Pope: "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve"

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Had the privilege of hearing Dr. Oats from Marantha Baptist University and Seminary preach. His text was a chunk of 1 Cor 15 where he showed how theology was more like "a bowl of spaghetti than a bunch or bread sticks" (his analogy) because you cannot simply tug on one thread in isolation. Each thread touches many other parts which, in turn touch many more parts. Using the mention of Adam, he specifically sowed how removing historical Adam as depicted in Genesis 1-3, touches inspiration, anthropology, hamartiology and soteriology. Sadly, the Big Bang absolutely contradicts and undermines the Divine Creator, making Him either a liar or a fool.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Mark_Smith's picture

Chip (or someone else of the 6 people that liked his comment), since you brought it up, please define "Big Bang" so I can know what you know (and don't know) and what you are rejecting.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Been down that road already Mark, and it's a red herring. It has no bearing on the statement here. The big bang, in any permutation, and evolutionary theory contradict the literal presentation of scripture. Evolution cannot coexist with an historic Adam. When the message I referenced is posted to the church website, I will link here for you to review yourself.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dgszweda's picture

Chip,

I would agree.  Without an actual, historical Adam as articulated in Scripture, there are serious theological ramifications.  Peter Enns and others like to gloss over this (as does the pope it appears).  Whether God created the universe on the first day with a Big Bang event or whether he created it all instantaneously is less relevant, since Scripture is not clear on how the mechanics actually happened.  But we can't have an evolutionary process pre-Adam and still hold to the vaste majority of Scripture.

Mark_Smith's picture

for those who don't know is SIMPLY AND ONLY the observation that the universe is expanding, and was therefore smaller in the past. Are you denying that we can measure that the universe is expanding?

Mark_Smith's picture

1. It has been confirmed many times that the speed of light (in a vacuum) is the same for all observers, so using the speed of light is a good “measuring rod” for the universe.

2. Many measurements have been made over the years to confirm that the speed of light has never changed.

3. In the late 1920s Edwin Hubble used the work of Henrietta Swan Leavitt and others to measure the distance to the Andromeda Nebula (he used a certain kind of star called Cepheid Variables to do so) and found that the distance was at least 1 million light years. So, it was found that the Andromeda Nebula was not in the Milky Way galaxy, but was a separate galaxy on its own.

4. In the early 1930s Edwin Hubble continued his work and measured the distances to many galaxies using Cepheid Variables. He combined these distances with the work of a man named Slipher who had measured the Doppler shift of these galaxies. Putting the two results together Hubble found that the universe was expanding in a uniform (meaning the same everywhere) and continuous (meaning with the same amount of “growth”).

5. A Belgian priest physicist named Georges LeMaitre then concluded that if the universe was expanding farther apart, then it used to be closer together! He ran that back in time and suggested a “primeval atom” for the beginning of the universe. Up until this time physicists, who tended to not be very Christian, thought of the universe as static and eternal.

6. Based off of LeMaitre’s work George Gamow and Ralph Alpher in the late 1940s predicted that if the “primeval atom” theory was correct there would be a lingering microwave radiation background observable coming from all directions in the Universe at a temperature of around 3 Kelvin.

7. Around this time a proponent of the eternal static universe named Fred Hoyle mocked the theory of LeMaitre and Gamow/Alpher by calling it the “Big Bang”.

8. In 1964, two physicists working for Bell Labs inadvertently found this microwave radiation background while working on satellite communication in New Jersey. The prediction of the “Big Bang” hypothesis had been verified. 

 

So, the conventional Big Bang theory ended in the late 1960s. It had been shown to be valid in its predictions. Many other points have been ADDED as other theories based on the Big Bang made other predictions. Most of you all are thinking of THOSE THEORIES and NOT the BIG BANG when you reject modern cosmology. To reject the basic Big Bang theory means you reject the overall principle that we can observe anything useful about the universe...it is EXCEEDINGLY SIMPLE in its observations and conclusions.

dgszweda's picture

The expanding universe is one thing.  But the extrapolation of that assumes that everything has stayed the same since creation, and that is a big theory.  There are a number of issues that have not been solve in modern cosmology.  The universe expanding does not prove or disprove a Big Bang.  It could be that the universe was kept in perfect stasis prior to the fall, at the fall, God removed his hand and allowed the universe to begin a deteriotion process.  We have no idea if the expansion will continue or if contraction begins tomorrow.

 

With that said, it is entirely irrelevant to the discussion, since the pope was focusing on evolution and not the Big Bang which are totally two different activities within science.  It is an assumption that we can take the rate of expansion today and extrapolate it to a point and then assume exactly what happened at that point.  We have a very low level of understanding as to the age of the universe.

Mark_Smith's picture

The actual title of the article at Breitbart is "NO BIG BANG WITHOUT GOD, SAYS POPE FRANCIS"...so the Big Bang is germane to this discussion.

Second, BY DEFINITION, the Big Bang is the expansion of the universe. That is what I am saying!!!!!!!!!!! The Big Bang, properly used, means that and only that. How do I know? Doctor of Philosophy in Physics specializing in experimental cosmology.

Mark_Smith's picture

to get you guys to learn something so you can better defend the Bible and Christianity.

What good was there in me "wasting my time" earning a PhD in physics if I can't help you guys learn something?

AndyE's picture

Mark,

I don't have a problem with the idea that the universe is expanding but I always thought the big bang referred to the origin of the universe in evolutionary thought.  Is that not correct?

 

Andy

Mark_Smith's picture

STRICTLY SPEAKING, the Big Bang is the theory that says the universe used to be smaller and hotter, and is now bigger and cooler. That is to say it is expanding. That is IT!!!

 

Now, in everyday language, people use it to mean the "godless" origin of the universe, but that is NOT CORRECT.

 

Also, many theories have been proposed and added to "the Big Bang" theory, such as inflation, nucleosynthesis, etc.

One more caveat-> Science works by assuming uniformitarianism (you can't do anything if the rules are always changing...and there is observed NO EVIDENCE in nature that rules have changed), so along with the Big Bang with the simple measurement from it that the universe is about 13.6 billion years old.

dgszweda's picture

Mark,

 

Yes, but remember the Big Bang is only a model that fits an explanation of what we see.  That is it.  The model holds true for what we see now.  But there is more we don't know about cosmology than we do know about cosmology.  The fact that it is expanding, I don't ever feel, was a contention of whether God created the universe or not.  The concern is the age that the Big Bang theory extrapolates.  And since we 1) have no recorded measurement and observation of the Big Bang, 2) have no idea on the uniformity over time, and 3) have no absolute picture of cosmology, only ever changing models, none of this stuff bothers me.

It isn't that rules are changing, it is that our knowledge is woefully incomplete.  Newton discovered gravity.  For all intents and purposes at the time, it was a pretty rock solid law of gravity that he developed.  Then our knowledge expanded far beyond what Newton had access to, and we found that his law of gravity was lacking.  It wasn't that uniformitarianism wasn't in effect, it was that he had no concept of other elements, and so while his model fully explained what he saw and observed, it didn't take into account what he didn't understand.  Einstein comes along at updates this law on gravity.  Even now, as our knowledge expands there are some elements that still don't fit into Einsteins law.  You have to remember that science isn't progressing because we are getting more refined, it is progressing when things "break".  We say it is 13 billion years old, but what says that our knowledge of dark matter doesn't grow and change that?  What if we find the universe is bigger?  Some of the study around gravitational ripples is stretching some ideas that maybe the expansion could go past the speed of light.

The fact that light is constant in a vacuum is not an absolute.  It is a statement that helps us build models, it is subject to change as observations change and as long as our observations change, we must be open to the possibility than any one of our models, no matter how absolute could be subject to change.

This isn't being naive about science and the Bible.  It is understanding that there are limits to both.  It is fine to say that the universe is 13.8 billion years and is expanding, as that fits our current model and allows us to continue to do calculations on things, but to be so naive as to think that in the last 10,000 years that somehow man has some unique perspective, at this single moment as to say that this model is an absolute explanation of what is observed and that this observation is never going to change is ridiculous.  Even as short as the last 30 years has flipped cosmology around.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Quote:
It is fine to say that the universe is 13.8 billion years 

Dave,

I want to focus on this one statement, because I think it is really at the heart of the matter. How do you reconcile this with the literal interpretation of scripture?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

AndyE's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Quote:

It is fine to say that the universe is 13.8 billion years 

Dave,

I want to focus on this one statement, because I think it is really at the heart of the matter. How do you reconcile this with the literal interpretation of scripture?

I think Dave is making an appearance of age remark. In other words, he is not saying that the universe is actually 13.8 billion years old but acknowledging that that number works with current scientific hypothesis and that it is OK to use that number in current cosmological research because the model that gives that number is currently the "best."  We should all expect that number to change, though, as science and thus the model changes.

 

dgszweda's picture

 

 

AndyE wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Quote:

It is fine to say that the universe is 13.8 billion years 

Dave,

I want to focus on this one statement, because I think it is really at the heart of the matter. How do you reconcile this with the literal interpretation of scripture?

 

 

I think Dave is making an appearance of age remark. In other words, he is not saying that the universe is actually 13.8 billion years old but acknowledging that that number works with current scientific hypothesis and that it is OK to use that number in current cosmological research because the model that gives that number is currently the "best."  We should all expect that number to change, though, as science and thus the model changes.

 

Exactly what Andy stated.  First, we don't know the exact age of the universe from a Scriptural perspective.  There is no clarity, but I would think that those who believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture would say that the universe is relatively young in comparison to 13.8 billion years.

With that said, if I was a doctor at the time and I was treating Adam, I would have to make assumptions that he was older than he really was.  Even though that would not truly be correct, from a scientific perspective, using the assumption that Adam was, let's say, 38 would be useful and advantageous as I treated him.  I view the 13.8 billion years as the same.  We have a model that is created, and in order for us to practice science and such, we may need to use the fact that the universe may appear to be that old.  That doesn't mean that those both have the same weighting or exactness in terms of Truth.  We would say that the world in reality is young, but because of miraculous activities outside of the realm of any scientific explanation or framework, the universe appears to be older, more vast.......  I could even argue that it is possible that God created the Universe in a single 24 hour day through an explosive event, but I would not agree to the point that this explosive event was either a random or a natural event.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

But that's why I have been saying all along that the problem is the assumptions being foisted off as fact in so-called science. World view (including the attendant presuppositions) is everything.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dgszweda's picture

Chip,

You have to realize that much of this is about scientific dogmatism.  There is an elitist belief amongst many scientist that science is a supreme methodology.  That between the three disciplines (Science, Religion and Philosophy), that science holds a type of greater stature.  And since it is easy to show what appear to be "facts" to a general population, that somehow this validates this position.  There is also this belief that science is constantly progressing to a level that may at one point bring absolute perfection and knowledge of all things.  We know from a theological standpoint that this is not true.  Man is not moving close to Truth, but further away.  And if that is the case, basically our presuppositions, than we must realize that man may be progressing towards more advanced technologies, but the Truth is more elusive today than it was in the past.

Greg Long's picture

Mark, I'm assuming that if Adam was like the rest of us, his waistline probably expanded more or less as he got older. Does this mean we could extrapolate that he began as one cell and has been "expanding" ever since?

Obviously there is a difference between the expansion of a human being and the expansion of the universe. But the obvious point is that the current expansion tells us nothing about the origins of the universe, which is what the Pope is referring to. God could have (and I believe did) create a universe with appearance of age that has been expanding ever since.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

dgszweda's picture

Greg,

I agree.  Cosmologist like to use simple examples to explain the concept models.  So with that said, here is one.

Lets say you have a room, and inside that room is a machine that has a ball and it has been bouncing that ball at a constant rate of dropping it once every 5 seconds.  Now lets say that in that room on the floor is a dent in the floor where the ball has been hitting.  And it can be measured that every time the ball is dropped in increases the depth of this dent by 1 micron.  Now we look around the room and we see no one in the room and no appearance of anyone outside of the room.  We also stand there for 5 days and measure not only the timing of the drop, but also the increasing of the depth of the dent.  At the end of the 5 days we conclude that 1) the machine dropping the ball has dropped the ball every 5 seconds with no measurable change in timing, 2) the dent in the floor has always increased by 1 micron with no measurable change in the rate.  Based on these two conclusions, we begin to measure the total depth of the dent and using the rate of change and the timing of the drop, conclude that this machine has been dropping the ball for 1 year.  We then stand up and are proud that based on our detailed scientific measurements, our sound mathematics and we even have our colleague with us confirm that everything is correct.  At that instant, a door opens up and an old man walks in and walks up to the machine and changes something on the machine, we then notice that the ball drops a lot slower.  We are surprised by this old man, because we did not include this in our calculations.  We walk up to this old man and we ask him what he is doing, and he says that he is maintaining the machine.  We then proceed to show him our calculations and he laughs for a moment.  We stand back and ask him why he is laughing and he says, "Two weeks ago, I was just in this room and decided the machine was running way too fast, so I slowed the machine down from bouncing the ball once every 0.5 seconds to 5 seconds."

You could even say that, the number that they measured were still fairly good for what they we using it for.  As long as the old man did not enter into the room and reveal himself, they were okay.  It is even accurate to say that some elements of their measurements were still good, regardless of what the old man stated.  For example, they could double confirm, by examining the ball, that they were correct in the number of times the ball hit the floor, because despite the change in speed, the number of times the ball hit, would still be accurate.  They could even set some other guesses about the room, using their measurements and it would most likely confirm their measurements.  All of this doesn't mean that they are absolutely right, only from their perspective and with their knowledge and understanding they appear to be right to themselves.

Why is this similar?  Because, 1) we have a Creator who has done things with his creation that cannot be observed or ascertained by us, solely by our own view, 2) we have a closed system, but only know with some level of certainty what we can observe, 3) despite the need to have a model of uniformitarianism, that is more a model for us than for science.  Science doesn't demand it.  4)our models are based on a closed system, but in reality, we know we do not live in an absolutely closed system.  We have a God who not only lives outside of this system, but reaches into this closed system and interacts with it.   5) our best measurements are mere guesses at the complete picture.

Mark_Smith's picture

and it is clear to me this is pointless because most of you accept an irrational premise.

Why do I say that? If you say the universe has apparent age, then you can't trust anything you see out in the universe. Nothing about it tells you age, distance, etc... As a result, there is no way to determine that the universe is expanding! Yet you all accept that measurement for some weird reason. If the universe has apparent age, then there is no science of astronomy. That is a fact.

 

 

Have a great day gentlemen.

Mark_Smith's picture

spent 6 threads talking about how a rational God led to science, then you all throw it all away...

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Mark,

Sadly you are the only one throwing away anything. You are bent on throwing away everything God has provided. You have an owner's manual to guide you through the use and understanding of your environment, but you refuse to accept anything the engineer behind the system has to say. If you cannot work out for yourself what He says only He can do, you reject His direction altogether in favor of your own finite hypothesis. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

DavidO's picture

I don't think you're being fair to Mark.  Mark, to me at least, seems intent on digging into the glory of God as declared by the heavens.  That the data he (and others) uncover is not always easy to harmonize with the Scriptures is not his fault.

 

EDIT: I also think it is unwise to adopt the approach that since the data uncovered seems inconsistent with our understanding of Genesis, that data MUST be wrong and discarded.

Brian McCrorie's picture

And this one: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/cosmology/has-cosmic-inflation-be...

I would be interested to know how Mark or anyone else who shares his view on astronomy reconciles the big bang with the fact that Genesis 1 teaches the earth was created before the stars and that all stars were created on Day 4 of creation.  Even if one accepts the "day-age" theory of Genesis 1, that doesn't seem to account for the order of creation in that text.

Brian McCrorie Indianapolis, IN www.bowingdown.com

Nick's picture

DavidO wrote:

I don't think you're being fair to Mark.  Mark, to me at least, seems intent on digging into the glory of God as declared by the heavens.  That the data he (and others) uncover is not always easy to harmonize with the Scriptures is not his fault.

I do think Chip is being fair to Mark.  Had Mark actually attempted to harmonize something, then perhaps Chip would have been unfair.  Where did Mark try to harmonize anything?  Perhaps I missed it in one of his many posts on this subject spanning many different threads, in which case I apologize.  But from what I recall, all he has tried to do is "teach" us all the while contradicting himself in the process (as in he actually does believe in a young earth... or not).

I used to agree with Hugh Ross on an old earth.  I don't any longer because of what I now see is the testimony of Scripture.  Say what you will about Ross, but at least he is trying to be consistent.

DavidO wrote:

EDIT: I also think it is unwise to adopt the approach that since the data uncovered seems inconsistent with our understanding of Genesis, that data MUST be wrong and discarded.

No one is discarding data or raw facts.  People are discarding conclusions based on those facts and some assumptions.  You may think the assumptions are valid and that the data must lead to those conclusions (evidently Mark does), but we don't.  Raw facts, sensory data, do not interpret themselves. 

I remember at my previous job in R&D for a healthcare company we had to write root cause analysis reports for errors found in a peritoneal dialysis machine.  One software engineer said "we ought to have a section with just raw facts".  Another coworker and I strongly disagreed.  Why?  We both realized that "raw facts" would be virtually meaningless and would only make the report more convoluted.  Instead we opted for a fact finding section where we narrated what we did and what we found so that the narrative gave the raw facts some context (and hence meaning).  We explained  how we ruled out different ideas and how we arrived at our conclusions.  That narrative gave the reader a glimpse into our assumptions, because everyone has assumptions when dealing with any subject.

dgszweda's picture

 

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

and it is clear to me this is pointless because most of you accept an irrational premise.

Why do I say that? If you say the universe has apparent age, then you can't trust anything you see out in the universe. Nothing about it tells you age, distance, etc... As a result, there is no way to determine that the universe is expanding! Yet you all accept that measurement for some weird reason. If the universe has apparent age, then there is no science of astronomy. That is a fact.

 

 

Have a great day gentlemen.

Mark, I would agree.  I see nothing in science as fact.  As a scientist, I see science as a set of models that are ever changing.  They are explanations of what we see and observe, which by the way is very little in the big scheme of things.  Science has never once been in some steady state, it is constantly changing at a rapid pace.  As a scientist I feel no overwhelming need to reconcile the two differences.  I see the Bible as FACT.  I see science as an ever changing set of models that have a limited perspective, limited capacity and without any type of explanation for a God who has miraculously interplayed with His creation.  If you are a scientist, you should know that we work with many calculations and models that we know with 100% certainty are incomplete or incorrect, but they are good enough for what we are doing.

 

dgszweda's picture

 

DavidO wrote:

I don't think you're being fair to Mark.  Mark, to me at least, seems intent on digging into the glory of God as declared by the heavens.  That the data he (and others) uncover is not always easy to harmonize with the Scriptures is not his fault.

 

EDIT: I also think it is unwise to adopt the approach that since the data uncovered seems inconsistent with our understanding of Genesis, that data MUST be wrong and discarded.

DavidO, please explain to me (based on your EDIT portion of your comment), how you would explain the resurrection?  Scientific data has a greater degree of accuracy on this statement than in the study of our origins.  Scientific facts show that individuals who have been dead, have never once resuscitated themselves on their own.  Yet despite the irrefutable scientific evidence (that all people would agree), the Bible is inconsistent with this scientific fact.  Should this scientific data be considered right and should we discard this "fairy tale" of a story of a resurrection?  Following your reasoning, we must somehow be able to resolve these two facts.  Especially given how smart science is at this point in time, we must be compelled to throw out this Bible story.  Maybe we can even argue that Paul never really was talking about an actual resurrection, but maybe it was just a rumor that was floating around in the Middle East, and Paul was just articulating a rumor that was well known to his audience.

You can't have it both ways.  You can't be willing to throw out science and believe in a resurrection, but then cling to weak scientific models and throw out the Creation.

In fact, I would argue that every single element of our faith requires to believe in something that doesn't agree with science.  And that at the end of the day origins is the most minor of all irreconcilable issues in Scripture, yet it becomes a major challenge for peoples faith.

Darrell Post's picture

I was recently reading from a secular astronomy book, written for the popular level, and throughout the book they poke fun at some of the theories that were strongly held, which have now been abandoned, and even laughed at in hindsight. Among these:

1) The sun was inhabited by aliens.

2) Mars was inhabited because it was thought to be covered by intelligently designed canals to move water around the planet. Astronomers honestly thought they saw these canals via their telescopes, and so they had to exist...it was observable...except better images later showed there were no canals. But this view was widely held through the late 19th century.

3) The earth is surrounded by a fiery inferno, and we are protected by a black screen, but it has some holes in it that allow points of light (stars) to shine through.

4) The rings around Saturn were a solid disk. This was an improvement over Galileo's theory that there were two orbs attached to the sides of Saturn like jug handles.

DavidO's picture

DavidO, please explain to me (based on your EDIT portion of your comment), how you would explain the resurrection? Scientific data has a greater degree of accuracy on this statement than in the study of our origins. Scientific facts show that individuals who have been dead, have never once resuscitated themselves on their own.

You mean an explanation other than, "then God did a miracle?"

In seriousness, this is apples to oranges.  Science does not have access to the body of Jesus.  It does have access to the very bodies produced in creation.

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