ISCAST, CASE and New College: It’s time to return to the Word of God!
Published: 14 June 2011(GMT+10)
Emeritus Professor Michael Knight presenter of an ISCAST-CASE lecture in July 2011.
The topic of a lecture advertised for 18 July 2011 caught my attention, “How we became human from the beginning: the current evidence and what may a Christian make of it?”1 It’s one of the regular lectures hosted jointly by ISCAST and CASE, two influential evangelical academic associations in Australia.
ISCAST (Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology) was founded to study the relation between science and faith, including evolution and creation.2
CASE (Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education) is an activity of New College, a residential college at the University of New South Wales linked with the Sydney Anglicans.3
Academics connected with these associations are networked with evangelical academic institutions and ministries throughout Australia, such as the AFES (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students), CPX (Centre for Public Christianity), Bible Society Australia, and seminaries such as Morling College, Moore Theological College, Melbourne College of Divinity, Tabor College, Ridley College, and more.
The July lecture in 2011 is to be presented by Michael Knight, Emeritus Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has had a distinguished career in hydrogeology. Members of these associations have excellent academic credentials within their fields.
This compromise in academic circles is creating a long-term problem for the church in Australia.
However, these institutions are all committed to the mainstream secular view that everything evolved over billions of years. They do not accept that the plain teaching of the Word of God in Genesis is historically accurate, strongly opposing a recent six-day creation. They devote much energy promoting evolution and billions of years in evangelical circles, and look for new ways to harmonize evolution with Christianity. This compromise in academic circles is creating a long-term problem for the church in Australia.
Consider the abstract for the July lecture.
We are made in God’s image but how did he do it? Humanization may be viewed as a process that extended over 7 million years. Changes occurred to anatomy, creativity, culture, socialisation and consciousness of the spiritual dimension. Pain and pressures due to changing climates were experienced. Sin as well as social concern for others are also evident in the material record over time and suggests choice was involved.
By the Bronze Age, when Abraham lived (1812–1637 BC) Homo sapiens were fully wired to worship various gods on offer or have a relationship with the one true God. Abraham, in spite of his pagan culture, chose the latter for which we can all be most grateful. Recent neurological research shows that today’s humans are wired for belief. God entered our world as a fully human and divine being: Jesus Christ, and through Him we can share in the nature of God. Some Christian implications of the palaeoanthropological, archaeological and other evidence presented will be discussed.
Evangelicals should pay attention to what God actually said.
He asks, “How did God do it?” Perhaps evangelicals should pay attention to what God actually said. The Bible tells us God created Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2). Humanization did not extend over 7 million years but God did it on Day 6 of Creation Week. Jesus said “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:6) Jesus did not say that man emerged after 13 billion years of evolution, which would put this couple squarely towards the end of creation. Jesus said “at the beginning”.
What are the Christian implications of the palaeoanthropological, archaeological and other evidence? If interpreted within an evolutionary, long-age framework—fatal!
It is hardly possible to logically defend any major Christian doctrine if you start with the evolutionary creation myth that man evolved over millions of years. How can we plausibly explain the goodness of God if death and suffering has been around for millions of years? How can we claim man is unique if we gradually evolved from animals? How can we justify man’s rule over creation if we are just an evolutionary part of it? How can we say that the wages of sin is death if death has been around for millions of years? How can we say that marriage is between a man and a woman if humans evolved from an interbreeding population of animals? Why does the blood of Christ atone for sin if bloodshed existed long before sin came into the world?
Tragically, the evolutionary palaeoanthropological implications destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ. They also seriously undermine belief in the truth and authority of Scripture. It would mean that for thousands of years before the rise of modern science, all people (including the Lord Jesus and the NT writers) were misled into believing in six-day fiat creation, a global flood and so on (see box below).
A far more useful and productive discussion would turn the question around: “What are the implications for palaeoanthropology and archaeology of the Christian worldview?”
Michael Knight, it is time for you to re-think your lecture. Use the Bible’s history to interpret the paleontological evidence. Don’t use the evolutionists’ unbiblical speculation to discount the Bible.
When we start with the Bible we know that God created man in His image about 6,000 years ago. We must question the dates that we read. That is what being a good scientist involves. Realize that the so-called “7 million years” are subjectively assigned to make a good evolutionary story.
Indeed, we must question everything!—including the way the fossil evidence for human evolution is presented.
The key to biblical history is the Flood of Noah (described in Genesis chapters 6–8 and attested by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter). The Flood washes away the millions of years. The Phanerozoic sediments containing the fossil remains of dead animals were mostly deposited during that year. The small portion of the Phanerozoic that contains the paleoanthropological evidence for ‘human evolution’ is mostly post-Flood. In other words, these fossil remains are of humans and animals descended from those that dispersed from Noah’s Ark on the Mountains of Ararat in the Middle East.
When we start with the Word of God it makes sense of the scientific evidence, as an exploration of articles on Creation.com shows (see Q&A topics).
To the members of ISCAST and CASE, and your network of evangelical academic friends: it’s time to challenge the ‘science’. It’s time to stand on the Word and lead the church in Australia in a biblical direction.
Emeritus Professor Michael J Knight, I look forward to hearing that your lecture on July 18 challenged the paleoanthropological and archaeological orthodoxy that is sapping the vitality of the Christian faith in Australia. I hope to hear that you presented an explanation that upheld the Word of God, beginning in Genesis.
One of my colleagues once asked a leading light in ISCAST about the Mark 10:6 passage cited above where Jesus affirms His belief that people were there at the beginning of creation. The professor concerned readily acknowledged that Jesus accepted a literal Adam and Eve and a recent creation (young world). But, he claimed, that was because Jesus “didn’t know as much science as we do today”. This was, he said, some mysterious accompaniment of the Incarnation and Jesus ‘laying down’ some of His previous knowledge of what actually happened when He (God the Son) created. My flabbergasted colleague did not think at the time of pointing out that even if Jesus had somehow lobotomized Himself so as to forget His Creator role over billions of years, it would mean that God the Father had permitted His Son to not only believe but teach a view that the Father knew to be falsehood—and had also allowed this false view to become part of His inscripturated Word!
- 2011-07-18 How We Became Human from the Beginning (NSW), http://www.iscast.org/node/538. Return to text.
- http://www.iscast.org. Return to text.
- http://www.case.edu.au/index.php/about/. Return to text.
These not-so-wise evangelicals are also forgetting that Jesus was the Creator of the universe. He would hardly forget or set aside such a momentous event which was also crucial to His message of salvation. (NB John 1:10 & Hebrews 1:2). Thank you for this article. It helps to explain why evangelical churches are closing their doors.
Are these organizations aware of CMI ? What connection can be made to help them make use of the resources you have? It’s a shame such well meaning dedication is misplaced in promoting the Gospel. God bless you all.
How sad is this. I fear for our young Pastors who are fed such confusion. No wonder compromise abounds in our churches with young people deserting in droves.
Unfortunately these evangelicals are on a slippery slope that most historically evangelical denominations have already fallen off. I suspect the next generation of leaders will start to question & rethink the fundamentals as well.
Good on you, and I thank God for your faithfulness to His inerrant Word. God has spoken, but the evangelical church today so often prefers to hear what man has said. It is truly tragic!
It saddens me deeply to read articles such as this, but I have to say, were it not for some well placed tracts and a God-given thirst for knowledge, I might well be in the same position.
People accept what they have been taught, and don’t think to challenge the majority. I really pray that your ministry will help people to see the truth. I am always referring people to your site, as I know they will benefit from your excellent resources.
For some time now I’ve been following CMI and their efforts to wake up much of Christendom to its compromise or indifference to the so called ‘science’ of our day. The situation of the Church today reminds me of a passage in II Thess. about the latter days before the return of Christ where it says ‘ Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,…” I look at ISCAST and CASE as those who are helping foster this apostasy
It is unfortunate that Christian scientists often do not know much about the philosophy of science and the limitations on knowledge imposed by secular philosophy (i.e. that man is autonomous in his reasoning). Christians have been bamboozled into believing that scientific theories of the past are unassailable truth. Even the secularists know better. I had a conversation a few years ago with two University of Buffalo geologists. They correctly stated that science cannot determine absolute truth. If that is so, how can they be so absolutely sure that Biblical Creation is wrong? Philosophers of science also cannot come up with a consistent definition of what science is and is not (the demarcation problem). But the secularists are also adamant that creation science is pseudoscience. It is unfortunate that Christian scholars have been "taken captive" by the worldly philosophies that undergird secular science. Thank God for the work of organizations like CMI to properly equip that Body of Christ to discern truth.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been a member of a Presbyterian church with a Moore-trained pastor who is, praise God, an excellent pastor, who takes God’s word very seriously. He is undecided on the long age versus YEC issue, though I have given him a copy of Refuting Compromise, and I raise the issue with him every so often.
It pains me that the Sydney Anglicans, an otherwise excellent evangelical organisation in my opinion, feel the need to compromise on the first 11 chapters of Genesis. I know there are those within their ranks who are YECs, but that, unfortunately, is not the official stance.
Let’s continue to pray that God will open their eyes to the truth in this area.
God bless you and your work,
I wish you guys would stop feeding these people’s group delusion that they are ‘evangelical’. They aren’t. If they are, so is Spong.
ISCAST uses Matt 24:36 to justify the belief that there were things that Jesus didn’t know. But this verse refers to a specific future event-the date of Jesus’ second coming-which only the Father knows. When ISCAST extrapolate from this to say that there were also past events that Jesus didn’t know about, they are clearly discounting his role in creation and his knowledge of its time and manner. But Jesus showed a clear knowledge of the world’s beginnings. I believe that ISCAST’s view of Christ would have been condemned as heretical by the Church Councils that hammered out the doctrine of Christ’s divinity and humanity, namely fully God and fully human in the one person at the same time.
The saddest thing of all is that Students at the College are not even given the opportunity to look into the truth of Genesis. They are told that a literal interpretation is unbiblical and CMI is not mentioned at all. It's not right. Discussing with some College students about Creation they threw all sort of arguments against creation at me and there was a well-thought out, Biblical answer to every singel one of their arguments. I pointed them to the CMI website. I hope they looked.