Creationism: a dialogue

SMITHY:

Good afternoon, Udo. I have been studying Creationism (on my own time) for the last 8 years and want to become a facilitator and speaker on this topic to young people. Please let me know how I can get involved.

UDO:

Hi Smithy. You mentioned that you’ve studied ‘Creationism’. Firstly, would you mind elaborating a bit more on what you understand with the term? Very broadly speaking, the term includes the idea of a ‘creator’ and as such it could mean two things in Christian circles: 1) There is a personal Creator of the universe (as opposed to naturalism which would deny any such kind of being) and the scientific method (i.e. initial hypothesising, observational input and then interpretive, but provisional, theorising about the natural observed world) provides a progressive and generally reliable understanding of the history of the universe (such as that it is billions of years old), which, theologically, reflects God’s design and sustaining involvement. And 2) There is a personal Creator of the universe, and it is a certain reading of the Biblical texts that provides the interpretive framework (such as that the universe is only a few thousand years old) through which all observational data relevant to the history of the universe should be understood.

Secondly, and more importantly, what is your opinion on the fact that genuinely committed and thoughtful Christians who all have a high view of Scripture, disagree on which of the above two views is actually correct?

SMITHY:

My stance from all my reading and studying is that there is no conflict between the bible and science. In today’s society very good science is tough, but it’s filled with a lot of false assumptions and incorrect understandings (e.g. evolution is taught, but there is 0 evidence for it) people are just taught to believe it because it’s a way to make people doubt the bible and a creator. The evidence clearly point to the earth being less than 25 000 years old.

This all stems from a much bigger plan to corrupt the next generation that will welcome the “New World Order” and would happily live in a slavery/communism world. The Bible tells us that we have freedom and a purpose, but with “naturalism” as a worldview, such things don’t exist. Then we are just animals after all and this opens the door to things like abortion.

I know many Christians that believe both these new teachings such as evolution and “billions of years”, but the point is that this is not what the Bible teaches. And if the entire Bible is inspired by God and if you doubt Genesis, how can you believe the rest of the Bible?

Being an atheist or naturalist is a “popular” trend in the world today. And most people will go along with it, because of “group think” and not wanting to be intimidated. Kids are being indoctrinated in a 5 day school program, + tv, movies, games, etc., into a materialistic/naturalistic worldview. An hour at Sunday school can’t hold up against that. Most churches are scared to go up against the so called “scientists” and therefore don’t raise the issues.

I see so many young students have burning questions about the flood, Cain’s wife, the age of the earth, etc. That tells me that there is a real need for showing them the other story that they are not being told. This allows for them to decide for themselves what to believe. Only then do you have education and not indoctrination.

UDO:

Thanks for your reply, Smithy. If I understand you correctly then you are of the opinion that if other Christians do not agree with the second view on creationism that I’ve described, then it implies that they do not believe that the entire Bible is inspired and that they then have no basis for believing anything else of what the Bible teaches. But these other Christians would deny such an accusation fervently. They would argue that they do, in fact, believe in the inspiration of the entire Bible. They would explain, however, that they do not believe that God was teaching cosmology, geology or biology through what the writer of Genesis wrote to his immediate ancient Middle Eastern audience. It is therefore not a matter of doubting Genesis, but of understanding its proper theological context and function. These Christians would agree that atheism and naturalism with all its underlying assumptions, fall short of reflecting reality as it really is. But at the same time they will say that according to their own best scientific study the evidence clearly points to the earth being 4.5 billion years old.

It seems therefore, that the issue is not about disbelieving the Bible, but about having a difference in understanding of what the Bible actually intends to teach and about what scientific investigation really entails. One can have vigorous discussion about these things and try and explain where you think others are wrong, but it would be disingenuous and shortsighted to say that other Christians who think differently on these matters, do not believe what the Bible teaches or that they have no basis for believing the rest of the Bible. Such would be a gross oversimplification and distortion of their actual views.

This is my concern and why I have asked your input on these matters: it is precisely because there are many committed and thoughtful followers of Jesus who take offense when other Christians regard them with contempt (as being compromisers) for believing differently on the matter of creation. Such an attitude merely alienates people and does more harm than good – it also shows a lack of proper appreciation for other informed points of view that have the highest regard for the message and truth of the Gospel.

Surely you can see why one would be hesitant to give just anyone a platform for teaching on this subject if there is so much potential divisiveness at stake?

SMITHY:

I only gave a brief explanation of my point. I am not saying that others that don’t believe Genesis, does not believe the rest of the bible, it’s just they are attempting to put their own interpretation on top of what God clearly says.
I ask a lot of people that before they try to force their viewpoint on the so-called facts in nature to let us discuss those findings. I am also open to others findings and interpretation, but personal assumptions can influence the way one sees events.

I cannot prove “billions of years”, because we as humans don’t understand the concept of time. All I can do it to point to the evidence of a global flood +- 4500 years ago, That the world population really only started growing only a few thousand years ago, that fossils are a result of rapidly being buried in a flood, that it is mathematically possible to fit all the animals into the ARK (with room to spare), that humans did live with dinosaurs (all the evidence in the world is there). You add all this up then you get that the Bible is correct, no personal interpretation is needed. God wrote the Bible so that anyone can read it and understand it. No one would pick up a Bible and find Billions of years in it.

But all this is not the critical issue. Young people are forced to choose between the Bible and false science. I would happily debate any topic in this spectrum, just take it one topic at a time and discuss it with an open mind and heart. I am not there to shove my viewpoint onto others; I just want to show them that there are other options. Study what the plans are of the “elites” and then you see why all this is so important.

UDO:

Smithy, when you say “they are attempting to put their own interpretation on top of what God clearly says” you don’t seem to realise how offensive such a remark is to these Christians. It can only be perceived as derogatory because it dismisses the fact that they are just as serious about what the Bible teaches as you would claim to be. Your remark also suggests that you think that some people read the Biblical text without interpreting it, when in fact everyone who reads any text, cannot help but to interpret what they read. To understand what is being read means to interpret what is being read and to interpret it correctly. We are all influenced by all sorts of prior knowledge and biases and what is clear for one person doesn’t make it obviously so for all others. To therefore suggest that all people who disagree with you on how to interpret Genesis, do not believe or do not want to believe what God clearly says, or that they are capitulating to some godless worldview, is to be utterly mistaken. In fact, I find such a suggestion arrogant as well as ignorant of all the different factors that speak to this issue and which makes it far from obvious that there is only one possible interpretation of what the Bible teaches about creation. (For a good overview on the complexities involved with this subject I would refer you to the following series of talks by William Lane Craig: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/defenders-2-podcast/s9)

SMITHY:

I do not think you are understanding me correctly. I do follow William Lane Craig and many others. When I talk about people giving their own interpretation on the Bible, I’m talking about them being taught in school (etc.) about evolution and billions of years and then when reading the Bible, think they have to somehow put such teachings into it, e.g. the gap theory, day age theory, etc. In short the world today is teaching to reject the Bible and everything it says. I say again, give me one piece of evidence of billions of years of evolution. When a child comes to you and ask “did we evolve from apes?”, what would you answer him?

UDO:

There will always be people who attack the Bible or belief in God and who will misuse science to do so. But it’s equally problematic to read science into or out of the Bible. The Bible is not a science handbook written for scientific purposes or for scientific insights (and therefore it doesn’t speak to the issue of cosmological or geological ages) – its message is primarily theological in nature.

I’m not threatened by the myriad of scientific theories that compete for acceptance, because science is a work in progress: today’s theory is superseded or nuanced by that of tomorrow. At the same time I do think that the scientific method, on the basis of reasonable assumptions, is generally reliable in making sense of the world we live in and of its past. I accept the mechanisms (as explained by astronomy and astrophysics) by which cosmological evolution occurred over billions of years and through which our planet was formed. As for the mechanisms for biological evolution I might be less certain of how well it explains the developing complexity of life over billions of years (not even to mention the question of abiogenesis). But would I have a theological problem if the common descent of species is scientifically established beyond all doubt? No, because I accept that the Bible teaches (according to Genesis 2 and elsewhere) that what and who we are as human beings is ultimately the result of God’s very specific intention (a theological explanation of human origins). Why could God therefore not have used physical mechanisms with the intention of producing human beings over long periods of time? Why would it be problematic if science is the way of discovering this? It is only a problem if you have decided beforehand that Genesis (or the Bible in general) gives not only a theological explanation for our existence, but that it is also entails robust scientific explanations.

The problem with what children are being taught in schools is not necessarily with the science as such, but with the philosophical pronouncements that are made about what the science presumably implies. So while I’m convinced that children need guidance in what the science signify, the problem is not necessarily with the science itself, but with how it is applied to support or disconfirm a certain worldview.

SMITHY:

The Bible gives a clear description on many things we see today. Just look at the signs we see all around the world. Massive water erosion across the world (such as grand canyon), the massive fissile graveyards in the Karoo. It all points to a global flood. And a loving all powerful God will not use evolution as a means of bringing about people. If one believes in evolution and billions of years, then there was death before Adam. The two world views are not compatible no matter how you look at it. I also know the scientific method, but it has its limits. The natural scientific method of observation and experimentation can’t for instance tell us that Jesus lived. You need to look at historical evidence. All these dating methods they use that supposedly proves billions of years, they all have serious flaws and based on assumption on how the global conditions were in the past with no proof (for info on this look at some of the work of Dr Jim Mason). I can give hundreds of examples, but to understand who this is a topic of debate, you need to understand the politics behind why these false scientific theories are being promoted. There is great information at the Answers in Genesis website also. I encourage everyone to really go study the cosmological and geophysical evidence and look at it from a creation point of view.

UDO:

Thanks, Smithy, I think as Christians we will have to simply agree to disagree on what the Bible teaches regarding creation and about where the scientific evidence points. Hopefully we can so without casting doubt on each other’s sincere desire to know what is true.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


*