Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Debate on Science and Religion

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of posting lately. To make up for it I'm copying a debate I had on an old blog I used to write with a couple of people of the young-earth inclination. I've changed the names (although they were just screen names). [Update: I've corrected some formatting issues.]

B: Science is knowledge..but it is not wisdom. Wisdom only comes from studying the Bible. Evolution is a theory...not a fact. I don't care how many times they say its fact..it is not. They can't prove anything. True science is being able to prove a theory.

The main reason people want to believe this lie...is they want to deny God. If you believe a wonderful creator God made us...then you have to believe in the rest of the Bible. This includes living a life that is Christ-like in character. You must deny yourself and lift up the cross. But people don't want to deny themselves.

Too many Americans have too many idols. Such as food, tv, sports, material things, etc. Believing in science allows people to live a hedonistic lifestyle...if it feels good...do it. This is fine..but as Solomon says in Proverbs....only for a season.

Jim S.: I have to disagree. Science is the systematic observation of God's creation. The Bible tells us that God's creation is a reliable witness (see Psalm 19:1-4, for example). So I don't see how we can believe the Bible and not believe science. Science is one of the things that led me to belief in God.

I also have to contest the claim that people believe in evolution in order to deny the existence of God. There are plenty of people who believe in God and evolution. I suggest you read Life's Solution by Simon Conway Morris and Rebuilding the Matrix by Denis Alexander. Both authors are devout Christians, scientists, and Darwinists. So it seems to me that evolution is completely consistent with belief in God and Christianity.

B: "devout Christians, scientists, and Darwinists".....what?

You cannot believe in God and evolution....they contradict themselves. You either believe the Bible and a literal 6 creation days...or you believe in millions and millions of years....not both.

Just look at the 2nd commandment...."for I the Lord thy God am a jelous God", He wants your total obediance to His word. You can't believe God and what some lowly, sinful men have invented in their minds. Which is what evolution is....a nice guess to how the world was created.

I've heard some Christians say that the days were actually thousands of years in between....what? God created the flowers and the grass and the trees on the 3rd day....He created the sun and moon and stars on the 4th day....so flowers and trees went 1,000 years without sunlight? I don't think so.

So it seems to me that evolution is completely in-consistent with belief in God and Christianity...because remember...being a Christian meens being a follower of Christ...the same Christ who created the world in Genesis

Jim S.: Well, I have to disagree again. There are plenty of devout Christians who believe in evolution. C. S. Lewis, for example, accepted it, and he was a great champion for Christianity. B. B. Warfield, the theologian most responsible for our concept of the inerrancy of the Bible, believed in evolution. Moreover, evolution seems very similar to the Christian doctrine of rationes seminales, or seminal principles. This was the view that God created everything in seed form, and it then developed accordingly. It was held by many early Christians, such as Athenagoras, Tertullian, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine, as well as many theologians of the Middle Ages, such as Bonaventure, Albert the Great, and Roger Bacon.

The Bible tells us the who and the what of creation, but focuses less on the when and the how. God frequently uses natural processes to accomplish his purposes (see, for example, Exodus 14:21), so I don't see anything inconsistent with believing that God used the natural processes that he set up to create the world.

I'm convinced that the whole "evolution vs. creation" meme is something invented in the 19th century by non-Christians who wanted to drive a wedge between Christianity and science. I don't think it's wise to let such people define the content of our faith for us.

As for the age of the universe, that strikes me as a completely different issue. You write that the plants couldn't have survived 1,000 years without sunlight, but they couldn't have survived a single day without it either, or even a minute. The resolution to this is in Genesis 1:3 which states that there was light on the surface of the earth on day one. As long as there was light, the plants could photosynthesize for as long as they needed.

I would argue that Genesis 1 clearly represents the days of creation as being God's days (they make up his workweek, the seventh day is his day of rest), and that we have no reason to think that God's days are the same as humankind's days. Indeed, the Bible states pretty clearly that God's experience of time is radically different from ours (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8-9).

I'll close by reiterating the fact that the Bible itself tells us that his creation is a reliable and trustworthy witness (Job 12:7-10; Psalm 19:1-4; Rom 1:18-20). Science is the systematic observation of God's creation. Therefore, I think that we Christians are obliged, by the words of the Bible, to accept the findings of science. This doesn't mean that we have to accept everything every scientist says, because some scientists have an axe to grind against religion. But God's creation can be trusted to reveal the truth about itself. If it reveals that the universe is billions of years old, then I have no objection.

B: I don't know how to respond to some of your statements. To the men you stated who believe in evolution and claim to be Christians. It says in Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

I've never heard about the creation week not being the same week we keep today. I mean...does God really need a week to do anything...after all...he just spoke and things happened. Also, the 7th day wasn't for God to rest...because really...does God need rest? Of course not. The 7th day is for us to rest. Our society works and works and works...God knew this...He gave us a day to not think about the world but think about our Lord and Saviour.

True science is something that can be proved. Of course evolution can not be proved. Its a theory. Nobody was there. Same with creation. We only have our faith to go on. But do you want to put your faith in men or God?

1 Corinthians 2:5 says, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

There is power in the words of God. He spoke and the world was created. Look at the word universe. Uni being one...and verse being the spoken word....ONE WORD....God spoke and all was created. I believe that it was 7 days...the same 7 days we keep today. Everything works in cycles...a 24 hour cycle...a weekly cycle...a monthly cycle..etc. Why would God be using some other time frame that we don't understand?

For the most part I believe evolutionists fall under Romans 10:3, " For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

Let me state this one more time. A Christian is a follower of Christ. You either believe everything the Bibe claims...or you don't. You cannot cherry pick what you want to believe out of the Bible. In Ephesians 3:9 it says, " And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ".

I think alot of people feel ashamed to to say they believe in Creation. Because its the scientists and perceived intellectual types that believe in evolution. So if you want to be cosidered "smart" you will believe like they do. But I am not ashamed to believe in creation. The Bible says in Romans 10:11, "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed."

There is a day coming where Christ will show himself to us and He will be justified before men. The Bible is the truth...not a half truth..not partially true...totally true. In John 17:17 it says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Scientists cannot get you to heaven. If they can...then by all means...believe what they say. Evolution somehow says God needed help or time to do what He wanted....thats rubbish. God could have created the whole world in a second if He wanted to. The creation story is for us...today...a testimony to the love of God.

My major problem with evolution is that it puts doubt into peoples minds. It doubts Gods power. Evolution is a stumbling block to young Christians. What does Jesus warn us about in Matthew 24:4..."And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you."

Deception is the major problem for Christians in the endtime. I believe that evolution is just another one of Satans deceptions. If Satan can get people to believe that they can be good Christians and believe in evolution....who wins?

Jim S.: Thanks for your thoughtful comments. If I may, let me reproduce what you wrote, with my comments interspersed.

I don't know how to respond to some of your statements. To the men you stated who believe in evolution and claim to be Christians. It says in Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

These men don't merely claim to be Christians, they are Christians. For example, part of the reason that you believe that the Bible is true in everything it asserts is because of B. B. Warfield's defining of the concept of inerrancy. He believed the Bible was the holy word of God, and believed it contained no errors. He also believed in evolution.

I've never heard about the creation week not being the same week we keep today. I mean...does God really need a week to do anything...after all...he just spoke and things happened.

Agreed. He didn't need to take seven calendar days or billions of years. But the question isn't what God can do, but what God has done.

Also, the 7th day wasn't for God to rest...because really...does God need rest? Of course not. The 7th day is for us to rest.

Well, according to the Bible God rested on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2:1-3). Of course God didn't need to rest. He was creating an archetype: just as God rested on God's Sabbath day, so humanity should rest on humanity's Sabbath day. This same pattern is extended to nature: the Hebrews were commanded to give the land a Sabbath rest, one year out of every seven (Exodus 23:10-12; Leviticus 25:1-7). The parallel is the six-plus-one pattern, not how long the Sabbaths are.

Our society works and works and works...God knew this...He gave us a day to not think about the world but think about our Lord and Saviour.

Agreed, although I don't think there's anything preventing us from thinking about him during the week.

True science is something that can be proved. Of course evolution can not be proved. Its a theory. Nobody was there.

Well, according to the Bible, creation was there, and it testifies as to what happened. Contrast the Bible's view of the reliability of creation's witness with the reliability of humanity's witness. The testimony of creation is much more trustworthy.

Same with creation. We only have our faith to go on.

I came to believe in God and creation partially because of the discoveries of modern science.

But do you want to put your faith in men or God?

In God. That's why I trust what he has revealed through his creation, as well as what he has revealed in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 2:5 says, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

There is power in the words of God. He spoke and the world was created. Look at the word universe. Uni being one...and verse being the spoken word....ONE WORD....God spoke and all was created.


I agree.

I believe that it was 7 days...the same 7 days we keep today. Everything works in cycles...a 24 hour cycle...a weekly cycle...a monthly cycle..etc. Why would God be using some other time frame that we don't understand?

There's nothing incomprehensible in the idea that God's days are different from ours. Again, the point in the days of creation is to set up the six-plus-one pattern that we are to follow in our days. How could the first three days be the same kind of days we have today if the sun, moon, and stars didn't even appear in the sky until the fourth day?

For the most part I believe evolutionists fall under Romans 10:3, " For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

I think our society uses evolution as an excuse to avoid God. That says a lot about our society and nothing about evolution. Again, there are plenty of devout Christians who have submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God who believe in evolution. I've given several examples of such people in my earlier comments.

Let me state this one more time. A Christian is a follower of Christ.

Of course.

You either believe everything the Bibe claims...or you don't.

I believe everything the Bible claims, although I wouldn't make this a test for being a sincere Christian. C. S. Lewis thought the Bible had errors in it, and as I wrote above, he was a great champion for the cause of Christ. But this is a side issue, since you and I are in agreement on this.

You cannot cherry pick what you want to believe out of the Bible.

Right. But that means you can't choose to ignore the Bible passages that say that God's creation is a trustworthy revelation, and that we are therefore obliged to accept its testimony. With regards to the age of the universe, I'm not challenging the words of the Bible, I'm simply challenging your interpretation.

In Ephesians 3:9 it says, " And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ".

Amen.

I think alot of people feel ashamed to to say they believe in Creation. Because its the scientists and perceived intellectual types that believe in evolution. So if you want to be cosidered "smart" you will believe like they do.

I agree. However, I don't think the response to this is to close our eyes to evidence that might challenge us to think about things.

But I am not ashamed to believe in creation. The Bible says in Romans 10:11, "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed."

There is a day coming where Christ will show himself to us and He will be justified before men. The Bible is the truth...not a half truth..not partially true...totally true. In John 17:17 it says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."


I agree with all of this. I would just point out that the Bible itself says that the truth isn't limited to what the Bible says.

Scientists cannot get you to heaven. If they can...then by all means...believe what they say.

Well, of course not.

Evolution somehow says God needed help or time to do what He wanted....thats rubbish.

That's not what evolution says. Evolution at most would explain how God used the natural laws that he created to create the various plants and animals. Nobody is claiming that God needed help. Remember, God used a strong wind to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). Does this mean he needed "help"?

God could have created the whole world in a second if He wanted to. The creation story is for us...today...a testimony to the love of God.

Agreed.

My major problem with evolution is that it puts doubt into peoples minds.

There are two ways to respond to this situation: deny evolution, or deny that it conflicts with our faith. You've chosen the first option, I've chosen the second.

It doubts Gods power.

No it doesn't. It simply tells us how he used it. The existence of a strong wind that blew back the waters of the Red Sea did not challenge God's power, it demonstrated his power.

Evolution is a stumbling block to young Christians.

That's because fallen human beings have claimed that evolution and Christianity are inconsistent. Why do you accept this testimony of human beings, when the testimony of the Bible clearly says that we can trust what nature tells us?

What does Jesus warn us about in Matthew 24:4..."And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you."

Deception is the major problem for Christians in the endtime. I believe that evolution is just another one of Satans deceptions. If Satan can get people to believe that they can be good Christians and believe in evolution....who wins?


Well, if evolution is no longer a stumbling block to accepting Christ, then it seems to me that nearly everyone wins. The only people who don't win would be those who were using evolution as an excuse to avoid God. They would then have to find another excuse.

B: I will give you the last word. You make a compelling arguement. Let's agree to disagree on this topic. Take care and God bless.

Jim S.: Fair enough. Thanks for the debate! I hope you keep reading and commenting.

L: To Jim S.;

I enjoyed your debate with B; I thought you both handled your arguments with elegance and christ-likeness in your restraint and attitudes.

I wanted to make a comment regarding that topic. I also have given much study, research and thought, as well as prayer in filtering viewpoints and evidence on both sides of the issue of creation and evolution, and in this case specifically the age of the universe.

One major obstacle I always come to when encountering the idea that perhaps the earth (and beyond) was created over a long period of time as opposed to literal 6 days which the Bible would seem to indicate in a straight-forward reading, is this:

I think that in all fairness and honesty, to ALL viewpoints on this subject, first of all, no one would ever get any direct indication that there was a long period of time involved STRICTLY from the Bible itself. There is nothing to indicate. One might make an argument that it could "support" such an idea, but there is nothing there to directly INDICATE it. Would you agree with this? If you have some examples to the contrary, I would sincerely be interested in considering them.

Secondly, assuming that is the case, it is logical to conclude then, that the actual IDEA of millions and billions of years, comes from what science tells us is revealed or observed in nature, or as I would refer to it, God's creation. Yes?

If so, one thing we have to realize is that while science is certainly a good thing and can be very helpful, it is subject to FINITE MAN'S INTERPRETATION - ALWAYS. It should NEVER be taken as authority OVER GOD'S WRITTEN WORD. It must ALWAYS be interpreted in light of the Bible, and NOT the other way around.

There are almost always at least 2 ways to look at almost any piece of evidence. Contrary to what modern science theology likes to try to convince us, evidence NEVER is a simple cut and dried fact, and never simply interprets itself. ANY and ALL evidence is ALWAYS interpreted based on pre-suppositations, and biases. Essentially, our world-view is the context within which everything that we see, hear, feel, etc, is viewed, perceived, and interpreted. We MUST keep this in mind.

Therefore, with that in mind, almost ALL evidence that COULD be interepreted as indicating the earth is millions of years old, can ALSO be interpreted differently, based on one's presuppositions, assumption, and world-view. If it makes it easier, go ahead and give me an example of "evidence" which indicates the earth is millions of years old, and I will show you how there can be another, equally valid, equally logical, interpretation for that "evidence". Almost ALL the scientists and others that you cited as examples of christians that believed in evolution, did so, NOT because the Bible gave that indication, but because of scientific observation etc., and usually because they were led to believe by scientists in those days, that such ideas were more or less FACT, and that there was no other way to view them. Therefore, they had to FIND a way to make science (or more accurately MAN"S INTERPRETATION of science", FIT the Bible so that they could justify holding to the truth of God's word without looking like an idiot. One might say they "compromised" because they did not have the faith to simply believe exactly what God said in His word, but rather trusted in what MAN'S INTERPRETATION of nature told him, rather than realizing that scientific theory is ALWAYS changing, and always susceptible to error and misinterpretation, and of simply not having ALL the facts available yet.

With that in mind, here is the main issue I have had to come to terms with, the main obstacle to being able to accept man's interpretation of millions of years.

IF one accepts man's interpretation of the "evidence" as indicating that the world is millions of years, one of the main pieces of evidence that would HAVE to be included in that, if not the very foundation of it, is the fossil record. IF the earth IS millions/billions of years old, then the fossils we find in the deepest layers would HAVE to have been deposited there at that time. The problem with this, is this:

IF this is true, then it would absolutely mean, that there was DEATH, DISEASE, SUFFERING, etc., for millions of years BEFORE MAN SINNED. The Bible tells us, that death was a RESULT of SIN, and that before sin all was perfect. There was no death, no disease, no suffering, etc. BECAUSE of SIN, the entire earth and indeed ALL OF CREATION (groaneth) suffers as a result of the sin curse. To believe that death and suffering existed before man sinned, essentially discounts the entire premise behind why Christ ever had to come to earth and die for us in the first place. It would also be CONTRARY to the very NATURE OF GOD, to allow death, suffering, etc., and call it "GOOD". I do not believe that God would "use" death and suffering as his method to bring about his perfect creation. Common sense and logic tells you, that ALL the bad, evil, suffering etc., that exists today, is a result of the curse of sin. If you think through this whole concept thoroughly, I think you would have to agree that accepting billions of years also has to accept death and suffering before sin, and that accepting death and suffering before sin, is absolutely contrary to the clear teaching of God's word.

IF this is true, then would you not agree that it then behooves man, to go back and START FROM THE BIBLE, and RE-INTERPRET the "evidence" from the perspective that the BIBLE is THE final authority on the subject, and must be the starting point in all scientific interpretations. REMEMBER, all the evidence is ALREADY interpreted based on assumptions and presuppositions to begin with. There is already a different way to view ALL that evidence which evolutionists CHOOSE to interpret as indicating an old earth. More and more good research and findings are emerging all the time with the recent availability of modern technology to creation scientists. Mainstream evolutionists try with all their might to block, thwart, and discount any ideas, evidence, or theories which oppose their ever changing theories, but little by little more and more things come out that are becoming increasingly difficult for evolutionists to explain or argue away, so they work with all their might to BLOCK these things from ever gaining public access, they try with all their might to keep ALL arguments one-sided, because they know that when people are actually exposed to the PROBLEMS associated with belief in evolution, and all the flaws in logic and LACK of evidence, and circular reasoning involved with what little evidence they have that can support their arguments, people quickly right through the facade, so they have to play the shell game with their evidence and arguments, and block all opposing veiwpoints from the young minds that they are so desperately trying to brainwash while they can.

I hope you will consider these comments prayerfully and deeply, as I have for many years now, and I look forward to your feedback and comments.

Jim S.: Hi L, thanks for joining the debate. I apologize for taking a few days to respond, I have a lot of things on my plate right now. You might want to check out this post which has links to several other posts I've written on science and religion, including this particular issue.

Your first objection is that no one would come to view the days of creation as long periods of time solely through the study of the Bible. I disagree, and gave a couple of biblical arguments in my comments above. First, the days of creation are clearly presented as God's days (the first six days are his workweek, the seventh day is his day of rest), and the Bible unequivocally states that God's days are very different from humanity's days (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8-9). Second, the first three days occurred sans sun, moon, and stars, and so it would be difficult to equate them with the same days we experience now.

There are many other biblical arguments along these lines. One of the more popular ones is that the creation of both man and woman took place on day six (Genesis 1: 27), but the description of events between the creation of man and woman in Genesis 2 cannot be reasonably squeezed into a single day. Another is that the Bible suggests that God's rest is ongoing; and since God's rest is identical to the seventh day of creation, the seventh day is a long period of time continuing up to the present (Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 3:12-4:11). Therefore, the other six days, being of the same type, are also long periods.

Another point to make here is that many of the early Church fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Origen, thought the days of creation were long periods of time. Of course, they thought that each Bible passage had several distinct interpretations, but one of the interpretations they gave was that each creation day was a long period. They gave biblical arguments for it. The point being that they were obviously not trying to reconcile the Bible with science, since at that time there was no scientific evidence for the antiquity of the earth and universe.

Your second objection is that science is finite man's interpretation of God's creation, and should therefore be understood in light of the Bible. I would point out, first, that theology is finite man's interpretation of the words of the Bible. Our understanding of the Bible is just as fallible as our understanding of God's creation. If science is merely an interpretation, so is your understanding of the Bible.

Second, I would point out that the Bible itself states that God's creation is a reliable witness independent of the Bible. Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:18-20 both claim that those who do not have any special revelation (roughly the Bible) to go on, still have the revelation of God's creation. They will thus have "no excuse" according to the apostle Paul. But if creation has to be understood in light of the Bible in order to be properly understood, they will have an excuse: they simply didn't have access to the correct lens through which they could understand creation.

Your third objection is closely related to the second: any evidence that the universe is billions of years old could be interpreted just as validly in favor of a young universe. This view -- that all we have is interpretations, and any interpretation is as good as another -- is pure postmodernism. I think this view is plainly false: for example, I collect (it's weird, I know) flat earth creationist literature. These people argue that the scientific evidence can be understood just as validly as affirming that the earth is flat as that it is round. They give dozens of scientific arguments in favor of a flat earth. But it's all bogus. The evidence clearly supports a round earth and refutes a flat earth. Therefore, scientific evidence can and does speak for itself. It does not equally fit under any interpretation: some interpretations are refuted by the scientific evidence, and some are affirmed by the scientific evidence.

As such, I disagree that the scientific evidence for the age of the earth could be interpreted just as readily in terms of a young earth. There are all kinds of scientific evidences establishing the age of the earth and universe, and they all say the same thing: billions of years.

Your fourth objection is that, if the earth is billions of years old, and animals have been dying the whole time, it would contradict the Bible's claim that death was introduced by the sin of the first human beings. Since Christ died to rescue us from the punishment of sin, i.e. death, to suggest that there was death before sin denies Christ's atonement.

My response to this is: who did Christ die to save? Plants and animals? The obvious answer is he died to save people. The Bible states that human death was introduced by sin; both physical death and spiritual death. But there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that animal and plant death was introduced by sin. This point is made very explicitly in Genesis 3:22-24, Romans 5:12-21, and 1 Corinthians 15:20-58. All of these passages specifically limit their context to human beings, and the latter two directly contrast the death that was initiated with the sin of the first human beings with the salvation which Christ offers to all people; not animals, not plants. There's nothing there, or in any other passages in the Bible, to suggest that the death of non-spiritual beings was not present before the Fall. In fact, God's providence in the predator-prey relationship is sanctioned in the Bible (Job 38:39-40) and is even called "good" (Psalm 104:21, 27-28).

Now the larger issue here is that a universe billions of years old and the occurrence of evolution does not contradict the Bible or Christianity. As I mentioned above, I became a Christian partially through the study of science. It led me to God. The Bible and the universe have the same origin, and so they do not conflict. There are sometimes apparent conflicts, of course, but they are just that: apparent. The fact that those who wish to deprecate religion often use science to do so does not say anything about science itself, and I don't think we should let them tell us what we believe.

L: Jim S.,

I don't know if you will see this, as it has been so long since the last post. I also, have a lot on my plate and am not often able to check out these sites. In any case, thanks for the thoughtful comments and debate.

First, it is not true that some of the early church fathers believed long periods of time as you suggested, that is totally misinformed. You need to go to some deeper sources and do a deeper study on that topic. I am not familiar enough with ALL of them to say NONE of htem believed it, but the VAST majority of early church fathers held to 6 literal days.

Secondly, I do not see ANYTHING in Genesis that would indicate to me or anyone else, from a straightforward, literal reading, that the first week is "God's week" and NOT that of humans. It simply does NOT indicate that in anyway. It talks in plain straightforward language and continues on with no indication whatsoever that his time is different. In fact, you should realize, that God is OUTSIDE OF TIME WHATSOEVER !!! He HAS NO TIME. CLEARLY, that first week was from the point of view of a 6 24 hour days on earth. It does not matter whether the sun was present yet or not, as you stated yourself, GOd was providing the light at that time, and it would be no task at all for God to simulate a normal day on earth.

Thirdly, as far as interpreting GOd's word, you can go deep into theological debates on things which the Bible does not give enough clear information on to made a definite conclusion, and in those instances there are definitely interpretations involved, but the readin in genesis is VERY straighforward, and there is honestly NO interpretation involved, it is just simple reading!! It is only those who WANT to interpret it differently that they need to start weaving and twisthing all kinds of things into it.

As far as the Bible stating that the creation is a reliable witness, again, you are stretching it. REmember, the Earth was CURSED!!! The scriptures were NOT. This earth and the entire universe GROAN due to SIN the BIble tells us. Therefore, ALL of creation was cursed because of sin, not just humans. And remember the FLOOD??? That obviously changed the face of the entire earth as it then was. In fact the Bible says that the Earth "that then was" perished. That throws a bit of a monkey into then trying to look at the earth as it is NOW and interpret it how it was BACK THEN when everything was perfect. ONLY by first interpreting it from scripture can we see clearly the evidence of nature. Remember, ALL evidence IS interpreted, it is NEVER just self interpreting, despite what your training may have taught you. I never said that evidence can "equally fit under ANY interpretation". What I said is that MUCH evidence can be explained with more than ONE interpretation. There are is SOME evidence which currently appears to fit only ONE interpretation, and some of that currently fits the evolutionary theory better, and much of it fits creation better. But, remember, just because only one interpretation may be supported right now does not mean that more information will not be accumulated in the future that would change that as well. Science throughout the ages, has CONTINUOSLY changed it's theories based on newly aquoired information. Remember science once told us the earth was flat, while bible believing christians KNEW it was round, and we were mocked, and even tortured and put to death for our beliefs, but that didn't change the fact that the earth was round just because science didn't believe it, and because they did not have enough information at that time to convincve themselves otherwise.

Much evidence can easily be biewed from AT LEAST TWO different pespectives, or interpretations, and this is VERY common in science today. Many times evolutionists themselves have multiple theories as to some particular piece of evidence or concept, as also happens amongst creation scientists. So my point is that how one CHOOSES to interpret evidence, IS biased by their presuppositions and biases, and that is absolutely true.

I am also shocked by your statement " There are all kinds of scientific evidences establishing the age of the earth and universe, and they all say the same thing: billions of years", because up to that point you have been quite honest and careful in answering things within the realms of it being YOUR opinion etc. To state something like this as a FACT, is a bit mind-boggling. You CLEARLY have NOT studied the issues if you truly believe this. THere is a VAST amount of evidence which strongly supports a young earth. I honely would not know where to start. I can think of literally HUNDREDS of examples. I really cannot believe you would really honestly think this. I fully agree that there are SOME evidences which CURRENTLY favor the evolutionary view, but there are probably MORE that actually favor the young earth creational point of view. And remember, even the ones that do not currently favor creation, does not mean that they NEVER WILL. Also, even MANY staunch evolutionists would agree in an honest manner that there are certainly SOME evidences which CURRENTLY favor the creationist point of view and cause them much grief. They obviously believe similiar to me, that in time more information will be uncovered which will exhonerate their beliefs, but they do agree that CURRENTLY there are certainly evidences which do NOT support their theory. You REALLY need to get out more and do some seriious open minded, subjective searching around and studying if that comment truly reflects your beliefs. There are TONS of evidences which are currently completely inexplicable with evolutionary theory, and are easily explained and accounted for by creation and the flood.

As to your question of who did Christ die to save, the question is obviously mankind, but the Bible is also VERY clear that the entire creation suffered due to sin!!! Genesis clearly indicates that animals were vegetarians before the fall, and God would not look at death, disease and suffering and call it "Good". I'm not sure what kind of picture you have of God, but that is certainly not the God I know and that is clearly revealed in the Bible. All things were PERFECT before the fall, and God clearly indicates that the entire earth was cursed - the ground, the animals, the vegetation, EVERYTHING! Nothing was the same after man sinned.

IN the scriptures you gave concerning the predator-prey relationship - first of all it never calls it "good", you may want to re-read those passages. secondly, more importantly, you seem to forget the whole point here, that after the fall everything changed, and again after the flood again. God did not originally intend for man to eat meat, but after the flood God then told man that just as the herbs were for him to eat, so now were all the beasts. Obviously this was not part of the "good" that God had originally created, but because of the curse in a fallen world, exceptions were made and God made allowances. Just like, in a totally different topic, God never INTENDED for divorce, but He says because of the hardness of man's heart, God made allowances and exceptions, but this does not mean he still "approves of it" or would call it "good". No, sin and death and suffering and disease were NOT part of God's original paradise, but were ALL a part of the curse.

Finally it is wonderful that you became a christian, and it is wonderful that GOD chose your love and study of science from which he would call you to himself, but NEVER confuse that with meaning that science is on the same level as the Holy scriptures. People have been saved through MANY means, people have even been saved through other people who themselves are NOT CHRISTIANS, and have indicated that. I personally know of examples, and have heard accounts of even others, of people who were saved out of churches that do not even preach the true word of God, but their hearts were opened to GOd even through words spoken by unsaved, false teachers, but God can use ANYTHING that he chooses, that does not make the source necessarily "good". Just because your love of science lead you to believe in GOd and give your life to him as a result of something you were lead to believe or understand through science, that does not mean your interpretations of science were NECESSARILY correct or of God's fitting with what really happened. God just chose to use that particular aspect to work in your heart as he saw fit, it was His MERCY, in spite of yourself and your own arrogances and presupositions etc., just as we all have them, and God saves each of us in spite of ourselves.

Jim S.: Let me summarize your points and respond to them in turn. After this, I may not be able to respond at length for a while, since I have term papers to write. Please forgive me if I'm a little brusque, I had to crank this out fairly quickly.

1. You say I'm incorrect about the Church fathers:

it is not true that some of the early church fathers believed long periods of time as you suggested, that is totally misinformed. You need to go to some deeper sources and do a deeper study on that topic. I am not familiar enough with ALL of them to say NONE of htem believed it, but the VAST majority of early church fathers held to 6 literal days.

With all due respect, I have studied this at a deep level, and I'm not wrong. I can prove it. I would reiterate a point I made above, that the Church fathers believed that each passage in Scripture had multiple interpretations. But that does not change the fact that one of the most common interpretations they gave is that the creation days were long periods of time. Another common interpretation was that the events of creation week took place simultaneously in no time, and the days of creation were metaphorical. A few writings you may want to check out are book V of Irenaeus's Against Heresies, book IV of Origen's De Principiis, and Augustine's The Literal Meaning of Genesis. In fact, Augustine argues the day-age interpretation towards the end of The Confessions, which is one of the most famous and widely-read books in Christian history.

In fact, I'm only aware of one passage in the Church fathers that (I would argue) clearly defines the creation days as calendar days. So if you really think the vast majority of them agreed with you, I challenge you to find a couple of passages from them where they clearly define the creation days as calendar days or humankind's days or solar days or 24-hour days or whatever. Note that I'm not asking you to find passages where they mirror the biblical text; I'm asking you to find passages where they explicitly define the creation days as being calendar days.

2. You argue that no one would understand the Bible as teaching anything other than the calendar-day interpretation.

I do not see ANYTHING in Genesis that would indicate to me or anyone else, from a straightforward, literal reading, that the first week is "God's week" and NOT that of humans. It simply does NOT indicate that in anyway. It talks in plain straightforward language and continues on with no indication whatsoever that his time is different. In fact, you should realize, that God is OUTSIDE OF TIME WHATSOEVER !!! He HAS NO TIME. CLEARLY, that first week was from the point of view of a 6 24 hour days on earth. It does not matter whether the sun was present yet or not, as you stated yourself, GOd was providing the light at that time, and it would be no task at all for God to simulate a normal day on earth.

Again, if this is the case, it should be fairly easy to refute the arguments that I gave above. You've barely touched them. For example, I argued that the biblical text clearly represents the days of creation as God's days, because "they make up his workweek, the seventh day is his day of rest." You claimed that the Bible doesn't say that. I find this frankly incredible. Rather than quote the whole creation account here, let me just quote one verse, Genesis 2:2: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work." Obviously, the Bible presents the days of creation as God's days. If you don't believe this, supply an argument demonstrating otherwise. In the meantime, the rest of the argument -- that God's experience of time is radically dissimilar from our own (as you acknowledge) and so the creation days should not be understood as humankind's days -- still stands.

Another argument was that the concept of the calendar day is explicitly introduced on day four, so obviously the first three days were not calendar days. You responded that God could have been the source of light to mark the days before the sun appeared in the sky. But i) what does the source of the light have to do with anything? And ii) I acknowledged above that there was light on the earth's surface before day four (Genesis 1:3). So what? Regardless of the fact that there was light, it did not serve to mark calendar days, because calendar days were not so demarcated until day four. What's your argument against that?

You seem to be saying that your position is just blatantly obvious. But saying that emphatically doesn't make it so. If it's that obvious, it will be easy to explain it. How, and in what way, does Genesis 1 and the rest of the Bible define the creation days as calendar days?

3. You argue, as a corollary of point 2, that your understanding of the creation days is not an interpretation but just what the Bible says.

the readin in genesis is VERY straighforward, and there is honestly NO interpretation involved, it is just simple reading!! It is only those who WANT to interpret it differently that they need to start weaving and twisthing all kinds of things into it.

Well, all terms have more than one meaning, and so when we analyze a text to see what meaning is being employed, we are interpreting. You can't avoid it. If the word "interpretation" is a sticking point for you, just substitute the word "understanding" for it. So your interpretation of Genesis 1 is just your understanding of Genesis 1. So now I have to ask: is it possible for us (you in particular) to misunderstand the Bible? I think basic humility requires us to answer this affirmatively.

Bear in mind, I'm not suggesting that the calendar-day interpretation is absurd or unreasonable. I think it is false, and that it cannot be reconciled with the words of the Bible, but I can certainly see why people would understand the Bible that way. The point here is that, while the Bible is perspicuous (lucid or clear) that does not give us the license to read it superficially. There are plenty of biblical passages that superficially seem to be saying something they're not. For example, when Jesus is approached by the rich, young ruler, he seems to flat-out deny that he is God (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). But a more in-depth analysis of the text in light of its cultural background shows that he is actually saying the opposite.

4. You argue that the testimony of God's creation cannot be trusted because when humankind fell, creation fell with it.

As far as the Bible stating that the creation is a reliable witness, again, you are stretching it. REmember, the Earth was CURSED!!! The scriptures were NOT. This earth and the entire universe GROAN due to SIN the BIble tells us. Therefore, ALL of creation was cursed because of sin, not just humans.

But all of the statements in the Bible that say God's creation is a reliable witness are made to fallen people living in a fallen world. If the Fall meant that creation's witness was no longer trustworthy, how do you account for the fact that God specifically says that it is trustworthy after the Fall?

As for "stretching it", let me just say that the point I'm arguing here is known as the doctrine of general revelation. It has been the standard view throughout Christian history. I don't think it's stretching it to defend a position that has had such broad acceptance within the Christian community for the last 2000 years.

5. You argue that the testimony of creation cannot be trusted because the flood altered the earth.

And remember the FLOOD??? That obviously changed the face of the entire earth as it then was. In fact the Bible says that the Earth "that then was" perished. That throws a bit of a monkey into then trying to look at the earth as it is NOW and interpret it how it was BACK THEN when everything was perfect.

Again, all of the statements in the Bible that say God's creation is a reliable witness are made after the flood. So obviously, the flood did not affect the reliability of creation's testimony.

As for the Earth "that then was" perishing, this is obviously referring to the people, not the planet Earth. The Hebrew word there is often used to refer to the world's population, in much the same way that we might say, "The whole world is turning away from God." (I would also point out that "everything" before the flood was emphatically not perfect. The people were so evil that God saw fit to destroy them with the flood.)

6. You argue that while facts need to be interpreted language does not. So the only way someone can disagree with your interpretation is by being trained in such a way as to not see it.

ONLY by first interpreting it from scripture can we see clearly the evidence of nature. Remember, ALL evidence IS interpreted, it is NEVER just self interpreting, despite what your training may have taught you.

It seems a little convenient for your position that facts need to be interpreted but language does not. This would entail that no fact can ever refute you, since it can only do so if it is a misinterpretation. It would also entail that no biblical argument can ever refute you, because such an argument would also be a misinterpretation, whereas your understanding is just what the text says. It would follow from this that there is no evidence, whether from God's creation or his Word, that could ever convince you that you have misunderstood something. Of course, I don't think this is the case -- I'm sure you're open to biblical arguments -- but this is what your position would lead to if applied consistently.

But anyway, the "training" I've received allows me to analyze the biblical text in detail, but without missing the forest for the trees. I wasn't brainwashed or indoctrinated.

7. You never meant to suggest the postmodern claim that evidence can fit just as well under any interpretation.

What I said is that MUCH evidence can be explained with more than ONE interpretation. There are is SOME evidence which currently appears to fit only ONE interpretation, and some of that currently fits the evolutionary theory better, and much of it fits creation better.

Then I withdraw the charge. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that much evidence can be explained more than one way, while some cannot. As to whether some fits evolution or creation better -- you have to remember that I don't think evolution and creation rule each other out. So evidence for evolution is not evidence against creation. Also bear in mind that many Christians who do not accept evolution nevertheless accept that the universe is billions of years old. So evidence for such an age would not be perceived by them as being evidence for evolution or evidence against creation.

8. You argue that science is constantly changing, so we have to take a long term view. The positions of today might be refuted tomorrow.

But, remember, just because only one interpretation may be supported right now does not mean that more information will not be accumulated in the future that would change that as well. Science throughout the ages, has CONTINUOSLY changed it's theories based on newly aquoired information.

This is a standard argument used to defend scientific anti-realism, and I really don't think you want to align yourself with this view. At any rate, I would argue that this argument is a misunderstanding: the scientific facts of 100 years ago have not been refuted or overturned; they have been refined. For example, Einstein's relativity equations refined Newtonian mechanics for some domains of measurement. But Newtonian mechanics wasn't really refuted; its descriptions are still accurate for most things. It was just supplemented to provide a more complete picture.

Of course, there have certainly been theories that were made in the absence of evidence that have since been refuted by the advent of evidence. But we can't use this to justify a general skepticism about science, since many theories are specifically made in light of the evidence. In order for this objection to hold, you would have to show that the particular scientific theory under discussion is not consonant with the facts. But this is precisely how science is usually done.

(As a side issue, I would point out that your example of how science said the earth was flat while Christians said it was round is incorrect. The Western world has known that the earth is round since at least the time of Aristotle, a few centuries before Christ. A good book about this is Jeffrey Burton Russell's Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians.)

9. Since much evidence can be explained in different ways, such evidence is interpreted by what one chooses to believe.

Much evidence can easily be biewed from AT LEAST TWO different pespectives, or interpretations, and this is VERY common in science today. Many times evolutionists themselves have multiple theories as to some particular piece of evidence or concept, as also happens amongst creation scientists. So my point is that how one CHOOSES to interpret evidence, IS biased by their presuppositions and biases, and that is absolutely true.

I think this is a valid point, but you're taking it too far. Let's say we have a fact that can be fitted into three possible hypotheses, A, B, and C. It fits into A and B fairly and equally well, but does not fit in with C as well. So scientists would have to choose between A and B based on other reasons than the fact in question. Now these other reasons are not necessarily just presuppositions that they don't want to give up or think about. It could very well be that the other reasons are further scientific evidence. Moreover, a scientist could say that, while the fact fits better with A and B, it can be made to fit with C, and that there are other things that make C more plausible than A and B, despite their greater consonance with the fact in question. So whether one chooses to accept A, B, or C will be based on many things, and sorting them out can be difficult. So it's not too surprising that there will be scientists who disagree on which theory is best.

But it would not be fair for someone to say that since the fact fits into A, B, and C, it can fit into another theory, D, as well. This simply doesn't follow. Just because we can't decide between multiple theories, we can't thereby say that a theory that is radically inconsistent with them can equally accommodate the facts.

10. You argue that I have overstated my case against a young earth.

I am also shocked by your statement " There are all kinds of scientific evidences establishing the age of the earth and universe, and they all say the same thing: billions of years", because up to that point you have been quite honest and careful in answering things within the realms of it being YOUR opinion etc. To state something like this as a FACT, is a bit mind-boggling. You CLEARLY have NOT studied the issues if you truly believe this. THere is a VAST amount of evidence which strongly supports a young earth. I honely would not know where to start. I can think of literally HUNDREDS of examples.

You're right, I overstated my case. I have not examined every single argument that young-earth creationists have put forth, so I cannot say that every single one of them fails. So my apologies.

I have, however, studied the issues pretty extensively, and all the arguments I've studied purporting to prove a young earth were not merely wrong. They were fraudulent. By this I do not mean that the people who came up with them were being consciously deceptive, but that they were not being intellectually honest or responsible. They essentially take any anomaly and inflate it into the suggestion that the entire paradigm is wrong. The reason this is intellectually dishonest is because this can only be done by ignoring the 99+% of the evidence that supports the paradigm, and doesn't support their replacement paradigm. Virtually any position can be defended with such tactics. Flat-earth creationists depended upon such argumentation in the 19th century.

Here's an illustration: early measurements of some "phenomenon" range between 2 and 5 "units". As measurements become more accurate, they start to range between 2 and 4, and then 2 and 3. Finally, the measurements establish it as 2.3 ± 0.1. Now a young-earth creationist comes along and tells everyone that the figure of 2.3 is wrong, because there is another measurement that puts it at 5, over twice as much. This supposedly shows that the whole framework is bogus. But when we look into it, the measurement of 5 was one of the first ones made, when they weren't very accurate. They just took an anomaly that had since been corrected, and ignored all of the other measurements made since then that overrule it. Moreover, their own position requires that the measurement be 107. So saying it's 5 rather than 2 doesn't really do much to defend their view.

11. You argue there is significant evidence supporting young-earth creationism.

I really cannot believe you would really honestly think this. I fully agree that there are SOME evidences which CURRENTLY favor the evolutionary view, but there are probably MORE that actually favor the young earth creational point of view.

First, let me just point out that you were arguing earlier that we can't trust what God's creation tells us. And now you're suggesting we can, but only if it tells you what you want. I don't think you can have it both ways.

Second, flat-earth creationists came up with literally dozens of "proofs" that the earth is flat and stationary. They arrived at their arguments the same way young-earth creationists have: by ignoring overwhelming evidence and inflating anomalies. So can you explain to me how the young-earth arguments are significantly different from the flat-earth arguments?

Third, let me supply a quote from a former young-earth creationist who became disappointed with it. By God's grace, he was able to see that Christianity did not stand or fall on such arguments.

I took a poll of all 8 of the graduates from ICR's school [Institute for Creation Research] who had gone into the oil industry and were working for various companies. I asked them one question. "From your oil industry experience, did any fact that you were taught at ICR, which challenged current geological thinking, turn out in the long run to be true?" That is a very simple question. One man, who worked for a major oil company, grew real silent on the phone, sighed and softly said "No!" A very close friend that I had hired, after hearing the question, exclaimed, "Wait a minute. There has to be one!" But he could not name one. No one else could either.

You can read the whole thing here.

12. Many evolutionists accept that there are some valid creationist arguments.

Also, even MANY staunch evolutionists would agree in an honest manner that there are certainly SOME evidences which CURRENTLY favor the creationist point of view and cause them much grief. They obviously believe similiar to me, that in time more information will be uncovered which will exhonerate their beliefs, but they do agree that CURRENTLY there are certainly evidences which do NOT support their theory.

If by "creationist" you mean any view that ascribes some creative activity to God, and if by "evolutionist" you mean someone who thinks that evolution refutes the existence of God, then I would certainly agree with this. Atheists tend to be very unnerved by Big Bang cosmology, for example, precisely because it proves the existence of a transcendent cause of the universe.

If by "creationist" you mean "young-earth creationist" however, I really doubt this. Could you tell me some of the arguments that evolutionists concede support a young earth?

13. You suggest that I haven't really investigated this issue.

You REALLY need to get out more and do some seriious open minded, subjective searching around and studying if that comment truly reflects your beliefs. There are TONS of evidences which are currently completely inexplicable with evolutionary theory, and are easily explained and accounted for by creation and the flood.

I suspect (if I'm wrong, please correct me) that you're equating any evidence for an old earth and universe with evolution. Let me just reiterate that I see evolution as a completely different issue from the age of the earth and universe. With regards to the former, I'm arguing that evolution is consistent with Christianity. But whether or not it is true is something I'll leave to the experts. My point is that I have no problem with it if it is true.

Regarding the age of the universe, I've spent years investigating this issue, both from the exegetical point of view (i.e. what the Bible says) and the scientific point of view, although I have to admit that I've been out of the loop a bit since returning to school a couple of years ago. I read most of the young-earth journals, and have spent a great deal of time in theology libraries pursuing it. So this is not some decision that I've drifted into because I was influenced by unsavory concerns.

14. You argue that animal death and suffering began at the Fall, not just human death and suffering.

As to your question of who did Christ die to save, the question is obviously mankind, but the Bible is also VERY clear that the entire creation suffered due to sin!!! Genesis clearly indicates that animals were vegetarians before the fall...

The clearest statements about the death that was introduced with the sin of the first people limit their contexts to human beings. The Bible nowhere states that animal or plant death was introduced by the sin of the first human beings

Moreover, in your scenario plants experienced death before the Fall. While the Bible draws the line between human and non-human death, you seem to be drawing it between animals and plants. But this has no basis in the words of the Bible.

I'm perfectly willing to grant that the entire creation fell along with humankind. But I would also suggest that the biblical text is just as easily read to be saying that the fall of creation is referring to Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden. God told them that, once they left the Garden, the land would be cursed, because they weren't going to be in the paradise God created for them anymore. When he says that thorns and thistles would inhibit their efforts when they tried to plant and harvest crops, this is because they weren't going to be in the paradise God created for them anymore.

Finally, I would argue that the animals in the Garden of Eden were vegetarians. Can you give me a reason to think that the biblical statement applies to animals outside the Garden of Eden as well?

15. People who disagree with you about this do not really worship the God of the Bible.

...and God would not look at death, disease and suffering and call it "Good". I'm not sure what kind of picture you have of God, but that is certainly not the God I know and that is clearly revealed in the Bible.

Are you sure you want to say this? That because I disagree with you about the age of the earth I must not be worshiping the same God as you? That I can't possibly have Jesus as my savior because I disagree with you?

As for your understanding being what "is clearly revealed in the Bible" -- I'm giving biblical arguments that your understanding of the Bible is incorrect. Before you say that anyone who disagrees with you must not really believe in the God of the Bible, you have to deal with their arguments from the Bible that support their claims. Otherwise, anyone can defend any position by saying "the Bible says so". Again, this is precisely what the flat-earth creationists did (and do -- they're still around). They claim the Bible says the earth is flat, and when anyone disagrees with them, they respond, "I'm not sure what kind of picture you have of God, but that is certainly not the God I know and that is clearly revealed in the Bible."

16. The world was perfect before the Fall.

All things were PERFECT before the fall, and God clearly indicates that the entire earth was cursed - the ground, the animals, the vegetation, EVERYTHING! Nothing was the same after man sinned.

Nowhere does the Bible say that things were perfect before the Fall. It says things were very good. This isn't a quibble, it's an important point. The Bible does not say or imply that the original creation was perfect. Moreover, as I've already pointed out, if the animals were vegetarian, then plants experienced death. So your perfect scenario still involved the physical death of physical beings.

I would also point out that the description of conditions of the Garden of Eden do not translate to the rest of the world. Obviously there was something unique about Eden with respect to the rest of the world, or God wouldn't have needed to expel Adam and Eve from it when they sinned.

17. I'm wrong about the Bible calling the predator-prey relationship "good".

IN the scriptures you gave concerning the predator-prey relationship - first of all it never calls it "good", you may want to re-read those passages.

"The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. ... These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things." (Psalm 104:21, 27-28)

The word for "good" here is the Hebrew word tov. The primary definition of this term is "good", and I'm unaware of any English translations that do not translate it as "good" in this passage. So not only is God the one who gives the lions their prey, it is specifically called "good".

18. God did not allow people to eat meat until after the flood.

God did not originally intend for man to eat meat, but after the flood God then told man that just as the herbs were for him to eat, so now were all the beasts. Obviously this was not part of the "good" that God had originally created, but because of the curse in a fallen world, exceptions were made and God made allowances.

I agree that people did not receive permission to eat meat until after the flood. I disagree that animals did not or could not eat meat before then. Nor does Genesis 9:1-4 say or imply that animals (not humans) eating meat is wrong and so could not have been a part of the original creation. Again, the passage in point 17 above clearly says that God sanctions the predator-prey relationship, and that it is good. Genesis 9 does not contradict this.

19. Science is not as authoritative as Scripture.

Finally it is wonderful that you became a christian, and it is wonderful that GOD chose your love and study of science from which he would call you to himself, but NEVER confuse that with meaning that science is on the same level as the Holy scriptures.

Well, I certainly think scientists can be mistaken and can be blinded to certain views that would prevent them from seeing some important truths, both scientific and religious. I also think Christians can be blinded to certain views that would prevent them from seeing the correct understanding of Scripture. We're fallen.

But Scripture also says that Scripture is not the only revelation from God. He also reveals himself through his creation. Moreover, it states that the testimony of creation is valid independent of the Bible, since creation is a trustworthy revelation to those who do not have the Scriptures (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20).

So if you're suggesting that God's revelation in Scripture is more authoritative or trustworthy than his revelation in creation, I would simply say that all revelation from God is equally authoritative and trustworthy precisely because it is revelation from God. After all, revelation is revelation; truth is truth. While one truth may be more important than another, it's nonsensical to say that one truth is truer than another.

20. The fact that people can be saved by something does not mean that the "something" by which they were saved is necessarily a good thing.

People have been saved through MANY means, people have even been saved through other people who themselves are NOT CHRISTIANS, and have indicated that. [...] but God can use ANYTHING that he chooses, that does not make the source necessarily "good". Just because your love of science lead you to believe in GOd and give your life to him as a result of something you were lead to believe or understand through science, that does not mean your interpretations of science were NECESSARILY correct or of God's fitting with what really happened. God just chose to use that particular aspect to work in your heart as he saw fit, it was His MERCY, in spite of yourself and your own arrogances and presupositions etc., just as we all have them, and God saves each of us in spite of ourselves.

Of course, I agree with this. I know a philosopher who became a Christian after reading Albert Camus's The Plague, which specifically criticizes Christianity. But while I'm arguing that science is trustworthy, I'm not basing this on the fact that God used science (among other things) to save me. I'm arguing that it's trustworthy because it's the systematic observation of God's creation, and the Bible says that God's creation is a trustworthy and reliable witness. You haven't given any argument to suggest otherwise.

Let me make a few final points:

First, all the claims you've made here, including the suggestion that I must not be worshiping the God of the Bible, are young-earth creationist talking points. By itself, this isn't a problem. But your most recent comment contains almost no argumentation, only assertion. You don't give reasons or evidence for your views, you just state them, claiming that they're just what the Bible says, and move on. You need to argue for your positions. Give me biblical references, and explain how they prove your point.

Second, a main point I'm defending is the doctrine of general revelation. This is not something made up in the 20th century to justify trying to reconcile the Bible with contemporary science. It's a doctrine that goes back to the earliest Christians, who themselves got it directly from the Bible. It has been the standard view throughout Christian history. This doesn't mean it is unassailable, but you seem to just be assuming that it is wrong. You have to defend your position and explain why this widely-held doctrine is incorrect, and why the passages I've cited fail to demonstrate it.

Third, another significant point I've made in earlier comments has been untouched. Namely, that the alleged hostility between science and Christianity is a social construction that is used by people hostile to religion to create the false dichotomy that we have to choose one or the other. I contest this, and ask you and all other Christians who buy into it: why are you letting non-Christians tell you what you believe?

Finally, young-earth creationism is virtually identical to, and historically derived from, the visions of Ellen White, upon which Seventh-Day Adventism was founded in the 19th century. While Seventh-Day Adventism is a genuine denomination today, it was originally very cultic, if not an outright cult. The point being that I don't think it's wise to accept a position that has such questionable origins without doing some very serious analysis first. If you want to read more about this, a good book is Ronald Numbers's The Creationists: The Evolution of Young-Earth Creationism, which was actually endorsed by a prominent young-earth creationist when it came out (Henry Morris). A short essay by Numbers can be read in three parts here, here, and here.

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7 comments:

natehardee said...

Well done, it makes me a little sad that christians like the ones you debated are so hard hearted about evolution. I wonder how many people would have still believed and not fallen away if there fellow christians weren't so militristic about 6 days creationism.

Jeff Marx said...

I concur with natehardee and have blogged on this several times. . Many young evangelicals have lost their faith because they cannot square the Bible with science. Sad.

I did not read as thoroughly as need be due to time restraints, but one issue is Genesis 2 clearly gives a different time line on creation. That is really important data in the discussion. I also wonder what out of the clay could mean in terms of an evolutionary understanding... I also wonder where evolution as a philosophical system can be differentiated from the science. I think Christians believe in creation, i.e., not accidental. I am greatful for this site. Thanks and God bless!

Matko said...

I also wonder what out of the clay could mean in terms of an evolutionary understandingy

In my opinion, it doesn't mean anything evolution related. The book of Genesis isn't a scientific treatise and isn't to be interpreted as such. It's this highly wrong approach that causes all these troubles and controversy.

As a religious text the primary meaning of Genesis is the theological one. What theological significance does Genesis have? In this light that text ought to be analyzed.

Wes said...

Thank you for posting this discussion in its entirety.

It is observed in Psalms that there are those who say "there is no God,". Atheism isn't new since evolution. Rather, I am convinced that unbelievers since prehistory gain initial doubt about our God from the false witness of certain People of God, now Christians, in their lives. This is both 1) a more biblical explanation of the 'sequence to atheism', and 2) is more observably correct in my experience than the sole inability to "square the bible with science", as a previous poster (J. Marx) put it.

One can almost always wait long enough through an anti-Christian rant starting off with science and philosophy to hear the seed story of professed Christians (parents, friends, or social idols) living decidedly un-Christ-like..."and then I knew it couldn't be true". Is it any wonder that the bible is more filled with the discipline of believers than wrath upon oppressors of Hebrews and Christians?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.

Please find a completely different Understanding of the never-ending religion versus science shouting match .

Einstein and Jesus

www.dabase.org/christmc2.htm

http://science-and-religion.avatar-adida.org/index.php

www.adidam.org/teaching/aletheon/truth-science.aspx

www.adidam.org/teaching/gnosticon/universal-scientism.aspx

Anonymous said...

Most scientists are not atheists. It is true of every body of scientists I have interacted with from multiple countries across the world.

Science and religion have nothing to do with each other. I'm not an atheist because of science, and one does not need to give up science to have faith.

While I find Dawkins and other obnoxious atheists to be entertaining, I consider it a major fallacy to apply scientific arguments to attempting to disprove one or any religion. They are different spheres of the human experience and it is pointless to use one to attack the other.

The conflict is not at all the result of non-Christians trying to sabotage a harmonious existence between religion and science. The conflict is cultural--especially in the US. In schools and in politics, being too smart is not cool and does not get you respect. It often results in bullying, alienation, derision.

In fiction, scientists used to be heroic figures that figure out the disease or come up with the required superweapon; now, scientists are derided and are if not directly the cause of the problem in the first place, they are clumsy eggheads that die first because of being impractical and overspecialized.

This cultural shift has resulted in polarization, with the rise of ultra-conservative Christians who lash out at evolution as if it is a direct assault on faith, and combative atheists like Dawkins who I would contend are also the manifestation of a defensive reaction to a perceived assault on science.

Among other things, science is hard. Kids don't like to take it. And they grow up not understanding it, even as they eat domesticated crops and animals, live longer because of modern medicine, and use a dizzying array of electronic devices that only exist because of scientists and engineers. When people don't understand something, it's natural to feel fear, and that fear also leads to derision to disarm their anxieties about these complicated things they consider useless (and the people who study them).

I always shake my head at creation 'science' believers who say that evolution is just a theory. It is only a theory in the strictest sense of the word, but we see evolution all around and it is undeniable. Drug-resistant bacteria spontaneously evolving in parallel across the world, the thousands of years it took humans to breed all these different dogs out of domesticated wolves, the difference between the corn people eat and how it used to look when Europeans first saw it in South America, the very DNA sequences in our cells which can be compared across the DNA of apes, all these things and more ARE evolution in action. Mutation can be observed down to a single nucleotide change, and selection can be observed just in the way invasive species like carp out-compete American freshwater fish.

But it's a hell of a lot easier to deny something and cherry-pick or manipulate facts to come up with any number of other 'theories' than it is to spend 4 years in college training to become a biologist and having ingrained knowledge that proves creation science is bunk.

Incidentally, I'm an atheist, but my wife is a devout believer.

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The debate on science and religion won't end. The most important thing to do is to use their influences to spread knowledge to their followers.