Feedback for the week of October 31, 2005
A sceptic’s challenge
I think the content on your site is ludicrous. I also am a Christian and an open minded one at that.
It does not strike me as very open-minded to dismiss us as “ludicrous” without offering the slightest evidence to justify such scorn. You would do better to open your mind to what Jesus said, since you claim to be a Christian, including ‘Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35), even the parts most often mocked by critics, including a recent creation (Mark 10:5–9) and global Flood (Luke 17:26–27). See also The times are changing and so should we?
To think that God created the earth 6,000 years ago is not only silly,
What is really silly is making bald assertions without refuting any of our arguments.
but a clear testament to this website’s ignorance,
Even though a dozen or more Ph.D. scientists contribute to it, including biologists and geologists? And there are Bible scholars as well. But this is much less important than following the One who knows everything, and compared to whom we know nothing (Isaiah 55:8–9).
and severe underestimation of my God’s awesome power and supreme intelligence.
Your God? Is this the true God who has revealed Himself propositionally in the Bible, or a ‘god’ of your own making, which amounts to idolatry (Exodus 20:3–6)? Of course, we frequently proclaim His supreme intelligence in the ingenious design features of His creation, and His supreme power in the majestic cosmos. But your view entails that God can’t communicate the timeframe or sequence of His creative acts, even though the ancient Hebrews had plenty of words to communicate long ages and evolution, if that is what He had intended. See How long were the days of Genesis 1? and Genesis according to evolution.
Look around you. The weather, the life cycle of a butterfly, the way dolphins communicate, the eerie way birds and dogs know when bad weather is coming, or that an earthquake is imminent. These and many more observations show the complex nature of God, and how cycles and circles rule our day.
And this disproves what we say? How, exactly? We oppose the naturalistic worldview precisely because it denies that these things have any thing to do with God; naturalistic ‘science’ ultimately asserts that nature does not show anything about God. Rather, this faulty worldview claims that what we observe is merely the accidental product of a big bang, chance formation of life in an alleged primordial soup by chemical evolution, and evolution of further life by random mutations and natural selection.
The way everything is infinitely connected, and the marvel of discovering we are all made up of the same cosmic material …
The important thing is how the material is arranged. If you were crushed under a Sherman tank, it would not be the material that would be different; rather, it would be disorganized, so no longer living. Similarly, there is not much material difference between a blank hard drive and one with programs and data. The difference is information, a third fundamental quantity that is neither matter nor energy. The big mystery for evolution from goo to you via the zoo is generating the encyclopedic information content of even the simplest living cell.
How could you subscribe to only a few literal translations of the bible,
We also have scholarship of the original languages, which reinforces our case, e.g. the Hebrew experts cited in The Hebrew language and Messianic prophecies.
while conveniently translating the remainder figuratively?
Quite simple: Genesis is historical narrative, so we should interpret it historically; we should interpret figures of speech figuratively, as explained in Should Genesis be taken literally? and this reply to Dembski. It’s not rocket science: is it really so hard to recognize that when Jesus said, ‘I am the vine’ (John 15:5), He didn’t mean that He was sprouting leaves or grapes? However, whenever He or the rest of the Bible authors discussed something from Genesis 1–11, they took it as history. See also Answer to philosophy/religion professor on biblical exegesis and the problem of evil and this reply to a selectively post-modernist medical doctor.
I challenge this cherrypicked method of interpreting the Lord’s word
And dig deeper for answers.
It’s hardly ‘cherry-picking’ to take the Bible according to the meaning the original readers would have understood from the grammatical and historical context. Cherry-picking is a more apt description of those who ignore what it states in many parts, choosing to believe only what suits them.
He left us messages in everything He created.
Actually, not so. Please study what we have already said in detail about general and special revelation, because it is pointless to re-invent the wheel here. But to summarize, nature is not propositional revelation, i.e. facts about things. Nature must be interpreted in the light of a framework. And nature reveals only enough about God to condemn man (Romans 1:20), while we need special revelation for salvation (Romans 10:11-15).
Not just what a few privileged souls wrote in the Bible.
While they were moved along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21) to write ‘God-breathed’ Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15–17)—see also The authority of Scripture.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.