Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A recent dialogue between a missionary in Japan and a Japanese unbeliever highlights the importance of evangelism in our increasingly secular world:
“For example, “ I (the short-term missionary) said, “take the first verse in the Bible, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If you preach on that verse, you explain to people that the only One who was alive at the beginning of the universe – of the earth and all life, and of time itself – was God. And if the Bible tells us the world was created by a Higher Power, by “Intelligent Design” then we’d better believe it.” She stopped me right there and said, “Oh, so you don’t believe in evolution?” I responded that even though fossils are used as evidence for evolution, only a manipulation and biased interpretation of the fossil evidence could possibly lead to the evolutionary explanation for the origin of living things. And what kind of science would that be? Theory at best, and not a very good one. But at this point I realized I may be entering troubled waters: “Do I want to take this road,” I asked myself, “since both Mr. and Mrs. ___ are retired science teachers?” But then I thought, “It’s okay, this is probably the best approach, for how can one sense a need for a Savior without first seeing this as a good world, made by a good God, that has gone bad. Evil originates in rebellion against the Benevolent Creator and King of the universe. And the only way to overcome evil is God’s way, which is the story of the gospel.” (Emphasis mine)
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
God has called us to train up our children in the way that they should go. For those of you who have the resources and ability, I believe homeschooling is one of the best ways to do this. Here is a great video-based website for those looking into homeschooling and for those already doing it.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Ken Ham writes:
"God’s people need to know what the BioLogos Foundation (founded by Francis Collins) is teaching, and what in essence Dr. Waltke (either wittingly or unwittingly) was endorsing.
...They do not believe in a literal Fall of Genesis 3, and they do not believe in the historicity of Adam.
...in regard to what the BioLogos Foundation calls “the literalist interpretation” , they state:
The scientific evidence suggests a dramatically larger population at this point in history. Recently acquired genetic evidence also points to a population of several thousand people from whom all humans have descended, not just two. Finally, fossil and DNA records point strongly to a more unified creation reflected in the relatedness of humans and other animals. The comparison of human and chimp chromosomes provides one of many compelling pieces of evidence for this unity. The chromosomes of the two species match up almost exactly, except for human chromosome 2, which appears to be a fusion of two chromosomes that were distinct in a primate ancestor of our species. This remarkable claim was confirmed when sequences that are normally found only at the ends of chromosomes were discovered in the middle of human chromosome 2, right where the fusion was thought to have taken place. Today, we carry in our bodies this evidence of our relatedness to other species. The evidence argues strongly against a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation account of humans.
Then in regard to what they call “The Everyman Reading,” they state:
The Everyman Reading of the creation story understands understands [sic] the Fall as an allegory representing every human’s individual rejection of God. In this light, the Fall was not a historical event but an illustration of the common human condition that virtually everyone agrees is deeply flawed and sinful. In this view, Adam and Eve were not intended to be presented as historical figures. Their deeds simply represent the actions of all humans and remind us of this troubling part of our natures.
They then state:
This interpretation is less popular among many Christians, for the historicity of Adam seems to be assumed by the apostle Paul. In Romans 5 (and somewhat in 1 Corinthians 15), Paul draws an analogy between Adam and Paul, both of whom are representative of humanity, but in different senses: Adam brings death to all, whereas Jesus brings life; Adam was disobedient, Jesus was obedient; Adam’s disobedience affects all, whereas Jesus’ obedience affects “all”. Since Jesus is an historical figure, it is argued that Adam, too, must be an historical figure in the very same sense. You cannot have one part of the analogy be symbolic and the other historical. Plus, if Paul believed in an historical Adam as the first human, Christians should too. The difficulty with this understanding of Paul, however, is that it is difficult to reconcile with the scientific data, which has lead Christian thinkers to consider different ways of handling Paul’s words.
If you want to see where compromising evolution/millions of years with the Bible leads to, go to the BioLogos website and read their question and answer section."
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Assumptions with the Evidence
Ken Ham continues (from the last post) on why we should not base our beliefs on the shaky evidence of historical (non-observational) science.
When we are dealing with the issue of origins, we are trying to answer questions such as
- How did the universe come into existence?
- What happened to form the stars?
- How did life come about on earth?
- How did humans come into existence?
- What processes formed the fossil record?
Forensic scientists know only too well the limitations of working with evidence in the present to reconstruct the history of the past. For instance, quite a number of people have been convicted of a crime based on circumstantial evidence, only to be declared not guilty later when new evidence (such as DNA) came along to disprove the initial interpretation.
You may have experienced a similar situation in a murder mystery such as a book or television program about Sherlock Holmes or some other famous detective. It can go like this:
Halfway through, you are convinced the butler is guilty.
Three quarters of the way through, you are still convinced by the circumstantial evidence the butler did it.
Close to the end of the book or television program, the circumstantial evidence still points to the butler’s guilt.
Then, just before the end, a piece of information is revealed that totally changes your conclusions. You suddenly realize the butler is innocent and a person you didn’t expect is guilty!
As I often say after reading such a book or watching such a program, “That was a waste of time!”
The problem is that fallible humans, who don’t know everything, who weren’t present everywhere in the past, can come to totally wrong conclusions in trying to reconstruct the past. You can never know you have all relevant evidence. One piece of evidence can totally change one’s conclusions.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Question: What is your starting point in the pursuit of what is true and what is not?
Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, recently related this story:
A well-known atheist in the USA was interviewing me in my office concerning the creation/evolution issue and the book of Genesis. The conversation went something like this:
“So you admit that you start with the Bible?” she said to me.
“Yes, of course,” I replied.
“And you are not prepared to change anything the Bible states, are you?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “The Bible’s statements concerning creation, the Flood, and so on are not subject to change—God’s Word cannot be altered.”
“Ah,” she then responded, “that’s why creationists like you can never be real scientists. You see, real scientists like myself start with evidence and develop our theories. Then, as new evidence comes along, we modify our theories accordingly. You start with the Bible, not evidence, and you are not prepared to change your views. I start with evidence and am prepared to change or modify theories as new evidence comes along. That is real science.”
I then responded by asking, “You are an atheist, correct?”
“Yes,” she responded.
“And you don’t believe in God, and don’t believe the Bible’s account of Genesis has any part in science and in discussing the origins issue—is that right?”
“Yes,” she again responded.
“Are you prepared to change that?” I asked.
Now I can’t prove it because I didn’t have a video camera running at the time, but I believe I saw a slight smile on her lips as she ignored the challenge and went on asking more questions. You see, I believe this atheist realized that I had caught her—that she started with beliefs that she was not prepared to change. And those beliefs determined how she approached evidence in regards to the origins issue.
I was making the point that no one ever starts with just evidence. We all have presuppositions that determine how we approach scientific evidence.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
In 1989, Wise earned a Ph.D. in Geology from Harvard University where he studied under the supervision of Stephen Jay Gould. In addition, he has an M.A. in Geology from Harvard University and a B.A. Geology from the University of Chicago. In 1998, Robert Schadewald described Wise as influential on "modern creationism as it is practiced at its higher levels."
Wise has written that "if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate."
- Richard Dawkins comments in his book The God Delusion, "Kurt Wise doesn’t need the challenge; he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless."
Note: I find this amusing since Dawkins consistently refuses to debate creationists or even acknowledge that there is a load of evidence against macro-evolution. Dawkins continues:"We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference."
Because Dawkins believes that he bases all of his belief on observational science (it is clear he doesn't when he will not even enter a debate with creationists), he himself will not tolerate or acknowledge ANY evidence against his own beloved god: evolution. And yet Wise will allow all the temporary evidences to go against creation (even though they don't), because he rests on a stronger foundation: the Word of God.
But let's back up. For more than 200 years, there was absolutely NO evidence that Newton's laws of motion would ever be falsified in relation to planetary motion. (I wonder if there were Newtonian disciples as committed as Dawkins then?) Then Einstein came along. There was no evidence at all in favor of general relativity, that is until Einstein first proposed it. But can we really compare this to creationism? No, I don't believe we can. Newton's laws still work to some extent, in real, observational science. Can we say the same for macro-evolution? Not at all.
The theory of macro-evolution is HISTORICAL science, not observational science, like Newton's theories of planetary motion. We cannot come up with a good testable scientific theory (as we can with planetary motion) for origins, because we cannot test things in the past. We can only make assumptions about clues in the present. Is that REAL scientific evidence? I don't think so. However good our theories get, we can never prove history through observational science. That is why we have history class and not just science class. So here is my advice: let us keep real observational science, with all its technological advances, and throw out the historical junk science of Dawkins. Let us turn to the Bible for our history of origins.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
|Douglas Wilson writes about how putting relevance above all else can lead to utter irrelevance. |
Here is Bruce Waltke, on why Christians should believe in evolution. HT: Joe Rigney.
There are (at least) five confusions here.
First, he wants to say that if we believe that the Lord is the Giver and Creator of all life, and we do so in a way that is not approved by our secularist betters, then that means we have embraced death. To simply accept "what God says" is actually cultic. There is something counterintuitive in there somewhere.
Second, Waltke confounds "what the data requires" with "what secularists stubbornly say that the data requires." All truth is indeed God's truth, but it does not follow from this that all lies are God's truth. Suppose the data doesn't constitute overwhelming evidence for evolution? Suppose Christians surrender on Darwin unnecessarily? What are we embracing then?
Third, as mentioned above, he says that refusal to believe in evolution is to embrace spiritual death. But the evolutionary account of our world points to a record of death. What is the fossil record but a massive column of dead bodies? If God created by evolutionary means, then nature red in tooth and claw is "very good," and God doesn't have the problem with death that we thought He did. So maybe it might be a good thing to embrace spiritual death. Or did I miss something?
Fourth, there is a difference between "staying in the discussion" with unbelievers and sitting down and believing what you are told by unbelievers to believe. Paul was in a real dialogue with the philosophers on Mars Hill, and it did not consist of him getting into a high chair and having them cut his meat for him.
Fifth, this displays, as few other things could, the utter irrelevance of the lust for relevance.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
The following question was posed to me on facebook by an agnostic friend. He posted it publicly on my page, so I encourage you to join the discussion if you'd like.
"How do Christians reconcile the stories of the Bible such as the Earth being 6000 years old versus the evidence saying that is certainly not the case? A friend asked me and I said I think its simply not taken literally. Is that right?"
Great question. I'll try to keep this short...er!
I think the first thing we need to do is to back up and find out what can really be believed as "certainly the case". Many times people want to set up "science" as all-knowing, when it is, in fact, certainly and absolutely not! From the beginning, science books have had to be written and rewritten, over and over, almost constantly... and this is just with the data that can be tested within the scientific method.
The biggest problem with the idea that even a bit of HISTORICAL science is "certainly the case" is that science cannot tell us even one CERTAIN fact about history itself. This is because (BY VERY DEFINITION) it does not deal with historical data, rather, it deals with data observable in the present. One cannot take a time machine and go back five billion years ago to test our theories about what was happening then. The best we can do is make assumptions based on OBSERVABLE data now. And, as you know, when we make assumptions, we cannot help but include our own worldviews and presuppositions on how things "ought to have been".
If one does not want to (**You will notice I keep coming back to this phrase with you**) find evidence for intelligent design, for example, one WILL NOT. On the other side, if one does not want to find billions of years in the scientific data, one WILL NOT. This is the crux of the issue. It is not that some really smart scientists hold the FACTUAL historical data while the stupid scientists are trying to hold on to a belief in God and the Bible... no, there are many brilliant scientists on both sides. The crux of the matter is that one scientist does not WANT to accept the supernatural, while the other is at least OPEN to it.
Now then, you may ask (as you most certainly should), then why are there so many scientists who believe without a doubt that the Earth is billions of years old? Well, I'm glad you asked!
There are several factors (which I can go into if you would like me to) but let's be real blunt about the main one. When you get right down to it, if one would want to kill one's own scientific career, just the passing mention "Intelligent Design" would be sufficient to do it. (And HAS been sufficient to do it on countless occasions.)
The scientific "community" is no bastion of free thought and speech. It is no open process of seeking the "truth" together while holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Ya". No, the majority of the scientific "community" is very comparable to a modern day witch hunt, or to a communist regime. Science is anything but free investigation, but very much has a political agenda driving it. (If you haven't watched the whole movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" I really recommend you watch it to see the facts behind what I am saying here.)
So, to answer your question shortly : ) I would say: Yes, many Bible believers try to reconcile the Bible with modern day "science" in innumerable ways - even in multiple ways that keep the literal reading as well as their belief in billions of years. Does the Bible NEED to be reconciled with historical science in this way? Definitely not. For me it is our fallible historical "science" that needs reconciling to the Bible. God is the only real empirical scientist who was there at the beginning.I welcome your thoughts.