CMI whining about everyone going downhill theologically?
Published: 23 January 2010 (GMT+10)
Many readers have responded to Adrian Bates article “Evangelical Christian leaders promote evolution”. The latest is this one from Zachary A in New Zealand.
I appreciate much of the work that CMI does in producing materials which aim to honour God our creator and his Word. Christians should not be afraid to be seen standing against atheistic materialism, including in the highest echelons of our universities. However, I believe that TANSAA also does good work in bringing believing scientists together to discuss the relationship between their faith and professional lives and also in challenging students to reconsider the materialism that is so often simply assumed to follow from science.
CMI has elsewhere been clear that 6-day YEC, as strongly as it is held by many, is not a Christian essential and I would hope for constructive dialogue rather than, with all due respect, whinging about how everyone else is going downhill theologically. Unlike many who lead western churches, I believe far more than ‘God exists’; and yet there are real difficulties with the YEC approach which many believe are insuperable.
This engagement with the evidence does not make them non-Christians. It is not easy being a Christian studying biology etc; students should be aware of the positions conscientious Christians can take on the first chapters of Genesis while, I believe, rejecting materialism as unsound and unfounded and accepting Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer.
CMI’s Dr Tas Walker responds.
Thank you for your feedback.
This issue is not primarily about rejecting atheistic materialism. Otherwise we could join with the Islamists, the pantheist, and the New Agers and say that we are all on the same page. We are about upholding the authority of Scripture, which is the revelation from the one, true Creator God. And we would expect other Christian academics, especially those in seminaries and theological institutions, to have a similar approach—to be in the business of defending the Christian faith. Without Scripture we cannot even explain why Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer.
Yes, we say that belief in 6-day creation is not essential for salvation but we have always maintained that six-day creation about 6,000 years ago is essential to a consistent and logical Christian worldview. In fact, every major Christian doctrine comes out of the historicity of Genesis. Accept the idea of millions of years and you say goodbye to any chance of a consistent, sensible defence of the Christian faith.
I’m not sure what you mean by “it’s not easy being a Christian and studying biology”. If you mean the science, then I think that there is a wealth of scientific information available now that provides answers to most of the scientific questions as well as direction for ways to find other answers. Check the Q&A topics page or type the key words into the Creation.com search box. There are other creationist databases available free on-line that provide peer reviewed articles on the science. Do you subscribe to Journal of Creation? That is one of a number of creationist journals now available and you should be a subscriber. There is no excuse for Christian academics these days to be uninformed. It should not be difficult being a Christian from the scientific point of view. As a matter of fact, a scientist working from the Christian worldview should be in the lead because they would have insights that others do not have.
However, I suspect that you are referring to the discrimination, hostility, and peer pressure that is applied to anyone in academia who holds a theistic worldview. This is documented in the film “Expelled” and in Jerry Bergman’s book “The Slaughter of the Dissidents”. Are you familiar with these? Discrimination, isolation and bullying are entirely different reasons for things not being easy. Christians who do their science and are open about the biblical worldview would find it hard to be promoted, to get research funds, and to be accepted by their peers. From the many Christian academics that I know I suspect that this is the reason. Those who don’t subscribe to a 6-day YEC position won’t talk about it. It is impossible to engage them or hold a conversation with them on this issue. They won’t defend their position, likely because they don’t have one they feel they can defend. I suspect they have adopted this compromised, confused and indefensible position because of the conflict they anticipate they would encounter with their work. Cornell University genetics professor (recently retired) John Sanford, who became a YEC only recently, said he was terrified of how he would be treated by his peers.
You spoke about the insuperable difficulties with the YEC position but did not give any examples. I would like to know what you are thinking of. I’m not aware of what could be an insuperable difficulty. Better still, it would be good for you to search Creation.com with some of those difficulties and then come back to us if you have not found an answer. The point is that all worldviews have difficulties. They are called “research projects”. If all difficulties were solved then there would be no need for further research.
And think of this. If you can’t trust Genesis because of the insuperable difficulties then why should you trust the Gospels either, with the insuperable difficulties of the Virginal Conception, the supernatural miracles and the Resurrection?
We would welcome constructive dialogue. I am sure that TANSAA do a lot of good work. Perhaps you could arrange for one of our scientists to meet some of the folk from TANSAA and make a presentation with Q&A next time they are in NZ.
Once again, thank you for your response.
Scientist, Editor, Speaker
Creation Ministries International (Australia)