Francis Collins - No Friend of Bible Believers

Francis Collins, the former Director of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and now the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has risen to national prominence in recent years. His scientific acumen combined with his rather public confession of Christian faith has garnered both excitement by Christians, as seen in these Christianity Today articles (here and here), and interest among unbelievers, as in this exchange with Richard Dawkins in Time.

But not everyone is excited about Collins’ recent appointment by President Obama to direct NIH. Sam Harris, the author of the atheistic diatribes against faith, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, questions Collins’ fitness for NIH due to the geneticist’s Christian faith in this NY Times piece. While I don’t question Collins’ fitness for his present position, I do question how much he should be viewed as an ally of Bible-believing Christians. His foreword in a new book exposes his disdain for anyone who would take the creation account in Genesis 1-2 as an accurate description of the beginning of the world. Collins pens a four-page foreword for Karl Giberson’s Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (Harper One, 2008). In this rather strained attempt to harmonize Christianity and Darwinism, Giberson stretches the limits of reason and logic in an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable. His book is introduced by Collins’ similarly tortured attempt to elevate science way beyond its boundaries and to denigrate anyone who supports Intelligent Design (ID), young-earth creationism or virtually anything regarding the early chapters of Genesis.

Collins describes ID’s challenge to evolution’s ability to explain irreducibly complex structures in living organisms as pressing on “despite the lack of any meaningful support in the scientific community” (p. v). This statement is simply not true and masks not only the many scientists who question Darwinism’s explanation of irreducible complexity but also the almost universal pressure on scientists to toe the party line concerning Darwinism.

Collins’ contempt for ID does not hold a candle, however, to his scorn for young earth creationists (YEC). He describes the Creation Museum outside of Cincinnati as “perhaps the strangest development of all” for its depiction of humans “frolicking” with dinosaurs “despite overwhelming scientific evidence that they were separated in history by more than sixty million years” (p. v). Collins’ seemingly absolute confidence in the declarations of “science” regarding the age of the earth and mechanism of human development cannot go unchallenged. If Collins rejects the Genesis account of creation, he must also reject (or at least re-imagine) the historicity of Adam, the Fall, and consequently a number of foundational orthodox doctrines, all of which directly impact the biblical account of redemption. One has to wonder exactly from where Collins draws his Christian faith.

Collins clarifies his view of Genesis when he declares that the “evidence” from a wide variety of sources, including the fossil record and human genomes means that “special creation of humans simply cannot be embraced by those familiar with the data, unless they wish to postulate a God who intentionally placed misleading clues in our own DNA to test our faith” (p. vii). Although this is not the place to expound on the importance of the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Fall as described in Genesis 1-3, it is enough to say that without the “special creation of humans” Collins must eviscerate much more than the first few chapters of the Bible. Throughout the entire Bible, the narrative of Genesis 1-3 is assumed to be factual, notwithstanding whatever phenomenological elements may be present. But a bigger problem emerges from Collins’ statement. He speaks of the scientific data as if it were simply brute fact requiring no interpretation or presupposition. But scientific data is never brute fact and must always be interpreted. It will always be contingent upon further investigation. Collins does not seem to recognize this limitation but ascribes to fallen human reason a divine, omniscient status.

Collins concludes his foreword with an appeal for believers to adopt proposals such as Giberson’s that synthesize natural and spiritual perspectives and bring one “much joy and peace” (p. vii). This will allow believers to “get beyond these destructive battles” of “alternative creation stories” and focus on the “real meaning of Christianity”—the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (p. viii). Collins’ lack of theological expertise is glaringly obvious here. He does not seem to make the connection between the trustworthiness of Scripture regarding the account of creation and the account of the life of Christ. Analytic philosophers make mincemeat of this kind of inconsistency. If someone rejects clear statements in one part of Scripture, how is he justified in accepting them in another? Autonomous human reason becomes the judge of truth at this point, not Scripture.

In addition, Collins is apparently not familiar with Paul’s whole argument of Christ as the second Adam in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, which provides the meaning of the life, death and resurrection that Collins claims to believe. The fact of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, like scientific data, is not brute fact, but needs to be properly interpreted. And if Paul tells us that Christ is only properly understood as the second Adam, then gutting the proper understanding of Adam and Eve guts the proper understanding of Christ and His work. Collins cannot have it both ways.

In summary, Bible believers should know by now that hope cannot be set on politicians or those they appoint. No professed Christian is automatically going to benefit believers or support a Christian worldview merely by his profession. The only human leaders who will ever truly be an ally to those who believe the Bible are those who make the Bible their authority in all matters of reason and life.


Mark Farnham is Assistant Professor of Theology and New Testament at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary (Lansdale, PA). He and his wife, Adrienne, grew up in Connecticut and were married after graduating from Maranatha Baptist Bible College (Watertown, WI). They have two daughters and a son, all teenagers. Mark served as director of youth ministries at Positive Action for Christ (Rocky Mount, NC) right out of seminary and pastored for seven years in New London, Connecticut. He holds an MDiv from Calvary and a ThM in New Testament from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA). He has also studied ancient manuscripts at Harvard Divinity School and philosophy at Villanova University. He is presently a doctoral student at Westminster Theological Seminary (Glenside, PA) in the field of Apologetics. These views do not necessarily reflect those of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary or its faculty and administration.

4189 reads

There are 17 Comments

Bob T.'s picture

Thank you for calling this book and the forward to our attention. I heard this person as a guest on Robert Schuller's TV program and he came accross as a believer. However, if he is a believer he is a dangerous one as he is providing ammunition for the enemy. We need to be aware of his dangerous and outdated view of evolution v. the Genesis account.. Many Darwinists and Neo Darwinists have modified their views based on the overwheling lack of evidence for gradual change. They may not be the majority but they are a signifigant number. Hugh Ross, also a professing Christian, also speaks against the literal Genesis account and the young earth creationists. He is an Astronomer.

Josh Gelatt's picture

Good article, however I'm not so sure I agree with the second to last paragraph. I really don't think the Adam/Christ issue is too difficult to overcome, and I've never bought into the idea that denying the historicity of Adam "guts the proper understanding of Christ and His work". Seems simple enough to appeal to symbolism. Before anyone cries foul, please remember that Christ' work is all about symbolism----he becomes symbolic for us on the cross. There are problems if we deny Adam's historicity, but not sure these can't be overcome. While I DO believe in Adam's historicity, I think zeroing in on that masks the true incompatibility of evolution and christianity.

What CANNOT be overcome, in my opinion, is the clear Scriptural teaching that God's creation began "very good". No sin, no death, no misery---and evolution of any variety would have all three (at least they would admit to the last two). Thus, the Fall---which scripture blames on humanity---would actually (in the 'Christian evolutionists' worldview) be actually a product of God via the evolutionary process. So, in what sense is Jesus restoring us as the image bearers of God if there was no original time when we were perfectly His image? While the historicity of Adam may perhaps be explained away (even if poorly--certainly not advocating that idea) the basic building blocks of the Christian story cannot be explained away (Creation-Fall-Redemption).

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
I really don't think the Adam/Christ issue is too difficult to overcome, and I've never bought into the idea that denying the historicity of Adam "guts the proper understanding of Christ and His work". Seems simple enough to appeal to symbolism. Before anyone cries foul, please remember that Christ' work is all about symbolism----he becomes symbolic for us on the cross.
Perhaps you simply weren't clear in your writing, but I think this is very close to what has typically been called "heresy." Christ's work on the cross was not symbolic. It was actual. His righteousness and death is imputed to us. Many people have tried the "symbolic" line throughout history and even to this present day, particularly in the emergent church segment. The penal substitution is not symbolic, and cannot be made to be.

As for Adam and Christ, if the "first man" wasn't literal the father of sinners, then the point of Romans 5 falls apart. The whole point of atonement is federal headship (at the very least). We can be saved through one man Christ because we were made sinners through one man Adam. So the historicity of Adam is a very big deal and can only be "overcome" through extreme inconsistency. The text gives us no reason to deny the historicity of Adam (or any of the eleven chapters) and science certainly hasn't either.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Josh Gelatt wrote:
Before anyone cries foul, please remember that Christ' work is all about symbolism----he becomes symbolic for us on the cross.

Josh, what Christ did on the cross is not symbolism. He was not symbolic for us. It was vitally important that He be one of us, hence the incarnation and the repeated point that Christ was "born of a woman." It isn't about symbolism, but about our (real not symbolic) solidarity with Him when he becomes sin for us.
So the historicity of Adam is closer to the core than it might seem.
In any case, dismissing historicity from Genesis 1-3 creates a boatload of hermeneutical problems for interpreting the rest of Scripture. I know some will roll their eyes at the slippery slope argument but there are still such things as slippery slopes... and I've never seen a good case for determining when you take a passage as factual and when you take it as mythical or symbolic that doesn't invite taking lots of other passages symbolically if it suits ones fancy--unless the indicators are clear in the text itself. In this case we have the oppostie--as Farnham points out, you have references to historicity (the factuality vs. symbolism) of Gen 1-3 sprinkled all through Scripture.

Josh Gelatt's picture

I laughed out loud at the heresy comment. Of course Christ ACTUALLY died, and of course there is a REAL solidarity. And of course his death is TRULY imputed into us. On that all of us agre (in this forum at least, I would assume---perhaps that is where the breakdown in communication occured, since I assumed everyone commenting here would be orthodox in their faith, and thought that assumption went both ways--we did sign an affirmation of faith just to be able to comment, did we not? Smile ). But after looking at my first comment I did wince at this statement: "Christ' work is all about symbolism". The word "all" there should be interpreted as "there's lots of symbolism at work" (e.g. typological/representational work), not as "this was only symbolic".

My point, to get back to the point (as I don't want to get into endless side arguments about the word 'symbol'), is that is doesn't serve us well to argue along the Adam route. While important, that is secondary. The historicity of Adam, while certainly related to the issue, isn't the real issue. Frankly, I think it obscures the true imcompatibility between biblical christianity and evolution. However one wishes to read Gen 1-3, if your interpretation ends with saying, "well we know this isn't really the way the story began, it actually began with an evolutionary struggle for survival that lasted kilzillions of years...etc,", then you have departed fundamentally from the Christian message. As Aaron pointed out, there is a slippery slope that exists (and Aaron, I am in full agreement with the larger point you were making when you said that).

Again, I am not arguing for a permissive attitude towards those who deny the historicity of Adam. What I am saying is that is a poor place to start the debate or which to rest our argument on.

Larry's picture

Moderator

JOsh,

My comment was driven by the idea that you may have unintended consequences. A lot of people, myself included in times past, have made various theological statements that were in fact heretical statements, not because they were intended to be but because I didn't know enough to know. I wasn't sure what your situation was, but I wanted to make some clarification there. There is a lot of heresy parading about as orthodoxy today, much by people who konw better, and much by people who don't.

SEcondly, I am not sure what "symbolic" has to do with the death of Christ. I don't see a lot of usefulness there at first glance, but perhaps I am missing something.

There wasn't anything typical ore representational in Christ's death was there? I am thinking on the fly here, so perhaps something is slipping my mind. But Christ's death is usually the antitype, for those who lean on the typology arguments.

But more to the point, you say, My point ... is that is doesn't serve us well to argue along the Adam route.

Yet isn't that exactly the route Paul takes in Romans 5, the most clear biblical passage on the nature of imputation and headship? His argument isn't about creation/evolution there, but it is about salvation and it relies on Adam being historical. So it seems to me that you would have to say that Paul wasn't served well to make that argument. Can you help me understand where you are coming from here?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Josh Gelatt wrote:
Again, I am not arguing for a permissive attitude towards those who deny the historicity of Adam. What I am saying is that is a poor place to start the debate or which to rest our argument on.

If we're talking about creation vs. evolution in general, sure, there may be better places to "start" and "rest." But the reason the historicity of Adam matters so much in this particular piece is that Mr.Collins takes a position that grants some kind of "creator" role to God but basically turns the early chapters of Genesis into some kind of literary jello pudding. So it's the historicity of creation and the Fall that we're saying go hand in hand and that dismissing the former really makes a train wreck of the latter (now I've gone from jello pudding to train wrecks but oh well). And when the Fall--and Adam's role in it as first man--is muddled, so is Paul's reasoning in Rom.5, as Larry has pointed out.

Ben Howard's picture

Last Summer, I read Francis Collins' book, The Language of God. It was a very interesting book, but was filled with the same problems that Mark noted in his article. I am a Young Earth Creationist, but am not one who gets all bent out of shape if someone wants to disagree with me, and I have recommended alternatives to friends of mine who disbelieve scripture based on the creation account. However, Collins doesn't just try to reconcile Scripture with science through Intelligent Design theory or Progressive Creation, which I have far less problems with; instead he wholeheartedly supports and through arguments that I felt better support ID than naturalistic evolution, tried to defend thoroughly natural selection evolution. His views went beyond even the descriptions of Theistic Evolution that I am familiar with. While I got a clear picture of his salvation from the book, I think that it was so convoluted in its argumentation that it undermined Scripture and his faith. Also, the examples he gave in many cases seemed to support rather than deny the fact of humanity going back to a common ancestor (i.e. Adam and Eve). I got the distinct impression that he was bending over backwards to not say anything that would lose him any credibility with fellow scientists, even if that meant tripping all over himself when it came to accepting Scripture and trying to say he was an evangelical. Anyway, I read it, not to agree with it, since I knew I wouldn't; but to see if I could recommend it to some doctor friends of mine who had a lot of questions about science and Christianity. After I read it, I determined I would not ever recommend it to someone trying to struggle with Scripture and Science because it is much more of hindrance than a help. Tim Keller's book, The Reason For God gives a much better description of reconciling Evolutionary views with Scripture if a person can't accept YEC, without undermining the Christian faith and Scripture itself.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Thanks for the mini book report, Ben. It's helpful. Though I think my attitude toward YEC is similar to yours (maybe slightly closer to "rabidly YEC" though), I wonder if Collins isn't an example of what the spirit of non-YEC creationist views tends to lead to? That is, once you get too worried about credibility in the "scientific community," maybe you've already lost and some form of rejection of Scripture is pretty well locked in... even if that takes the form of a view that simply lacks internal consistency.

Audrey's picture

This entire thread makes me a little sick. I understand disagreeing with someone deeply. I understand arguing strongly against them and even warning of what seems to be the natural end of their position. I don't understand presenting a good Christian man who is trying to stand for truth in the academy as "No Friend of Bible Believers." This is a man who dares to name the name of Christ while people like Dawkins and others mock people like him and think him completely inconsistant for believing after having seen all the scientific evidence. We need more people like him - people who will wrestle with the really hard scientific stuff and remain a believer. Do you all really think, from your snug little cocoons of Fundamentalism where you are not challenged by really smart, top-of-the line academics, that that man believes what he believes simply because he wants to appease the academy? No! He has seen things and learned things that seem to be incontravertable fact but that also seem to be inconsistent with Christianity and, for sake of Christ, has decided that these things cannot really be in opposition and has tried to make sense of them as best as he can, with the understanding that God has made us rational creatures and would not create us and this world in a disorganized, irrational way. Even more, people like Francis Collins offer hope to Christians who enter the field of science at a high level that they can wrestle with the questions and still maintain their faith.

So please, continue mixing derision with argumentation; I'm sure Dawkins, Harris, et al would find it tremendously funny. After all, Christians certainly should not present their brothers charitably, should they? They are not to argue with one another to persuade but to exclude, of course.

Charlie's picture

I hope you recover from your oddly induced illness soon. I believe you need to consider a few things. First, I'm not sure that all the participants of this thread are united in their evaluation of Mr. Collins, and so I think it is unjustifiable for you to be sickened by the entire thread. Second, I wish you would mix a little more argumentation with your derision. Phrases like "snug little cocoons of Fundamentalism" hardly seem aimed to engender dialogue and understanding. Your whole post sounds more like a "shame on you" from a frustrated elementary school teacher to her poorly behaved pupils. I wish you would avoid painting the "good Christian" men and women of this thread as morons who have never been challenged by academics.

Third, although I can appreciate the intense intellectual struggles of academia, and I'm sure that you and Joseph face many of them given your current position in life, it is possible to be entirely sincere and at the same time wrong and, as one poster said, dangerous. Assuming he is honestly trying to harmonize the convictions which he possesses, that still does not exempt him from criticism, even harsh criticism. The first assertion of the Nicene-Constantinoplian creed is, "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." Collins and other theistic evolutionists are dramatically reworking the creed, at least from the way it has been understood by most of Christianity throughout history. When you publish things like he has, it's similar to publishing on the hypostatic union of Christ or the Trinity. You can do a lot of damage without even meaning to. Also, sometimes the people boldly naming the name of Christ in the academy are the ones who hurt Christianity the most. I remember reading What Is Christianity? by Adolf Harnack. He really thought of himself as a champion defending the faith from the onslaught of unbelief. I suppose in some respects he did, but he did so at the cost of giving up the Bible. From an evangelical point of view, we could say that despite his efforts, he was "no friend to Christianity" in the actual results of his work. It does not sicken me or even surprise me that evangelicals would hold a similar point of view toward theistic evolutionists. Thanks, but no thanks.

On a more personal note, is everything ok with you guys? The last few posts by you and Joseph haven't been the insightful, calm, edifying essays I've come to appreciate. There has been an edge behind them, perhaps indicating some kind of stress or frustration? PM me if you would ever like someone to talk to or even just pray for you. Joseph once invited me to give him a phone call and I regret that I never followed through.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Audrey wrote:
So please, continue mixing derision with argumentation; I'm sure Dawkins, Harris, et al would find it tremendously funny. After all, Christians certainly should not present their brothers charitably, should they? They are not to argue with one another to persuade but to exclude, of course.

First, I can't find it in me to care what Dawkins finds funny.
Second, there is nothing uncharitable about telling the truth about a brother who is on the wrong track... unless the apostle Paul was uncharitable (Gal. 2.11 for example). No, what's unloving is to see a believer publicly err in faith--and encourage others to do the same--and give him the ol' "Well, it's OK, because you mean well." So the real question is whether he is right or not. If, in fact, as Farnham has argued (and Charlie and others also), Collins' views are a significant deviation from the faith and hostile to it, the most uncharitable thing believers could do is act as if that's perfectly harmless.

Audrey's picture

Charlie,

I am sorry for the tone of my post. I was angry when I wrote it, but I still believe that I was justifiedly angry. When I spoke of "snug little cocoons" I was not deriding the intelligence of anyone, only trying to make it clear that most, if not all, of the people here on SI (my husband and I included) do not have to deal with the kinds of really intelligent academic scientists that someone like Francis Collins has to come up against. As far as being sickened by the whole thread, I meant the overall tone of the thread, not individual posters, some of whom I realize are more sympathetic. As I was much too unclear about in my first post, I don't, as you seem to think that I think, think that we should ignore dangerous error or cease from boldly proclaiming the truth in the face of error. People here, however, often seem to be unable to see beyond their own circle and understand what it's like to be a Christian in other contexts or to distinguish between really important issues and less important ones. I cannot agree that holding to theistic evolution is as dangerous as questioning the hypostatic union. Regardless, what bothers me most about the thread is not the right questioning of where Mr. Collin’s position leads, but the treatment of Collins and people like him as people who have, for the sake of their reputation, given in to the academy - as if they don’t have very good reasons for holding their positions. They are in a difficult place. As much as they are in error, I hope the church will always warn against end of their positions. As much as they are perhaps the only thing standing between a human being and hell, I hope that they continue to stand.

I wish you had not brought up the personal note as you did in the end of your post. I think it would have been better placed in private correspondence. But, as you have, perhaps some of the strength of emotion displayed by my husband and I recently can be answered for by the reality that we are in a place now where we are surrounded by people who claim the name of Christ but deny everything in those creeds you mention. It tends to make one much more thankful for the people who stand in-between. People who, as much as we may disagree with them on many issues, some of which are rather important, are still Christians, still believe in some form of inerrancy, still believe that Christ is the only way, still affirm the creeds. As far as this particular issue goes, it is made a bit more personal because of many long conversations we had with a friend of ours back in Lynchburg. He had, for all intents and purposes, lost his faith because all of his life he had been surrounded by people who had told him that you had to believe in a young earth, literal 6-day creation in order to be a Christian, no matter what science seemed to prove. He had read enough so that that position was no longer tenable for him. I think some people here would rather that we had told him the only way to heaven was to believe in 6-day creation, rather than showing him alternatives which allowed him to keep the faith. Perhaps a literal 6-day creation is right. But let us not conflate that with the Gospel that Christ died, rose, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I have not come back to SI in a long time, and I am beginning to regret having posted. I certainly should not have posted in the tone that I did, but when the man in charge of a Christian forum does not care what Christianity looks like to the watching world, I wonder what the point is.

Aaron, as I said before, I have no problem with warning against error. I have a problem with treating a fellow believer as if he is not in a difficult place and as if he has not come to his position honestly. I have a problem with this: “I wonder if Collins isn't an example of what the spirit of non-YEC creationist views tends to lead to? That is, once you get too worried about credibility in the "scientific community," maybe you've already lost and some form of rejection of Scripture is pretty well locked in... even if that takes the form of a view that simply lacks internal consistency.” If you can’t see how that opens Christians up to the justified mockery of the watching world then I don't know what to say.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Audrey wrote:
I have not come back to SI in a long time, and I am beginning to regret having posted. I certainly should not have posted in the tone that I did, but when the man in charge of a Christian forum does not care what Christianity looks like to the watching world, I wonder what the point is.

Christianity has always looked like foolishness to the world. Jesus said we should expect the world to hate us because it hates Him. No, what matters is not whether they are laughing us, etc., but whether they are correct or not--and since we're all sinners, sometimes accurate criticism is mixed in with the blind rejection. But there is no persuading a lost person that the gospel is true. We can and should engage in persuasive effort, but the dead must be quickened and we do not have the power to do that... and until they are quickened, the faith is just nonsense or worse in their eyes.

Audrey wrote:
Aaron, as I said before, I have no problem with warning against error. I have a problem with treating a fellow believer as if he is not in a difficult place and as if he has not come to his position honestly. I have a problem with this: “I wonder if Collins isn't an example of what the spirit of non-YEC creationist views tends to lead to? That is, once you get too worried about credibility in the "scientific community," maybe you've already lost and some form of rejection of Scripture is pretty well locked in... even if that takes the form of a view that simply lacks internal consistency.” If you can’t see how that opens Christians up to the justified mockery of the watching world then I don't know what to say.

I don't know when I said he wasn't in a difficult position or that he did not come to his position honestly.... and I don't see that in the article either.
As for my assertion that when you elevate the scientific consensus to a certain point it leads to rejection of Scripture... if this opens us up for mockery, so be it. It's no secret that the scientific community as a whole is dominated by atheism and agnosticism and embraces naturalistic evolution. And for a long time now those who reject this view of the world and hold a biblical view have been "open" to mockery.
But how is that mockery "justified"?

Audrey's picture

Aaron,

Either I cannot read, which is entirely possibly - I have been known to make worse mistakes before, or you don't know what you wrote. In that section I quoted from you, you equated nonYE positions with those that "elevate scientific consensus to a point that leads to a rejection of Scripture". Yes, the scientific community is dominated by atheism and agnosticism, because Christians who join the scientific community like Collins are treated as though they were traitors, giving in on important points of Scripture so that they can maintain credibility, when that is not the case. Or perhaps, you are skirting around what you mean to say: that any person who believes what modern science seems to have proved is a traitor to the Gospel because God did not, in fact, create an orderly, rationale world through which we can discover truths about ourselves and God.

Aaron, I am frustrated with this discussion. You act as though I did not mean what we both know I meant when I said it seemed you did not care what the watching world thought. Of course, we both know that the gospel is foolishness to the unbeliever. We also both know that Christ said the world would know us by the way we treated each other. So when you, by the way that you argue someone to be wrong, not in the argumentation itself, make a fellow-believer sound like an intentional cop-out, I say that fills the enemy with glee. Why would it be so painfully hard to drop the "too worried about credibility" line? Why do you insist on interpreting me as saying that Collin's position is not problematic when I have repeatedly said that I believe we should speak out against error? The attack of this thread is not Collin's position; it is Collins himself. That is what makes me upset. There is no pity here for a man in error, just as from people like him there would be no valuing of a simpler (and I don't mean that in a bad way) faith. So yes, the world will mock us, justifiedly.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Audrey wrote:
Either I cannot read, which is entirely possibly - I have been known to make worse mistakes before, or you don't know what you wrote. In that section I quoted from you, you equated nonYE positions with those that "elevate scientific consensus to a point that leads to a rejection of Scripture".

Well, since you offered... I'll pick "cannot read." I'm kidding, but you did misread. Please note the "I wonder if" and "spirit of" and "leads to" which are not the same as "equals."
Quote:
I wonder if Collins isn't an example of what the spirit of non-YEC creationist views tends to lead to? That is, once you get too worried about credibility in the "scientific community," maybe you've already lost and some form of rejection of Scripture is pretty well locked in... even if that takes the form of a view that simply lacks internal consistency.

By the way, I've been much more conciliatory toward non YEC views here before (and caught some heat for it). I'm not eager to broad brush them. But I keep seeing things that push me further in the direction of seeing the "spirit of nonYEC" views as having a built in trajectory. (And by "things I'm seeing" I don't mean the heat I caught for saying you don't have to be YEC to be a fundamentalist... I'm kinda stubborn and that sort of thing just tends to make me dig in. But since that heat has dissipated, I'm actually come closer to agreeing the the former heat-appliers.)

Audrey wrote:
Aaron, I am frustrated with this discussion. You act as though I did not mean what we both know I meant when I said it seemed you did not care what the watching world thought. Of course, we both know that the gospel is foolishness to the unbeliever. We also both know that Christ said the world would know us by the way we treated each other. So when you, by the way that you argue someone to be wrong, not in the argumentation itself, make a fellow-believer sound like an intentional cop-out, I say that fills the enemy with glee

Well, first, I really didn't know what you meant. Now I do. But aren't believers capable of "intentional cop-outs"? I don't see why that particular error should be off the table of potential things to rebuke. But having said that, I never aimed to make that particular charge. At least I don't think I did.... no, it's not really my way of thinking at all. Rather, I'm more inclined to say that an unintentional mis-alignment of values and priorities leads to the sort of quandaries Collins finds himself in--where he has to try to have something both ways that simply can't be had both ways.

I'll give you this, though. In retrospect, the title is not ideal. It tends to make the thing sound more personal than it is from the git go. But there is no way to go after what someone teaches and does without overlapping some with the person himself. The problem doesn't exist in isolation from the man. Still, had it do over, I might have gone with a question mark instead... "... a Friend to Bible Belivers?" It's just generally more persuasive to let the writing make the point rather than the title making the point.

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.