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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Comments (38)

First, listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

Maybe it’s the legacy of 150 years of evolutionary theory; or maybe it’s the basic human need to find an authority source in the vacuum of secular society. Whatever the reason, science is way out of its depth when it comes to questions of origins.

So, answer and discuss these questions: What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology? For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?


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#1  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 5:39 AM

Q-What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?

A-Man’s desire to be in control: wanting to “know & understand it all.”

How is that any different from Adam & Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil? satan tempted Eve with gaining knowledge & understanding to BE LIKE GOD. And isn’t that what man is still doing today? Trying to BE LIKE GOD? Be our OWN gods? Because God makes the rules, so if man can become like God, then he can make his own rules. And the alternative is to be in subjection to God, & just like satan rebelled against being in subjection to God, we too, in our sinful nature, rebel against our Creator & reject the idea of being in submission to anyone else. So in summary, I would say the answer from my perspective is rebellion of God.

Q-For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?

A-Well just as psychologists have commandeered corners on theology & the church, & now “management-types” have commandeered corners on theology & running the church, scientists are no different. We each want to contribute to our society & surroundings, & as Christians we want to contribute to our faith/belief system, & we each feel our called profession has something to contribute. This comes from the mother who diapers & disciplines & teaches in the home, to the accountant who serves on the church staff by using his expertise in financial management, to the school teacher who uses her training in serving in teaching small groups, etc. But Pastor John’s audio blog here is excellent in pointing out that creation can’t be duplicated, & as a supernatural occurrence, can’t really be understood in HOW it took place as it is outside of natural causes which we CAN observe & recreate. So how should Christian scientists view their relationship between science & theology? I believe they can contribute in any ways that they can in TRUE science (that which IS provable & for which we have REAL evidence) drawing our focus on the awesome power & glory of our Creator, & then witness for Christ that what is unknown & improvable about the Bible should be taken on faith, which is a foundational element of accepting Christ & calling oneself a Christian. This requires a submissiveness which we all need to practice in our realization that we are subjects to a King, Our God & Creator, & His Son, Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

#2  Posted by Josué Morissette  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 6:40 AM

People who do not want to believe in creation, those calling themselves Christians, have a serious lack of faith. They do not want to believe in something they can't explain. I don't know if it's pride that pushes them to want to be able to come to a complete understanding of every miracle. Some people just can't come to grip with the fact that they cannot understand everything, that God left some mysteries for him alone to understand. It is part of faith to accept what God says in the Scriptures, even the parts we can't explain. Some people just can't cope with the fact that they can't explain the Trinity, so they come with the strangest explanation for it, when all they have to do is realize they can't fully understand it. God's mind is infinitely greater than ours, which is just something we need to accept. So much effort is wasted in trying to convinced people that are beyond reach, without saving faith most evolutionists will perish denying creation no matter what argument we can come up with. Like everything else these people need true saving faith, and then they can use things such as these blogs and related sermons to solidify their faith, knowing that God is the only explanation for everything.

I thank God for ministries that stay true to the Word of God without being influenced by the world, they are becoming very hard to find. Thank you John for your unwavering faithfulness to Scriptures and thanks also to the entire GTY.org team.

#3  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 7:29 AM

"What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?"

I think Calvin summed up the desire on the part of all mankind to understand the transcendent realm as such:

"Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone." John Calvin The Institutes Volume I

Man's quest for knowledge in the empirical realm alone leaves him short of fulfilment. So, in an effort to satisfy the deep longing in his soul for truth and understanding man (even scientists) turns to the transcendent...whether consciously or not.

Calvin said that man is homo religioso...the religious one. Like it or not that is who/what man is. Without a relationship with God his creator man is empty and destitute.

"For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?"

God created man with dignity, value, and purpose. One of the purposes God gave mankind was to subdue the earth and be in dominion of its inhabitants of a lesser order (beasts, birds, etc). Science is a part of man's structural makeup and should be used for God's glory as it was originally intended.

#4  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 9:51 AM

Hi Folks:

Today I want to stir the "pot" a bit. Science has always had foundations which move with the times. "Spontaneous generation" mentioned by John at the beginning of one of the blogs is an example of this phenomena. And while we should expect scientific thought to change as new knowledge comes to the forefront, as in the case of "Steady State" vs. "Big Bang" (along with a number of variations). What we see is an "ABSOLUTISM" of scientist regarding changing science. How odd that those who know that thing change over time, and hold to no absolutes, are absolutely certain that there that they understand the beginnings of something as miraculous as Genesis one and two describe for us.

And it then occurred to me that there is an assumption by secular science; "If God had told us in scientific terms how he did "it" we could believe, as long as it is "naturalistic" I mean." But for God to show man how he did "it", there are certain problems he would need to deal with. For instance to God there are no miracles, no supernatural, nothing in which his power is limited. A true miracle only shows us how limited we are, and how limited our power is. Secondly, were God to write down in a manual so that we could read how he did it, detail for detail, we would not be able to reproduce it, do experiments to test data so that we could empirically verify "it". As a matter of course sinful man would reject God's own hand book as non-sense. I don't think we would understand for at least two reasons. One, our sciences are imperfect expressions of reality as is, but these imperfections would be held as "true" in spite of the fact that God has shown what he did. Number two: Since we probably would not be able to reduplicate the "creation" or any part there of, it would beheld as a ruse, a hoax by some superior being. A cosmic joke perpetrated on the hillbillys of a backwater planet in the smallest of galaxies.

And in point of fact this is what secularism has done with the narrative given to us by God. God just shortened the manual so we could understand it. Just a thought.

#5  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 11:58 AM

Do you really realize the magnitude on what is on the stake?

Do you realize the consequences of proclaiming a false message, having a weak foundation, build on sand and having a wrong attitude?

Are you able to even grasp the meaning of the Holiness of God or His Glory?

The Pharisees was condemned by Jesus. (John 8:43-47). Why?

They were the highly educated elite, the privileged ones. They were by their high position and education responsible for care, leading and teaching of the rest of the people in the society. And they got it all wrong, and as a result, nobody or at least only a minority, had a right relation to God and their neighbors. They had replaced Gods word with mans traditions, and made themselves gods. They were never living for the honor of God.

Let me give you an example of this subject about attitude and basic understanding:

There was an argumentcabout comparing similarities between human and chimp DNA.

I have some basic questions to that subject:

1) Why do you do that?

2) What do you expect to find?

3) What do you really know about the objects you are looking at?

4) Who supplies the data to test, and are they sufficient?

5) What are you doing with that gained knowledge, supposing you got it right?

See my blog post #24 here: http://www.gty.org/Blog/B100519%2324

Then ask yourself this:

Are you recognizing God the Creator and are you looking for more reasons to love and glorify Him or are you seeking for some way out of responsibility to God?

Do you see design similarities or are you trying to read your presuppositions into the data, discarding the facts, that there have been a lot of experiments within thousands of generations of fruit flies, bacteria and other so called “low” life, and they are still the same and do still have the same amount of information? (The ones that survived the treatments)

Should you not be a little bit humble about the fact that despite some vocal hype and somewhat premature conclusions, there are lacking real knowledge about how even the “simplest” cell is working?

Literally thousands of the most brilliant brains of this world have spent decades trying to reverse engineer and decipher the enormous complexity of even the “simplest life”. This is, at least for me, clearly the fingerprint of the Almighty.

See this link: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18206-simple-bacterium-shows-surprising-complexity.html

When you have figured that “simple” life out, then come back again and talk qualified about the human DNA. (The whole idea of “simple” life is an evolutionary presupposition. All God’s creation is mindboggling complex)

About the data to compare, to my knowledge the amount of genes in human and chimps are different, so you just can’t run a byte by byte comparison. Therefore there was a selection of some almost similar genes chosen for comparison. And guess what? The selected almost similar genes turned out to be – surprise – almost similar.

There was someone proclaiming the evolution theory was in no way in crisis. Is this a joke? I’m not laughing but crying. There is not even a start of it, the only one proposed for 80 years are now discarded. See this link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100202101245.htm

Millions of people have abandoned the faith because of that lie throughout the last century, and have made God a liar. They are now without a savior. What a heartbreaking reality.

Someone asked if God seems to deceive people? Please read Romans 1:18-32, and realize they are deceiving themselves by not given heed to the truth, and are abandoned because of their evil doings.

God sent Jesus to save his people from their sins.

I can only say with the Apostle Paul: Please repent and receive Him as savior and Lord. I beg you.

#6  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 1:06 PM

To clarify, I think Rudi is speaking to those who believe in evolution.

#7  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, May 26, 2010at 8:31 PM

Clarification to #1 “from my perspective is rebellion of God.” I meant to say “rebellion toward God/ or/ of God’s supreme authority.”

And I like Paul Tucker’s “Just a thought”s. :)

Along his thinking lines, I too have thought about, “What if God had spelled out everything about creation explicitly?” I think man would still reject God’s word. After all, hasn’t a majority of mankind rejected God’s Son, though His substitutionary sacrifice is clearly spelled out in 4 gospels & predicted in a number of the prophets? Didn’t Jesus tell of the rich man in Hades who asked Father Abraham to allow poor dead Lazarus to go warn his brothers? But Abraham said “If they do not hear Moses & the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31. Someone earlier on this blog strand mentioned the idea of aliens having established/planted mankind on the earth. That has been my view of what might replace evolution IF it should ever be discredited enough or fall from favor – but the majority of mankind will still reject the Bible’s account/accuracy in lieu of ANYTHING that would prevent them from being dominated/created/ruled by a God with rules.

And another thought:

It’s not just scientists or theistic evolutionists who appear to deny God His credit & His glory by seeking answers via man’s wisdom & understanding – we ALL do it. For instance, God is responsible for ALL of creation: all that we see & hear & can understand, yet I’m sure we each have taken credit for things which perhaps we’ve achieved or accomplished, but have we really taken the time (to think & thank) to recognize God’s hand at work in our lives? If not for His provision of talents, skills, abilities, and opportunities – both educational & situational – we really couldn’t achieve anything & therefore should not take credit for anything we’ve accomplished. “Every good gift & every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 2:17-18. So, should we be the person who constantly says, “Praise the Lord!” for every accomplishment? Well, not if it is insincere, but shouldn’t that be our thought pattern? A true recognition & a thankful heart for all He’s provided to us? He didn’t just create the universe, He created each day, each person, each moment, each situation, & His purpose is for us to glorify Him in each of those opportunities! So let’s recognize His glory in His marvelous creation which He describes in the Bible. Let us also glory in each sunrise & sunset He allows us to behold, and let us glory in each opportunity to share His love & majesty with others, & seek to glorify & praise Him & not ourselves! Thanks for letting me share.

#8  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 4:44 AM

#6 you’re right. I was trying to make it absolutely clear the two worldviews is mutually exclusive, but was by mistake posting in the wrong place. Sorry about that.

But about today’s topic, I have these comments:

What is the purpose of miracles? – John MacArthur has done several excellent expositions on that topic. They serve as a sign to validate and authenticate the message and messenger, and in some instances pure grace and love.

But notice Jesus call sign seekers evil hearted, and I think it is about the nature of love. Why do you need signs and miracles to love God? Isn’t it enough to know how who He is and that He loves us? I think of it as spoiled kids, who desire stuff, but have no gratitude for the giver.

But how do you study miracles and using science in theology? That’s a tuff one, because of the nature of science, which is to observe and test how things operate, but cannot answer why they operate.

Rightly applied it is still an excellent servant. As an example are the many prophecies in the bible. Science as historians and archaeologists can test the observable facts given in the scripture, but only the theologian can answer the why. That seems to make the different disciplines dependent on each other for the full picture.

#9  Posted by William Davis  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 8:05 AM

What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?

Seems to me that folks are trying real hard to disprove our Creator! I only have one thing to say for that; the day is approaching when every knee will bow and every tongue confess.

For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?

The bible should be the authority! Use science as a means of glorifying our Creator!! Why are these folks trying to prove or disprove God? Aren't we saved by grace through faith? Ephesians 2:8. Therefore, being justified by faith we have peach with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Once the opportunity for faith has passed so has the opportunity for salvation. I'm fearful that those who just don't trust the Word of God really aren't born again! Sorry for being intolerant!

#10  Posted by Jonathan Garman  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 9:22 AM

You're wrong. Science does have a role to play in understanding creation. Science will bow to what we see in the Genesis account of creation. God's not "testing" us in Genesis 1, He's informing us, for His glory and our pleasure. True joy springs from knowledge.

Aren't you interested in knowing how God's work of creation fit together--which properties of the universe God set in place first, and how he built on them?

What I see in Genesis 1 is not God building miracles on miracles. That's nonsense. "Miracle" means an alteration of a natural law.

The first miracle Genesis makes clear: God made something from nothing: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...[which was] formless and void." God made stuff with natural laws that He decided, then he performed miracles on the stuff.

Science when correct will bow before the Bible, harmonizing with it in every instance. We will know in the end how the earth is indeed 6000 years old and how we can see the stars millions of miles away. There is an answer to the question.

Doesn't it glorify God to seek it?

We can feel free to abdicate the question if we're uninterested, but we ought not to feel free to shake-the-finger at believers for being interested and studying it.

Now if the "conclusions" they form contradict the Bible, we should shake-the-finger at them, because we can know they're wrong. If they're wrong, they're wrong for the conclusions, not for the asking. If the question asked remains, it remains. We don't throw the question away as not worth asking. We study more, until we see the right answer.

The right answer will line up with the Bible.

Let us reason together, that we may glorify God in seeking to understand His creation.

By the way, I love you for opening this up to discussion. May iron sharpen iron. The fact you're open to discussion on this shows that you can be trusted as a teacher of truth. Let the one who is incorrect be persuaded to words of the one who is correct. This is my prayer.

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 9:32 AM

Thanks for joining the discussion Jonathan and being willing to bring a different point of view. In order to better understand your position, can you point out what part(s) of Genesis 1 follow natural physical laws and can therefore be studied?

When I read Genesis 1, I don't really see anything natural in there. Everything that God did, He did by divine fiat, by the word of His power. All the living creatures were created at His command, particularly the land animals were made from the dust of the ground. Adam was also made from the dust of the ground, and Eve from Adam's side.

So to me it seems like the miracle extends far beyond the initial creation of matter.

The point in this and previous articles is not that God doesn't want us to explore His creation and discover what He has done. Rather it is that when God tells us that He miraculously brought all things into existence, we are foolish if we think we can explain what God did scientifically and naturalistically.

#12  Posted by Jonathan Garman  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 10:23 AM

When you read Genesis 1, YES YOU DO see a lot of natural things in there. Evening, morning, light, the firmament, blood pumping through Adam's veins, ... the number of things following natural laws is as countless as the number of miracles God performed.

Do we see Newton's equations working today? Do we see Einstein's equations working today? When did those laws start working--only after day 6 was over, or as they were created?

On day five, when the birds took to the air, did they float into the air by a miracle, or did they fly, by pushing air God had made past the wings God had made? On day 6, did the creatures that crept on the ground stick to the land by a miracle, or by gravity?

Think of it: every time God created something, it sprung forth into following the natural laws God instituted. The number of things following natural laws is as countless as the number of miracles God performed.

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 10:32 AM

Indeed! What I meant was that there is nothing in God's act of creation throughout the six-day period that was natural. However once God created, as you said, everything functioned according to God-ordained natural laws.

So perhaps I misunderstood your original post because I thought you meant, as many do, that we should study evolution to discover natural explanations for God's act of creation. But now it sounds like you're saying that we can conduct scientific study on the basis of natural laws, but that study will not help us understand God's act of creation. Is that right?

#14  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 10:46 AM

# 7 - Carol. "It’s not just scientists or theistic evolutionists who appear to deny God His credit & His glory by seeking answers via man’s wisdom & understanding – we ALL do it." Thank you so much for your comment. I agree, we creationists can be so proud as to ignore that we are (in our own) nothing better than any other people.

The more I read, be this blog and the subject at hand or any other discussion, I can clearly see pride in our lives, and it hurts me so much to see it in mine, and there's also this awareness that even when I am not seeing pride, it's still there, wrapped beautifully as a new gift, clothed in self-righteousness. It's pride that leads people to twist the Word of God, to make it fit their intellectual reasoning; it is pride that demands that everything that God is and does must make sense in our "rational" minds else be discarded. We are proud creatures.

Grace and peace,

E.

#15  Posted by Jonathan Garman  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 11:57 AM

#13 Gabriel

That's true--Every one of God's acts of creation are miracles, but that's not the thrust of what I'm saying.

There are questions that arise when reading Genesis, that in the end, we know true science will answer.

To be clear, the question is not "did evolution happen;" we understand what the theory of evolution puts forth: that death happened before the fall, when clearly by the Bible it did not. Therefore evolution is a theory proven false by God's revelation.

Now with that clearly stated, there is another question that arises when reading Genesis 1 that I've considered and that I'm prepared to answer.

Given:

1. We know from Genesis that the earth experienced six days, evening and morning, during which God built the cosmos and the earth. So therefore the earth is about 6000 years old. And

2. We know that we can see light from the stars that appears to have traveled millions of years to get here. And

3. We know that God created the heavens and the earth simultaneously, at the start of day 1.

So:

Did the light we see from the stars that are over 6000 light-years away (the majority of stars) really originate from those stars?

Light takes time to travel. The speed of light is just as valid a law as gravity. Does the law of the speed of light fit into the creation account?

My point is: It's okay for a believer to conclude they don't care to answer questions like this, but if you do conclude that, you should still allow for other believers to do what is better: to try to understand what God did there; to put a possible mark on where the miracle was.

There are several explanations for how the law of the speed of light did indeed operate, even as much as gravity, during day 1 through 5. Are you insterested? (You don't have to be.)

#17  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 12:32 PM

I can only speak for myself in that when I was saved, born again of the spirit of God, a miracle in itself, I believe every single word in the bible and I still do 28 years later.

I do not know that you can be saved and not believe God's word, since Jesus is the living word -- the Word made flesh.

#18  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 1:01 PM

Jonathan,

If you haven't already you should go back and read previous posts in this lengthy series. We've had a number of good discussions in the comment threads about the points you are making.

In a nutshell, true science cannot tell us about the past the way people think it can. True science is based on observation, testing, repeatability, etc. Obviously science cannot observe creation, it cannot test creation (except what we see today), and it certainly cannot repeat creation.

The light from the stars was created fully mature (as seen from earth) in the same way that God created Adam as an adult. In other words, in the same way that God did not create an embryonic universe, embryonic planets, embryonic animals, and embryonic people, the light was created fully mature along with everything else. Some have complained about that explanation saying that the light, in that case, is not real. But that is silly unless they also believe that Adam wasn't real just because he was created mature.

Scientifically, it is also helpful to keep in mind that as certain as scientists claim to be about the distance of stars, they really don't know how far away they are. What they say is the distance is calculated based on known variables of closer stars, but for the stars that are seemingly infinitely farther away they don't know what variable are at play. Scientists just assume that they know more than they actually know and make claims on that basis. So until we find a way to reach those stars we will not actually know how far away they are. Nevertheless if they were discovered to be millions of light-years away, that does nothing to harm God's revelation that He created light before He created the sources of light.

I'm sure there are indeed several explanations as you say, but I'm satisfied with God's explanation that He created the light as we see it today.

#19  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 1:08 PM

It drives me crazy when people ask, "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" Even when I was young I would think, "that is a stupid question." The Chicken! It isn't even remotely logical to think that the earth was not created completely and wholly mature.

#20  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 2:24 PM

#19 - Darla.

I couldn't answer that question before I was born again. =) I know, it's stupid. It looks even worse when I think that I always believed that God created everything. Sometimes is the most obvious and simplest things that don't get our attention.

Several weeks ago I was going through Genesis (the creation) with my kids (8 and 13) and after reading, explaining, discussing the subject and answering their questions, I proposed the chicken/egg question and they right away answered me: the chicken! =)

E.

#21  Posted by Larry Bucar  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 2:31 PM

I love the Proverb quotes after we log in, I've changed my mind about commenting here 1/2 dozen times. I've been following this open forum off and on (mostly on)since its inception last autumn and feel like I've come to know the participants and their biblical perspectives somewhat intimately. I have a degree in Biology but I'm hardly a scientist, so I was brainwashed since high school in the early 70's that we evolved from apes. That perspective changed not after believing in solo scriptura, solo Christos, etc. in the mid 80's but after listening to JM's radio broadcasts of the universe's creation from a biblical perspective in the early 90's. Now, I love to challenge young and old Christians to an understanding of the "old" earth paradigm (less than 10,000 years)by debating and believing in a literal understanding of Genesis.

I really don't think one can disprove evolution unless they're saved, so although these posts are entertaining and educational, evolutionists will undoubtedly never come to understand our side unless they're saved.

I think the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology is simply mankind trying to grasp with feeble minds the near infinite complexity of life with the subsequent folly of ignoring a creator's hand.

Finally, I was a bio major because I wanted to know the answer to the question, "what is life"? Coming from a R Catholic background, the last place I thought I'd find the start of the unraveling of the answer would be found in John 14:6.

#22  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 3:20 PM

Darla & Elaine,

Funny, I had the same "chicken vs. egg" thought earlier in this blog & though I always believed it was the chicken, it finally struck me, "if it was the egg, who sat on it to hatch it?" ;)

#23  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 3:43 PM

#20- Elaine,

I am just a simple minded girl, not very bright, perhaps that is why the answer was easy for me. I actually thought it was a joke, but people would argue and fuse so that I finally realized they were serious. In Mk 10:15 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."

On a lighter note: Why DID the chicken cross the road?

#21- Larry,

I love science in that you can learn about God's creation, but I never bought the whole "ape" thing. I marvel at the simplest of God's creation. In HS I knew I did not believe we evolved from monkey's; however,I could not explain why I did not believe that. Since I did not grow up in a religious home, only having been inside a church less than a dozen times by the time I was saved at age 18, perhaps it was easier for me to believe in the bible, God, Jesus and creation having nothing else to compare salvation to.

#24  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 5:15 PM

Read the story in the link below. It is from Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This story, in an abstract fashion, tells about the pursuit to gain comprehensive knowledge of God, represented by the white whale...very interesting read and as one will see very pertinent to the discussion at hand in that modern evolution scientists are on a similar journey:

http://www.classicallibrary.org/melville/moby/chapter44.htm

Make sure you get the last two paragraphs...

Melville confessed to his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne regarding Moby Dick: “I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.”

#25  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, May 27, 2010at 5:40 PM

You know one of the things I like so much about this blog site is how so many contributors to these topics spawn my brain to think more critically; I LOVE IT!

I spoke to a neighbor acquaintance yesterday. She told me her son had married a Jewish girl. Well she’s concerned about that because she’s a Mormon. OK….. That has me thinking, “We cannot add to or take away from Holy Scripture.” So, this issue of believing in evolution (which is CLEARLY NOT spelled out in Scripture, so can only be “inferred” = thus “adding to Scripture”) is really no different than any of the false religions which also “add to Scripture” via additional “revelation” or writings which are NOT God inspired. I know this was the basis for an earlier thread but it just seemed to really “click” yesterday how very dangerous this thinking is because it is a rejection of the completeness & accuracy of God’s Holy Word!

#26  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, May 28, 2010at 7:59 PM

"What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?"

Carrying this question further there is a unique parallel to evolution scientist's efforts to control the present theological landscape, in terms of the account of creation, with that of the story concerning the ark of the covenant found in 1 Samual chapter 5. The story reads as follows:

"Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day."

Even though evolutionism keeps getting knocked down by creation science (as did Dagon by God's hand in the story above) the practitioners of the evil ideology keep propping it back up trying feverishly to challenge God in His role as Creator...just like the Philistines challenged God in His diety with their pagan idol god Dagon. The efforts to mix evolution with the creation account found in Genesis is merely an effort to once again presume upon God in His diety and prop up evolutionism in one final stand off...finish reading 1 Samual for the outcome of the story above...evolutionism faces a very similar fate.

#27  Posted by Tyler Hand  |  Saturday, May 29, 2010at 5:57 AM

#18 Gabriel,

I completely agree with you here about the maturity of the universe as created. I think it's important for people to recognize this when considering the evolution/creation debate.

Others- I would like to point out that there are many things that do not seem to fit the "natural" laws that we see in science, such as the lack of antimatter in the universe, the force that keeps all electrons from flying off their nucleus, etc. For those who are under the presumption that all things can be naturally measured or observed, I've often wondered how someone would "see" LIFE. What I eman is this- if you were to take a man and send 30,000 volts from one temple to the other, it would kill the man. But what has changed in a physiological sense? He still has blood, a heart, a brain, etc... his physical makeup has not been altered, and all of the proteins, aminos and nutrients necessary for "life" still exist- so what is it that left him? Can we observe or measure that thing which was removed from the body, so that it no longer lives?

#28  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, May 29, 2010at 8:55 PM

Hi Folks: This whole series of blogs has been interesting. I am also glad for the spell-check. An interesting thing about spell-check, it corrects my errors, (dah- right?) I am a person prone to all sorts of errors. Errors of conscience, mind, judgment, and so forth, an so on. I wanted to get that out of the way first- so everyone knows that I know where I stand. But what is true of me, myself, and I is also true of us all.

"Science" tries to make subjective errors less possible through experimentation, and verification. However that does not mean that the results of any experiment, even if verified, can lead us to a "true" understanding of the nature of the thing studied. And so we try and come up with an explanation which fits what we see. This often will make any result useful for what we will use it for in a broader context such as manufacturing, etc.

When it comes to "cosmologies" it is much different because at this point we do not "see" all that is going on, and we do not have the tools to do the types of experimentation required to let us understand what we are seeing. So we create "models" to accommodate our lack of understanding. These models are based upon our understanding of what is and our rejection of what we believe is not. And not necessarily because it conforms to reality. We trust that we can understand and that we model correctly.

It is the same as my query regarding how many light years there are between objects. There were three different answers. Two of these were essentially the same from different points of view, the other based upon a different understanding. Both can not be true, but both can be false. Before Einstein folks thought that light speed was not in fact absolute (Newtonian Physics). Light was only slowed down by the "ether". Today we think of the "progress" that we've made because of modern Science and hail our successes. The problem is that tomorrow some, maybe many, of those views will change because of some new "thought experiment" used to help clarify what we do not understand. What can be known for certain? (Without trying to sound cheesy-or pedantic) I know my redeemer lives and I shall one day stand with him in glory. I know that his promises are true, and he has proven himself by answered prayer, by changed circumstance, by blessing after blessing, as well as a correcting hand. I know he is real because when I called, he answered. While some say that this is only subjective and that no experiment can show this to be true. I say that the reason that I hold to Genesis one, as well as the rest of scripture is because he has proven himself true. I trust him to show me what only he can know. Just a thought.

#29  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, May 29, 2010at 11:27 PM

I've heard this sermon before. Very thought provoking. I need to settle this in my head; did creation occur via supernatural events as J.Mac says or did we have a natural origin? This is the crux of the matter. I think the evidence supports the latter. Assume that we can't study a miraculous origin, but that we try to anyways. Why, when we do this, does it seem to fit so perfectly with a natural origin? That is what I'd like Dr. MacArthur to answer.

On a related note, I wanted to thank the person that is running this blog for not beating around the bush; your choice of topics/audio clips/lead in questions is excellent. I've been thinking about these matters more or less constantly for the last few weeks and I hope I've gotten closer to the truth. I'm also considering taking an Answers in Genesis online course in biology just to make sure I understand YEC arguments completely. I don't want to simply react to one extreme (Hovind) with another. Thanks to Don, Gabe, Frank, and Carol for helping me to thoughtfully reconsider my position. You've shown me that YECs can be very thoughtful, rational people, rather than blind and dogmatic. Thanks for interacting with my thoughts.

"What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?"

The need for modern/postmodern man to legitimize his beliefs scientifically, which now more than ever is the quickest way to credibility. Prove Genesis is scientifically accurate and you've upheld biblical authority. A truly misguided effort since it rests the authority of unchanging scripture on the shifting sands of science, which is always in progress.

"For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?"

Entire books can/have been written on that question. As a Christian who studies the biological sciences, I tend to lean toward the two books notion as laid out in the Belgic confession. I also find the handmaiden analogy helpful. God's works complement God's word, though special revelation takes precedence over general revelation and science should serve as a handmaiden to theology, helping us understand the implications of the bible in the natural world and occasionally weeding out poor interpretations.

#30  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, May 30, 2010at 11:58 PM

Dr Werner Gitt at http://www.answersingenesis.org, are with his book "In the Beginning was Information", talking about how evolution violates all natural laws, and specifically can give no answer to the "Law of information", because it is not material. (There are an online 3 part video webcast)

DNA is both software and hardware, but you can't give a materialistic reason for information, because all information is nonmaterial by itself, but can always be traced back to an intelligent source.

#31  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, May 31, 2010at 11:55 PM

#29 Garrett League, I can see you are honestly struggling with deep convictions. I have myself learned a lot from Jean D. Pitman at http://www.detectingdesign.com. He is not avoiding any tuff questions, but dives right in to the pitfalls with rationality. But above all - remember love is better than knowledge. God gives access in His kingdom to all who will recieve His gift.

#32  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 6:33 AM

#29 - Garret.

There we go with "the evidence" again. Somehow I don't think that you would believe even if God Himself showed you how He did it. Why? Because of your fallen condition (and mine too, I am not excluding myself, although I believe every word the Bible says).

I think it was Augustine who said "I believe in order to understand". You are working backwards, you need evidence so you can believe.

May God bless you and give you the faith you need in order to understand.

E.

#33  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 9:30 AM

#32 and #7 - Right on the spot.

There is no lack of knowledge or evidence. All is laid open to all men. We do willfully choose to fully trust or reject God, and we are responsible for that choice.

What is it all about? – You already know that. God is more important than anything else in the whole universe. He wants to win your undivided heart, your true love and adoration. He gave His only begotten son. What more could he give?

Would you reject so great a gift, because you don’t understand all things? Then you are really in danger, and maybe that wonderful gift will be given to another.

#34  Posted by Shawn Clauther  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 10:48 AM

# 32 and 33, please correct me if I am wrong, but your posts could be understood as saying that Garrett (post # 29) is lost. I personally do not know him, so I cannot judge one way or the other, and I do not think that we should be so hasty to judge (assuming that such was indeed your intent). Actually, he does seem to have a legitimate question.

As for you, Garrett, you say: "Assume that we can't study a miraculous origin, but that we try to anyways. Why, when we do this, does it seem to fit so perfectly with a natural origin?" Your preface actually leads to the answer to your question. Since science deals with the workings of the material world and cannot test the immaterial, if science comes up with an answer at all, it will inevitably be material. However, the evidence does NOT really lead to a material origin, despite what secular schooling might have taught you. The complexity of life actually tells us that there is a design. Logic dictates that for a design, there must be a designer. However, science cannot tell us WHO the designer is or HOW he did it. That is an answer for history, and the only reliable source of the relevant history is Scripture. It is a question of whether you will believe the history to be reliable or not.

From the rest of your post, it seems that you are really looking after the truth, and you are not far afield at all:

"'What is at the heart of the incursion of science into the territory of theology?'

The need for modern/postmodern man to legitimize his beliefs scientifically, which now more than ever is the quickest way to credibility. . . . A truly misguided effort since it rests the authority of unchanging scripture on the shifting sands of science, which is always in progress.

'For scientists who are professing Christians, how should they think about the relationship between science and theology?'

. . . God's works complement God's word, though special revelation takes precedence over general revelation and science should serve as a handmaiden to theology, helping us understand the implications of the bible in the natural world and occasionally weeding out poor interpretations."

As God promised: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5 KJV)

#35  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 11:37 AM

# 34 - Shawn.

Wouldn't you agree that he needs faith in order to believe Genesis the way it was written?

Since I do believe the Word of God, and I believe in the whole counsel of God, I also believe that the Holy Spirit gives us conviction. Wouldn't you agree? We all know that many professed Christians will be surprised on that day (Matt. 7:22).

We will always find what we look for. Garret is looking for evidence in science. He will find what he's looking for, but that doesn't mean it will be Truth. And that's the same for all TE. All the rational arguments, I could care less about them, I am not in the business of trying to disprove God and make Him a liar and/or a deceiver.

Creation is NOT a secondary issue. And if we have to call TE to doubt their salvation so they would look into themselves and question what they really believe, so be it.

E.

#36  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 1:54 PM

#34 Oh no. No way. Absolutely not. I consider Garrett a brother in Christ with theological questions. We are arguing about theology and importance of what to do with our lives. But I do now see your point. In #31 I meant convictions, not about salvation, but about science and evolution as the source. In #33 Garret was not in my thoughts.

#37  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 2:32 PM

Garrett,

Assume that we can't study a miraculous origin, but that we try to anyways. Why, when we do this, does it seem to fit so perfectly with a natural origin?

Well, John probably won't be answering on here, so I'll take a stab at it. It really isn't that complicated. I've given you, at least twice, the analogy of the scientist studying the bread and fish Jesus created. There will always be a natural explanation (with limitations, just like evolution is limited in what it can explain) because what God creates is real and natural in its properties. Once you take God out of the picture, the scientist can construct any theory that fits the evidence. Because the theory fits the evidence, the theory sounds true. Obviously if a theory did not fit the evidence no one would believe it.

The scientist rejects a miraculous creation on the basis that it doesn't fit the evidence. But what the scientist is actually doing is rejecting the most important evidence of all, namely, God's inspired revelation. In other words, science has created a theory not on the evidence, but only on the evidence that it accepts. If science allowed for any and all evidence, then evolution does not fit all the evidence because that which has the most evidential authority (Scripture) won't allow for evolution.

Remember how Gordon Clover in his videos asked the rhetorical questions of "what if there was a receipt, and what if the wine-maker had memories, etc." Well those are nice questions, but the fact is there was no receipt and no one had memories. Gordon asked those questions as if evolution had such eye-witnesses to verify its theory. While such eye-witness accounts would greatly bolster the case for evolution, no such accounts exist. So evolution is extremely limited in the type of evidence it can interpret and from which to create a theory.

So evolution appears correct because 1) it explains the limited evidence at our disposal, and 2) there are no accepted eye-witness accounts that contradict it. The testimony of the supreme eye-witness (indeed the Creator Himself) is not allowed in the courtroom, so for those inside the court the case seems air tight. But it is far from it.

Regarding the concept of natural revelation (aka, the book of nature), this is a misnomer. Man has created this concept of “natural revelation” to permit him to make his interpretation of nature on par with Scripture. But Scripture has no such concept. The only natural revelation Scripture refers to is limited to revealing God and some of His attributes (Psalm 19 and Romans 1 being examples par excellence). Scientists of various kinds have stolen that concept to exalt man’s wisdom, but the way scientists use the term it is completely a man-made concept.

#38  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 3:00 PM

I need to expand on my first paragraph. Every time God has made a material object (the universe, wine, bread, fish, body parts, etc.), the final product of what He makes conforms is natural and conforms to that which God has already created. In other words, bread created ex nihilo is of the same substance as bread grown, harvested, and baked. So when you study the former the natural explanation is just like that of the latter. The only way to know what was created miraculously and what was created naturally is to have external testimony as to how it came to be. In other words, you need to go outside the object to understand how the object came to be.

Evolution has the appearance of truth (to some) because it explains the internal evidence of creation on certain assumptions of external factors (namely, that there were none). The only way to have external evidence is for something/someone outside of the created world to reveal how it came to be. The internal evidence is interpreted a certain way on the assumption that the external evidence is invalid.

God created an ordered world. My explanation for why the internal evidence can appear to lead to evolution is because God's natural creation is such that there is order, not chaos, in the material world. Some, like Gordon Clover, call that unnecessary illusion. I call that order. Would it be better if material creation were chaotic and there was no possible explanation for the function of the material world except God's sustaining power? The Bible's teaching on the natural heart is that it would find an anti-supernatural explanation even in chaos.

#39  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, June 01, 2010at 8:46 PM

Garrett,

So glad you’re still wrestling with this issue & haven’t given up on YEC totally! Remember Jacob wrestled all night with God & wouldn’t let go until He blessed him. Gen 32:22-32. I’m sure He will grant you the truth you seek if you continue to desire that with all your heart. You are still in my prayers, as are the many Garretts like you who are struggling with this issue & even questioning its spiritual importance.

Q : When evaluating your scientific “evidences” which you say always “appear” to support Old earth/evolution, why not ask yourself this question, “COULD this be explained Biblically?” (Modern evolutionary scientists will give you their own explanation, but for a moment, throw THEIR explanation out.) As Gabriel has pointed out, the wine at Cana, & the bread & fish that fed the 5000 CAN be explained Biblically IF you don’t throw out the miraculous variable. Since science cannot study or prove the miraculous, it throws that variable out, but as Christians, we cannot do that, for God’s word gives testimony of many miracles, namely Jesus Christ’s resurrection!

Example: God’s word says Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, remained in its stomach for 3 days, was spit back out & survived – I take that literally. It was a miraculous event even though we can explain it naturally; after all, we don’t know of anyone else every being swallowed by a great fish & surviving. From a scientific point I’d ask, “Why didn’t Jonah drown in there? Suffocate? Be eaten alive by gastric acids? Be nibbled on by other life forms also swallowed by the fish?” So I believe this was miraculous even though it CAN be explained NATURALLY.

As you search for the truth, include the POSSIBILITIES OF MIRACLES (INCLUDING THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE & OF MANKIND). I believe you will conclude that you will find what you are looking for (as someone else stated: if you are looking for a material/naturalistic answer – you’ll find that, but if you are looking for God’s handiwork & His miraculous power – then you will find that!) May God grant you His truth!