Science and Scripture: some say they represent truth and fiction. Others say they are both valuable but like like oil and water just don’t mix. Still others say they are like the ingredients of a delicious smoothy, still others seek a middle way. During an online discussion at another forum, one participant wrote as follows:
“Hello, if I could nudge my way into this excellent discussion here briefly. But would you allow a non-scientist such as Ken Ham to tell you should interpret science to fit it into the bible just because he starts with a presupposition you already hold to? I’m only asking that we don’t yield unquestioning authority to those who are not experts. I would prefer not to have Ken Ham and other picking the Bible up and twisting science with it or picking up science and twisting my Bible with it either. Forcing us to believe that the Bible requires us to believe that two animals flew off the ark and evolved into 1200 species of bats in a few hundred years shouldn’t be the only valid way we must interpret scripture.”
This writer responded as follows; some minor editing was done to remove the superfluous and to protect privacy.
Hello Mr. [name], I am going to back way up and challenge the very concept of expertise, especially when it comes to theorizing about the phenomena of this fallen world.
An expert pathologist or mortician would be able to tell us, in great technical detail, what happens to the body following a person’s decease. A process called autolysis starts within minutes of expiration. Deprived of the oxygen supplied to them by the now still cardiopulmonary system, cells break down releasing enzymes, and decomposition is underway.
I “googled” and condensed that info. (Here’s a word I added to my vocabulary when doing so: thanatomicrobiome. I can’t wait to use it in everyday conversation. ☺) But without benefit of search engine, our expert no doubt could discourse at length about that as well as the next step, when microorganisms start spreading out from the gut as the descent back to dust marches on and a stench starts to ascend.
The expert would be able to speak in expert language about the pooling of blood, the cooling from 98.6 F (or thereabouts) to room temperature, the discoloration of the skin, and the rigor mortis which begot that slang term for a corpse, “stiff.”
What if this expert should go on to tell me that based on his profound scientific knowledge, it is absurd to believe that Jesus rose from the dead after three days? I would reply that the Father did not suffer His holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31, Acts 13:35). I would proclaim that the Christ in Whose mouth was no deceit said He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again (Isaiah 53:9, 1 Peter 1:22, John 10:18).
In my joyful hope of someday sharing in it, I would declare that Jesus’ resurrection was accomplished with power according to the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). By that power He Who is able to subject all things to Himself and Who will raise His people from the dead (Philippians 3:21), was able to suspend or alter the ordinary course of providence following physical death. (For when gestation, autolysis, decomposition, lunar phases or ANY phenomenon is observed, the observer is beholding providence, whether he recognizes it or not.)
In short, I would tell that expert he was…er…dead wrong! Should that expert profess to be a Bible believing Christian, but one who on the basis of what he observes cannot accept the literal, bodily resurrection of our Lord, I first would charitably assume that the expert on death was woefully untaught about the Person and work of the Prince of life, and show him from Scripture that our faith is built on this pillar of Gospel truth: the true, literal, physical, bodily, historical (add as many affirming adjectives as you will) glorious resurrection of our Savior!
And what did that miracle of miracles demonstrate? Perfect justification following all the eternal damnation meriting sin of a multitude of sinners which no mathematical expert can number! In His resurrection inheres the ultimate destruction of death itself, the eschatological redemption of the now groaning creation (Romans 8:19-22) which was created in Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16) Who is spotlessly pure. How could that which was created in Christ the dazzlingly holy One ever have had death in any form whatsoever unless sin had come in, and death with it (Romans 5:12)?
Those trusting in His victorious abolition of death now can be assured that they are adopted as sons, partakers of the sanctifying Holy Spirit, yea partakers of the divine nature! Wow, who dares claim full understanding of that breathtaking promise! Who does not fear to go beyond what it written, lest he blur the Creator/creature distinction? But so it stands in the inspired apostolic letter, 2 Peter 1:4.
Seeing what was accomplished according to Scripture by all the adoration instilling miracles from incarnation through ascension, how can we doubt that lesser divine works were done beforehand to accomplish God’s eternal purpose in Christ?
Two such works, prodigious in their display of power, are the parting ot the Red Sea and the standing still of the sun and moon at the command of Joshua. Do we believe these things truly happened, or do we let experts in hydraulics or astronomy intimidate us into believing the Israelites crossed in some unusual but not miraculous way at the ebbing “reed sea,” and that there is some “explanation” for what happened on that singular day at Gibeon in the valley of Aijalon, that day unlike any day before or since (Joshua 10:14)?
How many other miracles recorded in Scripture would rile “experts?” Did the serpent in Eden or Balaam’s donkey really speak, or must those events be explained or spiritualized away? How about the floating iron ax head, or the shadow on the stairway of Ahaz going back ten steps? Where exactly did Elijah go when a chariot of fire and horses of fire suddenly appeared and he went up by a whirlwind to heaven? The list goes on.
Did God create the universe with “the appearance of age?” Only if one already has certain presumptions does age appear. If we had been able to see Adam one hour after his creation, we probably would have assumed that he had already lived a couple of decades or so. But Adam was not created with the appearance of age. God determined to create the first man, not the first zygote or baby!
Adam and then Eve were the crown of a universe fully functional from the beginning. Why can we not reason analogously to the case of the newly created Adam when it comes to stars at a great distance from the earth, or apple trees already laden with fruit? Is anything too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14). Our confessional position on creation solves the age old riddle, which came first, the chicken or the egg? It was the chicken!
What grounds exist for incredulity if the wise, omniscient God created a single primeval kind of bat with the capacity to adapt (not evolve, unless the regrettable term “micro-evolution” is used instead of adaptation) into diverse versions of that original kind, i.e. into what modern experts call species? Also, there might have been more than one original kind of bat.
[Another participant in the conversation] has indicated that he believes in an historical Adam and that the geneaologies of Genesis 5 and 11 give us a reliable chronology; an actual history recorded in terms of literal years of ordinary length, made up of literal days of ordinary length, from the first such day of Adam’s life onward.
ASIDE: If the creation week was not a week of consecutive days of ordinary length, just when was the first day of ordinary length? (I avoid the term “solar day” because the first three days were sunless; God made the sun on day four to govern a length of duration which He had already established.) If the sixth creation day was an eon of uncertain length, at what point during that eon was Adam created (or given the imago Dei), and how does that effect the reliable geneaology?
What about the first sabbath? Was it an eon or a literal day? Maybe the eighth day was the first literal day, called by the same name even though its duration was infinitesimally shorter than the first six or seven. Where in Scripture do we find the change in the length of a day from eon to 24 little hours?
I challenge either of you or any other old earth creationist to interpret the following pericope in a way consistent with belief in a literal, historical Adam:
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:21-23 NASB).
The idea that God took two human-like beings, added the image of God and voila…Adam and Eve! flies in the face of this passage. It denies that Adam preexisted Eve. (That he did so only for a brief period is immaterial.) It denies that Eve was taken out of Adam’s body by an extraordinary work of creation. And thus it turns Adam’s statement into nonsense, as well as Paul’s: “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” (1 Timothy 2:13 NASB).
So it is with old earth creationism generally speaking. It elevates the fallible observations which fallen men make about this fallen creation over the special verbal revelation God has given us. To cite the enemy of us all, “Has God really said?”
Finally and very briefly: without launching into the pre-mil vs. a-mil vs. post-mil discussion, I ask that you also consider Isaiah 11. Unless we spiritualize away statements made there regarding the animal kingdom, it appears that predation will, in God’s time, be a thing of the past. If the cosmic redemption being accomplished in Christ includes the behavior of animals, is it not reasonable to believe that as far as predation, “in the beginning it was not so?” On the other hand, if predation is part of God’s primeval very good pronouncement, should we expect it to exist in the consummate state? In that case, what do the words of Isaiah mean?
I make no apology for my presupposition that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, God-breathed and fully authoritative. Shall I compromise with what error-prone, fallible, “experts” say with their own breath when it contradicts what God has clearly said?
“May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.’ ” (Romans 3:4 NASB)