This is part six of my six part series on the Age of Earth Controversy and here I will be answering another five questions related to this debate. As with the last blog posts, I can only scratch the surface of these debates and outline the most important points. Still due to the subject matter this blog is quite a bit longer than my previous ones. Due to the length, if you more interested in the certain questions I suggest you skip to it. The questions addressed in this blog are as follows:
11.What are the Essentials that a Christian must hold to Relating to Creation?
12. Must Evolutionary Creationists Deny Biblical Inerrancy?
13. Intelligent Design what is it and is it Science?
14. How does Darwinism Function as an Ideology?
15. Is it Intellectual Suicide to Deny the Theory of Evolution?
(For reference remember the terms Young Earth Creationists (YEC), Old Earth Creationists (OEC) and Evolutionary Creationists (EC) and see my First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth posts relating to this blog series on the Age of Earth, Creation and Evolution.)
11. What are the Essentials that a Christian must hold to Relating to Creation?
For starters when I use the word essentials, I am not saying that a person who does not hold these views is not a genuine Christian. However, I am saying that from my Biblical perspective I believe not holding to any of these following points is theologically dangerous.
The most contested essential and the area I will primarily write on is the belief in a historical and literal Adam and Eve. There are many Christians who are no longer just interpreting Genesis 1 as non-literal but also Genesis 2 and 3 and this is primarily happening as a result of newer research in genomics. It should be noted that this is not only a new phenomenon and there is some early church evidence for non-literal interpretations going past just Genesis 1.1 That being said there are massive doctrinal difficulties that result from denying that human beings have descended from a literal Adam and Eve.
The genetic evidence should not be ignored, but as Christians would it not be best to look at what Biblical problems would be created if the church were to make such a massive shift in overall interpretation? Would it not be wise as followers of Jesus Christ, who have declared him Lord, to go to His Word and look at the evidence there as well? I have yet to come across a Christian who denies the historicity of the first couple who has not taken the stance that the Bible and natural science are to be taken as two completely separate books. The Book of Nature and the Word of God. I believe there is certainly some warrant in understanding that the primary purpose of the Bible is not to be a scientific textbook, but certainly it seems foolish when taking the whole counsel of God into consideration to hold any book, even the book of nature (which also requires interpretation) and to place it on the exact same plane as Scripture. As Christians, who believe Jesus was God incarnate, it seems absurd to me to take a position on Scripture that Jesus did not take.
In Isaiah 66:2, right after the LORD declares that His hand made all things (declaring Himself as the author of the Book of Nature), He declares that “to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” (emphasis added) The amount of flippancy I have seen by some professing Christians when handling the Word of God is a bit unnerving and I see absolutely no Biblical warrant to elevate any “book” to the same level as God’s Word, even a “book” created by God. There seems to be a prevailing false premise that all things in the Book of Nature must be clear and easily understood in relation to God’s Word. This is seen even in more conservative organizations such as Reasons to Believe. Yet does your theology account for the fact that Jesus specifically said that He spoke in parables “so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.” (Luke 8:10) Furthermore, Jesus praises the “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent.” (Matthew 11:25, emphasis added) In addition to Jesus and the Father speaking in parables and hiding things Paul writes that the “god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see.” (II Corinthians 4:4) And after all “Thus says the LORD, ‘cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength.’” (Jeremiah 17:5)
Do these verses specifically address creation and natural science? No. Do they show that there are spiritual forces on both sides that have or leave the world in such a state that all things are not clear and that man is affected by their own sinful mind? All of that seems undeniable and my point is that we, as Christians, should not be surprised when things don’t seem as clear in the Book of Nature as we might think when tested against the Word of God. Do they contradict? No. Is it shocking that God, who is a God who tests His people and keeps things from the sinners in rebellion against Him, leaves the two books in such a state that an individual, at some point, must declare which has more authority over a believer’s life? I think this is to be expected. When it comes to a historical Adam, essentially what seems to cause a person to go one way or the other, ends with a matter of which book is more authoritative, whether that is admitted or not. Furthermore, I believe it should be considered that, “The grass withers and flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8) compared to the drastic changes that take place within scientific theories and the current dilemmas facing some of our major theories as I’ve written about here: Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity need a Divorce. I am by no means anti-science, but I do believe Christians should use wisdom when placing it on the exact same level as God’s Word.
This debate does have some similarity to the Copernicus Conflict that I outlined in my second blog of this series. Natural evidence has every right to make us go back to the Word and see if perhaps we have been interpreting something literally that need not be. However, unlike geocentrism, the reinterpretation of Adam and Eve requires substantial doctrine shifts and there is strong Biblical evidence against it. Here is the breakdown. The NT clearly teaches that through one man sin entered the world and contrasts this with the work of Christ. A literal Adam and a literal Christ go hand in hand.2,3 (Romans 5:12-21, I Corinthians 15:40-49) Nearly all NT scholars agree that Paul believed that Adam and Eve were historical persons, the majority of scholars who accept that they were not also are willing to accept that Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) was wrong.4 The doctrine of Original Sin is vitally important for our understanding of who we are as humans, what is wrong with the world and what is the nature of our relationship to God.
As Christians we must look at the evidence from the Bible and it seems that not only Paul believed in a literal Adam, but also Jesus, our Savior and the Son of God, believed it as well. (Matthew 19) Furthermore, the genealogies in Scripture begin with Adam. One of the purposes of these genealogies is to ground Jesus Christ in history. A Christian is entering dangerous territory if they believe that the start of that historical genealogy is a mythical man. The guys at White Horse Inn discuss the fact, which I have already alluded too, that as Christians we are convinced that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact that vindicated Him as the true Son of God. We then work with all other evidence from that belief and if talking with an unbeliever about your belief in a literal Adam and Eve bring them there, because you hopefully believe in a literal Adam and Eve not because of some genetic evidence but because of the evidence for the empty tomb and the conviction that you are sinner in need of God’s grace, the very thing that is the central message of the Christianity. Imagine that, God, in His wisdom, has orchestrated the natural evidence to keep leading us back to that one central fact, not only the most defensible fact in the Scriptures but the very hinge on which they swing. Truly, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?… Indeed Jews ask for signs, Greeks search for wisdom” (one might consider the thought that ‘modern Westerners interpret nature’) “but we preach Christ crucified.” (I Corinthians 1:20-23) What was true of Christians 2000 years ago remains the same today, God’s ways have not changed, the proclamation of The Gospel is where we as Christians rest.
Finally it should be said that just because a Christian embraces Evolutionary Creationism does not necessitate that they deny a historical Adam and Eve. Denis Alexander, Vernon Bauer, and Kenneth Kemp all hold to a form of EC that still embraces a literal and historical Adam and Eve.5 For these EC believers there are still unresolved questions scientifically and interpretively yet they maintain the importance of holding fast to the historicity of humanity’s first parents. More will be said on this in the following question.
Other essentials in creation are the goodness of original creation, that God created all material things ex-nihilo (out of nothing), and that God is completely sovereign over all of creation. Yet within Christianity these are not nearly as debated as a literal Adam and Eve.
12. Must Evolutionary Creationists Deny Biblical Inerrancy?
The hinges of Christianity do not swing on evolutionary theory. A wholistic understanding of the Bible’s central message leads one to the knowledge that the true hinges from which Christianity lives or dies, is true or false, swing on the historicity of the physical death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To confess Jesus as Lord and to believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead is the essential belief for becoming a Christian. (Romans 10:9) B.B. Warfield who coined the term Biblical Inerrancy once said “Calvin’s doctrine of creation is, if we have understood it aright, for all except the souls of men, an evolutionary one.”6 There is some debate on how far Warfield took this,7 but C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham8 are two other very notable and influential believers who have embraced complete EC in the past. (“complete” meaning embracing common decent)
Although the unfortunate trend is for complete EC to give up on inerrancy there are some EC believers who do not do this. Some more liberal approaches simply reinterpret things non-literally and claim that it is not an error if a Biblical author like Paul believed in a literal Adam even though he never existed. Such EC believers look more at the author’s intent and the meaning of what they were saying being true than all of the facts necessarily collaborating with truth. To me this gets very gray. We all have to decide what is to be taken literally and vice-versa, but the level at which this is employed can quickly lead one to Theological Liberalism if not kept in check.
Others, like John Stott, make distinctions between Homo Sapiens (humans) and Homo Divinus (humans made in God’s image) and argue that when God breathed the breath of life into Adam he was using a human who was already in existence (formed from the dust is interpreted as God molding humans from common decent) and then breathing the Image of God into him and setting him aside in the garden where the fall then resulted.9 Other EC argue for Adam and Eve still being literal figures, yet they are better represented as federal heads of humanity than the biological parents. Again the separation of Homo Sapiens from Homo Divinus is vital for these interpretations to have any merit.
It should be said that some of these models do answer some questions that YEC and OEC models do not, obviously there are more answers to the genetics, but there are also some Biblical answers provided such as where Cain got his wife, why he was afraid of being killed by others and how he found a city. (Gen 4:17) Yet these EC models typically create more problems than they solve, both theologically and scientifically. In addition, when the thoughts I’ve previously mentioned in question 11 are considered their entire method is questionable. Keathley and Rooker put it well, “Evolutionary creationists appear to be starting with a scientific conclusion and then looking for a Biblical sanction. Most scientists would not want to do science the way evolutionary creationists seem to be asking theologians to do theology.”10 Even the president of BioLogos, Deborah Haarsma, shows great candor when she says, “Not satisfied with any of these scenarios? Neither are we! All of the Adam and Eve scenarios discussed in this chapter seem to have significant scientific or theological challenges or both.”11 Such honesty and desire to not disregard the Bible is appreciated. Yet, clearly if there is Biblical credibly to EC models much work is to be done.
In church history these things have a way of working themselves out over time. The magnitude of some of these interpretations have caused a lot of tension on all sides, but I do not believe that EC need to disregard inerrancy. YEC and OEC should engage with EC with grace, love and truth. All three groups must be examples of Christian love and seek wisdom on when rebuke is needed and when grace should be extended. I think believers on all sides should also take time to: be still and know that He is God; He will be exalted among the nations, He will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10) And to remember “we see in a mirror dimly” and now we “know in part.” (I Cor. 14:12) Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and knows exactly how all of this comes together. May the church be captive to His Word, patient as we work through these interpretive differences and oh so cautious to move away from historical understandings that effect key doctrines.
13. Intelligent Design what is it and is it Science?
Intelligent design (ID) is often mocked by some Christian and non-Christian scientists as not being a true scientific endeavor, yet that is not the case. If I have any criticisms of ID it is actually because it is only a scientific endeavor and typically ends up utilizing an apologetical method that I do not find myself in full agreement with.
That being said I find ID very interesting. It is really the only organized strictly scientific movement which is aggressively attacking the materialistic evolutionary paradigm that has, in my opinion, unjustifiably held such a dominance within the scientific community for years. ID is nothing new, it actually goes as far back as Plato and Socrates who argued that the evidence of design in nature demanded a designer.12 However, the modern ID movement developed in the 1980’s, within the field of science, as more and more scientific details were being discovered that challenged Darwin’s theory. Discovery Institute is now the leader of the ID movement and several of their scientists have published peer-reviewed articles supporting ID.
ID is primarily focused on attacking Darwin’s understanding of natural evolution, arguing that with the modern scientific evidence at hand, it is not a sufficient theory. ID advocates typically consist of Christians on all camps of creationism (YEC, OEC and EC) and even people of other religions. Ironically people from all of those camps are also known to heavily criticize ID.
One of the most common criticisms that I keep coming across (from believers and non-nonbelievers) is that ID is not science because it fails to offer sufficient alternative explanations for the theories or findings that it criticizes. Essentially the argument goes something like this: Naturalistic Evolutionary position “A” holds to the position based on evidence “B”. ID scientist takes evidence “B” and dismantles evidence “B” to where position “A” appears untenable yet ID scientist does not always offer alternative explanation “C” and it is therefore not considered science.
I find such thinking unwarranted. Christians are commonly told that we hold to a “God of the Gaps” line of thought, (which is not true of a large portion of Christians13) and yet when ID comes in and shows the major difficulties of a current naturalistic explanation many critics of ID then end up using a “Naturalism of the Gaps” explanation.
J.P. Moreland defends ID as science like this, “ID theory really is science because (1) it generates positive and negative test results; (2) it actually explains facts in scientifically standard ways; (3) it can be confirmed by facts; and (4) it solves internal conceptual problems that evolution doesn’t solve. These are four things that a scientific theory ought to do, and ID does all four.”14
Again, I do not find ID to be a fantastic apologetic, but a fantastic critique of materialistic evolutionary theory and sometimes even EC. However, I do not place my faith in design arguments, I place my faith in Jesus Christ and The Gospel. There are strong rationalistic arguments against many of the ID arguments when they give alternatives. As Tim Keller said, “What if God hasn’t given us a watertight argument, but rather a watertight person? Jesus is saying, ‘I am that person. Come to me. Look at who I am. Look at my Cross. Look at my resurrection. No one could have made this up! Come to me, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Ultimately faith and certainty grows as we get to know more about Jesus, who he is, and what he did.”15
I find ID very useful in challenging those who think that the Darwinistic evolution that is typically employed by the Neo-Atheist movement is a proven fact. I find some of the ID’s findings simply awe inspiring, and I find the science very interesting and entertaining. I do believe that creation does testify of God’s craftsmanship and I find pleasure in researching the depths of it all in the limited way that a human mind is able to perceive it.
14. How does Darwinism Function as an Ideology?
Darwinism functions as a comprehensive worldview and is the leading worldview within academia, though arguably not as pervasive as is commonly thought. Darwinism is not merely the belief in evolution. Just believing in evolution does not make one a Darwinist. Darwinism is a belief in common descent combined with random variation and natural selection and that these all came about by non-supernatural means.16
Darwinism completely rejects any kind of direct creation, all species are fully mutable. It completely rejects design, arguing that things in nature only appear designed. And it rejects teleology which is the argument for purpose and intent. (Teleology is different from design, as design shows intelligent thought and teleology shows purpose)17 Darwinism is antithetical to Christianity.
Darwinism naturally leads to support of eugenics, which is selective breeding of humans.18 It has been well documented that Darwinistic thought heavily influenced Nazi Germany’s view of humanity.19 Even the sub-title of On The Origin of Species is very revealing: The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Many who embrace Darwinism try to distance themselves from its philosophical implications, yet I find such resistance irrational and those who embrace it while continuing to resist its implications tend to hold positions relating to morality that contradict their worldview. There is something to be said for the Neo-Atheists like Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Alexander Rosenberg who bluntly describe the implications of their beliefs and if anything seem to be the logical Darwinists. (I disagree with many of their presuppositions yet I think they [and others like them] are at least the only consistent materialistic Darwinists out there)
Rosenberg describes his beliefs as follows:
Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. What is the meaning of life? Ditto. Why am I here? Just dumb luck… Is there free will? Not a chance. What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them. Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral. Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or something obligatory? Anything goes.20
Now must Americans aren’t jumping up and down and embracing this bleak picture of reality. Yet the vast majority have accepted Darwinistic Evolution, but given little thought to its true implications.
There are several problems with Darwinism however. Some will be discussed in the question below but I will take on a few here that relate more specifically to Darwinism than evolution in general.
First off Darwinism does not capture what humanity is, which is why I think so few humans end up embracing it. I find the theory extremely inadequate to capture the complicated nature of what humanity seems to be and the explanations given to rationally defend Darwinism’s view of humanity I find wanting. Many of the actions of humans are contrary to Darwin’s theory. Selfishness is seen as the primary motivation of all humans in everything they do and yet humans are constantly doing things that harm themselves for the good of others. Is there a major aspect of selfishness within humans? Of course, yet Darwinistic explanations for altruism and other human virtues are still wrapped in the selfishness paradigm.
Secondly, there is a logical inconsistency within the ideology itself. Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga has pointed out that a Darwinist must place his faith in his human brain and yet the human brain, from their perspective, has evolved from a strictly irrational process so there is no justification for trusting the rational thoughts of a irrational process. Darwin himself expressed this concern, see: Can the Mind of Man be Trusted?
Third, there is another flaw in thinking that reductionism proves complete causality and fully determines what a thing is. Essentially if I describe neurons firing in my brain as simply a scientific process that only involves those neurons firing but fails to consider that a thought has been created with the firing of those neurons I have not described the process accurately. To just reduce thinking to firing neurons is to fail to get the entire picture of what is going on. Furthermore, it fails to consider how previous thoughts have all developed to then create this thought. Plasma physicists and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, Ian Hutchinson, puts it like this, “It might well be true that a human is a complex mixture of compounds of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and so on. But it is highly misleading to say that a human is ‘nothing but’ such a mixture. I am an assembly of electrons and quarks interacting through quantum chromodynamics and the electroweak forces; I am a heterogeneous mixture of chemical elements… I am a system of biochemical processes guided by genetic codes; but I am also a vast and astounding complex organization of cooperating cells; I am a mammal, with hair and warm blood; I am a person, husband, lover, father; and I am a sinner saved by grace. I am not all of these things, and not one of them is less true than any other. In no case is it correct to say I am nothing but one of these descriptions.”21
Fourth, ultimately Darwinism is a faith-based position. As Robert Wright, author of The Moral Animal, and advocate for Darwinism puts it, “the theory of natural selection is so elegant and powerful as to inspire a kind of faith in it — not blind faith, really, since the faith rests on the theory’s demonstrated ability to explain so much about life. But faith nonetheless; there is a point after which one no longer entertains the possibility of encountering some fact that would call whole theory into question. I must admit to having reached this point.”22
C.S. Lewis wrote about his original acceptance and eventual rejection of materialistic evolution in The Funeral of a Great Myth. He says, “that, then, is the first proof that popular Evolution is a Myth. In making it Imagination runs ahead of scientific evidence. ‘The prophetic soul of the big world’ was already pregnant with the Myth: if science has not met the imaginative need, science would not have been so popular. But probably every age gets, within certain limits, the science it desires.”23
15. Is it Intellectual Suicide to Deny the Theory of Evolution?
As I’ve mentioned before there are Christians who have embraced a type of evolutionary theory, they are typically called believers in Theistic Evolution, though they prefer to be called Evolutionary Creationists. (EC) Personally, I’m am unpersuaded by the Biblical defenses presented by EC and I am certainly not persuaded that evolution is as scientifically proven as it is so commonly portrayed to be. Having gone to public school, evolution (with almost complete naturalism implied) is all that I was ever taught and I cannot remember a single time in all of my education where any of the weaknesses in the theory were discussed, not even mentioned. I will mention a few.
Many people point out that so many scientists believe in evolution and therefore it must be true. However, even a brief survey of scientific history should destroy this argument. Just one example is Newtonian Physics which was thought to explain pretty much everything but found itself overturned by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.24 (which is also coming into doubt due to its incompatibility with quantum mechanics)25 A majority of opinion does not hold much weight with me, and anyone who has studied the pathetic opinions of the majority findings from the Jesus Seminar and other forms of Biblical criticism should be wary of just following the crowd.
Now, no one I know of denies micro-evolution of a certain degree, such as in animal breeding. Yet, what is highly debatable is any hard proof of macro-evolution. As Oxford mathematician, John Lennox, argues: to appeal to examples of micro-evolution as evidence for macro-evolution is to assume what you hope to prove.26 Furthermore, biochemist Michael Behe states in, Darwin’s Black Box, that evolutionary theory has yet to describe how complex, irreducibly complex, structures found in life came to be. The theory has no explanatory power for origins and simply appeals to mystery or lack of scientific knowledge. Natural selection is a fact, but as microbiologist Douglas Axe says, “However strong the desire is to portray selection in glowing terms, the reality confronting scientists who work with it in the laboratory is much more humble… The modest view isn’t entirely negative. Selection does one thing reasonably well, in fact. Having failed as an inventor, it has managed to prove itself as a fiddler.”27 To ascribe the level of inventing power to natural selection that many evolutionists do is to overstep what is scientifically observable.
Darwin’s theory of evolution contained three major predictions that simply did not come true. These consist of predictions within the geological record, predictions regarding the complexity of cells and predictions on how natural selection functioned.
Darwin was quite sure that the geological column would have to show an enormous number of intermediate links for his theory to hold. He writes, “and this, perhaps, is the most and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”28 The curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History is frank when he says, 120 years later, “the evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like…the record… still does not yield a finally graduated chain of slow and progressive evolution. In other words, there are not enough intermediates.”29
In addition events like the Cambrian Explosion are unexplainable within the commonly understood view of evolution. In a geological second 30 phyla appear, this is essentially an explosion of information from no where. Some arguments that were given previously from evolutionists were that there must have been soft bodied animals previously that simply did not fossilize or that the environmental conditions did not allow for life to fossilize. However, that position is harder to hold now with recent geological evidence found in southern China that shows soft bodied embryo sponges prior to the Cambrian Explosion period. If these tiny embryos could fossilize there is little reason to doubt that other forms of life, if present, could fossilize as well.30 What’s more, is that there are other events described as “morphogenetic explosions” that mimic the Cambrian Explosion found in later parts of the geological record that do not harmonize with current evolutionary theories.31
It is not just anti-evolutionary believers who interpret the fossil record as very problematic for natural selection theories. Evolutionist and former paleontologist at Harvard, Stephen Jay Gould, described Darwin’s theory as dead and could not reconcile the fossil record with natural selection alone. He came up with the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium” which described how nearly all species remain constant and then suddenly new species appear. He was highly critical of the Neo-Atheist’s defense of Darwin. Eventually he found he was not able to defend his own theory by any other means than a face value look at the fossil recored and eventually simply accepted natural selection despite the evidence.32 Punctuated Equilibrium was forced by the evidence against a gradual natural selection theory but found nothing to ground itself in and unfortunately simply reverted back to a lack luster theory. It must be pointed out that “gradualism is the hinge component of Darwinian evolution, and the theory is wounded (perhaps mortally) without it.”33
Moving on from geology Darwin was greatly mistaken in his understanding of cellular complexity. He and other biologists of his day believed that the cell was extremely simple, but modern science has revealed that cells are perhaps the most complicated structure that we know of. This, combined with coming to the realization that genetics are not as malleable as once thought, is very problematic to Darwin’s theory of natural selection. EC Charles Foster admits that there are problems with the limits on how much a species can vary.34 John Lennox points out that we have bred thousands of generations of fruit flies and over 25,000 thousand generations of E. coli bacterium and guess what? They are still fruit flies and still E. coli with little to no innovative changes.35
In addition to all of this, the evidences from observable natural selection do not coincide with Darwin’s theory. For instance many people say Darwin’s view of natural selection is totally observable in bacteria as they respond to antibiotics. But as James Shapiro observes the bacteria actually horizontally transfer DNA from other organisms that allow them to neutralize the antibiotics. This is not natural selection taking place. The bacteria “evolve by natural genetic engineering rather than by localized mutation.”36 Essentially they evolve by their own design not by random acts. Certainly, Darwin’s theory leaves a lot to be desired.
Now one might ask, what about the other empirical evidence in favor of evolutionary theory? Many evolutionists argue for the evidence of common features within life, common features equals common decent. Yet this is not a good argument as it just as easily could be used by ID proponents, common features equals common designer. It gets more complicated when species who are not considered close relatives share very complicated common organs like a human’s eye compared to an octopus’ eye.37 In addition “orphan genes” are an unexpected phenomenon that has been revealed in the field of genetics. Within standard evolutionary models the preponderance of the “orphan genes” is unlikely if common decent were true, and yet we are finding more and more of these genes which do not show the similarities with “shared” relatives as we would expect.38
It can’t be denied that there are major genetic similarities between species, especially between humans and apes, yet what also can’t be denied is the fantastic differences between them and that the steps required for a common ancestor go against what we currently understand nature to be capable of.39 One “fact” that most people have heard is that humans and chimps share 99% of their genetic code. Yet that stat should not be taken at face value. When it is used it refers only to that DNA where matching sequences can be found. 28% of human DNA is not considered in that statistic because no alignment or similarities can be found.40
Many evolutionists used to contend that the vast majority of DNA was “junk DNA.” Following the well known Human Genome Project, the ENCODE project began and concluded that at least 74% to 93% of human DNA is routinely carrying out functions within the human body. It was previously thought that 3% was the magic number and that over 90% of our DNA was strictly junk. This again is contrary to what is expected from natural selection and is consistent with many of our findings that most of the adaptions in life are nearly optimal.41
When all these evidences are considered a type of progressive creationism seems like a most reasonable deduction. I can certainly say that none of this opposing evidence was every presented to me in school. Evolution was presented as a chance event, a natural cause and if I wanted to believe that God was behind it all that was fine, but it was against the science, so I was taught. Evolution was presented as a fact and not a theory. In the average person’s mind they are convinced that evolution is the only defensible position. Well, as Alvin Plantinga says “Evolution requires God in order to work. If evolution is true then naturalism must be false.”42
As I have said before, I do not think evolution of a certain type is incompatible with Christianity and I would not force my beliefs on how God created on someone exploring Christianity. I would point them to the cross. However, I do find myself against the current Biblical arguments employed and the science that is used to support evolution. These questions can be difficult, but they are being asked by believers and unbelievers alike. And although I disagree with his conclusions on evolution (and strongly disagree with his stance on a few other issues) I think it fitting to end this series with a quote I appreciate from Ian Hutchinson, who I can confidently say, understands what it means to repent and to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ: “Thinking deeply and with nuance is part of the Christian understanding that in addition to being the way and the life, Jesus is the truth.”43
- Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?: An MIT Professor Answers Questions on God and Science, Ian Hutchinson, (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 2018), 172-173; Hutchinson an EC who denies a literal Adam and Eve sites Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Victorinus, Origen and Augustine in his defense of taking larger parts of Genesis non-literally.
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2014), 240
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 241
- The Princeton Theology 1812-1921, Mark A. Noll, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 29; taken from: Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?, Ian Hutchinson, 175
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 241
- Ibid. 380-384
- Ibid. 385
- Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive, 2011), 270; taken from Ibid. 385
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 387
- Consider Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words: “It has again brought home to me quite clearly how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back—and that is bound to be the case—then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (New York: Macmillan, 1979), 311; taken from: http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-new-atheist-sledgehammer-like-epistemological-air-boxing)
- Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key Issues, H. Wayne House (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2008), 60-61; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 394
- The Reason for God, Timothy Keller (Penguin Group, New York, New York, 2008), 232
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 330-333
- Richard Weikart, “Darwinism and Death: Devaluing Human Life in Germany 1859-1920,” Journal of the History of Ideas 63, no 2 (2002): 323-344; taken from: Ibid.
- The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions, Alexander Rosenberg (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011), xiii; taken from: How to be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough, Mitch Stokes (Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2016), 35
- Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?, Ian Hutchinson, 32
- The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, Robert Wright (New York: Vintage, 1994), 329; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 342
- Christian Reflections, C.S. Lewis (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Eerdmans, 1967), 105
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 363
- See: How to be an Atheist, Stokes, Ch. 8 “The Current Crisis,” 119-130
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 363-364
- Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life is Designed, Douglas Axe (Harper One, New York, NY, 2016), 103
- On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, 1st ed. Charles Darwin (London: John Murray, 2003 ), 280; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 366
- “Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50, no. 1, David Raup (January 1979): 22-29; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 366
- https://www.whitehorseinn.org/show/stephen-meyer-on-darwins-doubt/ ; 15 minutes to 20 minutes
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 367
- Ibid. 345-348
- ibid. 348
- The Selfless Gene: Living With God and Darwin, Charles Foster (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009); taken from: Ibid. 368
- God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, John Lennox, (Oxford: Lion, 2007), 107-108; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 370
- Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, James Shapiro (Upper Saddle River, N.J.:FT Press, 2011), 127-147; taken from: 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 370
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 371
- 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution, Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 372
- Ibid. 372-374
- “Evolution versus Naturalism,” in The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science, ed. Bruce Gordon and William Dembski (Wilmington Del.:ISI Books, 2011), 137-151; taken from Ibid. 374
- Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?, Ian Hutchinson, 254
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“I do believe that creation does testify of God’s craftsmanship and I find pleasure in researching the depths of it all in the limited way that a human mind is able to perceive it.” Well said!
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Keep working ,terrific job!
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