From Creationist to Atheist to Reasonable Faith

Guest Blog by Ryan Ferguson

At the age of 6, I loved my family, my dog, my Lord Jesus, awesome flying kicks and Ankylosaurus. At the age of 6, this was considered perfectly normal and no one batted an eyelid.

At the age of 12, I was told I could love four of those five things, but when it came to the God who loves me and amazing ancient creatures, I had to choose.

Why? Because Ankylosaurus lived approximately 60,000,000 years ago, while the Bible “clearly” states that God created the world 6,000 years ago.

And, as the fundamentalists’ claims went, the Bible is inerrant, so if any of it is wrong, it’s all wrong.

In other words, if I’m not

sure that the world and life was created 6,000 years ago without evolution, I shouldn’t believe in Jesus, either. For the next six years I continually wrestled with a young earth worldview in light of so much evidence for an older earth.

At the age of 18, I couldn’t do it anymore. The answers I got from the Christians around me were: “We don’t need evidence – we have faith!” and “Who are you going to believe – scientists or God?”

Well, when the reason to believe God is “we have faith,” while the reason to believe scientists is “we have a large body of facts and data that reasonably point in a certain direction,” it’s quite sensible to feel backed into a corner where a reasonable man just wouldn’t choose God.

And that’s where I lamented being. I didn’t want to reject belief in God, I was pushed – both by the antitheists and the fundamentalists around me – to think I had no reasonable alternative but to reject belief in God. For a short period, I begrudgingly became an atheist.

It was at this point that my grandmother – a creative type like me, and a skeptic of both theism and atheism – was reaching the end of a long battle with cancer.

She had been a humanities teacher when she was younger, and so it should come as no surprise that she had an encyclopedic knowledge of the world from ancient times until the present, and her house was an unofficial library.

At the end of her life my dad and his siblings inherited her house, while my generation inherited her books. After years of being told by antitheists that there is no evidence for God, and by fundamentalists that we don’t need evidence for God, one specific book in grandma’s collection stood out to me: “God: The Evidence” by Patrick Glynn.[1]

Now, I’m not about to say that Glynn’s book is without problems or that the evidence he brings to the table makes a bulletproof case for God. It doesn’t.

But the fact that he brings forth evidence out of Big Bang cosmology (supporting a 14 billion year old cosmos, and implicitly a 4.5 billion year old solar system with life being found more or less when and where scientists suggest) did a couple things.

Firstly, it showed me that evidence of an old earth and cosmos does not distinctly point away from creation, despite what many had told me.

In fact, there are many features of the cosmos that are explained quite well through a theistic framework, with the odds running heavily against them if the cosmos is not designed.

Secondly, it prompted me to investigate further. If the cosmos itself is very likely the product of design, then what about life? It strikes me that despite decades of trying, abiogenesis has not been demonstrated in the lab.

And if it is ever demonstrated, it will most likely be because someone designed an experiment that went just right, the irony of which should be clear.

From there, I encountered the “irreducible complexity” argument. That is, living organisms operate systemically. There are some malleability within the various bodily systems, but there are some very complex systems in the body that, once broken down to a certain point, simply crash.

Like the keystone in a bridge, if you remove anything from the system, the whole thing fails. It is plausible that some of these systems are the result of other systems merging together, but that only moves the problem so that the same questions are raised of the former systems.

It also stretches the limits of plausibility that every system that appears irreducibly complex is the result of multiple simpler systems clicking into place together at the right time and in the right way so as to transition from function to function without catastrophic dysfunction landing between these steps.

This is especially difficult to sustain as plausible when subscribing to the position that evolution happens as the result of tiny copying errors in DNA over time.

Again, none of this is bulletproof. Happy accidents and functional coincidences happen all the time, and at the very edge of a bell curve, the least probable things do happen.

But ultimately it became clear to me that the atheism I had been told was scientifically proven wasn’t anything close to demonstrably true. A worldview held together by all of the least probable things happening without any guiding cause raising their probability is, well, exceedingly improbable.

To me, theism became monumentally more plausible than atheism, and it wasn’t in spite of evolution or Big Bang cosmology, it was through these streams of scientific inquiry.

It was still two more years before I became a full-fledged Christian. After all, looking at evolution in an old earth and seeing signs of a creator doesn’t directly indicate that this creator is a hyper-personal being (as is the case in the Triune God that Christians worship).

Nature itself doesn’t testify to a God who entered into his creation to bear the burden of human iniquity (as Jesus did by becoming a man and suffering public shame and execution on a Roman cross) and was then resurrected from the dead, assuring his followers that they, too, would join him in a future resurrection.

That involved actually reading Scripture, asking honest questions and receiving honest answers, and interrogating the evidence for or against any of the unique Biblical claims about God being true. But having the groundwork that nature points to a creator meant that I was able to come to Scripture open to the possibility that its big claims could be true.

Meanwhile, if the fundamentalists around me had had their way, I’d be stuck stumbling over cosmology and evolution.

Since then, my philosophical positions have evolved 🙂 and my reasons for believing in God are numerous. Consequently, even though Glynn got me started in looking into evidence for God, it is unlikely to impair my belief if further scientific discoveries falsify what was contemporary science at the time of writing.

That’s not to say I’ve become a fideist (one who subscribes to blind faith). Far from it. Rather, the philosophical landscape on the subject of God’s existence goes well and truly beyond Glynn’s writing, and there are other lines of reasoning I personally find far more compelling, all of which are perfectly compatible with evolution.

I now take the stance that the early chapters of Genesis primarily involve God speaking to Ancient Israelites through a worldview that was familiar to them, rather than God upgrading their scientific knowledge.

I agree with John Dickson’s proposition that Genesis critiques various ideas from surrounding cultures, with the 7-day account being a polarized twist on the 7-act Babylonian creation account, Enuma Elish.[2] Likewise, I agree (more or less) with John Walton’s reading that the beginning of Genesis is a temple account, more interested in the consecration of the world as God’s holy space to dwell with people than in absolute material origins.[3]

Bearing in mind that the early church fathers were as divided on how to read Genesis as Christians are today,[4] it appears quite likely that the Bible does not have an official stance on the scientific implications of Genesis.

That being the case, I feel comfortable to let Christ be Christ and let science be science, while knowing that at an essential level everything is created and sustained by God, regardless of how old the world is.

Do you have a similar story? Tell us by posting a comment below.

References

[1] Glynn, P. (1997). God: The evidence: The reconciliation of faith and reasons in a postsecular world. Ann Arbor, MI: Forum

[2] Dickson, J.P. (2008). The genesis of everything: An historical account of the Bible’s first chapter. ISCAST, 4. Retrieved from http://www.iscast.org/journal/articles/Dickson_J_2008-03_Genesis_Of_Everything.pdf

[3] Walton, J. (2014, May 9). Origins today: Genesis through ancient eyes [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/fR82a-iueWw

[4] De Beer, V. (2010). Genesis, creation and evolution. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/view/de-beer-genesis-creation-and-evolution

 

86 Responses

  1. GARY SHEEDY says:

    Perry Marshall – having recently read your book, and accepting that it covered micro-evolution very well (Adaptation/Speciation/Variation, I am writing to ask again, what is the problem? Neither Christians (Creationists and Intelligent Design advocates) or secular scientists see micro-evolution as the ‘General Theory of Evolution, (macro-evolution – molecules to man) and hence have absolutely no problem with it.
    I now read that you are having your two bobs worth regarding creationists and the young earth belief (6-10,000yrs), throwing in the same old line as the evolutionists and atheists, that such a belief belies their credibility, and may even turn them away from Christianity. You are beginning to come across as a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing my friend. I am a Christian who has absolutely no time for evolutionary theory, based primarily on the science. However I am fully aware of literal interpretation of Genesis and have no problem believing g in a young earth if needs be, preferring to learn toward Jonathan Sarfati than your own thoughts. What evidence do you have (apart from evolutionist uniformitarian rubbish and radiometric dating assumptions, that the earth is not as young as YEC s suggest. I am quite prepared to wait and see on this matter rather than simply can creationists (the very people who first raised the Darwin dissent in contemporary times. Stop bagging them and seek some common ground as a Christian.

    • Gary,

      If you define even new species as “micro” evolution, then I’m not sure what the problem is.

      Please hear me on this – just the evolution that we observe and understand – new species in one generation, protozoans cutting their DNA into 100K pieces and re-arranging it – beggars the imagination in terms of its sophistication. No human technology begins to come close. If you want to back an atheist into a corner, stop objecting to evolution and start talking about what REALLY happens when things evolve. Show him the experiments. Show him the results and ask him to explain how emmer + goat grass = wheat in 1 generation happened through “random mutation and natural selection.”

      I hope you understand that when you say “uniformitarian rubbish” you are rubbishing the idea that God’s physical laws of the universe are consistent.

      First of all, rubbishing “uniformitarianism” cuts the legs completely out from under science. Galileo and Newton assumed uniformitarianism with respect to space thus unifying apples falling out of trees with orbits of planets, with gravity.

      I’m just not sure you realize what a mess you’re making of science by dismissing this, presumably in the preference of dispensational theology.

      And second, you are at least implying that God is inconsistent.

      It is telling that in order to embrace YEC, one has no choice but to discard perhaps THE most valuable axiom of science itself, which is that its laws are uniform. Because uniform assumptions do not testify to a young earth at all.

      So at that point you can believe just about anything you want to believe. You can make up anything you want because you have no idea what the laws used to be. You can discard any evidence you don’t like and rationalize it.

      But you can’t still call it science because to do so is dishonest. And I really mean that. Making up any kind of past law you want and calling it science is tantamount to lying.

      I am seeking common ground as a Christian and I would hope that even the astonishing capabilities of what you call micro evolution would unite us.

      Still, when something as simple as the speed of light clearly shows the universe is VERY old, and observing how many people lose faith because YEC tells them it’s either ancient dinosaurs or Jesus, I’m not going to stay quiet about it.

      • Steven Barnes says:

        I would ask you to consider when observing the speed of light and the apparent age which it presumes upon the age of the universe from the distance of observable stars, in relationship to the “Big Bang,” theoretical construct. Einstein theorized in his theory of relativity that as one approached the speed of light that one V shows and movies play havoc with this notion) But consider that if all of the mass of the universe essentially exploded outwards from a single event horizon the velocity at which it must travel to escape that event. A single collapsed star (black hole) can draw even light into its immense mass. How much more all the mass of the universe. To escape the gravitational well the velocity must have been enormous. Would that not signify that relative to the starting point that it would appear to be (in time) of immense age?

        I am not a physicist but just a simple curious questioner and curious how the math might take such a thing into account. I know the Bible relates that God “covers himself with light like a cloak and stretches out the heavens like the curtain of a tent” Psalm 104:2 and Isaiah 45:12
        “…My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” Light and mass, describing the physical origins as manifestations of reality effected from a central location that stands outside those known laws by the one who created them.

        • It’s reasonable to say the big bang theory at large is a theoretical construct. However the speed of light itself is not. It is measurable, and it’s also found in MANY physics equations that we rely on to do very practical things. It’s in E=MC^2 for example. It’s in Maxwell’s equations. There are no known problems with either of those. In fact they work amazingly well.

          So if the speed of light is 300 million meters per second, and if a star is 100 million light years away, then how long ago did that light leave the star?

          • Thomas C Lorz says:

            In the Genesis account, light was created and existed three days prior to the sources of light which were not created until the fourth day. Dry land, Earth as we know it, and vegetation were created in the interim. The planets, stars, sun, and moon all came into existence on the fourth day “for times and for seasons, for days and for years.” One could say that the measurement of time did not begin until the fourth day.

            Are you familiar with the heavily peer reviewed study by Barry Setterfield and Dr. Trever Norman published in July of 1987 which showed that the speed of light had decayed as much as 7% since the 1700s?
            http://www.setterfield.org/accelanom.htm

            Since our concept of time is tied to the speed of light would this not affect theories of massive amounts of time?
            Is not time its self separate form the measurement thereof?

            Just some questions I have been playing with for some time.

            • I am not specifically familiar with this paper or this spacecraft issue.

              If I were to make a radical re-interpretation of physics and a new hypothesis which says the speed of light is changing, I would need much more data than anomalous measurements from spacecraft. A lot more. Note also that the paper itself never suggests that “c” is the problem; rather, the website linking to this paper says this, and that has not been subject to peer review.

              I certainly wouldn’t turn all of physics upside down based on one paper, and if this does suggest the speed of light is changing, this would still never get you from 13 billion years to a 6000 years history of the universe.

              I would invite you to consider that before day 4, the earth’s atmosphere was opaque, and on “day” four (days not being 24 hours) the sky cleared and these objects became visible in the sky. In that model modern science and the Bible match quite well.

              See http://cosmicfingerprints.com/genesis1/

      • Steve Wood says:

        Perry, it seems you always hang your hat on the speed of light proving an old universe, but what about the law of entropy, that everything goes from order to disorder, or in other words, winding down. Through the years, beginning in 1677, the speed of light has been measured more than 150 times. Roemer measured it at 307,600 +/-5400km/sec. In 1875 Harvard measured it at 299,921 +/- 13 km/sec. In 1983 Bureau of Standards measured it at 299,792.4586 +/- 0.00003km/sec. All of these measurements were slower than the previous and outside the margins of error. This would seem to be evidence that entropy may apply to the speed of light.

        • Given the distance of 108 years and knowing what we know about technology, I am far more given to attribute a 0.04% difference to measurement error than to entropy. Especially considering that if the speed of light is changing, conservation of matter and energy go out the window and we suddenly have MAJOR problems with the laws of physics. Problems that empirically do not seem to be problems at all.

          Old-school Neo-Darwinian evolution is not only disputed by Christian young earth creationists; it’s disputed by people of every imaginable background, as a quick look at the literature will show – atheists, hindus, agnostics and everything else. In contrast, speed of light is, to my knowledge, only questioned by YECs, for a very peculiar set of reasons. It’s not in serious dispute in any other field of science. Therefore I think the problem is with YEC not with speed of light.

          I find it far easier to be flexible in my Biblical exegesis than to look for loopholes in the speed of light. The alternatives for interpretation are many.

          • Steve Wood says:

            Perry, I’m not a mathmatician nor a physicist, just someone seeking truth. I know there are those smarter than I that have proposed alternatives to speed of light being constant from the beginning to now, from any point of reference, such as Humphries. The measurements I listed above seem to add doubt. As far as that possibility creating major problems with the laws of physics, isn’t it a rule of thumb that the more we learn, the more we learn what we don’t know? I know that there were recent experiments measuring the speed of nuetrinos traveling faster than light. Gravity seems to work the same way all the time but aerodynmics can change it’s affect on a body with the right characteristics. With 10 or more dimensions, most of which we can’t measure or interact with, I wouldn’t be so sure the world is more than a few thousand years old. There is way too much evidence to the contrary in other fields of science that can be observed and measured. Radiometric dating of rocks of known age (from volcanoes) being wrong by orders of magnitude. Recent reevaluation of ice core ages by Hebert. Preserved protein in supposedly 80 million year old bones. Evidence of “modern man” in the same geologic layers as dinosaurs. The rate of human DNA mutation from generation to generation if extrapolated would take us back just a few thousand years. There’s much more, but usually the question is, who do you believe. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. He talked about the flood and “the beginning”.

            • Steve,

              Please understand that I mean no insult by this, but most of what you have described here are things that only a person not sufficiently educated in math and science will be willing to accept. The list you have given here mostly fringe science. There is no conflict between an old earth and Jesus at all – it only requires a moderately different interpretation of some parts of Genesis and there is no dilemma.

              I have covered much about the age of the earth elsewhere on this website and I encourage you in any case to keep seeking truth.

              • Steve Wood says:

                Perry, no offense taken, but all the arguments I listed against an old earth came from very smart highly educated people with credentials in math and science. So, as I said before, what a person believes usually boils down to WHO you believe. We may both be surprised when we meet our creator.

                • Robin Boom says:

                  Steve. You have taken the assumption God wrote Genesis. God did not write Genesis. Some unknown scribe or scribes compiled the book of Genesis. As a literal interpretation of Genesis can be proven to be errant, in insinuating God was the author of Genesis you make God out to be a liar. If you are someone who is genuinely seeking truth as you claim, then you need to put the same amount of scrutiny into you truth assumptions as you do in criticizing main stream science.

                  As for the age of the Earth, I have worked in the field of soil science for over quarter of a century and there are some young recent soils, and others which have seriously weathered away over tens of thousands of years. Also rocks such as granite which is a very hard rock, yet one can find granites which are so weathered over hundreds of thousands of years which I can literally crush in my own hands. God doesn’t make tricks to make the world just appear old, and scientists just don’t pluck numbers out of the sky to come up with figures such as the age of the earth etc. God is not a liar or a trickster, yet YEC make Him out to be, suggesting the Earth and the universe is made to look old yet is only 6000 years old.

                  • Steve Wood says:

                    Robin, please don’t put words in my mouth. Of course the Bible was written by men except for the tablets of stone on Mt Sinai and the writing on the wall, interpreted by Daniel. Also, there are quotes from Jesus throughout the new testament. However, those men were inspired by God or talked directly to The Lord, as surely, Adam did. On the contrary, old earth evolutionists are the ones making God out to be a liar. Quoting Jesus, Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Mt. 24:38-39 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the flood came and took them away; so shall also the coming of the son of man be.” While it is true that we don’t yet know how light reached us from far away stars, one day we will. Your problem is that you start with erroneous presuppositions, such as one piece of granite being very hard and another not so much must be because of age. I simply cited several examples of empirical data showing the unreliability of those presuppositions. I’d be very curious as to what you consider to be errant in God’s Word.

                    • Robin Boom says:

                      Steve. The empirical evidence is that the Earth and universe are very old. There is no empirical evidence of a young universe or Earth. As for evidence of a global flood there is none. Certainly there is evidence of regional floods. Richard Dawkins in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, says all you need to disprove evolutionary theory is find a modern mammal fossil in the Cretaceous period or Cambrian period. Just one fossil. Surely if there was a global flood we would find fossils of dinosaurs, donkeys and dogs all at the same layer. They aren’t.

                      As for weathered soils and rocks, modern science does not start from erroneous suppositions. Science is neutral and has no vested interest in the age of things. Some scientists may well have a particular bent, and certainly YEC scientists skew everything to fit within their paradigm, but by and large their science and reasonings are dishonest and sometimes straight laughable.

                      There is nothing inerrant in God’s Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word. It may contain inspired writings, but there are also hyperboles and allegories which are factually incorrect such as in Psalm 19 the famous ‘The heavens declare…’ Psalm YEC use we read of the sun racing across the sky and going to its tent at night. We know the sun doesn’t race across the sky, neither does it go to a tent God has made for it at night, but for king David it may well have appeared to do so as he was not aware that the Earth spun on its axis and circles the sun rather than vice versa. You may accept this as hyperbole and allegory, so why not also consider Genesis 1 which is poetic and was also possibly sung in song by the early Hebrews as just allegorical? As for pointing out a whole heap of glaring errors in the Bible, there are a huge volume of them but this is not what this discussion is about. We are focussing on how to rightly interpret the creation story. Some of the factual errors of Genesis 1 have already been discussed here.

      • Tom Hov says:

        Perry Marshall,
        Thank you for this excellent explanation. Thank you too for your graciousness. I was an anthropology major in college at one time. My professor, on the first day of class said that due to time restraints and simplicity he would only use one of the two theories of existence. I immediately thought to myself, “What? There is another theory?” Months later I became a Christian and wondered how I was going to balance the Genesis account and dinosaurs. To me, the answer became, “God can do whatever he wants.” It wasn’t ’till later that I realized that science and Creation can easily co-exist for the very reasons you, Perry, share here. Thank you again.

    • Ianoș says:

      > apart from evolutionist uniformitarian rubbish and radiometric dating assumptions

      Your personal ignorance is the problem. Actually there are many dozens of independent dating methods and they are all converging to the same results. This wiki page sumps the most important methods:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_dating

      • Full name from now on, please.

      • Steve Wood says:

        Actually old earth assumptions and dating methods are falling apart. Things like soft tissue inside supposedly 68 million year old dinosaur bones, radiometric rock dating of known aged rocks being off by orders of magnitude, color pigment in dinosaur fossil eggs, the predictable number of mutations in our DNA per generation, (virtually always harmful) should have decimated mankind long ago if we’d been here over a million years, etc. etc. etc.

    • steven says:

      even the bible says 1 day is the same as 1000 years to God. keeping that in mind it begs the question of how long was a day. the world was created in 6 days on the 7th God rested. how long was a day than?

    • Michael Meyer says:

      Luke chapter 3 shows the genealogy from Adam ( created on day 6 ) to Jesus Christ , naming the father and son for each generation. What more could God do to convince you that the Earth is only a few thousand years old? Jesus said if they would have believed Moses, they would have believed me . Apparently , you believe neither

  2. Bill McClymonds says:

    Based on your comment about abiogenesis Ryan, I thought you might be interested in this video by synthetic organic chemist James Tour PhD, if you have not seen it. Dr. Tour essentially says chemists are collectively clueless when it comes to abiogenesis at this point in time. He does allow for the possibility that an answer might be discovered in the future, as any good scientist must do to maintain academic credibility. On the other hand, he has not been shown any evidence for abiogenesis by even highly credentialed chemists that is convincing to him that abiogenesis could occur.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4

    Even though the video is over an hour in length, you can get the essential message in the first 20 minutes. He does get into some more complex chemistry after that. He is one of the few people in the world who has built molecular Nano cars so he is extremely knowledgeable in synthetic organic chemistry.

    • Hi Bill,

      That certainly does touch on some interesting issues. Very technical (biology and chemistry lecturers, amirite?), but it does do a good job at circling around some of the problems with abiogenesis to the extent of current scientific investigation. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      • Bill McClymonds says:

        Thanks for the reply Ryan. The reason I find the information provided by Dr. Tour so helpful is because it addresses the origin of biological life on the Earth from the perspective of a synthetic organic chemist. Anyone who believes in a naturalistic or atheist position must first have a reasonable explanation for the origin of life. Unless some reasonable naturalistic explanation can be provided, there is no point in discussing the issue beyond that point. It doesn’t matter what other evidence is provided for naturalistic evolution if the naturalist can’t account for the origin of life.

        Dr. Tour pointed out that he cannot even imagine a reasonable chemical pathway from available chemicals on the early Earth to the first life form. This process had to happen prior to the availability of natural selection. There is no reproduction prior to the first life form and therefore no possibility for natural selection to influence the process. Dr. Tour was primarily addressing the chemical prebiotic assembly of molecules into a cell. He barely touched on the brilliant informational content (DNA) that would have had to be present by at least the time of the first reproductive bacteria.

        Starting with a naturalistic position means starting with zero intelligence. Only rocks, chemicals and gasses were present on the early Earth. From that starting point of zero intelligence, the naturalist has to rapidly (from a naturalistic perspective) produce the most complex information coding system (DNA) that we know about. Not even a simple coding system, like the Morse code was present prior to the development of the DNA code. It is the first information coding system known to have been present on the early Earth. Since that time humans have developed many information coding systems, but none of them approach the brilliance of the DNA information coding and processing system.

        In order to account for abiogenesis, the naturalist must account for two extremely complex processes. One is the chemical assembly of the first life form. Two is the infusion of extremely complex biological information into the chemically assembled cell. The difficulty for the naturalist is that there is no intelligence of any kind to either initiate the process of building an organism from scratch or to aid in the construction process of the first life form.

        Without external intelligent input, the naturalist or atheist position is dead in the water before it can even get started. No life form equals no reproduction and no possibility for an evolutionary process of any kind. Realistic odds against the formation of an organism containing the informational content of DNA occurring by chance are astronomically prohibitive. Starting from a position of absolutely no intelligence and rapidly going to brilliance without any good, reasonable explanation is logically unrealistic and inconsistent with the espoused naturalist or atheist position of being logical and scientific.

  3. Marcwolf says:

    Still sounds to me of someone desperately seeking a larger hammer to belt the square block of faith into the round hole of scientific reason.
    It might just fit.. but not easily

    • Marc, there certainly are specific religious beliefs that are incompatible with the current body scientific work. But it doesn’t follow that faith and science are incompatible or can only be fitted together by forcefully deforming one (or both).

      Are you aware that you are reinforcing the very problem being criticised in this article?

  4. Bob Helm says:

    Anyone who says we don’t need evidence for God is a fideist, and fideism is a heresy.

  5. John Conrad says:

    I found your article refreshing. It will be the prevalent view of believers in the future, I just don’t know how long it will take. Jesus said “everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Our problem is we allowed evolutionists and atheists to back us into the corner (with our total acquiescence) saying it was either evolution or creation–totally mutually exclusive competing theories. We are believing a 7 24 hr day creation story when in our story the determinant of length of day and thus hours shows up on the 4th day of creation. Your comment about the laws of nature not changing is significant. Laws represent God and his character. “I the Lord do not change, therefore, you, O Israel are not consumed.” This nonsense about the speed of light changing to account for silly theories making our earth, solar system and universe very young contradict God’s nature. It will take a while but I am looking forward to the day believers welcome any truth because it speaks to and explains God’s character.

    • As an aside, one of the arguments I’ve heard supporting the notion of 7×24 hour days is that in Revelation, there’s no sun, because God himself provides the light. Therefore, as the argument goes, the sun isn’t needed for a 24 hour day of darkness and light.

      Sounds plausible enough, but given the thrust of the Genesis account and of Revelation, it doesn’t seem to fit. The point in Revelation is that God is better than the sun and will make it obsolete (if indeed we are to take that imagery literally). In Genesis, the motion is from “empty and formless” to “good” to “very good” to “holy.” Therefore, the three days without the sun are less good than the days with the sun, so thematically it doesn’t add up to have God as the light for the first three days.

      So long as “any truth” means “anything that’s true” and not “anything people could accept as truth,” I think I agree.

  6. Ted Southworth says:

    Please address the recent discovery of soft tissue found in dinosaur bones, a scientific impossiblity if dinosaurs are millions of years old. Also please address the man and dinosaur combined fossil foot prints found in Plano,TX.

    Why is it not plausible for the radiometic decay rate to have been more rapid during the fall of man and to now be slowing down? You will never know what the origional rate of radiometric decay was since you and all the scientists in the world were not there and you very well could be making a seriously wrong assumption in your dating calculations of the earth.

    Big bang theory has a massive problem since there is not enough time in the supposed age of the Universe to account for the uniform temperature of the universe. Unless you believe God speed up the big bang and the slowed it down to the current rate of perfectly balanced expansion. BB is a ludicrous theory and needs to be scrapped.

    What about the plethora of Comets in the Solar system? They should be long gone since they last only 10,000 years and dissipate each time around the sun? I have no problem going with God’s account and stated age of the earth since He was there.

    • Hi Ted,

      As the author of this article, I’ll freely admit that the specifics of your post are mostly beyond my scope to comment on. But here’s what I can say:

      1) I’m unaware of any facts that would make such old soft tissue remains impossible. I know that it was presumed for a long time that this simply didn’t happen, but I don’t know of anything saying it couldn’t ever happen. Having said that, I’m also not very familiar with the work that indicates it has happened. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t researched the issue enough to have an opinion on the matter.

      2) Radiometric decay rates are calculated using chemical laws. Reaction rates often happen along a curve, so they often do start out rapid and slow down with time. However, these curves are predictable according to known chemical laws. There are factors that can speed up or slow down reaction rates, for example a change in temperature. In my experience, the great flood is often pointed to as an explanation here, however I don’t know of any way in which that would influence the reaction rate.

      3) If God did speed up and then slow down the Big Bang, that would conform perfectly to the theory of inflation, which is in the most conventional model of the Big Bang.

      4) I’m unaware of anything saying comets only last 10,000 years. But if they do, I don’t see the problem. If the whole universe is teeming with comets, what’s to stop a constant influx of comets into the solar system?

  7. Larry W says:

    Scientists today and for over a hundred years Or more, Can not be trusted. They have this religion called evolution and that is what it is, A bunch of lies, And this is why, Since the late 1800’s many Inventors, invented many wonderful inventions that always seemed to get suppressed. A couple names here. Nathan Beverly Stubblefield (November 22, 1860 – March 28, 1928) Stubblefield pretty much invented a wireless telephone it could reach a mile if not more. Nikola Tesla 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) Tesla had over a thousand patents by the time he passed away. A lot of people don’t even know who he is. He is one of the greatest inventors ever. He had a device that could run the electric in your home and would never stop, There have been many inventors who have made this claim and have done so. Most have been murdered, Or payed off. Fuel, since the 30’s there have been over 1,000 patents for better MPG and clean burning carbs, The shell opel car got up to 376mpg There are many who claim Shell even got up to 1,000 Miles Per Gallon from a car they made. This was in the 70’s. Thomas Ogal in the 70’s had a v8 4,500 pound car that got 100mpg, He was murdered in his 20’s. Stan Myers in the 80’s made a car run on water. He was offered 25 billion from Exxon moblil. He refused, He was later murdered. So my point is, If they can hide all these wonderful inventions, And about 90% of them are true I know this for a fact. Then they can sure can make up a story about a dinosaurs being millions of years old, When in fact they have cut open bones of dinosaurs and they are only thousands of years old. And any one who believes a so called Scientists just because they say they are a Scientists, They need to wake up. There have been many archaeological digs that prove this silly religion is nothing but lies. Most of those good folks got fired. The same goes for health, There have been many cures for cancer. For over 70 years if not more. Do some research yourself, Instead of relying on someone who calls there self a Scientists, And tell’s you what they are paid to tell you.

  8. wendell read says:

    Gary: uniformitarianism in science can be understood in two distinct ways. Darwin’s theory advanced the proposition that evolution occurred in very small steps. Natural selection pruned out the bad ones and kept the good ones. Thus evolution proceeded in a ‘uniform’ manner with no noticeable ‘jumps’. There are many counterexamples of this form of uniformitarianism, it is not true. The other form of uniformitarianism, the bedrock of science, says that the laws of physics we discover on earth are valid everywhere; the moon, distant quasars, and everywhere in between. No counterexamples have ever been found. It also states that the laws do not change as a function of time. There are a few scientists which challenge the last point, claiming that perhaps the laws of physics themselves evolve over a long period of time (billions of years)

    A 6000 year old earth/universe is impossible without discarding the very foundations of all of modern physics. The experimental evidence validating modern physics is extensive, and for those who have studied it, very persuasive. Look at the technological advances that have been made in the last century of so. It all validates our understanding of modern physics.

  9. Been watching these posts for several days now. Even the first one, which was about an argument that supposedly took place at a conference of biologists, had the odor of a religion pitch about it. As the days have passed, that odor has become increasingly strong. Now, here it is. Nice to see that some Christians are trying to say that religion and science are not the same thing, never were, never will be. Not sure the approach described here, to the extent it is described, is much more useful, though. I have a religion, too, and it also involves gods. Lots of them, in fact. But what stories involving gods do is tell you something about what they are *like*, nothing at all about what they *are*, and only a little about what they *do*. A more useful approach to the science/religion issue is to see that gods are something *very* different from their mythic descriptions, and that myth and history are simply disjoint sets with different purposes. Design? Design is a big part of what I do for a living, and design is what I *don’t* see when I look at nature. Design is a complex survival strategy employed by humans. Our language, and therefore our thought processes, are preemptively design-oriented, which can make it hard to talk about, or even think about, the true nature of what is seen in nature. Gods are useful, and powerful, and deserve their own space in our thinking.

  10. Peter Smartt says:

    Please answer just one question. Using a bit of amateur formal logic – we have two propositions:
    a: God created the world around 6,000 years ago
    b: Ankylosaurus lived approximately 60,000,000 years ago

    Clearly, a and b cannot both be correct (as you correctly observed when you were about 12 years old). So when we have two mutually exclusive propositions, how do we decide between a and b (or neither)? You seem to have just jumped to proposition b, and subsequently built your philosophy, your theology, and virtually your life on it, without providing any justification as to why you chose (and continue to choose) b instead of a. Are you able to put your finger on your starting assumptions? How often do you critically examine them? Have you paid serious attention, as an adult, to the arguments of those who start with different axioms?

    • Hi Peter,

      I’m no expert in any specific field of science (I did study science at a tertiary level, but even that is still barely scratching the surface of anything). So if you asked me for explicit proof of an old earth or evolution, I would not be able to provide anything more than the generic recognition that it is strongly agreed by scientists who do specialise in the relevant areas that an old earth is the case. I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false, and doing so does not constitute simply “jump[ing]” to a proposition.

      In saying that I “seem to have just jumped to proposition b,” you seem to be overlooking the 6 years I spent deliberating over this issue as a teenager and making certain assumptions about whether or not I’ve continued to think about this since my return to Christian faith as an adult.

      I have personally worked through the theological, philosophical and scientific ramifications of a young earth and an old earth. As it stands, following the evidence and arguments where they lead, it presents to me that there is a good case for belief in a deity, there is a good case for belief in Jesus as that deity, and a good case for an old earth with old life.

      Due to constantly engaging with would-be presuppositional apologists (who are, by and large, YEC and fundamentalists), I don’t have the option not to be aware of my bottom-tier philosophical positions, and I certainly do critically examine them. Again, so long as I engage with presuppositionalists, I don’t really have the option not to. Do you critically examine yours?

      In an argument, an axiom is defined as a mutually agreed upon premise treated as uncontroversial (at least for the argument’s sake), so by definition I don’t have interlocutors with different axioms. So, unless you change your closing question, it’s unanswerable in its current form.

      • Peter Smartt says:

        Hi Ryan,

        From the fount of all truth, Wikipedia [chokes and splutters]:

        “The term has subtle differences in definition when used in the context of different fields of study. As defined in classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. [3] As used in modern logic, an axiom is simply a premise or starting point for reasoning.”

        I’m happy to go with your definition and change “axiom” to “premise”. However, having said that, I think we need to deal with your statement “I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false”. I am trying to understand when would you decide that “the prevailing scientific understanding” had been proved false? (In my mind, and in the minds of most YECs, it has been proved false over and over again – its just that the evidence is hardly ever given a fair hearing.)

        Is there some specific hypothetical evidence that might at least give you pause, or would it just be a matter of falling in behind the mob? Do you have a picture in your mind of how you think the world should look (differently to how it actually does look) if it was as young as a straight-forward reading of the Bible (particularly the early chapters of Genesis and the chain of genealogies) indicates?

        If you care to answer, feel free to discuss anything that is observable – geology, biology, human nature, the biblical text itself, human society – anything.

        • I appreciate you sprinkling your post with light humour, Peter. It definitely helps to keep my inner keyboard warrior at bay 😛

          So, with regards to engaging with different premises, I do my best to approach things honestly. If I don’t agree with a premise, I’ll ask myself why not, and I’ll ask my interlocutor why I should agree with their premises. I have been known to change my mind, although obviously personal bias is a thing, so I don’t claim to be perfectly consistent in this area (really, who is?). Naturally, to go any further with that, I’d need to know what premises you bring to the table if we were to discuss at that level where we agree, where we disagree, and why.

          In the experience discussed in the OP, there wasn’t any hearing given to the evidence by those with a YEC position. My experience prior to my return to faith was very much that YEC positions are upheld by ignoring evidence and denying it, rather than engaging with it and bringing evidence to the table.

          However, once I returned to Christianity when I was 20, I did find that many YEC’ists did actually interact with the body of evidence available. But what I found was not new evidence brought to the table that challenged an old earth view, but rather reading a young earth view into the evidence — often, but not always, with an emphasis on people not having been there to observe alleged old earth events.

          There are some evidences I’ve been presented with that have already given me pause, all of which are specimens among the fossil record that supposedly don’t fit. However, some of these have been demonstrated to be red herrings and entirely fitting, while the rest I haven’t investigated sufficiently to hold a position (you can look at the comments between Ted Southworth and I a little further up the page for some examples).

          When you refer to a “straight-forward reading of the Bible,” I immediately have to call into question: straight-forward to who? It has been my experience that there are many things we are trained to see as obvious in the text, which really aren’t all that obvious.

          For example, many believe that the straight-forward ramification of the second day is that there are clouds in the sky. But I’m quite thoroughly convinced that when the author (presumably Moses) says “waters above,” he literally means waters above — flowing, liquid water: something akin to a visible ocean suspended above the sun, moon and stars in the sky (cf. the fourth day, when God places the “lights” in the vault of the sky — this vault being the space between the waters above and the waters below).

          Without an understanding of modern cosmology, this is a very intuitive way to make sense of the sky. And this may be supported by the Book of Enoch which, though not considered canon by protestants, gives a lot of insight into the way Ancient Israelites saw the world. And that’s how I think the world would probably be if the world were how it’s literally described in Genesis.

          With that being the case, here’s a rough argument outline:

          P1. The Bible, including Genesis 1, is true.
          P2. The sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere, causing the sky to appear blue, rather than being suspended underneath blue waters above.
          P3. This places a contradiction between the physical descriptions of Genesis 1 and known cosmology.
          C. The truth of Genesis 1 is not in its physical descriptions.

          You’ll note that this argument really isn’t concerned with evolution or the age of the world. But if all the premises are true and the conclusion follows, then it also follows that the what/when/where/how questions are not questions that Scripture aspires to answer when it comes to creation.

        • Paul Richmond says:

          With regards to the statement ““I think it is sufficient to go with the prevailing scientific understanding of things until proven false” . . . if ever a prevailing scientific understand of things is proven false, it will no longer be the prevailing scientific understanding of things. So how can one ever hope to use such a “rule” in deciding about things?

  11. Robin Boom says:

    Great story from Ryan. He had it drilled into him by the fundamentalists that it was either Genesis or the modern science story, not a harmonisation between the two.

    Another claim by the fundys is that you must accept every jot and tittle as the ‘infallible Word of God’. Its either All or Nothing. This idea of Biblical infallibility and inerrancy is a relatively modern phenomenon and is easy to falsify. The Bible is not to be Deified or worshipped as such, and the problem is Christians end up having a relationship with a book, rather than the living God. Jesus is the living Word of God and as such we engage with Him through the Holy Spirit, and to deflect the title of the Word of God (Divine Logos) onto a book is idolatrous. It is not ‘For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten book!’ God is Spirit and seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth.

    The first couple of chapters of Genesis are obviously a collation of different oral traditions brought together by some unknown author. Chapter one is poetic Hebrew verse, where God is ‘Elohim’, a male plural God, and in chapter two God is referred to as ‘Jahweh’, the Israelite God, a post Moses term, which is proof that chapter two and the rest of Genesis were put together either by Moses as is commonly believed, or it was written after Moses which is more likely, as it is a blending of oral traditions. Why the fundys don’t critically examine their own assumed infallible beliefs, is because its safe believing All of the Bible as being God breathed as Paul declared to Timothy, so you’ve got to accept it as such. The problem is such a belief is full of massive holes, and there is also a difference in the meanings of ‘inspiration’ and ‘infallibility’. The letter of inerrant fundamentalism kills, but the Spirit of Truth brings life, and God is no liar or deliberate deceiver. Therefore God cannot have been the author of every jot and tittle found in the Bible as we know it. As such we need to be brave and rightly divide the Bible into what are His genuine truths and what may be merely symbolic, allegorical, or just plain wrong.

    • Steve Wood says:

      Robin, you say there’s no empirical evidence for a young earth? Mitochondrial DNA passed down from mothers show 3 basic trunks in all humanity. (Noah’s 3 daughters in law) Also the number of mutations in the DNA has been shown to be about 1 in every 6 generations. This extrapolates right back to Genesis. (Dr Nathaniel Jeanson) Mud core from hundreds of meters below the sea floor have been examined and found to contain DNA probably from algae, but at that depth they should be millions of years old and could not have survived if indeed the core was that old. (Brian Thomas, M.S.) Metal tools and bells have been found in supposedly 300 million year old coal. I’ve seen pictures of fossilized trees that have grown up through supposedly tens of millions of years of strata. You claim that scientists have no hidden agenda to color their findings. That really is laughable. Given the dominance of atheistic evolutionists in academia, it takes some guts for anyone to challenge the status quo. and money talks. I trust “mainstream science” on this issue about as much as I trust the mainstream media to tell the truth. (it was the video) I know we’ll probably never agree because I do believe The Bible is God’s Word and you don’t. God holds His Word even above his Name Ps. 138 and Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.

      • Steve,

        You might also want to consider that for a ministry like AIG to change their position about the age of the earth would be financial suicide.

        Furthermore, I know an owner of a home school curriculum company who was once threatened by Ken Ham. Ham said, effectively, if you endorse Old Earth, we will blackball your ministry.

        Look at the numbers – AIG is big business. The Ark museum cost $100 millon. The money argument cuts both ways.

        Your accusation “we’ll probably never agree because I do believe The Bible is God’s Word and you don’t” fails to make the distinction between God’s word vs. your interpretation of God’s word. I hear this all the time from YECs and it’s simply an assertion of the superiority of your views over his, using religious language.

        All you need to know to be sure the universe is old is the speed of light. If a star is 100 million light years away, how long ago did the light leave the star?

        • Steve Wood says:

          Perry, I’m willing to take justified criticism, but I think you may have missed Robin’s own words: “There is nothing inerrant in God’s Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word.”

      • Robin Boom says:

        Steve. When it comes to mitochondrial DNA of women, Mitochondrial Eve is calculated to be 100,000-250,000 years old and there are actually seven ‘daughters’ of this mitochondrial Eve, and not 3. The average age for a mitochondrial mutation to appear is calculated to be on average every 3500 years and not one in every 6 generations (200 years). A quick google search on the topic will show you this.

        As for fresh DNA found in millions of year old rock, it might be like the DNA found on the shroud of Turin, ie recent contamination in the sample collected. I am unaware of this claim, but like a lot of YEC claims I have observed over the years can have completely logical explanations.

        I can’t comment on the coal, but I do know under certain conditions coal and fossils and petrification can happen quickly in less than 100 years which can give weight to YEC claims, but it can also take hundreds of thousands of years.

        I do trust mainstream science. I work in it and regularly attend conferences in my field of expertise – soil science. I can assure you there is no hidden agenda and think your comment of likening mainstream science to mainstream media an ignorant statement.

        I agree that Jesus words will not pass away but are here for good, and God’s truth is eternal.

        Tell me. Did Judas throw the 30 pieces of silver into the temple and hang himself as Matthew states, or did he callously take the money and buy a field, falling over and dying from disembowelment as Luke stated? I think Matthew’s version is the correct one, and Luke’s is what the Christian community made up through demonising Judas over the following decades.

        • Steve Wood says:

          Robin, why would it be a stretch to believe the accounts of Judas in both Matthew and Acts? He indirectly purchased the field and perhaps a tree branch broke off, disemboweling him when he fell.

          • Robin Boom says:

            Steve. My point is that Matthew wrote of a ‘repentant’ Judas who could not live with himself anymore and goes to the Jewish hierarchy with the 30 pieces of silver and says Jesus is innocent, but they say its of no concern to them so he throws the money into the temple and kills himself. Matthew of course being around at the time is most likely to have got the story right.

            When Luke gets to write his gospel account 30 years later, Judas has likely been demonised in the Christian communities, and the story changes to a callous Judas who blatantly takes the money and purchases the potters field, but God sorts him out by making him trip over and Judas dies from disembowelment. Like you, I used to try and keep the integrity of infallibility in the Bible I made up an elaborate story trying to reconcile the differences, but in the end I had to accept that it was dishonest and there were irreconcilable differences between the accounts, so one was right and one wasn’t. Interestingly if you ask most evangelical Christians who you believe have the Holy Spirit in their lives how Judas died, they will tell you Matthew’s gospel account of throwing money into the temple and hanging himself.

            Also the two contradictory accounts actually show that the early Christians who would have been aware the accounts were contradictory did not change the texts to make them the same, so when skeptics claim that there have been a whole lot of interpolations in the Bible, I actually use this example to show them that this claim is largely bogus, and what we have are the authentic writings as it contains warts and all.

            • Steve Wood says:

              Robin, you can read it that way if you must, but think for a minute. What’s more likely? That Judas fell down when he tripped, and his bowels spilled out, or that he was up in the air, probably dead, and someone cut him down from some height and his bowels spilled out when he hit the ground? To me the latter seems much more likely, and not to likely that that simply came out of someone’s imagination.

      • Steve,

        Your final statement caught my attention. Where in Psalm 138 (or anywhere else) does God declare that he holds his word above his name? (Heaven and earth are not God’s name, and no one here is arguing that God’s words have or will pass away, so the citation from Matt 24:35/Mark 13:31/Luke 21:33 doesn’t really advance the point in any direction.) Here’s Psalm 138; please show us where you’re getting your ideas from in here:

        Psalm 138
        Of David.

        1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
        before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
        2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
        and will praise your name
        for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
        for you have so exalted your solemn decree
        that it surpasses your fame.
        3 When I called, you answered me;
        you greatly emboldened me.
        4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
        when they hear what you have decreed.
        5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
        for the glory of the Lord is great.
        6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
        though lofty, he sees them from afar.
        7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
        you preserve my life.
        You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
        with your right hand you save me.
        8 The Lord will vindicate me;
        your love, Lord, endures forever—
        do not abandon the works of your hands.

        • Steve Wood says:

          Ryan, not sure which translation you’re using but from the KJV Ps. 138:2 ” I will worship toward the holy temple,and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

          • I was quoting from the NIV. I primarily use NIV and ESV, along with Mounce Interlinear for the NT. I just looked up an array of different translations to compare side-by-side here: http://biblehub.com/psalms/138-2.htm The KJV isn’t alone its translation of this verse, but the majority of translations on the list don’t agree with the KJV. Interestingly, the Geneva Bible (which was contemporaneous with the KJV) translates it like this:

            Psalm 138:2 — 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

            2 I will worship toward thine holy Temple and praise thy Name, because of thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy Name above all things by thy word.

            In any case, as Christians we would affirm that, in the truest sense, Jesus Christ himself is the Word of God, and it is Jesus Christ who the Father exalted to the highest place and gave the Name above all names (implying equality in both nature and status between the Name of God and the Word of God). Add that God’s word in Psalm 138:2 could be Big W Word (meaning either Jesus or Scripture) or little w word (meaning the integrity of God’s promises, or even meaning literally anything God communicates to anyone for any reason), and that Middle English is more nuanced than thee, thou, thy and thine. Take all of these factors into account, and even assuming that the KJV gets this verse right, it remains tenuous to say that God places the Bible above his Name.

  12. Richard Alexander says:

    When an authoritative, “mainstream” fundamentalist says that the Bible is inerrant, he means the doctrines, not necessarily specific details of an account or errors in printing or translating. Of course, a lot of non-experts and fringe preachers include more than just the doctrines as infallible.

    • There’s a complex discussion to be had right there.

      Let’s assume that a situation exists in which we have the literacy to read a copy of the Bible that is free of all errors and perfectly represents the original text. So, there are no faults in translation or printing.

      In such a situation, we can then draw up two columns. The first column is headed: “Scripture Says.” The second column is headed: “Scripture Teaches.” In the first column, we have Scripture verbatim. The question becomes: how similar or dissimilar will the second column be compared to the first?

      If it is true that a ‘”mainstream” fundamentalist’ is referring to the second column and not the first in his/her doctrine of inerrancy, then s/he has a doctrine of inerrancy that Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Arminians and Calvinists all agree on. Yet, even after accounting for the higher volume of content in the first column for RCC and EOC, all of the above have different content in the second column.

      So, we find ourselves in a sticky situation. We all agree that the true doctrines of Scripture are inerrant, yet we prove ourselves to be errant in discerning what those doctrines are. The RCC gives ascent to what the Pope places in the second column; the EOC gives ascent to what the 7 Ecumenical Councils place in the second column; the Lutheran gives ascent to what Martin Luther placed in the second column; the Arminian gives ascent to what Jacob Arminius placed in the second column; and the Calvinist gives ascent to what John Calvin placed in the second column. Obviously, those who identify with such titles don’t necessarily give full ascent in these ways (in fact, many deviate dramatically from the second columns they claim to subscribe to), but you get the idea.

      In my personal experience, one of the prevailing stated views of fundamentalists is that the “plain reading” of Scripture is what should go in the second column. This has some very obvious problems that go with it, chiefly: “Plain according to whom?” If what is plain to one person is not plain to the next, then at least one of them is getting their second column wrong, whether it be by missing a teaching that is there or ascribing a teaching that isn’t. How would we discern what should or shouldn’t be placed in the second column using this method?

      Exegesis. Can’t live with it; I don’t recommend trying to live without it.

  13. Guy Nelson says:

    when you consider that God, as stated in the bible, has no beginning and no end and isn’t bound or constrained by the 24 hour day as we are … you can easily answer science for any length of time necessary (what is 450 billion years anyway? a measure that we count based on our 24 hour day) … The 7 day week is for US and the stars were placed for times and seasons … all God’s doing for our understanding only God created it and is not constrained by it. 2nd Peter 3:8 – But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

    Times and seasons play a very important part in biblical prophecy …

    As for dinosaurs and layers of earth … you ever wonder why or how dinosaurs fossils happen? a catastrophic event such as a major flood would cause them to be preserved when they settle and all of the material disturbed by the event would fall around them … yes a comet or whatever could do the same but take a good look at the fossils found and the POSITIONS they are found in … bent necks and odd twisted positions make more of an argument for a flood then asteroid dust raining down on them …

    otherwise, when large animals die they are mostly ripped apart by scavengers so there wouldn’t be anything left to discover buried in rock …

    why is the oldest LIVING thing on this planet on 5,000 yrs old? Methuselah a tree in CA … you can say that coral or a rainforest is millions of years old … but nothing is LIVING beyond that … even if all things must die, you would think that something organic may be 7 or 10 thousand years old somewhere …

    evidence of a world wide flood.

    I love the fact stated earlier about DNA … very complex … no way it just “Happened”

    I also find it funny that science places all humans to one common ancestor … can anyone say “ADAM and EVE” … or even Noah? … even the origins of humans on every continent all related … but that isn’t enough for atheists …

    For life to be possible, and creation logical … the order of Genesis is perfect. But even atheistic bio-evolutionist would have to agree because they claim things appeared in the same exact order …

    I think young earth Christians should back up and consider Genesis 1-3 and think about how big our creator is … and quit putting him in a box or equating him on our terms. It completely negates the one thing science loves to taught and mock Christians with …

    just my opinion.

  14. John Dickson says:

    Lovely to read this, and a nice surprise to see my name.
    Indeed, given that many ancient Fathers – in the pre-scientific, pre-problematic period – held a less-than-concrete view of Genesis 1, it is important for believers today to be gracious toward one another when we arrive at different readings of this beautiful part of God’s word. Blessings.

  15. Josey Fergel says:

    Wow! I’ve read the entire thread and I must say that there are a heck of a lot of ten dollar words throughout. (Not that I don’t understand $10 words, I just feel that they preclude the average Joe -pun intended- from participating in the conversation.) That being said, I don’t necessarily subscribe to “organized religion”, but I do go to worship regularly as I believe our “Creator” appreciates communion. I, like Perry was very much a sponge of information at a young age, and absorbed quite a bit of literature by the age of 12; having learned to read at age 2. Especially Anthropology, Paleontology, and Paleo-anthropology. (My grade school librarian brought books on those subjects to me from the local high school and college, as I had consumed everything in the elementary library by the age of 8.) Consequently, I’ve never really practiced any “faith” concerning the theory of evolution, for obvious reasons. Also, I too fell away from God (having been raised in the Church) when I joined the military at the tender age of 17. Though when I realized the unrelenting reality of Satan in the following few years, I went looking for the God I knew existed too. (to be continued)

  16. Josey Fergel says:

    (I don’t know how many characters these boxes will hold 🙂 )
    Before I came to the humiliating realization that you don’t “find” God, God “finds” you, I trudged through all the mud of religion that presented itself throughout the history of the world; beginning logically with the earliest examples I could find. Suffice it to say, I have a fairly “working’ knowledge of most religions from early Mesopotamian, Annanuki, Sumarian, etc., up to the fledgling religions exemplified in Christianity and islam. Surprisingly, this knowledge does not prohibit me from believing that our Creator might at some point in history, send an emissary to redeem us from our natural proclivity to make bad decisions. Again, like Perry I am not adverse to “changing my mind” about certain issues, considering I am approached with a sense of open mindedness and logic that outweighs my current perception. However, knowing what I feel to be true (which is certainly my very own, exclusive religion) I have settled on Christianity with a Buddhist attitude. (LOL! here,if you feel it is appropriate) Now that all that is out of the way, I must say that I feel that most formally educated Scientists, Theologians, Philosophers, etc. spend a whole lot of time over thinking this stuff.
    For instance, I was reading Einstein’s theories on “Time and Relativity” while during the same span reading Holy Scripture when I was about 20-21 and it suddenly (like a bolt of lightening) dawned on me that “corporeal” time was not created until the 4th day of creation. This realization went a long way in explaining (IMO) how God’s relative perception of time didn’t have to conform to the relative perception God bequeathed us with on he 4th day. Not only does this explain (metaphorically, or not) how God can be at the beginning of time, the end of time, or anywhere in time all at the same time and we can’t, it might explain how the first 3 days of creation might have been any length of time because God was the light and a day began when God opened God’s eyes and ended when God slept (13.5 billion years even). Nor can we wrap our minds around that concept. (Though Einstein may have :)) Needless to say, Einstein hammered any Theologian’s argument that every day of creation had to be 24 hours. It just stands up to reason and you can’t debate reason. Another thought is, “the water in the sky” (firmament) pretty much means that before it was divided, our planet was a “greenhouse”. Meaning a mean temperature of between 70 and 90 degrees, a total lack of disease (in the beginning), and endless food sources. I believe I’ve seen somewhere, or another that amphibians, reptiles, fish, and possibly a few other species have no set life span or body size given a perfect environment. We still have dinosaurs. Great white sharks, Anacondas, Crocodiles, Tortoises, and the list goes on; but no real “behemoths” since that time. Doesn’t that stand up to reason too?
    I haven’t seen any “science” that would disprove that theory. Have you?
    The scripture is riddled with science, if one will only realize that God does not speak to us as if we were also God. God, I would assume speaks to us like we were human. In other words, would an omnipotent being attempt to communicate with humans using an omnipotent language? Who does that make sense to? I think (analogous, or not) the scripture, the first 4 or 5 books of which were handed down through verbal “story telling” (duh), is “bay talk”. How could it be anything else? I think the smarter “man” thinks he is, the less he actually realizes. Of course the scripture is analogous, anything otherwise defies logic.

  17. Josey Fergel says:

    As to the debate about the origins of life? I think the most humorous and simple example of faith in “evolution theory” was given most eloquently by an author named Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ) when he wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) “To believe in evolution is to believe that your Great, Great, Great, Great………,Great Grandfather was a rock.”
    Funny to say the least, but true none the less.
    More seriously though, I watched a presentation given by a scientist named Stephen J. Meyer called “The Signature in the Cell” (which can easily be found on the “You Tube”) that rang very logical with me. It lasts about an hour and a half and is chocked full of those $10 words, but I’m sure that the bunch I see here in this thread would have little problem keeping up. You should peruse it just for kicks. It has several loaded magazines of ammo that can be used in a fire fight with an Atheist. (BTW, I have decided that the best definition of an Atheist is someone who believes in one’s self and nothing else.)
    But I digress. When you take a long step back and look at the big picture, science has done very little to answer the questions of origin. We think we know a lot, but we know very little (considering).
    Another thought, “Original sin”.
    When the “serpent” approached Eve in the garden and tempted her with the fruit of the Knowledge of good and evil she succumbed to the higher intellect of the serpent and ate. (And I still LMAO about this one) Adam stood right there and watched the whole thing (where else would he be?) and didn’t say squat. I guess he figured “What the heck?” and took a bite too. They were “enlightened” and ran to hide, clothed themselves, slinked out when God called for them, and then tried to lie about the whole thing. Adam even had the gall to blame God because God had made the woman. (You can’t make that stuff up. which is further proof to me how true it probably is.)
    Okay, before original sin God came regularly to the garden and interacted with Adam and Eve. God was physically in their presence and they did not disintegrate. (Moses aged from a young man to an old man and he was hiding behind a rock wall in the presence of God). After the “expulsion” from the garden, God only appeared as a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a pillar of cloud, or something else disembodied, (or sent an Angel), etc…
    It is said (by scientists) that we use maybe 10% to 29% of our brain capacity. We’re finding all the time that we can improve our physical capacity (to a point). What were we before God took away a lot of what we were and kicked us out? If we were beings that could exist in the presence of God, I believe we were much more than we are now.
    And along with all of the other “consequences” that came with original sin, one of those consequences was to be made less than we were intellectually and physically. To me it is common sense because of the simplicity of the scripture.
    I have many other thoughts about many other things, a lot of which tie into other literature and lore. And it all fits when you take into account how infantile we human beings truly are.
    Also, I have been close to death on many levels, many times. And I have been dead twice. All I can say is, there is more under the heavens than we are able to understand with the crude tools we have thus far. I have some favorite quotes, but I don’t go memorizing scripture; my story is life and what I can see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and touch and taste and feel. I believe there is GOD and God loves us so much that God cannot bring God’s self to annihilate us for our bad choices. That love motivated God to create “hell” in order that we could live forever even though we might choose to live forever without God BECAUSE God doesn’t have the heart to destroy us. And I imagine hell to be a very cold and very lonely place.

    • Robin Diamaduros says:

      Josey…. I think I have found a kindred spirit! Keeping it real with the $2 words. 😉 Bless you for having a voice for us who can understand them but don’t use them daily……for obvious reasons. I find most of these threads to be very condescending to the common Joe or Jill, who have done their own individual soul searching & mind bending in the sciences and theology. I thank you!

      • Josey Fergel says:

        My privilege. And keep in mind that you have to cut the “eggheads” (no offense intended) some slack when it concerns scientific debate. I don’t believe they are being intentionally condescending anymore than I believe they realize they might be doing it. There are different levels of formal education, e.g. there are different levels of linguistic usage. It’s not far removed from finding yourself in a theological discussion with clergy, or a conversation about human physiology with a medical doctor. Would you expect them to hear anything but greek when you are explaining the operation of the pumps and spider gears in an automatic transmission, or fillet, vertical, or horizontal welds on a crane chassis jig? How about polling, cutting, nutting, separating, and droving cattle? We must take care in exercising great understanding and patience when attempting to communicate with others (especially in an anonymous fashion, on a faceless place like an internet forum). Many people are easily offended and the limits imposed on fashioning a clear idea through the written word are extensive to say the least. I do get where you’re coming from though, and I am flattered to have received such a compliment. Always keep the courage to jump in and give your “two cents” regardless of the fear of ridicule. At a minimum you will either learn something you didn’t fathom previously, or learn something about other people. Either way you’re a winner.

  18. Andy Harris says:

    Steve: How about the concurrence of continental drift measurements derived the ‘old’ way (radioactive dating of matching formations and measuring separation) with the ‘new’ way (direct measurements with laser and GPS)? Are you suggesting that tectonic plates moved much faster in the past and this exactly matched the change in the speed of light needed to affect radioactive dating?

    • Steve Wood says:

      Andy, I’m really not well read on continental drift, except to say I think The continents we have now are probably a result of the cataclysm of the world wide flood of Genesis when the fountains of the deep were broken up. Look at how the Americas seem to match coast lines with Europe and Africa. The Hawaiian Islands that secular scientists claim is millions of years old based on radiometric dating are apparently quite young. If you look at the rate of erosion from the sea. It has been measured at about .4 feet/yr. The Islands should be long gone from erosion, ( waves and rivers ) and subsidence of the sea floor.

  19. Hector Campbell says:

    supposing science proves we live on a young earth we still will not believe unless GOD gives you that gift of believing, he is the creator of all the universe and when you believe in him ,the bible he gave us becomes alive

  20. Nathan Radtke says:

    1) There are 2 important Words that are always left out of anything “Science”. The First is “material”. The Second is “Yet”. ALL of what we call “Science” today is actually only “Material Science.” It has to involve “Matter”. The Scientific Method of discovery can only work on Matter. And after all theories are tested, tried and peer reviewed, it stands as an accepted Theory because it hasn’t been disproven “YET.” I have seen 1000’s of Scientific “facts” bite the dust when “YET” arrives.
    2) Ships and Planes are required to have Manifests of how many Passengers and how many Souls are on board. Passengers are paying customers and Souls include crew members and unpaid humans (children who can sit in their mother’s lap and the unborn child too) I happen to be a human being who agrees with this policy since I believe we are both Body and Soul, physical and spiritual, brain and ideas, Material and Immaterial. Science cannot make any comment on the start of Human Life without stepping ENTIRELY OUTSIDE its realm of expertise because Human Life includes NON-MATERIAL components. So also, trying to explain a Universe devoid of NON-MATERIAL components will leave you short of the full explanation. Ask a Modern Day Scientist, “What is the magnitude of power found in a spirit” and he/she cannot honestly answer from a Scientific point of view which requires testing on … something material. Devoid of the Power of the Spirit/Non-Material aspects in our Universe, an explanation of its origin, its function and its changes over time cannot be complete.
    3) How Old was the Universe (all Matter) 1,000 yrs before the Big Bang? If you looked at the matter back then, could you tell? If all that matter spontaneously appeared 5 Trillion years before the Big Bang, did all that matter take on a new age because of the Big Bang? Or are we only going to measure time back to the Big Bang because the Scientific Community established that as our Birthday?… since by the Theory they came up with, they cannot go back beyond that point without opening up a big can of worms of the “we can’t experiment on it” variety?
    4) Science has segregated itself off into the cold world of soulless molecules and will someday have to come to the conclusion that it’s not looking at everything involved.
    5) Thank God for the Breath of Life, a spirit, the heart and soul of my being, the only aspect of me that can connect with others in meaningful relationships built on Love an Trust… just the way God Wanted it. Science will never discover that… and anything else that is immaterial in this universe (angels, demons, God) May we appreciate Science for what it discovers about our material world, medicine and helpful inventions. May we also know when Science is outside its realm of expertise and ability AND when it’s trying to eliminate God, souls and all things spiritual.

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Darwin Bad
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