Fire Back: Where the Readers Respond

In which we discuss the confluence of biblical wisdom and evolutionary science.

Ken writes in the comments to “Is God’s word difficult to understand?” the following:

This is a very interesting site. I like reading scientific articles on here and anyone who visits your site can learn a lot about science. However everyone who comes here needs to be careful when comparing the unique scriptural interpretations found here to 2000 years of Biblical understanding. TF is correct. The Bible is not impossible for average people to understand and one does not need to jump thru hoops altering the clear meaning of scripture in order to make it comport with the latest of atheistic evolutionary Beliefs in order to remain true to empirical science. The nature of time at the fringes of the universe is an intriguing discussion, and there is no doubt that science supports scripture, but then you swerve into supporting Evolution, saying, “It does not matter that evolution is scientifically correct in its finding that the mortal human body is biologically related to that of other primates. The basics of evolutionary science are entirely consistent with the biblical account?” None of that is true. There is no evidence of it. I am amazed you would say that. I also believe what you said above is a misrepresentation of both Genesis and Corinthians 15:46-47. You are probably relying on the unique interpretations of Dr. Schroeder who fails to recognize his own Jewish Messiah as described in the Old Testament in which he is such an expert. So although I enjoy your site, and look forward to seeing an article on the “discovery” of “gravitational waves” as has been in the news today, I do not agree with some of your theology as it seems to be twisted in favor of satisfying the claims of “science falsely so-called” —in some cases, unintentionally, invalidating parts of essential Christian doctrine.

The basics of evolutionary science as it stands today in 2016 are completely consistent with the Biblical account of creation. Both biology and scripture agree on the following:

  1. Life began after the formation of oceans on Earth
  2. The first forms of life seem to have been built into the creation of the universe
  3. Vegetation preceded animal life
  4. There was a sudden explosion of animal life
  5. There is no scientific explanation for the sudden appearance of animal life
  6. The first animal life appeared in the oceans
  7. Then come animal forms that crawled from the oceans
  8. Then come great reptiles
  9. Then winged flying creatures
  10. Then mammals
  11. Then hominids
  12. Finally, unique beings appear in hominid form that have consciousness
  13. Science has no explanation for human consciousness
  14. All species of life on Earth are connected to each other
  15. Biology and scripture are in total agreement on the order of the stages in the development of life

This is a remarkable amount of agreement between modern biological science and Christian scriptures. He is wrong when he says this is not true.

I am grateful to Dr. Schroeder for bringing to our attention something so obvious and important that I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t see it myself. But that is what genius so often does for us — helps us see something we are blind to. Unless one thinks that God would be very casual in the use of the words chosen to express his message to humankind, it has to be admitted that the very different words ‘make’ and ‘create’ were used in Genesis 1 for an important reason.

Schroeder’s genius was recognizing that the word ‘make’ means to take whatever is already available and fashion it into something new. That’s what God caused to happen when he took the basic primate body plan and reshaped it into human form through some process we label evolution but do not adequately understand.

The meaning of the word ‘create’ on the other hand is something very different. We can take our cue from the first use of the word ‘create’ in the Bible to understand what God did with humans. God’s first act of creation brought a universe into existence from nothing. So when the Bible then says that humans were created in God’s image, that can only mean that the spiritual, non-material aspect of humankind was brought forth without using anything from this world. 1 Corinthians 15:46-47 confirms in a totally unambiguous way the difference between making people and creating people:

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

What else could Genesis 1 and 1 Corinthians be saying about God’s work in relation to humankind? Ken’s criticism of Schroeder is unfounded.

It is worth the effort to clear up the confusion around evolutionary theory as much as possible. Darwinism in its classic form did maintain some things that were not stated in Genesis. The four pillars of Darwinism in its original form were common descent, random mutation, natural selection, and gradualism. The genetic and fossil evidence in favor of common descent is overwhelming. Common descent is the closest thing to a proven theory in all of science. But, the Bible has no problem with common descent because every life form on Earth was brought into existence by God, so of course all life on Earth is connected.

The evidence for the other pillars of classic Darwinism is far less favorable. Random mutations do occur in the DNA of all animal species including human beings. But, there is currently no hard evidence that random mutations work in a way that make species stronger. The evidence for natural selection is almost non-existent, which is why even Thomas Huxley rejected it. The fossil evidence has completely overthrown Darwin’s most important principal, gradualism. That is why Stephen Jay Gould had to propose ‘punctuated equilibrium’ as an alternative to gradualism. Gould’s attempt to save Darwinism from the contradictory fossil evidence created more problems for evolutionary theory than it solved. Punctuated equilibrium makes the combination of random mutation and natural selection completely untenable by removing the vast amounts of time needed to make the Darwinian process mathematically plausible.

But, all efforts to defend Darwinism in its classic, Neo-Darwinist, Modern Synthesis, or punctuated equilibrium forms are now moot because of the findings of Evolutionary Development (Evo-Devo). Evo-Devo has found, contrary to everything Darwinists have ever believed, that all of the animal phyla are connected in ways that make Darwinism impossible. In the words of one of the pioneers of Evo-Devo and a loyal Darwinist, Sean B. Carroll, in his book Endless Forms Most Beautiful:

                  …the prevailing view of the architects and adherents of Modern Synthesis was that the process of random mutation and selection would so alter DNA and protein sequences that only closely related species would bear homologous genes…Virtually everything I have described…has been discovered in the past twenty years…they have forced biologists to rethink completely their picture of how forms evolve. p285 (emphasis added)

The fact that such different forms of animals are shaped by very similar sets of tool kit proteins was entirely unanticipated … the discovery … has forced a complete change in our picture of how complex structures arise. p285 (emphasis added)

In other words, current evolutionary theory is wrong. Most biologists are either ignorant of the findings of Evolutionary Development or are loathe to admit what the most recent genetic evidence so clearly demonstrates; Darwinism in all of its variations is a failed hypothesis. What evolutionary science now shows is that something totally inexplicable in Darwinist terms happened about 540 million years ago in what is now called the Cambrian Explosion or the Biological Big Bang. Animal life appears to have exploded out of nothing – there is no fossil evidence of life forms that preceded it. The Bible has no problem with this latest findings of evolutionary science. Christians understand what happened with the beginning of animal life as one of the three acts of creation that God performed during the Genesis 1 account.

Professor Carroll even confirms in his own way what Christians know to be true. In describing the way interchangeable genes organize all of the various animal life forms, Carroll uses the word ‘logic’ throughout his book (pages 8, 12, 26, 35, 54, 55, 56, 60, 60, 61, 106, 195, and 271 for example) to describe something he believes is the result of a mindless, Darwinian, random process. Logic is the product of a rational mind — its Greek root, logos, is translated as “Word” in the opening passages of the Gospel of John — but Carroll can’t help himself in this seemingly inappropriate use of the word because everything he observes in the operation of animal DNA is so elegantly intricate, efficient, and consistent — something like an unimaginably good computer program. His mind is evidently so closed by Darwinist fundamentalism that it doesn’t occur to him what he is really saying:

His field of evolutionary development is providing significant evidence of a great, creative, rational mind behind the workings of the genes he studies.

This is the current state of evolutionary science and the reason I can say with great confidence that biological science and Christian scriptures are in agreement.

5 thoughts on “Fire Back: Where the Readers Respond

  1. I was so blown away by this comment, that I sent the following email today.

    I write to you two today as writers whose work has appeared in Salvo magazine, to which I subscribe. And I’m writing to express excitement, astonishment, and surprise at having just read Sara Salviander’s short piece on evolutionary biology (Evo-Devo). (I think it was Terrell who led me to Dr. Salviander’s blog.) Actually, Evo-Devo appears to have been emerging for at least two decades now, and I had no idea!

    I subscribe to Salvo, and read all sorts of science-from-a-Christian-perspective stuff, because of my firmly held belief that the Bible is truth, and that scientific discoveries will eventually affirm that it is. Evolution has a bad name among evangelicals IMHO, primarily because natural selection is put forth as the mechanism by which we evolved, making God “unnecessary”. Now it appears that there is an evolutionary model that does not depend on natural selection, and that is entirely consistent with the biblical account!

    So how did you guys miss this? Or if you didn’t, why have you and other Christian science writers not made a much, much bigger deal of it? Even the post linked to here is a comment to a subscriber, and not a featured article.

  2. Well state, Surak.

    I do have one quibble: “Common descent is the closest thing to a proven theory in all of science.” Darwin’s common descent proposed that all life comes from a single source, a single organism. That’s been discredited as well, life seems to come from a complex web of interlocking organism. A bush of life, not a tree.

    At this point, nothing of Darwin’s original theory of NS remains credible.

    The sole thing that he did, and his followers never seem to grasp this, is he identified how adaptable life is. But he and his followers have always tried to extend that truth into the wrong areas, distorting and twisting it.

    The Ptolemaic epicycles to describe the motion of the heavenly bodies fared better than the evolutionists’ epicycles. At least the Ptolemaic system worked for a number of centuries with a decent rate of success.

  3. John, I’m gratified you got so much out of this article. One point of clarification: “Surak” wrote the article, not me.

  4. (Following: whenever I use the term you or your, I am referring to the group of scientists that make up Six-Day Science, and others who believe as SDS does, and are not directed at you personally.)

    I want to reiterate that I DO like your site. I DO find it interesting and informative when discussing empirical discoveries of science and astronomy. But, in response to me, you wrote above: “What else could Genesis 1 and 1 Corinthians be saying about God’s work in relation to humankind?”

    Seriously?

    How about if it means what it’s ALWAYS meant? I believe your group says that the first man was carnal Adam, and the Second man was Spiritual Adam after God breathed his Spirit into him. You ask, “What else could it mean?” Well, the first man of the dust has ALWAYS been understood as being Adam, the Second Man of Heaven (or the “Last Adam”) has ALWAYS been understood as referring to Christ.

    Concerning your 15 points you say, “Both biology and scripture agree on the following.” That is simply NOT true. Scripture does NOT agree with your list. Why would you claim that it does? Point #1 is obvious but I wonder if you are suggesting the oceans were instrumental in creating that life? Point #2 is speculation. Points #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 may agree with Evolutionary thought but are NOT in agreement with Genesis 1:20-24. Anyone who reads Gen 1:20-24 can see that your “ordered list” is out of order—with a few original ideas thrown in. I wonder why would you do that? Point #14 states “all species of life are connected.” I suppose I should ask, “in what way, other than having the same Creator?” On your previous post you said “the human body is biologically related to other primates.” Similarity is not evidence of “relation.” So again, in what way are they “related?” Finally, since biology and scripture are NOT in total agreement, that makes #15 a false statement.

    At least #3, #4, #5, and #6 are accurate.

    I’ve had long discussions on these issues with Sarah so I know from where your group is coming. If I can state it correctly, your group believes there was a whole race of intelligent, but unspiritual, hominids living and DYING for millions of years—before sin—and that one of them, Adam, only became “human,” or a man, when God breathed his Spirit into him. But, according to Gen. 2, Adam was the “first man” even BEFORE he received the “breath of life.” It says God made THE man out of the dust and breathed into him the “breath of life” (ḥay·yîm) and “THE man BECAME a living being.” (ḥay·yāh) He didn’t just choose one of the hominids, and it doesn’t say God made him the first spirit-filled being out of a multitude of hominids — it simply says “a living being.” That life included being filled with the Spirit of God, but he wasn’t alive before, God made him out of dust, and he was alive after. If there were millions of living hominids then why did God need to make him out of the dust or make Eve from Adam’s rib? If there was a whole race of intelligent, but unspiritual, hominids why not just breathe Spirit into the girl hominid next door as he did with Adam? Or do you discount the “rib thing” as well?

    You claim, “[God] took the basic primate body plan and reshaped it into human form through some process we label evolution but do not adequately understand.” You may not agree, but it sounds to me like you are trying very hard to make scripture fit inside what evolutionists claim to be unquestionably true—although there is NO evidence of it ever occurring.

    These are not the only points on which I believe your group swerves from the clear reading of Genesis. I know your group believes the sun, moon, and stars were created on Day 2, only becoming visible on day 4. The Bible does not use the Hebrew word for “appear” to say the sun and moon “appeared” on the fourth day. It says God “made them” (way·ya·‘aś ) on Day 4 and then “placed them (nathan) in the heavens…”. Schroeder says that the days of Creation were varying lengths of billions of years with Day 1 being 8 billion years. Gen. 1 says each day had a “morning and evening.” If the first day was 8 billion years, how would that work? Two billion years of dawn, 2 billion years of day, 2 billion years of dusk, and 2 billion years of night? But of course it wouldn’t matter since there were no creatures until day 5, which Schroeder says was only 500 million years. That would equate to only 125 million years each of dawn, day, dusk, and night. But I’ll bet it would still get pretty hot in 125 million years of daylight and pretty cold during 125 million years of night.

    As I mentioned before, I know your group believes in millions of years of death BEFORE sin. 1 Corinthians 15:21 and Romans 5:12 and 17 would disagree with you.

    In spite of the geologic evidence I know you also deny a worldwide flood, but instead propose merely a local flood — which makes God a liar since He said He’d never do that again.

    In these discussions on Origins I try to always appeal first to scripture, but here I see appeals first to the opinions of unbelievers like Nahmanides, Maimonedes, and Schroeder, and others like Dembski. Schroeder proposes his own versions of the day-age theory using arbitrary numbers and inconsistent reasoning. Dr. Schroeder says, for example, that according to his math, we are still in the sixth day of creation. But Genesis 2 says that God “ended his work” and on the seventh day “he rested” and “he blessed it and sanctified it because in it he rested” — all in the past tense. This is just one of the problems with his reasoning that I’ve read about.

    Again, I do not doubt your intentions, nor that you are Believers. I enjoy your scientific articles, but I must voice my opposition when, in reading your theological discussions, I see scripture being misquoted and reinterpreted, I can only surmise, in order to make it more compatible with current theories of “science falsely-so-called” and opinions of non-Christians and atheists.

    My main objection to why this matters is that when you do that it unravels the story of Grace, an intricate tapestry woven by God from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 — inadvertently overturning essential Christian doctrine in the process.

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