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blop2008

Concerning evolution, it's not always clear what the "experts" and lay people alike mean by that. Evolution has occurred in some respects in the history of the planet earth and I am going to avoid discussing "macro/micro evolution" and other controversial terminologies. Anyhow, sometimes evolution is misgrasped for adaptation and sub-specieation (fine, most likely). But when it comes to claiming reptiles became birds or discussing taxonomy (as if it proves the entire evolution concept), I think that's when the straw starts to rip. That a species or a minuscle microbe is able to "evolve" isn't the core issue; and some people misunderstand that.

On the other palm of the hand, Intelligent Design doesn't have it all wrong either. And yes, some of the understanding propounded by ID *does* affect, in some respect, the plausibility of what could and could not occur in the "evolution" of species. So DO NOT just take your pick.

Finally, let's not just assume that peer-review work in microbiology and anthropology has the same framework as peer-review work as in Biblical scholarship. It's not. The peer-review process in science is sometimes very biased/skewed and in turn the resulting view on "evolution" is inaccurate. You know....the "abundance of evidence" there is for "evolution".

Now, about the serpent of Genesis 3, the readers might want to take a peek at the discussion that went on PaleoBabble last year as I was trying to get a kick in it (and yes, I take Isaiah 65:25 into consideration):

http://michaelsheiser.com/PaleoBabble/2009/01/the-stones-of-fire-in-ezekiel-28/#comments

JohnFH

Blop2008,

I'm not sure if I understand you. Are you suggesting that what almost scientists take to be the common *genetic* heritage of the various species, with a greater measure of commonality in genetic heritage among precisely those species that other evidence suggests are connected by descent, is better explained on some other global hypothesis?

If so, which?

blop2008

John,

My comment was generic and not aiming directly to your post. Im in your shoes, not sure I fully understand your question.

Very briefly, in response to your question, what I am suggesting after looking at OEC, YEC and ID (and of course Naturalistic Evolution (no God)), is that God created the universe as well as the earth and created/formed the prototypes - Humans, Animals, Fish, and Birds. So far, this is probably the view you hold- not sure. The rest is history and one can talk about genetics and microbiology and bones all year long. However, what I am also suggesting is that changes in species is not to be paralleled with the standard evolutionary model that requires radical information increasing changes. What some "specialists" and amateurish scientists and atheist may think is evolution is rather only sorting and loss of information not an increase of complexity. It's complex and one cannot throw out everything each party proposes.

Also, What I am aiming at is the confusion there can be between the standard evolutionary model of No God->cells->bacteria->fish->reptiles->birds (or similar modernistic frameworks) that requires radical information increasing changes and between what other proponents (OEC, YEC, ID, EvC) suggests about the origin of the kinds and common descent.

When you consider yourself an "Evolution-Creationist", people can easily misunderstand what is meant by Evolution in your view.

In this case, I prefer describing myself as "Creationist" point-blank.

blop2008

I agree with your "status confessionis" comment. But you have to understand that many people are malinformed and there is confusion in the terminologies. In part, I think it's that too.

Did humans evolve, in your view, from common descent? Were we less intelligent in ancient times? Did we invent language and did languages evolve (not writing scripts but oral languages)? You see, there's also a whole scientific study about languages. If God did not "program" language into us, but rather it's all "Evolution" or "Evolution and God" then I have the tendency of not accepting that as "correct". Just being able to move your tongue in its places and coordinating the vocals by the brain to pronounce one word is already more complex than HTML. But then again, one may say "God did it"!

I have a lot more to learn in this area anyhow, I'm not claiming to have it right, just speaking my mind out. I am being careful not to propel one specific party is if that party got it all figured out unmatched.

blop2008

Once again concerning your comment on status confessionis, I agree with you that proponents of a party (read: Ken Ham) should not make their convictions about the whole debate a criterion of true faith. However, be careful yourself not to ascribe to them direct fault for whatever "damage" it may cause. If that's what you mean by that.

Being malinformed about science and/or conversely about Hebrew/ANE and being malinformed about inspiration and innerancy does not make someone like Ken Ham, or others more extreme than him, directly and wholly responsible for others who strive or stumble with their faith. If that's what you mean. Since the reverse can easily take place. Those whom you have helped as a pastor may incorrectly turn out to be dogmatic about something concerning the Bible and turn out to be wrong only because they have the good intention of defending the "truth" the way they have understood it. In this case, would *they* be now the enemies of Christ? That's why I'm very careful today not to be dogmatic about anything; although some things have more basis and are more certain than others - for instance, the fact that Christ is deity/God in the OT and NT, in contra uninformed arguments from reputable authors and laypeople that Christ is not.

Everyone must do their due dilligence and must seek guidance from Yeshua; although pastors like you must indeed do your part and stress what is true, sound, and plausible to your audience to the best of your ability.

JohnFH

Blop2008,

Thanks for your comments and considerations. I respond to the issues from two points of view, a pastoral and a scientific one.

From a pastoral perspective, I know of way too many young people who have lost their faith because they they were told that EvC (common descent) was not a position a Bible-believing Christian can hold - never mind that Christians have done so since the Hodges and Warfield and before, some of the original fundamentalists. Preachers and teachers who place a stumbling block before young people need to be called on it. I don't know enough about Ken Ham to know if he frames the question in this way, but if he does, he is, so far as I can see, an enemy of Christ. He is taking a non-gospel issue and making it a gospel issue.

From a scientific perspective, the evidence in hand points to common descent. So far as I know, there is no credible alternative hypothesis on the table. If you think otherwise, I would love to hear it.

Rick Wadholm Jr

Two thoughts...if I may...first, Ken Ham (while I disagree with him on some issues) has never made any claim--in any of his books I've read and lectures I've heard--that the belief in a recent creation is a criterion of true faith, but only that from his perspective to reject it is to open the door for a significant undermining of the gospel. He in no way denies the salvation of those who believe in OEC or any other view, but simply believes if followed to its logical conclusion it will destroy the faith of many. (I understand that even as you have stated...it is the belief from those who uphold evolutionary proposals that there is also an undermining of the faith of many who are told they cannot hold to the Christian faith and believe in evolution).

Second, I'm not sure if you were referring to the serpent in particular concerning the canonical glimpse ahead (from chapter one of Genesis into chapter 3), but that would seem to be particularly pointed. Adam was given responsibility to "subdue" and "have dominion" which he seems to succeed at in chapter two and fail miserably at in chapter three. I guess I just wondered if that is to what you were referring to.

JohnFH

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the helpful comments. Perhaps you're right about Ken Ham. The structure of the debate in any case is not that unusual.

For example, in the Methodist tradition, no drinking, smoking, and dancing were rules for a very long time (and still are in some parts) believed to be important and enforced because, it was argued, to reject them opened the door onto a slippery slope that led to a complete disregard of the way of sanctification.

It's not as if there is no truth to the reasoning behind the older mores. There is a great deal of truth. But at some point, confessional traditions do a cost-benefit analysis, however covertly and subconsciously. If all goes well, they redraw battle lines rather than simply accommodate to their environment.

I hope the analogy is clear. For Ham and company, they see the concomitant dangers of accepting OEC, not to mention evC (which of course includes the notion of intelligent design) much as generations of leaders saw the concomitant dangers of drinking, smoking, and dancing.

Okay, I understand that kind of reasoning. My reasoning is of the same kind, but has a different point of departure. I see the dangers of *not* allowing a diversity of viewpoints and ethical stances in both cases.

The best case scenario is that refugees from environments in which YECism is enforced, or no drinking-smoking-dancing is enforced, may nonetheless find a home within the larger Christian family in which a robust, vibrant, and classical (as opposed to anti-modernist) form of the faith is cultivated. At the same time, a steady stream of refugees from Christian and post-Christian environments in zero tension with the Zeitgeist around them make their way into a YEC environment and accept it as part of a package deal if for no other reason than that they have bigger fish to fry. Like working out their salvation with fear and trembling.

I was referring to the serpent.

Rick Wadholm Jr

John,
I figured you were referring to the serpent...sorry for asking about clarification and thanks for humoring me. :-) (For whatever its worth Greg Beale has a wonderful volume that deals with this topic in some detail in The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, New Studies in Biblical Theology, InterVarsity Press, 2004; and I believe Henri Blocher deals with this briefly as well).

I completely understand the notion of those who flee one world or another (really fleeing one form of Fundamentalism--in the bad sense of that term--whichever camp one has found themselves in). I just had a conversation with a young man (I guess he's now mid twenties) who grew up in one of the churches I used to pastor. He was sharing with me how he feels a tremendous burden removed by the likes of Francis Collins and Bruce Waltke. And I'm thankful that he finds solace instead of continuing dissonance in this area of his faith. I disagree with their take on things, but affirm that this issue should not be what divides us (at least as long as it is only about this issue and does not then choose to reject the historicity of the Gospel accounts as simply "theology" -- which I'm not sure what that can possibly entail stripped of the very historical Christ).

IOW, thanks for agreeably disagreeing. :-) Blessings,
Rick

JohnFH

Blessings on you, Rick. You model the fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.

blop2008

John,Rick

I think we're a bit more clear with Ken Ham and others like him, cf. Jonathan Sarfati or Laurence Tisdall. What I also meant to stress is that the core issue with them is their view on inspiration and innerancy. If only they would digest those two related topics more thoroughly and entertain about the ANE and Biblical Hebrew, their views about "basing scientific evidence with the inspired word of God" as a basis for scientific inquiry would radically be altered. That's why being a Jack-of-all-trade and master of one really helps. I understand Ken Ham's stress on the biblical account as being "Truth" with a capital "T", but unfortunately he lacks greater insight in the areas aforementioned; and perhaps cannonicity as well.

JohnFH

Blop2208, I trust you're right. Ken Ham and others like him are convinced that any sufficiently reverential view of Scripture entails their position.

I think the opposite is the case, that a reverential reading of Scripture, including and especially Gen 1-3, suggests that YECers have misidentified the text's center of gravity.

blop2008

Right on. Thanks.

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