The Incoherence of Evolutionary Origins (Part 1)

From an introductory lecture in the Telos Course “The Doctrine of Man and Sin.”

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet. (Psalm 8:3-6)

According to the Bible, man, here meaning male and female (Gen. 1:27), is a very special part of God’s creation. According to the scientific establishment we are nothing more than advanced animals, newly arrived upon the scene of earth history, without any more significance than a trilobite or a sea-horse.

Most of us are familiar with naturalistic evolution. This is what I was taught from a young child growing up in England all the way through high school. And when I attended college I was taught it there too, even though it wasn’t really part of the business degree I was earning.

I wasn’t a Christian until I was 25, and was not from a particularly religious household, so I believed more or less in evolution, although always in the back of my mind I could not quite understand how life came from non-life. Neither could I grasp how the marvelous beauty and order that we see in life could be accounted for by random unguided particles banging together.

Neither could I quite understand how the theory of evolution could account for the significance that we find in our own lives. We write poetry, we write love songs, we listen to music of one sort or another that expresses our inner emotions, and what we feel about ourselves, and how important we think certain things are to the world and to life itself. We do this all the time; it’s natural for the human being to do it, and I just could not understand how this sense of significance could be part of an evolutionary process.

Why did we evolve to see our own significance and reflect upon it? Why try to better it, critique it, and eulogize it? So there were these things that the “science” did not fully explain to me.

I have listened to and read many evolutionists. I believe that at a fundamental level, Evolution is the creation myth of the secularist, of the unbeliever.

They don’t want to believe in the Creator. They don’t want to believe that there is a God whom they have to face. Therefore, as theologian Millard Erickson tells us in his Christian Theology, (2nd ed. 501 ff.), they have a group of processes into which they pour their faith, which, superficially at least, produce and explain everything that is, including all the diversity of life. All that is needed is “a combination of atoms, motion, time, and chance.” As Erickson says, no attempt is made to account for these givens; they are simply there, the basis of everything else.

Now this is certainly true. Anybody who believes in evolution will not even try to think behind the ramifications of what they’re saying, and will not try to give an explanation for the processes that they say delivered up to us “reality” (which they can scarcely define), as we presently experience it. It is just there they say. It all could have been any other way, but it just happened to be this way.

One famous scientist said that the reason that the world is the way it is, is because it was the way that it is. In other words, just things are the way that they are and there’s no real reason behind it; no personality, no Creator to guide it or to give it any further significance than just accidental occurrences. All of the matter and energy in the universe, and all of the different combinations of it came from a Big Bang, and the far future scenarios for the universe are either freeze or fry. We’re either going to just freeze, as entropy completely disintegrates, or we’re going to fry as the whole thing burns up.

In between the Big Bang and the big freeze there is no significance or meaning other than what we can find in and of ourselves. We make it all up. There is no great explanation, there is no providential plan. Life came from non-life by lightning hitting a mud pond. Scientific laws weren’t laws until after these things conveniently came together. We should not see ourselves as anything more significant than temporary cosmic accidents.

Seven basic (silly) assumptions

“The basic assumptions of evolution are:

  1. Inorganic chemicals gave rise to life (belief in spontaneous generation).
  2. Spontaneous generation only happened once. (They believe it only happened once because it is such an astronomically absurdly impossible thing to even postulate).
  3. All living organisms are therefore related
  4. Single celled organisms [protozoa] gave rise to multi-celled organisms [metazoa]
  5. Invertebrates are all related
  6. Invertebrates gave rise to vertebrates
  7. From fish we get amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.”

(G.A. Kerkut, Implications of Evolution.)

(One wonders if Kerkut really thought through the “implications”!)

Those are the seven basic assumptions that evolutionist make about evolution. Other assumptions are made about reality. For example, that morals, or the laws of thought are culturally-conditioned; that there is a correlation between what is in man’s mind and what is outside of man’s mind, and that correlation can be studied, analyzed, and mathematically predicted in terms of art, architecture, and technology. Or that there is an amazing fine-tuning in the universe whereby the universe itself seems to be particularly the way it is so that life can exist upon this planet. These and other presuppositions that evolutionists have, they don’t really try to see the convenience of at all. Let alone the significance. They just try to ignore them and then move on with their dogmatic assertions on the basis of what they’ve taken for granted.

It boils down to this:

Incoherence evolved into coherence, yet the explanations of coherence devolve into incoherence.

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There are 43 Comments

Mark_Smith's picture

by faith I am YEC. It is the clear reading of scripture. By science I see no reason for it or any way it could be possible.

I just don't think you see the weakness in you "appearance of age" position.

I never stand up in a science convention and "prove" YEC because I cannot by natural means. It is purely by faith. Yes, I have heard of AiG and ICR...

Even Ken Ham acknowledges this when he splits science into 2 camps: experimental science and historical science. The first is about things we can directly touch like airplanes, radio, lasers, medicine, etc. The second is evolution, cosmology, astronomy, etc. I disagree with him, but he sees the problem and so he tries to ignore the results he disagrees with.

Paul Henebury's picture

Mark opines:

"6- Another problem with using your religious beliefs to guide your explanation of the natural world is the potential that your hermeneutics and exegesis might be wrong. I'll use the drastic example of YEC. What if it turns out that your interpretation of the Bible is wrong? Then you have used your view to guide your natural explanations. Just being honest, it is extremely difficult to find natural explanations for how the universe came to be and only be 7000 years old. Why bother making galaxies billions of light years away when there is no way for the light to get to earth in that time naturally? Why power the Sun by nuclear fusion, which takes over 100,000 years for the energy to get to the surface, when the universe is young. Why make the universe look old? What YEC does is make science useless in understanding nature. So you basically abandon science if you are YEC."

First off, nearly all interpreters, even those espousing OEC or theistic evolution, agree that plain-sense hermeneutics and exegesis of Genesis 1 procure the view that God created the whole shooting match in six 24 hour days.  That view is bolstered by Exod. 20:11.  This was the accepted view up until the mid 19th century (despite H. Ross's mangled attempt to prove otherwise).  With the advent of uniformitarian geology and evolutionary biology, with their requirements of billions of years, suddenly the hermeneutics changed!  Why?  Because an external standard was brought alongside the Bible to dictate what it must mean. 

Old-earth creation demands novel hermeneutics and excruciating exegesis.  If one is willing to go down that road they had better go full-bore and join Biologos with Peter Enns and Bruce Waltke.  It is crystal clear that the dictates of naturalistic science are distorting their hermeneutics.  This same tension is seen in Mark's quotation above (No, I am not saying he is a theistic evolutionist).  He is bringing his conclusions from naturalistic science to bear on his interpretation of God's Word.  Rather abandon the plain-sense of Scripture than abandon "science.'

Of course, this is a red-herring.  YEC's do not abandon science.  ICR, for example, have put forth strong evidence for a young earth which agrees with Genesis 1.  As I have pointed out before, the stars were created to be signs to be seen from earth from the beginning.  They couldn't do that unless the light from them could be seen right away.  

Mark is in two minds.  He appears to believe in some sort of natural theology by which he can cordon off the natural world from the sometimes embarrassing statements of Scripture.  He says Genesis 1 is "theology" not "science."  To me that shows he has an anemic view of theology.  Theology come to its own is a worldview.  In fact, it is THE worldview - the only one that makes sense of experience and the scientific enterprise.  As I have said, Mark is a metaphysical naturalist when he does his science.  

Finally, I am not saying that our theologies, however developed, match the complete Theology of the Bible.  But insofar as they do reflect the Truth, they are true.  ergo, they are scientifically accurate.  BTW, I am aware of Newton and Kepler's issues, but they are irrelevant here.  Perhaps now we can refocus on the article.      

 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Mark_Smith's picture

I am personally YEC by faith. I agree with it hermeneutically and exegetically. I just can't prove it using science. It is by faith in the word of God.

 

Good day.

Mark_Smith's picture

1. How do you explain the universe being greater that 56 billion light years across with galaxies billions of years away?

2. How do you explain my mentioning that light from nuclear fusion is NOT the light we are seeing come from the Sun if the universe is only 7000 years old?

GregH's picture

I am glad that weekend scientists like some of you are able to dismiss the conclusions of tens of thousands of scientists who um actually know science. It is nice that we live in a postmodern world where you don't have to be an expert anymore to dismiss experts. You can be a high school teacher or a theologian but put "science" in quotation marks because after all, you know that all their conclusions are absurd because you read a few books by creationists.

Mark is 100% right. The attempts to try to discredit science in regards to YEC are weak. If you are YEC, you had better accept it on authority of the Bible rather than science because science is not on your side. To be very honest, I don't want my children exposed to the weak attempts of many/most creationists to twist science to support YEC. In the long run, I think that is harmful. I had this conversation at lunch today with my oldest. I told him that we accept creationism by faith alone regardless of what science says. That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

Paul Henebury's picture

Look, You are assuming that only scientists (and other people) who take Mark's position (and yours) are experts.  That is pure rubbish!  There are plenty of scientists who are "experts" who are YEC.  Richard Lumsden and John Sanford for example.  It boils down to this: some experts believe the Bible is authoritative everywhere it touches, and some experts think science (as they define it) can reroute the text of Scripture with its authority.  And THAT is the issue. 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Wayne Wilson's picture

Isaac Newton was not a Trinitarian and had other odd doctrine. Had he not been a famous scientist he would've been burned at the stake! 

Mark, you say the strangest things. No one was being burned at the stake in England when Newton was doing his work. Such statements really detract from whatever it is you're saying.

What YEC does is make science useless in understanding nature. So you basically abandon science if you are YEC.

This is another wild claim. Fortunately, you answered it yourself with this:

Even Ken Ham acknowledges this when he splits science into 2 camps: experimental science and historical science. 

Even if you disagree with him about "historical science" you should be able to see that it doesn't make science useless in any area that counts.  Since many YECs have contributed to true, experimental science, they obviously have not abandoned it either in their minds or in the opinion of reputable journals that publish their works.

Now as to  what Greg teaches his children...

I had this conversation at lunch today with my oldest. I told him that we accept creationism by faith alone regardless of what science says. That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

I have no idea why this is safer, but it certainly approaches neo-orthodoxy, suggesting there are two kinds of truth. There's real science, and then there's what we believe by faith. Truth in the real world and then some higher kind of truth?  I'll take those who believe the truth in the Word and truth in the world are reconcilable. Anything else is dangerous. 

The best YEC advocates are experts... Jason Lisle in astronomy and physics, and Georgia Purdom in biology are just two examples. I had the privilege of discussing biology with Mrs. Purdom, and she is a humble, extremely knowledgeable lady.  Your children would benefit by knowing her. 

I understand that some people are embarrassed by YEC, since they are outnumbered and ridiculed at every turn. They may be, and know they may be, wrong about some of their ideas, but I admire their courage and tenacity. They know God's word works in the real world, and the answers are there.  They are willing to put in the labor and take the abuse to discover how that is.  Kind of sad to see brothers mock them.

GregH's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

Look, You are assuming that only scientists (and other people) who take Mark's position (and yours) are experts.  That is pure rubbish!  There are plenty of scientists who are "experts" who are YEC.  Richard Lumsden and John Sanford for example.  It boils down to this: some experts believe the Bible is authoritative everywhere it touches, and some experts think science (as they define it) can reroute the text of Scripture with its authority.  And THAT is the issue. 

There are a very few scientists (tiny minority) who are YEC. It is beyond lopsided and to try to pretend that it is as simple as there being experts on both sides is not really honest.

But I am not talking about those people. I am talking about people like you Paul who as a theologian think you know more about science than scientists. For example, you dismissed an article that discussed 30+ dating methods in another thread as bad science. In your mind, you know more than scientists about science. You are smart enough to just dismiss billions of dollars of scientific research based on the minute scientific knowledge you have. That is just postmodernism and I have no respect for it.

And let me repeat, I say that as a creationist myself. And by the way, the scientists ARE wrong on creation. But trying to debate them on their science because you have read a few science books is like going to Iraq with a pea shooter. It is laughable.

 

GregH's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

Now as to  what Greg teaches his children...

I had this conversation at lunch today with my oldest. I told him that we accept creationism by faith alone regardless of what science says. That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

I have no idea why this is safer, but it certainly approaches neo-orthodoxy, suggesting there are two kinds of truth. There's real science, and then there's what we believe by faith. Truth in the real world and then some higher kind of truth?  I'll take those who believe the truth in the Word and truth in the world are reconcilable. Anything else is dangerous.

Wayne, you are incorrect. I do not believe in two kinds of truth. I believe in one truth. I believe that ultimately, science will align with the Bible on creationism. But today in 2014, the body of man's knowledge about science does not align with YEC. Pretending like it does by trying to poke a few holes here and there into mountains of evidence is dangerous.

Wayne Wilson's picture

GregH wrote:

 

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

 

Now as to  what Greg teaches his children...

I had this conversation at lunch today with my oldest. I told him that we accept creationism by faith alone regardless of what science says. That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

I have no idea why this is safer, but it certainly approaches neo-orthodoxy, suggesting there are two kinds of truth. There's real science, and then there's what we believe by faith. Truth in the real world and then some higher kind of truth?  I'll take those who believe the truth in the Word and truth in the world are reconcilable. Anything else is dangerous.

 

 

Wayne, you are incorrect. I do not believe in two kinds of truth. I believe in one truth. I believe that ultimately, science will align with the Bible on creationism. But today in 2014, the body of man's knowledge about science does not align with YEC. Pretending like it does by trying to poke a few holes here and there into mountains of evidence is dangerous.

But you are saying the mountains of evidence are wrong, then?   I'm rather baffled by your position.  I don't think it's safer to tell young believers to "just believe" though all the evidence is against you. At least the YEC people are saying there are facts you aren't being told, which is true, problems you haven't heard about, also true, and there may be other ways of looking at the same evidence... true as well. To me, that's safer if presented in a balanced way. ​YEC folks have been vindicated numerous times when the scientific community brings out the latest big discovery.  Remember the dinobird on the cover of National Geographic? You mock YEC people...real scientists, doing real research...and you think secular science will come around to realize the Bible was right all along?  I am quite sure that will never happen, because worldview influences the interpretation of the evidence.  Enjoy the wait, though.

GregH's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

 

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

 

Now as to  what Greg teaches his children...

I had this conversation at lunch today with my oldest. I told him that we accept creationism by faith alone regardless of what science says. That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

I have no idea why this is safer, but it certainly approaches neo-orthodoxy, suggesting there are two kinds of truth. There's real science, and then there's what we believe by faith. Truth in the real world and then some higher kind of truth?  I'll take those who believe the truth in the Word and truth in the world are reconcilable. Anything else is dangerous.

 

 

Wayne, you are incorrect. I do not believe in two kinds of truth. I believe in one truth. I believe that ultimately, science will align with the Bible on creationism. But today in 2014, the body of man's knowledge about science does not align with YEC. Pretending like it does by trying to poke a few holes here and there into mountains of evidence is dangerous.

 

 

But you are saying the mountains of evidence are wrong?   I'm completely baffled by your position.  You mock YEC people...real scientists, doing real research...and you think secular science will come around to realize the Bible was right all along?  I am quite sure that will never happen, because worldview influences the interpretation of the evidence.  Enjoy the wait, though.

If you are baffled by my position, it might behoove you to try to understand it rather than misrepresent it. First, I have yet to mock YEC scientists. Nor did I predict that scientists will ever start believing in creation.

I am saying Wayne that today's science is incomplete so it is not completely true. Ultimately, science aligns with truth but our view of science in 2014 is flawed because it is incomplete. But that does not mean that scientists do not have good reasons for believing that the earth is more than 6,000 years old.

I would ask you again to stop misrepresenting me. My position is not hard to understand. I have yet to understand why there is so much emotion and angst from your side on this.

Paul Henebury's picture

Greg H avers,

"

There are a very few scientists (tiny minority) who are YEC. It is beyond lopsided and to try to pretend that it is as simple as there being experts on both sides is not really honest.

But I am not talking about those people. I am talking about people like you Paul who as a theologian think you know more about science than scientists. For example, you dismissed an article that discussed 30+ dating methods in another thread as bad science. In your mind, you know more than scientists about science. You are smart enough to just dismiss billions of dollars of scientific research based on the minute scientific knowledge you have. That is just postmodernism and I have no respect for it.

And let me repeat, I say that as a creationist myself. And by the way, the scientists ARE wrong on creation. But trying to debate them on their science because you have read a few science books is like going to Iraq with a pea shooter. It is laughable."

I respond:

You don't come to truth by counting noses.  You claim to be a creationist (I believe you), presumably because you believe what Gen. 1:1 says.  But you are an OEC because you choose to believe what "science" says above what the rest of Genesis 1 says (you will make Gen. 1 adapt to suit).  In the meantime you have a go at my lack of scientific nous because I am a theologian.  How close you sound to Stephen J Gould's non-overlapping magisterium! 

I do not need to be a qualified scientist to critique the frequently illogical and arrogant pronouncements of scientists.  They are not above the kinds of criticism I offer above.  And I certainly am not going to be intimidated out of believing that God created in 6 24 hour days by the sort of rhetoric evinced in your comment.  You may feel free to think I am a flat-earther if you wish.  Your dichotomy of faith and science strikes me as silly.  if something is untrue then why have faith in it?

One more thing.  In interacting over the years with these scientists I have been struck by their ignorance of many scientific findings.  Also, they often regard themselves as neutral observers who "just follow the facts", which is incredibly naive.  As I say more about this later I shall be content to stop and get back to the subject of these posts - which DO NOT REFER TO YEC!

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I have yet to understand why there is so much emotion and angst from your side on this.

Why do people always accuse others of being emotional when they are the most emotional ones on a particular thread. Never could understand that. 

Forgive me for "misrepresenting you". I think your position is difficult to understand.

 I believe that ultimately, science will align with the Bible on creationism.

Nor did I predict that scientists will ever start believing in creation.

Then, ummm...

I have yet to mock YEC scientists.

Curious praise...

I don't want my children exposed to the weak attempts of many/most creationists to twist science to support YEC. 

That is far safer than basing his beliefs on the arguments of creationists.

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