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Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby dwight92070 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:27 pm

backwoodsman,
Thank you for your comments. I will try to implement your suggestion.

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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby Si » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:31 pm

dwight92070 wrote:I appreciate you returning "to the table". If I am using tactics, I am unaware of it. I'm just being myself. However,I understand what you say I am doing, and I would like to make a concerted effort to stop.


I am glad we could come to an understanding Dwight, because the rest of your post below is quite respectful and thoughtful. I really appreciate it.

dwight92070 wrote:So, I assume then that it's fair to say that you don't take the Bible creation story literally? Also, I am assuming that you believe God used evolution to bring man on the earth. Please correct me if I made false assumptions. I have not looked back at our previous discussion on the days of creation. I am curious, assuming you believe in a non-literal understanding of the creation, do you also subscribe to a non-literal understanding of the flood and other apparent supernatural events in the Bible? If so, how can you ever know what is literal in the Bible and what is not? I believe there is scripture that is figurative and there is scripture that is literal and the context, history, author, etc. help us to determine which is which. I don't see any reason to take the creation story figuratively. It appears to me that Jesus didn't and Paul didn't. But then, that requires taking them literally.


Generally speaking, I think Genesis 1-11 is in a different genre from the rest of Genesis, and I don't take it literally. I also think that God providentially used evolution to create man. I have no difficulty believing in miracles or the supernatural as explained elsewhere in the Bible. And to be quite honest, there is no different between us theologically, because the lessons taught in these early chapters are the same in both of our views.

The way I see the Genesis creation account can be summed up as thus: It is as scientifically accurate as ancient near eastern people could muster, because it was written thousands of years before modern science came into being. I believe God accommodates us in his special revelation. Because scripture is revealed through the lens of its human authors, is always written within the framework of the worldview for the audience for whom it was first written. Taken this way, Genesis is really a revolutionary document.

The creation stories of Israel's pagan neighbors often had a common theme of the supreme god slaying some sort of cosmic monster, and then creating the heavens and earth out of the carcass of the monster. Pagans also deified the creation, in that they had a sea god, air god, storm god, etc. The Genesis creation account explains quite correctly that the heavens and the earth are inanimate matter, and completely distinct from the creator. It also explains quite correctly that the creation was good, and the result of a thoughtful, purposeful God, not the result of violence and chaos. Israel's neighbors would have recognized the Genesis account as a direct affront to their own creation account, placing the God of Israel firmly above creation, and reducing their false gods to mere natural forces under the God of Israel's rule.

I see the account of the fall as a poignant illustration of man's hubris in thinking he can become like God. Israel's neighbors had stories of great kings who would be taken up into the heavens and made gods. Adam and eve were given paradise, all they had to do was not eat of the tree of knowledge, which the serpent said would make them "like God". While Genesis 1 created a firm distinction between creator and creation, the story of the fall creates a firm distinction between creator and creature.

I see the flood story as likewise a response to Babylonian stories. In the epic of Gilgamesh, which predated the writing of the Noah account, the petty gods decide to destroy mankind in a flood because man is too noisy and disrupting their sleep. I think the point is to pin the responsibility for the flood directly on the sinfulness of man and the response as that of a holy God punishing severe sin, not as the actions of petty nature deities who can't sleep. This would have been a slap in the face to Israel's neighbors.

The tower of Babel account likewise shows man's hubris to create a tower that reaches to heaven, and to make a name for himself, and God's punishment for that hubris.

Are the stories historical? They are as historical as ancient people understood history. They are very densely written and have a completely different feel than when the story of Abram picks up in Genesis 12. They are also prophetic as types and shadows of later events that would lead up to the coming of the messiah. Just as Adam and Eve's disobedience led to their being driven from paradise, so Israel's disobedience led to their being driven out of the promised land, so to our disobedience leads us to being driven out of a right relationship with God. Paul would have understood history in a like matter, and Jesus, being God, likewise accommodated his disciples.

dwight92070 wrote:Okay, I do have some questions. I don't recall Ken Ham saying that hundreds of thousands of SPECIES are extant today that were not on the ark. I could be wrong, but I thought he believed that there have been NO NEW SPECIES since creation. In fact, the idea that new species have come into existence is an evolutionary idea, isn't it? I recall Ken Ham using the word "kinds" of animals, instead of "species". He says that there have been many (maybe thousands) of variations of dogs, for example, but they are all still the same species or kind - i.e. dog. Whenever we have one species turning into another, we have evolution, right?


Ken Ham teaches that what young earth creationists describe as "kinds" are at the family level of taxonomy. For dogs, that would be the family "Canidae". So he believes Noah would have taken two dog "kinds" on the ark, and after the flood that would then branch out into every dog, wolf, coyote, fox, jackal and dingo that we have today. According to Google there are 34 species of Canidae. What evolutionists believe took place in hundreds of thousands of years, Ken Ham believe occurred in a few thousand years.

dwight92070 wrote:Next, you said that evolution does not teach that humans evolved from chimps, but rather that they both have a common ancestor. Please, I don't mean any offense here, but I find that statement unbelievable! No, I have not studied evolution, so here again, I could be wrong, but it is my impression that that is the MAIN tenet of evolution. I remember seeing the "monkey to man" chart where they show an image of a monkey on the left walking toward the right. To the right of the monkey is an image of a chimp, also walking toward the right. Next is an image of possibly a gorilla, standing more erect. Then another creature that seems part gorilla, but also bears some resemblance to a man, i.e. half-man, half-ape. This keeps going until all the way to the right, you see the image of a man. If that is not an evolutionary depiction of a monkey becoming a chimp, becoming an ape, etc. etc., then what is the meaning of that chart?

Also, when you say that they both have a common ancestor, isn't that just a distinction without a difference? If there were no half-men, half-apes, then how could man ever appear on the scene through evolution? Again, I don't mean any disrespect here, but did a male and a female gorilla have intercourse, and out pops a little baby human? I sincerely do not understand how humans could have evolved without partial animal, partial human creatures leading up to the 100% man.

Finally, I can only quote what you said in your post: "Evolution teaches that new species form when two groups of one species become genetically isolated from one another and successively adapt to their new environments over many generations. Eventually, the groups diverge to the point where, even if they did come back in contact, they could not have viable offspring. When members of a species breed with one another, it creates a shared set of features among the population. No individual members of a species can evolve in isolation because they are inextricably linked to the gene pool of their species". You might as well be speaking Greek here, because I have no idea what you are saying.

Respectfully,
Dwight


The evolutionist view is that members of the taxonomic family Hominidae, which includes humans, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans evolved from an earlier ape-like common ancestor which lived about 14 million years ago. Apes and humans evolved from that ancient ancestor, not from one another. As for the chart you referenced, it is meant to represent transitional forms between that ancient ape-like ancestor and modern humans.

As a young earth creationist it is understandable that this would be unbelievable to you. To be clear, I am not here to convert you to my point of view. If any Christian is comfortable with the young earth view, that is fine with me. My goal is to help you and others understand the theistic evolutionist, or evolutionary creationist viewpoint.

The answer to your other questions about human-ape hybrids and gorillas giving birth to a human are pretty much summed up in my post that you quoted where you said it was like Greek to you. I don't know how to express it more clearly. For younger generations, such a worldview is their first language, so to speak. It is intuitive to me based on my childhood education in biology classes. That is not a criticism of you Dwight, but just pointing out that you and I come from entirely different presuppositional starting points.

I understand that my views are very much outside the Evangelical mainstream, but they are very much in line with the rest of the Christian world. Nothing of what I said is really original or independently arrived at, but I had to gather it from sources mostly outside of Evangelicalism.

To give you a brief biography, when I was 17 I stopped believing in the Christian faith in part because I thought it contradicted science. Now, there are two apologetic responses to my former unbelief. One would be the Evangelical response, the young earth apologetic of rejecting modern science and suggesting an alternative viewpoint of creation science. That did not work for me. The other apologetic is to harmonize modern science with scripture, which made a whole lot of sense to me, and I found that I no longer had any excuse. That is an oversimplification of my own journey, but my entire path back to faith has to do with me finding that all of my former reasons for not following Christ had a response that I could not reject.

Again I want to emphasize that in this system, no doctrine is compromised, and the same theological points are present for both. I think for people of my generation (I am 34 now), it would be a much more effective apologetic to say that there is no conflict between scripture and modern science, what matters is how you interpret it, because as I pointed out above, the evolutionary worldview is their starting point. Can we agree that it is far more important for young people to come to Christ and be his disciples, and far less important how literally or symbolically they interpret a select few chapters of Scripture, especially if the doctrines taught by the scriptures in discussion are identical in both systems?

That is the best I can do for now, Dwight. I have been typing for a couple of hours and maybe I can expand on some points later. I hope to have productive dialogue on the matter. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby backwoodsman » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:03 pm

Si wrote:The other apologetic is to harmonize modern science with scripture, which made a whole lot of sense to me, and I found that I no longer had any excuse.

Would you mind explaining why you chose theistic evolution rather than old-earth creationism? The latter seems to me to be a better fit with both science and Scripture.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby Homer » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:25 pm

Hello Si,

I enjoyed reading your post, and especially noted that you spent two hours on it. You are almost as slow as me!

If I may, I have a couple questions for you. I do not know if you have listened to John Lennox. I admire him very much, and as I understand him your views are close to his. One point he makes is that God intervenes in the evolutionary process. Earlier I had posted in this thread regarding the fact that man has far more brainpower than gradual evolution can explain (far more than needed to survive and multiply), hoping that JonPerry would attempt to explain it but he has apparently skedaddled as is his wont.

You wrote:

I also think that God providentially used evolution to create man.

Would you believe that God directly intervened to give mankind the abilities that are far above that possessed by any other creature?
It seems to me that would require a miracle beyond providence.

Which leads me to another comment you made:

Again I want to emphasize that in this system, no doctrine is compromised, and the same theological points are present for
both.


My concern with a gradual evolution of man is that it makes great Pauls' statements about the first Adam and second Adam (Christ) problematic. If Adam was not uniquely the first man, and a man only very minutely different than his supposed line of ancestors, then Paul's antithesis regarding the first and second Adam would seem to be falsified.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby Si » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:35 pm

backwoodsman wrote:
Si wrote:The other apologetic is to harmonize modern science with scripture, which made a whole lot of sense to me, and I found that I no longer had any excuse.

Would you mind explaining why you chose theistic evolution rather than old-earth creationism? The latter seems to me to be a better fit with both science and Scripture.


It works well with the other sciences, but not with biology. I think the day age system of Hugh Ross is pretty good as far as old earth creationism goes, I felt like it was trying to cram modern science into ancient cosmology, which strikes me as anachronistic. It felt like forcing two worldviews together that really are two entirely different categories of thought.

I will say though that old earth creationists like Hugh Ross and Hank Hanegraaff have been influential to me.

Homer wrote:Hello Si,

I enjoyed reading your post, and especially noted that you spent two hours on it. You are almost as slow as me!

If I may, I have a couple questions for you. I do not know if you have listened to John Lennox. I admire him very much, and as I understand him your views are close to his. One point he makes is that God intervenes in the evolutionary process. Earlier I had posted in this thread regarding the fact that man has far more brainpower than gradual evolution can explain (far more than needed to survive and multiply), hoping that JonPerry would attempt to explain it but he has apparently skedaddled as is his wont.

You wrote:

I also think that God providentially used evolution to create man.

Would you believe that God directly intervened to give mankind the abilities that are far above that possessed by any other creature?
It seems to me that would require a miracle beyond providence.


I believe that not only has God intervened, but sustains all things at this very moment. Colossians 1:16 "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

I was aware of the name John Lennox, but not familiar with his teaching, I will have to check him out!

Homer wrote:Which leads me to another comment you made:

Again I want to emphasize that in this system, no doctrine is compromised, and the same theological points are present for
both.


My concern with a gradual evolution of man is that it makes great Pauls' statements about the first Adam and second Adam (Christ) problematic. If Adam was not uniquely the first man, and a man only very minutely different than his supposed line of ancestors, then Paul's antithesis regarding the first and second Adam would seem to be falsified.


I acknowledge that this is the main difficulty for any system that does not take the story of the fall literally, and a problem I have struggled with. Some have suggested a special creation of Adam and Eve apart from previous human-like life forms (neanderthals and the like). Some have suggested that while their biological forms evolved, that God created their souls/spirits. I do understand this is a difficulty and I am always open to new ideas.

As for there being a literal Adam and Eve and a literal fall, I find problems with that as well. If the tree of knowledge of good and evil is itself what gives Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil, how can they be blamed? Their knowledge of sin came after eating the fruit. It would be like blaming a child for their nature before the age of accountability. How does one call something disobedient if there is no ability to understand the concept? These "problems" are of no account if the story is merely a parable of sorts to illustrate how each one of us by our sinful nature has the hubris to make ourselves Lord of our own life and assume the position that is properly God's. The ignorant humans, eating of the tree of knowledge are assuming for themselves a position that is not theirs for the taking, that is God's knowledge and domain. We cannot inherit eternal life (the tree of life) unless we surrender our lives to Christ (rejecting the eating of the fruit). This restores our relationship to God as it properly was in the garden before the fall.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby backwoodsman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:03 pm

Si wrote:
backwoodsman wrote:Would you mind explaining why you chose theistic evolution rather than old-earth creationism? The latter seems to me to be a better fit with both science and Scripture.

It works well with the other sciences, but not with biology.

How so? I have yet to see an example that's explained better by evolution than by OEC (and some are actually explained better by OEC). Can you provide one?

I think the day age system of Hugh Ross is pretty good as far as old earth creationism goes, I felt like it was trying to cram modern science into ancient cosmology, which strikes me as anachronistic. It felt like forcing two worldviews together that really are two entirely different categories of thought.

My impression is quite the opposite: OEC in general, and Hugh Ross in particular, correlate and explain both science and Scripture such that neither is forced or compromised; everything just fits together with nothing that just has to be ignored, as both evolution and YEC must do.

As for there being a literal Adam and Eve and a literal fall, I find problems with that as well. If the tree of knowledge of good and evil is itself what gives Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil, how can they be blamed? Their knowledge of sin came after eating the fruit. It would be like blaming a child for their nature before the age of accountability. How does one call something disobedient if there is no ability to understand the concept?

A child too young to understand why running into the street is dangerous can still understand that he's been told not to do it, and choose whether or not to obey. If he chooses to run into the street, he's guilty of disobedience even if he doesn't understand how a car would kill him. It was no different with Adam & Eve, and it's no different with us.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby Si » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:47 pm

backwoodsman wrote:How so? I have yet to see an example that's explained better by evolution than by OEC (and some are actually explained better by OEC). Can you provide one?

My impression is quite the opposite: OEC in general, and Hugh Ross in particular, correlate and explain both science and Scripture such that neither is forced or compromised; everything just fits together with nothing that just has to be ignored, as both evolution and YEC must do.


The fundamental assertion of evolution, and modern biology in general, is common descent of all life forms, which is fundamentally different from progressive creationism. Furthermore, I don't see how the providential guiding of the formation of new species through evolution is any less a creative act than a progressive creation model.

The difficulty I have with Hugh Ross is he tries to recast Genesis as if it were a scientific description of a day age, progressive creation account. One problem that Christians have struggled with for example is how we have light on day one with no sun or moon until day four. Hugh Ross suggests that on day one the earth was covered in an opaque cloud layer, and on day four the haze cleared an the sun and moon could be seen. The problem with this is, it is anachronistic. This to me seems forced, and like I said, forcing together an ancient worldview with a modern one. The framework hypothesis makes much more sense to me; that Genesis 1 uses a literary structure to create domains for the heavenly bodies, birds and sea creatures, land animals and humans on the first three days, and created the heavenly bodies, birds and sea creatures, land animals and humans to fill those domains on the next three days.

Genesis 1 is not a scientific explanation, it is a creation account of a pre-scientific society. Data gathered not only from the Bible but other ancient near eastern society shows a shared understanding of cosmology. The earth was a understood as a flat plain, with a solid dome for a sky supported on pillars, with water above the sky, and water under the earth. The sun and moon were placed in the solid dome or firmament. This is why when it rains during the flood, the windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the deep were opened up. This is not scientifically true in the modern sense, but would have been as accurate as they could understand. It would have been observationally true to ancient Israelites, and God in his accomodation gave them a creation account that more importantly was theologically true.

Here is an illustration of how ancient near eastern people understood the world:

Image

backwoodsman wrote:A child too young to understand why running into the street is dangerous can still understand that he's been told not to do it, and choose whether or not to obey. If he chooses to run into the street, he's guilty of disobedience even if he doesn't understand how a car would kill him. It was no different with Adam & Eve, and it's no different with us.


The child struck by the car is the victim of a tragic circumstance, not an immoral transgressor. If a young child were in a hospital bed you wouldn't punish them. The problem is, it reduces the entire history of sin and the eventual damnation of billions of souls to a chain reaction caused by eating a piece of fruit when Adam and Eve were uniquely in a position to not comprehend the evil of doing so. In the story God is depicted as walking in the garden, and couldn't find Adam and Eve when they hid. Humans can't literally hide from God, but taken symbolically it depicts how in the shame of sin we reject God and hide from him in the sense of unbelief and unrepentance.
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby dwight92070 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:37 pm

Generally speaking, I think Genesis 1-11 is in a different genre from the rest of Genesis, and I don't take it literally. I also think that God providentially used evolution to create man.

Dwight: As far as I can tell, there is no place in scripture where God, assuming it is God's word, speaks symbolically unless it is: 1) Identified as such, like the parables or 2) Obvious from the context. Examples of the latter are Revelation, said to be a vision, and the many dreams throughout scripture, and possibly some prophecies and some poetry in scripture. So, since God does not identify Genesis as a vision or a dream or a parable or any of the aforementioned and the context does not preclude a literal interpretation, I take it literally. It's interesting that Steve Gregg spoke about this on his radio show today, i.e. when to take scripture literally and when to take it figuratively. He specifically mentioned the early chapters of Genesis, and even more specific, the genealogies. He said that since the author went to such great pains in giving exact years and ages and in connecting Adam and Eve to Noah and Noah to Abraham, that if he (Steve) found out that it was all symbolic, he would accuse the author of being deceptive. I would agree 100%. In fact, this brings me to your next point and mine.

And to be quite honest, there is no different between us theologically, because the lessons taught in these early chapters are the same in both of our views.

Dwight: In my opinion, there are great differences. If this is God's word, and I think we both agree on that, and the creation story and the chapters through chapter 11 are largely symbolic, then God, in my sincere understanding, is deceiving us. More bluntly, He is a liar. I know you do not believe that, but I can't see it any other way. When parents think they are doing their kids a service to tell them that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real, I believe they are deceived and are deceiving their children. So then when they tell their kids about Jesus, why should they believe that that is anything more than a fairy tale? In fact, if I found out that Genesis 1-11 were simply symbolic, I would seriously consider dumping my faith, because if God isn't telling the truth there, why would He be telling the truth anywhere else?

Dwight: What about the doctrine of ex nihilo, i.e. God created all things our of nothing? I'm pretty sure evolution teaches that matter already existed. What about the doctrine of marriage? Does evolution teach that? Genesis does. It tells us that marriage is between one man and one woman and that the 2 shall become one flesh. What about the doctrine of capital punishment? I don't remember evolution saying anything about that? Genesis 9:6 says "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed." What about the doctrine of sin and death? We learn from Genesis and the New Testament that through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin. (Romans 5:12) Evolution teaches that death was happening long before man ever showed up. What about the doctrine that man and woman alone were created in God's image? No animal was ever created in God's image. I understand, Si, that you believe in God, but all of these doctrines, in my opinion, cannot be explained or even subscribed to, by evolution, whether you believe in God or not.

Because scripture is revealed through the lens of its human authors, is always written within the framework of the worldview for the audience for whom it was first written.

Dwight: Who was the audience that Genesis was written to? Well, since Moses was the author, or possibly the compiler, at least, apparently God intended that His people, the Jews, would be the primary audience. I suppose it is possible that godly men handed some of Genesis down to Moses - history and genealogies and records could have come through Adam, Enoch and Noah, etc. Today, the church of Jesus is the primary audience. Although pagans can read Genesis, I don't think God wrote it for them. (1 Corinthians 10:11) "they were written for our instruction ..."

I see the flood story as likewise a response to Babylonian stories.
Dwight: Again, I see the word of God being written for His people, not for pagans. Jesus said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine."

The evolutionist view is that members of the taxonomic family Hominidae, which includes humans, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans evolved from an earlier ape-like common ancestor which lived about 14 million years ago. Apes and humans evolved from that ancient ancestor, not from one another.

Dwight: Mark 10:6 tells us: "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female." So Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of God's creation, not thousands or millions of years later. It is interesting that the Jewish calendar TODAY shows the year 5778. They believe Adam was created 5778 years ago. Even the Jews accept the genealogies of the Bible. Yet another piece of evidence in conflict with evolution.

As for the chart you referenced, it is meant to represent transitional forms between that ancient ape-like ancestor and modern humans.

Dwight: Exactly, those transitional forms are what I have called half-ape, half-human. I don't see how you can get around that. Evolution, in my understanding, requires those transitional forms. In fact, they were the missing link in the fossil record, according to Darwin, and still are.

As a young earth creationist it is understandable that this would be unbelievable to you. To be clear, I am not here to convert you to my point of view. If any Christian is comfortable with the young earth view, that is fine with me. My goal is to help you and others understand the theistic evolutionist, or evolutionary creationist viewpoint.

Dwight: You and I are different. I would love to convert you to my point of view.

For younger generations, such a worldview is their first language, so to speak.

Dwight: Generally not if they were homeschooled or went to a Christian school, as our 5 kids did.

To give you a brief biography, when I was 17 I stopped believing in the Christian faith in part because I thought it contradicted science. Now, there are two apologetic responses to my former unbelief. One would be the Evangelical response, the young earth apologetic of rejecting modern science and suggesting an alternative viewpoint of creation science.

Dwight: Again, we differ here. I do not see the young earth apologetic rejecting any science, modern or otherwise. We do not consider evolution to be valid science.

That did not work for me.

Dwight: Why did that not work?

The other apologetic is to harmonize modern science with scripture

Dwight: I would have no issue with that, if it was real science.

Again I want to emphasize that in this system, no doctrine is compromised, and the same theological points are present for both.

Dwight: In my mind, they are not the same, as I covered above.

I think for people of my generation (I am 34 now), it would be a much more effective apologetic to say that there is no conflict between scripture and modern science

Dwight: The issue is not what apologetic is more effective, but what apologetic is true, because, in my understanding, there is no conflict between scripture and modern science, but there is great conflict between scripture and evolution.

Can we agree that it is far more important for young people to come to Christ and be his disciples, and far less important how literally or symbolically they interpret a select few chapters of Scripture

Dwight: If they are won to Christ because of evolution, then that is very shaky, because I believe that is a false pretense. For me, it was a package deal. I believed and received Jesus. He accepted a literal creation, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Satan, a literal doctrine of marriage, a literal flood, a literal Jonah, etc. If I ever found out that all of that was not literal, then I would sincerely lose my trust in God, because He always tells the truth.

especially if the doctrines taught by the scriptures in discussion are identical in both systems?

Dwight: Again, I don't see them anywhere near identical.

Dwight: Thanks for your time and input. God bless you!

Dwight
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby Si » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:06 pm

Thanks for your reply Dwight. In my response I reordered a few of the things you said to group them by topic, to help me respond in a more concise way.

dwight92070 wrote:As far as I can tell, there is no place in scripture where God, assuming it is God's word, speaks symbolically unless it is: 1) Identified as such, like the parables or 2) Obvious from the context. Examples of the latter are Revelation, said to be a vision, and the many dreams throughout scripture, and possibly some prophecies and some poetry in scripture. So, since God does not identify Genesis as a vision or a dream or a parable or any of the aforementioned and the context does not preclude a literal interpretation, I take it literally. It's interesting that Steve Gregg spoke about this on his radio show today, i.e. when to take scripture literally and when to take it figuratively. He specifically mentioned the early chapters of Genesis, and even more specific, the genealogies. He said that since the author went to such great pains in giving exact years and ages and in connecting Adam and Eve to Noah and Noah to Abraham, that if he (Steve) found out that it was all symbolic, he would accuse the author of being deceptive. I would agree 100%. In fact, this brings me to your next point and mine.


dwight92070 wrote:Mark 10:6 tells us: "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female." So Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of God's creation, not thousands or millions of years later. It is interesting that the Jewish calendar TODAY shows the year 5778. They believe Adam was created 5778 years ago. Even the Jews accept the genealogies of the Bible. Yet another piece of evidence in conflict with evolution.


I see no reason to make literal interpretation the automatic default. I think every book of the Bible needs to be interpreted from the viewpoint for the original audience for whom it was written. I think the necessity of the protestant reformation shows us that as Christians, we can lose sight of the original meaning of Scriptures and get lost in our traditions and institutions. My own philosophy is to always dig deeper, taking what we learn about the world from which the Bible came, and try and get to the original meaning. The learning never stops. And as I said, it is as literal and scientifically accurate as ancient Israelites could understand given their worldview. As far as the genealogies are concerned, many have questioned whether they are to be taken literally. Here’s a brief article by Hank Hanegraaff:

http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/gaps ... s-genesis/

The author was using literary devices common to his day. If you reduce the options to it being literal, or else deceptive, I think leaves little room for the nuance needed to interpret accurately, and really dismisses the broad range of viewpoints on creation without really addressing them.

Here's a very helpful discussion on the matter which offers at the beginning a discussion of a literary or symbolic understanding of Genesis 1, and the second part a young earth creationist is brought in to contrast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oZK1nJJg5E

dwight92070 wrote:In my opinion, there are great differences. If this is God's word, and I think we both agree on that, and the creation story and the chapters through chapter 11 are largely symbolic, then God, in my sincere understanding, is deceiving us. More bluntly, He is a liar. I know you do not believe that, but I can't see it any other way. When parents think they are doing their kids a service to tell them that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real, I believe they are deceived and are deceiving their children. So then when they tell their kids about Jesus, why should they believe that that is anything more than a fairy tale? In fact, if I found out that Genesis 1-11 were simply symbolic, I would seriously consider dumping my faith, because if God isn't telling the truth there, why would He be telling the truth anywhere else?


I just don’t agree at all. The viewpoint I presented is that God presented the ancient Israelites with the truth of creation as they could understand it, as people who lived 3500 years ago. In Scripture God always speaks through the lens of his human authors, and speaks to the culture for whom the author writes. To suggest that my viewpoint makes God into a liar is just not accurate. The irony here Dwight is that when I found out that hundreds of millions of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, even some Bible believing evangelicals take Genesis 1-11 symbolically, I found an apologetic that offered a solution to my crisis of faith and it was like a massive burden was lifted off my shoulders, and I found my way back to my faith. I found God revealed truth, I just had to look at that truth through the lenses of those ancient peoples and see that there was no conflict of fact, but only a conflict of living in completely different eras of time, and the distortion of understanding caused by ancient peoples having literary devices and an understanding of cosmology really quite far removed from a modern understanding.

dwight92070 wrote:What about the doctrine of ex nihilo, i.e. God created all things our of nothing? I'm pretty sure evolution teaches that matter already existed. What about the doctrine of marriage? Does evolution teach that? Genesis does. It tells us that marriage is between one man and one woman and that the 2 shall become one flesh. What about the doctrine of capital punishment? I don't remember evolution saying anything about that? Genesis 9:6 says "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed." What about the doctrine of sin and death? We learn from Genesis and the New Testament that through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin. (Romans 5:12) Evolution teaches that death was happening long before man ever showed up. What about the doctrine that man and woman alone were created in God's image? No animal was ever created in God's image. I understand, Si, that you believe in God, but all of these doctrines, in my opinion, cannot be explained or even subscribed to, by evolution, whether you believe in God or not.


These are Biblical doctrines revealed in Scripture. Science and evolution do not reveal these things, because that is not their domain or purpose. Many Christians differ in how literally or symbolically they take Revelation. That doesn’t change the fact that Christians believe in a second coming, a final judgment, and resurrection. Similarly even with a non-literal understanding of Genesis, the core doctrines you speak of are present.

The big bang suggests that the universe began as a singularity and expanded outward from there. Science doesn’t know what came before. Philosophically speaking I ascribe to the argument that since everything has a cause, that we need a first cause, an unmoved mover, which would necessitate creation ex nihilo by God.

dwight92070 wrote:Who was the audience that Genesis was written to? Well, since Moses was the author, or possibly the compiler, at least, apparently God intended that His people, the Jews, would be the primary audience. I suppose it is possible that godly men handed some of Genesis down to Moses - history and genealogies and records could have come through Adam, Enoch and Noah, etc. Today, the church of Jesus is the primary audience. Although pagans can read Genesis, I don't think God wrote it for them. (1 Corinthians 10:11) "they were written for our instruction ..."

Again, I see the word of God being written for His people, not for pagans. Jesus said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine."


I didn’t say it was written for pagans, clearly it was written for God’s people. But it would have been read by the broader culture just like today literature is shared across cultural boundaries. This continued into New Testament times. As far as we can tell the Jewish Neo-Platonist Philo spoke of the Logos as a creative principle of God before John. Philo was also highly influential in Gnosticism. But through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John identified the Logos the pre-incarnate Son of God Jesus Christ. In the history of special revelation, God has appropriated the literary genres and terminology of pagan peoples as a polemic against their own systems. They were adopted by God’s people in the writing of the Holy Scriptures. This was a remarkably effective way of undermining the pagan religions. The Bible offered a sober, coherent response to the sensational and outlandish stories of fickle and unpredictable gods of ancients.

But aside for being written primarily for God’s people, are the Scriptures not also a witness for the world? For example, when an unbeliever reads the scriptures they are exposed to fulfilled prophecy that can lead them to belief.

dwight92070 wrote:Exactly, those transitional forms are what I have called half-ape, half-human. I don't see how you can get around that. Evolution, in my understanding, requires those transitional forms. In fact, they were the missing link in the fossil record, according to Darwin, and still are.


To the contrary, there are transitional forms between the ape-like ancestor and humans. Jon provided some examples in his Smithsonian link. Click around the site to look at them. Here's another link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_ ... n#Primates

Dwight, you admitted above, "No, I have not studied evolution". I have attempted to answer this question, and you are going to have to do some further research to grasp my answer.

dwight92070 wrote:Generally not if they were homeschooled or went to a Christian school, as our 5 kids did.


That doesn't account for the vast majority of people.

dwight92070 wrote:Again, we differ here. I do not see the young earth apologetic rejecting any science, modern or otherwise. We do not consider evolution to be valid science.

Why did that not work?

I would have no issue with that, if it was real science.


To clarify, I should have used the word mainstream. Young earth creationism rejects mainstream science. It did not work because personally, I find mainstream science to be much more convincing in explaining the physical universe. Concerning what is real science, we are going to have to agree to disagree. I think mainstream evolutionary science is real science.


dwight92070 wrote:The issue is not what apologetic is more effective, but what apologetic is true, because, in my understanding, there is no conflict between scripture and modern science, but there is great conflict between scripture and evolution.

If they are won to Christ because of evolution, then that is very shaky, because I believe that is a false pretense. For me, it was a package deal. I believed and received Jesus. He accepted a literal creation, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Satan, a literal doctrine of marriage, a literal flood, a literal Jonah, etc. If I ever found out that all of that was not literal, then I would sincerely lose my trust in God, because He always tells the truth.


When it comes to defining what is truth or what is not, I think it is long past time that we as Christians define what is core doctrine, and what is peripheral. I think a good starting point is if there are issues Christians have debated and divided about for 2,000 years, maybe we should accept that to force agreement is futile, and that the issues actually are unclear enough to warrant diverse opinions. I think the fact that the Church is split up into tens of thousands of denominations in direct violation of 1 Corinthians 1 pretty clearly illustrates that we have our priorities in disorder. We can’t make our doctrines into prerequisites for the gospel, and we can't confuse our doctrines with God revealed truths.

It seems to me the package deal of becoming a disciple of Christ is repentance, faith, submitting your life to him, and obeying his teachings, which primarily have to do with behavior and not doctrine.

That being said, I think we also need to allow for a broad range of apologetics to address the concerns of different people who have different presuppositions, and whom come from different cultural backgrounds.

dwight92070 wrote:Thanks for your time and input. God bless you!

Dwight


God Bless!
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Re: Do you agree with the Ark Encounter?

Postby robbyyoung » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:35 pm

Hi Si,

If God implies that the causation of creation is via miracles, not natural processes, why is it so difficult to accept this fundamental attribute of God’s work? In other words, if God said He spoke all these things into immediate existence, science’s starting point begins with the natural processes already in place—complete with time, purpose, and matter. So where is the disconnect or controversy if miracles are the causation of creation? Why should God’s miraculous testimony of creation be dismissed and subservient to the very laws/knowledge that were created by him? The laws that govern the universe didn’t create themselves, they were spoken into existence like everything else. What are your pithy thoughts?

Blessings.
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