The Ham/Nye Debate: Why I Don’t Care

So why did I not even bother watching the big debate? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Awhile back, I first heard the news about how Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis was going to debate Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I had great frustration as soon as I heard about the debate. On Facebook after the debate, someone in apologetics I know posted asking who won. My pick obviously didn’t win, and that was the meteor shower that should have come through and knocked the satellites broadcasting it out of the sky or else the winter snowstorm that could have cancelled the whole event. I replied that I don’t know who won, but I’m sure the loser was everyone on the planet.

Yet a few people did ask me what I thought about it and wasn’t I excited about this debate. Therefore, I figured I’d write something so that those who want to know my opinion on the whole matter could see what it is and why that I hold it.

As readers know, I am an old-earth creationist. I do not hold hostility towards YEC. My ministry partner is a YEC. More importantly, my wife is a YEC. What I have a problem with is a dogmatic YEC. I in fact have just as much a problem with a dogmatic OEC. Someone is not more or less of a Christian because of their views on the age of the Earth. There are people who love Jesus more than I do who are YEC. There are people who love him more than I do who are OEC.

Having said that, part of the problem those of us who are OEC have to overcome is constantly having it be assumed that if we’re Christians, then that means that we believe in a young Earth and we don’t. Too often, YEC is presented as the biblical model. As readers know, I happen to think John Walton has the right model. My review of his book on the topic can be found here and my interview with him can be found here.

I also have another viewpoint that can be considered different from a number of Christians and that is that I do not consider the question of evolution important to Christian truth. That does not mean the question is unimportant in itself, but if you want to know if Christianity is true or not, you do not need to ask if evolution is true or not. Now if matter is all there is, then of course Christianity is not true, but because evolution is true, it does not necessitate that matter is all that there is.

In my own work, I refuse to speak on evolution as evolution and my reasoning for doing such is quite simple. I am no scientist. If evolution is to be critiqued, I believe it should be critiqued scientifically. I do not possess the necessary study and/or credentials to do that. If I fault the new atheists for speaking on philosophy, history, biblical studies, etc. without proper background and/or study, then I will follow the same pattern.

For those who do wish to critique evolution, there is no reason to bring Scripture into it. The claim of evolution is a scientific claim and if it falls, it will fall on a scientific basis. I have no problem with people critiquing evolution. I hold no position on the matter simply because I could not scientifically defend or deny evolutionary theory. It is the same reason I do not use Craig’s Kalam argument for the origin of the universe. I am not a scientist and it is not my language. I will stick to the metaphysical arguments instead.

So when I see the Ham/Nye debate, I see the perpetuating of a stereotype that I do not want perpetuated. I see it being made as again, science vs. the Bible and if you hold to the Bible, well you have to hold to a young-earth.

When we are trying to get people to become Christians, our goal should not be to get them to a viewpoint on the origins of old creation but rather on new creation. We want to get them to the risen Jesus and not to a 10,000 year old Earth. Suppose that someone believes in evolutionary theory and a 4.5. billion year old Earth, but also believes Jesus is the risen Lord. Such a person is in the Kingdom. No doubt about it.

Now on the other hand, suppose there is someone, perhaps a Jew, who will stand with Ken Ham and say that the Earth is indeed 10,000 years old and macroevolutionary theory is a fairy tale. Suppose also that this person being a Jew and not Messianic denies that Jesus is the risen Lord. Such a person is not in the Kingdom. No doubt about it.

So which one should we be emphasizing and getting people to realize the most? The age of the Earth and a stance on evolution, or should it be that we are getting them to recognize that Jesus is the risen Lord?

What we do too often is tell atheists that if you want to be a Christian, then you must deny what you are certain of by the sciences. What we also do is tell Christians that if you want to be a follower of Christ, you must believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old. Both positions I am sure will keep people away from the Kingdom.

It is my hope not that Christians will embrace evolution as I do not care about that, but that they will realize that it doesn’t matter and the ultimate hope is to realize that Jesus is the risen Lord of the universe. If you are someone who is capable of presenting every argument you can for the Earth being young, but you are unable to make an argument that Jesus is the risen Lord, then you have made a mistake somewhere along the way.

It is because it feeds a debate then that I do not support in any way that I refused to watch the Ham/Nye debate and so far, no one has given me any reason why I should.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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42 Responses to “The Ham/Nye Debate: Why I Don’t Care”

  1. Mike Gantt Says:

    Nick,

    There is much that you say here with which I can heartily agree. And, like you, I am not scientifically literate. In fact, I don’t even know enough science to declare myself an OEC versus some other position as you do.

    That said, there are two issues that keep me from being able to ignore the broader evolution-creation question. First, while the Bible does not teach science it does teach history, and there are significant points of tension between the history that the Bible gives and that which evolution implies: including the historicity of Adam and Eve, Babel, and Noah’s Flood. For many people, acceptance of evolution undermines biblical credibility. Second, young people today are taught evolution throughout the school system and we need to give them a way to handle this – specifically, a way of dealing with the biblical tension points so that they cling to what is essential and don’t worry about what is unessential.

    Your thoughts?

  2. apologianick Says:

    Hi Mike,

    The mistake is reading the accounts as scientific accounts. Of course the Bible teaches history, why else would I stress the resurrection?

    So what do I recommend we do?

    First off, a lot of what you say gets to the picture that if Inerrancy is not true, then Scripture is not true at all. This is an opinion we need to jettison. It could be for the sake of argument that there are errors in Scripture and yet Jesus rose from the dead.

    Second, if someone doesn’t know the answers to some questions, that’s okay. You don’t have to be a specialist in the OT to know that Jesus rose from the dead in the NT.

    Third, with the flood, I hold to a local flood. It provides no problems.

    Fourth, you can actually be a TE and hold to a real Adam and Eve. I know some who do.

    What we really need to do ultimately is make the resurrection central and say that we can leave science questions to the scientists and if students have an interest in the science of the matter, then we encourage them to study it.

  3. Bunto Skiffler Says:

    [NPeters] “It could be for the sake of argument that there are errors in Scripture and yet Jesus rose from the dead.”

    The cream of the jest 🙂 My advice MG, think even harder about it.

    -b

  4. Dante Ting Says:

    I do believe Craig’s 5 arguments for the existence of God are not strictly scientific, but philosophical.

    The acceptance of evolution does not undermine Scripture, but a particular interpretation of Scripture. At the time of Galileo, some of his opponents have argued much the same, but we now know that it is not Scripture that is in error, but the interpretation of it, and such that even Augustine once wrote concerning the literal interpretation of Genesis, that even non-Christians would be able to know something about the world, and that if they have evidence, we follow the evidence, and we interpret Scripture accordingly.

    • Mike Gantt Says:

      Dante Ting,

      If all that was required by the acceptance of evolution was a reinterpretation of Gen 1-2, that would be one thing. There is, jhowever, much more to it than that. The Bible is a book of history and acceptance of evolution calls into question much of that history. Peter Enns, for example, now sees no actual history in the Bible until the well into Israel’s monarchy. That’s calls into question the history of Abraham, Moses, and David. These are not minor Bible characters.

      The resurrection of Christ is the single most important idea conveyed by the Bible and Paul asserts that its historicity is absolutely essential to its efficacy. The problem is not that giving up the historicity of Gen 1-2 itself undermines the historicity of the resurrection. The problem is that we will have given up the historicity of Gen 1-2 for a reason that, in due time, can and will be used against any other historical narrative in the Bible.

      This is not a matter of inerrancy. It’s a matter of historical reliability.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        To say that the Bible is a book of history is one thing, but it would be an exegetical error if you do not take into account the genre of the passages. The Bible is clearly more than just a historical book; it is also a prophetic book and also a poetic book. Even different passages within the same book require different exegetical methods, depending on their genre, e.g. the post-exilic prophets are a combination of history as well as poetic prophecy, which means there are clearly parts where we cannot have a literal interpretation. There are many other things to be taken into account in interpreting passages as well, such as the culture (e.g. use of hyperbole), wordplay, audience, etc. The main thing is to consider the intent of the passage. Pushing for a literal interpretation of the part where it is not warranted can and does produce contradictions within the Bible, as well as contradictions with science (cf. the Galileo affair).

        Reinterpreting the creation narrative of Genesis is not giving up its historicity! It is a strange and marvelous thing that Genesis describes almost to perfect detail the order in which the animal kingdoms came to be, it’s just in the telling of how they came to be that is interpreted differently, from a literal spoken command of God, to the workings of God through nature to bring about the new species. That’s the difference between OECs and TEs, I guess.

        Taking this to be a matter of historical reliability is to commit the fallacy of composition, where it is assumed that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        I fully accept that the Bible employs a variety of genres, and that history is just one of them. I am surprised, however, that you think this awareness resolves the problem I raised.

        Evolution creates multiple tension points in both the Old and New Testaments no matter which genre you ascribe to the affected passages. Gen 1-2 is just the beginning of such difficulties. For example, even if you decide that the writer of Gen 1-2 intended it as myths, you then have to 1) explain why the rest of the Old Testament and New Testatment do not regard Adam and Eve to be mythical, and 2) explain why biblical authors denounce myths (1 Tim 1:4; 2 Tim 4:4; Tit 1:14). And, again, that passage is just the beginning of the tension points between evolution and the Bible.

        The “Galileo difficulty,” by contrast, is resolved in one fell swoop when you recognize that the Bible is not teaching science. Rather the Bible is using the creation that is visible to the naked eye to explain the invisible dimension which no scientific instrument will ever be able to detect or measure. The creation visible to the naked eye is the same in modern times as it was in ancient times. Therefore, Bible interpretation is not complicated by Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, or any other scientists. If the twain of Bible and science never meet, there’s no tension between them and therefore nothing to reconcile.

        Evolution, because it implies history, is a different matter. Of course, the Bible does not consist exclusively of history (as your comment seems to suggest that I thought). The presence of other genres in the Bible does not, however, mean that it no longer can be considered to contain history. On the contrary, as I wrote above, the Bible presents Christ’s resurrection as futile if it did not actually happen. And if Abraham and David never existed, then it was foolish to claim that Jesus was descended from them and inherited promises made by God to them.

        The tension points between the Bible and evolution cannot be ignored but they can be downplayed. Christians willing to be agnostic about resolution of these tension points tend to end up as TE’s and ID’s, if they take a position on creation-evolution at all. Christians for whom the full text of Scripture is important to their faith tend to end up as OEC’s or YEC’s. Further to this point, of course, almost all YEC”s are inerrantists.

        I don’t know beans about science (and therefore can’t pick a winner among these various creationist viewpoints) but understanding the Bible is crucial to me. I don’t mind entertaining a reinterpretation of of it, but there must actually be a reinterpretation offered. And it must be compelling. I have observed that Christians who accept evolution tend to downplay its tension with Scripture rather than resolve it.

        If I were my only concern, I would not even bring it up as a topic of conversation. I would simply reject evolution while accepting everything else I could from science. The issue of young people is very important to me, however. I’m searching for the right way to guide them, to the degree I have opportunity to direct them. To reject evolution could cause them considerable discomfort in life. I don’t want them to incur that discomfort if it’s not necessary to their faith. That’s why I keep asking Christians who believe in evolution to show how it can be reconciled to the Bible. Most of the ones I ask just mock OEC’s and YEC’s and ID’s, without ever addressing the biblical tension points (which, again, are historical, not scientific).

        Therefore, the reason I don’t think this issue cannot be safely ignored has nothing to do with science and has everything to do with helping young people find truth in life so that they can walk with God, clinging to what is essential and letting go of what doesn’t matter. They are growing up in a world that is convinced of the truth of evolution, and that is taking an increasingly dismissive view of anyone who doesn’t share that view.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        Theistic Evolution does not treat Genesis 1-2 as myth. In saying that Genesis was not a historical record, I am not at all suggesting that it does not contain history, but that it cannot be interpreted as though it is a historical record in a relatively modern sense where everything is as literal as written. I’ve already pointed out where OECs and TEs differ, in that one believes God created new kinds of animals ex nihilo, while the other believes that God created them via the evolutionary process.

        It is erroneous to claim that TEs do not hold the full text of Scripture to be important to their faith, and just as erroneous to claim that all YECs are inerrantists. In fact, it is outright slanderous. It’s almost as absurd as accusing John Calvin of not holding the full text of Scripture to be important to his faith, seeing that he believes that apart from the heavens and the earth, nothing else was created ex nihilo, meaning that the creation of the plants and animals were done via secondary causes, which BB Warfield has described as “pure evolution”.

        I, for one, have been a YEC for years, before I have read actual arguments against YEC by OECs, and from further reading by several prominent Christian theologians, including NT Wright, I am more comfortable with TE, and from our interpretation, TE resolves the tension. The key resource for me in resolving the tension is Biologos. It presents a very strong case for the reinterpretation of Genesis.

        Conversely, I see that you are convinced of the truth of creationism, and you are taking an increasingly dismissive view of anyone who doesn’t share that view.

      • Bunto Skiffler Says:

        [MG] “The “Galileo difficulty,” by contrast, is resolved in one fell swoop when you recognize that the Bible is not teaching science. Rather the Bible is using the creation that is visible to the naked eye to explain the invisible dimension which no scientific instrument will ever be able to detect or measure. The creation visible to the naked eye is the same in modern times as it was in ancient times. Therefore, Bible interpretation is not complicated by Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, or any other scientists. If the twain of Bible and science never meet, there’s no tension between them and therefore nothing to reconcile.”

        Replace ‘the Bible’ with ‘Aesop’s Fables’ and one could hope that this sort of thinking will become apparent to those here with us today in the 21st century. Breathtaking… in a not-so-good way MG.

        The Holy Bible’s problem is that it reeks of allegory towards our sensibilities today, and mercifully so for it’s religious adherents who value any authenticity for it left remaining. Can anyone find the same in Darwin’s theories? or Einstein’s? or Hubble’s?

        -b

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        You are taking offense unnecessarily. I neither accused nor slandered. I am merely trying to be as descriptive as possible in order to reach some answers. I don’t know why you consider me dismissive of others, except that I am trying to narrow the focus on my question in order to make the conversation productive.

        I didn’t realize that you were a TE, or at least lean that way. That being the case, you are in a great position to help me. However, your reference to BioLogos demonstrates the problem I have been describing. BioLogos is agnostic on the historicity of Adam and Eve. Thus I don’t see how I’m being unfair to say that BioLogos is prepared to accept ambiguity regarding the biblical passages on Adam and Eve but not prepared to accept ambiguity about evolution. That’s clearly demonstrating more faith in science than in the Bible. If you see it differently from BioLogos, please tell me how.

        Again, I am prepared to accept evolution if the biblical tension points can be relieved.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Bunto Skiffler,

        So far as I know neither Aesop’s Fables, Darwin, Einstein, or Hubble make a claim to explaining historically how God saved humanity from the curse of death through a descendant of the ancient nation of Israel named Yeshua of Nazareth. You’ll forgive me then for thinking that the truth or falsity of the Bible is a more important matter than any of the others.

        You are demonstrating the main point I have been trying to make to Dante Ting – namely that adherence to evolution tends to undermine confidence in the Bible. That’s why I’m concerned for young people.

      • Bunto Skiffler Says:

        [MG] “…namely that adherence to evolution tends to undermine confidence in the Bible.”

        Not really in the bible (and its wisdom-sayings), but in the claims of the religion. The scripture has many good qualities still.

        -b

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        With all due respect, your intent is irrelevant to the content of your message, which is slanderous and accusatory regardless of how you might view it yourself. You are descriptive of what you think TEs are, which I find to be in stark contrast to the TEs I’ve read thus far, therefore I see this as being dismissive of TEs.

        When you say that BioLogos is “demonstrating more faith in science than in the Bible”, you are creating this false dichotomy between the Bible and science; what is science, except the discovery of the properties of God’s creation? And yet, if you are to believe that the same God who inspired Scripture is also the same God who created this universe, then there cannot be any conflict between the Bible and science, especially because God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what has been made.

        Now, if we want to be literal about Genesis, then we see that Adam wasn’t the first man that God created, but Adam was the first to receive the breath (i.e. spirit) of life, therefore it is not necessary to make Adam and Eve the prime ancestors of all human beings, but as it were, they are both chosen to be the covenantal head of the rest of the human race. Indeed, if we are to understand the sons of God in Genesis 6 to be referring to the descendants of Adam and Eve, the ones still covenantally linked to God via Adam, and that the daughters of men are the descendants of the rest of the humans who did not share Adam’s covenant link, it would solve the interpretation of this passage, where the more common and yet mistaken notion is to see the sons of God as referring to angels (even though the Bible does say that the angels are neither male nor female) and the subsequent notion that angels can have sex with women to produce demon babies.

        Adherence to evolution undermines a particularly rigid and unnatural interpretation of the Bible, Mike Gantt; adherence to YEC undermines confidence in Christianity.

        “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]” – St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430), De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim (The Literal Meaning of Genesis)

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        While I don’t necessarily accept your intepretation of Gen 6, your making that argument is a good thing. Similarly, when TE’s talk about their interpretation of Cain’s wife, it is a good thing. These are good things because they take existing tension points in the Bible and show how the TE view can resolve them. What I have not seen TE’s do, is to similarly address the tension points that their argument creates (e.g. the historicity of Adam and Eve). For what good is a point of view that resolves prior biblical tension points only to create new ones that are more substantial (the historicity of Adam and Eve being a more important biblcal issue than Cain’s wife who was never mentioned again or the equally brief and enigmatic passage in Gen 6 about “sons of God”)?

        I also think that your invocation of the Augustine quote is a fair point for you to make. However, it is a point that the OEC’s also make. Therefore, the quote does nothing to commend the TE position over the OEC position. That is, and this is specifically relevant to the main point I have been addressing, it does nothing to commend evolution per se. Moreoever, we cannot know whether, if given the chance, Augustine would in our day express that criticism against both OEC’s and YEC’s – or against YEC’s only. That is, we cannot be sure from that quote that he would bless evolution as the way of God.

        I do not know whether John Walton is a TE or and OEC or something else, but I do know that he eschews a literal interpretation of Gen 1-2 while clinging to the historicity of Adam and Eve. Yet I have heard many evolutionists (both Christian and non-Christian), based on modern genetics and even more so the recent human genome project, declare that Adam and Eve could not have been the progenitors of the human race. Now, maybe Walton believes that Adam and Eve are historical without believing that we are all descended from them. I just don’t know enough about his views. This sort of question, however, is one that cries out for TE’s to address more directly and thoroughly. That a voice as respected as BioLogos is not willing to do so is a disappointment.

        I quite agree with you, as I have previously said, that there need be no conflict between the Bible and science since God is behind both. Yet there are conflicts between current understandings of the Bible and current understandings of science, and it does us no good to ignore them. When, for example, BioLogos or other TE’s can be emphatic about the truth of evolution but ambiguous on the portions of Scripture that seem at odds with it, people who know more about Scripture than science are going to be reticent to jump on the evolution bandwagon, and understandably so.

        If you TE’s want to win over more OEC’s and YEC’s (and folks like me who don’t know enough about science to even hold a specific position), I am laying out for you the path to victory.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        I’m sorry, but did I not show how TE can take the historicity of Adam and Eve to be factual?

        I am not quoting Augustine to champion any view, but to point out that we can and must reinterpret the Bible according to the factual data that we have.

        I’ve stated that, in my view, Adam and Eve are not the progenitors of the human race, but they are the first pair to receive the breath (i.e. spirit) of life and thus acquire a soul. Thus we can see Genesis 1 and 2 as two separate yet not contradictory accounts of creation.

        Based on what I have read, however, our current understanding of the Bible is warped. That is to say, we do not have a better understanding of the Bible than the early church fathers did, because of certain influences and the culture that we are brought up in has so constricted or narrowed how we ought to interpret Scripture. Thus, as BB Warfield has said, John Calvin’s view is “pure evolution”, and he would not have seen it to be in conflict with Scripture.

        Ultimately, I am not aiming to win over YECs and OECs, but I am aiming to show that TE is not in conflict with Scripture, just as I am aiming to defend Arminianism as a valid interpretation of Scripture but not to “evangelize” Calvinists.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        Thanks. Please allow me a few questions:

        1. What happened to the non-Adamic humans? Are their descendants still among us today? Or did they all perish in Noah’s Flood? Or meet some other fate?

        2. When an Adamic human married a non-Adamic human (e.g. presumably Cain and his wife) how was it determined whether the offspring would be Adamic (i.e. image of God with a soul) or non-Adamic (image of God without a soul)?

        3. Do you believe that Noah’s Flood was global and destroyed all Adamic and non-Adamic human beings? If so, do you believe that Gen 6:5 refers only to the wickedness of Adamic humans or the non-Adamic humans as well?

        4. Are you saying that Eve, unlike Adam, was not the result of evolution since she was made from Adam and not from the same ancestors as Adam?

        5. Do you think that Paul labored under the same misconception as today’s OEC’s and YEC’s that Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the human race?

        I hope these questions won’t seem too tedious to you and I would really like to know the TE view. You’re the first one I’ve encountered who’s been willing to go this far.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        I’ll answer them to the best of my knowledge:

        1. I believe they all perished in Noah’s flood, since Noah’s family was the only surviving remnant of the human race.

        2. I am not sure about this. I suppose the offspring will turn out to be Adamic since Cain does possess a soul.

        3. I believe the flood to be local, as befitting the original language of Scripture, not its translation. I do believe Genesis 6:5 refers to the wickedness of the human race as a whole.

        4. According to Dr Bob Utley, Professor of Hermeneutics, Genesis 2:21 “may be a Hebrew idiom for closeness and intimacy.”

        5. No. I think Paul was clear about Adam setting the precedent for the judgement of sin, and not about Adam being the progenitor of the human race.

        My answers may not be satisfactory to you, nor are they representative of what other TEs may answer, but I simply hope to show that TE does not undermine the authority of Scripture.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        Thanks. I have a host of follow-up questions, but because I don’t want to tax your patience, I’ll only ask you two of them:

        – If Noah’s flood was local how did it manage to destroy all the non-Adamic humans?

        – You’re saying that Paul believed as you do, that Gen 1 spoke of non-Adamic humans and Gen 2 spoke of Adamic humans, and that both coexisted until the flood? If I’ve got this wrong, please correct.

        If you actually do have an appetite for more questions beyond these, let me know and I’ll ask them. Otherwise, if you just answer these two I’ll let you alone for the time being.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        Thanks for your questions. They are helping me shape up my “evolving” beliefs as well:

        Perhaps I was mistaken about the non-Adamic humans not having souls; the main point about Adam, as I mentioned earlier, is Adam as the covenant head, and the precedent for the judgement of sin. Thus the flood did not destroy all the non-Adamic humans in the world, but it did destroy all the humans in the land (as the word “earth” in English translations actually mean in the original Hebrew). That is why we have statements like Numbers 13:33 which says that the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim, which could have been Nephilim who moved out of the land before the flood, for if the flood had been global, then there would no longer be any remnant of the Nephilim. I believe that the Jews of Paul’s time do not have a fixed view of Genesis; Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish scholar of the 1st century, wrote that Genesis is allegorical, and that the world cannot have been made in six days.

        I always welcome more questions.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        Thanks.

        1. If non-Adamic humans remained after the flood, is it possible that some are still among us now? If not, when did the last of them perish, and how can we be sure all of them are gone?

        2. When you say “I believe that the Jews of Paul’s time do not have a fixed view of Genesis,” do you mean that we cannot know what Jesus and Paul thought about Adam and Eve with respect to these issues we’re discussing? If we can know, what do you think they thought?

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Mike Gantt,

        You’re welcome.

        1. I’m sure there’s no difference now between Adamic and non-Adamic humans, just as there is now no difference between Jew and Gentile.

        2. Jesus being God would have understood what really went on, but perhaps to the rest it’s not even an important issue as modern American Christianity makes it out to be, therefore they did not really pay much attention to such things, notable exceptions include Philo of Alexandria, as I’ve mentioned previously, and even then he was pushing for an allegorical view not because of any sort of physical or scientific evidence, so we see that they do not think it an important matter whether to take Genesis 1 as literal.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Dante Ting,

        Regarding 1., at what point did the non-Adamic peope receive their souls and become Adamic people?

    • Bunto Skiffler Says:

      [Dante] “..but we now know that it is not Scripture that is in error, but the interpretation of it,..”

      Please elaborate more about this ‘proper’ scientific interpretation of scripture.

      sincerely,
      the spanish inquisition

  5. Dave Richards Says:

    Dear Nick,

    As you know, approximately 3/4 churched youth leave and few return for several reasons. Our locality (Bible Belt) is approx. 92% YEC.. Many YEC youth are unprepared to defend their faith as they enter the college/workplace environment. Most of these YECs get their science from the pulpit since the high schools leave them ignorant in most Earth Sciences. The seminaries churn out YECs and teach their congregations accordingly.

    It is exceedingly difficult to reverse this trend without changing seminary curriculum. Most seminary professors are not open to change and are comfortable teaching that which they think is true. Reasons to Believe is making efforts along with others to present alternatives to the standard fare delivered to seminary students, namely apologetics.

    Your efforts in this arena are making a difference but the job is immense. Reaching out to youth using the internet is very effective but the opposition (ignorance) is daunting. The “debate” referenced in your blog is typical of the public misunderstanding of the issues. Macro evolution is not a proven fact but the age of the earth is. Education of our youth in these issues is difficult with the leadership of local churches under the control of YECs.

    Keep up the good work,

    Dave Richards

  6. Joe Foster Says:

    I agree with your ministry partner in that I am YEC, and with you as to what must be emphasized. Everything turns on the Resurrection. That puts the focus on Jesus, where it belongs. When it comes to OEC vs. YEC, Christians turn into two or three homeowners fighting over the last piece of pizza while burglars are carrying all their belongings out the back door. Let the scientists quarrel, if quarrel they must. Let the rest of us follow Jesus. Whatever makes sense to you (OEC,YEC,TE) or something else I don’t know about, you are welcome to it. To me, it’s YEC, to you it’s OEC. So what? All that truly matters is eternal, and all that matters eternally is Jesus. There is nothing salvific regarding historical events separate from Jesus. It ALL comes down to Him, and His resurrection. As for the Kalam argument, anyone can use that. It is as elementary as 2+2. We know that everything that begins to exist has a cause. But we also know that the Bible doesn’t start out by arguing for God’s existence. It presupposes His existence. “In the beginning, God created …”. And there we stand, side by side, no matter what we believe about how He did it.

    • Bunto Skiffler Says:

      The Dead must rise… because they don’t

      [JF] “Everything turns on the Resurrection…It ALL comes down to Him, and His resurrection.”

      [1 Corinthians 15: 16-19, DRA]
      For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again.
      And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins.
      Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished.
      If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

      Bad news for the religion, I wouldn’t necessarily say so for the honest person.

      -b

      ps. I went with the DRA (grin).

  7. Andy Says:

    Great article, Nick
    You make several strong points. I agree completely that making the case for a risen Christ is paramount over all other things. I too do not consider myself adequately equipped to debate the topic of evolution, However, I do feel compelled to further my understanding and work on the skills necessary to do so.

    As Mike Gantt alluded to in his comments, young students are being indoctrinated with the teachings of evolution. But as we all know, evolution is more than just a biological science, it is a philosophy as well. And it is a philosophy that predominantly stands in opposition to our faith, and one that causes tension and division. Our kids are pressured into thinking that if they reject the idea of evolution then they are anti-science, lacking reason and gullible.

    Since the theory of evolution claims that all life on Earth is descended from a common ancestor through a blind process of time, chance and natural selection, it stands in great opposition to what the Bible records – that God created the universe and all living creatures. As a result a great population of God’s people have been, and continue to be,misled.

    In light of this, I believe scripture calls us to be concerned in this arena:

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie,”

    and

    “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather on Christ.”

    and

    “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”

    lastly

    “earnestly contend for the faith…”

    I have children in high school, so I know that the tension is very real.

    • Dante Ting Says:

      Based on BB Warfield’s comments on John Calvin, it appears to me that the latter would wholeheartedly support Theistic Evolution based on his understanding of creation ex nihilo being limited to only the heavens and the earth, where all else were brought forth by secondary causes, and this, as Warfield says, is “pure evolution”. Therefore I cannot see how the philosophy behind evolution could ever stand in opposition to the Christian faith.

      Conversely, NT Wright has pointed out that creationists who think that evolution opposes Scripture have a more deistic rather than theistic view of God, where in their view God only works apart from nature and not from within nature itself. So it appears to me that the creationist who cannot accept theistic evolution as a valid Christian alternative have a particular philosophy that limits God’s involvement in our world.

      You are indeed right in pointing that naturalistic evolution can only suppose that all life has descended from a common ancestor through a blind process of time, chance and natural selection, but it is not as though creationism is the only other alternative, ignoring, for example, theistic evolution as a better model for explaining the evidence.

      • Andy Says:

        Dante, Your point is well taken. Perhaps it would have been better if I had said that the philosophy of evolution “from an atheist’s” perspective is in contradiction to the Christian faith. While I am not a TE, I believe many have and continue to make a reasonable case for it. That said, it is my personal opinion that there are many flaws with the supposed evidence supporting common descent via natural selection. If the quality and quantity of evidence was positive I would quickly adhere to the TE position.

        The problem I was trying to describe (pertaining to young impressionable and ill-equipped minds) is that evolution, as portrayed by non-believers, seeks to divide an individual from their faith. Now, if they were being subjected to evolution from a TE mindset, that would be different. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Heck, I had not even heard an official presentation of TE until my mid 30’s. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Andy, if non-believers are the only ones portraying evolution as seeking to divide an individual from their faith, it would not have been a great issue, but the problem is that there are Christians who do that also.

  8. Duncan Says:

    I agree with most of Nick’s comments here. Jesus matters – and he takes people with much bigger problems than their views on Genesis.

    It’s important, though, not to dismiss YEC as just a mechanical, literal idea. The the theistic alternatives I’ve seen still don’t give me such a consistent explanation of God’s good nature; for example in his hatred of sickness and death. This is a living issue; not just a Genesis one.

    Funny thing is that I remember Wright being such a marvellous creationists on Romans 5 that he sometimes does a good job of explaining much of what’s important to me as a YEC – even though I never thought he actually was one.

    As for the science, whilst I don’t know nearly enough to confirm or refute evolution; my science is good enough to make me suspicious.

  9. Dante Ting Says:

    But is there any Scriptural basis for this notion that God hates physical sickness and death? If there was no animal death before the Fall, how would Adam have known what God meant when God said that in the day that Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam would die?

  10. DarcyJ Says:

    The existence of a historical christ is also in question.

  11. apologianick Says:

    No. The existence of a historical Christ is not in question. Want to know that? Just go to your local university and talk to the professor of ancient history and see what he says.

    • DarcyJ Says:

      The problem with that is most universities are based from religion. Lookup Rixhard Carrier

      • Dante Ting Says:

        Richard Carrier is literally the only professor of ancient history that doubts the historicity of Jesus. Also, even if the claim that “most universities are based from religion” is true, that’s irrelevant to the veracity of the scholarly consensus.

  12. apologianick Says:

    Dante, I must correct you on something you said.

    “Richard Carrier is literally the only professor of ancient history that doubts the historicity of Jesus. Also, even if the claim that “most universities are based from religion” is true, that’s irrelevant to the veracity of the scholarly consensus.”

    Carrier is not a professor. He does not teach at an accredited university. He does not hold tenure anywhere, despite supposedly being a world-renowned figure on the subject. Why is that? Because no university wants to hire someone who holds to the Christ-myth. Is it because they’re controlled by religion? No. That’s conspiracy theory nonsense. It’s because the theory is a joke.

    To answer Darcy, I have several several NT scholars who hold to the historicity of Jesus, liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist, Jew, agnostic, etc. The number in the field who deny can be counted on one hand.

    Why should I think the deniers have the better case?

    Personally, no one should give Carrier any credibility and atheists will be further embarrassed a couple of decades down the line when they’ve put all their eggs in the Carrier basket only to see it tumble. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was much sooner.

    • Bunto Skiffler Says:

      [NPeters] “Personally, no one should give Carrier any credibility…”

      Nick, comparing your credentials with his: you couldn’t carry his sweaty jockstap in your puny Mitchell’s pest control bag from (t)ennessee.

      • Mike Gantt Says:

        Richard Carrier proves that just because intelligence is present, it doesn’t mean that knowledge is.

        Moreover, if Richard told me it was going to rain, I would wonder why he was telling me that. If Nick told me it was going to rain, I would look for my umbrella.

      • Bunto Skiffler Says:

        [MG] “If Nick told me it was going to rain, I would look for my umbrella.”

        Yeah, you probably left in on the ark between the aardvarks and the stegosaurus.

        -b

  13. Clarification On Discussing Evolution | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] Diving into the ocean of truth. « The Ham/Nye Debate: Why I Don’t Care […]

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