Thinking About Evolution

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by Believer1993, Mar 19, 2012.

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  1. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    You will find kind in the Genesis creation accounts. Example: dog is a kind. Included in the "dog kind" would be:

    great dane
    sheep dog

    God created the dog kind, along with the other land animals and Man, on Day Six. The first dogs contained all the genetic information to eventually have different species like those listed above.[SUP]1[/SUP] This original genetic information would include things like size, shape, hair length, leg length. Over time, there can be changes in genetic information: long haired dogs would not live well in hot places: they could die out and leave only short-haired genetics in the African dog population, for example. Thus, today each of these species of dog have slightly different genetic information (especially because man breeds dogs to have unique characteristics), but they can never change into something that is not a dog. They remain part of the dog kind.

    Does this help?

    [SUP]1[/SUP]If this seems strange, we are still like this today. I have brown hair, but it may be possible that I carry genes that would allow me to father a blonde or red haired child.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  2. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

  3. Bookworm

    Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Robert,

    I’m very interested in your post because you are clearly thinking seriously about this issue, and I think that’s really commendable. I am a young-age creationist, in fact I am employed as a researcher and lecturer with Biblical Creation Ministries here in the UK. Like you I am convinced on biblical and theological grounds that evolution is incorrect. It seems to me that evolutionary theory is incompatible with the biblical teaching of an historical Adam who was the ancestor of the entire human race, of death and bloodshed entering the world as the result of Adam’s sin, and of the flood as a global, epoch-making event that anticipates the new creation. But I also agree with you that the scientific evidence supporting evolution cannot be lightly dismissed. Evolution is a powerful and persuasive idea and what is really impressive is the way that many lines of data from fields of enquiry as diverse as comparative anatomy, molecular biology, genetics, biogeography and palaeontology seem to converge on evolution. Too often, creationists make the mistake of downplaying this evidence or lapsing into knee-jerk responses, and I think that’s a great mistake. We must learn to listen carefully to what evolutionary scientists are saying with the goal of trying to understand not simply to refute. So I think you are on the right track in the way you are approaching the scientific evidence.

    Having said all that, it is also important to recognise that powerful and persuasive ideas like evolution can be wrong. Acknowledging the strength of evolution as an idea – even as an explanatory concept – does not mean accepting that it is true. The history of science is littered with simple, elegant theories that were supported by evidence – but which turned out to be incorrect. One example is preformism, the idea that the embryo was a ‘mini adult’ that simply unfolded during pregnancy. Preformism was supported by the best science of the day and the highly speculative alternative – that the embryo was the result of some mystical ‘organising force’ – was rejected by most people. But preformism was wrong and its opponents were right. Or consider geosynclinal theory, which sought to explain how sedimentary rocks accumulated in subsiding basins and were uplifted and deformed to produce mountain ranges. In 1960, Clark and Stearn’s textbook ‘Geological Evolution of North America’ proclaimed: “The geosynclinal theory is one of the great unifying principles in geology ... Just as the doctrine of evolution is universally accepted among biologists, so also the geosynclinal origin of the major mountain systems is an established principle in geology.” But by the early 1970s, geosynclinal theory was on its way out and being replaced by the new theory of plate tectonics.

    On the subject of evolutionary evidences, two excellent resources that I recommend are Kurt Wise’s ‘Faith, Form, and Time’ (Broadman and Holman, 2002) and Leonard Brand’s ‘Faith, Reason, and Earth History’ (Second Edition, Andrews University Press, 2009). Both authors are young-age creationists with impeccable credentials. Wise has a PhD in invertebrate palaeontology from Harvard where he studied under Stephen Jay Gould. Brand has had a long academic career in biological and palaeontological research. Wise’s book includes a number of ‘breakout boxes’ that examine major evidences for biological evolution and suggest ways in which the data actually favours a creationist interpretation. Brand’s chapter 11 does a magnificent job of setting out the case for evolution (in my opinion better than many evolutionists) but then in chapter 12 he reviews the same data from a creationist perspective. I think both books would really help you think things through. It is also important that we do more than poke holes in evolutionary arguments. One of the greatest challenges for creationists is to develop robust theories that explain the data of biology and geology better than the conventional alternatives. In the long run that will be an even more powerful apologetic. Both Wise and Brand are good on this, and I also cover this ground at the layman’s level in my own book, ‘The New Creationism’ (Evangelical Press, 2009).

    One final thought: You asked why God would create the world in such a way that to many thinking people evolution appears to be correct, even though it is not. Kurt Wise has some things to say on this. He introduces the concept of “intentional ambiguity”, the idea that God has provided just enough evidence to encourage people to come to him, yet not enough for them to get there without faith. After all, it is faith that ultimately pleases God and is itself the gift of God. Something to ponder, perhaps?

    I’m sorry this is such a long post, but I hope you find these thoughts helpful.
  4. FedByRavens

    FedByRavens Puritan Board Freshman

    I haven't read this entire thread, so I'm not sure if anyone has brought up the following points, but every time I hear someone make mention of an organ and refer to it as vestigial it's only a matter of time before I hear the scientific community find the use for that particular organ. Another point that I'm reminded of is that the bible tells us God intentionally made a mature earth that looked old, but in fact wasn't. You've heard the Chicken and the egg " Which came first question?" Genesis teaches that the chicken came first. Did God create Adam as an infant, or an adult? He created the world to appear mature, when in fact it is quite young. Wine isn't something that you can make instantly, yet Jesus made it in seconds. God has a written history of making his creations look older than they really are. The earth may appear to look old, just as Adam appeared to be an adult when he was only a few seconds old.
  5. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    He was told that, "life began on the backs of crystals"!

  6. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

  7. baron

    baron Puritan Board Graduate

    Your right, I have not watched the movie in a few years. Thank you for the correction.
  8. TexanRose

    TexanRose Puritan Board Sophomore

    I do think this is a useful discussion. Thanks for bringing it up. It's always useful, in the context of debate, to actually listen to what your opponent is saying and to refine and clarify your arguments in response.

  9. mainahgal

    mainahgal Puritan Board Freshman

    I've never heard of this guy...I'm excited to check him out.
  10. Reformed Philosopher

    Reformed Philosopher Puritan Board Freshman

    I just read through most of this thread and I'm a little bit confused. Perhaps someone can answer a few questions for me.

    1) I think that most scientists accept the theory of evolution (see this 2009 Pew Research Center Survey) Is that at issue here?
    2) If 97% of scientists believe this, and most of them are probably more educated in this area than we are, why do we not accept their facts?
    3) I have, in the past, heard some Christians claim that scientific support of evolution is a conspiracy. If this is believed, what motive would exist for people to join that conspiracy?
    4) If the facts from the world around us appear support evolution, how seriously should we consider the question?
    5) Apart from the illogical rants of a few (Dawkins, Dennett), it seems like there is nothing in the scientific theory of evolution that endangers the existence of God or provides evidence against his love and grace. But it seems like a number of people fear that admitting any aspect of evolution will be a problem for their faith, why is this?

    Thanks for your consideration. Finally, I've heard Plantinga speak a number of times, and his most recent book focuses on showing that "evolutionism" (the weak philosophy that evolution proves the non-existence of God) is flawed, mainly because evolution and naturalism (the philosophy that everything arises from natural causes and supernatural explanations are discounted) do not fit together. He leaves plenty of room for evolution and theism to go together.
  11. Gord

    Gord Puritan Board Freshman

    A well-known scientist named Herbert Spencer died in 1903. He discovered that all reality, in other words, all that exists in the universe can be contained in five categories...time, force, action, space and matter. Herbert Spencer said everything that exists, exists in one of those categories...time, force, action, space and matter.

    Now think about that. Time, force, action, space and matter. That is a logical sequence. And then with that in your mind, listen to Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning," that's time...
    "God," that's force,
    "created," that's action,
    "the heavens," that's space,
    "and the earth," that's matter.

    Everything that could be said about everything that exists is said in that first verse of the Bible.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  12. Christopher88

    Christopher88 Puritan Board Sophomore

    That is not so much evolution my friend as it is old earth creation.

    Evolution is the theory of human development and spacial development from other creatures or particles.

    Do you happen to be in college? I took a Geology class last semester from a liberal Christian, college courses are great at laying out "their truth" of science, but also read some Reformed Christian taking to answer the questions on evolution, or the age of earth.

    There are two sides to the coin, learn both perspectives if you have to debate them.
  13. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps these older threads may be of use? I know I've been hoping to squeeze a little more discussion out of my thread here (I also hope to unlock the thread I linked to in there sometime in the future to continue that discussion a bit). I'm also curious as to how much we should let the natural world influence our interpretation of Scripture, but that probably merits a thread on its own. As for why Christians would be concerned about this issue (5), those Christians who are against evolution usually are because they believe God's Word teaches otherwise, so at the very least, evolution is an attack on the trustworthiness and truthfulness of God and His Word. Other issues include the various theological problems that emerge, including some kind of death not being a part of the curse of the Fall--and the Fall is usually understood to have been the introduction of all that is evil in the world, even animal death being seen as such--though I've heard and seen some say at this board that animal death not being a consequence of the Fall is not harmful to our understanding of Scripture.

    As for conspiracies, I don't know of anyone who holds to that, outside of the usual sinful human condition which naturally rebels against God's Word, which for the natural man is heightened to trying to find anything to hide from the truth, evolution being an excellent scape-goat given how many people seem to view science with a realist mindset.

    But I speak all this with my limited personal experience and knowledge.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  14. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman

    i've been reading on the topics discussed here for awhile.
    i tried to collect a few ideas on amazon guides. study evolution with a Christian world and life view
    So you'd like to... study evolution with a Christian world and life view study evolution and you're a Christian Biblical conservative
    So you'd like to... study evolution and you're a Christian Biblical conservative

    i haven't keep up with the topic, the guides are from c.2004, the topic is an extraordinary time sink, but maybe these books will help.
    be encouraged, there are lots of Christians concerned about the natural world and desiring to do justice to what we see in God's wonderous creation.
  15. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Benjamin / Reformed Philosopher,

    If, as you have stated in your profile, you subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity of the Reformed churches, why do you so heavily lean toward evolutionary theory, and - it seems to me - take others to task for holding to the Bible's plain and straightforward account of God's creation of the universe, earth, and mankind in six days? Your own avowed confessional standards say just the same, as Articles 9 through 14 of the Belgic Confession abundantly declare.

    Have you not learned that a large number of believers do not make a truth, as the argumentum ad populum fallacy makes clear? When the million+ Israelites believed the unbelieving report of the ten unbelieving spies (and were ready to stone Moses, Caleb, and Joshua for believing God), did this not show that numbers do not necessarily make a thing true?

    We believe the clear statements of our God, even if all the world with its scientists, wise men and philosophers do not. Why on earth would you be taking believers to task for faith in God's clear word in a discussion board such as this? That's the odd thing!
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  16. Reformed Philosopher

    Reformed Philosopher Puritan Board Freshman

    First, I do not want to take anyone to task for what they believe. If it comes across that way, I am sorry. What I do want to challenge is the idea that "we cannot be wrong." I am troubled by the lack of serious consideration given to, what appear to me to be, significant challenges.

    Second, I do subscribe to the Three Forms of Unity, and I haven't found anything in there that conflicts with an interpretation of Genesis that works with evolution. Articles 9 through 14 do make it clear that God created both the world and humanity, which I believe wholeheartedly. What I am curious about is the manner in which he did so.

    I am not trying to claim that evolution is true because most scientists believe it. But scientific consensus usually rests on important evidence, and I do question the wisdom of flat-out rejecting this consensus when it appears to disagree with one's personal belief. Especially for no other reason than because it conflicts with one's personal belief.

    We have statements of God that you believe clearly support your position on this issue. Again, I don't want to take anyone to task for their faith in God, but I do want to challenge the idea that our theology is so good that we can afford to reject all other evidence. I just want a serious reconsideration.
  17. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    If naturalism is true, then the theory of evolution is the best that naturalism has to explain life on earth, even although evolution isn't a good explanation at all.
  18. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Benjamin, you make huge assumptions when you opine that we have not given serious consideration to the “significant challenges” of the evolutionists.

    It seems to me, Benjamin, that the “important evidence” you posit “scientific consensus” as resting upon, and your assumption that we reject this evidence merely because it conflicts with our personal beliefs, have led you to a misunderstanding. Some of us have studied these things long and hard, and have concluded that the six-day-creation-of-all-things-by-God model of origins are far more in accord with the geologic, paleontologic, biologic, and cosmologic data than the Big Bang, the Old Earth, and the Theistic Evolutionary models.

    Some of us have weighed the so-called “scientific consensus” and found it wanting.

    Your confessional standards say that God created Adam and Eve from the dust of the earth, and that in Adam’s disobedience and sin he brought ruin upon all of his posterity – all of humankind. In our New Testament it is written – referring to this very sin of Adam – “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

    If death did not come into the world before the sin and fall of Adam, how can you posit theories which assert that death indeed came into the world millions of years before humans or an Adam came on the scene? Theories which say that the Garden of Eden was built on a graveyard of bones? And you say that you hold to your confession?

    I must rejoin that our theology is so good that we can afford to reject any supposed evidence which blatantly contradicts the clear statements of Scripture. It is the theology of the believing church up through the ages, and it is based upon the word of God. Do we err believing God rather than men? Is God’s word not as reliable as the suppositions of men to you? Would you disregard the Scripture just a little to make it fit those suppositions?

    There is far too much trying to harmonize what we know by faith with what we know by sight. By sight we see many supposed evidences that contradict what we know by faith. Abraham knew full well that both he and Sarah were too old to have children, but he believed God could do it despite the evidences of his eyes and worldly knowledge. Hebrews 11 is a whole chapter lauding people who trusted God over evidences. The Spirit of God says “we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7), and will you try to convince us to consider the evidences of scientists (the great majority of whom disdain and wickedly reject the idea of a sovereign creator God) who walk in spiritual and intellectual darkness? Have you never heard that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor 1:20ff).

    It sure sounds to me like you’re chiding us for not giving you and the “scientific consensus” the “serious reconsideration” you want from us!

    Some of us have been seriously considering these things for decades – even for decades before you were born, young man! – and we continue to keep abreast of developments in science, but these things do not move us from our faith in God’s word, and our careful understanding of it. On pain of death we will not depart from the word of truth.
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