Where Are We Going?


I_love_my_trans_child_I have serious concerns for America, for the human race, and even for the Church. Where are we headed?

In the western world we’ve discovered eastern thought, and in the East, Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds. That gives me hope, it really does. But what I see in my own country, not so much.

There’s the political mess we’re in this election cycle. Please God, by His mercy, we might still have a candidate who will not make the mess worse, but if things continue to go as they are, the likelihood is that we’ll have either a fascist, a socialist or a possible felon for President. Happy days.

Of course, what’s dominating our thought—other than music and TV and movies and movie stars and sports, is bathrooms! Behind the issue is the acceptance of the transgender community which is a niche in the whole LGBT coalition.

The really troubling aspect, to me, is not that men will be in women’s bathrooms or women in men’s (though I tend to think not so many women-changed-to men will actually be a problem in the men’s bathrooms since they aren’t going to be shoulder to shoulder with guys at the urinal). Rather it’s the randomness of our rational for these “I feel like a woman, therefore I am a woman” identity issues.

Some of the same people who cry loudly that a person’s gender identity is how they feel inside will also cry loudly that evolution is real science and that supporting creation is “junk science.” They’ll also cry loudly that global warming is a Real Thing, with Scientific Proof! And that God does not exist (because we can’t see him).

The randomness comes from the selective use of physical evidence. Is not a person’s genitalia scientific evidence of gender? Why do some people trust in science when it comes to an unprovable theory like evolution but completely ignore it when it comes to gender identity?

The gender identity issue is not a small thing. It attacks the fundamentals of humanity. Scripture tells us that God created humans, male and female. But we, in our superior, I’m-better-than-god mindset think we can improve on what he made, if we don’t like it. Instead of teaching young people that God “don’t make no junk,” we have been sending out the word that girls have to be skinnier, men more muscular, white people tanner, nobody with gray hair (unless you’re eighty, and then only if you want to stop the hassle and expense of coloring your hair) or bald, and on and on. In other words, accepting who we are as we came out of the womb is pretty much unheard of.

That same kind of thinking has simply expanded. First, we did plastic surgery to fix the features we didn’t like, and now it’s hormone therapy and sex-transformation surgery.

This is not solving a problem. It’s creating a bigger one. Kids don’t know who they are, to the point that they no longer know what bathroom to use. And we give them the answer that we’ll simply let them choose or we’ll make a neutral bathroom for those who don’t feel like they fit in the silly binary bathrooms we have now.

My heart breaks for kids today who don’t know who they are. Their gender identity search is simply a symptom of their larger confusion. They don’t know where they belong or if they belong.

Kids—people—have always needed to belong, needed to feel secure and loved, needed to have purpose. Parents ought to be the first place where children have those needs met, but because parents aren’t perfect, they won’t be met perfectly. Friends meet those needs to a lesser degree, and spouses perhaps more so. But none can do so perfectly, and many a marriage goes through rocky times simply because one spouse or the other had expectations that their needs would be perfectly met, only to wake up to reality.

As a result of all the confusion, kids today seem to be growing up like weeds. Well, honey, what do you want to wear today to preschool? Well, honey, what gender do you want to be when you go to middle school?

Really, parents?

Where are you?

Parents don’t parent any more because they’ve been brainwashed into believing that there are no absolutes. So if Johnny doesn’t want to share his toys, well, they are his and we can’t violate what he wants to do (because apparently one of the few absolutes is that we are to allow everyone to do what they want, unless they’re bent on harming others physically; emotionally has yet to be determined).

So instead of Johnny learning to think of others and not just himself, he has parents who validate his selfishness. He never learns impulse control or empathy for others. He simply buys into the philosophy of bullies everywhere: if I want it, I take it.

We are a confused people because we have lost our moral compass. God said, do this one thing I’m telling you to do, and we can’t even manage that. Why? Because we want to be the boss. We don’t want to be second, even to God. We want what we want when we want it, and God isn’t going to stop us. We’ll simply believe him out of existence.

If things were left up to us, it would be hopeless. But praise God, He has come to rescue us from the dominion of darkness.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7, emphasis mine)

So where are we going? God has made the way for us through Jesus Christ our Savior to have eternal life. But to claim the gift of salvation we have to be clear about our identity: we are sinners coming to God, not on the basis of anything we’ve done but completely dependent upon what Christ has done for us. When we get that part of our identity cleared up, the rest will start to fall into place.

God’s View Or Ours


Fossil_Trees_-_geograph.org.uk_-_750298Some years ago I read a discussion between Christians about evolution. It dawned on me that those advocating this theory based on scientific observation are opting for Mankind’s view over God’s.

Science “knows” now, the reasoning goes, that life has evolved from lesser forms. We’ve “seen” this in geological findings. We have the fossil “records.” These records, therefore, are to be believed over the record handed down to us from God—His Holy Word.

The problem with choosing scientific observation over the Bible is manifold. First, science continues to change.

In addition, science presupposes that The Way Things Are is exactly The Way Things Were. In other words, science has no room for things like a perfect world without death. What would that look like? How would that effect what we observe now? Science has no room for a world with one big land mass and no rain. What would that have done to geology? What would the world have been like if the atmosphere had a layer made up primarily of water? What would that have done to the way the world formed? What if the world in a bygone era allowed for humans to live nearly a thousand years? What would that do to dating fossils?

And even more radically, what if God formed a perfectly complete world, and universe, that looked old even though it was new. After all, what would a “new” mountain look like? Or a new star, a new sun, a new Man? What would a new tree look like when you cut it down? Would there just be one giant ring?

We have no reason to believe Adam came into being as an infant. Just the opposite. Scripture would lead us to believe he was a full grown man, on the first day he lived and breathed and had his being.

Science has no room to ask these “what if” questions because their answers have no “hard evidence” that such things were possible. Consequently, science closes the book on what the Bible suggests or even states.

Some Christians who opt for this science-over-Scripture approach reason that God wouldn’t “fool” us into thinking something was one way when in fact it was something quite different.

I hardly think God tried to fool us, seeing as how He wrote down His creative process. But on another level, this argument is too weak to stand up. Humans for centuries have been “fooled.” They believed, for example, that they lived on flat land. How deceptive of God to pull a fast one and actually put us on a round(ish) planet.

Of course, He wasn’t deceptive at all since the sun is round, the moon is round, and apart from the twinkles, stars are round. It is actually more a wonder that people didn’t figure out sooner that the earth is round. But there it is. Man, believing his own eyes, when in fact the truth was something quite different.

The same could be said about men who believed the sun was the center of the universe and many more “scientific” observations that have changed when new information came along.

My question is, when will we learn to believe Omniscience instead of our own fallible, imperfect, inexact observations when we are trying to figure out The True Way Things Are?

This post first appeared here in February 2011.

Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 6:24 pm  Comments Off on God’s View Or Ours  
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The Compatibility Of Science And Christianity


Protoplanetary_diskChristians should be the first to combat the idea that science and Christianity are at odds with one another. They aren’t. In fact science, by its nature, is a limited field, contributing only to the field of observable knowledge accessed through our physical senses.

Christianity, of course, does not purport to explain DNA or the string theory or black holes, but it does reveal God and His plan and purpose for the world. It answers the big questions of life: who am I, why am I here, what is my destiny?

In reality, science and Christianity together give us an understanding of life. No one should separate the two, and yet an artificial divide is being forced onto society.

This divide would be similar to asking someone heading into a movie theater if he’s going to listen to the movie or watch it. Well, both, would be his logical reply. No, no, the pundit says, you have to choose one or the other. Sight and sound aren’t compatible.

Well, yes, they are. They reveal different things, but those things aren’t in contradiction. In fact sight and sound complement each other and give a fuller, richer movie-going experience. So too with science and Christianity.

The root to this divide seems to be in the creation-versus-evolution debate. Because the courts have ruled that evolution is science and can be taught in schools while creation is not and cannot be taught in schools, a line has been drawn in the sand. Choose what you believe, the pundits say—science or religion.

First, evolutionary theory is filled with unrepeatable parts that can’t be studied by the scientific method. Second, science is far greater than evolution. And third, Christianity is not synonymous with religion.

In other words, evolution requires a great deal of faith to believe—more so, in my opinion, than believing God designed the universe and brought it into being.

Regarding the first point, because evolution is a theory and not provable by the scientific method, it takes faith to believe it. Did you know, for example, that a single strand of DNA contains 3.1 billion bytes of information? A single strand. Three point one billion! And yet we are to believe, according to evolutionary theory, that an accidental concussion of matter and energy is responsible for the process that ordered all of life. Not just a single DNA strand, but all of life! The improbability of such a thing happening is incredibly high—astronomically high, you might say. Truly, it is more feasible that an explosion in a print shop resulted in Webster’s Dictionary.

The second point is equally important. Science that actually adheres to the scientific method does contribute knowledge about the physical world—knowledge which does not contradict the Bible. As a matter of fact, a host of early scientists were Christians, from Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal to Isaac Newton, Samuel Morse, Louis Pasteur, and many others.

A great number of Christians working in the fields of science exist today, too, men such as the following:
# Dr. Larry Vardiman Senior Research Scientist, Astro/Geophysics
# Dr. William Arion, Biochemistry, Chemistry
# Dr. Paul Ackerman, Psychologist
# Dr. E. Theo Agard, Medical Physics
# Dr. Steve Austin, Geologist
# Dr. S.E. Aw, Biochemist
# Dr. Thomas Barnes, Physicist
# Dr. Geoff Barnard, Immunologist
# Dr. John Baumgardner, Electrical Engineering, Space Physicist, Geophysicist, expert in supercomputer modeling of plate tectonics

Last point: Christianity is unique among religions because of Jesus Christ—no other religion has a person at the center of its faith as opposed to a system. No other religion offers grace and mercy instead of rules and regulations. Sadly, Christianity has been lumped in with those that play on superstition, guilt, and fear. Christ, in fact, brings peace and joy and hope and help. Christianity is not about a way to appease an angry God. It’s a realistic understanding of the human condition and the need of the human heart.

In no way does science step on Christianity’s toes. The idea that is incompatible with truth is the dismissal of God as the One who is before all, created all, and rules all. But if you accept God for who He is, study science all you want. The two are not mutually exclusive.

This post first appeared here in March 2013

Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm  Comments Off on The Compatibility Of Science And Christianity  
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Christians In A Non-Christian World


Peter006I know it’s hard for many Christians outside the US to comprehend, but believers here have lived for decades under the illusion that we’re in the majority. With the changes in our culture in the last seven years, and particularly in the last seven weeks, we really cannot deny the truth any more: we are in a post-Christian society and are in the minority.

This realization has caused great concern for many who have held out hope that the US would return to the ideals of our founders—that we would again recognize our Creator who, our Constitution tells us, endowed us all with certain unalienable rights. Barring a great movement of God’s Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of our people, we will not see a shift toward the things of God.

Changes once made are rarely rescinded. I don’t see same-sex marriage being disallowed by the Supreme Court or a Constitutional Amendment enacted returning marriage to its historical definition. Even with the Planned Parenthood scandal, it’s improbable that abortion will ever again be outlawed. And schools are already not allowed to teach creationism as one possible means by which the multiverse came into being.

How, then, will children raised on evolutionary theory as if it were fact, come to faith in a Creator God?

Let’s just say, Christians have our work cut out for us.

But shouldn’t that excite us?

I mean, did we think God put us on earth for a vacation before heading off into eternity? Who do we thing Jesus was talking to when He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me”? And who is on the receiving end of the great commission? Aren’t we, believers in Jesus Christ, to be the ones who make disciples?

But in a society of “everyone’s already a Christian,” none of us has to step up boldly and declare our faith.

I was reminded the other day of one of my greatest failures. In sixth grade (I would have been twelve) I attended a school in a rather exclusive part of Santa Barbara, a rather exclusive part of SoCal. Not everyone was rich (we weren’t), but I’m sure a number of my classmates were. Further, I was in a group ear-marked for college. So these kids were bright, hard-working, well-behaved, their parents involved.

I, as a Christian, was trying to figure out what my beliefs had to do with everyday life. The year before I’d made a woeful attempt to be the loving Christian. At that time we lived in an Italian ghetto in downtown Denver. When a new boy came to school and everyone started picking on him, I decided the loving Christian thing was to be nice to him. I hadn’t foreseen two consequences. The new guy took to me like I was his life raft, and my friends started teasing me about him because of it.

In a very un-Christ-like decision, I reversed my original “be nice to him” mode. Surprise, surprise—he didn’t respond so well. Being betrayed was probably harder on him than the original bullying. We ended up at loggerheads which led to fisticuffs. And eventually a trip to the office.

So much for putting into practice Christian principles.

And now I was in California, the exclusive area with well-behaved children. No fighting or cussing or bullying. One day I was riding home on the bus next to one of the sweet girls in my class. She was a pretty girl, too, well liked, and kind, but on that day there was a sadness about her. I don’t remember what it was we were talking about, but I do remember that the conversation opened up so that I could naturally say something about being a Christian or trusting in Jesus, or having faith. And I sat there. Said nothing. Stared out the window. And the moment passed. To say something after that would be forced, awkward.

But, I reasoned, Trudy was probably a Christian already. I mean, she was such a nice girl.

Flash forward another year when we were in junior high—1500 seventh through ninth graders from all over the city, packed into the school. I didn’t have any classes with Trudy, and the first time I saw her on campus I almost didn’t recognize her. She’d made it big with the “in crowd” known for . . . a lack of virtue. I don’t know that we ever spoke again.

But how many times I wished I could go back on that bus and tell Trudy about Jesus Christ who wanted to rescue her from the dominion of darkness, who wanted to be her Redeemer and Friend.

All that to say, the illusion of a Christian world can make believers complacent. It’s a little uncomfortable to talk to people about such a personal thing as their belief in God, and as long as we think (or rationalize), as I did, that they’re probably already Christians, we won’t step out in faith and be the ambassadors God wants us to be. After all, you don’t need to be an ambassador among your own citizens.

Today the illusion is gone. Our neighbors and co-workers look at the world very differently than we do. They believe truth is relative; that humankind evolved from a primordial soup; that there is no god or if he does exist, he’s disinterested or unknowable or weak; that the Bible is full of myth and not authoritative but outdated; that humans have the ultimate say about their own body and their own gender and their own sexuality and whatever else they believe they can or want to control; that “sin” is passe; that humankind is good.

The thing is, our task today to bring the gospel to this foreign culture with their opposing worldview, is not so different from what the apostles faced as they went about making disciples in the first century.

May we step out in faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, as they did, to move the mountain of unbelief that oppresses our neighbors and associates. May we seize the opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ in the non-Christian world in which we live.

Creation Is Not Superfluous


SolarsystemMany discussions I’ve had with atheists at some point reference the beginning of all things—the big bang and evolution or creation. Yet there are some Christians who would rather not discuss the subject. They believe what they believe and don’t see any need to answer the questions presented by people who believe differently.

I understand this to a point. I mean, atheists have formed their theories based on the rejection of God as the first cause. Rather, they look at the heavens (astronomy and physics) and at the earth (geology, biology, and genetics) and speculate how all we see could have come into being.

In contrast Christians have historically read the Bible and incorporated its truth into the study of all the disciplines of science. Hence the first cause of all that exists has been recognized as God, the Creator.

With these two contrasting starting places, it’s unlikely that a theist is going to accept the evolutionary views of an atheist, or an atheist, the Creation views of a Christian, so why bother with the discussion?

Sadly, because of certain Supreme Court rulings, the discussion of first cause in schools has been relegated to the purview of science, as if this is a knowable, observable fact which experts have proved instead of a theory under debate.

Add to this the fact that the hard and fast belief in a six-day creation which Genesis seems to describe has been exposed as not quite as definitive as scholars once taught. There are, for example, things we don’t understand about the creation story. For example, Genesis 1:2 says God moved over the surface of the waters before the six-day process began. What else might be included in the first verse, then, which says God created the heavens and the earth? Were angelic beings created at this point? And how long did all of what God created exist before He started what we know as the six-day process?

Then there’s the fact that Scripture refers to God accomplishing various things on the first day, second day, third day, before He created the sun by which we measure time. So were these “days” simply a mark of completed activity, not to be taken literally as lasting 24 hours?

Then there’s the matter of Scripture stating that to God a day is as a thousand years. In other words, He’s beyond time. Could His creative day have been a thousand or a billion years?

These are questions we can speculate about, but there’s no place where we have the answers recorded for us.

Which, in the minds of some, opens up the whole creation process to the possibility of evolution. Some have opted for “theistic evolution” which suggests that God initiated the evolutionary chain of events. Few, it would seem, go so far as to believe in the common descent theory that says all of life evolved from one original source. One such idea is “the belief that God created a set of ‘kinds’ of plants and animals at the beginning of Creation” (Wikipedia) Most retain the uniqueness of man. The problem with this theory is a big one: evolution requires death and according to Scripture, death came into the world because of Man’s sin.

Of course, evolution has problems of its own, the greatest being the existence of anything before anything came into being! Then there is the mathematical improbability of random matter and energy coming together to create a “last universal ancestor”—or that first life. In addition there’s the problem of entropy—the thermodynamic law that suggests that order does not come from disorder. So the random convergence of matter and energy, even if possible, would not order itself into more and more complex forms with the intricate patterns we now know DNA to have.

Unless there were a Designer, a Creator, a guiding hand ordering what would not other wise be ordered.

Finally there’s the absence of “transitional forms between species”–fossil findings of evolving creatures who were in the process of changing from one species to another.

So here’s the summation of all this. None of us was present at creation. We either have to believe what atheists say about the random beginning of everything (trusting in theories based on some scientific observation while ignoring other known facts) or we have to believe the Biblical account with all its lack of clarity. Either way there are unanswerable questions.

I suspect at this point, some will say, Hey, better to be the guy who keeps his ideas to himself and doesn’t get caught up talking about something we can’t ever actually know (until Glory). But I’ll tell you, I think that’s why we are in the situation we’re in today, with public schools passing off evolutionary theory as if it is proven fact when it is not.

Yes, we know a species can evolve. It’s called micro-evolution. Take the honey bee here in the US, for example. When the more virulent African bee was accidentally introduced into the Americas, the honey bee population began to diminish and the African variety to become more dominant.

However, there still is no concrete proof of cross-species evolution. Some say the universal genetic code is such proof, but it isn’t. Because God created all, since we all come from the same mind, why should we think there wouldn’t be a commonality all share?

In fact, I think we’re approaching a crisis point. We have young men who have been steeped in evolutionary theory during their school years becoming pastors and youth ministers. What will they teach their congregation, their youth groups?

Here’s what we know about creation and it is sure: God created. We can dither about the way He chose to do so, but we must not question that He is the First Cause, the only One capable of bringing all life and existence into being because He is the I AM, the pre-existent One. The Bible makes no equivocation about this fact and neither should Christians.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable. (Isaiah 40:28)

That, my friends, is the truth about origins. It makes the discussion of Creation vital, not superfluous theological gobbledygook.

Published in: on February 16, 2015 at 6:51 pm  Comments (6)  
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Is Your Dog A Person?


512px-Cheddar_CheerleaderIn the recent discussion about abortion at author and friend Mike Duran’s site, the pro-abortion commenter asked more than once when a baby (he said fetus or one of his other preferred scientific terms) was a person.

To me that was an obvious—we’d established, and all agreed, that life begins with conception. However, in his mind, that just-conceived life was not yet human, not yet a person.

Another commenter, a pro-life advocate in Canada, highlighted the question of personhood as central to the discussion:

the more pressing question and one perhaps that we could have engaged him on more fruitfully was , “But when should they be assigned a right to life, and why?”

In other words, for what reasons do we assign “personhood”, with all of its attendant rights, on a human being?

I’m a little stunned. I should think when they’re alive would be a good enough answer to the question, “When should they be assigned a right to life.”

But ultimately this discussion comes back to belief in God. Man cannot create life. Yes, I know, that’s somewhat under review, what with the advancement of cloning. But in reality, unless there is life to begin with, there is no cloned life, so Man still can not create life.

God creates life, and even if Man someday figures a way to produce life apart from “natural causes,” that doesn’t change the fact that God is supreme, and still the giver of life. I don’t look at this issue as any different than a person taking antibiotics as a way to recover from an infection. Man did not heal him. God still healed, but He used the medicine.

But let’s say we agree that a person gains personhood at conception—that a life is considered a person when he first becomes alive—what about the life of an animal? Shouldn’t a dog’s life be preserved and protected the same way as an unborn baby’s life? In fact, if life determines personhood, is my dog a person?

No, the issue isn’t simply the preservation of life, any life, in any form. Setting aside the fact that plants are also alive, I’m addressing the Hindu idea that animal life is sacred, an idea that is gaining traction in the US and perhaps in other places in western society.

Of course evolutionists who ascribe to the common descent theory—in which all life descended from a common source—don’t see human life as unique. For them there is no reason to protect an unborn child over against a titmouse. Both are alive but society has not recognized either as persons. In other words, society gets to decide who is a person and who isn’t.

Except, society does recognize the unborn as a person when the mother wants to give the child birth. The irrationality, then, is with society. Why would a woman wanting a child or not wanting a child change his personhood?

In essence this view says slave owners were right—if they didn’t recognize the personhood of a slave, then he wasn’t a person.

Today we think that view is hateful. And it is.

Why, then, would society choose another class of people and determine they are not persons?

The frightening thing is that this rationale carried to its logical extreme means other groups of people can be stripped of personhood—homeless people or those with Down Syndrome or the schizophrenic or those with Alzheimer’s. If society gets to say who’s a person, why should we think there will not one day be a determination that an undesirable group is stripped of personhood.

At the same time, since human life is viewed as no different from animals, why not elevate our pets to the place of personhood. We already call them our children, and more and more owners are putting clothes on their dogs. It’s a natural leap for us to give them the “right to life.”

We Christians need to understand this issue. More than the lives of the unborn are at stake, and that’s saying a lot since so many babies lose their lives to abortion.

The real issue is the evolution-creation divide that so many Christians seem to be wearied with, and since children are, by mandate, taught evolution in school, in one generation our country will no longer think human life is separate and distinct from animals.

Unless we teach our children otherwise. Purposefully. Clearly.

Creation isn’t just about genesis. It’s about God breathing life into Man, giving us a spirit which He did not give to any of the animals. Why do you suppose no suitable helpmate was found for Adam? It wasn’t because of sexual comparability. It was at the level of personhood. No animal was created in God’s image, after His likeness.

Man is more than what the animals are. We have capacities animals don’t have. We can reason, we can sin, we can worship, we can forgive, we can judge, we can aspire. These are not things we’ve learned or gained because of superior intellect. These are part of our personhood, part of our moral fiber, our spiritual makeup. They are part of human life.

Consequently, all human life should be valued. The taking of life should not be something done for convenience or comfort. Today, a woman can kill her unborn baby because it’s inconvenient for her to be pregnant at this point in her life. Tomorrow will she be able to kill her aging parent because it’s inconvenient for her to be a caregiver at this point in her life?

And will our dogs be given more rights than our unborn children?

Maybe we’ll simply stop giving birth since we have these dog children who don’t have all those irritating tendencies to think for themselves as human children do. Maybe we’ll simply let the culture go completely to the dogs.

Published in: on February 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm  Comments (4)  
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Atheism’s Unanswerable Question


Evolution_tree_of_lifeChristianity and atheism, which of necessity requires belief in evolution, are two contrasting worldviews, not only because they have opposing views about God but also because they have opposing views about humankind. While the focus of discussions and debates often concentrates on the existence of God, it is the view of humankind that leaves atheists with an unanswerable question.

There are two specific ways that Christians and atheists view humankind differently. First, Christians believe that humans are unique from animals because we have an eternal soul. Atheists believe instead in the “common descent” principle:

In evolutionary biology, a group of organisms have common descent if they have a common ancestor. “There is strong quantitative support, by a formal test”[1] for the theory that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor.[2]

Charles Darwin proposed the theory of universal common descent through an evolutionary process in On the Origin of Species, saying, “There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one”.[3]

Second, Christians believe humans, though created in God’s image, have a fallen, or sinful, nature passed down through Adam who turned his back on God when he intentionally disobeyed Him. The only way to change society is to point individuals to Jesus Christ who provides a way of escape from sin, guilt, the law, and death.

Atheists, on the other hand, believe humans are morally neutral at worst and might even be considered “good” by virtue of the fact that what exists has survived.

Right and wrong, good and evil, then, are not existent apart from the perception of a group or community. Hence, homosexuality is wrong until the group determines it is right.

Infants come into the world as blank slates or even as good slates and only turn toward evil if they are influenced by societal patterns (racism, for example) or errant views (such as religion). The way to change society is simply to re-educate people.

One atheist puts it this way:

So if we are determined, then how do we define evil? If our minds come from our brains, and our brain circuitry is out of our control, then is anyone responsible for anything – no matter how courageous, no matter how innovative, no matter how good or evil, that the person is? (“An atheist’s view of evil”)

Another atheist discussing evil concludes with this:

For atheists, a better explanation for the presence of evil in the world is that God does not exist. (“Atheism”).

A number of others discuss evil only as an argument against the existence of God. But here’s the question that atheists can’t seem to answer: where did evil come from? If life has a common descent, if we’re born with no natural bent toward evil, what injected evil into the equation?

In reality, the atheist scenario is one that would seem to result in utopia: humans, evolved from a common and not evil descent, growing toward their full potential without any negative force to intercede.

Except for society. Which teaches gender differences and racism and encourages belief in mythical gods which motivate people groups to hate.

But society is nothing more than people interacting with one another. So how and why did humans start acting in hateful ways toward people who were different from them? Why did the strong decide to take from the weak instead of using their strength for the greater good?

In other words, where did evil come from?

This is the atheist’s unanswerable question.

As I mentioned, a number of professing atheists lay evil at the feet of God, then declare that its existence proves He couldn’t possibly exist. That he doesn’t eradicate evil shows either that he’s too weak to do so (and therefore, not God) or too evil himself or too undiscerning to know evil from good (and therefore not God).

The argument, of course, ignores what God Himself has to say about evil and its existence. But more so, it offers no alternative, no explanation for the virulent presence of evil in the world.

In fact, some atheists deny the existence of evil:

Atheists such as Richard Dawkins claim that evil doesn’t actually exist. In his book, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life Dawkins writes: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” (David Robinson, “The problem of evil is a bigger problem for atheists than Christians,” Christianity Today)

Of course such a view collapses the argument that evil disproves the existence of God, because something that does not exist cannot itself be used to disprove anything. So either evil exists, or it doesn’t. And if it exists, but there is no God, then where did it come from? How did it come to be included in this mix of materialism?

Actually the atheist I quoted above, was on the right track. Evil comes from the absence of God. He does exist, but He doesn’t force Himself on our lives. Humankind, having chosen to leave God out, now experience the world with the absence-of-God component a reality.

Evolution’s Narrow View


Young chimpanzees from Jane Goodall sanctuary of Tchimpounga (Congo Brazzaville)

Young chimpanzees from Jane Goodall sanctuary of Tchimpounga (Congo Brazzaville)

Some years ago I watched part of a PBS program hosted by Alan Alda. (Yes, the Alan Alda of Mash fame.) The program, Scientific American Frontiers, had some really interesting material, but all from an evolutionary point of view. So, too, the show to which I’m referring.

This one discussed researcher Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzees, in particular some of her groundbreaking observations. Chimps can and do use tools. They have minimal rational thought, not just imitative behavior. They form “nation” groups with differing traits from one another. They exhibit emotions and even prejudice or at least aggressive behavior toward outsiders—chimp groups that have broken from the main body. They operate under a set of “moral” rules, with inappropriate behavior corrected by the leader or group.

All these observations are on film, and much of the program showed footage that gave evidence of these findings.

Honestly, I find it fascinating. But here’s the key assertion. According to Alda and his research team, this look at chimps is a look at Mankind’s earliest development.

Some might find this a natural conclusion: chimps do simple cognitive reasoning; man as a more developed creature does advanced cognitive reasoning. One leads naturally to the other, thus offering further evidence that the latter came from the former.

I find this conclusion to be based on narrow thinking. Rather than looking at the facts and asking, How can this be? these scientists look at the evidence and say, Then it must be this way.

As I see it, their thinking is along this line of reasoning: a pine tree bears pine cones which aren’t edible; an apple tree bears apples—an edible fruit—and is therefore more advanced. Consequently, pine trees must be the primitive fore bearers of apple trees.

On the surface that looks rather silly, but the logic follows the same lines as the idea that chimps are the fore bearers of humans.

The point of division is that evolutionary theory apparently only accounts for evolutionary cross-species changes in biological life, not in botanical life.

Admittedly, I am ignorant of a lot of evolutionary theory, so I could be wrong—possibly evolutionary scientists extend the theory to the botanical but for some reason based on their science, do not see pine trees as the forerunner to apple trees.

Nevertheless, my point remains, which is this: evolutionary theorists are narrow in their thinking. They see a set of observations and draw conclusions based on only one possibility—that similarities in species indicate a common source that underwent evolutionary changes, giving us life as we know it today.

The fact is, there is another possibility that fits the data just as well—or better. The observed similarities in species exist because the same Creator made both chimps and Man.

In fiction we talk about an author’s voice—a kind of signature woven into novels through word choice and sentence structure and characters and theme and genre and style and mood. Those familiar with an author can often pick out which lines are his simply because they know his work so well.

Why would it be a stretch to believe that Creator God, who said He created Man in His image, nevertheless showed something of His personality in the rest of the creatures He made?

An artist paints according to his style. A sculptor, an architect, a wood craftsman … all those who create, stamp what they make with their own identity. Why not God?

Seems to me, theorists that don’t at least consider this question are narrow in their thinking.

– – – – –
Photo credit: Delphine Bruyere

This post, with some minor editorial changes, first appeared here in November 2009).

Why I Am A Biblical Creationist


00Galaxy_NGC1300I recently read an article entitled “Young Earth-ism Cost Her Faith” which my friend Mike Duran linked to on his Facebook page. The author made a case that “many apologists for young-earth creationism (including the writers of my Christian textbooks) actually appeared to have misrepresented evolutionary theory and the evidence for it in a way that I can only describe as dishonest,” which caused her to ” ‘lose my faith,’ as it were.”

I was curious where the responses to this article went, but the website proprietors closed comments which also apparently hid them. In the sidebar was another article that I thought might explore a similar subject, this one entitled “Why I Am A Darwinist–Mary Catherine Watson.” In similar fashion to the writer who lost her faith, Ms. Watson came to her belief in Darwinism through exposure to it after growing up with a creationist education: “I took AP Biology and found myself convinced that evolution made more sense in explaining the world around me than did the Bible.”

The irony is, I grew up with evolution, the Big Bang theory, Darwinism, taught in school as if there were no other possible answers. But I also grew up going to church where I learned the Bible was God’s authoritative Word, His revelation. Consequently, my experience was quite different from Ms. Watson’s.

From her study, she concluded, “And no, it is highly unlikely that every scientist is simultaneously deluded by this theory. Science is one of the most intellectually intense fields of profession around, and its workers have some of the highest IQs, they are not that naïve.” From my study, I concluded God who is omniscient, the Creator of all those high IQs, revealed that which only He could know with certainty.

Ms. Watson says she went to the Bible and found more questions. She admits evolution doesn’t answer all questions either but concluded, “in light of all the information I’ve come across from both sides, it seems to me to be the more logical option.”

On the other hand, I went to the Bible and found more and more facts that made the big picture come together in a logical whole.

Ms. Watson changed her opinions in part because of her questions about the flood recorded in Scripture.

such a flood would require steady, worldwide rainfall at the rate of about 6 inches per minute, 8640 inches per day–for 40 days and nights–so as to cover the entire earth with an endless ocean 5 miles deep, thus burying 29,000 ft. Mt. Everest (the tallest mountain) under 22 ft. (15 cubits) of water, made me think again. That is a lot of water, where did it come from, and where did it go?

Her study of Scripture seems to be less complete than her math computations. According to the Biblical record of creation, there was a considerable amount of water:

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters . . . Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. (Gen 1:2, 6-9)

Then in the account of the flood, this:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. (Gen 7:11-12)

In other words, this was not the typical modern day rain storm we’re familiar with.

But therein lies the divide between people like Ms. Watson and people like me–when the Bible records something that is outside my experience, I don’t conclude it was fabricated, mythologized, or inaccurate. I believe it is outside my experience and today’s scientific observation because things were different from what the scientists assume. And clearly, assumption plays a huge part in “observing” what transpired thousands of years ago.

The bottom line is this: Ms. Watson and the anonymous “lost her faith” writer read the same science I read and studied, read the same Bible I read, and yet we have arrived at vastly different places. I am far from thinking that I know all the details about creation, but I’m pretty confident that the scientists who deny a Creator have made a serious error. If you start with a wrong hypothesis, it’s pretty hard to believe that you are drawing closer to the truth as you persist with that line of reasoning.

Hänsel_und_GretelIn the end, I’ll take the word of omniscient, eternal God over finite, limited Man when it comes to the origins of the cosmos. After all, without God’s revelation, we’re trying to follow a bread crumb trail back to the first cause. As Hansel and Gretel discovered, bread crumbs aren’t so reliable.

Published in: on June 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Compatibility Of Science And Christianity


Protoplanetary_diskChristians should be the first to combat the idea that science and Christianity are at odds with one another. They aren’t. In fact science, by its nature, is a limited field, contributing only to the field of observable knowledge accessed through our physical senses.

Christianity, of course, does not purport to explain DNA or the string theory or black holes, but it does reveal God and His plan and purpose for the world. It answers the big questions of life: who am I, why am I here, what is my destiny?

In reality, science and Christianity together give us an understanding of life. No one should separate the two, and yet an artificial divide is being forced onto society.

This divide would be similar to asking someone heading into a movie theater if he’s going to listen to the movie or watch it. Well, both, would be his logical reply. No, no, the pundit says, you have to choose one or the other. Sight and sound aren’t compatible.

Well, yes, they are. They reveal different things, but those things aren’t in contradiction. In fact sight and sound complement each other and give a fuller, richer movie going experience. So too with science and Christianity.

The root to this divide seems to be in the creation versus evolution debate. Because the courts have ruled that evolution is science and can be taught in schools while creation is not and cannot be taught in schools, a line has been drawn in the sand. Choose what you believe, the pundits say–science or religion.

First, evolutionary theory is filled with unrepeatable parts that can’t be studied by the scientific method. Second, science is far greater than evolution. And third, Christianity is not synonymous with religion.

In other words, evolution requires a great deal of faith to believe–more so in my opinion than believing God designed the universe and brought it into being. Did you know that a single strand of DNA contains 3.1 billion bytes of information. A single strand. And yet we are to believe that an accidental concussion matter and energy is responsible for the process that ordered all of life. Truly, it is more believable that an explosion in a print shop resulted in Webster’s Dictionary.

The second point is equally important. Science that actually adheres to the scientific method does contribute knowledge about the physical world–knowledge which does not contradict the Bible. As a matter of fact, a host of early scientists were Christians, from Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal to Isaac Newton, Samuel Morse, Louis Pasteur, and many others.

A great number of Christians working in the fields of science exist today, too, men such as the following:
# Dr. Larry Vardiman Senior Research Scientist, Astro/Geophysics
# Dr. William Arion, Biochemistry, Chemistry
# Dr. Paul Ackerman, Psychologist
# Dr. E. Theo Agard, Medical Physics
# Dr. Steve Austin, Geologist
# Dr. S.E. Aw, Biochemist
# Dr. Thomas Barnes, Physicist
# Dr. Geoff Barnard, Immunologist
# Dr. John Baumgardner, Electrical Engineering, Space Physicist, Geophysicist, expert in supercomputer modeling of plate tectonics

Last point: Christianity is unique among religions because of Jesus Christ–no other religion has a person at the center of its faith as opposed to a system. No other religion offers grace and mercy instead of rules and regulations. Sadly, Christianity has been lumped in with those that play on superstition, guilt, and fear. Christ, in fact, brings peace and joy and hope and help. Christianity is not about a way to appease an angry God. It’s a realistic understanding of the human condition and the need of the human heart.

In no way does science step on Christianity’s toes. The incompatible is the dismissal of God as the One who is before all, created all, and rules all. But if you accept God for who He is, study science all you want. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm  Comments (12)  
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