The essence of the creation/evolution debate is a question of which belief system one follows.
There is a certain amount of evidence from astronomy, archeology, geology, anthropology, biology etc. All this evidence is necessarily incomplete as new discoveries are being made every day and may be subject to bias of many different sorts. The available evidence is then interpreted to fit the belief system.
There are two extremes.
The evolution extreme is that somehow everything started with the Big Bang and things came together by random chance. The random events produced microorganisms and these, by random chance, led eventually to man. Intelligent design and God are excluded.
The creation extreme is that the Bible is historically accurate, and Genesis is an accurate account of beginnings, albeit simplified, and this is compatible with scientific discovery. This explains sin, death, the need of a saviour, and is backed up by Jesus’ sayings and are echoed by Paul in his writings and elsewhere in the Bible.
In between are those who believe some variation of these, such as the Bible and the Book of Nature, which must be combined to give an accurate picture and in which the Genesis account has to be seen as myth or reinterpreted.
Another view is that of progressive creation, in which God intervened at strategic intervals, with long ages in between, hence the “days” in an alternative explanation of Genesis. These may or may not be combined with the Big Bang or a belief in an original creation event.
Each group tends to interpret [evidence] to back up their version of events.
I believe that Christians have to carefully consider that the Bible could be historically and scientifically accurate and examine the evidence to support this, found in such locations as www.creation.com.
We can also study the Bible carefully and ask God to guide us in our thinking so that we come to know and follow the truth, since for the Christian all truth, including scientific truth, comes ultimately from God.
– Allan Taylor
Grey Lynn, Auckland
I agree with what Allan Taylor has to say, (“Evolution debate,” NZ Baptist, April) but I wonder, on two counts, at the wisdom of debating it in these pages.
1. Much more can be learned by visiting www.creation.com.
2. Paul’s advice to both Timothy and Titus was that we should avoid controversial arguments, and instead should proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Saviour. However, Dr Jeff Tallon’s comments (NZ Baptist, March) concern a misunderstanding of scripture and this needs to be answered.
Dr Tallon’s attitude to the Scriptures is fraught with more and greater dangers than the ones he enumerates. He states: “Where our understanding of the scriptures is at odds with established orthodox science then it is almost certainly our understanding of the Bible that is faulty. As Christians we must trust science, as our ally, to settle these matters of origins.”
Might I point out that the Mormons teach their people that: “If their understanding of the scriptures is at odds with the teaching of the Book of Mormon then their understanding of the scriptures is almost certainly faulty.” Mormons must trust their own teachings to settle these matters of difference.
Christians believe, by faith, that the scriptures are the Word of God. There are many things within that Word, the full understanding of which we will not know until we are with Him in glory. Dr Tallon’s concern over the case made by Joe Fleener “purely on scriptural and theological grounds” speaks volumes. He overlooks basic principles of scriptural interpretation – scripture is interpreted by scripture, and clearer passages shed light on the more obscure.
Dr Tallon suggests that the consequences of Adam’s sin, like the efficacy of Christ’s atoning death, had a retrospective effect. Scriptures clearly teach the retrospective benefits on the saints of the Old Testament as they looked forward to the substitutionary death of Christ. There is no such teaching of a retrospective effect to the fall. If there was, then surely Paul would not have restricted the time frame in his comments in Romans 5:12 –14 to: “from the time of Adam to the time of Moses.” He would have included the pre-Adamic deaths – had there been any.
Dr Tallon’s argument of the period of “a day”, based on when Adam’s punishment was effective, also carries no water. God’s warning to Adam that “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Genesis 2:16) was acted upon instantly. That same day, Adam suffered the consequences, both spiritually and physically. The spiritual effect was immediate, and so was the physical.
When God pronounced his judgement on the serpent and Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-19) he pronounced his gospel plan.
The great danger facing the Church today is not, as Dr Tallon suggests, “the dissemination of nonsense on matters of science,” but the dissemination of nonsense on matters of Bible doctrine.
– Tony Howard
Can’t agree with Dr. Jeff Tallon about the age of the universe and the earth being unquestionably established. Radioactive dating techniques may be wrong. Indeed the young earth creationists have been devastating in their critique of radioactive dating techniques including the example of a newly formed island yielding a radioactive date of 2 billion years!
I just don’t have the faith in science and particularly scientists that Dr Tallon does. When we look at geological formations are we looking at something that has formed slowly over a long time, or quickly over a short time? For example, was the Manawatu gorge formed slowly by a small amount of water over millions of years or quickly by a large amount of water in a catastrophic deluge?
The difficulty is that no one was around at the time and so the essence of the scientific method, observation and experimental repeatability, are not much help.
There is growing evidence that scientists are completely wrong regarding global warming. There is evidence of difficulties of measurement, that weather stations may be showing high temperatures because of urban growth around them. In our little town last year, snow fell for the first time in five years. That same day, snow fell in central Wellington for the first time in 14 years. The climate change conference in the United States was postponed because of the record snowfall. So the theory that the Earth is warming up may be just plain wrong.
If scientists can’t get such a basic scientific question right, why should we trust them with such a theologically important question as the interpretation of the Bible?
If Genesis 1 is poetry, then what else is poetry?
Personally I think that creationists and intelligent design exponents have been devastating in their critique of evolution. I believe there is not one example of evolution in action. I’m not talking one variety of grass becoming another variety of grass, I mean one species evolving into something else. There is not one good tested example of this.
Faith in scientists? People may go that way. But as for me, I put my faith in God and his word.
– Scott Lelievre
In response to Dr Jeff Tallon’s letter (NZ Baptist, July): His basic point is that creation or intelligent design is not correct and that the age of the Earth and universe have been unquestioningly answered.
This is extremely misleading. The definition of science is something that is observable, testable, and repeatable.
Our origin is something we were not witness to and we can not repeat and examine, and so we hypothesise. This is exactly what Darwin did with his On the Origin of Species and exactly what Stephen Hawking has done with his theories about the age of the universe. It’s also what creation scientists do, and neither the young Earth theory nor the ancient Earth theory can be proven without a doubt.
He also refers to the Bible as a mixture of “literal precision” and “metaphorical and poetic” in places. While this is true, assuming that Genesis is metaphorical and poetic is very dangerous. If we assume the biblical account of creation is figurative, the next logical conclusion is that Adam and Eve were also figurative, leading to the assumption that their sin was also figurative ... leading to the ultimate conclusion that the need for Jesus to come and die for sin was also figurative.
For a poetic account of Creation see Psalm 104.
In closing, Dr Tallon points out that history, archaeology, and astronomy have been reaffirmed by the Bible. He asks why science can’t also. Science does support the Bible. The problem is that the message of the science of creation is not getting out. People are only hearing one side.
– Melissa Scott