Archive for category Science

Who’s Indimidating Who? The Creation-Science Debate

I recently read two books on Bible and science issues.  One was the summary of RATE research by Dr. Don DeYoung, Thousands…Not Billions, which spoke in favor of detailed scientific support for a young age for the earth (with which I agree).  I was refreshed by the honest spirit I found.  At points where the evidence supported a young earth but also left further challenges in different directions, DeYoung did not duck the question and admitted the need for further research by young earth scientists.  He also couched his statements in terms of absolutes when he thought things were clear but in probabilistic terminology when young earth conclusions could be held but the evidence did not rule out other interpretations automatically.

The other book I just finished is Francis Collins’ book The Language of Love.  Collins is the somewhat famous head of the government genome project.  He is also one of the founders of BioLogos, an organization dedicated to propagating the position of theistic evolution.  It seemed for the most part to be a book recycling the old argument that similarity implies common ancestry biologically speaking.  It just adds the detailed information of the human and animal DNA to the argument.

One of the interesting comments I found by Collins was the following:  “While many scientists ascribe to TE [theistic evolution], they are in general reluctant to speak out for fear of negative reaction from their scientific peers, or perhaps for fear of criticism from the theological community” (p. 202).  While I can accept this concern to some degree, I find the concern to be somewhat puny next to the same concern for young earth creationists who are scientists or even those old earth creationists who don’t believe in evolution.  I have a friend who teaches in the sciences in a major state univeristy.  He once confided that he could lose his job if he became vocal about his rejection of evolution.  There are many qualified scientists who reject Darwin’s theory and who keep quite for fear of their jobs.  Also, there are many educational and research institiutions that would never hire a young earth creationist.  This seems to contradict the fact that the same crowd who rejects such people also seems to trumpet pluralism and invoke it when necessay to get their viewpoints across or put other viewpoints down.  All in all, who is trying to intimidate who?

A Young Earth and God’s Alleged Deception

Before I took the turn in my life into Christian ministry as a pastor and seminary educator, I was an aerospace engineer.  I worked on the space shuttle briefly as an intern as a senior in college (back before they built it).  I did most of my work on missile defense systems and especially the F-16 jet fighter.  I have a largely intellectual approach to my faith and have never relinquished my love for scientific method and the field of the sciences in particular.  Early on in my Christian life I became convinced of the young earth approach to harmonizing the Bible and so-called scientific discoveries and teachings.  I have always believed that I can do that with a clear conscience and without surrendering my mind and rational thought.

While I was a seminary student at Liberty Baptist Seminary in the late 1970s, I had a conversation with Dr. Lane Lester, who had come to teach at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) about the problem of God’s deception.  If God made the universe with apparent age (stretched out the light rays, etc.), then the things that we discover through our telescopes right now bring a dilemma to our attention.  The mechanics of the universe (speed of light, etc.) point to what we are seeing as having happened billions of years ago.  The young earth position says that what we are seeing did not exist billions of years ago since the earth is only 6000 to 10,000 years old.  Thus, God actually is deceiving us by the way that he designed things and perhaps the deception is ongoing.  Dr. Lester raised this question to me.  I am not sure that I had ever thought about it seriously before that time.  My initial thought was that God did not have to reveal all of his “mechanics” to us naturally.  He has communicated to us in other ways of special revelation.  If we accept the other ways God is communcating to us, we should not have a problem of God creating the universe with apparent age.

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