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Sunday, May 02, 2010 | Comments (68)

John Ankerberg and John Weldon point out that matter, time, and chance constitute the evolutionists' holy trinity. Indeed, these three things are all that is eternal and omnipotent in the evolutionary scheme: matter, time, and chance. Together they have formed the cosmos as we know it. And they have usurped God in the evolutionist's mind. Ankerberg and Weldon quote Jacques Monod, 1965 Nobel Prize-winner for his work in biochemistry. In his book Chance and Necessity, Monod wrote, "[Man] is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged by chance. .. . Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution."

Obviously, that is a far cry from being created in the image of God. It is also utterly irrational. The evolutionary idea not only strips man of his dignity and his value, but it also eliminates the ground of his rationality. Because if everything happens by chance, then in the ultimate sense, nothing can possibly have any real purpose or meaning. And it's hard to think of any philosophical starting point that is more irrational than that.

But a moment's reflection will reveal that chance simply cannot be the cause of anything (much less the cause of everything). Chance is not a force. The only legitimate sense of the word chance has to do with mathematical probability. If you flip a coin again and again, quotients of mathematical probability suggest that it will land tails-up about fifty times out of a hundred. Thus we say that when you flip a coin, there's a fifty-fifty "chance" it will come up tails.

But "chance" is not a force that can actually flip the coin. Chance is not an intellect that designs the pattern of mathematical probabilities. Chance determines nothing. Mathematical probability is merely a way of measuring what actually does happen.

Yet in naturalistic and evolutionary parlance, "chance" becomes something that determines what happens in the absence of any other cause or design. Consider Jacques Monod's remark again: "Chance ... is at the source of every innovation, of all creation." In effect, naturalists have imputed to chance the ability to cause and determine what occurs. And that is an irrational concept.

There are no uncaused events. Every effect is determined by some cause. Even the flip of a coin simply cannot occur without a definite cause. And common sense tells us that whether the coin comes up heads or tails is also determined by something. A number of factors (including the precise amount of force with which the coin is flipped and the distance it must fall before hitting the ground) determine the number of revolutions and bounces it makes before landing on one side or the other. Although the forces that determine the flip of a coin may be impossible for us to control precisely, it is those forces, not "chance," that determines whether we get heads or tails. What may appear totally random and undetermined to us is nonetheless definitively determined by something. It is not caused by mere chance, because chance simply does not exist as a force or a cause. Chance is nothing.

Fortune was a goddess in the Greek pantheon. Evolutionists have enshrined chance in a similar way. They have taken the myth of chance and made it responsible for all that happens. Chance has been transformed into a force of causal power, so that nothing is the cause of everything. What could be more irrational than that? It turns all of reality into sheer chaos. It therefore makes everything irrational and incoherent.

The entire concept is so fraught with problems from a rational and philosophical viewpoint that one hardly knows where to begin. But let's begin at the beginning. Where did matter come from in the first place? The naturalist would have to say either that all matter is eternal, or that everything appeared by chance out of nothing. The latter option is clearly irrational.

But suppose the naturalist opts to believe that matter is eternal. An obvious question arises: What caused the first event that originally set the evolutionary process in motion? The only answer available to the naturalist is that chance made it happen. It literally came out of nowhere. No one and nothing made it happen. That, too, is clearly irrational.

So in order to avoid that dilemma, some naturalists assume an eternal chain of random events that operate on the material universe. They end up with an eternal but constantly changing material universe governed by an endless chain of purely random events—all culminating in magnificent design without a designer, and everything happening without any ultimate cause. At the end of the day, it is still irrational. It evacuates purpose, destiny, and meaning from everything in the universe. And it therefore it leaves no ground for anything rational.

In other words, nihilism is the only philosophy that works with naturalism. Nihilism is a philosophy that says everything is entirely without meaning, without logic, without reason. The universe itself is incoherent and irrational. Reason has been deposed by pure chance.

And such a view of chance is the polar opposite of reason. Common-sense logic suggests that every watch has a watchmaker. Every building has a builder. Every structure has an architect. Every arrangement has a plan. Every plan has a designer. And every design has a purpose. We see the universe, infinitely more complex than any watch and infinitely greater than any manmade structure, and it is natural to conclude that Someone infinitely powerful and infinitely intelligent made it. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made" (Romans 1:20, NASB).

But naturalists look at the universe, and despite all the intricate marvels it holds, they conclude no one made it. Chance brought it about. It happened by accident. That is not logical. It is absurd.

Abandon logic and you are left with pure nonsense. In many ways the naturalists' deification of chance is worse than all the various myths of other false religions, because it obliterates all meaning and sense from everything. But it is, once again, pure religion of the most pagan variety, requiring a spiritually fatal leap of faith into an abyss of utter irrationality. It is the age-old religion of fools (Psalm 14:1)—but in modern, "scientific" dress.

What could prompt anyone to embrace such a system? Why would someone opt for a world-view that eliminates all that is rational? It boils down to the sheer love of sin. People want to be comfortable in their sin, and there is no way to do that without eliminating God. Get rid of God, and you erase all fear of the consequences of sin. So even though sheer irrationality is ultimately the only viable alternative to the God of Scripture, multitudes have opted for irrationality just so they could live guilt-free and shamelessly with their own sin. It is as simple as that.


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#1  Posted by Rick White  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 4:50 AM

I believe we are now getting to the heart of the problem. The unregenerate heart wants to cling to its sin so much that it will also cling to an irrational line of reasoning in order to do that. Jesus reveals that it was the same in His day John 3:19,20. In fact,we were all in the same boat once Titus 3:3. We can only give God the glory for showing us His truth and continue to proclaim that truth to others without compromise. Thanks GTY for showing us how to do that.

#2  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 5:49 AM

This is what I love about John MacArthur - explaining things so that I can understand them and in reture explain them to another. Thank you Pastor John!

But "chance" is not a force that can actually flip the coin. Chance is not an intellect that designs the pattern of mathematical probabilities. Chance determines nothing. Mathematical probability is merely a way of measuring what actually does happen.

Yet in naturalistic and evolutionary parlance, "chance" becomes something that determines what happens in the absence of any other cause or design. Consider Jacques Monod's remark again: "Chance ... is at the source of every innovation, of all creation." In effect, naturalists have imputed to chance the ability to cause and determine what occurs. And that is an irrational concept.

#3  Posted by Ashley Brewer  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 7:51 AM

I frequently find myself in debates with atheists all the time regarding chance and creation. They throw themselves at me with insults flying from their mouths and stating to everyone else "on the fence" how irrational Christians are. He made a comment to me a while back saying this:

"Do I believe in chance? Sure! I believe in chance when I flip a coin."

I sometimes have to fight a sudden mixed urge of pity and pride when people say such things. (I need God to help me with that.) You are exactly right though John, it is nothing but a mathematical probability.

Chance itself is nothing but a creation from us. It is not real. Everything has a cause. If you can't find that cause, then there is something way more intelligent, way more creative, way more awesome, and way more natural than we can perceive. It is completely illogical to refuse that fact.

I pray that all of these people will sit back and realize that they're saying all these things purely out of selfishness. The problem is not whether they question God. The problem is exactly what the Bible says. People want to live in darkness to hide their sins. They revel in it and when they are confronted with any fact contrary to their feelings, they will do whatever they possibly can (even if it's unreasonable) to justify their own subjective nature.

#4  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 8:58 AM

Wow, that is so true. I recently saw a program on the history channel that proposed that aliens started the process here on earth. In other words, "just add more time and everything works out, 4.6 billion years gives "Chance" more time to work". As if the "tornado in the scrap yard would make a 747, if only given more time", (the analogy is not mine, I don't remember where I picked it up in reading or watching TV).

There is also the issue of the number of species on earth at this time. A recent study said that 95% of all created species are now extinct. [The program I saw was related to the pre-cambrian(sp) explosion.] Some of these species were extremely diverse and showed that the problems in the fossil record are so colossal that it is like "chance" creating every type of powered and non powered aircraft, every car and car style, every house and monument, every computer, and technological device we have concieved of, every work of man on written pages of books, (and so much more), in that same tornado and in that same limited junk yard. It is silly to suppose that chance could have also created rationality and sanity out of insanity and chaos.

#5  Posted by Maureen Hart  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 10:31 AM

I agree absolutely with the conclusion, those that are in the dark love the dark, and willfully choose not to see the light in truth. They are comfortable in their life style. They don't see it as sin. For they have no understanding. Until our Father stirs within them, and they seek after Him will they know the truth. I pray that they will receive Him and live for His glory :)

I thank you, Pastor John :)

#7  Posted by Tom Rankin  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 11:05 AM

Here's a rejoinder against Naturalism --

A-bio-genesis, a Hypothesis that says that Life appeared by means of random, natural processes, entails a Prediction:--
a carbon-isotope-ratio
(the amount of carbon-13 compared to the amount of carbon-12)
is larger than what has been observed.
Hyp. => Pred., but the Pred. is (apparently) false, there-fore, the Hyp. is improbable
(Modus Tollens, or, Reductio Ad Absurdum).

#8  Posted by Kevin Fireline  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 1:19 PM

Without fail, John always stays true to the Word. What an honor it was to meet John MacArthur at T4G. All I could say was THANKS! His expository preaching has changed my life. The theory of evolution is just another lie that John has obliterated with the Word of God.

#9  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 2:16 PM

I've posted this quote from Jacques Monod (one of the founding fathers of modern neo-darwinism) over at Fred Butler's blog, but he frames the nature of evolution better than anyone, so I'll post it here also:

"We call these events accidental; we say that they are random occurrences. And since they constitute the only possible source of modifications in the genetic text, itself the sole repository of the organism's hereditary structures, it necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypothesis. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition--or hope--that on this score our position is likely ever to be revised."

"Chance and Necessity"
Jacques Monod
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), pp. 112 - 113
(Emphasis in the original)

#11  Posted by David Stapleman  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 4:50 PM

evolutionist don't believe what they believe for intellectual reasons but for moral reasons. thank you for this ministry and blog. it helps me deepen my love for the Creator of this creation. Col 2:8

#12  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 6:50 PM

from Don's post #9

"It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition--or hope--that on this score our position is likely ever to be revised."

"Chance and Necessity"
Jacques Monod"

Sorry, I'm trying not to laugh. Wanna bet? A word of advice to evolutionists: "Give it time." I predict it WILL change again, and probably still in my lifetime.

#13  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Sunday, May 02, 2010at 7:47 PM

Carol,

I wouldn't bet on it either. But Monod makes it perfectly clear that, in the evolutionary religion, the origin of all order and complexity in the biosphere is ultimately the result of random chance.

#14  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 12:01 AM

“It boils down to the sheer love of sin. People want to be comfortable in their sin, and there is no way to do that without eliminating God. Get rid of God, and you erase all fear of the consequences of sin. So even though sheer irrationality is ultimately the only viable alternative to the God of Scripture, multitudes have opted for irrationality just so they could live guilt-free and shamelessly with their own sin. It is as simple as that.”

Post # 1 has already pointed out the obvious. “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”(John 3:19, 20) The end result of verse 20 is verse 19, judgment. Eternal judgment! An eternal judgment that includes new bodies that will forever feel the eternal flames of the fierceness of His wrath in hell without ever wearing out! These things I understand because the Word of God so clearly reveals it. What I do not understand is why so many “professing” Christians fail to warn evolutionists of this reality. Have they no compassion so as to warn them? Have they no desire to be innocent of their blood? Paul did (see Acts 20:26, 27). Do they prefer that God’s wrath remain upon the evolutionists than that the evolutionists be angry with them?

Another thing I do not understand is why so many “professing” Christians use human reasoning and persuasive words of reason in dealing with these people. “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come to you with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.”(1 Corinthians 2:1) “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men but on the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5) What is meant by “the power of God”? The testimony of God’s Word reveals that Paul was devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying that Jesus was the Christ, that he was “clean” of the blood of the Jews (Acts 18:5, 6) and that he taught the word of God for a year and six months (Acts 18:11) but no accounts of signs and wonders in the city of Corinth are ever mentioned. “The word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) Salvation has always been the result of believing in and acting upon the revelation of God’s word.

Why do so many “professing Christians” fail to proclaim the word of God? I can only conclude that they have never experienced the transforming power of the word of God themselves. The new birth can only come through the proclamation of the word of God (see 1 Peter 1:23, 25). Indeed, the word of God is imperishable, living and abiding, sharper than any two edged sword, pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, it is indeed our weapon of God’s own provision and “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 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 10:3-5)

I was once one of those fools who said in his heart there was no God. It was the word of God that brought me to the end of myself, transformed my mind and my life. The proud in heart can keep their persuasive words of wisdom. By God’s grace, I will continue to tremble at His word. –His Unworthy Slave

#15  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 5:02 AM

It’s pretty sad isn’t it? Maybe God just gave me a greater gift of faith, but even as a child, I NEVER believed evolution. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t really interested in science growing up either; I didn’t feel it worth my time memorizing time periods & and stages of man’s development that didn’t really exist! I personally found that discrediting, (not that ALL science is discredited,) but this whole “global warming” issue going on now was a “global cooling” issue when I was in school, & medical science said don’t eat eggs or drink coffee, then 10 years later they say both are beneficial. The constant changes in the scientific fields of study are SIGNIFICANT. I AM thankful for those Christians who have endured all of the scientific study required & are able keep up & contend with evolutionists on a level that I just can’t. Maybe God gave them a greater dose of patience than He gave me.


But chance? I’m sure people who believe in chance as foundational to life don’t live their lives that way. They don’t just grab two socks & 2 shoes “by chance” & not check to see if they match. They live their lives by order. Sorry, it’s just such a fairy world for me.


I read a short bio on an actress/screenwriter last night. She said of her religious views: "I'm an atheist... I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It's not enough to say that I don't believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing: I am offended by some of the things said in the Bible and the Qur'an, and I refute them." SHE REFUTES THEM! That’s so Genesis 3! It IS all about being our own gods & living our own way & not wanting some “other God” to tell us what’s right & what’s wrong!


Some may argue that this debate about evolution vs. creation is not important. And the “theistic evolutionists” seem to just throw God in there to make concessions with both sides. But I had a Bible study leader years ago who used to ask, “Is it eternally significant?” I apply that to so many aspects of my life! You know, “Choose your arguments wisely.” Evolution removes God from the credit of HIS Creation! It removes the glory & majesty of His power & creativity! EVOLUTION DISHONORS GOD & is therefore ETERNALLY SIGNIFICANT!

#16  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 5:13 AM

On second thought, maybe they DO live their lives “by chance” as they are taking their “chances” when it comes to belief in God the Creator!

#17  Posted by John Joseph  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 11:58 AM

Romans 4:17- "...in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."

That's the only possible creation ex-nihilo.

#18  Posted by Daniel Wilson  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 5:37 PM

Yes, I do agree the evolution is dangerous. When I was in High School. Teachers tried to drill

the evolution in my head. I was'nt sure if it was true as a kid, now I reject evolution and am

teaching why it is dangerous and it twists everything God says in His Word. Thanks, John

for your sermons. God bless.

#19  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 8:11 PM

A couple of gold nuggets from my quote mine will provide today's brain teaser...

Question: What's wrong with this picture?

"Naturalists must remember that the process of evolution is revealed only through fossil forms. A knowledge of paleontology is, therefore, a prerequisite; only paleontology can provide them with the evidence of evolution and reveal its course or mechanisms. Neither the examination of present beings, nor imagination, nor theories can serve as a substitute for paleontological documents. If they ignore them, biologists, the philosophers of nature, indulge in numerous commentaries and can only come up with hypotheses. This is why we constantly have recourse to paleontology, the only true science of evolution. From it we learn how to interpret present occurrences cautiously; it reveals that certain hypotheses considered certainties by their authors are in fact questionable or even illegitimate."

Evolution of Living Organisms
Pierre-Paul Grassé
(New York: Academic Press, 1977), p. 4

"Paleontologists disagree about the speed and pattern of evolution. But they do not--as much as recent publicity has implied--doubt that evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution simply does not depend upon the fossil record.

...In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationst, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation. This does not mean that the theory of evolution is unproven.

So just what is the evidence that species have evolved? There have traditionally been three kinds of evidence, and it is these, not the "fossil evidence", that the critics should be thinking about. The three arguments are from the observed evolution of species, from biogeography, and from the hierarchical structure of taxonomy."

"Who doubts evolution?"
Mark Ridley
New Scientist, Vol. 90, Jun. 25, 1981. pp. 830, 831

#20  Posted by Rick White  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 8:59 PM

Don,

Classic evolutionary reasoning. They don't know if all the evidence is in the fossil record or none of the evidence is in the fossil record, but the one thing they do know is it proves Evolution.

#21  Posted by Garrett League  |  Monday, May 03, 2010at 10:46 PM

I find this post fascinating on a number of levels.

First, it begins by quoting John Ankerberg who is an Old-earth creationist ala Hugh Ross, Francis Schaeffer, Norm Geisler, Gleason Archer, Walt Kaiser, etc. J-Mac is no Old-earther, and neither is GTY. Ankerberg's point is great, but nonetheless, if he posted his views here he'd most likely get hostile reactions. Just thought I'd point that out.

Second, the blogger makes essentially the same point that Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, and P.Z. Myers are always making: evolution = materialism. Plain and simple. But to say nothing of God is not to say God is nothing. Evolution is agnostic, as is all science regarding the supernatural. It just can't adjudicate on spiritual matters. Why then does this post agree w/ the atheist's main trump card? Namely, if evolution is true, then so is materialism. THAT, is an abuse of science. Methodological/experimental naturalism DOES NOT equal philosophical naturalism. I know it's convenient for polemical purposes to conflate the two because you think evolution makes the bible false, but it's just a cheap shot in my opinion, one held by nearly all of the new atheists.

Third, it concludes by saying the "What could prompt anyone to embrace such a system? It boils down to the sheer love of sin. It is as simple as that." Again, by "system" you make no distinction whatsoever between evolution and philosophical materialism. They are not the same thing, no matter what you think evolution either possibly or necessarily leads to. For me, I don't love my sin. In fact, I sinned earlier today and it wasn't pleasant. I confessed to God and He was faithful and just to forgive it since I'm in Christ. I was raised Christian, accepted YEC in middle school and slowly, against all my inclinations, was forced to accept evolution because of the data, not because I wanted to, but because I felt that reality forced me to. Perhaps try a post with us in mind please?!

More and more young evangelicals with a high view of scripture are going to accept evolution in the upcoming years just as, sorry to pastor MacArthur, more and more are abandoning dispensational premillenialism. Russell Moore said he knows of no student of his at SBTS that still holds to it. Not one. Hence, Dr. MacArthur uses his sway to hold down the fort by claiming you can't be a Calvinist without being pre-mil. I think the same is happening here. A bunch of closet old earth/evolution leaning evangelical scholars, not kooky resurrection-denying liberals, but solid, evangelical scholars and pastors come out in support of refined, more accurate views of Genesis and allow for, maybe even accept evolution, so GTY busts out a series on why you can't hold a high view of scripture and not be a young-earther. I know it's cynical, but isn't that what prompted these posts?

I think we are really eroding the authority of the bible when we tell unbelievers, for example, that to believe the bible you must also accept that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinos and humans once lived in harmony, given that there is NO evidence for either of those positions (believe me, I've looked!) and, in fact, a lot against them. Augustine said it best: "Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances,… and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all that we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, lest the unbeliever see only ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn."

#22  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 5:07 AM

Excellent observations Don! Thanks for that material. Does Rick win a prize? Well said Rick!

#23  Posted by Vince R.  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 6:14 AM

Garrett League wrote:

"I was raised Christian, accepted YEC in middle school and slowly, against all my inclinations, was forced to accept evolution because of the data, not because I wanted to, but because I felt that reality forced me to."

Man, thats the great thing about Jesus, he doesnt force you to believe anything. You either believe or you don't. Its a shame that the schools and society are forcing kids to belive all kinds of non-sense. I personally could care less about fossils and rocks. All i know is Jesus saved me, my marriage and my kids. I will put my faith in that rock any day..

#24  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 6:16 AM

Garret writes:

I think we are really eroding the authority of the bible when we tell unbelievers, for example, that to believe the bible you must also accept that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinos and humans once lived in harmony, given that there is NO evidence for either of those positions (believe me, I've looked!)

 

I think we are really eroding the authority of the Bible when we tell unbelievers, for example, that to believe the Bible you must also accept that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed amazing miracles, claimed to be God, and rose from the dead, given that there is no evidence for any of those positions (believe me, I've looked).

Garrett writes:

More and more young evangelicals with a high view of scripture are going to accept evolution in the upcoming years just as, sorry to pastor MacArthur, more and more are abandoning dispensational premillenialism.

They feel the need to compromise with man-made ideas, because they seek the praise of men and academia.  I know you want to paint biblical creationists as denying the overwhelming evidence against them and we are vainly trying to keep our house of cards from falling, but that is truly a simplistic conclusion if one thinks such a thing. 

As for them abandoning dispensational premillennialism, I have written extensively on this at my blog for those interested with looking at my series on eschatology.

http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2009/03/studies-in-eschatology-2.html

Suffice it to say, these people are abandoning shallow, unbiblical fundamentalism rather than dispensational premillennialism.  It is not that they are compelled by the exegesis.  Obviously Al Mohler isn't, he being a premillennialist the last time I looked, or Tom Schriener, who teaches (or once taught, I can't recall) at SBTS, who recently left being an amillennialist for premillennialism.  Obviously one's hermeneutic comes into play in these discussions.  And if one is inclined to utilize an Augustine/Origenistic hermeneutic to spiritualize biblical prophecy so that all a person reads now in Revelation is types of Jesus and the Church, one will also be compelled to apply the same hermeneutic to historical literature like Genesis as well. 

Garrett writes:

A bunch of closet old earth/evolution leaning evangelical scholars, not kooky resurrection-denying liberals, but solid, evangelical scholars and pastors come out in support of refined, more accurate views of Genesis and allow for, maybe even accept evolution, so GTY busts out a series on why you can't hold a high view of scripture and not be a young-earther. I know it's cynical, but isn't that what prompted these posts?

I was the one who personally recommended the series, most of which is taken from John's book "The Battle for the Beginning" including the text for this post.  The reason is that I know it would stir up people both in a good way and a bad way.  We want to press people to think about their beliefs and convictions and presuppositions regarding the world we live in as it is shaped by a robust, biblical understanding of God as our creator as outlined in Genesis.  Obviously, I was correct.  Origins is a significant subject, because what we believe about origins and the history of man has a major theological bearing upon our theology, especially the doctrines of salvation.  Which is why theistic evolution fails in this area. 

There weren't a "bunch of closet" old earthers who just recently came out that spurred this series.  Of the three we examined in a previous post, only one could safely be considered "evangelical," Bruce Waltke, and his views on Genesis have been known for years.  N.T. Wright is an Anglican who holds to heretical views of Justification by faith.  Tremper Longman has come out and stated Adam wasn't necessarily a real person.  That cuts against your position if I am not mistaken.  Peter Enns, who we noted along with those other men, also holds to a non-literal Adam, likening him as a type of Israel.  So I can say I am just as cynical about your claim of orthodoxy for these men. 

#25  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 7:33 AM

Garrett writes,

"I was raised Christian, accepted YEC in middle school and slowly, against all my inclinations, was forced to accept evolution because of the data, not because I wanted to, but because I felt that reality forced me to."

I believe you noted your background in a previous post.  If I am not mistaken, you stated that one of your main influences at this age was Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, who I believe cannot seriously be considered as a positive promoter of biblical creationism.  None the less, where do the scores of men who were raised as evolutionists but now accept YEC fit into your paradigm?  Take for example John Sanford, http://creation.com/john-sanford, who taught at Cornell for more than 25 years as a geneticist in plant biology and invented the gene gun?  Is he denying the reality of the evidence by abandoning biological Darwinian evolution to become a creationist? 

#26  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:22 AM

Garrett, can you please tell me how you reconcile the biblical account of beginnings with your evolutionary beliefs? In you view does man and ape have a common ancestor?

I am not as knowledgable about this as you are but to me they are incompatible. The problem is if you deny one part of scripture then how can you believe that salvation is through Christ? The word loses all merit, it seems to me atleast. If the first Adam is not what scripture tells us that what can we make of the second Adam, why would I believe that?

I would really love a response.

Thank you very much!

#27  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:28 AM

Paul, if you look at Garrett's comments in the previous blog post on DNA, you'll see your answer. He does indeed believe that humans and apes have common ancestry. He reconciles it the same way as other believers... by re-interpreting Genesis.

#28  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:31 AM

Thanks Gabriel, let me have a look.

#29  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:32 AM

Garrett wrote,

"I think we are really eroding the authority of the bible when we tell unbelievers, for example, that to believe the bible you must also accept that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinos and humans once lived in harmony, given that there is NO evidence for either of those positions (believe me, I've looked!) and, in fact, a lot against them."

No evidence that dinosaurs and humans once lived together?

You can start with the video of the presentation that Dr. Dennis Swift gave at the Creation Science Fellowship at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Go to their archives here:

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

Download the video: Dr. Dennis Swift (1/3/09) “Dinosaur Discoveries”

Dr. Swift's web site: http://www.dinosaursandman.com/

Swift's book is actually quite good.

#30  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 9:08 AM

Garrett,

The reason so many of us equate Methodological/experimental naturalism with philosophical naturalism is because both try to remove God from the equation and both are a direct attack on the perspicuity of the Bible. We sincerely believe if God had used evolution in His creation He would have clearly stated it. There is nothing in the Bible that even hints that God used evolution. I hope you continue to search for the truth using God's word as your starting point.

#31  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 10:51 AM

I see, so God making Adam from the earth is a lie? then the only rational thing to believe is that the whole bible is false. Any man that believes they can join both evolution and sound biblical theology is lying to themselves and worse deceiving many to believe they are compatible. I am sorry Garret, they are not.

What a travesty that man would look upon Gods creation and deny Him through it while claiming to magnify Him! The devil is a liar and many are deceived.

Without a literal Adam there is no literal Jesus, we must get that straight and not mix and match to fulfill our "scientific" hunger or to seem as if we are down with the crowd. If we look foolish inspite of all the "evidence" then so be it.

Here it is from the beginning, if you fail to believe on account the whole bible fails completely.

Genesis 3

4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your EYES WILL BE OPENED, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.”

13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent DECEIVED me, and I ate.”

15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspringa and hers; He will crushb your head, and you will strike his heel.”

I Corinthian 3:18

18Let no man deceive himself, If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

God does not need to be aided, He doesnt needs mans help for things to make sense and make people believe in Him apart from spreading the gospel and believers walking in it. It is God who draws men to Himself. Gods word would be true if every sinner denied it.

May The LORD remove the blindness!

#32  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 12:07 PM

BTW - I wouldn't endorse all the material Dr. Swift presents. The Piri Reis map showing Antarctica and the Alvis Delk Print are not things I would agree with. IN his book, Dr. Swift goes into a lot of detail about the history of the Ica stones that the skeptical web sites simply ignore.

#33  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 5:13 PM

Fred: "I think we are really eroding the authority of the Bible when we tell unbelievers, for example, that to believe the Bible you must also accept that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed amazing miracles, claimed to be God, and rose from the dead, given that there is no evidence for any of those positions (believe me, I've looked)." Really? No reliable ancient documents written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses? There is plenty of evidence for the gospel claims. Your argument is that for me to be consistent, I have to reject all biblical miracles because none can be verified scientifically. That's a poor slippery slope argument. Genesis 1 is ancient cosmology by genre. The gospels are hellenistic bios. Big difference. And if you say "Well God was eyewitness to creation" I will say that he was indeed, but that if he revealed it to the hebrews as a modern, historical, scientifically accurate account that you seem to demand, it would have made no sense to them. Hence, God accommodated it to their understanding. He incarnated it in ANE forms so that it would be intelligible to them. Hence, God has a work week, constructs things like an architect, makes Adam like a potter, walks in the Garden in the cool of the day, breathes into Adam life-giving breathe. See any possible literary cues here? Does God have lungs, a body, etc.? Nope, anthropomorphic language. Temple themes, ANE symbolism, all of it bulldozed over by your modern literalistic interpretation. THAT is not doing the text justice. "Tremper Longman has come out and stated Adam wasn't necessarily a real person. That cuts against your position if I am not mistaken." Not necessarily, though I lean toward a synthesis that sees Adam used as an individual person (which he was) and as an archetype (which he also was). Hence, I don't have to believe that all people are genetically linked to him, just sons in the sense that believing gentiles are sons of Abe and sinners are sons of Satan. As for Tom Wright, yea, his views on justif. are plain wrong, although Piper still thinks he's a brother. If I am not mistaken, you stated that one of your main influences at this age was Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, who I believe cannot seriously be considered as a positive promoter of biblical creationism." Whew, at least we agree on that! Yea, I was a huge fan until I realized most of his arguments were not even supported by fellow creationists. Then, I went the AIG route and eventually saw their position as scripturally and scientifically shallow. Then I went to Ross and found his "literal" interpretation to be unsatisfying. Then I became an accomodationist and stopped trying to make science fit the bible and vice versa. "None the less, where do the scores of men who were raised as evolutionists but now accept YEC fit into your paradigm?" Scores? Hmmm, I'll allow for hyperbole... "Take for example John Sanford, http://creation.com/john-sanford, who taught at Cornell for more than 25 years as a geneticist in plant biology and invented the gene gun?" Yea, I know about him. Kurt Wise is a Phd. from Harvard under S.J. Gould for pete's sake. I know, there are smart, educated ppl on both sides. Far more on one side than the other (Phd-wise). Is that an argument in favor of it? No. Just an appeal to authority or an argument from popularity. But yes, I concede that smart people can accept YEC. Just think they're wrong and that the bible doesn't force them too. I think most scientists accept evolution because the data supports it far better than it does any YEC model. YEC scientists are in a constant uphill battle against the facts. "Is he denying the reality of the evidence by abandoning biological Darwinian evolution to become a creationist?" On some level, yes, since I think evolution really happened. But I wouldn't question their motives; I'm sure they think evolution is too flawed/unbiblical to accept, as I once did. Paul (#26): "Garrett, can you please tell me how you reconcile the biblical account of beginnings with your evolutionary beliefs? For a full explanation of my views, read Gordon Glover's "Beyond the Firmament." "In you view does man and ape have a common ancestor?" All things probably have a common ancestor. That's what DNA is saying these days. "The problem is if you deny one part of scripture then how can you believe that salvation is through Christ?" God created through natural means. Therefore Jesus didn't rise from the dead? Mind connecting the dots for me? Oh, I think I see. If I don't accept Genesis, then why accept the Gospels? First, I do accept Genesis, but remember that the bible is a canon of books. They have different purposes and genres. I don't read 1 Chronicles like I read Revelation. And I don't read Genesis 1 like Matthew. "The word loses all merit, it seems to me atleast" I interpret Genesis differently. Better I think. I deny neither the inspiration nor inerrancy of the bible. Maybe you don't think that's possible, but that's another issue. "If the first Adam is not what scripture tells us that what can we make of the second Adam, why would I believe that?" I do believe in a first Adam. Just don't think everyone has his DNA. Just as we are sons of Abe/Satan if we believe or disbelieve, respectively. As for why I believe in Jesus, that's because he existed and rose from the dead beyond a shadow of a doubt. And he saved me, or else I would never have believed. Don: "No evidence that dinosaurs and humans once lived together?" Well, let me qualify that. No GOOD evidence, lots of bad. The ica stones are not genuine. Answers in Genesis no longer uses them as evidence. I had a replica Ica Stone from Kent Hovind, so naturally, when I emailed AIG years ago to confirm their recent origin, I felt a bit ripped off. Same w/ the Pauluxy tracks. I've been there 3 times (used to live 30mins from Glen Rose) and they aren't human tracks. AIG also admits that. Does that matter to creationists? No. Sadly, both are still used as evidence, and will be till Jesus comes back. That's one of the reasons I became so disillusioned with creationists. The bad arguments are never weeded out. Rick: "We sincerely believe if God had used evolution in His creation He would have clearly stated it" Really? To newly liberated Hebrews living thousands of years prior to modern science? Don't you think God, like any good parent, would come down to THEIR level and accommodate the creation story so that it would be intelligible to them? If your 2 year old asks "where do babies come from" you better not start explaining gemetogenesis. It will go right over his little head. No, you say "from hospitals" or "from mommy's tummy." That's what God did. He's so smart and we are so dumb, that he must condescend infinitely to make sense to us. And if you're going to get wet, why not go swimming and become incarnate, the ultimate act of condescension. That's what God did to his ANE people; incarnated the creation story in ways that made sense to them. If the eternal Son of God can take on flesh, God can communicate creation in terms of ANE cosmology. Paul (#31): "I see, so God making Adam from the earth is a lie?" Yes, a bald faced lie! Muhaha! NO! Pay attention to the genre and the bible's use of literary devices. In your mind, Job was also made of dust, no? Job 10:8,9: "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?" The point is that we are ALL made of dust, and to dust we shall return! Genesis is talking about our mortality using conventional ancient near eastern imagery. Might I suggest that your reading of Genesis is so wooden that you could construct an ark 2x's the size of Noah's. Go where the text points! God breathes into Adam, walks in the Garden, makes man like pottery, rests after a long weeks work. You think he was tired? Maybe out of breath? Maybe, just maybe, you are missing out on something here. "then the only rational thing to believe is that the whole bible is false." I hope that's hyperbolic. If God didn't make Adam literally via a miracle by transforming dust into a person, but rather used a literary theme to communicate a deeper truth about our mortality, then the bible is all wrong and Jesus is still dead! I think that's a bit rash. "Any man that believes they can join both evolution and sound biblical theology is lying to themselves and worse deceiving many to believe they are compatible. I am sorry Garret, they are not." Anybody who thinks that the bible is erroneous because Noah didn't bring dinosaurs on the Ark is perhaps a bit too uptight. I'm sorry Paul, he didn't. There, I think that makes us even. "What a travesty that man would look upon Gods creation and deny Him through it while claiming to magnify Him! The devil is a liar and many are deceived." Gee, thanks. I say God did it, but not via miracle, and now I am denying him as creator. I mean, I'm not even 100% fixed on my position yet (I have always been a young-earther) so I try it out on a gty blog to see what feedback I get, and I'm a deceived, unwitting servant of the devil, not a confused brother who needs patient exhortation in sorting out these tough matters. No, I need to be called a travesty. Listen, I can't just ignore the evidence; I deal with it every day, and am honestly struggling to make it fit into your YEC framework. Either you can accept that or question my motives. I'll let God do that. "Without a literal Adam there is no literal Jesus" First, I believe a dude named Adam actually existed. Secondly, even if Adam was not a single individual, how could that possibly falsify the resurrection? Really, that's a bit of a leap. "we must get that straight and not mix and match to fulfill our "scientific" hunger or to seem as if we are down with the crowd. If we look foolish inspite of all the "evidence" then so be it." The gospel itself is foolish. So is preaching. That's not the point. The point is you mix and match too, you just don't know it. I'll prove it: do you believe that there is a solid firmament in the sky, with waters above it, and when the windows of heaven open, it rains?
#34  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 6:10 PM

For the record, Genesis 1 is not Ancient Cosmology by genre. It is pure narrative. Linguistically it compares exactly to any narrative you find in the Old Testament.

Let's be done with this idea that God accommodates man by telling man a lie so that he can understand. God does not lie, nor does He perpetuate error. God only accommodates man in the sense that He uses our language, our words, our grammar, etc. to communicate. God accommodates using a communication method that we can understand, not by perpetuating our misunderstanding.

Garrett, you've made it clear that you are following the evidence. That is not true. You are following a naturalistic interpretation of the evidence. Your interpretation rejects supernatural explanation. Creation was a miracle. It cannot be studied by science. In the same way that science cannot verify the resurrection, it cannot verify creation.

If science were to find a scrap of bread that was left over from Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 men (15,000+ people), they would determine that it was a normal piece of bread that came from wheat grown in the field when it was actually miraculously created. If science were to get ahold of some of the wine that Jesus created at the wedding in Cana they would determine that it came from grapes grown in the vineyard when it was actually miraculously created. Their presuppositions would determine how they interpret the evidence. That is exactly what you are doing. You can't come to a supernatural conclusion because your presuppositions won't allow it.

You need to set aside your naturalistic presupposition and accept what God wrote as literal history in Genesis 1-3.

How does this impact your scientific studies? Only in this way: what you learn about DNA and genetics tells you how things currently are, namely, how God created it. It won't tell you anything about the past in a macro-evolution sense. You simply need to realize that no field of science can tell us about creation because it was a miracle.

#35  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 7:17 PM

Garrett,

By the evidences you refer to that creationists use shows how out of touch you are with the current arguments credible creationists are using. You should really spend some time researching the current arguments. As Gabriel has pointed out, God does not promote lies or fairy tales to teach people. Neither do I. You use the example of teaching my children about where babies come from. True, I didn't explain all of the technical scientific explanations about where babies come from but I also did not make up fairy tales. I didn't tell them a stork brought them. That is what you are claiming God did to the ancient Hebrews. I have no doubt that God could have explained to them the basic principles of evolution without all the technical details. To suggest that God would use these false explanations to teach these people is to not understand God's nature and attributes. God can't lie Titus 1:2. Your statements show the slippery slope you are on by the way you continue to attempt to discredit the clear teaching of the Bible and try to attach unholy attributes to the holy God of the Bible. And you do this to accommodate your unbiblical theories. I don't say these things to be unkind but to show you how serious your error is. Many have started down the road you are on and ended in unbelief. You are in my prayers and have been since I started reading your posts. Please keep searching for the truth and use the Bible as your starting point not unbiblical and atheistic theories. As I stated before any kind of naturalism, by definition, removes God from the equation.

#36  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 7:42 PM

Garrett,

This article illustrates what I was trying to warn you of in my last post. http://creation.com/the-slippery-slide-to-unbelief-a-famous-evangelist-goes-from-hope-to-hopelessness

I hope you accept this with the love in which it is intended. I have just seen too many people end up in unbelief over this very issue.

#37  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:04 PM

Ok Garrett, How many cups of tea did you drink?!!

“Don't you think God, like any good parent, would come down to THEIR level and accommodate the creation story so that it would be intelligible to them? If your 2 year old asks…blah, blah…” No, I don’t. The ancient people witnessed God‘s awesome power & abilities (Noah’s flood, the Tower of Babel, Sodom & Gomorrah, Lot’s wife, the plagues of Egypt, pillars of cloud & fire, the parting of the Red Sea, the voice of God from Mt. Sinai, Moses countenance, manna in the desert, the walls of Jericho, Elijah’s offering & the prophets of Baal, …all the way up to the virgin birth of our Savior & His many miracles & His miraculous resurrection!) & yet many of them wrote Him off like you & theistic evolutionists are doing. You’re playing with semantics (You believe God can condescend to our level & BECOME man - that’s a body: flesh & bone - how did He do that?), yet you can’t believe he breathed life into Adam “because” “God doesn’t have lungs.” That is SO WEAK! And Lame! If He is Spirit then He doesn’t have a mouth either so perhaps that’s why you don’t believe “He spoke things into being.” SO JUST WHERE DID ALL THE ELEMENTS COME FROM? NO EVOLUTIONIST has ever been able to answer that! And scientifically, creation can’t be repeated for observation to settle this argument.

You are regurgitating what theistic evolutionists have fed you. You must choose: Who is 100% accurate? You claim you believe the Bible is inerrant, & you claim to accept, per se, that man (including theistic evolutionists) is not 100% correct; you're not even sure yourself! So why would you put your trust in man? Your argument that you don’t believe the ancient people of the Bible were capable of understanding the concept of evolution is arrogant. Excuse me, God had to stop the PROGRESS of man in Gen 11 at the Tower of Babel by confusing their language. And How were the pyramids made? Modern man thinks he is so intelligent & has all the answers. YOU WEREN’T THERE! You have no scientific evidence of evolution. NOPE, NONE. The earlier blogs on this topic covered the presuppositions evolutionists bring to this argument & I see Gabriel has eloquently pointed out your naturalistic presuppositions.

Garrett, the point is: GOD IS GOD! You keep trying to bring HIM down to YOUR understanding, but you can’t comprehend the mind of God or all of His attributes! You are the clay! GOD IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE to our human minds & understanding. But as we seek to know Him better, draw nearer to Him, it only shows us even more how little we understand Him & just how Great HE IS! He is worthy of all our worship, honor, and praise! He is worthy of all glory! You have to let go of “being in control” and accept the truth: HE is in control. If you want to go back to your “2 year old” argument, then realize you are the 2 year old & accept what your Father tells you BECAUSE HE IS YOUR FATHER!

I Kings 18:21) “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal [science], then follow him.’”

Joshua 24:14) “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served….(15)…choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

#38  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 8:17 PM

Garrett,

After reading your exposition of all the scientific-empirical knowledge you have acquired, it really saddens my heart. I am very clear that I do not measure up with your knowledge and cleverness of your thoughts, and also that you can careless about the way I feel or think about your point of view. It appears to me there is so much logical information in you that the supernatural work of God has little or no room in the way you and those holding your point of view think.

Just reading and bringing the thought of God (the plural God, not multiple Gods) revealed in Genesis 1:1, it shakes my spirit to its very core for how powerful and mighty God is, just that strengthen my faith. I have heard your position dressed in other ways. E.G. Oprah Winfrey could not believe that God is a jealous God; therefore she created her own way of worshiping. The question your point presents to me is that why would God write a book (or series of books) that what he says is not what he really meant or is convoluted (Please keep in mind that the Grace of God came into my life app. 5 years ago, when through serious repentance and begging from my part, the Lord allowed me to be part of his ministry and grace). When I read Genesis or any other book within the Bible, I first ask how the first reader understood this message. It could not have been in codes or figuratively language (yes and no, and if yes there’s always a way to get that figure out), but it has to be exactly as what the narrative says. Otherwise, one would have to attack what it says (what God says).

If I were to adopt your point of view (understanding you do not care either way) based on my observations or empirical knowledge acquired, my opinion, and obliteration of God’s supernatural power as clearly stated in Scripture, what else do I have? Then I become what it is clearly stated in Psalm 53:1. Which in the same way or view, it also takes me to Proverbs 1:7. But then again, why believe those passages if they could mean whatever meaning I want to attach to them because we do not know who God is talking to. I have briefly read about a school of thought by the name “Reader Response Criticism” and basically when they do Bible reading, the interpretation is wide open to any point of view the reader can come up with, therefore the reader interprets Bible based on his own experience.

Again, I am too new to establish a debate with you, and it seems that it does not matter who you talk to, your empirical point of view is pervasive and will dominate the discourse. Whether you like it or not I already prayed for you. God bless…

#39  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Tuesday, May 04, 2010at 11:52 PM

“…for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth…” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) What! God actually sends a delusion so that someone would be deceived and believe a lie? Absolutely! Why? He sends this delusion because they did not receive the truth? No, because they did not receive the love of the truth. It takes a love of the truth to be saved.

We see similar “giving over” of sinners by God in Romans 1:24. Part of the reason God “gave them over’ has been the subject of this blog for several days now. What does God give them over to? “…in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” For what purpose does He give them over to impurity? “…that their bodies might be dishonored among them.” In Romans 1:26 we see God “giving them over” to degrading passions, namely homosexuality and lesbianism. Why? Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. God will not be mocked, nor will He be robbed of His Glory. In Romans 1:28 we see God once again “giving them over”. Why does He give them over? He gives them over because they did not see fit to “acknowledge God any longer”. What does He give them over to? He gives them over to a depraved mind, so that they might be filled with all manner of wickedness. God is absolutely holy and His wrath against sin and sinners is unquenchable. I could go on and on but this is only part of the truth.

As stated earlier, God will not be mocked, nor will He be robbed of His Glory. God has also chosen to glorify Himself by selecting some of the vessels of wrath described above and making them vessels of mercy. Indeed, for the sake of His own glory and His own good pleasure, He has chosen to set His affection on them. His affection which He has chosen to lavish upon them is made manifest by His giving them a heart of repentance, a change of mind that now sees wondrous beauty in God, His word and His dealings. They see beauty in His giving His own Son as a perfect substitute in payment for their sins. They see the beauty in His providing such a perfect substitute of such perfect righteousness in Christ. They simply love Him, His ways and His word. Sinner, flee to Christ. He saves sinners to the uttermost. He saves them from wrath. He saves them from the power of sin and one day He will save them from even the very presence of sin. Professing Christian do you love His word? Do you believe and love all of His word including Genesis 1-3? If not, then you dare not speak peace, peace to your soul. You are yet in your sins. You are merely a professing Christian and not a Christian indeed. –His Unworthy Slave

#40  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 12:12 AM

"Don: "No evidence that dinosaurs and humans once lived together?" Well, let me qualify that. No GOOD evidence, lots of bad. The ica stones are not genuine. Answers in Genesis no longer uses them as evidence. I had a replica Ica Stone from Kent Hovind, so naturally, when I emailed AIG years ago to confirm their recent origin, I felt a bit ripped off. Same w/ the Pauluxy tracks. I've been there 3 times (used to live 30mins from Glen Rose) and they aren't human tracks. AIG also admits that."

I can tell you didn't watch any of the video.

ICR and other reputable creationists stopped using the Pauluxy river tracks 20 years ago. Furthermore, I disavowed the most recent Pauluxy river track in my last post, so please don't use that as an example.

The Ica Stones have not been conclusively proven to be frauds. That is a sweeping judgment to make merely because a few were carved modern day hoaxes. I knew Kent Hovind was a crook long ago. If you got ripped off by him, blame your yourself, not other creationists. Evolutionists have had their own fair share of frauds also.

Dr. Swift is a “chew on the meat, spit out the bones speaker.” He is not nearly as careful as I would like. That being said, if the information Dr. Swift covered in his book about the nature of the hoaxes verses the authentic stones is true, then the final word has not been written on them yet. At this stage, I would not use the Ica stones as apologetic evidence until the matter has been fully investigated in the creationist technical literature.

The more impressive evidence lies in the genuine pictographs and carvings found all over the world. There is just too much of it to be dismissed. It also strikes me as too big of a coincidence that the "dragons of mythology" are large reptiles like dinosaurs.

#41  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 4:57 AM

I watched the video Don is referencing by Dr. Swift and the Ica stones are a small portion of the things he presented. He spends about a few minutes comparing fraud stones to the real ones and explains how researchers can distinguish the two. I will point out too that a good portion of the fraud stones, or from the ones I have seen that are said to be frauds, tend to be hoaxed by UFO enthusiasts, because they show space ships and the like on them.

However, the stones are a small part of his presentation. It is the other things he draws out that is pretty amazing.

#42  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 5:56 AM

Garret writes,

There is plenty of evidence for the gospel claims. Your argument is that for me to be consistent, I have to reject all biblical miracles because none can be verified scientifically. That's a poor slippery slope argument. Genesis 1 is ancient cosmology by genre. The gospels are hellenistic bios. Big difference.

 

A couple of things here: First, you suggest that presenting an historical account of Genesis will dampen evangelism (a common theme from TEs and their ilk) because it is making a person believe the ridiculous. In this case, God created the world over the span of a week as we understand weeks. My question to you, and one I have never heard any long age defender provide an adequate response, is that if we ask them to believe the miracles of Jesus Christ, including his bodily resurrection, how exactly is that any different than the miracle of divine creation, which Jesus is said to have participated in according to John 1? I personally do not think you are following the disastrous ramifications for your theology.

 

Second, as Gabe has pointed out, Genesis is not ancient cosmology. It is historical narrative, just like the gospels are historical narrative or Acts is historical narrative. This IS an undeniable fact according to the language and grammar of the Hebrew. The authorities you keep citing on this, like Walton and Sailhammer, are just out in left field to make such a claim. The differences between ANE creation myth and the historical record of Genesis are many and they do not resemble each other in any fashion. Again, Gabe is right in that if you make this claim about God, you are making him a liar. By the way, all of the so-called “literary cues” you claim show Genesis is ANE mythos are pretty much the same ones higher critics used to explain away the reliability and historicity of the NT gospels.

 

Hence, I don't have to believe that all people are genetically linked to him, just sons in the sense that believing gentiles are sons of Abe and sinners are sons of Satan.

 

Amazing. Do you understand the significance of what you are saying here? That all people are not genetically linked to Adam? How exactly is that sin nature passed on to the next generation? Is it a spiritual transfer? You’re bordering on the heretical with this one.

 

Scores? Hmmm, I'll allow for hyperbole...

 

It’s not a hyperbole, there are literally scores. Most of them are anonymous for reasons I think we would all understand.

 

#43  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 1:50 PM

Garret, would you mind explaining your thoughts on how sin came about? or Why it is that humans are in need of Christ? At exactly what part of the evolution of man did God see the need for man to saved?

Thank you!

#44  Posted by Joe Sekura  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 2:26 PM

Some good stuff here. I've enjoyed the debate. This is and has been a topic of great interest to me for many years.

Being new here, I'm a bit perplexed however at the "tone" of many of the responses to Garrett. Seems like his positions are very well thought out and worthy of intelligent debate, and, while continually attacked, he has generally presented them in what I would consider a polite and "Christian"-like manner. On the flip side, I get the sense that many of the responses to him, most of which are also intelligent and logical, have not been presented in a like manner. Perhaps I'm missing something here but I believe Garrett made it clear that he is a believer which makes the tone of the responses to him all the more difficult to understand.

Joe

#45  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 4:17 PM

Joe,

Just speaking for myself, I am currently dealing with the issue of "just because one says one is a Christian does not make it so." Matt 7:21-23 has been cited in these blogs strings quite a bit. It haunts me that so many are self-deceived. But the NT is full of warnings about false teachers & false doctrines. And just because a person says he is a believer does not necessarily make it so. (Example: there have been a number of well-known people who have "claimed" to be big fans of a certain baseball team or football team, yet when asked who is their favorite player, they are speechless.)

This current topic is examining the false doctrine of theistic evolution. My question, "Is it eternally significant" if someone believes that & still claims to be a Christian? CLAIMING to be something and ACTUALLY being that something are not the same thing. Garrett argues a good game, but I personally wonder if that's all it is to him, "a game?" I take my faith very seriously. I don't want to bring shame or dishonor to Christ, my Lord. Jesus said in Rev 3:15) "I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot. 16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." !!! I don't want to be lukewarm! God has given me a brain & His word & I seek to be a diligent student, & I have found these blogs to be valuable in spiritual education as well as a place to ask questions or voice my own thoughts. Garrett is voicing his "beliefs" with what I find to be a bit of “spirited wit.” That may just be his personality, (or maybe he DID drink too much tea! :P) He does present a lot of "information" though, but his foundational basis of belief is no longer the Bible but instead all of these secular & theistic evolutionists. What seems to me to be missing is his faith. Heb 11:6) "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him [God] for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." If Garrett is sincere as he claims to be, then for my part, I’m only challenging him to seek God’s Truth & arguing the value of a Biblical foundation & a saving faith.

One more tidbit: I’m also dealing with the issue of having a “personal relationship” with Christ vs. having abundant knowledge ABOUT Christ. BIG DIFFERNCE! But I’m seeing a lot of this! And if one is a theistic evolutionist, leaning towards a deistic belief, then HOW can one have a “personal relationship” with his Creator?

#46  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 7:04 PM

Joe,

I can only speak for myself as far as the tone I've used in responding to Garrett. Garrett has made many statements that have been a direct attack on the plain teaching of the Bible and has attached unholy attributes to the holy God of scripture. He has made the assertion that God used false explanations in Genesis in order for the ancient Hebrews to understand creation. First, God can't lie Titus 1:2. Second, these fairy tales God supposedly used to explain creation to an ancient people don't explain creation at all from an evolutionary perspective. In fact if evolution is true, God was deceptive in his explanation recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. These are very serious issues that require a very serious and earnest response. Also, many of the arguments Garrett uses are right out of the atheists "handbook". His arguments are very similar to those used by people like Richard Dawkins. I'm sure many of the people responding here find Garrett's arguments as disturbing as I do.

#47  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 10:55 PM

Hey all! I'm in a good mood since my thesis proposal was approved today! Thanks for all your thoughts, I take them all to heart:

#34 Gabe, Rick #35: "God does not lie, nor does He perpetuate error." Ancient ppl thought the heart/liver/innards were the thinking organs. Is God a liar because he adopts their false anatomical notions? He never said "Hey David, hide my word in your brain, not your heart!" And don't say it's poetry, because they wouldn't.

Rick #36: "I hope you accept this with the love in which it is intended. I have just seen too many people end up in unbelief over this very issue." Thanks for your earnest concern. I've comes across that article, but I'll give it a second look. I'm on the rock of Jesus, and trust he'll get me through any error I'm in, perhaps through brothers like you. Thanks.

Carol #37: "That is SO WEAK! And Lame!" When I am weak, then am I strong! "If He is Spirit then He doesn’t have a mouth either so perhaps that’s why you don’t believe “He spoke things into being.”

Ah Carol, the Lord has delivered you into my hands. That is an anthropomorphism. It means God decreed and commanded things to do stuff and they did. If you were there, you wouldn't have heard hebrew from the heavens. It was not an audible, "this is my beloved Son" moment. You've unwittingly proved my point."SO JUST WHERE DID ALL THE ELEMENTS COME FROM?" God. Remember, I'm a THEISTIC evolutionist right? I can cheat if I need to :)

Orlando #38: "When I read Genesis or any other book within the Bible, I first ask how the first reader understood this message. It could not have been in codes or figuratively language" Could not have said it better myself! Don't let my views make you stumble, I'm still hashing them out myself. "Whether you like it or not I already prayed for you." I like it, and need it. Thanks bro.

Don #40: "I can tell you didn't watch any of the video" I perceive you are a prophet :) No, maybe later though, sorry. "Dr. Swift is a “chew on the meat, spit out the bones speaker.”" And there's not much meat. He's on par with Dr. Baugh in my mind. Pretty sketchy. "I would not use the Ica stones as apologetic evidence until the matter has been fully investigated in the creationist technical literature." THAT I respect. Basically the conclusion I've made. "The more impressive evidence lies in the genuine pictographs and carvings found all over the world. There is just too much of it to be dismissed." I've examined all the ones I could find and don't find any too impressive. Midly perhaps. I've been burned so many times on those dinoglyphs that I'm a but of a cynic. Look up "Bishop Bell's Brass Behemoths." It's clearly a dragon fighting a lion, familiar imagery for a Bishop's tomb.

#42 Fred: "My question to you, and one I have never heard any long age defender provide an adequate response, is that if we ask them to believe the miracles of Jesus Christ, including his bodily resurrection, how exactly is that any different than the miracle of divine creation, which Jesus is said to have participated in according to John 1" Creation ex-nihilo was super-natural. Had to be. "The authorities you keep citing on this, like Walton and Sailhammer, are just out in left field to make such a claim." Ok, then I cite Don "the Don" Carson! If he's out of left field, then I'm in the dugout! He says, on some level, Genesis 1 provides historical info. I agree. But, he says it's retold in a symbol laden way, analogous to Nathan's parable of David's sin; it mirrors reality, but not perfectly. Listen yourself: (http://www.euroleadershipresources.org/Media/Audio/Don_Carson-Sin_and_the_Fall.mp3) Need I cite J.I. Packer? I need: (http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/media/audio/creation_evolution_problems/) "By the way, all of the so-called “literary cues” you claim show Genesis is ANE mythos are pretty much the same ones higher critics used to explain away the reliability and historicity of the NT gospels." Fred, Fred, Fred, why bust out the liberal card? Jesus died and rose. Nothing allegorical about that. Slightly different contexts. "How exactly is that sin nature passed on to the next generation? Is it a spiritual transfer? You’re bordering on the heretical with this one." I'm no Pelagian! Augustine was right, we inherit original sin from mom and dad. Same as if Adam was the physical head of us all. Instead, he's the archetypal head, like Abraham. I'm a child of Abraham. Not by physical descent though. You need to broaden your concept of federal headship and fatherhood to biblical uses, which are many. I think all evidence says we did not all descend from a couple 6,000 years ago. Genetics remember? Show me where the science is wrong (http://biologos.org/blog/does-genetics-point-to-a-single-primal-couple/). Plus, history says tons of ppl were around prior to 4000bc. God used Adam to represent all sinners and his fault is our loss. I think even the text hints at other ppl besides A&E. Who was Cain afraid of getting killed by? His little sisters? If you take it literally, that must be the case, since Seth replaced Able. Who was in the city Cain went to?

Paul #43: "Garret, would you mind explaining your thoughts on how sin came about?" Sure. God made us good. We were naked and innocent, then we decided to worship the creation rather than God and in the self-awareness of shame, we covered ourselves since for the first time, we had something to hide. Rather than eat of the tree of life, which would have made us live forever (eternal life, better than originally created) we chose death. You know, what the bible says. "Why it is that humans are in need of Christ?" We're fallen and will be rightly condemned with God since we have failed to give the glory due to Him. "At exactly what part of the evolution of man did God see the need for man to saved?" After we fell. C.S. Lewis put it best in "the Problem of Pain": "For long centuries, God perfected the animal from which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all of the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated [. . .] Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me,” which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgments of truth, beauty and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past [. . .] We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state. But sooner or later they fell. Someone or something whispered that they could become as gods [. . . ] They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, “This is our business, not yours.” But there is no such corner. They wanted to be nouns, but they were, and eternally must be, mere adjectives. We have no idea in what particular act, or series of acts, the self-contradictory, impossible wish found expression. For all I can see, it might have concerned the literal eating of a fruit, but the question is of no consequence.”

#44 Joe: "he has generally presented them in what I would consider a polite and "Christian"" Don't be fooled Joe; with the position I hold, I have to be extra nice. In reality, they're probably far kinder than I, but alas, I must be on best behavior or I get called a closet atheist. Thanks for the kind words though.

#45 Carol: "Garrett is voicing his "beliefs" with what I find to be a bit of “spirited wit.”" Yea, I get that from my dad. I use wit not because I don't take these matters seriously; quite the opposite, since these topics are so serious and heated, I find wit lightens the mood and proves I'm not a "bad guy" but just a brother trying to recover from really bad creationist arguments I heard growing up which have caused me to reconsider all options. That's all. I am VERY willing to reject evolution. I'm not dead set on it. Really. Just need more convincing.

" If Garrett is sincere as he claims to be, then for my part, I’m only challenging him to seek God’s Truth & arguing the value of a Biblical foundation & a saving faith." That's how I've taken it all along Carol. Thanks for your concern. It doesn't offend me that you question my faith. Maybe I need to reexamine myself. Before I went to bed last night, I spent a while bringing these matters to the Lord and asked if my profession is a joke. It isn't, by God's grace alone. I'm not on shifting sand. Thanks for the help. I do intent on reevaluating my stance on evolution. Talked to God about that for a while too.

#46 Rick: "Second, these fairy tales God supposedly used to explain creation to an ancient people don't explain creation at all from an evolutionary perspective." No, not at all, that would defeat the purpose. But If I'm right, then you just called God's word a fairy tale. Not good. From my perspective, you do what you claim I do. And accommodation is not lying. Jesus said the mustard seed was the smallest (it isn't) and that the Queen of Sheba came from the opposite side of the earth (she didn't). Do those make the bible erroneous? Nope. Mustard seed was the smallest they knew of. Queen of Sheba came from opposite side of THEIR world. You need to take it in context. Unless you make EVERY claim true in a modern, absolute scientific sense. I think that's a disservice to the bible and it undermines inspiration. It makes science the judge of what the bible can and cannot say. Waltke argues that persuasively in an OT theology (I know, I know, you think he's a hack).

#48  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 11:17 PM

#46 Rick: Almost missed this one: "Also, many of the arguments Garrett uses are right out of the atheists "handbook". His arguments are very similar to those used by people like Richard Dawkins." I abominate the atheistic rants of Dawkins, Hitchens, etc! They are drivel. Lots of rhetoric, ranting, very little cogent argumentation. Oh, and while you are comparing my arguments to those of atheists, see this blog post by Ken Ham, where he agrees with Jerry Coyne's (strident anti-theist) arguments against reconciling science and God: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2009/03/10/a-dirty-little-secret-for-evolutionists/ The point is, you agree a great deal with their arguments too!

#49  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 11:33 PM

Garret, using heart/liver/innards for thinking is closer to a figure of speech. We still do that today. "I love you from the bottom of my heart." How do you know ANE folks didn't use that as a figure of speech? How do you know they didn't understand the role of the brain to some degree or another? I'm not saying they absolutely did, but you can't rule it out since we still use "heart" for things that our blood-pumbing muscle doesn't do.

The heart in ANE was the control center of a person's life. It did the thinking, planning, emotions, attitudes, worship, singing, etc. Everything a person is come from the heart/liver/innards. Since we often feel emotion in our gut, that is where they assigned the source of those things. Ever heard of a "gut feeling"? Do you ever correcte someone who uses figures of speech that are completely false scientifically?

This would be an area of God accomodating in terms of figure of speech. You can't compare that to 2+ chapters on how he created the universe step by step in logical sequence with full narrative flair.

#50  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 05, 2010at 11:42 PM

Garrett,

"I've been burned so many times on those dinoglyphs that I'm a but of a cynic."

I've always been a cynic, that's why I haven't been burned. ;)

#51  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 12:56 AM

#49 Gabe: Ah Gabriel, you liberal spiritualizer! How dare you relegate that to mere metaphor! I start with the bible and actually think there is good evidence that we think with our guts, not our brains. You see my point?

"How do you know ANE folks didn't use that as a figure of speech?" Because they all thought the brain was not very important. There isn't even a hebrew word for brain. The Egyptians, for example, would preserve the innards in mummification, but would simply pluck the brain out through nose and toss it in the garbage. Who needs this useless gray stuff! They didn't really think much of it (no pun intended!). God's people clearly thought the same way since God didn't reveal anything otherwise and there was therefore no way for them to know any better. It may be mere metaphor to us, but not to them! Did you know that the Jews thought wrapping babies in swaddling cloth helped make their bones grow straight? They thought all sorts of things that we moderns would consider scientifically false. That in no way compromises the bible's authority, unless you feel threatened by Jesus' statements on botany.

#52  Posted by Rick White  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 2:31 AM

Garrett,

There is only one point in which I agree with Jerry Coyne. Belief in evolution and belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis are incompatible axioms. I don't believe that is even a disputable matter. That is just pure logic. They are contradictory theses. I don't see where I agree with any of the arguments of evolutionists except that we need to be logical in our presentations. I do agree with you that much of the rantings of Dawkins and Hitchins is rhetoric, ranting, and drivel. I didn't mean that you participated in that type of argumentation only that many of your logical points would be ones that they would use also. I apologize for comparing you to them. I can see where you might consider that an unnecessary cheapshot. That really isn't how it was intended. I do have to disagree with your assessment that Ken Ham agrees with Jerry Coyne's strident anti-theist arguments against reconciling science and God. Anyone familiar with Ken Ham knows he has no problem reconciling science and God, but just knows you can't reconcile the theory of evolution with a straight forward reading of Genesis. I didn't see anything in that article to contradict that.

#53  Posted by Rick White  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 3:27 AM

Garrett,

The examples you used in #47 are not examples of erroneous statements because from the perspective of the people being spoken to they are accurate. However if evolution is true please explain to me how the statements that God made vegetation, sea creatures, birds, cattle, beasts of the earth,etc "after their kind" can be a truthful explanation of an evolutionary creation? If evolution is true those statements are not only the equivalent of fairy tales they are deceptive in nature because these statements are presented as statements of fact. There is nothing in the context to indicate they are anything else. I can't see in the text how these clear statements can be reconciled with an evolutionary viewpoint. The only way they can be reconciled is to insert contradicting extra-biblical ideas into the text. Even in those places where unscientific figures of speech are used there is still no doubt what the text is trying to say. In fact those figures of speech help the reader to understand the point being made. You make the claim that my viewpoint tries to determine what the Bible can and cannot say. No, all I'm saying is that words have meaning and you can't change the meaning of words in order to make your make your point. Otherwise language is meaningless.

#54  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 6:14 AM

Garrett, you said, “I think all evidence says we did not all descend from a couple 6,000 years ago. Genetics remember?” But YOU CAN BELIEVE that we all descended from a single-cell amoeba over billions of years?!! Did genetics tell you that? I thought you said earlier that we are gentetically more related to the great ape? But you don’t see that we are genetically related to each other? Hmm?

Garrett, you read too many human beings’ opinions & interpretations, & not enough Scripture. You said, "When I read Genesis or any other book within the Bible, I first ask how the first reader understood this message.” Wrong! You ask what the WRITER INTENDED TO MEAN! Every reader could interpret/misinterpret the intent! (Which is what I believe you are doing.) You can’t take God’s word & make it mean what YOU want it to mean. It means what HE INTENDED IT TO MEAN!

Jn 8:47) “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (I hope you are listening to God more than men!)

Col 3:1) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” [God has a hand! ;)]

Rom 1:22) “Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

Prov 3:7 “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

Jesus speaking to the Church in Ephesus, Rev 2:4) “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first….7) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Dear Heavenly Father, “Give this man eyes to see & ears to hear.”

[PS The “narrative” of Matthew says, “and behold, a VOICE FROM HEAVEN SAID, “This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” Mt 3:17]

#55  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 9:35 AM

Garret, by what authority do you know that these things took place in the way you say it?

I can see that you pick and choose parts of scripture that seem sensible to you. Thats dangerous.

#56  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 12:20 PM

Briefly revisiting the orignal questions in the opening thread:

~"What could prompt anyone to embrace such a system? Why would someone opt for a world-view that eliminates all that is rational?"

In addition to the excellent reasons already expressed, I'd suggest 'idolatry'. (Perhaps it is inherent in all the other reasons and I'm being redundant.)

More specifically, it is idolatry of human wisdom which allows someone 'to embrace such a system'. I know it has been said before, but it bears repeating again and again. When man chooses to elevate worldly wisdom over God's wisdom, he engages in idolatry of self. Dress up evolution in theological bows and ribbons and it's still idolatry.

#57  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 12:41 PM

"Ah Gabriel, you liberal spiritualizer" Wow... that's a first. You should be proud I suppose since that is how you treat Genesis 1-3 :).

A figure of speech is linguistic category, not a hermeneutic. Regardless of the biological factors involved in thinking, the fact remains that there is more involved in thinking than our brain. I don't think anyone can explain the interaction between our soul and/or spirit (depending on your view) and the brain. When God uses the figure of speech of "heart" he isn't trying to explain how they think, but simply that they think. On the other hand in creation God is explaining in procedural detail how he created the universe.

The problem with viewing Genesis 1-3 as accomodation is that no one believed things happened the way God described it until He described it! God's description of creation is utterly unique from any other creation myth, so it doesn't make sense to say that God was simply talking to them in terms they understood. No, he told them something completely different than they had ever heard.

If you're going to take the beginning of Genesis non-literally, then you have to decide where to start taking it literally. There is no linguistic break where Moses indicates "ok, that is the end of the creation myth, this is now true history." He goes straight from the fall of Adam and Even to Cain and Abel. Straight from Cain and Abel to Noah. Straight from Noah to Abram. Where in that progression do you say, "Oh here is where the real history begins"? The rest of Scripture gives us no reason to think that any part of Genesis is non-historical.

#58  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 1:54 PM

#52 Rick: Point well taken. Although I think Ham rejects alot of good science, not just evolutoin mind you; just as much geology, physics, and astronomy.

#53 "The examples you used in #47 are not examples of erroneous statements because from the perspective of the people being spoken to they are accurate." That's my whole point. Same w/ firmament, thinking w/ innards and not brain, etc.

#54 Carol: "But YOU CAN BELIEVE that we all descended from a single-cell amoeba over billions of years?!! Did genetics tell you that" Actually, yes. "I thought you said earlier that we are gentetically more related to the great ape? But you don’t see that we are genetically related to each other? Hmm?" You really don't understand my position. Of course were related to each other. I only say there was never a point where two people led to all of us. It was always a small population. " Wrong! You ask what the WRITER INTENDED TO MEAN!" Of course, that's the other side of the same coin: what was intended, how was it received. I completely agree. Why the all caps? You read like you're very angry. No need.

#55 Paul: "I can see that you pick and choose parts of scripture that seem sensible to you. Thats dangerous." You do the very same thing. Again, I've said it a million times, for you to be consistent, you must believe in a solid firmament with waters above it, and rain results from the windows of heaven opening, just like the bible's authors did. Also, that we think with our liver. You don't. Hence, you saw off the branch you sit on.

#57 "God's description of creation is utterly unique from any other creation myth" No, not utterly. Totally, yes, but not utterly. It has some common elements, themes. The fact that you can't admit that shows me that your view of inspiration is docetic and can't deal with the challenges presented by pagan parallels. "There is no linguistic break where Moses indicates "ok, that is the end of the creation myth, this is now true history." Excellent point. Indeed there is not. It's not as if they said, "Now, you know Genesis says God made a firmament and put water above it, but this is just allegory." No, they really believed it. Why don't you? "Oh here is where the real history begins"? The rest of Scripture gives us no reason to think that any part of Genesis is non-historical." I never said that it did. In fact, Adam was always thought to be real, just like Noah and all. I agree. I just think, like Waltke put it, that in Genesis what you have is not MERELY history, cut and dry newspaper reporting, but a re-presentation of raw historical data in a creative, rhetorical, theologically driven way, using common ANE themes of the day to polemically skewer the pagan parallels, which are so crude so as to be laughable. Genesis is dignified, and yes, transcendent; but don't deny any aspect of the human authors and their ways of thinking. God inspires men to write, without flaw, exactly what he wants them to write. And yet, Paul has his unique style, and Luke his. The bible is fully human in origin and fully divine. It's words are God's words (but, wonderfully, also David's, Paul's, Peter's, etc. words). Don't emphasize one to the neglect of the other. I'll try not to do the vice versa error and over emphasize the human element, ok?

#59  Posted by Rick White  |  Thursday, May 06, 2010at 10:23 PM

Garrett,

So, since we agree that the figures of speech are accurate from the perspective of the reader, how can the "after their kind" statements be considered accurate in any way if evolution is what actually happened? Those statements can't be reconciled to an evolutionary viewpoint. They are false statements if evolution is true. Also, if Moses is directly quoting God as he says in Exodus 20:1-11, would that not also be a false statement if evolution is true? Yet we are told that God cannot lie Titus 1:2. You keep bringing up the "firmament" argument but like I said before I've heard dozens of explanations for what that means and I can only conclude we don't know for sure because God didn't explain it any further. I really don't care what the pagans believed about the firmament because they believed many false things. In fact even the ancient Hebrews believed many false things until God corrected them. To just assume that Moses' "firmament" was the exact same thing that the pagans and ancient Hebrews believed just doesn't hold water(pun intended). I checked several lexicons, concordances, and Hebrew dictionaries and found that the Hebrew word translated "firmament" in some translations has a wide range of meanings. It can mean expanse, visible arch of the sky, or firmament. Obviously Moses and God did not consider it solid or else how could the birds fly in it? Genesis 1:20. So, if the ancient Hebrews believed it was solid they obviously were wrong. I'm not sure anyone knows for sure what that word is referring to in Genesis 1:6.

#60  Posted by John Joseph  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 4:59 AM

On CNN.com this morning...

"DNA shows humans, Neanderthals mated"

...did Neanderthals ever exist?

#61  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 6:39 AM

Garret, that firmament thing has been dealt with more than one time on this blog and I dont see where God said man thinks with their liver? Heavens = sky (http://strongsnumbers.com/hebrew/8064.htm.)

I dont reject any scripture at all. It is you who do that and want to justify it by saying "you do the same thing".

Anyway, the more important question is by what authority do you know how sin, etc came into being?

When Jesus was tempted, who was it that tempted Him? as I see you say something or someone tempted man to cause the fall.

#62  Posted by Alisa R  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 6:55 AM

Hello, everyone.

I have read through all the posts on this blog as well as the 'Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit' blog and I do not claim to be a scientist, for most of the scientific lingo is over my head (in fact, I have no accreditation at all, I am simply a pastor's wife), yet I have noticed that no one has even mentioned what I believe to be the most important ingredient in these discussions: sin. Yes, you read that right: sin.

Do we presume to assume that the earth today is as the earth was meant to be? My understanding of Romans 8:22 is that all of creation is eagerly awaiting redemption from the curse that has caused all we currently observe. We live in a 'fallen' world! It is giving evidence of the fall, not perfection. How can we presume that if someone carries genes with a propensity for Type I diabetes or cancer that this is good and part of the perfection of Adam?

A quote from Al Mohler's blog: "The world we know is a world that shows all the effects of human sin and the curse of God’s judgment on that sin. Though the glory of God shines through even its fallen state, nature now imperfectly displays the glory of God. Because of the curse, the world around us now reveals and contains innumerable elements that are “natural,” but not normative. Illnesses and earthquakes are natural, but not normative."

And though I hesitate to share the link (for fear it will start another tangent discussion) here it is: http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/04/09/can-animals-be-gay/

I finish with an observation gained from John M. while attending church at Grace a number of years ago - Jesus spoke in parables so as to obscure the truth from the unbelieving (Matthew 13:13-18). Ending (or beginning) his parables with "He who has ears to hear, let him hear". Could it not also be that the Father has also obstructed the truth of creation in the DNA (and other scientific things you have all been discussing) in a similar way so that (and I quote J. Mac:) "This judicial blinding may be viewed as an act of mercy, lest their condemnation be increased" keeping them "in the darkness that they loved... because they had already rejected the light, so any exposure to more truth would only increase their condemnation." ???

Neither science (nor Scripture) convinces anyone of anything - the Holy Spirit 'through' the Word does.

Garrett: keep searching, keep wondering, don't give up (being forced to believe what your spirit desires not to embrace). Be assured by His intervention in your life that HE is the ultimate, for He IS. We must 'believe', not be convinced. :-)

#63  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 8:59 AM

Garrett: keep searching, keep wondering, don't give up (being forced to believe what your spirit desires not to embrace). Be assured by His intervention in your life that HE is the ultimate, for He IS. We must 'believe', not be convinced. :-)

Funny I dont think that God would look at it quite that way. One must recognize that there is more than one spirit at work and question what spirit it is that questions Gods word and makes it of no effect. Do you believe that God is waiting to convince Garret? Somehow I dont think so at all, God uses man. If we are Christians the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth and He will never, ever go contrary to what is written. If Garret is saved, the Holy Spirit in Him WILL receive sound teaching and if He doesnt one cannot say thatit is because the Holy Spirit has not spoken. leap for joy at the truth not reject it. Again the question is, whose spirit is at work?

What Jesus did say was that though heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will never. God says He honours His word above His name. Christ also said His words are Spirit and life.

The word of God spoken to a believer is as if God was speaking those very words to that man and that man will be motivated to recieve it by the spirit of God. The conflict comes when the flesh and the devil come in, not that the holy spirit isnt trying convince.

#64  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 10:10 AM

Here is a good article on the historicity and significance of Adam and Eve: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/adam-and-eve.php

#65  Posted by Alisa R  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 11:03 AM

Paul,

You are exactly right. My choice of words was inadequate. Your statement: “If Garret is saved, the Holy Spirit in Him WILL receive sound teaching” was the point I was trying to make when I used the word ‘spirit’ instead of Spirit – meaning the Holy Spirit within a believer when trying to discern truth. (another example of typing too fast and why blogs tend to leave others with misconceptions of what one is trying to make clear)

Thus… one might misinterpret your completing paragraph thinking you were saying that “The word of God spoken to a believer...” might mean words other than The Word.

And to clarify (if my hermeneutics are right): the Holy Spirit doesn’t ‘try’ to convince. He either does or does not, for God is that sovereign. He is just at a different point in the process with different individuals.

If I have caused further misconceptions, please help right me; for I desire not to misrepresent the Lord Jesus in any way.

#66  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 6:11 PM

Finally done with finals! Aced population genetics but cell fizz, yikes, that was painful.

#59 Rick: "since we agree that the figures of speech are accurate from the perspective of the reader, how can the "after their kind" statements be considered accurate in any way if evolution is what actually happened?" Easy cows make cows. People make people. From our perspective, that makes perfect sense. That's all the text is saying. "Obviously Moses and God did not consider it solid or else how could the birds fly in it?" Fly under it. If it simply means expanse, then how could the sun, moon, stars be in it? Ancient people thought the stars were attached to it, the sun and moon being under/in it. Watch this (click on Walton's head) for why concordism doesn't work with the firmament: http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/research/symposia/conferences03/Sci_Sym.swf

#62 Alisa: "Could it not also be that the Father has also obstructed the truth of creation in the DNA (and other scientific things you have all been discussing)" That sounds a bit deceptive. You mean God made the DNA look as if evolution happened to test our faith? I have a hard time accepting that, but thanks for the encouragement. You are dead on; I just read Calvin the other day and he said the witness of the Spirit is superior to reason since only it can give full assurance.

#63 Paul: "If Garret is saved, the Holy Spirit in Him WILL receive sound teaching and if He doesnt one cannot say thatit is because the Holy Spirit has not spoken." Can a theistic evolutionist be saved? You seem to suggest no. But that would mean that I've lost my salvation too (an impossibility) since I've only recently come to reject YEC, long after God saved me.

#64 Gabe: "Here is a good article on the historicity and significance of Adam and Eve: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/adam-and-eve.php" I like Ref21, and glancing at that article, it looks great! He critiques Dennis Alexander, whom I have a great deal of respect for. I look into it.

#67  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, May 07, 2010at 7:26 PM

Garrett,

First: No intent of yelling; sorry for the caps but every time I try to highlight or italicize for emphasis, the whole document takes that on so the only way of emphasizing certain points is caps.

Now, let me say, I admire your enthusiasm & depth of knowledge, BUT (you knew that was coming) only to a certain degree. You have proved your desire to learn & your abilities to comprehend, but the problem I see is that “as a Christian” you keep looking for answers in all the wrong places. You remind me of the Epicurean & Stoic philosophers at Athens who desired TO CONVERSE with the Apostle Paul when they heard of his “foreign” teachings. “Now all the Athenians & the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” (Re-read Acts 17:16-34). Paul basically told them ~ “You are very religious, even having a god/idol to the unknown god. Now let me tell you about THAT GOD.” [And for the record, I do want you to notice, Paul proclaimed to them “The God who made the world & everything in it….(26) And He made FROM ONE MAN EVERY NATION OF MANKIND to live on all the face of the earth,…that THEY SHOULD SEEK GOD, IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MIGHT FEEL THEIR WAY TOWARD HIM & FIND HIM.”] To me, those philosophers (including you) are the modern day theistic evolutionists. They can’t prove EXACTLY HOW things came to be because they are lead by all of these evolutionary “philosophers” who can't agree, so they keep “hashing it out” but also wish to keep “a door/another option open” & therefore they throw God into the mix & try to “philosophize” HOW He did it. Anyway, you have an enthusiasm I wish I saw in more people who claim to be Christians. Too many spend little or no time studying to show themselves approved, or to “feel their way toward Him & find Him.” They lack a desire to grow spiritually. However, I fear you share that characteristic, because your knowledge base seems to be more “data based,” instead of “relationship based.” I don’t see how you can grow spiritually by studying the logic of men, especially the logic of God-denying men!

I believe our duty in existing is to bring praise & glory to God. We do this by using the talents, gifts, abilities, & opportunities He has bestowed on us. And we use those to “draw nearer to Him.” This is part of our spiritual growth, our SANCTIFICATION. Understand that THE WORLD CAN’T SANCTIFY US, THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES THAT. Therefore, how can you expect to draw near to God without the work of the Holy Spirit in your life & of Whom you have shut out by pursuing & weighting the teachings of men? We are to grow in such a way as to be more Christ-like. When all of that hit ME, I realized I wasn’t studying the gospels enough! I needed to spend more time studying CHRIST & His teachings. (Worshipping Him, not the Christian teachings! BIG Eye-opener for me!) Oh Paul’s teachings & Peter’s teachings are great, but Christianity ISN’T strictly about a way of life (legalism,) it is about a relationship with Christ & God our Creator! Sanctification changes our thinking – we no longer think as the world thinks. We no longer value what the world values, (in this case, acquired “knowledge.”)

Now, just like the Pharisee Saul who was a zealot for God but was misguided by his legalism to the point of persecuting & killing Christians, I believe you are very knowledgeable & becoming zealous about a “legalistic” system of thinking which requires as its proof only that which is acceptable to its base way of thinking, & anything outside of that required way of thinking (presuppositions) is totally discarded as unacceptable, inconceivable, & impossible. Just as the Pharisee Saul had a true encounter with our Lord Jesus, who said, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute Me?” and Saul repented & was converted & accepted & trusted the Lord & became the Apostle Paul who was able to convince some of these Athenians of God’s truth about Who He is, I hope & pray that you too will have that kind of encounter with Jesus (don’t worry, I’m not asking God to blind you for 3 days – re-read Acts 9:1-9 & note v. 7) & that Christ will say to you, “Garrett, Garrett, Why do you keep rejecting Me & the Truth of My Word?” & you will learn to trust & accept God for Who He is & use the knowledge you have acquired to convince others & to draw them to real repentance & conversion to God’s Truth & TRUE CHRISTIANITY.

There is such a worldly mentality that focuses on “what we can achieve” while here on earth, but that achievement is based on worldly success & definitions. Again, going back to my friend’s question, “Is it ETERNALLY SIGNIFICANT?” then I would say that life in this world is NOT about what we can achieve, but about what we can discover about God! That is our quest, & in those discoveries that we make, (through our studies & experiences, through our careers & endeavors,) we learn more about His AWESOME Power & Majesty & Creativity & Superior Intelligence & Compassion & Unfailing Love for us & His Forgiving Heart & His Jealous Heart & His demand for Justice,… And as we discover these things about Him, we come to love Him more & more, & to desire to be near Him & to worship Him, & that will all culminate when we are admitted into His Presence some day! That will be glorious! And we will be able to spend eternity praising Him & loving Him because of Who He is! Learning Who He is starts now; so while we discover more about the world & universe that He created, may we see Him & His attributes & His character in those discoveries & WORSHIP HIM AS HE DESERVES! Don’t question His word Garrett; seek to understand it by going to the Author directly. I’m glad to hear you’re praying about this. I’m sorry for the sermon, it isn’t as eloquent as the dialogue I had with God about you & all of this last night as I tossed for nearly 2 hours! But, OH WELL WORTH the time with Him!

Final Note: Paul was not able to convince ALL of the Athenians of God’s truth. (32) Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, SOME MOCKED. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But SOME MEN joined him and BELIEVED…”

#68  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, May 08, 2010at 6:06 AM

Garrett,

Congratulations on being done with finals. I hope everything went well. Here is an interesting article I found discussing the firmament.

http://creation.com/is-the-raqiya-firmament-a-solid-dome#f16

It answers some of your questions about the firmament from my perspective.

#69  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, May 08, 2010at 5:45 PM

#67 Carol: "Don’t question His word Garrett"

I don't, only my understanding of it. I want to get it right, I really do, whether or not that leaves room for my other commitments. In God's mind, science and scripture make PERFECT sense, and the two gloriously harmonious. I want to get a taste of that, esp. regarding evolution. I want truth. If evolution is true, then it must be compatible with God's true word. If evolution is not true, then it is ultimately satanic and I want no part of it.

"seek to understand it by going to the Author directly."

I have nightly sought the Lord on this, esp. since I began dialog on gty. Thanks for the exhortation!

"I’m sorry for the sermon, it isn’t as eloquent as the dialogue I had with God about you & all of this last night as I tossed for nearly 2 hours! But, OH WELL WORTH the time with Him!"

I am deeply humbled by that. I certainly don't deserve even 2 minutes of your time, but will take all that God in his grace has laid on your heart. Sorry if I have burdened you and know that I am deeply, deeply humbled by your prayers. God bless you.

#68 Rick: Thanks! I glanced through that article, looks pretty involved. I like this: "Seely confuses adaptation to human finitude with accommodation to human error — the former does not entail the latter." If I am understanding him correctly, that is a helpful clarification. I must read both articles in full to make a conclusion though. Thanks.

#70  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, May 08, 2010at 5:48 PM

#68 Rick: I guess my problem with harmonizing our modern understanding of the world with an ancient one is that it ends up forcing us to avoid or explain away scriptures plain meaning in its original context. Maybe your article will avoid that pitfall. I'll check it out.