December 12, 2017

FBFI Weblog: Creation in Real Time

Don Johnson

The worldviews dominating our culture find their roots in many movements of the past five hundred years, but one particular force that led us to this point in time is the doctrine of evolution. It is axiomatic in the lost world today that “science disproves the Bible,” hence, the theories of evolution are taken for granted as the factual explanation for how everything got here. I’m sure you are aware of this. The turmoil we experience on a daily basis, the complete lunacy of public policy, the never-ending shock headlines — they all vomit out of the godless materialism of our age with Science enthroned and billions of years assumed.

How can we speak to the multitudes who fix their faith on the Big Bang and its cousins? Must we be scientific experts to speak on these issues?

I think not! However, rather than make an exhaustive attempt myself, I’d like to point you to a series of blog posts by my friend Dan Olinger, Chairman of the Bible Department at Bob Jones University.

The best place to start might be where Dan finished, with his summary post (no. 10 in the series): “Billions of Years? Part 10: Summary and Conclusion” Dan sums himself up better than I can. What I will provide here are links and key quotes.

Here are the posts in order:

Billions of Years? Part 1

I’ll observe, at the risk of sounding judgmental, that the primary reason for bailing on a natural reading of Genesis 1-11 seems to be peer pressure—or more precisely, the behemoth of “scientific consensus” that Darwinian evolution, or one of its descendants, has been demonstrated true in its basic propositions. (“The science is settled!”) After a while, you go along, or you feel like the guy on the street corner with the sandwich board announcing that The End Is Near. Nobody wants to be that guy.

Billions of Years? Part 2: The Genesis Data

I’m starting with the demonstrated premise that the Bible is a supernatural book—the Word of God—and therefore authoritative. Further, it should be interpreted based on genre, like any other literature. In narratives, it should be read at face value unless the text itself give us reason to do otherwise. And once we’ve extracted its meaning, we shouldn’t torque it around unless we have a stronger reason to do so than “a whole bunch of people believe something else, and they’ll make fun of me if I don’t come around.”

Billions of Years? Part 3: Genesis Data on the Age of the Earth

So where does the text itself leave us? You have an earth and its contents created intentionally by a personal agent a few thousand years ago.

Given earlier evidence that the Bible exhibits characteristics of extraordinary origin, you’re going to need an extremely high level of proof to set that obvious declaration aside.

Does the old-earth view meet that level of evidence—something more substantial and logically compelling than “but everybody believes this!”?

Billions of Years? Part 4: Approaching the Question

First, there is no statement more unscientific than that “the science is settled.” Science is never settled. Scientists regularly and correctly observe that errors are revealed and that models are constantly revised as new discoveries occur. Science, they tell us, is the ongoing, never-ending search for truth. I’m happy to accept their word on that. Question everything.

Billions of Years? Part 5: Cosmic Evolution

What caused the expansion [the so-called “Big Bang”]? It seems to me that this is the very first question to be asked of the model.

My first exposure to a serious answer to that question came in Stephen Hawking’s seminal work A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, where he addressed the question briefly. At singularity, he said, all the laws of physics are rendered inoperative; we have no scientific tools with which to investigate it. …

So the first premise of the entire worldview is outside the realm of scientific investigation. I’m OK with that—the existence of God in eternity past is outside the realm of scientific investigation too. But it seems ironic for adherents to the Big Bang model to ridicule supernaturalists on scientific grounds.

Billions of Years? Part 6: Mutation

First, how frequent are beneficial mutations? I’ve seen suggested examples here and there, mostly at the level of bacteria and viruses. But the great majority of mutations seem to be either harmful—Down syndrome, fragile X, sickle-cell anemia—or at best neutral (hair color, eye color). I know, blondes have more fun, and don’t it make my brown eyes blue, and all that. But since human sexual attraction is far more complex than eye color, it’s hard to argue that blue eye color makes the survival of the species more likely. Observational science seems to indicate that mutations are on balance not a good thing for the organism.

Billions of Years? Part 7: Natural Selection

Dawkins has responded to this apparent problem by observing that there are ways to develop increasing vision over multiple generations in small, incremental steps. In what he seems to think is the coup de grace for Behe and his fellow benighted, he notes that some of those steps are observable in nature. But what he does not do is demonstrate that the examples from nature are in any way related to one another (though he does call them “relatives” in passing); he does not demonstrate a chain of development over time. He speculates that many different kinds of eyes developed independently, but again he does not demonstrate a sequence of development for each, or any, of them. In the standard college freshman English course, we call that assuming your conclusion, and it gets you an F on your research paper.

Billions of Years? Part 8: The Geologic Time Scale

There are lots of geochronometers, or ways to calculate the age of the earth. I remember seeing a documentary years ago narrated by Donald Johanson, the paleontologist who discovered Lucy. He talked briefly about the age of the earth and cited 3 different geochronometers, completely unrelated to one another, that triangulated nicely on about 4.5 billion years. I remember thinking, “Wow. That’s really impressive!” So I started reading. And I found out that the geochronometers are all over the place. Lots of them point to 4.5 billion years, yes, but others point to widely differing ages—with a good many well within the range called for by a straightforward reading of Genesis.

Billions of Years? Part 9: Theological Issues

Old-earth creationists would respond that since the Romans 5 passage is clearly talking about only human death, then the fossils in the geologic column would not be included in that passage and thus were free to die millions of years before Adam. But that seems to mean that hominid fossils must not be related to Adam, since they died before he did. Further, it’s not so clear that the Romans 5 passage refers only to human death; Paul speaks elsewhere (Rom 8.18-22) of “all creation” groaning under the consequences of Adam’s sin. My colleague Kevin Bauder has artfully and soberly captured the problem of the old-earth creationist view on this matter.

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There you have it. These posts are not comprehensive, but they point you to key problems with the theories that sustain the billions of years taught in our schools. I don’t think these questions are adequately answered anywhere in scientific materialism, nor can they be.

Thanks for this, Dan, you articulate all of this much more simply than I could. And you are much wittier, as well!


Don Johnson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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