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Scientific ‘fact’, the Word of God and understanding

Published: 2 November 2014 (GMT+10)

In response to our article, How evolution is driving the clergy to atheism, a reader suggested we were confused in our interpretation of the Bible and scientific facts. His comment was:

Bible

There is something that all atheists and creationists miss. It is the simple fact that we confuse our interpretation of scientific fact and the Word of God with what God actually wants us to understand. I believe evolution is the way God created all life on this planet. That is what science tells me. I accept it as such. I do not subscribe to Dawkins’ interpretations about it, because it is my job to ‘color’ the findings. To be quiet and not behave as we have all the answers make a lot of problems go away. But to try and reinforce prejudices will harden the heart and extinguish the freedom Jesus gave us. The Bible tells me the Who of Creation, Science tells me the How. In any case, arguing with atheists never ever convinced a single one to repent. Why didn’t Jesus, who had all the knowledge and insight, never, even once debated scientific issues, politics or different believe systems? What did Jesus do with all His knowledge? He spent His time with lost people, healing them, talking to them, He spent Himself … What is having a bigger impact is our attitude and having God’s wisdom in our heart 24/7. That only comes from spending time with Him. Nothing more is needed.

Mauritz V, South Africa

CMI’s  responds:

Dear Mauritz,

Thank you for your comment about the article How evolution is driving the clergy to atheism. There is little sign that you have followed the feedback rules and searched our site, or else you would have seen many instances where this position you put has been explained carefully as very inadequate, to put it mildly. I would urge you to check out some of the key articles at our Q and A section, especially those under the Bible and theology.

You will find that it is not so simple (putting it very mildly indeed) that one can simply say ‘science tells us how, the Bible tells us who (or why)’. It is the credibility of the Bible and Jesus Himself that is at stake, as there are Gospel–critical issues particularly the sin–death causality, at stake. You are right that one should not be argumentative, but wrong to suggest that we should not engage the arguments. See 2 Cor. 10:5 for instance. Paul continually engaged these anti–God arguments in the marketplace. His writings are permeated with the ‘Gospel Big Picture’ of a good world, ruined by sin, to be restored in the future. This makes no sense in a long–age (let alone an evolutionary) framework. We find that our engaging these arguments causes many to think again and of these many have become believers (the reality is that while some people can be Christians and believe in evolution, seemingly oblivious to the huge inconsistencies and contradictions evolution poses to NT Christianity, many if not most can’t).

Also, I’m not sure how you can ‘spend time with Jesus’, yet ignore what He Himself so clearly taught and believed. Jesus did not engage in those issues, as his main opponents, the Pharisees, had that part right, but He certainly tackled their errors and unbelief head–on. Also, He said that if they would not believe what Moses wrote, they would not believe even if someone should rise from the dead. Who is Jesus, anyway, absent a context of Bible history? Whatever your answer, it would have to depend on some propositional statement about Jesus in the Bible being true, and you believing it. Then the next question would be, so why not believe the other things in the Bible? The global Flood, for instance, which Jesus accepted, and which destroys any possibility of long geological ages being the reason for the sedimentary layers and the fossils in them.

Finally, the evidence matters, and it is particularly tragic to contemplate that you would just blithely accept evolutionism when such a giant of genetics as John Sanford—pioneer of genetic engineering and former Cornell University Professor—calls it utterly falsified by real–world data and all realistic modelling. See this interview with him.

Kind regards,

Carl Wieland

UPDATE 28 January 2019: Mauritz wrote to Dr Carl Wieland saying that he has changed his mind. See his letter here.

Helpful Resources

Refuting Compromise, updated & expanded
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati
From
US $9.00
15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History
by Dr Don Batten, Dr Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $3.50
Foolish Faith
by Judah Etinger
US $11.00
Soft cover

Readers’ comments

Grahame G.
I am so glad that you (specifically Dr Carl, but all in CMI generally) don't get tired of answering the same questions put by people who have little desire for answers (it seems).

Please know that hearing the questions answered again is of great benefit to those of us seeking Truth.

I greatly appreciate your ministry and the chance to meet members of the Australian office recently!

I pray that you will still be as effective or even moreso until that Day.
rodney A.
perhaps Jesus -who said, I do nothing of myself, EXCEPT THAT I HEAR FROM THE FATHER, now if that is not a statement of -dedicated obedience, I don't know what is. God the Father didn't engage science or evolution, obviously, so Jesus didnt speak of either, and thats obedience, and obedience is the very issue of salvation, obedience is the first issue Adam and Eve faced, little wonder Jesus was the epitome of obedience. in whom God the Father -was well pleased.
rod qld aust
Carl Wieland
Rod, you are right that the Lord Jesus repeatedly made it clear that His words and actions were on the Father’s authority, in all respects. E.g.: John 8:28: So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” Also John 12:49–50: “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

Lest someone should inappropriately take your comments to mean that because Jesus did not defend creation against evolution, therefore we shouldn’t, that would be an unwarranted stretch, to put it mildly. It would be like saying that because Jesus did not address Dawkins’ arguments in the God Delusion, therefore we shouldn’t. Jesus opposed false teachers of His day, and so did His apostles (2 Corinthians 10:5 – they were concerned to ‘demolish arguments’ that opposed God). Jesus of course clearly believed in and taught about a literal Adam and Eve—and a recent creation, see Jesus and the age of the earth. Like Paul, He took it for granted in the framework of His teaching that His (Jewish) hearers would have known about and accepted as factual the Genesis history of man and the universe.


michael S.

Mauritz, you say:"I believe evolution is the way God created all life on this planet."

That is correct, but if Darwin had not come up with evolution, and evolution never existed as a theory, would you believe evolution was how God created life on this planet?

When a Giraffe's blood-pressure is designed correctly to counter gravity, this is a "scientific fact of design". Indeed, all of the anatomy within that creature is WHOLE and VIABLE, which is to say, all of the hundreds of scientific "problems" that exist when creating a Giraffe, have been thought-out, and SOLVED. Scientifically, this simply doesn't say anything about, "evolution", which as you say, is just a belief, for there are no facts present in a Giraffe that show anything other than a whole-design, scientifically and anatomically speaking.
David G.
When people claim that arguing with atheists doesn't lead people to faith, I'm 'gob-smacked'! So how do people come to know Christ? By osmosis. Of course, if by argument you mean acrimonious shouting match, then of course; but an argument is a reasoned exchange of view and counter-view. It's a normal adult practice. The problem is that many Christians can't reason out their faith and exercise 'blind fideism'. That's not biblical faith, but paganism.
Kobus V.
The other comments on this article makes it abundantly clear that Mauritz does not have a Biblical understanding of the argument, or even whether argument should be had or not.
In the resent past I have proposed a debate between YEC and TE on
“The reason for believing in Christ from a TE perspective.”
At least then the “tacit arguments from the obvious” can be aired in order for the YEC to understand what is at the heart of their oblivious attitude towards the contradiction of evolution and believing the Bible.
It would seem as if Mauritz has a buddhist approach to Christianity - “just spend time with Jesus”. In the way that he has stated his case, it seems as he “prefers” “spending time with Jesus” as opposed to “spending time with any other deity”. Perhaps Mauritz has chosen Jesus due to nostalgia, for South Africa once was a Christian country.
Why would Mauritz feel compelled to “spend time with Jesus” as it is clear that his version of the Bible only contains the four Gospels, for if the rest of the NT was there he would not have had an issue with “... giving a reason for the hope that is in you ...” and all the NT arguments based on this apologia for believing in Christ Jesus, or, for that matter, all the NT arguments in the Gospel referring back to the OT. (Therefore the WHOLE Bible)
Even if Mauritz only considers the epistles of Peter, he would have to recant.

Not any of the previous TE debates focussed only on the pivotal issue of “believing in Christ” together with “believing in contradicting myth”.

Come on CMI, organize a debate so that we can hear the “argument”.

The secular humanists have fully confused people in not keeping things crystal clear and distinct, the lines of definition do not exist any more and contradiction is the name of the game.
Carl Wieland
'Organise a debate' - sounds easy, but first it takes two to tango. And second, it would need to be a 'big name' TE proponent. Not because of any aggrandisement reasons, but because if it were not, it would/could be dismissed too lightly as the debater 'not understanding the arguments'. A courteous debate between say, some Biologos representatives and CMI would indeed be of interest and might help clarify a lot of woolly thinking.
Geoff C. W.
I think you're all being a bit hard on the poor chap. He means that IN HIS EXPERIENCE no one has ever been converted to Christianity through argument. Of course, there could be a very good reason for that... or two...
Murk P.
"There is something that all atheists and creationists miss. \"

You begin with an absolute knowledge claim #1

"It is the simple fact that we confuse our interpretation of scientific fact and the Word of God with what God actually wants us to understand."

And follow it with another-#2
(So He cannot reveal things to us so we know them ?)


 "I believe evolution is the way God created all life on this planet. That is what science tells me. I accept it as such. I do not subscribe to Dawkins’ interpretations about it, because it is my job to ‘color’ the findings."


By your own admission this knowledge rests on belief. Is this belief objective ? If so by what authority? And why is this position free from prejudice?

"To be quiet and not behave as if we have all the answers makes a lot of problems go away."

Knowledge claim #3 - Which you violate in claims 1 & 2. So it's hard to take you seriously.

"But to try and reinforce prejudices will harden the heart and extinguish the freedom Jesus gave us." 

#4 - Implies that it's free from prejudice. Which you apprehended based on belief. So how do you know your belief is correct and mine is not? How are hearts hardened and to what are they hardened to? Ourt freedom is bought with a price and we are not our own but your ideas reflect that you know this on your own.

"The Bible tells me the Who of Creation, Science tells me the How."

Can you answer then how do we know without answering what do we know? (read Eve's attempt at this you'll find a similar futility in your go at it)
 
In any case, arguing with atheists never ever convinced a single one to repent. 

I concur - John 14:6,  John 6:44,
Romans 11:6,Isaiah 65:1

But we are commanded to give reasons. [Ed: And the apostles themselves said they were 'demolishing arguments' that opposed God.]
john P.
Mauritz seems to have confused authority of scripture with "science". Science does not tell us how God created. As Moses tells us in Genesis, relaying what God told him, God did not use evolution or the Big Bang. Why would he? How would Mauritz understand sin, suffering, the Fall and Noah's Flood and a future restoration to edenic conditions?
Evolution is part of the devil's scam when he told Adam and Eve they could be like God, knowing good and evil, if they ate from the forbidden fruit. This was a form of evolution. The evolution myth comes in many guises, from ancient pagan beliefs, the form it was used to tempt Adam and Eve, and dressed up as "science". The Greeks believed in evolutionary "theories" almost identical to Darwin's.
The "science" Mauritz refers to- evolution- is a philosophical speculation- or more correctly-myth- dealing with history.
There never has been any such thing as prehistory as people have been around since the beginning of creation, just about. Man was created on day 6 (Adam)- he did not evolve from some apelike ancestor who in turn originated from pond scum if you go back far enough in the mythology.
Quite simply, God as the Eyewitness has told us Who-Himself- and how. As Jesus said to Nicodemus- if he doesn't believe Him in earthly things how will he believe Him in heavenly things?
John 1 v 1-4 tells us Jesus Himself - the Word- is our Creator and Creator of the whole universe. Rather mind blowing He should die and rise again to take our sins upon Himself at the cross, and that He will one day wipe away all tears from our eyes!
Personally I have never believed in evolution nor the billions of years that go with it.There's no evidence whatsoever that such time ever existed and importantly the bible discounts any possibility that it ever did
Damien S.
I find it frustrating when people, such as Mauritz, write in with arguments that have been answered so many times by CMI, so I can only imagine the frustration of the people at CMI with this continual lack of "following the rules" to find the answers that will clearly show their stance to be in error. If they, then, still want to argue the point, they need to come up with fresh evidence to dispute CMI's position rather than always throwing up the same old rhetoric that CMI has already shown to be wrong.
glen H.
Amazing comment, "arguing with atheists never ever convinced a single one to repent." First, this person must mean he has knowledge of every atheist that has ever existed and how they ended up. Second, atheists have been known to repent and accept the truth, sometimes due to repeated exposure to the that truth. Ultimately it is God that saves, and using debate and firm, unwavering presentation of His truth can be among his tools.
Phil M.
Once again we have a theistic evolutionist confusing the two disciplines of history and science. When it comes to the history of the origin of life and the universe, we are, by definition, talking history. We are not talking the science of the origin of life and the universe. Logic dictates that talking science when it comes to the origin of life and the universe is valid only if life and the universe arose naturally. So the question is: Did life and the universe arise naturally? Again logic dictates that science itself cannot answer that question. It is a question that can be answered only outside of science. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, science (that is, us) was not there at the time to confirm or otherwise whether life and the universe did arise naturally. And secondly, when talking the history of origins, we are talking historical novelty. And unobserved historical novelty is outside the scope of science. Unobserved historical novelty is outside the scope of all forms of science – including forensic science, because forensic science requires historical precedent in order to function. So for the question to be answered requires someone who was there at the time and who has informed us how it arose. Genesis does not give us the slightest impression that life and the universe arose naturally. In fact quite the opposite.
Although they won’t readily admit it, the atheist’s primary reason for believing (for belief it is) that historically life and the universe arose naturally is not a scientific one, but a philosophical one, namely that God does not exist. Although theistic evolutionists have not fallen for the atheist’s philosophical lie, they have fallen for their scientific lie, namely that the history of origins can be determined scientifically.

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