From the 28th chapter of Job —
1 “There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Man puts an end to the darkness;
he searches the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft,
in places forgotten by the foot of man;
far from men he dangles and sways.
5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6 sapphires[a] come from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9 Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock
and lays bare the roots of the mountains.
10 He tunnels through the rock;
his eyes see all its treasures.
11 He searches[b] the sources of the rivers
and brings hidden things to light.
12 “But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13 Man does not comprehend its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or sapphires.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 “Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds of the air.
22 Destruction[c] and Death say,
‘Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.’
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to man,
‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’”
[a] Job 28:6 Or lapis lazuli; also in verse 16
[b] Job 28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew He dams up
[c] Job 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon
To summarize the summary:
- Lewis refused to join or endorse the Evolution Protest Movement, even though it was led by a personal friend.
- His writings state acceptance of biological evolution [and, I should add, an ancient Earth (and Mars!)].
- Lewis believed that evolution posed little threat to Christianity.
- Lewis didn’t even believe in a literal Adam and Eve
- Despite these beliefs, most would consider Lewis very orthodox in his Christian beliefs.
Grace and Peace
|The following item was originally posted in October 2009, and I have added it to my blog recycling program. Because I have new readers of The GeoChristian, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my favorite blog entries (sometimes with a little editing). This post quotes from Michael Spencer, the late author of the blog Internet Monk (Dispatches from the Post-Evangelical Wilderness).|
Creation evangelism: using young-Earth creationism (Earth < 10,000 years old, most of geology is the product of Noah’s flood) to win people to faith in Christ.
There are many people who have come to faith in Christ through young-Earth creation ministries such as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, and a multitude of smaller organizations. I rejoice when people come to Christ or have their faith strengthened.
There is another side to this, however. These same organizations also needlessly drive perhaps millions of others away from Christ. The arguments presented by the young-Earth creationists for a young Earth or a global flood may be convincing to those who don’t know much science (and specifically, geology), but when critically examined these arguments are far from persuasive. The result is twofold. First, scientists (and other scientifically-minded people) are driven away from Christ. They are basically told that in order to become a Christian, they have to check their brains at the door. The second result is that many of our young people eventually leave the faith, not because of what the Bible actually says, but because of what the young-Earth organizations have given them as solid evidence for the truthfulness of the Bible. When they see that these arguments are not valid, they often chuck their Christianity along with their young-Earth creation dogmas.
Here’s a tragic story, illustrating the failure of “creation evangelism” from Internet Monk: Niki Made Her Choice and, Apparently, So Did We.
Her name is Niki. (Not her real name.) She’s a Japanese student who lived with an American family for a year and attended a Christian school. She took a year of Bible. She attended worship and heard lots of preaching. The Gospel was explained to her many times. She was well liked and sociable.
A very smart girl. A great student, much advanced over the average American student. She made A’s in everything, including Bible.
She left America after graduation and went back to Japan.
She came to America an atheist and she returned to Japan an atheist, and very aware that she had rejected Christianity.
Before she left, she talked with one of her teachers.
“I am an atheist because I believe in evolution. When people here explained to me what they must believe as Christians, I always ask them about evolution, and they say “You cannot be a Christian and believe in evolution.” So I cannot be a Christian, because I believe that evolution is true.”
No doubt, Niki has met many Christians who told her that she could not be a Christian and “believe” in evolution. No doubt, few, if any, of those Christians took the time to explain what they meant by evolution. Most probably meant that the Bible teaches that the earth is 10,000 years young, that no biological death of any kind happened before sin and the major Creationist ministries such as AIG have all the answers to the hard questions of physics, astronomy and science. (”Were you there?”)
Was Niki ever told about the the thousands of Christians in the sciences who believe the “Big Bang” is evidence for creation by God? No, she wasn’t. Was she told of the many conversions to Christianity among scientists who have been moved by the evidence for God as creator now available in astrophysics? No, because that would complicate the views of Creationism she was told were non-negotiable.
Was Niki ever told that the vast majority of Christians on planet earth don’t believe now and haven’t ever believed science and Christianity answer the same questions in the same way? No, she wasn’t.
Was Niki told that millions of Christians believe in some form of evolution? (For Catholics, it’s in the Catechism!) Some form of an old earth? That millions of Christians do not accept the claims of the Creationist ministries as representing the Bible accurately or correctly? No, she wasn’t.
Was Niki told that even atheists are largely agreed that evolution does not equal atheism, and atheists like Dawkins are wrong to claim that is the case?
Niki, who heard about Jesus for weeks and weeks in her Bible class, could not bring herself to believe in creationism, so she cannot be a Christian.
Many are zealous defenders of young-Earth creationism. They try to use it to try to win non-believers to Christ, and blame Satan when it doesn’t work. But how much of this resistance to the gospel is due to Satanic blinding, and how much is due to the errors of young-Earth creationist teachings on topics such as the age of the Earth, the geological work of the flood, or biological evolution?
With love for the body of Christ and unbelieving scientists.
This was originally posted on October 4, 2009. Click here to read the original comments.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. — Matthew 5:9 (NIV 1984)
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. — Jeremiah 6:14 (NIV 1984)
Is the world getting to be a better place, or are we just in the calm between storms?
From Yahoo News/AP — Bombings, beheadings? Stats show a peaceful world (written by Seth Borenstein):
It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it’s really on the run.
Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings. Wars drag on in Iraq and Afghanistan. In peaceful Norway, a man massacred 69 youths in July. In Mexico, headless bodies turn up, victims of drug cartels. This month eight people died in a shooting in a California hair salon.
Yet, historically, we’ve never had it this peaceful.
That’s the thesis of three new books, including one by prominent Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem.
In his book, Pinker writes: “The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.”
The number of people killed in battle — calculated per 100,000 population — has dropped by 1,000-fold over the centuries as civilizations evolved. Before there were organized countries, battles killed on average more than 500 out of every 100,000 people. In 19th century France, it was 70. In the 20th century with two world wars and a few genocides, it was 60. Now battlefield deaths are down to three-tenths of a person per 100,000.
Pinker says one of the main reasons for the drop in violence is that we are smarter. IQ tests show that the average teenager is smarter with each generation. The tests are constantly adjusted to keep average at 100, and a teenager who now would score a 100 would have scored a 118 in 1950 and a 130 in 1910. So this year’s average kid would have been a near-genius a century ago. And that increase in intelligence translates into a kinder, gentler world, Pinker says.
“As we get smarter, we try to think up better ways of getting everyone to turn their swords into plowshares at the same time,” Pinker said in an interview. “Human life has become more precious than it used to be.”
But the article has a cautionary note as well:
“The facts are not in dispute here; the question is what is going on,” John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.”
“It’s been 21 years since the Cold War ended and the United States has been at war for 14 out of those 21 years,” Mearsheimer said. “If war has been burned out of the system, why do we have NATO and why has NATO been pushed eastward…? Why are we spending more money on defense than all other countries in the world put together?”
What’s happening is that the U.S. is acting as a “pacifier” keeping the peace all over the world, Mearsheimer said. He said like-minded thinkers, who call themselves “realists” believe “that power matters because the best way to survive is to be really powerful.” And he worries that a strengthening China is about to upset the world power picture and may make the planet bloodier again.
And Goldstein points out that even though a nuclear attack hasn’t occurred in 66 years — one nuclear bomb could change this trend in an instant.
I rejoice to see a reduction of violence around the world, and am very thankful for those who work hard for peace, sometimes even at the cost of their own lives.
At the same time, I see much to be concerned about: unstable economies, religious and ethnic hostilities, a volatile Middle East, unsustainable energy policies, proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and violence in entertainment. Democracy and education may have curbed the violent side of human nature, but history demonstrates that it can quickly return on a massive scale.
Grace and Peace
From Christianity Today: Arthur Holmes, Author of ‘All Truth is God’s Truth’ Has Died (emphasis added):
Arthur Holmes, author of All Truth is Gods Truth who promoted the idea of integrating faith and learning, died October 8.
The Wheaton College philosophy professor authored several books related to faith and learning, including The Idea of a Christian College and Building the Christian Academy. He was born in 1924 and taught at Wheaton for more than 40 years, according to a blog post by David Osielski.
Throughout his writings and career, Holmes emphasized that, indeed, “all truth is God’s truth.” His desire was for Christians to not shy away from the difficult questions that may arise from whatever subject of academic study they choose. With a firm belief that any truth they find can be reconciled with their faith, Holmes challenged educators and Christians in academia to grapple with what they are interested in, noting that a strong faith can handle some turbulence while coming to a better understanding of God’s creation.
In reflection on his career, it is obvious he accomplished the goals he set forth for himself as a young teacher: he encouraged faith and learning in students, he countered the anti-intellectualism he found in the American church, and he helped prepare a great many students and Christian intellectuals for the various ranks of academia.
Grace and Peace
|After writing this, I realized that the first person to come to mind to many of my readers when I mentioned “Arthur Holmes” would be British geologist Arthur Holmes, not Wheaton philosophy professor Arthur Holmes.
Geologist Arthur Holmes was a pioneer in geochronology, being the first to use uranium-lead dating. He was also an early supporter of the idea of continental drift, and was the first to propose mantle convection as the driving mechanism for moving continents.
This brings back memories:
“There is nothing that has been created without some reason, even if human nature is incapable of knowing precisely the reason for them all.”
— John Chrysostom (c. 347-407, Archbishop of Constantinople), Homilies on Genesis 7.14
Why do “free-thinkers” all come to the same conclusions?
Is it permissible for a skeptic to be skeptical about skepticism?
Is it rational to believe that “In the beginning nothing created everything?”
Can science prove that science is the only way to know anything?
How can an atheist know that God doesn’t exist without being omniscient?
If an atheist steals from a fellow atheist, have they done something inherently evil?
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Genesis Flood, by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb. This was, perhaps, the most influential young-Earth creationist book of the twentieth century, and was listed at #22 on Christianity Today’s Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.
Morris (a hydraulic engineering professor at the time) and Whitcomb (a theologian) made a serious, scholarly attempt to demonstrate that the Bible requires a young Earth and global flood; and that this global flood provides a better explanation for the world’s sedimentary rocks than does the standard geological explanation.
Henry Morris, who passed away at age 87 back in 2006, was committed to the truthfulness of the Scriptures and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That in itself puts me on his side rather than on that of his opponents. I may strongly differ with Morris’ Biblical interpretation on a secondary issue (he would have said it was a primary issue), and on his geological thinking (the Flood geology model presented in the book didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now after fifty years of refinement), but he was a faithful servant of Christ, and for that I am thankful.
In his New York Times obituary, one of his opponents (Eugenie Scott, humanist, director of the National Center for Science Education) described Morris as cordial and gentlemanly. Morris exemplified the words of 1 Peter 3:15-16:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (NIV 1984)
Morris went to be with our Lord and Savior the same month I started writing this blog. I aim to have the same gentle and respectful attitude Morris had towards those with whom I differ. I am sure that at times I fall short of the Scriptural standard.
Grace and Peace
A quote from Eugene Peterson:
I’m always in danger of losing my grip on reality. The reality, of course, is that God is sovereign and Christ is savior. The reality is that prayer is my mother tongue and the eucharist my basic food. The reality is that baptism, not Myers-Briggs, defines who I am.
From Take & Read
Grace and Peace
From NASA Earth Observatory:
From the description (emphasis added):
In September 2011, sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean declined to the second-lowest extent on record. Satellite data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showed that the summertime ice cover narrowly avoided a new record low.
Melt season in 2011 brought higher-than-average summer temperatures, but not the unusual weather conditions that contributed to the extreme melt of 2007, the record low. “Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were not as conducive to ice loss this year, but the melt still neared 2007 levels,” said Walt Meier of NSIDC. “This probably reflects loss of multi-year ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, as well as other factors that are making the ice more vulnerable.”
The low sea ice level in 2011 fits the pattern of decline over the past three decades, said Joey Comiso of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Since 1979, September Arctic sea ice extent has declined by 12 percent per decade.
“The sea ice is not only declining; the pace of the decline is becoming more drastic,” he noted. “The older, thicker ice is declining faster than the rest, making for a more vulnerable perennial ice cover.”
While the sea ice extent did not dip below the record, the area did drop slightly lower than 2007 levels for about ten days in early September 2011. Sea ice “area” differs from “extent” in that it equals the actual surface area covered by ice, while extent includes any area where ice covers at least 15 percent of the ocean.
Arctic sea ice extent on September 9, 2011, was 4.33 million square kilometers (1.67 million square miles). Averaged over the month of September, ice extent was 4.61 million square kilometers (1.78 million square miles). This places 2011 as the second lowest ice extent for both the daily minimum and the monthly average. Ice extent was 2.43 million square kilometers (938,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.
Climate models have suggested that the Arctic could lose almost all of its summer ice cover by 2100, but in recent years, ice extent has declined faster than the models predicted.
A few years back, I blogged about a report that the Arctic Ocean may have been ice-free around 6000-7000 years ago, so this may be a natural cycle. Or it may be caused by human-induced global warming. I don’t know. I ended that post with the following:
I’m not a global warming denier, which bothers some of my friends. I do believe that human activities are affecting Earth’s climate. This does point out, however, the importance of geological studies of Quaternary (ice age to present) climate systems. Whatever is happening today, even if caused by humans, can only be fully understood in its geological context.
Grace and Peace
From Stand to Reason blog:
Grace and Peace
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” — Romans 10:17 ESV
I became a Christian through the proclamation of God’s word. The Law was proclaimed and I was convicted of my sin and need for a savior. The Gospel was proclaimed and I was drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead that I too might have eternal life.
That, in short, is my “personal testimony.” It isn’t about me, it is about Christ and what he has done for me.
And I am held by God’s grace. God’s grace moves in the life of a believer in many ways. One of those was through “the other book that saved me.”
I was raised in a Christian home, and attended church regularly. Most of the time I believed in God, Christ, and the Bible, but there were other times when I toyed with atheism and other belief systems, and in hindsight I can see that I could have gone many different ways. By the time I graduated from high school, I was a young-Earth creationist and would have called myself a Christian, though my understanding of Christianity was rather shallow.
After my second year in the university, I changed my major to Geology. I was still a convinced young-Earth creationist, and thought that perhaps I could be used to help topple the edifice of old-Earth evolutionism. It didn’t take long, however, to start seeing that there were a number of serious problems with the Flood Geology and age of the Earth arguments of the young-Earthers. Most Christians I knew were teaching that the Bible requires a young Earth, and yet I was seeing more and more reasons to believe that the Earth is really quite old. I was able to hold these two ideas in tension for quite some time.
It was at this time that I found Evolution: Nature & Scripture in Conflict? at the local Christian bookstore, and it opened my eyes to another legitimate way to look at the “Bible vs. Science” issue. Pun was an advocate of “progressive creationism,” where God spread his creative acts throughout the billions of years of Earth history. I am no longer convinced that the day-age interpretation that underlies progressive creationism is correct, but the significant thing was that Pun opened my eyes to see that there is much more to the relationship between science and Christianity than the conflict model that dominates young-Earth creationism, that there are other possible ways to read the opening chapters of Genesis than that offered by the young-Earth creationists, and that the study of Earth history was a legitimate endeavor for a Christian to undertake.
How did Evolution: Nature & Scripture in Conflict? save me? Many Christians who enter the natural sciences armed with young-Earth creationist beliefs come to a point of having a crisis of faith, and for many it means the crippling or death of their faith. I believe that this book may have been instrumental in saving me from having a similar crisis of faith. This crisis would not have been caused because I was being indoctrinated by “evolutionists,” but by young-Earth dogmas that often go far beyond the little that the Bible actually says about Earth history.
Pun set a model for me by being gracious in his attitude towards those he viewed to be in error, and humble about his interpretations. I sincerely believe that the Bible is the Word of God, that it doesn’t require us to believe anything one way or another about how old the Earth is, and that much of what comes out of the young-Earth movement is harmful in the broader picture of apologetics and Christian interaction with science and culture. At the same time, I will seek to be loving and gracious towards all who disagree with me, and to be humble about my interpretations, whether they be about Scripture or about the Earth.
One of my greatest joys in life is to be of help to Christians who struggle with science-faith issues. If God uses The GeoChristian to build up the body of Christ as God used Nature & Scripture in Conflict? in my life, or to point non-believers to faith in him, I will be exceedingly glad.
Grace and Peace
Evolution: Nature & Scripture in Conflict? is out of print, but used copies can be found through Amazon or through other booksellers.
Sometime back in May or June, The GeoChristian had its 500,000th page view. I don’t completely understand what WordPress counts as a “hit,” and I know that many of these hits are from people who spend about three seconds on the site and decide it isn’t what they were looking for. But still, I am amazed that this blog has generated that level of interest.
I’ve got a long list of things I’d like to blog about, and several enhancements that I think would enhance the impact of The GeoChristian. I’m busy, but I’ll blog when I can.
Why do I blog? My stated purpose is “to increase science literacy among Evangelical Christians, especially in the areas of the Earth and environmental sciences.” My underlying hope and prayer is for two things: To build up the body of Christ, and to point non-believers to Christ. Only God knows how effective I’ve been in that, but I pray that what I write here would bear fruit for the glory of God for all eternity.
I get emails from time to time from people who have been blessed by The GeoChristian. Here are a few excerpts (with some very minor editing):
I’m a chemist and a fellow evangelical Christian. I just wanted to thank you for your blog, and especially for its tone. Apart from scientific issues, what troubles me most of all in the YEC/OEC/TE debate is how acrimonious many YEC sites are towards not only atheists but towards fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Your site is a breath of fresh air. Thank you.
I stumbled upon your blog a while back, and it’s really helped me a lot in talking to my parents about my perspectives on faith and science. I’m a graduate student in the earth sciences, but was raised in a young earth home/church, so, as one might imagine, my research has caused some spirited discussion with my parents and home community… Recently some questions came up that I wasn’t sure about, and I wondered (if you have time/have thought about these issues) whether you might be able to offer some perspectives?
To be honest I ‘felt’ that the Bible was somehow lacking in depth & history, something was not quite adding up for me. I know that Gods’ wisdom & logic is so incredibly high above ours but still… the conflict between real scientific evidence and what most Christians were teaching really limited, disabled me even, from witnessing to the unsaved. I could not wholeheartedly stand behind God’s word and encourage others to embrace Christ whilst these paradoxes were raging in my brain and heart.
But then I found your blog… Woah!
Suddenly a whole new world opened up before me. […]
Your blog has not only made the Bible fresh again for me, opening it up to new revelation, but enables me to start witnessing again to friends and intellectual strangers again. I don’t have to be ashamed anymore… it was never Christ I was ashamed of… it was a limited understanding of the truth. My heart wanted to shout from the rooftops but my brain would not let me. You have helped connect my heart & my brain again. For this I know I shall be eternally grateful and give you my deepest thanks.
I recently visited the Creation Museum outside of Cincinnati.
While it has been decades since I studied Geology at Northwestern University, I found most of what I saw there to be unreasonable. There were a few things that puzzled me, such as the folding of solid layers of sedimentary rocks, so when I got to my computer, I started Googling for a more thorough explanation. I was pleased to find your articles “Six Bad Arguments From Answers in Genesis”, and found my questions to be answered in full.
Thank you for writing the series, and for such a clear and concise refutation of the YEC arguments.
I’m a research associate for a research scientist, a follower of Jesus, an “old-earther,” and much like you, a distinct minority in the Bible-belt culture in which I live. I just wanted you to know how refreshing your blog is. You have a fantastic understanding of God and His creation and you deal with the scientific study of the universe in such a worshipful (of God) and respectful way. Unlike so many other articles and works that are really propagandized hate, you write as a loving teacher and person who praises God for what He has done. And remarkably, you do so with the keen understanding that the scientific topics we love to study are secondary to the gospel and God’s redemptive purposes. Simply superb. Thank you for your love of Christ and your passion for worshiping God by studying His creation. Keep up the good work! I look forward to more!
Hi as a geologist and a Christian from across the pond, I just had to say I enjoyed your sane site!
Keep up the good work.
Many thanks for your great website which acknowledges God as our creator without resorting to dubious or false technical information
I also thought you dealt very well and respectfully with some of those comments that were clearly insulting. So this note is just a little “thank you” for your blog and work in helping to educate Christians. And I support you 100% in the importance of ministering to the scientific and intellectual community.
I am majoring in geology and was having a very difficult time reconciling my Christian faith with the idea that the earth could be billions of years old. […] Your blog has been an important part of saving me from having a crisis of faith.
I am thankful that God has used this blog to be a blessing to a number of people. Thank you to all of you who have written encouraging emails to me.
Grace and Peace