Green Leaf Press Quarterly Newsletter, February 2011
In Titus 1:9, the apostle Paul speaks of the elder, who must be a leader and a teacher: He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it. This reflects the task of Christian Apologetics, which in some form is the responsibility of every Christian. Apologetics consists of advocacy ("preach with sound doctrine") and polemics ("refute those who contradict it") Our contemporaries, who are on the edge of Christianity or at least somewhat interested, deserve our best in responding to their concerns. It is irresponsible to take refuge in fideism—saying, in effect, it all depends on faith and that is that.
Along with several hundred others I attended a conference on Christianity and Science in Austin, Texas, 26-28 October 2010. It was an incredibly intense and interesting three days. While the theme was general, Darwinistic Evolution was prominent. On that subject Christians tend to divide into three groups: Young Earth Creationists, Old Earth Creationists (represented by the Intelligent Design Movement), and Theistic Evolutionists. Almost certainly all three views were represented in the audience, but the underlying dialogue was between Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists. The disagreements in certain areas were strong, but all of the presentations and discourses were conducted with courtesy and respect.
The presenters and leaders included Andy Crouch, a Christianity Today Senior Editor; Hugh Ross and Fazale Rama, Reasons to Believe; Dan Heinze, CEO of Applied Geophysical Software; Darrel Falk, Biology Professor, Point Loma University; Steven C. Meyer, Discovery Institute; Bruce L. Gordon, Assoc. Professor of Science and Mathematics, Kings College ; Walter Bradley, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M; Dinesh D’Souza, President, Kings College and others.
We got an awful lot of stuff, and it was all good. Nonetheless, it was not all of equal importance. I needed to ask myself, what were the most important points that we learned or were reenforced in?
1. Are the biblical references to God as Creator true and reliable?
Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Psalm 102:25, "Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands."
John 1:3, "all things were made through him [Jesus], and without him was not anything made that was made."
Hebrews 1:2, "but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world."
2. Or are the heavens and Earth, and all living things, the result of some colossal accident?
It is here that the scientist committed to naturalism parts company with the Bible and with Christianity. He has first posited that science can only explore the material universe; that it will eschew metaphysics. Having made that assumption he declares that there is no evidence of God! The scriptures say otherwise, "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge." Psalm 19:1,2 "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Many other passages could be cited that affirm God as the creator of the heavens and the earth and of all things living, including human beings.
I heard a lot of refined discussion regarding "Intelligent Design" and to what degree it is scientifically provable. Some Christian scientists are very cautious in their approach, and restricted as to what they consider to be satisfactory evidence. There are only three possibilities. Either the God of the Bible is the creator of all things—or some other being known or unknown has done the work of creation. Otherwise existence is baffling, inexplicable, and meaningless. In addition, the moral order has lost its foundation. We cannot escape Dostoevsky’s conclusion, "If there is no God, there is no law." What we are left with are values. Values may be appealing or unappealing depending on who is advocating them, but they have no compulsion. They are like shifting sands. Dinesh D’Souza has said it well, "The atheist is an ingrate standing on a Christian mountain."
When we are told that there is evidence of design without a designer or the evidence of intelligence without a source of that intelligence we should properly be incredulous. This is a larger and more significant issue than to what degree the Darwinistic arguments may be true or not. Consider a remarkably observant and intelligent fish in an aquarium in the great room of your house. Perhaps he could figure out what all of the furnishings, equipment, and fixtures were for, and could appreciate the importance—even the wonder of the room. But how far would his observation and reasoning take him about the rest of the house and of the community outside of the house, and then beyond that? This is the paradox of the naturalist. Having confined himself to the observable universe, he is unable to reason of what might be beyond. Indeed, one needs a perspective outside of the room (or outside of the earth or of the universe) to make a final judgment as to its significance. Dan Heinze argued that the universe is not able to be understood within the universe. Thus, divine revelation is imperative.
I am sorry that I do not have the space to give an adequate review of the conference. Regarding Darwinism, I would recommend four books as being sufficient: Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis; Johnson, Darwin on Trial; Behe, Darwin’s Black Box; and Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion. Regarding creation in a point of time, out of nothing: Jastrow, God and the Astronomers. All of these books are available through Green Leaf Press.
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Foster H. Shannon, President
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