Is Evolution Biblical?

A Biblical Evolution Model

Is Evolution Compatible With The Bible?perrymarch13

Can you be a Christian and believe in evolution?

Some say: “If God chose to create us via evolution, I’m fine with that.”

Others see evolution as a threat… with grave theological difficulties: The nature of man, original sin, the necessity of Christ. Some insist evolution undercuts

the entire Biblical narrative.

Is evolution a slippery slope? Do we even have evidence for evolution in the first place?

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Presentation PDF

Hi, my name is Perry Marshall and in 1994 astrophysicist Hugh Ross set my mind on fire. I listened to his “Biblical Creation Model.” He explained how the Big Bang and modern cosmology match the Biblical story like hand and glove. (Courtesy of a few elegant, well-chosen assumptions.)

Hugh’s model made predictions. It was bold and testable. Light years superior to anything I’d ever seen before. He founded “Reasons To Believe” to tell the good news: Big Bang = Jesus Christ!

A universe engineered to produce stars, galaxies and conditions favorable for life, exploding from a single, fine-tuned instant was far more elegant than a series of solo creation events.

But… Reasons To Believe hesitated to extend that thinking to the development of life itself. Life, according to Ross, was still a product of numerous special creation events.

Then, a decade later I went down the evolution rabbit hole. Eventually wrote “Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design.” I came to different conclusions. Which we explore in this talk.

So… Who was Adam? Mythical figure? Archetype? Real person? What makes man different from animals? What about the theology?

Here, I present a model you’ve likely not seen before. A testable, Biblical Evolution Model.

This meeting was hosted by Reasons To Believe Chicago, a community that believes there’s no conflict between science and Christian faith. While not fully endorsing my views, Bob Clapper and RTB Chicago were graciously willing to bring me to their gathering so we could discuss and debate this important matter.

Related Articles:

A Closer Look at Genesis 1

“Who is Adam?”

The New Atheism, Genesis 2 and Symbiogenesis

 

58 Responses

  1. Rene J.Kirchheimer says:

    9 months it takes from “egg” to “baby”; the “egg” evolves into a full fledged human being. Do you need a better example of “evolution”? The universe is structured in such a way that everything keeps “evolving”, “adapting” (is the process that helps an organism survive in its environment). Even “mutations” come into play.
    Religion was an “effort” of ancient people to “find” an explanation to the marvels of the universe, so that’s how everything is attributed to a “CREATOR”, but the “creator” creates things individually according to the bible (as man would); if you insist to believe in “Creation”, well yes but, “Creation” when and if it happened (I wasn’t there) was summarily accomplished; that would include all the “laws of nature” the “why” things happen the way they do. The bible doesn’t mention “gravity”, “inertia”, because they ignored such things (as well as many others) as a result their “explanation” of how things came to be had to simplistic, or of a “supernatural” cause. So yes “GOD” created “evolution” , you may believe in both.

    • Richard Morgan says:

      The egg does not “evolve” into a full fledged human being. It develops into a human being. Therefore it is not an example of evolution. The fully-fledged human being and the egg are not two different species.
      Linguistic accuracy is important, Rene.

      • Fortunately we have lots of evidence for the processes of speciation and how that connects up step by step to larger scale changes, such as the reptile-mammal transition. So while the fertilized egg to human example is not terribly relevant to the notion of evolution (natural branching common descent), let’s not pretend that the data that do support evolution isn’t there to be drawn on instead.

    • Caiden says:

      The bible does mention those things. You are arguing semantics. Just because those particular words did not exist then, doesn’t mean they cannot be explained differently. You should actually read the bible and check for yourself.

    • Ray says:

      As soon as you admit I was not there you should keep silent if you do not accept the truth of creation all around you and within every cell of your body. Just as we marvel at an plane and it many modern marvels taking us up and safely landing again, so there is not argument it was designed and created. Just so was the world and universe we all live in. It is important to get it right for if we are not careful, we will be held to account for how we use all that we have been given and come out on the wrong side.

    • Tim says:

      The explanations in the bible are perfect for its audience. Please try to remember that most of the people were illiterate. They couldn’t understand the concepts you mentioned. So, the Bible was written in a way they could understand. The bible was never meant to be a literal work.

    • Greg says:

      Mathematical Impossibility of Evolution … http://www.icr.org/article/mathematical-impossibility-evolution/

      • Greg,

        Use your full first and last name please.

        Yes I know it’s “mathematically impossible” but that assumes it’s random. It’s not. And it’s empirically demonstrable. //cosmicfingerprints.com/darwinists-creationists/

      • Tell us, Greg, how you fact checked the sources in the old Morris piece you culled from the ICR as an authority? Also, how you think the calculations in there bear on all the paleogenomic data regarding natural evolution over the last half billion years that antievolutionists in general (and the ICR in particular) pay scant attention to? Your invocation of another “Origins or Bust” argument (and a dated one at that) speaks volumes about your own method.

  2. Rene J.Kirchheimer says:

    “Life, such as it manifests on Earth, is none other than the result of a love story which, through time and space, has incited the union of matter with consciousness. Humans are an example of this union, for they are body and soul. This explains why we are constantly subjected to two forms of love: the love inherent in the particles composing our bodies; and the love that strengthens the virtues of our soul. This duality of love is responsible for the greatness of the human species in that it gives humanity the power to love the material world while experiencing the attraction of spiritual beauty. In this respect, we must never forget that our earthly environment is the mirror that reflects Cosmic Harmony.” Christian Bernard.

    • Excellent comments.

    • Bill Fowler says:

      So where did the “matter” originate? For that matter (no pun intended), where did “consciousness” come from, if not from a Creator? I left the cosmic consciousness scene back in the early 70’s. I suggest you do the same.

      • Another “Origins or Bust” argument I see. The first (where did matter come from) has been rather settled, as inevitable outcomes of the development of the Big Bang. Now if one assumes that an Uncaused Cause is involved in that, and further assume that the Universe itself cannot be that Uncaused Cause, and in turn assume that some Creator entity must be that Uncaused Cause, and in turn ignore or rule out all other contenders and pencil in just one particular supernatural entity as that Creator, then of course one can be happy in the giant conclusion jump you’ve just made her Bill. But we do spot all the intervening and arbitrary assumptions involved.

        Now, as for “consciousness,” that too is an issue where there is a lot of science data accumulating on how our self-awareness arises within the brain. Btw that doesn’t preclude Creators, who could engineer purely mechanistic automatons just as easily as ones with incorporeal spirits attached. Any hypothesis of an incorporeal spirit, though, needs to overcome that obvious snag that we go unconscious repeatedly, which is rather difficult to square with the idea that we have a spirit that is not dependent on the physical modalities of the brain for its existence. Then again, neuroscience is another of those fields that doesn’t get covered much in religious apologetics (including the antievolution cannon). I keep track of such things at my #TIP project http://www.tortucan.wordpress.com on the methodology of creationism.

        • Daniel says:

          Still a couple of unanswered questions as to an atheistic view as far as I’m concerned.
          As far as my limited understanding goes the Big Bang started off with some sort of “fluctuation”. My question is “What caused the “fluctuation” in the first instance?
          I’ve put this question to other atheists but have received no response. Perhaps you could explain it to me, or point me to the scientific research which investigates this theory (belief).
          Also, if “consciousness” arises only in the brain how do you explain premonitions and prophecy ( the foretelling of a future event) such as when some people have a premonition about a plane crash or a prophecy made by secular people such Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, Baba Vanga etc., and, those made by biblical prophets.
          I have an answer coming from a Christian view:
          1. For the secular prophets the bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end”.
          The word “eternity” means forever or “yesterday is today is tomorrow”. There is no time where God dwells (in eternity). He can tell what happens tomorrow, and, He has put a little “eternity” in mans hearts (spirits). And no, we do not know everything about the future but every now and then man gets a little insight.
          2. For the Biblical prophets, need I say more. The eternal God has revealed all to them so that we humanity may know that He alone is in control of governments and the affairs of men.

          Like to know your thoughts.

          • Seumas Maclaren (UK) says:

            Daniel, I admire your clear challenge to the restrictive, scientific humanism of Mr Downard (who appears to be here to try to put a supposed ‘scientific’ wedge into any faith in a first cause Creator – let’s be clear – although I have not found the Bible and testable science to be contradictory), and I of course agree with the rebuke of the popular humanism (of Christian Bernard) quoted by Rene, but apparently praised by CosmicFingerprints, which was rather odd. For a christian, I would agree with you that this is completely unbiblical and antithetical to the first principle that the Creator is intimately associated with all of life, and that the mind of Christ (the Word of the Creator) should be our reference point. Only human beings have the privilege of knowing this great mind, and it is known, by coming into a personal and very special relationship with the Christ. However, it seems clear that Mr Downard does not accept that, so we are attempting to discuss things from two completely different presuppositional reference points. Mine: “the Creator has demonstrated that He exists to our minds, from what has been made in space-time reality (Romans 1 agrees), and this Creator has confirmed, coming into the world as Jesus the Christ, that not only he is the Creator, but that He cares intimately for, and loves each human person.” Downard’s: “There is no requirement from logic, science and other human perspectives for any creator.” We shall I am sure disagree for sometime, until the Creator reveals His love to Downard, but the conversation I hope will continue. In prayer,

            • Daniel says:

              Seumas,

              Yes, I’m sure the conversation will continue as humankind reaches out for answers. Will unregenerate man find or hope to find those answers without his Creator? Probably not even though he thinks he has or will. Will we Christians ever convince the hardest atheist of the truth? Certainly possible but it will take lots of prayer without which nothing good can be accomplished. I once heard the saying, “the church advances on its knees”. How true I think. And regardless of how much the atheist thinks has the people of God licked we must remember the power lies with us and we must use it always while there is yet time.

  3. Al Borkes says:

    No matter how far we go in understanding how we and the world got to be, without our Creator there is no answer to the question: how out of nothing something got to be? When the atheist pretend to give us the answer saying that there was a singularity in a nothing, well, that singularity was the something a Creator put put out of nothing. So, my position is: I couldn’t care less if evolution is true or not, nothing will negate for me my Creator

    • Rene J.Kirchheimer says:

      “You can’t convince a believer of anything: for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe”
      Carl Sagan.

      • I find this statement to be consistently true of atheists, who believe all sorts of things with no evidence whatsoever.

        • Richard Morgan says:

          I find these statements to be consistently true of every sentient being. We all believe all sorts of things with no evidence whatsoever. Without a certain kind of blind acceptance, a pile of assumptions, life would become unlivable.
          Note that we tend to look for evidence when things don’t work out as they should. The scientist and the engineer seek solutions through trying to identify the minutest details of the problem.
          We all have a deep-seated need to believe. Some have a deep seated need to do scientific research. Others have a deep seated need to debate. Others, like me have a deep-seated need to understand what deep-seatedness means, where it comes from.
          Those who are absent this spirit of linguistic inquiry will never seek evidence in this endeavour of understanding sentient beings.
          If it works, don’t fix it.
          Some of us have a deep-seated need to fix things.
          Perry’s entire book is based on a problem that he encountered and his deep-seated need to solve this kind of problem.
          Thank you Perry, Rene and Carl for unwittingly identifying the common thread of humanity that under-girds all of this.

        • Such as?

      • Ray says:

        My witness is that I did not need to believe. God came to me in Jesus Christ and convinced me.

      • James West says:

        Just as true: You can’t convince an unbeliever of anything, for unbelief is not based on evidence; it’s based on a deep seated need not to believe.

  4. Lance says:

    the whole “story” that their are “stellar nurseries” and that stars are still forming is a “story”. No science involved. Physics prove it cannot happen as well as observation. We have not observed a single new star formed. We should be seeing millions of new stars forming daily. But we don’t. Just like with the fossil record we see STASIS.

  5. Bill Freeman says:

    Bill,

    Between North and South Korea there’s a “DMZ,” a De-Militarized Zone. A strip of land a couple of miles wide. A buffer between the two sides. A place where people from both sides can go and not get shot.

    Comment:
    Perry, I find this Zone a necessity as normally the academians, scientists, biologists are married to the Darwinian hypothesis, and simply close their ears. This is history as tenure in politically correct Universities will not be approved for associate professors if they question the theory. There are many good examples: one I am familiar with is Dr. Caroline Crocker who left George Mason University. Her book, which I read, is titled “Free To Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters”. (2010). I met her in Austin, Texas at a Church Conference which provided an avenue for a Science/Faith Conference in 2011. In 2010, the Southern Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas sponsored one as well. William Dembski (ID member) was a professor at this Seminary.

    Incidentally and for fun, electrical engineering is a good profession, but so are all the other engineering professions which have their place to make the total engineering profession very valuable. My profession, chemical engineering, is recognized by Shell Oil to be valuable and can be used interchangeably with petroleum engineering, which I worked in for a few years in drilling and producing oil and gas wells. I later became a pioneer in the environmental engineering profession, which was not a recognized profession before 1975. But remember, the fossil fuel industry was essential to make our Country what it is today. Without it, there would be little electricity, thus no computers or highly prized electrical engineering careers. For example: “While the Nation’s overall energy history is one of significant change as new forms of energy were developed, the three major fossil fuels–petroleum, natural gas, and coal, which together provided an average of 87% of total U.S. primary energy use over the past decade–have dominated the U.S. fuel mix for well over 100 years. In EIA’s Annual Reference case, which assumes continuation of current laws, regulations, and policies, projects continued significant reliance on the three major fossil fuels through at least 2035, when they still provide over three-quarters of the Nation’s overall primary energy supply. Until the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, too few recall that the relatively recent Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries — dependent on fossil fuels — was one of the two greatest advances human society since humans lived in caves and hunted for food. The other was the Neolithic agricultural revolution when human groups began cultivating crops and domesticating animals. The Fossil Fuel Industry is very, very valuable to this Country. Kindle has a short essay written by Kathleen Hartnett White titled “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case” (2015) for 99 cents. Ms. White was recently the Chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (3000 employees) that regulated air, water and land in Texas). She presently works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas.

    I have 50 years of experience in the oil and gas business in producing/processing oil/gas and protecting the environment. The Global Warming/Climate Change hypothesis to attack the fossil fuel industry on CO2 emissions is much like the Darwinian hypothesis, much propaganda is laid out there by liberal elitists and academia who both make many dollars on maintaining this issue. My biggest concern Perry is that the society is dumbing down and not studying important issues. Instead, they listen to the liberal news media and academia who are in on the dollar making. They simply accept what they hear without challenge, verification, or proof.

    The DMZ has a number of buildings for talks between the two sides.

    Evolution 2.0 is a De-Militarized Zone for the evolution debate.

    We need this desperately. Why?

    Because it doesn’t exist anywhere else!

    Comment: I agree. I will stop here and return to your issue on Darwinism in my next comments.

    • Let’s make that DMZ bigger and get some real conversations going.

    • Why call it “fossil” fuel? It isn’t.

    • Seumas Maclaren (UK) says:

      Hullo Bill, “The Global Warming/Climate Change hypothesis …is much like the Darwinian hypothesis, much propaganda is laid out there by liberal elitists and academia…”
      – Agreed wholeheartedly sir. Science, though a good tool in the hands of those who love truth, is not without fallibility issues where fallible and biased men and women are involved, and especially those who will not allow the special intervention of the Creator to be part of even a potential outcome of their thinking.

      In the 30 years of reviewing the evolution debate, and attempting to clarify the key issues, I have found that the same is true, and never more so than in this arena of ‘science’, which, at the final analysis cannot demonstrate the origin of anything alive today, yet pretends to be able to do so ‘scientifically’, and evolution is thus taught as plain fact to all age groups, without any opportunity to contest it; since those who do, whether employed or student, are ridiculed. Essentially our beef is that, scientifically, it is impossible to falsify by standard means, and must posit assumptions as fact in order to do so. The positing of assumption is not theory, but hypothesis, at best. Nothing will ever change this truth. The mountains will come down, and Christ shall return for His church triumphant, but evolutionism will never be show to create life from non-life, or the diverse phyla from a supposed abundant original phylum or life form.

      Let’s face the facts, that is not about the evidence alone, per se, but about the a priori position against God that so called men of science take before they even look into the evidence. No indeed: Instead, due to foundational bias (which they presume is ‘normal’ science but is actually ‘scientism’), what are seen as ‘results’ actually stem directly from their initial ‘conclusions’ rather than the correct way around. A perfectly valid track of logic of the action of a Creator on His creation is denied, despite it being fully intellectually sound, and held by thousands of top-flight scientists over the past two centuries, many of whom have held, double science doctorates or professorships. Perry and his friends, though well meaning, muddy what were living waters of truth, there for the taking, as they will tell you that these people are ‘confused’ or ‘deceived’, which is supposed to include me. Yet we are far from deceived, and constantly point out the deception of the evolutionistic pre-programming of a modern training in scientific thinking which appears in writing in all media, day in, day out, as The Truth.

      Believers in God who subscribe to evolution as their creation story (untestable, and untested), often as a result behave like evolutionary atheists, as I have found that they are most virulently against, and insulting (or at least derisory) of the position I hold. They start to ask inane questions, assuming we have not studied science. Yet, gentlemen, if we had tried to pose that type of questioning to the late professor Wilder-Smith, or today to professor John Lennox, and many others of great learning, we all know that these would successfully provide excellent examples of why evolutionism is a faith, and not a science. It is also demonstrable that this position is what Jesus himself clearly took (as he spoke directly about the beginning of beginnings), along with the prophets and apostles. It matters not a jot what the modern day RC or other church governments teach. They also teach that there are continuums of morality! Yet truth is truth eternal. What does the Bible teach, and what is it possible to understand from the remains of life on this Earth that was? -The Bible does not lie, and every word of it was inspired and purposed for our benefit. It is clear that God intends all men and women to understand a plain reading of His glorious and powerful Word of life. Yet, today, we disdain that form of plain interpretation, and want to wrap it in the provisos of ‘science.’ So, so sad. Nothing actually discovered FACTUALLY, about say, the origin of man, or even how the vast majority of fossils could have been produced can be made to disagree with any portion of the scripture.

      I am grateful to Perry for making this site available, but the position in evolution 2.0 is not one I can subscribe to, since we do not see any evidence of evolution (which evolutionists used to define as the descent of organisms with modification via mutation and natural selection from a single original ancestor) being able to supply deep structural design data for organisms to the genome (i.e. data for new organs, lifestyles, biochemical pathways etc); we only see the variation of the expression of genes, not their de novo appearance from some internal information generation system. It is just not there. – But God is. He designs, and to Him alone be the glory in Creation.

      • Tom Godfrey says:

        Seumas,

        Thanks for submitting your thoughts here for general consideration. Well said. I agree with you completely on all of those points, and I especially appreciated your mention of Professor A. E. Wilder-Smith. Back in 1976, a friend gave me a copy of his book, entitled Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny, and this book changed my mind dramatically. I had been what might be called a theistic evolutionist, but then I became a biblical creationist. The creationist movement has made great strides since then, leaving the professor’s book somewhat outdated now, but I still remain convinced that a straightforward interpretation of Genesis is the true story of the origin of the universe and of life on earth, including mankind. Many questions remain unanswered, of course, but we have at least a solid foundation upon which one may speculate about reasonable solutions of mysteries.

        As far as I am concerned, true science is all about a study of nature and the laws of nature through observation and use of the scientific method, which includes hypotheses and repeatable experiments. For this kind of science, it makes sense to presuppose that miracles are not involved when experiments are run and results are observed. Except for the specialized branch of forensic science, science is not concerned with developing a speculative account of what took place in the unobserved past, based on a study of physical evidence under the same no-miracle presupposition. With this presupposition firmly in place, physical evidence is actually irrelevant to the question of whether Genesis is correct. Not even a peek at any evidence would be needed to reject Genesis as myth or legend, since it describes acts of supernatural intervention not considered scientific, and the presupposition cannot be converted into a conclusion without begging the question.

  6. Bill Freeman says:

    Perry: A continuation on your letter I received.

    The average church won’t touch it with a ten foot pole.
    Comment:
    First, Churches are not geared to address science problems such as this. Second, in my Sunday School Class, we discuss these issues, and some of us join in the discussion in the public as I am now.The majority of my study group are engineers, lawyers, and finance persons. Still, one of my concerns in my Church is a number of the members do not even know what the doctrine of the Church is. At times, I am flabbergasted. We are talking to them when possible.

    The creationist websites are offended at the very thought of evolution.
    Comment:
    The word “creationist” is too general. Most of my friends are old-earth, however, I find it amusing that Darwinian believers are not called “Chance” creationists. After all, they have a hypothesis about how the earth was populated with species (plants, animals, and humans). Yet, they have no workable hypothesis for how the “origin of life” event took place. I certainly have never read anything that had much or any credibility. Too many open assumptions without justification, junk in-trash out.

    The Discovery Institute, which is the Intelligent Design think tank, routinely equates “evolution = atheism” in their articles, books and blog posts. Even though the two are not at all the same.
    Comment: Not sure what you mean here. Certainly, the Darwinian hypothesis emancipates person’s from religion. God is not involved in the creation of the Universe or its activities. Deism says that God created the Universe, but did not intervene in the development of it at some point. What is that point? According to a few books I’ve read, Thomas Jefferson was a deist and so was Benjamin Franklin. Further, John Adams did not believe in the Trinity. Also, there is much debate about George Washington not being a Christian. However, these men believed that “reason” was to be used when developing documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. “Special Revelation” in Scripture, was not acceptable for doing this. General Revelation or Natural Law could be used in writing statutes for law however. I’ll leave it here. But, the Darwin hypothesis does exclude Supernatural involvement (methodological naturalism). Darwinism is an atheist/agnostic hypothesis to explain the origin of life and the mind/brain activities. The Trinity best explains it all now, not later.

    The two main camps – ID and the Darwinists – both omit or downplay the significance of evolution’s “Swiss Army Knife” – the cell’s astonishing ability to re-program itself. Systems like transposition and symbiogenesis.
    Comment: The cell does not have consciousness. In my view, the cell is programmed with “what if” statements. The Supernatural did this at the beginning. I will discuss this later when discussing “beyond a reasonable doubt” statements.

    You stated in another message to me under ID, “You may be right, but we cannot be sure that there is no principle in nature we haven’t yet discovered which explains how purposeful behavior might emerge from matter.” As you know this is an answer used by Darwinist in today’s world. One day we will find out they say. This type position is not falsifiable or never will be. What will it take, 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, or what? My answer is philosophical. Philosophy is truth and knowledge as well. For example: the parts of a pie are always less than the whole. Or, the immaterial mind can only grasp the universals, the material brain cannot.

    Best Regards,

    • I’m not sure how you can know that the cell does not have consciousness.

      How does purposeful behavior emerge from matter? I don’t know, and nobody gets to claim they know until they’ve solved the Evolution 2.0 prize: http://www.naturalcode.org.

      • Define consciousness and then we can proceed. I would contend that only organisms with nervous systems and sensory awareness can be conscious. It also requires levels of feedback loops (our own case involves several brain modes). The circumstances that cause us to be conscious would not appear to be applicable to any single cell. Likewise for inanimate objects like doorknobs. If you’d care to dive into some relevant neuroscience issue on this, fine, but it would seem the onus is on you to offer any reason how a cell (in an organism or as a stand alone bacterium) could ever possess consciousness. Ball in your court.

        • Back atcha, James.

          YOU define consciousness and then we can proceed.

          No one in the history of academia or philosophy has ever been able to fully or properly define it. We only know what we all seem to experience.

          You can’t be certain whether your dog, your cat, your fish or a bacterium is conscious. You throw a steak on the table and you tell your dog “Don’t eat that” and he looks at you all sad. And you leave the room and he either crawls up on that table and hungrily consumes your steak, or he obeys you. But either way he is making a decision and he is doing something that no watch, computer or machine does.

          You can plainly observe it. And any three year old can tell the difference between what machines do and what animals do.

          And living things do something that no man-made thing does: They evolve. In real time. We can watch it happen. Bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics in 30 minutes and they do NOT do this randomly. Not at all. They run thousands of PERMUTATIONS (not random mutations!) and they do it through what modern marketers would label as split testing.

          Give software millions of copies and millions of years and all it will do is crash and break.

          Give living things millions of copies and millions of years and they adapt and evolve into entire ecosystems. Including cutting, splicing and re-arranging their own DNA in real time. It’s absolutely astonishing. And again it’s not random – which is the thesis of Evolution 2.0. If you don’t believe me, read my book from cover to cover. I document ALL of this in rigorous detail. With 300+ scholarly references.

          Given the fact that NO man-made system does this, and living things do… therefore man has no idea what is really going on at the core of living things.

          We don’t know how to create life. All synthetic biology borrows heavily from what is already there.

          For that matter, nobody can even give you a rigorous definition of life itself. Ask 100 biologists what life is and you’ll get 100 different answers.

          As a technologist, I look at what life does from the outside and I posit: The only way that living things can do what they do is by having some level of self-awareness. Beyond that I really don’t know. Is your digestive system self aware? I don’t know… but what we do know for absolute fact is that even the bacteria in your digestive tract are social and talk to each other using sophisticated language (see Bonnie Bassler’s TED talk “How Bacteria Talk) and I say that the closest category we have to what they do is self awareness.

          And we have buckets of proof that they at least ACT like they have some minimal level of animal self awareness. It’s right in front of your eyes.

          Just watch white blood cells attack germs on a Youtube video and you can see it for yourself.

          Humans are the only creatures that seem to have “reflective self-awareness” but every living thing I can think of behaves as though it has some minimal level of awareness. Even insects.

          I know of no way for you to refute what I just said. It’s just a plain and simple statement of the obvious. Furthermore, the only way ANY machine evolves is by adding some level of human or animal self awareness, goals inserted from the outside. Genetic algorithms prove this out. It takes a LOT of work to get a GA to produce software that actually works – usually more work than just hiring a programmer.

          If you know of any exception, please tell me. And please be extremely specific if you attempt to make any claims. Because I will hold your feet to the fire.

          Are bacteria self aware? Watch Bonnie’s video and decide for yourself:

          //cosmicfingerprints.com/intelligent-bacteria/

          • Seumas Maclaren (UK) says:

            Hi Perry, I enjoyed your reply to J.Downard, who is full of arrogance and ridicule for anyone of faith. He is not truly arguing a scientific case in some of his replies, so I have no bothered to respond to him. Anyway, someday, I shall have to carefully read your book, as you do have much to say. It may be that I actually have more in common with you than i thought – My ‘red line’ is the idea of an ancient earth with creatures evolving from supposed primordial phylum / phyla before the creation of mankind, which for me is an impossibility. I believe that the evidence points to an original created set of phyla, complex, and rich genetically and hence able to adapt (‘evolve’ within their own groups in that sense only).
            I admit I am not yet sure of what you believe on that topic, so I shall have to investigate! It is clear for me that man did walk with dinosaurs, and has hunted them to final extinction after the Flood and subsequent ice age of the Northern hemisphere. The meaning of the mammoths and many other creatures preserved in the permafrost, for example in Russia, is clear.
            Best,

            • Seumas,

              I think creationists have more in common with me and perhaps a lot of other people than is generally recognized. I believe if you read Evolution 2.0 you will find much that you can agree with. I encourage you to do so. At the end of the day it’s all about evidence and I’m open to any that anyone can bring to the table.

            • Seumas, your qualms about the origin of phyla will not slow down the regular science working things out about them, an extensive literature that gets only short shrift from the antievolutionists (YEC or ID no matter). To take out own chordate phylum, the examples known to have existed in the Cambrian are exactly what evolutionists were expecting basal chordates to look like, lamprey-larvalike), and what happened to that phylum since is tracked remarkably well: the development of jawed fish, then lunged aquatic tetrapods, that invade the land in due course and diversify into groups like the amniotic synapsid “reptiles” that in turn ever so gradually (took a hundred million years) spawn the mammals (a paleontological trail I have explored at length in “Evolution Slam Dunk,” including the failure of all antievolutionists to come to grips with that dataset), one of whose placental branches developed the primate hominins that we count as our more proximal ancestors. No religion on earth had a lore that even vaguely suggested anything like the picture of Deep Time that we have uncovered by scientific hard work, and if pointing out that lapse counts as “arrogance and ridicule,” then I am far from alone in that. It comes with the factual territory.

          • I do not think a case can be made for bacteria being “conscious” in the sense we, and dogs and cats are (organisms with “movies in the brain” sensing and observing their environments). I am well aware of Bassler’s work, eg Steven T. Rutherford, Julie S. Valastyan, Thibaud Taillefumier, Ned S. Wingreen, & Bonnie L. Bassler. 2015. “Comprehensive analysis reveals how single nucleotides contribute to noncoding RNA function in bacterial quorum sensing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112 (3 November): E6038-E6047. But that is still a most natural process, even as it expands the range of how much sophisticated reactive behavior can occur without a conscious mind. While we’re at bacterial level, they also illustrate the deep roots of morality, where cheaters don’t always prosper. If the need to rescue the incorporeal spirit leads one to try and hijack bacterial behavior to the cause is that strong for you, fine, but I’ll still remind that an incorporeal spirit is difficult to square with our ability to forget or misremember things or be unconscious in sleep, as I explored at more depth in chapter 5 (“Planet of the Apes”) of my “Troubles in Paradise: The Methodology of Creationism” work at http://www.tortucan.wordpress.com.

    • Woodrow Francia says:

      The triune image of man reflects the image of the triune ID.
      But the reflection will always be distorted for we base our judgement from what we see in the reflected image. So we explain it by trying to clean up ourselves, we leave the mirror and go for another shower only to find out we are looking at the same murky distorted mirror, short of knowing the flawless image of God in us.
      Some of us dug deep to explain the physiology of our body, even tried understanding characteristics and behaviour of our soul but touching the spiritual world becomes a taboo lest we see the dreaded realms of an ID , our Creator – then we stop being an atheist.

  7. Daniel Murphy says:

    Perry,
    I have 90% read your book Evolution 2 and it is amazing. Thanks for your time and effort in producing it. I’ve always thought Christians were smarter than the average John Doe. I live in Australia and would like to promote and sell/give away/distribute your book in my country. Is there anyway of purchasing wholesale?
    I am fully convinced that your Theory (for the want of a better word) is close to the truth, but, there is just a question that niggles me.
    If humankinds knowledge were to explode via using the Evolution 2 approach (or any other approach) would we be in danger of “…reaching forth, taking of the tree of life and living forever” (Gen 3:22)? The warning God gave just after Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
    Also, would not our increased scientific knowledge discourage faith in God for miracles (interventions from God) seeing we would become more like God and therefore more capable of solving our own problems?
    Would love to know your thoughts about this.
    Blessings.

    • Daniel,

      So glad you like the book! You can contact the publisher http://www.benbellabooks.com I’m sure they would be happy to talk to you about distribution. And by all means do write an Amazon review, I would really appreciate that.

      We are in the realm of “knowledge of good and evil” and have been ever since man fell. The toothpaste is out of the tube, Pandora’s box is open. It’s not gonna get shut. That road forked long ago.

      It’s only a question of whether we pursue knowledge with the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit or not. And I am quite serious about that. I know the Holy Spirit, I know He gives guidance, I experience this in my life every day.

      So the real question is whether Christians are going to be on the cutting edge of science, as they were from the middle ages until about 1900? Or are they going to take a back seat because they’re afraid to deal with complex messy questions and engage with the rest of the world? It’s time to stop abdicating and pursue knowledge of science as an act of worship with reckless abandon.

      Anyone with a broad understanding of history knows that technology potentially creates more problems than it solves. But again the toothpaste is out of the tube. so, “If any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God…..”

      • Daniel Murphy says:

        Perry,
        Thanks for your very wise reply to my question about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I am satisfied with your answer and my conscience is clear should my grandchildren want to assume a career in the sciences (as long as they are led by the Holy Spirit).
        I promise I will attempt to write an Amazon review (I’m not that good at writing) and also I don’t feel qualified enough in this area of science to make a forceful enough comment. However, If I can distribute some of your books to a wide range of interested lay and professional people hopefully we can find a few good reviews from them.
        I did read one of the Amazon reviews from an (atheist) scientist before I bought the book. I am sure he didn’t even read it. Maybe prayer is the answer to changing peoples stony hearts. I will be praying for this to happen.
        Once again thanks for writing the book and every success for the future.
        In Christ.

        • I appreciate your words.

          Yes, that atheist scientist to whom you refer barely skimmed the book. Clearly didn’t read it with much care. Most of the rest are just trolls.

          Thanks for your support!

          • Daniel Murphy says:

            Perry,
            At least with your work and exceptionally informative and scientifically factual book atheists have had the chance to to review and change their beliefs. They are now without excuse and stand condemned by God should they continue along their atheistic pathway.
            You have done your part as a good and faithful servant and your reward is in heaven. Nothing more than that can be expected.

  8. Adam Thompson says:

    Why do people take the writings we know as Jewish prehistory parables and use their own understanding to put God and His creation into a small box that is simple for us to understand.
    Evolution really is just creation on a much wider scale than people could imagine when Genesis was written.

  9. Tom Godfrey says:

    Perry,

    Most of the comments here are rather old, so your talk at Reasons to Believe Chicago must not have been a recent event, but I did just find out about it and listened to your whole talk with interest. By the way, I also believe “there’s no conflict between science and Christian faith.” If this seems incredible, it may be because of a difference of opinion about what science is. Rather than getting bogged down with any side issue, however, I would like to comment on your “testable biblical evolution model.”

    Please correct me if I misunderstood, but I believe your key to solving theological problems with the model you propose is your contention that the life and death described in Romans 5 is spiritual, not physical, and similarly, the breath of life mentioned in Gen. 2:5 was not supposed to be mere oxygen or the creation of a living physical body but rather a reference to a spiritual creation or imparting the image of God to mankind after untold generations of hominin evolution. You believe that those ancestors would have already been breathing oxygen for millions of years at that point, right?

    Your position can be contrasted with two others. One is that the life and death in question were only physical in nature. Your slide with “physical” inserted several places in a quotation of Rom. 5:12-18 seems to reference this view. Who holds it? I do not, so for me, any attempt to knock it down is straw man nonsense. The other position that I have in mind combines the first two, holding that the life and death in those passages has both physical and spiritual components. Again, please correct me if I misunderstood, but it seems to me that your “testable biblical evolution model” fails if the Bible actually teaches that those mentions of life and death did have a physical component too and were not purely spiritual in nature.

    As you probably realize, almost any nonsense can be believed if only the problems with it can be ignored, dismissed, or otherwise rejected. I think this may be what is going on here. Your call to recognize the spiritual aspects of life and death can seem reasonable, because it is undeniable that the Bible teaches this angle. How else can we make sense of verses like Rom. 7:4, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 2:1-5, and Col. 2:13? But how does your model hold up if there is a real physical component as well? I think it can hold up only be ignoring or rejecting the biblical support for recognizing a physical component too.

    What am I talking about? I suppose, to keep the length of this comment reasonable, I should leave this question mainly as an exercise for the reader, but let me at least get the ball rolling here. Back in Gen. 2:18-25 we read about the creation of a wife for Adam, since it was not good for him to be alone. If anyone can honestly read it and conclude that it is all about some sort of spiritual creation for a man who is supposed to have been specially selected in a community of pre-existing hominins, then his mind must work in a completely different way. Can you explain it? Over in the New Testament, we read that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), but if this is a reference to spiritual death only, then did our Lord really need to die a physical death to atone for our sin? Should a mere spiritual death while remaining quite alive physically have been quite adequate?

    The whole concept behind your thesis fires my imagination. I wonder if, after Adam had tasted the forbidden fruit, he asked Eve to pinch him. Might he have said something like this? “God told us we would die if we ever ate from this tree, but we are both still quite alive. All of a sudden, I do feel terribly naked and afraid to face God like this, but he did say we would die, so maybe he was just talking about a spiritual death. Maybe we can keep on eating this fruit to our heart’s content without ever having to worry about a physical death. That serpent may be a lot smarter than we realized. If God is just going to lie to us, who needs him?” As I see it, God did not lie to them, and the death of which he warned was not purely spiritual (Gen. 5:5). Satan’s trick of asking, “Did God really say …” ought to be too well known to fool anyone today, but I may too optimistic.

    What can I conclude about your interpretation that the life and death in key passages is spiritual only? Does it come from your study of the Bible? It appears to be an interpretation that you would like to impose on the Bible, probably based on an underlying belief that scientists should tell us what really happened in the history of life on earth. Their approach to understanding this history through a study of physical evidence involves the no-miracle presupposition. Should this be a problem for those of us who believe the Bible?

    Before I close this evening, let me cover one other issue. You had an “Adam & Eve” slide that says, “Human population does appear to have one common male ancestor and one ‘mitochondrial eve’ … But it appears unlikely that they knew each other.” Can you explain this to me, maybe with an abbreviated family tree diagram? I think evolutionists would teach that each of those individuals would have had lots of ancestors, and as we go back in time along our line of ancestors, not one of them could be considered definitely human while his parents would have been some kind of nonhuman primate. It was supposed to be gradual the whole way. By the same token, they would teach that “creation” was never finished but is ongoing, so, if humankind survives, millions of years from now, the physical bodies of our distant descendants might have a rather different appearance, but there would never be a clear break along the way where one modern human individual happened to have a nonhuman offspring. This does not strike me as biblical, but isn’t this the tree-of-life dogma that you have accepted as true?

  10. Tufail Dhana says:

    Yes, ok, It is interesting and educating debate. Religions of prehistory explained origin of universe and life. Classical religions presented new explanation. It was evolution of religion explained on the basis of creationism.It was not scientific explanation.Religions presented social packages.Religion was philosophical contribution of prophets to manage social life.religion was social product. Evolution is scientific reality.We should not expect religion to explain evolution.

  11. Edward Field says:

    It is noteworthy that the matter of creation is covered in only two chapters of Genesis. Why? Because the purpose of the Bible is not to explain material existence, but to deal with the relationship between God and humanity. For the same reason wars and discoveries are mentioned in passing, but murder with a rock or a nuclear weapon is still murder. It is the heart issues which the Bible addresses. This is why Jesus did not contest Roman authority – because his kingdom is of a totally different sort. I am fascinated by scientific discovery, but my faith in God does not hinge on any critique of Genesis 1 and 2. That said, I welcome all exploration of how those chapters somehow encapsulate creation before getting on to dealing with the human condition. For those who dismiss Christian faith, thinking that ‘real science’ could not be compatible, it is instructive to realize that Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, was far from arrogant about the role of science; instead, he said at the end of his life that he felt like a child playing with pebbles on the beach of God’s creation.

  12. Glen H. Kippel says:

    One thing that we have to remember that Darwin’s first book was “On the Origin of Species,” not on the origin of life. And he was really a geologist, not a biologist. But, as to the origin of the universe, physicist Michio Kaku said that everything that we see is made up of vibrations of superstrings in hyperspace. This corresponds to Hebrews 11:3 which says that everything we see is made of things that cannot be seen.

  13. The parochial nature of the topic speaks volumes. Why biblical, and not quranic … or vedic … or Fill in the Blank-ish. Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster get to play? In just the biblical case, though, it’s rather the case that modern scientific concepts can be rammed into absolutely any theological frame (just read Hindu or Islamic apologetics, who play the same games as here) if one is willing to knock off or ignore all the parts that don’t fit. Rationalizing away all the bumpy bits (like the screwball Day 4 of Genesis stellar creation sequence that the Bible authors evidently nicked from the equally wrong Babylonian Enuma Elish creation myth, and the Flood likewise nicked, and the Tower of Babel story likewise nicked) puts Biblical rationalization in the same ballpark as Nostradamus believers, who are equally gymnastic in playing picky choosy with how well their prophet fits in with subsequent history.

    The short form is that nothing suggests the Bible writers were inspired by any minds that had any back-door access to knowledge about how the universe worked. It’s certainly possible to write accurate science in ways intelligible to unschooled minds, however, so the absence of such cleverness is yet another hurdle for the “is (fill in the blank) science compatible with (fill in the blank) religious doctrine.”

    • Edward Field says:

      Mr. Downard – It is unfortunate that you make your points in such a mocking manner. Just as “it is possible to write accurate science in ways intelligible to unschooled minds”, it is also possible to make a point without ridiculing. Your point that Christianity should not reasonably be considered the only religion with which to fill in the blank is an interesting one, because the majority of religions hold to the existence of a creator/designer. In this sense, belief in a creator-God would be a more universal position of religions in disagreeing with mindless evolution. Considering the size of the universe, it is not reasonable to think that human intelligence is the greatest intelligence existing in the universe. That parochial position, though unstated, seems at the heart of an atheistic approach to science.

      • Edward, I suspect that what counts as “mocking” to you is merely pointing out the obvious, which does not presume that your particular “sacred” is any more nor less so than anybody else’s. The believe in “a” creator-God is not something shared by all religions, let alone that it is the same one in each, that is what I meant by the parochial nature of largely Christian apologists acting as if their game were the only one in Pascal’s Las Vegas, awash with competing & mutually contradictory faiths, all competing for the potential convert’s attentions. The notion that “atheism” is somehow “parochial” by noting that not all religions can be simultaneously true is a fascinating leap in logic: would atheism be somehow less “parochial” if it paid less attention to the other faiths of the world? Interesting.

    • Tom Godfrey says:

      James Downard, if you are still following this, I hope you will consider a late response. Yes, *anyone* certainly does get to play, even someone who seriously believes that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a serious contender for honor as the creator of the universe. This applies regardless of the preferred holy book with a story of origins. What should interest anyone who cares about the truth is the strength of the case that can be advanced. Do you know of at least one nonbiblical alternative that ought to be considered superior to the biblical candidate being discussed here? If you think any origin story associated with the FSM is in this category, you must be pulling our leg, but seriously, which nonbiblical candidate qualifies? Can you offer a rational, side-by-side comparison that puts it in a better light than the Bible?

      It may well be true that any of the candidates for a credible origin story could be twisted, as the Bible has been twisted, so that modern scientific concepts are rammed into them, and “playing picky choosy” and “ignor[ing] all the parts that don’t fit” can certainly be useful strategies in such an endeavor, but not everyone is going to be fooled. From my perspective, there is no point in ramming modern scientific concepts into any origin story, because this would imply that those modern concepts are based on a higher authority. In this case, can ancient testimony have any value, besides for entertainment, maybe just for children? If the testimony is known to be technically unreliable, when it is interpreted without any twisting, what credible contribution to a study of origins can it possibly make?

      Besides this, Genesis clearly claims that supernatural intervention was involved in creation of the universe and life on earth. Any scientist who puts on his historian hat and writes an alternative origin story based on a study of physical evidence under the no-miracle presupposition is bound to miss the truth if it was indeed a miraculous work of God, as claimed in Genesis. This presupposition is all that it would take to dismiss Genesis as myth or legend. Not even a peek at physical evidence would be needed in this case, and the presupposition could not be converted into a conclusion based on evidence without begging the question.

      Your comment reflects a dim view of the claims of Genesis, and you evidently concluded that its oldest narratives were stolen (“nicked” in British English) from more ancient myths. What is the rational basis for this position? As you must realize, a lot depends on the dates of original authorship and details of their histories of transmission down to our times. We should agree that many of these details remain a mystery, so we are left to speculate based on available evidence. I think a good case can be made for the hypothesis that the Enûma Eliš is actually a cultural corruption of the true creation account that could have been widely known in the beginning of human history and is still told accurately only in Genesis. The same goes for other alternative accounts plausibly parallel to Genesis. If you know a good way to refute this idea, I am interested.

      But what about the “bumpy bits” that you mentioned? For example, is the “Day 4 Genesis stellar creation sequence” really as “screwball” as one might think? It could seem that way, if unreasonable assumptions are made. The plants created on Day 3 need sunlight, right? Should we assume that God etiolated them until the following day? Nonsense! This is just the unreasonable assumption that the light created on Day 1 was inadequate. Now for Perry Marshall’s favorite, should we assume that any stars hundreds of thousands of light-years away could not possibly have been created only about 7200 years ago? He has no problem believing that the edge of the observable universe is about 46.5 billion light-years away even though the universe itself is supposed to be only about 13.8 billion years old.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe
      The discrepancy of 32.7 billion years is explained without invoking any miracle by appeal to natural expansion of space. Perry evidently assumes that God could not have miraculously expanded space or “stretched out the heavens” (Is. 45:12) in the beginning. This also strikes me as nonsense, unless one feels obligated to accept the no-miracle presupposition, in which case, as explained above, no one needs physical evidence to conclude that the story of any miracle in Genesis is screwball. I see nothing screwball about Genesis, provided we concede that God can and does perform miracles. Perry has made this concession but evidently cannot follow my logic on this point. If *I* am not thinking straight, maybe someone here can explain the problem.

      In any case, skeptics may well want more evidence that the Bible in general and Genesis in particular provide us with accurate history. You may not be familiar with the work of Gerald Aardsma, who has devoted much of his adult life to a study of biblical chronology. He has uncovered plenty of physical evidence that the Genesis genealogies have been accurately recorded and preserved for us.
      http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/
      Notice that his newest book (on aging, top banner) is available as a free PDF download. What other ancient story of origins provides at least as much testable chronological information? If you can find one, how much of the chronology is just as well confirmed to be accurate?

  14. Dave Nelson says:

    Hugh Ross unfortunately ignores sound hermenutical principles. He is so committed to the evolutionary concept that he has ignored (I use that word purposefully), primarily, though not exclusively, the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture and the explicit always overrules the implicit. There are also many flaws in Ross’ logic. If Ross is your only source of information on this topic you have failed to properly educate yourself. For more information from those committed to interpreting Scripture properly see http://www.icr.org, http://www.aig.org, and http://www.creation.org

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