Friday, February 27, 2009

Seventh-day Darwinians

What scares me is seeing the liberalism, if I may call it that, which has crept into the church. We see a significant number of professed Adventists denying Bible truth so foundational that nearly all Christendom agrees upon it.

Things like a literal six-day creation (seven if you count the Sabbath) or the literal worldwide flood of Noah's day. Seriously? I mean, seriously??

To see a group so seemingly blindly aligning themselves with the world as opposed to the plain truth revealed in Scripture only solidifies in my mind that "the shaking" is near.

While I may not agree completely with the somewhat "divisive" style of Clifford Goldstein, I certainly agree with his message. I was going to put in a quote or two from his article in the Adventist Review, but decided to just go ahead and post the whole thing.

I'm not hip to all the current copyright laws and such, but I'd hope that in the spreading of truth there would be no room for...well, let's just spread the truth without restrictions, ok? The original article can be found by clicking here. Here is the article in its entirety:

Seventh-day Darwinians

Rarely has there been a belief so ridiculous or contrary to the Scriptures that, once it becomes popular, some Christians haven't attempted to incorporate into the faith. In its long and often crude lust for cultural and intellectual correctness, the church has become what Jacques Ellul called "an empty bottle that the successive cultures fill with all kinds of things." Roman paganism, Platonism, Marxism, even Nazism have all had baptized aficionados struggling to cram these "things" into the bottle, now so warped and piecemeal it resembles a kaleidoscope image inspired by someone needing Prozac.

Of all the bizarre mismatches, though, none's worse than the attempt to harmonize evolution with Christianity. Evolution? Please! Nazism's a snugger fit.

Though raised on evolution, I one day found myself a born-again Christian who saw, immediately, an impossible conundrum between what I was taught my whole life and my new worldview. Within the first few days someone gave me the book The Genesis Flood, by Henry Morris, and for the first time I realized that the "proof" I was dogmatically given for evolution wasn't as solid as I had been led to believe from grade school through college. Over time, and after more reading, I was soon purged of all macroevolutionary presuppositions. In fact, if (heaven forbid) I ever lost my faith, I could never go back to evolution. Alien seeding or the Babylonian creation story seems more plausible than the standard scientific paradigm of origins.

"But," someone would say, "it's science." Exactly. And science is still only a human endeavor, and as such it comes burdened with all the prejudices, foibles, fears, and presuppositions of anything human. However much I respect science and stand in awe of its achievements, scientists can be as bigoted and dogmatic as historical critics (well, almost).

Now, it used to be that, for Adventists, evolutionary theory was a threat from without; as unbelievable as it seems, some among us have now accepted theistic evolution--the idea that God used the process of evolution, over millions of years, to create humanity.

These folks, though, don't worship the God of the Bible, for that God didn't use a long, protracted, and vicious dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest paradigm--one that goes against everything He has taught us about love and self-sacrifice--and then lie to us about it by claiming He created life here in six days when He didn't. Plus, that God didn't ask us to keep the seventh day as a memorial, not to the six days of Creation as He explicitly told us in His Word, but to a brutal, hateful, merciless process that took millions of years.

What amazes me isn't so much that people can believe in evolution (after all, I used to), but that those who do still want to be Seventh-day Adventists. I can respect someone who, believing in evolutionary theory, rejects the Adventist Church entirely. I have no respect for those who think they can meld the two.

For anyone, especially our young people, struggling with these issues, I say: Keep seeking with a fervent and honest heart. As long as you stick to the Bible (and Ellen White's books and articles) you will not go wrong. For those among us who have already decided--despite the Bible and Ellen White--on evolution, there are plenty of other churches for you. Ours isn't one. And to those teaching in our schools who believe in evolution and yet take a paycheck from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I say: If you honestly reject a literal six-day creation in favor of theistic macroevolution, fine; now turn that honesty into integrity and go somewhere where you won't have to cloak your views under the anfractuosities of language.

I speak, I believe, for millions of Seventh-day Adventists when I declare that whatever the age of the earth itself, we will never make room for anything other than a literal six-day creation for life here--never. And for those who want more, you'll have to fight us for every extra minute--much less your millions of mythological years beyond--of which the Word of God knows nothing and with its first verses utterly denies.

Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.


  1. Seventh-day Adventist biologists (primarily science teachers in their school system) have for a long time already ignored Ellen White's mandated six-thousand-year view of the age of the earth. With their amazing cognitive dissonance (believing in two opposing views simultaneously), Seventh-day Adventists have learned to pick-and-choose their favorite doctrines while still warming the pews on a regular basis.

    Interestingly, SDA dogma about the state of the dead reinforces the notion that man is basically an animal--they even die just like animals they insist. The only difference being that they are in the remembrance of God like a fallen sparrow. Moreover, one cannot await anything when nonexistent--much less a resurrection. Official Adventism needs to become consistent in its teachings.

    Dennis Fischer

  2. My point is not that we need to be able to make sense of our own beliefs, or even to reconcile them, for I could clarify your statements about dying like animals and awaiting the resurrection. My problem is when Christians try to intertwine the plain meaning of Scripture with ideas that contradict those Scriptures.

    I don't care if one tries and succeeds at believing both creation and evolution, or that we go straight to heaven or hell when we die yet there's still a future resurrection and judgement. As stand-alone philosophies, it doesn't matter what we conclude, because they are our own human ideas. What bothers me is when people in the church try to force their own human philosophies onto Scriptures so plain even a little child could understand them.

    Check out my post "are the dead really dead" for a lot of Bible verses about the subject, clearly indicating that the dead are not in heaven or hell, but in the grave. I'd be honestly interested to hear how you explain these verses. I will listen with an open mind.

  3. Todd,

    For believers death means being "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). That is why our Lord said at his death, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Lk. 23:46). That is why he promised the penitent dying thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Lk. 23:43). That is why Paul described departing the body to be with Christ as "better by far" than remaining in the body (Phil. 1:23). And that is why Scripture speaks of deceased human beings as souls "under the altar" (Rev. 6:9) and as "the spirits of righteous men made perfect" (Heb. 12:23).

    If Jesus the God-man ceased to exist between his death and resurrection, then the Trinity only consisted of two persons during that period of time. The Trinity would have been reduced to a Binity, or the resurrection of Jesus meant the re-creation of the second person of the Trinity. In that case, the second person of the Trinity would be a created being. Such conclusions are ruinous for the Christian faith because they compromise the doctrine of the Trinity. The SDA view of death is the heritage of their Arian founders. Moreover, the investigative judgment alibi cannot allow saints to be in heaven before its final verdict.

    Adventist apologists also insist that Moses was resurrected from dead and taken to heaven without any biblical support for their claim. Obviously, their belief system cannot reconcile the fact that Moses and Elijah appeared together on the Mount of Transfiguration representing the law and the prophets. If Moses was resurrected from the dead, as Adventists claim, then it negates the NT teaching the Jesus is the "firstfruit from the dead." This is yet another instance where SDA theology diminishes the glory that belongs to Jesus. All in all, the traditional view of death coheres well with other biblical teachings in contrast to the extinction/re-creation view.

    Both Christians and SDAs acknowledge that in the Scriptures the word "sleep" (as applied to death)is imagery, or figurative language. The division comes over what, exactly, is the REALITY of which sleep is apt imagery. In real sleep, there is a real, living person present; one's existence, thoughts, and emotions continue from the waking state, through the sleep state, and back again into the waking state. One's mind is not totally inactive during sleep. Even more important, one's actual existence is not interrupted.

    Dennis Fischer

  4. So there are 6 Scriptures you've mentioned there as proof of your view of the state of the dead.

    I have heard many preachers, and I have myself, explained these texts in their context to show they do not, in fact, teach that the dead go straight to heaven or hell when they die.

    More importantly, those who believe that the dead rest in their graves until the resurrection have easily 10 times that number of Scriptures to back up their view, to which I have never heard a proper response and explanation.

    Please don't believe everything you read or hear, I'm not too familiar with these arians you talked about, but I can tell you that even the reformers believed, or at least allowed, the possibility that the dead remain in the grave until resurrection.

    Martin Luther: "We shall sleep, until He comes and knocks on the little grave and says, "Doctor Martin, get up! Then I shall rise in a moment, and be with him forever."

    "But we Christians, who have been redeemed from all this through the precious blood of God's Son, should train and accustom ourselves in faith to despise death and regard it as a deep, strong, sweet sleep."

    "We should learn to view our death in the right light, so that we need not become alarmed on account of it, as unbelief does; because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep, which brings us release from this vale of tears, from sin and from the fear and extremity of real death and from all the misfortunes of this life, and we shall be secure and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment, as on a sofa, until the time when he shall call and awaken us together with all his dear children to his eternal glory and joy. For since we call it a sleep, we know that we shall not remain in it, but be again awakened and live, and that the time during which we sleep, shall seem no longer than if we had just fallen asleep. Hence, we shall censure ourselves that we were surprised or alarmed at such a sleep in the hour of death, and suddenly come alive out of the grave and from decomposition, and entirely well, fresh, with a pure, clear, glorified life, meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the clouds."

    William Tyndale - "And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection.... And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?"

    "Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again." And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had wist [known] it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, shew me what cause should be of the resurrection."

    "And when he [More] proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, "If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead;" there he stealeth away Christ's argument, wherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints should rise again, and not that their souls were in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. And with that doctrine he taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ's argument of none effect"

    The list goes on of others who chose to let go of the traditions of men handed down to them and take hold of the Scriptures as their sole source of truth.

    I believe there is a root of pride in those who cling to a select few Scriptures to prove their belief instead of searching the Scriptures daily to see whether those things are so.

    Also, it seems rather unChristian to slander a church and declare "you got that belief from this bunch," when in truth, we arrived at our beliefs from deep, earnest, unprideful study of the Holy Bible.

  5. I have to admit that I'm more than a little disappointed by how out-of-touch some of your words are, even with respect to Christendom itself (as opposed to scientific concepts). Specifically, you say, "We see a significant number of professed Adventists denying Bible truth so foundational that nearly all Christendom agrees upon it."

    And, then you immediately follow-up that with, "Things like a literal six-day creation (seven if you count the Sabbath) or the literal worldwide flood of Noah's day. Seriously? I mean, seriously??"

    The simple fact is that most of Christendom is NOT "Biblically literalistic" (6-day creation, Noah's flood, etc.), and suggesting that this is the case is flatly false. This is neither difficult to discover nor little-known. (And, even Goldstein appears to agree: "For those among us who have already decided...on evolution, there are plenty of other churches [besides SDAism] for you.") Within the larger context of Christendom, the SDA church is generally viewed as a very conservative, right-wing, "fundamentalist" denomination (fairly comparable to Southern Baptists).

    I am not making assertions about who is right or wrong with regard to religious beliefs. But, your (mis)characterization of Christendom as being in broad agreement with regard to Biblical literalism is just, plain wrong.

  6. With respect to Goldstein's dogmatic declarations, I'd have to say that he is not just at odds with evolution, but with ALL scientific investigation, of any kind. Goldstein's expressed attitude is the very antithesis of a scientific mind: "...I declare that whatever the age of the earth itself, we will never make room for anything other than a literal six-day creation for life here--never."

    It reminds me of Kurt Wise, a supposed scientist, who said: "Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, 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. Here I must stand."

    This is pure intellectual bankruptcy. Claiming to be both scientific AND bull-headedly determined to adhere to a belief no matter how much evidence may contradict it is nonsensical. Science is all about evidence, and being willing to change viewpoints when it's called-for. So, don't pretend it's just evolution on the table. It is all of science. The scientific method either works, or it doesn't, and you don't get to cherry-pick simply as a matter of convenience to personal beliefs---or to dogmatically declare some areas as being "inherently off limits" to rational inquiry (as Goldstein is effectively doing).

    There are many Christians, including scientists, who DO reconcile science (yes, evolution) with their religious beliefs. Does it really not arouse your curiosity as to how they do this, or why they feel it necessary to accept scientific findings (rather than simply dismiss them)? Are you really so self-confident in your own clearly-human understanding of the scriptures that you do not feel the need to retain a little doubt for your conclusions, and listen to the thoughts of others (and perpetually examine evidence as objectively as possible)?


    Consider, for example, the Omphalos Hypothesis, which is seriously put forth by various religious sects as one form of apologetic. Yes, I've heard it within Adventism. (In my opinion, the idea is absurd and useless, and the satirical parodies it has spawned demonstrate why.)

    From wikipedia: "In a rebuttal of the claim that God might have implanted a false history of the age of the Universe in order to test our faith in the truth of the Torah, Rabbi Natan Slifkin, an author whose works have been banned by several Haredi rabbis for going against the tenets of the Talmud, writes:"

    "God essentially created two conflicting accounts of Creation: one in nature, and one in the Torah. How can it be determined which is the real story, and which is the fake designed to mislead us? One could equally propose that it is nature which presents the real story, and that the Torah was devised by God to test us with a fake history! One has to be able to rely on God's truthfulness if religion is to function. Or, to put it another way—if God went to enormous lengths to convince us that the world is billions of years old, who are we to disagree?"

    Anyone who knows anything at all about the history of the Bible (both OT and NT; but especially the NT, which is the important thing that differentiates the faiths of Christians and Jews) knows that it is inseparably intertwined with all-too-human endeavors---politics, power struggles, religious schisms, and so forth (e.g. the Councils of Nicaea, the Apocrypha, emperors, popes, etc.).

    Which do you think seems the least susceptible to bias and error and human interference:
    1. Records that are inherently human-created (whether "inspired" or not)---written, translated, propagated, interpreted, added-to, deleted-from, accepted, rejected, etc. (ALL of which are known to have occurred in the history of the Bible, not to mention other holy texts)
    2. Records that are found in nature---entirely independent of human influence; planet-wide and extra-planetary---in all kinds of diverse forms, from fossils to starlight, molecules to radioactivity, and much more.

    Do you see Rabbi Slifkin's point? We don't have an inside track to automatically-correct, unquestionable truth, despite the claims of some. We know a lot about the history of the Bible, and it does not justify dogged insistence upon its pristine infallibility. It just doesn't---it's a messy, convoluted, human-saturated process of composition. We must continually reflect upon and question our basic assumptions. If nothing else, we should at least be willing to admit that we are human, and that makes us inherently error prone---which includes our own interpretations of the Bible.

  7. It has been my experience---with effectively 100% correlation---that those who most vociferously oppose scientific investigation and conclusions (e.g. Big Bang, evolution, etc.) are also those who have exerted the least effort to FAIRLY learn about and genuinely understand the concepts that they oppose. (This includes Clifford Goldstein, if he really thinks that Henry Morris, of all people, mounts a serious case against mainstream science.)

    I'll use evolution as an example, but the same applies to cosmology, geology, etc. In many years of following the "battle lines" between conservative Christianity and scientific investigation, I have yet to EVER read/hear a Biblical literalist fairly and accurately present evolution as it really is (i.e., as biologists actually understand and apply it), or even demonstrate the most basic understanding of its mechanisms and supporting evidence (regardless of personal (non)acceptance). Honestly, do you think you can answer the following four points to scientific satisfaction? (And, how do you know you can answer them satisfactorily, as opposed to just thinking that you can?)
    1. Briefly summarize evolutionary theory. (A few well-articulated sentences are fine. You do not have to accept the theory, only demonstrate understanding of what it states.)
    2. Name and describe one major line of evidence that supports "macroevolution". (Again, you don't have to accept its implications, only demonstrate understanding of the line of evidence.)
    3. Define the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    4. Explain the methodology by which science operates.

    I ask you: have you ever read any of the writings of those evolutionary biologists who are in the field observing and collecting, or in the lab experimenting to test predictions and make discoveries, or writing to explain the implications of the evidence? For example, have you read any of the scientific works of any of the following scientists? Charles Darwin, R. A. Fisher, Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, E. O. Wilson, John Maynard Smith, Ernst Mayr, Richard Dawkins, Sean Carroll, Neil Shubin, Jerry Coyne, Bill Hamilton, Steven Jay Gould, Donald Prothero, Daniel Fairbanks, and numerous others. (Note: you cannot claim religious bias here, either, because several of those I just listed are Christians.) Have you even read the freely-available and very enlightening Dover court decision, which was written by the conservative Christian Judge John E. Jones III? Have you even read Creation Reconsidered, which was published by a group of concerned Adventists?!

    (And, before you bother to ask---yes, I've listened to the various pro-creation arguments, as well as the ID arguments, such as those by Michael Behe... presented by him, not filtered through some critical analysis pretending to represent his views, but not really doing so. I've talked to him face-to-face, one-on-one. Have you done this with any evolutionary biologists? And, did you know that many of the still ubiquitously used pro-creation arguments have been so thoroughly debunked that even the most prominent creationist organizations (e.g. Answers In Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, and others) have recognized this fact and listed them as "Arguments Creationists Should NOT Use" on their web sites? e.g. this and this, amongst others. Yet, they remain ubiquitous. And, debunked.)

    Or, have you restricted your "research" (and concern) entirely to one side? And, if so, how fair do you think that is? Would you consider such behavior reasonable in any other venue---say, in a court room, where ONLY the case of the plaintiffs is presented? (How fair is this to the defendants?)

    I don't know you, but I do have a lot of experience in this area, having been raised and educated in the SDA system. I did not discover, until I actually did my own independent reading on the topic, that the presentation of evolution I was taught by the traditional SDA system is completely misrepresentative of what evolutionary theory really is. The typical creationist caricature of evolution is effectively unrecognizable to what is actually stated in science.

    Again, I'm not even making assertions here about what is, or is not, correct. I am simply pointing out personal observations about people's behavior. It is one thing to disagree with something for well-informed reasons. It is an entirely different matter to instead dismiss it out-of-hand, remaining almost wholly uninformed on it, and fighting it through rhetoric and misinformation and other unfair methodologies. If you want to reasonably challenge evolution (or anything else), you must first become intimately familiar with what it actually is, and what kinds of evidence exist in support of it. So again, I ask: how many of those authors have you read, and do you think you can sufficiently answer those four points (and how do you know)?


    I leave you with two quotes that I hope you will carefully and soberly consider.

    The first is from St. Augustine [De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim (The Literal Meaning of Genesis) translated by J. H. Taylor, Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41; Book 1 Chapter 19 Paragraph 39]:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although "they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion." [1 Timothy 1.7]

    The second is from Moral Minds, pp. 59-60, by Marc D. Hauser:

    ...the great 1860 Oxford debate between Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas Henry Huxley. Having read Darwin's Origin of Species and seen its potential for undermining religious stricture and its moral regulations, Wilberforce launched an attack, armed with sarcasm and rhetorical flourishes. As the the story goes, he concluded his diatribe, then turned to Huxley and asked whether it was through his grandmother or grandfather that he should claim descent from an ape? Huxley responded: "[A] man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man---a man of restless and versatile intellect---who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice."

    This is EXACTLY what is happening when the lesser-informed lay people (and clergy) in the church seek to silence the biology/astronomy/geology/physics/etc. professors when it comes to their respective areas of expertise and life-long study (as Goldstein is trying to do). So, yet again I ask: how many of those authors have you read, and do you think you can sufficiently answer those four points (and how do you know)?

  8. You may be right that I am out-of-touch with Christendom as a whole. I truly believed that most Christians take God's word at face value. But I suppose you could very well be right, and it could be true that many of today's "liberal" Christians don't actually believe in a six-day creation or Noah's flood. That is a scary thought to me, but I suppose just confirms that we're nearing the end.

    I have to say, from that quote I really think Kurt Wise has the right idea. As Goldstein said, "science is still only a human endeavor, and as such it comes burdened with all the prejudices, foibles, fears, and presuppositions of anything human."

    We are nothing if not fallible. Science has proven itself wrong so many times that one must necessarily view all scientific findings with a dose of scepticism.

    I don't view science, or the scientific method, as some great authority outside of ourselves. I view it as something inherently human, and as such, just as fallible as we are.

    Like the protagonist in the movie "Time Changer" says, good science must first and foremost agree with the Bible.

    I suppose it's a question of trust. Where each person chooses to place his ultimate trust. I choose the Bible, some choose science, still others choose their own mind and philosphy.

    Then, one could argue, that begs the question, "You trust whose interpretation of the Bible?"

    A great question. And one that makes me infinitely happy because our focus has shifted from debating science vs the Bible to laying science aside focusing only on the Scriptures and their meanings. Which, in my opinion, is a far healthier pursuit.

    I suppose I see the crux of the issue here, a logical extension of the trust I was talking about.
    You pose the logical question, which is "least susceptible to bias and error and human interference?"

    1. Records that are inherently human-created (whether "inspired" or not)---written, translated, propagated, interpreted, added-to, deleted-from, accepted, rejected, etc. (ALL of which are known to have occurred in the history of the Bible, not to mention other holy texts)

    Yes...yes and yes. I fully believe God has the power to not only inspire the writers of the Bible, but also to preserve His word the way He wanted to. I believe the Bible we have today, dare I say regardless of the translation, contains the word of God. My belief in God, as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent necessitates my faith that He must be able to preserve His chosen form of communication with His children: The Bible.

    So I place my trust in my Bible (above all else, including science) because I have faith in my God.

    Or..."2. Records that are found in nature---entirely independent of human influence; planet-wide and extra-planetary---in all kinds of diverse forms, from fossils to starlight, molecules to radioactivity, and much more."

    The infinite God created this universe, and as such, I believe it's out of the grasp of our human minds to make sense of it.

    From the things we can make sense of, I have heard many many scientists present very strong scientific evidences of creation. In the end, we cannot prove one or the other. We cannot prove creation or evolution, we cannot prove God exists or doesn't. It all comes down to a choice.

    Both sides must exercise faith. Doesn't the second law of thermodynamics say something about things tending to break down? It seems that at its root, evolution claims things naturally tend to build up, to become more organized; that inanimate objects can somehow become living.

    Science declares that like produces like, life begets life, things tend to break down and become more disorganized with time.

    Of the two options you presented, I must choose to have faith in God, His word, and His creation.

    You said, "It just doesn't---it's a messy, convoluted, human-saturated process of composition."

    That is what I find lies at the foundation of unbelief, or belief in man's own theories or philosophies - whether one believes God can direct and guide in the composition of His book. I, of course, have no doubt about it. My dad, on the other hand, makes statements similar to yours above.

    Again, everyone has to make a choice: Is the Bible authored by men and subject to their errors, or authored by God and composed as He saw fit.

    "If nothing else, we should at least be willing to admit that we are human, and that makes us inherently error prone---which includes our own interpretations of the Bible."

    I agree completely. So it again comes down to two choices, since we cannot trust our own interpretations: Will we let our interpretations be guided by science, or will be let our interpretations be guided by the Holy Spirit?

    I remember that passage where Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. And in another place, He said something to the effect of we will know truth if we are willing to submit to it.

    Ok...I've gotten to the test. In all fairness, I will try to answer as best I can. Remember I'm no scientist, so don't be too hard on me.

    1. Evolution is... the process by which life arose, and continues to adapt to its surroundings. Survival of the fittest...random genetic mutations which cause changes in the organism, which, if beneficial, make the organism better able to survive and thrive. Those with beneficial genetic mutations thrive, while those with harmful mutations, or no mutations at all, die out or continue to mutate and evolve in a different direction. That's about the best I can do off the top of my head. I do know this though, that there are two types of evolution, microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution includes things such as the adaptation of creatures to better suite their environment like the birds with the longer beaks and such, observed by Darwin. I believe in microevolution. Then there's macroevolution, which includes one species evolving into a total different species. Like a fish becoming a frog becoming a snake becoming a bird (for the sake of argument, I don't know the order evolutionists believe)

    2. Speak of the devil...I have no idea which line supports macroevolution.

    3. Something about things tending to break down over time.

    4. Let's see if I can remember this...scientific method...something about an observation, an experiment, and the ability to reproduce the results? Was I close?

    Glad I'm done with that test, it was a hard one.

    No, I have never read any of those authors, and truly I have no intention of ever reading them.

    In all fairness, I do not read creationist books either, and don't really have any desire to. Although, I admit, I did read Darwins Black Box when I was around 16 years old. I thought the idea of irreducible complexity was a fascinating one.

    Hey I checked those links, most of that stuff I have never heard.

    Althought they do suggest not using certain terminoly that isn't exactly correct, which I use, and have already used in this very post. Such as "microevolution and macroevolution" as well as "theory" and "species evolving into different species."

    While I will continue to use the words microevolution vs macroevolution and theory, because most people understand what you're saying. I might stop saying "no species into new species", when I'm really talking about the fact that birds don't become cats, and mice don't become snakes, etc etc.

    So that was helpful.

    "If you want to reasonably challenge evolution (or anything else), you must first become intimately familiar with what it actually is, and what kinds of evidence exist in support of it."

    This is where I disagree with you. You know the old story about the counterfeit money. They ask how much time do experts in this field spend studying the hundreds of new counterfeit bills? None, they study the true.

    In like manner, I have no desire to study the arguments of evolution, or even creation (although I will listen to a lecture about creation if I land on one on TV). But my desire is to study God's word. For it, and it only, is my rule of faith, my standard of truth.

    To those quotes I would only answer this:

    "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty"

    and "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."

    Well it's late and I need to get some sleep. Thank you very much for the lengthy and well thought-out comments and questions. I see where you are coming from, but I am coming from a whole different perspective.

  9. I can't help but wonder, "Did you even read that Augustine quote?"

    Because, from your comments, it appears you either did not read it, or else you entirely missed its meaning.

    (Or, perhaps you simply don't care about winning souls?)

    I suggest you very carefully (re-re-)re-read that quote and deeply ponder it. There's a treasure trove to be found. (And, it has direct bearing upon your 'four answers'.)

  10. Ok, I went back and re-read the Augustine quote.

    I'm incredibly tired right now so I hope my answer will suffice.

    I do care about winning souls, in fact I believe it's our main purpose as Christ's church.

    BUT, I don't believe that we must agree with or capitulate to the beliefs, whether philosophical or scientific, of those who believe contrary to the plain meaning of Scriptures.

    Is it my belief in creation that you believe is a bad witness, or my advocacy of it as a lay person?

    Keep in mind that quote is from a man who believed in original sin, believed that the universe was created instantaneously instead of the biblical account, believed that Scripture should not be taken literally if it contradicts science or human reason, believed that the remission of sin was through sacraments, etc etc.

    So you can understand why I don't consider his advice on soul-winning to be worth the paper it was written on.

    I believe that science and human reason should not be taken literally if they contradict the Holy Bible.

    The best way to win souls is with the truth. The truth is that the Bible is the word of God, and God plainly said He created the world in six days.

    My understanding of the science behind it may not be as adequate as some, and my exposition on it may not be as eloquent as others. But it's truth nonetheless.

    What do you say about the many scientists who ARE qualified to speak on such matters...the men who have made it their life's work to study the things of nature? There are many scientists out there who offer many reasons for the biblical creation that I can barely grasp. Are they still hindering the salvation of those who believe in evolution?

  11. By the way, you never told me what line of evidence supports macroevolution.