Greetings, Beloved Brothers in Christ!

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pgwolv

Puritan Board Freshman
Upon looking at the forums today, I realise that I have not introduced myself before posting two threads. Apologies!

I'm in my early thirties, married for six years, not yet blessed with children (though always blessed), and I have a very wide range of interests: Theology, Natural Sciences, Geography, and History top the list.

I am an Afrikaans South African, living in a country that politicians seem to want to impoverish and tear apart, and is sometimes difficult to find what role I should be playing as part of a minority group that oppressed the majority group up to the time when I was born. I am optimistic, in the Lord, and saddened by those who aim to cause strife, as my country has a lot of potential.

I grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church, was baptised as an infant, was catechised (in a way, though not as I believe one should be), and confessed my faith in a ritualistic way with the others in my age group, at 17. I grew up in a godly home and am blessed to still have my parents in this world. As many who grew up in a godly home, I don't have a eureka moment of when I was finally reborn, but it happened somewhere around the time I started attending a Reformed Baptist Church, a number of years before my wife and I got married.

I was always very questioning and I studied Genetics up to the MSc level (in South Africa, it is typically three years Bachelor degree, one year Honours degree, then Masters degree, then PhD, the latter which does not seem I am likely to do). Thus I tried to build my worldview and theology around Theistic Evolution. But my foundations were shaky in general; I knew I believed God's Word, but I did not know what to interpret as literal and what to interpret as figurative, etc. Through providence, my wife and I, before getting married, landed in the Reformed Baptist Church, and God showed me that there are many thinking people who are alive today and who came before me who seriously grappled with the Scriptures, and I gained a great appreciation of and love for the Confessions. I even put aside my annoyance at the time with the anti-evolutionist sentiment that was a great theme at the very point we joined them, which just goes to show that it was God's work, not my own willingness, that preserved me.

We were adherents, not official members, for years, as we did not undertake Credobaptism. With time, my wife and I both became convicted that we would honor what we perceived to be the purpose of the Baptism if we were baptised in that way, and we had become so fond of that community of believers that we wanted to be even more involved; hence, we were baptised, and I now serve as a deacon.

Our church is blessed with a bookshop filled with reformed books on the same premises, with low prices that makes it serve as a ministry rather than a for-profit business. People from all over come to buy books here, and being introduced to the Reformers and Puritans has greatly enriched my understanding and commitment to God's Word.

You may be wondering what happened to my evolutionist views. At this very moment, it is something I am making more of a study on. I have read many posts on here, but not yet all. My priority is to believe God's Word. I will probably engage some of you in here to help me in this regard. I think my main question is the following: Is it absolutely incoherent to reformed theology to believe that, in some way, God did use a long process of evolution to create man? I always tried to rationalise it, but I really want to inspect this belief of mine from a theological perspective: what are the implications of holding such a belief, etc. If become convinced that it truly is unbiblical, I will scrap that view and hold fast to the Bible. In recent years I have more or less held to an "I don't know, it could be either way" approach, and haven't thought about it much, but it has cropped up into my consciousness again recently, and it may be that it is God's will to sort out this dissonance in me soon.

My wife and I are happily married and share our reformed faith, praise be to God. Our differing personalities also helps us to keep each other on track; I tend to let thoughts take a hold of me, and she tends to let emotions take a hold of her, but God has brought us together, in a way that really strengthens us both.

I have deep respect for the voices of both reason and faith on here, and have lurked for a number of years before deciding to officially register on the Board. Thank you for being to God's service in giving advice, sharing experiences, reproving, and loving one another. How wonderful it is that the Internet, to some a bastion of worldliness, can be used in this way.

Please feel free to ask any questions about me; it is always difficult to know how to introduce oneself in a way that covers all the necessary things without rambling on for days.

God bless
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Warm greetings, PG.

I have warm memories of travelling around South Africa in 2007. My brother was living in East London at the time, and he got married in a small town near Capetown. I brought a nice Reformed study Bible at a Christian bookshop in Durban.

We flew into Johannesburg with the intention of travelling on to the Kruger national park. We took the wrong motorway and travelled on towards your city - Pretoria!

I was encouraged to hear of a good Reformed Bookshop in your church. People were telling me when I was in South Africa of a number of good Reformed bookshops around your country. It is those truths we want to spread to the common people. As you note with the moral degradation in your country, as in mine, we need revival in our churches of solid Reformed teaching.

In this regard I trust you will be edified by the Reformed theology and piety on the Puritan Board.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I realise that I have not introduced myself before posting two threads.
I need to get around to writing an introductiory post sometime.

We had another recent member from RSA. I can't recall his username at the moment.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
Upon looking at the forums today, I realise that I have not introduced myself before posting two threads. Apologies!

I'm in my early thirties, married for six years, not yet blessed with children (though always blessed), and I have a very wide range of interests: Theology, Natural Sciences, Geography, and History top the list.

I am an Afrikaans South African, living in a country that politicians seem to want to impoverish and tear apart, and is sometimes difficult to find what role I should be playing as part of a minority group that oppressed the majority group up to the time when I was born. I am optimistic, in the Lord, and saddened by those who aim to cause strife, as my country has a lot of potential.

I grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church, was baptised as an infant, was catechised (in a way, though not as I believe one should be), and confessed my faith in a ritualistic way with the others in my age group, at 17. I grew up in a godly home and am blessed to still have my parents in this world. As many who grew up in a godly home, I don't have a eureka moment of when I was finally reborn, but it happened somewhere around the time I started attending a Reformed Baptist Church, a number of years before my wife and I got married.

I was always very questioning and I studied Genetics up to the MSc level (in South Africa, it is typically three years Bachelor degree, one year Honours degree, then Masters degree, then PhD, the latter which does not seem I am likely to do). Thus I tried to build my worldview and theology around Theistic Evolution. But my foundations were shaky in general; I knew I believed God's Word, but I did not know what to interpret as literal and what to interpret as figurative, etc. Through providence, my wife and I, before getting married, landed in the Reformed Baptist Church, and God showed me that there are many thinking people who are alive today and who came before me who seriously grappled with the Scriptures, and I gained a great appreciation of and love for the Confessions. I even put aside my annoyance at the time with the anti-evolutionist sentiment that was a great theme at the very point we joined them, which just goes to show that it was God's work, not my own willingness, that preserved me.

We were adherents, not official members, for years, as we did not undertake Credobaptism. With time, my wife and I both became convicted that we would honor what we perceived to be the purpose of the Baptism if we were baptised in that way, and we had become so fond of that community of believers that we wanted to be even more involved; hence, we were baptised, and I now serve as a deacon.

Our church is blessed with a bookshop filled with reformed books on the same premises, with low prices that makes it serve as a ministry rather than a for-profit business. People from all over come to buy books here, and being introduced to the Reformers and Puritans has greatly enriched my understanding and commitment to God's Word.

You may be wondering what happened to my evolutionist views. At this very moment, it is something I am making more of a study on. I have read many posts on here, but not yet all. My priority is to believe God's Word. I will probably engage some of you in here to help me in this regard. I think my main question is the following: Is it absolutely incoherent to reformed theology to believe that, in some way, God did use a long process of evolution to create man? I always tried to rationalise it, but I really want to inspect this belief of mine from a theological perspective: what are the implications of holding such a belief, etc. If become convinced that it truly is unbiblical, I will scrap that view and hold fast to the Bible. In recent years I have more or less held to an "I don't know, it could be either way" approach, and haven't thought about it much, but it has cropped up into my consciousness again recently, and it may be that it is God's will to sort out this dissonance in me soon.

My wife and I are happily married and share our reformed faith, praise be to God. Our differing personalities also helps us to keep each other on track; I tend to let thoughts take a hold of me, and she tends to let emotions take a hold of her, but God has brought us together, in a way that really strengthens us both.

I have deep respect for the voices of both reason and faith on here, and have lurked for a number of years before deciding to officially register on the Board. Thank you for being to God's service in giving advice, sharing experiences, reproving, and loving one another. How wonderful it is that the Internet, to some a bastion of worldliness, can be used in this way.

Please feel free to ask any questions about me; it is always difficult to know how to introduce oneself in a way that covers all the necessary things without rambling on for days.

God bless
Greetings PG! (thanks also for that clarification--I'm not sure why it is that why with me, but I would have wondered!).

I have a science background as well--am a pharmacist. I can't help but recognize the dissoance between the "reasoning" of what worldly science has shown us of God's world and what his word says occurred. What helps me is this: I (and I imagine just about everyone on here) regards God's word as the absolute truth. We however, inquisitive by nature and endeavoring to determine the how and why of things, want to know all the details from start to present. Yet, God's word will not give us this information. He did not reveal himself in order to satisfy our curiosity about him and how he has made the world and everything in it. He mercifully condescended to reveal so much of himself so that we know we are given the free gift of a Saviour so that we can be free from an existence of bondage and misery and dwell at peace with our Creator, the only kind of existence that will give us lasting peace and true happiness.

So that does leave us with a ton of questions and most of those will not be able to be answered at this time. I have a very strong belief that we live in an age where the verses in 2Thes are being played out very clearly: God will send them delusions so that those who do not love the truth will believe a lie. Our sinful nature seeks to divest itself in any way of the idea that there is a God, a Creator and ruler of all who will hold man accountable for what he has done here on this earth. Science is the perfect tool of Satan that will accomplish this. That is not to say that science is inherently evil as it is a precious gift from our Heavenly Father; however, as all good gifts from his hand man finds way to abuse them.

So, to look at your question more directly about evolution and the reformed faith. I don't believe there is anything anti-biblical about macro-evolution (changes in species has been observed by science; but clear-cut species do not evolve somehow into an entirely different species, like the idea of man evolving from a tadpole or something. Now I've never studied this idea, but just looking at it from a lay person's view it just seems absurd. If that were what was going on, there would all different kinds of semi-species in varying degrees of evolution all over the place. Yet, we have clear-cut species. But then, like I said, I never looked into it so I very well may be missing some necessary information to understand this). However it is clear that God created man as distinct from other animate creatures. I believe it is unbiblical to state that man is another animal as he is not. He is special creation from God. He does share in many of similar characteristics and physiological properties of other animals, but God made man in his image and he did not make any animals in his image and that is the difference.

Yet we are aware that God's word states that he created man from the dust and there he was--apparently a full-grown man and a full-grown woman when before there was nothing living. Science would say that is a "fairy tale", that could not possibly happen. Of course, the non-believer will always think he knows better than God. So what do we do with this then? We who believe and also have a scientific background, I have to confess--at least it is this way with me--feel as though we're cutting off part of our intellect when we say that's what God stated so that's how it was, no matter what science (so-called) tells us. So we try to figure out ways in which both could be true or what God could have left out, but it would still have to match up in the big picture since God is not a liar and he would not give us false, fairy-tale like information.

Of course there really are no answers as I'm sure you are aware. For other aspects of the creation story and how it does not match up with scientific discoveries about the world (such as how apparently in the Bible the age of the earth is about what like six thousand years or something?)--God could have created the world to look very old, but I think some would want to say that God then is being deceptive. I'm not sure how I look at that idea. I guess that's the only idea I have of that controversy, but it is very early in the am. Another thing to consider though is that God does not give a time-frame from when he created our first parents and when they were cast from the garden. It does seem to be a very short and quick time, but that is us doing that interpretation. There is no timing given in his word. So that may be an avenue by which we can speculate on what may have happened during this time. Then again when I go down this route and I think, well maybe they had other children before Cain and Abel, then I think well then how would these children have been cursed from Adam (as in since Adam was cursed then all who would come from him would also be cursed); I suppose he could have cursed the children in the same way as he did Adam, but for some reason there just seems a dissonance to this idea.

Well, there is so much to speculate on and we can come up with endless ideas of what may have happened. I actually find it enjoyable to do this, as long as we know we must stick to what God's word actually says and not rely on our theories and make those the beliefs we hold to (I'm sure we would not do this in a cognizant way, but it is worth guarding against). Looking forward to talking with you on here!
 

pgwolv

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings PG! (thanks also for that clarification--I'm not sure why it is that why with me, but I would have wondered!).
:lol:
I have a science background as well--am a pharmacist. I can't help but recognize the dissoance between the "reasoning" of what worldly science has shown us of God's world and what his word says occurred. What helps me is this: I (and I imagine just about everyone on here) regards God's word as the absolute truth. We however, inquisitive by nature and endeavoring to determine the how and why of things, want to know all the details from start to present. Yet, God's word will not give us this information. He did not reveal himself in order to satisfy our curiosity about him and how he has made the world and everything in it. He mercifully condescended to reveal so much of himself so that we know we are given the free gift of a Saviour so that we can be free from an existence of bondage and misery and dwell at peace with our Creator, the only kind of existence that will give us lasting peace and true happiness.
:amen:
So that does leave us with a ton of questions and most of those will not be able to be answered at this time. I have a very strong belief that we live in an age where the verses in 2Thes are being played out very clearly: God will send them delusions so that those who do not love the truth will believe a lie. Our sinful nature seeks to divest itself in any way of the idea that there is a God, a Creator and ruler of all who will hold man accountable for what he has done here on this earth. Science is the perfect tool of Satan that will accomplish this. That is not to say that science is inherently evil as it is a precious gift from our Heavenly Father; however, as all good gifts from his hand man finds way to abuse them.

So, to look at your question more directly about evolution and the reformed faith. I don't believe there is anything anti-biblical about macro-evolution (changes in species has been observed by science; but clear-cut species do not evolve somehow into an entirely different species, like the idea of man evolving from a tadpole or something. Now I've never studied this idea, but just looking at it from a lay person's view it just seems absurd. If that were what was going on, there would all different kinds of semi-species in varying degrees of evolution all over the place. Yet, we have clear-cut species. But then, like I said, I never looked into it so I very well may be missing some necessary information to understand this). However it is clear that God created man as distinct from other animate creatures. I believe it is unbiblical to state that man is another animal as he is not. He is special creation from God. He does share in many of similar characteristics and physiological properties of other animals, but God made man in his image and he did not make any animals in his image and that is the difference.
As I said, I am busy reassessing my views. As for man not being an animal, if I were to hold to the evolutionary view, I would say that God made us in His image by giving us a spirit, which animals do not have. Our physiological properties are like those of animals, yet God commands us to not live in the flesh, but in the spirit. I am not saying this is the absolute meaning, but it is how I explained it myself in times past.
Yet we are aware that God's word states that he created man from the dust and there he was--apparently a full-grown man and a full-grown woman when before there was nothing living. Science would say that is a "fairy tale", that could not possibly happen. Of course, the non-believer will always think he knows better than God. So what do we do with this then? We who believe and also have a scientific background, I have to confess--at least it is this way with me--feel as though we're cutting off part of our intellect when we say that's what God stated so that's how it was, no matter what science (so-called) tells us. So we try to figure out ways in which both could be true or what God could have left out, but it would still have to match up in the big picture since God is not a liar and he would not give us false, fairy-tale like information.
Absolutely, I believe God made man, and made him unique. The question of the details are a different matter. I want to hold to consistently reformed theology, and if it is unreformed to believe that God used evolution to create man, then I will drop it regardless of what other scientists may believe. It is about this matter that I will solicit comments on this board sometime in the future, God willing.
Of course there really are no answers as I'm sure you are aware. For other aspects of the creation story and how it does not match up with scientific discoveries about the world (such as how apparently in the Bible the age of the earth is about what like six thousand years or something?)--God could have created the world to look very old, but I think some would want to say that God then is being deceptive. I'm not sure how I look at that idea. I guess that's the only idea I have of that controversy, but it is very early in the am. Another thing to consider though is that God does not give a time-frame from when he created our first parents and when they were cast from the garden. It does seem to be a very short and quick time, but that is us doing that interpretation. There is no timing given in his word. So that may be an avenue by which we can speculate on what may have happened during this time. Then again when I go down this route and I think, well maybe they had other children before Cain and Abel, then I think well then how would these children have been cursed from Adam (as in since Adam was cursed then all who would come from him would also be cursed); I suppose he could have cursed the children in the same way as he did Adam, but for some reason there just seems a dissonance to this idea.
Exactly; I believe that we are all under the curse of Adam. In fact, all creation is under the curse of sin. It is this thought that especially made me reflect on my earlier beliefs around the possible method of creation. If there really is no way to reconcile all of creation being under the curse of sin even before Adam was created, I will concede that Adam was not made via evolution.
Well, there is so much to speculate on and we can come up with endless ideas of what may have happened. I actually find it enjoyable to do this, as long as we know we must stick to what God's word actually says and not rely on our theories and make those the beliefs we hold to (I'm sure we would not do this in a cognizant way, but it is worth guarding against). Looking forward to talking with you on here!
Yes, God's Word is my standard; I just am not proficient enough in His Word yet, in this case. Thank you for your warm welcome!
 
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