Conversion, apostasy, and CMI’s approach
And why words mean the same to man and God
In the first section, BW asks good questions about the reasons people leave their faith, whether Christian or atheist, and what the best approach is. In the second section, DC asks about how we can know that Scripture means what it says. Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds to both. Readers should also check out the Related articles section for much more.
Having read many wonderful articles on your website, I get the sense that when a believing scientist switches camps from creationist to evolutionist, it is usually not evidence in favor of evolution that persuaded them to switch. It would seem that an overwhelming attraction to sin is the persuader in such a scenario.
In contrast, when an evolutionary atheist switches camps from evolutionist to creationist, it almost always has to be attributed to the overwhelming evidence for design that persuaded them.
There is a persuasion factor in each instance; people are either persuaded by the overwhelming power of sin and embrace godless evolution accordingly, or they are persuaded by the evidence of design, which makes them a prime candidate for being captured by the beauty and reality of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for writing to CMI. You raise some interesting points, and it’s interesting that I tried to address some of the same things in a recent newsletter.
You are on to something for sure. One astute observer of creation compromise wrote about many ‘deconversion’ accounts he knew of, “Half the time (or more), it has later come to light that the person’s original ‘doubts’ were related to a moral struggle.” (See “Some observations about apostasy”, well worth reading in its entirety1). It also reminds me of an article, “With a Little Help from Your Friends’”, by Dr J. Budziszewski, professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin and author of How to Stay Christian in College, where he relates the following:
I will never forget a young woman who told me during office hours that she felt she was losing her faith. Her radical feminist teachers could see nothing in Christianity but “patriarchy”, and she couldn’t find Christian replies. It didn’t take long to discover why she couldn’t find them. She wasn’t looking. And it seemed to me that she wasn’t so terribly attracted to radical feminism either. She pictured herself as struggling to hold on to her faith despite superior arguments against it. The truth was that she was looking for an excuse to lose her faith, exposing herself exclusively to the most anti-Christian influences she could find.
It reminded me of how I had used various ideologies to rationalize my own flight from faith at her age. I was so sure that I was intellectually convinced by the case against Christ, but the reasons that convinced me had little to do with the intellect.
The reasons students find it difficult to keep faith in college are much the same as the reasons other Christians have found it difficult to keep faith in other times and places. These temptations are endemic to a fallen world, and the university is no exception.
With all that, there are some cautions about going in the opposite direction, “Evolution was just an excuse; the real problem was sin.” However, if that’s all there is to it, then this is like explaining an airplane crash with, “A mechanical fault or pilot error wasn’t responsible; gravity was.” True but useless, because gravity, like sin, is universal. It doesn’t explain why this particular plane crashed while so many planes avoid crashing. Similarly, blaming the universal sin condition of all Adam’s descendants for a particular apostasy doesn’t explain the strong correlation with evolutionary indoctrination.
Your point about the reverse switches explains the power of creation evangelism. This is also important to explain to pastors and parents who see no need for CMI ministry in their churches: “We believe all this; why would we need your ministry?” Another important rejoinder is, Yes, you may believe it, but can you defend it? And do your children believe it?
I’m a Physicist and Mathematician who believes that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created everything. I think that Darwin’s hypothesis is invalid. I believe the big bang is based on observational evidence, but has a number of unanswered questions. Although the Bible isn’t a science book, there’s an interesting reference in the Book of Job about God expanding the Universe. I believe it’s very possible that mankind has existed for less than 7000 years. I make no claims of being an etymologist, so if I do accept that the six days of creation in the King James Bible is a correct English translation, why should I be compelled to believe that the reference for this time frame is humanistic and not Godly? What speed was God traveling at when he created everything? What was the gravitational field of God’s location on each day of creation? What if God is expressing Genesis time in literal hours and minutes, but from a location other than your collective assumptions?
Thank you for writing to CMI.
The six days of creation don’t depend on the KJV (even though it’s supported by nearly all other English translations), but the original Hebrew language, as shown for example in The numbering pattern of Genesis: Does it mean the days are non-literal? and The days of Creation: A semantic approach.
About the time frame, if the Bible is to teach us anything, words must mean the same to God as man, and God’s logic must be man’s logic, or there is no revelation! Otherwise, why just stop at days? Maybe God meant something different by “For God so loved the world”? See further discussion in Why is CMI so dogmatic on 24-hour creation days? and especially the section The days were ‘God’s days’ not ‘man’s days’.
But there is something in the different time frames, though not what you think. The days of creation were measured by earth clocks. This combined with God stretching out the heavens (in other places besides Job) has led to interesting creation cosmologies. See for example the outline in our Creation Answers Book ch. 5.
Since your questions have been addressed on our website, may I request that you spend some time using our search button on the top right of every page (we have over 14,000 articles) and our Q&A pages. I.e. it’s better that I teach you how to fish than give you a fish ;) An especially important issue is that all long-age ideas place death—both human and animal—before sin. So this disconnects the consistent biblical teaching that death is the wages of sin. And if consistent, then the question must arise: How could Jesus’ death pay for our sin?
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References and notes
- See “Some observations about apostasy”, well worth reading in its entirety, teampyro.blogspot.com/2012/04/apostasy.html, first posted 27 September 2008. Return to text.