Archive for the ‘Creation/Evolution’ Category

Evolution and Space Policy

Posted: November 10, 2010 by joelmartin in Creation/Evolution
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For a long time I have believed that one of the motivating forces behind our space program is to attempt to prove Darwinism by seeing it on other planets. This article confirms it to me.

Based on the geology of Mars’s northern plains, the new study suggests that bodies of water formed as groundwater slowly seeped through cracks in the crust. This process would have made oceans and lakes quickly—within just a few years—but also could have sustained the bodies of water over millennia.

However, even when Mars was supposedly wet, the planet likely didn’t have a very thick atmosphere. Many scientists therefore think that if life as we know it evolved on Mars, the best places to look for it would be where liquid water would have been protected from extreme temperature changes and damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Toucan bird I read a piece on the BBC News website today titled “Space is the final frontier for evolution, study claims” and I thought I’d point something out here. I do not really intend to open up the “evolution vs. intelligent design vs. young earth creationism” debates, I just want to show the blindly circular logic that goes on at times. The study is from a group of PhD students at the University of Bristol in my homeland, England, and they claim that the old survival of the fittest is not the best explanation or catalyst for evolution. Instead, lifeforms need some room to grow.

 Evolution, they say, happens “when animals move into empty areas of living space, not occupied by other animals.” And then they give this awesome example:

“For example, when birds evolved the ability to fly, that opened up a vast range of new possibilities not available to other animals. Suddenly the skies were quite literally the limit, triggering a new evolutionary burst.”

So maybe I’m misreading this, or maybe the author of the article for the BBC is misrepresenting the study, but the following seem to be true of the above statement:

a) Birds could not fly at some point.

b) Birds needed to move into the freedom and space of the skies in order to evolve.

c) Birds evolved to be able to fly into the skies so that they could evolve.

So what were they doing? Using a slingshot for extended periods of the day to spend enough time in the air that their bodies, or their offspring, would catch on and evolve wings so that they could fly up their and evolve some more? Or did they merely use a positive mental attitude and imagine they were up there where the air is rare and will themselves to grow wings?

I know I am biased because I cannot accept evolution as valid for two reasons. Firstly, I believe the Bible says God made distinct kinds of things, and not one kind of thing that happened to morph into other kinds. Secondly, evolution as a theory has no evidential grounds, only posturing and speculation. And really weird, illogical claims in university research studies.

You can find the story here. Dr. Waltke was featured on the BioLogos website with a video affirming evolution as consistent within an inerrant view of  creation. He affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve as historical beings and suggests that evolution was the means of bringing them about.

Following the dismissal of Peter Enns from Westminster, and now the resignation of Bruce Waltke from RTS, it is fairly clear that these confessional institutions have decided that these views are inconsistent with their confessions. I am just wondering where things go from here.

Well, my H&S class begins next week through Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. I got a jump-start today by looking at the first lesson.

Why Did God Create Man?

Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man? Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. –Westminster Larger Catechism

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.–U.S. Declaration of Independence

Session one covers a question that has been asked for a very long time. Why did God create man? In this lesson the importance of the doctrine of humanity is discussed. What you believe about humanity affects your views in so many areas. It significantly affects every other doctrine of theology. It shapes your views on sociology, politics, and the family. It will affect your views on psychology. It will affect how you minister to both believers and non-believers. It will affect how you view yourself.

Wrong Views
In the lesson we discussed some wrong views:

1. God did not create man (naturalism).
2. Man is an eternal extension of who and what God is (pantheism/panentheism).
3. Man is eternal as God is eternal (pantheism/polytheism).
4. God needed help with his new creation
5. God was in need of a companion

Right Views
We then looked at what the Bible said and discovered that the Bible is somewhat clear and somewhat obscure when it comes to this question. Some right reasons we discussed were:

1. Because God is a creative God.
2. So that man would be able to glorify God.
3. So that God would be able to share His glory with others.
4. To accomplish His will unto whatever end.

Conclusion
This was a good place to start for this course. Why did God create man? It seems that if I can understand this question I can come closer to answering the question why did God create me?

The Focus of Christian Faith (Belief)

Posted: March 21, 2010 by Prof. Dan Lioy in Biblical Studies, Creation/Evolution

Over at Biologos, there is a blog titled “The Light of Faith”. The writer talks about the importance of faith in connection with the “orderliness and consistency of God’s world”.

I thought it was important to add a clarifying thought or two in connection with the above, and so I posted the following in the comments section:

>>>Just to clarify, it is important not to make the notion of “faith” a vague, ill-defined, end in itself. Faith always has an object. For believers, it is the triune Creator-King of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

In this regard, Hebrews 11:6 declares that a basic starting point for faith is believing that God exists. And, according to verse 3, a related belief is that He formed the universe by means of His powerful command (regardless of whether, from a modern-day scientific viewpoint, the process of creation involved evolution).

To put an even finer point on the above, Christianity asserts that it was through the divine-human Word, Jesus of Nazareth, that all things were made (John 1:3). This includes everything throughout the cosmos, whether visible or invisible (Col. 1:16). Indeed, He sustains all things by means of His powerful word (Heb. 1:3), including, it would seem, the eons-long process of evolution.<<<

Well, I’m now a community blogger at Endued! As I read it, one of the key aims of Endued is to be a witness for the Lord Jesus to the surrounding culture. Hopefully, my musings will in some way help to advance this aim.

The context for my becoming a community blogger was my recent radio interview with Pastor Rick about my latest book, Axis of Glory. And so I thought it would be appropriate to make material in it the starting point for my initial blogs.

The book itself reflects a continuation of my thoughts connected with prior research in biblical studies I’ve done over the last few years. One area that I explore in Axis of Glory, along with The Search for Ultimate Reality, is the material in the opening chapters of Genesis, specifically chapters 1 and 2. These chapters provide a two-part look at God’s creation (first) of the universe and (second) humankind. It is an understatement to note how important this portion of Scripture is to Christian thought and life.

It just so happens that this same portion of Scripture is of keen interest to those who dialog and write about the relationship between science and Scripture. One prime example of this would be The Biologos Foundation and website (http://biologos.org/), both of which were begun by Dr. Francis Collins (among others). He wrote the best-selling book The Language of God.

It is also worthy of mention that in the upcoming spring term at Marylhurst University, I will be team-teaching an online course dealing with the interfacing of science and Scripture (my third year to do this course). The latter is also the focus of the Biologos blogs titled “Science and the Sacred”.

Recently, at Biologos, Dr. Pete Enns has posted blogs dealing with issues related to the material in the first two chapters of Genesis. He is listed as a Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for the Biologos Foundation. He is also a former tenured professor at Westminster Theology Seminary. His most recent posts have focused on the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) background of the Genesis creation account, the relationship between Adam and Israel, Paul’s view of Adam, etc.

For me, this is where my own research finds a significant area of overlap. I have started to wrestle with some of the ideas being put forward by Dr. Enns and others at the Biologos Foundation. And I think my blog posts at Endued is a place where I could make some ongoing efforts in that direction. This includes my own approach to Genesis 1, the extent to which Adam (and Eve) are to be understood as literal / historical individuals, how Paul (and Jesus) understood the person of Adam, and so on. Each of these (and other areas) are worthy of individual treatment and discussion.

Well, that’s my plan, at least initially. I’m not sure where this endeavor on my part will lead or what sort of response it will get from my fellow community bloggers & readers. This will be especially so, given the exploratory, openended nature of my musings. And, concededly, there undoubtedly will be theological rough edges exposed in the process.

Christians and the Origins of Life

Posted: June 3, 2009 by Scott Kistler in Creation/Evolution

It seems to have been a quieter time recently in the ongoing discussions, debates, and wars of words about the origins of life.  But recently I’ve been wondering how much Christians with different perspectives are in communication with each other.

I wonder this especially about those who defend a literal, young-earth reading of the Genesis creation story: do they run the risk of believing that they are carrying the “Christian” banner on this issue without realizing that not all Christians are behind them?  Although I lean toward a theistic evolution interpretation, I’m not writing this to criticize other positions.  My concern is more about communication between Christians.  Do we as Christians communicate with and understand each other well on this topic?  If not, wouldn’t that be an important dialogue to have with fellow believers?  What do you think?

It would seem to me that the toughest thing for an evangelical holding to the theistic evolutionist position is the risk of undermining the special status of human beings, one of the critical teachings of the Christian faith.  In fact, modernist former bishop John Shelby Spong (not an evangelical) argues that Darwinism destroys the whole idea of the gospel as redeeming us, because there never was perfection.  Evangelical genetics expert Francis Collins and the Catholic Church both embrace theistic evolution and propose answers to this challenge, but it remains a difficult issue.

The risk for a literal interpretation is ignoring the large amounts of evidence for evolution.  I don’t mean that it’s all conclusively proven beyond any doubt, but it is overwhelmingly affirmed by scientists.  Whether or not people are convinced by that fact, it’s important that to acknowledge that the widespread agreement exists.

The risk for intelligent design advocates, as Francis Collins has pointed out in his book The Language of God, is that it is a God in the gaps theory, which fills God in where we don’t understand things.  The problem with this is that is pushes Him out when we do.

Here’s a sampling of three Christians’ views (and the view of one atheist) from a while back.  Collins (theistic evolution) is an evangelical scientist, Behe (intelligent design) is a Catholic scientist, and Mohler (young-earth creationism) is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Another example of Christian diversity on this topic is the last chapter of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, where he discusses evolution as a way to discuss the idea of the “new creation” that God makes possible in Christ.  And Francis Collins quotes Lewis’ The Problem of Pain at length on human evolution in Collins’ book that I mentioned above (see pages 208-209).

It looks like a recent issue of Christianity Today has an article by Alister McGrath on the origins of life that I hope to read soon.