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Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Comments (80)

First, listen to this 7-minute clip:

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Here's the topic for today's discussion:

There is a kind of science out there—evolutionary science—masquerading as a reliable, objective guide to the truth. But strip away the white lab coat, turn the microscope around, and make the subject the object of your study. Guess what you’ll find? It’s just another false prophet proclaiming his false religion, evolution.

Here’s the question for discussion: If a Christian wouldn’t try to integrate the Bible with a Mormon, Hindu, or Satanist worldview, what justifies that approach when it comes to evolutionary theories about origins?


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#1  Posted by John Adams  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 12:09 AM

"There is a kind of science out there—evolutionary science—masquerading as a reliable, objective guide to the truth. But strip away the white lab coat, turn the microscope around, and make the subject the object of your study. Guess what you’ll find? It’s just another false prophet proclaiming his false religion, evolution."

Even YECs trained in biology know that this is not true.

"Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

I say these things not because I'm crazy or because I've "converted" to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I'm motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory."

Todd Wood, young-earth baraminologist - http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html

#2  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 5:39 AM

That is a ligitimate comparison. Whether you are a Mormon, Hindu, Satanist, or Theistic Evolutionist, you have to either eliminate, twist, or change the meaning of scripture in order to support your paradigm. Any scripture or evidence presented that contradicts that paradigm is excluded and made inferior to their tradition. Any time you accept your tradition over the clear and consistent word of God you are walking in dangerous territory because you have placed your tradition as an authority over the Bible and started down that wide road that leads to apostasy. Matthew 7:13; Proverbs 14:12

#3  Posted by Cory Beard  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 6:43 AM

As a Ph.D. and professor in electrical engineering, I am surprised at scientists who claim there is evidence for evolution and that it is successful scientific theory. There are many examples in my academic world of systemic flaws in "successful scientific theory" that courageous researchers have corrected.

I spend much of my time using probabilistic models to explain phenomena, in my case computer networking and wireless communications. Yet I never use models that result in infinitesimally small probabilities of something happening. Infinitesimally small numbers tell me that my model is incorrect. Yet why don't evolutionary scientists do this!?

So many parts of the evolutionary model say that something infinitesimally unlikely can still happen given enough time. As an example, how long does it take for a event to happen if its likelihood is 1/10e50? Please consult your undergraduate probability textbook. I can tell you it is not just millions or billions of years. Assuming, for example that 1 billion mutations can happen per second, the result is still 3.17e31 years!

The most important consideration, however, is the reliability of our great God and his Word. I trust him fully. He demonstrated his love by dying for us when we were still sinners. I go to him and trust him above all things for all that he teaches.

#4  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 6:55 AM

John in #1,

You always stop by here on a regular basis and leave some link that is suppose to refute the blog article. However, you never stick around for interaction, especially when we produce counter arguments that blow your link out of the water.

None the less, I do hope you considered Todd's other clarifying posts that he links in the article you link here. He goes on to explain himself, so for you to hold him up as some clandestine supporter for your cause to re-write Genesis along theistic evolutionary constructs is a tad disingenuous.

Of course evolution has turned into a false religion. Religions are merely systems developed by men for them to express their devotion and zeal for specific beliefs. They are further designed to provide a framework for men to explain the world, where they came from, why they are here, what is the meaning of life, where we are going, and what happens after we die, and all the other questions every man everywhere in the world has in his heart.

Evolution is the religion for the secular world. It provides the mechanism the secular world appeals to as the explanation as to why we are here, what is the meaning of life, where are we going, etc. To ignore these philosophical ramifications is rather simplistic and naive on your part.

Believe me, Eugenie Scott, Richard Dawkins, and a whole host of individuals are secular fundamentalists committed to evolution with fanatical and blind convictions. Not because the "evidence" so clearly proves evolution, but because they hate God and want some excuse to keep Him out of their lives.

As evolutionary biologist, Richard Lewontin as stated in a now famous quote:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

#5  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 9:11 AM

John,

I don't believe your shallow drive-by tactics are going to work here.

We're going to call you on your weak argumentation. Not only have you been "converted" to evolution but you drank the Kool-Aid. The "so called" gobs and gobs of evidence for evolution can also be explained from a creationist perspective. It's not the evidence that is in question, it's the philosophical conclusions that evolutionists try to pawn off as evidence that comes into question. In many ways the creation model fits the evidence even better than the evolution model. You would do well to visit some of the very good creation websites and learn how creationists explain the scientific data. Some of the better ones are creation.com, answersingenesis.org, and icr.org.

#6  Posted by Michael Osborne  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 9:25 AM

Pastor MacArthur:

Until I became aware of your radio and internet ministries, I held to the Old-Earth, 'ages-as-days' theory of Genesis. There came a point where it was evident to me that discussions between myself and others about God and Science (particularly evolution vs. Creation) were really just me trying to sound smart to the world. I used to say that I believed God could fabricate the Universe and everything in it in the blink of an eye if he so desired, he just chose to do it over spans of time He called 'Days' in his book. But if he could do it in a nanosecond, or else over the course of six distinct periods of many years at a time, why not six calendar days, just as the text says? I struggle with where the dinosaurs fit into the picture, and Pangaea, and other compelling physical phenomena of the 'Ancient' world, and I'm keen to hear the word of the Lord concerning these things in blogs to come. Thank you for your work in the Lord.

#7  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 9:56 AM

Hi Folks:

Don't you find it amazing that people think that evolution allows for any sexual desire? I believe that,(as one who would follow

logic), this is wrong. If one were to follow the schematic of evolution it would result in having those with deviant sexual desires as genetic dead ends and the off-scourge of the species. And while it may allow for this and say that modern man is a dead end, optimistically evolutionist do not see themselves this way. To the contrary, they are not "dead ends" even though they do not properly propagate their species and provide their "superior" genetic material to the total. They do not feel compelled to raise their offspring to be "good" genetic examples, as any other animal would does. They don't see that morality is like granite and can not be circumvented because it allows for the total species to "ascend" out of the darkness, (I thought that evolution was always upward and onward, in other words, we are suppose to be "evolving" into something better). This is what evolutionist like Dawkins preaches. There is always the idea that man came out of primordial darkness and that now we are the "Illuminati". Even programs like "Star Trek" are on the band wagon to show that future man will somehow be more evolved then we are now,( and I weep bitterly that I'm not a Vulcan, able to do mathematics down to the minutest octal point, or decimal point(etc)TIC). And that thinking has infiltrated every aspect of modern thinking.( J. Bronowski's "The Ascent of Man" was the evolutionist "bible" when I went to college, now Dawkins is trying to take those themes and propagate them.) How is it that one would deny the basest of moral laws, which are as sure as the laws of gravity. One who does as he/she pleases, sexually, violates the very nature of evolutionary theory. Because deviant societies do not evolve "Onward and Upward". They are degraded and turn in on themselves because the "prime directive" is self pleasure and self interest. But by maintaining the "Ascent" principle they are bound to onward and upward, not depravity. Depravity works against evolution, against the onward and upward of the morality tales such as Star Trek and Star Wars provide. They see the necessity of morality in daily life and see the "goodness" of "doing unto others" but deny the moral law that it is based upon. The conclusion that many have reached is that there is no "up" in "upward", and no "on" in "onward". The conclusion is that "it" is all a dead end! And it is dreadfully easy for philosophical evolutionist to say these things. They don't seem to have a clue as to the cosmic joke that their "science" has led them to. Here they are rational beings capable of some scientific/ philosophic thought, able to see the world and, indeed, the universe as beautiful and ordered, but without the capacity to see a wonderful creator who made it, nor the Wonderful Savior who can give meaning to them.

#8  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 10:37 AM

#1 John Adams: What a refreshing experience to read a YEC honestly address the enormity of the obstacles that he must face in order to reject evolution. Right or wrong, evolution is a force to be reckoned with and is considered one of science's greatest success stories.

#2 Rick: "That is a ligitimate comparison. Whether you are a Mormon, Hindu, Satanist, or Theistic Evolutionist, you have to either eliminate, twist, or change the meaning of scripture in order to support your paradigm"

Publish an article in a scientific journal using Mormonism, Hinduism, or Satanism to make testable scientific predictions and then I'll concede your point. Of course you can't because evolution is a scientific theory that explains all the relevant biological data and the others you cite are false religions. Materialism, not evolution, is a false world view. Evolution is just a handy theory that makes sense of everything I study. It seems like you and J.Mac. just refuse to differentiate between the two, just like Dawkins and Provine, but they are not equivalent. Even good humanistic scientists admit that.

#3 Cory Beard "As a Ph.D. and professor in electrical engineering, I am surprised at scientists who claim there is evidence for evolution and that it is successful scientific theory...I spend much of my time using probabilistic models to explain phenomena, in my case computer networking and wireless communications."

As a lowly bio grad student, I speak as a layman on conclusions reached by profs. in electrical engineering. But maybe I can humbly offer some insight. I think you may be "surprised at scientists who claim there is evidence for evolution and that it is successful scientific theory" because, like some engineering profs. at the univ. I attend (some of whom may or may not have been involved with a recent Ben Stein film, whose engineering grad student I may or may not have had a long conversation on this topic), they come at the problem, like Bill Dembski (who may or may not have had a prolonged dust up with faculty in my department several years back), from a probabilistic, mathematical, statistical approach, whereas I could care less about the odds, but rather with what the most parsimonious biological explanation is, regardless of the supposed height of the statistical mount improbable. (Stats can work in favor of evolution though. For example, what are the odds of humans and other great apes having the exact same point mutation at the exact same location on the exact same gene (GULO), rendering their vit. C pathways defective, esp. if that mutation didn't occur in a single common ancestor? Not good. Not to mention the odds of sharing all those other redundant pseudogenes in the exact same location). I think many of the stat. approaches are seriously flawed. I know a person whose highest math credentials include two years of h.s. ap calc and one semester of stat for non-major bio grad students will never convince you, nor will a 47 sec video by a cell biologist (Ken Miller), but it's worth a try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B1g_DObYIc. Also, a fellow engineer (Gordon Glover) has made a good argument that the odds favor common descent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_HxiUwf4Eg&feature=related

#9  Posted by John Adams  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 12:08 PM

Fred Butler, Todd Wood is one of the leading creation biologists. You say "Of course evolution has turned into a false religion." About people who say similar things his view is that "People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)" So let me ask you, which of these are you?

Todd Wood has written an entire research article on the human and chimp genomes in 2006 just after full genome comparisons were completed. In his research paper he challenges other creation researchers to deal with the data. Read the paper for yourself - http://www.creationbiology.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=201240&module_id=36954

In a recent blog post - http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2010/03/primer-on-transposable-elements.html - amidst critiquing some appalling misrepresentation of basic science from ICR, he writes;

"In my chimp genome paper, I challenged myself and my fellow creationists to account for biological similarity in a creationist context. To date, the challenge has not been met."

So to everyone who says the evidence supporting evolution relies on "biased interpretations" or that "In many ways the creation model fits the evidence even better than the evolution model" I ask you; why are leading creation researchers themselves not aware of this?

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 12:50 PM

John,

With regard to Todd Wood, the abstract says, "The level of similarity observed between the human and chimpanzee genomes cannot be adequately explained simply by the will of the Creator, unless a theory can be developed to explain why the Creator would will such similarity."

Says who?

Who is Todd to say that the will of God is not an adequate explanation? Why does a theory need to be developed? Todd Woods is assuming what he has yet to prove.

Todd and many other geneticists have done a fine job demonstrating the similarity in the genomes. However he has taken a leap of faith to then assume that similarity = common ancestry. To him it is a logical conclusion, to me it goes against logic, if by logic we mean reality as defined by God.

I know Todd can't prove his conclusion. I prove my conclusion by adhering to a higher authority than science, namely, Scripture. Todd says his conclusion of common ancestry more adequately explains the evidence. Well that's nice for Todd. I think God more adequately explains how He created.

#12  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 12:56 PM

Paul #7 said:

“Even programs like "Star Trek" are on the band wagon to show that future man will somehow be more evolved then we are now, (and I weep bitterly that I'm not a Vulcan, able to do mathematics down to the minutest octal point, or decimal point (etc)TIC). And that thinking has infiltrated every aspect of modern thinking.”

Personally, I always wanted to pinch someone’s shoulder & “gently” knock-them-out or shut-them-up! :) Or maybe do the mind-meld! But if I read what’s going on inside the minds of some of these evolutionary thinkers, I think I would go nuts! I honestly do not see how they can balance their beliefs that the Bible is accurate & that God is Omnipotent & Omniscient, yet they cannot accept that He created a “mature looking” universe, perhaps to confound “the wise” of this world? 1 Cor 1:25, 27-31, 2:5, 11-16, Ps 19:7

The other issue I have with evolution is the probability & statistics, (also mentioned by Cory #3). Science is very mathematically based in calculating & forecasting & modeling, yet the probabilities of “something out of nothing” is a BIG ZERO! “Illogical Captain!” :) You know I can laugh on the outside but it seriously disturbs me on the inside that they deny God His due credit for all He has created. You see, the more I come to see & understand His power & intelligence, it only demonstrates to me more & more how GREAT GOD IS! It is ADDITIONAL cause to pay reverence & awe, & worship Him AS GOD! There is no One like Him! And His love for us is so great that He would ask His own Son to die in our place to redeem us from our sins, & so then HOW could I ever believe He would lead me to believe His word, (His verbal account dictated to Moses on the origins of our universe & being) but all the while deceive me so that instead of leaning on His Holy Spirit to guide my understanding of what Genesis TRULY MEANS, I WOULD NEED TO CONSULT WITH MODERN MAN’S DISCOVERIES & EXPLANATIONS TO FIND THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE UNIVERSE & MAN’S ORIGINS?! Can’t do it! As Pastor John said, it is a false religion.

And using Paul’s (#7) examples of man’s sexual tendencies, I’ve never understood the PROBABILITY that one slimy something mutated on one side of the earth while another slimy thing coincidentally mutated similarly on the other side of the earth & somehow they got together & figured out how to reproduce? Just the human reproductive system is something man could never dream-up, yet I’m supposed to believe it all just evolved that way: One sperm finding one egg at just the right time in just the right way? TOO HARD TO BELIEVE/PROBABILITY TOO INCOMPRENSIBLE! (And just because there are some similarities in HOW different species reproduce, that does not LOGICALLY lead to “they must have all evolved from the same thing/species” rather than to believe a Creator MADE THEM THAT WAY, similar yet uniquely different: Man being the one created in God’s image – with an eternal soul – bound for heaven or hell!)

#14  Posted by John Adams  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 1:09 PM

Gabriel, his name if Todd Wood. You basically arguing that God created with the appearance of common descent. If that's what you feel then there really is nowhere for the discussion to go, in the same way that appearance of age arguments can't be evaluated.

Wood also says;

"Gilad et al. (2003) surveyed 50 olfactory receptor genes in humans and apes. They found that the open reading frame of 33 of the human genes were interrupted by nonsense codons or deletions, rendering them pseudogenes. Sixteen of these human pseudogenes were also pseudogenes in chimpanzee, and they all shared the exact same substitution or deletion as the human sequence. Eleven of the human pseudogenes were shared by chimpanzee, gorilla, and human and had the exact same substitution or deletion. While common design could be a reasonable first step to explain similarity of functional genes, it is difficult to explain why pseudogenes with the exact same substitutions or deletions would be shared between species that did not share a common ancestor."

While he refers to a specific study of a few dozen pseudogenes, examples such as these run into the thousands.

See this article

Humans and chimpanzees share a broken copy of the vitamin C gene (As Garrett mentioned)

< Comparison of the genomes of mammals shows that a gene responsible for the synthesis of vitamin C has been inactivated by mutation in all primates.

< In addition humans and chimpanzees share the exact same mutations in the exact same locations in the disabled vitamin C gene.

< The suggested explanation of this is that an ancestor of humans and chimps sustained these mutations and passed it on to humans and chimps.

Humans and chimpanzees share six hemoglobin genes

< Adult human hemoglobin (Hb) consists of two different sets of proteins: 2 alpha and 2 beta proteins. These proteins are coded in two clusters of genes: the alpha cluster and the beta cluster.

< The beta cluster has five functioning genes and one broken gene – the psi-beta gene – which arose by duplication of the functional beta gene. The psi-beta gene is called a pseudogene because it is disabled by mutation.

< Humans and chimpanzees have the same beta cluster, i.e., the same five functioning Hb genes in the same order on the same chromosome.

< Humans and chimpanzees also share the sixth gene: the psi-beta pseudogene.

< The human and chimp psi-beta pseudogenes are in the same location relative to the other Hb genes. Moreover, they share six identical errors.

< Explanation: an ancestor of humans and chimps sustained the gene duplication as well as the six mutations in the pseudogene and passed it on to humans and chimps.

#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 1:18 PM

Sorry about the name, I reposted it correctly.

No, God did not create the appearance of common descent. Man created the idea of common descent. Man sees the appearance of common descent only because of man's presuppositions.

You are correct that there is nowhere for this discussion to go. I'm not sure why you cited some of the similarities, or noted that there are thousands of them. The similarities aren't germane to the issue.

What is germane to the issue is that God said He created animals distinct from humans. You can argue with God about why He did it the way He did, or you can accept it. But you won't answer to me for that.

#16  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 1:44 PM

"If a Christian wouldn’t try to integrate the Bible with a Mormon, Hindu, or Satanist worldview, what justifies that approach when it comes to evolutionary theories about origins?"

First, addressing the core of the issue 2 Peter 3 says the following:

3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

According to the scripture above those who participate in such non-scriptural ideologies as evolution (in whatever form) are walking after their own lusts and are willfully forgetting the facts of creation and the flood (not to mention future prophetic events of judgement mentioned further in the passage).

In terms of the specific question...my take is that overt pressure from intellectuals, just the same as in the liberalism attack of previous generations, is causing the post-modernistic evangelical to succumb to peer pressure on a massive scale. The prof's in seminary make the new students feel unintelligent if they actually believe in a literal six-day creation; the theistic evolutionist pastor in the association looks down on his small minded pastor friend and pressures the six-day literalist guy into trying to fit in by accepting the so-called proofs of evolution (which I challenge anyone to provide such proof)...bullying and cowardice is really what it boils down to.

For example:

John Adams posted-

< The human and chimp psi-beta pseudogenes are in the same location relative to the other Hb genes. Moreover, they share six identical errors.

< Explanation: an ancestor of humans and chimps sustained the gene duplication as well as the six mutations in the pseudogene and passed it on to humans and chimps.

My reply would not be to accept his presupposed conclusion but approach the example like this:

< The human and chimp psi-beta pseudogenes are in the same location relative to the other Hb genes. Moreover, they share six identical errors.

< Explanation: God created both man and chimps, with psi-beta pseudogenes in the same location relative to the other Hb genes sharing six identical errors, on day six of the creation week.

Spurgeon said we need real men in our pulpits. Men who would "play the man" and not wimp out on such crucial issues. I agree.

Preachers...Christians...man-up! Evolution has no place in Christianity...whatsoever.

#17  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 3:27 PM

*** Leaving lurk mode ==>

There was an interesting thread that ran on the Uncommon Descent blog last August that covered a lot of the same territory (e.g. Vitamin C, pseudogenes, etc.). Lots of useful links in it too:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/more-chimp-human-genome-problems/

Another thread from the Evolution Fairytale Discussion forum regarding Todd Wood:

http://www.evolutionfairytale.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3195&mode=linear

Other interesting realted stuff:

Decoding the dogma of DNA similarity - http://creation.com/decoding-the-dogma-of-dna-similarity

The slow, painful death of junk DNA - http://creation.com/junk-dna-slow-death

<== Returning to lurk mode***

#18  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 4:31 PM

John Adams writes,

You say "Of course evolution has turned into a false religion." About people who say similar things his view is that "People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution.

If you don't believe science has turned evolution in to their god, you would do well to read Cornelius Hunter's blog: http://www.darwins-god.blogspot.com

Atheist Michael Ruse also disagree with you:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.

‘… Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.’

~Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000.

John Adams continues,

In a recent blog post - http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2010/03/primer-on-transposable-elements.html - amidst critiquing some appalling misrepresentation of basic science from ICR, he writes

Wood was not critiquing "some appalling misrepresentation of basic science." Did you even bother to read the actual article in question? Wood seemed to be more bothered that the writer wasn't taking his particular view more seriously and thought he wasn't thorough enough covering the debate to his liking. It may be that Wood is correct that creationists need to buckle down and do more work in this area, but at the moment, as the A&F article pointed out, junk DNA is just as much an intriguing and baffling question for evolutionists as it is for creationists. Even Wood notes that.

John Adams writes,

So to everyone who says the evidence supporting evolution relies on "biased interpretations" or that "In many ways the creation model fits the evidence even better than the evolution model" I ask you; why are leading creation researchers themselves not aware of this?

If you remember, Wood closes his article by challenging creationists to account for these issues from a creationist model, in other words, interpret the data. But again, if you assume common ancestry, something that isn't even necessary in this discussion, of course you're gonna say there are no biased interpretations.

#19  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 5:26 PM

#15 Gaberiel: "No, God did not create the appearance of common descent. Man created the idea of common descent. Man sees the appearance of common descent only because of man's presuppositions."

I think you've just hit rock bottom with that. This is what all of YEC arguments boil down to; the only reason you see evolution is because of your presuppositions. Well guess what? Presuppose YEC and everything becomes incoherent, like the facts he cited. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say is "Well, it's a mystery," or, "God just did it that way to test our faith," or, "There must be some unknown explanation that evades the common ancestry conclusion," etc.

"You are correct that there is nowhere for this discussion to go. I'm not sure why you cited some of the similarities, or noted that there are thousands of them. The similarities aren't germane to the issue."

OR, "the similarities are inconvenient for someone rejecting common ancestry, so I'll just ignore them and call you a presuppositional revelation denier."

"What is germane to the issue is that God said He created animals distinct from humans."

Aren't we distinct from animals? How does that invalidate common ancestry?

"You can argue with God about why He did it the way He did, or you can accept it."

Isn't that exactly what you are doing by kicking against the goads of so much evidence?

#20  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 6:16 PM

Presuppose YEC and everything becomes incoherent, like the facts he cited.

Facts don't become incoherent. What becomes incoherent is your preferred theory.

All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say is "Well, it's a mystery," or, "God just did it that way to test our faith,"

That's exactly what the scientist would say after studying the wine, fish, and bread that Jesus created.

Aren't we distinct from animals? How does that invalidate common ancestry?

Read Genesis 1:24-27. Animals and humans were created at different times on the same day. Man was made from dust, not from an animal. That's how it invalidates common ancestry.

Isn't that exactly what you are doing by kicking against the goads of so much evidence?

The genome similarities are bare facts. You interpret them to say that there is common ancestry. The bare facts don't give that conclusion, your presuppositions do. Now if you found a chimp that gave birth to non-chimp, that would be evidence in your favor.

#21  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 7:52 PM

"Read Genesis 1:24-27. Animals and humans were created at different times on the same day. Man was made from dust, not from an animal. That's how it invalidates common ancestry."

Job was made from dust too. Job 10:8-9: "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?" So was Job created by a similar miracle, or do you dare to allegorize this? The point is, we are all from dust and to dust we will return. This is clearly not to be taken as an alternative explanation to evolution, but a complementary one. Why does your literalism drive you to take "created from dust" and "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" as being opposed to modern science? God breathed into dust nostrils and that miraculously turned the dust mold into a flesh and blood man. Sure, God can do that. But given the context, how scripture uses the created from dust theme and applies it to to all of us, and the obvious anthropomorphisms (God breathes into nostrils) why do that? Do you think God was literally "walking in the garden in the cool of the day"? Don't you think this is similar to when it says God spoke to Moses as one speaks to a man face to face? Why not be consistent here? If you were there, would you have heard audible Hebrew words from heaven, seen God breathe and walk? What does that look like?

"The genome similarities are bare facts. You interpret them to say that there is common ancestry"

Yes, and that interpretation makes sense of the bare facts. How do you interpret them? In a way that is ad hoc and is of no use biologically. Forget presuppositions; the evidence from DNA screams universal family tree, nested hierarchy, groups within groups, etc.

"Now if you found a chimp that gave birth to non-chimp, that would be evidence in your favor."

Actually evolution does not predict that, so it would not be supportive evidence. This is a classic creationist straw man argument.

#22  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 10:20 PM

Garrett, Job does not say he was created from dust. All he says is that God shaped him just like the psalmist said in Psalm 139. Can you tell me where Job says he was created by a similar miracle as Genesis 1? Additionally, Job (and Psalm 139) are clearly in the poetic genre. That's not to say what they say is allegory, but it is to say Job isn't trying to explain the historical fact of how he developed whereas in Genesis 1 God was explaining the historical fact of how He created the first human.

But given the context, how scripture uses the created from dust theme and applies it to to all of us

Can you show me in Scripture were it says we are all individually created from dust? The only reference I can think of Genesis 3:19 where God says that man came from dust (not, is continually created from dust), and to dust we shall return. Did I miss something?

Do you think God was literally "walking in the garden in the cool of the day"?

What, like how the angel of the Lord (who many agree is the pre-incarnate Jesus) walked on this earth? Probably.

If you were there, would you have heard audible Hebrew words from heaven, seen God breathe and walk? What does that look like?

So are you saying that because we don't understand how it could have happened, that it isn't likely to have happened? Are you asking for a miracle to be naturallistically explained? Do you remember that people in the Old and New Testament did indeed hear a voice from heaven? If God the Son could take the form of a man and appear on this earth (as He apparently did to Abraham before He destroyed Sodom), don't you think it is possible that He could have done similiar things at the beginning of creation?

It seems to me that you want a blow-by-blow explanation of exactly in every detail God of how did it before you will believe. You want to know the sound of Him walking in the garden. You want to see the air flowing into the dust-formed man. You want to see God's footprints in the garden. You want to see the hole in His side and the holes in his hands... oh wait... that was Thomas. Sorry.

Forget presuppositions; the evidence from DNA screams universal family tree

That's just plain intellectual dishonesty to pretend you can "forget presuppositions". You may not see it now. But that is a foolish statement.

I'm still waiting for you to demonstrate how the rest of Scripture affirms your a-historical interpretation of Genesis 1 and how you handle the verses that seem to clearly indicate a historical interpretation.

#23  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 19, 2010at 11:30 PM

#22 Gabriel: "Garrett, Job does not say he was created from dust"

Yes he does: "Will you now turn me to dust again?" Again assumes he was formed from dust, which is exactly what he says.

"Additionally, Job (and Psalm 139) are clearly in the poetic genre. That's not to say what they say is allegory, but it is to say Job isn't trying to explain the historical fact of how he developed whereas in Genesis 1 God was explaining the historical fact of how He created the first human."

You have these monolithic genre categories; why can't historical narrative be mixed with figurative language in Genesis as it is in Job? If Job isn't merely allegorical but also contains figures of speech mixed in, why can't Genesis, given that it was a common theme for the gods to create out of things like humans and animals out of clay/dirt/blood?

"Can you show me in Scripture were it says we are all individually created from dust?"

Sure, saying to Adam "for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" applies to all of us. Psalm 103:14 says that "he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." You're dust, I'm dust. Like a potter, God molded us from the dust like clay. Job claims that for himself and so can you. So it makes sense that Adam would be made from dust, since he is our federal, archetypal head.

"What, like how the angel of the Lord (who many agree is the pre-incarnate Jesus) walked on this earth? Probably"

I knew it! I knew you'd take it hyper-literally and say it was Jesus "pre-incarnate"! The picture is of God taking an evening stroll, asking questions, etc. He had just finished a week's work of labor, made man like a potter, and rested and you still can't concede even the slightest use of anthropomorphic language. I think your insistence that this is purely straight forward historical narrative blind you to some obvious thematic elements.

"So are you saying that because we don't understand how it could have happened, that it isn't likely to have happened?"

No, I'm saying your wooden literalism won't allow you to admit even the most obvious uses of figurative language.

"It seems to me that you want a blow-by-blow explanation of exactly in every detail God of how did it before you will believe."

Well, according to you, that's what Genesis 1 is isn't it?

"You want to know the sound of Him walking in the garden. You want to see the air flowing into the dust-formed man. You want to see God's footprints in the garden."

Not exactly. Walking in the garden, breathing life into us; are these not human/linguistic accommodations trying to express realities that we cannot possibly even fathom? Isn't that what the bible does with Moses? He was so intimate with God that, well, how shall I express the wonder of that intimately unique relationship, well, it was as if he was talking to God as a man talks with a friend, face to face (yet we know God is not a man with a face). How would you explain our pre-fall fellowship with God, untainted by sin? We were so intimate with God, it was, hmmm, how to express it, well, it was as if he was walking with us in the cool of a garden paradise (yet we know that God does not have feet). How can you NOT accommodate to human language/limited understanding when communicating God's special creation of man in his image or our original fellowship with him? Even Augustine was on to that.

"You want to see the hole in His side and the holes in his hands... oh wait... that was Thomas. Sorry."

Don't apologize; remember, Jesus didn't chide Thomas like you are me; he granted Thomas' request.

"I'm still waiting for you to demonstrate how the rest of Scripture affirms your a-historical interpretation of Genesis 1 and how you handle the verses that seem to clearly indicate a historical interpretation."

I'm still waiting for you to not misrepresent my position and realize that I don't embrace a mere "a-historical" interpretation of Genesis 1. I agree with D.A. Carson that the author intended, on some level, to convey historical truth, but that it is re-presented in ANE garb: (http://www.euroleadershipresources.org/Media/Audio/Don_Carson-Sin_and_the_Fall.mp3). You treat my view as if it has no nuance whatsoever, just pure, ahistorical allegorization. I've never denied that Genesis re-presents raw historical data. You remind me of dispensationalists that claim I have an "a-historical" or spiritualized view of the 1,000 year kingdom just because I don't take it as a literal, future 1,000 year golden age after Christ's return. I do believe in a millennium, it's just symbolic for the period of time between Christ's 1st and 2nd advent! I don't reject it outright, it does have an historical basis!

#24  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 2:23 AM

Don't fool yourself.

The whole matter about origins boils down to only two possibilities:

1) All happened by chance

2) It is created

There is no other option. They are mutually exclusive. It can’t be both.

Implications of the two views:

If number 1:

No purpose. That means ALL philosophy, science and psychology is empty talk, no one can possible give an answer to anything, because there is no purpose, and you can’t find answers to anything, because there are NONE, just every mans opinions. You can’t investigate the past because you can’t trace back trough a random trail. It is impossible. Moral and ethics is of NO value. Stalin, Hitler or Luther King makes no difference. In a short while, the plug is pulled out, and you are dead. Everlasting emptiness is the beginning, ongoing and end of all, so eat, drink and be merry. All is heading to a full stop.

If number 2:

There is a cause and a purpose. ALL questions can be explained, but not always easy.

The choice between the two possibilities is easy because of a great miracle by God the Creator given to all men:

When God gave us His Inerrant word, He laid His head on the block. Find an error and drop it all, because then God is a liar. On the other hand, if it really is true altogether, then it really is a matter of life or dead eternally to believe God or you call Him a liar.

That’s the issue. With Jesus you are truly free, because you ALREADY have the truth about ALL. Investigate, and find it is so.

Contradict, and you lose all, and are back to emptiness.

God gave us all with Christ if we keep the faith to the end.

Blessed be all of you fighting for our savior and the GLORY of the eternal God.

#25  Posted by Rick White  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 3:27 AM

Garrett,

You obviously missed my point. All of those worldviews have eliminated, twisted, or changed the meaning of scripture in order to support their paradigm. An article in a scientific journal is not the same as scripture. I'm beginning to believe that you equate the two, but I don't. You continue to twist scripture in order to support your viewpoint. You did it right here in this thread when you referenced Job. You have tried to change the clear meaning of Genesis 1-3 and then cite other men that have made the same mistake to justify it. You can't reconcile scripture with the theory of evolution. And getting an article on evolution published in a scientific journal is like preaching to the evolutionary choir. In fact if the article doesn't completely support the theory of evolution you can be it won't be published in any scientific journal. All scientific journals today have accepted the theory of evolution as fact and have also drank the philosophical Kool-Aid that goes with it.

#26  Posted by John Adams  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 3:53 AM

Fred, I have been to Cornelius Hunter's blog before. His entire argument is that there can be no possible evidence for evolution because whatever evidence is provided we can't know that God wouldn't have made it that way. Thus he regards all evidence for evolution as "religious." An interesting approach, but not one to be taken too seriously when considering the scientific data.

Todd Wood was responding to an "Acts and Facts" article by Brian Thomas. The article can be found here - http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/af/af1003.pdf - on pages 16 and 17. He was clearly unimpressed with it;

"With regard to the origin of the human species, when the chimp genome was sequenced, it was found to contain nearly all of the transposable elements that the human genome had. The transposable elements were arranged in the same places on chromosomes that were >95% identical in their sequences. I summarized these findings in a paper for OPBSG in 2006. The presence of many transposable elements in the human genome implied that they originated by transposition, and the presence of the same transposable elements in the chimp genome implied that humans and chimps shared a common ancestor. Why? Because of the staggering similarity.

Let me offer a few closing observations. First, it is false to say that the connection between retroviruses and retrotransposons is just speculation or irrational. There is significant sequence similarity between the elements, which rules implies an ancestral connection. I discussed this in more detail when I discussed Liu and Soper's proposed "exogenization" of retrotransposons, an attempt to account for the similarity of retroviruses and retrotransposons.

Second, it is misleading to say that transposable elements are "functional" or "essential." The vast majority of transposable elements in the human genome are nonfunctional copies that have been damaged(?) by point mutations. To my knowledge, there is no evidence of essential function for most of these transposable elements. Indeed, some eukaryotes (like baker's yeast) that have comparatively few transposable elements.

Third, the argument for the common ancestry of chimps and humans depends in no way whatsoever on the functionality of transposable elements. The argument is more compelling if the sequences are purely parasitic, but the overwhelming similarity still implies that chimps and humans could have shared a common ancestor, even if transposable elements had an essential cellular function. In my chimp genome paper, I challenged myself and my fellow creationists to account for biological similarity in a creationist context. To date, the challenge has not been met.

Fourth, McClintock herself proposed an important functional role for transposable elements. Functionality was not the exclusive prediction of creationists. It is definitely false to claim that evolutionists did not propose functions for transposable elements.

Fifth, peculiar examples like the transposable elements of Oxytricha and other ciliates do not provide a solution to the question of functionality of transposable elements. Such things only highlight the oddness of transposable elements and the idiosyncratic roles they play in certain cells. In other words, the occasional transposable elements that do some important job for their host cells emphasize the lack of a general "functional" role for transposable elements in other cells.

Sixth, transcription does not equate to cellular function. It just isn't the same thing. It's interesting, but not even close to conclusive.

Seventh, function does not equate to design. It just isn't the same thing."

Regarding Wood's paper, in his own words;

"It is easily the most popular thing I've ever written, and is directly responsible for an entire cadre of antievolutionists (including a well-known creationist organization whose initials may or may not include the letters I, C, and R) despising me. Fun times."

"I was told there would not be a "public response" to my paper. Antievolutionists think in explicitly militaristic terms, then Christianize them. "It's wrong to attack fellow creationists." Hmmmm.... if by "attack" you mean point out errors and encourage higher standards of scholarship and generally engage in healthy scholarly discourse, then I guess I'm guilty as charged. I don't see that as an attack, though. It's more like trying to dress a gaping wound.

Frankly, I would hate to see a response. I threw the gauntlet down on a problem I've worked on now my entire professional career. What could they possibly say that I haven't already thought of and discredited? [crickets]"

This is what happens to creationists who are honest about the data. Todd Wood tried to bring creation science into the genomics era and the organisations didn't want to know. They don't want to deal with the difficult issues his paper honestly addresses, they want quick, easy answers that suit their apologetic needs. That is why his paper won't be found on any of the main creationist websites. It is also why none of the popular articles found on the sites are presented within the creationist research literature. Todd Wood has already scientifically examined the arguments and pointed out why they fail.

#27  Posted by John Adams  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 3:55 AM

Don, what exactly are your links trying to argue? I have looked through them and cannot see where they even begin to deal with the unitary pseudogene issue. Perhaps you would like to explain where you think they do. It is not merely that we share inactivated versions of genes but that we share them in the precise pattern that common descent predicts; those shared by humans and orangutans are also shared by gorillas and chimps, those shared by humans and gorillas are also shared by chimps.

The arguments about "junk DNA" are even more absurd. It is not simple "non-function" that establishes common descent as they best explanation, it is the precise pattern of identical inactivating mutations. Even if a certain pseudogene is discovered to have some sort of function this does nothing to invalidate the weight of the argument. When considering unitary pseudogenes this argument becomes sillier still. We know what these genes should be doing, we can see working versions of them in other organisms. We can look at the sequences and see they are no longer performing that role as they have been inactivated. It's obvious to anyone willing to understand this and the only way to get around it is, as the Biologos article mentioned, obfuscation.

For a good introduction to creationist writings on "junk DNA," I would recommened Steve Matheson's series on it. He's a biology professor from Calvin College;

http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/2007/12/talking-trash-about-junk-dna.html

http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/2008/01/talking-trash-about-junk-dna-lies-about.html

http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/2008/02/talking-trash-about-junk-dna-lies-about_21.html

He explains quite clearly why all aspects of creationist reporting on this are inaccurate.

#28  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 9:13 AM

#26 & 27 John Adams: Hey John, I'm a Drosophila genetics guy. Would it be fair to say that, like the appearance of age argument, either God created DNA by separate acts of creation to look AS IF it had been passed down via a common ancestor, OR all species actually do descend from a common ancestor in a universal tree of life? Would you agree that those are the only two possible conclusions based on what we know about molecular evolution and phylogenetics?

#29  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 9:25 AM

"He's a biology professor from Calvin College"

Calvin college is now promoting/teaching evolution which is sad...just shows how much emphasis is being placed on human theory instead of the authority of God's Word...even in our seminaries.

Paul urged Timothy to avoid contending with psuedo intellectuals and their false knowledge...we would do well to remember what Paul wrote:

1 timothy 6:20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

#30  Posted by Josué Morissette  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 10:19 AM

I fun to read about those genome studies and transposable elements and all the research that is possible with new technology. All this shows is that life is unexplanably complicated. You can also say that the statistics of the human genome being so close to that of a chimp lean towards evolution. But doing all that is skipping a few million steps. Regardless of the simulitude, how did it all start. Upward mutation has not been scientificly proven, there is still no source for the information found in a single cell. Why is it so hard to start with the beginning and then move up to the rest. Since it is impossible to explain the beginning scientificly in a way that supports evolution, scientists (who do not themselves completly understand how the genome works, or we would be able to treat many deseases) are trying their best to complicate things so much, as to leave the average person unable to understand. Therefore intellectualy intimidating people into evolution. I can't pretent to know and understand everything that is being done in that field, but what I know is that there's is no explanation for the evolutionary process (moving from one species to another). Scientific research may affirm that observations lead to a common ancestor, but as long as it cannot explain how that common ancestor "evolved" into chimps then humans, it is completly useless to me. Life offers endless mysteries, how can you pretend to know how it got here, other than from God, if you can't even explain all of its mysteries?

#31  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 10:30 AM

Garrett,

Again assumes he was formed from dust, which is exactly what he says

Job does not say he was formed from dust. He says he will return to dust. He does not assume that he was formed from dust. He understands exactly what we all understand that when people die and their bodies decompose they return to dust. You are reading into Job’s statement. All he says is that he will return to dust. I can say that. You can say that. We wouldn’t be assuming that we ourselves were actually made from dust (as opposed to growing in our mother’s womb).

In the same way God does not say all people are individually formed from dust. In fact He doesn’t even say that Adam was formed from dust in Genesis 3:19. God says, “you ARE dust.” In terms of our physical bodies, the sum and substance of our physiological being is dust. That does not mean that we are individually created from dust. Obviously the returning to dust applies to all of us not because we ourselves were formed from dust, but because we descended from one who was formed from dust. That is the extent that you will find this “theme” in Scripture, including Psalm 103:14 which you cited.

No, I'm saying your wooden literalism won't allow you to admit even the most obvious uses of figurative language.

Regarding my so-called monolithic genres and the use of figurative language, genres are a critical aspect of hermeneutics. If you don’t take the genre into consideration you will miss the literary aspects of the text/context that clue you into the meaning. Figurative language can certainly be used in any genre, but a basic rule of hermeneutics is that you take words literally unless there is clear contextual reason to take them non-literally. If Genesis 1 is so obviously figurative then you are much better at interpretation than many OT and NT Scripture writers and most of church history.

Regarding your position, I’m trying to represent it, but it’s like jello. You were previously embracing Walton’s interpretation which is clearly a-historical. Now you’re embracing Carson. Carson is incompatible with Walton. If you’re going to accept Walton’s position then you need to explain how Walton (who doesn’t hold to historical interpretation) and Carson (who seems to) are compatible with each other. Now I’m not sure what your position is (I thought you held to Walton).

Regarding a literal interpretation, doesn’t Paul take a literal light interpretation in 2 Corinthians 4:6? Doesn’t Nehemiah take a literal interpretation in Nehemiah 9:6? Does the angel in Revelation 10:6 (who was probably there at creation) take Genesis 1 literally? Walton has said that no one would know about material creation unless God had told them. So how does he/you handle passages like Psalm 33:6, 9; Isaiah 42:5; Jeremiah 32:7; Acts 17:24 where apart from a literal material creation interpretation of Genesis 1 they don’t make sense?

You have indeed said that you believe in a literal Adam. So could you explain how you interpret Genesis 1-2 and how you say that material creation is not in Genesis 1-2 but a literal material Adam (who apparently wasn’t created) in Genesis 1-2? I don’t want to misrepresent your position, but I can only deal with what you’ve given us.

#32  Posted by Philip Spitzer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 11:06 AM

#28 Garrett League: "Would you agree that those are the only two possible conclusions based on what we know about molecular evolution and phylogenetics?"

Nowhere in the Word that I can think of does God say "examine what I have made and try to figure out how I did it." There is a vast gulf of ignorance that exists between the amount of information we know and the amount of information that exists. I have far less trouble believing we don't know what we are talking about scientifically in many area's of nature then I do believing that the commonality that exists is due to the same creator's fingerprint being on everything. A good student of art can walk into a museum, look at the wall, and determine who made the painting based on its style. The stylistic simularities point to a common artist. Why would we expect God to create a new genetic code to accomplish the same thing in species B that he created in Species A?

#33  Posted by John Adams  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 11:27 AM

"Would it be fair to say that, like the appearance of age argument, either God created DNA by separate acts of creation to look AS IF it had been passed down via a common ancestor, OR all species actually do descend from a common ancestor in a universal tree of life? Would you agree that those are the only two possible conclusions based on what we know about molecular evolution and phylogenetics?"

Yes, so it would seem to me. As Steve Matheson says in one of those links "common descent provides a superior explanation for the extraordinary facts gleaned through comparative genomics (i.e., the examination and comparison of genome structure, overall and in detail, among different types of organisms), and there is no competing scientific explanation. As I see it, a knowledgeable Christian person considering these data has exactly two rational alternatives: 1) acknowledge the explanatory power of common ancestry and accept its reality; or 2) acknowledge the appearance of common ancestry but deny its reality. Any other choice is indicative of ignorance or of some form of intellectual dishonesty; I have advocated the use of the concept of folk science to account for the tendency of some apologists (e.g., the "scholars" at Reasons To Believe) to misrepresent science in defense of their preconceived interpretive framework."

One excellent discussion of this was linked to over at Biologos, apparently from the American Scientific Affiliation meeting at Baylor last year -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqsvEwByKU0

What those from an anti-common descent position have to keep going with is that God for some reason either chose to create with, or was constrained to create with, the appearance of common descent. This is despite there being almost endless possible ways of avoiding this; using entirely different genetic codes, completely re-arranging gene orders etc. The combined issues of redundancy, syteny, and pseudogenes (particularly the vitellogenin gene issue) really seal the case. This is without even talking about the fossil record which points to the same conclusion. How deep do creationists think the hoax goes? They believe God created a world that deceives all honest investigators.

#34  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 11:30 AM

Hi Garrett:

I enjoy the conversation and the tenor of these conversations has been respectful, for the most part. Thank you for keeping it that way from your side of the argument. It is common for folks to get frustrated with apposing points of view. However I must say that some of the vitriolic comments made by evolutionist towards ICR members as being "bad" Scientist is due to their own world view and interpretive bent and not because of ICR members incompetence. Evolutionary "science" is by it's very nature anti-God. It starts from a materialistic basis and goes from there. And over the years I have seen just as much avoidance of facts on that side as much as some of the trivialization on this side of the debate. The Atheistic component in this debate is afraid of find "God" around the corner of some scientific hall way. I have seen it so many time it is nauseating. From the Paluxy River artifacts to the Precambrian "explosion" debate, they get scared. Drs. Fox and Greer were afraid to debate Morris and Gish in Miami, Fl., because that were told they would loose the debate. How scared its that. Just a thought.

#35  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 11:58 AM

John, this is a totally honest question that I don't know, nor am I assuming an answer. Have scientists developed test-tube babies with totally different DNA structures as you say is possible? It would be interesting to know.

Whatever the answer is, does that mean that God should have accommodated 21st century scientists in how He arranged the genes? The issue isn't really what God could (or should) have done, the issue is what God did do. For whatever reason, even though the first animals were made from dust, and the first human was distinctly made from dust, God used similar DNA patterns. So what?

From a non-scientific perspective, everyone can clearly see that VAST differences between chimps and humans. Whatever external similarity exists is vastly overshadowed by the differences. Whatever significant genetic similarities exist have insignificant impact the physical, spiritual, sociological, and psychological differences.

Humans are out and out a different class of being than any animal

#36  Posted by John Adams  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 12:18 PM

Gabriel, when you have 40 minutes or so watch these videos. They sum up the data much more concisely than can be done on here in a delayed "back and forth." Then you will hopefully understand better where Garrett and I are coming from. Don't forget, many of us are former ardent anti-evolutionists, including the professor giving this presentation, and we denied the evidence for as long as we felt possible. We have already considered every possible alternative and counter argument, and we know why they ultimately fail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqsvEwByKU0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly4Hr51Ma8Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUvRrV9_sAQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKJx9j4kX9c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyB82qtst44

There's also a similar presentation entitled "Can an Evangelical Christian Accept Evolution?" but it's quite a bit longer.

#37  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 3:36 PM

John:

You stated, “Don't forget, many of us are former ardent anti-evolutionists, including the professor giving this presentation, and we denied the evidence for as long as we felt possible.”

Could it be your faith failed because you spent more time studying the arguments of men rather than prayerfully meditating on the Word of God? I am reminded of Peter who was able to walk on the water while keeping his focus on Christ. But when he took his focus off of Christ and considered the boisterous wind, he began to sink.

Did it make sense to Abraham when God told him to sacrifice Isaac the promised descendant through whom God had promised a great nation? Yet Abraham obeyed God, not fully understanding but having faith in God’s promise (His Word), and it was credited to him as righteousness.

You seem to be saying that if it doesn’t make sense to you (how there could be an appearance of common ancestry but not be common ancestry) then you can’t believe it. The question has been raised several times in this series of blogs to those who claim to have faith in God but insist on believing in evolution, how can you believe in any miracle recorded in God’s word that doesn’t have a scientific explanation? Do you not understand that God’s ways are higher than ours and His thoughts higher than our thoughts? (Isaiah 55:9) There are things we will never understand. We aren’t God.

Have you ever considered 1 Corinthians 3:18-21? “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men.”

#38  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 4:00 PM

Great reply Mary.

If more Christians like yourself actually stood firm in their faith, as Paul urged the Philippian believers to do, we would not be entangled in such problematic issues as theistic evolution (what a completely foolish notion) in the church.

#39  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 4:54 PM

#31 Gabriel: "Job does not say he was formed from dust."

Well, he does say "Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?" So, no, he doesn't say the exact words "I was formed from dust, just like Adam," but you see the theme Job is playing off of; the parallel is obvious.

"In the same way God does not say all people are individually formed from dust."

It's clearly implied. Waltke says "As God forms the first Adam out of the dust of the ground, he also forms every descendant of his from the ground [...] As in Genesis 2, the metaphor is used for the creation of every human being. The representational nature of Adam is indicated by his name ha dama ("the man"). Adam derives from dama, "ground," indicating earthiness; the earth is humankind's cradle, home, and grave" (An O.T. Theology, p.223).

Similarly, Walton says: "Would Israelites believe that all men were created out of dust? Certainly, because 'dust you are and to dust you shall return' is not applicable only to Adam. Are women made of dust as well? On two counts, yes. First, because Eve is made from the 'side' of Adam-from Adam parts; and second because the return to dust applies to her as well. [...] Ancient Near Eastern anthropology suggests that Adam and Eve should be understood in archetypal terms stressing the elements of connectivity that are inherent in their labels. All people are connected to the ground and are mortal (made of dust). All men and women are connected to one another (rib) with stronger connectivity links than to mother and father" (Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the O.T., p.208).

And lest you say "Aw, he reduces them to mere archetypes!" he adds this footnote: "The recognition of an archetypal focus for the biblical account of human origins does not affect the debate in confessional (particularly evangelical) circles concerning the historicity of Adam and Eve. Archetypal identity neither affirms nor denies the existence of the individual. For instance, Abraham has his greatest significance as an archetype-within the covenant and in relation to the people of Israel-but that does not imply that he is not to be viewed as a historical individual. In this way of thinking, the distinction should be made that the sin of the archetypes Adam and Eve has significance for all humanity because they are archetypes, not because they are genetic parents. The faithfulness of the archetype Abraham has significance for all the Israelites, not because he is the genetic parent, but because he is an archetype. Indeed, he is the father of all who believe. Paul certainly treats Adam as an archetype, but it is the nuancing and implications of that term that would be controversial in Rom. 5" (p.209).

Waltke has a very similar view.

"Regarding your position, I’m trying to represent it, but it’s like jello."

In this drive-by, sound byte formate, I can see why you may get that impression, but I assure you it's due, at least partly, to the format (also, probably partly due to my own poor communication).

" You were previously embracing Walton’s interpretation which is clearly a-historical."

If you think that, you don't know his position. Read his NIV application commentary on Genesis for a full explanation of his view on genre and genesis.

"Now you’re embracing Carson."

To be more precise, I agree with all that he says in that lecture I linked; that is NOT to say that I agree with all his view on the subject or vice versa. I am not as familiar with his particular views/methodology, but what he says in the sin and the fall sermon, I can amen.

"So could you explain how you interpret Genesis 1-2 and how you say that material creation is not in Genesis 1-2 but a literal material Adam (who apparently wasn’t created) in Genesis 1-2"

I cannot due those questions justice. For justice, see the 3 books I just cited. In short, Adam was made by God materially, but Genesis doesn't tell that story. I'll cite "An O.T. Theology" once more, because it summarizes my conclusions well: "Nevertheless, although it is essentially history, the plot does not attempt to represent the story in a straightforward way. Some think otherwise. Henry Morris writes, 'The creation account is clear, definite, sequential, and matter-of-fact, giving every appearance of straightforward historical narrative.' But the nature of the narrative genre, temporal incoherence within and between the accounts, and anthropomorphisms call this identification into question" (p.190-191).

He then goes onto explain why that is. Here's another: "Ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies are a very different literary genre from the genre of scientific writings. These ancient cosmogonies-including that of Genesis 1-do not ask or attempt to answer scientific questions of origins: the material, manner, or date of the origin of the world and of its species. The biblical account represents God as creating the cosmological spheres that house and preserve life in six days, each presumably consisting of twenty-four hours. But how closely this cosmology coincides with the material reality cannot be known from the genre of an ancient Near Eastern cosmology, which does not attempt to answer that question. Recall that biblical narrators creatively and rhetorically represent raw historical data to teach theology" (p.202).

Hope that begins to clarify where I'm coming from.

#32 Philip: "A good student of art can walk into a museum, look at the wall, and determine who made the painting based on its style. The stylistic simularities point to a common artist. Why would we expect God to create a new genetic code to accomplish the same thing in species B that he created in Species A?"

Two problems. 1.) The painting analogy is false for the same reason Paley's watch argument was; paintings (like watches) don't reproduce, they don't undergo mutations, and they aren't subject to natural selection. Therefore, how could similarities between two Caravaggio paintings possibly NOT exist due to creation by a common artist, since there is no natural means for them to share those similarities? But with living organisms, similarities may arise from biological (that is, genetic) relatedness. 2.) Your following argument is essentially the standard creationist "same genes, same designer" argument. If we have brown hair and monkeys have brown hair, why can't we share the same genetic equipment for producing brown hair? Why does that mean we share a common ancestor? Well, that alone doesn't. It not just that we have similar genes; it's the overall pattern of similar and dissimilar genes (and fossil genes) and how they are similar/dissimilar. See: http://www.youtube.com/user/glovergj#p/u/13/zsuIpSDXRAE and http://www.youtube.com/user/glovergj#p/u/12/E_zDWUguU_Y

#33 John Adams: "One excellent discussion of this was linked to over at Biologos, apparently from the American Scientific Affiliation meeting at Baylor last year"

Ah! I saw those lectures online a while back; I arrived on campus later that month! Wish I could have attended. But yes, either God is needlessly deceptive (this goes WAY beyond any necessary appearance of maturity) or it's not illusory. Gordon Glover makes that point better than any one I've come across here: http://www.youtube.com/user/glovergj#p/u/15/pyEOdnckKCQ

#34 Paul: "However I must say that some of the vitriolic comments made by evolutionist towards ICR members as being "bad" Scientist is due to their own world view and interpretive bent and not because of ICR members incompetence."

They are not incompetents, just misguided-tents.

"Evolutionary 'science' is by it's very nature anti-God."

I can understand why you'd think that. After all, many outspoken atheists say the very same thing. But why agree with them? After all, they think science can essentially explain everything about everything, since everything is mere matter. But they, like you, conflate methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. But they are NOT the same: http://www.youtube.com/user/glovergj#p/u/22/b52Hbx73aPM

"From the Paluxy River artifacts to the Precambrian "explosion" debate, they get scared."

Actually, the Paluxy tracks (I've been to DVSP in Glen Rose a number of times, took pictures with my foot in the supposed "human" tracks) are no longer used as evidence by YEC groups like AiG:

"'Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.’ Some prominent creationist promoters of these tracks have long since withdrawn their support. Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artefacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks. There is a need for properly documented research on the tracks before we would use them to argue the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. However there is much evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed—see Q&A: Dinosaurs."

Scientists, and good creationists, have known this for decades (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG-7SDb_8Wo).

As for the so-called Cambrian explosion, it's really not a problem for evolution. There were lots of creatures before the "explosion" (which took millions of years). In fact, Simon Conway Morris at Cambridge University, a Christian and one of the world's foremost experts on the Cambrian explosion, argues that convergent evolution implies that humans were inevitable and that evolution was fine-tuned for human life to arise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB-j4BA5qIc

"Drs. Fox and Greer were afraid to debate Morris and Gish in Miami, Fl., because that were told they would loose the debate. How scared its that. Just a thought."

Morris and Gish were bright men and very skilled debaters. The legendary "Gish Gallop" is an infamous debate tactic. However, their science has been discredited by many scientists since then (See Dr. Prothero take on Gish's fossil claims here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efpjE_wg_1M). In fact, Dr. Morris himself admitted to being outmatched in a debate with a young and articulate Dr. Ken Miller when they debated in 1981 (see: http://www.brownalumnimagazine.com/content/view/386/40/).

#35 Gabriel: Check out those videos John linked. Also, here is an undergrad lecture series that Venema gave in an "Intro Biology for non-majors" course. They explain why evolution is a better scientific model than YEC: http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/video-presentations/christianity-biology/

#40  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 5:48 PM

I can see why you may get that impression, but I assure you it's due, at least partly, to the format.

I'll grant you that. This kind of format is exceedingly difficult to carry on discussions/debates because of how easy it is to get off on tangents and have multiple people all making different points.

As far as your explanation of your view, can you help me understand how a non-material creation can be historical? You quoted Waltke saying, "These ancient cosmogonies-including that of Genesis 1-do not ask or attempt to answer scientific questions of origins: the material, manner, or date of the origin of the world and of its species." So I'm trying to figure out that isn't a-historical.

Genesis 2:4 clearly indicates that this is a historical account of God creating the material heavens and earth, does it not?

Waltke says "Ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies are a very different literary genre from the genre of scientific writings." First of all, no one said Genesis 1-3 are "scientific writings". Second, to call Genesis 1-2 ANE cosmology is an eisegetical conclusion. The text itself is linguistically historical narrative (did you ever read that article I pointed you to? Here it is again).

Regarding the videos, I hope to be able to get to them out of interest, but to be quite honest, the authority is Scripture. A literary grammatico-historical interpretation of Scripture lends to a miraculous material creation. Science has no business studying it. So the scientific evidence is meaningless. Waltke and Walton have not convinced me (or any of the Hebrew scholars I trust) that they have unlocked the secrets of Genesis 1 after multiple millenia of people actually believing it was history (including Jesus, Paul, and the prophets).

In short, Adam was made by God materially, but Genesis doesn't tell that story.

So are you admitting that God made Adam from dust, or do you believe that God lied about that and actually modifed the genome over a period of time to eventually produce a human creature in which He placed a soul (whereas that beings parent did not have a soul)? Because you say on the one hand that Genesis 1 is history, but on the other hand that it didn't happen that way (which would make it a-historical). You seem to be contradicting yourself, so some clarification would be helpful.

#41  Posted by Carmen González  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 6:18 PM

"A good student of art can walk into a museum, look at the wall, and determine who made the painting based on its style. The stylistic similarities point to a common artist."

Brilliantly put, Philip. Simple, but right to the point: EVERYTHING WAS CREATED BY THE SAME ARTIST. THE ONE AND ONLY ARTIST. His style is unique, therefore, recognizable in everything HE made. Since He made it ALL, everything has to have HIS fingerprints.

That explains your precious DNA mutations: both their differences and their similarities. God designed, draw and painted as HE saw fit: from mesmerizing spider webs to a human eye (which is the organ with most intricate anatomy) to an infinite universe!

Plain and simple.

Thank you, Philip. God bless you all... Good Night from Dominican Republic!

#42  Posted by Philip Spitzer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 7:41 PM

#39 Garrett League

"Two Problems"

I think you may have misunderstood my goal. After re-reading my post I can see where that would be easy :-)

My goal was not to prove that evolution was wrong and creation was write. My goal was to show that creation is a plausible explanation of things. I'm willing to concede to you that your scientific explanation is a plausible explanation. So when faced with two plausible explanations we have to choose the additional factors we will put our trust in as being the most credible. I choose the Word of God over the wisdom of man.

On an additional point I don't think the two (evolution and creation) are reconcilable. It goes well beyond Gen. 1-2. As far as I know the ages of individual reported in the first 11 chapters of Genesis is irreconcilable with evolution as is the flood account and probably the Tower of Babel. I'm guessing Abraham's age of 175 reported after Genesis 11 and Job's age (at least 140 years, Job 42:16) would also fall into "irreconcilable" status. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think people 6000 years ago living 900 years fits the evolutionary model.

#43  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 8:01 PM

Philip, you make some great points that I'll more or less repeat.

Garrett, I don't know if it has been clear, but I have not intended to say that evolution is not a plausible explanation of the evidence. I have only wanted to say that evolution is only plausible if one rejects God's explanation.

I would definitely be interested to hear what you have to say regarding Genesis 5 (which highlights the length of life) and how that fits in to your interpretive grid with evolution. Now I will say that Genesis 5 is not intended to emphasize the age of the men, but rather to emphasize the fact that they all died as a testimony to the truth of God's promise in Genesis 3 which resulted from His warning in Genesis 2. According to Genesis 2, God designed man to live forever and death was the penalty for sin. Obviously Adam and Eve did not die immediately, but rather they were cut off from the tree of life which would have kept them alive (Genesis 3:22-24). Therefore Genesis 5 is a unique genealogy in Scripture which has a clear emphasis that God's promise of death came to fruition.

Obviously that view of death is incompatible with evolution. So I'm curious how you understand God's warning and judgment in that regard, and also how you understand the length of life described in Genesis 5.

Oh, and by the way, again in Genesis 3:23 God states in what is clearly a historical narrative that Adam was taken from the ground, not descended from anything.

#44  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 8:19 PM

Here are a few good pieces:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8_NQDSLr2s&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM5J2zTBIzI&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkdQhNdzHU&feature=related

#45  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 8:38 PM

#40 Gabriel: "I'll grant you that. This kind of format is exceedingly difficult to carry on discussions/debates because of how easy it is to get off on tangents and have multiple people all making different points."

Yea, I think the whole dirt incident ("dirtgate" as I shall henceforth refer to it) was a bit tangential ;) Nevertheless, I'm enjoying this exchange, thanks for keeping me on my toes.

"As far as your explanation of your view, can you help me understand how a non-material creation can be historical?"

It's historical in that it is based on historical events, only they are retold in a manner typical of ancient cosmogonies, in which a more function-oriented ontology dominated and "something existed not by virtue of its material properties, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system" (tLWoG1 p.26).

"Genesis 2:4 clearly indicates that this is a historical account of God creating the material heavens and earth, does it not?"

Genesis 2:4 is another summary statement (similar to Genesis 1:1). Again, for a full defense of the non-material nature of the creation events, see "Proposition 10: The Seven Days of Genesis 1 Do Not Concern Material Origins" in tLWoG1. Here are some quick reasons to think that's the case: 1. The nature of the governing verb (bara, "create") is functional, 2. The context is functional (it starts with a nonfunctional world in Gen 1:2 and comes back to a functional description of creation after the flood in Gen 8:22, 3. The cultural context is functional (ancient Near Eastern literature), and 4. The theology is functional (cosmic temple) (tLWoG1, p.94).

Here are some obstacles to a materialistic rendering: (not exhaustive): 1. Of the 7 days. three have no statement of creation of any material component (days 1,3 and 7), 2. Day 2 has a potentially material component (the firmament, raqia), but no one believes there is actually something material there-no solid construction holds back the upper waters. If the account is material as well as functional we then find ourselves with the problem of trying to explain the material creation of something that does not exist. The word raqia had a meaning to Israelites as referring to a very specific object in their cosmic geography. If this were a legitimate material account, then we would be obliged to find something solid up there (not just change the word to mean something else as concordists tend to do). In the functional approach, this component of Old World science address the function of weather, described in therms that they would understand, 3. Days four and six have material components, but the text explicitly deals with them only on the functional level (celestial bodies for signs, seasons, days and years; human beings in God's image, male and female, with the task to subdue and rule), 4. This leaves only day five in discussion, where functions are mentioned (e.g., let them swarm) and the verb bara is again used. As a result, it is difficult to sustain a case that the account is interested in material origins if one does not already come with that presupposition (p.94-95).

"Second, to call Genesis 1-2 ANE cosmology is an eisegetical conclusion"

Just have to disagree with you there. The evidence is overwhelming in the text itself. See "Proposition 1: Genesis 1 is Ancient Cosmology" in tLWoG1. It's a conclusion that the text itself demands.

"The text itself is linguistically historical narrative"

It is, but your being reductionistic. I've said that a million times, but it bears repeating; the genre is just not that simple. I recommend Walton's NIV commentary or An O.T. Theology for great discussions on genre. It is closest to ANE cosmology, which of course contains historical narrative, in addition to a bundle of other considerations that I frankly can't reproduce here.

"(did you ever read that article I pointed you to? Here it is again)."

No, but I noticed the author got his Ph.D. at Hebrew Union College, same as Walton. Small world! Yea, I'll look into it.

"Science has no business studying it."

You're right on that. Science can't investigate miracles, since it only studies ordinary providence. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b52Hbx73aPM&feature=PlayList&p=528D3346AB7E93A8&playnext_from=PL&index=1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=4bQaFyvJ4rU&feature=related

"So the scientific evidence is meaningless."

I find that very revealing. Don't even try to explain man's origins naturally because they were supernatural and therefore can't be studied or detected. Granted, if that's the case, we can't study it. But why is it when we do look for a "natural" explanation, it seems to fit perfectly in a universal tree of life model? Why would God miraculously create us in the only way (there are billions of other ways) that looks as if he didn't create us supernaturally? (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsuIpSDXRAE and http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=E_zDWUguU_Y&feature=related)

"they have unlocked the secrets of Genesis 1 after multiple millenia of people actually believing it was history (including Jesus, Paul, and the prophets)."

P.171 of tLWoG1: "Q: If this is the 'right' reading, why didn't we know about it until now? A: While this reading is initially based on observations from the biblical text (as opposed to observations about the ancient worldview), without an understanding of the ancient worldview, it would have been difficult to ask the questions that have led to this position and nearly impossible to provide the answers to the questions that we have proposed. The worldview of antiquity was lost to us as thinking changed over thousands of years, and the language and literature of the ancient world was buried in the sands of the Middle East. It was only with the decipherment of the ancient languages and the recovery of their texts that windows were again opened to an understanding of an ancient worldview that was the backdrop of the biblical world. This literature and the resulting knowledge has made it possible to recover the ways of thinking that were prominent in the ancient world and has given us new insight into some difficult biblical texts [...]."

In other words, the main things and the plain things have always been understood correctly in their essence (God made us, it was good, we fell, etc.). Now, we can refine that understanding by having better access into their cognitive environment through reading more of their literature. Hence, it is wrong to say that nobody got it right until now, until some esoteric secret key was found. Rather, they originally thought of it this way and through time, that meaning was bent in a different direction as cognitive environments shifted and the word spread. This isn't a novelty, but an important recovered nuance that has some important implications. I surely don't think YEC is representative of the church's historic consensus, at least not in its modern, "scientific creationism" iteration. I'm not the first to point that out either. I can cite, for instance, W.G.T. Shedd saying that a while back.

"So are you admitting that God made Adam from dust, or do you believe that God lied about that and actually modifed the genome over a period of time to eventually produce a human creature in which He placed a soul (whereas that beings parent did not have a soul)?"

This is one of those "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" type questions. God made Adam from dust, and since this doesn't concern material origins it is not incompatible with our material creation via evolutionary processes. Again, "This is true of all humans, men and women. It is an archetypal feature that describes us all. Is is not a statement of chemical composition nor is it describing a material process by which each and every human being is made. The dust is an archetypal feature and therefore cannot be viewed as a material ingredient. It is indicative of human destiny and mortality, and therefore is a functional comment, not a material one" (tLWoG1 p.70).

"Because you say on the one hand that Genesis 1 is history, but on the other hand that it didn't happen that way (which would make it a-historical). You seem to be contradicting yourself, so some clarification would be helpful."

It's history retold in a way that made sense to the original audience (hence the Old World science, like a firmament, waters above, windows of heaven, underworld, pillars of the earth, subterranean ocean, flat disc shaped world, see: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XAakLKI3wRs/S3WidTbq8eI/AAAAAAAAACM/ZWvA3YA2pVs/s400/enns.ane.bmp) communicated in ANE themes and modes of thinking (existence as a result of function in an ordered system not as a result of material structure) that would have instantly registered with them. So your either/or approach (either historical or a-historical, a-historical being anything that didn't materially play out in a straight forward, chronological hist. narrative format) is what's tripping you up.

#46  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 8:39 PM

Gabriel Powell wrote:

"Obviously Adam and Eve did not die immediately, but rather they were cut off from the tree of life which would have kept them alive"

Perhaps they did not immediately die physically. However, as Dr. MacArthur notes in his sermon The Doctrine of Absolute Inability, they did immediately die spiritually...

From John MacArthur:

"Now this condition of being spiritually dead was not the way humans came from God. When God made Adam and made Eve, they were spiritually alive. They communed with God. They walked and talked with Him in the cool of the day. They naturally obeyed God. They naturally loved God. They naturally did God's will. But God gave them one prohibition, not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and said, "In the day you eat, you die." And in the day they ate, they died spiritually. And all of a sudden they were alienated from God. They were lost in the Garden. They covered themselves. They hid from God, spiritually dead. And, of course, that caused the whole human race to be born dead. That's Paul's point in Romans 5. Romans 5 verse 12, Paul says, "Just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, so death spread to all men." Later he says, "As in Adam, all died." The whole human race is born dead because of the sin of Adam."

In terms of the physical aspect of the curse of death Ken Ham has a great article regarding the passage referenced. The term "Shall surely die literally means...dying they shall die.

The article:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/02/dying-you-shall-die

#47  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010at 9:41 PM

So was ancient cosmology lost to the psalmists, prophets, Jesus, Paul, the angel in Revelation, and others?

Keith, you're absolutely right, I was just focusing on the physical aspect.

#48  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 12:47 AM

Thanks for the blog Garrett: Just a correction to one of your statements in particular. The foot prints at the Paiuxy River have been excavated and a sample was cut out of the live rock and was analyzed for an ICR conference in 1990/91 time frame. A graduate student friend of mine (civil engineer) examined the photographic cross sections and said that both prints demonstrated "classic" fault characteristics. As this is his area of expertise I will defer to him. And given the fact that this print was in fact in the print of a dinosaur... I leave the rest to you.

Further, I wanted to say that I understand that a far amount of believers are "theistic evolutionist". Some I know are faithful to the Word of God, otherwise, and believe that it is fully inspired. One would not need to go back but to a generation or three to find those who have held similar views. One of my mentors, Dr John L. Patton of Faith Baptist Bible College was a Gapist, that is he would would have seen that there is room for a gap between verses one and two of Genesis one. He left room for things he could not explain. A man by the name of Weston Fields wrote a book refuting this view. Dr Fields brilliant work has made short work of this theory. But that does not mean that Dr Patton is less of a biblicists.

I have said that to say this, over the years I have noted several types of personalities. Those that are like Dr Patton, and those like Dr Fields. Both are saved in as far as I am able to ascertain. But only one of them can be right on this subject. Another personality is seen in good folks doing science the way they have been taught, and good or bad they adhere to what they "know". I can not critique your methods. What I do is analyze the basis of belief systems. All science draws upon fundamental axioms and starts from there. Evolution, like it or not, starts from a materialist point of view as an axiom. It is a philosophic morph on which the language of evolution rest. Both you and I know that God could have used this process had he wanted to do so. I do not know about you, but when I read the Word I see that God is very purposeful in how he created the world so that it matches the "forms" drawn around salvation. The Bible supports the literalist view point the best. Other points of view require a little more wiggle room and use a hermeneutic which I feel is wanting. But I digress.

The point boils down to the axioms. Astronomy is a good starting point. I can say truthfully that I know a little about the subject. The problem is that we have billions of years with trillions of light years. The problem is that we see object that are no longer there, (If the current cosmological scheme is true). Any study which views light sources in distant galaxies that are trillions of years in said distance, cannot possibly know what is at that particular point in the space that the light now represents. And if the universe is only billions of years old (14 or 15 at last count), where do the trillions come from.

Axiom #2 The earth is 4.2 billion years old, there are no methods of dating which could substantiate this date. There is no Geologic column that shows that kind of time line in existence. We have the number but no one really knows what a million million looks like in years, much less 4.2 billion. We have scientist who like to deal in millions of years, but they do not have a real concept of millions of years. As an example lets take the movement along a fault line like the infamous San Andras, while it does not move all the time, there is a consistent event time line so that its movement over time has bee established. The movement really doesn't mean that much over 100 years, the tectonic plate movement over 4.2 million years would not leave much earth that had not been changed. (the estimated rate of movement is 2 inches per year over 4 billion years is 126,263 miles. And that is assuming that nothing else happens, like giant asteroids hitting the earth and super volcanoes leaving their violence etc. And I'm only scratching the surface.

Axiom#3 That we actually understand genetics and how hormones interplay in the processing of a reproduction of the parents. Just a few thoughts.

#49  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 4:49 AM

I feel like this discussion of what the ancient near east people believed entirely overlooks the fact that scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and in the writing of it God was not limited to what the people understood at the time. What is written is what God wanted to be written. We know from 1 Peter 1:10-12 that the writers of the Old Testament did not have full understanding of what they wrote.

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which angels desire to look into.”

If we were discussing any ancient text authored by man, this discussion would apply but let’s not forget that Scripture was authored by God.

#50  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 5:43 AM

"God made Adam from dust, and since this doesn't concern material origins it is not incompatible with our material creation via evolutionary processes."

Obviously a statement such as the one above ignores the scientific data which rather overwhelmingly tells us a different story...a story compatible with God's account (you know since God created everything and He gave us His account of how it happened...and when...shouldn't that be suffecient...but I digress).

The link below is a great article about information. I posted previously a link to Stephen Meyer's book promo

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkdQhNdzHU&feature=related )

where he details encoded digital information sequences in DNA. Information is the death blow to atheistic OR theistic evolution...it, evolution, cannot be the methodology for what we see around us in any form of living creature let alone humans who were/are the only creation made in God's image.

Here is a quote from the link below:

"There have been a few arguable cases of information-gaining mutations, but for evolution to be true, there would need to be billions of them. The fact is, we don’t observe this in nature, but rather, we see the opposite—organisms losing information. Organisms are changing, but the change is in the wrong direction! How can losses of information add up to a gain?"

The quote above from this article:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/wow/are-mutations-the-engine

#51  Posted by John Adams  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 6:11 AM

"Astronomy is a good starting point. I can say truthfully that I know a little about the subject. The problem is that we have billions of years with trillions of light years. The problem is that we see object that are no longer there, (If the current cosmological scheme is true). Any study which views light sources in distant galaxies that are trillions of years in said distance, cannot possibly know what is at that particular point in the space that the light now represents. And if the universe is only billions of years old (14 or 15 at last count), where do the trillions come from."

Paul, I suggest you look at this discussion of a recent event on this topic. I posted about this before but the post wasn't allowed. A team of Christians who are trained in astronomy reviewed presentations from young earth/cosmos advocate Danny Faulkner and old earth/cosmos advocate Hugh Ross.

http://www.reasons.org/astronomers-age-of-universe

http://www.reasons.org/files/astronomers-statement.pdf

I originally included the entire article in my post and that appears to be part of the reason why it was removed, so I am not going to provide a reason to remove this post too. However, as the article itself says "The following statement, prepared by the scholars whose names are attached, must be given in its entirety wherever it is reproduced" I am reluctant to just post quoted sections.

#52  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 7:26 AM

Gabe writes: Job does not say he was created from dust"

Garrett responds Yes he does: "Will you now turn me to dust again?" Again assumes he was formed from dust, which is exactly what he says.

You're reading that into the text. Job is just asking God if He is going to kill him. The language he uses to describe himself is almost word-for-word used by the Psalmist in Psalm 139. At this point in the discussion, you are grasping desperately for straws.

Garret writes,

You have these monolithic genre categories; why can't historical narrative be mixed with figurative language in Genesis as it is in Job?

Historical narrative is mixed with figurative language at times. However, any good Hebrew student can identify it. Something Walton apparently refuses to do. Job is basically an historical event that was written as a biographical novel, so to speak. Hence, it is going to be more prone to figurative concepts. Genesis, however, is historical narrative written to be understood as historical narrative, hence the reason figurative language is not as prevalent.

If Job isn't merely allegorical but also contains figures of speech mixed in, why can't Genesis, given that it was a common theme for the gods to create out of things like humans and animals out of clay/dirt/blood?

It was not a common theme for gods to create things out of clay or dirt. They usually created things out of the guts and body parts of defeated gods. Plus, ANE creation myths were much more concerned with the creation of the gods than of earth and humanity. That is what makes Genesis entirely unique and set apart from ANE mythology: Historical narrative was something entirely new, because Israel was concerned with recording their history. I know you like John Walton and all, but it may actually be helpful for you to do a comparison between the Genesis creation account and ANE mythology.

Gabe asks: "Can you show me in Scripture were it says we are all individually created from dust?"

Question goes entirely over Garrett's head:

Sure, saying to Adam "for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" applies to all of us. Psalm 103:14 says that "he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." You're dust, I'm dust. Like a potter, God molded us from the dust like clay. Job claims that for himself and so can you. So it makes sense that Adam would be made from dust, since he is our federal, archetypal head.

Did you read the words "we are all individually created?" Did you understand what Gabe is asking you?

On the appearances of Christophanies:

I knew it! I knew you'd take it hyper-literally and say it was Jesus "pre-incarnate"! The picture is of God taking an evening stroll, asking questions, etc. He had just finished a week's work of labor, made man like a potter, and rested and you still can't concede even the slightest use of anthropomorphic language. I think your insistence that this is purely straight forward historical narrative blind you to some obvious thematic elements.

Garrett, are you denying the presence of Christophanies in the OT? How do you explain the Angel of the LORD passages where the angel is described with the attributes only assigned to YHWH? Genesis 16, 22, Exodus 3, 14, Numbers 22, Judges 16. Other similar references, Joshua 5:13-15, Daniel 10 (compare to Revelation 1), Isaiah 37:36.

Garrett says,

No, I'm saying your wooden literalism won't allow you to admit even the most obvious uses of figurative language.

There is no wooden literalism taking place anywhere here in these discussions. The wooden literalism smear is usually leveled by those who don't want to deal with the exegesis of the relevant texts under discussion. Non-premillennialists use it all the time.

Garrett complains,

You treat my view as if it has no nuance whatsoever, just pure, ahistorical allegorization.

That because what you have presented here is pure, a historical allegorization.

You remind me of dispensationalists that claim I have an "a-historical" or spiritualized view of the 1,000 year kingdom just because I don't take it as a literal, future 1,000 year golden age after Christ's return. I do believe in a millennium, it's just symbolic for the period of time between Christ's 1st and 2nd advent! I don't reject it outright, it does have an historical basis!

Again, these are the sorts of accusations leveled by those who do not wish to deal with the exegesis of the text.

http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/media/details/?mediaID=5226

#53  Posted by William Davis  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 9:51 AM

Wow! there really are some interesting posts here. Well, they're way over my head. What seems to be taking place is an attack on the inerrancy of scripture. Psalm 119:160 Your Word is true from the beginning; and everyone of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Proverbs 30:5-6 Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add not unto His Words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar. Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 1:20-22 for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are CLEARLY seen, being understood by the things that are MADE, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. For me this makes more sense than all of the foolishness I've been reading thus far. God bless you all, and have a great day in the Lord.

#54  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 10:22 AM

#50 Keith Farmer: "Obviously a statement such as the one above ignores the scientific data which rather overwhelmingly tells us a different story"

Can you reproduce here just one piece of data from that overwhelming dataset (I assume you mean something from the discovery institute)? I'd be happy to interact with it.

"The link below is a great article about information. I posted previously a link to Stephen Meyer's book promo:

Yes, I've seen the promos and interviews, but have yet read the book for myself, though I have read some reviews. So far, his arguments are nothing new. Maybe I just need to dig deeper.

"Information is the death blow to atheistic OR theistic evolution..."

I don't know where to begin. It was arguments from genetics that forced me to conclude that God must have used natural means to make us. I guess I could start by recommending these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsuIpSDXRAE

http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=E_zDWUguU_Y&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=b_HxiUwf4Eg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=kLJGEEynl4w&feature=related

"'There have been a few arguable cases of information-gaining mutations, but for evolution to be true, there would need to be billions of them. The fact is, we don’t observe this in nature, but rather, we see the opposite—organisms losing information. Organisms are changing, but the change is in the wrong direction! How can losses of information add up to a gain?'"

Keith, I just did a term paper in a population genetics course on copy number polymorphisms in Drosophila. There is a multitude of documented instances/methods of gene duplication. You can gain new information, and judging by studies done in the past 10 years, it's happen quite a bit over the years! I'll name a few of the big ones; tandem/dispersed gene duplications, chimeric genomic rearrangements, whole-gene duplication, and even de novo gene formation from non-coding intronic stretches of DNA. So to say that there have been only "a few arguable cases of information-gaining mutations" is really misleading (though at least they admit a few).

#52 Fred: "At this point in the discussion, you are grasping desperately for straws."

Actually, I'm citing reputable scholars, so that accusation applies to the quotes I provided in support of my view that creation from dust applies to everyone, which I'm sure you'd have no problem admitting: "This is true of all humans, men and women. It is an archetypal feature that describes us all. Is is not a statement of chemical composition nor is it describing a material process by which each and every human being is made. The dust is an archetypal feature and therefore cannot be viewed as a material ingredient. It is indicative of human destiny and mortality, and therefore is a functional comment, not a material one" (tLWoG1 p.70).

That's my view. Disagree, fine. But it's not grasping, it's a valid conclusion based on good scholarship.

"It was not a common theme for gods to create things out of clay or dirt. They usually created things out of the guts and body parts of defeated gods."

Yes, notice I cited blood, as in blood from a defeated God. So, yea, your right; it was often a combination of divine/earthly elements, analogous to dust/breath with some important distinctions like you mention.

"ANE creation myths were much more concerned with the creation of the gods than of earth and humanity."

Very true. Humans were often an afterthought, made as slaves, rather than as the climax of God's creative purposes.

"I know you like John Walton and all, but it may actually be helpful for you to do a comparison between the Genesis creation account and ANE mythology."

I have and am. Walton is excellent at that; reading his book "Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the O.T.: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible." We moderns are shocked at the similarities, but as one scholar said, an ancient pagan would have been stunned by the differences, which overwhelm the similarities like the sun outshines the stars.

"Did you read the words "we are all individually created?" Did you understand what Gabe is asking you?"

No, can't find those words exactly, of course. Just inferred it as God's people obviously would have (hence, Job used the theme of himself). See my quotes above.

"Garrett, are you denying the presence of Christophanies in the OT?"

Oh, of course not, just in that context. Give the other uses of anthropomorphism in Genesis 1-3, I find a christophany very unlikely. But sure, glancing over those other instances you cite, I'd have no problem.

"Non-premillennialists use it all the time."

Guess I'm proof of that! Tell you what, I won't smear with the wooden literalism charge, and you don't smear with the "spiritualizer" or "allegorizer" charge and we'll call it even :)

"That because what you have presented here is pure, a historical allegorization."

Oops! I think this is an agree to disagree moment. This is really where we differ. All I can say is, I don't believe that. If you think I, in practice, do just that, then fine, maybe I'm inconsistent. I recommend to you Walton's NIV Genesis commentary, in which he rejects what you say he/we do. As does Waltke in an O.T. Theology. I agree with Carson, there is on some level the intention to communicate history, but it's not always communicated with a 1:1 correspondence to the actual events, just analogous to them in the way Nathan's parable was analogous to David's sin. If that's pure allegory with no historical basis, then so be it. I think that's inaccurate though.

"Again, these are the sorts of accusations leveled by those who do not wish to deal with the exegesis of the text."

Funny, I say the same about you! Kim Riddlebarger has a great response to MacArthur's inability to read the O.T. in light of Christ's coming, just like the Apostle's did. The key to understanding O.T. prophecy is the person and work of Jesus Christ, not, as MacArthur says, national Israel ("If you get Israel right, you get eschatology right" sorry Dr. MacArthur, if you get Christ right, you get prophecy right, since it's all ultimately about him):

http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/a-reply-to-john-macarthur/

#55  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 11:25 AM

Garrett, it's clear at this point (perhaps even before this point) that we're not going to convince you of the biblical argument because we're using two different hermeneutical approaches.

What I would like, though, is for you to admit that your approach is not a literal interpretation and that it is a-historical.

You have claimed to have a literal, historical interpretation. In order for your interpretation be such, it at least needs to conform to normal lexical definitions, and the history has to be factual.

However you tell us that Adam created from dust didn't happen and that in fact nothing in Genesis 1 actually happened the way it says it happened. Regardless of whether it is representative of the general claim that God is the source of creation, the fact remains that you believe that Genesis did not happen the way it says it happened. To say that and also claim it is historical breaks the law of non-contradiction.

So again, you say the word "bara" doesn't mean "create" but rather "create function and order". You say "light" does not mean light, but rather a period of time. You say "made from dust" does not mean made from dust in any sense. You say that when Eve was taken from Adam's side, that didn't actually happen. You say that when the text says, "God said... and it happened..." it actually didn't happen that way.

Is that correct? Can you see how that is not taking the words in their normal lexical meaning and that the text is making plain historical claims which you say didn't happen but yet it is still history?

You brought Nathan's story to David. That's a bogus analogy. Nathan in no way was trying to make a historical statement. He was telling a fictional story. An analogy is not a history.

If I told you a grand fictional story about how WWII was fought and won by the allies, you wouldn't think I was telling you history. I couldn't say, "Well hey, the point is that we won, so it really is history!" No. It's a fictional story. That is how you are treating Genesis.

Side note: I'm still curious how you interpret Genesis 5 and the fact that God clearly intended Adam and Eve to live forever (was that part of the story actual history, or what was that meant to communicate to the ANE mind?).

#56  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 11:38 AM

Gabe asks:

I'm still curious how you interpret Genesis 5 and the fact that God clearly intended Adam and Eve to live forever (was that part of the story actual history, or what was that meant to communicate to the ANE mind?).

Or how a TE who claims to take the Bible seriously as a revelation from God understands the genealogies in general. The genealogies beginning with Adam is mentioned at least 3 major times: Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles 1, and Luke 3. Note how Luke 3:38 states that Adam was of God. What does that mean exactly to a TE? Was the "Adam" spoken of in these three passages just a metaphor for "mankind?" The texts are clear to me at least, even accounting for Garrett's use of the so-called Reformed Hermeneutic of re-reading the OT according to the Christ event, that even in Luke 3 the text is speaking of one unique individual. Was he born of parents that remained soul less while he had a soul breathed into him? Am I to re-read all uses of Adam as not speaking of the first man created, as Luke implies, "of God?"

#57  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 12:48 PM

*John Adams* says,

Fred, I have been to Cornelius Hunter's blog before. His entire argument is that there can be no possible evidence for evolution because whatever evidence is provided we can't know that God wouldn't have made it that way. Thus he regards all evidence for evolution as "religious." An interesting approach, but not one to be taken too seriously when considering the scientific data.

That's a rather simplistic dismissal of what I saw Hunter arguing. The claim is made that evolutionary theory is NOT a substitute for religious belief and dogma. Proof is overwhelming that it most certainly is, for a lot of people. I even produced a citation by Ruse, an atheist, agreeing with the assertion. I could produce many more. If you wish to think a "consideration of the scientific data" is separate from a person's foundational religious commitments and the two will never meet in the middle, then so be it. I just wish you would tell all the atheists.

Regarding Todd Wood, *John Adams* says,

This is what happens to creationists who are honest about the data. Todd Wood tried to bring creation science into the genomics era and the organisations didn't want to know. They don't want to deal with the difficult issues his paper honestly addresses, they want quick, easy answers that suit their apologetic needs. That is why his paper won't be found on any of the main creationist websites. It is also why none of the popular articles found on the sites are presented within the creationist research literature. Todd Wood has already scientifically examined the arguments and pointed out why they fail.

You basically cherry pick a few negative statements that are taken out of the over all context of what he has written and you imply he is being critical of all biblical creationists who attempt to make an effort to interpret any biological data, and because of that creationists are sticking their fingers in their ears against the clear, obvious facts. If one were to actually take the time to read all of Todd's posts at his blog, his main agenda is to exhort creationists to build models, rather than being an apologetic that just chases evolutionists around. Todd, along with several creationists are doing just that with their CORE group (http://www.bryancore.org/) and the Biology Study Group (http://www.creationbiology.org/).

Additionally, as one of his colleagues told me in an email, there is a reaction in Todd's material to creationists who attempt to claim there is no evidence to support evolution. That doesn't mean he believes Darwinian evolution is true, just that one interpreting the data could become comfortable with a Darwinian history of life on earth. Creationists are missing the mark by attempting to just focus on negatives, trying to merely defeat evolutionists and their interpretations without any specific goal in mind. Instead, they should be presenting alternative explanations for the data on hand.

Regarding Junk DNA, ERVs etc,

The standard story by evolutionists is that a common ancestor of both primates and humans picked up a virus and it was passed along in the genes through common descent as primates pretty much stopped evolving and humans continued. As one atheist geneticist put it: "left over bits and pieces of retorviruses that have infected sperm and egg cells millions of years ago." The question is did they infect sperm and egg cells millions of years ago, or are there other functions that exist among higher complex organisms like primates and humans? *John* wants us to think the only way one can think of them is as evolutionists suggest, a common ancestor. However, there could be other explanations of the data, explanations folks like *John* tend to wave off and dismiss as being presented by embarrassing cranks. But such an attitude displays a dishonest bias against your ideological opponents. Solid, micro-biologists have written on the subject. See here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/exogenization-vs-endogenization and a series of articles here: http://creation.com/peter-borger

*John Adams* says,

What those from an anti-common descent position have to keep going with is that God for some reason either chose to create with, or was constrained to create with, the appearance of common descent. This is despite there being almost endless possible ways of avoiding this; using entirely different genetic codes, completely re-arranging gene orders etc. The combined issues of redundancy, syteny, and pseudogenes (particularly the vitellogenin gene issue) really seal the case. This is without even talking about the fossil record which points to the same conclusion. How deep do creationists think the hoax goes? They believe God created a world that deceives all honest investigators.

I don't know Dennis Venema's personal reasons for abandoning the authority of God's word in the matter of man's special creation. I believe there could be deeper, personal reasons why. I don't believe, as you suggest, that he just could not possibly avoid the screaming truth any longer. It is the same with Bart Ehrman. Other personal factors played a major role in him abandoning his understanding of the NT text, not just because he got exposed to some previous unknown evidence that rocked his "literalist" views of the Bible. The reason I say that is other Christians get exposed to the exact same evidence and don't abandon their faith. The same is with creationists and the issue of biology. Are you really prepared, *John,* to say that a man like John Sanford (http://creation.com/john-sanford), who left being a theistic evolutionist to become a biblical creationist, is just denying the evidence? Or Felix Konotey-Ahulu, a leading expert in sickle cell anemia (http://creation.com/dr-felix-konotey-ahulu) is denying the evidence? And before you just blow them off as a couple of nobodies in particular, keep in mind they are two well known individuals world-wide in the selected fields of study.

#58  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 4:08 PM

Garrett League wrote:

"There is a multitude of documented instances/methods of gene duplication. You can gain new information"

I don't believe anyone is disputing the fact that a few instances have occured where "new" information has been observed. However, one must define the term "New".

Are you saying that you have observed new and beneficial information that has actually added new data that would be such to cause new and upward change...positive change (without losing any of the existing or "old" data) in DNA.

OR

Are saying that "new" information means different information...not really in addition to...just not the same as before.

Here is a good read for you:

http://www.foolishfaith.com/book_chap3_mutations.asp

#59  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 4:51 PM

Here is a good read...

www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/classification-of-mutations

#60  Posted by Jeremy Harris  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 7:39 PM

This statement by J Adams is telling:

" We have already considered every possible alternative and counter argument, and we know why they ultimately fail."

Not only is it impossible to consider every possible alternative, your conclusion that you "know" indicates that either you have some level of intelligence close to omniscience or jsut fail to realize how little we "know" about anything. The only way we can know anything is if an omniscient being told us, everything else is just theory/assumption.

Which brings about my main point. Anything that has happened that has not been observed is and will always be theory. Please don't say the facts prove this or that if observation has not been made. Facts are just information, it's one's philosophy/religion/assumption that tries to explain how these facts came to be(in an evolution/creation argument).

#61  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, May 21, 2010at 10:54 PM

Dear John, (and I mean that in the kindest way, he he). I went to the web sites you suggested, the information it provides is meager, but it probably goes along the same lines as Dr Gerald Schroeder's "Genesis and the Big Bang" arguments to some degree. Marvin Lubenow has a quotes Sir Author Eddington to the effect that the data which we observe is subject to our particular theory. Certain issues will always be this way. We observe, but our observations are limited to our instruments. We act as though this three dimensional space is all there is, (four if time is counted). One of the great things about my position is that I know that I don't know. My views are based upon testimony of others who were there, unlike some of the modern theorist. I know that it would be nice to be able to know everything for sure and certain and not have to deal with theory, but as long as men feel a need to either prove Biblical truth wrong or to prove it right, these issues remain and we must honestly deal with them.

Which brings me to one of Dr Schroeder's observations. (This is not from me, so take it for what it is. He says that the six days of creation were six days from God's viewpoint, (24 hour days) but from our viewpoint it was billions of years. and it was only on the sixth day that the two divergent clocks were in sync. Gerald is a professor of particle physics at Hebrew University and I think still MIT. Just a thought for discussion.

Theologically, we must argue that what God said is what he intended us to know. And while we lack much of the detail, what is presented is that the earth was created in six literal 24 hour days. Do I understand it, no. But God does not need to lie to me. Do I think that ancient man lacked the intelligence to understand, not anymore then we currently have, (as is evidenced by this debate). The evolutionary paradigm wants us to believe that only modern man had scientific acumen and intellect to understand cosmological "stuff", ( less then 100 years ago scholars thought that it was impossible for Moshe to have written at all much less composed the book of Genesis. We now know that there is a history of writing which goes back further then 3500 B.C.E. So much for what Scholars think. Just a thought.

#62  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 9:29 AM

#55 Gabriel: "Garrett, it's clear at this point (perhaps even before this point) that we're not going to convince you of the biblical argument because we're using two different hermeneutical approaches."

I couldn't agree more. I think you've hit the nail on the head. This conversation (as mentioned above) reminds me of an eschatology debate over Rev. 20 that goes nowhere because the debate is being fought at a more superficial level, when in reality there are deeper reasons we disagree over a text. What are those underlying presuppositions that cause our discussions to be like two trains on parallel tracks, zooming by each other at high speed but clearly never colliding? Let's get at those (I'll propose what I think is the deeper issue later) and stop arguing over dirt, shall we? There's something deeper going on here, and we need to get at that!

"What I would like, though, is for you to admit that your approach is not a literal interpretation and that it is a-historical."

Ok, I will; clearly, according to your definition of both literal and historical, it is not. But, I have defined both terms citing Dr. Sproul for a definition of the sensus literalis and Drs. Waltke, Walton, and Carson for my understanding of what it means/what the implications are for Genesis to be historical narrative. So, Gabe, my man, as I see it, there are 3 counts on which we differ here: 1. On our definition of the terms "literal" and "historical narrative" (maybe not, do you agree with Dr. Sproul's take on what literal means?) 2. The implications of reading genesis literally and as an historical narrative and 3. the best understanding of the genre of Genesis 1-11 (I see it as ANE cosmology which re-presents raw historical data creatively and rhetorically for theological purposes and may not always have a 1:1, chronological correspondence to what "really" happened materially in space-time since as functional ontology dominates, whereas you see it as a straightforward account of what actually happened in real space-time, similar to 1 Chronicles or the gospels). Those 3 areas of disagreement is where it's at I think.

"You say "made from dust" does not mean made from dust in any sense"

Not in ANY sense, just a scientific, material sense.

"You say that when the text says, "God said... and it happened..." it actually didn't happen that way."

Well, not the way you think it happened. Again, this goes back to the great chasm that divides us; you have a material-based ontology, where things exist when they are given a material structure, and I believe the text is best understood within a functional ontology, where something exists when it is given a purpose, function, name, and role within an ordered system. It think that best reflects ancient modes of thinking about what it means for something to be created/exist since ancient cosmologies started formless and void (chaos) rather than materially non-existent. This is where we differ, and I'd like to move on from there rather than having to re-state that distinction every so often.

"Can you see how that is not taking the words in their normal lexical meaning and that the text is making plain historical claims which you say didn't happen but yet it is still history?"

They did happen, just not the way you envision them as having happened. And once again, it isn't merely history, "biblical narrators creatively and rhetorically represent raw historical data to teach theology" and therefore, "how closely this cosmology coincides with the material reality cannot be known from the genre of an ancient Near Eastern cosmology, which does not attempt to answer that question." So we must agree that our our understanding and implications of what it means for Genesis to contain historical narrative are very different.

"You brought Nathan's story to David. That's a bogus analogy. Nathan in no way was trying to make a historical statement. He was telling a fictional story. An analogy is not a history."

It's just a helpful illustration that D.A. Carson used in that sermon i linked. Maybe I misused it; see that audio for how he uses it. Maybe his use isn't bogus but mine was. I didn't intend to say that Nathan's goal was the same as the author of Genesis, just that the correspondence to reality may be similar; Genesis, like Nathan's parable (which, I grant your point! is not the same genre as genesis) mirrors reality, though not perfectly. I think that was all Carson meant by using that illustration. Check for yourself.

"Side note: I'm still curious how you interpret Genesis 5 and the fact that God clearly intended Adam and Eve to live forever (was that part of the story actual history, or what was that meant to communicate to the ANE mind?)."

Your last question presents a false dichotomy. Again, for the bajillionth time, it IS history, but creatively and rhetorically RE-PRESENTED, yes, in a manner that would make sense to the ANE mind. So how every aspect of it corresponds to material reality (which is what you think of when you think history, what actually, physically, "really" happened) I do not know precisely. Same with the first couple, the 2 trees, the garden, the snake, etc. Again, these are not matters of first importance (See Carson's sermon). Nevertheless, I'll take a stab at it.

God created man as mortal, so their immortality (spiritual AND physical) was contingent upon their perpetual obedience to God's command and their sacramental, continual partaking of the tree of life, which would have granted them perpetual life, superior to that which they were created (else, what could it have granted them that they didn't already have?). But, we decided we'd rather decide right and wrong for ourselves (pride-induced idolatry, making ourselves gods, since only God has the right to decide that) and we disobeyed, dying spiritually on the spot. Then, the means by which we could obtain perpetual physical life (perpetual, sacramental partaking of the tree of life) was mercifully and judicially cut off (lest we remain sinners forever). Now, death is not only a possibility but an inevitability. Now, in Jesus, we are awaiting bodies that will not only never corrupt, but that won't even have the possibility of corrupting! Hence, the new creation is much more than a mere restoration of how things used to be; our perpetual fellowship with God there will be far superior to that enjoyed by pre-lapsarian A&E, as their probationary status allowed the possibility of death, but in the eternal state, that option won't even be on the table. Plus, our praise will forever revolve around the lamb that was slain, so the full display of God's grace in redeeming sinners though Jesus will be on display in a way that would have been impossible in the original creation. I think that's a good broad brush of God's plan. Of course, God always, in one sense, intended that we fall and die. The lamb was slain from eternity in God's plan. But it seems clear that if we didn't commit idolatry and declare our independence from God's sovereignty we would not have died, though admittedly, I don't know exactly what that would have looked like nor how that would have played out precisely. How it all corresponds with material history is beyond me, I just know something like that happened, and innocent creatures fell by idolatry. We didn't do what God intended us to do (rule and subdue, tend the garden, love each other and God perfectly) and so he said life is now going to really suck for you, and things will be futile duties rather than joyful tasks. Seems pretty darn accurate to me. I think that is exactly what happened, since, as God's image bearers, we are NOT what we were created as, nor are we fulfilling our creation mandate, but rather going astray with Satan. Thankfully Christ, the 2nd Adam, lived as we ought to have lived (Lewis calls him the first REAL man, since he ALWAYS pleased the father, 100%) and died as we ought to have died (under God's infinite wrath against sin). In fact, Lewis himself speculates about the fall in "The Problem of Pain." I'm sure you've read the excerpt, but here it is in case you haven't:

"For long centuries, God perfected the animal from which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all of the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated [. . .] Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me,” which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgments of truth, beauty and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past [. . .] We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state. But sooner or later they fell. Someone or something whispered that they could become as gods [. . . ] They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, “This is our business, not yours.” But there is no such corner. They wanted to be nouns, but they were, and eternally must be, mere adjectives. We have no idea in what particular act, or series of acts, the self-contradictory, impossible wish found expression. For all I can see, it might have concerned the literal eating of a fruit, but the question is of no consequence."

Now, as for speculating about the tree of life, and the garden, and what that's all about, I am really not prepared to do that. Maybe in the next post! I think the physical realities are best expressed just simply by the account in scripture, and God's wisdom in revealing the historic fall that way should be recognized as what's best to make use wise unto salvation. Now, you're probably thinking, "HELLO! You don't need to speculate, because that's exactly how it went down, and if you were there, you'd have seen an actual garden in an actual place, with two people, a snake (yes, saying what he said), and real fruit and the whole 9 yards! It's historical narrative dude!" Well, I'd say perhaps I would have seen something analogous to that. But my understanding of the text (the nature and implications of its narrative genre, temporal incoherence, anthropomorphisms, its highly structured arrangement, phenomenological language, clear accomodations to Old World science), and it's relation to exra-biblical stuff like other ANE cosmologies, the age of the earth, astronomy, anthropology, and evolution, make that highly improbable. I know, I know, I'm judging scripture by extrabiblical stuff (nay, man's anti-supernatural spin on extrabiblical stuff!) and I'm a heathen. Fine, but so do you. Charles Hodge (who said evolution = atheism) said that it is valid to use science to weed out some potential bad interpretations of scripture and, in fact, if the church never did that, we'd all still believe that the sun revolved around us and not the other way around (as Calvin pointed out, the bible never intended to teach modern astronomy, right?). So I believe science is not the judge of scripture but rather its handmaiden, occasionally pointing out potentially bad interpretations. I think geocentrism and YEC are two examples of false inferences from wrong interpretations/expectations of the biblical text. When your interpretation leads to really poor scientific predictions and nothing seems to line up without a ton of special pleading and ad hoc hypothesizing (this is what all YEC's do) then maybe, just maybe, you ought to reconsider your interpretation. Now if you want to write all that off as just man's naturalistic interpretation of the evidence that excludes miracles and it therefore false, then fine. I just can't, not without a lot of cognitive dissonance. I just don't know of any other interpretation of the facts that is anywhere near as parsimonious.

#58 Keith Farmer: "I don't believe anyone is disputing the fact that a few instances have occured where 'new' information has been observed. However, one must define the term 'New'."

Not just " a few instances," but tons. And yes, this really is "new" information, in a number of senses. Sometimes, you have a redundant 2nd copy of a gene that diverges overtime since mutations in the 2nd copy would not be deleterious to the organism's fitness (it still has the original copy). This happens faster than expected. Or, chimeric genes can form, which recombine coding/noncoding regions of existing genes to create new genes. Or, de novo gene formation may occur, and at a rate that was shockingly frequent considering it's unlikelihood. De novo (from new) genes form from several non-coding sources, such as intergenic sequences or simple tandem repeats. This is new information by any genetically meaningful definition of the word "new."

"Are you saying that you have observed new and beneficial information that has actually added new data"

Yes, of course, since, for example, the tandem duplicate genes we now observed would not have been passed down and observed if they conferred a large fitness disadvantage. Bad mutations (pretty rare) are usually weeded out of populations quickly, depending on selective pressures and the severity of the mutation (i.e., the organism carrying it dies, leaving less offspring). As you probably know, most mutations are selectively neutral, and don't affect an organism's fitness. Every now and then, one is beneficial, and these tend to fix/spread in populations permanently because they help an organism survive and pass on more copies of the gene.

"that would be such to cause new and upward change...positive change (without losing any of the existing or "old" data) in DNA."

A change which confers a selective/fitness advantage, not necessarily an "upward change" since that's not how evolution works. It's just what happens to help adaptation in a particular environment at a particular time and may not be, in the final analysis, "upward" in the grand scheme of things, just better adapted.

"Are saying that 'new' information means different information...not really in addition to...just not the same as before."

Yes, in some cases. In others, it's duplication and subsequent differentiation.

"Here is a good read for you:

http://www.foolishfaith.com/book_chap3_mutations.asp"

Foolishfaith.com eh? Hmm, perhaps they have a point to prove.

#63  Posted by Philip Spitzer  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 11:21 AM

#61 Paul Tucker "Which brings me to one of Dr Schroeder's observations. (This is not from me, so take it for what it is. He says that the six days of creation were six days from God's viewpoint, (24 hour days) but from our viewpoint it was billions of years. and it was only on the sixth day that the two divergent clocks were in sync. Gerald is a professor of particle physics at Hebrew University and I think still MIT. Just a thought for discussion."

Any understanding of Gen. 1-2 that I entertain as a possibility must pass the test of Gen 6. As far as I understand, no evolutionary explanation can squeeze in a cataclysmic worldwide flood that wiped out all people and animals except the contents of a single boat. If evolution cannot fit that in, why should I even try to integrate it with Gen 1-2? Why entertain a theological notion such as the time of God and the time as we know it being out of sync when there is no reason to do so? Evolution and the Bible are completely incompatible. If you start integrating it into Gen 1-2 you must also "integrate" it into Gen 6, and the ages of individuals. They have to be "re-explained" from their most obvious interpretation. if Gen 1-7 are opened for re-explanation why not the rest of the Bible? Maybe the character Jesus calls us to have is only the best option among other viable options.

Our options are either to place our faith in the wisdom of man being folly (Ps. 14:1), or place our faith in the folly of man.

#64  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 11:52 AM

William Davis (Post #53) said, in part:

"What seems to be taking place is an attack on the inerrancy of scripture."

~Agreed. The Adversary's modus operandi remains unchanged since Genesis 3:1, "Yea, hath God said...?". For this reason the axe MUST continually be laid at the root of this 'unfruitful tree'.

No amount of intellectual, scientific jousting will ever change the hearts of those who hold to the tenets of TE/PC - at least this has been my experience having participated in this 'debate' for over thirty years. Because - and it has been mentioned before - the crux of the issue isn't the data, it's the interpretation of the data based on one's presuppositions. In the case of a TE/PC, their presuppositions rely on a compromised view of Scripture. This is the issue which must first be fully addressed for discussions like this to be fruitful in the long run (in my opinion). And please don't take that as me saying discussing scientific data is somehow 'useless'...

As Mary Kidwell said (Post #49):

"If we were discussing any ancient text authored by man, this discussion would apply but let’s not forget that Scripture was authored by God."

~Important point, not to be overlooked and "Amen" to that, Mary. Let Scripture interpret Scripture, not ancient text interpret Scripture. For a TE/PC, the latter is what allows for a compromised view of Scripture (in my opinion).

John 5:47

Cory Beard (Post #3) brought up an interesting point to which I wanted to add my two-cents from a biochemist's point of view :)

He wrote:

"...Infinitesimally small numbers tell me that my model is incorrect. Yet why don't evolutionary scientists do this!?..So many parts of the evolutionary model say that something infinitesimally unlikely can still happen given enough time...Assuming, for example that 1 billion mutations can happen per second, the result is still 3.17e31 years!"

~I think most evolutionary scientists choose to ignore that 'elephant in their laboratory' for self - and their theory's - preservation. A major tenet of their faith is "Deep Time", as you've mentioned. They reserve the right for its definition to remain as fluid as required to maintain tenability.

From a biochemical 'POV', it makes no sense to me. Just mention the phrase "irreducible complexity" in the company of evolutionary scientists and watch the arm-waving and hyperventilation begin :) Proclamations of 'pre-adaptation", "neutral evolution" and additional "deep time" is their current antidote to IC. One still wonders what happened between the "pre-adaptation" stage and the "adaptation" stage, how long that took (how many more 'millions of years' did we need for these intermediates to occur), was there a "pre-pre-adaptation"?, etc. etc.

Amazing delusion, in my opinion.

Above all else, I do the same thing you said you do:

"I trust Him fully."

#65  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 12:15 PM

"A change which confers a selective/fitness advantage, not necessarily an "upward change" since that's not how evolution works..."

Evolution by natural selection as an explanation for the extreme diversity of what we visually see around us is indeed founded on the false notion that lessor species upwardly evolved to higher order species. You have just proved my point in that what you are observing is nothing "new" but rather adaptation via existing information or altered information.

Here is a list for you of scientists that are disputing neo-Darwinism:

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660

Here is a couple of interesting quotes from selected scientists on that list:

"As a chemist, the most fascinating issue for me revolves around the origin of life. Before life began, there was no biology, only chemistry – and chemistry is the same for all time. What works (or not) today, worked (or not) back in the beginning. So, our ideas about what happened on Earth prior to the emergence of life are eminently testable in the lab. And what we have seen thus far when the reactions are left unguided as they would be in the natural world is not much. Indeed, the decomposition reactions and competing reactions out distance the synthetic reactions by far. It is only when an intelligent agent (such as a scientist or graduate student) intervenes and “tweaks” the reactions conditions “just right” do we see any progress at all, and even then it is still quite limited and very far from where we need to get. Thus, it is the very chemistry that speaks of a need for something more than just time and chance. And whether that be simply a highly specified set of initial conditions (fine-tuning) or some form of continual guidance until life ultimately emerges is still unknown. But what we do know is the random chemical reactions are both woefully insufficient and are often working against the pathways needed to succeed. For these reasons I have serious doubts about whether the current Darwinian paradigm will ever make additional progress in this area."

Edward Peltzer

Ph.D. Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (Scripps Institute)

Associate Editor, Marine Chemistry

and

"As a biochemist and software developer who works in genetic and metabolic screening, I am continually amazed by the incredible complexity of life. For example, each of us has a vast ‘computer program’ of six billion DNA bases in every cell that guided our development from a fertilized egg, specifies how to make more than 200 tissue types, and ties all this together in numerous highly functional organ systems. Few people outside of genetics or biochemistry realize that evolutionists still can provide no substantive details at all about the origin of life, and particularly the origin of genetic information in the first self-replicating organism. What genes did it require – or did it even have genes? How much DNA and RNA did it have – or did it even have nucleic acids? How did huge information-rich molecules arise before natural selection? Exactly how did the genetic code linking nucleic acids to amino acid sequence originate? Clearly the origin of life – the foundation of evolution - is still virtually all speculation, and little if no fact." Chris Williams, Ph.D., Biochemistry Ohio State University

#66  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 12:28 PM

Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Nothing more to add when it comes to the notion of evolution and those who would blindly promote it.

#67  Posted by John Adams  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 12:44 PM

Keith, people have actually enquired what the signees of that list actually believe. The statement "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged" is extremely vague. A great many of the signees don't reject evolution at all.

List of Scientists Rejecting Evolution- Do they really? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty1Bo6GmPqM

Also see http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

1138 scientists all with the first name Steve (or variants) agree with the much clearer statement;

"Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools."

#68  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 12:51 PM

Let's all remember that the number of scientists and/or theologians, regardless of any particular pedigree they may come in, is invalid evidence for anything.

Listing how many (or which) scientists and theologians believe one thing or another is a waste of time. Let's deal with actual evidence and arguments.

I think it is obvious that a majority of scientists believe in evolution, but science isn't done via consensus--neither is consensus among theologians worth very much.

Last I checked the majority of the world doesn't believe the Bible either, but I don't think any of us will jump into that sinking boat.

#69  Posted by Master Melvin M. Lusterio  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 4:02 PM

Yes, you are right, we are created by God. Creation is the True Religion. Thank you, John, for this blog and thank you for making this excellent website possible. I know, John, you are My Apostle Saint John of the Revelation. Live forever and prosper!

#71  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 6:29 PM

Garrett,

Regarding your three counts:

1. I do agree with Dr. Sproul's definition (repeated here for others' benefit: "that the Bible must be interpreted according to the manner in which it is written. Literal refers to the literary form of Scripture"). However the disagreement, again, is what God was intending to communicate, and indeed what Israel understood by what God said why they received the Torah before wandering in the wilderness. By the way, Sproul is a 6-day creationist (see here)

2. I'm not sure what you mean by "implications", but from my perspective taking Genesis 1-3 as anything but pure factual history apart from ANE cosmology causes serious problems with the rest of Scripture (which you haven't responded to me questions in that regards). Perhaps the implications of my view is that science cannot speak to the issues of origins, the development of life, and other evolutionary a concepts. Since science already acknowledges that it can't study a miracle, if it would simply acknowledge that Genesis 1-2 describe the miraculous creation of matter, science shouldn't argue the issue.

3. ANE cosmology is a subjective determination. Historical narrative, on the other hand, is objective as demonstrated by the scientific comparison of the Hebrew text with several other clear historical narratives in Scripture. Additionally the unbroken historical narrative from Genesis 1:1 - Genesis 50:26, that no one in Scripture gives any hint that they understood what Walton/Waltke are talking about, and no one in history either until relatively recently, make it clear to me that ANE cosmology is not how it should be taken. For your position you list a number of reasons, and I'd like to respond to those:

1. the nature and implications of its narrative genre: Which would be...?

2. temporal incoherence: Can you explain that? Seems coherent to me and a whole lot of other people.

3. anthropomorphisms: This is used EVERYWHERE in Scripture and has no bearing on how we interpret a text as literal or not.

4. its highly structured arrangement: This again has no bearing on whether something is literal or not. Almost every book of the Bible is filled with structure, not just poetic books. Plus, the structure in Genesis 1 provides the pattern for the week which comes up a number of times in Scripture.

5. phenomenological language: Would you expect anything less in a historical narrative of creation? I don't think you could tell the history without this.

6. clear accomodations to Old World science: Not sure what you're referring to. If you're referring to the firmament, you didn't respond to fact that raqia is used in Scripture to refer to the sky (something Walton doesn't tell you). If you're expecting modern science explanations, miracles can't be explained in modern scientific terms.

Regarding Carson's analogy interpretation, again, an analogy is unworthy to be called history (I think you properly represented what he was saying). If you re-present history with anything that is actually not history, you've moved beyond history to fiction. You can say that this fiction of Genesis 1-3 re-presents something historical, but you have two problems: 1) you can't call the re-presentation historical, and 2) you have no idea what it is actually re-presenting. In using Nathan's story to David, we know what he was re-presenting and we know he wasn't trying to tell history. Also, Nathan made the point of his analogy clear. No one in history has ever misunderstood what Nathan's analogy meant because he told David what it meant.

On the other hand once you remove an actually historical interpretation from Genesis 1-3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and so on (where does the analogy stop again?), the final authority on the interpretation is the reader. Authorial intent is lost if we don't take it historically because the Author hasn't told us to take it as anything other than historical, nor do we find that any of the original or later hearers/readers (including Jesus Christ through whom all things were made) understood it as anything but historical. If God intended a "higher" meaning above the bare literal meaning then He forgot to mention it.

#72  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, May 22, 2010at 9:52 PM

Hi Folks:

Wow! The conversation is good. I think that airing a point of view can, if we let it, expose weak argumentation. For instance I was directed to a couple of web addresses regarding Dr Ross' point of view, neither of the web sites answered my statements regarding the "light year" question. I may have missed it, but it would be nice to find out what the counter point of view is.

As far as the ANE thinking is concerned, that is a real slippery area. The point of view one begins with colors the interpretation of what is found. One must look at what the scholar's background is before using his material. For instance the Graf-Wellhausen theory of textual transmission has been debunked for years, but is still taught in one form or another at major universities. The fact that these scholars start with Wellhausen's premise and then look at evidence is stock in trade for them. Even such greats as W.F. Albright was subject to the pressures of this school. (I suppose that we all have blind spots, but being able to filter out the false paradigms is what we try to do, right?)

One of the biggest problems with evolutionary theory is that it has never tried to start with the big question, which is a philosophical/ theological one. If you start with a premise, you must have foundational "truths" on which you build. And before you answer "how did we come to be", you must answer "the Prime mover" question. Materialistic science cannot do this because there is no creative intelligence which gets the ball rolling and, a fudge factor or the "God particle" is no real answer. Theistic Evolutionist, at least start with an answer to this question. The problem I see is that they have allowed unfounded axioms into their system. Materialistic science throws God out of the batch of cookies, they don't like the main ingredient. And they use their evidence to "support" the ends they seek. They use terms like "million" and "billion" as though they understand what these figures mean. They throw around these numbers and then change them to suit their needs.

For a believer to buy into materialism is going the wrong way. The basis for evolution is that one must take God out of the "equation", (because if there is no God it would take some infinitely long period for the illusion of chance to work. Matter would of a necessity be it's own creator, which is non-sense). Atheistic thinking does not lead to truth, it runs counter to the truth. And methods that have flaws in the basics do not lead to truth except by "chance". (As in an argument that has two false premises and yet comes out with a true statement.) Just a thought.

#73  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 12:11 AM

After trying to understand a little of all that has been said in this topic over several blog posts, I will say this, I will stick with my "simplistic" view of literal 6-day creation, and thank God for His amazing power to create, to save, to redeem, to love, to forgive, and so much more!

To Him all the glory!

Grace and peace,

E.

#74  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 7:07 AM

Paul Tucker:

"Astronomy is a good starting point. I can say truthfully that I know a little about the subject. The problem is that we have billions of years with trillions of light years. The problem is that we see object that are no longer there, (If the current cosmological scheme is true). Any study which views light sources in distant galaxies that are trillions of years in said distance, cannot possibly know what is at that particular point in the space that the light now represents. And if the universe is only billions of years old (14 or 15 at last count), where do the trillions come from."

The most distant objects seen in the universe are about 13 billion light years away. I don't know where you got the "trillions" from.

Link - http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17035-most-distant-object-in-the-universe-spotted.html

#75  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 11:07 AM

Garrett,

I feel it is important to point out that your analysis (#62) goes past what scripture actually says. You said “God created man as mortal, so their immortality (spiritual AND physical) was contingent upon their perpetual obedience to God's command and their sacramental, continual partaking of the tree of life, which would have granted them perpetual life, superior to that which they were created (else, what could it have granted them that they didn't already have?).”

This is your assumption. It may make sense to you but, it is not stated in scripture. Scripture states that “of the every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Adam was not told by God that he had to eat of the tree of life or, failing to do so, he would die.

Scriptures warn that we must not add to or take away from what scriptures say (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2; Rev. 22:18-19) 1 Corinthians 4:6 tells us not to think beyond what is written. Going beyond scripture can introduce ideas that are not of scripture and so we must be careful in what we think and say.

This is another reason we look to scripture to interpret scripture.

#76  Posted by Garrett League  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 12:01 PM

#65 Keith: "Evolution by natural selection as an explanation for the extreme diversity of what we visually see around us is indeed founded on the false notion that lessor species upwardly evolved to higher order species."

Yes, that is a false notion, one that evolutionists do not actually hold. It is a common misconception though. I refer you to: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/misconceps/IBladder.shtml

"Here is a list for you of scientists that are disputing neo-Darwinism"

As John points out, that list is a bit misleading.

#71 Gabriel: "By the way, Sproul is a 6-day creationist"

Yes, recently he changed his mind. Used to be a framework OEC, even endorsed a Hugh Ross book.

"ANE cosmology is a subjective determination"

Genesis has the clear marks of ANE cosmology. If it didn't, we would have no basis for drawing that conclusion. Your assertion is nearly post-modern. You're modern thinking just won't allow you to see that. You can't admit, for instance, that the Hebrews thought of the raqia as solid, just like everyone else did in the ANE and in other cultures. Why? Because you know it isn't solid. Using modern concepts to determine what the authors could and could not have meant. Sound familiar? It's what you constantly accuse me of.

"no one in Scripture gives any hint that they understood what Walton/Waltke are talking about"

I thought I gave plenty of hints. My mistake.

"Which would be...?"

Read the book, I'm too lazy to reproduce that section and I can't do it full justice here. I'll deal with part of that question next.

"Can you explain that? Seems coherent to me and a whole lot of other people."

It'd be pointless, since you'd probably do some artificial harmonization and bend the plain meaning of the text to fit your modern criteria of historiography. Strict chronology and temporal coherence wasn't an issue for them, but for us it's a big deal (anachronistic standards of reporting history, for example, cause many people to find contradictions in the synoptics, when in fact there are none. They just had different goals/methods in history telling, and sometimes they don't meet all our expectations.). So, read the section if you want, but it probably won't change your mind. If you presuppose an anachronistic standard of history telling and that there is no room for temporal incoherence between the 2 creation accounts, you can come up with a reading that will float your boat. I just think it's not a plain, face value reading, but an ad hoc one that doesn't take the text on its own terms, but rather makes it conform to our standards.

"This is used EVERYWHERE in Scripture and has no bearing on how we interpret a text as literal or not."

I think that's an overstatement, since those used in Genesis are pervasive and play a very important role to the narrative.

"This again has no bearing on whether something is literal or not."

Another overstatement. There is a strong literary structure with parallels, intros, verses, repetition, even song and poetry. This indicates that the author subordinates the telling of a strict chronological history to literary conventions that help make a theological point. Pretty common, but, if you think it has no bearing and is meaningless, just happened to pan out in that structure, ok. What else can I say?

"Would you expect anything less in a historical narrative of creation? I don't think you could tell the history without this."

I agree. It is a necessary accommodation to human limits and naked-eye observation.

"Not sure what you're referring to."

I'm referring to the fact that if you start with the bible and construct a model of the cosmos, it looks like this: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_2OR8by61ykM/ShdFdOXTT_I/AAAAAAAAASE/iecG00_Ais0/s1600-h/3-2+3+Tiers.jpg

Since this looks nothing like your cosmos (but it was clearly the consensus ANE pre-scientific view), I think you're not practicing what you preach.

"you can't call the re-presentation historical"

No, not in the strict sense you mean. But surely I can say that it is grounded in real history, which is all I've ever claimed. It is historical in the sense that it creatively and rhetorically re-presents historical events, but not in a strict 1:1 fashion. This also means that you can't say I believe there is no historical grounding or basis.

"you have no idea what it is actually re-presenting."

Sure I do, just not in every precise detail.

"If God intended a "higher" meaning above the bare literal meaning then He forgot to mention it."

Maybe he didn't have to? I think there were things clicking in the mind of the first audience that today often go over our heads, but for them came naturally. Here's sort of what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrSYSmxuwj0&feature=PlayList&p=528D3346AB7E93A8&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=14

Also, I'm not quite sure about the "higher meaning" phrase. Of course, we always give literal events higher meanings, just as the bible does. The sacrifice of Isaac, for instance, was fraught with higher meaning. But, if by higher meaning, you mean something pejorative like, "Oh, the point of the resurrection isn't that a dead man rose, but that we can rise spiritually in our hearts" then I obviously reject that sort of medieval hermeneutic.

#77  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 3:50 PM

I am thankful to the ones here who use the sword and use it well. I couldn't care less about debates, but using the Word is what all of us should be doing to refute foolishness, empty thoughts and philosophies. Among the few people who are using the Word, I'd like to thank Mary Kidwell.

Blessings,

E.

#78  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Sunday, May 23, 2010at 10:36 PM

Hello Phillip: Your premise is based upon certain assumptions, as are mine.(regarding Genesis 5/6 event. You assume that ancient pre-flood man was the same size as modern man. I'm not sure that we can make that assumption. You assume that, and you may be wrong. Kent Hovin apparently found skeletal remains of men that would have fit the profile, size wise ,of the Paluxy River man. The femur that I saw in photographs was over 5 ft high. It may be a hoax but I have heard nothing to indicate that it is to date. However let us say that for argument that Noah was our general size, maybe using the long cubit of 22 inches. The assumption of your position, is that it could not have been as the scriptures state. But because of that assumption you miss the blessing. There are a lot of unanswered questions in the text, we don't have numbers, or detail, other then 7 of one kind and pairs of the others. We don't know if we have mated pairs or babies.

But let me remind you of a principle I have learned in studying Scripture and that is that it says what it means, and adds note to explain things to us when there are factors which need to be explained, usually within the general context of the passage. A literal rendering of Scripture does not mean that God takes out all the mystery, just most of it. Just a thought.

#79  Posted by Youngseok Seo  |  Monday, May 24, 2010at 12:04 AM

The problem of evolution theory even last 15 years I observe is that they constantly change words and terms. And even who know what is really evolution means? This is typical tactic Satan loves to use. Even Garrett talking really long to explain what evolution is but aren't you confused evolution with God designed adaptation? I have a degree in computer science and in dentistry. I know what does that mean saying by creation. All man-made machines have been improved and will improve and yes they have similarities and sometimes they share a same platform and they can be reproduced as much as a factory wants and they have a built in fail-safe design. It is just a mere imitation of God's creation. I have a hard time to communicate with so-call evolutionists. Do you guys even agree each other what does evolution mean? But I thank you guys. Your hard work will eventually reveal how great the God's creation is and you will be without excuse in front of God.

#80  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Monday, May 24, 2010at 12:13 PM

Hi again to Phillip: Sorry for the disconnect in my statement, shows that old men should be rested and edit a little more carefully. My real point in short is that pre-flood data has essentially been lost to us, except for what we dig out of the ground. Modern science make so many assumptions regarding the reality of ancient events to the point that they throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't know of one evolutionary scientist that gives archeology and historical narrative any credence. Yet they make so many mistakes in assumptions which they make it is not even funny. twenty years from now their "children" will look at them as fools and those oddly affected by "unscientific theory". The next big theory is that Aliens planted the seeds of our genesis. Even Stephen Hawkings is toying with this one.

As a side note: The actual dimensions of the universe are unknown. NASA scientist say it is infinite, Science.com says 193 billion, another blog says that we see only 28 billion LY of the "visible" universe.(the 193 was based upon the figure of 14.3 billion as the age of the universe, not visa-versa as it should have been.) This is what a lot of science is these days, you pull a figure out of the nether regions and use it to found your science on. Everyone knows how it works, no one says "How stupid is that!" Because to do any other is to risk there being a GOD. Radio-carbon dating is a prime example is from Lubenow's book, "Bones of Contention". He shows how the "establishment" science works. If something does not jive with accepted theory it is messaged until it does, and those responsible are properly punished by their colleges. Ben Stein's video did what it was suppose to have done. It made modern science a "joke". The audacity of the rag "Nature" censor a science paper because it might cause conversation. I wonder if Francis Collins has been properly chastised yet. All because modern science cannot abide having a "God" out there. Just a thought.

#81  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, May 24, 2010at 12:17 PM

Genesis has the clear marks of ANE cosmology.

I'm not saying it doesn't, I'm only saying that declaring it as such to make it the interpretive grid is subjective. In other words, I clearly acknowledge that it has similarities, indeed even striking similarities, with some ANE cosmology texts, but I do not then take that designation and re-interpret the text in light of that. I will go so far as to say that the theological intentions of the text are grounded on mythological themes that have no grounding in reality. It's kind of like the flood narrative. It is obvious that many ancient cultures had a kind of flood narrative that all were mythological. In fact there are striking similarities between ANE flood myths and the biblical flood narrative. But the biblical flood narrative is actual history written through inspiration of the God that caused it whereas the mythological versions are demonically distorted recollections of what actually happened. Of course there was no one at creation, but perhaps God explained some of creation to Adam who passed it down and over time the sinfulness of man under demonic influence modified God's actual history into blatant myth. But what God wrote through Moses He told it like it actually was. You should understand this line of reasoning because it is strikingly similar to the common descent argument: two different species that have striking similiarities, therefore they must have a common source. Neither is provable, but both use the same logic.

You can't admit, for instance, that the Hebrews thought of the raqia as solid, just like everyone else did in the ANE and in other cultures.

Ok, let's say you're right. I haven't read a ton on the issue but I just read a theological journal article that seemed pretty convincing. What does this prove? It doesn't prove anything in terms of the historical account, it only proves that Israel was primitive in their understanding of the ontology of the sky. Did God tell them it was a solid dome? No. Raqia doesn't mean solid dome. From its use it means "sky", "expanse", or "heavens" ("firmament", if you prefer, but that is a transliteration of the Latin translation). God wasn't explaining the substance of the sky, he was just saying, "I made the sky". So just like it seems everyone in history refers, in their own language, to the sunrise and sunset, we understand the mechanics of that differently than ANE people did. So the idea that Israel thought the sky was solid does not change anything in terms of the historical meaning of the text. The text is not scientifically innaccurate because it does not speak to the ontology of the sky, only that God made the sky.

I thought I gave plenty of hints. My mistake.

Can you refer me to which comment that was... because I don't remember.

there is no room for temporal incoherence between the 2 creation accounts, you can come up with a reading that will float your boat.

Oh, so you were referring to the two creation accounts. Well there are sufficient explanations of that, just like there are synoptic explanations for the Gospels. As far as coming to a reading that "floats my boat", once you remove a historical interpretation the reader becomes the authority on the meaning because objectively it is historical narrative (at this point ANE cosmology is silent). So apart from taking it as a historical account you are the one that needs to come up with some subjective external-to-the-text meaning that keeps evolution afloat.

I think that's an overstatement, since those used in Genesis are pervasive and play a very important role to the narrative.

It would be an overstatement to say that anthropomorphisms are used in every verse or chapter of the Bible, but it is not an overstatement to say that they are used "everywhere" (everywhere in a general sense). First, I do think to say they are "pervasive" is an overstatement because you gave two examples each of which are in different chapters. Unless you mean that speaking is also an anthropomorphism too, then yes it would be pervasive. In any case you'll need to explain how anthropomorphisms negate a literal interpretation because they don't do that in the rest of Scripture.

Another overstatement. There is a strong literary structure with parallels, intros, verses, repetition, even song and poetry.

Again, that doesn't mean it isn't literal. Did you read that article on the linguistic character of the text? Would you prefer a literary chaotic text? The form of the text doesn't mean it isn't literal. God is a God of order; He created in an orderly fashion, He created language to be sophisticated such that it can communicate literal truth in an orderly, even poetic (though Genesis 1-3 is not generally poetic) ways. By the way, I know you believe that Adam was literal, but I don't know what you believe in terms of his intellect. His first recorded words were indeed poetry (a beautiful statement of commitment and fidelity to Eve) which indicates he wasn't some dumb cave man, but a highly intellectual individual.

This indicates that the author subordinates the telling of a strict chronological history to literary conventions that help make a theological point.

That assumes that God didn't create in an orderly fashion. I'm sure someone could come up with a clever song about the not-so-recent presidential election that would be both historically accurate and literarily clever.

This also means that you can't say I believe there is no historical grounding or basis.

Last night I watched part of the movie "Rudy". Whenever a "true story" movie is made there are always embellishments due to the nature of the thing, but generally there is great correspondance between the movie and the actual history. Your interpretation, on the other hand, has no basis in history. The text says, "this happened this way, then that happened that way, then this happened this way." And you say, "no it didn't, no it didn't, no it didn't." The only agreement you have with the text is that "God created". In other words, you agree with the historical fact that God is the Creator, but you disagree completely with everything the text says in terms of how He historically created. I'm happy to be wrong on this, but you'll need to show me where anything in non-historical text (as you see it)corresponds in any way with your understanding of how it actually happened. Just give one example.

I think there were things clicking in the mind of the first audience that today often go over our heads, but for them came naturally.

How do you know? Do you have examples in Scripture?

I'm not quite sure about the "higher meaning" phrase.

I mean the interpretation that all it means is creation of function and order, not what it actually says.

"Oh, the point of the resurrection isn't that a dead man rose, but that we can rise spiritually in our hearts"

Obviously I'm not surprised that you reject that, like any Christian should. But you are in fact doing the same thing with Genesis 1. All it means is that God is Creator and He created function and order, He is the supreme one true God. But He didn't really do it like He said He did.

#82  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, May 25, 2010at 3:18 AM

Evolution is NOT change or variation, which evidently happens, but adding of new information and functions to the DNA. (Both Software and hardware) The distinction is very important.

Variation is selecting from already existing gene pool.

But adding new information to the existing DNA is molecule to man evolution theory, and has never happened. (Demand the evidence)

The fossil record shows no such thing as links with protofeather, half wings or half lung/air sack.

If a computer programmer is given the task to make software for a bird wing simulator, how much code would that be? (A lot of it.) That is only part of what must be added to the DNA, all at once, to make the wing with feathers and software to control it all.

Not even in your dreams can that happen. And all driven by the heathen gods “chance” and “time”?

Stupid idols that can do nothing by themselves.

#84  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, May 25, 2010at 8:03 PM

Go Rudi! Go Rudi! Go Rudi!

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! I just love it when people are on fire for the truth!) :)

Gabriel said: “It's kind of like the flood narrative. It is obvious that many ancient cultures had a kind of flood narrative that all were mythological. In fact there are striking similarities between ANE flood myths and the biblical flood narrative. But the biblical flood narrative is actual history written through inspiration of the God that caused it whereas the mythological versions are demonically distorted recollections of what actually happened. Of course there was no one at creation, but perhaps God explained some of creation to Adam who passed it down and over time the sinfulness of man under demonic influence modified God's actual history into blatant myth. But what God wrote through Moses He told it like it actually was. You should understand this line of reasoning because it is strikingly similar to the common descent argument: two different species that have striking similarities, therefore they must have a common source. Neither is provable, but both use the same logic.”

Gabriel: Excellent point!