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….

The Natural View and the Spiritual View #1

Saturday, February 8, 2014

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

Herein is offered the first of several (brief) devotional arcs addressing the associated objections and misconceptions concerning the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye Creation/Evolution online debate.

As a Bible teacher and student, and a geologist (Earth scientist) pursuing my Master of Science degree (anticipated later this year), I enjoyed the debate. Raised in a Christian home where Bible creationism was believed, and spending nearly two decades in public schools learning evolutionary theory (over seven years in university), I will here evaluate both views and reduce them to “layman’s terms.”

Unfortunately, many professing Christians vacillate concerning, or completely avoid, the Creation/Evolution issue. Sadly, they are unsure how to answer the “scholars’” anti-Bible theories and “evidence,” or they prefer to avoid the “superstitious Bible-toter” stigma and exemption from the “in-crowd”—mainstream scientific community and its agreeing public.

The Creation/Evolution issue actually predates Christ’s earthly ministry. It has been especially controversial during the last 150 years, since British naturalist Charles Darwin published his book, “The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life” (notice this full title [rarely seen or reported] conveys racial undertones—evolutionary theory was once utilized to teach there are superior human races!).

It is now imperative to define terms.

Evolutionary theory asserts that all life forms (bacteria, plants, animals, humans) descended from one original ancestor (which itself “evolved” when random organic molecules mysteriously combined), and this morphing of one organism into totally different species we see today—in order to adapt to environments and survive predation—involved a four-billion-year-long process of genetic mutations (man is considered “most evolved”).

Bible creationism, embracing the Bible’s creation account (Genesis chapters 1 and 2 especially) as literal, historical narrative, teaches that all life forms (bacteria, plants, animals, humans) are not genetically related, but each “family” of organisms was created perfectly by the Lord Jesus Christ within six literal days in the recent past, but which species then used pre-inserted genetic material to adapt to a fallen world (the curse brought on by man’s sin).

Proceeding onward….