creationism

Why Creationism Does Not Honor God

I’m going to start my day by ticking people off!

Just let me say at the outset that I am not saying that people who hold a belief in what is called “biblical creationism” do not honor God.  They may or may not.  But the belief system itself does not honor God.  Why?  Because it denies the work of God’s own hands.  The creation is very important to God.  “It is good,” was his judgement on it.  Scriptures tell us that the created world speaks so clearly of the reality of God that even those who have never heard the name of Christ can be judged because of the truth that it proclaims.

Today we are very privileged to live in a time when people who do not even know our savior are dedicating all the days of their lives to studying the work of His hands.  What have they discovered?  That mountains really do bow down.  They just take a really long time to do it.  That rocks when studied proclaim the glory of a God whose creation has been unfolding in ways both mysterious and wonderful for longer than man can fathom.  That the very atoms of our bodies come from dust – dust of the ground and dust of exploding stars and the dust that the stars and planets formed from.  Over and over, these scientists who study how creation works are explaining the physical realities behind the poetic descriptions given to people so long ago.  It is truly amazing how accurate these poetic descriptions often are.  The writers of the bible had no way of knowing that mountains really do rise up and then get eroded away.  They didn’t know about great banks of moisture traveling over the surface of the earth which when full, spill their water to the surface – like the water jars of heaven that the bible mentions.  They didn’t know that rocks contain the secret history of the earth and the records of life growing and evolving here.  Yet somehow, Jesus knew that they could proclaim the glory of God even if no one else would.

But then we get to evolution.  This is where many Christians lose it.  First of all, many Christians have bought into the idea that if evolution is true, it discredits God as creator and our special place in the universe.  Which is absurd.  If evolution is true, it is because God made it true.  Who are we to tell God how he may and may not create his own universe and the creatures who bear his image?  Who are we to deny the evidence of God’s own creation by insisting, “well, I read your book and as I understood it, it says you did it this way – not the way that your creation points to you making it.”  Doesn’t that just sound ridiculous?  It’s our understanding of scripture that is flawed, not the testimony of creation!

Many Christians will point to scientists and their faithlessness as a reason to disbelieve what God’s creation is telling us.  But I challenge any believer to take a closer look at creationist materials.  They are filled from start to back with dishonest representations of the work that these scientists are doing.  Take any argument and look to see the scientific response to it and the dishonesty of these materials starts to take shape.  A very basic example: does evolution rely on random accidents?  That is one of the claims used to discredit evolution, but it is very far from the truth of what evolution has found.  I wrote a bit about this elsewhere, but the mutations evolution depends on are far from random.  Irreducible complexity only makes sense if you don’t understand the parts life has to work with.  The basic materials of life fit together in such a way that scientists are beginning to think that life is almost inevitable.  Just like snowflakes naturally form because of the shape of water molecules, the basic structures which the most primative forms of life depend on seem to be the natural result of the way that various materials come together.

If you really believe that the creationist materials which claim to refute evolution scientifically are reliable, I have a challenge for you.  Look up the references they offer.  See what the original source material says and judge for yourself how accurately it has been represented.  If there is a quote from a scientist, see if it was pulled out of context in such a way that its meaning has been lost.  See what the scientist has to say about his or her work and what it means.  Creationist materials rely heavily on deception and count on those who are using it not to challenge or dig into its claims.  Our God is a God of truth and this reliance on deception is not His way.  And this reliance on dishonesty is pervasive among those who claim to be able to show the truth of “biblical creationism”.  In the infamous Dover PA case regarding teaching intelligent design, it was easily shown that the ID text book was simply a creationist text tweaked to remove explicit references to God.  The whole argument of the intelligent design proponents was that ID was not the same thing as biblical creationism, and yet they were so arrogant and so dishonest that they simply took a creationist text and modified it a bit. I have even heard proponents of creationism claim that God only made it appear that the world was billions of years old and that life arose from the process of evolution as a test of our faith.  These people are willing to make God himself into a liar in order to protect their own understanding! These people claim to be serving God, but the god of their own imagining is a liar who depends on other liars to protect him.  There is a father of lies, but it’s not God.

As to the actual words of the creation story, we need to remember who it was given to: people who didn’t know what a billion was or what an atom or dna or a virus or sperm was.  Would we have preferred that God waited until our scientific knowledge caught up to the physical reality before making himself known to humanity.  Even within the story itself, there are signs pointing to a more complicated reality.  There are two different creation stories, for one.  A lot of it is vague – what is the light and the dark that God created?  And did it really not occur to God that Adam would need some way to reproduce until he decided to make Eve?  Which is not to disparage the creation stories in any way.  I’m personally fascinated by them.  I have been meditating on them for a good 20 years now and will probably continue trying to figure out what they have to tell us for many years to come.  It’s a shame that the story of the creation and fall have been treated so shallowly because they contain puzzles worthy of the greatest minds.

I have been upset for years over “biblical creationism” because of the bad fruit it produces.  Many of the scientists that Christians like to disparage (which is NOT loving) do not believe in God because of creationism.  It keeps people from knowing God.  Creationism breeds lies and liars.  It trashes the church’s testimony.  No one sees Christians denying the reality of creation and is inspired to follow God.  It keeps people hanging onto a simplistic, immature view of God as a genie who goes “poof” and makes things happen.  It puts God on our timeline and not His own.  Having to wait on God makes much more sense when you consider that God normally works over the course of billions of years and not minutes and hours.  Creationism discredits holy scripture by trying to make it into a history book rather than the record of the revelation of God to his people.  When we insist that scripture says something that is obviously untrue, people will no longer see any reason to take it seriously.

Often creationists try to claim that by standing up for “truth”, they are honoring God.  But if there’s anything that comes naturally to us humans it is refusing to admit when we are wrong.  Those who hold onto this very human, flawed understanding of what the scriptures say about creation aren’t being brave and faithful to God.  They are simply doing what we humans are always doing – trying to substitute our own ideas about how things should work for God’s and stubbornly refusing to be corrected.  God’s creation is telling us how He created life.  Denying this testimony does not honor God in any way.

Of course, our scientific understanding is incomplete and mistakes get made.  But the fundamentals have been being worked out for a long time now.  The evidence keeps mounting.  Mysteries keep getting solved.  It is well past time for people of faith to take a real interest in what is being found.  This is the work of our God’s hands and he has told us that it testifies to His ways and his truth. What we really need is a new theology that doesn’t deny the reality of creation, but uses it to understand the sort of God we serve.  That is what would honor God, I believe.  But we need more and more people who are willing to let go of their own understanding and love both God and his creation to lead the way.

It’s been a while, but I have written on this topic before:

Raising Christian Evolutionists

Teaching Creationism or ID? A Formula For Putting Your Child’s Faith at Risk

Ancient Hebrews and Creation

Disproving ID: Unlocking the secrets of cells

In Which I Call Creationism Demonic

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Why Creationism Does Not Honor God

  1. I found your article interesting because it was the realisation that this subject was being handled dishonestly that first got me to question creationism as well. As you point out, it’s not very Christian to treat subjects this way. You also mentioned that “creationist materials rely heavily on deception,” I’d love to see a bullet point list of examples you’ve collected, as I think this would really help people to see the deception for themselves.

    Like

  2. @pcawdron Creationists ignore most of the evidence for evolution, and distort or deny the evidence they don’t ignore. A web site called “Talk Origins” has a list of many of creationist claims along with why they are false, including links to the evidence of why they are false. The page is at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    Creationists are also notorious for “quote mining,” that is, cherry picking bits and pieces from selected works to try to make it seem that those being quoted are saying something against evolution. The Talk Origins “quote mine project” at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/project.html has an extensive list of examples of this, and in every case, when the original sources are examined it is clear that the creationist interpretation of the quotation is wrong.

    Both these pages may be a few years old, but the thing is, one doesn’t usually hear any new arguments from creationists, only PRATTS (points refuted a thousand times). They have to rely heavily on deception because if they told the truth about the evidence for evolution, how much there is of so many different types that all point to the same reality, then the creationists would have to admit they are wrong. They don’t have any scientific evidence to support their claims, so lying and distortion is all they have.

    Like

    • I’ve got to say that you’re painting with a pretty broad brush here. Labeling all creation science as “demonic” and then lumping every organization into the same bunch is rather irresponsible. You’ve chosen your world view that’s fine, but let’s be honest: to believe either assessment of the natural world takes faith. I would assert that it takes more faith to believe a single celled organism could evolve into a multi trillion celled human no matter what the time frame than it does to believe the Creationist view that man didn’t evolve from an amoeba and was created by the hand of God. I would also submit that there are plenty of non Creationist micro biologists who have done great works on the multitude of problems with macroevolution. Look up Michael Denton on Richard Milton on Amazon if you’d like to see secular micro biologists who make a great case against neo Darwinism and macro evolution.

      “Both these pages may be a few years old, but the thing is, one doesn’t usually hear any new arguments from creationists, only PRATTS (points refuted a thousand times). They have to rely heavily on deception because if they told the truth about the evidence for evolution, how much there is of so many different types that all point to the same reality, then the creationists would have to admit they are wrong. They don’t have any scientific evidence to support their claims, so lying and distortion is all they have.”

      I’ve actually referred to the site you mention above many times. And I find that the circular logic they use to make their claims is just as horrid as what your asserting the creationist organizations are doing. Evolution is true because it’s true doesn’t really hold up to any sort of scrutiny. I agree wholeheartedly that misrepresenting the beliefs of others is total garbage, but isn’t that exactly what you’re doing in this post?

      Like

      • Joel, I am most certainly NOT misrepresenting those who deny the fact of evolution. Most of them are ignorant of the actual evidence and base their opinions on distortions and falsehoods spread by sources they trust. The first book by Michael Denton (who you claim supports your position) is one of those creationist sources I’m talking about that are riddled with distortions and falsehoods. In his most recent book he accepts evolution but claims it is guided rather than random.

        The regulars of the talk origins group do not use circular reasoning (evolution is true because it’s true). Instead, most of the members there (except for the nut jobs the group was designed to attract and distract from more serious discussion groups about evolution) calmly point out the EVIDENCE for evolution (yes, even macroevolution) and the lies and distortions of the intelligent design crowd.

        Did you know that even Michael Behe, the “star” of the intelligent design movement, admits on page 72 of his book The Edge of Evolution that humans share common ancestry with chimpanzees and other living things? (but then he says the explanation of that fact is fascinating but trivial, go figure!). There is as much evidence evolution happens as there is that gravity happens. IF it didn’t happen, then God must be a trickster to plant so much evidence of so many different types that clearly show it does happen.

        Like

  3. Thank you so much for your post! Personally, I admire so much more such an incredible intelligence who created matter and imagined a mechanism by which life and eventually conscience are generated from matter, than a mere magician who just snapped his fingers…

    Like

  4. Pingback: In Which I Call Creationism Demonic « The Upside Down World

  5. Thank you for challenging perceptions in this arena. I think people tend to take such a simplistic view, sometimes, of scriptural information and never stop to consider that their understanding or interpretation of it may be inaccurate or dishonoring to God by discounting the *rest* of what this amazing universe holds. Let’s not be afraid of discovery and information (and science!) but rest assured that God is bigger than we will ever be able to comprehend, that there are infinite surprises in the universe that we may or may not ever discover, and start looking at the world with a sense of wonder rather than a tightly closed mind. Even if you hold a purely creationist viewpoint and denounce evolution, isn’t it possible that God is bigger than you understand Him to be, that His awesome majesty conducts the mysteries of life to make galaxies operate and new life unfold from old?

    I enjoyed reading today – glad I meandered over here. 🙂

    Like

  6. Pingback: Fundamentally Flawed Podcast With Rebecca « The Upside Down World

  7. “First of all, many Christians have bought into the idea that if evolution is true, it discredits God as creator and our special place in the universe. Which is absurd. If evolution is true, it is because God made it true.”

    Exactly. I’ve had the same thought for many years — that if evolution is true, it is because it was God’s method of creation. I haven’t dug into the evidence on the topic either way, but I’ve had the opinion that the creation story shouldn’t be read as literal 24 hour days for a long time…. With or without scientific evidence, it’d be kind of hard to measure 24 hour days when the sun and moon weren’t put into the sky until the 4th day, ya know?

    Very good post. I should check out more of the evidence….

    Like

    • Thanks! One of the things that is hard about this subject is that not many people are actually that interested in science much less well versed in it. And that’s fine. Science is hard. We shouldn’t have to master it in order to follow our faith! I mean, if you told me that good Christians know how to read ancient Greek, I’d be screwed – I’m terrible at languages. So people rely on their leaders and influencers who should have had enough humility to stick with teaching the faith instead of fighting science – which they understand less well than a lot of people sitting in the pews! But you are absolutely right that you don’t have to know the science to find a literal rendering of Genesis questionable. The text itself does that!

      Like

  8. Thank you for a fresh outlook on creationism. Many people feel it is enough to believe what somebody has taught them as truth. We have the intelligence and scientific evidence to decipher how creationism and evolution can compliment each other.

    Like

  9. Your post caught me, hook, line and sinker! What’s more, I feel empathy with your frustration that Christians often don’t fight fair. Having said that, I believe that you are still wrong to defend evolution! Now, please humor me with my long response, where I will be lovingly frank, but not ugly.
    Firstly, I would like to ask where Adam fits into your timeline or framework of thinking. Was Adam a real man, or is he just a representative symbolic figure? If real, who or what was Adam’s predecessor?
    Secondly, truth can be at the same time both accurate and poetic, and as I see it, the witness of the entire Bible treats the characters and the events in the poetic account of Genesis as literal. You see, throughout the Bible, Adam is referred to as the first man at the beginning of creation.
    Here are a few accounts outside of Genesis that relate to Adam as a real man who existed in time and space:
    (1 Chronicles 1:1) Adam, Sheth, Enosh,
    (Job 31:33) If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
    Jesus’ genealogy: (Luke 3:38) Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (This speaks volumes)
    (Romans 5:14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
    (1 Corinthians 15:22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
    (1 Corinthians 15:45) And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
    (1 Timothy 2:13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    (Jude 1:14) And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
    Also, outside of Genesis, God’s word speaks explicitly and implicitly of humanity being at the beginning of creation:
    (Mark 10:6) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
    (2 Peter 3:4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    I also have the following related questions that you may have considered and I wonder what your thoughts are regarding them.
    Did sin begin with Adam? Over time, and with the process of evolution, am I the same as Adam or even Jesus? Evolution would have made Jesus enough of a “human” sacrifice to die for Adam, but would He be enough for me? Is humanity evolving to give way to the next level of evolution? Or, did God put the brakes on with us? If not, am I superior to a Pygmy (or him to me), and did Hitler have a point?
    Once you discredit the creation story you need an alternative that compliments the rest of God’s word. Although the theory of evolution is an interesting idea, it continues as a theory and the burden of proof remains with it. And as long as all you have is theory, it’s your word against His entire word.
    The scientific world does discover facts that, knowingly or unknowingly, display the wonders of God’s creation. However, many of its theories are ever changing and we need to be careful that we are not trying to support an argument that has no proof. This is true of evolution, and especially when it stands in the face of more than a simple refuting of a literal view of Genesis, but also the entire word of God.
    The concerns you have for the outcome of “narrow mindedness” is mine too. However, the outcome of evolutionary thought can be fuel for far worse things than what you are trying to refute. Following the ideology of evolution can support humanity in ideas of racism, abortion, apartheid, genocide, etc. Sure, Christians that believe in evolution won’t necessarily do these things, but these seeds of thought that are distributed by us as salt may have consequences we may regret.
    In my mind, proof for evolution will be impossible to find, because if it’s found it would make God’s word null and void.
    Rob

    Like

    • Light and Like Ministries, Christians in the 4th and 5th centuries did not read the Bible the way you guys do (or any other Protestants). Christians in the 4th and 5th centuries did not believe that the Bible interpreted itself, nor did they believe that the Bible had any competence or authority to speak about scientific matters. Christians in the 4th and 5th centuries also understood that there was much metaphor in the Bible.

      Why do Protestants insist on doing things with the Bible that ancient Christians refused to do with the Bible?

      ” Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason a nd experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all
      means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

      “The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian
      mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

      “Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture br
      ing untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren
      when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their
      utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

      – St Augustine of Hippo, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis

      Like

  10. Thank you for your civil and thoughtful response. It is likely that we will never actually agree on this topic, but I did want to provide a brief response because it is important to me to demonstrate that acceptance of evolution as a means of creation can be a faithful response to both scripture and the testimony of the work of God’s hands. A lot of people are being driven from their own faith or prevented from even considering Christianity because too often the choice people are faced with is not acceptance of Christ or not, but acceptance of a peculiar human interpretation of scripture or of what by any objective measure appears to be reality. Because I truly desire that all men would come to know and love Christ, this state of affairs is completely unacceptable to me and I feel it is important for me to speak out with an alternative understanding which accepts both scripture and creation as a testimony of God.
    Obviously, books have been written on this subject, so this response is necessarily brief and I do not intend to delve exhaustively into all the evidence and issues. So that being said, here goes.
    Re: Adam. I do not find the fact that scripture speaks of Adam as a real person in the least convincing. I speak of Adam as a real person. I have also at times spoken of Romeo and Juliet or James Bond or even Shrek as if they were real people. Further, those who wrote scripture would have no reason to think of Adam and Eve as other than real people, given human knowledge and understanding during their time. Their purpose was to speak to the truth of God which is much higher, deeper and better than simple history. Jesus’ parables had no history behind them yet that does not diminish in any way their truth, power or hold on us. I do not see why the story of Adam and Eve must be history to speak of God’s truth.
    Secondly, Adam is not only a name – it is also the word for “man” – as in mankind. Clearly there is wordplay at work here. (In addition to rhyming, rhythm and alliteration which we tend to lose when not reading the original Hebrew.) I don’t think that giving the first man a name which means mankind is any accident. It is my opinion that Adam can be thought of as a personification of mankind as his name indicates.
    As for the precise nature of mankind’s fall, that is something of a mystery – even if one takes a very literalistic view of the story. The scripture says that their “eyes were open” and that shame, hiding and fear was the response. However it happened, it obviously affected all of humanity, but going deeper than that will have to be the subject for another time.
    As to the implications of evolution, it seems likely that you may have some erroneous ideas regarding how it works. First of all, the idea of “survival of the fittest” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really “survival of those able to pass their genes on”. So, a vastly superior animal may be displaced by less strong, intelligent or evolved creatures who reproduce more successfully. Also, while evolution is an ongoing process, that does not mean that it moves at a steady rate over time and each creature will be continually evolving. For example, there are any number of creatures that scientist refer to as “living fossils” which have changed little if at all over millions of years. Horseshoe crabs, some sharks and some types of lizards would be examples of this. So there is no reason to think that the process of evolution would mean that mankind is continuing to evolve at this point in earth’s history. In fact, evidence is that humans have remained biologically unchanged going back many millenia.
    Finally, the idea that evolution leads to genocides, abortion, eugenics and other horrors just doesn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny at all. Humans have been engaging in these abhorrent behaviors since time immemorial. The theory of evolution is less than 200 years old. Even in our modern era, many of the perpetrators of atrocities didn’t accept evolution. Can a warped understanding of evolution be used as an excuse to engage in murderous behaviors? Absolutely. However, Christianity has been used as an excuse for things like torture, witch burning and war. Do when then accept that torture, the burning of human beings alive and war are the natural outcomes of Christianity? That makes no sense – either for evolution or Christianity.
    Finally, and I’m going to say this “frankly but lovingly”, to say “proof for evolution will be impossible to find, because if it’s found it would make God’s word null and void” is EXTREME hubris. God’s word exists separate from our understanding of it. We Christians get in and cause a lot of trouble when we confuse our very human understandings of scripture with the word of God itself. The created world is a revelation of God that is so strong and so powerful that scripture tells us that those who have never heard a word of scripture will be subject to judgement based on it. When the created world seems to be in conflict with scripture, that ought to be a GREAT, BIG, HUGE RED FLAG to us that perhaps our understanding of scripture is not as complete or accurate as we had assumed. To refuse to do so, much less to deny reality in order to preserve that understanding of God’s word is NOT faithful in the least. Rather it is typical human behavior to refuse to be humble enough to question one’s self and be open to God’s leading into unexpected and strange places.
    As a last note (OK, that last finally was premature!), Jesus told us that we would know the source of a thing by the fruit it produces. The theory of evolution has uniquely lead to revolutions in medicine, a better understanding of our human connectivity across races and pointed to our very real connection to the rest of creation demanding more care for it, what has literal creationism produced? Name one good thing. Just one. It has driven people from the one true faith. It has caused division and disrespect between Christians, it is promoted and argued using lies and misrepresentations and any number of other very bad outcomes. While you can try to pin all manner of evil on evolutionary thinking, none of those things are actually unique to it at all while the good results of it are unprecedented in human history. Creationism on the other had has resulted in distortions in our theology and church body that can best be compared to the state of the Roman church before the reformation.
    Again, I realize that it unlikely that we will change each other’s minds, but this is my take on the arguments that you and other creationists make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Rebecca, that was quite a follow-up!

      To be clear, I don’t blame evolutionary thinking for any atrocities. I’m simply pointing what this wrong thinking could fuel. And, yes, the “church” is responsible for atrocities too, but this only proves the potential outcome of wrong beliefs.

      Also, I don’t believe that evolutionary thinking inhibits all scientific discoveries, and I’m sure great scientists have done and discovered much despite this false premise. Crediting the science of evolution for great outcomes in discovery is not the same as equating evolution to fact. Science is full of great discoveries despite incorrect thinking. For example, great strides were made in science when electrical flow was thought to move in a particular direction despite later discovering the opposite to be true.

      Granted, God’s revelation to us in the Bible is only what He intended us to know. And, it’s correctly argued that it wasn’t God’s intention to always give us the details that we often enquire about. With this, if I understand you correctly, you seem to argue that because it wasn’t God’s focus to tell us about evolution in Genesis, the book of Beginnings, God gave us a story that would satisfy what He wanted to communicate using a fictitious representative character, Adam.

      However, this idea doesn’t hold, because subsequent to the poetic creation accounts, Genesis has a lot of other recorded history that was passed down too. And, included is the record of Adam and his descendents where he is described as having fathered Seth at 130 years of age and living to 930 years. Is this the continuation of the fiction? When does the true story begin? With Seth, Adam’s son? You see, the descendents of Adam and his son Seth are shown in the New Testament to lead to Jesus himself. Someone had to be real.

      Whoever the first man was, in all likelihood he knew who His father was or where he came from and this would have been passed down. (And it was). Yet, it seems that you are saying that, instead of the complicated story of “My dad was a Neanderthal and before that…,” God gave a “James Bond” story to hand down. Now, during the transition in evolution, this first man must have had his ancestors alive for a while and perhaps they were an embarrassment to the family, hence the story we are left with.

      Sure, Adam’s name has meaning, but this does not make him into the idea that you have. I previously gave a number of Scripture references from different books, by various authors, written over a period of 4000 years, and in different genre, to show Adam to be a real man at the beginning of creation. If you haven’t already, please reread these short accounts in the light of Genesis chapters 4 and 5 that I referred to in this post and tell me if you can really place your idea of Adam in each of these. I believe they show your argument to be incompatible with the Bible.
      Rob

      Like

      • Well, again, I find other scripture writers speaking of Adam as a literal human being to be completely, totally and utterly unpersuasive. And clearly, not viewing Adam as a literal person has not done any harm whatsoever to my faith life or my reverence for scriptures.
        Also, the rest of Genesis is not written with rhyme, rhythm and wordplay. I would not presume to tell God that he can’t mix genres.
        Allow me to ask you to consider something. The people to whom scripture was originally given had none of the background knowledge needed to understand modern science. They didn’t know anything about DNA, had no concept of billions, didn’t know what atoms were or even what exactly happened when a baby was conceived. Given these limitations, how could God have explained creation to them? If He chose to use the amazing process of evolution and the big bang and the rest to create the world, was he then required to wait until human knowledge had advanced far enough to understand a literal explanation for creation? I think we should be extremely grateful that God was willing to meet humanity where they were and explain the spiritual truths of creation to them. I am always amazed at the hubris that would limit God to the sort of wooden literalism that we humans seem to have a deep affinity for.
        Finally, it is not wrong belief that lead to terrible behavior. Great acts and kindness have been shown throughout time by people who followed all manner of strange religions or no religion at all. The bible speaks of a few of these people, in fact. It is wrong heart that leads to terrible behavior, NOT wrong belief. We do not need to be afraid of discovering ourselves in error so long as our hearts have been handed over to love (you know – God). In fact, the refusal to reconsider one’s belief seems to lead to a hardness of heart which makes all manner of atrocity possible. The scripture tells us to guard our hearts, not our beliefs. It is a shame that too many in the church believe in beliefs rather than God himself.

        Like

      • You’ve invented or follow a hypothesis to back your argument. However, if the story of evolution is taught to kids today with no concept of modern science and where they don’t know anything about DNA, have no concept of billions, don’t know what atoms are or even what exactly happens when a baby is conceived, then there is no reason that it couldn’t have been communicated on this level to “early man.” You don’t need the understanding of the modern man to grasp the basic idea of evolution. For example, the book of Leviticus is full of God’s laws on hygiene that man would not have understood the reason to obey then without the modern knowledge that we have of germs. Yet, they were given details that modern medicine understands now.

        I cannot simply accept evolution that has never been proven and your idea of no real Adam, when both are contrary to a logical view of Genesis chapters 4 and 5 and the other references to him elsewhere in the Bible. This is not narrow mindedness. This is logic. Imagine if someone asked you to do the same on some other issue. You would think them to be unfairly fanatical. I’m afraid, either you or I, despite our love for Jesus and each other (I hope) are twisting the scripture to fit our beliefs.

        Love your style, only happily disagree on this.
        Rob

        Like

      • At this point we’re quibbling. There’s enough division in the body, so I’m just going to leave it at I’ve had my say and you’ve had your say. Like I said before, it is unlikely we will convince each other. Our conversation can stand as an example of two potentially faithful responses to creation and scripture. And others can judge for themselves if either of us have made points that increase their faith. As long as Christ lived, crucified and raised in glory is preached, PTL. Peace, brother!

        Like

      • Correction to last my last paragraph: Biblical writings were written over a period of more than 1500 years covering a historical period of around 4000 years. (This obviously excludes prophecies that point to the future, beyond the New Testament’s early church period.)
        Rob

        Like

  11. Adam and Eve were real people. There is much evidence to this. Genesis 1-11 is history even if it’s not all supposed to be taken literally. Noah’s Ark and the story of the Garden of Eden are true. Also, you are confused about the theory of evolution. Random mutation IS random. It is natural selection that is not. But this is besides the point. We generally like people who are attractive. If they look way different from us, then we aren’t going to be attracted to them. Animals are very smart creatures that know they have morals and probably better morals then humans however, when it comes to random mutation, this is where naturalistic evolutionism faces its greatest challenge. Would two things (even if slightly different) be attracted to each other in order to produce a NEW species?

    Like

    • Noah’s ark is true? Well, consider that we do not find the type of evidence we would expect to find if there had been a global flood, but we DO find more than one type of evidence of the sort to be expected if a flood did NOT occur. How do you explain that? Either Noah’s flood was not world wide, or God is a liar (either in His book or in His creation), or maybe just maybe we are not supposed to take things literally (as even you say is a possibility).
      As for evolution, there are mountains of evidence of many different types (nested hierarchies of many different types of genetic data, the fossil record, human chromosome 2, etc.) that all point to the same reality. It isn’t just a matter of looking at the same evidence with a different interpretation. Such evidence only makes sense if evolution happens and does not jibe with the idea of all creatures being created separately and within a one week period less than ten thousand years ago.

      Again, considering the evidence for evolution, either God is a liar (in His book or in His creation, maybe both) or maybe IF the God of the Bible IS our Creator, we are supposed to get some spiritual teaching from Genesis and NOT treat it as real history. Take your pick. Apparently though you are unfamiliar with the actual evidence concerning Noah’s flood and also with the fact of evolution. Google is your friend. Peace.

      Like

    • One of the common sayings Christian fundamentalists use to put down their enemies (anyone who does not believe exactly as they do) is:

      “I love it when people who don’t know anything about the Bible quote scripture to me.”

      After reading the Light and Life Ministries comments above, I can easily reverse that and say that:

      “I love it when people who don’t know anything about science explain science to me.”

      I would bet my last dime that the two Light and Life Ministries people above have never taken an actual college science course that deals exclusively with evolution, primate paleontology, human paleontology, or historical geology. Like most Christian fundamentalists, the facts are irrelevant because they believe that the Bible should be read simply and literally: A simple Bible sent to the simple man from a simple God. Therefore, the science cannot be true. The thing they never want to realize and avoid at all costs is the fact that this view of the Bible is one imposed on it by human beings from the outside. It is not what the Bible says. It is what they choose to think or believe it says. They do not only believe that the Bible is “inerrant,” but they make the mistake of believing that they are personally inerrant, which is a form of blasphemy where man chooses to play God.

      The second thing is that Christian fundamentalists run from evolution because of their God-view. They believe in a God who is an incessantly angry and vicious brute just itching to find the least little thing wrong with them or what they believe so he can roast them alive forever. They are so afraid of him that they would deny evolution even if Jesus himself came into their bedroom one night and told them it really happened.

      I would leave them with four thoughts:

      1) Rebecca won the evolution argument above hands down.

      2) Fundies believe that the verse in proverbs about “leaning not on your own understanding” means they are required to turn off their brains at the church door, which begs the question as to why brains would be given by God in the first place.

      3) The disciple John in the New Testament says quite clearly that any person who comes to God because they are afraid of him will never see the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, it says exactly that. I do not know a single Christian fundamentalist who walked the aisle after an alter call because he or she loved God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They walked the aisle because the sermon scared them to death about what God was going to do to him or her if they did not walk the aisle. They came to God in fear—and fear alone. They remain scared to death of him for their whole lives. They come to church on Sunday and Wednesday because they are scared not to come. They witness because they are scared not to witness. They turn every verse in the Bible into a law to measure themselves with—out of fear. They do everything out of fear. If they choose to take the Bible so literally, the one thing they most need to be afraid of is the fact that they live in fear of God all the time because the scriptures plainly and literally say that they are never going to heaven if there is the least bit of God-fear in their hearts.

      4) Christian fundamentalism has a seed of murder planted within it. This is why it is demonic in nature. Jesus is about love and life. Christian fundamentalism is about fear and death, as noted by the famous Bible scholar in this video:

      Like

    • ” Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason a nd experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all
      means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

      “The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of thos
      e for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian
      mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

      “Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture br
      ing untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren
      when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their
      utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

      – St Augustine of Hippo, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis

      Like

  12. I just noticed this was an older post, so I am not sure how it entered into my “new section” in my Google reader feed. anyhow, I wanted to enter my two cents here in the discussion.

    On Adam; I do not particularly have a problem with those who disregard Adam as a real person, however I find the conclusion unnecessary.
    The genre of Genesis is history, but ancient historiography. This is not journalistic history as we prize today. It doesn’t mean it is false; we just need to be sensitive to ancient styles of writing. Ancient writing CAN and DOES use literary devices all throughout. It actually does use word plays, chiastic structures (the entire Babel story is a chiasm), poetic elements, etc.
    With that said, lets look at Adams creation first: the first thing to notice is that the verses in Genesis two involve a lot of anthropomorphisms of God. He breathes into Adam (with what? Breathe? Mouth?).
    Next it is important to recognize that ancient reader often presupposed material creation (something Old Testament Professor John H Walton has been very keen on). So this may be a literal account of a material event, or it may be something else, presupposing God created the material (it was a given).
    Its then important to realize that many ancient concepts of creation were archetypes using specific elements poetically to describe the “creation” and ALL humanity. Atrahasis parallels Adams account with similar materials used that related to humanity as a whole. In Egypt the pharaoh in a text is referred to as “molded on the [gods] potter’s wheel].” They didn’t believe that the pharaoh was never expelled from a birth canal, but this was a way to stand as an archetype for his role in creation. It would be VERY disingenuous to ancient audience to suggest “this is part of a history document and it is meant to be understood LITERALLY. “ The audience presupposed material creation, and were not talking about that.
    So let’s look at Adams creation again. Are these archetypal representations? Dust most certainly is all throughout the Old Testament, a simple word search will show this. First there is genesis three “from dust you came, and dust you will return,” is an archetypal statement. Then there is more explicit verses like psalms “for he knows how WE are formed, he remembers that WE are dust (emphasis mine).”

    Also elsewhere in the bible similar wording describes events poetically. Perfect example in Job 10:8-11 ““Your hands shaped me and made me.
    Will you now turn and destroy me?
    9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
    Will you now turn me to dust again?
    10 Did you not pour me out like milk
    and curdle me like cheese,
    11 clothe me with skin and flesh
    and knit me together with bones and sinews?”

    So in sum: Genesis in ancient, ancient used different writing devices than us, Adams creation contains anthropomorphisms, ancient concepts, and archetypal notions confirmed elsewhere in scripture. If Adams case is undoubtedly archetypal, why would eve’s be literal? We actually find it contains figures of speech and archetypes too (“this is why a man leaves his parents and clings to his wife” describes Israelite marriage, other archetypes are there too).

    I believe if we step outside modernity we discover there are other perceptions, and the ancient ones are not our concerns. Remember they were not having an origins debate, so material creation was a given.

    This archetypal understanding also does not require Adam and eve not be real people, it simply accepts the language that is being used is not specifically literal.

    That’s all I wanted to say.

    Like

    • I totally agree with you. Unfortunately a lot of effort has gone into indoctrinating people to believe that these are stories which must be taken literally. Even to the point of saying (completely contrary to scripture or good theology) that the gospel itself cannot stand if they aren’t taken literally. In all honesty, I would go so far as to say that its been a tool meant to blind people to the deeper, richer understanding of the sort you point to here in order to keep them stunted.

      Like

      • agreed

        My main issue is the arrogance of the creationist position. I do not mean to sound post-modern (because really i am not), but there are other ways of knowing. Its pssible and extremely likely that Ancient Israel (the context) had different ontology, presumptions, etc than us now. It seems so arrogant to assume that we in modernity have it “right” and we copy and paste our way of doing things on the text.

        We treat no ther ancient document in this silly manner, why should the one text that actually matters be exempt from being ancient?

        I had someone actually try to tell me once that the bible’s exempt status from the “ancient” catagory was its inspiration. I have a feeling it was pride that did not want to admit it could be anything else.

        Like

    • For all that you have said on Genesis, a fair reading of ALL the texts in the Bible that concern Adam clearly show that Adam was considered by it’s authors who mentioned him to be a real man, singular and the first.

      Here is just one of several texts from many different genre in the Bible that makes no sense if Adam wasn’t literal:

      (Jude 1:14) And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

      Here is a post of mine on this subject
      http://realchurchlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/the-fact-of-adam-vs-fancy-of-evolution-part-1/

      Like

  13. Pingback: Happy Darwin Day!

  14. Pingback: Happy Darwin Day! | Independent News Hub

  15. Pingback: Consciousness and Genesis 1 « The Upside Down World

  16. A lot of this has already been said by thinkers from Maimonides to Henry Drummind, whose “… an immanent God, which is the God of Evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional wonder-worker, who is the God of an old theology”.I see echoed by one of the comments. However, Rebecca, I lack your patience: my take is Biblical literalism as blasphemy http://wp.me/p21T1L-np

    Like

  17. Hello Rebecca. Been a long time, and you’ve gotten much better looking😇. No patronizing intended. Related to your post, I’d recommend you look at William Dembski’s The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design, and Henry Shaefer’s and William Dembski’s Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design. No obfuscating creationism, but some really good brain food for reflection.

    I had to drop out of posting to complete my M. Div.program. Hope to get back to it soon.

    Dan Rial

    Like

  18. Pingback: Why I won’t debate with a creationist. And what to do instead. | Eat Your Brains Out; Exploring Science, Exposing Creationism

  19. For all mention of the glories of creation (which a creationist would agree with), and the rhetoric in the article, it would be nice to have some biblical proof provided.

    Like

    • Biblical proof of what? The bible is a record of God’s encounter with his creation over time and no where does it hint at much less say that it is meant to be used as a science text book. It’s an abuse of scripture to try to make it something it is not, in my opinion. I don’t do abuse of scripture. Or at least I try very hard not to.

      Like

  20. Pingback: Sundry Sunday: New Blogs to Follow | A Yewnique Life

  21. I’m so glad I came across your blog. I never realised until recently that there are still people around me who believe in the Creationist story. (I live in the UK – of course I had heard of a land across the waters where people believe all sorts of stuff like humans don’t cause climate change.)

    It’s something that’s caused a lot of sleepless nights… The gospel is being tainted with a mix of ignorance and deceit and it is harmful!

    Fight the good fight! The US and it’s influential pastors/thinkers lead and the world follows.

    Like

  22. Pingback: Exposing the Roots of Young Earth Creationism | Letters to Creationists

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s