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Theistic Evolution

Theistic evolution: the acceptance of the theory of evolution as the mode for which God used to create the world.

I still remember when I first came up with theistic evolution.  No, I'm not pulling an Al Gore.  I didn't invent theistic evolution.  I didn't coin the phrase.  I didn't put pen to paper and get anything published in any scientific journals either.  I didn't do any of these things.

However, in 1998, I did formulate a version of theistic evolution in my mind.  I wasn't introduced the idea.  On the contrary, the only exposure I had to the teaching of life's origins fell into one of two contradictory categories, those that followed the Biblical account or those that were in alignment with evolutionary theory.  Like all Americans in my generation, I grew up being fed that the earth was old... very old.  So old, in fact, that no one could really agree on how old it was.  But, two things were for sure (according to the general consensus), [1] the earth was at least millions of years old and [2] that the earth predated humans by the majority of that time frame.

In the context of this cumulative acceptance of an ancient earth, it was no wonder why I unquestionably accepted so many things.  However, my story is not unique.  Like I suggested earlier, up to this point in my life, my beliefs on earth's origins were largely a product of my generation's public education.  That said, many should be able to relate to the story I have told thus far.

When I say that my beliefs could have been categorized as theistic evolution, I don't mean that I believed humans came from apes that came from monkeys that came from koalas ... (the "goo to you" evolution).  Having been raised in church, I knew the Bible well enough to believe that God created mankind special.  Not to mention, being a human, I have the personal experience of knowing that there is nothing remotely close to being human on earth.  But, despite this, I allowed for the possibility that perhaps every other living thing came about through some slow process, perhaps even by evolution.

But, in 1998, the culmination of all that I knew of earth's origin came to a head.  I was no longer satisfied carrying around two buckets of information that could not be reconciled.  My dissatisfaction led me to start reading, talking with others, and carrying on debates in my head.  It was like I poured out those two buckets of information in a boxing ring in my brain then sat back to watch what would happen, who would survive.

I expected a winner in this fight, but what I got was something else entirely.  I started to compromise.  In my reading of Genesis, I noticed that the word 'day' was being used before the earth was formed.  I felt that I stumbled on to a set of keys to a mansion.  I thought "If the earth wasn't formed yet, then there is no reason to think these so-called 'days' were 24 hour periods."  Thus, I accepted 'Day-Age Theory'.  I was excited.  Maybe my two buckets of incompatible beliefs were more compatible than I previously thought.  Armed with this theory, I was able to "prove" that the Bible allowed for millions of years during creation which, I believed, made all of what I had learned in school potential truth.

Fast forward a long time to the more recent history, I found that my Day-Age theory had some pretty obvious holes that I missed for years somehow.  Genesis wasn't written in real time.  It was written after creation was created.  So, the use of the word 'day' (along with all of the other words used in Genesis) was after the earth was created, not before, thus when the word 'day' was used it was referring to a 24 hour period.  There goes that theory.  The more I think about it, in fact, it was an awfully petty argument to begin with.  It was an excellent display of eisegesis (reading some preconceived idea into the text that isn't there) as opposed to a proper exegesis (examining the text for what it says plainly and by using context for meaning).

I'll cut to the chase.  I no longer believe that the earth is as old as I've been led to believe.  I believe that it's only thousands of years old.  Why do I believe this?  Here's a list that is in no way complete, in any particular order, or as detailed as I could make it.
  • Assumptions of uniformity are prevalent throughout scientific community.
    • Perhaps the biggest fault of the accepted sciences today is the gross assumption that everything has always been as it is now, that things have always decayed/formed at the same rate we see today.  It's an error of extrapolation.  For example, if one were to look at 10 minutes of my life to determine what my life looked like to date and what it will look like in the future one might determine that I have always sat in an office behind a computer and I always will.  Or maybe one would determine that I have always lived unconsciously in a bed and will continue to do so.  It just depends which ten minutes of my day they are watching.  Extrapolating is looking at a small portion of data and coming to a conclusion what the rest of the data must be.  Science makes the grave mistake of looking at the present and recorded recent history and assuming the past must be just like it.
  • Dating methods are inconclusive and almost never agree with each other.
    • If I have two battery testers and one says the battery is good and the other says it's bad, then at least one of my battery testers is wrong if not both.  They can both be wrong but they can't both be right.  If I have 40 battery testers of different types made from different companies that test using different methods, and 4 of them somewhat agree on a battery level while the other 36 are all over the scale.  I would more likely be correct to conclude that batteries cannot be tested than to conclude that the relatively close results of the 4 tested accurately.  Science's dating methods are so inaccurate and unreliable that they shouldn't be being used in any legitimate scientific study.
  • Marine fossils are almost everywhere.
    • If you look for fossils, you will likely find one in a very short amount of time.  I remember being excited about finding them as a small child.  I felt that I was well on my way to being some great archeologist every time I unearthed one.  I would keep the rock I found it in.  But, in no time at all my rock collection grew to a ridiculous size.  I realized that my finds were not out of the ordinary, but were rather commonplace.  My previously treasured finds found their way back into my yard and I gave up on my hopes of digging in the dirt for a living.  One place you can almost never find a marine fossil is in the ocean.  Hmm.  Why is that?  Scientists hypothesize that the earth is always shifting around trading ocean floor for dry land and repeating.  Remember Pangaea, the pre-continental drift super-continent?  Well, now it's being suggested that there have been many super-continents over the course of millions of years.  They think that perhaps the oceans and continents are like a deck of cards that are always just randomly being shuffled about ever so incredibly slowly.  The fact that marine fossils are found on dry land in sedimentary rock layers by the millions and typically not found in oceans at all is because these creatures were trapped on dry land and encased in sediments from receding waters.  They were not trapped by an ever so incredibly slow transition from ocean floor to dry land.  Which brings me to:
  • Fossils don't form slowly.
    • First off, realize that fossils are a freak of nature.  Why is it that we don't find fossils of squirrels and cardinals?  Because, bodies get eaten (by animals/birds) or decompose (eaten by the elements).  In order for a body to become a fossil it must be buried suddenly in a substance that disallows for or severely slows down the natural decomposition process while also replacing the slowly decaying body with an abundance of available minerals to replace all of the organic matter.  Science knows this which is why they don't talk about it too often, but when they do they start talking about tar pits.  Yes, good ol' tar pits.  Boy, if I had a nickel for every tar pit I've come across... well, I'd be without any nickels.  On the other hand, what event could have caused all the fossils that we find today?  A global flood.  Pick a local flood, almost any local flood, and take note of the amount of damage from both the water as well as the erosion of the receding waters.  Even a local flood of a few feet of water is catastrophic to a landscape.  If entire continents were flooded and the waters receded, we would see silt deposits so deep and laid so rapidly that all kinds of animals' bodies would be rapidly buried in air-tight silt that would aptly provide an environment in which those bodies could fossilize.  But, this means that all those bodies would have been from the same time frame.  Which brings me to:
  • The Cambrian Explosion
    • This is simply the explosion of evidence of all kinds of life.  The overwhelming evidence in the fossil record shows a huge sudden existence of life that leaves all kinds of scientists in debate over how evolution suddenly and rapidly took a huge leap.  What they don't debate is that maybe their entire preconceived gradual evolutionary model is unfounded to begin with.
    • What does explain the sudden existence of life?  Genesis 1:20
These are just a few reasons for doubting the validity of the model given to us by our science classes, public television, and media outlets.  I started with these simply because some people are completely turned off by the response "because the Bible says so".  My point is that there are scores of models to attempt to demonstrate how the earth and life on it were formed.  But, I have found that they are riddled with holes that leave me asking more questions rather having any questions actually answered.  On the other hand, the Bible has been around for a long time and provides simple and accurate answers that make sense with the evidence (the world we see around us).

The truth of the matter is that I spent my entire life doubting the Word of God.  I learned as a small child that God created the world and everything in it in 6 days.  I, then, began to doubt this as I discovered that the popular opinion on the matter was that the world was far older.  I justified my doubt by assuming that the Bible's account was an analogy, a parable, and/or tainted by the men who wrote it.  My mistake was not following Proverbs 1:7, the first of the Proverbs.  I didn't fear God.  I feared men.  I was afraid what people would think of me.  I was afraid that they would think of me as stupid or gullible.  So, my knowledge began to be built on a shaky foundation of man's wisdom rather than the solid, unchanging, clear truth of God's Word.  It's not popular to say this.  People will call me biased and unable to accept scientific "truth" because I can't be "objective".  Well, I don't really care anymore.  No one has an objective opinion.  All opinions are subject to the other thoughts and experiences of the brain from which they come out.  So, if I'm going to be subjective about what I believe, I am going to be subject to God and my own God-given convictions.

This list are things that I thought of that I wanted to mention that didn't fall into the category that I was writing above.
  • Nothing makes itself.  Everything that exists was made by something other than itself, outside itself. Therefore, it only stands to reason that nature was made supernaturally, outside nature.  It's circular reasoning that nature somehow came into existence adhering to the laws of nature that didn't yet exist.
  • The existence of certain known truths are incompatible to an accidental, survival-of-the-fittest, common decent supposed reality.
    • Absolute morality
    • Laws of physics
    • Apparent design
    • Irreducible complexity in biology
    • Parental "instinct" in virtually all species
  • The Bible clearly and repeatedly gives God credit for having created everything physically.  Creating something is an action.  The Bible makes it clear that God actively created us ("forming us in the womb" Jer 1:5).  This goes against the idea that He merely created the rules and arbitrarily directed the process sort of second hand that led to you and I being "created".
  • We all recognize design in things that are manufactured.  Upon seeing a strange car in their driveway when returning home, no one would suppose that the car could have resulted in accidentally coming together from the elements.  They see that it was designed and built and they wonder who is at their house because they rightly assert that it didn't drive itself there.  Even more simply stated, upon hiking through the woods, if you saw an 8 foot long 2x4 along the trail, you would be correct to assume that it was man-made.  You spot the evidence of design.  I mean, it's a piece of wood in the woods and you know without question that it was intelligently designed (or cut, in this example).  However, somehow, we fail to recognize the design in nature.  Since the discovery of DNA, we have more reason than ever to recognize the blueprints of design.  Yet, perhaps out of pure denial, many people refuse to believe that this is more than just pure chance that these blueprints came about.  I suppose that when a so-called expert invokes an unfathomable amount of time for any irrational process, the pill becomes a little easier to swallow.  With time and chance, they propose that anything is possible.
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the Bible, God's Word, says that He created everything in 6 days.  Who am I to think that this obvious clarity is actually somehow more obscure than it looks?  God is truth.  The difficulty is that it wasn't until I allowed myself to become subject to God that I came across truth.  Now, to the rational unbeliever, this sounds out of turn.  This person says, "I won't believe until I am first convinced with evidence."  The trouble with Christianity is that God provided all the evidence we would ever need.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.     - Romans 1:20 (NIV)
The issue is not that we need to be first convinced with the evidence of the existence of God (or in the theme of this blog, the reliability of His Word) in order to believe.  The issue is that we must first lay down our stubbornness, our fear of being wrong, and our fear of man (what people will think of me).  These are walls that we have built.  The good news is that there is a door in those walls.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.     - Revelation 3:20
Our problem is that we think God should fly in over our walls and serve us truth with tea and crumpets.  But, He already did that.  He came to this world as a man and gave us all the evidence we needed, even paid our debts while He was here.  All He asks is that we hear His voice at the door and open it.

Many people say that the age of the earth is simply trivial and does not and should not matter to the Christian.  However, the implications of an old earth does undermine God's telling of creation.  It even undermines the gospel.  Let me explain in as simple a way as possible.
  • God created everything and saw that it was good. (Gen 1:31)
  • God is perfect. (Deut 32:4)
  • Man and animals were created vegetarian. (Gen 1:29-30)
  • Death didn't exist until sin ushered in death (Gen 2:17, Rom 5:12)
  • An animal was immediately sacrificed after the fall of man to make skins to cover their nakedness.  This was a picture of the need for animal sacrifice to cover sins.  But, animal sacrifice only covered sins as a temporary measure.  Jesus was the perfect infinite sacrifice that was required to reconcile sinful man with his sinless Creator.
If things lived and died long before Adam and Eve sinned, then sin didn't bring death.  If sin didn't bring death, then Jesus didn't have to die.  If death can't be beaten, then God isn't all-powerful.

On the flip-side, if death didn't exist before the fall, then all of creation existed with Adam and Eve.  Millions of years didn't separate man and dinosaur which explains the global phenomenon in every culture having dragon stories, carvings, drawings, and descriptions of all kinds.  It would mean that all accepted forms of dating methods are incorrect.  It would mean that the Continental Drift Theory had to have happened at a much greater pace than what has been previously proposed, which would have required some major catastrophic event to take place like... I don't know... a global flood, perhaps?

I realize that I'm kind of all over the place, but my point is quite simple.  I have found that the earth is not a day older than what the Bible says it is.  The Biblical account is logical, reasonable, and is backed up with evidence galore of all creation.  I know this might make me a "young earth creationist", but before you scorn too much just know that I'm in good company.  Jesus, too, shows His "young earth creationist" colors when he said:
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female     - Matthew 19:4

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