Theistic Evolution reviewed

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    HELEN

    A re-run on some of this. I have received a couple of emails recently from folk here on this board about theistic evolution. One simply said in passing that this was what he had been taught and he had never questioned it, and the other asking me more directly why it was wrong.

    Very briefly, here is a response:

    1. Theistic evolution means there was death before sin.

    2. Theistic evolution means God considered this death and the involved predation and bloodshed to be ‘very good.’

    3. Theistic evolution means that our bodies were not created directly by God as Genesis tells us, but were co-opted from animals and just changed a little for us.

    4. Theistic evolution means that man is limiting God to the beginning of creation only and demands that He set it all up to run on its own after that. That is not the message of Genesis.

    5. Theistic evolution favors man’s word over God’s word, even when the massive changes evolution requires are biologically impossible.

    6. Theistic evolution denies that life forms were created by initial populations referred to as ‘kinds’ in the first chapter of Genesis.

    7. Theistic evolution denies the reality of evening and morning as markers in Genesis 1 for 24-hour days by claiming that these days were, in reality, ‘eras.’

    Evolution itself ‘stands’ on four legs: time, chance, mutations, and natural selection.

    Theistic evolution removes only chance, and claims God directed the mutations and natural selection through time.

    Time: it is said that it took about 1 billion years for the first unicellular organism to become a multicellular organism with differentiated cells. The generation time for unicellular organisms (time from origin of a cell to it’s splitting or budding to produce a daughter cell) is usually no more than an hour. E.coli only needs 20 minutes. One billion years’ worth of hours means it would require far more time than evolution has to get from a fish to a man, for instance, when we are dealing with generation times of months to years. Evolution, even playing by its own rules, does not have a fraction of the time it would need for the diversification of life here on earth.

    Mutations: mutations are always variations in something that already works. Thus, most mutations which are expressed are negative, harming the organism. Because there is not a one-to-one gene-to-trait relationship there is another problem that arises. Most traits are the result of interactions among genes and their timing of expression. Thus, like a finely made watch, one part can be taken out with devastating effects on the works. However, also like a finely made watch, one cannot simply add a spring or gear here or there and expect it to continue running, let alone run more efficiently. So here is the problem: if you add, at random, more amino acids, or even another full protein (and there is no known way for a cell to manufacture a brand new protein), or even something as tiny as a few more ‘rungs’ in the DNA someplace, you have interrupted a mechanism which is integrated into itself with a massive amount of interconnecting relationships. This new material must somehow be integrated into this cell without disturbing the function, it must have proper timing devices relative to the rest of the cell, and the rest of the cell must know what to do with it! Mutations, in other words, don’t do what evolutionists need them to do. They do not build on one another to produce something new in form or function – they simply disturb what the original is. The one exception to this is with the unicellular organisms which have what are known as ‘hot spots’ which are designed to mutate in a back and forth fashion to give variety to the type of organism, allowing it to adjust to different environments. There are also hot spots in the DNA of higher animals, in this case including humans. In fact, work by Dr. Dave DeWitt at Liberty University and his graduate students has shown that when the hot spot mutation areas are taken out of both samples of DNA, we are almost exactly the same as Neandertals! And remember, hot spot mutations go back and forth, they are not directional.

    Natural Selection: natural selection deletes segments of a population for one reason or another. What is left is a reduced population with a reduced gene pool to draw from for future variations. The final result of this is something referred to as ‘over speciation’ or a ‘fitness peak.’ We often call them endangered species. They are so exactly oriented to their specific environments via natural selection taking everything else away from them through time that they cannot live anywhere else. Or perhaps, they lose their ‘identity’ as an individual species by breeding back into a larger compatible population. An example of the first is the spotted owl of the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. And example of the second is the snowy leopard, which would be quite happy to breed with other leopards if allowed.

    Thus, in short, evolution does not work the way we have been told and theistic evolution adds to the problem by blaming it on God and still denying the Bible, which is His Word.
     
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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Here I am, a self confessed theistic evolutionist, so you all realize I have a need to develop my theology somewhat differently than described above. Please understand that in my mind the findings of science are established as reasonably certain for the age of the universe and the common descent of life from an original form, which we normally call evolution. Let me draw an anology: when we read these verses

    Lev 11:20-23
    All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
    KJV


    we find ourselves unable to decide that insects of any sort have four legs. We remain convinced they have six. This in spite of generations of preachers telling us all we must go by what the Bible says instead of trusting in the wisdom of man. So we deal with these verses another way. Helen, for example, has posited that a catagorization is being made; the writer is differentiating all flying things with more than two legs from the two legged fliers. Other suggestions have been made. But my point is - my own studies of science have left me just as unable to reject evolution and the great age of the universe as most of you are unable to reject six legs for insects, regardless of what the scripture may at first glance seem to say.

    Now lets deal with a few of the specifics Helen has raised:

    When I read a verse such as this:
    Rom 5:13 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
    KJV


    I see in this a reference, not to the physical death of animals, but the spiritual death (and subsequent physical death) of men, after the fall of Adam. I don't see it as a reference to extinct dinosaurs having fallen prey to Tyronosaurus Rex in the past, before Adam was introduced to Eve in the garden of Eden.

    I see the grand pagentry of life on earth as very good, including the predation and bloodshed. I remain content with God's decision to allow for the majesty of the lion and the tiger, even if they live by predation.

    I see God as behind it all and that is all that matters.

    I see God as continuing to sustain the universe at all times. He remains utterly, completely faithful to the lowest, humblest atom, keeping the electrons circling correctly, and so forth, literally, ad-infinitum. His utter consistancy brings about the operation of what we call the laws of science.

    No fair, two objections in one number! The discoveries of science do not favor man's word; they favor God's tracks left in the rocks, the stars, the elements, all the universe. Those little fossils cannot lie! But refer again to the opening statement about four legged insects. Are we guilty of disrespecting God's word when we look for another way to interpret that passage that will allow us to retain our notion that insects have six legs? It is only in that sense that I am guilty of disrepecting God's word over Man's ideas.

    As for evolution being biologically impossible, this is a rather sweeping statement to make, since every merely scientific objection ever raised in this forum has seen a rational response. Helen, you have yourself mentioned that evolutionists always have an answer to every objection, haven't you? Maybe this is telling us something!

    The word "kinds" AS USED IN GENESIS is a vague term, and I suppose it is put that way on purpose. In my mind, it perfectly describes how, in the course of evolution, families develop and all the species that derive from that family remain within that family. In creationist literature, the notion has developed that "kinds" represent an absolute barrier to species change. I think it is cheating to first invent this meaning of the word and then hold that evolutionists don't accept that meaning.

    Well, some reconcilers of cosmology with Genesis try to take that route. The devil is in the details. We just don't have any scenario in evolutionary history, for example, where all the birds come in first and then all the land animals second. Me, I consider that we must view the first chapter of Genesis as a parable. This has the advantage that we don't have to worry about the apparant contradiction of chapters one and two concerning which came first, Adam, or the rest of the animals. It also has the advantage of allowing the language to actually refer to days, not eras, which I concede is the most natural interpretation of the language.

    I'm not sure what Helen is getting at in this statement but maybe I'm speaking to the issue she is trying to raise by pointing out that the difference between men and fish is very much less than the difference between the first forms of life and the fully developed eukoritic cell, even a single celled living form. But the "time" issues have been extensively discussed elsewhere and I'm sure they will be again. As a theistic evolutionist, I don't care if science should find out that there wasn't enough time for evolution and therefore God must have hurried it along to some exent.

    Regarding mutations:
    As a Theistic Evolutionist it is hardly my intention to "blame" God for anything! Instead, I seek to accept what He has really done, not ignoring all the vast evidence He has left behind. To repeat the theme I started with above, I cannot force myself to believe grasshoppers and flies have exactly four legs; in the same way I cannot ignore the vast evidence he has left behind of an ancient universe and common descent. My thanks to you, my Christian friends, for bearing with me in this.
     
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    DEACON

    I do not hold the positional stance of a Theistic Evolutionist yet I feel that we should examine their stance more thoroughly, for as with every origin theory it changes as more knowledge is obtained. Regularly updating ourselves is important.

    Theistic Evolution’s (T.E.) appeal is its acceptance of modern science and basic principles of evolutionary theory. These main beliefs gave T.E. its initial name, “Concordism”. Theistic evolution is most simply portrayed by a fully wound clock. Accordingly, Theistic Evolutionists feel it would be inappropriate for God, who presumably is a consummate designer, to intervene periodically to adjust the clock.

    There are probably as many theories about creation as there are people who study the issue. True to form, T.E. has many different forms, but two models have prominence.

    Theistic evolution: God creates the first simple life forms and governs random mutation and natural selection as secondary causes. (the evolution of life is closely interwoven with specific creative acts of God)
    The Fully Gifted Creation: (Howard Van Till) God has created a universe which depends continually upon God, but which has been endowed with the ability to accomplish what God wants it to accomplish without any "corrections" or "interventions."

    In an article by Howard Van Till regarding “The Fully Gifted Creation” Theory, he proposed the Robust Formational Economy Principle (RFEP). According to this principle God endowed nature with all the (natural) causal powers it ever needs to accomplish all the things that happen in nature. Van Till writes:
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/S&CB4-96VanTill.html

    My initial response to reading Van Till’s proposal was to propose a new moniker, Gifted Universe, Self Sufficient, (GUeSS). For how could an unprejudiced outside observer know the difference between a Gifted or Guided creation and one that occurred as evolutionists proposed? But this is actually T.E.’s strength: where creationists see weakness in the Grand Evolutionary Theory, Theistic evolutionists see God’s creative hand. And Van Till’s “Fully Gifted Creation” does not necessarily prevent supernatural miracles from taking place, just an economy of miracles. Van Till continues:
    An article by George L. Murphy, "Chiasmic Cosmology and Creation's Functional Integrity," PSCF 45 (March 2001): 7 – 13,
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2001/PSCF3-01Murphy.html

    provides an explanation and a theological framework for God’s interventions within this origin theory.
    The charge that “Theistic evolution favors man’s word over God’s Word, even when the massive changes evolution requires are biologically impossible” is prejudicially biased towards those taking a literal interpretative stance. Theistic evolutionists do allegorize the early chapters of Genesis. This doesn’t necessarily disfavor God or His Word. According to T.E., God arranged these biologic “miracles” when creation occurred. The “Fundamentalist” ideal of literal interpretation is laid aside by Theistic Evolutionists, but we can’t rely on this aspect of their interpretation to causally dismiss their theory, even intra-biblical interpretaters within scripture used allegory. c.f. Galatians 4:21-31. The theory of Theistic Evolution magnifies God’s immanence and providential wisdom (foresight) (…at the expense of His transcendence over nature). (Might I insert a suggestion: an interesting theological study is examining God’s provenience vs. His supernatural intervention).

    The main problem we encounter with Theistic Evolution is not its science but its doctrine.

    Paul, please correct me if I'm wrong. Generally those who adhere to T.E. do not believe in a historical Adam and Eve, endorsing the formation (of at least the physical aspects) of man to have occurred via evolution. Current evolutionary theory about the origins of man suggests multiple starting points for man. This is unacceptable in light of Paul’s’ teachings in Romans 5:12,14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22,45 that clearly treats the Genesis account in historical terms and speaks of human death as God's judgment on sin; One man, one initial sin. The portrayal of Adam an Eve as non-historical characters deeply affects the origin of sin and God’s redemptive work through Christ Jesus.

    Another doctrinal weakness of T.E. regards God’s personal interaction with us. Just recently I heard the saying that “Prayer changes me. God already knows our needs. When we pray, we align ourselves with God.” While I agree in principle, that’s not the whole story… Prayer changes things! The Bible is full of examples of God’s active interaction with history and with His elect. Theistic Evolutionist would severely limit how a God would interact with His creation and His chosen. The comforting promise that Christ gave us, “I am with you always”, becomes a less than personal consolation.
     
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    HELEN

    Hi Paul,
    I’m not going to try to do the quote and respond thing, so I hope it doesn’t bother you too much if I just start numbering the points we are discussing and then we can just refer to them by number later if this keeps going, OK?

    1. The findings of science Paul says they are ‘established as reasonably certain for the age of the universe.’ The estimates range from under ten billion years to double that amount by those holding to an old universe, first of all. That is a 100% ‘error bar.’ And yet, as long as they all agree to ‘long ages’ they don’t seem to be too fussed by that strange thing. Secondly, the determination of long ages is dependent upon several presuppositions which are currently under challenge, the speed of light being only one of them. Thirdly, there is zero, nil, none, nada actual evidence of life descending from an original single form. In fact, all the evidence we actually have of the possibility of that happening is that it is, in fact, impossible. Everything else is shown to be interpretation based on the presupposition of evolution in the first place.

    2. Leviticus – ‘four feet’. It doesn’t seem to matter to you how many times this is refuted, does it? Paul, the classification of animals was not the way we do our classification. Does that mean they were wrong? NO. It just means they had different priorities. Animals were classified by locomotion. If it flew and had two feet, it was a bird (even if it was a bat). If it flew and had more than two feet, it was ‘four footed’ regardless of the actual count. “Four-footed” was simply a distinction meaning ‘not two-footed.’ So whether it had four or six or eight or however many feet, it was ‘four-footed’ simply to distinguish it from being ‘two-footed.’ Please, please learn how to deal with idiomatic phrases. Suppose, for instance, someone in ages hence (should there be any) were to read “You do that and I’ll punch your lights out.” Does this mean you have your own light source; are you lit? Is the attacker going after the porch lights? Idioms are idioms and need to be recognized as such. Now, unless you want to claim that ‘evolution’ is just an idiomatic series of expressions, there is zero analogy between that and the insect thing you brought up.

    3. Death before sin: you agreed that it is something theistic evolutionists are comfortable with. You claim that the punishment for sin refers to the immediate spiritual death and future physical death of men. This is not logical in conjunction with your other claims. If man descended from an ape-like ancestor, of course he was going to die physically no matter what. Therefore death even in man did NOT result from sin if you are going to be a logical theistic evolutionist. As far as animals go, there is a good case for saying the Millennial rule of Christ will be a duplication of the earth conditions that existed before the Flood. If this is so, then there is a bit in Isaiah that shows there was no predation at that time: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Please compare this with Genesis 1:30: And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move n the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food. Theistic evolution must deny the obvious implications of both of these passages.

    4. Predation and bloodshed being part of ‘very good.’ Please consider the implications of the Isaiah verse quoted above. I would suggest that your idea of very good and God’s seem to be a bit different?

    5. Man created by God. You said that the fact that God was ‘behind it’ is all that matters, and there is no problem for you that man is said to have evolved from an ape-like ancestor. It would not be a problem for me, either, had God not stated differently in very specific terms! But since He did, simply saying ‘God is behind it’ becomes an escape route for not wanting to deny the biblical account directly but rather trying to trim the biblical account enough to fit with science’s current ideas.

    6. God’s activity in creation. I said that theistic evolution gives God only a place at the initial moment of creation and disallows Him involvement after that. You then stated that He continued to sustain the universe at all times and that it is His consistency which brings about the laws of science. Well, Paul, your beliefs deny the consistency of His ability to communicate in the Bible, so on what are you determining His consistency?

    7. Man’s word or God’s word? It is not a matter of just ‘looking’ at Genesis 1 differently, Paul. It is a matter of denying its clear and simple meaning altogether. Again, this has nothing to do with the idiomatic terms regarding insects. There are no known idioms in Genesis 1. It is straight narrative done in the narrative (and not in the poetic or allegorical) style.

    8. Biologic impossibility of evolution. There is no known way for the genetic changes evolution from bacteria to bear requires to happen. Period. None. Lots of imagination, but nothing known or shown. This is what should be telling us something. The fact that evolutionists ‘have answers’ for everything says nothing more than that they have an entire grab-bag of ‘maybes’ to draw from. That is not the same as basic data or known processes.

    9. Genesis ‘kinds’. Is it a vague term? Yes, it is. So is “kingdom”, “phylum”, “family”, “class” etc. – the terms used in current taxonomic classification. That has nothing to do with the issue, however. Nor does Genesis say anything about organisms ‘evolving’ into kinds. It says extraordinarily clearly that God created them by kind. It might be pointed out, as well, that the birds came before the land animals in Genesis, but not in the current evolutionary ideas. That is one that really cannot be reconciled by any amount of twisting. Nor do kinds represent a barrier to species change. I have no idea where you got that in any credible current creation writing. “Species” and “speciation” are the words that have undergone a change in meaning. They used to be (200 years ago) synonymous with "kind". As “species” came to mean interbreeding isolated populations, and then not even that specific, the two definitions diverged greatly and this has been acknowledged by scientists on both sides.

    10. Reality of the 24 hour day meaning in Genesis 1. You said you consider Genesis 1 a parable. But parables are clearly delineated in the Hebrew, and this book carries no such delineation. Its structure and grammar are narrative. You need to accept it or reject it on its terms, not terms you force onto it for the sake of your mental comfort. Nor do chapters one and two contradict each other at all. Just as you said, the devil is in the details, and when the verbs are examined in the Hebrew, there is clearly no contradiction. You are right that the meaning of Genesis 1 is days, however. This is exactly what was meant, too.

    11. Time. No, Paul, the point of what I was saying is that there is a much greater difference between fish and men than between a unicellular organism and a simple, but differentiated, multicellular organism. In addition, the vastly increased generations times for the more complex organisms completely invalidates everything supposed by evolution in terms of evolution rates. But what amazes me somewhat, although maybe it shouldn’t, is that you are determined to stick to the evolutionary scenario regardless of evidence against it, saying “I don’t care if science should find out that there wasn’t enough time for evolution and therefore God must have hurried it along to some extent.” Why not just believe God in the first place instead of using Him as the “God of the gaps” which is clearly what you are trying to do with that statement.

    You had no response where chance, mutations, and natural selection were concerned.

    In short, there is no evidence for evolution, but those who believe in it are truly ‘believers.’ That is admirable as a quality, but not as an object you have chosen to believe in.

    [ October 28, 2002, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  5. Administrator2

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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    For DEACON: thank you, Deacon, for a thoughtful reply. May God use your gift of knowledge to advance His kingdom. When you posted this part

    I naturally felt you wanted me to share my own feelings about Adam and Eve. This is an interesting question. Multiple starting points for man have been mentioned but in my mind those who mention this possibility are missing a key element of evolution: it is not the nature of the evolutionary process to take divergent species and meld them into one, but rather, isolated groups manage to diverge into separate species. So a single origin for the species is preferred. (But there is the matter of timing. Genetic studies keep putting the last common ancestor for humans a hundred thousand years ago or more.) I believe in the reality of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden; Adam would have been selected from the emerging species as the first to be spiritually endowed, Eve taken from him in order to make this line all go back to Adam. The question remains open in my mind exactly when this happened. Was this actually done a hundred thousand years ago or more? Or was it done more recently, and then the self-awareness and spirituality of Adam and Eve spread from them to the rest of the species, perhaps leaving a trace of this process in this mysterious passage:

    Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

    I see us left with many more questions than answers about how this all took place.

    But when you raise this point:

    I have to wonder what this has to do with T.E., because . . . I couldn't agree with you more! If all I got from my prayers was bringing my mind better into alignment with God's will, I might as well just go to a human counselor! Have you experienced, like me, whenever there is a prayer study, someone always brings up how prayer helps us come into conformity with God's will? Many times I have seen everyone nodding sagely and the discussion continue as if God never intervenes in our lives in any way, and almost as if our requests are ineffectual with God. But when I speak up and say, yes, but God also does things in answer to prayers He would not have done otherwise, they all come around and agree. Theistic evolution to me seems completely irrelevant to this aspect of theology. I suppose, however, that among those that deny completely the present active power of God lots of them are evolutionists.

    FOR HELEN: Hi, Helen! Thanks again for posting. May the Lord bless us all and help us communicate effectively, and even once in a while get at the truth.

    Well, the age of the earth and solar system itself is pretty well settled at 4 and a half to 5 billion years. But what is so strange about admitting the degree to which one is uncertain? That seems to me to be a rather sensible thing to do. Not that there is that much uncertainty in 2002. Haven't they come down to about 15 billion years lately? Give or take a billion or so, of course.


    Secondly, the determination of long ages is dependent upon several presuppositions which are currently under challenge, the speed of light being only one of them.


    Ah, but how many of them are being taken seriously by the majority of scientists? You've even seen the notion that the earth moves challenged in this very forum. Shall we say it is less certain whether the earth moves, now that the challenge is known to exist? Or do some of us just know too much to worry about such a challenge? In the same way, some of us labor under the impression we've got enough evidence for an older universe and for evolution. We're stuck with that knowledge, can't help it, and must carry on as best we can.


    Now Helen, hear you've gone and HURT MY FEELINGS (sniff) because I was trying VERY HARD to NOT SAY YOU WERE WRONG in my most recent post. Now I didn't say you're right, but I was simply trying to use the verse about four legged flying creatures as an EXAMPLE of how we ALL RETHINK when we are forced to do so. Now fess up - wasn't there a time before you figured out this classification thing that you wondered how you would wind up dealing with this verse? Then you figured out how, and now its settled in your mind. NOTICE I DIDN'T SAY YOU DID IT WRONG. I just said you found a way, that's all.

    Now it's no use hiding the fact that I DO think you did it wrong, but wait till I SAY THAT before jumping on me for saying it! I might have said that in an earlier post, but not in this most recent post you are responding to. Don't worry, that moment is coming verrrry soon . . .

    Well, its a funny thing about your idea that they used this "four" as a classification scheme. They didn't use it anywhere ELSE at all. For example, here is a verse they had a great chance to use your classification scheme idea:

    Lev 11:42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

    If the writer of Leviticus has this classification scheme you spoke of, why does he here go out of his way to classify them differently - belly crawlers, four footed crawlers, those that crawl with more than four?

    Here is an example of an idiomatic phrase:

    Lev 11:20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.

    Going on "all four" can, legitimately, be considered idiomatic of getting down from the two legged vertical stance of birds and humans and crawling with the body parallel to the ground. Even today we use the phrase that way on occasion.

    Here is an example of going beyond the idiom of "going upon all four" (perhaps inadvertently caused by having used the idiom twice before)

    Lev 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

    If one reads the whole chapter and does not bind one's mind with the idea that scripture must be inerrent in all things - it looks as if verse 11:42 is a kind of correction, seeking to make it clear that the writer actually knows about creatures having more than four legs, following his careless statement about the number of legs in verse 23. The fact that it contradicts your notions about his classification scheme is merely good luck for me.

    Well, I think that once God breathed into Adam the spiritual life that made him more than the rest of the animal kingdom, and while he was yet without sin, that the proclamation of Adam's inevitable death would be a bit premature, to say the least; after all, wasn't there a tree of life in the garden, ready and waiting for Adam and Eve? Didn't God say that they would live forever if they partook of that tree even in their sinful state?

    Isaiah's writings are beautiful and I look forward to living with those promises (which I take to be in heaven, not being a premilliniest) but I don't take them to be literal in every detail. A lion transformed to be suited to eating straw is no longer a lion, he has evolved into some other species. If the Sun were to shine seven times brighter than it does today we would all be burned to a crisp! (See Isaiah 7:36)

    We must because we really really must! Carnivorous animals are found in the fossil records going back millions upon millions of years! Faced with this imperitive, I tend to accept the idea that the idyllic conditions of no predation were, literally speaking, inside the garden of Eden.

    God is capable of doing anything He wants! I simply feel that some people have trouble acknowledging that His ways are not the ways they had all figured out for Him. The whole history of scientific advance (for example) is filled with opposition to the truth that had to be overcome by brave people who stuck to their convictions and won out through sheer perserverence in holding to the truth. God had His hand in that all along. The idea that slavery is inherently evil is a relatively new development in our moral landscape, unstated in literal fashion in the Bible, yet most truly found in the great moral principles of the Bible. In the same way, adherence to truth is a profound Biblical principle, including the truths of scientific discoveries such as the ancient age of the earth and the common descent of all life. God had His hand in these discoveries as well. Your view seems to be that God gave us all the answers and left us nothing to discover!

    Well, since Darwin, actually there is.

    OK folks, you see here, Helen believes we musn't mix up the contents of the days of creation one with another. That is her standard. Keep that in mind when she tries to tell you some stars were created before day 4, which she has claimed. Now if I were espousing the day-ages theory, Helen, you might have a point. But I'm not. I'm saying I don't take the first chapter literally. It is a parable, casting the truth that God is creator of all into language men were ready to receive. They were completely unprepared for even the truth as we know it. I suspect there are some truths we are still unprepared for.

    I believe you misstated the God of the Gaps argument compared to what I said. The God of the Gaps idea is, well, the things science has not yet discovered, God did it, and so that proves there is a God. This has the hazard of finding less "proof" for God down the road when science discovers more. I said I don't care if a gap should be proved in that one area, God could close that gap, and I don't seek to use alledged gaps as evidence for God! There is lots of evidence for the common descent of all life that allows me to make the statement about allowing God to hurry evolution along. Vestiges, for example.

    Having said that, I must confess that I really don't see a problem with the time thing. People don't realize just how big the numbers are. A million years - a billion years - these little words express time frames magnitudes greator than anything we are really able to comprehend, so these statements that there is not enough time for evolution to procede must be taken with a grain of salt.

    Merely an editing choice. I think my post was long enough. Trust me, I could have rambled on for pages!

    I'm not at home right now, I'm on vacation. I posting this from my folk's house in California. Please excuse any percieved tardiness in replying. Keep the faith, everybody, God will make it all clear to us all one of these days.
     
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    HELEN

    Hello Paul, many blessings back to you! OK, let's get cracking here!

    You quoted Genesis 6:4 as possible evidence for another race or species from which man emerged. I don't think this works. Here is your quote of that verse, first:

    Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

    First, all the verse says is that these giant were contemporaneous with the sons of God marrying the daughters of men, it does not say they were the result of that. This is a mistake I see over and over again. The Bible is simply putting them in the same time period, not as cause and result.

    But primarily, I am puzzled because you are willing to grant God the miracle of woman from the side of man but not the direct creation of man. This really is what I would call God of the gaps for theistic evolutionists. What I have seen is that as soon as science has an explanation you are willing to accept for something, you will scrap what the Bible says in favor of it. I don't understand that mindset at all. If God is capable of miraculous intervention, why not just allow that He did what He said He did the say He said He did it?

    You said, in response to me, that the age of the earth and solar system were pretty much settled at 4.5-5 billion years. And yet there are so many problems with that! The findings of those that dig are of life forms stretching ever farther back in this presumed age, which means that their sudden appearance must have been more sudden that science has actually allowed. Now I know that you, as a theistic evolutionist, say that it doesn't matter when God did it, but that He started the first life and then front-loaded it so as to be capable of evolution, but again you are allowing a miracle for the gap that science is confronted with and again I am sure that as soon as science comes up with an explanation you can accept, you will scrap that miracle, too. Why?

    And about the age -- all we have to go on here is the results of atomic processes. If they have not maintained the same speed through time, then our estimates are off proportionately. And up until Birge declared as a matter of declaration and declaration only, in 1941, that atomic processes were constant, he himself and a number of other scientists has measured them as changing! This doesn't work with the dating mechanisms in place, however, so man declared the rules instead of looking for them. This is not good science. The measurements are there historically and charted and verified by Birge himself before that date.
    What the age of the earth and solar system are figured to be right now depends on who you ask, in response to your question.

    This, by the way, has nothing to do with the mistaken idea of geocentrism. This is a matter of acknowledging all of what science has discovered and not being selective about data.

    About Leviticus and 'four feet.' Not my idea or interpretation, friend, but the ancient Jewish one as referenced to the Talmud, OK? I ran across it and realized that was the key to the whole thing. The Bible shows three different ways of classifying organisms, by the way: by kind, by clean/unclean, and by locomotion. None of them are related at all to what we have chosen today with the possible partial exception of 'kind,' which has to do with the ability to procreate and that also is a partial, sometimes determiner of species.

    You mentioned the verse in Lev. 11:42 regarding 'more feet.' That does not change the fact that 'four feet' was the general term for more than two. The fact that subdivision existed is certainly not unknown among scientists of any age, is it? What you are trying to use as an argument would run along the same lines as my challenging the use of phylum because there were divisions under it which were more specific. You will find a number of very specific references to types of animals in this chapter, and this is simply one more specification. It does not invalidate the general classification by locomotion.

    In Leviticus 11:20, by the way, the translation of the King James is in error. The word which is used which they translate 'fowls' is owph from the primary root uwph simply meaning 'to fly.' As you know, this should not always be taken as bird. In fact the use of this word for all flying things is another evidence that locomotion was the primary form of classification and that the translators have imposed their own understanding of taxonomic classification upon it rather than letting it speak for itself.

    This is why the NIV and many modern translations simply use the term 'winged creatures' which they did in verse 23, which you also quoted. Paul, it is very, VERY unwise to try to refer to Bible quotes like you have without checking original meanings of words. That explains an awful lot! So, far from being 'good luck' for you, your arguments indicates you did not take the time to do your own checking and research.

    When discussing sin and death, next, you made reference to the tree of life being available to Adam and thus the deprivation of it being the reason he died.

    If you look in Revelation 22, you will find the Tree of Life was for healing, not the actual giving of life. The giving of life is reserved for God. Thus physical death was by His pronouncement, and the deprivation from the Tree of Life simply denying Adam and Eve the means of healing which would deny God's declaration of the consequences of sin. In other words, the Tree of Life may have been for accidental injury (would Adam's children still have fallen out of trees has he not sinned? Being adventurous, or even careless, is more a mark of simply being a child than sin, as far as I can see...) rather than the giving of life. Thus the medicine was removed, if you will, not the source of life.

    In addition, the 'breath' or nephesh God breathed into Adam was also in a number of the animals. Reference Genesis 1:30 and 7:15, regarding the fact that it was the land animals with nephesh, or that same breath of life, which were to be vegetarians and those same animals which were taken on the Ark. So man was not made different because of nephesh, or the breath of life, which also, by the way, translates into 'soul.'

    Man was made unique in creation by be created ('bara') in the image of God, as a spiritual being. And we all agree that spiritual death is the result of sin. But Pat Parson is far more in line with a consistent theistic evolution in saying that physical death was not at all a result of sin than you are in trying to find a way around the problem in order to come into line with the rest of the Bible, including the ages listed in the genealogies and the material in Romans. Bot points of view, however, seem to deny clear Bible teaching.

    Now, as far as your exposition of Isaiah is concerned, I have to leave that to you. It calls a lion a lion, which I presume both God and Isaiah know what it is. But you are declaring a different, or possibly original diet, for the beast makes it a different species and not a lion.

    I'll leave you to that territory. I have a feeling both God and Isaiah are aware of what a lion is, was, and will be.

    You also wrote: "If the Sun were to shine seven times brighter than it does today we would all be burned to a crisp! (See Isaiah 7:36)"

    There is no Isaiah 7:36.

    You also said that "idyllic conditions of no predation were, literally speaking, inside the garden of Eden." That is an interesting one, and I have to leave that to you, too. It is an incredible effort to jam something of Bible into what science says is true. I know you have to do that, but it seems awfully twisted to me. Why not let God be true and every man a liar if need be?

    And no, I never have said or implied or meant that God gave us all the answers and left us nothing to discover. He gave us the parameters of where the truth could be found, however, and we should pay attention to that if we want science to be fruitful -- with a healthy sort of fruit. The history of science, by the way, is a history of pretty terrific changes in the prevailing wisdom. That could happen again...

    Maybe then you will credit Barry with being one of those brave people who used data to stand up to the governing establishment?

    Then you tossed off my claim that there is no known way for the genetic changes of evolution from bacteria to bear to happen naturally. You simply claimed that 'since Darwin there is.'

    Nonsense. The more we have discovered the more we know Darwin was wrong. There is no known way for a cell to manufacture a new protein. And even if it were known or possible, what would the cell do with that protein? It would have to be already programmed to have a place and function for it, for most proteins are disassembled in hours or days and their parts made to reconstruct new ones. So the directions for construction would not only have to be there, but the start and stop codons, the ability of the cell to use it, and the genetic information governing its manufacture inserted in the genome in such a way as to not interfere with the interactions of the other genetic material in running the organism.

    Ain't gonna happen by accident. And if you want to credit God with it, why not just credit Him with telling the simple direct truth in Genesis anyway? Creation by kind.

    Then you tried to accuse me of mixing up the contents of Genesis because I told you it stated birds were created (day 5) before the beasts of earth (day 6) by referencing my previous posts about the Bible backing up the conclusions of scientists that there are two populations of stars and that population 2 came into being before population 1.

    Let's look at Genesis and Job, and let's let BIBLE interpret BIBLE, OK?

    Genesis 1:16b simply says "He also made the stars." That's it. No reference to timing here except that they are mentioned at the same time as the formation of the sun and moon (and thus our basic solar system as we know it is implied, I believe, but feel free to argue me down on that one). "He also made the stars" is almost a throwaway line and only credits God with their formation in general.

    However, when we go into Job 38:7, we have a mention of 'morning stars'. Many have figured that verse to be an example of parallel structure and thus associated 'morning' stars with the angels. But that is not what we see in the verse. We see first that the morning stars 'sang' and the angels 'shouted.' These are not parallel terms. Secondly, the word 'and' between the two parts of the verse indicates two different things. The normal construction of Hebrew parallelism is not NOT have that conjunction, and it is often indicated in the English translations simply as a semicolon. A good example of parallel construction in the Psalms. Literally just flipping to any one of them, I landed at Psalm 59. It's opening is parallel:
    Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
    protect me from those who rise up against me.


    Now go to the second part of verse 9 there and you will see non-parallel structure and meaning:
    God will go before me
    and will let me gloat over those who slander me.


    The use of the word 'and' indicates two different things. This is common in Hebrew poetry. Job is the same way. The morning stars and the angels are not the same thing.

    Finally, did the morning stars sing? There is evidence of sound coming from stars themselves. If it is or was harmonic, and variable, the first day of creation, what word would better describe it than singing?

    The reference to 'morning stars' does indicate there were subdivisions among the stars. Science has seen this in the two populations of stars. Barry has worked with this in terms of what radiometric dating has shown us. Please check this essay:
    http://www.setterfield.org/stellarhist.html

    Now, you have stated that you take the first chapter of Genesis as a parable. That doesn't work for two reasons:

    1. It is not a parable as per Hebrew structure. Poetry and parables had a definitely different structure used. The grammatic structure of Genesis, all the way through, is one of historic narrative. Please take it or reject it on its own terms, not forcing other terms upon it so you can at least accept it partially!

    2. There are no parables told by Christ which mix up natural facts. Your claim is that Genesis is mixing up natural facts.

    And, lastly, regarding the God of the gaps argument. I know how it is that secular scientists accuse Christians of using it, but that is wrong. We simply accept what God has said FIRST and there are no gaps that way. His Word if first and if science then has gaps, that is to be expected. We are finite.

    But when I personally consider the term, it does seem that theistic evolution is where it belongs, for whenever there is a gap in the scientific explanation, TE's seem to feel comfortable sticking God in there to explain it. That is a true God of the gaps situation as I see it.

    You said you don't see a problem with the time thing. OK. Let's review that. If it took a billion years for the first cell to become a multicellular, differentiated organism, and that generation time was, being very generous, an hour, then what on earth are you going to do with the rest of evolution where you have longer generation times with greater complexity? I have a very good idea of the time it would therefore require even if evolution could happen, and 4.5 billion years in not NEARLY time enough! It is not a matter of time itself, Paul, but of generation times. Most of the larger animals go from months to years, not hours. That vastly increases the time needed for those mutations to be passed on and established in a population. You will need billions upon billions upon billions of years for all that, even if it were possible.
     
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    DEACON

    To Helen:

    I know it’s a side issue but I’ve looked into the “four footed insect” question and the interpretation of the problem you offer. The problem seems to be overlooked in the sources I’ve checked. Could you provide some sources for your information? I’m interested, but seem to have been left with out a foot to stand on. J (BTW I’ll be eagerly awaiting the rewrite of the book).

    #3 - Regarding death and the creations initial “perfect” state before man’s sin, Paul writes in Romans 8: 19-22 (NIV) – The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

    There are different ways we can approach this text. You know I’ve constantly harped in the Dinosaurs thread about examining ones own biases when reading a text. A YEC (Young Earth Creationist) may approach this text by assuming that creation was marred after Adam’s sin; the 2nd law of thermodynamics would have kicked in and death and the bondage/decay began. An OEC (Old Earth Creationist) would see God as subjecting the world to bondage and decay, and therefore “subject to frustration” from the initial creation. And this would be by the will of God, in His foreknowledge and according to His “very good” purpose. Creation could be considered “very good” because it fulfilled His purpose. There are many Hebrew words for “perfect” that could have been used if the intent was to say God created the universe that way. A claim that "death is the result of sin" is correct, "human death is the result of human sin" (this can be an old-earth view or young-earth view) and is more justifiable than "all death is the result of human sin" (this is only a young-earth view).

    Paul, I’m sorry that I’m coming to you from a different angle than Helen. I hope I don’t over load your plate.

    What I understand from reading your post is that a Theistic Evolutionist differentiates between the way God works in the formative process of creating the universe and His interaction with humanity. In the formative process, when God created and designed creation, God worked one way. Then God changed His interactive methods following the making of man, He came to us as a Personal God; He walked among us. Would this be the difference between a T.E. and a Deist? I have always connected the two, feeling that a Theistic evolutionist was an “evolved” deist.

    And if, as you suggested, God stepped in at times to perform miracles, what separates this theory from a Progressive Creationist? Is it merely timing of the theistic interaction?
     
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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Greetings, Helen. I've got a new blessing we both need - the gift of brevity! :D

    I'm not as guilty of the "crime" of accepting science as you assert here! Science would leave out the Eve from Rib part entirely! But don't you think its potentially confusing to take the language referring to "God of the gaps" and give it your own meaning without letting us know the new meaning from the start?

    I submit the answer is right there in the question. What's more, I'm content to say "I don't know" when asked to choose between God creating life by setting up a universe that can bring it about by the laws of that universe or God starting the first life on earth as a miraculous superceding of normal processes.

    Ice layer counts in Greenland and in Antartica - Continental drift rates and results - tree ring counts - genetic drift amounts since last common ancestor - Hawaiian island chain formation over time - grand canyon formation - fossil formation - wholly other ancient ecologies that have come and gone - starlight from distant galaxies - coral reef formation - biological markers showing more days per year consistent with tidal slowing of earth's rotation over the eons - these are all things that point to a vast age beyond a mere 6 to 10 thousand years, not dependent on atomic processes. Besides, there's nothing wrong with atomic processes anyway!

    OK so the writers of the Talmud, faced with the descrepancy regarding the non-existance of four legged flyers, are the ones who first invented the catagorization argument. Surely you realize the Talmud is a great mix of material of varying quality.

    Only if you buy into the catagorization argument. But please remember what I'm trying to say using this example in this thread. I'm trying to say that when we face the facts of there being absolutely no creatures with four legs plus wings - and then read the scripture that there are those with wings and four legs - we find ourselves unable to revise our opinions about the number of legs bugs have! Whether or not the catogory argument is valid or just a reach (and I suppose you know I think its a reach) I just want you and everyone to understand some of us can't just start believing in a universe of only 6000 years!

    Only if you know that Revelation 22 is an exhaustive description of all the properties of the tree of life. I don't know that, nor do I see how anyone else can know that. What about Genesis 3:22?

    Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." NIV

    Anyway, the whole thing about the tree of life is probably allegorical in both Genesis AND Revelation. I just wanted to make the point that Adam being made in the image of God was a step up from the rest of creation, and this new element would presumably allow escape from death, except for the sin factor.

    Oops, typo, its Isaiah 30:26 And the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. NAS

    Now that is the HEART of the point I am trying to make! See, just as you never once found yourself able to think of grasshoppers as having four legs, I'm equally unable to have a history of life from the beginning without predators, both of our options for interpreting scripture are limited by what we think to be our knowledge of reality. If God said grasshoppers had four legs - why He would be mistaken, wouldn't He? (Actually, in that case, grasshoppers WOULD have four legs! <ggg>) Let's view that verse again:

    Lev 11:23 But all other winged insects which are four-footed are detestable to you. NAS

    Why not let God be true and every man a liar, if need be?

    You owe your life to the fact that your body is able to manufacture new, never-before existing antibodies to protect you from germs and viruses. Antibodies are proteins.

    There are only two words in that Hebrew phrase: "Stars also". This is practically a sentence fragment, and as such only has meaning when associated with the rest of the passage, which clearly puts all the stars in day four. But if you feel the reference within the day doesn't confine creation of stars within the day, perhaps following the same logic we can escape the other problems we've identified with the "day - age" scenario. Consider these verses:

    Gen 1:20-23 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. NAS

    It doesn't really say the birds were created on the fifth day, does it? After all, they seem to be seperate sentences, just like "He also made the stars". It just says there was evening and morning, a fifth day. Why should we be so pedantic as to insist that refers to the sentences preceding? So maybe He DIDN'T make the birds on day five and maybe we CAN assume the birds were actually made in the order of the geological record after all and maybe the day-age theory DOES have validity. What's the difference between this logic and your logic? Actually, there is no difference, both logics are faulty. In the Genesis narrative, stars were made on day four only. Changing that is departing from literal interpretation.

    Uhhh - Helen - stars exist in the vacuum of space which does not carry sound . . . . what in heaven are you talking about here?

    Your discussion goes to the literary form of parables. I sought to use the word "parable" in a more general sense, meaning "non-literal". Perhaps the word "legends" would fit the structure better, if you want to describe the literary form properly. Perhaps another word applies.

    Actually, it is my understanding that the greator complexity is in the formation of the cell itself rather than how the cells work together after that, including the evolution of the DNA coding system. Suppose every species splits into two species every million years. How long would it take to create a million species? Only 20 million years.
     
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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    In reply to DEACON:

    Thank you for sharing the following questions:

    I hesitate to answer on behalf of whole schools of thought! I can only answer for myself, and leave it to more learned folks to sort out what schools they think my answers fit. To me, the Deist is a generic term for someone who believes in God in general; a theistic evolutionist adds to that generality an acceptance of the scientific view of evolution. I'm not so clear about the position of "progressive creationist" versus "theistic evolutionist".

    In terms of Paul of Tarsus' description of the whole universe groaning and longing for liberation, I would interpret that in reference to the earth being "cursed" with having to endure sinful man. The vastness of the universe as we know it was, I suppose, utterly unsuspected by Paul of Tarsus and it may be that the "curse" of which he spoke is limited to the earth. The plan of God was, I suppose, for matter to achieve consciousness and spirituality in man; our exploration and learning about earth and the universe is, in a sense, an awakening of the universe of matter to higher knowledge, but limited to this point by our sinful nature, and will be made complete when all things are made new in Him. Until that time, all our knowledge is incomplete and distorted. We have more questions than answers. What right does the fallen angel Lucifer have to these realms? What part, if any, was Adam to play in wresting earth from Lucifer and returning it to its place in God's kingdom? When Adam fell, the second Adam came to take up the task where our earthly parents failed. Now earth history seems to be approaching another climax. How will God intervene and manipulate history as the strange climax we both long for and dread approaches? In the past, we have seen that He chose to dwell among us and share our estate, even our death. He promised we will share His resurrection. We know He acts to preserve and protect His own. We know heaven is coming and all things will be made right. Maranatha!

    And we know God's intervention is always timely and perfectly timed.
     
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    HELEN

    Paul, a deist believes in God but denies supernatural revelation. That would almost automatically make him or her a theistic evolutionist but not necessarily a Christian.

    A progressive creationist believes God intervened a various times in the (ancient) history of the world to create new life forms. Hugh Ross is the headliner in this camp.

    You wrote to Deacon: I would interpret that in reference to the earth being "cursed" with having to endure sinful man.

    That doesn’t fit with Genesis 3:
    Cursed is the ground BECAUSE OF YOU;
    through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
    It will produce thorns and thistles for you
    And you will eat the plants of the field.


    Now, if this was God’s reaction to sin, then
    1. the ground was not cursed before sin
    2. man did not need to embark on painful toil to eat before sin
    3. there were no thorns or thistles before sin

    (It might also be noted that God said they would eat the plants of the field, and I do believe that evolutionists say early man ate meat...)

    I would think this poses a bit of a problem for trying to get around Romans 8

    If the vastness of the universe, in the meantime, was unknown by Paul, then a lot of knowledge had been lost since the time of Isaiah, not to mention Job:

    Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
    He who brings out the starry host one by one,
    And calls them each by name.
    Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    Not one of them is missing.

    Isaiah 40:26

    Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?
    Can you loose the cords of Orion?
    Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
    Or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
    Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

    Job 38:31-32

    By the way, we did not know until the 20th century that the Pleiades is gravitationally bound or that Orion is flying apart from within itself.

    You then wrote, The plan of God was, I suppose, for matter to achieve consciousness and spirituality in man; our exploration and learning about earth and the universe is, in a sense, an awakening of the universe of matter to higher knowledge, but limited to this point by our sinful nature, and will be made complete when all things are made new in Him. Until that time, all our knowledge is incomplete and distorted.

    Why not simply believe what God had written about His plan? Yes, our knowledge is extraordinarily limited, and not just by our sinful nature, but by our finite nature. God’s knowledge, however, is not. Seems to me the better part of wisdom to bow to HIS knowledge…

    It does seem to me that in lining up with HIS word, we can eliminate a lot of our other distortion that you mentioned.

    In the meantime to respond to a couple of your other questions, if you look in Ezekiel 28:13-14, you will see that the Lord, speaking through Ezekiel, is addressing Satan through the King of Tyre. You will also see that Satan was originally created to be guardian cherub of Eden. This is probably why Eve believed him…

    But Adam would never have had any purpose given to him to defeat Satan. That belonged to Christ – God – and Him only. God did NOT come to ‘take up the task where our earthly parents had failed.’ He came to save us from ourselves, and only He could have done that. The task He had given man was to multiply and have dominion of the earth.

    Going, backwards, now, up to your response to me:

    I’m sorry about not mentioning the ‘god of the gaps’ difference; I thought I had implied it. When you find a gap in scientific knowledge, you are sticking in God. I again presume that the minute science thinks they have an answer regarding that gap, that you will remove God and believe science. It seems to me that what God says has little or no significance in this scenario.

    You then mentioned that you didn’t know if God set up the laws of the universe to allow abiogenesis or started life on earth Himself.

    He told us what He did. It’s in that part of the Bible you consider to be myth/allegory/legend: Genesis. And, Paul, if He can’t get the beginning right, how on earth can you consider He got anything else in that book right? The beginning is the foundation for the rest, and if the foundation is bad, there goes the building!

    The list of evidences for long ages have been responded to at length through over a year of threads on this forum. Briefly:
    Ice layers are the result of storms which we associate with annual cycles now but which would not have been after earth catastrophes such as the Flood, the continental division, earth axis tilt, etc.
    genetic drift can be a very rapid process and geneticists are now admitting. Environment and population size are enormous factors in determining what predominates and what gets left behind (natural selection) or buried genetically. The idea of naturalistic gradualism is getting buried by the evidence here.
    Hawaiian Island chain is only old if you insist on a lack of catastrophes and depend, instead, on gradualism.
    Ditto the Grand Canyon formation. The sharpness of the relief in it, by the way, indicates a very rapid process and this has also been discussed in the literature in the past two years.
    Fossil formation depends on rapid burial, highly mineralized water saturation, and subsequent drainage for full fossils. Imprints are even faster. There is nothing about fossilization which requires long ages.
    Ancient ecologies were the result of changed conditions, such as the Flood, the rampant volcanism of the time of Babel and, later, Peleg, and the earth axis tilt. They also did not require vast amounts of time. This can be seen in areas affected by catastrophes today.
    Starlight from distant galaxies did not have to deal with the increased virtual particle hurdles in the past that are present today and thus traveled much, much faster.
    Coral reef formation has been discovered to proceed even more rapidly than thought under certain conditions. It has also been noted that the interiors of a number of coral reefs are not in situ coral formations but piled up coral rubble upon which the new reefs grew.
    WHAT biological markers are you talking about in terms of more days per year????

    And no, there’s nothing wrong with atomic processes, only with our interpretation of atomic dates.

    Nor did the writers of the Talmud face a ‘discrepancy’ where Exodus etc. was concerned. They were quite aware that their ancestors were not only intelligent and could count, but were close to the land and knew insects quite well. You are simply objecting to their method of categorization which the later writers (the Talmudic ones) explained.

    (As a side note to Deacon: I was shown the references by a Christian Jew years ago who had the full Talmud in many volumes on his shelf. I wish I could do better by you for this, but I can’t. I have no idea which volume it was in. I do remember, however, his indignation regarding the Bible detractors crediting the ancient Hebrews with the stupidity of not being able to count insect legs! His mention to me was, as I remember it, “They could build the Tabernacle to exact mathematical specifications, but could not count the legs of insects, according to people today!” I remember looking at the Bible specifically later to see if what he said about locomotion being the determining factor in organizing the biological world for them and it seemed to hold. What is interesting is that this is also the major determining factor for most older cultures – they could have cared less about mammals, reptiles, etc. by the criteria we use. The main criteria involved a) where does it live? And b) how does it move?

    ITM, please feel free to email me for a Word copy of C&C so far.
    )

    Back to Paul of Eugene – if you put Isaiah 30:26 back in context, you will find the meaning – it IS the day of great slaughter. Streams of water will flow on EVERY high mountain; there will be dense clouds of smoke and God is said to be, then, a consuming fire. But I guess when we see it we will understand… It will certainly be catastrophic, however.

    Regarding your idea of predation in Eden, that contradicts Genesis 1:29-30. But I guess that is what you toss out as allegory. Still I don’t even find the allegorical possibility there – the animals with nephesh – the larger land animals – were told to eat herbs and green plants. Period. How that gets allegorized into them becoming predators of other animals is beyond me.

    Antibodies, by the way, are the result of slight differences in protein folding and occasional deletions, not de novo proteins. Nor do these have anything to do with new forms or functions of the internal cellular mechanisms which is required for the kind of evolution you are defending.

    Continuing through your response, yes, the Bible definitely says the birds were created the fifth day. It was right there in your quote: And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind AND every winged bird after its kind…

    After THAT God saw it was good and blessed them, and ‘there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.’

    Your only option is that the birds were created the third day when the land rose from the seas and the plants appeared, or on the fourth day when the sun and moon were formed. But the verb in the verse you quoted was ‘bara’, translated as ‘created’ and, in context, means “something from nothing.”

    “Stars also”, however, gives NO indication of timing and it is the reference to morning stars in Job that is what helps us understand why astronomers see the two basic populations of stars. It all fits.

    As far as morning stars singing, here:
    There are two items that need to be raised as a result. The first is the situation with regard to the pressure within the star that this rapid radiation influx would produce. Importantly, Harwit and others have shown that "any appreciable deviation from pressure equilibrium leads to a [stellar] readjustment that takes no more than about an hour." [Astrophysical Concepts, p.310]. It may therefore be concluded that, as stars rapidly inflated with radiation during Creation Week, they swiftly came to an appropriate pressure balance. However, as Hoyle has pointed out for similar conditions in stars generally, this balance may possess a dynamical character so the star might oscillate or vibrate about the new position of balance [Frontiers of Astronomy, p. 128]. Interestingly, God's comment in Job 38:7 that described the morning stars as 'singing' is a translation of the Hebrew word RANAN which literally means to stridulate or vibrate. It may therefore be alluding to this physical process, which many of the most massive Population II stars might experience because of the extremely rapid influx of radiation early in Creation Week. This contrasts with the more leisurely influx rate for Population I stars as lightspeed dropped with time.
    from here: http://www.setterfield.org/stellarhist.html

    Then you backed off of the idea of Genesis being mythological when I pointed out that its grammatical structure did not allow for that. Is it then legend? Jesus referred to it as being literal truth. He ought to know. He was there.

    And finally, it is moot as to whether to complexity of the cell or the complexity of intercellular relationships is greater. They both exceed what we can deal with scientifically. Then you asked how long it takes to create a species. Just a few years. Isolate a population and let it reproduce for a few generations. That is all that is needed.

    Especially since everything was created by population first, giving the speciation processes quite a head start compared to what evolutionary theory is positing.

    [ November 10, 2002, 12:31 PM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  11. Administrator2

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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Replying again to Helen. May the Lord give you strength and a fruitful witness to Him during the coming Holiday seasons!

    Oh, the thorns and thistles were outside of the garden all along, Adam just got introduced to them when he was kicked out.

    I have no quarrel with the idea of God slipping in the "binding" and "loosening" words as part of His inspiration of these passages; I merely say these passages imply a respect and awe of the starry host but do not reveal any special knowledge of the vastness of the universe as understood today. What they actually did see and infer was stunning enough to their minds. George Gamow once calculated the size of the universe as viewed by Archimedes, the "sand reckoner". Archimedes, glorying in ways he had developed to write down really big numbers, calculated the number of grains of sand that would fill all the universe. Gamow calculated that much sand would make a sphere as big as the orbit of Saturn. I share this little anecdote to stress the difference in sizes as known to the wisest of ancients compared to today.

    Now the phrase "Why not simple believe", which makes frequent appearances in your posts, feels to me like an invitation to numb my mind, stop thinking, merely start saying meekly "yes sir, no sir" to . . . a particular interpretation of the Bible. I will not insult the Maker of my intelligence and stop using it. Studying passages in Isaiah and Job are worthwhile activities but are NOT very informative about the universe in the same way as studying astronomical texts!

    Well, I think that in taking dominion of the earth, Adam's race would PRECISELY defeat Satan, who has some claim about having power around here at this time, however illigitimately.

    The evidence for the validity of the Bible is the same whether or not Genesis 1 is viewed as literal or allegorical. It is an unfortunate tendancy among the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve to tell God what He must have done rather than accept what He did. Since the evidence is in for an earth of billions of years of history, with common descent for all life, then we must adjust our views of what God was doing when He provided Genesis 1. You know - in the same way we just have to deny that the Bible says insects have four legs, even tho it uses those very words . . .

    It is true that clever minds can find some way of postulating a response against any evidence whatsoever, but please acknowledge that such things exist, instead of saying there is only radioactivity evidence to consider. After all, you've been dismissing radioactivity evidence, as well. Why pick it out for special mention and leave out the others?

    Oh, I was thinking of something I read a long time ago - that certain marine shells show daily and annual growth lines. Counting the daily lines showed they were experiencing many more days per year, which was consistent with the geological era from which they came . . . given that the moon has been slowing down the earth's rotation over geological history.

    Talmudic writers are perfectly capable of making up things and making mistakes when they do that. Merely having a memory that a Talmudic writer postulated that theory is, therefore, not evidence concerning the original writer of Leviticus had such a catagory in mind. Fo some reason, his opinion on the subject has failed to become very well known! To validate this "catagory" thery, find evidence anywhere you can that there was a catagory called "four-footed animals" that included winged creatures. I suspect you will only find conjecture, not evidence. Writers of the Talmud declared that God originally made tongs on the sixth day of creation, you know. Why? Because tongs are always made by means of pre-existing tongs. Therefore the first tongs must have been devinely created. Sort of a pre-Darwin argument from irreducible complexity! I cite this as an example that Talmudic writers are very capable of just plain making stuff up out of thin air.

    But the main point I make is - your Talmudic writer felt a need to explain the seeming Bible passage away rather than to accept the apparant literal statement of the Bible. He is unable to merely "let God be true and every man a liar"; instead he rethought the meaning of the verse. Lev 11:23 But all other winged insects which are four-footed are detestable to you.
    NAS
    Why doesn't it trouble you that this description of the catagory is completely inaccurate? The number of all four legged winged species is zero! You are unable to "let God be true and every man a liar" in relation to this verse! But we all are alike, we must all reach for alternative interpretations whenever we can't possibly bend our minds to take the plain literal text as true.

    Read again. It is the day of healing. The extra light is, in Isaiah's mind, a blessing.

    I'm missing the word "SOUND" here. I objected to your statement that there was SOUND coming from the stars. I see you have no evidence for SOUND coming from the stars. The word RANAN, however, does refer to sound, apparantly relatively untuned sound, more like a shout or even something ratteling. But whatever stars do, it's not literally RANAN, because you can't hear them! Poetically, of course, its a nice touch, to have the morning starts RANAN for joy. Job really is great poetry, you know.

    I am fortunate enough to have Hoyle's book, Frontiers of Astronomy, saved as a momento from my childhood. Do you have it as well? It's got a lot of good material about cepheid variables we could discuss in connection with speed of light variation and also about the evolution of stars over time - astronomical time, of course . . . . . and remarkable diagrams that give a whole new line of proof of a universe older than a million years or so. Well, at least for certain star clusters.

    Parable. I concede Genesis 1 is not strictly in the literary form of a parable. But as I explained, I was intending to use the word "parable" in a broad sense, not narrow, that's all. Jesus refers to the Genesis narrative, in a manner of taking it for granted, as a common ground for discussion, for example, when arguing with His foes. If God originally made a decision to choose the Hebrew people complete with their legends for His special people as part of His plan for redeeming the human race, and allowed their legends to become part of the scriptures regardless of the literal truth of the creation narrative details . . . . what course would He naturally take in dealing with these same scriptures in the days of His flesh?

    Let me tell a true story. One day one of my colleagues at the human services office where I used to work came rushing over to me all upset. It seems that a client had shown her his hand, on which he had maked with a pen, the numbers 666. My colleague was concerned that this client might have ruined his chance of salvation in the tribulation period that is coming. Knowing I was a Christian, she asked me if he was truly damned forever for certain.

    I did not take the opportunity to engage in a theological debate about the nature of the end times, even though my view of the end times, if adopted, would have bypassed her problem. Rightly or wrongly, I judged that talking like that would merely leave her unable to accept any help from me on the issue. Instead, I pointed out that since the client had marked himself, this could not possibly be considered the official mark, which would be "caused" to be done to everyone, both great and small. In other words, to ease her mind, I temporarily adopted her (to me) erroneous view of the end times. And she was able to accept that.

    In the same way, Jesus could easily have made the decision to not upset the still dawning awareness of mankind as to the nature of the universe. There are times we forget just how radically different our view of the universe actually is from the view of the ancients.
     
  12. Administrator2

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    HELEN

    Paul, where on earth do you get the idea that thorns and thistles were outside Eden all along? That can only come from your commitment to evolution! In the meantime, when the Lord is speaking to Adam, He says of the ground ”It WILL produce thorns and thistles.” It’s the future tense…

    And then you give real credibility to my personal idea of your use of a ‘God of the gaps’ argument when you refer to God ‘slipping in’ material in Job’s writing to make it inspired! What it means is that there seems to be a gap in your naturalistic explanation, so you are slipping God in there to make up for that. And what that is telling me is that you are depending on your own personal understanding of things as a way to interpret the Bible. Don’t you think that is rather chancy?

    You then mentioned that believing the Bible feels to you like an invitation to numb your mind, to stop thinking, etc.

    Do you consider my mind numb? If so, why are you responding to me? It is not an insult to my intelligence or yours to believe God knows what He is talking about when He speaks on something. It is rather giving us the correct direction for our intelligence so what we do will not be fruitless. And, contrary to your preference for astronomical texts, which change constantly, I really do prefer to take as my foundation what God has caused to be written in His Word regarding the heavens. This is the true and permanent foundation and all astronomical work can be built on that if one is interested in the truth of the matter.

    And again, since Satan fell AFTER Adam and Eve were created, as I documented above, Adam and Eve were not put on earth to defeat him! Nor could they. It is ONLY when Christ is in us that we can say to each other, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Without Christ we are ground meat where Satan is concerned.

    In a later paragraph you wrote: ”The evidence for the validity of the Bible is the same whether or not Genesis 1 is viewed as literal or allegorical. It is an unfortunate tendancy among the Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve to tell God what He must have done rather than accept what He did.

    1. The evidence for validity is most certainly not the same! If Genesis is wrong, the foundation of the Bible is wrong. If Genesis is allegorical, then those other Bible writers supporting it as literal truth were deceived and writing deception. Oh, Paul, there is all the difference in the world!

    2. I agree with you about the unfortunate tendency of men to try to tell God what He did. He told us very plainly. There is no reason for us to reject His Words and substitute evolution or anything else.

    In the meantime, marine shell growth responds to temperature, food, and light. When these are regular on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, then we can interpret the growth lines in that frame. When, however, these conditions vary more quickly, then the growth lines will not reflect normal time.

    And, really, if the moon has been slowing down the earth’s rotation, please tell me, just how fast did the earth have to be rotating 4.5 BILLION years ago…???

    And as far as your ideas of taxonomic classification are concerned, it is fine to be ethnocentric, but perhaps not so fine to denigrate the systems used by other cultures in other times. You may not like it or approve, but calling the Hebrews too stupid to count the legs on insects is rather insulting.

    But tell me, does a millipede truly have a thousand legs??? Perhaps, in our own way, we are doing the same thing?

    As for astronomy – there is an awful lot more found and written about since Hoyle…

    We are discovering more and more. Jesus, who made it, already knows all that stuff. So I guess I will take Him at His Word. So far I haven’t numbed out too much, I don’t think.
     
  13. Administrator2

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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Hi Helen! Are we having fun yet? May the Lord renew your heart into overflowing thankfulness to Him in the coming season, mine to for that matter - Oh, and of course, the rest of our readers (both of them)

    Sure, Adam's future. We already know tyrannosaurus rex had carnivorous teeth and went extinct long before there was any man. Thorns and thistles would have no problem existing in the same realms that have carnivorous teeth.

    Hey, no fair, I said "I have no quarrel with" and now you're making it my hundred percent certainty, so you can imply some kind of gap? PuhLEEZ! And yes, I think that depending on personal understanding of the Bible, uninformed by science, is a chancy way of interpreting reality. Thank you for helping make that clear.

    There you go again. I didn't say believing the Bible did that. I said that when you utter the words "why don't you just believe the Bible", in the context of pushing your interpretation over mine, it seems like that. Yet you are perfectly willing to not "just believe the Bible" when it comes to Leviticus 11:23 Lev 11:23 But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination to you. (RSV) First, you re-interpret the plain language into an expanded class of "those winged insects with four feet or more" which we all know is an stretch and then you say the Bible is inerrant, after all, when properly interpreted. In this way, you make everything in the Bible subject to being reinterpreted to agree with anything you like, but you object when I do it to agree with reality, according to my best understanding of reality. That's not fair. Instead, to be consistent, you should be pushing for the existence of four legged flying creatures. What? You can't do that? Neither can I accept a 6000 year old earth.

    Honest, I do not think your mind is numb! You have displayed quite a nimble mind, I will gladly bear witness to that anywhere, anytime.

    Oops, I missed that documentation about Satan falling AFTER. Scanned back and didn't spot it. Sorry.

    It's never really been about Literal Genesis. It's been about God literally calling us home to Him. Are you jealous of the Catholics, who feel so secure because they have an infallible pope, while we're stuck with fallible Baptist preachers? Would you take their feeling of security in exchange for giving up your knowledge they are mistaken? If God points me to the Christ of the Bible, shall I hold back because I know He made the world over four billion years ago? Hardly! Please don't stand in my way as I draw near to God and insist that I give up some of my knowledge!

    I knew you could do that! <gggg>

    As I recall, about once an hour . . .

    I know. Reading Hoyle's Frontiers of Astronomy today, in the light of current knowledge, is a fascinating exercise in being careful to not uncritically accept what you read. A lot of it is very good material and still valid, a lot is simply superceded. He advances the idea, for example, that the earth has become stuck with 24 hour rotation because solar tides of the ATMOSPHERE, of all things, keeps it from slowing down more. I think that idea died with his book, but I not really qualified to say. He poo-poos plate tectonics. Stuff like that. His most famous obsolete idea is a major theme of the book - the notion that the universe is eternally old and there is a cosmic law that causes continuous creation of matter - his "steady state" universe. And you would LOVE his comments on the long term instability of the earth's north pole!

    1-2-3 Infinity, by George Gamow, is in startling contrast, from the same time period. There is very little that has become obsolete. There is a great deal of fundamental material about Einstein's theory of relativity, entropy, genetics, cosmology - he even predicts there is a temperature of the universe, and gives a figure - turns out it was about twice as warm as the currently known temperature of the cosmic background radiation, but it is a remarkably close estimate, given the uncertainties he had to deal with.

    What made the difference between two highly intelligent professors, both well known in their fields, so that one nearly always gets it right and the other often makes spectacular mistakes that time reveals only too plainly? If we can explain it, maybe we could explain the difference between you and me. One thing - they both did their best to find out truth.
     

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