Science supports the wonderful Creation of this World by an all-wise God

Noah's Ark Design Approved by Science

Noah’s Ark by God’s Design Approved by Science

Noah’s Ark by God’s Design Approved by Science

Noah’s Ark given the seaworthy seal of approval by physicists

(It is not a surprise to Bible Students that Science should confirm the Bible True)

By Sarah Knapton

Researchers are saying that the concept of Noah’s Ark would definitely have worked. Photo / Thinkstock

Noah's Ark Design Approved by ScienceNoah’s Ark could have floated even with two of every land animal in the world packed inside, scientists have calculated.

Although researchers are unsure if all the creatures could have squeezed into the huge vessel, they are confident it would have handled the weight of 70,000 animals without sinking.

A group of master’s students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Leicester University studied the exact dimensions of the Ark, set out in Genesis 6:13-22.

According to The Bible, God instructed Noah to build a boat that was 300 cubits long 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high – recommending that it be constructed from gopher wood. The students averaged out the Egyptian and Hebrew cubit measurement to come up with 18.98in, making the Ark around 472ft long – about 328ft shorter than the Navy’s recently scrapped aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

Using those dimensions, the Archimedes principle of buoyancy and the approximate weight of various animals, they were surprised to discover that the Ark could have floated.

Benjamin Jordan, 21, a student from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: “Using the dimensions of the Ark and the density of the water, we were able to calculate its buoyancy force, which, according to Archimedes’s principle, is equal to the weight of the volume of fluid the object displaces. This meant we were then able to estimate the total mass the Ark could support before the gravitational weight would overcome the buoyancy force, causing the Ark to sink.”

Researchers are confident Noah's Ark would have handled the weight of 70,000 animals Researchers are confident Noah’s Ark would have handled the weight of 70,000 animals without sinking. Photo / Thinkstock

Previous research has suggested that there were approximately 35,000 species that would have needed to be saved from floodwaters, enabling the students to make the calculations. The students had to swap gopher wood for cypress wood, as biblical experts continue to speculate as to what gopher wood might be. Some think it may just mean prepared planks.

Thomas Morris, 22, from Chelmsford, Essex, said: “You don’t think of the Bible necessarily as a scientifically accurate source of information, so I guess we were quite surprised when we discovered it would work. We’re not proving that it’s true, but the concept would definitely work.”

The students presented their findings in a paper for the Journal of Physics Special Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr Mervyn Roy, the course tutor, said: “The students are encouraged to be imaginative with their topics, and find ways to apply basic physics to the weird, the wonderful and the everyday.”

Article by Daily Telegraph UK

God of Science

God of Science

The God of Science

God of ScienceScience is a systematic knowledge of the physical or material universe gained by observable facts. The sacred writings of all world religions basically contain a system of faith. Yet each do make statements within the province of science that provides a uniquely valid test to prove their authenticity. If their scientific observations are in reality superstitions reflective of the culture in which they were written, these so called sacred books are disqualified as the inspired Scripture of God. If, indeed, the scientific observations of any of these purported Holy Scripture agree with the facts of science today, then that Bible is the inspired Word of a true and living God. Why? The Creator and God of the universe is the God of science — the author of the scientific laws that govern His universe. Only the God of science could cause scientific facts to be recorded in a book —the Bible — hundreds or thousands of years before scientists discover them.

Only the Bible contains scientific facts that anticipated scientific discovery by hundreds and in some cases several thousands of years. The following are examples of remarkable scientific observations found in the Bible.

What Holds the Earth Up?

What Holds Up The EarthThree thousand years ago the Hindu scriptures recorded the earth was resting on the backs of several huge elephants. The elephants were resting on the back of a very large turtle that was swimming in a sea. Greek mythology claims that the god Atlas was holding the earth on his shoulders. But our Bible says in Job 26:7 — “[God] hangeth the earth on nothing.” What a remarkable statement of fact. The earth is suspended in space. Nothing is holding it up. Job wrote about the same time the Hindu Scripture was written. How did Job know this scientific fact? Only God could have revealed this to Job. The Old Testament prophets wrote as they were moved by the holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Flat Versus Round Earth

For thousands of years people believed the earth was flat. If one went too far, he would fall over the edge. This was taught in both Hindu and Buddhist scripture. In the 1500s, the first ship sailed around the world. This proved the earth was round. But the round earth was recorded in the Bible long before man discovered it in the 1500s.

The prophet Isaiah (40:22) spoke of the “circle of the earth.” Solomon wrote, “He [God] set a compass [circle] upon the face of the deep.” Proverbs 8:27. In our century, Arabs spoke of infidels being pushed over the edge into space. About 3,000 years ago, our Bible said the earth was round. This was not discovered until 500 years ago. Indeed, the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Sun, Moon and Stars — Who? What?

Ancient people were afraid of the sun, moon and stars. They thought they were alive — that they were gods. But over 5,000 years ago, the Bible in the first chapter of Genesis pointed out that the sun, moon and stars were created by God. Remember, our God states that He is the one and only God. This proves the sun, moon and stars that He created are not gods.

Eclipses are an example of what people feared. An eclipse happens when the sun’s light is blocked by the earth or moon. The moon is bright because it reflects the sun’s light. But when the earth blocks that light, the moon looks like it is disappearing. Also, when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, it looks like the sun is disappearing.

This was frightening to people long ago. Some thought eclipses happened when the moon was mad at the earth and turned its face away. The Chinese believed that an eclipse was caused by a demon or some huge animal that ate the sun and then would give them up again. God told Jeremiah (10:2): “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.” God went on to reassure Jeremiah that the universe is under God’s control.

Later scientists learned that heavenly bodies were not alive and that man need not fear them. Thousands of years before scientists discovered that the planetary bodies were inanimate, the Bible contained this scientific fact.

The Bottom of the Ocean

The Bottom of the OceanUntil modern times people thought the ocean floor was sandy like the desert and saucer shaped—deepest in the middle. This was even true of the pre-1900 geologists. But in the 1900s oceanographers found the sea had many deep valleys or canyons. The deepest canyons were called trenches. The Marianas Trench in the Pacific is so deep that if Mt. Everest (29,000 feet high) was dropped into it, the peak would still be a mile below the water’s surface. There are also underwater mountains. The Atlantic Ocean contains an undersea range of mountains 10,000 miles long.

In addition, 3,000 years ago the Bible spoke of the valleys and mountains of the sea. In Psalm 18:15 David wrote of God being the creator of “the valleys of the sea.” God asked Job (38:16): “Have you walked in the recesses [valleys] of the sea?” The prophet Jonah was thrown off a ship and spoke of falling to the bottom of the mountains in the sea (Jonah 2:6).

The Bible spoke of the valleys and mountains of the sea thousands of years before scientists discovered them. Indeed our Bible is the inspired Word of God.

The Paths of the Sea

In the 1800s, Matthew Maury, an officer in the United States Navy believed his Bible. As a Christian he loved to read the Bible. One day Maury was reading about the dominion man was given over the animals in Psalm 8. He was amazed that verse 8 spoke of the fish and all creatures that swim in the “paths of the sea.” “Paths of the sea”— how could this be? He never knew there was such a thing. He was determined to find them. Maury discovered that the oceans have many paths or currents, which were like rivers flowing through the sea. Maury wrote the first book on oceanography and became known as “the pathfinder of the seas”— “The father of modern navigation.”

Maury received his idea about ocean currents from reading Psalm 8:8 which was written about 3,000 years ago by King David. David wrote as he was moved by the Spirit of God and probably never actually saw an ocean.

Incidentally, Psalm 8:8 also spoke of fish in the “paths of the seas.” All fishing boats make a good catch in the currents or paths of the sea. They have learned this is where the fish swim.

Lightning, Thunder and Rain

Lightening, Rain and ThunderIn ancient times, most religious scripture taught that lightning bolts were missiles thrown in anger by their gods. In China, Taoist scripture regarded the rainbow as a deadly rain dragon. In Confucius scripture, the goddess of lightning, Tien Mu, flashed light on intended victims to enable Lei Kung, the god of thunder to launch his deadly bolts accurately.

Since rain is so necessary to life, ancient people pondered what caused it. Some tried to stab holes in the clouds with spears. The Vedas (Hindu scripture) advised to tie a frog with its mouth open to the right tree and say the right words and rain would fall.

Our Bible also talks about rain, lightning and storms. But it contains none of these superstitious ideas found in the other so- called scriptures. The Bible taught that earth’s weather followed rules and cycles. Genesis 8:22. “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Job stated (28:26): “God made decrees [rules] for the rain. And He set a way for the lightning of the thunder:” Centuries later, scientists began to discern the “rules for the rain” that Job talked about. Rainfall is part of a process called the water cycle. Here’s how the cycle works. The sun evaporates water from the ocean. That water vapor rises and becomes clouds. This water in the clouds falls back to earth as rain, collects in streams and rivers and makes its way back to the ocean. That process repeats itself again and again.

About 300 years ago, Galileo discovered this cycle. But amazingly the Scriptures described this cycle centuries before. The prophet Amos (9:6) wrote that God “calls for the water of the sea. He pours them out on the land.” How did Amos know this? He wrote as he was moved by the Spirit of God.

Actually, scientists are just beginning to fully understand God’s “decrees or rules for the rain.” Since 68 BC it was thought that somehow thunder triggered the rainfall. Now scientists are beginning to realize that as stated in Job 28:26, it is lightning that triggers the rain to fall. Job knew this 3,000 years ago. Certainly his writings were inspired of God (2 Peter 1:21).

Pleiades, Orion and Arcturus

Remember the story of Job? Job was extremely wealthy — enjoying a wonderful family. Then tragedy struck. He lost his wealth. His children were killed and his wife deserted him. Then Job lay in excruciating pain, covered with sores from head to toe. All this was too much for Job. He accused the Lord of being unjust. God didn’t answer Job’s accusation directly. He merely raised questions concerning the wonders of His creation. Three of these questions found in Job 38:3132, illustrate the dynamic logic conveyed in God’s questions.

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?

ORION

Orion“Canst thou . . . loose the bands of Orion?” Garrett P. Serviss, the noted astronomer, wrote about the bands of Orion12in his book CURIOSITIES OF THE SKY.

At the present time this band consists of an almost perfect straight line, a row of second-magnitude stars about equally spaced and of the most striking beauty. In the course of time, however, the two right-hand stars, Mintaka and Alnilam, will approach each other and form a naked-eye double; but the third, Alnitak, will drift away eastward so that the band will no longer exist.

In other words, one star is traveling in a certain direction at a certain speed, a second one is traveling in a different direction at a second speed, and the third one is going in a third direction and at a still different speed. Actually every star in Orion is traveling its own course, independent of all the others. Thus, these stars that we see forming one of the bands of Orion are like three ships out on the high seas that happen to be in line at the present moment, but in the future will be separated by thousands of miles of ocean. In fact, all these stars that at the present time constitute the constellation of Orion are bound for different ports, and all are journeying to different corners of the universe, so that the bands are being dissolved.

THE PLEIADES

THE PLEIADES“Canst thou bind the sweet influence of the Pleiades . . . ?” Notice the amazing astronomical contrast with the Pleiades. The seven stars of the Pleiades are in reality a grouping of 250 suns. Photographs now reveal that 250 blazing suns in this group are all traveling together in one common direction. Concerning this cluster, Isabel Lewis of the United States Naval Observatory tells us:

Astronomers have identified 250 stars as actual members of this group, all sharing in a common motion and drifting through space in the same direction.

Elsewhere Lewis speaks of them as “journeying onward together through the immensity of space.”

From Lick Observatory came this statement of Dr. Robert J. Trumpler:

Over 25,000 individual measures of the Pleiades stars are now available, and their study led to the important discovery that the whole cluster is moving in a southeasterly direction. The Pleiades stars may thus be compared to a swarm of birds, flying together to a distant goal. This leaves no doubt that the Pleiades are not a temporary or accidental agglomeration of stars, but a system in which the stars are bound together by a close kinship.

Dr. Trumpler said that all this led to an important discovery. Without any reference whatsoever to the Book of Job, he announced to the world that these discoveries prove that the stars in the Pleiades are all bound together and are flying together like a flock of birds as they journey to their distant goal. That is exactly what God said. “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades?” In other words, Canst thou keep them bound together so that they remain as a family of suns?

INCREDIBLE! God’s laws of cosmology are loosing or dissolving the constellation Orion. Sometime in the far distant future, Orion will be no more. Conversely, wonder of wonders — every last one of the 250 blazing suns in the Pleiades are ordained of God to orbit together in their symmetrical beauty throughout eternity.

ARCTURUS

ARCTURUS“Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” Garrett P. Serviss wrote:

Arcturus, one of the greatest suns in the universe, is a runaway whose speed of flight is 257 miles per second. Arcturus, we have every reason to believe, possesses thousands of times the mass of our sun. Think of it! Our sun is traveling only 12 ? miles a second, but Arcturus is traveling 257 miles a second. Think then of the prodigious momentum this motion implies.

A further observation of Arcturus by Serviss reveals:

It could be turned into a new course by a close approach to a great sun, but it could only be stopped by collision head on with a body of enormous mass. Barring such accidents, it must, as far as we can see, keep on until it has traversed our stellar system, whence it may escape and pass out into space beyond to join perhaps one of those other island universes of which we have spoken.

Charles Burckhalter, of the Chabot Observatory, added an interesting note regarding this great sun:

This high velocity places Arcturus in that very small class of stars that apparently are a law unto themselves. He is an outsider, a visitor, a stranger within the gates; to speak plainly, Arcturus is a runaway. Newton gives the velocity of a star under control as not more than 25 miles a second, and Arcturus is going 257 miles a second. Therefore, combined attraction of all the stars we know cannot stop him or even turn him in his path.

When Mr. Burckhalter had his attention called to this text in the book of Job, he studied it in the light of modern discovery and made a statement that has attracted worldwide attention:

The study of the Book of Job and its comparison with the latest scientific discoveries has brought me to the matured conviction that the Bible is an inspired book and was written by the One who made the stars.

The wonders of God’s universe never cease to amaze us. Arcturus and his sons are individual runaway suns that seem to be out of orbit in our galaxy. Traveling at such incredible speeds, why don’t they crash with other suns or planets? Where are they headed? Only God knows. Indeed they are not runaways. They will not crash. Why? God is guiding them.

The Lesson of The Pleiades, Orion, and Arcturus

Few have suffered the multiple tragedies of Job. How could God reach through the enormity of Job’s self-pity? (Job thought God just didn’t care.) In these three questions (Job 38:3132) God is in reality saying:

Job, you think I am not concerned about your suffering. Well, let Me ask you these questions. Can you loose the bands of Orion? No, you cannot. But My Divine power will. Some day Orion will no longer exist. Job, can you bind the 250 stars of the Pleiades together in their symmetry of beauty and not have a single one drift off? Only I have this power and wisdom. Can you prevent the runaways — Arcturus and his sons — from colliding as they go dashing out of the Milky Way? No, only My Divine power and wisdom can.

Job, if I am caring for the details of the universe, do you doubt that I not only care for the details of your life, but I have the ability to solve your problems? Trust that there is a good reason I am permitting these tragedies. Remember, Job, I work from the perspective of your eternal welfare.

What an awesome way God chose to tell Job that He was in full control of human affairs, including Job’s life!

The Lesson of Job for Us

Some write off the history of Job as Old Testament folklore. Whoever heard of God talking to a man! These are hand-me-down tales! However, the account of Job cannot be gainsaid. Whatever the method of communication used by God, the astonishing facts cannot be refuted. These scientific facts recorded in the book of Job concerning the Pleiades, Orion and Arcturus anticipated scientific discovery by nearly 3,000 years. Scientists only discovered these startling facts in the Twentieth Century, yet they were recorded in the book of Job nearly 3000 years ago. What an awesome confirmation of the Bible! Who can doubt the Bible is the inspired word of God? Yes, the book of Job has a powerful, exclusive lesson for modern man. Twentieth Century science has proven God’s Word, the Bible, is true.

Other Sacred Books and the Physical Sciences

The Hindu scriptures, the Vedas and Uparushads, consider that “all the objects and phenomena of nature which man is surrounded, are animate and divine.” This includes the sun, moon, earth, clouds, rain, rivers, seas and rocks as being alive. Writers of the Buddhist canon also ascribe life to numerous non-living objects— sun, moon, lightning, rainbows, mountains, etc. The Taoist and Confucian writings of China contain similar errors.

The Koran, the scripture of Islam, written 1,500 years after the Hindu scripture, does not contain many of the ancient superstitions. Yet its observations of the universe are seriously flawed. The Koran speaks of seven literal heavens which are solid. These heavens contain lamps or stars whose main purpose is to be “darted at the devils.” Mohammed wrote that “the sun sets in a sea of black mud.”

Which Bible is Inspired by a Living God?

God’s Word the Bible made scientific observations that were confirmed centuries later by modern science, while the sacred scripture of other world religions merely reflected the scientific superstitions of their culture. How could the Biblical Scripture anticipate scientific discovery by 3,000 years? The Bible was written by men who were inspired by the Creator and God of the Universe — the God of science. Only God’s Word the Bible is the Divine Revelation provided by our infinite Creator to direct us in the path to eternity.

22 The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

22 The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

22 The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

Bible and Science – The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD (Isaiah 1:18).

22 The Conclusion of the Whole MatterScience cannot prove there is a God, but neither can it establish the atheist’s opposite contention. Conversely religion cannot dismiss the findings of scientific inquiry without incurring ridicule. We have maintained throughout these articles that the pursuit of both scientific and Biblical wisdom is a valid path to travel if we seek to understand the nature of the universe and our place in it. It isn’t an either/or proposition as far as I am concerned. One shouldn’t be forced to choose one road or the other, which unfortunately are the alternatives often presented, especially to young people.

Scientists differ in their views

Some would picture science as providing a completely rational and deterministic worldview in which all things are capable of being understood. The theories of science are presumed to always be verifiable by experimentation with no need to invoke faith or a higher power to explain our existence. Religious men and women on the other hand are often inclined to dismiss science as a tool of godless men intent on defaming the word of God. Indeed the statements of some scientists could lead religious-minded people to despair and sorrow. One well-known Nobel laureate, Professor Steven Weinberg1 has written: The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.2 In a later work by the same author he is even more persistent in his attack on any attempt to reconcile God and science.3As far as I know, from reading his works, Dr. Weinberg appears to be an honorable and sincere person who is certainly entitled to his opinions. Though statements like this get a lot of publicity, such conclusions should not be construed to be the definitive collective view of all scientists.

Another Nobel laureate, Professor Charles Townes, takes quite the opposite point of view on the relationship between religion and science.Townes has written: Many people don’t realize that science basically involves assumptions and faith. But nothing is absolutely proved. He has also written: Wonderful things in both science and religion come from our efforts based on observations, thoughtful assumptions, faith and logic. He [Townes] said that, with the findings of modern physics, it seems extremely unlikely that the existence of life is ‘just accidental.’5

Scientific theories constantly challenged

I cite these diametrically contrary views from two very distinguished Nobel laureates to illustrate it is simply not true that scientists have a uniform outlook on the relationship between science and religion.

What causes this dichotomy? The simple answer is that when insufficient data is available it is nearly impossible to achieve a definitive model that nearly all scientists will accept. This is to be expected; it is inherent in the scientific method that ongoing inquiries will continue, new ideas will be tested and methods for checking them devised. In the end, scientists are no better or worse than any other profession, but there is one facet of the scientific process that is unique; the openness that continually subjects ideas to peer scrutiny. If a scientific model is flawed or limited in its scope, sooner or later it will be exposed.

Newton challenged by Einstein

At one time physicists believed that the universe was infinite in scale because it was known via Newton’s laws that a finite universe was unstable and would eventually collapse due to mutual gravitational attraction. Only an infinite universe was thought capable of avoiding this so-called “big crunch.” The principle that matter could neither be created nor destroyed in an experiment, a concept that came out of 19th century chemistry laboratories, argued for an eternal universe, i.e. one that had always existed.

Theoretical and experimental discoveries by Einstein and many others in the 20th century showed that matter could indeed be created and destroyed with powerful consequences, eventually leading to the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Observations on the motions of galaxies by Hubble, and the startling discovery by Penzias and Wilson of the universal background radiation that is the afterglow of the “big bang” initiating event that created our universe, killed once and for all the idea that the cosmos had always existed.

Remarkably, these modern scientific findings were perfectly in accord with the utterances of the Holy Bible, which clearly states that the universe had a beginning (Gen. 1:1) and implies that the matter in the universe came from nothing physically tangible, other than the power (energy?) supplied by the Lord God (Gen. 1:3 and Heb. 11:3).

Biblical account should be accepted

Given this concord between some of the most important scientific findings of the 20th century and the scriptures, one can only wonder why more researchers don’t acknowledge that there is something very special in the word of God as revealed in the Bible.

What is the reason for this genuine lack of universal acceptance of the Biblical story of creation? A possible answer is that it takes more evidence to convince some people than others, which is why on a jury panel it is often difficult to get all 12 people to vote the same way even though all have been exposed to the same facts. That is why there are so many different Christian sects in the world.

The Bible believer is at least in a somewhat more unified position than the skeptical scientist. I have to believe that at the very least, all who profess themselves to be practicing Christians, Jews or Moslems, no matter what else their differences might be, all accept the Genesis creation story as being true. Hopefully, indeed prayerfully, it is my desire that further scientific studies will remove any ambiguities from the minds of those not willing to accept the Biblical account at face value.

The god of chance

What is the alternative model that is postulated by scientists who reject the idea of a God of creation to explain the universe and of man’s place in it? The only possible response is the god of chance! The basic premise is that given a long enough time period anything that could happen, will happen.

Gamow6 produced the simile of a bevy of monkeys pounding randomly on typewriters and presumed that eventually, given eons of time, the results of their actions could explain how order could come out of chaos. Naturally, most of what they would produce on the pages in their typewriters would be gibberish (I guess today we would need to update this to word processing on their computers!), but buried in the nonsense would be all the sonnets and plays of Shakespeare as well as all the other works of literature ever written. By analogy we were led to believe that the same random chance interactions of matter and energy could account for the universe.

Similar thinking was applied to the creation of life via the chance collisions of chemicals in a primordial stew energized by lighting. We were not supposed to need a specific creator and any hint of “intelligent design” in the universe was unnecessary. The flaw in the argument is obvious – who was responsible for designing and building the typewriters (or computers) and who created the monkeys in the first place?

I am of course being facetious, but in the end the idea of randomness and pure chance as the operating mechanisms that explain the creation of the universe and of life on this planet cannot be proved and rests entirely on faith.

Physical scientists see need of God

In the physical sciences the extreme orderliness and precision of the laws of universe have led many researchers to accept the possible existence of a higher power. The physicist Paul Davies has written, Nevertheless, though science may explain the world, we still have to explain science. The laws which enable the universe to come into being spontaneously seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us.7

Many other analogous examples could be cited from the writings of physical scientists. On the other hand I have had great difficulty finding anything comparable from the evolutionary biology community. Their basic premise seems to be that the great god “chance” has produced everything in spite of the fact that many long standing, nagging, unexplained questions remain which could easily be reconciled by at least the smallest nod to the mechanism of “intelligent design.”

Folly of rejecting a creator

The dilemma of the biological sciences is that removing Darwin’s two basic premises of gradual evolutionary change and natural selection leaves one without any other alternative except invoking a higher power. When this is pointed out, the person is immediately dubbed a “scientific heretic” because invoking “intelligent design” is considered beyond the pale of experimental verification. However, so is invoking the god of chance or accident.

The idea that the origin of life on this planet and its subsequent development came about by a series of pure accidents is touted with a straight face by evolutionists in spite of a plethora of contrary evidence. From the very beginning Darwin noted that explaining an organ of great complexity, such as the eye, was a major difficulty in his model. The fact that some creatures function with less than fully developed eyes is not a proof that evolution produced the complex vision mechanisms found in almost all living beings. The chain of evidence simply doesn’t exist.

Other difficulties cited earlier in these articles are equally compelling in raising strong doubts about the validity of evolutionary arguments. For example, it would be helpful if evolutionists explained why the origin of DNA and subsequent living cells came about in apparent violation of the second law of thermodynamics. As far as I know this has never been explained and if there are any laws in physics that we can absolutely trust it is those articulated in the precepts of thermodynamics. I could also mention the difficulties in explaining speciation and sexual differentiation, which are still styled as “mysteries” in evolutionary literature. In fact, it is ironic that often I find evolutionists using terminology in their writings usually associated with “mystery” religious cults.

Sad consequence of rejecting the Creator

Where does all this lead us? The scriptures tell us: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom.1:20). The Lord of the universe expects us to acknowledge Him by the evidence plainly visible in His creation.

The sad consequence of ignoring this connection and attributing the natural world instead to the god of chance is that it removes any personal responsibility for men and women to search for truth in the things of the spirit. As the Apostle Paul said almost 2,000 years ago to the people of Athens on Mars Hill, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27).

It has also undermined the linkage between morality and faith. While some high-minded individuals can certainly be atheists and at the same time moral people, the fact remains it is far more common that accepting the god of chance and dismissing the creator leads to an attitude of mind that concludes, if there is no future hope, then “What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die” (I Cor.15:32). Thus, dismissing the creator leads to the inevitable outcome that many think the wisest course of action is to get all you can now no matter how you have to obtain it. The moral consequences are painfully evident in the scandals of the corporate world, the breakdown of family life and the general malaise in people’s lives because of the lack of hope in the future.

The Bible says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The author of Hebrews goes on to tell us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6 NIV). This connection between faith in the creator and the hope of a future reward is critical; destroy the former and the latter vanishes.

What will it be then? The God of Creation as revealed in the Holy Bible, or the god of chance proposed by the wisdom of men to explain the seemingly unexplainable? The scriptures offer us a better way for we are told, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory [over death] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (I Cor.15:57NIV).

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

 [This concludes the Bible and Science Series]

Footnotes

1 Steven Weinberg shared the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his work in high-energy physics.

2 Steven Weinberg, in The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe, 2nd Paperback edition, Pub. by Basic Books, New York, (1993). Originally published in 1977.

3 “The more we refine our understanding of God to make the concept plausible, the more it seems pointless.” Quoted from Steven Weinberg, in Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist’s Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature, Pub. Pantheon Books, New York, (1992).

4 Charles Townes, co-inventer of the laser, shared the Nobel prize in 1964.

5 As reported in the Toronto Star, March 10, 2005, in an article reporting on Dr. Townes receiving the Templeton Prize, which is awarded annually for progress or research in spiritual matters.

6 George Gamow, One, Two, Three…Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science, Dover Publications, Mineola, NY, (1988). [This is a republication of the (1961) Viking edition].

7 Paul Davies, Superforce, Simon and Schuster, New York, (1984), pg. 273. (These are in fact the concluding words of his book).

21 Upon the Mountains of Ararat

21 Upon the Mountains of Ararat

21 Upon the Mountains of Ararat

Bible and Science – Upon the Mountains of Ararat

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Gen. 8:4)

21 Upon the Mountains of AraratIf the deluge in Noah’s day was just a local flood compassing only the Tigris/Euphrates river valleys, how then did Noah’s ark end up in the mountains of Ararat far north of the Persian Gulf outlets of these two waterways? Bible skeptics dismiss the Ararat beaching claiming it is obviously a mistake, or an exaggeration and instead suggest that Noah’s barge came to rest on an island in the Tigris/Euphrates delta or beyond. They confine the Genesis flood to the Tigris/Euphrates region and presume that only a small number of people died, namely, those living near the rivers who did not have sufficient time to escape to higher ground. Bible skeptics downgrade the period of rain from 40 days and nights to 6 days and nights, preferring the Gilgamesh account to Genesis. Their arguments hinge on the assertion that such a prolonged period of rain would not be consistent with the climate of Mesopotamia. An attack is also made on the biblical record of the size, shape and carrying capacity of Noah’s Ark. Finally, they make the point that archaeological evidence proving the deluge appears to be lacking.

This chapter will consider the validity of the arguments of Bible skeptics who diminish every aspect of the account of the flood in Genesis, but cannot deny the overwhelming historical memory of a gigantic deluge that is ingrained in the cultures of people all over the globe. I will not attempt to address the extreme form of Bible critic who dismisses the entire scriptures as mere myth and legend. Such a person is beyond the scope of consideration in these essays (though it is hoped that the rationality of the arguments presented might persuade them to examine further the claims of the scriptures). These writings are aimed at the person who respects equally the Bible and science, realizing that the Lord God is the author of both (Psa. 89:11; Psa. 104:24; I Cor. 14:33).

The extent of the flood

Let us revisit the extent of the deluge. In the previous article (Noah and the Deluge) we presented evidence that the flood was neither global, nor did it cover Mount Everest. However, the other side of the coin is not necessarily a local flood confined to the Tigris/Euphrates valleys. The Bible record says that it rained forty days and forty nights (Gen. 7:4, 12) and that the fountains of the great deep were broken up (Gen. 7:11). What does this mean in terms of the possible extent and severity of the deluge?

Skeptics ask: where did all the water come from and where did it go?

  1. a) Rainfall

We can dismiss the notion that it rained only 6 days and nights as told in the Gilgamesh epic. That epic is so replete with exaggeration and tales of multiple pagan gods doing magical things that we can safely say it is unreliable. Given the authenticity of the scriptures that has been verified over and over again by historical and archaeological evidence, to say nothing of the moral and prophetic word that is unique, there is every reason for us to accept the 40-day/night-rainfall period specified in Genesis. Consider the result of such a rainfall. The atmosphere of this planet can absorb water vapor from the seas to an extent limited by solar energy. We can reasonably estimate the maximum severity of a possible storm by checking the historical weather records. For example, one of the largest storms ever recorded was tropical cyclone Domoina, which poured 21.34 inches of rain in a 24-hour period measured by the gauges at the Cape St. Lucia lighthouse on January 31, 1984.1 Since 1 inch of rain equals 12 inches of snowfall the Domoina cyclone was equivalent to receiving 244 inches of snow in my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan in one day! While one might say that this is unlikely, nevertheless it did happen to St. Lucia. One can see that this is a truly enormous amount of precipitation for a twenty-four hour period and a lot of energy had to be poured into that storm.

What if such a storm continued for 40 days and 40 nights? Impossible? In California, a region of the United States with weather patterns not markedly different from Mesopotamia, starting on December 24, 1861, rain continued unabated for almost four consecutive weeks. This weather event has been called the “Great Flood.” By the time it had finished, it had created an inland sea in Orange County in Southern California that took many weeks to drain. Hundreds of miles to the north, the entire Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, to an extent of 250 to 300 miles long, overflowed their banks to a breadth averaging 20 miles. With such tremendous climatic events as the Domoina cyclone and the Great Flood, it is not hard to either imagine, or scientifically acknowledge, that a God-driven rain of 40 days and nights would have had a devastating effect.

If rainfall continued daily at the level of the Domoina event, at the end of 40 days, roughly 68 feet of precipitation would have fallen. In reality, given the runoff from the mountain streams at the headwaters of the Tigris/Euphrates rivers (and perhaps other river valleys, eg. Nile, Ganges, etc.), and the concomitant melting of the snow caps, the flood crest downstream would have been a number of times higher than the total amount of precipitation. Such a fierce storm need not be confined to a small region.

The area covered by such storms should be a familiar occurrence to people who live along the eastern seaboard of North America where tropical hurricanes can originate in the Caribbean Sea and sweep along the entire east coast up to Nova Scotia, a breath of a couple of thousand miles. Thus a “perfect” storm of the magnitude specified in Genesis could easily have encompassed people living from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Western Indian Ocean and everywhere in between. Nothing in the path of such a storm could have survived in that age unless they were in an Ark prepared by God.

  1. b) Fountains of the deep

The scriptures tell us that God prepared far more than just a severe storm to carry out His purpose of completely destroying an evil generation. We are told that the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up (Gen. 7:11). The word “broken” as rendered in the Authorized Version literally means “crumble” or “broken to pieces”.This could possibly refer to subterranean earthquakes in the Indian Ocean, Arabian and Mediterranean seas that would have inundated coastal inhabitants with massive Tsunami’s more powerful than the one that struck the nations on the perimeter of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004.3

Recent explorations have turned up direct evidence that the Black Sea (which lies north and west of the Mountains of Ararat) was once a fertile valley inhabited by many people (see map inset).Geological studies of the Black Sea done by the Russian research vessel Aquanaut have revealed that this region was once a much smaller fresh water lake hundreds of feet below the present sea level. The shore line of that lake was surrounded with villages and core samples estimate an age (via radioactive Carbon dating) that places the demise of those cultures around the same time as generally accepted for Noah’s deluge, roughly 5000 years ago. Further studies of the flow patterns and geology of the straits of the Bosporus (the six-mile wide channel connecting the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, see map inset) led the authors of “Noah’s Flood” to conclude that this strait was once a closed, land-locked barrier. The crumbling of this barrier would have sent a wall of water six miles in width initially (but spreading as it followed the contour of the Black Sea basin) and hundreds of feet high. With all the pressure of the vast Mediterranean Sea behind it, this massive flume of water would have raced at speeds comparable to a Tsunami and annihilated all the habitations in the forefront of its path. Ryan and Pittman estimate that “the Bosporus flume roared and surged at full spate for at least three hundred days”.Everything in its path would have been swept from west to east towards the Mountains of Ararat. If Noah and his family lived in that Black Sea basin, it would explain very nicely how he ended up in the Mountains of Ararat, something that would be nearly impossible if he had simply ridden out a flood in the Tigris/Euphrates basin.

The Bible never actually says where Noah lived prior to the flood and Josephus claims that Noah and his sons had immigrated from their original habitation because of the wickedness of the people in that abode and sought refuge elsewhere (the Black Sea basin?) only to find that place evil also.6 If the Black Sea basin is where Noah built the ark, and the collapse of the Bosporus land bridge and the enormous storm mentioned earlier happened together, then it is entirely natural that he would have ended up in the Mountains of Ararat. It is also reasonable that it would be some nine months or more [Gen. 7:11 8:4, 5] before he would have a hint of abatement of the flood from his perspective. By that time, the Bosporus flume would have settled and the modern day salt water Black sea have been created.

The answer to the skeptics’ question of where did all the water come from and go has a logical outcome. The schematic map inset illustrates the inhabited part of the world that was most likely inundated by the deluge.The flood of Noah’s day happened through a miraculous confluence of events that are nevertheless entirely plausible and within the realm of scientific evidence.

Skeptics doubt that the size of the Ark was correct

One particularly cantankerous website doubts that a wooden boat the size specified in Genesis would have held together under the stresses of the deluge.8 This commentary goes on to dispute almost every aspect of the Bible story of the ark from its carrying capacity to the ability to load so many animals from far and wide in such a short time. If you believe that Noah did everything single-handedly without the aid of the almighty God, then indeed you could have a problem with a literal interpretation. However, let us consider a few facts about this Ark. First, it was designed with almost the perfect ratio of length to breath 6:1 (300 cubits long by 50 cubits broad), which made for great stability in the water (Gen. 6:15). It was only 30 cubits high and hence had a low center of gravity thus stabilizing it from pitching side to side. How did Noah arrive at these numbers if not by the grace of God? The Gilgamesh Epic, by contrast, has the hero, Utnaphistim, sailing in a perfect cube shaped vessel, which would be completely unseaworthy.

The ark was sealed with bitumen for waterproofing and the interior decks acted as cross bracing for added strength. Finally, there were no breaks in the side of the hull that could have acted as stress concentrator, which could have lead to a failure of the ship.9 The only place where this was possible was at the entry door and the Scriptures are careful to tell us that God sealed that door for protection (Gen. 7:16).

If the flood covered the entire habitable region from the western Mediterranean to as far east as India and north to south from the Black Sea valley to the shores of equatorial Africa, then hundreds of thousands of square miles would have been inundated. The ark was certainly big enough to carry animals and feed so that, in the post-diluvian world, the environmental balance between the land and animals in the vast flooded area would be quickly restored. There is no doubt that the ark was essential and technically capable of its intended purpose.

Skeptics decry the apparent lack of archaeological evidence proving the flood

The problem of finding archaeological evidence becomes acute if you accept the views of creationists that world population at the time of Noah was somewhere between one billion and as high as nine billion or more.10 Finding the remnants of such large populations destroyed from the flood should have left telltale signs all over the globe. On the other hand, the United States Government Census Bureau has compiled historic world population levels and gives a figure of approximately 14 million as reasonable for 3000 BC.11 A population of this level would surely have spread beyond the Tigris/Euphrates basin in search of fresh water and arable land. They would have sought out other areas such as the fresh water lake that comprised the Black Sea depression prior to the flood. The Nile valley and the Ganges in India would also have been primary habitable possibilities.

The systematic geological and oceanographic studies reported by Ryan and Pitman12 in their book make a good case for definitive proof of a massive deluge destroying the Black Sea basin and their dating is consistent with the biblical story of Noah. The archaeologist Woolley found evidence of a dense layer of flood deposited silt with civilized occupations above and below at the ancient site of Ur of the Chaldees.13 Dating of this layer was consistent with the time of the Biblical deluge. This caused a world-wide sensation at the time, but subsequent excavations at Kish by others did not find corroborative evidence. However, exploration specifically seeking to map out the possible extent of a deluge at the time of Noah throughout Mesopotamia has never been done on anywhere near the scale as in the studies in the Black Sea, where dozens of sites were examined all over the sea basin.

It is also obvious that finding silt deposits in a region where a flood surge came roaring down a vast river valley would leave areas where silt would build up and others where the power of the flow of the raging rivers would have scoured the land. Where one would find silt layers attributable to Noah’s time would depend on the local terrain 5,000 years ago, and what happened in those regions in the intervening period down to our present times.

What we can say for sure is that there are indeed bits and pieces of evidence that a massive flood occurred at the time of Noah from a region encompassing the Black Seato several thousand miles south and east including the Tigris/Euphrates valley. More definitive evidence for a wider extent of the biblical deluge awaits serious dedicated archaeological digs over a wider area of the globe.

The bottom line is that it is reasonable to conclude the biblical deluge covered the entire area of the habitable world at the time of Noah, roughly 3000 BC. Such a flood would have been sufficient to accomplish exactly the purpose of the Lord God, namely to destroy a world filled with violence and make a new beginning with righteous Noah and his heirs. To presume more or less than this, I will leave to the reader’s own conscience.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Saint   Lucia is an island nation in the southeastern West Indies lying in the Caribbean sea almost due north of Venezuela. Its average annual rainfall is only about 100 inches. Worldbook Encyclopedia Electronic edition, article by Gerald R. Showalter.

2 “broken” = see Strong’s No. 1751.

3 “A wave of biblical proportions”, read the headline on page 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, February 18, 2005 in referring to the Indian Ocean event of December 26, 2004.

4 William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah’s Flood, Touchstone edition, Simon and Schuster Pub., New   York, (2000).

ibid pg.249.

6 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, in “The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, Translated by William Whiston, The John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia, (1957), pgs. 35-39.

7 The land area of the region shown on the schematic map comprises a little over 4 million square miles.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#building. Article by Mark Isaak, Problems with a Global Flood, 2nd Edition, Copyright © 1998.

9 In World War II the United States made Liberty cargo ships that had a notch cut-out midship to facilitate loading. In cold weather and heavy seas this caused ships to literally split in two. This was not a design flaw made in Noah’s Ark!

10 Such a huge population being destroyed by God with only eight being saved seems monstrous; surely Christian thinking has faith in a more merciful LORD or we are without hope ourselves.

11 Colin McEvedy, and Richard Jones, 1978, “Atlas of World Population History,” Facts on File, New   York, pp. 342-351.

12 See Reference 4.

13 Sir Leonard Woolley, (1880-1960), was a British archaeologist who performed excavations at Ur between 1922 and 1934 where he found geological support for a great flood, possibly the Biblical Deluge.

20 Noah and the Deluge

20 Noah and the Deluge

20 Noah and the Deluge

Bible and Science – Noah and the Deluge

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Gen. 6:7, 8).

20 Noah and the DelugeThe story of Noah and the flood is probably one of the most well-known sagas in the Bible. Many great works of art, books, movies, TV specials and children’s toys celebrate the event. There was a time in the heyday of Bible criticism in the 19th century that pundits relegated the story of Noah and the flood to myth and legend, but that is certainly no longer true. Biblical, historical and geological evidence today are so compelling that the only argument that remains is the extent of the flood. However, before we focus on the contentious issue of the extent let us first review the persuasive scriptural and historical evidence of the certainty of a massive deluge, the likes of which the earth has not seen since, that annihilated all humanity save eight souls.

Referred to throughout scripture

The existence of the patriarch Noah and the events associated with his calling are amply spelled out in the scriptures in Genesis chapters 6 – 10, and in many other places in both the Old and New Testaments. The name Noah means rest and he is indeed appropriately named.He provided a “rest” for his family and through his righteousness we can be thankful for the continued existence of the human race.

Noah’s name is evoked by the prophet Isaiah to confirm God’s mercy (Isa. 54:9). He is mentioned by Ezekiel as a notable illustration of righteousness (Ezek.14:14, 20). Noah is held up as one of the heroes of the faith by the author of Hebrews (Heb. 11:7) and the deluge story is confirmed once again by the writings of the apostle Peter (I Peter 3:20; II Peter 2:5). Noah is also mentioned in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke3:36).

What absolutely clinches it for any believing Christian is the endorsement of our Lord, who uses Noah as an exhortation in watchfulness that could well apply to these latter days (Matt. 24:37-38; Luke 17:26,27). There is also a parallel between Jesus and Noah that is understood when we realize Noah provided a refuge, a rest, from the judgments of the Almighty in his day and likewise the Lord Jesus Christ will provide the ultimate rest for the righteous in the kingdom of God: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God (Heb. 4:9).

Thus, while one might quibble about some of the details, from the Biblical point of view, the existence of a man of righteousness called Noah and the story associated with his construction of a gigantic ark for preserving his family and animal life from a massive deluge is beyond question. What about the historical evidence?

Extra-biblical evidence

The historical evidence is extensive; more than 100 “deluge” stories have been documented from cultures spanning the globe.2 The most famous of these tales was recorded sometime between 2000 and 1700 B.C. and is part of what is known as the “Gilgamesh” epic. In the years 1852 and 1853, the British archeologists Layard and Rassam excavated the library of the Assyrian King Ashur-bani-pal (668-627 B.C.) at his palace in Nineveh (near modern day Mosul in Iraq). The collection of that library consisted of 25,073 cuneiform tablets, which are now in the possession of the British Museum in London. Gilgamesh was a legendary Sumerian king of Erech who ruled in Mesopotamia prior to the conquest by the Babylonians. Tablet XI of the history of this king is on view at the British Museum; a portion of the description accompanying this display reads: “…(this tablet) describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land.”3

There are remarkable similarities in the two accounts of Noah and Utnapishtim, which leads one to believe the two stories derive from the same ancient root. The detailed similarities and differences between the Biblical and Sumerian accounts have been spelled out elsewhere and will not be repeated here.4 However, the key factor that makes these comparable accounts interesting from the viewpoint of a Bible believer is not so much their similarity, but rather a couple of the startling differences, namely the cause of the great deluge and the ultimate fate of the survivors of the flood.

In the Gilgamesh epic, the cause of the flood is attributed to the rashness of the god Enlil, who apparently gets into a dispute with other gods and mankind pays the price. In the Biblical account, mankind is punished for extraordinary wickedness and Noah is saved because of his righteousness. As in many pagan legends, the Utnapishtim tale displays the capriciousness of the gods and the apparent innocence of humankind. The Bible account argues for the responsibility of mankind to obey spiritual principles laid down in each dispensation by our heavenly Father. After their survival, the result for our two heroes is completely different. Utnapishtim and his wife become one with the immortal gods, but Noah and his family are commanded, in words echoing that spoken earlier to Adam and Eve, simply to renew man’s history on this planet (Gen. 8:17).

How extensive was the flood?

The extent of the flood is the only area of dispute. On one extreme of opinion are those who limit the flood to a local overflowing of the region bounded by the Tigrus and Euphrates rivers. On the other extreme, are those who believe the flood was not only global but also was part of a cataclysm that fully explains the current geology of the earth. The problem with both of these views is that there is little scientific evidence that can clearly back up and prove either one. Bible skeptics will say we have never seen a global flood and the geological evidence for such is lacking. The cataclysm people will cite a global flood and use it to explain everything in geology from the erosion that produced the magnificence of the Grand Canyon to the mechanism that accounts for the extinction of dinosaurs. Of course, both of these views cannot be right. In fact, both of them may be wrong! Let us try to examine rationally what is the hard logical evidence involved.

Two of the leading supporters of a global flood and great cataclysm are Whitcomb and Morris, who give a number of reasons why they believe in a global flood and earth-altering cataclysm, and the reader is referred to this reference for full details.5,6 In contrast to this is the view of skeptics who generally attack every aspect of the story, seeking to diminish in terms of size, scope and impact.7 This chapter will restrict itself to examining the point of view of Whitcomb and Morris and others of a similar opinion.

Supposition 1.

World population was sufficiently large and dispersed, requiring a truly global flood.

Neither the Bible nor any other historical record indicates what the population of the world was roughly 5,000 years ago. In order to estimate the population of the world at that time, the school of Whitcomb and Morris have resorted to statistics. The demographic formulas are well known and given the proper input should give reasonable results. However, this begs the question: Just what are the reasonable parameters to assume? We need to know the birth and death rates, and the average length of time for a generation to pass. Those making a case generously assume numbers that are favorable to their arguments based on the Biblical records of long lifetimes prior to the flood and using current values of population expansion.

With these ideas in mind Whitcomb and Morris8 estimate the world population at the time of Noah at over a billion beings and, with a slight adjustment in the input values, another of their opinion gets a figure of nine billion or more!9 This latter figure is almost 50% higher than the population of the world today.

The argument for an extremely large and dispersed population at the time of Noah simply does not seem reasonable based on the following:

  1. The world population at the time of Christ, almost three thousand years from the flood, was only 200 to 300 million.10Using the Bible’s own time scale the time from Noah to Christ was nearly twice that from Adam to Noah. How then could the world population have been 5 to 30 times greater at the time of the flood?
  2. With regard to population growth rates we know again from the Bible record that Noah was six hundred years old and had only three sons at the time of the deluge (the same number of sons that I had in 33 years). This argues for long generational time scales and birth rates that aren’t completely out of line with modern man. With assumptions along this line one would find that a population level of a few tens of millions (at most) would be more reasonable.
  3. Another fact that would argue against billions of human beings living at the time of Noah is that food supply, not birth rate, would be the determining factor on population limit. How could a billion or more humans have found sufficient food resources given the level of ancient agricultural knowledge? Even with all our modern technology it would be nearly impossible to feed the 9 billion or more people assumed in some texts.
  4. If the world population at the time of Noah was indeed greater than a billion or more people, one would expect that archaeological efforts would have long ago uncovered evidence for such. Such large-scale populations would have left behind telltale signs of their existence. I haven’t located a single piece of archaeological evidence in the literature to support the large population claim.

Supposition 2.

The ark was big enough to carry all animal species that lived on this planet.

The ark as described in Genesis was indeed a very large ship even by modern standards and its volume capacity of 1,518,750 cu. ft. with 101,250 sq. ft. of deck space on its three decks rivals that of modern ocean going transports. The ark needed no space for propulsion, nor any other kind of mechanicals, hence the claim that it could have held and fed 37,000 species is not unreasonable. Let us examine further the claim that all animal species on earth were represented on the ark.

  1. It has been asserted that 37,000 species could fit on the ark. This is based on the assumption that from about a million species on earth one could discount those able to survive the flood without the aid of Noah. However, as we have shown in earlier chapters, the actual number of species on earth is nearly 10 million, nearly ten times that assumed by Whitcomb and Morris. Even discounting all aquatic species the capacity of the ark would be hard pressed to have taken aboard representatives of all of these.
  2. Then there is the question of dinosaurs. To justify both their young earth and global flood claims and at the same time explain the fossil remains of all the various dinosaurs, it is claimed that they, too, were on the ark (as babies!). The usual justification for this is Genesis 6:4, There were giants in the earth in those days. But the word “giant”in this verse refers to the character of the leaders in that age rather than the size of any animal. The Hebrew text here refers to tyrants11 and is no doubt connected with the cause of the flood that the earth was filled with violence (Gen. 6:11, 13), i.e. due to spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). Dinosaurs then supposedly died out after the flood from the changed climatic conditions. Unfortunately the fossil evidence just doesn’t justify the assertion that this species co-existed with modern man.
  3. We also have to consider the evidence from fossil distributions of marsupials (animals that bear their young in pouches, such as the kangaroo). There is absolutely no evidence of fossil remains of this species of animal in Europe, Asia or Africa. It is assumed that they travelled to the ark over a land bridge from Australia; however, the land bridge would have disappeared after the flood. If it was global and oceans rose to their present level, how did they get back?12

Supposition 3:

The waters of the flood covered the highest mountains.

The text of the King James Version says: Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered (Gen. 7:20). However, the same exact Hebrew word is translated as hills in the previous verse. To make a case for covering Mount Everest, for example, we would need a flood level of greater than 29,000 ft.! How could this happen and where did all the water go afterward?

  1. The explanation is that prior to the flood the earth was covered with a canopy cloud cover that held a vast amount of water. The forty days and nights of rain unleashed a torrent that, combined with waters from the fountains of the deep, inundated the earth, covering even Mt. Everest. The existence of such a canopy cloud cover at the time of Noah was simply not possible. We know that mankind practiced normal agricultural methods from the time of Cain, who was a tiller of the soil, onwards. If a cloud cover dense enough to carry the amount of water required by Whitcomb and Morris existed in Noah’s day, nothing on earth could have received sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis to work, to say nothing of the lack of vitamin D conversion necessary for human beings to exist.
  2. To account for covering the highest mountains and at the same time trying to explain what happened after the flood, it is usually asserted that the mountains were much smaller and the oceans very shallow prior to Noah. If this is true it flies in the face of a vast amount of geological evidence. It also contradicts some of the very assumptions made by the school of Whitcomb and Morris as we already showed above in discussing supposed marsupial migrations.

Supposition 4:

When Genesis records that all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered it literally meant that the entire planet including Australia, North and South America, etc.

At first glance, the Mosaic account certainly seems to be literally saying that ALL the continents from Asia to the Americas were covered with water sufficient to submerge the highest mountain. However, we have to bear in mind that “the narrative is intended only to represent things as they appeared to the Noachic survivors.”13 When Moses said that God would put the dread of thee (Israel) and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven….(Deut. 2:25), did that literally happen to all nations on the earth or only those in contact with Israel? Again when the apostle Paul said that the gospel was preached to every creature which is under heaven (Col. 1:23), did he mean this in an absolute sense or not? There are many other examples in the scripture where things are meant in a relative sense even though the strict literalist might think otherwise, e.g. Mark 16:15, Acts 2:17, and others. I think it is reasonable to conclude that the account in Genesis is also speaking in a relative sense in terms of its extent.

In sum, the Whitcomb and Morris model of a global cataclysm with a flood covering even the highest mountains doesn’t hold water. It requires God completely rearranging the earth with vast alterations that would have changed the rotational speed and unleashed tectonic forces that would have swamped Noah and the ark in a monstrous tsunami. Of course the Lord God could have done any level of miracle that He wished in order to accomplish His goal of destroying wicked humanity. The issue is not what God could do, but what the evidence actually proves. Bro. Roberts once wrote: “The ways of God are always most wisely adapted to the requirements of each situation as it arises, and it will be found in the study of each case that the amount of miracle employed is the smallest that the case calls for. There is none of the prodigality of marvel – meaningless marvel that characterizes all artificial history…Only so much extra-natural effort is put forth as is needful for the objects in view.”14

I see no need to expand on his conclusion, namely, that the deluge was neither global, nor did it cover Mt. Everest. Were the skeptics then right that the deluge was just a small local flood and life outside of the Tigris/Euphrates river valleys was unaffected? Hardly, but we need to leave that discussion for the next chapter.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Strong’s number 5146, the same as 5118; rest…

2 James George Frazer, Sir, Folk-lore in the Old Testament: studies in comparative religion, legend and law, 1st edition. Macmillan and Co., Limited, London (1918), Vol. 1, pgs. 104-361. This book is out of print, but available for purchase from the following website: http://www.alibris.com. Also by the same author is his famous work on the origin of pagan religions The Golden Bough.

3 Picture of the cuneiform tablet which contains the Babylonian flood tale can be viewed at: http://www.greatcommission.com/london/

4 John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New   Jersey, (1961), pgs. 36-42.

5 ibid

http://christiananswers.net[search on “Noah”]

7Mark Isaak, Problems with a Global Flood, 2nd Edition, © (1998), also at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

8 Whitcomb and Morris, op. cit., pgs. 25-27.

9 Lambert Dolphin, “Population growth was very rapid for 1656 years until the Flood of Noah reduced the population to eight persons (4 couples). I have arbitrarily chosen the population at the time of the Flood as 9 billion, though as shown above this may be too conservative.” Quoted from: http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html

10 Also from: www.ldolphin.org/popul.html

11 Strong’s number 5303 from 5307; properly, a feller, i.e. a bully or tyrant.

12 “…all facts are of God, they must be in agreement (with our Bibles). The animals of New   Zealand are different again from those of Australia. The animals of Australia, again differ entirely from those of the American continent: all differ from one another: and the fossil remains on all the continents show that this difference has always prevailed. Now if the flood were universal in the absolute sense, it is manifest that these facts could not be explained…” Quoted from: Robert Roberts, The Visible Hand of God, The Christadelphian, Birmingham, UK, 3rd edition, (1925), pgs. 66-67. (italics by Bro. Roberts).

13 ibid., pg. 68.

14 ibid., pg. 66.

19 Creation of Adam and Eve

19 Creation of Adam and Eve

19 Creation of Adam and Eve

Bible and Science – Creation of Adam and Eve

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being Gen. 2:7.

19 Creation of Adam and EveSome years ago I was about to close my teenage Sunday school class on Genesis with a prayer when one student said, “Is there time for one quick question? “Yes,” I replied. “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” After recovering my composure I said, “Unfortunately that will take a little too long to answer. We’ll have to discuss it next week.” I was hoping that by next week I’d either know the answer or the student would have forgotten the question!

Later, on reflection, I realized how much we assume about Adam and Eve without really having proof. I have heard it said that Adam and Eve were created as adults. However, the Bible never explicitly says this and it is best not to make idle guesses. Since we are the direct inheritors of our first parents’ genetic makeup it is very unlikely that they looked any different than we do. For what it is worth, generally renaissance artist’s depictions of Adam and Eve have them anatomically identical to you and me (not that this proves anything, but it at least tells us how others treated the issue).

Bible narrative compared with others

Bible critics have attacked the concept of Adam being formed by God from the dust of the ground as just another ancient myth and legend. Furthermore, the very suggestion that the entire human race descended from just two individuals was considered impossible. In rejecting the Bible story of mankind’s creation they seek to undercut any possible attribution to a supernatural power. The bottom line is that the scriptures say that man was created in the image of the Elohimand the exact physical mechanism of how it was done is not explicitly revealed. But this much we do know; the Bible story of the making of man and the fact that the human race alive today is descended from one man and one woman is entirely scientifically sound.

To get a better picture of the validity of the Genesis story, let us compare the narrative in the opening pages of the Bible with the tales of creation derived from other ancient cultures.

Almost every ancient culture had a story connected with the origin of its ancestors. I will describe a few that have caught my attention and ask the reader to keep in mind a comparison of these tales with the simple declaration in Genesis 2:7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Sample creation myths

The ancient Babylonians believed that their god, Marduk, in the form of the water god Tiamat, conquered the void that was the universe by using her broken flesh to shape the world.The Hopi Indians believed in the Spider god Tawa, in cooperation with other divinities, brought human beings into the world.3

Prehistoric Scandinavian people had a particularly colorful account of how life was created; they believed that before there was earth, heaven or seas there was only formless void. To the north of the void existed a realm of cold barren ice and to the south of the void a region of flaming fire. Somehow these interacted and from the drops of melted ice came life in the form of a hoarfrost giant being and a cow!4 The Vikings believed that their god Odin and his brothers created a man named Askr and a woman called Embla from the branches of an ash tree and an elm tree, respectively.

All these ancient stories (and many others, some even more fanciful) have an almost innocent charm about them, but no one would mistake them for anything but myth and legend, nor would we pretend that there could be any scientific basis for their scenarios. Let’s go back and have a look at the Genesis story and see how it compares.

Man from earth’s minerals

The Genesis story says that Adam was made from the dust of the ground and the breath of God energized his life. The Hebrew word that is translated here as “dust” literally means that Adam’s body was fashioned from the ordinary inorganic materials that make up this planet.5

At one time it was said that the human body was composed of a few dollars’ worth of minerals with the dominant substance being water. Inflation may have raised the value of the chemicals a bit, but nonetheless the Bible claim is precisely correct.

We are constituted of the same exact chemical elements that can be found in the minerals of the earth. This point is reinforced when we are told that the penalty for sin was death and that sentence returns us back to dust. Who can deny this?

What made the difference in this assembly of chemicals taken from the earth was that life was given to it by the energizing power of God, which is styled as “breath” in our Bibles. Job says: The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (Job 33:4). There are many other parallel passages in the scripture confirming this notion (see for example Job12:20, Job 27:3 and Acts17:25).

In spite of all the advances made in science in the past century, we still haven’t a clue how to put life in an inanimate object nor can we resurrect life in a dead person. There appears to be a limit to how many times the human body cell structures can be renewed, but eventually all will age and die. Modern medical science can postpone but cannot undo the death sentence pronounced in Genesis 3:19 and all will eventually return to dust. Now what about Eve?

Creation of Eve

The account of Eve’s creation reads: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof (Gen. 2:21).

First of all, God put Adam in a deep sleep before He operated. Doesn’t this sound sensible? Isn’t this exactly what a physician would do today before operating? Adam was given, as it were, anesthesia and God removed something from his side. The Hebrew word here translated as “rib” could simply mean “side.”

Whatever God removed from Adam had the genetic makeup of a human being. By modifying that makeup and slightly changing the chromosome arrangement, God created a woman. Skeptics scoff at this story, but at the same time have to admit that biological science can in this day and age manipulate the gene structure of living beings. So why couldn’t God do it?

Amazing story of the chromosomes

The DNA in the cells of males has an X and a Y chromosome and this XY pair determines their gender. Females, on the other hand, have a pair of identical X chromosomes, which makes all the difference. To make Eve, the Lord God simply needed to extract from Adam’s DNA an X-chromosome and combine it with another newly created X one. A few other minor adjustments in the chromosomes also were in order and the result was that truly man and woman shared the same flesh.

The Genesis story is obviously male oriented and probably politically incorrect by today’s standards, but who are we to tell God how to do things!

Interestingly enough, the structure of sexual differentiation in chromosomes, XY for males and XX for females, means that sons inherit intact their fathers Y chromosome, and this never divides and combines with the female gene. From the first man Adam to the very last male baby born while I am writing this sentence, the Y chromosome has passed down unchanged by anything that could have been inherited from the mother’s side.

This, of course, is virtually untrue for any other human characteristic, which is shared according to Mendel’s laws (which we will get to in a moment). By studying the rate of mutations in several current living generations of males (e.g. great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and son) one could in principle trace our origin back to Adam.6,7 For females, scientists have carried an analogous study using mitochondrial DNA, which remains intact throughout the female line, being passed from mother to daughter from generation to generation of our species. Such investigations have indeed come to the conclusion that the entire human species, regardless of race, are descended from one man and one woman.

Extrapolating back to the exact time when the first parents existed is somewhat harder than merely finding that the entire human race came from one couple. The reason is that extrapolating mutation rates backwards depends on what assumptions you make. If you use the gradualist approach of classical Darwinism you get a very long time indeed and estimated periods vary from 188,000 to approximately 50,000 BCE. If you assume rapid changes could have caused spurts in mutation rate, as would be reasonable from the view that we talked about previously when we discussed the “punctuated equilibrium” model of evolution, then the period in which Adam and Eve existed could easily have been within the last 10,000 years or less.8

Mendel’s discovery points to one man, one woman

There is more classical evidence in genetics that helps confirm the belief that the entire human race today has descended from a unique single parentage. In the middle of the 19th century, a monk named Gregor Mendel made a startling discovery that inherited traits came in discrete units rather than the ending of traits from the mated pair.9

He made detailed observations on the breeding of pea plants, noting in each successive generation how certain characteristics, such as the color of the peas or the color of the flowers on the plants, changed with hybridization.10 When plants with green and yellow pods were bred, the colors of the resulting plants were often found to be in the ratio of 3 yellow to 1 green. With our knowledge of genetics the explanation today seems trivially simple, but of course at the time the results and interpretation were revolutionary. The pea plant contains genes for both green “G”, and yellow “Y” pods, but one of these genes, the yellow, is dominant and the green is recessive. Hence if two pea plants are mated with one having the genes G1 and Y1 and the second plant G2 and Y2; then Table 1 shows what will be the possible gene combinations that can occur from this mating.

Table 1 shows that as long as a Y gene is present the pods will be yellow since that is the dominate one. Where the offspring picked up G genes from both parents, the result will be plants with peas that are green. This pattern of inherited traits is seen over and over again in the world around us; it is one of the reasons there are so many brunettes in the world, brown is the dominant gene for hair color (the other reason is hair dye!). What about human blood types?

One blood for all peoples

There are four possible blood types that exist in all humans regardless of race. They are A, B, AB and O. These four types can also be explained in terms of Mendelian genetics whereby each parent has a dominant and recessive gene that controls the ultimate blood type found in their offspring. The situation is only slightly more complex than for the color of peas. Human blood types are also controlled by the genetic code. The three kinds of genes that control blood type in homo sapiens can be identified as IA, IB and i, with IA and IB being co-dominant and i recessive. Thus, if Adam had co-dominant IA and recessive i1 genes and Eve had IB and i2 respectively, then the possible blood types of their offspring are given in Table 2.

There are no other possibilities for this first generation, but of course later generations could have Type A and Type B blood by combining the codominates, i.e., IAIA and IBIB, respectively. These four blood types are that all mankind are the result of one human pair. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells the Athenians: And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts17:26). As recently as the middle of the 20th century this was not accepted by medical science. Blood that was collected for transfusions was segregated by race.

There is a poignant sidelight to this false belief that blood from different races somehow was not compatible. Dr. Charles Drew, an Afro-American physician discovered that plasma (the liquid portion of blood without the red cells) could be stored indefinitely as there were no red cells to break down, and the absence of red cells also meant that cross-typing of blood was irrelevant. This invention has saved many lives over the years.

Dr. Drew was rewarded for his discoveries and eventually, at the beginning of World War II, was made director of the American Red Cross and placed in charge of blood collection for the armed forces. However it wasn’t long before he returned to academia resigning his position with the Red Cross in protest over a decision by the armed forces to segregate the collected blood on the basis of race. In one of the ironies of history, Dr. Drew died from injuries received in an automobile accident on April 1, 1950, in North Carolina having failed to receive transfusions in the hospital that he was taken to because they had no “negro” blood available!

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Elohim; Strong’s number 430; elohiym, el-o-heem´; plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense, but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:—angels, exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), (very) great, judges, mighty.
http://www.earthspirit.org/fireheart/fhpmyth.html

ibid.

3 Stein Jarving, “A look at Scandinavian religion and goddesses in prehistoric times,” full details can be found at Website: http://www.eutopia.no/ymirsbody.html

4 “dust” = Strong’s number 608 (aphar, aw-fawr´) dust (as powdered or gray); hence, clay, earth, mud:—ashes, dust, earth, ground, mortar, powder, rubbish.

5 Underhill, P. A., Jin, L., Oefner, P. J., and Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. “Y Chromosome Variation and Human Evolution” In: Y. Katsumata et al., (eds.), Advances in Research on DNA Polymorphisms, Proceedings of ISFH Hakone Symposium on DNA Polymorphisms, Toyoshoten, Tokyo, Japan, (1996), pages 24-32.

6 Underhill, P. A., Shen, P., Lin, A. A., Jin, L., Passarino, G., Yang, W. H., Kauffman, E., BonnÎ-Tamir, B., Bertranpetit, J., Francalacci, P., Ibrahim, M., Jenkins, T., Kidd, J. R., Mehdi, S. Q., Seielstad, M. T., Wells, R. S., Piazza, A., Davis, R. W., Feldman, M. W., Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., and Oefner, P. J. “Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations,” Nature Genetics, (2000), 26, pages 358-361.

7 And many other publications by Cavalli-Sforza and co-workers at Stanford University.

8 Some scientists have questioned the accuracy of genetic information for exactly dating back in history claiming that errors of as much as 300% can occur even for dates within the last 1000 years. See: Robert Kunzig, The History of Men, Discover, 25, no. 12, (2004), pages 32-39.

9 Darwin believed in the idea of inherited blended traits. Mendel’s work was found in Darwin’s library after his death, but it is not known if he had ever read the paper, which was in German.

10 Gregor Mendel, Lectures given February 8 and March 8, 1865, to the Naturforschedenden Vereins (the Natural History Society) of Brünn (now Brno, in the Czech Republic). Later published in German and eventually available in English translation: “Experiments in Plant Hybridization,” Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain, (1901), translated by C. T. Druery.

18 When? - Part 2

18 When? – Part 2

18 When? – Part 2

Bible and Science – When? Part 2

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
declare, if thou hast understanding (Job 38:4).

18 When? - Part 2The last chapter left unfinished a discussion of four additional concepts for comprehending Genesis 1: they were the fiat hypothesis, the revelation model, the drama premise, and the relativity supposition. All four of these models have in common the belief in a very old earth and universe. Furthermore, they all accept the fossil, and geological records as genuine and as indicative of the antiquity of life on this planet. Yet none of these four propositions accepts classical Darwinism and all acknowledge the veracity of the Bible and the fundamental precept that the Lord God of the Bible is the creator of all things.

Review of Darwinism

Before we discuss each of these models in turn, we will briefly digress to explain what I mean by classical Darwinism versus more recent attempts to fix the holes in the 19th century evolutionary picture. As we have shown, the most glaring flaw in classical Darwinism is the utter reliance on gradualism and pure chance as the main mechanisms for supposed evolutionary advance.

The fossil evidence generally doesn’t bear this out. Instead, the fossil record time and again shows species that remain static for long periods of time, sometimes for millions of years, only to dramatically appear to alter in the space of a few thousand years (which is a trivially small time interval according to classical models). The long static periods show fossils that are totally unchanged in any way, shape or form. During such periods, the species in question is considered to be in equilibrium with its environment. Then an intensely rapid change occurs and a new variant suddenly is found.

Punctuated equilibrium

This cycle found in the fossil record — static stability followed by dynamic change in a short period of time — was coined “punctuated equilibrium” by Eldredge and Gould.1 Their ground-breaking paper overthrew more than a century of absolute faith on the part of paleobiologists that small genetic changes acting over eons of time coupled with natural selection of the fittest could explain the origin of life and the multitude of species on this planet. (Of course, the genetic framework was added after Darwin who naturally didn’t know about genes.) This new paradigm of “punctuated equilibrium” is not explained in terms of any specific mechanism. The growth of a new variant is attributed to the usual rules of a lucky change which will occur given enough time. However, the means that prompts the genetic change, which occurred in a small local population that led to the new variants, remains a mystery.

In sum, “punctuated equilibrium” is not really a theory but rather a simple stating of observed facts garnered from careful observations of the fossil record. A cogent explanation of the fundamental mechanism(s) has not yet been presented in the literature.

Evolutionists seem to want it both ways; the literature is replete with gradualism arguments, while in the background is the clear evidence from the fossil record that this model just does not cut it! Using the gradualism argument evolutionists assumed time was the mechanism that explained evolution. The usual simile was that one should imagine a bevy of monkeys plucking away at random on the keyboards of typewriters.2 Given eons of time, the monkeys would eventually produce tons of literary garbage, but they would also compose all the sonnets and plays of Shakespeare, as well as every other piece of literature ever written. The same assumed mechanism was supposed to apply to gradual evolution, namely, over vast ages of time all possible combinations of the DNA genetic code could have been formed and only the successful ones would have survived assuming the basis embodied in Darwin’s precept of the survival of the fittest. However, the prime conclusion of the “punctuated equilibrium” model is that the fossil record is “no gradual story”.3 What Darwin expected has not happened. With those three words, classic Darwinism should be dead or, at best, in a severe comatose state.

While the “punctuated equilibrium” proponents don’t profess a mechanism, one that proposes multiple episodes of specific creation by the divine hand is a distinct possibility. The four Biblical models alluded to in our introduction all fall into the category of accepting multiple episodes of specific divine creation happening again and again over eons of time. Acceptance of this view of Genesis 1 would aptly explain, “punctuated equilibrium,” but how does this mesh with the Bible text? A brief review of each of these four interpretations of the biblical creation story will attempt to answer this question.

Fiat Hypothesis

Bro. Peter Watkins accepted seven literal creation days while at the same time accepting that the geological and fossil evidence argued for a very old planet. He proposed the fiat or edict hypothesis4 as the basis for reconciling Genesis with an old earth. This idea considers that the seven days of creation are seven literal days in which the Lord God pronounced fiats that were then carried out by the angelic host over long periods of time. Indeed, each day of creation, except the seventh, is preceded by an edict. Genesis 1:3 reads; Let there be light, which is clearly a pronouncement from the LORD of the universe. Similar expressions are found in Genesis 1:6, 1:9,1:11,1:14,1:20 and1:24.

The author of this hypothesis points out a number of cases in scripture where the LORD makes a pronouncement and the actual carrying out takes place at a later time and often over a prolonged period.The virtue of this approach is that it completely reconciles the “days” of Genesis 1 with the fossil record as interpreted by the punctuated equilibrium observation. Though Bro. Watkins’ articles came along almost a decade before the work of Gould and co-workers on punctuated equilibrium, he was well aware of the geologic record although he didn’t use Gould’s terminology.

While the fiat hypothesis is a clever way of reconciling Genesis and geology, it still raises problems which cannot be readily explained. First of all, why would the LORD God of the universe be constrained to put His edicts into a time frame related to the revolution of our planet? After all, a 24 hour day only has meaning to the inhabits of earth, the concept of what time period constitutes a day is very different on other planets and certainly in other star systems.Another problem with considering the seven-day time period as days of edicts is the very brevity of the pronouncements. The succinctness of the announcements could have been accomplished in a few minutes. Why stretch them out over seven days and then have the angels presumably implement them over billions of years? This scenario also implies that angels would have been created prior to the formation of this universe and that is hard to swallow.

Revelation Model

The authorship of the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch or Torah,has always been attributed to Moses. Exactly how Moses was given the information that preceded his own personal knowledge of affairs is not specifically stated. The apostle Peter tells us that prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:21 NIV).

But what exactly does carried along or moved by (KJV) the Holy Spirit mean? Were holy men of old shown visions? Yes, sometimes that certainly seems to be the case.8 They also had the word given to them directly from the voice of angels.9 At other times the word may have been impressed directly in their minds10 and on yet other occasions they recorded what they saw in dreams (or night visions).11 We can find examples of all of these modes for recording the word of God in the scriptures.

Since the days of Genesis 1 are spoken of as lasting from evening to morning it has been assumed by certain Jewish traditions that the seven days of creation were days in which Moses dreamed (or saw night visions) whereby God revealed, in progressive stages, how He created all things. There is even a tradition that Moses recorded the events of each day on seven stone tablets and these were meant to remind the children of Israel through the ages that the LORD was their creator.

The revelation model has a built-in agreement with geological and astrophysical dating since it removes the issue of the days mentioned in Genesis 1 completely away from being specific creation time periods. Instead they are simply days in which Moses recorded the visions he saw as God revealed the creative process to him.

However attractive such a traditional belief may appear, the fact remains there is no explicit evidence in scripture to back up this model. To be perfectly fair, there is not much to go on that would cause one to explicitly reject it either as long as we concede the possibility that the evening/morning periods refer to seven days of revelation (either by dreams, night visions or whatever) to Moses.

Drama Premise

Yet another way to look at the seven-day structure of Genesis 1 has been proposed by Bro. Alan Fowler and it is based on an interpretation of the literary styles of scripture.12 We are all familiar with the obvious prose style that authors use (including what you are presently reading), but in addition to this narrative form there are, of course, other styles including poetry and drama. Large portions of the Old Testament are in poetic form and this is not always conveyed in the present English translations available to us, with the notable exception of Psalms where the KJV translators did a stellar job.

Unfortunately, Hebrew poetry does not conform to our English norms and is hence very difficult to translate, so in many other portions of scripture the KJV translators settled for prose. The same can be said for the drama literary form whereby events are portrayed as a series of scenes or “acts” with severely condensed time sequencing.

Bro. Fowler makes some very cogent arguments and comparisons with other portions of scripture to back up his assertion that Genesis 1 is written in the form of a drama in seven acts. In this approach, the chapter is not meant to have the“day” time periods taken literally.

The drama hypothesis has a lot in common with fiat and revelation models in that it accepts the geological and fossil evidence specifically acknowledging “punctuated equilibrium” as evidence of successive episodes of creation over eons of time. Its failings are also tied up with the same problem that faces all the other creation models (including the gap model discussed in the previous chapter) namely, the evidence supporting the basic premise is circumstantial and probably wouldn’t hold up in either a court of law or under a keen scientific peer review.

Relativity Supposition

The question arises: Why would the LORD God use “earth” time at all to specify the time periods associated with creation. Even at the most elementary level, the idea of a “night/day” period means something entirely different on a planet whose rotational period is longer or shorter than earth’s. At a more fundamental level, time is inexorably wrapped up in the fabric of the universe. There is no such thing as an absolute time scale, or is there?

The meaning of time is entirely relative to the position of the observer. Einstein discovered that in high gravitational fields and at very high velocities time slows down.13 Thus, if you took a clock on earth to the sun (assuming you had means of preventing yourself from severe sunburn!) you would find its hands (digits!) moving slower. This effect is not one of mere perception but is a physical reality verified by many experiments. An atomic clock has been put on a jet airplane and flown around the globe and when it landed it had slowed down measurably when compared to an identical twin used as a standard.

This time dilatation effect is a well-worn cliché in science fiction whereby the protagonist leaves earth and rockets off to some distant adventure at warp speeds only to return in what was only a few years time in the space ship but turns out as considerably longer on earth. He finds to his grief that loved ones left behind have advanced to senior citizen status (and beyond) while he is still in his prime. This story line may be fiction, but the physical effect is real. Gerald Schroeder has used this phenomenon to define a time scale for the universe relative to time on earth by using the frequency of the cosmic background radiation as the reference standard.14

Without going into the details which would take some considerable space and a fuller explanation of the physical principles involved, suffice it to say that the time dilatation effect between earth time and a clock associated with the universe since creation would be a million million times. Using this universal time dilatation factor one can show that the approximately 16 billion years since the so-called “big bang” occurred condenses to 6 earth days in terms of our clocks on planet earth.

There is some scriptural evidence that would lead us to infer a time frame relative to the LORD God could be very different from the 24-hour day that we experience here on earth. The Psalmist tells us; For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night (Psa. 90:4 and paraphrased in II Peter 3:8).15

While the relativistic supposition is intriguing I find it hard to believe that Genesis 1, which was written to give mankind a picture of the creative power of the LORD, has its accurate interpretation depending on an arcane knowledge of extremely sophisticated 20th century theoretical physics.

Summary comments

Where does all this lead us? I am often asked which model of creation I believe? Being a physical scientist I am quite accustomed to the idea of uncertainty. The prophet Isaiah says: let us reason together, saith the LORD (Isa.1:18).

As a scientist, and as a reasoning Christian, it is incumbent upon me to form opinions based on all the data and consistent with all the facts. To ignore the geological and fossil records, as well as the cosmological evidence of the age of the earth and universe is, in my opinion, not only foolish, it is dangerous. The insistence in a belief (or even demanding it be a first principle) depending on blind faith in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, which can easily be proven as contrary to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence, can lead to a shattering of any faith at all in the word of God.

Some counter with the writings of the so-called creation scientists, discussed earlier in these essays, to prove the young earth/universe hypothesis. The explanation produced by the ‘creationists’ is appealing to many because it is simple and straightforward and has the “ring” of scientific truth. However, would we buy any of their other teachings of mysteries regarding the Bible? I think not, as their theology has all the traditional errors.

Therefore, theories that reconcile both the sound scientific evidence (also authored by God, eg. Psa. 19:1, 2) with the scriptural record is the only sensible way to go. The remarkable thing about Genesis 1 is that it can be reconciled with the scientific evidence so readily. The main framework of the order of creation starting from simple creatures and leading up to man is exactly what is found in the fossil record. And scripture has the creation of the universe preceding the formation of this planet and not simultaneous with it.

Genesis 1 could have had man created first and then everything else fashioned at his behest by the gods, as certain pagan myths presume. It is truly amazing that the few words in Genesis 1 have stood the test of time over more than three millennia. Is there any other ancient record of a creation story that we would give any credence to in this day and age?

Having eliminated the literalist approach as acceptable to ourselves, we are still left with five additional theories and perhaps others not reviewed here. Are any of these preferred? All five models (including the “gap” theory but excepting the literalist approach) attest to a creation long ago by the specific will and divine power of the LORD God as revealed in the Bible. All seek to reconcile the scientific evidence with the scriptural record of Genesis 1. I personally don’t believe we should go beyond this and, though I have my own favorite, I would interact happily with anyone espousing any of these five models.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Eldredge, N. & Gould, S.J. Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism. In: Models in Paleobiology (Ed. By T.J.M. Schopf), (1972). See also: Gould, S.J., & Eldredge, N. Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered. Paleobiology, 3, 1977, 115-151.

2 For young readers – a typewriter was a very primitive form of a computer word processor!

3 Quoted from: The Book of Life, edited by Stephen Jay Gould, W. Norton & Co, NY, (1993), p 56-57.

4 Peter Watkins, The Christadelphian Magazine, 97, January (1960). Also ibid 101, (1964).

5 II Peter 3 is cited as an example of “word” first “action” later principle. This sequence of edict followed later by action of course happens in many prophetic pronouncements.

6 The original article by Bro. Watkins attempts to explain this but I don’t find his argument persuasive.

7 “Pentatuch” Greek word meaning “five scrolls.” “Torah,” in common Hebrew usage, meaning “instruction.”

8 The temple of Ezekiel’s prophecies.

9 Large portions of the book of Revelation.

10 Much of the writings of the Apostle Paul, for example.

11 Portions of the book of Daniel.

12 Alan Fowler, A Drama of Creation, Ortho Books, High View, Litchard Rise,Bridgend,UK.

13 A. Einstein, Special Theory of Relativity, (1915).

14 Gerald L. Schroeder, The Science of God, The Free Press div. of Simon and Schuster, Inc.,New   York, (1997), pgs. 41-59.

15 These same references have also been used to infer that the six days of creation were really epochs of millions (or even billions) of years

17 When? - Part 1

17 When? – Part 1

17 When? – Part 1

Bible and Science – When? Part 1

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Gen. 1:26).

17 When? - Part 1Perhaps nothing generates a more controversial and less spiritually edifying atmosphere than debating how and when the events depicted in the first chapter of Genesis took place. If we could bottle the emotional energy expended in such discussions, we would no doubt completely solve the energy problem on this planet. Many people holding differing views on the time-span involved in the creation story in Genesis may be sincere and intelligent Bible students. Nevertheless, sincerity needs to be tempered with humility and respect for others who may have opinions differing from their own.

Various theories reviewed

We will briefly review some of the theories put forward by Bible believers with respect to the time and circumstances of the creation story. I will tacitly assume that if you believe in evolution you have already stopped reading these narratives and I will thus concentrate on reaching those who believe in both the Bible and science! All I ask is that the reader keep in mind three things: First, that the details provided in scripture about how and when creation occurred are sparse and hence, one ought not be dogmatic. Second, that they not dismiss scientific evidence for the age of the earth and universe, for God is the author of nature as well as the Bible. Finally, that they not elevate their belief in any particular model of the creation story to a first principle to do so would be contrary to scriptures.

There are a number of explanations that have been put forward to understand the timing of the events in the first chapter of Genesis. I will briefly outline each in turn and then go back and take a detailed look at each of these scenarios with an attempt to lay out the pros and cons for each model of creation. There are essentially six common views that challenge our imaginations in seeking to interpret Genesis 1. Consider then the following models:

  1. Strict literal view – Considers that Genesis 1 records events that happened 6,000 years ago when the entire heavens and earth were created in seven literal 24-hour days.
  2. Gap theory – Here the heavens and earth are considered to have been created a long time ago (literally billions of years in the past are possible) with the present dispensation dating back to 6,000 years ago when God reconstituted the physical environment on earth, which had been depleted due to some unspecified global catastrophe.
  3. Fiat hypothesis – This idea considers that the seven days of creation were seven literal days in which God declared His will by commandments (or fiats). The actual work of creation carried out by the angels could have taken millions or even billions of years.
  4. Revelation model – Here the seven days of creation are viewed as seven days of revelation to Moses (perhaps in dreams). Moses then recorded what he saw as a seven-day narrative even though the actual events may have spanned innumerable eons.
  5. Drama premise– This proposal considers the events in Genesis 1 to be, in a sense, a dramatic scenario. Each day in the narrative does not refer to a literal time period, but instead to an act in Hebrew dramatic form that describes a stage of creation.
  6. Relativity supposition – This view of the creation story considers the events in Genesis to be seven literal days, but not days governed by the rotation of planet earth. Rather, the time scales of creation are considered in relation to the time expansion derived from relativity theory based on the assumption that God moves in a far different time frame from that which governs clocks on earth.

Each of these theories has obvious proponents or they wouldn’t exist for me to write about. One thing I will not do is present a theory of my own. I don’t have one. There are enough out there to argue about without me contributing further confusion! I have selected these theories for discussion because the bottom line for all of them is that they completely accept the idea that the heavens, earth and all that is contained within them are the product of God’s creative power. None of these concepts have anything in common with the theory of evolution, which completely rejects the concept of a God of creation.

In this sense I have also left out so-called Deistic evolution, and its subtle variant Theistic evolution1, which is the idea that sometime in the distant past God created the universe and has since let it run under its own devices. This view is not quite Darwinist evolution, but it also excludes God from any role in the working of His universe over all ages past once the universe was up and running. Thus, I personally find the Theistic evolution model not much different from Darwin’s theory. All the arguments that I have presented in previous chapters against gradual change and blind luck being responsible for our existence apply equally against Darwinism and Theistic (Deistic) Evolution. Hence I will restrict further discussion to the six models proposed by believers as outlined above.

Strict Literal View

The interpretation of Genesis 1 as referring to the creation of heaven and earth that took place in seven 24-hour days approximately 6,000 years ago is simple and straightforward. If someone wants to believe that view and dismiss the scientific evidence discovered since Newton and Galileo, they are certainly entitled to do so. However, it becomes especially disturbing when they force the issue and raise such a belief to the level of first principle, i.e. if you don’t believe in such a literal interpretation you won’t be in the Kingdom of God. Such an approach is detrimental to preaching work and produces great difficulty for our young people.ce.2

The proponents of such a view will say that God can do anything He wants and is not limited in His power. Indeed that is true, but it is not the issue when interpreting Genesis 1. The issue is not what God can do, but what He actually did do. Those who propose alternate views to the strict literal interpretation do not desire to limit God’s power; rather they prefer to take into account both the full sense of scripture plus the evidence that the Lord has provided in this natural world He has created.

Have physical laws changed?

Let us consider the virtues and vices of the “strictly literal” approach. The young earth/young universe argument considers that the narrative in Genesis 1 takes place over seven literal 24-hour days commencing with God creating the universe on day one and then preceding to the rest of creation for each succeeding 24-hour period.

The age of the universe derived from physical observations of astronomers, which we discussed in earlier chapters of these essays, is dismissed in several ways. Some have said that the physical laws of the universe were different in the past from what we observe today. While this is possible, at least at the present time there is no evidence from scripture or from the known physical laws to presume that this would significantly change the age of the universe from being billions of years old.

As pointed out earlier, the prophet Jeremiah, to account for the unchangeable nature of the Lord God’s promises to His people, uses the unchangeable nature of the physical laws of the universe as confirming proof of His steadfastness (Jer. 31: 35,36; 33:25,26). Therefore, the constancy of the physical laws of the universe from creation to the present is an assumption that we find completely agreed upon in both biblical and scientific thought.

The appearance of age

Another argument that has been used to justify a “young universe/earth” is one that assumes God deliberately created the universe with the appearance of age. They argue that if one plants a garden, and wants to see it bear fruit and flowers quickly, one would go out and obtain mature vegetation and thus have immediate results rather than plant seed and wait a long time.

The flaw in this argument, when applied to creation, is that the gardener who wants a mature garden has to go to a nursery to obtain the plants. The analogy just doesn’t hold up consistently when applied to Genesis 1. Where was the equivalent of the nursery?

Another attempt to prove that the earth/universe was created in seven literal days is to cite from seemingly parallel passages which suggest that God indeed will instantaneously create a new heavens and earth (Isa. 65:17, 66:22, II Pet. 3:13, and Rev. 21:1). However, these passages clearly refer to spiritual matters, i.e. a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.3

Other considerations

An additional problem with taking the days of creation as seven 24-hour days is that this is not at all what the Bible account literally says. The time period for each creation day is given as evening to morning: “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5, also similar in verses 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). The only exception is the seventh day where this phrase does not appear. The word evening in the original Hebrew means “dusk” or sundownand the word morning alludes to “dawn”.5 Thus if we are to take the time periods of creation in a strict literal sense we would have to concede that all of creation was done in the night time and therefore cannot be considered as seven 24-hour periods.

Literalists will also cite Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” as further proof of their assertion that Genesis one can only mean seven 24-hour days roughly 6,000 years ago. At the same time they completely ignore, or dismiss, the statement in Genesis 2:4: “in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Literalists will say that the expression in the day is simply a metaphor for the whole seven 24-hour day creation period. However, this is entirely arbitrary because it begs the question: how do your decide what is literal and what is metaphor unless you have direct evidence from other comparative passages? In sum, the idea of taking the first chapter of Genesis in the strict literal sense, as worded in English translations, is fraught with problems from both the scientific as well as the biblical point of view.

Gap Theory

In the nineteenth century, when Biblical scholars first became aware of the scientific evidence for an “old” universe/earth they did not seem particularly disturbed. The idea of an old universe/earth going back in prehistory to any length of time consistent with scientific evidence was readily accepted. Thus we find in Elpis Israel,Dr. Thomas espouses this view and later standard Christian reference works also endorse the Gap Theory.7,8

A recreation

The Gap theory postulates, in a sense, a re-creation of the life on earth approximately 6,000 years ago in a seven-day period. In this model, the heavens and earth are of old and the recreation of life on earth occurred following a destruction of a past dispensation.

The words of Genesis 1:2 provide a picture of a creation being imposed on a chaotic earth, which was without form and void and where water already existed (note carefully that God moved [or hovered] over the waters; He did not create water on the first day). Hints of a prior destruction are implied in the use of the word replenish in Genesis1:28and 9:1. (This has been discussed at length previously.) The record of II Peter 3:5-7 is also a possible allusion to a prior dispensation predating Adam. The words the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water parallel Genesis 1:2. Therefore the expression: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (v. 6) seems to relate, not to the Noahic flood, but rather could refer to some prior catastrophe.

Scientific evidence sparse

Scientific evidence for a Gap Theory is sparse; the best one can say is that there are some small hints. The abrupt demise of Cro-Magnon man and other earlier hominids, and the evidence of annihilation of other species such as the wooly mammoth roughly 10,000 years ago are well documented. This prehistoric era also coincides with evidence of the ending of a massive ice age, which engulfed the northern hemisphere of the earth. However, detailed evidence for a massive catastrophe that inundated the entire planet 10,000 years ago is as limited as evidence for the flood at the time of Noah.

It has to be realized a catastrophe that takes place over a very short period of time is akin to a snap of the fingers in terms of geological dating. If the cataclysm were followed by a new creation only a short time later, then evidence for the prior destruction would be virtually wiped out in terms of geological history. Hence, while the Gap Theory has certain attractions in reconciling the fossil and geological findings with the Biblical creation story, I would again caution that one ought not be dogmatic.

To be continued, God willing.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Strictly speaking Theistic evolution allows for God to “create” the right environment to eventually produce mankind in due season. In this sense it gives evolution a “purpose”. Alternatively, the notion of Deistic evolution assumes God created the universe, set natural law in operation and has been absent ever since.

2 In speaking of the proponents of young universe/young earth view, one author has said: “However, their insistence that theirs is the only valid interpretation of the creation record has serious and tragic consequences. The publicity given to their views leads scientists to suppose that the literal young earth interpretation of Gen. 1 is the only possible meaning. As a consequence they conclude that the Genesis record is largely mythical. And since Gen. 1, 2 and 3 are the foundation chapters of the Bible then the reliability of the Bible as a whole is questioned.” Alan Fowler, The Drama of Creation, Ortho Books, Bridgend, UK, (1996), p. 4.

3 Passages in Psa. 102:26, Isa. 51:6 and Heb. 1:11, also speak of a new heavens and earth but add in the phrase shall wax old, which can be considered to have both spiritual as well as physical implications. However, the physical interpretation could only refer to the distant future (as discussed in an earlier chapter) and does not imply any time scale for accomplishing the regeneration of the universe.

4 “Evening” [Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31] is Strong’s number 6153 = ereb, eh´-reb; from 6150; dusk:—+ day, even (-ing, tide), night. And Strong’s number 6150 = arab, aw-rab´; a primitive root (identical with 6148 through the idea of covering with a texture); to grow dusky at sundown:—be darkened, (toward) evening.

5 “Morning” Strong’s number 1242. = boqer, bo´-ker; from 1239; properly, dawn (as the break of day); generally, morning:—(+) day, early, morning, morrow.

6 John Thomas, Elpis Israel, 14th edition – Revised, The Christadelphian, Birmingham, UK, (1990), p.10.

7 Referring to Gen.1:1 – “The first creative act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages.” Scofield Reference Bible, KJV, New York, Oxford University Press, (1909), pg. 3.

8 “The creation of Man, according to Biblical chronology, was about 4000 BC. But the creation of the Universe may have been countless ages earlier.” – Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, first edition (1924), pg. 63 (in 1964, 23rd edition).

16 Swiss Cheese

16 Swiss Cheese

16 Swiss Cheese

Bible and Science – Swiss Cheese

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).

16 Swiss CheeseMany years ago, when I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois, a Nobel Prize winning scientist visited the Physics department. During the course of his seminar, he ventured an insight that defined the difference in viewpoint between experimental and theoretical physics. To paraphrase what he said: For the theorist two points define a straight line while for an experimentalist a thousand points will not suffice.1 The thought behind his definition was to point out that many times in science, important physical discoveries would have been overlooked if physicists had been satisfied with only a cursory examination of their data because it seemed to fit some existing theory. Many times new data expanded the frontiers of physics even though existing theory had made everything appear to be solved.

A famous misstatement

One of the most famous examples of this syndrome was the assertion by Michelsonmade at the turn of the 20th century at the University of Chicago. When reviewing the results of 19th century physics, he is reputed to have said that physics had discovered all the known laws of the universe; all that needed to be done was to fill in the decimal places, implying that obtaining greater accuracy for the known physical constants was the only remaining challenge for physicists.

Ironically, at virtually the same time he was making these comments, a German physicist, Max Planck, was in the process of doing experiments that would shortly lead to the revolutionary idea of quantum mechanics that would turn the world of physics inside out.

The first half of the 20th century was full of new surprises. Besides quantum mechanics, what followed was relativity, atomic physics and later subatomic physics (just to name a few), none of which followed classical 19th century ideas. Classical theoretical physics was full of holes and the new information created a whole new world of thought, along with the need for brand new theories.

Darwinism full of holes

A flawed theory is sometimes called a “Swiss cheese” theory because it is full of holes. As we discussed above, the holes in the analysis may not be recognized because existing well-accepted theory, based on insufficient evidence, appears to have solved everything.

Classical Darwinism is essentially a moldy Swiss cheese theory; the concept of gradual small incremental changes over eons of time leading to the plethora of species on this planet just does not match the fossil evidence, nor has it been able to explain the fact that evolution seems entirely contrary to known physical laws. Evolutionists know this and are scrambling to patch up the holes with new ideas called neo-Darwinism and such concepts as punctuated equilibrium.3 One can only wonder if this exercise will succeed any better than trying to fill in the holes in real Swiss cheese! What I intend to discuss in this article are the flaws, or holes, in the theory of evolution. No theory in science can be considered acceptable if it has imponderables attached to it, mechanisms that are unknown, and concepts that counter known physical laws. The theory of evolution (as of this writing) fails as a scientific theory on all three counts. Let’s take a detailed look at the holes in Darwinism.

Fundamental laws violated by evolution

The first concern to note is that Darwin’s model of evolution violates the laws of thermodynamics (or information theory, which is a manifestation of the same underlying principle). We discussed this at length in the chapter on DNA, but it is equally applicable here in considering the so-called gradual ascent of man from one-celled protozoa. Plainly, Darwinism assumes that more ordered higher-level biological forms could evolve from lesser structures when the law of entropy clearly proves that the universe tends to a state of maximum disorder. What is the mechanism that allows biological processes to repeal this law? A little scientific proof would be welcome!

Second is the existence of organs of immense complexity in living beings requiring numerous coordinated genetic innovations. In his original arguments, Darwin recognized the difficulty in explaining this intricacy,4 but since insufficient evidence was available at the time to be definitive it was, in effect, filed away for future reference. Amazingly, later generations of evolutionists ostensibly ignore this problem. Nevertheless, the repeated occurrence of changes calling for numerous coordinated genetic modifications is almost impossible to explain by the theory of evolution.5

The example of the eye

As just one example let us consider the immense complexity involved in the sense of vision in mammals, specifically human beings. The eye is a remarkable image-sensing instrument, and coupled with the brain, an unparalleled recording and storage device far superior to even the most advanced digital cameras.

The eye measures approximately one inch in diameter and is completely formed and functioning at birth. The human eye has just one lens and that lens is deformable so that the curvature can be rapidly changed for different focusing conditions. The light range of sensitivity of the human eye spans from being able to see in dim moonlight to observing on the beach on a bright, clear sunny day. It can distinguish objects as small as a speck of dust to as large as the whole vista of nature spread before it on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The eye sees in full color (i.e. the visible spectrum) and records these images in real-time on the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eyeball that has 120 million rods and 6 million cones that translate the incoming light to electrical signals that are sent to the brain for processing and storage. The rods and cones have three different types of pigments that enable the eye to distinguish between blue, green and red light and hence combine colors to give almost 200 individual color tones. The eyeball itself is not hollow but filled with a gelatinous vitreous humor, which supports the eye’s shape to maintain focusing and also as a protective cushion. The eye itself is set in deep sockets in the skull to protect it from the environment and a system of lubrication via the tear ducts keeps it moist and washes out foreign matter (and the eyelid with lashes protects against larger wind-blown objects entering the eye). The imaging information is sent to the brain from the retina, which can process images in color and senses images in three dimensions. The three dimensional analysis of images is utterly dependent on the fact that humans have two eyes instead of one (this appears to be the case for almost all animals).

The brain has an extremely large storage capacity for images, dwarfing any microcomputer, and in a healthy individual the mind has an incredible capacity for recalling these images even years after seeing an event (law enforcement often depends on this ability to identify criminals in lineups). I could go on, but let it suffice that what I have written makes the case for the complexity of the human vision system.

How could the eye evolve?

Now a number of questions arise: how did all these elements that make vision possible evolve simultaneously? Did mammals have only one eye for millions of years and, since they were at a disadvantage, did two-eyed creatures eventually supplant them? Did the retina originally see only in shades of grey and later develop color? Did the retina at one time have very low resolution and then ultimately extend the number of cones and rods and shrink them in size so they would increase in sensitivity? Was the eye always ensconced in the protective environment that it has today or did it once lie on top of the skin structure without tear ducts or protective lids?

Evolutionists will point to various lower life forms that see in more primitive fashions including the bat, which of course doesn’t “see” at all. From this they will extrapolate to the current status of vision in human beings and other mammals. But this is utter sophistry because the fossil evidence for all hominids, and all mammals with complex stereovision, shows that this feature always existed from the oldest skeletal findings right down to today. For the dozens of genetic variations to have been coordinated to all occur at the same time to make the eye work, a most incredible stroke of luck must have happened. In fact, if you consider each of the various features that make vision function in humans, the odds of it all happening at once by Darwin’s random evolution model would be akin to winning the lottery, not just once but every day year after year for perhaps a century or more!

No new species have been developed

Another major objection to evolution is the misnomer in the very title of Darwin’s book, the Origin of Species. Even though there is plenty of evidence for small-scale evolution within a species the fact remains that no new phyla have appeared, and no new classes or orders [ever!].6 Some species seem never to have evolved at all even over enormous time spans ranging to 500 million years.

Improvements within a species from breeding are common. Champion racehorses and show dogs are cases that can be cited. However, genetic modification that change one species into another has never been documented. When man has tampered to intervene in nature and interbreed between species the result has always been sterility in the offspring. The mule is a primary example where the mating between two separate but closely related species, the horse and the donkey, results in sterility. The Bible says that God created every animal each according to its kind (Gen 1:24, see also I Cor. 15:38) and nothing that has been done so far in genetic engineering would lead us to modify that scriptural assertion.

What caused the mass extinction of many species?

Also very difficult to explain is the phenomena of overshoot, the wooly mammoth being a prime example. Here was an animal closely related to elephants, only bigger, taller, and stronger in every way. Fossils of mammoths are among the most common animal bones found and have been detected in Europe, Asia and North America (in virtually every state in the USA). The nearly intact body of a well-preserved mammoth has even been found frozen in a glacier in northern Siberia. Pre-historic hominids must have hunted these animals for food and other animal products because cave paintings have been found depicting such scenes. What caused these magnificent beasts to disappear about ten thousand years ago? Curiously, this happened at exactly the same time period that Cro-Magnon man faded from the picture. Did something dramatic happen ten thousand years ago that caused these extinctions? The evidence is circumstantial, but the answer seems to be yes though we cannot exactly specify the scenario.

The disappearance of dinosaurs at the end of Mesozoic Era has been blamed on a large meteor impact to this planet, but many other cases of mass extinction remain total mysteries and that includes the enigma of our supposed hominid ancestors. What happened to them? They allegedly superseded apes because they were a superior species (survival of the fittest!), but they are all gone and apes are still with us. Explaining the suddenness of mass extinctions of many species is another hole in the theory of evolution. Given the interdependence of nature, how did it survive these mass extinctions? This question remains unanswered.

Whence the advent of male and female?

Another great mystery that the theory of evolution fails to address is sexual differentiation. Many years ago when I first moved to the suburbs I decided to plant a holly bush. As a city boy growing up in an apartment house, I knew next to nothing about horticulture and I was extremely disappointed to find that my planting almost immediately withered.

Nothing I seemed to do improved the situation. I watered it faithfully, put all sorts of recommended nutrients in the soil, but to no avail. Then one day my father-in-law came for a visit; and, knowing he was a keen gardener, I asked him what I could do to save the plant. He knowingly looked around and immediately spotted the problem. He said I had a male holly bush and it needed a female companion! I thought he was pulling my leg, but sure enough, after doing a little library research, I realized he was absolutely correct.

Even plants follow the biblical injunction given as the reason for sexual differentiation: it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Gen. 2:18). Apparently this applies to holly bushes also! Why? The scriptural answer is a spiritual one; the interdependence in nature of male and female assures both genetic variation (as would be impossible in cloning) and companionship.
How does the evolutionist explain sexual differentiation? To cite a recent journal review article; “Consider, for instance, the fact that sexual reproduction is itself a fundamental evolutionary paradox…Although a number of competing theories for the evolution of sexual reproduction have been put forth, we still have no unanimously accepted explanation.”7, Apparently, almost 150 years since Darwin, evolutionists don’t seem to have a clue about sex.

Fossil record disproves Darwin

Finally, the fossil record shows many cases where major changes in pattern and explosive development of many variants for a species seems to happen virtually overnight. This type of data is now so widely acknowledged among paleoanthropologists that leading lights in the field, such as the late Stephen Jay Gould, questioned the traditional idea that evolution is a continuous, gradual process working in nature. Instead, he and others working in the field suggest that evolution occurs in rapid, irregular spurts and have coined the phrase “punctuated equilibrium” to describe the phenomenon.

Given this reassessment of the fossil data one would think that classical Darwinism would be dead. However, the theory of “punctuated equilibrium” turns out to be merely a patchwork on the holes in the theory of evolution! It does away with the gradual genetic change model and makes the mechanism(s) responsible for evolutionary changes even more mysterious.

In the past, we were supposed to believe that time was the hero that made everything work in classical Darwinism, that given sufficient millions of years it was statistically possible that every variation that could happen would happen. Natural selection then decided which species actually survived.

It is obvious that the fossil evidence contradicts this gradual model and we are now told that these genetic variations happen almost instantly (in terms of geologic history a few ten thousands of years is virtually instantaneous!). In order to accept the punctuated equilibrium theory we not only have to throw out the thermodynamic law of entropy, but we also have to ditch any meaningful concept of statistical variation being capable of producing genetic change.

Everything would become so much simpler if some evolutionists would simply admit that their model requires a lot more faith (and all of it faith against the facts) than believing in divine creation.

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures (Psa. 104:24).

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 Attributed to Sir Nevill F. Mott.

2 This is the same Michelson we mentioned in a previous chapter who had discovered in 1887 that there was no ether in the universe. He had now moved to the University of Chicago.

3 S.J. Gould and N. Eldredge. Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered, Paleobiology, 3, (1977), pp. 115-151.

4 C. Darwin, Origin of Species, Avenel Books, New York, (1979), Chapter VI, pgs. 205-233. Originally published by J. Murray, London, (1859).

5 G. R. Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, Harper & Row, New York (1983). This is an extremely valuable book criticizing evolution by an expert. It is now out of print but available at used book sources.

6 Biological classification schemes: Organisms are classified in seven major groups called kingdoms, thirty-three phyla or divisions, classes, orders, families, genera, and species. As we move down from kingdom through species the relationship between animals in the group becomes closer and closer and the number with the classification gets larger (example, there are 10 million species).

7 Robert Dorit, American Scientist, vol. 92, (2004), p.464.

15 Were Angels a Prehistoric Race on Earth?

15 Were Angels a Prehistoric Race on Earth?

15 Were Angels a Prehistoric Race on Earth?

Bible and Science – Were the Angels Once a Prehistoric Race on Earth?

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Rev. 4:11).

Were Angels a Prehistoric Race on Earth?We saw previously in these articles that there is negligible evidence linking the various hominid species that appear in the fossil record over the past four million years. The support for the Darwinist view of gradual change causing the hominid progression is entirely circumstantial and would not hold up in a court of law! Indeed, recent findings for other eras of prehistory (the Cambrian for example) indicate abrupt changes and explosive emergence of new species without any apparent linkage with the past.1 Let’s examine some of the problems associated with the fossil record concerning hominid species and see if there is an alternative model other than Darwinism.

Simple math disproves Darwin

If human-like creatures existed for 4 million years prior to modern man, what was their population demography? Even a cursory calculation of the number of beings that could have existed from these pre-homo sapiens yields a very large number. Assume, for example, that the average span of a generation was 20 years; then we would have some 200,000 generations worth of fossils that potentially could be found since “Lucy”.2

Using this figure, there are a couple ways to estimate the pre-modern hominid population. We could assume the usual geometric progression sequence, which would mean the population would double in each succeeding generation (this is a model used by evolutionists to explain rapid expansion of a so-called genetic innovation3). The geometric assumption means we need to raise 2 to the exponent 200,000 to span all the hominid generations from “Lucy” down to our modern era. This would give us the total population that had been born over the 4 million year period. This number is so large that it would take several pages filled with zeros to write it down hence we will discount this approach [1×10500 for the mathematically inclined].

We can take a more conservative demographic model and assume that the hominid populace some 4 million years ago quickly reached a stable population of about 10,000 creatures and didn’t grow beyond this range.4 Using this conservative estimate we come up with a figure of approximately 20 billion hominid fossils that could possibly have existed. This is about 4 times the present population of human beings on this planet. Where are all these fossils? The answer usually given is that they are so dispersed that they are hard to find (yet evolutionists usually state that early hominids concentrated in East Africa). With so large a potential number of fossils, sooner or later it should be possible to definitively prove whether or not there were links between the various hominid species and modern man.

No genetic links

At the present time, even though it may be unstated in grades K through 12 textbooks, or in Natural History Museum guidebooks, there is no convincing proof of direct genetic links between say Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals, or between homo sapiens and either one of them. It is entirely possible that each of these species arose independently of the others, lived and flourished for a time period by themselves and then disappeared from this planet.

No technological advances

Another remarkable thing about prehistoric hominid fossils is the apparent lack of any evidence that over the past 4 million year time period there was any noticeable advance in the technological skills of these creatures. Simple stone tools have been found in some burial sites where fossils have been recovered and that seems to be the extent of their technology.

Given what mankind has achieved in the past six thousand years it is indeed strange that, for a time period thousands of times longer, technological progress was at a virtual standstill. It is doubtful that these prehistoric creatures knew anything about agricultural cultivation, animal domestication5 or even means of improved hunting such as the bow and arrow. However, there is some hint of religious development in these creatures because some gravesites where fossils have been found have also shown concomitant evidence of food being buried with the deceased. This has been interpreted as possibly making provision for an afterlife, which would require these pre-historic creatures to hold some sort of religious belief.

Possible pre-Adamic creations

Another remarkable discovery regarding pre-historic hominid fossils is evidence that leads to the presumption of a social structure. The reason for this is the occasional discovery of male and females buried in close proximity indicating the possibility of a social bond. Finally, the very fact that there are fossil remains found in what sometimes appears to be prepared ground, i.e. organized prehistoric cemeteries, in itself implies social structure. How do these observations mesh with the Bible?

The Bible gives hints that this present dispensation is not the only use that the Lord God has made of this planet. I will review some of these, but please be aware that the word hint is as far as I think a reasonable person ought to be willing to stipulate. The scriptures are sparse in providing any details of what preceded the Adamic creation, if indeed anything did! I am not sure that mankind is spiritually fit or sufficiently morally mature enough to be given any detailed knowledge.

The Bible starts out by telling us that when creation began the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep (Gen. 1:2). We are not told specifically how the earth came to be in that state. It is possible that it was always in that fashion until God moved to make the present creation. It is also possible the earth was subjected to some vast catastrophe(s) that put it in such a state. It is interesting to note that Cro-Magnon hominids became extinct about ten thousand years ago and that the last ice age, which covered large areas of the northern hemisphere, ended about the same time. It is also thought that homo sapiens survived the ice age. Thus, prior to the flourishing of modern human history, the earth’s northern temperate climatic zone was a very inhospitable place; we doubt, however, that this qualifies as being without form and void!

“Replenish” is not certain

Some sources cite the use of the word “replenish” in Genesis 1:28 (KJV) to prove that there was a prior creation upon the earth. However, the Hebrew word used in that verse does not have this as the primary meaning and could simply mean, “fill” without any sense of implying “fill again.” The KJV and ASV apparently chose the English word “replenish” as having the proper sense (the NIV disagrees) because the same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 9:1 in the commandment God gave to Noah after the flood: And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. There can be no question that the sense of “fill again” is what is meant in this latter case and by analogy it is reasonable (but not definitive) to conclude the sense of replenishing is what God also intended to convey to Adam also.7,8  The remaining instances of the use of the same Hebrew word are all rendered as simply “fill”. Hence, it is risky to assume too much from the use of the word“replenish” in the first chapter of Genesis in the AV.

Angels and a prior creation

Other scriptural support that could lead one to suspect prior creation(s) on the earth is the answer to the interesting query; where did the angels come from? The subject of angels is a big one and we do not intend a prolonged discussion at this point but only briefly to relate some of the Biblical evidence for their possible connection to a prior creation (possibly on earth).

First of all, we know that angels must have acquired immortality, they certainly could not have been co-eternal with the Father for the scriptures are plain in saying; Who only hath immortality… (I Tim. 6:16) in referring to the Lord God. We know that angels are beyond the ordinary cares of this life (Matt. 22:30); they are exalted creatures (Heb. 2:16) yet not on the same level as the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:4).

The angel Gabriel explains a vision to the prophet Daniel in Babylon and presumably (otherwise why would scripture explicitly mention his name?) the same Gabriel is sent to Mary to tell her of her favored position in God’s sight to be the mother of the Messiah. The two visits to earth by Gabriel are almost 600 years apart! Even more fascinating is the case of the angel Michael who is mentioned by Daniel (Dan. 10:13,21;12:1); spoken of being involved in the burial of Moses (Jude 1:9) and finally is named by the apostle John in the book of Revelation (12:7). These diverse incidents span a 3500-year time period. We are told that the righteous will be made like unto the angels in physical and moral being (Mk. 12:25). Hence the scriptures give us specific information of the immortality of angels (and by implication what is in store for the righteous redeemed of the present age). Since they were involved with the Lord in the work of creation on this planet they must have acquired immortality somewhere somehow. It is a reasonable (but again not definitive) model to presume that the angels acquired immortality in some prior dispensation possibly here on earth (their special mission to this planet suggests that conclusion).

Interpretations of angels that sinned

The reference to angels by the Apostle Peter is especially intriguing; For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment… (II Pet. 2:4). The pioneer brethren9 considered this reference and the enigmatic one in Jude (v. 6) — And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day — as an inference the angels were the result of a prior dispensation on planet earth.10 However, more recently these verses in the books of Peter and Jude have been attributed to the incident where Dathan, Korah and Abiram (DKA) were swallowed up into the earth as a result of their rebellious confrontation with Moses (Num. 16).

Standard Bible commentaries have incredibly fanciful interpretations of these two passages and the reader can check for him/herself if you find yourself with nothing better to do.11  The connection with DKA is principally made from the fact that II Peter 2 starts off talking about false teachers and certainly this evil trio which contested Moses fit that picture as does the scenario of their being swallowed up in the earth. However, there are also difficulties with this identification. First, why do Peter and James call DKA angels? They are certainly not called by this appellation anywhere in the Old Testament. Why not name these men specifically even as Peter directly mentions Noah and Lot; it seems like an inconsistency in style that would obscure what was meant when plain speech would have been more straightforward. Secondly, there is the problem of chronology in the Peter reference. If the reference is to DKA, why does Peter place that incident before Noah and Lot?

The Jude reference gives a better argument on behalf of those who prefer the DKA interpretation because here the chronology would be all jumbled up if verse 6 weren’t tied to verse 5 and the rebellion in the wilderness. The curious phrase, which did not keep their first estate (Jude 6) can also be linked to DKA. The Greek word estate here has the primary meaning of position or rank and certainly that is exactly what DKA aspired to do, i.e. exalt themselves in power and rank equal to Moses. We can conclude from this that while the angels no doubt came from a prior creation and obtained their immortality by whatsoever means the Lord God determined, nevertheless the Biblical case for tying them to past hominids such as Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons or prehistoric homo sapiens has its difficulties. We cannot definitively know whether they came from the earth or as the result of God working somewhere else in the universe. Let’s seek out further evidence concerning angels.

Further pointers connecting the angels to the earth

We also need to consider the statement the Apostle Paul makes to the Corinthians in discussing the role of the saints in judgment: Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Cor. 6:3) It would be a considerable stretch to interpret this verse in terms of Dathan, Korah and Abiram especially since in the previous verse he says the saints will judge the world. The Greek word here for world is kosmos and refers to the “inhabitants” not the age or era.12  One could conclude from this reference that the original beings that became “angels” were possibly associated with this planet at sometime in the past.

When Adam was created, the scriptures record that the angels said; And God (elohim) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, (Gen. 1:26). The scriptures rarely waste words and the redundant emphasis on image (or resemblance) as well as likeness has important physical and moral undertones. For our current purposes we will focus on the former, which clearly tells us we look like the angels. There is, of course, experiential proof of this idea since there are many occasions in scripture where angels are mistaken for humans so much so that we are admonished; Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:2). It has been written of Cro-Magnons: “Scientists believe they resembled modern Europeans.”13 This, of course, does not prove that Cro-Magnons are related to the angels in their pre-glorified state but it does agree with that possibility. If this resemblance weren’t true, it certainly would strengthen the argument for that angels did not come from the Cro-Magnon race or any earlier homo sapiens who previously inhabited the earth.

In conclusion, we cannot fail to note that our pioneer brethren uniformly believed in an old earth and a pre-Adamic dispensation. I personally was brought up with this belief and only in recent times has this idea been challenged by a “young earth – young universe” theory picked up from certain fundamentalist Christian quarters. I’ve attempted to show in this essay that this belief in a pre-Adamic dispensation related to the angels is possible, and is also not inconsistent with scientific evidence of prehistoric times. The answer to the question posed in the title is one word: Possibly! Lord willing, I intend later in these essays to address specifically the question when and how this pre-Adamic dispensation could have existed.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes

1 S.J. Gould and N. Eldredge. 1977: Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered, Paleobiology 3, pp. 115-151.

2 Recent studies on the teeth of over 750 hominid fossils at the University of Michigan has shown that a 20 year average life span is reasonable.

3 Stephen Jay Gould in the Book of Life.

4 It can be shown that for too small a population, stability is impossible and any local change in food supply or disease would have rapidly brought them to an end.

5 It is generally taught that cattle domestication began in Turkey some 8 to 10 thousand years ago. (New Scientist, July 24-30 issue, 2004.)

6 See Strong’s number 4390.

7 It is worth noting that both Brethren John Thomas and Robert Roberts accepted this sense of repopulating the earth. It is only in recent times that some have bought into the “young earth” argument.

8 The same Hebrew word is translated “presume” in Est. 7:5 ……Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? But is most often translated simply as “fill” as in Gen. 1:22, Gen. 42:25, I Ki. 18:33 etc.

9 John Thomas, Elpis Israel, and Robert Roberts, The Visible Hand of God.

10 This quote clearly does not refer to immortal angels sinning. For a full discussion of this issue and the relationship to the erroneous teachings on angels in the Apocryphal book of Enoch, see articles by Steven Cox, Enoch and the Angels that Sinned, Tidings, 12/2000-1/2001 and Slandering Celestial Beings, Abrahamic Faith Beacon, 2003-04.

11 Matthew Henry’s Commentary and the NIV Study Notes attribute these passages to “fallen angels in heaven” etc.

12 Strong’s number 2889.

13 Article contributed by Alan E. Mann, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania (World Book Multimedia Encyclopaedia, Electronic Edition © 2001.

14 Monkey Business

14 Monkey Business

14 Monkey Business

Bible and Science – Monkey Business

And God created…every living creature that moveth (Gen. 1:21).

14 Monkey BusinessIs man the product of specific creation or the result of a long evolutionary process whose direct lineage can be traced back to a branching from higher order primates? In other words, are we the descendents of monkeys,1 as popular science glossies seem to continually emphasize, or is there another explanation for our existence? In London, England, is one of the most famous Natural History Museums in the world and among its most illustrious exhibitions is the “Darwin Center” which houses many of the most important artifacts related to the theory of evolution. Centerpieces of this exhibit are the fossil and graphic displays related to the evolution of Homo sapiens2 (that’s us!) including the obligatory picture of the ascent of mankind from primitive ape-like creatures shown in the accompanying figure.3

Man’s supposed development

Modern man is the only living example of the animal family group known as Hominid.4 Homo sapiens have a number of features that distinguish them from their (hypothetical?) ape-like ancestors. These principal differences are: 1) Larger brain size – allowing the development of higher order reasoning powers; 2) Ability to walk erect – lengthening the foraging distances and providing the means for carrying burdens while mobil; and an 3) opposable thumb – permitting grasping and the capacity to use more complex implements (and weapons!).

The earliest form of such a creature is the genus called Australopithecus with a specific member of that group known as an australopithecine. This being is said to have appeared in Africa about 4 million years ago and was about 4 to 5 feet tall for the male, and somewhat smaller in stature for the female, with a brain capacity about one-third the size of modern Homo sapiens

With time this creature supposedly evolved to a taller stature and with an enlarged brain capacity. Along with these changes, the jaw and brow features also altered into the form more common in today’s human beings. The figure above depicts this so-called evolutionary progression. This illustration is replicated over and over again in one form or another in school textbooks and natural history museum exhibits.5

The most famous fossil find related to this genus has been dubbed Australopithecus afarensis and was found in Hadar, Ethiopia, in 1974, by the American anthropologists Donald Johanson and Tom Gray. This creature has become popularly known as “Lucy” since the fossil appears to be that of a young woman.6 “Lucy” is estimated to be anywhere from 3 to 3.6 million years old. It is from this fossil, and related finds, that the so-called origins of mankind out of Africa have been presumed.

A number of other later hominid fossils showing the progression of evolution presumably originating with Australopithecus afarensis have been identified. Indeed, fragments of hundreds of hominid fossils have been found at various places in Africa, Europe and Asia. These have been found over the span of the previous century, and include (among others): Homo habilis, Homo erectus (Peking Man), Java Man, Cro-Magnon Man, Neanderthal Man, Piltman   Man, Nebraska Man and finally Homo sapiens. Each of these fossil remains supposedly brings us closer to ourselves. For example Peking man (Sinanthropus pekinensis) is thought to have lived between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago in what is now northern China. Cro-Magnons were prehistoric human beings who lived in Europe, Asia, and North Africa from about 40,000 to 10,000 years ago and thus presumably contemporary with the development of Homo Sapiens.

Is it evolution?

If you have been following me so far, the key idea is that over the past four million years modern man purportedly evolved from apes as a distinct branch of biological family know as hominids. A succession of fossils has been found dating from the time of “Lucy” that show hominid creatures getting taller with larger brain capacity and with aesthetic features that are less and less ape-like. Now the critical question to answer is this: Does the fossil data actually fit the Darwinian evolutionary model or is some other explanation possible? However, before we address this question completely we need to take a foray into considerations on how one should interpret scientific data.

Evaluating the evidence

Religious people often dismiss the fossil record with disdain, claiming that the age of fossils has been either fudged by scientists, or that they are the result of so-called “flood” geology, which occurred as a consequence of the deluge in the time of Noah. As for the former claim, while it is true that some individual scientists have been so anxious to prove the theory of evolution that they have tampered with the evidence, as in the case of Piltdown man,it is equally true that such false claims eventually get exposed. It is patently unfair to accuse scientists of deliberately fudging evidence. As a rule they are no better, or worse than people in any other profession at being honest (excluding possibly politicians!).

The scientific process is an extremely public venture and the findings of any researcher are subject to intense scrutiny by their peers. For all the fossil data that is currently available to be deliberately fudged to prove a theory such as evolution would involve the collusion of many thousands of scientists coming from many different disciplines and that is not likely. Moreover, since any scientist exposing such fraud would be highly honored there is a built in process of ongoing peer review, which makes it very difficult for scientists to get away with tampering in the long run.

Many scientists do accept God and reject evolution as the answer to our existence (while accepting evolution in limited circumstances). They do this not because they believe the data has been fudged, but because they don’t accept the Darwinist model for interpreting the data.

Dating probably about right

We will expand on this idea below, but first let us consider another scenario sometimes accepted by religious people who deny all forms of evolution; they insist on a “young earth – young universe” model and suggest all geology is due to the flood at the time of Noah. We will come to the Biblical flood in a later chapter where it will be treated in detail, but for now it should suffice to point out two things that make it nearly impossible for the flood to have been responsible for all the geologic dating anomalies. First, there is the question of layering; a vast universal flood would have produced only one great layer of sedimentary debris and not the multiple layers attributed to the various geological eras.H..8

Secondly, fossil dating has also been corroborated, where possible, with radioactive carbon and potassium decay analysis. Unless the laws of physics were very different in the past than they are today, the radioactive decay technique should be accepted as definitive (naturally within the limits of error analysis).9 Hence I will stipulate that (generally) the fossil dating is genuine and the problem of whether or not it upholds the Darwinist theory of evolution lies elsewhere. Where can that be?

Bible an example of right data but many wrong conclusions

We don’t have to look very far to cite an example where data is absolutely correct yet the interpretation of that data is treated according to very different (and often conflicting) models by various groups of people. The prime, most dramatic, example is the Holy Bible. Perhaps as much as 80% of the people on this planet either are ignorant of its existence or consider it of no consequence. Some people think only the Old Testament is important while others just study the New Testament. Of those who accept the whole Bible there are myriad views on how to interpret its writings in terms of a consistent model of first principles that make one wise unto salvation (II Tim. 3:15). Standard reference sources cite that there are over 4,200 religious type organizations that exist in the world today.10 Does that make the information contained in the Bible invalid or does it speak of the fallibility of human interpretation?

While it is obvious that there is a diversity of opinion in the exact model for interpreting the Bible, nevertheless it is unlikely that any serious Christian would doubt the correctness of the information contained within its pages. Likewise, the fossil data may be absolutely correct and yet the Darwinist model worthless. Hence let’s examine if the evolutionists have treated their data correctly. Let’s look at some of the issues concerned in data analysis.

Some cautionary considerations

There are problems in treating data that have nothing whatsoever to do with the validity of the information that has been observed. First, is the possibility that one has extrapolated the data beyond the range of applicability. The second risk is that not all the information necessary to interpret the model is sufficiently available at the time, such that later observations make the original concepts invalid. There are famous examples of this in the realm of physical science, which are widely known and should give us pause in trying to interpret the fossil evidence solely on the basis of one model, i.e. Darwinist evolution.

An example of the former problem of faulty extrapolation was the case of trying to interpret cosmic behavior solely on the basis of Newtonian mechanics. This lead to severe problems when trying to understand the behavior of bodies moving at extremely high velocities or in the presence of high gravitational fields. In such cases, Newton’s laws broke down and it was eventually realized that Newtonian mechanics was a limiting case (and only exactly correct) for low speeds and for small gravitational interactions. It took Einstein to realize this, and get physics out of the conundrum that had happened at the end of the nineteenth century, by his creation of the special and general theories of relativity. This is a case lesson highlighting the danger of extrapolating a model beyond the range of applicability.

Another caution deals with trying to make a model fit even if all the information is not yet known. A particularly startling example of this was the result of the famous Michelson-Morley experiment.11 In the 19th century scientists thought of light as being wave-like in nature, i.e. different colors of light had different frequencies and wavelengths. The periodicity of waves is seen readily if we drop a pebble into a pond; the water will ripple out from the center of impact in a wave-like motion. The water serves as the medium for carrying out the periodic undulations that have been set in motion by the pebble hitting the surface of the pond. Similarly, sound is a wave-like entity that is transmitted by the ripples (actually periodic pressure variations) set in motion in air. In spite of science fiction movies, there is no sound of explosions in the vacuum of space, because there is no medium to carry the pressure variations.

What about light? If light is a wave it has to have something to wave in! Hence a physical model was constructed that assumed that the vacuum of free space was filled with a mysterious medium called ether or aether (British spelling) and this was the medium that allowed sunlight and starlight to reach earth. The Michelson-Morley experiment proved that this was absolutely wrong; their result showed unambiguously that there was no ether. This result, and others like it from the physical sciences proves the second caution, namely, a model must stand the test of critical experiments. Now what about the evolution of man from apes?

Flawed evidence for evolution

Often cited as proof of man’s evolutionary descent from apes, is the fact that approximately 95% of the genetic structure of humans is identical to that found in other higher primates. However, it doesn’t take much deliberation to find the fault in this logic. The fact that 95% (for sake of argument) of a Cadillac might be the same as a Chevy doesn’t prove that there were no automobile designers working for Cadillac. All it proves is that the designers worked with common elements to come up with an entirely different car. Similarly, the overlap in DNA structure between man and ape can be just as well explained by design variation. The Bible says, speaking of the creation of animals: But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another (I Cor. 15: 38-39). The ape may share genetic structure with humans, but it is still a distinctly different species and I doubt even the most ardent evolutionist would want a blood transfusion from an ape (its blood is totally incompatible). This is a case where evolutionists have jumped to a conclusion that can easily be explained by another model, i.e. specific creation.

What about gaps in the fossil data? It has yet to be proved that there were links between the various hominid groups that are found in the fossil record and the mechanism that caused hominids to branch from apes is not known. Instead of believing what I just wrote let’s get this directly from an evolutionist source: “All modern humans share a distinctive skull anatomy that includes such features as a protruding chin, a vertical forehead unadorned with brow ridges, a high rounded braincase of thin bone, and small teeth. The origin of this unique physical type is an unresolved question in paleoanthropology.”12 More recently another evolutionist describing how modern humans originated wrote: “The arrival of an early simian in Africa was a lucky event, but it’s the reason we are here and able to talk about it…the higher primate linkage owes its amazing evolutionary journey to the fact that a primitive simian dropped, purely by chance, into the unoccupied verdant paradise of Africa.”13 The tendency of evolutionists to use the words “luck,” “chance,” “accident,” or similar vocabulary sometimes makes me wonder if they are discussing science or the lottery!

Evolution of man assumed, not proven

In sum, the fossil data has not established that the various hominid fossils found so far are linked. That supposed linkage is completely a result of believing in advance the Darwinist model and is not conclusively based on experimental evidence. It is a perfect case of extrapolating data to force fit a model without considering other alternatives. The various hominid groups starting from the genus Australopithecus through Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and to Homo sapiens could just as well fit the model of a series of unrelated independent creation events. We saw earlier that in dealing with lower life forms a comprehensive look at the data has lead many scientists to believe “it is no gradual story that our discoveries reveal”.14 It appears that the same holds true for higher life forms except evolutionists appear to be unable to let go of the gradual model that is so entrenched in classical Darwinism.

Next time you see a figure (as depicted in this article) on the ascent of man from apes, please remember it is merely a model based on the Darwinist assumption of gradual modification supposedly leading to higher and more adaptive life forms. If modern humans are the higher life form that is the result of evolutionary progression then why is the ape still with us and where are all those other hominid species that supposedly preceded modern humans?

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes:

1 Actually human beings, along with apes, monkeys, lemurs, and tarsiers, make up the order of mammals called primates with the great ape considered to be man’s closest evolutionary ancestor.

2 Homo sapiens from the latin means: “wise human being”.

3 This figure is a computer graphic representation of a display panel in the Darwin Center, Natural History Museum, London, UK made by the author. You can find out more about this museum by going to its website: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/science/

4 Hominids are a biological family of mammals, which includes humans, extinct humanlike beings, and the great apes including: chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. (Definition from The Free Encyclopedia© at wikipedia.org). On the other hand, the World Book Encyclopedia© definition is narrower: “Hominids are distinguished from apes mainly by mode of locomotion. While apes predominantly use all four limbs to move along the ground, hominids have developed upright bipedal walking.”

5 Many scientists once thought that the earliest direct ancestor of human beings was a creature called Ramapithecus. This creature lived from 8 million to 14 million years ago. During the late 1900’s, however, discoveries of Ramapithecus fossils suggested the creature was an ancestor of the orangutan, a kind of ape. (World Book Multimedia Encyclopaedia, Electronic Edition © 2001, Article contributed by Bernard G. Campbell, University of California, Los Angeles.)

6 The skeleton, which is nearly 40% complete, was named “Lucy” because the anthropologists that found it, D. Johanson and T. Gray, were listening to the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds at the time of the discovery. Since this find, approximately 300 additional partial skeletons of the species afarensis have been dug up in Africa.

7 As discussed in an earlier chapter – “Piltdown man” was the tampered remains of a skeleton, made to look like a supposed missing link between Homo sapiens and apes, dug up in 1911 at Piltdown (near Sussex, UK) and later found to be a hoax in 1953. Piltdown Man is not to be confused with Piltman Man, this latter is an actual fossil.

8 The author is familiar with so-called “Flood Geology” of J. C. Whitcomb and H. M. Morris and doesn’t buy it. I find their work just plain poor science. (See for example: John C. Whitcomb, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, P&R Publishing, (1960). Other books on this subject include: John D. Morris, Noah’s Ark and the Ararat Adventure, Master Books, (1988). This author claims dinosaurs and human beings shared the earth at the same time 4500 years ago!)

9 In an earlier chapter, we presented arguments both from current observations of the universe, and from the Holy Scriptures, that attest to the constancy of the physical laws that govern our existence.

10 See – http://www.adherents.com/

11 Michelson, A. A. and Morley, E. W. “On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether.” Amer. J. Sci. 34, 333-345, 1887 and “On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Aether.” Philos. Mag. 24, 449-463, 1887.

12 Copied from a display on the “Origins of Modern Humans” by the author some 20 years ago at theAmerican Museum of Natural History, New York.

13 Quoted from an article discussing the findings of the anthropologist, Dr. Beard, in the 22nd May 2004 issue of New Scientist, entitled “Out of Asia”, by Richard Hollingham, pp. 36-39.

14 The Book of Life, editor Stephen Jay Gould, W. Norton & Co, NY, (1993), pp. 56-57.

13 The Bible and Science

13 The Bible and Science

13 The Bible and Science

Bible and Science

13 The Bible and ScienceIt is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (Prov. 25:2).

It is a common fallacy to claim that science has proven the Bible wrong. The corollary to this statement is that scientists supposedly don’t believe in God because the concept of an omniscient divine being cannot be proven by any rational means.

Belief among scientists

In the 1920’s, at the time of the Scopes trial on teaching evolution, it was believed by many educated people that eventually science would triumph and would explain all things in the universe in terms of rational quantitative laws – that is, physical laws that were inherent in nature and that did not require the invoking of a divine being to explain our existence.

There was also a strong undercurrent in intellectual circles of agnosticism,whose thinking can be epitomized in a quote from the writings of the Scopes trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow: To say that God made the universe gives us no explanation of the beginnings of things. If we are told that God made the universe, the question immediately arises: Who made God?2 In 1916, only a few years before the Scopes trial, there was a survey taken of scientists questioning their belief in a God; this survey was repeated again in 1997 and the results were quite startling. The following is an excerpt from a report on these two surveys, which were taken almost 80 years apart:

Repeating verbatim a famous survey first conducted in 1916, Edward Larson of the University of Georgia has found that the depth of religious faith among scientists has not budged regardless of whatever scientific and technical advances this century has wrought.

Then as now, about 40 percent of the responding biologists, physicists and mathematicians said they believed in a God who, by the survey’s strict definition, actively communicates with humankind and to whom one may pray “in expectation of receiving an answer.”

The figure of unqualified believers is considerably lower than usually cited for Americans as a whole. Gallup polls, for example, have found that about 93 percent of people surveyed profess a belief in God. But those familiar with the survey said that, given the questionnaire’s exceedingly restrictive definition of God – narrower than the standard Gallup question – and given scientists’ training to say exactly what they mean and nothing more, the 40 percent figure in fact is impressively high.”3

In my own experience, I have not found much difference in the degree of belief and commitment to religion among fellow scientists compared with almost everyone else I know in other professions. In fact, it has often been my experience that it is non-scientists who are the ones who make the most vociferous claims that science has made religion superfluous! Why this happens is hard to fathom; perhaps working scientists are more aware of the limits of science and less inclined to worship it as if it were a new religion.

Regardless of the circumstances, the fact remains it is common lore that the Bible and science are in conflict and many of the stories in the scriptures will not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Darrow, in his famous cross-examination of William Jennings Bryan on the witness stand at the Scopes trial, raised many pseudo-scientific issues in an attempt to prove that the Bible was unsound. These issues boil down to the type of queries often posed to this very day by skeptics who claim that the Bible narratives are myth and legend. Let’s examine some of these difficult questions posed by Bible critics.

Who made God?

First and foremost is the question of the existence of God. Let’s try to answer Darrow’s question: Who made God? The idea of this question is to show that one can never get to an ultimate answer concerning our existence, thus the cynic considers belief in God to be irrational. One thing should be clear from earlier chapters of these essays namely, that both the Bible and science agree that the universe was created instantaneously from “nothing.”4

Who, or what, caused the original enormous energy burst that propelled the universe into existence? The glib scientific answer would be that the perturbation that caused our universe was simply a ripple in the fabric of space/time. This assumes that the cosmos is composed at unseen dimensions5 of a vast hidden energy foam, which from time to time just happens to erupt to form a universe. This concept may sound incredible, but it is one potential physical model that physicists have considered to explain how our universe formed.

Of course this still begs the question: who, or what, created the unseen energy foam that supposedly exists at an unseen dimensional level in the vacuum of space? At some point all these physical models require a degree of faith – faith in the scientific model, because so far they appear to be beyond any capability of being tested by actual measurement. The bottom line is: Can science ever find the ultimate “first cause?” So far the answer to every scientific advance on understanding the universe has only raised new questions that need to be considered. A definitive closure appears to be near impossible.

The Bible’s answer

Now what does the Bible say with regard to the question of who created God? The Bible actually confronts this issue head-on. The very first time God reveals His name to Moses on Mt. Sinai the Lord tells him: And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you (Ex. 3:14). The Hebrew word translated in the Authorized Version as “I am” is a curious expression that has possible past, present and future meaning (see Strong’s footnote).6

In one sense, we can translate this expression that God revealed Himself to Moses as the “self-existent one.” There are reinforcements to this idea in the Psalms where it is said: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psa. 90:2).Here the Psalmist clearly states that, before everything, there was first God.

There is an echo of this idea in the New Testament where the apostle Paul wrote: who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen (I Tim.6:16). The tie-in of God with light (which is a form of pure energy) is interesting and certainly is worth some contemplation. Could this be the explanation of the so-called ‘big bang’ and the creation of our universe? Did God use a portion of this (His) light (or energy) to expand and create the cosmos? I don’t have a scientific answer because ultimately it boils down to faith; either you have faith in God, or you have faith in a physical model.

The “first cause” of the scriptures is the Lord God: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6). It’s up to each and every one of us to make our own decision about where we chose to place our faith. The agnostics’ view offers no hope and only despair, while faith in the Lord God holds out the prospect of an eternal blessing. Which is the better choice seems pretty obvious, especially, as we have seen repeatedly in this series, where one piece of evidence after another cries out for the existence of God.

Who did Cain marry?

Skeptics often raise other difficult questions which mainly focus on the Genesis record of miracles. This is the heart of their attack on scripture because they know that in these areas believers are most likely to resort to “blind faith” arguments. This is a bad mistake for believers because, in my experience, rational arguments can always be given and such an approach has had the effect many times in my life of seeing someone turn to God.

One of these difficult questions centers on the question: Whom did Cain marry? Here is one approach to answer that question: First of all, we are not told how old Adam and Eve were when they had Cain (or Abel, for that matter). We do know that the scriptures record that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born (Gen. 5:3)..8 Since the Bible genealogy in Genesis 5 only gives the male descendants, we don’t know how many women were born to Adam and Eve, but the scriptures tell us: After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). With the help of a little population statistics, it is easy to show that with a doubling period of 20 years for Adam and Eve’s descendants, by the time they reached 200 years old, they could have produced 10 generations.9 Thus the original pair would have expanded to 210 people, which equates to more than a thousand inhabitants.

Given this normal population growth Cain certainly would have had a number of possible mates to chose from, assuming that differences in age weren’t as significant in those days as they are today and assuming that marrying a close relative did not have the same potential for harm as today.

It can easily be shown that with only a small variation in the doubling time the available mates for Cain increases enormously. For example, if we use 15 years instead of 20 years, we find at the end of 200 years the population would have increased to 10,297 people, roughly half of whom would have been female. This would have provided a large selection of available mates for Cain or anyone else for that matter. Hence the answer to the question whom did Cain marry is simple: he had lots of potential choices!

Miracles regarding the sun

Another question Bible skeptics ask, which was also raised at the Scopes Monkey trial was: How did the sun and moon stand still when Joshua fought the Amorites? (Joshua 10:12, 13). No other ancient people record in their histories any incident of the sun or moon standing still. It is also obvious from the physical laws of gravity that if the earth had stopped its rotation for a day (or even the smallest fraction of a second) the effects would have been catastrophic. The vast gravitational forces unleashed would have obliterated everything on earth. Of course, God could have vastly extended the miracle to fix all of this, and some creation science sources claim that there is a missing day in the earth’s history. However, reputable cosmologists have never verified their claims.

Before going any further it would be best to carefully examine, without any preconceived notions, what the Bible is actually saying. The text in Joshua never says that the earth stood still, nor does it claim that the effect was global! Joshua 10:12 states: And he (Joshua) said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. The text is pretty straightforward in limiting the effect to the region of the battle with the Amorites. It should also be obvious that this limitation was more than sufficient to accomplish the Lord’s purpose that day.

Bible skeptics also scoff at a related type of miracle that occurred during the reign of King Hezekiah. The incident is recorded in II Kings 20:10,11: And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz. The text is unambiguous, it simply states that the shadow went back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz; there are no claims of any global effects.

It is also interesting to note that later on in the same chapter it is recorded that Hezekiah meets with emissaries of the king ofBabylonand makes the dreadful mistake of bragging too much. The Babylonians came because they heard of Hezekiah’s recovery from his seemingly terminal illness, yet no mention is made in the text of these emissaries being aware of a worldwide reversing of the sun’s course. This is especially interesting because we know today that the Babylonians were keen observers of the heavens and surely such a noteworthy connection with Hezekiah’s healing would not have escaped their notice. Obviously, the Bible confines the miracle to the sundial of Ahaz and we would be amiss to claim more. How then could the miracle have been performed?

During the Vietnam war, the United States military had actually considered erecting a giant space mirror that would focus the sun’s rays throughout the night over the jungle trails that the Viet Cong used in the dark of night to reinforce their positions. A change in the refractive/reflective properties of the gases in the upper atmosphere of the earth could likewise produce an effect that could focus light on a specified land area that would light up the night sky as if it were day, or even make the shadow of a sundial appear to move backward. This doesn’t diminish the miracle, but it does keep it in accord with both a careful reading of the Bible text and the facts of known history in other regions of the world.

The evidence of witnesses

Bible skeptics today still point to various miracles recorded in the scriptures as “unscientific.” We might be able to understand an underlying scientific basis for some of these miracles, as we have shown above, but that doesn’t detract from their power. After all, by what means can mankind rearrange the molecules in the upper atmosphere to make sundials appear to move in reverse?

More importantly one must concede that God is not only the creator of the universe, but also of the laws that govern its behavior. The rational approach to believing in miracles cannot be based only on science, because we do not yet know all the intricacies involved in the machinery of the universe. There may still be laws yet to be discovered. Furthermore, manipulation of those we do know to perform something at a particular time and circumstance, is beyond our limited power. However, that doesn’t mean we have to resort to “blind faith” either. Ultimately the proof of miracles resides in the testimony of reliable witnesses and this is something a lawyer like Clarence Darrow should have been able to appreciate. As the apostle Paul stated in his trial before Agrippa and Festus: Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (Acts 26:8). This is the core miracle of the Christian faith and we accept it on rational grounds because of the testimony of very dependable witnesses (I Cor. 15). The reliable witness of the prophets, apostles, and most assuredly of our Lord Jesus Christ is the bottom line answer to all difficult questions.

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes:

1 An agnostic is “a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known about the existence of God or about things outside of [direct] human experience.” The World Book Dictionary © 2001 World Book, Inc.

2 Internet Modern History Sourcebook, © Paul Halsall, July 1998.

3 San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, April 7, 1997, page A12. With a headline reading: “Scientists Still Believe in God, Study Shows: 4 of 10 are religious – same as 1916”.

4 The so-called “standard model” of the universe (colloquially known as the ‘big bang’) postulates that all the matter in the heavens and earth came from the instantaneous expansion of an incredibly high energy pulse originating in a region of space infinitely smaller than a pinhead.

5 It is currently thought that the universe actually may be composed of a 10 or 11 dimensional space, i.e. beyond the usual length, breadth, height and time dimensions that we usually associate with reality. These extra dimensions have “folded” in upon themselves in some manner and are unobservable, but they profoundly influence the physical laws of the universe.

6 Strong’s number 1961: hayah, haw-yaw; a primary root to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass. Christadelphians will obviously be aware of the discourse of Bro. John Thomas on the names of God and the distinctive doctrine of God manifestation.

7 See also Psalm 106:38.

8 Some have quibbled at the ages given in Genesis to the patriarchs, however, the average life expectancy in the USA, however, will approach the 100 level in the near future, something thought impossible when I was a child. Given the clean environment, the wholesome food, and the lack of over crowding of mankind in the Genesis period long life was not only conceivable, it is most certain.

9 This is exactly following the reasoning of evolutionists in explaining how a new species supposedly multiplies in response to environmental stimuli. (See: The Book of Life, editor Stephen Jay Gould, W. Norton & Co, NY, 1993, p56-57). A doubling time of approximately 20 years is not unreasonable for human populations.

12 Here Comes the Sun

12 Here Comes the Sun

12 Here Comes the Sun

Bible and Science – Here Comes the Sun

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night:…And the evening and the morning were the fourth day (Gen. 1:16-19).

12 Here Comes the SunWhere did modern man come from? Are we the product of a long evolutionary line that originated with monkeys and eventually branched off to form what is now called homo sapiens (which means wise human being) or were we the result of specific creation by the power of the LORD God?

The great court case

One of the most famous trials in the history of the United States considered these questions. It took place in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, and involved a public school educator named John Thomas Scopes who was tried for teaching the Darwinist view that the human race descended from monkeys.1 Teaching evolution was in direct violation of a state law which permitted only the literal Biblical interpretation of the creation story from Genesis 1. The trial became famous, indeed infamous, not only because of the issues involved, but because two of the most prominent lawyers of that day were pitted against each other. Assisting the prosecution was William Jennings Bryan, who had thrice run for the Presidency of the United States and lost all three times. He was a devout Christian who saw himself as upholding the scriptures by helping to prosecute this case. On the side of the defense was Clarence Darrow, who just the year before had successfully defended Leopold and Loeb.2

Darrow came to Dayton, Tennessee, to uphold what he believed was the cause of modern enlightenment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was looking for a test case to overturn creationism and offered free counsel to any teacher who agreed to defy the law. Scopes was a convenient and willing tool. Ironically, Darrow and Scopes lost the case3 and Scopes was fined $100. The Tennessee law was not removed from the books until 1967, long after Darrow had passed away.

Main issues still alive

What makes the Scopes trial so important for the Bible believer is that the issues raised in that courtroom in 1925 haven’t gone away. The writings of the popular press4 and theater5 have served to make Scopes and Darrow heroes while Bryan is usually made out to be a naive old fool. Bryan was maneuvered into taking the witness stand as an “expert witness” and questioned at some length on the veracity of the Genesis creation story. Darrow cleverly trapped him into making a number of nonsensical replies. Unfortunately, the same questions often come up today, because opponents of the Biblical version of creation have read about the Scopes trial, or are familiar with the theatrical version,or simply because they have been similarly influenced by the theory of evolution almost as if it were a religion itself. What were the questions that were posed to Bryan that caused him to stumble?

Bryan trapped on order of events

Darrow started by asking if Bryan took everything in the Bible literally. Bryan, being no fool, said mostly but of course there were also figurative things in the scriptures. He was then asked if he thought that the six days of creation were six literal 24-hour days. Again Bryan, who was not the strict fundamentalist that he has sometimes been portrayed in history, stated: “My impression is that they were periods.” (We intend to go into the time periods of the creation week in another chapter.) Then he got into some difficulty when Darrow asked if he believed literally that the order and time structure of creation was exactly as stated in Genesis 1. How then could the Sun appear on the fourth day of creation when three days had already happened!

Questions such as these are still posed by skeptics seeking to subject the Bible to scientific ridicule. Bryan stumbled over this question (and others) and really had no good answers. He became so flustered that he was trapped into saying things that were nonsense. At one point, in response to a question which asked whether he had previously thought about these difficult Bible passages, he replied: “I do not think about things I don’t think about.” The popular press had a field day with this statement. Ironically, Christadelphians can get themselves in the same situation if we don’t think about difficult questions and instead put our heads in the sand hoping they will go away.

Some of the problems

Even today Bible scholars, who have no doubts in their own minds, have to realize that it may take more than unquestioned faith to convince the skeptic, or possibly even their own children who are faced with these difficult Biblical questions in school or by their peers. An answer based on “God can do anything He wants” may be perfectly correct, but hardly sufficient to convince the doubter. We are admonished to,

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man(Col. 4:6).

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear(I Pet.3:15).

Let’s examine some of the difficult issues about the creation story and see what the scriptures and science actually tell us.

The fourth day

The Genesis record states:

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:..And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day(Gen. 1:14 –19).

In order to appreciate exactly what occurred on the fourth day of creation we have to backtrack and understand what really happened on the preceding days. First of all, the heavens and earth already existed before the first day of creation began, as we have already proved in an earlier chapter of these essays. The creation of the universe is dismissed after the first verse because from then on the focus of the rest of the chapter is on how creation was carried out upon the earth. The focus of the entire Bible is upon God’s plan and purpose with the earth and its inhabitants. The nature of the rest of the universe, while it may be interesting, is not a subject that will directly affect our salvation. Hence, from verse 2 onwards in Genesis 1, everything is written from the perspective of an observer upon the earth.

Basic preparation of the waters

The first step was that the earth’s environment had to be prepared for life. The exploration of nearby planets in recent years should make us aware that this was not a trivial task. If the earth was a barren rock-strewn wasteland like Mars or the moon, how could plant and animal life have ever flourished? If the oceans and rivers of our planet did not have exactly the right balance of mineral content and be free of poisonous chemicals like the methane oceans of Venus then how could life exist in the sea?

It is a fact that vast deposits of oil and natural gas (mostly methane) are sealed beneath our waters as drillings have found in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, off the Santa Barbara, California coast and at many other locations around the earth. When the record says: And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (v. 2), I take it to mean He prepared the oceans, lakes and rivers of this planet for life; it is the power of God that is spoken of in this verse. It is by His spirit that the scriptures tell us we live, and move, and have our being (Acts17:28).

Preparing the atmosphere

Next we are told that God says let there be light (v. 3). Note it does not say ‘let there be the sun’. Of course not, because the sun was no doubt already there! What was happening (most likely) was that a sufficient clearing of the atmosphere was arranged so that light could filter through and penetrate to the surface. A cloud cover of impenetrable gases and dust particles must have covered the atmosphere of the earth such that no light could infiltrate to nourish the plant life that God was eventually going to create later on the third day.

We have seen incidents of this on earth in the past. In August 1883, Mt. Krakatoa, a volcano in the isles that comprise Indonesia, exploded and the records show that “volcanic dust in the atmosphere caused spectacular red sunsets over the next three years in the Northern Hemisphere. The volcanic dust may also have been the reason for a worldwide drop in temperature that lasted five years.”7

There is much geological evidence that volcanic activity was far more prevalent in ages past than it is today. The Los Alamos plateau in New Mexico is thought to be the collapsed dome of a vast volcano and there is also the picturesque Crater Lake in Oregon that is the remnant of a long extinct gigantic volcano. Similar dormant sites exist around the globe testifying to the distinct possibility that the earth’s atmosphere must have been polluted and overcast with volcanic dust and gases in ages past.

It is also thought, even further back in time some 65 million years ago, that the earth may have encountered a huge asteroid, which created an impenetrable cloud of dust and debris that covered the whole earth. There exists in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsulaan enormous crater some 190 miles in diameter thought to be the impact site of the asteroid. Coring samples taken from the region have indicated the long-ago date. The result of such an immense impact would be many times the effect of Krakatoa, thus it is not impossible to believe that the earth’s atmosphere was covered with an impenetrable cloud that needed cleansing if life would come (again?) out of the chaos.

Separation of the waters

Now let’s examine day 2. Here we read: God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament (v. 7). The word “firmament” in the AV means “an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky”.8 The NIV© translates “firmament” as “expanse” and goes on to state in verse 8 that God called the expanse “sky.”

In other words, once the atmosphere and oceans were purified (day 1) of noxious dust and possibly poisonous gases and chemicals, the next step was to create on day 2 a separation of the waters on the earth. Water from the seas and oceans were no doubt evaporated to form a dense cloud cover. This likely set in motion almost endless rainstorms, which not only finished cleansing the atmosphere but no doubt also helped shape the rivers and lakes.

Dense cloud covers are the norm on some planets in our solar system; Saturn is one such example. Weather patterns on that planet make even the worst conditions on earth merely a picnic in July! Storms on Saturn are massive and can last not for days, but for months, years and even centuries. If earth had conditions like this on day 2, then even though light could filter through to nurture the plant life created on day 3 (vv. 9 – 13) apparently it was still not possible for an observer on earth to see either the sun or the moon.

Many years ago I spent March and half of April working at the British NSF laboratories at Daresbury; during that period, it rained 44 of the 45 days that I was there. A few days near the end of that dreary 6-week period the sun broke through the seemingly endless overcast and appeared for a few hours. The next day the local newspaper had a banner headline wondering what that strange yellow orb was that had been briefly observed in the twilight sky. Thus by our own experience, if we go through indeterminable foul weather where for days at a time we don’t see the sun, we still can discern night and day. A cloud cover like this must have enveloped the entire earth on the third day of creation. Light could filter through, and while night and day were discernible, an observer on earth could see neither the sun nor the moon. That takes us to the fourth day of creation.

The fourth day

If you’ve followed everything I’ve said so far, the events of the fourth day should be easy to explain; on day 4, God created weather. The text is perfectly clear And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth (v. 17). Thus on the fourth day the cloud cover was broken and weather patterns established. This allowed one to observe clearly the source of the lights that had previously illuminated the earth.

The creation of weather may sound trivial, but not if one is aware of the tremendously complex weather patterns that occur on this planet. We know how even moderate changes in our present climatic conditions could make earth uninhabitable. Some examples to contemplate: if the average global temperature increased by 5°C the ice fields of the north and south polar regions would melt and the earth would be inundated with water. Most of North America would be submerged except for the two mountain divides of the Appalachian and Rocky chains.

Take things in the other direction: suppose the average temperature dropped 5°C. The earth would then be driven into a vast ice age and most of North America, Europe and Northern Asia would be overrun with glaciers. Apparently both of these conditions existed in ages past, hence the fine-tuning of climate and the appearance of the sun and moon that happened on day 4 was absolutely essential to the existence of human life, as we know it in the present age.

A straightforward answer

Now the suggested answer to the question of how the sun and moon did not appear until the 4th day is simple: that is the day in which they could be clearly observed from the point of view of an observer upon the earth.9

Thus with some detailed study of the creation story in the scriptures, combined with a little bit of what we now know about planetary sciences, the hard questions raised by Clarence Darrow and other Biblical skeptics should not faze any Bible scholar.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …. Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place(Job 38:4, 8-10).

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes:

1 The background information on the Scopes case was taken from the trial transcripts and the newspaper reports available from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Library.

2 Nathan F. Leopold, Jr. and Richard A. Loeb were the two teenagers who had kidnapped and murdered 14 year-old Bobby Franks in an attempt to commit the perfect crime. In that trial, for perhaps the first time in American jurisprudence, Darrow used psychiatric evidence with respect to the mental competency of the defendants to argue against the death penalty, which he vehemently opposed. Darrow won his point in the Leopold-Loeb case and the two were sentenced to 99 years in prison without parole.

3 Darrow himself made the motion that his client would plead guilty to prevent Bryan from making a closing summation speech. He did not want to give Bryan, who was well known as a great orator, a chance to recover from his testimony. Darrow intended to then appeal the case to the Tennessee Supreme court where he thought he could get the statue overturned on constitutional grounds, but this never happened. Instead it was overturned on a narrow legal technicality.

4 The dispatches from Dayton, Tennessee by H.L. Mencken, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, were distributed all over the United States. The picture of Bryan and the creationists as buffoons and dolts was the image Mencken spread to America.

5 Inherit the Wind, by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, was a thinly disguised fictional account of the Scopes trial. The names of the protagonists were changed, but the essence of the story is based on what happened in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 and the message is an embellished version of enlightenment vs. anti-intellectualism.

6 I know it happened to me when I got into a debate in 1955 with my high school biological science teacher and similar questions were raised almost 25 years later when my children were being educated.

7 Article by Katharine V. Cashman, in World Book Encyclopaedia Electronic Edition©.

8 Strong’s number 7549.

9 I have ended, of course, exactly with what Bro. John Thomas stated as his views in Elpis Israel.

 

11 From Single Cells to Man – How?

11 From Single Cells to Man – How?

11 From Single Cells to Man – How?

Bible and Science – From Single Cells to Man – How?

And God said,  “Let the water teem with living creatures (Gen. 1:20)11 From Single Cells to Man – How?

In the previous article, we examined the question of how life began.  Now let us turn our attention to the progression from single cells to complex organisms.  What is the mechanism that allowed single cells to assemble into mollusks, trees, reptiles and mammals?

The absent mechanism is the key

The evolutionist doesn’t tend to dwell much on mechanisms; they are more or less taken for granted!  When an evolutionist is asked to specify the mechanism, the usual answer is to bluff his way through it by stating; though we don’t know the mechanism, the fact of evolution cannot be doubted.  Lest you think I am misstating the evolutionist’s position, let me cite it in an evolutionist’s own words:

“Evolution:…In evolutionary biology, as in all active areas of research, there is lively debate among scientists.  But such argument focuses on the mechanism by which evolution has taken place, not upon the concept of evolution itself…1

This quote was copied by the author from an inscription accompanying an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.2  This is what school children are being exposed to at virtually every natural history museum around the world.

In the physical sciences, to presume the fact of a theory without knowing the mechanism would make you the laughing stock of your profession.  The plain fact is that no one knows how single cells presumably got the idea to assemble into large-scale organisms.  The figure below is a schematic representation of approximately how the sequence of life was supposedly created.  The question marks represent the principal “unknown” mechanism.

The first issue to consider is, namely, how did nature advance from individual chemical elements to the DNA/RNA building blocks of living cells that was considered in the previous article?  The evolutionist’s argument in this case essentially rests on his contention that time was the hero, which is assuredly an argument based on faith, but not faith in a creator.  Rather it is akin to the addicted gambler’s blind belief that he or she will always win a game of chance no matter what the odds.  The faith of the evolutionist is based on the concept of “it happened” therefore blind chance must have made it occur (because believing in God is unacceptable to him).  Moreover the evolutionist makes such an argument apparently oblivious to the fact that it is a religious argument made in reverse, i.e. faith here is built on the belief (as we have shown previously) that the physical laws of the universe somehow don’t apply, or are suspended for biological processes.

I do not mean to imply by this that there is no evidence at all for evolution or for natural selection for that matter.  Of course there is, with such observations as the adaptability of certain moths to new environmental conditions being well known.  However, using such short-term effects and extrapolating them to explain life on earth as we find it today is simply not legitimate.  It is extremely poor science to take a little bit of data and press its application far outside the realm of observation.  This is a ‘sin’ that is common in many an evolutionist’s arguments.

Geologic record confounds evolutionist’s theories

The second thing to think about is: how did individual cells assemble into even the simplest living creatures such as mollusks?  The Bible says: And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures’ (Gen. 1:20), so at least in this regard there seems to be agreement between the evolutionist’s views and the Biblical account; both consider the sea as the first nurturing place for life on this planet.

The Bible could have put man first and then claimed all things were then created for his pleasure; some ancient pagan beliefs actually had this as the order of things.  Evolutionists often like to deride the first chapter of Genesis for its lack of details, but seldom (never!) give Moses credit (through revelation, of course) for essentially getting the order of things right.

The geological record clearly indicates that simple mollusk creatures, having hard shells similar to clams, have been found buried deep in the earth.  Geological layers evidently date such creatures to hundreds of millions of years prior to our era.  However, the startling fact is that evolutionists have been forced to admit in recent years, from careful examination of the fossil records, that many of these creatures appear to have hardly evolved at all over incredibly long periods of time.  Indeed, some mollusks apparently exist in the sea today virtually unchanged in nature from those found in geological layers appearing to be millions upon millions of years old.  This is in direct conflict with the Darwinist idea of gradual upwardly mobile improvement in species.

In fact, this idea of upward mobility of a species was epitomized by the famous display that many Natural History Museums (including New York) had assembled.  This display had a series of fossils showing the supposed evolutionary history of the horse that progressed from a small creature, not much bigger than a small dog, which eventually got bigger and bigger with time and had its feet change from toed to hooved.  This purportedly proved the concept of gradual evolution of a species.  Claims of this sort are still made and unashamedly repeated in respected reference books, for example the World Book encyclopedia says:

…the earliest horse, called Eohippus or Hyracotherium, stood only 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) high at the shoulder and had four toes on each of its front feet.  Through fossils, scientists have traced a chain of about 30 species over 60 million years from Eohippus to the modern horse.  Each species has slightly different features, such as a bigger body and fewer toes, from its extinct ancestors.3

This all sounds very convincing, and if you have ever seen an exhibit of this hypothetical fossil progression of the horse you would have noted how impressed most of the crowd of onlookers appears to be.  There is only one problem; the whole thing is entirely fallacious!  It has recently been reported that the exhibit was severely criticized by evolutionary biologists and it has been subsequently dismantled.4  The focus of the criticism was that the fossils were not truly linear in time, some of the smaller ones apparently were dated later than the bigger ones (in complete contradiction to the usual evolutionary gradual improvement notion) and some fossils were eventually found to not be of the line related to horses, but rather to other species.  Unfortunately, evolutionary evidence seems to be replete with cases of great exaggeration, wishful thinking, or outright fraud such as with Piltdown man.5

Drosophila melanogaster

The modern view for explaining the origin of species is to attribute such to the evolution of DNA with the mechanism being mutation.  The idea behind mutation is that the chemical sequences inherent in the genes associated with the DNA in the living cell are altered by some external means thus changing the genetic code producing new variant life forms.  To test this mechanism Edward Lewis and co-workersat California Institute of Technology performed a series of experiments irradiating fruit flies.  The fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, presents a relatively simple case of having only 8 chromosomes (4 pair), compared to 46 (23 pair) for humans that carry the genetic material controlling the inherited traits of a species.  These chromosomes in humans contain about 30,000 genes, which define our inherited features, while in fruit flies about 13,000 genes suffice, again simplifying investigations.  Fruit flies also live relatively brief life spans of a day or two; hence thousands of generations can be bred and studied over relatively short periods of time.

These experiments did indeed alter the genetic material of fruit flies producing all sorts of abnormalities, including extra body parts, larger eyes, wings with different segments and so on, but the critical issue is that nothing other than an abnormal fruit fly ever came out of all these observations.  The fruit fly did not evolve into a beetle, or a bee, or any other species.  In fact, the sad feature of all these experiments was that altering the genetic code by mutation only seems to produce freaks of nature.  Lewis eventually won the Nobel Prize, but not for helping to prove the theory of evolution, rather because his research contributed to understanding the nature of human birth defects.

Mechanism of change remains a puzzle

The lack of success of controlled experiments to explore how mutations in the DNA genetic structure could cause species to evolve into other species hasn’t apparently dulled the enthusiasm of evolutionists to cite it as the responsible mechanism.  To cite their own writing, without any tinkering or paraphrasing on my part, is illuminating.  Consider, for example, an extract from a very popular book on evolutionary biology, which states:

[How] Can we account for the sudden appearance of so many fundamentally different kinds of animals – the basic phyla?  And why did the variety of animals within each phylum rocket so steeply upward?  Scientists would like to know…

What happens when animals flood an empty ecological space is a sequence well known in life’s history.  Not only individuals, but also species, begin to climb at a geometric rate: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 ….  As Geerat Vermeij puts it, new species are basically accidents that happen as populations of individuals adapt to local environments.7

A few years later in a similar vein the well-known evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, in an article in Scientific American claimed that it was DNA that evolved to adapt to local environmental changes, the mechanism that made the DNA respond was unspecified.8

Thus according to evolutionists the mechanism for the origin of species is either basically an accident or an unspecified magical response that is somehow inherent in DNA.  Remarkably, evolutionists pose these ideas as scientific without even blushing!  Yet when Bible believers express their trust in the origin of life, and of all things living, to the power of God, evolutionists accuse them of being illogical and unscientific.

After his kind

What is the mechanism for the origin of complex living organisms that is presented in the Bible?  Let us consider from the viewpoint of the scriptures how very complex living organisms, especially mankind, came into existence.  The narrative isn’t very detailed but it is explicit; it says, for example, considering plant life: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind (Gen. 1:12).  With regard to animal life it is recorded: after his kind (Gen. 1:21, 24, 25).  Finally, with respect to humans, it says we were created in the image of the elohim9 (Gen. 1:26, 27).

The Bible reveals life is not an accident, but resulted from a process of design carried out by the angelic host in whose image humanity was created.  The reference to after his kind makes it clear that each species, though patterned on a master blueprint of DNA, had specific variations in the chromosome/genetic structure that makes it unique.  This explains why fruit flies have 8 chromosomes and humans 46.

This was not an accident, but a deliberate design programmed into the cell nucleus of the given species.  The Apostle Paul further elaborates on the uniqueness of species: But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another (I Cor. 15:38, 39 – NIV).  The Bible mechanism for the origin of complex life forms is simple: God determined the structure of the DNA and each life form was given a uniquely specific pattern.

Which belief makes more sense?

We have a choice of what to believe on the origin of complex life forms: we can either accept that everything happened by accident or by specific design of the Almighty God.  Please be aware that when we say accident, we don’t just mean one oddball lucky shot in the dark, as it were, because there are millions of species on planet earth.  Every single species would require an accidental modification of the DNA structure for that species to have evolved.  Hence if we assume the evolutionist’s mechanism, we need to accept the idea of not one, but literally millions, of accidents having occurred to explain the myriad of life forms now present on earth.  This is just too farfetched for my taste; I prefer a simple elegant explanation as given in the words of the Apostle John:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Rev. 4:11).

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Next, Lord willing, The creation of man.

Footnotes:

1  My underlining.

2  Copied sometime in the early 1980’s on a CYC field trip to that museum.

3  World Book Encyclopedia, Electronic Edition©, Article by Peter Dodson, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania.

4  If someone lives near a Natural History Museum which has or had such an exhibit I’d be interested in knowing how it is represented today.

5  A fossil remains found between 1908 and 1912 in a gravel pit near Sussex, England dated to 300,000 BC and supposedly being the missing link between man and ape. Later found to be a complete hoax.

6  Edward B. Lewis, Professor Emeritus California Institute of Technology, shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research on fruit flies.

7  Cited from: The Book of Life, editor Stephen Jay Gould, W. Norton & Co, NY, (1993), pgs. 56-57. My underlining of phrase: “basically accidents”.

8  Richard Dawkins, Scientific American, (1997).

9  Here the Hebrew word is elohiym, el-o-heem´;which is plural of elowahh; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used here with reference to the angels who carried out the work of creation through the power vested in them by the Almighty God.

 

10 The Origin of Life

10 The Origin of Life

10 The Origin of Life

Bible and Science – The Origin of Life:

Intelligent Design or Blind Chance?

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all:
the earth is full of thy riches (Psa. 104:24).

10 The Origin of Life

How did life on earth come about in the first place? Was it the product of specific design by an omniscient creator, or did it occur by a fortuitous combination of chemical elements that eventually evolved into more and more complex organisms? If one could store all the emotional energy expended in debating the answers to these questions, there would never be an energy crisis on this planet.

The watchmaker

One of the most definitive expositions on the side of intelligent design is attributed to William Paley.To paraphrase his argument: imagine that we are cast up on an apparently deserted isle and, as we walk along the beach, we spot a shimmering item. Upon picking it up we find that it is circular in shape with latches that open lids that cover the front and back faces. On one face are hands that point to numbers that we realize must measure the passage of time with seemingly remarkable accuracy. Opening the back lid reveals an intricate mechanism of levers, gears, springs and jeweled bearings that seem to make the whole thing function. After examining this extraordinary instrument, would it be logical to conclude that the ocean had washed up onto this beach a bunch of chemical elements that had somehow fabricated themselves into the various gears, levers, springs and so on? Would we also assume that these mechanical components, in the process of time, had assembled themselves into this intricate timepiece by a process of trial and error until they got it right? I think not! Most rational people would instead postulate an intelligent designer, a skillful watchmaker, who planned the mechanism and carefully carried out its creation.

From this conclusion the next logical step would be to notice any other living creature washed up on the beach and examine the even greater intricacies of its structure. Would we conclude intelligent design or blind circumstances created this living organism?

Paley’s argument, made in the 19th century still commands so much attention that an ardent evolutionist in the 20th century found the need to parody it by attributing evolution to the workings of a blind watchmaker!2

As we examine the arguments of evolutionists, we will find again and again that their arguments are often based on tenuous science. In order to compare the arguments for intelligent design versus blind chance for the origin of life, let us focus on the key structure; the heart of virtually every individual living cell, Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA).3

The Bible’s declaration

According to the Bible, the first mention of life on earth is in Genesis 1:11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.4 There is no mention of anything living before this verse. Suddenly we are presented with plant life being created and apparently spread over the entire planet. If simpler life forms existed during the apparently long period of time that earth was without form and void we are not told, nor are we given any detailed information that would lead us to conclude, one way or another, that they were created on the first two days (Gen. 1:2-8).

From the point of view of a faithful believer, this is good enough. One doesn’t require the details anymore than one would question how Jesus turned the ceremonial water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana. One simply accepts the miracle from the testimony recorded in the scriptures by reliable witnesses. Ultimately, faith is the answer, but to the evolutionist this is the antithesis of the scientific method and bespeaks of magic. The question is: does the evolutionist really present a case that will hold up to the standards usually imposed by physical science or does it take faith to believe in evolution?

The evolutionist’s theory

What is the evolutionist’s explanation for the origin of life? The answer lies in what has come to be known as the chemical theory of origins first postulated independently during the 1920’s by Soviet biochemist A. I. Oparin and by the British biologist J. B. S. Haldane.According to their theory, life originated spontaneously from a series of chemical reactions in the earth’s atmosphere and oceans billions of years ago.

How did this happen? We certainly have no evidence that the spontaneous generation of living organisms is happening today or at any other time in recorded history, for that matter. In order to solve this problem, Oparin and Haldane postulated that the early atmosphere of this planet must have been far different from what we find today. They assumed that abundant free hydrogen, as well as ammonia and methane gases, were in the earth’s atmosphere in the distant past. The action of lightning supplied the activation energy to drive chemical reactions that lead to the formation of simple amino acids and other complex molecules that are the building blocks of living organisms. These simple chemical building blocks then somehow assembled into larger structures and eventually into the complex DNA molecule that holds the code of life.

If this were not hard enough to imagine, we also have to consider that the simple cell once formed then somehow learned to procreate and multiply itself and pass on the DNA code to all subsequent cells as they multiplied and grew into various creatures. A brief outline of the nature of DNA follows, hopefully enough to get the idea without trying to make anyone a biological scientist.

The wonder of DNA

The structure of DNA consists of two interpenetrating helices with many cross branching chemical links between each of the helical strands. Thousands of smaller chemical units called nucleotides form part of the DNA structure.

DNA is responsible for the specifics of formation (whether a man or a mouse), growth (whether cells form an eye or a finger), and reproduction of cells and organisms. Short chemical molecular sections incorporated in DNA called genes determine heredity, i.e. whether we are blond or brunette, whether we have blue eyes or brown ones and so on. In the cell’s nucleus are additional threadlike structures called chromosomes associated with the DNA molecule. Every living creature exists in the way that it does because of the information programmed into the chemical combinations found in its DNA. Tens of thousands of atoms form the DNA structure and even small changes in one or two positions of the chemical pattern can wreak havoc.

It is interesting that in almost all living organisms, the birth process is developed by the mysterious means known as sexual differentiation. The merging of two cells, one from the female and the other from the male, in effect unravels the DNA of each parent and then entwines the split DNA helix to form a new DNA pattern which shares in some measure the traits of each parent. This is true whether it is a human couple, or a male and female holly tree.

Through the genetic code carried in the DNA molecule, it is decided whether or not the living cells multiply and become a fish or follow a different path and become a human being. The DNA code in a single fertilized cell then multiplies in the womb and eventually becomes a full-grown adult organism.

It is sufficient to say that DNA is an extremely complex structure which has so far been impossible to fabricate in the laboratory from elemental considerations. Small changes in the DNA structure (called mutations) are the presumed mechanism by which various species eventually evolved. We will consider this issue of mutation in a later article, but for now let’s focus on the issue of how DNA came about in the first place.

DNA by chance?

In order to replicate the assumed conditions in the early history of earth that led to the creation of simple life forms, Miller and Urey at the University of Chicago in 1953 subjected a mixture of ammonia, hydrogen, methane, and water to electric sparks from a high voltage source for one week. They found that simple biochemical compounds had formed and indeed their experiments were successfully duplicated by scientists elsewhere. These initial experiments are as far as it has gone in the 50 years since these were first performed; no one has been able to establish how these simple biochemical compounds continued to assemble and eventually form a structure as complex as DNA.

It is not for lack of trying; obviously the first scientific person, or group, that could succeed would acquire unparalleled fame. So how could this have happened by pure chance in the early history of earth?

The usual answer from evolutionists is that the hero is time! The premise is that given sufficient time even the most unlikely highly improbable event will occur. And in the billions of years that the earth has existed the gadzillionsto one chance of chemicals coming together (and staying together) to form DNA obviously happened, therefore the evolutionist shouts – “case proved”!

Unfortunately, Biblical creationists also abuse statistics by saying the odds are so improbable that it is impossible to believe creation by chance. However, if there is any science that is misused more than statistics I don’t know what that might be. So let’s take a little detour and see what I mean when I say that statistics cannot be used either to prove or disprove that the origin of life happened by pure chance.

Examining the odds

First let’s look at the creationist’s argument that the tremendous odds against random chance forming DNA make it impossible. This sounds plausible, but since we don’t know the mechanism which led to the chemical combinations which lead to the first living cell, we need to be cautious about stating the odds.

The exact odds depend on whether or not the chemical reactions are what I will call “associative” or “independent.” What do I mean by this statement? Suppose I give you ten pennies and ask you what are the odds of tossing them and getting all heads. You might rush to say that is easy, the odds of any individual coin being heads or tails are one out of two. Another way of saying it is that in each toss for a particular coin there are only two possibilities, it can be either heads or tails. If I toss one coin (fairly!) many times on the average half the time it will come out heads. The possibility of all ten coins coming up heads is then the product of the individual probabilities, i.e. one-half times itself ten times. This gives us the odds of 1 in 210, which leads to a result that on the average 1 in 1024 tries will make all ten coins turn up all heads. However, the odds change dramatically if you do this experiment in a different way. Suppose you toss the 10 coins and 4 come up heads (6 tails) and then I remove the 4 heads. I then ask you to toss the remaining 6 coins and now 3 come up heads, I remove these three also. Again I ask you to toss and the remaining 3 come up heads! Instead of 1000 or more tries it usually takes 3 to 6 tries to accomplish all 10 coming up heads in what I will call an “associative” action.

This can happen in a chemical combination as atoms are removed from the mix where only those that will associate correctly in the molecule will bind and others are rejected. The bottom line is that since no human being knows the exact mechanism (i.e. whether it was random, or associative, or something else entirely) for the creation of life, statistics simply aren’t meaningful.

Using the argument that the odds are too long that a complex molecule happening by chance is just not convincing to the scientific mind because as long as the odds aren’t zero, the possibility is real.

Major assumptions by evolutionists

What about the other side of the coin, so to speak, used by many evolutionists. I have heard it said that even though the odds are so incredibly long, gadzillions to one, if we wait billions of years it is certain. Let us examine that statistical fallacy.

First of all, the evolutionist’s argument presumes that when life formed the earth was not only billions of years old (which is probable), but that the planet stayed in a biologically active state conducive to the formation and growth of life for a very long time. This latter assumption is exactly that, an assumption without any real proof.

Looking at other planets in our solar system may give some clues with respect to the limits of bioactivity. As things stand now, however, it is impossible to prove how long, if at all, the earth was in a state comparable to what Miller and Urey tried to replicate in their laboratory.

There is even a stronger objection to the formula that long time guarantees overcoming long odds. If something violates the physical laws of the universe, it will never happen even if one waits for an eternity. One example is gravity. If I throw a ball in the air on this planet it will always fall back to the surface. Calculating the odds that presumes that it might sometimes continue to rise (without any additional energy input) is meaningless, because it will never happen! Unlike evolution, gravity is not a theory, it is considered to be a universal law.

Chance violates law of entropy

Now let’s look at the formation of DNA, here evolutionists would have us believe that order can be established out of chaos (the chemical state of the early earth). Evolutionists brush aside the fact that this violates the law of entropy, which states that the universe tends to a state of maximum disorder. How can the complex information encoded in DNA have been produced from randomness without the intervention of an outside source?

Options to the chance idea

Where does all this leave us? Many scientists have wrestled with the apparent impossibility of the origin of life on this planet having occurred by blind chance. The probability that life originated by accident from the primeval soup being activated by lightning has been compared by the late astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, and his colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe, to be as likely as a whirlwind blowing through a scrap yard and assembling a 747 airliner.7 Instead, they proposed that dormant spores from outer space landed here on earth and found conditions suitable to seed life. The theory that life on earth originated by “seeding” from outer space has come to be known as panspermia. Scientific objections immediately arose to this idea because it seemed impossible for living matter to have survived the radiation and ultra vacuum environments of outer space. However, while this is still very controversial, recent evidence indicates that spores may actually be able to survive outer space conditions.

Another, so-called stronger version of the panspermia idea is the one proposed by Crick and Orgel,8 who realized the near impossibility of spores surviving in outer space. Instead they proposed the idea that life was seeded on earth by the deliberate action of alien visitors who traveled here in a space ship in the distant past. While this might sound like science fiction, the interesting thing to note is that Crick shared the Nobel Prize9 for discovering DNA and if anyone should realize the nature of its complexity it would be him. If someone like Crick is a non-believer in the accidental blind chance mechanism for forming DNA, and the associated origin of the living cell, it does not bode well for accepting the evolutionist’s bold assertion that we are the result of a blind watchmaker. Perhaps the lack of vision lies somewhere else?

A creator the only reasonable option

I hope it is clear that citing statistics to prove or disprove creation by the divine will or by pure chance is not credible. What then can we conclude? In sum, science offers two possible mechanisms for the origin of life: First, pure blind chance operating in the primeval chemical soup that supposedly prevailed on earth billions of years ago to somehow assemble DNA and the associated living cell. The objection to this model is that the physical law of entropy10 is violated in such an assumed chemical reaction. Under these conditions life could never have originated from the blind chance mechanism.

The second proposed mechanism is panspermia, which is the idea that extraterrestrial seeds, planted either by random act or by deliberate action of alien beings, nucleated life on earth. While this idea is interesting, it in fact solves nothing; all it does is transfer the creative process somewhere else! Thus, under panspermia we now need to ask what, how, when and where were these alien seeds created in the first place.

In the final analysis, Paley’s old argument still has strong philosophical grounds and until someone definitely proves something to the contrary it has tremendous merit. In short, if one observes intelligent design it is entirely reasonable to presume an intelligent designer! I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well (Psa. 139:14).

By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Footnotes:

1 Watchmaker analogy is due to William Paley (1743-1805), which he presented in his book Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, first published in 1802. Available in a 1986 paperback edition ISBN 0935005625.

2 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, (1996).

3 There are a few cases where this is not true, but that is beyond the scope of this chapter.

4 We will come back to what happened on the first two days of creation in a later chapter.

5 Cited from an article by Harold J. Morowitz, in World Book Enclycopedia©, Electronic edition.

6 The word gadzillions is strictly made up by the author to express a huge number – the odds of DNA happening by “random” chance would be the product of all the individual probabilities of each step in the process of assembling the tens of thousands of atoms in DNA. That number is so large it would fill several pages of this text to express.

7 Comment attributed to F. Hoyle and C. Wickramasinghe, also see their books Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism, (1982); Astronomical Origins of Life, Kluwer Academic Pub., (1999), ISBN: 0792360818.

8 F. H. C. Crick and L. E. Orgel, “Directed Panspermia” Icarus, v 19, p 341-346, (1973).

9 With James Watson.

10 Also known as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics