The Natural View and the Spiritual View #10

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

Just where did all that water come from to cover the globe in Noah’s day? Notice Genesis 7:11: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” While much of the scientific community dismisses the Bible’s human authors as “writing from a limited point-of-view due to their ignorance,” Moses seemed to be far more familiar with Earth science than even they realize.

You might be surprised, as I was, to learn some non-Christian scientists’ view of Genesis 7:11. Many years ago, in my undergraduate years in geologic training, I found a pamphlet about groundwater (water that exists underground). Although it was written by the United States Geological Survey (not a Creationist organization at all!), it quoted that Bible verse in its opening words (evidently, these scientists thought Moses was not dumb like Bible skeptics commonly portray him!). Not only was there water coming down from above (from the Lord Jesus Christ in the third heaven), but the Flood also involved water coming up from beneath.

The Bible says that Earth’s crust—especially its oceanic crust—was “broken up,” meaning aquifers, geysers, hot springs, and deep-sea vents were activated worldwide. Molten rock from Earth’s interior gushed out, which caused volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, rising sea temperatures, and tsunamis (giant sea waves).

In addition to “all of the fountains of the great deep” being rent, the “windows of heaven were opened.” That is, for 40 days, a large water mass from God in heaven slammed Earth. As that water passed through outer space, it surely caused great atmospheric and astronomical disturbances, and pummeled Earth with asteroids and meteorites (rock masses from space), forming craters on Earth we still observe and study worldwide.

Let us now discuss what the Great Flood meant for Earth’s biosphere….

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #9

Monday, February 17, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

THE BIBLE AND AN OLD EARTH. “No longer could geologists compress all of Earth history into the short span suggested by the Old Testament of the Bible” (my college-level historical geology textbook, The Earth Through Time, by Levin, 8th edition, 2006, page 17). (Bold emphasis mine.) Dr. Harold Levin—an Evolutionist geology professor, not a Creationist—admits the Old Testament does not support an old earth. (So, why do some professing Christians assert Scripture teaches an old earth?)

WHY AN OLD EARTH IS NECESSARY. Do you remember my previous comments about why scientists believe in an old earth? Now, we allow them to affirm what we discussed earlier: “The hypothesis of Earth’s immense antiquity also was supported by Darwin and other biologists, who saw the need for hundreds of millions of years to accomplish the organic evolution apparent in the fossil record” (The Earth Through Time, page 33). (Bold emphasis mine.) Again, “deep time” is critical to biological evolutionary theory!

PLATE TECTONICS. Eschewing great detail, suffice it to say that Earth’s crust (outward surface on which we live) is divided into two-dozen plates, “rafts” that float on a sea of circulating molten rock (Earth’s mantle). These plates split apart to open ocean basins (divergent), collide to build mountains (convergent), or the plates slide past one another (transform faults)—these plates’ motions generate earthquakes and tsunamis, and are related to volcanic eruptions. Today, these plates move at most 4 inches (10 centimeters) per year. Thus, thousands-of-miles-wide ocean basins are assumed to have formed over tens of millions of years, and miles-high mountain ranges are assumed to have taken millions of years to rise.

THE GREAT FLOOD AND ACCELERATED PLATE TECTONICS. It is my personal belief as a geologist that plate movement rates were significantly accelerated during the Great Flood, rates that we do not observe today. Genesis 7:11 describes Earth’s plates rending (breaking) in order to release subsurface water (groundwater) that became floodwaters.

Let us continue discussing the Great Deluge….

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #8

Sunday, February 16, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

THE ORIGIN OF LIFE. “Obviously we cannot take a time machine back 4 billion years and determine with certainty how these events occurred. Instead, scientists study the existence of modern life, as well as geological processes and fossils, and speculate about the conditions that existed on primitive Earth. This approach has led researchers to a variety of hypotheses [ideas] regarding the origin of life, none of which can be firmly verified. Nevertheless, certain possibilities are becoming more plausible [likely] and perhaps even compelling” (My college-level textbook, Biology, Brooker et al., 2008, page 458). (Bold emphasis mine.)

Evolutionists openly admit that they do not know how life began on earth: none of their various hypotheses are definite. They concede that they are “speculating,” so why do they reject the Creationist’s Bible as “speculative?” Frankly, they know that if the Bible’s “speculation” is correct about the origin of life, it just may also be right about the origin of DEATH and their need for a Saviour to rescue them from their sins!

COMMON ANCESTRY. “Humans Evolved from Ancestral Primates. Although humans are closely related to chimpanzees and gorillas, they did not evolve directly from them. Rather, all hominoid species shared a common ancestor” (Biology, page 738). Right from their own literature, we learn that gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans all share one common ancestor!

Scripture says God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The Bible says God used dirt, not preexisting primates, to form the first man, and man alone received from God the “breath of life!” This is one of many blatant contradictions between evolutionary theory and Scripture. Now we see why people want to re-interpret Genesis chapters 1 and 2 as figurative rather than literal.

More will be said about this later, but for now, we move on to related topics….

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #7

Saturday, February 15, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

As a scientist (geologist, Earth scientist) and a Bible student and teacher, I have discovered in conversation and literature that very few professing Christians ever grasp the overall scope of the Creation/Evolution matter—they neither fully understand the Bible’s creation account nor man’s evolutionary theory.

For instance, while I have never personally heard the first two chapters of Genesis taught in science class in any public school I have attended, I have heard many professing Christians say “God used evolution” and “Scripture and evolutionary theory are compatible.” Or, consider what one Roman Catholic priest told me when I asked him to clarify paragraph 390 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “That is right, Genesis chapter 3 is not literal but figurative [allegorical/symbolic].” (One can only wonder if he was deliberately attempting to blend Scripture and evolutionary theory.)

The aforementioned statements from professing Christians demonstrate the ignorance we hope these studies are addressing and suppressing. Saints, my desire—yea, God’s desire—is for you to have a firm grasp of other views before you reject them. While space limits us, our goal here is to delineate the major tenets of evolutionary theory and compare them with the Bible. If someone were to ask you why you reject evolutionary theory, “the Bible does not teach it” is too shallow and insufficient a reply: you must be armed with specific examples (facts!).

When our Apostle Paul confronted pagan Greek philosophers in Athens, he reminded them, “For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). Paul demonstrated he was familiar with the poetry/writings/speeches his critics esteemed. Likewise, we too must be familiar—not necessarily experts—with evolutionary literature to reach them. We need their quotes and we need God’s Word; oftentimes, one is lacking in such a discussion.

Let us proceed to deeper discussions….

God is Love

Friday, February 14, 2014

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #6

Thursday, February 13, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

Today’s Scripture describes “lovers of their own selves,… boasters, proud, blasphemers,… unthankful, despisers of those that are good,… highminded [inflated with pride], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (verses 1-4). These are lost people, those who “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away” (verse 5). Although they appear good (especially in “religious” contexts), they deny Paul’s epistles, “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3). The Bible says they “creep into houses” and captivate and mislead “silly women laden with sins” (2 Timothy 3:6).

Evolutionary theory has roots in philosophy (pagan religion!), and when people attempt to harmonize Scripture with it, it looks like a sound belief system. However, it just feeds man’s ego because he thinks he is a “random accident of nature,” who will never face accountability for his sins. Whether denominationalist or evolutionist, he has spent many years in educational institutions learning the world’s curriculum, but he is never able to comprehend simple verses in an English Bible and come to understand God’s truth (today’s Scripture).

When dealing with any person who has an anti-Bible attitude, whether denominationalist or evolutionist, the wise Christian soldier should always consider Proverbs 26:4,5: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” God is a God of freedom: never are we to take away anyone’s free will. Sometimes, we are to answer our critics; other times, we should not waste our breath. While most do not want to know God’s truth, let us be mindful of those few who are seeking it. May we be as polite and patient as possible when the conversation is conducive to learning (worthwhile questions), and may we respectfully withdraw when intelligent discussions are impossible (name-calling, sarcasm, tantrums, et cetera).

NOTE: For our readers’ sakes, we will briefly suspend this devotionals arc. More advanced Creation/Evolution studies will follow soon. Stay tuned!

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #5

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

Concerning the Creation/Evolution issue, but also regarding any Bible verses that people do not like, the question of Bible translation arises. “How can we trust the Bible? It has been translated and copied many, many times. You expect me to believe your interpretation of that ancient text?” We are more than eager to reply.

If anyone, anywhere, anytime has an issue with an English Bible, we assume they must rather appreciate Bible texts written in the original languages, and that they have already translated and “interpreted” them. (Note, “I do not know Greek or Hebrew” is not a valid counterargument, since their earlier objection appeared to be a presumption that they knew more about the Bible’s original languages than the Christian offering English Bible verses!).

We scientists share our ideas around the world constantly, and since we communicate and report in our respective languages, translation is vital to the scientific community. We do not reject translated scientific journals and experiments; we should not reject a translated Bible either. Translation is not the hang-up; skeptics dislike the text being translated (the Bible).

The English Bible (same in Hebrew and Greek) contains many scientific facts: indeed air has mass, indeed our universe is expanding, indeed washing our bodies under plenty of running water is key to personal hygiene, indeed there is a global fossil record (explanation), indeed earth is spherical not flat, indeed humans had one original ancestor (explanation), indeed the oceans have currents, indeed the continents were one supercontinent (explanation), indeed people speak various languages (explanation), and so on. (For an “ancient text copied and translated many, many times,” it has some astonishing insight!)

All scientists would agree these verses have been translated correctly, would they not? Again, translation is not the problem; it is the text being translated (the Bible). They especially dislike Genesis, not because it is ancient or translated, but because it testifies against their hypotheses and theories.

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #4

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

DETERMINING THE AGE OF THE EARTH. How old is earth? Does the Bible lead us to conclude that the earth is very young, as some claim? Or, does the Bible support a very old earth, as some claim? Does it really matter whether we believe in a young earth or an old earth? As a geologist, I remind you why most scientists believe that the earth is very ancient (currently estimated to be 4.55 billion years old).

Firstly, billions of years are critical to biological evolutionary theory. If the earth were young (thousands of years old), not enough time would have elapsed to produce all the genetic mutations to generate present-day species. Without “deep time” (that is, if earth is young), organic evolutionary theory falls apart!

Secondly, billions of years are critical to geological evolutionary theory. If the earth were young (thousands of years old), not enough time would have elapsed to produce the present-day configuration of continents and ocean basins. Without “deep time” (that is, if earth is young), geological evolutionary theory falls apart, too!

Unfortunately, about two centuries ago, church leaders and theologians began “harmonizing” Scripture with modern scientific thought, lest they be “unscholarly, simple-minded” Bible believers. Perhaps there were huge gaps of time between the “days” of the creation week in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, just not recorded in Scripture (gap theory). Maybe each “day” of the creation “week” was actually a geologic age (large expanse of time), not a literal 24-hour day as previously taught in churches (day-age theory). What if the Bible’s creation “week” was actually millions or billions of years long? What if God used evolution in the creation week (theistic evolution/progressive creationism)? In other words, “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1).

More will be said about this later. For now, suffice it to say that modern scientific thought does require the earth to be old and the Bible does not require it to be old.

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #3

Monday, February 10, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

GREAT DELUGE OF NOAH’S DAY. The Great Flood is probably the most ridiculed idea in the Creation/Evolution debate. Skeptics ask, How could a few “primitive” (uneducated?) men build a 450-foot-long boat that could actually float for a whole year on a global sea? How could all of today’s species fit into that ark and be fed by eight people? What scientific proof is there of a global flood? How could the natural laws we see operating today be overridden or suspended to produce such an event?

Although more will be said later, for now, we offer the following brief replies:

  • Throughout various ancient cultures worldwide, there exists the basic story of a man building a large boat in anticipation of a global flood. These peoples lived thousands of miles apart, so how did they all adopt this strikingly similar narrative?
  • Ancient cultures and languages can be very complex, so “primitive” Noah was not stupid like Bible scoffers suggest.
  • Animal hibernation probably played a major role in limiting volumes of food and dung on the ark.
  • Apparently, only major animal species boarded the ark (today’s subspecies were represented genetically, not physically, on the ark).
  • Some (compromisingly) suggest the Bible teaches a regional, rather than global, flood. Ridiculous! A single riverbank overflow should have alerted Noah to, not build a boat, but migrate out of the valley and seek higher ground! (Surely, God did not make Noah waste 120 years of his life.)
  • As a geologist (Earth scientist), some years ago, I began developing my own hypothesis regarding the “scientific [geologic] proof” of the Great Flood. I have never published it or shared it with anyone, but I do hope to one day (I am still forming the underlying concepts).
  • Above all, never forget: We geologists admit that, in history, the rates of the operation of natural laws have periodically increased from “normal”/current rates (the Great Flood was not the only event in history to “upset” natural laws)!

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #2

Sunday, February 9, 2014

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV).

We continue addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate….

ORGANIC EVOLUTION VIA NATURAL SELECTION. Evolutionists disagree about life’s origin on earth. The many hypotheses offered—extraterrestrials, meteorites, lightning/atmospheric phenomena, and deep-sea vents are popular—are not infallible (thus, they remain “hypotheses,” ideas subject to change).

Furthermore, every organism’s genome is its entire genetic “blueprint” complete with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA is a language that governs how the organism (in embryonic stage) will be organized (its physical traits) and how it will develop and function (its growth rate, role in nature, et cetera).

Charles Darwin argued that when an environment grows hostile toward an organism (predation, food shortage, et cetera), mutations (changes in its genetic material) equip the organism to adapt to its surroundings, survive, and pass those new traits to its offspring. Nature selects against organisms that fail to adapt to their environments, and thus, they die, but nature selects for the individuals that adapt, so they survive and reproduce (“natural selection”). Just how mindless, random nature “selects” these advantageous traits before the organism/species dies out [and then it cannot “evolve”] is a “mystery” to Evolutionists [they admit it], since only intelligence [such as God] has a capacity to make such critical selections.

Over many millions of years, innumerable random mutations allegedly generated significant genetic changes: a bacterium evolved into the first fish, a fish evolved into the first amphibian, a dinosaur evolved into the first bird, a great ape evolved into the first human, et cetera. Mutations are actually rarely beneficial, and my physician re-affirmed to me that genetic boundaries cannot be crossed as evolutionary theory teaches (all species could not have descended from one ancestor).

Rather than embracing random genetic mutations and universal common ancestry as origin of the species, the Bible creationist understands that the Creator is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, at creation, crafted into the perfect original organisms of their “kind” (“family”) all pertinent genetic material. Once man’s fall and the curse of sin, the Lord “switched on” that information to ensure survival.

Proceeding onward….