Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.

Don’t Surrender the Ground!

Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Comments (85)

An old Arabian proverb says, “If the camel gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.” That happens all the time when Christians imagine a friendly alliance can exist between evolution and creation. Wedding the two is a compromise with enormous ramifications.

Surrendering ground in this debate is absolutely unnecessary—even tragic. What’s at stake is the inerrancy, integrity, and authority of Scripture. Now is not the time to weaken our commitment to God’s flawless Words, it’s time to take a stand.


The evolutionary lie is so pointedly antithetical to Christian truth that it would seem unthinkable for evangelical Christians to compromise with evolutionary science in any degree. But over the past century and a half of evolutionary propaganda, evolutionists have had remarkable success in getting evangelicals to meet them halfway. Remarkably, many modern evangelicals—perhaps it would even be fair to say most people who call themselves evangelicals today—have already been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is not a true historical record. Thus they have not only capitulated to evolutionary doctrine at its starting point, but they have also embraced a view that undermines the authority of Scripture at its starting point.

So-called theistic evolutionists who try to marry humanistic theories of modern science with biblical theism may claim they are doing so because they love God, but the truth is that they love God a little and their academic reputations a lot. By undermining the historicity of Genesis they are undermining faith itself. Give evolutionary doctrine the throne and make the Bible its servant, and you have laid the foundation for spiritual disaster.

Scripture, not science, is the ultimate test of all truth. And the further evangelicalism gets from that conviction, the less evangelical and more humanistic it becomes.

Scripture cautions against false "knowledge" (1 Timothy 6:20)—particularly so-called "scientific" knowledge that opposes the truth of Scripture. When what is being passed off as "science" turns out to be nothing more than a faith-based world-view that is hostile to the truth of Scripture, our duty to be on guard is magnified. And when naturalistic and atheistic presuppositions are being aggressively peddled as if they were established scientific fact, Christians ought to expose such lies for what they are and oppose them all the more vigorously. The abandonment of a biblical view of creation has already borne abundant evil fruit in modern society. Now is no time for the church to retreat or compromise on these issues. To weaken our commitment to the biblical view of creation would start a chain of disastrous moral, spiritual, and theological ramifications in the church that will greatly exacerbate the terrible moral chaos that already has begun the unraveling of secular society.


John mentioned the “unraveling of moral society.” As you observe our culture, what evidence do you see of this “unraveling”? How do you trace that back to evolution?


Make a Comment

Click here to subscribe to comments without commenting.

You have 3000 characters remaining for your comment. Note: All comments must be approved before being posted.

Submit

#1  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 4:05 AM

You know, this whole debate between Christians—and I stress this particular part of the debate—could be a healthy thing in the church. But it never will be as long as people like JM keep using these military metaphors suggesting that we are war with one another. Either declare those who disagree with you heretics and your side the only legitimate Christianity, and be done with it, or find some way to engage in a positive discussion and debate. But this trench warfare where we hunker down in our own holes and lob grenades at one another from a distance across no man's land is only destructive to the fellowship and mission of the church. Sometimes I despair of Protestantism and its unending warfare. Quote all the NT verses you want justifying your militant position. The apostles only engaged in this kind of attack when battling enemies of the Gospel. Either declare the other side enemies of the Gospel, or find a better way. Please.

#2  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 7:42 AM

To be honest, I'm not really sure that "moral society" is being unraveled. If anything, the idea of a godless moral society is flourishing, (by their standards, not those of scripture) specifically because evolution has separated man from God. No longer are we made in God's image, but in that of a primate. Are other primates (monkeys, etc.) also made in God's image? Heaven forbid the lie! Yes I understand that I'm drastically over-simplifying the Imago Dei. It's not a matter of physical composition. I'm doing it intentionally to emphasize the broad gap created by lowering our view of the Creator and drastically elevating our view of the creation.

Since evolution has devalued God and overvalued "objective" knowledge (objective meaning "apart from scripture"), man has ceased to believe that he needs God to be a "good" person...since heretics teach them that this is what really matters. Since you can give it your best shot in your own personal religious experience, whatever that is, and whatever you call your god and still get by on being good, you can comfortably reject the truth of scripture.

I'm more curious as to whether or not a scripturally moral society has ever actually existed in the scale to which we refer? Has it ever actually been "raveled" in the first place?

#3  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 8:26 AM

This kind of alarmist, polarizing, rhetoric is precisely why fundamentalism has failed to have any significant impact on Christianity and will continue to diminish in influence and credibility.

When Richard Dawkins speaks on theology, I take what he says with a “grain of salt” because theology is not his field and he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge in this area to make authoritative statements.

Likewise, when John MacArthur speaks on science, I hesitate to accept his words as authoritative. Science is not his field, and he has consistently demonstrated a poor understanding of science and its workings.

Evolution is not the “Great Satan”. Some, like Dawkins, have turned it into a pseudo religion, but most simply use it as a tool in science because it provides the best fit for the data. We need to stay away from the extremes on both sides.

Some may try to use evolution to justify a lack of moral behavior, but that’s no different than Fred Phelps and his crowd using the Bible to justify anti-gay demonstrations at soldiers’ funerals. Hugh Hefner and his playboy philosophy may have contributed to the moral unraveling of American society, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that evolution is the cause. Hedonism preceded evolution by thousands of years.

#4  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 9:44 AM

The evolutionary lie is so pointedly antithetical to Christian truth that it would seem unthinkable for evangelical Christians to compromise with evolutionary science in any degree.

Yes, how could anyone believe that all life comes from nothing. How can nothing lead all by nothing's self into something? How does disorder naturally become order? Hasn't spontaneous generation been disproved? If you extend spontaneous generation over billions of years, would it not be even more impossible? If you extend it over billions of years and through billions of individuals, would it not be even still more impossible?

And has not alchemy been disproven? How can one life-form become a completely different life-form? And all by itself? And they say this happens millions of times?

How is that "scientists" think they have absolute laws that prove that everything is random?

They say the world began randomly and each life ends meaninglessly. Isn't that cruel?

#5  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 9:51 AM

Peter, to be fair to our evolutionist friends, they don't really believe in evolution. What I mean is they don't believe evolution according to how the atheists describe it (which is how you described it). They don't believe in random mutations. They don't believe in alchemy. They don't believe in spontaneous generation.

They rather believe that God sovereignly guided the process, molding the mutations according to His will, causing spontaneous generation when it was necessary at the right time, etc. Evolution doesn't exist, according to them, rather it is God's taking billions of years slowly, methodically working on preparing the universe just the way He wanted it.

To our "evolutionist" friends, am I right? Or was God not involved at all in the process? How do you describe God's involvement in evolution?

#6  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 10:27 AM

What’s at stake is the inerrancy, integrity, and authority of Scripture (JM). Not true, Scripture is true no matter what society thinks of how evolution and the Bible mesh. John MacArthur sets up his arguments and his interpretation of Genesis as objective truth assuming that he is interpreting the Bible properly. When the Bible says that the sun sets or rises this is scientifically untrue but a wooden interpretation of scripture would force the theologian to fight the scientist on this issue.

Evolutionists ultimately know they repress the truth within themselves but John MacArthurites (I am one 90% of the time) must not hold to wooden interpretations of the Bible because of tradition or an understandable tendency to equate our perceived understanding and Biblical truth.

Evolution doesn't hold up to provoking question in science or theology, nor does a newspaper literalism interpretation of Bible passages hold up objective truth.

#8  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 11:18 AM

Donavan,

What do you mean by "nor does a newspaper literalism interpretation of Bible passages hold up objective truth"?

Can you give an example of "John MacArthurites (I am one 90% of the time) must not hold to wooden interpretations of the Bible"?

Not true, Scripture is true no matter what society thinks of how evolution and the Bible mesh.

MacArthur would certainly agree. I think he means more that the Church's recognition/acknowledgment of those doctrines is at stake.

John MacArthur sets up his arguments and his interpretation of Genesis as objective truth assuming that he is interpreting the Bible properly.

Does anyone assume they are interpreting the Bible improperly?

#9  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 12:37 PM

What's sad about these posts and the rhetoric consistently used by pastor MacArthur is that it gives off a sense of fear and anxiety that I just don't see in men like Hodge and Warfield. Hodge said the following:

"There is also a distinction to be made between the Bible and our interpretation. The latter may come into competition with settled facts; and then it must yield. Science has in many things taught the Church how to understand the Scriptures. The Bible was for ages understood and explained according to the Ptolemaic system of the universe; it is now explained without doing the least violence to its language, according to the Copernican system. Christians have commonly believed that the earth has existed only a few thousands of years. If geologists finally prove that it has existed for myriads of ages, it will be found that the first chapter of Genesis is in full accord with the facts, and that the last results of science are embodied on the first page of the Bible. It may cost the Church a severe struggle to give up one interpretation and adopt another, as it did in the seventeenth century, but no real evil need be apprehended. The Bible has stood, and still stands in the presence of the whole scientific world with its claims unshaken."

Where is that sort of confidence at this blog? Confidence that God's word can stand no matter where the scientific chips may fall. I don't see it. I see lots of fear, emotion, and war imagery, but not much Hodge/Warfieldian sanity. Lot's of slippery slopes, lots of words like "unraveling," "compromise," and "spiritual disaster," which only serve to heat things up and cloud our thinking. I'm not saying are downright demagogues, but you really do need to take #1's advice and stop sending mixed signals. Ken Ham does the same thing. In an article on AiG, he has said "There’s no doubt — the god of an old earth destroys the Gospel." Yet when Hugh Ross brought that up with him on the John Ankerberg program, Ham balked, and said he didn't really mean OECs/TEs were necessarily lost. I think it's just plain irresponsible. This post is no different in many respects.

"So-called theistic evolutionists who try to marry humanistic theories of modern science with biblical theism may claim they are doing so because they love God, but the truth is that they love God a little and their academic reputations a lot."

Evolution is NOT a "humanistic theory." It's not atheistic. It's not even theistic. It's just the best scientific description of the data, period. Why must you guys INSIST on the Dawkins' hypothesis, namely, that evolution necessitates atheism! It's bad epistemology, by philosophy, and really bad science. If evolution is atheistic, then so is Newtonian physics.

Next, you say that because I think the bible and evolution are compatible, I must "love God a little and [my] academic [reputation] a lot." Those both may be true (looking at my own heart, I never love God as I ought and I do often crave the respect of my peers), but they're NOT why I "try to marry humanistic theories of modern science with biblical theism." I do that for the simple reason that I take both of them to be true. If I'm performing a marriage ceremony, then it's merely between one true thing and another.

"By undermining the historicity of Genesis they are undermining faith itself. Give evolutionary doctrine the throne and make the Bible its servant, and you have laid the foundation for spiritual disaster."

Actually, by embracing scientific concordism, it is people like Ken Ham and Hugh Ross that make the bible a servant of science, not me.

#5 Gabriel: "Peter, to be fair to our evolutionist friends, they don't really believe in evolution. What I mean is they don't believe evolution according to how the atheists describe it (which is how you described it)."

It's comments like THIS that give me some hope. Fred, Gabriel & co. will NEVER agree with my position, but at least they try to fairly represent it. And when they're not sure, they ask questions like this:

"To our "evolutionist" friends, am I right? Or was God not involved at all in the process? How do you describe God's involvement in evolution?"

God was involved in every bit of the process. He decreed it. He sustained it. He did it all. God is not some grand "creator of artifacts" as Paley, the deists, or the IDers picture Him. I really loathe the term "divine intervention," because it assumes that God is usually hands-off, only occasionally sticking his finger in the mix to make a flagellum, start life, or set up the blood clotting cascade. He's actually much more imminent in creation than that. He didn't "set up" laws to work on their own. In fact, as Dr. Sproul said once, if you were to release a book in mid air, gravity would play no role in pulling it down. Gravity is a label we place on a phenomenon that describes the way God normally governs the fall of objects on earth. If God didn't want it to fall, it would float for eternity, and gravity would have no say in it. That's my take. The whole picture of TE as God intervening only at key points is mostly non-existent. I mean, he certainly could have made life originally via extra-ordinary providence (like Darwin originally thought) and I'm not totally against that option, but he certainly didn't have to. And He is certainly no less a creator if He chose to do it "naturally," or by ordinary providence. Like Edwards said in a sermon entitled "God is Everywhere Present": "The same power that made things to be, that first moment that ever they were, is now exercised to make them to be this moment and is continually exercised to make them to be every moment that they are. God’s preservation of the world is nothing but a continued act of creation…" In fact, although it is impossible to say for sure, many of Augustine's views on creation seem to be perfectly at home in what modern science has uncovered:

"Augustine draws out the following core themes: God brought everything into existence in a single moment of creation. Yet the created order is not static. God endowed it with the capacity to develop. Augustine uses the image of a dormant seed to help his readers grasp this point. God creates seeds, which will grow and develop at the right time. Using more technical language, Augustine asks his readers to think of the created order as containing divinely embedded causalities that emerge or evolve at a later stage. Yet Augustine has no time for any notion of random or arbitrary changes within creation. The development of God's creation is always subject to God's sovereign providence. The God who planted the seeds at the moment of creation also governs and directs the time and place of their growth." See McGrath's article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/may/22.39.html

#10  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 1:58 PM

Gabriel

As I'm sure you know the Bible uses different types of literary style, Genesis included, this is where I think John MacArthur makes mistakes based on his tradition. When the Colts kill the Steelers it doesn't mean the colts murdered the steelers and it's also not a commentary on the justice of theft.

Examples of when he does this type of interpretation are easy, with respect to the age of the Earth he insists that the Hebrew word for day must mean a 24 hour day because the Hebrew word used is usually meant as a 24 hour time period, but God didn't make the sky until the second day. Other examples are his wooden literal sense of Hell, he says there is fire but the Bible says it's dark, in Matthew 24 when Jesus says I tell you, this generation will see all these things happen... the word this is 100% of the time translated as this and not that.

Does anyone assume they are interpreting the Bible improperly?

John MacArthurs confidence is great but what if he makes a mistake, he says that issues like evolution

concern the truth of scripture if we don't understand and accept his view. The church has taken many hits through history because of ideas like this, Galileo comes to mind. Evolution is a bankrupt idea yes but there is a difference between standing for the Bible as truth and saying here is truth and it's in the Bible.

#12  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 2:17 PM

Actually, Augustine had a more radical explanation of Genesis than the seven-day week; he believed all six days of creation happened all at once.*

Augustine also explicitly ruled out OE or TE. He said:

Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. For some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been... They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed.

– Augustine, The City of God, Book 12: Chap. 10

Augustine also believed that Adam was made in full manhood.**


*The reason for his reading is that Augustine put too much weight on a misleading translation of one passage of Ecclesiasticus, which he mistook as canonical.

#13  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 2:45 PM

Garret, # 9 says:

"Science has in many things taught the Church how to understand the Scriptures."

I think this is backwards. I believe truth was (and is )in the scriptures always, and science, once it advances enough, is able to confirm, uphold, and conform to those truths.

Evolution, in saying we evolved from anything, is not in keeping with biblical scripture. Scripture plainly says Adam was created in the sixth day, mature, and able to carry out a conversation with God. How does science explain that? they don't even attempt to. Why, because God is involved. They have to redefine God (bring Him down to an understandable level)in order to accommodate their theory.

"If geologists finally prove that it has existed for myriads of ages, it will be found that the first chapter of Genesis is in full accord with the facts.." Well, right now they have nothing to prove "the facts" (and we could go at it a long time even agreeing in what the facts would be). I believe evolution would have to be "proven" before we get into any productive arguments (it's still the THEORY of evolution, right?).

To attempt to answer the question posted :

"John mentioned the “unraveling of moral society.” As you observe our culture, what evidence do you see of this “unraveling”? How do you trace that back to evolution?"

I don't see anything really new. When I hear about children killing children, moms killing their own children, some disgruntled employee going nuts and killing people, or any other tragedy involving humans. I cannot really blame evolution. Only as far as to say Evolution really demeans the dignity of man ( in saying we are nothing but apes evolving). I don't think the most hardcore of evolutionists would readily admit evolution is to blame. If anything, the "fall" is to blame.

#14  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 2:59 PM

As you observe our culture, what evidence do you see of this “unraveling”? How do you trace that back to evolution?

Article VI of our constitution declares the Constitution and laws passed in pursuance of the same to be the supreme law of our land. Officers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, both state and federal are bound by oath or affirmation to support this supreme law of the land. Any law or Constitution which is contrary to this Constitution is in effect null and void. Prior to the teachings of Darwinism (evolution) students of law studied the Constitution, its historical background including the study of the scriptures as the foundation of Biblical natural law, the very roots of our Constitution. In the 1870’s Harvard Law School dean Christopher Columbus Langdell (1826-1906) applied the principals of evolution to the study of law. The theory that man is evolving necessitated the rejection of “original intent” and the very foundations of the Constitution. The substitution of the study of “case law”, whereby a judges ruling now becomes the “Law of the land” allows the evolution of man to continue unhindered.

The theory of evolution has unraveled the very foundation of our nation’s government (authority) and the supreme Law of our land has, in effect, been usurped. To put it another way; the Constitution no longer says what it really says. It says what those who, in reality, are in violation of their oath of office, says it says. –His Unworthy Slave

#15  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 3:06 PM

From Peter, # 12

"Actually, Augustine had a more radical explanation of Genesis than the seven-day week; he believed all six days of creation happened all at once."

Come on now, if that's what he said he believed, that is just silly.

#16  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 3:12 PM

Jorge,

Well, it's not that he believed the six days happened all at once, but that God created everything instantaneously and the six day explanation was allegorical (thanks to Origen).

#17  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 3:48 PM

#12 Peter: Read the article I linked. McGrath concludes this way:

"Unsurprisingly, Augustine approaches the text with the culturally prevalent presupposition of the fixity of species and finds nothing in it to challenge his thinking on this point. Yet the ways in which he critiques contemporary authorities and his own experience suggest that, on this point at least, he would be open to correction in light of prevailing scientific opinion.

So does Augustine's The Literal Meaning of Genesis help us engage with the great questions raised by Darwin? Let's be clear that Augustine does not answer these questions for us. But he does help us see that the real issue here is not the authority of the Bible, but its right interpretation. In addition, he offers us a classic way of thinking about the Creation that might illuminate some contemporary debates.

On this issue, Augustine is neither liberal nor accommodationist, but deeply biblical, both in substance and intention. While his approach hardly represents the last word, it needs to be on the table.

We need patient, generous, and gracious reflection on these big issues. Augustine of Hippo can help us get started."

#18  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 5:04 PM

Garrett-

As the article notes, Augustine stuck to a Biblical model. I am quite sure that he would reconsider his notion that the six days were six categories of an instantaneous creation. As the article reads:

Now, Augustine may be wrong in asserting that Scripture clearly teaches that the Creation was instantaneous. Evangelicals, after all, believe in the infallibility of Scripture, not the infallibility of its interpreters. As others have pointed out, Augustine himself was not entirely consistent about the Creation.

And yet Augustine sought

No Compromise.

Augustine's approach allowed theology to avoid becoming trapped in a prescientific worldview, and helped him not to compromise in the face of cultural pressures, which were significant.

So says McGrath, and we can be sure Augustine would feel no pressure to give ground to extra-biblical nor secular evolutionist models, whether progressive, theistic, or atheistic.

#19  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 5:43 PM

Mike said: You know, this whole debate between Christians—and I stress this particular part of the debate—could be a healthy thing in the church. But it never will be as long as people like JM keep using these military metaphors suggesting that we are war with one another.

Two things for you to consider Mike:

First: The philosophy you are advocating is precisely the idea driving Biologos to harmonize “faith” and “science” (so called). And what was the result of that endeavor? Biologos featured an open theist (Greg Boyd); a man who denies justification by faith alone (N.T. Wright); and a man who denies the historicity of Adam, Eve, and the Fall (Tremper Longman III). If you define that kind of dialogue as “healthy” for the church, you’ve got some thinking to do on the gospel. Now maybe you see John’s point about not surrendering ground to the enemy.

People made the same warmonger accusations toward John MacArthur when he exposed the “cheap grace/easy believism” evangelism. Those views of salvation undermined the gospel and posed a threat to the church, and John called them out.

Had he listened to those lobbing peace grenades at him, precious ground would have been surrendered. My point is this: Were some of those singled out by John in his books actually Christians? Certainly, but regardless, they were attacking the truth and integrity of Scripture. If someone attacks your camp, you defend first, and then find out what uniform they’re wearing later.

You also said: Sometimes I despair of Protestantism and its unending warfare.

Mike, like it or not, a Christian is a soldier. It’s not for the lighthearted. If you can’t run with the footmen, what will you do when the chariots come? If you don’t stand up for the truthfulness of Genesis, your children and grandchildren may one day attend a “Christian” school and be learning about the myth of Genesis. By then, the camel is inside the tent, and the battle is over. I think I’ll hunker down in the foxhole with John and contend for the truth—all of it.

Luther once wrote these gripping words. I hope you take them to heart because they bear heavily on our topic:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle field besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

And to Garrett: Here's a challenge for you. Head over to biologos and zealously post comments against their perceived problems (you've lamented these in several places, but unless I've overlooked the posts, you've not seriously challenged them). Confront them in the same spirit you have here. Engage the leaders . . . the same way you have here. Engage the guest bloggers, those you know misrepresent the historic Christian faith . . . the same way you have here. Those are your colleagues. Call them out, Garrett.

#20  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 6:27 PM

Steve # 3 wrote:

"Evolution is not the “Great Satan”. Some, like Dawkins, have turned it into a pseudo religion, but most simply use it as a tool in science because it provides the best fit for the data. We need to stay away from the extremes on both sides. "

How can that be? Do you mean compromise what you believe so as to not be confrontational?. Christians should not stay away from the Biblical "extreme". The price Jesus paid was much too great. Scripture is true (if God has allowed you understanding). Evolution may not be the "great satan", but it's in keeping with his tactics to divert attention from God and put it on what men can come up with.

Also: "Hugh Hefner and his playboy philosophy may have contributed to the moral unraveling of American society, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that evolution is the cause."

I'll assume you mean Naturalistic evolution. In naturalistic evolution, God is left out of the picture. In it, God doesn't even exist. Anyone going through life without authority will only see decay all around him. He'll be left with "survival of the fittest". Do you believe that can lead to prosperity, harmony, or peaceful co-existence?

#21  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 6:34 PM

Yes, Evolution is evil. It will keep on. Yes I agree with how awful

of killings. Remember the fruit that we choose to eat in the garden.

Sin is cancer in our society. Even in the world too. We can trace

evolution back further in time. The Romans and the Greeks that believe

in chance. Evolution goes back further, when satan fell and decieved

Eve to believe she can be a god and live forever. Both Eve and Adam

choose to worship themselves believing a lie that satan put in their

hearts. We inherited sin and stuck with it from birth to death. Jesus

paved the way to free us from sin by dying on the cross and rose from

the dead after 3 days.

Yes, I agree with John MacArthur that we must teach evolution so we

and those we taught can fight against it by prayer, not fists.

#22  Posted by Janet Young  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 9:46 PM

steve #3, you said: "...you’ll have a hard time convincing me that evolution is the cause [of the moral unraveling of American society]. Hedonism preceded evolution by thousands of years."

This may be true, but evolution was what "justified" the human tendency toward hedonism. Humans who let themselves slip into hedonism, before the idea of evolution, generally had a great sense of guilt that went along with their sinful practices, for they feared judgment from some higher being (as atheism as a trend is very new to the human race). In fact, the only way that humans "could" justify their lustful actions before evolution (and quite desperately i might add) was to create religions that glorified pleasure, and gods that were knowable only through the "highs" of such unbridled acts. The modern man now sees that such gods were false, for they are so obviously only a projection of man himself. But evolution presents a new and great temptation all together: we were not created by a higher being, so we are not and will never be answerable to a higher being. Now we can do whatever we want, and feel no guilt! This has indeed caused a moral downfall in our society today, because where there is no guilt, there are no limits whatsoever.

Evolution is thus responsible for much more corruption and perversion than many realize. If you take away the Source of morality, which is what evolution does, then eventually morality will become obsolete.

#23  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 10:35 PM

Tommy, #19. With all due respect, I disagree with every single thing you said. Have fun in your foxhole. I want to live where God's mission is being fulfilled—in the world, among my neighbors, able to have civil conversations with those who disagree with me, learning to love and listen to my enemies, working to heal differences between Christians and not exacerbate those differences by engaging in fruitless battles.

The church's central teaching is the Creed. Keep it central. Nothing else.

God tells us his requirements in Micah 6:8. Keep the main thing the main thing.

Jesus did not say, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, by the wars you wage against other believers for your interpretation of the Bible.”

He did say, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”

#24  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 10:38 PM

Hi Folks: It is interesting to note that Sir David Frost interviewed Julian Huxley and one of the comments Huxley made was that Evolution allowed people to live promiscuous lives- this was the reason he felt made it so appealing and so readily accepted by the people. ( this is a summery- I forgot the exact wording). Just a thought.

#25  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, July 15, 2010at 11:38 PM

Michael:

That puts me in good company. I don’t have a problem with the military metaphors because they’re biblical; and I don’t mind contending earnestly for the faith. I don’t think you and Luther would have been buddies, but I’m glad he was a fighter, aren’t you?

Your comments are telling, and I suspect we’d also differ on how you define your terms:

God’s mission

The Gospel

Christians

The Church

The Creed

Thanks for your comments.

#26  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 12:04 AM

Is God telling the truth or not. That’s the issue and nothing else.

John MacArthur has previous pointed to the extreme important keys:

Moreover, if Scripture itself treats the creation and fall of Adam as historical events, there is no warrant for treating the rest of the creation account as allegory or literary device. Nowhere in all of Scripture are any of these events handled as merely symbolic.

In fact, when the New Testament refers to creation, (e.g., Mark 13:19; John 1:3; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2, 10; Revelation 4:11; 10:6; 14:7) it always refers to a past, completed event—an immediate work of God, not a still-occurring process of evolution. The promised New Creation, a running theme in both Old and New Testaments, is portrayed as an immediate fiat creation, too—not an eons-long process (Isaiah 65:17). In fact, the model for the New Creation is the original creation (cf. Romans 8:21; Revelation 21:1, 5).

You TE's are avoiding the clear evidence from Scripture – Please explain these Scriptures.

It seems to me that you are inventing your own philosophy. I can see absolutely no recognizable Christian doctrines and teachings in your posts.

Do you have a statement of belief?

#27  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 12:45 AM

Tommy, if you read my first comment, you will note that I said the military metaphors are appropriate when dealing with false teachers, enemies of the Gospel, purveyors of false religion. Jesus was brutally direct with the Pharisees who rejected him and the Good News he brought. Paul cut no slack for the Judaizers who perverted the Gospel with works and requirements that one become a Jew in order to become a Christian. John used clear black and white terms when confronting the Gnostic heretics in his letters.

In the same way, Luther was fighting a whole false system of salvation that had overtaken the Church (the Church, by the way, of which he nevertheless always considered himself a member). It was quite a different time, as well, and one must not forget that Luther also provoked actual warfare and persecution against some radically reformed groups that he disagreed with. Is that something we should do today?

None of these folks were fighting battles like those that are going on here at GTY: where Person A believes the first article of the Creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," but thinks Genesis records that as a literal account of a 6-day creation, while Person B also believes the first article of the Creed, but thinks Genesis is telling historical truth in a literary manner rather than in strict newspaper reporting fashion.

Both sides believe the same historical facts: God created everything. Both sides believe the same theological truths: It was God who did it, not other "gods" or mere naturalistic processes.

And yet Person A is waging war against Person B! If you think Christians should fight battles like that, where does it stop? Pretty soon, your convictions about "essential Biblical truths" will paint you into a corner and you and few others will be left talking to yourselves.

Your snide remarks about defining terms leads me to believe that you think I'm some kind of theological liberal or something. Shows you how hard it is to have a real discussion over the internet and how unfair one's perceptions can be.

If you think we define all those terms you listed differently, then you must, in fact, think I am not a Christian at all, for those are the very terms that define a Christian, most especially "Gospel" and "Creed."

Do we both accept 1Corinthians 15:1-8? Do we both accept the ecumenical creeds of the early church, summarized most succinctly in the Apostles Creed? This is what I affirm. How about you?

If you do too, then, are we both Christians?

And where do we go from there? Take up arms against each other?

Seems like an awful waste of time and energy to me.

#28  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 2:45 AM

Michael:

I wasn’t intending to be snide. To be completely honest, the language you used in your response put me in mind of a conversation I had with a close friend who has systematically abandoned historic, evangelical Christianity. Talking with him is a sad and frustrating experience.

He would go on about creeds, the mission of the church (never really gathered what that was from him), and was very seriously flirting with a system of works-based righteousness when we last spoke. He was enamored with the entire system.

I’ll spare you the details, other than to say this: The most defining characteristic of his departure was a complete disdain for any confrontation or combat—at all. And to question the legitimacy of someone’s faith was a cardinal sin, whether they were obedient to the Scriptures or not. Sincerity was the true litmus test for salvation. He held in contempt anyone casting suspicion on a system of belief differing from their own, regardless of how Scripture was handled by that system. He lived to dialogue, and held a very high opinion of his ability to discern truth from error. He was dead wrong.

Here’s my problem with your philosophy, Michael. Battling for the authority and integrity of Scripture, as you well know, is never as easy as meeting in the middle of the battlefield, shaking hands, and asking whether or not your opponent is a heretic. You seem to indicate that’s what GTY should be doing in this series. No such terms of engagement exist. The issue is not the person, but the system of interpretation to which they subject Scripture.

John is simply saying this:

Evolution is wrong.

Evolution is not in the text, so granting it as a hermeneutical possibility is unnecessary.

Evolution is dangerous and will probably lead to compromising on other essential doctrines (Biologos)

Evolution undermines the integrity (and hence) threatens the authority of Scripture

Evolution exalts science above Scripture

Evolution needs to be exposed for the error it promotes and the danger it presents.

That’s a summary of John’s article. He has argued persuasively and his logic is clear. You have the freedom to disagree with his tactics, but to accuse him of somehow jeopardizing the health of the church because of military metaphors is in my estimation to slap a decorated war vet and tell him he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

John has faithfully gone to battle over the inerrancy, authority, clarity, and sufficiency of Scripture, and we’re beneficiaries of his efforts. He took a stand when aberrant charismatic theology was taking the church by storm. Not all of his opponents were heretics, but that was irrelevant, because their theology was a threat. You can’t take it personal, Michael but you should always take it serious. Don’t take this as an insult, but I don’t really think you understand what’s at stake with Genesis. Have you listened to John’s entire Battle for the Beginning Series?

As to your other questions about salvation . . . I cant, and won’t make a judgment as to whether or not you’re a genuine born again believer, because I don’t know you. Jesus said, “You are my disciples indeed, if you continue in my Word.” (John 8:32).

Thanks for your comments.

#29  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 5:35 AM

#23 - Michael.

[i]The church's central teaching is the Creed. Keep it central. Nothing else.[/i]

I thought you'd come to that and does not surprise me. Of course, there are "churches" and churches.

E.

#30  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:07 AM

#19 Tommy: "Call them out, Garrett."

I have only commented there a handful of times. One of the last times was on Kenton Sparks' first post attacking inerrancy. Here is how that exchange went down:

"GPLeague - #16635

June 5th 2010

I am very disappointed biologos. God-inspired errors. That’s what you get without a thoughtful, robust doctrine of inerrancy. I hope this article interacts with the Chicago statement, which is nuanced and honest, yet unflinching in its affirmation of a bible without error. Would Calvin agree with your logic? I know Warfield didn’t: “I do not think that there is any general statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Genesis 1 and 2 or elsewhere alluded to, that need be opposed to evolution.” Mr. Sparks, I think you should check out Mike Horton’s upcoming talk at the Ligonier National Conference on this topic. In fact, the White Horse Inn radio program recently did a few programs on inspiration and inerrancy which offer a great counterpoint to your conclusions. I hope you interact with the Sprouls and Hortons of the innerancy position, and not the naive, popular arguments that are causing so many to unnecessarily abandon this doctrine. For me, if evolution proves that the bible errs, then so does modern botany, because Jesus clearly said that the mustard seed was the smallest! I don’t buy that line of reasoning. What are your thoughts?"

"Kent Sparks - #16667

June 5th 2010

Dear GPLeague:

First, my pieces are written mainly for readers who already see (or at least suspect) that there are so many obvious errors in Scripture that inerrancy is impossible. If one still believes in inerrancy in any stringent way (as you do, I assume), then I’d say you should just ignore my pieces and read something else.

Secondly, just to be clear, no one is suggesting that he Bible contains “God-inspired errors.” Rather, just as God’s creation is warped by human error (not God’s errors), so Scripture is God’s word warped by human error (again, not God’s errors). The idea that God errs in his speech would be chalked up to heresy by all orthodox Christians.

Thanks,

Kent"

"GPLeague - #16822

June 6th 2010

“just as God’s creation is warped by human error (not God’s errors), so Scripture is God’s word warped by human error (again, not God’s errors).”

So all scripture is not God-breathed? The original autographs were merely warped human takes on what God inerrantly revealed, not God’s very words? Warfield said that the bible’s words are God’s words. Yes, Paul’s, David’s, Luke’s, Isiah’s, etc., but also God’s. But you disagree?"

I got no response to my 2nd comment. I don't believe I have commented since.

#31  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 9:15 AM

Under #3, Stephen writes,

This kind of alarmist, polarizing, rhetoric is precisely why fundamentalism has failed to have any significant impact on Christianity and will continue to diminish in influence and credibility.

You mean the kind of alarmist, polarizing rhetoric like this response? How long have critics been critical of Christians who believe the Bible seriously as an historical document? Machen experienced similar opposition in his day. Other men in previous generations before him. Do you have the same response to those who vigorously oppose new perspectives on Paul?

Continuing,

When Richard Dawkins speaks on theology, I take what he says with a “grain of salt” because theology is not his field and he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge in this area to make authoritative statements.

I take Dawkins with a grain of salt because he is an unregenerate God hater. His lack of knowledge in the area of theology is irrelevant. John may not know a whole lot about "science" but that is just as irrelevant, because he is regenerate and fears God. Who is the better man between the two?

Continuing,

Evolution is not the “Great Satan”. Some, like Dawkins, have turned it into a pseudo religion, but most simply use it as a tool in science because it provides the best fit for the data. We need to stay away from the extremes on both sides.

Some like Dawkins? Stephen, pretty much the entire community of strident evolutionists oppose religious language being utilized to explain origins and the history of life. Can you name even one atheist who has not turned evolution into a pseudo religion? Maybe David Berlinski, but he is automatically marked off as a crank because of his ID sympathies.

Continuing,

but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that evolution is the cause. Hedonism preceded evolution by thousands of years.

True, but those hedonists typically believed in eternal matter and philosophies of gradual uniformitarianism and rejected a sovereign, law-giving creator.

#32  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 10:24 AM

Garrett writes under #9,

What's sad about these posts and the rhetoric consistently used by pastor MacArthur is that it gives off a sense of fear and anxiety that I just don't see in men like Hodge and Warfield.

Just fear and anxiety? No boldness or integrity with the biblical text anywhere in there? As I have already noted here before near the outset of this series, Warfield and Hodge had a problematic apologetic methodology that placed too much stand alone sufficiency upon various lines of evidence for the Christian faith. It was a Thomas Reid "common sense apologetic." Basically, Presbyterians with a Roman Catholic apologetic if we were to sum it up in a nutshell. This is why Kuyper and other Dutch Reformers opposed Warfield's views of science during his own day. Robert Reymond provides a detailed critique and historical background to Warfield's apologetic in his Faith's Reason For Believing, as does Bahnsen in his work on Van Til.

Garrett asks,

Where is that sort of confidence at this blog? Confidence that God's word can stand no matter where the scientific chips may fall. I don't see it. I see lots of fear, emotion, and war imagery, but not much Hodge/Warfieldian sanity.

Our confidence is in the historical biblical text. The problem with your attempt to marry "confidence" in God's Word standing with where "the scientific chips may fall" is that the history of the world Darwinian evolution promotes is diametrically opposed to the one recorded in Scripture. The rejection of the Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmologies by Catholic academics did nothing to fundamentally alter the teaching of scripture. Yes, I know you have bought into Paul Seely's metal sky dome theory of Hebrew cosmology, but the fact of the matter truly is that Hebrews never believed such nonsense and when the RCC approved of a heliocentric model of the universe nothing in the Bible had to be re-read or explained away with some novel voodoo hermeneutic. This is not the case with evolutionary theory. If evolution merely pointed out that creatures adapt and change to meet the altering conditions of their environment, then there would be no quibble. But evolutionary proponents have built an entire philosophical worldview around evolutionary theory in order to explain the meaning of life apart from God and Scripture. When folks like yourself come along and turn the Genesis record on its head with some "New Perspective" on Creation there are essential fundamental truths at stake that are worth fighting over and employing militant language.

continuing,

I'm not saying are downright demagogues, but you really do need to take #1's advice and stop sending mixed signals.

I am pretty sure if you would read back over the comments none of us here are sending mixed singles as to what we think about old earth and theistic evolutionary positions. The very fact we note it compromises and strips the Bible of any genuine meaning is fairly clear. That said, I have personally stated I don't question anyone's salvation who may hold to long age views of Genesis. Other factors come into play if I were to raise questions of someone's salvation such as a denial of an historical Adam, original sin, the infallibility and inerrancy of God's Word. I'll say right now that a good many of the BioLogos contributors are unsaved. The reason why I say such is they reveal their hearts against orthodox, biblical Christianity in the things they reject apart from how old they think the earth is.

#33  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 12:59 PM

I've stood up in church and told the teacher to stop preaching because what he was saying and doing was unbiblical so I know what confidence is, but when it comes to difficult passages we must always stand for the Bible and that it is the foundation of all knowledge, we must not be dogmatic about our particular ideas about the Bible. When a pastor says I may be wrong about a difficult passage he is not being unconfident he is being truthful. Pastor MacArthur is like Kobe Bryant, he is so used of God he usually wins the game in a heroic way but he can also have over confidence and be wrong.

#34  Posted by Ken Wolgemuth  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 3:46 PM

Garrett,

"Actually, by embracing scientific concordism, it is people like Ken Ham and Hugh Ross that make the bible a servant of science, not me."

I am puzzled with these two individuals are identified as making the Bible a servant of science. In what way does Ken Ham do that, when he understands so little about geology and geochemistry? This past weekend I heard him describe "millions of years and evolution as a pagan religion..."

Respectfully,

Ken

#35  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 6:00 PM

So Ken,

I'm just curious what you think of Ken Ham's view of inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy? Especially in light of what long age geology says about the age of the earth and what Jesus and the biblical, genealogical record says in regards to the age of the earth.

#36  Posted by Ken Wolgemuth  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 7:35 PM

Hello Fred,

I have great respect for Ken in his commitment to the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scirpture - and I believe the same about Scripture. And I am not particularly concerned that he believes that the earth is young, based on his interpretation of Scripture.

My concern and challenge to Ken Ham is to obey God's Word. Ephesians 4:25 reads: "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." James 1:22: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Proverbs 14:25 from Solomon: "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful."

I am passionate about the church giving a credible witness of the Gospel to our decayed culture, and truthful information about the Creation. I have personally heard AiG and ICR speakers present man-made ideas that are not from the Bible, and that are faulty science, infected with myths and half-truths.

What can you do as part of the body of Christ to challenge this clean it up? It brings ridicule on the name of Christ. We are called to be salt.

Your brother in Christ,

Ken

#37  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:00 PM

Ken

I am glad to read that you commend AiG and their commitment to the infallibility and inerrancy of scripture. But the reality is quite clear: if one affirms the inerrancy of the Bible as you say you do, then one cannot affirm a long, deep time history for the earth. The Bible, as a historical document does not allow for you to hold such a contradictory conviction.

So it boils down to this: How much authority are you willing to give uncritically to the accepted "truth claims" of the superior knowledge of "scientists," over the propositional exegetical revelation of Scripture - Scripture you affirm as infallible and inerrant?

Either the Scriptures are wrong with the genealogical data that give us a clear record of how old the earth is, or perhaps modern day geology with his strict adherence to uniformitarian philosophies are wrong about the age of the earth. What you see as AiG giving out of "faulty science" is probably in reality a different take on the data that develops a different model for the earth. You may not like it, but it is hardly "faulty science." You, for example, mentioned about how one has to believe in an old earth to do oil exploration, but all the oil experts we have talked with say that the age of the earth is irrelevant. They discover oil and do their jobs well and don't hold to deep time views of the earth. How exactly are they practicing "faulty science?"

#38  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:28 PM

Fred

I'm sorry you don't seem to understand the theme of many of these comments. What if you are wrong, you shouldn't be so dogmatic about difficult and often misunderstood passages of scripture. You contrast your view of the Bible with single minded (not a compliment) view and call it "faulty science". Genesis is not an engineering plan, would you say I don't believe in the infallibility of the Bible if I said Eccl. 1:5 "The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises" this is clearly untrue but Eccl. is also not an engineering plan. The danger of your dogmatism is that it makes Christians seem like simpletons who don't understand the different kinds of Biblical literature.

#39  Posted by John W. Fryar, III  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:32 PM

1 Corinthians 1:25 states, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" scripture clearly places the collective wisdom of man subservient to the wisdom of God. Greeks sought after wisdom and failed miserably. Need I say anymore when man attempts to discredit Scripture with foolish wisdom? And, to follow in that pursuit of vanity, many will learn, as did Solomon who attempted to grasp wisdom learned that, "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." (Ecclesiates 1:18) The wisest man who walked the face of the earth concluded, "Fear God and keep His commandments, this is man's all. For God will gring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Ecclesiates 12: 13-14) Just a little factual tid-bit: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were the only ones present at creation. I choose to believe the account given to man by God since, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (Ephesians 3: 16-17) It might be wise to search the scriptures for truth and only use man's flawed knowledge written in books as fiction.

God's humber servent,

John

#40  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:41 PM

#32 Hey Fred thanks for the thoughts.

"Basically, Presbyterians with a Roman Catholic apologetic if we were to sum it up in a nutshell. This is why Kuyper and other Dutch Reformers opposed Warfield's views of science during his own day. Robert Reymond provides a detailed critique and historical background to Warfield's apologetic in his Faith's Reason For Believing, as does Bahnsen in his work on Van Til."

That is news to me. I will try and look into it, thanks. I have heard/read some of Kim Riddlebarger's material on Warfield, and he expresses similar criticism.

"but the fact of the matter truly is that Hebrews never believed such nonsense"

Fred, I've read your articles on this and even your blog post (DJP recommended it) and I'm just not convinced. Here is my question for you: If other cultures in the ANE believed in a solid firmament (as did other ancient cultures) and the Hebrews were no more scientifically advanced than their neighbors and the bible does not tell them otherwise, using a term that reflects a hard, beaten-out vault, why wouldn't they have believed the firmament was firm? Many (even Luther) thought the stars were fastened to it, and that the sun and moon were BELOW it. Since they had no concept of outer space, how do you explain this in light of modern cosmology? Seems like you can't let the text say what it clearly says. Job 37:18 says "can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?" If they didn't believe the sky was solid, why is it said to be "hard" and compared to "a mirror of cast bronze"? And Fred, correct me if I'm wrong, but you deny the existence of waters above the atmosphere right? The psalmist clearly did not in Psalm 148:4 "Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies." My problem is that you either explain them away as merely poetic, dismiss them as nonsense, or try and give them a modern referent, no different from when Hugh Ross inserts modern astronomy back into Genesis 1.

"That said, I have personally stated I don't question anyone's salvation who may hold to long age views of Genesis. Other factors come into play if I were to raise questions of someone's salvation such as a denial of an historical Adam, original sin, the infallibility and inerrancy of God's Word. I'll say right now that a good many of the BioLogos contributors are unsaved."

I know, and I appreciate that. As for Biologos, yes, me thinks there may be a wolf in sheep's clothing or two. As for "a good many," I don't know about that. Sparks, however, has made a few comments that should never come out of a Christians lips, as Teampyro has pointed out.

#37 " but all the oil experts we have talked with say that the age of the earth is irrelevant."

So index fossils have nothing to do w/ it? Predictable fossil sequences allow predictions to be made. Are you saying a young-earth paradigm is just as useful in oil exploration, or that faunal succession and the age of the earth are neither here nor there? Glover cites Anne Hill from Shell Offshore inc. saying "It is paleontology that uniquely explains the element of geological time and dispositional environment to petroleum geology." Is she simply mistaken? And if you're right, then why couldn't Glenn Morton and his ICR colleagues think of anything in their YEC apologetic training that helped them in their research?

#41  Posted by Ken Wolgemuth  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 8:48 PM

Hello Fred,

Thank you for your reply, and I am interested in discussing these ideas with you. I do not think I have written that is it critical to view the earth as old to carry out oil and gas exploration. A Christian brother made that point clearly with me a few years ago, and I discussed exactly that yesterday in my petroleum geology class that I taught this week in Houston.

I do prefer to discuss the faulty science with you via email so it does not tie up this blog, which I feel would be unfair to others. What topic would you like to start with, K-Ar of Mt. St. Helens, salt in the oceans, carbon-14 dating, tree rings, ice cores, sedimentary varves, global tectonics, radiometric dating of minerals in meteorites, uranium-lead in the earth, carbonate deposite, etc. You take your pick. Let's start maybe with intrinsic C-14 in diamonds.

Blessings to you,

Your brother in Christ,

Ken

wolgemuth2@aol.com

Solid Rock Lectures

Tulsa, OK

918-852-3082

#42  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 9:51 PM

Michael # 27 wrote:

"Person A believes the first article of the Creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth," but thinks Genesis records that as a literal account of a 6-day creation, while Person B also believes the first article of the Creed, but thinks Genesis is telling historical truth in a literary manner rather than in strict newspaper reporting fashion." (I'll assume you mean it took millions of years)

and later;

"Both sides believe the same historical facts: God created everything. Both sides believe the same theological truths: It was God who did it, not other "gods" or mere naturalistic processes. "

To simplify it: if I believe God created in 6 days, and you believe He did it in Millions of years, don't you see a problem?

I don't think anyone here is saying we should go to war amongst ourselves over that. All people who agree with "me" are doing is trying to figure out how "you" came up with what you believe from the book of Genesis.

In the sermon series "The Battle for The Beginning", John MacArthur

comes to the conclusion that since naturalistic evolution cannot happen, theistic evolution cannot happen. That it's an impossibility, even calling the position "idiotic" (I wouldn't go that far).

I hope this helps clarify a little "our" position.

And to end, we should not "surrender the ground".

#43  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 10:22 PM

Sometimes we tend to overthink things, and this is one of those times. God would not have written a book that requires such in-depth paralysis of analysis to decipher how the first verse of the first chapter of that book took place. God gave us His Word to be easily understood and not to make us run marathons through our mental labyrinths trying to say "what did it really mean?"

In the Beginning, God created the Heavens & the Earth. CREATION, not evolution. Simple.

Then God said, "Let there be light, and it was so . . . So the evening & morning were the first day." Again, Day One. Not millions of years, but one day.

It's really as simple as people don't want to take God at His Word. And if they don't want to do that, how can they trust He will save them from their sins (to all the OEC/TEs in the house)? That's in the Bible, but if they don't trust Him in Genesis 1, how can they trust Him in John 3, or Romans 8?

#44  Posted by Scott Christensen  |  Friday, July 16, 2010at 11:28 PM

Ken said:

"I have personally heard AiG and ICR speakers present man-made ideas that are not from the Bible, and that are faulty science, infected with myths and half-truths."

This is a curious statement. How do you define faulty science? How does science avoid myths and half-truths and man-made ideas? I say this because it seems that by the nature of the case science (as a fallible human discipline) is ever inevitably involved in engineering faulty claims, myths and half-truths and particularly man-made ideas that don't stand the test of time. Why was Newtonian physics rock solid truth for nearly 200 years only to be replaced by Einstein? Why now is Einstein less than a hundred years later being questioned? In fact, just the other day I read of a well respected physicist who is no saying that there is no such thing as gravity. Although, many physicists are skeptical, he is not regarded as a crack-pot pseudo scientist. Yet, here we have a man who is rejecting one of the 4 fundamental forces in the universe. Theoretical physicis is full of all sorts of unsubstantiated "man-made myths" we might say, such as dark matter, dark energy and superstrings, none of which can be verified experimentally, yet that has not stopped the majority of physicists from accepting them. I gaurantee you that these will more than likely hit the dustbin just like ether did at the turn of the last century.

Ken, your confident union with the 'unshifting, timeless, unassailable truth' of science will one day leave you a sad sad widow. It is best to make pre-nuptial agreements that leave you an easy way out when things get shaky. Better yet, you should unite yourself with what is more trustworthy; the infallible Creator of genuine knowledge, science, truth, and yea - the universe itself. His word will never leave you a widow.

#45  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 2:52 AM

Fundamentalism? Yes – In the sense of foundation and mental.

As a follower of Christ, we must preach the Gospel, and make disciples - build on solid rock by the teaching of sound doctrines.

Sin is always trying to destroy the truth. It began even in the early Church, and was dealt with by the Apostles.

Yesterday I spent an hour listening to Phil Johnson (link) speaking about Socinianism, one of 5 heresies repeating again and again troughout history.

All heresies blasphemes God.

The mp3 file is here

Keep the Camel out of the tent.

#46  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 7:17 AM

#44 Scott,

You have an interesting understanding of science. Newtonian physics wasn't replaced by Einstein. Newton's laws are still covered in physics textbooks. They'd better still apply - that bridge I drove across was designed using Newton's laws. Einstein provided theories which cover more situations than the non-relativistic environment on Earth's surface as described by Newton. Also, not all physicists subscribe to string theory. String theory is just one attempt to come up with the "grand theory of everything" -- to unify physics from the quantum level up to the scale of the universe.

#47  Posted by Joshua Malcolm  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 8:21 AM

All:

What I have read here in the comments seems to consist mostly of debate of scripture. I offer a different approach. I believe this whole debate can be solved with on simple question: What is science?

Some would say fact. Others would say that it cannot be fact until a proper theory has been tested with the proper procedures. In reality, science is nothing but mans understanding of the world around him. With science defined as above, who are we, as simple as our understanding is, able to define and set as "fact."

It should also be noted, what is science here on Earth is quite different on Mars. Some things may remain the same, however, time would be maesured different among other things.

To solidify the point, man is imperfect; therefore, anything created by man is imperfect. Science is a product of mans imperfect thought.

#48  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 8:45 AM

Donovan in #38 writes,

I'm sorry you don't seem to understand the theme of many of these comments.

On the contrary, I understand them quite well. Especially since I have been here practically reading everyone of them since the beginning of this entire series back in March of this year. If I am not mistaken, I have just noticed your name in the comments under the last couple of posts.

Continuing,

What if you are wrong, you shouldn't be so dogmatic about difficult and often misunderstood passages of scripture.

Well, Donovan, it isn't a difficult and misunderstood passage. Genesis is quite plain and so I can be quite dogmatic about what it states. Everyone of these wacky interpretations of Genesis hadn't even been considered by Jews or Christians until about 200 years ago when the Church conceded the authority of Scripture to the authority of the so-called truth claims of anti-scriptural intellectuals and academics.

Wondering Donovan, do you apply similar doubt and uncertainty to other historical portions of the Bible? Say for example the Exodus, Babylonian captivity, the Gospels, Acts? Do you stand up in church and interrupt a pastor who states dogmatically that Jesus rose from the dead?

Donovan points out,

Genesis is not an engineering plan, would you say I don't believe in the infallibility of the Bible if I said Eccl. 1:5 "The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises" this is clearly untrue but Eccl. is also not an engineering plan.

No one ever said Genesis was an engineering plan. Your making that up. It is however and historical record of how and when God created. You're the one making it much more difficult than it truly is because you want to save face with academics Bible rejecters. It real is that simple. I also wonder if you have the same concern for "dogmaticism" when NASA and the Weather Channel tell us the exact time for the sun rise and sun set? I mean, they're teetering on being geocentricists, right? What sort of simpletons are those folks?

#49  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 9:19 AM

Ken, #41,

Let's put the geological stuff aside for a moment until we pin down where you stand on the inerrancy question. In other words, what is it that you consider your ultimate standard of authority in evaluating the world? What God says about it, or what men say the think they know about it? I understand you don't care for the findings of the RATE project because it cuts against what you have traditionally believed along the lines of uniformatarian geology. However, what I would ask is if you think these men are lying and intentionally deceiving their audiences? If that is the case, then we have character issues we need to address, because a person cannot intentionally lie and deceive and be called a Christian. That would mean by your accusation that you think these men are unbelievers, purposely teaching falsehood to lead people astray about the truth of the gospel. Is that your position?

By the way, I understand from web sources and various folks who have watched your lectures on oil exploration that you do think the age of the earth is imperative to finding oil. Are you saying in your comment now that it isn't and that you tell your audiences the age issue is irrelevant to the purposes of oil exploration?

#50  Posted by Cliff Gould  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 11:15 AM

If this in not a war; I don't know what is! Furthermore this is only what our human senses can read and see! Imagine what is going on in the spritual realm right now over this blog! Obviously this is worth fighting for in the minds of quite a few people on both sides of this blog, otherwise there would have been a "gratious" capitulation by someone.

I say onward Christian soldiers, don't give in or give up! Certainly the otherside will never give up!

#51  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 12:37 PM

Fred, In your response to my comments in #48 you made it clear that I didn't communicate the point in which I believe you are in error. We want to interpret the Bible in the most accurate way possible, according to the original authors intention. You say Genesis is not difficult and quite plain but if you don't understand the kind of literature Genesis is it's impossible to interpret accurately, scriptus literalis means that if you want to understand the Bible literally (which I assume you do) you must understand the type of literature it is.

You can't equate Genesis, Exodus and the gospels if you understand this principle. Using Genesis (the first few chapters anyway) as a springboard for specific arguments about genetics, geology, cosmology etc. are fallacious.

If you say that you do understand this principle then you highlighted your error by saying

" Do you stand up in church and interrupt a pastor who states dogmatically that Jesus rose from the dead?" That's the kind of misunderstanding that I'm trying to say that you are showing.

There is always a dead give away in non (newspaper literal) Biblical styles, one in Genesis is that the term days (Yom) is used before God separated the lights in the heavens, it is poor logic to use the sun and moon as time keepers and then reinsert those time keeping units before they were set into place.

As for new understandings of the Bible in the last 200 years, another subject comes quickly to mind modern (rapture/Jewish/Antichrist) dispensationalism that John MacArthur is completely devoted to has no mention before 1830 and relates to as much as 2/3 of the entire Bible. It's very interesting that the same debates occur, Revelation/Daniel taken as newspaper literalism, the same arguments bubble to the top "It's simple just believe what the Bible says, and if you don't believe like me you don't believe scripture" the dogmatism comes out in the same way because of the same errors in interpretation, would you say John MacArthur has also sold out to " the so-called truth claims of anti-scriptural intellectuals and academics". Traditional understandings of scripture are the hardest to change.

#52  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 1:00 PM

#51 Donavan Dear

I'll repeat again and again the tast at hand for you, as spoken by John MacArthur:

Please explain these Scriptures: Mark 13:19; John 1:3; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2, 10; Revelation 4:11; 10:6; 14:7

You are avoiding it at all costs, because they are speaking against your philosophy.

#53  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 2:01 PM

Rudi #51

I affirm everyone of these scriptures and believe to my last breath that all things were created by Jesus heavens, earth, physical, invisible, everything.

I feel like no one is reading my posts. My argument is one about the over confidence in the traditional (John MacArthur) interpretation of Genesis to absolute and dangerous statements about science.

Narrow mindedness has come to be a badge of honor in Christian circles but it is misplaced when knowledgable Christians (like on this blog) follow ideas about the Bible as opposed to knowing that all truth is in the Bible and we should seek its truth.

Suppose the six day creation is incorrect or some sort of evolution is shown to be true (like other scientific / theological ideas that have been mentioned in this blog have been shown to be true in the past), some Christians are holding these ideas up with inerrancy and truth itself, this is dangerous.

Rudi, by siting the scripture verses that you did, prove my argument, nowhere did I ever mention that I believed Jesus didn't create all but you assumed I didn't believe that because you gathered that I think Genesis is not written in a newspaper literal style.

#54  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 2:15 PM

#53

Do you think John MacArthur is pulling theology out of the air?

This Godhonoring man has spent more than 40 years on his knees and with his nose in the bible to find out what precisely it says. And he is not alone. He is standing on the shoulder of giants. (Or alongside).

If you speaks against him because you don't agree - go ahead, but then you have to prove him wrong by using Scripture.

#55  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 2:56 PM

Donovan - You are right. Please forgive me. This whole subject makes me very angry and it burns in me to defend my Lord and Savior.

But you said: "Suppose the six day creation is incorrect".

It is not! That's the point. Study the Scripture diligently, and you will find that God is fully capable to communicate to those who have ears to hear.

#56  Posted by Scott Christensen  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 3:03 PM

#46 Tim,

I should have clarified my comment about Newtonian physics as it applies to the cosmic scale. My point is, that as Christians we need a healthy dose of epistemic humility in matters of science. Science is a discipline that requires us to hold theories, so-called "facts" and truth claims in a provisional way simply because there is no way we can have certainty considering the complexity of this universe and our fallible reasoning. On the contrary, when it comes to clear divine revelation, we do not need to hold its claims in a provisional way because it comes to us from an infallible source. we can trust what it says without resorting to claims of science that contradict it. Divine revelation is certain and so we have an obligation to be dogmatic about its truth claims if we take our trust in God seriously. Science is uncertain and so it is unwise to be dogmatic about its claims because they come from fallible human sources.

In fact, I would apply this to certain scientific claims made by YEC scientists. However, the difference between YEC scientists and OE scientists is that the former start from what the infallible special revelation of God says and consider how scientific evidence may or may not fit with what we know for certain from it about origins and earth history. OE scientists start with the fallible conclusions of men and then try to contort divine revelation using the voodoo hermenuetics Fred speaks of to fit the conclusions of this anthro-fallible source. As he has tried to make clear over and over it comes down to a matter of authority. Does one trust the infallible word of God and fit science to it or does one trust the fallible word of men and fit divine revelation to it?

#57  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 3:07 PM

#54

Rudi, please don't think I'm attacking John MacArthur I love him dearly and hold him in the very highest respect. It seems to me that you are afraid of what I'm saying. You are asserting positions I don't have, my question to you is why. I have sited Biblical passages in my differences with JM. But this topic is about giving ground. The second paragraph of JMs topic article is my springboard for showing that the Bible is the reservoir of truth itself and will not be hurt no matter how people feel about evolution or any other topic, but a side effect of that sort of dogmatism is that Christians loose credibility as Bible interpreters and thoughtful people.

#58  Posted by Victor Olade  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 3:30 PM

Everyone here agrees that the Bible is true but people have different interpretations. Whose interpretation is correct? This is where I seek God in prayer and rely on His Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth (John 14:26, 16:13, 1 John 2:27). What does the witness of the Holy Spirit tell me? The evidence seems overwhelming to me in scripture that Genesis 1-3 is a narrative and not allegorical. There was no way around this for me (I've experimented with every possible alternative interpretation). So, unless I compromise the clear teaching of scripture, my own conscience, and the witness of the Holy Spirit within me, how can I accept molecules-to-man evolution? I'm willing to accept that the scientific community is wrong in their assumptions concerning origins; and the fact that knowledge and technology has advanced so much since Darwin is not enough reason for me to conclude that it is due to Darwinian assumptions. I only conclude that current prosperity is a result of God's general grace despite human weakness.

All this comes down to a fight for authority within the church. The Holy Spirit lives inside of individuals who know Christ, but yet we submit our understanding of Genesis to unregenerate men who are not led by God's Spirit? By exchanging the Biblical authority on origins for an humanistic authority, we are inadvertently also subjecting Biblical morality and spirituality to an outside authority. Is it possible that this is another one of that crafty serpent's schemes?

#59  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 3:40 PM

#46

Tim

All Christians would agree that the Bible, God, Truth are all encapsulated in the word of God. But where I think your argument is lacking is when you assume you know what truth is, the weak link in the chain is not Gods word but it is our understanding of it. One of my Grandmas was burned at the stake for being a witch because she was accused of flying over a ditch, well how she got over the ditch was that she pulled up her dress, a rich lady of her time would never consider pulling up her dress so she must have flew.

If fallible mankind discovers real scientific truth, this is only getting closer to understanding how God did it. All truth is Gods, man is fallible and his interpretation of unclear sections of the Bible have a very poor historical track record at comporting with reality (real Truth, and the Bible).

#60  Posted by Chuck Tuthill  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 3:45 PM

This debate is frightening to watch unfold. Yes I will freely say it frightens me. To see "Christian" comments of "suppose the six day creation is incorrect", suppose, is this word used with fear. Has this suppose been bathed in prayer and seeking after the mind of Christ. Or "you must understand the type of literature it is". Who needs to know? Who decides? You? You determine that chapters 1 - 3 are not to be read the way say chapter 5 is written when the generations of Adam are given. Are these an allegory as well? Why not? Who says? Or "it is poor logic to use the sun and moon as time keepers and then reinsert those time keeping units before they were set into place." Who's poor logic? Don't you see that you are projecting yourself into the account?

I will remain fearful and watchful. Ready to fight, for chapter 7 comes next then 19, then…

#61  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 4:32 PM

Donavan,

“Suppose the six day creation is incorrect”

Why would you suppose that when the Bible clearly teaches it?

Exodus 20:11 clearly states, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This is part of the 10 commandments that God gave Moses. Why would God have written this on a tablet of stone if we were not to believe it?

We should not be approaching scripture with the attitude, “suppose this is incorrect” or with the attitude that we will believe the plain reading if it is cleared by science. The Bereans were lifted up as noble in Acts 17:11 because they compared what Paul was teaching them with scripture. There is no Biblical support for using science or the modern theories of man to determine if scripture is correct.

You mention the need to ascertain the type of literary genre of the different books of the Bible and I would agree, but what basis do you have for believe that the beginning of Genesis differs from the rest of Genesis and that all of Genesis is not narrative history?

You mention the problem that God used the word yom before the creation of the sun and the moon, but I don’t see why is this a problem? We know from Revelations 21:23 and Rev. 22:5 that there can be light without the sun. God created light on the first day and separated it from the darkness. He noted the first day contained a period of darkness and a period of light. On the fourth day, He created the sun and the moon and said from that time onward they would serve as markers for days, seasons, and years.

You are concerned that “Christians lose credibility as Bible interpreters and thoughtful people” if they dogmatically stand on the plain teaching of scripture. Our concern should be that we “rightly divide the word of truth” as taught in 2 Timothy 2:15. We do this by diligently studying all of scripture in its context and comparing it against other scripture. In looking at all of scripture, the Old and New Testament, I see only support for a miraculous six day creation approximately six thousand years ago. Perhaps you have only been taught be those who believe in an old earth and have not carefully considered the reasons those of us on this blog hold to a young earth. If you want to be “thoughtful” on the matter, why don’t you spend some time on the websites of Answers in Genesis (www.answersingenesis.org) or the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org). And first and foremost, diligently search all of scripture.

#62  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 4:35 PM

I read more of the debate in this blog. Umm, I don't want to cause

dispute. Remember just read God's Word, 100%. Donavan Dear and Rudi Jensen, please remember a gentle answer turns away wrath

and a harsh word stirs up anger. If you want, ask God, not blaming

God, ask God to reveal the Truth in His Word. I did that for yrs with

tear, anger, sadness, and God revealed it. All I had to do is to have

patience. Forgive me for what I am saying but what I wrote is true.

ok? Smiles.

#63  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 4:57 PM

#60 Chuck

You make good points. Men like John MacArthur to me have proven themselves as being a stedfast and reliable Bible teacher, I want to emulate men like him and others who put the truth of the Bible before anything else. I suppose that's why GTY has blog opportunities like this, iron sharpens iron. It is important for Christians to argue for what and why they believe. One of the interesting aspects of this Genesis blog is that people want philosophical surety and are trying to use evidence to get it, that is impossible.

All your questions about why and Who decides are important, and that is the means that God will bless on our journey of learning about Him.

If you don't like the example of the six day creation I used as an illustration take an actual event like what the Church did to Galileo, he discovered scientific reality and was told that it didn't line up with scripture so he must be wrong this is the same attitude I see on this subject. Well we know better now and the Bible hasn't suffered at all.

I do not believe that Darwinian evolution is true but it is as revealing of the atheist scientist as it is for the dogmatic Christian trying to stuff their biased understandings down each other throat one calling it science and the other calling it God's word, it's the former that should be unexpected.

#64  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 5:31 PM

#10 Donavan Dear

"this is where I think John MacArthur makes mistakes based on his tradition. When the Colts kill the Steelers it doesn't mean the colts murdered the steelers and it's also not a commentary on the justice of theft."

I am not sure what you are getting at. If we say in our minds to kill

a football team then we truly murdering for fun. What horrid question

to ask but remember football must not be connected with God's Word.

As well when we hate others for fun or for real, then we hate God. Do you understand what I am trying to say. Please read Matthew 1 to 7 and ask God to guide you.

God loves you.

"Does anyone assume they are interpreting the Bible improperly?"

-Well for this question, if the person not listen to God and does

his own words. The person is wicked.

#65  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 5:47 PM

#61 Mary

Awesome post. How do you know I'm not a young earth creationist. I see good arguments on both sides.

I met Henry Morris when my physics teacher debated him in college and since then I've tried to be up on most of the evidence for both sides (about 30 years ago)

I want to be clear I didn't intimate that the scripture was incorrect I meant suppose our interpretation of a six day creation was incorrect.

I can answer two questions at once below:

Mary I see that you are using Revelation to show that there can be light without the sun, this is what I mean by understanding the type of Biblical literature, it is an error to use Revelation to prove or disprove a physical fact such as this, Revelation is an apocalyptic genera that generally points to the old testament to make it's God Breathed meaning. As I said I really appreciate your post but using Revelation to make your point about light is a type of equivocation that is very common in Christian teaching today.

Let me ask you this, don't you see that true science only points to God and truth, so then why not encourage all types of truth seeking and simply see if the idea holds up to logic. I know it's not technically correct but I see God's personality as always following logic and I see logic as an almost holy gift that mankind should seek to find, even if it doesn't fit in our tradition of Bible interpretation.

#66  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 5:57 PM

#60 Chuck Tuthill

Why are you fearful. God does not lie about His Word. Jesus says do

not be afraid of trials. Jesus wants you not to worry either.

There is no absolute mistake in God's Word. Man may change, but

God never changes. I was fearful as a kid. Still I am nervous about the

dark cause of my hearing impairment. But when I trust Jesus, He guides

me. There is no such thing logic. There is a God and we forget Him cause

of our sin that shuts Him out of our lives. Wisdom from God is like gold. Wisdom from man is nothing.

Remember Jesus says Perfect love drives out fear. Amen.

#67  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 6:01 PM

#64 Dan

"this is where I think John MacArthur makes mistakes based on his tradition. When the Colts kill the Steelers it doesn't mean the colts murdered the steelers and it's also not a commentary on the justice of theft."

I was mentioning John MacArthur's self confessed hermeneutic of literalism, he has written about wooden literalism and he does understand the difference. Books like Daniel and Revelation can't be read in a newspaper like manner. If the newspaper sports page has a headline that says the Colts Killed the Steelers everyone knows what is meant, simply that the Colts won the football game. I greatly respect JM but he must cling to some very wooden literalism when it comes to eschatology or else his whole dispensational system falls down.

#68  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 6:05 PM

I just can't help but see the correlation between this whole discussion and Genesis 3. Satan tempts Adam and Eve with what? Knowledge and truth. He taught them that truth begins by asking, ""Did God actually say..." Here we sit debating what? Knowledge and truth. Which knowledge and which truth? The knowledge of the truth found in Genesis. God exposes this very debate in the very book we're discussing. So many have tried sating their thirst for knowledge and "truth" by asking, "Did God actually say or mean 6 days?" They use the very same methodology that Satan used to convince Adam and Eve. It amazes me that this con-job can be so apparent and yet so many still fall for it! The script is right there in the Bible! Drop the apple and walk away from the tree already!

P.S. Sorry I don't have a dissertation to link to in support of this. Common sense and basic reading comprehension is enough for some of us. And don't give me the "yom" argument. Knowledge of Hebrew (pre and post Masoretic), Aramaic and Greek CAN help us understand loads about the Bible. But God had to know that a good many, if not most of His children weren't going to have doctorates in dead languages. Would He have really given us a word that we can't possibly understand without decades of higher learning and small fortunes to invest? I seriously doubt it. Don't surrender any ground my brothers!

#69  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 6:53 PM

# 66 Dan Wilson

You say there is no logic, can you prove that statement is true without using logic. Nuf said.

If there was a logical error in our understanding of Genesis would we just say like the

Catholics do abut logical errors in the apocrypha that it's in the" Bible" so it's true anyway.

Are we as blind as they, our Christian Bible can stand any logical pretzel we try to put it through

I don't see why debate is fearful, maybe because of the mentality that worldly ideas like evolution can

corrupt and hurt the Christian faith where are the Christian soldiers.

This debate is not one of authority but of faith in religious tradition or faith that truth is in the Bible and we as interpreters are the week link in proclaiming absolute that truth.

#70  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 6:56 PM

Donovan in #51,

Genesis is not apocalyptic literature. It's historical narrative. You would read it like you would Exodus, or Joshua, or 1 Samuel, or Mark. You're applying some weird genre over ride that is unwarranted. To read it in its normal sense as the original author intended IS to read it as an historical record of how God created. If you don't believe me, then you seriously need to read this massive article by Hebrew expert, Dr. Stephen Boyd, who applied a rigorous statistical analysis to the Genesis creation text and guess what? It was historical narrative. Not symbolic prophecy or how ever it is you wish to read it.

http://www.icr.org/article/statistical-determination-genre-biblical/

Who ever it is that has been feeding you this idea Genesis is some mystical, symbolic book that you read like the Assumption of Moses or any other Apocrypha book has misled you.

#71  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 7:28 PM

Donavan,

I am sorry but I don’t understand the point you are making about my use of Revelation. Revelation may be telling us of the future but it is also God breathed truth which states that God is the source of light, and whether we are talking about the past when God first created the earth or the future new heaven and new earth, God does not need the sun for there to be light. I am not sure why you would use the word “equivocation” when I am stating what scripture says. I see no ambiguity in the text.

You stated “How do you know I'm not a young earth creationist?” Then are you just trying to make the point that we cannot really know what scripture says? Do you believe that God’s word is unknowable? Should we just be vague and perhaps hopeful about what it means?

2 Timothy 4:2 states, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” How can we proclaim something of which what we can’t be sure? We are called to study scripture, to mediate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2), and we must do so prayerfully, relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us (1 John 2:27). But then we are to use it, knowing it is God breathed, to teach and instruct and correct (2 Timothy 3:16).

You asked if I didn’t see that true science will point to God and truth. I would answer that science accurately interpreted will point to God and support His word. The problem is the vast majority of scientists are not looking for God. They start with naturalistic assumptions and only look for naturalistic answers. They don’t follow the evidence to wherever it will lead but only follow it to where they allow it to lead. They do not see support for God's word because they refuse to consider it.

#72  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 7:34 PM

#70 Fred

I was only using Daniel/Rev. as an easy example of common mistakes that JM and others must make to support dispensationalism and other easily refuted 190 year old ideas that have crept into the church, and caused a pessimistic view of the future.

More to the point Genesis is not simple not easy and the reason it's been debated as rigorously as it has is because it makes statements that are challenging our traditional understandings. It's genera is not historical narrative as other historical OT books, come on Adam couldn't have written about his own creation. Genesis is obviously in a class by its self. I say our understanding of the Bible is worthless if it is shown to be truly incorrect don't misunderstand the Bible isn't worthless but our understand would be. I understand why this is a provocative statement and I think it's because of the pessimistic and frightened nature of the church, the Bible can stand up to ideas of men no matter what society believes.

#73  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 7:54 PM

#70 Fred

Wow that is quite and article by Dr. Boyd, OK Genesis isn't poetry, and it comports to a historical narrative frame, still the colossal subject matter doesn't sit well when comparing it with other books like Exodus, Samuel and such.

Who wrote Genesis 1:1-2:4 it was probably Moses but it may have been when he was on my Sinai, with words directly from God. I think I'm on good ground saying that Gods direct words are in a genera all by there own.

#74  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, July 17, 2010at 10:48 PM

Hi Folks: Whew.... is there a draft in here?(ha ha) Much of the material that Donovan has referred to has been answered in previous blogs, I think. But he brings up the issue of hermeneutic once again and it should be answered. The supposition that Dispensationalism is a new doctrine to the Church is answered by Charles Ryrie in his book on "Dispensations". But in a nut shell, the dispensational method was around before John Nelson Darby. And as the name implies it deals with stewardships which can be found in scripture. Ryrie points out three, and others with similar characteristics are also discovered. The hermeneutic which is used as a foundation is the historico-grammatical method. It is sometimes called "literalism" by some who oppose the method.

That being said, when one looks at the Genesis record and discovers that God says that he created the heavens and the earth in six days, and there is no reason to believe that he means something other then what he says (both in the immediate passage and as he (God) interprets it in other passages of scripture), then ... it is taken as it is. There has been a bit of discussion as to what "yom" (day) means or what the original readers thought it meant. As we study scripture we find, as most of us know, that scripture interprets scripture. Were we told that the word "day" is to be taken in a non-literal way it would be easy for God to have put a note in the "beginning" chapter explaining it. (And while an argument from silence is not always the best test of truth, here it applies.) Any assumptions as to the nature of what "day" means is speculation if it is not grounded in one rotation of the earth. This is day's most normal meaning. The assumption of accommodation to the readers is non-sense. Note that the Hebrew readers have just seen God's hand move in their deliverance from Egypt,so it would not be a stretch to suppose that they would believe anything he told them... including evolution ...if he had done it. And there is no scriptural support for the TE position without is use of a hermeneutic that allows one to shift the plain meaning for one that is not plain. The text of Scripture has been taken at face value in regard to the Genesis account until relatively recent times. And in point of fact, God has had 3000 years to correct our assumptions, but did nothing, even through the apostles and prophets. (Just a thought)

#75  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 5:17 AM

Donavan Dear,

No matter what you may say. I am not moving away from what Jesus laid

in my heart. Ask you one question. Do you love Jesus? If you do then

listen to him. Genesis is literal history. No arguements about it. Yes,

some of the bible is a mystery. That why we have futile minds that we

need Jesus to help us.

Christ's peace to you.

#76  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 7:03 AM

#68 Mike

I understand your correlation between Genesis 3 and our discussion, but you hurt my feelings. I really hope you see the differences between Satan and I. Adam and Eve understood exactly what God told them, we do not, we now see in a mirror dimly. Mike, maybe you have never made interpretation mistakes on general doctrine but I have. Truth and knowledge is not what Satan was talking about in Genesis 3 it was about trust, Eves choice was - do I trust God or myself. I hope I don't sound to harsh but I do see a better correlation here and it is this - do we trust in the Bible or do we trust in tradition. Everyones religious group has their own doctrine, wars have been fought of traditional beliefs not having to do with the Bible. The Catholic church doesn't hide their hand they say the churches tradition and scripture are equal.

#71 Mary

You make a good point, ” How can we proclaim something of which what we can’t be sure? " Well I guess the Holy Spirit will have to answer that one.

What I am sure of is that when the church condemned Galileo they were confident that the Earth was the center of the universe because the Bible says the Sun rises and sets but they were wrong. Christians should lead the world in science, arts, and education in general (like the church did in the past) and then we would not fear any kind of scientific ideas at all.

#74 Paul

I have read Charles Ryrie's book on "Dispensations" my uncle says that Ryrie was a very very Godly man by the way (Ryrie was his main professor). This historico-grammatical method of hermeneutics is the reason why we are even having this discussion, this method has become its own monster, what I mean is this it is used to separate conservative and liberals but because of that it completely blows up any consistent meaning of Bible passages that are not straight ahead historical narrative. Why conservative Bible teachers like the literal method of interpretation is that it stops liberal commentators from changing the meaning of Bible to anything they want. The Bible is full of different kinds of literature, Genesis has more than one kind of literature in the same book. It is hardest for a Bible teacher to change his interpretations about traditional passages than anyone else and since we look to these people for guidance the regular Christian becomes stiff and overconfident in his beliefs.

#77  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 8:15 AM

#75 Dan

Yes I love Jesus.

I would say be careful about what your heart says about scripture, heats are not very reliable as truth seeking devices.

#78  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 10:39 AM

Funny, I don't remember directly addressing you in my comment Donovan. This conversation has been going on for months and it's always the same regurgitated nonsense. It's not all about you buddy....pride much?

#79  Posted by Erick Ahlstedt  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 12:33 PM

I have run through the full spectrum of belief/disbelief on the subject of evolution over the last 15 years.... There have been times in the past which, after viewing a National Geographic or Discovery program, that I have, in my mind, deemed the Biblical account of creation to be far too simplistic. In order to be able to justify my belief in God as the authoritative creator of all things yet try to be acceptable to the unbeliever, I subscribed to theistic evolution, and the 'old earth theories'..... But as I have matured in my walk with the Lord, and submitted myself to his authority, I have found that there really isn't any gray area on this..... The Bible's stories and accounts are %100 accurate, from Genesis to Revelation, or none of it is true. The Lord's word must be believed from the beginings of time to the end of time - and his word trusted completely. What I gather from the evidence supports what John and people like John (The Discovery Institute etc...) suggest --- that science points the way to creation and to the flood's pivotal role in Earth's natural history. I choose to accept God's account, because if his word is authoritative and 100% accurate, does it really matter what the unbelievers' account is of the origins of Earth and humanity? Earth and it's geology/geography along with the creation of man, creatures, and plants, is simply tiny revelation of God's eternal creativity. Science revelation of DNA has shown us the 'programming language' of the heavens with which God builds life! Christ coming to earth, suffering, and dying is the greatest evidence of God's love for man. If he did this for us, why must we surrender to the "conventional wisdom" of Godless men, and reduce the miracles of the Bible to meaninglessness by surrendering the Biblical account of creation? How insulting to God of the universe! How hurtful that must be to the one who gave it all on Calvary!!

#80  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 1:22 PM

Donavan,

Yes I am careful. The Holy Spirit said it to me, not on my own.

I agree to be careful but I don't make up stories from bible.

#81  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 2:14 PM

I meant to say no logic. Doesn't mean I don't believe it. I meant the logic we use is nothing. Use God's logic. He is the one who made us, not

the big bang. I have no use for anymore arguements about logics.

#82  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 4:40 PM

re: # 76

Hi, Donovan. You write:

"Eves choice was - do I trust God or myself. I hope I don't sound to harsh but I do see a better correlation here and it is this - do we trust in the Bible or do we trust in tradition."

I think Eve's choice was "do I trust God, or this serpent?. I don't think Eve really had a grasp of what satan was saying to her (remember, the bible says she was "deceived".)

and, instead of: do we trust in the Bible, or do we trust in tradition.

I think the right question would be: do we trust in the bible, or in science?

I don't have much knowledge (hard to believe ;-)) about "tradition". But if we narrow it to Bible vs science, I'll go with the Bible.

#83  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 5:44 PM

Donavan,

Ptolemy, who is credited with the theory of the sun revolving around the earth, did not base his theory on scripture. He was Greek and was not Jewish or Christian. Yes, Galileo did get into trouble with the Catholic Church but I am not convinced that this was due to the Catholic Church’s desire to uphold the teaching of scripture as much as its desire to uphold the authority of the church. There is a big difference. Scripture does not state that the sun revolves around the earth. It speaks of sunrises and sunsets because that is what we see and experience and for that reason those terms are in common use today. In contrast, scripture plainly teaches that God created the earth in six days.

Here are some links which deal with this topic: http://www.icr.org/article/geocentricity-creation/ and http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/Magazines/tj/docs/TJ14_1-Galileo.pdf

#84  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 5:45 PM

#82 Jorge

I understand your point.

Please know that all truth is the Lords, Christians should not be afraid of any truth. I have Dawkins book on my desk right now and he is right about some things but his tradition clouds his thinking, and it turns what he calls science into propaganda.

#85  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 6:03 PM

"John mentioned the “unraveling of moral society.” As you observe our culture, what evidence do you see of this “unraveling”? How do you trace that back to evolution?"

Ah, I see people in schools get kill. See pictures of ape to man which

it's dumb. People worship animals like save the animals type. It's ok

to save animals but they forget human babies are important. Sad.

Ah, umm, funny thing, not really, I heard some say people came from a

fish. Sad. Oh, the big bang theory that evolution hold onto.

#86  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 18, 2010at 6:15 PM

#83

Mary

I love your posts, they are to the point. Thank you, you may be right.

#87  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Monday, July 19, 2010at 10:35 AM

#5 Gabriel,

Good question at the end of your post. There is an essay on the Biologos website from a while back by historian Mark Noll that may have some bearing on this topic: http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Noll_scholarly_essay.pdf. On page 1 and 2, Noll makes an interesting observation about the debate at the end of the 13th century regarding Thomas Aquinas' and Duns Scotus' writings on the relationship of God’s being to all other beings, and how this relates to our understanding of how God creates. The material I'm referring to is near the start of the paper, but the whole thing is a good read.