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Theistic evolution or special creation?

Discussion in 'Creationism' started by Friedrich Rubinstein, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    The medical researcher Dr. Paul Giem wrote the following:

    I grew up in a family in which science was greatly respected. My father was a physician, and I learned to enjoy physics, chemistry and biology.

    My family was also deeply religious. My parents believed the Bible, and were committed to following it. Their belief in the Bible led to a belief in the creation of the world in six literal days of approximately 24 hours, as indicated by a straightforward reading of Genesis 1. This belief was reinforced by their reading of the fourth commandment, where the Sabbath is stated to memorialize a six-day creation with a rest on the seventh day. The Sabbath is a literal day, and this implies that the six days of creation were also literal days.

    My parents solved the conflict between the majority of scientists and the Bible in this area by believing that science, if done properly, did not really conflict with a recent creation. It was only when science was misunderstood or misused that it conflicted with a recent creation. My father remembered the struggles he had had to integrate Piltdown Man into his world view, before it was discovered to be a fraud. Understandably, he did not fully trust evolutionary science.

    The way I was taught science, it had no room for authority without evidence. Rather, the only acceptable authority was that which was backed up by evidence, and only precisely to the extend that it was backed up. My religious tradition was similar in some ways. Only tradition that could be backed up by Scripture was worth anything. The two attitudes were compatible, except at one point. The religious tradition was willing to accept Scripture without much question, whereas in principle, science might ask the question, why choose Scripture? Why not choose the Koran or the Vedas or the writings of Confucius? Or why not reject holy books entirely? And what does one do when science apparently conflicts with Scripture?

    Many of my teachers in college had an answer to the latter question. They said that the evidence from science was equivocal at best. Scripture provided the additional evidence to allow one to choose a theist and Christian position. This way of answering the question at least did not require one to be a scientist to be saved. It seemed to me to be unsatisfying, but I had nothing better to suggest.

    In college, I took a double major in theology and chemistry. For my senior chemistry seminar I wanted to examine a subject related in some way to theology, so I chose to review the experiments that had been done relating to the origin of life. It was popularly reported at the time that experiments had created life in a test tube, and had shown how life could have appeared on a prebiotic earth spontaneously. I was expecting some room for doubt, but as to find in the main a plausible scenario somewhat supported by the experiments.

    I was stunned by the one-sidedness of the evidence I found. In fact, the evidence seemed (and seems) overwhelming that spontaneous generation did not happen. (A more detailed account, with general references, is in my book Scientific Theology). This evidence convinced me of two things. First, from that time on I never doubted that there was a God. I might not know whether He cared for me, but He certainly existed. Mechanistic evolution was dead. Second, at least in some cases, science can support theology. Theologians can expect the scientific evidence to come out strongly in their favor at least some of the time.

    However, this evidence had no bearing on the dispute between theistic evolution, or progressive creation, and special creation. That discussion seemed to bog down in intractable disputes. It would be hard to decide whether a similarity between two groups (species, genera, families, etc.) of creatures was due to design or to common descent. How could one tell what a designer would not do? Or how could one tell what features could not be caused by common descent? And if one backed a theistic evolutionist into a corner, he would always reasonably respond that this is one area where God intervened. On the other hand, special creationists believed in some evolution on the lower group levels (micro-evolution).

    The major difference between theistic evolutionists and special creationists seemed to be time. This includes relative time and absolute time. Relative time includes questions such as how fast the Cambrian strata were formed, how much time passed between the Ordovician and the Permian, and how fast the Grand Canyon took to form. Absolute time includes the absolute date of the Pliocene or the Jurassic or the Cambrian. These dates are almost exclusively based on evolutionary estimates and radiometric dating.

    I decided to investigate radiometric dating. A summary of my results may be found in Scientific Theology. Very briefly, for potassium-argon dates, the assumption that argon is driven off is demonstrably not valid, and one cannot be sure that the clock is reset. This point is underlined by multiple dates that are too old, even for the evolutionary time scale. There are also problems with „too young“ dates, which are not adequately explained as the result of argon loss. These dates suggest that the evolutionary time scale is too long. There is a gradient of argon in the geologic column, with more argon in the older rocks and less in the younger rocks, regardless of their potassium content, including in minerals with no potassium content. This creates a sort of instant time scale – just add potassium.

    There was also a problem with selectivity, which could be documented from the literature. Other dating methods had similar problems. Rubidium-strontium dating isochrons could be mimicked by mixing lines, which require essentially no time to form. There were miltiple examples of inaccurate dates by anyone’s time scale, including ones that matched potassium-argon dates. Uranium-lead dating was also done by isochrons, and when incorrect dates were explained by discordia lines, these lines could also be produced by mixing lines. There were multiple examples of lower concordia ages which were not accurate by anyone’s time scale. There was the data set on uranium dates on pleiochroic haloes in coal, which seemed to indicate an age for the coal (conventional age around 100 million years) of less than 300,000 years. Uranium disequilibrium dating, fission-track dating, and amino acid dating (which is not radiometric) all had their problems, as did other, less-established methods. Often the data were more easily explained on the basis of a short time scale rather than a long one.

    Carbon-14 dating was the most fascinating method of all. Fossil carbon, with a conventional age of up to 350 million years, repeatedly dated to less than 55,000 radiocarbon years. This is compatible with a date of as low as 4,000 years in real time (the date of the Flood would have to be determined on other grounds). It is incompatible with an age of millions of years, or even realistically with an age of over 100,000 years or so. It basically forces one into accepting a short chronology for life on earth.

    Thus, if one accepts a designer intelligent enough to produce life, and a short time scale, it becomes very difficult to avoid the claims of the Bible. There is also the inability to adequately explain the creation week on the basis of Mesopotamian and Egyptian legends or customs. This implies that Genesis 1-9 is not just myth, but an account of what actually happened.

    I arrived at that conclusion by following the data. I am not afraid of further data. I welcome challenges and actually look for them. I believe that if we do our homework carefully enough, and without succumbing to bias, we will find that the Book, including a literal six-day creation, will stand. When properly understood nature testifies to the trustworthiness of God’s word.



    Dr. Giem is assistant professor of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Union College, Nebraska, an M.A. in religion from Loma Linda University and an M.D. from Loma Linda University. Dr. Giem has published research articles in the areas of religion and medicine. His current research includes work on carbon-14 dating methods. He is author of the book Scientific Theology, which deals with a number of science-Bible areas, including dating methodology and biblical chronology.


    - From In Six Days, published by John F. Ashton
     
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  2. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for posting this. Very interesting and useful. The last many years I have learned the high-sounding scientists and philosophers are also looking for evidence, just as I am. Even the best logicians and debaters skip logical steps. I don't need to be afraid of them, or back down when I am not convinced. It is their job to prove their assertions --not mine to know all their terminology if I find myself doubting them rationally.
     
  3. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    Good to see another creationist here. I will leave you and others to the science, I have little need of that myself.
    Evidence in this particular field of science (evolution) is based on incorrect assumptions which lead to false consultations.
    I believe in 6 day creation because Jesus is my savior and he is the creator and his Word is the Bible. God's word not only says it happened but doctrines such as original sin hang together on it happening. To deny creation would be the same as denying my savior.
    Any evidence that man has comes up with is interesting and amusing to me and nothing more. I nether worry nor think on it very much as I know mans wisdom in this matter is nothing but foolishness.
    1 Corinthians 3:19
    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.
     
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  4. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    The six-day creation model was heavily promoted by Henry Morris at the Creation Institute.
    He wrote that the scriptures should be considered plainly.
    Based on what Morris taught, the forest producing food at the end of a six day Creation week plainly describes dirt and mountains and trees, clearly more than 7 years old. (Adam was also more than 7 years old)

    So the 7-day Creation model was not a physical 7-days. That much is plain.
     
  5. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    Other people can't prove assertions. Only you can do that for yourself.
     
  6. Friedrich Rubinstein

    Friedrich Rubinstein Well-Known Member

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    What kind of useless argument is that? Do you think God created Adam and Eve as babies? Do you think God planted seeds only to then wait until the plants grew fully? Do you think God placed the stars in the sky to wait a million years before the light reached the earth?

    The Bible says
    "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."
    God created them and said "fill the earth". Certainly he did not talk to babies.

    Of course God created fully grown trees. He created Adam and Eve as adults, fully mature. He created the stars including the lightbeams to the earth. Creation came fully done and perfect from the hands of God.

    "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
    - Genesis 1:31.
     
  7. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh boy. Again, how old was Adam when God made him?

    We play mind games with time travel, and hold ourselves to be able to validly consider time passage --and congratulate ourselves on our ingenuity; how much more then, the ability of the very Creator of time, to do as he says!

    Such a strong, comprehensive grasp we have on reality!!
     
  8. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Then by your logic, why do you try to convince others?
     
  9. Sal Mercurio

    Sal Mercurio New Member

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  10. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    Why and how is it plain?
     
  11. Sal Mercurio

    Sal Mercurio New Member

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    The basic question; How did the universe come about, opens the door to many theories, but to date, no truth's. If we stand and believe "absolutely" on the theory of evolution than the next question is; who created the universal laws that would attract, from a vacuum, the presence of combustion, pressure, ignition, etc...to produce a violent explosion, as if knowing it would produce an "accident". Certainly, these laws weren't created after the accident occurred - by an amoeba could it? Who created the vacuum?

    Also, how can nothing produce something? If nothing can produce something, than there was always something. Otherwise Nothing is the name of the creator and therefore, there was always a creator. To believe that however, one must have faith, because in science, there are no absolutes in a creator named nothing, or anything else for that matter.

    I believe: there are much more significant questions than just the ones science poses. There are things we take for granted that don't seem to capture the attention of science or learning. Myself for instance. I walk, I communicate, I visualize, I hope, I care, I think, I feel emotion, I have needs, wants and desires, I plan, I learn, I travel, I sleep and wake up, I eat, I drink, I meditate, I ponder, I dream, I can correspond, I can explore, I can test the boundaries of laws, push myself to the limits of no return. Yet, I am equipped with no battery, I am not hard wired, I am wireless without need of a modem. I am made up of parts of the earth that no science can put together to recreate me from a vacuum or from anything else. What gives me the life "FORCE" i'm experiencing? If it can easily be explained, why can't it be easily manufactured from nothing. I'm not talking about procreation, I'm talking about the life it possesses. No science can from a nothing "ORIGIN" in a lab take from the earth, form a clay body and breath into it the breadth of life. NO SCIENCE! To clone, well it takes an operation with a living body and living tissue, I'm talking from NOTHING, in a VACUUM by ACCIDENT...hello! We are not robots, though there are those who being human themselves have attempted to create slaves of other humans to make them behave as robots. That never ends well.

    I believe; there is a race of people on the earth that exists ONLY as a result of God's audible voice speaking to one man and calling out of that man, a people formed after His own namesake. These people have walked over title waves of civilizations to establish God's prophecies in their history of extraordinary survival. They exist on their own land that God promised they would possess, and no one or weapon formed against them would prosper. The bible is their history book, and their history is the evidence of their origin. They come from no other nation in the world, and no nation claims they come from them...NONE! They poses perhaps the smallest piece of real estate on earth, yet, they remain, and shall remain.

    I believe; the creation itself is a witness to a power...SO GREAT, much more the the sum of its parts or its age. The perfect rotation of the earth in perfect harmony with the sun and the moon, keeping rhythm in perfect time with the entire universe. Time we can set to perfection every 24 hours, without a break in continuity. Even leap year comes in it's perfect time.

    I believe; the bible has demonstrated clearly that we are more than apes, created for a purpose, and created to be "LIVING" souls, in order to express the righteousness of God to the entire creation.

    There is only one way to enter the kingdom of heaven, and it isn't science, sorry.

    Jesus said "The kingdom of heaven is at hand". Jesus brought heaven to us so that we might be brought near. All we need to do is believe and receive, and where He is, so we shall be with Him also.
     
  12. nli

    nli Recent Re-Arrival

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    Science is one form of knowledge. History is another.

    The scientific method can only study repeatable processes. If it only happened once, it's history. The scientific method doesn't apply to history. It only applies to things that it can repeat and reproduce.

    Creation is part of history.
     
  13. Justatruthseeker

    Justatruthseeker Newbie Supporter

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    when scientists talk about the age of the earth using radio metric dating they are doing so using a constant rate backwards....

    The problem with this is that we live in a universe increasing in acceleration (God stretched out the heavens). We know from Relativity that increases in velocity causes decay rates to slow. In order to slow something must first be faster in the past.

    So if one uses the slower rate we observe today and calculates that as a constant rate, instead of an increasing rate backwards, it leads to a vast overestimation of the age.

    This is like having a pipe with a decreasing rate of flow over time. Looking at the amount of water in the pool (parent/daughter ratios) and then calculating how long it took to reach its current level by using a constant rate. You would get a vast overestimation of the time involved because you did not account for an increasing flow rate in the past.

    But the same thing applies to creation that counts a literal length of days backwards. Not only do time and decay rates change, but lengths as well. This means that orbital distances, planetary sizes, etc have changed as well. Using a constant rate results in an underestimation of the time involved.

    There is no reason to fear science, but science must be applied. But for some reason when it comes to the discussion of age, the one and only science we have dealing with time and length is completely ignored in the conversation.... This leads to both sides being wrong and it becomes impossible to find common ground since science is ignored for dogmatism on both sides.....
     
  14. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    That I can agree with. it's a mistake to look at what we see now and use it to age things past a few thousand years because it is assuming things were constant which we know it was not. Not just from acceleration but because this world is the groaning world, and it's state is fundamentally different from how God created it.

    The days were normal days from our perspective. God is and was outside of time, the days were for our benefit alone so that we would have and understand the week.
    To say they were not normal days on the earth is adding to the text. There is no hint that they were anything but normal 24 hour days. Especially given that Adam was created on day 6 and lives for 930 years from the date of his creation. There is no need for them to be anything other than stated. God certainly doesn't need more time to create, indeed he could have created everything instantly if he had so chosen. The passage isn't written in the form of Hebrew poetry but rather as history and as such we need to believe his word on it.
    Exodus 20:11
    For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    2 Peter 3:8
    But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing: that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    As such it may be 6 days on earth but infinity from God's perspective. This does not mean we can say it was billions of years, or that the days stood for billions or millions of years, they didn't and never will. No matter if God took infinity it was still 6, 24 hour days that passed on the earth.
     
  15. Justatruthseeker

    Justatruthseeker Newbie Supporter

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    Except days aren’t the same to God as they are to us... A day is to the Lord as a 1,000 years....

    And when God “stretched out the heavens” those days that we count as 24 hours would have passed faster as lengths changed from our change in velocity through space.

    So that in what we consider a year today, more than the same number of days would have passed. What they considered a day then would have occurred quicker. This is why people lived to such long ages because the earths orbital distance was smaller and more revolutions occurred in a human lifetime than occurs today.

    A day in the Bible is merely sunset to sunset, regardless of how fast or slow this happens. Don’t confuse 6 days as meaning they were 24 hour days of the same length of hours that we currently experience. Regardless of how long or short the hours were they would still be counted as 24 in one day. But we simply can not use our current days to calculate into the past to determine when creation began because our hours and days are not of the same length.

    Even as we speak they are changing due to our increasing velocity through space. We, like the twin in the spaceship, simply are unable to tell they are changing. He too thought his 24 hours remained the same even as he was wrong and they became longer in duration than they were before.
     
  16. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    and 1000 years are a day.
    2 Peter 3:8
    8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    That passage is not just saying a day is a thousand years to God but rather that God is not affected by the passage of time. He is outside of time so if 1 day passes or a thousand years passes is no difference to him. He designed time for us because we are time bound creatures.


    Those days were only on the earth. If a man had been made at the very start I believe he would have seen the days passing as God created. When God says Evening and morning I believe those were perfectly normal 24 hour days passing-on the earth itself. What you are pointing to is space. Indeed in space where the heavens are being stretched time may have been very different but not on the earth. Indeed the further away from the earth we go time may bend and change even more.

    I don't believe that is the reason for the long length. I believe the world was created out of water and water is some form surrounded the earth like a warm blanket making it like a green house in some aspects but also preventing radiation from coming in as much.

    2 Peter 3:5
    For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,
    Genesis 1
    6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.


    Then at the flood I believe much of the water surrounding the earth came down. This changed the climate and how much space radiation came in which shortened the life spans and reduced growth of certain animals. Before the flood I believe there was no rain just water coming up from beneath the ground.

    Genesis 2:6

    but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.

    Genesis 7:11
    In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
    I believe that is this water blanket coming down.

    I believe they were literally 24 hour days on the earth. Not just because of how the text is formulated -I firmly believe that Mosses indeed meant these to be taken literally. But also because they formed the week for us and Adam was created on day 6 and then Eve and they were told to be fruitful and multiply and Adam died 930 years after he was created.
    Exodus 20:11
    For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.


    In outer-space anything is possible but I do not believe that about the earth. God created the 24 hour day, the week and seasons for us. People make the mistake of thinking things they calculate now can be used backwards when they can't. That world is gone.
     
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