Feedback archive → Feedback 2003, 2007

‘Peripheral matters’ ‘The Lord was working in a lot of peoples’ hearts’

This week’s first selected feedback is from ‘Jason’, who is concerned with CMI being sidetracked by ‘peripheral matters’. Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds. We have revisited and updated this response (e.g. with links to articles published after we first posted it) because this accusation has recurred in various responses to Dr Walker’s article Evangelical wing of major Aussie church promotes ‘peace with evolution’

Our second feedback is about an exciting encounter a creationist engineer had using one of Dr Sarfati’s books, Refuting Evolution 2, which demonstrates how well creation evangelism works in the real world.

‘Peripheral matters’

Your website saddens me.

As a deeply committed Christian,

Sorry to say, but this word has become debased currency. What exactly do you mean by this? CMI uses the term in a very straightforward way, i.e. someone who believes what Christ believes. And for consistency, this should include His belief that the Genesis Creation and Flood accounts were straightforward history (Mt. 19:3–6, Luke 17:26–27). See Jesus and the age of the world and But from the beginning of … the institution of marriage?. (Note, this does not imply that someone who disagrees is not necessarily a Christian … see the articles here)

I am troubled that you would spend so much time addressing such peripheral matters as Cain having had to have a wife descended from Adam.

The revelation of your emotions is not without interest, but no reason is given for why you regard this is ‘peripheral’. Paul didn’t seem to think it was peripheral, because in his great Resurrection Chapter of 1 Cor. 15, he explicitly linked the resurrection of the ‘Last Adam’ with the death brought by the ‘first man’, Adam. If the first Adam is not important, then why is the Last Adam? We also addressed the fact that Jesus is the kinsman-redeemer of mankind (Isaiah 59:20), which means he must be a blood relative of all people. (See the most up-to-date version of the Creation Answers Book Cain’s Wife chapter.)

You might consider that one reason we have such an article is that very many people DO want an answer — see ‘No excuse not to believe’

And it might help to put this into perspective by considering our own Statement of Faith that explicitly states:


  1. The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer and Judge.
  2. The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I must also have missed where you documented an actual error in the article.

By placing the Bible under your limitations of modern notions of history, ??

Are we? We are simply interpreting historical narrative as historical narrative, and we would also interpret poetry as poetry. Maybe you would care to explain why you think Genesis is not history, despite the distinctive Hebrew narrative pattern of a qatal verb followed by a string of wayyiqtol verbs (waw consecutives) that move the narrative forward, careful definitions of terms, as well as the absence of the parallelism indicative of poetry? [See also The Biblical Hebrew Creation Account: New Numbers Tell The Story.]

… you are robbing the Bible of its intended power.

I fail to see how we are doing so. Rather, it is those who deny that it means what it says that are doing so. That is, they emasculate the Bible so it has nothing to do with the ‘real’ world, which they leave to ‘science’.

Also, by refuting Skeptics, we provide support for people to trust the Bible as the Word of God.

This is not a ‘hate’ message because I believe your intentions are pure. However, I must be honest:
Ignorance is prevalent in so many of the tangents you choose to address.

So far, we are certainly ignorant of what you think are actual errors.

I suggest you read some fine Christian scholars who exemplify the futility of the task you have embraced: George Lindbeck, Hans Frei, James McClendon, but perhaps most beneficial would be Nancey Murphey’s Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism … at least as a starter.

OK, then please provide a summary of why we should read them. And why you apparently think they are greater authorities than Jesus, Peter, Paul, Luke et al. who always cited Genesis 1–11 as straightforward history. [See also Genesis: Bible authors believed it to be history that also addresses the facile claim, ‘The important thing is that God created, isn’t it?’]

God’s grace, Jason.

Interesting ending, and well meaning, despite the uncertainty of meaning of the term ‘God’s grace’ unless one accepts the Bible on its own terms. But please think—unless you accept a straightforward interpretation of Genesis, you have a problem. Where does evil come from? Genesis answers, by saying that all death and suffering of humans and other nephesh chayyāh are the result of Adam’s sin. But any view which adds millions of years to the Bible has a big problem—the fossil record of death, carnivory, disease must have formed over millions of years before Adam. And since God declared the creation after Adam ‘very good’, it would imply that all this death is also ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31), despite being called ‘the last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26). [See also The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe]

Actually, you’ll find much of this information on our website, e.g. in our Q&A page on Genesis.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.

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‘The Lord was working in a lot of peoples hearts’

I wanted to thank you for a great opportunity. I ordered a bulk set of Refuting Evolution 2 to pass out at work today (Caterpillar’s Peoria Proving Ground, Peoria, IL). The set of 50 was distributed in a matter of hours to engineers, mechanics, instrument technicians, and operators. Word spread so quickly that people were coming up and requesting a copy before I could get more from my desk. I ended up in several great conversations with old-earthers, evolutionists, and lay christians due to the experience. We discussed dating methods, fossil record, Genesis, evolutionary beliefs and their problems, etc. Everyone is excited to read the book. The Lord was working in a lot of peoples’ hearts today. Thank-you and God Bless you,
Bodi[e] Hodge, MS

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Published: 3 February 2007

Helpful Resources

15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History
by Dr Don Batten, Dr Jonathan D Sarfati
US $4.00