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Does It Really Matter?
Origins & the Meaning of Life

Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Comments (36)

First, listen to this 7-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

Meaninglessness is a banner that hangs over the West. It’s as if Western culture has become one big illustration of Solomon’s frustration in Ecclesiastes—“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But behold, this also was vanity” (Eccl. 2:1).

Evolutionary theory and naturalism lead to nihilism, and nihilism leads to absolute futility and utter despair. That sequence is clearly evident in Western cultures. It’s a silent pandemic, largely ignored, that can be traced back to the judgment described in Romans 1:18-32.

Since “wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7:35), what can we say about the “wisdom” of a purely naturalistic, evolutionary approach to science? Why do Christian scientists practice science within the boundaries of naturalistic, evolutionary presuppositions?


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#1  Posted by Craig Linkowski  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 9:38 AM

If we have no spirit/soul then we have no free will at all. Introspection turns into the equivalent of a pre-programmed virus scan on a computer...any choice whatsoever was not chosen by "you" but by the outworking of the interaction of your genes and environment at the time the choice was made. This is first and foremost, not true since we know that it is not true from scripture (man became a living soul) but it is also devastating to human beings...so much so that we see them committing suicide from time to time. The fact that we desire or want free will should tell us we have free will and that we are body, soul, and spirit made in the image of God.

#2  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 11:53 AM

The evolutionists start with the faulty assumption that there is no God. That is why they worked so hard to get God out of anything, in the public realm - schools, universities, government, science...

Once they were able to do that, they worked to make everything man centered. Without God man can sink to the lowest of lows, we are seeing that today. They also try to use science to understand the Bible instead of using the Bible to understand science.

In Romans 1 it talks about God turning them over to a reprobate mind to do whatever debased things they wish to do, we are there today. Also today, they celebrate "earth day", from Romans 1 we see them worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.

#3  Posted by Alex Passarello  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 12:30 PM

I am so concerned about all of this. I see my children and their friends and the fascination with social internet platforms. They do a marvelous job of communicating from behind a computer but an absolutely terrible job of face to face personal communication. It is no wonder our churches are depreciating to the point they are. The church body is losing its interpersonal skills. No one talks anymore they chat, they don't speak they text, they don't write they email. So much of what people do today is based on reaction instead of thoughtfulness. I wonder what the divorce rate is going to be with the next generation? You can't raise kids from behind a computer or cell phone. You can't solve conflicts with your spouse through facebook. If we can't communicate and healthy relationships with each other how on earth on we going to foster a relationship with Jesus? We have done everything we can to insure that our children read more than they mess around with the computer. I mean "down" time in our house is on the couch or back porch with a book.

#4  Posted by Alex Passarello  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 12:54 PM

I really enjoyed this.

What concerns me is the rationalization of all of this. Meeting the evolutionist half way. Which is the same as saying, the spot where I meet this evolutionist theory, is the spot where I stop believing in God. I mean really, isn't this an all or nothing proposition? Did Christ rationalize his sacrifice? Did he negotiate his death? No! He accepted and believed it all and therefore was willing to die for that belief in truth. There's no halfway with this. I know people think when you hold a hard line on an issue that it is considered closed mindedness or intolerance, but when it comes to salvation there really is no other way. How on earth will I be able to rationalize this on judgement day? I can't and neither can anyone else. I just don't understand how people believe that something came from nothing. Philosophically it doesn't work and mathematically it doesn't work. Think about it - Zero multiplied by Zero = nothing. Zero multiplied by anything equals nothing. Evolutionist mistake Christians doubt as anger. It isn't anger it is concern for your very eternal soul and the effect that it is having on those around you that look at you as influential. I don't hate evolutionist, I hate the way you think, but it is the Grace of God that generates the love and concern for the salvation of everyone. Evolutionist view doubt as hate sometimes, but it is no wonder they think that after all these are the people who believe, zero times zero = everything.

#5  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 1:45 PM

Craig, I submit to you that the only “free will” man has is the will to sin (see Romans 3: 10-18). Man’s view of liberty is not freedom from sin but rather it is the freedom to sin without consequence, otherwise known as license. This is the evidence of the total or radical depravity of man. The propagation of the false science of evolution is only one of many examples of this reality. Reformation of man is inadequate as it is only the exchanging of one sin for another. It reveals a woefully inadequate view of the Holiness of God and the evilness of sin. Reformation of man is self righteousness and is nothing more than evil clothed in the garments of pride.

Man’s only hope is for God to intervene and make them an entirely new creation. Man’s only hope is to become born again and that can only occur through the bold unashamed preaching of the living and abiding Word of God (see 1Corinthians 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:23). God is glorified in taking a wretched sinner at war with Himself and making them a new creation that pursues holiness out of a sincere desire to please Him. That is the work of a sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent God. What a glorious wonder it is that God has chosen as an act of His own sovereign will to involve His children to be a part of this process of taking a sinner and making them a new creation in Christ. This new birth is the result of a child of God being faithful to proclaim the incorruptible seed of His Word. True, it is the result of the Holy Spirit giving that effectual inward call, but it also involves the outward call of God’s child preaching the Word. The exhorting of one another is part of the process of sanctification of every child of God and yet sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit. “Sanctify them in the truth, Thy Word is truth” was the petition of Christ to the Father (see John 17:17).

Persuasive words of wisdom profits nothing of any eternal value. At best it demonstrates a shameful ignorance of the things of God and most probably it reveals man in a reformed condition. Christ demonstrated this in Luke 9:26. There is a cost in following Christ (see Luke 9:23-27). There is a dreadful price to be paid for everyone who is ashamed of His Word. –His unworthy Slave

#6  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 6:02 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#7  Posted by Craig Linkowski  |  Thursday, April 22, 2010at 7:40 PM

Hi Doug...thank you for your post. I realize that we are all enslaved to sin (Romans 6), but when I am speaking of free will, I am speaking of things concerning, as I mentioned, the ability to evaluate your own self - to think when you like to think - to pull a memory out of the bank and evaluate it - to go to a part and meditate. We are not material robots as an evolutionary psychologist would like to propose. My point is that of MacArthur...evolutionary theory leads to nihilism...the death of self. Otherwise, I am a gospel sharing Calvinist. :-) - God Bless.

#8  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 5:56 AM

Q: “Since ‘wisdom is justified by all her children’ (Luke 7:35), what can we say about the ‘wisdom’ of a purely naturalistic, evolutionary approach to science?”

A: Just look at that list of unrighteousness in Rom 1:29-31! Our pursuit of naturalistic thinking (worshipping the creature rather than the Creator) & our total disregard of God via evolutionary teaching, we are reaping the consequences in this Western culture of pursuing pleasure & disregarding God & His law.

Q: “Why do Christian scientists practice science within the boundaries of naturalistic, evolutionary presuppositions?”

A: That, I don’t know how to answer except that perhaps they are not true Christians? Perhaps their faith is infantile? But Rom 1:21-22 declares, “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world….So they are without excuse….Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” But the chilling verse is Rom 1:32, “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them!” Those “Christian scientists” who practice science within the boundaries of naturalistic & evolutionary presuppositions have rejected God’s holy word & instead accepted this erroneous & unholy thinking and the outcome should be evident to them, for to claim to be a Christian, they should be students of God’s word, first & foremost! The world & life should be filtered through Biblical worldview (presuppositions if you will), not the other way around! What we are witnessing is that the West has become a guinea pig society with divorce running rampant, homosexuals raising orphaned children, teenage pregnancies, suicide rates rising, child abuse, lack of respect for parents & authority, crime, drug abuse, corruption,…all the judgments we see described in Romans 1:18-32.

#9  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 8:24 AM

As a Christian and a scientist, my job is to be a scientist. That means that I observe the natural world to find the fundamental rules that seem to govern its behavior. While it is true that God created the moon, as a physicist I study the various rules of nature that we have observed to see if I can piece together a reasonable hypothesis of how the moon was formed....

To be honest, it is very difficult to be a scientist and a Christian. Most scientists are not Christian, that is a fact, so there is not a lot of fellowship. Then, too many Christian (like some on this board), reject "science" wholesale unless it lines up with how they see things...I get it from both sides.

As a neutrino physicist, I have observed that the Sun gets its power from nuclear fusion. That is unequivocal from scientific observation. The PROBLEM IS, that same science observes that the density of the sun is immense. Photons created by nuclear fusion get absobed by atoms and reemitted over and over again...The end result is ACCORDING TO SCIENTIFIC MODELING of this WELL KNOWN BEHAVIOR, the average photon created in a nuclear fusion event TAKES 100,000+ YEARS to get to the edge of teh Sun and fly to your eye...

That, fellow believers, is how many scientist Christians come to believe in an old earth...The natural data in favor of it is IMMENSE.

#10  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 8:40 AM

Mark:

Thanks for your post.  I would be interested to know how you respond to your Christian friends in the science world who rely completely upon such natural data.  I'm curious--Is there overwhelming pressure for you to acquiesce to their "old earth" conclusions?  Thanks.   

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 8:45 AM

Mark, thank you for pointing out the scientist's perspective and again demonstrating that scientific models begin with the naturalist anti-supernatural assumptions and result in naturalistic anti-supernatural conclusions.

Let me correct you... the "natural data in favor of [an old earth]" is not IMMENSE. The truth is, the natural data interpreted through the naturalistic framework results in an old earth conclusion.

Put another way, the data doesn't tell us how old the earth is. Our interpretation of the data which is based on our presuppositions tells us how old the earth is. Science is not neutral.

That a photon created in nuclear fusion takes 100,000+ years to get to the edge of the sun is an assumption (or, theory) based on other data. Unless I'm mistaken no one has been able to establish that as a bonifide fact through tests that reproduce the phenomenon. Science models assume that photons had a zero starting point rather than being created fully mature and complete.

Tommy's question is relevant. Why do most Christian scientists toss out biblical presuppositions in favor of atheistic presuppositions in the scientific endeavor?

#12  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 9:01 AM

Gabriel...

So, to you, the Sun is a continuosly sustained miracle? That is what you are saying whether you realize it or not. God is constantly producing trillions of photons and placing them throughout the Sun to create the illusion that nuclear fusion is powering the thing...but it really isn't....He is producing trillions of neutrinos per second as if nuclear fusion is happening at the core (these guys fly right through the Sun no problem and can be detected on Earth), to make it look like that this energy is then propogating through the Sun by radiative transfer and convection. Then, when the photons get to the surface, they travel to us and warm us up.

This is all some grand deception????

The "mature" argument is really a weak one. Why make the Sun powered by nuclear fusion, which takes light 100,000+ years to get to the surface of the Sun, if the universe is only to exist 10,000 years??? Great question.

By the way, the nuclear fusion argument is no longer an assumption. It is clearly what is going on. We have detonated nuclear fusion devices (ie hydrogen bombs). We know what nuclear fusion is and how it works...what it takes to produce it. The Sun lines up with all of that evidence...

#13  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 9:11 AM

Assumptions...I in NO WAY speak for anyone but myself. I see science as a tool. The universe was created by God to operate with certain rules. My job is to discover those rules. When I look at the universe, I simple test things in the universe to see what the rules are...my assumption is that if I test how the world works, then I can discover the rule, and the rule is the same everywhere in the universe.

The example I gave photon random-walk travel time in the Sun is a good one. While it is true that no one has gone to the center of the Sun, produced a photon, hit a stop watch and then waited until it gets to the surface to time it, we have done that in situations that are more managable. You hit the light switch, and there is a tiny delay until light pops out of the bulb...that is because light produced in the light bulb fiber has to travel out of the fiber, get to the surface and travel to you...We know how nuclear bombs and reactors work, etc...there is not as much assumption as people believe or want to think.

THE FACT IS, there is an incongruity between a young earth and the appearance of the universe. I for one believe God created the universe in 6 literal days just as the Bible says, but looking at the universe says something different...and that is unavoidable...atleast with our present level of scientific knowledge.

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 9:26 AM

Mark you write,

So, to you, the Sun is a continuosly sustained miracle?

I won't speak for Gabe, but no, that is not what we are saying.  God created the universe and world to function according to natural laws.  This principle is seen in Genesis 8:22, While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night, shall not cease.  Created natural laws exist so that we can function in our world, keep time, do measurements, etc.  They do not exist, though, apart from God and atheists are foolish to think they do.

Now, how we understand the function of those natural laws on something as unique as the sun and fusion, may not be the way we understand them functioning on the earth.  There could be other unknown factors working on the process we are not aware of. 

Now, you note we denotated nuclear fusion devices, ie hydrogen bombs,  but I understand from the standard, nuclear physics I learned from non-creationists, that such a reaction is an uncontrolled one and not self-sustained.  Even from the basic articles I find on the internet, self-sustained fusion reactions have been experiemented with, but never truly acheived successfully.  Knowing about the vastness of the sun, to equate an uncontrolled reaction we created with one that is self-sustaining and perpetually producing energy as being one and the same I think is a bit of a big leap with our assumptions. 

Why make the Sun powered by nuclear fusion, which takes light 100,000+ years to get to the surface of the Sun, if the universe is only to exist 10,000 years???

And why is that a bad thing?  I don't really understand why that objection is suppose to rebut the so-called "mature" argument?  Can you explain a bit?

#16  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 9:28 AM

Mark,

I am not denying how the sun works now. No one is saying at this point that scientific conlusions of how things currently work are based on assumptions (though Fred pointed out that that may indeed be the case anyway).

What we are denying is that science uses grand assumptions when they try to determine the age of the earth. The grand assumption is that there was an embryonic starting point for the universe. That is simply not true. It is an atheistic presupposition that Christians have bought into.

We had discussed the mature earth issue before. So far you haven't given any substantial reason for disbelieving it except your own subjective opinion that it is weak. For my part, I'd rather believe in God's creative power than atheistic assumptions on how things must have come to be.

#17  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 9:47 AM

Also, you wrote, "THE FACT IS, there is an incongruity between a young earth and the appearance of the universe." Indeed. But unless you reject the Bible wholesale, that shouldn't be a problem for you as a Christian.

The fact is, the One who was there at the beginning and was the power and active agent in creation has given us a clear description of how the material world came to be. The only evidence against that account exists on the assumption of anti-supernaturalism. Our understanding of how things work today does not lead to an old earth view unless you assume God lied and you assume a whole lot about how much we know about the past.

Fred's point is extremely valid. Scientists are quick to project what we do know onto what we don't know and make relatively certain conclusions that therefore we actually do know what we really don't know. That said I can't deny what science says about how the sun works. What I can deny is that our knowledge of the working of the sun gives us information about the age of the earth.

No amount of scientific knowledge can give us information as to the age of the earth or how the universe was formed. Creation was an all-out miracle. Period. End of story. You either embrace the athiest or you embrace God. You cannot hold the hands of both.

#18  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 11:30 AM

Great. Have a nice day.

#19  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 11:38 AM

Mark,

I was not expecting that response. My comments were not meant to drive you away, but to continue the discussion. Clearly there is disagreement, so would you mind explaining where you disagree? This is too important to "agree to disagree."

I openly admit that I am not a scientist, so correct me if I am erroring or misunderstanding.

#20  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 2:50 PM

Why do Christian scientists practice science within the boundaries of naturalistic, evolutionary presuppositions?

I believe theistic evolutionists/progressive creationists (TEs/PCs) choose to practice within those 'boundaries' because it is the path of least resistance in this secular world. If you choose to practice without those evolutionary presuppositions, you will be academically and professionally 'martyred' for your faith, so to speak.

We've all read the stories, seen documentaries, etc. of how a creationist world view can affect a Christian scientist's professional life. I can attest to this myself from first hand experience. I will not belabor that point because it is not the purpose of my post. Suffice to say it is 'damaging' from a secular world view. Your work is often rejected 'out of hand' because of your beliefs, etc. etc. etc.

Those TEs/PCs who choose to go with the 'evolutionary flow' do so to maintain status within their profession. If your status with the world is more important than your status with the Creator of the world, then you will be more than willing to take the road of compromise. There is more money, power and accolades for the compromised Christian in science (or in any profession for that matter).

#21  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 6:13 PM

Mark,

I too hope you do not drop out of this debate. Many of us are learning from your expertise – we cannot compete with you there, but we can still learn from your perspective & your knowledge base.

My non-scientific mind thinks along the following lines: (I may be using the wrong term when I say “natural law”, but I am thinking in terms of what we can observe & predict with accuracy in the scientific realm.)

· God said sin brings death. Does death come to ALL? Yes, with the exception of Enoch. (Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5) So, in that case, God broke His rule of “natural law.”

· Can anyone speak & calm a storm? No, but Jesus did. (Mt 8:26, Mk 4:39, Lk 8:24) Jesus (God incarnate) broke His “natural law.”

· Can anyone walk on water? No, yet Jesus did, (Mk 6:49, Jn 6:19) This is impossible with physics, isn’t it? Yet the Bible said it happened. Again, God broke His rule of “natural law.”

· Can anyone raise a dead person? Even with our modern medical science, we don’t know how. Yet the Bible says Jesus raised dead people (Lk 7:14-15, Jn 11:38-44) Again, God broke His “natural law.”

· Under the natural laws that scientists witness today, isn’t it impossible to have a worldwide flood? (Gen 7) Is this a myth or did God again break His own “natural laws” which He set in place?


Can we believe: that time stood still? (Jos 10:12-14); that Jesus turned water into wine? (Jn 2:1-12); that Jesus fed 5000 people with 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread? (Jn 6:9-13); that God answered Gideon by sending dew on the wool fleece but none on the grass & the next day sending dew on the grass but not on the wool fleece? (Jgs 6:36-40). Can we believe that hundreds of Old Testament prophesies could all come true in one person? Can anyone forgive sins? And ultimately, can we believe that ANYONE COULD CONQUER DEATH & RAISE HIMSELF FROM THE GRAVE? That is foundational to Christianity!

I think the issue is can we take God at His word even when we can’t understand HOW He accomplished what the Bible says He did? It’s all about FAITH.

When scientists seek to solve a problem, don’t they establish some function or equation? But what about the UNKNOWNS in those equations? Medical scientists cannot conclude with accuracy which patients with advanced levels of cancer will survive treatments & which will not. And when some of those patients do die, don’t they write it off to “some unknown factor of which they were not aware?” CAN SCIENTISTS ADMIT there ARE UNKNOWN FACTORS which may still exist? I thought that science was an ever increasing knowledge base. If we already knew it all, there would be no reason to continue to conduct research. THEREFORE, we must NOT yet know it all. That’s just where I’m coming from, & I have to put my faith in one or the other. Science keeps changing, yet God does not. That makes my decision easy: I put my faith in Him.

Literally, the Bible IS UNBELIEVABLE! It requires FAITH. Heb 11:1, 3 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” … “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

The Bible is teaching us to rely on God & His word/not our own understanding; to depend on Him & trust in Him & to be willing to reject what we see & know here & now. I’m glad you are a literal 6-day creationist. WE NEED MORE SCIENTISTS LIKE YOU! But when I try to comprehend the universe, it only causes me to realize: I cannot fathom the greatness of our God! Oh, He is worthy to be praised!

#22  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 7:23 PM

Mark,

Regarding the absorption and re-emission of photons in the sun, this letter from the Technical Journal 17:1 (2003) looks at it this way:

“The energy diffusion timescale for the Sun, however, does exceed six thousand years. Calculations show that energy produced in the core of the Sun today should take more than six thousand years to diffuse to the solar surface. Does this demonstrate that the Sun is older than 6,000 years, or is not powered by fusion? Not at all. Apparently, energy being released from the photosphere today was never produced by fusion, but is energy that has come from a subsurface layer—created on Day 4 of the Creation Week. God created the Sun in a stable state with an energy and temperature profile similar to those of today. The solar photosphere is constantly emitting its energy into space by thermal radiation, and would quickly cool—except this energy is replenished by energy from a hotter layer beneath the surface. This underlying layer obtains its energy from a still hotter, deeper layer, and so on to the core, which obtains energy directly from fusion.

So, the primary purpose of fusion is stability. Energy produced by fusion precisely matches energy released from the surface so that the internal temperature profile of the Sun remains constant. The fusion energy flux balances the force of gravity and maintains the stable temperature profile. Energy produced by fusion is not directly responsible for heating the solar photosphere today (because there has not been enough time) though it would eventually serve that purpose if the Sun were allowed to continue far enough into the future. So, a 6,000-year-old hydrogen-burning star does not require any unusual physics during the Creation Week. A fusion-powered Sun is perfectly consistent with the Biblical timescale, and with the available evidence.”

[Source: http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j17_1/j17_1_64-65.pdf ]

Now, am I satisfied with the above explanation from the Technical Journal? Not completely. On the other hand, however, to make the leap that creationists believe that the “sun is a continuously sustained miracle” is asinine. Creationists believe that the origin of the sun was a miracle and that present processes sustain the sun.

The primary flaw with all uniformitarian age estimates, like the one you give using the absorption and re-emission of photons in the sun, is that it assumes all physical processes in the universe have operated in the past as they do today—including the time of creation. This is known as the fallacy of composition which “infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.” The physics you cite is sound, but the derivation of a 100,000+ year estimate for the age of the sun using the absorption and re-emission of photons is based on questionable assumptions about the past.

The hard evidence you have presented so far on this forum for a multi-billion-year-old universe/earth has not matched your rhetoric. The natural data in favor of it is not “IMMENSE” in my opinion.


P.S. Fred emailed you the responses I got from Barry Setterfield and Alan Montgomery regarding your comments from an earlier thread about the speed of light.

P.P.S. I’m still waiting for some observational evidence from you that new stars are still forming today.

#23  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 23, 2010at 8:33 PM

To All,

I was not trying to argue for an old earth/universe. I was trying to point out that some people, looking scientifically at the evidence that is scientifically gathered, see the evidence as IMMENSE for an old earth. I should have stated it that way. This series of blogs by John MacArthur has been centered on WHY scientist Christian "succomb to evolution" or such things...I was trying to provide a little insight. That was my sole intent.

I make no rhetoric, just a discussion. I see no point in continuing given the bounds of the discussion.

#24  Posted by Chris Lane  |  Saturday, April 24, 2010at 11:52 AM

Hi Mark

I appreciated your contribution.

Kind regards

#25  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Saturday, April 24, 2010at 4:26 PM

Mark,
The one problem with Internet discussion threads like this is that sometimes it can be tricky discerning the tone and / or the intentions of someone’s post. It’s all in writing, so you don’t get all the visual and audio cues when communicating with someone face-to-face. That being said, I re-read many of your posts on this forum, and they appeared to me to be confrontational in nature and, yes, you were arguing for an old universe. But, you see, I don’t have a problem with that! I disagree with that position, but I am always happy to discuss the issue with someone, as yourself, who can assemble an articulate and logical argument.


Creation vs. evolution was the one issue I had struggled with the most when I first became a Christian twenty-nine years ago during my first year in college. I just wanted to know the truth, whatever it was. And I still do. So, when someone like you comes along and says that the evidence for an old universe is immense, I really and truly want to know what that evidence is. And when you said that scientists have seen stars form, I really wanted to know the who, what, when and where of that observation.


Likewise, I passed on to you some of the creationist’s responses to the issues you brought up. I hope at least the material I presented, here and in the email I had Fred forward to you, will encourage you to take a more serious look into the creationist side of origins.

#26  Posted by Craig Linkowski  |  Sunday, April 25, 2010at 7:54 PM

The Word of God is what is sure and that is what I will stick to...otherwise, we end up speculating and questioning in a vicious cycle...So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)....We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5). ..... THE WORD OF GOD NEVER FAILS!!

#27  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 8:37 AM

My intent was simply to present information. Too often the young earth tone is...well, my Bible says it, that settles it. They almost never have had a serious science class to look in depth at the natural evidence. I realize that there are a few creation science groups like Answers in Genesis, etc...to be honest, their discussions are VERY wanting for me. If they make you feel good, great. If you look at the astronomy "answers" at AiG and the like, they are almost exclusively DEFENSIVE in nature. "Well, we know God created the Sun 7000 years ago, so that must be the case...and we talk about why this isn't inconsistent with that view..." I have no problem with that personally, because I believe that to be the case, but you aren't going to convince ANY non-Christian scientist with that kind of presentation. Their scientific answers are likewise CONSISTENCY based, not proof or experimentally based. Plus, there are serious gaps in knowledge at AiG.

So, my present opinion is there is not real "creation science" that is persuasive to a scientist looking at things scientifically...

Maybe the reason for that is that it is not possible to look at the universe and tell it is young. The revelation from God in His word may be necessary for that...

#28  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 8:53 AM

I totally agree Mark. Dr. MacArthur has said as much as well, saying that there is no such thing as "creation science" because science can't study what is clearly laid out as a miracle.

Science is able to speak to the issue of creation as much as it is able to speak to the issue of the empty tomb.

#29  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 10:31 AM

Mark,

I agree with your last statement. We need to have the faith to believe, and that faith comes from God (Eph 2:8-9). Faith leads us to believe that which we cannot see or prove - Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Heb 11:2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

#30  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 12:06 PM

Mark,

They almost never have had a serious science class to look in depth at the natural evidence… If you look at the astronomy "answers" at AiG and the like, they are almost exclusively DEFENSIVE in nature.”

Nonsense. Answers in Genesis directs their efforts towards the general public. So, when you hold them up as your example of creationism, I can only conclude that you have never done any serious investigation of the technical literature. Pardon me for speaking bluntly, but you are arguing from what appears to be a self-imposed ignorance. There has been a good amount of original work going on over the years that is not “defensive.” Some examples of this can be found in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, the Technical Journal (From Creation Ministries International) and various books and monographs.

Nobody knows everything. But, from my experience, evolutionists are no better than creationists as being “defensive” when they run into data they cannot readily explain. The only difference is that creationists, by in large, are honest enough to admit where their science ends and speculation begins.

“So, my present opinion is there is not real "creation science" that is persuasive to a scientist looking at things scientifically.”

Of course, if someone insists upon operating from a worldview of uniformitarian naturalism, then it’s impossible to persuade someone to believe in creation. And you think that “evolutionally science” is more scientific? Oh, please.

“Maybe the reason for that is that it is not possible to look at the universe and tell it is young.”

Well, I’m still waiting for you to present me with some of this incontrovertible evidence that the universe is billions of years old—that is not based as much on philosophy as it is on empirical evidence. Since this thread will be archived by the server soon, I would be happy to receive references from you via email. You can have Fred Butler forward it to me or you may email me directly (Fred, you have my permission to give Mark my email address).

#31  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 2:24 PM

Don...I'll be quite blunt right back. AiG and CRI are a JOKE in the scientific circles. I wish it weren't true, but it is. Even I, a dedicated believer, see that most of their physics arguments are weak and defensive in nature...By that I mean that IF you believe in a young universe, and IF you believe God did a miracle, then this (whatever they are writing about) is consistent. What is needed, if it were possible, is PROOF in a young universe from observational evidence. I am starting to think such a thing is not possible. A good example is photons flying around in the Sun (as we have discussed). If the universe is young, then what we observe is SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE without a miracle....Do you deny this?

I am not trying to start an argument Don, just saying what I see...BTW, I have reviewed Technical Journal and such...I will reserve any other comment on my opinion of it.

#32  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 3:44 PM

Mark,

  • Sola Fide, faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

We don't need scientific proof to believe what God says. If science disagrees with God's Word, then the science is wrong, not God's Word. Science is not perfect, God's Word is.

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

I'm just tring to say, man cannot understand all of the things of God, and I believe God did that on purpose. It takes faith given by God to truly believe, not by sight.

2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

#33  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 6:08 PM

Mark, I think I see your dilema: How do you convince one of your collegues in a young earth when they have NO Biblical faith & will ONLY ACCEPT their "approved" naturalistic scientific proof? And you are saying there is currently nothing out there that will convince them of that. While I agree with Todd & you may too, that doesn't give you the amunition you need to change the views of your fellow scientists. I would say the next step is prayer for the Holy Spirit to work His miracles in their hearts. None of us can change another person's heart, unless it is through prayer & perhaps the very witness of our own convictions. If your fellow collegues value your expertise & opinions, & yet witness that you can still be convinced of a young earth due to your faith, THAT in itself may cause them to question their own beliefs. They might ask themselves, "How can he be so sure?!" As fundemental Christians, I think we can come off as "confident" & that can intrigue a non-believer, or it can come across arrogantly & turn off a non-believer. The idea that "we know something you don't" may in fact be true, but as Christians, we should want them to know it too! You are in a very tough career field as a Christian, but maybe to lesser degrees, so are psychiatrists!, medical doctors, journalists, politicians (don't laugh! I HOPE there are some REAL Christian politicians out there!), and even those of us who are just common ordinary workers, but we all face Biblical integrity issues as well. (I've been asked to lie by management, & "overlook" false documentation myself!) I'd be curious how Russell Carroll (Posts 42 & 49) from Dethroning the Judge blog became a Christian, as he said he had been an Atheist when he became a scientist. He might have some insight as to what it was that helped convict him. Keep the faith, Mark. You have God on your side!

#34  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 6:47 PM

Mark writes,

Even I, a dedicated believer, see that most of their physics arguments are weak and defensive in nature...

By defensive in nature, I take it that you mean they merely wish to concoct arguments to defend their hypothesis, i.e., the universe and world is under 10,000 years old?  Is that what you mean?

You continue,

What is needed, if it were possible, is PROOF in a young universe from observational evidence. 

Evidence is not self defining and independent.  Seeing that all evidence is interpreted according to a set of presuppositions brought to the said "evidence" by the interpreter, I doubt seriously anything a biblical creationist would offer would satisfy your criteria for proof.  What "proof" would be satisfying for you specifically? 

A group of evolutionists uncovered a T Rex leg bone that had red blood cells in it.   Other groups of evolutionists mocked the findings and attempted to debunk it as being genuine red blood cells and soft tissue.  Then the same team uncovered a different dinosaur with soft tissue intact and were able to trace DNA protein strands in the remains.  Knowing how scrutinized their work would be, they had 3 independent labs verify their findings.  Rather than concluding that maybe the dinosaur remains are not 75 million years old, and are relatively young, they basically altered their understanding of fossilization and concluded tissue can last 75 million  years without fossilizing.  That is how committed scientists are to their beliefs.

Fred

#35  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 9:39 PM

Craig, thank you for your gracious clarification. Please forgive me for the late response.

Lois Dimitre post #20

“Those TEs/PCs who choose to go with the 'evolutionary flow' do so to maintain status within their profession. If your status with the world is more important than your status with the Creator of the world, then you will be more than willing to take the road of compromise. There is more money, power and accolades for the compromised Christian in science (or in any profession for that matter).”

Well put. I was run out of law school because I refused to “defile my conscience and pervert the supreme law of our land (the U. S. constitution) for the sake of a grade”. I have never regretted that decision and I will be forever grateful for His enabling grace. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38) - His Unworthy Slave

#38  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 7:16 AM

Mark, I truly understand your dilemma.

“I'll be quite blunt right back. AiG and [ICR] are a JOKE in the scientific circles. I wish it weren't true, but it is. Even I, a dedicated believer, see that most of their physics arguments are weak and defensive in nature...By that I mean that IF you believe in a young universe, and IF you believe God did a miracle, then this (whatever they are writing about) is consistent.”

Granted, but they have always been a joke in scientific circles—that’s nothing new. Since when is truth supposed to be determined by a popularity contest? And yes, I also know what you mean by “weak” when it comes to their physics arguments; which is why I depart from ICR’s views in that realm.

A turning point for me came when astronomers began discovering galaxy clusters that were 9 billion light years away. For example:

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/cosmology-05j.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=mature-galaxies-in-young

These galaxy clusters puzzle astronomers because the galaxies, which we are supposed to seeing as they were 9 billion years ago, are just as “mature” as the galaxies seen nearby our own. The first news article made me slap my forehead when I read this:

"We are quite surprised to see that exquisite structure like this could exist at such early epochs," said Mullis, who is also lead author on a report about this finding in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. "We see an entire network of stars and galaxies in place at just a few billion years after the big bang, like a kingdom popping up overnight on Earth." This means the cluster was mature when the Universe was only 5 billion years old, and that the stars and galaxies formed and assembled into a cluster within only a few billion years. The Universe is now 13.7 billion years old. "We have underestimated how quickly the early Universe matured into its present-day incarnation," said Dr. Piero Rosati at ESO headquarters in Garching, Germany, a co-author on the report. "The Universe grew up fast."

This hit me as prima facie evidence that the universe is young: If the universe is billions of years old and we are really seeing the universe as it was 9 billion years ago when viewing these galaxies, then it strains credulity to the breaking point that the universe has remained unchanged in all that time—this is especially hard to swallow if you believe in the big bang cosmology and galactic evolution. In other words, the galaxies we see “nearby” and the galaxies we see 9 billion years ago are identical in their developmental stage; there is no trace of cosmological evolution between them. The obvious answer to me was that the light from these distant galaxies did not take 9 billion years to reach the earth.

That’s why I found myself falling into the Barry Setterfield variable C camp. I have been reading a lot of his material and don’t think he’s a kook. And, frankly, I don’t care if you think I’m a kook either. As far as I know, no one has refuted Alan Montgomery’s statistical analysis of the data. And it seems to me they have produced reasonable answers to the theoretical objections involving a variable speed of light. An interesting cosmology falls out of all of this that not only fits well with the Genesis account of creation, but it also accounts for anomalous astronomical data that has been popping up in recent decades. You can achieve the “consistency” you desire without resorting to miracles. And furthermore, all of the radiometric dating values collapse into a maximum time frame of 8,000 years.

Now, I am a computer science/math person, not a physics person, so I don’t have your expertise in this area, but I can follow his arguments to a reasonable degree. What impressed me about Mr. Setterfield is that he makes an extra effort to let the data lead the theory—not the other way around, as seems so common nowadays in science. As Setterfield relates the history of C, all the way up until the 1940’s there was a healthy debate over whether or not the speed of light was constant. In 1941 it was basically decreed to be a constant and anyone who said otherwise would never be published.

Regarding the propagation of photons from the core of the sun, I strongly suspect that Setterfield’s cosmology would cause the time it took for photons to reach the surface of the sun from its core to be a lot quicker in the past than it is now. Like I said, I don’t have the expertise to address that, but I sent the Setterfields an email for his thoughts on the issue.

I understand that Barry Setterfield is a pariah (especially to the people at ICR) and that the idea of a variable value for the speed of light is extremely controversial. But I think he is really on to something and that his ideas warrant investigation. Since a discussion of this magnitude is beyond the scope of this blog, I would recommend the following for anyone interested in pursuing this further…

SETTERFIELD SIMPLIFIED - an ongoing series of articles explaining some of Barry's research in lay-friendly terms:

http://www.setterfield.org/GSRsetterfieldsimplified.html

The Cosmology of Barry Setterfield-notes from a presentation given in Germany by Rinus Kiel. This gives a good thumbnail sketch of the issues:

http://www.setterfield.org/Kiel_Presentation.html

There are a series of four presentations the Setterfields gave on his cosmology and the Genesis flood at the Creation Science Fellowship of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. The videos of these presentations may be downloaded from this web page:

http://www.darwinisdead.com/archive/archive.html

#39  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 11:03 AM

As another point of interest, the True Origin web site has a more detailed discussion regarding the propagation of photons inside the sun:

http://www.trueorigin.org/acbc_gamma_photons.asp