are no real-atheists. Surely, one can prove a negative, or else a positive could never be fully reached (e.g. Dawkins is not a Christian).

      “5. No, no particular view of Genesis 1 is needed for salvation, neither is it an issue for everyone, nor should it be raised with everyone. However, as an in house issue, it has very wide ramifications and should not be ignored.”

      My Response: Ken Ham seems very adamant about this very thing. Historically, I imagine it could hold some merit, but does it really matter–the age of the earth? I think that some do push evolution as an option against a theistic view (not solely a Christian worldview mind you) and some uniformed atheists will lay claim to this as their crutch so to speak. Is it really a huge issue? Is the age of the earth a sine qua non that one must uphold as an essential? Scripture is not that specific in this area IMO. If it is, I really need to update my index page on my website. Is the one seeking the truth really being honest with the data, not allowing an apriori or presuppositions, I believe that is the question. Although, not necessarily saying that presuppositions are invalid in and of themselves.

      “6. One of the useful insights of post-modernism, and there are some, is that even science is done from a particular perspective which limits its truth claims. Secular science is not and can not be neutral. Change the perspective and it is amazing how the evidence can be read in another way. This is why the Bible must take precedence because it alone has the true perspective because it comes from the only one who really is neutral, because only he knows everything and only he was there when it happened because he did it.

      My Response: I agree that Science is based upon a philosophy that may not be fully neutral in all aspects. Modernism is similar to the positivist view of science, in which one seeks to understand the world well enough so one might predict and control it (laws of cause and effect). Post-Modernism is similar to a Post-positivist view in which would simply reject a positivist’s philosophy on grounds that no one can see the world perfectly (or that could be vice-versa). I do often wonder if the secular scientists would view the Bible as a possibility. For Christian Scientists, they should put the Bible first, but I have a feeling that some of them may not put forth such an emphasis. I think this is where I was commenting earlier on the issue of YEC/OEC in how I am stuck somewhere in the middle. Maybe it’s that soft-skeptic in me coming out again.

      “7. Finally, someone above said that the scientific evidence fits a developmental scheme perfectly. I am sorry, but you have no idea what you are talking about. Go home and do your homework!”

      My Response: Hmmm, I must have missed that comment. I think we all could use a sensitivity training class (esp. those in the apologetics field). I am not sure about perfectly because I have no concept of any human (other than Christ) thought, theory, or actions being perfect–both camps/sides considered. No need for a response, just my thoughts spoken aloud.

    • Vance

      Don, I agree with Hawke, but I would add a few more thoughts.

      I agree that Christians are often inconsistent in their thinking, but that holds true of both sides of this issue equally, so I am not sure it is really relevant.

      The theory of evolution is not what causes people to abandon their faith, it is the belief that evolution contradicts Scripture. If they cling tightly to a reading of Scripture that requires such a contradiction, but then come to see that the evidence is very strong for it, that will cause a crisis of faith. While the Creationist resolution of this is to then insist that evolution IS wrong, and thus allow themselves to continue to cling to their particular reading of Scripture, I think this is a very dangerous approach. Not so much on an individual level, but at the level of presenting it dogmatically, as something that MUST be true. This then creates a stumbling-block for those who DO accept evolution.

      As for why we read Scripture differently, I am living proof that it is not always how you describe it. I came to my reading of Genesis at a time when I still did not accept evolution. I got a degree in ancient history and it became pretty clear to me that the strict fundamentalist reading of Genesis was just wrong. I realized then that Genesis 1 and 2 did not actually say anything about the mechanics or timing of how God created, so I could then go and consider the science without any presuppositions. And, without any presuppositions, the evidence is pretty dramatic.

      I think the concept of how perspective changes conclusions in science is massively overstated. The scientific community is SO diverse and full of different perspectives that, while that is a good sound-bite, I don’t think it holds up under scrutiny on major issues. The age of the earth and evolution are perfect examples. These concepts are accepted by scientists of all different worldviews and approaches. The very large majority of scientists who are Christians accept them, and you could never say that their worldview was causing them to lean in the wrong direction.

      It is very true that every scientist comes with their own biases and philosophies and those will necessarily spill over into how they go about their work. Complete objectivity is impossible. But it is not an absolute constant among scientists, either, there are degrees of subjectivity, and thus the danger of error from that subjectivity. Who are the two groups who are most strongly allow their presuppositions to influence their scientific conclusions, the way they view the evidence? The militant atheistic scientists who WANT the evidence to damage Christianity and the Creation scientists who WANT the evidence to support their presuppositions. I will say that at least the creation scientists are more honest about this since they admit that they are starting with these presuppositions, and will not be budged from them no matter what the evidence says. But that does not change the fact that they are not being objective. Most scientists fall in between these two extremes, and are able to be more objective.

    • tnahas

      Vance,

      At every step of the way, you continually refer to the evidence. As you would know the evidence of evolution would never stand up in court since there would not be a finding of fact based on a theory even if it is the most probable theory. It is a theory since no one has put the earth in a lab and determined how fast it ages over time or any animal etc etc. The Christian faith is a supernatural event that takes place when the Holy Spirit regenerates us and then any “evidence” has to be measured against that faith.

      Now the Christian faith fundamentally built upon the resurrection of our Lord can be proven in court of law based on eye witness accounts etc. But you still would need to be regenerated even to belive evidence in court!!

      As for the “facts” of evolution its only a theory even if it a plausible one. As you also know the sciences books get rewritten every five years or so while Scripture has remined in tact even after the Dead Sea scrolls were found.

      (trying to get the last word but you keep replying lollllll!)

    • Gordon J. Glover

      Actually, the evidence for evolution did stand up in court. See Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The chief witness for the defense was Dr. Kenneth Miller, a Christian biologists who wrote the book, “Finding Darwin’s God”.

      Your view of what constitutes evidence is strange. I’m assuming that it is just your opinion since it is quite contrary to what actually happens in court rooms everyday. Perhaps you should read up stuff before making such definitive statements. Eyewitness accounts are probably the LEAST reliable evidence. Time after time, it has been proven that eyewitness accounts are subject to so many factors, that they are rarely solely relied upon as evidence. In fact, any lawyer would much rather build his case on forensic evidence than eyewitness testimony.

      For instance, if a rape victim – who suffered intense trauma and strees – “identified” her victim, that would be a good place to start. But if her eyewitness testimony is coroborated by DNA evidence, then it’s an open and shut case (unless you live LA and the killer is OJ). On the other hand, if the DNA evidence exonerates the accused, then the eyewitness testimony means nothing. So for you to dismiss the forensic evidence of evolution, because there were no eyewitness, but then claim that a miraculous event with only eyewitness accounts (which I also accept by faith) would stand up court is, well – strange to say the least (but you are entitled to your opinions).

      If you wake up tomorrow morning, and it’s 25 degrees and there is snow outside your window, that IS legitamate evidence that it snowed overnight. You don’t have actually watch it fall from the sky to know this beyond a reasonable doubt.

      So what does the DNA evidence say about evolution? Watch this video, which was part of Dr. Miller’s testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover and decide for yourself! Then ask yourself if any this makes sense apart from an evolutionary interpretation of the data? I look forward to your comments after you watch it.

      -GJG

    • Vance

      tnahas,

      I think you are misunderstanding how science works. There is not a ladder of truth, in which hypothesis is at the bottom, then theory, then fact at the top. Scientific theories are never proven, since they are not the same as facts. Facts are just data, things that happen, things we see, or evidence we have of things we don’t see. That data can be proven to exist or not. A theory is just an explanation of the data that we see before us. A theory is never something that is proven, it is just held with a degree of certainty depending on the evidence and how well it explains the evidence. And, most theories get “falsified”, which means it is shown that it does not work, at which point it is either abandoned, or adjusted to fit, if that can be done without still being falsified. That is science and it works pretty well.

      Some theories are SO well supported by the evidence, and explain the evidence so well, it rises to a very high degree of confidence. Like “germ theory” or the “theory of gravity”. These have never been proven, since you can’t really prove a theory.

      What you really want to say is that it is a weak theory, not that it is a theory that has not been proven (which makes no sense). You would say that there are too many things about the theory that are left unexplained or you think just don’t work. I would disagree, but that is fine, the point is that it has not yet been falsfied. And that is important, since people have been trying to falsify it for 150 years, but have not been able to. It is still the best explanation for the data that we have. Until there is a viable alternative, it will remain the current explanation of the data. And, even if the Darwinian model is shown to be unworkable, as the ID scientists say, you are still left with the data that has to be explained. And, nothing that the creationists have come up with has been able to stand up to scrutiny. Even the ID scientists, like Behe and Denton and Ross, would say that it is a simple fact that the universe and this planet is billions of years old. They are entirely convinced of that, even if they are completely anti-evolution. So, we have to have an explanation for how all of the species developed over all that time, in a seemingly progressive manner.

      Still, I have no problem at all, though, with anyone wanting to argue whether it is a weak theory or a strong one, although I have an opinion on that. I am much more concerned with how those opinions impact Christianity. If it is something that we all may be wrong about, then we had best be careful about making dogmatic theological statements which could present a stumbling-block.

    • tnahas

      Gordon,

      Thanks for the law class, but my point is that you say evolution has forensic evidence which I say is foolishness since it is only theoretical. DNA is not but juries can fickle like OJ as you pointed out.

      The eye witness accounts of the gospel records are forensic evidence because the witnesses agree but an unbeliever, like a bad jury, would still argue against the evidence since they believe the gospel writers concocted their stories.

      Suffice to say that I can’t reconcile evolution with YEC or OEC and beside none of the questions posited earlier like sin, death, redemption, restoration and the whole framework of Scripture has been answered by evolutions nor ever will be.

    • tnahas

      oops “evolution” (last line)

    • Vance

      Actually, the evidence for evolutionary development is anything but theoretical. The evidence is hard, physical evidence. All that is theoretical is the explanation, and even that is not just blind theory, it is based ON the evidence, and has been tested in many, many ways. For example, we have seen new species evolve.

      I would urge you to read this fairly short essay, written by a Christian for Christians, regarding the evidence we are talking about. If you read that all the way through, and say the same things you have said above, I will be very surprised. But you can prove me wrong! I am not saying it will convince you, but at least it will let you know what the claimed evidence is in the first place.

      http://community.berea.edu/scienceandfaith/essay05.asp

    • Gordon J. Glover

      I’m not a lawyer, and am not qualified to give “law classes” but this is common knowledge that I am sharing with you.

      DNA evidence that identifies a rapist with a very hight degree (ie: beyond a reasonable doubt) can be ignored by juries, just like the forensic evidence that corroborates the story of evoluion is ignored by so many. All I want you to acknowledge is that this evidence exists. I wanted to know what you thought about the youtube video. How would you respond to such evidence? Do you let “OJ walk” so to speak?

      Eyewitness accounts are indeed evidence, but they are almost always considered LESS RELIABLE than scientific evidence. Rarely to cases stand or fall on eyewitness accounts. Have you ever head the phrase, “He said/she said”? Scientific evidence is much more difficult to refute than personal testimony. But I never said personal testimony wasn’t valid.

      And lastly, evolution, as a tentative explanation of the facts of natural history (ie: a scientific theory isn’t supposed to answer theological questions. If that is your expectation of the natural sciences, you will disappointed every time. Just like the Medieval Christians who couldn’t reconcile man’s speical status as the epitome of God’s creation with the heliocentric universe, which downgraded earth to a mere planet traveling around the sun. The reality revealed by science does not always fit our theological expectations, but such is the nature of science. Moreover, if natural revelation was sufficient to answer theological questions, then God would not have provided us His Word, which IS timeless truth for all generations (as opposed to the shifting sands of scientific theories).

      Let science answer the scientific questions, and let the Scriptures answer the theological questions. Sometimes the line between the two can be blurry, and there is where we must exercise humility.

    • Marvin the Martian

      For example, we have seen new species evolve.

      Please give examples of this.

    • Vance

      Well, even AiG has finally accepted that we have observed the formation of new species (it is part of their “arguments we used to use, but don’t think are true anymore” type list).

      Here are some examples:

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    • Marvin the Martian

      Your mischaracterization of AiG’s position not withstanding, new species evolving (which is just another way of describing micro evolution within created kinds) is a long way from being evidence that such macro evolutionary changes occur, i.e. dinosaurs evolving into birds. This is the kind of conflation of evidence that frustrates me. Speciation is not denied by YE. It isn’t a concession made by AiG either, in fact AiG doesn’t “finally concede that new species form”, rather they believe it is necessary to explain how we have so many species given that only two of every kind of animal was brought to the Ark.

      It takes a quantum leap of faith to say that because we can observe new species forming within the created kinds, then that means that birds must have come from dinosaurs. That is essentially what science is doing today.

    • Gordon J. Glover

      Ironically, the rate of evolutionary change required by young-earth/global flood creationists to account for the current diversity of earth’s biosphere in only a few thousand years (since the animals stepped off the Ark) far exceeds the rates of evolution required by evolutionary theory – even the so called “rapid” periods of evolutionary change proposed by Gould’s PE theory.

      I’m still waiting for tnahas or Marvin to comment on the Youtube video. When confronted with this kind of evidence, how do you explain this in terms of a 6000 year old creation? Did you even bother to watch it?

    • Vance

      Well, creationists used to tell me all the time that speciation had never been observed, until it had, then they changed it to “within kinds”, I am not sure whether AiG in particular made those assertions, but I do know that all of the things on that list are arguments that Creationists have been using for the last three decades, and many still do.

      As for the micro/macro distinction, what is the exact nature of the problem that prevents the mechanics for micro-evolution to eventually reach “macro” results?

      And what, exactly, is a “kind”?

      Oh, and that list also points out that Creationists really shouldn’t be using the whole micro/macro distinction anymore.

      Or the “evolution is just a theory” argument.

      I am going to let you guys in on a great resource for both sides of this debate. It provides a list of just about every argument that a creationist has ever come up with on this subject, and what the response is. I have found this very useful for simplifying these debates dramatically. Most of the arguments that creationists use have been responded to, so it makes most sense for creationists just to go to this list and find out what the response is, and then provide a counter argument to THAT response. Saves a lot of time that way.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

      So, all you do is go and find the creationist point, and you will see what the response is IN ADVANCE, so you can frame your question even better or even shortcut the response! Pretty useful for everyone.

    • tnahas

      Vance and Gordon,

      I am so glad you were not able to convince me of any possibility that evolution was used by God to carry out creation. As we continue talk over, around and pass each other, none of my scriptural references were ever addressed which is the starting place and final resting place of any Christian and none of the issues concerning (I’ll repeat them for the fifth time, I think) sin, death, redemption and restoration and the total framework of the gospel and the rest of Scripture.

      Please no philisophical or science goobleygook, just the plain answer to Romans 5, Gen 1, Rev 21 and 22, Col 1, Eph 1, Psalms etc etc etc .

      May God bless your journey and this is my sign off here.

      Thanks for the non-dogmatic discussion, it was inspiring!

    • Vance

      But we did address those issues very early in the discussion. I thought we had moved on to the science involved, and I am pretty sure it was a creationist who brought it up by asserting that the science just didn’t work. It will not do to bring the science itself into the discussion and then cry foul when it is discussed. Did you actually read that article I linked to? If so, what parts of the science in particular do you think are incorrect?

      As for the Scripture and theology, we can go over that again, I suppose. You may not agree with the alternate views either, but it would be wrong to act as if the matter is just ignored.

      As for Adam, sin and death, there are at least two different views here, possibly more. First, almost all OEC’s, and some TE’s still think Adam was literal, that he was either a representative (just as Christ is a representative for us on the cross), or he was the literal ancestor of the Israelites and that he was the first in that line who broke a covenant with God, thus sinning. Others view Adam as figurative (“Adam” means “Mankind” in Hebrew, so this linguistically could work pretty easily), and that he was a type or symbol for what happened to Mankind as a whole, the Fall. There is no absolute problem associating a single person Jesus with a figurative single type of Adam, representing the whole of Mankind. Also, there was the whole analysis of spiritual death being very possibly what is referred to, not physical death, which to my mind fits much better Scripturally and theologically.

      As for the texts as science and history, most ANE scholars recognize that people at the time of the ancient Israelites would not have read such texts as strict literal historical narrative, but as a figurative and symbolic telling of past REAL events. True history, just in a different literary genre. Also, regardless of that, such presentations would necessarily have to be presented in the language of the science of the day and, since the text is not making any strict science claims, when properly read, this would not be an error. The solid firmament, geocentric presentation, the moon as a second source of light, etc. Only a literal reading makes those errors.

      The restoration issue is not really a problem for me, either since I don’t see any Scripture (and, again, this was all discussed before) which require that the New Heaven and Earth be a full restoration of the pre-Fall universe. I do think that it will definitely be the completion of what God intended, which got seriously derailed at the time of the Fall.

      These may not be satisfactory answers for you, and they definitely do not have all the answers, any more than a young earth approach does (no death before the fall just doesn’t work, as far as I can see), but it would be a misrepresentation to say that we just ignored these issues.

      The problem is when we REQUIRE absolute answers to things that were not meant to be given to us absolutely.

    • Gordon J. Glover

      tnahas, some links that might interest you…

      http://www.fixedearth.com/
      http://www.geocentricity.com/

      Just in case you don’t actually visit these links, I’ll post some highlights:

      “…the reformers such as Luther, clearly saw that the embracing of heliocentrism would weaken not only science, but also the authority of the Bible.”

      “Here [in Joshua 10:13] the Moderator of Scripture, the Holy Ghost Himself, endorses the daily movement of the sun and moon. After all, God could just as well have written: ‘And the earth stopped turning, so that the sun appeared to stand still, and the moon seemed to stay … .’ That wording would be no more ‘confusing’ to the reader than anything in Job chapters 38 through 41.”

      “There are those who would claim that the language used is phenomenological, that it was not meant to convey the truth of the matter. They like to equate Joshua 10:13 with verses like Isaiah 55:12 where the trees are said to ‘clap their hands.’ The problem with that is that everyone since Adam can understand that Isaiah 55:12 is a literary device; but there is not a clue to tell those before Copernicus that Joshua 10:13 is not to be taken literally.”

      “After all, if God cannot be taken literally when He writes of the ‘rising of the sun,’ then how can He be taken literally in writing of the ‘rising of the Son?’”

      “In other words, either God writes what he means and means what he writes, or else he passes off mere appearances as truths and ends up the liar.”

      “The ultimate issue is one of final authority: is the final say God’s or man’s? This is brought home again and again by humanists, such as the twentieth-century philosopher Bertrand Russell and astronomer Ivan King, who point to the church’s abandonment of geocentricity as having ‘freed’ man from the ancient God-centered outlook on life to the modern man-centered outlook.”

      “How can one ever determine which is the truth? Only by going outside the universe and taking a look around can one ascertain the truth of the matter. Without that ability to ‘look around outside,’ physics cannot resolve the debate. However, since God does know what is beyond the universe, should His word not be taken as the final authority? It is the testimony of God as found in the Bible which constitutes the foundation of modern geocentricity. May it ever be so!”

      I think in order to be consistent in your position, you need to forget about AiG and ICR (they are liberal) join these groups! But if you do not feel that these statements accurately reflect your understanding of the cosmos, then on what authority do you reject them? Be careful how you answer this – if you choose to answer it at all.

    • Hawke

      With all these links to talk origins (which I read occasionally) I thought I would throw in another link similar to the AIG mindset (not that I totally agree with them).

      http://www.trueorigin.org/

      I concur that the testimony is strong for Christ’s resurrection, in which I think we all would agree.

      Interesting discussion indeed…

    • tnahas

      Hawke,

      Thanks for the link. (maybe the other guys might read it too!!)

    • Vance

      Oh, I have definitely been all over True Origin as well as AiG. I probably have read more Creationist writing than any Creationist has. What I have found is that the best way to understand a side’s position, you need to read their own writing, not filtered and spun by those who are like-minded with you.

      My experience over the years, and this may not apply to anyone here, is that those of the TE, OEC or EC persuasion have tended to read both sides pretty thoroughly, whereas the YEC has most often (with a few rare exceptions) read up on this stuff mostly from YEC sources. Again, that is just my general experience.

      Getting most of your information about an old earth or evolution from a Creationist source is like trying to learn about Christianity from an atheist.

    • Steve Martin

      On the comment that YEC is actually a “liberal” interpretation of scripture, Robert Schadewald Author of “Worlds of Their Own : Insights into PseudoScience from Creationism to The End Times” has referred to Young Earth Creationists, Geocentrists, and Flat-earthers as the “liberals, moderates, and fundamentalists of the biblical literalists”. I would extend it even further into the OEC and EC camp as well, as many of them also believe they are interpreting the scripture “literally”. One of the Evolutionary Creationists that would take the literalist mantel is Dick Fischer of “Genesis Proclaimed” (www.genesisproclaimed.org). He chastises YEC for not being literal enough (See his paper “Young Earth Creationism: A Literal Mistake” at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12-03Fischer.pdf).

    • Jim

      Aren’t you guy’s all Kent Hovind fans? Just kidding.

      I am not a scientist, and I just got through teaching Genesis in Sunday school, we spent allot of time on the first 11 chapters, I received my conclusion from scriptures out side of Genesis, here they are …
      Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding”
      We know actually very little of what God has done and how He did it even when we read scripture and dig up the earth, I know that God is omnipotent and omniscient, He can create in any way He chooses 6 Days or 4 billion years. He has the knowledge and power to do that. Theories are fun, God created us to explore, But I doubt that we will ever truly know until we sit before him and he tells us all the intricate details. until then I’ll obey Hebrew 11:1, 3 and 6. v.3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible”

      I find it interesting that creationist are constantly accused of “not giving in” or not making concessions. I have yet to see an evolutionist statement saying, “oops, we were wrong about that one, sorry” when it is obvious that they are wrong, cover up, or imagine quite a bit of stuff that contradict there “therories”
      I found this website interesting scienceagainstevolution.org
      By the way, many of us “Fundamentalist” do believe in micro evolution without being “kjv only” people. we do not talk about it enough, we are taught to believe that “all evolution is wrong” which is sad because adaptation and variation is obvious and saying that makes look like idiots. I also get tired of being told that we “Fundalmentalist” do not think, as a Pastor it is my job to think and do research, our faith is based upon fact, and when Science and God’s word seem to contradict it isn’t always because one isn’t true, the interpretation of the the thing is what is in question.
      Well, I doubt that I added anything profound here, but it is important, Paul used creation to witness to the Athenians in Acts 17. I use the Job passage and the Hebrews passage when I share my faith and come across this issue and admit that I nor anyone else REALLY knows the intricate details of Gods creation, but you will stand before Him one day and give an account, are you ready?

    • gary

      At the risk of saying something too late, after all it took me a long time to read through all this blog as “after the fact” I would like to clarify only one point though much else could be said in response to this blog.

      I would point out that those who find serious difficulty in the supposed different creation accounts or differences between Gen 1 & 2 needed only to do a bit of homework on the hermeneutical level. Simply using the grammatical-historical method would have helped the debate, buit a simple “plain reading” of the text should still have alerted us to the point of the two chapters.
      Notice how Gen 1 speaks of God and Gen 2 of “the Lord God”, God as elohim vs yhwh elohim. YHWH is the covenantal name of God for Isral and speaks of His relationship with His creation, that personal relationship. Whereas elohim is the God as Creator.
      So Gen 1 speaks to God as Creator, whereas
      Gen 2 speaks of his relationship to “mankind”. made in His image etc.
      They are not as so many blogists and liberals have intoned, “different creation accounts”.

      Well maybe I will say a second thing, 🙂

      People who sprout evidence of Science ought to take up a course on the Philosophy of Science! Science has indeed evolved in it’s attempt to solve the glaring difficulties it has – through a method of hypothesus – to theory, to the approach of paradigms and so on. See Hempel and Popper and others. Yet they have still been unable to account for the uniformity of nature that is part of the bedrock that Science builds on.

      Secular Scientists continually steal unacknowledged, the presuppositions of Science from the Christian Worldview – notions that the materialist Worldview just cannot supply.

      If we read up a bit more on this then the nonsense Dawkins sprouts would have not fear for the average Christian.

      Finally in this vein, there are no such things as brute facts, they are all interpreted, and that interpretation is within a particular framework. so appealing to evidence and the weight of probability is wide of the mark as
      even the notion of probaility can only be accounted for within a Christian Worldview of the Bible.

      Those that like the philosopher Moreland need to think that one through in relation to his philosophical schema. That is not to say he isn’t helpful – just that this needs addressing 😉

      in Christ
      Gary

    • Gary Shogren

      I come late to this discussion, but would like to respond to Vance’s comment that “And what did Jesus come to give us? What ‘death’ did Jesus come to ‘undo’? I believe it was spiritual life, eternal life with God. That is the only death that Adam and Eve suffered ‘on that day.’”

      Vance, you may want to consider whether your interpretation is more Gnostic than Pauline – they believed that the main purpose of the gospel was that the true Gnostic be spiritually resurrected. Paul (who wrote a century before them) argued in 1 Cor 15 that no, it is the resurrection of the body, not just the spirit, soul, inner person, of whatever, that is the last act of Christ. Physical death is the “last enemy,” to be destroyed by physical resurrection.

      Hence, the anti-Gnostic Apostles’ Creed – “I believe in the resurrection of the body” and only then “in the life everlasting.”

    • Jeff

      Can we all agree that theories by scientists about the age of the earth and the universe, which are based on assumptions and presuppositions (such as the rate of radioactive decay and so forth) that are clearly not observable and proveable (because no one has been around long enough to observe and prove them), could be wrong? It doesn’t mean that these scientists or OEC are idiots or nonbelievers by any means, but they could be wrong, correct? If so, then can we also agree that it is entirely possible that a reading of Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:9-11 as literal 24 hour days could be correct? If so, then can we agree that the criticism of YEC should focus on an overly critical and harsh attitude by SOME of them toward others, and that their basis for holding a YEC view should not be the point of criticism against them? Agree?

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