By jt99, 07-May-2012 15:20:00
In a discussion with a woman priest some months ago, I had cause to mention Adam and Eve – and her mmediate response was 'There was no Adam and Eve!' Such is the state of unbelief even amongst Christian leaders that I am not surprised that so many of them are also evolutionists, with little regard for the scriptures.
Jesus himself, however, clearly believed the literal truth of the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman (Matthew 19:4), and assured his hearers on another occasion that 'the scriptures cannot be broken' (John 10:35).
Incidentally, Jesus' statement in Matthew's gospel about the creation of male and female presents evolution with a problem it just cannot solve. It is simply not possible that the action of natural selection on randomly generated DNA copying errors during reproduction could possibly have formed incredibly complex but complementary sex organs in independent organisms – such as womb, ovary, eggs and uterus, etc., in a woman, but penis, erectile mechanism, ejaculation and sperm, etc., in a man. I add the 'etc.' each time because simply listing names does not begin to convey the miraculous complexity involved. Dawkins admits he tries to avoid the subject of sex, preferring to claim that man and apes somehow evolved from common ancestors that already possessed the magical male and female organs. How does he get away with it?
Devout Creationists Disagree
Like Jesus, however, devout Creationists, as a group, also profess to believe the literal truth of the Genesis account of creation. But, sadly, they are sharply divided over the age of the earth, with both groups publishing supposedly rigorous scriptural proofs of their opposing positions. So, if the question cannot be solved by recourse to scripture, what can be done?
The Talking Bible
It is important to realize that the scriptures are not the only source of knowledge about God. For as we read in Psalm 19:1-3: 'The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.' In other words, no matter what language a person speaks, they can all see the glory of God's creation, with no need for a translator – thanks to a big talking Bible in the sky!
Paul expands that message to point out that the whole creation, not just the heavens, impart knowledge of God (Romans 1:19-20). In other words, the whole universe is an incredible audio-visual environment designed to demonstrate God's creative power and genius. This is why it has been found that simply gazing at an object such as a flower is a great help in stimulating creative action, and why Solomon was able to draw important lessons from nature, such as observing the industrious working methods of the little ant.
Science and the Bible Must Agree
The study of that audio-visual environment is now called Science. So clearly, accurate science and the Bible should be in total agreement. If they are not, then we have got something wrong. How, then, can we use science to resolve the conflict between young-earth and old-earth creationism?
One sensible approach would be to compare the claims of each group with well-established findings of science and see which matches up best and leaves the fewest unresolved problems.
Some Questions and Answers
For the sake of brevity in dealing with the questions that follow, OE and YE are used to denote old-earth and young-earth answers.
1) Astronomers agree that some stars and galaxies are so far away in space that their light arriving on earth at this moment has taken millions of years to reach us. How, then, can the universe be only six thousand years old?
YE – The speed of light must have changed, or God must have created stars with streams of light already connecting to earth.
OE – No problem. When we see that light, we are looking into the past. The universe could be millions of years old.
2) Radiometric dating of rock strata suggest the earth is millions of years old.
YE – The decay constants of radioactive elements must have changed.
OE – No problem, although the techniques are complex and can be misapplied. Also the Carbon-14 method used to date remains of organic origin assumes that the amount of radio carbon in the atmosphere has always been the same as it is now.
3) Paleozoic and Mesozoic fossils depict at totally different and violent world, populated by hordes of bizarre and often gigantic but now-extinct organisms that Rev William Buckland called 'Satan's creatures'.
YE – The book of Job describes a creature that might be some kind of dinosaur!
OE – No problem, there was a prehistoric age, a previous creation. As marked by the recently discovered K-T boundary, that world seems to have been catastrophically destroyed, leaving the earth in the darkened, flooded and lifeless state described in the first two verses of Genesis.
4) At what time in the past six thousand years of human existence were the moon and all the planets NASA has explored devastated – or did God make them that way?
YE – We think it must have something to do with Noah's Flood!
OE – No problem, it all fits in with the catastrophic events already mentioned.
5) If all or most of the earth's fossil-bearing sedimentary rock strata were created by Noah's Flood, why is no evidence of human habitation in the lower strata – such as tools, shaped stone building blocks, etc.?
YE – Well . . .
OE – No problem – man did not exist in the prehistoric age, so no artefacts.
6) According to the official statement of the 'Affiliation of Christian Geologists', professionals in the field, the scientific evidence favours an old earth.
YE – We know we are right, so they must be wrong!
OE – No problem – they are committed Christians with professional expertise in geology.
7) If Noah's Flood was such a violent event that it created massive rock strata, as in the Grand Canyon, how come the dove sent out from the ark soon after the deluge returned with a fresh olive twig?
YE – An olive plant can spring up quite quickly.
OE – The purpose of the Flood was to destroy the wicked, not massively restructure the earth's surface and create oil and coal reserves – and apparently left trees standing. Notice also that the Euphrates and Tigris rivers that existed before the Flood still existed afterwards.
8) The heavens and earth already exist in the first two verses of Genesis, before the creation week had even begun. How come?
YE – Hmmm. That is a bit tricky.
OE – No problem. That is where the 'gap' concept comes from. Genesis speaks of two 'earths', the flooded earth or globe itself that already existed in verse one, and the present habitable dry land or earth that was created in verse 10 when the flood waters were drained off to form the sea.
The Antiquity of the Globe
Prior to the development of the science of geology, the young-earth belief probably seemed obvious to the casual reader of Genesis, just as the belief that the earth was the centre of the solar system seemed obvious to the theologians of Galileo's day. Common sense also suggested the earth was flat and that the sun moved around the earth as it rose and set – until science proved otherwise.
Faced with their own fossil discoveries, decades before Darwin, devout Christian geologists such as Rev. William Buckland were forced to study Genesis anew and more carefully. They came to realize, although the scriptures specify the age of man on earth as some six thousand years, they do not fix the antiquity of the globe itself, which may well be millions of years old.
This increase in knowledge should not surprise us. It was Peter who urged Christians to grow in grace and knowledge (2Peter 3:18), and it was Peter to whom God revealed that the Gentiles could be saved (Acts 10) – a fact that even Peter himself found hard to accept, but one which Paul later realized had been clearly supported by scriptures in the Old Testament all along (Isaiah 11:10).
Mankind is currently experiencing the end-time explosion of knowledge foretold by the ancient prophet Daniel (Daniel 12:1-5). The science of geology is part of that knowledge, and when properly understood and applied, can aid our understanding of the Bible.
A Killer Text?
The key young-earth belief, or 'killer text', seems to be the wording of the fourth commandment as given to Moses (Exodus 20:11), which says very clearly that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is. Nobody is disputing that fact. However, a literal reading of the full Genesis account being referred to is actually describing how God repaired the devastated, darkened, lifeless, flooded earth that already existed in verses one and two, before the six days of creation week had even begun.
The words earth and heaven occur in two different contexts in Genesis. Careful reading shows that during creatrion week the term earth was applied to the habitable land mass that was formed when the flood waters were drained off into what God then called the sea. The account also describes how a new atmosphere or heaven was created. It is that earth, heaven and sea, and flora and fauna that populated them that the verses in Exodus are referring to. This simple literal 'gap theory' interpretation fits well with both science and the Bible.
A Bubbling Brook
Young-earth creationists have to resort to all manner of elaborate technical arguments to refute the clear claims of science, as can be checked by visiting their websites. However, according to the famous 'Occam's razor' principle, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. And Solomon tells us that wisdom should be crystal clear like a “bubbling brook”, not obscure like “deep waters” (Proverbs 18:4)
Nevertheless young-earth believers continue to bring the Bible and Christianity into scientific disrepute in the eyes of school boards, the law courts and the media – and are actually helping keep evolution alive, by providing it with easy targets that they attack with relish.
More seriously, perhaps, they are also perpetuating a crisis for young Christian believers who go to college and become disillusioned with their faith when they find themselves ill-equipped to cope with the evolutionary ethos of the education system and the onslaught on their beliefs.
Losing the Battle Against Evolution?
As already mentioned, Christians do not need to fear evolution – which is a hollow atheistic sham, a mixture of unwarranted assumption, vague verbosity, exaggeration, self-deception and wishful thinking. The more science discovers of the incredible complexity-within-complexity of God's creation, the more Darwin's theory is exposed for the infantile rubbish it really is. How much longer can such nonsense carry on posing as serious science and hoodwinking the intellectual elite of the western world?
How much longer, too, can the majority of creationists in general go on fighting (and losing) the war against evolution by using an antiquated and incomplete understanding of Genesis (i.e. the young-earth concept), which might be compared to a bow and arrow, when a fuller interpretation (i.e. the old-earth or gap theory concept) has been made available, and might be compared to a machine gun?
Choose your weapons!
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