The well-known Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga recently argued, as summarized by this news article, that 'Christians don't have to cower as atheists swing the heavy club of science.' Plantinga is the emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and he is the inaugural holder of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Christian Philosophy at Calvin College. Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of the most ardently compromising Christian Colleges in the US that continues to lead so many young people astray in regards to the authority of Scripture beginning in Genesis.
Plantinga declared that (what he calls) science and the Christian faith are compatible with one another and that science only contradicts faith when you add something to it (such as atheistic naturalism). I would certainly agree with him'-until he equivocates science with evolution. I certainly do not agree that evolution only contradicts Christianity when you add something to it. No, evolution is absolutely, completely, and utterly opposed to Scripture regardless. Besides, as is usual for these academics, they refuse to acknowledge the difference between historical science (beliefs about the past or origins) and observational science (that builds our technology). (See our informative page, 'What Is Science?')
Plantinga seems to recognize that naturalism is the philosophical and religious underpinning of evolution and that it is atheistic and diametrically opposed to Christianity. He says,
[Atheists] are thinking of evolution plus naturalism, which is the idea that there isn't any such person as God or anything like God . . . evolution doesn't say anything about whether there is such a person as God or not. . . . It's a metaphysical add-on they are importing into the scientific notion of evolution.
What he fails to realize is that evolution is not some kind of neutral science that stands or falls on its own. It is an entire worldview that effects how you see and interpret the evidence in cosmology, geology, and biology. The religious implications of evolution are inescapable because to accept evolution means to reject or reinterpret the clear teaching of Genesis in all three of these areas. This puts man as the ultimate authority instead of God, which is exactly what naturalism seeks to do'-explain life without God so that we can be our own authority.
Now, Plantinga also doesn't seem to recognize that evolution and God's Word are utterly contradictory to one another. In order to fit evolution into God's Word, you have to compromise Scripture. The Bible makes it clear that death came as a consequence of Adam's sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:18) and that it did not exist before the Fall (Genesis 1:31). The very gospel itself is founded on this teaching: Jesus came to take the penalty that we, in Adam and individually, deserve, and that's why He had to come physically and die physically and then physically rise again, defeating death once and for all. To say that God used millions of years of death, suffering, disease, and extinction to create life is to compromise the plain teaching of Scripture that death is the result of Adam's sin.
And this is not the only problem with trying to squeeze evolution into the Bible. You also have to somehow fit millions of years into Genesis, and you have to rearrange the order of events in creation to accommodate the supposed evolutionary order. You have to understand Adam and Eve as either non-literal figures or as the descendants of ape-like ancestors instead of being specially created by God's hand from dust (Adam) and Adam's rib (Eve). Thorns, a part of the Curse (Genesis 3:18), are claimed to have existed for millions of years in the fossil record, and, if the fossil record represents millions of years, then the global Flood of Genesis 6'"9 has to be reinterpreted as a local flood that would leave the rock layers undisturbed. And these are just some of the numerous biblical problems! Clearly the evolutionary model and Scripture are not compatible.
Now, while the evolutionary model of history is contradictory to Scripture, this does not mean that science and faith are pitted against one another. Observational science'-the kind of science that is in the present and is observable, repeatable, and testable'-will always confirm the Bible. You see, molecules-to-man evolution is historical science'-the kind of science that interprets the past based on your starting point and is not observable, repeatable, or testable. True science and its conclusions are always in perfect harmony with God's Word.
Actually, it is because of God and His Word that we can even do science. Evolutionists are unable, within their worldview, to account for the existence of the steady laws of nature that allow us to do science. If the universe evolved randomly by chance processes and is materialistic, as many evolutionists teach, then why do non-material, steady laws of nature govern the universe? These laws can only exist because there is a logical Mind who created the universe and upholds it in a logical and orderly way. Science is only possible because of God!
Isn't it sad that such compromisers have infiltrated Christian colleges like Calvin College and have led so many astray? They have much to answer for when they stand before the God of Creation one day.
The Washington Post recently ran a news article on a young lady named Kelsey Beckham who defines herself as 'agender'or 'non-binary,' rather than male or female. Kelsey says,
I don't want to be a girl wearing boy's clothes, nor do I want to be a girl who presents as a boy . . . I just want to be a person who is recognized as a person. That's how I'm most comfortable. I'm just a person wearing people clothes, who likes to look like myself and have others see me how I see me.
The reporter sympathizes with her by questioning, 'How do you navigate the world when the world is built on identifying with one group or another group, male or female, and the place that feels most right to you is neither?' This story highlights the continuing degradation of a culture that used to be based on biblical principles but has now gone adrift in a sea of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). Instead of basing our definitions of masculinity and femininity on an absolute authority'-the Bible'-culture is by and large redefining male and female by what 'feels most right to you.' If you have no absolute authority and being 'genderless' feels right to you, why not go for it? And, of course, if you can arbitrarily change what gender means then the definition of marriage is also open to redefinition.
But God has not left us adrift in regard to gender. Genesis reveals that God created Adam and Eve male and female as two distinct persons, both specially made in His image (Genesis 1:26). Even though both males and females are completely equal in God's sight (Galatians 3:28), there is a distinction of roles between the two. This distinction was present from the beginning, 'And the Lord God said, 'It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him'' (Genesis 2:18). And this distinction is reaffirmed in the New Testament:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her . . . . So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies . . . . Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22'"25, 28, 33).
Gender is not a social construct that confines us and can be arbitrarily changed based on our feelings'-it is a God-ordained created order that has been present from the beginning but has been marred by sin (Genesis 3:16). Instead of trying to change ourselves into the opposite of who God created us to be, we should embrace our God-given gender.
Sadly, we are now seeing more and more stories like Kelsey's, but we need to remember to reach out to these individuals with the gospel of Jesus Christ and a message of the true design for men and women.
Progressive creationist Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe recently appeared on Canadian talk show 100 Huntley Street to promote his newest book, Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey Through Genesis 1'"11. Hugh Ross believes God created the universe gradually over six overlapping time periods only figuratively called 'days,' spread over billions of years since the supposed big bang. He claims biblical support for his unbiblical point of view by misreading many Bible passages.
Hugh Ross twists the Bible to fit man's fallible opinions about origins, embracing cosmological evolution and geological evolution. While he does not accept biological evolution as such (though he still accepts the basic evolutionary progression over millions of years, but claims God kept stepping in to create the millions of species, over time), he is enamored with whatever else evolutionary secular scientists have to say. For example, his 'Adam and Eve' were created in a world already bloody with many years of death and suffering'-even the death and suffering of soulless pre-Adamic human-like people. Dr. Ross has the wrong starting point!
Astonishingly, Hugh Ross suggests that if we would just agree with his way of re-interpreting Scripture to conform to secular historical science, droves of unbelievers would happily accept Genesis 1'"11 and then get saved. Ross goes on to say,
If we Christians can resolve this issue in a peaceful way it's going to attract non-Christians to enter into dialogue with us. But if we continue to fight and treat it like a salvation issue, it turns them off.
We at Answers in Genesis are biblical young-earth creationists, and we have never claimed that what a person believes about origins is a salvation issue! (Read what I wrote about this in 'Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth?' and 'Millions of Years'-Are Souls at Stake?') A natural reading of the first few chapters of Genesis explains the origin of sin, suffering, and death. That enables us to understand why Jesus Christ died on the Cross to defeat sin and death.
However, we also know that around two-thirds of young people are leaving the church in America by college age, and the research we detailed in the book Already Gone shows clearly that the teaching of evolution and/or millions of years is a major factor in these young people doubting and then disbelieving Scripture. The solution to this problem is not to offer them a contorted creation 'story' that claims to accept the truth of Scripture while all the time denying it!
Hugh Ross believes that God created decay and death as part of His original 'very good' creation. Thus in Ross's world death, suffering, and evil were God's idea, God's plan, and God's fault. But by claiming this, even though Ross believes that Adam's sin brought about death in Adam's kin, he erodes the understanding needed to make sense of the gospel.
Furthermore, without the bizarre twists imposed on them by Hugh Ross, the history in Genesis affirms what we observe in both physical and biological sciences. We remove stumbling blocks to saving faith in Jesus Christ by showing people that Genesis really can be trusted from the very first verse. Instead, Hugh Ross's 'reasons to believe' are produced by altering what God says to fit Bible-denying notions like the big bang. Hugh Ross is one of the compromisers of our day who is leading generations astray with his teaching that undermines biblical authority.
In the interview, Dr. Ross says that astronomers 'can look back to the very beginning of the universe. We can literally watch God creating the universe.' You see, because it takes time for light from the far reaches of the universe to reach us, Ross believes astronomers are seeing his six 'days' unfold over billions of years. He has no clearly defined limits for the events on each day, so whatever secular scientists claim, he has a way to conjure agreement from the Bible.
We know from the history in God's Word that the universe is only about 6,000 years old, so Hugh Ross is wrong. (Biblical young earth creationists have models that suggest how light from the distant reaches of the universe got here within the 6,000 years available in the biblical timeframe.)
Ross claims 'dozens of creation texts' in the Bible support his billions-of-years interpretation. However, neither the passages he names (e.g., Job 37'"39, Psalm 104, Proverbs 8) nor those on his website (except, of course, Genesis 1'"2) 'take you through the content of the six days of Genesis 1' as he claims. Some have isolated verses referencing the Creator or His creation, but they do not recount the history as Genesis chapter one and two plainly do. Genesis was written as a cosmology and most of the passages he cites certainly are not meant to be a detailed cosmology.
Dr. Ross misrepresents God to unbelievers by stuffing millions of years into the Bible and disconnecting death and suffering from its ultimate cause: man's sin. This does not encourage faith but suggests to them that God's Word is not trustworthy and damages the salvation message.
The interviewer on 100 Huntley Street makes much of Dr. Ross's PhD in astronomy. This verse of Scripture comes to mind: 'for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God' (John 12:43).
Read more about this interview, including comments from some of our PhD scientists, in News to Know: 'Creating Confusion in Genesis with Hugh Ross.' Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming reviews of Navigating Genesis, to be published in both condensed and in-depth versions, coming soon!
In February 2015 Bill Nye will be making his first speaking tour of my home country Australia to 'foster a scientifically literate society, making science entertaining and accessible.' According to the group hosting Mr. Nye,
Think Inc. . . . is hosting Bill Nye the Science Guy to promote the sciences, and prompt thought in evolution among young adults. As Bill Nye says: 'We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need . . . engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.'
Now, the website describes the event as trying to 'prompt thought in evolution' and also mentions Mr. Nye as popular for 'locking horns with creationists' and garnering six million views on his 'Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children' YouTube video. Based on this, it would appear that the creation-evolution controversy'-or at the very least, evolution'-will be featured prominently during his presentations.
To my knowledge, Bill Nye is not well-known in Australia. Australian kids did not grow up on the Bill Nye the Science Guy TV program as many American kids did. However, I have no doubt the Australian secular media will be doing their best to foist Bill Nye's secular humanist ideas onto the Australian public.
If Bill Nye and Think Inc. are trying to promote real scientific literacy'-certainly a good thing'-they do not need to do so by peddling evolution and its associated religion of naturalism to young people. Mr. Nye says he wants a generation of engineers that 'can build stuff, solve problems,' but when I asked him before, during, and after our debate to name one piece of technology developed by a belief in evolution, he couldn't name one! That's because evolution does nothing to further technology or innovation. Even though Bill Nye says he is promoting 'scientific literacy,' I suggest he has an underlying agenda in all this to indoctrinate kids and adults in the religion of naturalism (really an atheistic worldview).
I firmly believe scientific literacy will rise (as it has in the past) when young people are taught that the universe and earth are the result of God's handiwork and that the Bible reveals earth's true history. After all, this is what inspired such scientists as Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Francis Bacon. The scientific method, based on repeatable tests using one's five senses, really comes out of a Christian worldview'-the laws of nature can be trusted because they were created by God.
I urge you to remember to pray for all the young people and their parents who will be attending Bill Nye's evolutionary indoctrination events down under. Pray that they will be able to discern the truth and recognize the bankruptcy of the religion of humanism that Bill Nye preaches. Also, pray for Mr. Nye and his salvation'-he needs Jesus!
I wrote yesterday about the Duggar family, stars of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting, and their visit to the Creation Museum. During their tour of the museum and gardens one of the older girls, Jessa, posted some pictures from the Creation Museum on Instagram that have quickly attracted a lot of attention, including being featured in a US Magazine article.
Here is a photo Jessa posted of an exhibit inside the museum:
Her caption read,
If there really was a worldwide flood (as the Bible speaks of), what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. And that's exactly what we find. Billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. An Evolutionist and a Creationist will look at the same thing, but come to different conclusions because of their different starting points.
This post has already garnered over 16,000 likes.
This caption, which is one of my most popular sayings and was put to song by our dinosaur sculptor, artist, and musician Buddy Davis, concisely highlights the real issue in the origins debate: your starting point. Like Jessa said, a creationist and an evolutionist will both look at the same fossils in the same rock layers but will come to completely different conclusions depending on their starting point. If you start with man's ideas, you will see in the fossil record millions of years of death and evolution. If you start with God's infallible Word, you will see in the fossil record evidence of a worldwide, watery catastrophe that quickly engulfed and buried billions of organisms'-the global Flood of Noah's day! The evidence is the same but the conclusions are different because our starting points are different.
Jessa also shared a photo of her younger sister, Jinger, in our gardens. This photo has over 33,000 likes!
We praise God for this family that is willing to stand firmly on the authority of the Word of God and boldly and publicly proclaim its truth to our lost and dying culture.
As I was getting ready to speak at the Creation Museum yesterday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and 14 of their children came through the door! The Duggars and other close family members had decided to pay a visit to the Creation Museum.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Duggars'-a large home school family in Arkansas. As their website states,
To date they have been featured on five Discovery Health & TLC documentaries entitled, '14 Children and Pregnant Again!', '16 Children and Moving In!', 'Raising 16 Children!','On The Road With 16 Children!' & "Duggar's Big Family Album". They have appeared on numerous National and International TV shows including The Early Show, The Today Show, The View,Fox & Friends, Italian Public Television, KBS (Korean Broadcasting System),Discovery Home & Health (UK & Australia), Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fox News Network, CNN, MSNBC and others. They have done countless interviews with radio talk show hosts around the world including NPR, AP Radio, CBS Radio,FOX Radio and others. They have appeared in various magazine and newspapers including Parents, New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, Ladies Home Journal, People and many others. From the United States, Canada, Korea, Japan, China, India, New Zealand, Australia, France and Germany.
In 2008, the Duggars visited the Creation Museum with a TV crew. The program with the Duggars at the Creation museum was first aired in November 2008 on the Discovery channel.
Here is a photo of me, Buddy Davis, and the Duggars when they visited yesterday:
Here is a photo of me with Jim Bob:
Please pray for the Duggars and the incredible public ministry they have as they have witnessed to millions of people.
I've had to deal with my share of critics in over 30 years of ministry! Often times I never know what I am going to be asked. And these can be stressful situations dealing with attacks on the authority of the Bible. How prepared are you for such attacks? We have a brand new book out that will help you learn how to deflect these hostile critics' claims.
Consider for a moment the last time that you struggled to provide a solid biblical answer to a newspaper, blog, debate board, or maybe a comment on YouTube or Facebook? This can be a challenge'-especially since so many writers are openly hostile to Christianity. As Christians, we are called to 'sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us,' but we are called to do this with 'meekness and fear' (1 Peter 3:15). Being prepared to answer skeptics is not optional'-it's a command!
We live in a time when challenges to Christianity or the Bible's authority are constantly being made and, by and large, these criticisms occur online in some kind of written format, though sometimes face to face as I've experienced for many years now. This means that an essential skill for a Christian is the ability to break down a critic's argument and respectfully, lovingly, and powerfully present the truth. Now, here at AiG, we have developed many different resources'-like the New Answers Books'-that provide biblical answers to help you defend the faith. But how do you use this knowledge practically?
The need for a practical guide to countering skeptical arguments led us to produce Confound the Critics. Written by popular AiG speaker and author Bodie Hodge, this highly functional book is a collection of responses to hostile (and some friendly) critics that will teach you how to respond to questions on ethics, philosophy, morality, the sciences, evolution, biblical authority, theology, and compromise positions. Bodie breaks the critic's letter down thought-by-thought to demonstrate how to kindly, respectfully, and powerfully answer and challenge the critic.
We live in a day and age where few know how to defend the authority of the Word of God while challenging the presuppositions of Scripture's critics. You can equip yourself to do just that with this new resource and I encourage everyone to add it to their apologetics library.
One of the most common questions I get asked is, 'Why is there death and suffering?' Believers and unbelievers alike look around the world and see all the death, suffering, disease, and pain and question the existence of a good God as the Creator of such a world. This question can only be answered if we correctly understand the origin of death and suffering as given in Genesis.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recently revealed that he has moments when 'he struggles with doubt about the existence of God.' What causes the Archbishop to doubt God's existence? The question of death and suffering! He claims that 'Christians [do] not have the answer to why God allows suffering.' Perhaps the reason that Archbishop Welby doesn't have an answer to the question of death and suffering is because he doesn't accept the answer provided in Genesis. Earlier this year, during a radio call-in, he was asked, 'Does the Archbishop seriously believe that after around three and a half billion years of evolution, including over two million years of the evolution of the human species, God chose to reveal the truth of his existence in the afterlife to a small tribe of semi-literate shepherds around 4,000 years ago?' The Archbishop simply replied 'yes,' which seems to show that he has compromised God's Word with evolution.
Now if you believe that God used millions of years of death, suffering, disease, and extinction to bring about life on earth, then, of course, you don't have an answer to the question of death and suffering'-except to say it must be God! However, this is clearly contrary to what Scripture teaches'-man rebelled against God. Death is the punishment for man's sin: 'Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned' (Romans 5:12). God's original creation was perfect: 'Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good' (Genesis 1:31). Death and suffering were not a part of God's original 'very good'design. They entered creation when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator. Death and suffering are not God's fault'-they are the fault of our sin!
The Archbishop went on to make a confusing statement, 'We know about Jesus, we can't explain all the questions in the world, we can't explain about suffering, we can't explain loads of things but we know about Jesus. We can talk about Jesus'-I always do that because most of the other questions I can't answer.' What does he mean by 'we can't explain about suffering . . . but we know about Jesus.' What is it about Jesus that we know? The only way to understand Jesus is as the Creator (Colossians 1:16) who stepped into history to take the penalty of death, which we justly earned in Adam, upon Himself when He died on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:21). His resurrection defeated death (2 Timothy 1:10), and now He offers a free gift of salvation to all who will believe (John 3:16). Jesus came as the Last Adam to deal with the death and sin introduced by the first Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). The only way to understand Jesus is in light of Genesis! In fact, the first time the message of the gospel'-the message of a Savior'-is preached is in Genesis 3:15, 'And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.'
It is sad that this church leader doesn't have an answer to the question of death and suffering. But there is an answer if you take God at His Word'-beginning in Genesis! It is all our fault because of our sin. But the good news is that God sent His Son to take the penalty that we deserve upon Himself so that we might receive eternal life. God wants to rescue us (in Jesus) from the consequences of our sin.
Stephen King, a popular fiction author of thrillers and horror stories, declared in a recent interview with NPR that, 'If you say, well, OK, I don't believe in God, there's no evidence of God, then you're missing the stars in the sky, and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets, and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together at the same time. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design.'
When Mr. King looks at nature and sees that 'everything is sort of built' to suggest an Intelligent Designer, he is demonstrating the truth of Romans 1 and Psalm 19:
Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
The heavens declare the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1)
God has powerfully left a testimony to Himself in what He has made so that everyone is 'without excuse.'
Sadly, Mr. King goes on to say, 'There's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar. And you have to wonder about that guy's personality . . . The thing is . . . I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts.' It appears that no one has ever explained to Mr. King the true history of the world, starting in Genesis. This history shows why the world is the way it is. God originally created everything 'very good' but Adam's sin brought death, suffering, disease, and pain into the world. The hard things that we see in life aren't a reflection on God's 'personality,' but they are a reflection on the sin that causes our world to groan in pain.
Now, simply recognizing that there is an Intelligence behind creation is not enough to save anybody. That's where it becomes vital to accept God's special revelation through His Word as truth. It is in this Word that we have the gospel that changes hearts and lives for eternity. It is in this Word that the true history and future of mankind is revealed. And it is in this Word that the solution to the problem of sin and death'-the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ'-is powerfully taught.
In a recent blog post I warned parents of the growing compromise on biblical authority in many Christian colleges. Parents will often spend thousands of dollars trying to ensure their child receives a solid, godly education only to send them to a school that is rife with compromise. These schools actively discredit Scripture, undermine its authority and, tragically, many students are led away from their faith in Christ because of it!
That's why we have College Expo 2014. It's a gathering of Bible-affirming Christian colleges, all of whom have signed our statement of faith and hold to a literal, six-day creation and a young earth. At the expo students can chat with school representatives, build a strong biblical worldview during sessions by Answers in Genesis speakers, and enter to win a $500 scholarship. Expo features also include free museum tickets and a discounted rate on our new Screaming Raptor Zip Line Adventure Tour. And, best of all, registration is free for high school and college students!
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Christian colleges across the US who strive to build up, rather than tear down, the faith of your student. I encourage you to plan to come for this free event November 14'"15 at the Creation Museum. Spaces are limited, so be sure to sign up early.
For a list of participating colleges at the expo and to sign up, visit the event page.
Also, as parents and young people consider college choices, please see our special website at www.creationcolleges.org for a list of colleges that agree with AiG's statement of faith.