Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket


Friday, June 16, 2006

Young Earth and Old Earth

This is the topic that actually sparked my post Learning While I Homeschool but I didn't want to admit it at the time because I felt I needed more information before I posted 'anything' about it. Christine Miller ( www.classical-homeschooling.org/) has been posting about it herself since July. Here's the link to her very first post about it: Young or Old Earth.

Well I finally got the gumption to ask on the Well-Trained Mind boards what everything thought and the responses were varied. I received a lot of links mostly from Old Earth believers but only a few from Young Earth. Hmmm. I'm going to be reading into this and I'll share my final thoughts sometime in the next five years! I really received so much that to truly read and digest it all- it's going to take some time. But in case you don't know what Young Earth and Old Earth is or means, let me share some definitions with you.

(from Answers.com, click here for link)

Young Earth creationism is a religious doctrine which teaches that the Earth and life
on Earth were created by a direct action of God relatively recently (about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago). It is generally held by those Christians and Jews who
believe that the ancient Hebrew text of Genesis is a literal account of historical events, and believe that evidence for a strictly factual interpretation of the text is present in the world today, and that scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution or geological uniformitarianism is wrongly interpreted.

Many of its adherents are active in the development of "Creation Science", a creationist endeavor that holds that the events associated with supernatural creation can be evidenced and modeled through an interpretation of the scientific method. There is no support for a "young Earth" theory in professional science journals or among professional science organizations. (from Answers.com click here for link)

Old Earth creationism is a variant of the creationist view of the origin of the universe and life on Earth. It is currently the view of many

Catholic and Protestant Christians, and is typically more compatible with mainstream scientific thought, on the issues of the age of the Universe or Earth, than Young Earth creationism. However, it still takes the accounts of creation in Genesis more literally than evolutionary creationists. See also Progressive creationism.

One type of Old Earth creationism is Gap creationism. This view states that life was immediately created on a pre-existing old Earth. One variant rests on a literal reading of Genesis 1:1 as, "In the beginning, when the earth was formless and void," implying that the earth already existed, but had passed into decay during an earlier age of existence, and was being "shaped anew". This view is more consistent with mainstream science with respect to the age of the Earth, but still often resembles Young Earth creationism in many respects (often seeing the "days" as 24-hour days). This view was popularized in 1909 by the Scofield Reference Bible.

Main article: Day-Age Creationism

More commonly, advocates of an old Earth hold that the six days referred to are not ordinary 24-hour days, but rather the
Hebrew word for "day" (yom) can be interpreted in this context to mean a long period of time (thousands or millions of years)
rather than a 24-hour day. The Genesis account is then interpreted as an account of a progressive creation, or sometimes a summary of life's evolutionary history. This view is often called "Day-Age Creationism".

There are a variety of ways in which the events in the creation account are interpreted. Some closely resemble the order of

events as held by Young Earth creationism. In this view the first "day" God is said to have created light; on the second, the firmament of heaven; on the third, the separation between water and land, and the creation of plant life; on the fourth the sun, moon, and stars; on the fifth created marine life and birds; on the sixth land animals, and man and woman.

The order of light, then the firmament, then stars, might be taken as a simplified description of modern theories of cosmology, namely the Big Bang, followed bycosmic inflation, followed by stellar evolution. Similarly, modern zoology believes that marine animals preceded land animals.

Critics of this old Earth view of Creationism comment that the order of the days of creation are inconsistent with modern
scientific interpretation. For example, the Earth is unlikely to have existed before the Sun and all other stars, plant life
could not have survived millennia without sunlight, flowering plants could not have been pollinated without insect life, and most
birds could not survive long without terrestrial life.

~~~~

So, if you didn't know before- you have a quest on your hands. What do you believe? I believe God made the world. The hows and whens of that, I don't know yet what I believe but I'm going to figure it out. What do you believe?
The popular sites for each camp is Answers in Genesis for the Young Earth creationists and Reasons.org for the Old Earth creationist and of course each have books to read further. If you have sources that support your beliefs will you share them with me so I that I can see them too?

 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Posted by karendv
Jessica,
Thanks for your balanced perspective. I was a bit startled by your last paragraph, in which you stated:

"I believe God made the world. The hows and whens of that, I don't know yet what I believe but I'm going to figure it out."

I surely hope you mean figure out what you believe, not figure out the hows and whens. Just a semantic quibble, I'm guessing.

I also wonder: is it really a threat to the inerrancy of the Bible to say that the creation account is literary and poetic instead of scientific? I was just reading in Job about the behemoth and the leviathan, and that was certainly poetic hyperbole to make a point. Doesn't the Bible tell us all we really *need* to know about Creation? And can't we also point out that, um, no one was really an eyewitness to the events, and it happened in ways so mysterious we can't fathom them anyway, and there wasn't really a written tradition until much later, and that Gen. 1 is probably a written account of an oral account that used parallel structure and poetic devices as memory aids? Much like other pre-written-history accounts in the Pentateuch, I think? I don't think it detracts from the actual *spiritual* truth of what is written. I do, however, believe that the Gospels are eyewitness, written accounts, which adds to their *literal* validity, so I can confidently say that yes, the resurrection, however implausible to the scientific community, did actually happen.

So, that is my quickly-typed and not-well-articulated shortish answer to your question: I am an old-earth creationist. *I* don't believe literal interpretation stands up to physical evidence. And God does give us specific revelation as well as general revelation, and the two really do have to agree, not just be forced to agree. I think old-earth creationism respects both the special revelation of Scripture and general revelation of creation. I believe too many people dismiss or label general revelation as strictly unspiritual. Thinking about these questions while respecting what we can observe is part of dominion, in my opinion.

Hope I didn't step on anyone's toes.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Posted by christinemiller
Hi Jessica, thanks for the link to my posts on young earth or old earth. The best and easiest book I read for an introduction on the young earth side is Ruth Beechick's Genesis: Finding Our Roots. She addresses the issue of whether the Genesis account that we have in our Bibles was originally a written record or an oral tradition, as Karen brings up, and also marshalls an impressive array of cultural, literary, and linguistic evidence from many diverse societies for a historical Genesis, which most other books on this topic tend to overlook. For the non scientist, it is a much gentler introduction. :) God bless - Christine

Trivium Academy said...

Posted by
I haven't read it since college (Calvin College, where the author taught), but a landmark book in Christianly and Reformedly synthesizing creation and evolution (and I don't mean macro-evolution, or evolution of humans from other species), or old-earth creationism, is The Fourth Day by Howard Van Till. It's out of print, but you might be able to get it used through Amazon, where there are also some reviews. Another discussion of it can be found at
http://members.aol.com/steamdoc/writings/fourth.html.

This book caused quite a ruckus when it first came out because of prominent local literal-interpretationists who, ironically, misinterpreted and misquoted the book in full-page ads in the local paper and said it was apocolyptic and that Van Till was one of the four horsemen (sigh), but it really isn't all that controversial.

As to whether I teach my kids secular science...I don't think I do? I mean, I use NOEO right now and plan to use Apologia Astronomy next, which is young-earth, but I'll make sure that the synthesized view of creation is what I believe to be true. It depends what your definition of secular is. Will I teach what evolutionists believe? At some point, yes, if by "teach" you mean "tell them this point of view exists" and not "this is correct information." Will I ask my children to critique this in the light of what they know and believe? Yes. Right now we're just in strictly observational mode and wondering and marveling at God's creativity and goodness to us.

By the way, we are currently working through Nancy Ganz' children's commentary on Genesis in our family evening Bible study time. (Highly recommended, BTW.) She seems to be a young-earther, but it's such a minor point in the context of everything else she says about what the creation story tells us about God and his relationship with us, and tying it forward into Christ. Simply an excellent book. So this is what my kids are thinking about creation right now.


ETA: The evolution Van Till talks about is mostly in the realm of the cosmos, not biological. He's a physicist. I don't know what his beliefs are about genetic evolution.

Edited by karendv on Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 1:17 PM

Anonymous said...

Posted by UndertheSky
Some of the thoughts that came to mind while reading the various responses are these: there is going to be a complete disconnect between true evolutionists and creationists, period. They go so far as to say we do not examine science and that we wish to return to the dark ages and ignore science. This is false. YE folks like me start with the Bible first because it is God's revealed word to us--every bit of it is inspired and God-breathed. This is my presupposition if you will. Evolutionists will not believe or accept that. Most scientists have their own presuppositions.

Most scientists do not accept that there is even a God so they look at the evidence with those eyes. Obviously I cannot speak for every scientist, and I am not trying to, but it is pretty impossible to read most articles from an evolutionary standpoint and not see that. Creation or even the more mild "Divine Design" is mocked. Science has had its repeated failures--especially in this area. What was hailed as absolute fact even 50 years ago is not necessarily still believed. It is important to remember that the scientific method is, "...based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence, and subject to laws of reasoning." This cannot be done with evolution even remotely. Nor, would evolutionists say, with creation, but we have a sovereign God that left His written word for us. We, as Christians, either trust that His word is true or the whole of scripture must be thrown out--including salvation.

We may not have all the answers, and the answers young earthers have may not be acceptable to the evolutionists or even old earth Christians, but man is fallible and God is not. We cannot understand all His ways. He is so holy and perfect and we are so NOT those things! I am glad we cannot understand all His ways--it reveals to me just how much we need Him.

Warmly,
Kate

Anonymous said...

Posted by mamma1420
A few thoughts about what you said: We, as Christians, either trust that His word is true or the whole of scripture must be thrown out--including salvation.

We may not have all the answers, and the answers young earthers have may not be acceptable to the evolutionists or even old earth Christians, but man is fallible and God is not. We cannot understand all His ways. He is so holy and perfect and we are so NOT those things! I am glad we cannot understand all His ways--it reveals to me just how much we need Him.

Either trust that His word is true or the whole of scripture must be thrown out. - Kate, who's to say that the Bible is completely His word or completely the way God intended it? It has been translated from multiple languages, books of the Bible added in and taken out.

You also said man is falliable and God is not. The bible is not God, it is a book written by men who were "inspired" by God. God will exist even if the bible never did. God is holy, perfect and whole. We on the other hand we (entire mankind) are not. Am I missing something? I am completely open on this subject. I fear that sometimes we make an idol out of the "book" of God instead of seeing it for what it is. The living word of God is not God himself and for my own beliefs I have to believe that because if the living word of God is God then that limits him- doesn't it?

Please take this in humble spirit,
Jessica

Kate said...

Posted by Anonymous
This is entirely another issue altogether which I am happy to discuss. I am not at all offended by your questions, but welcome them. :+)

What you are really asking is: Is the whole of scripture really God's word? That is at the heart of all your questioning. If you cannot come back with a whole-hearted 'yes' to that question, or you pick and choose your verses or books of truth then you have really opened yourself up to really whatever you feel is "right for your family." I don't at all say that mockingly, but with sincerity. If we cannot trust that what God says about His own word to be true then we cannot trust that the gospels are any truer. Here is one article to read: http://www.equip.org/free/DB011.htm

and then I would offer you this from a statement of faith on the bible's infallibility:

"We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The writers were inspired, moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21), and the resultant writings are inspired, as if breathed or spoken by God (2 Tim 3:16). The Bible is therefore useful as a guide to salvation through faith in Christ, and sufficient for doctrine, correction, moral and ethical instruction (2 Tim 3:15-17)."

This will give you some scriptures to go to. Jesus also had a lot to say about the Old Testament:

"Jesus answered this question in three ways: his teaching about scripture in general, his comments on specific prophets and books, and finally what he did teach about the transmitted reliability of scriptures to His day."

1. Jesus defended himself against Satan by quoting scrip-ture as God’s direct word, "It is written..." Matt 4:4,7,10, Luke 4:4,8,12. Jesus stated that scripture cannot be broken in John 10:35, and scripture was "the commands of God" in Mark 4:8-9. His entire life was spent quoting, living, and fulfilling scripture as all the gospels show.
2. Jesus rebuked the Sadducees, who only accepted the Torah (Law) as the Word of God. Matt 22:29 says, Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." Jesus said the following people wrote their books:
Moses in Mark 10:3,5; Luke 20:37
David in Matt 22:43-5; Mark 12:36-7; Luke 20:42-4
Isaiah in Matthew 15:7
Daniel in Matthew 24:15
3. The Jews in Palestine had the same Old Testament as Protestants have today. They divided scripture into three categories: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. Jesus said "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" in Lk 24:27,44. (Psalms is the earlier name for Writings.) He references the order of books in Mt 23:35 and Lk 11:51. Jesus was silent on any need for correcting, adding to, or taking away from the scripture that was accepted in Judea at that time."

I hope this helps answer your questions. I am happy to offer more if you need it.

Warmly,
Kate

Karen said...

osted by karendv
In response to Kate, who said:

"We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The writers were inspired, moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21), and the resultant writings are inspired, as if breathed or spoken by God (2 Tim 3:16). The Bible is therefore useful as a guide to salvation through faith in Christ, and sufficient for doctrine, correction, moral and ethical instruction (2 Tim 3:15-17)."

With which I totally agree. But notice it does not say it is useful as a science text. It IS useful for teaching us how we ought to live in this earth, and how we are to exercise dominion, not domination, and how we are to fulfill the creational mandate. All that is tied to how we APPLY science, i.e. "do" science Christianly, or anything academic Christianly, but it is not science itself.

I am perfectly comfortable having a foot in both worlds, except that I treat the science side with the ... not skepticism, really, but with less total conviction than I hold Biblical truth -- not that science can't be true, but that it won't (necessarily) be completely, 100 percent KNOWN with certainty this side of heaven.

But I also think Biblical truth can be conveyed, as I said before, through poetry and imagery and not necessarily literally. Of course I use the Bible as my primary text -- about God. My thoughts about science -- and really, they don't matter to my salvation, so, for what it's worth -- don't compromise the text, or God, one bit. I'm content not to know exactly how he did it. I'll even say that young earth is one possibility, but only if I also say that God (and he could have) had a reason to compress time and geology to make us think otherwise. But why would he?

I must get back to teaching....

With humble wondering,
Karen

Kate said...

Posted by UndertheSky
Karen,

I was not saying it was a textbook, but I believe that the bible gives us all we need to understand our world in the way that God intended us to--or He would have given us more. In my opinion it is fairly easy to say that Genesis is all literary and poetic, and that we don't really have to pay attention to the literal interpretation of it, but it was not written in a literary or poetic manner. It is very clearly written to delineate days - "evening and morning, the first, etc. day."

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i1/days.asp
is a good description of the Hebrew and what the words mean.

To be clear, I do not question anyone's salvation on the issue of young earth vs old earth. I would never suggest that your thoughts about science make your salvation in question.

You wrote, "I'll even say that young earth is one possibility, but only if I also say that God (and he could have) had a reason to compress time and geology to make us think otherwise. But why would he?"

Who is to say why God does what He does? What makes fallible sin-filled human minds think they can comprehend the mind of a perfect and holy God? As Job says:

Job 37:14-18
14"Listen to this, O Job,
Stand and consider the wonders of God.
15"Do you know how God establishes them,
And makes the lightning of His cloud to shine?
16"Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds,
The wonders of one perfect in knowledge,
17You whose garments are hot,
When the land is still because of the south wind?
18"Can you, with Him, spread out the skies,
Strong as a molten mirror?

Can we, with Him, spread out the skies? I think it is perfectly within his capability to have done anything He wished. Who is to say that the world and even the universe does not look the way it does as a result of sin? Who knows what the result of that great folly was? The bible speaks of the groaning of the earth due to the weight of its sin. (Romans 8:20-23) The global flood of Noah's time was a world-wide catastrophe that would have changed the face of the whole world. The various stratus of rock layers can be explained by this great flood. There is a mountain of evidence that points to God's judgment in the flood as the cause of what we see on earth today.

I would rather trust that God has it all in His capable hands, that what He says in his word is exactly what He meant. I do know and believe that God speaks to us in poetical language, but I just don't see that played out in the creation in Genesis.

Yes, teaching, oh yes! (Grin!) I must get back too. Thanks for the discussion.

Warmly,
Kate

Tutor said...

Posted by p31wife
As I mentioned on the WTM Board, my answer to your question is "I don't know". Like you, I know God made it. As to the exact hows and whens, that is still unresolved in my mind.

I just wanted to pass along some other resources that I found helpful:

"Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe -excellent book on intelligent design and easy to comprehend

www.talkorigins.org - a collection of articles on the creation/ evolution debate

"Unlocking the Mystery of Life" - a DVD that discusses intelligent design vs. evolution

"Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin - always best to read original sources

MoreLittleWilsons said...

osted by MoreLittleWilsons
The next new moon of Tishrei signals the time for God's appointment of Yom Teruah - Feast of Trumpets Leviticus 23:23-25. While the new moon of the month of Abib/Nisan, God declared as the beginning of the year, the new moon of Tishrei signals the "spiritual" new year - or in Hebrew Rosh Hashanna - the head of the year.

This new moon of Tishrei is the next new moon. We will begin the year 5767 on Sept 23 on the Gregorian Caledar.

So, you can see, I'm a young earth believer.

More than that, Darwin was not a believer in God when he came up with his Dawinian Theory of Evolution, but later in his life, he recanted his teaching on the subject and realized that he was wrong, and said so publically. We just don't ever hear that teaching of Dawin though.

Think of it this way. What happens to us humans when there is a difference in a gene? - we get things like Downs Syndrom. Mutations rarely lead to a positive change. They lead to chaos. God is a God of order, not a God of chaos. The mutations they teach, about an amoeba becoming a human being, even with their old earth dating, the math doesn't add up to get that many mutations to work positively, to create all the animals of the world and end up with humans on top... in the number of years they calculate.

Scripture says things like... from generation to generation, to the 1000th generation.... if you calculate it, you still don't have 1000 generations since the 5767 creation - we've still got some to go. Man hasn't changed his shape and form since Creation. Evolution teaches that man has gone from the stone age, to the metal age - but scripture tells us that even Tubalcain, a son of Lemech - so a brother to Noah was a metalurgist (Gen 4:22)

A good book on this subject and an easy read is Adam and his Kin by Ruth Beechick

Anonymous said...

osted by Anonymous
For those of you claiming a literal interpretation of the Bible, which version do you use? Or are you reading the original text in its original language? All translations of the Bible reflect the culture and rulers of the time in which the translation was made. For example, the King James Version was made in a way that was pleasing to King James. And, any translation of any text reflects the interpretations of the translator.

As to the points made about Darwin... Darwin was raised in the church and he did believe in God. He was trained as an Anglican Clergy. However, as he studied nature, in order to get a better undestanding of God, he came to the conclusion that a literal interpretation of the Bible did not fit with his scientific findings. He never recanted his theory according to his children. That is an urban legend.

The Origin of Species is less than 500 pages long. Read it. See what you think on your own.

MoreLittleWilsons said...

Either trust that His word is true or the whole of scripture must be thrown out. - Kate, who's to say that the Bible is completely His word or completely the way God intended it?

The Bible is truth - In it's ORIGINAL HEBREW FORM.

Jessica, you can also do a study on the word Torah - which has been translated as Law, but really it's the Teaching and Instructions of God. As you search out the Torah, you will find that Jesus is the Word - that is Torah - that the Spirit is the Torah and that Jesus is Adonai - God. You can't separate any of it. If you can't believe every word in the Bible, as Kate said, you can't believe any of it. I've been reading Galatians, and I can see how it can be misinterpreted - but I'm also seeing that unless we start with the Torah - nothing makes sense. Everything in the New Testament is discussing and defining the Torah - there's nothing NEW in the New Testament. Even Jesus death and burrial and salvation is in the Torah... that's why Jesus had to come and DO it, because he IS the Living WORD - God in the Flesh.

Do I read the Bible in Hebrew? not yet, though my son is getting closer every day, he's writing it out in Hebrew and learning as he goes. I do read from the Complete Jewish Bible, The New King James, and the New Living Translation (which is poor, but readable).. I used to use the NIV, but have put that away. Here's a reason why for me. Read Ephesians 2:15 in a number of different versions. Notice what NIV has left out. CJB is available online at www.bible.crosswalk.com

Christine said...

Posted by christinemiller
Hi Jessica, There is so much I could say, but I just want to comment on two questions. The term "evolution" is used by most scientists and journalists interchangeably, when there are two distinct processes being discussed. One is change within species. When a dog, horse, or cow is selectively bred to increase certain traits and decrease others, that is a form of evolution: change within species. A farmer or breeder is just doing on a shorter time scale what nature does on a longer one. Of this type of evolution there is abundant scientific evidence, which no creationist, young earth or old earth, disputes, that I am aware of. This type of evolution is the great discovery that Darwin made.

The second type could be described as change across species. This is where the evolutionists say that fish eventually evolved into amphibians or whatever. While there is abundant scientifice evidence for change within species, as far as I know there is not one documented case of change across species, even in the fossil record. This is the type of evolution to which most creationists object.

To muddy the waters, most creation opponents refuse to differentiate between the two forms of evolution, and say that since creationists opppose change across species evolution, they therefore oppose change within species evolution, and are therefore against science. Which is not true.

The other point I wanted to comment on is that the Bible is not a history book. It certainly is! Genesis in the original Hebrew is full of the kind of linguistic evidence which can only support the conclusion that is was a written history from the very earliest chapters. The majority of the Old Testament tells the history of Israel, and an even greater history than that: the history of the Seed of the Woman, promised in Genesis 3:15, who would come to crush the head of the serpent, and thus free mankind from sin and death. The whole *history* of Jesus begins in the Garden of Eden, and the history of Adam's line, through Noah, through Abraham, through Israel, is the history of a great war between the sons of man's ways -- Cain, Ham through Nimrod, and others -- and the sons of God's ways -- Abraham and his descendants through Isaac, the son of the promise. In a very real sense, this war is continuing today, even culminating today, on the eve of the second return of the Messiah. In researching The Story of the Ancient World, I was amazed to discover how many written records the ancient world of many different cultures left, which completely validates the history recorded in Genesis; and not only that, the thread between the world's mythologies and the true history of the ancient world, out of which those mythologies were derived -- all of which are in agreement. I would like to write a book someday about the link between ancient mythology and ancient history, and how every culture tells the exact same story once it is understood from the history recorded in Genesis. It is such a fascinating topic.

Oh, re: the garden of Eden: Noah's Flood essentially erased pre-Flood geography and completely "re-wrote" the geologic face of the earth. The garden of Eden was destroyed, along with everything else on the face of the earth. Looking for it is a waste of time. IMO. What an interesting discssion; thanks for allowing us into your blog living room to exchange ideas. Love Christine

Sylvia said...

Posted by SylviaBookworm
Hi Jessica. I wasn't going to say anything, but since you asked...

I am a trained scientist and biologist, and studied evolution at the graduate level. From what I've seen and learned, there is absolutely no question that evolution happened (and continues to happen!). Everywhere you look in biology there is evidence of it. The exact mechanisms by which it happens are a matter of investigation by biologists, but nearly 150 years after "The Origin of Species" no scientist has been able to refute Darwin's theory of natural selection. Other mechanisms have been added, and the combination of these theories is called Neo-Darwinism. Yes there is debate about the details of how evolution happened, but there is NO debate among scientists (who use the scientific method) *that* evolution happened.

(An aside: the way science works is that someone proposes an explanation for observed phenomena, and others try to disprove it. If they can't then we agree, for the time being, that the theory true. *Nothing* can ever be definitively proven according to the scientific method, only disproven. It is inherently skeptical, a fact which shouldn't be taken as a sign of weakness or falsity.)

How do I square this with my faith? Well, the elements that go into evolution, indeed the elements that make up the universe, had to come from somewhere. I don't think it's something we can ever understand, but I believe that God set up the physical as well as the spiritual laws that govern the universe, and then lets them work according to free will. I don't know how much God interferes in that working on a physical level (there's no question in my mind that God interferes on a spiritual level, for which I am very thankful!). I don't know if it was inevitable that spiritual beings like humans would evolve on this particular planet. I think these are mysteries way beyond our ability to understand.

I do have to say, though, that learning more about our evolution as a species, which I have recently done, only makes humans seem more wonderful and special. The same is true of understanding the intricacies of life. Knowing what goes on inside a plant cell does not take the wonder out of it, it increases it, and increases my awe of the One who, in whatever way, created all this. No one should be afraid of science as if it removes God from the picture. God *made* the picture and thus can never be asbent from it.

Julie said...

Posted by SylviaBookworm
Hi Jessica. I wasn't going to say anything, but since you asked...

I am a trained scientist and biologist, and studied evolution at the graduate level. From what I've seen and learned, there is absolutely no question that evolution happened (and continues to happen!). Everywhere you look in biology there is evidence of it. The exact mechanisms by which it happens are a matter of investigation by biologists, but nearly 150 years after "The Origin of Species" no scientist has been able to refute Darwin's theory of natural selection. Other mechanisms have been added, and the combination of these theories is called Neo-Darwinism. Yes there is debate about the details of how evolution happened, but there is NO debate among scientists (who use the scientific method) *that* evolution happened.

(An aside: the way science works is that someone proposes an explanation for observed phenomena, and others try to disprove it. If they can't then we agree, for the time being, that the theory true. *Nothing* can ever be definitively proven according to the scientific method, only disproven. It is inherently skeptical, a fact which shouldn't be taken as a sign of weakness or falsity.)

How do I square this with my faith? Well, the elements that go into evolution, indeed the elements that make up the universe, had to come from somewhere. I don't think it's something we can ever understand, but I believe that God set up the physical as well as the spiritual laws that govern the universe, and then lets them work according to free will. I don't know how much God interferes in that working on a physical level (there's no question in my mind that God interferes on a spiritual level, for which I am very thankful!). I don't know if it was inevitable that spiritual beings like humans would evolve on this particular planet. I think these are mysteries way beyond our ability to understand.

I do have to say, though, that learning more about our evolution as a species, which I have recently done, only makes humans seem more wonderful and special. The same is true of understanding the intricacies of life. Knowing what goes on inside a plant cell does not take the wonder out of it, it increases it, and increases my awe of the One who, in whatever way, created all this. No one should be afraid of science as if it removes God from the picture. God *made* the picture and thus can never be asbent from it.