Reflections on the Creation Evolution Debate

 

Stephen_BohrIt is my hope and constant prayer that God will give wisdom to those who labor on all levels of church organization from the individual in the pew to the General Conference officers to take definite steps to correct this situation. As stewards of the oracles of God it is our most solemn privilege and responsibility to do so. As the pastor of my flock it is also my duty and responsibility to warn parents not to send their children to Seventh-day Adventist schools that will undermine their faith in the Word of God.

Reflections on the Creation Evolution Debate – By Stephen Bohr

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24 thoughts on “Reflections on the Creation Evolution Debate

  1. Stephen Bohr,

    On page 5 of Reflections on the Creation Evolution Debate, you said, “In my next newsletter article I will deal with the providential origin of our denominational name and how it is a standing rebuke against pantheism, intelligent design, progressive creationism, punctuated equilibrium and the theory of evolution.”

    What is your complaint against Intelligent Design?

    Also, on page 2, you quoted this excellent statement by Ellen G. White:

    “The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles, men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of higher criticism, in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God’s word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives.” Acts of the Apostles, p. 474

    I’m only aware of a few exposés that touch on the spiritualistic philosophies that are now being embraced by Seventh-day Adventists. Have you noticed the similarities in the spiritualism of Dr. Helen Schucman versus the message of A. Graham Maxwell and have you ever compared Maxwell’s pantheism to the pantheistic sentiments of John Harvey Kellogg?




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  2. This debate reminds me of the debate re “should the child be punished for the sin of the father”.
    In the end God who posed the question also provided the answer. He it is that also destroys as He chooses and ‘creates as He chooses’ sounds familiar’?…He also kills humans as He chooses and resurrects humans from the dead; again; and only as He chooses, with none above Him or below Him to whom He must answer.

    This then begs the question; is their anything too hard for God to do?

    If He could only “partially create”…why wouldn’t he also just as well, “partially restore life” to Lazarus? And if He did restore life fully to Lazarus, as the record indicates, ie fully restore life to rotting cells in the latter stages of putrefaction,and by so doing, restoring the extremely complex chemical processes required for tissue respiration in cells that were previously dead; and by that;doing it in ‘a moment’…not the multi-millions of years that “theistic evolution” is proposed to have taken…couldn’t just the same God also create life on earth in just the same “in a moment” as He did when He brought His own Son back to life or as He did when He gave king Hezekiah fifteen more years of life…,or as He did when He limited the years of humans to ‘seventy’ down from the ‘hundreds of years’, previously the lifetime of humans. And as He does when any previously dead human is brought back to life?

    Humans are finite and our queries into the infinite must, while allowable, yet must be tempered with the limitations with which finite humanity will always be restricted.

    Anyone can ‘turn the stem’ of the watch to start it ticking. Only the watchmaker can ‘create the ticking mechanism’.

    Did God ‘turn the stem’ or did He ‘create the ticking mechanism’?

    bevanton




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  3. The more conference leaders and pastors that “Warn the church members” not to send students to SDA institutions that teach evolutionism “as if it were the best science” – the better.

    Intelligent Design is good science since in fact the DESIGNER is the one whose book on origins we claim to be reading.

    Yet those who fall down the slippery slope of denying God’s version of origins found in the bible and in 3SG 90-91 soon find themselves ALSO denying the “intelligence of the Designer” Himself.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  4. @Eugene Shubert:

    I believe that Stephen Bohr is correct in saying that true Adventist Creationism is a rebuke to the concept of intelligent design. Here are two quotes on intelligent design:

    “It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, but one which avoids specifying the nature or identity of the designer.” – Numbers, Ronald L. (2006). The Creationists, Expanded Edition. Harvard University Press. pp. 373, 379–380

    “But this approach, even if well-meaning and effectively articulated, will not work! It has often been tried in the past and has failed, and it will fail today. The reason it won’t work is because it is not the Biblical method.” – Morris, Henry M. (1999) “Design is Not Enough!” Back to Genesis. Santee, California: Institute for Creation Research. http://www.icr.org/article/859/17/. Retrieved January 1, 2010.

    So basically, the flaw in intelligent design is that there is no saving power contained within the gospel of Christ present. It’s almost as if the argument for ID is avoiding what matters the most—the solution to our sin problem.

    It is possible to believe in ID, and still reject God. Check this quote:

    “The very fact that the universe is creative, and that the laws have permitted complex structures to emerge and develop to the point of consciousness—in other words, that the universe has organized its own self-awareness—is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming.” – Paul C. Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 203.

    But in a different place, Mr. Davies does not believe God is responsible:

    “It is therefore scientifically plausible to consider a universe with no need for an external creator in the traditional sense.” – Paul Davies, “What Hath COBE Wrought?” Sky and Telescope (January 1993), p. 4.

    So I hope this clears things up a bit. There were a few things in Pastor Bohr’s article that surprised me a bit, but I’ll have to do some personal research on these topics. God bless you all!

    Cheng




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  5. Regarding Intelligent Design, I think a view of it’s value will be influenced by which direction you take it. It is merely a stop on the road to or from evolution.

    Evolutionists don’t like it because it is “on the way” to creation.

    Some Creationists don’t like it because they see it as “on the way” to evolution (a position of compromise).

    I see it as having some value because it does show the scientific evidence *even apart from* the Bible.

    However, as Pastor Bohr pointed out in his article, ultimately we cannot answer every objection of science falsely so called, because it will turn into a “tit for tat” argument with no resolution. We ultimately have to turn to faith and simply believe what God says.

    That is not to say that there is not a scientific basis for the truth we believe; only that we as humans don’t have all the answers and at some point we must simply trust God.

    Warren




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  6. Evolution masquerades as science, but it’s actually a religion. One thing I never thought about is that typically the focus is on the beginning of time to the present point. What about from now to the future? What are we evolving into? Then it goes back to the lie in Genesis. “Humanism would have men be their own gods”. John Dewey and others worked hard to get this into schools, claiming that Creationists only have one day a week in church, but the Humanists will get 5 days a week in the classroom. Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoyMmNUSTQE




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  7. Science, so-called, and religion will be placed in opposition to each other, because finite men do not comprehend the power and greatness of God. These words of Holy Writ were presented to me: “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” This will surely be seen among the people of God, and there will be those who are unable to perceive the most wonderful and important truths for this time, truths which are essential for their own safety and salvation, while matters that are in comparison as the merest atoms, matters in which there is scarcely a grain of truth, are dwelt upon and are magnified by the power of Satan so that they appear of the utmost importance. {Ev. 593}

    We are in the shaking time, the time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. The Lord will not excuse those who know the truth if they do not in word and deed obey His commands. {6T332}

    I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. {1T 181}

    When the shaking comes, by the introduction of false theories, these surface readers, anchored nowhere, are like shifting sand. They slide into any position to suit the tenor of their feelings of bitterness. . . . Daniel and Revelation must be studied, as well as the other prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. Let there be light, yes, light, in your dwellings. For this we need to pray. The Holy Spirit, shining upon the sacred page, will open our understanding, that we may know what is truth. {TM 112}

    Not having received the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy; they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and will depart from the faith. {6T401}

    One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit. {3SM 84}

    The moral sight of these men is diseased; they do not feel their need of the heavenly anointing that they may discern spiritual things. They think themselves too wise to err. Men who have not a daily experience in the things of God will not move wisely in dealing with sacred responsibilities; they will mistake light for error, and specious error they will pronounce light, mistaking phantoms for realities, and realities for phantoms, calling a world an atom, and an atom a world. They will fall into deceptions and delusions that Satan has prepared as concealed nets to entangle the feet of those who think they can walk in their human wisdom without the special grace of Christ. Jesus wants man to see not men as trees walking but all things clearly. There is only one remedy for the sinful soul, and unless it is received, men will accept one delusion after another until their senses are perverted.–Manuscript 16, 1890. {Ev 593}




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  8. [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess. 2:9 -12




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  9. Cheng: @Eugene Shubert:
    I believe that Stephen Bohr is correct in saying that true Adventist Creationism is a rebuke to the concept of intelligent design.

    Can you name a few true, living, Seventh-day Adventist creationists that are professional scientists that also repudiate Intelligent Design?

    Here are two quotes on intelligent design:

    “It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, but one which avoids specifying the nature or identity of the designer.” – Numbers, Ronald L. (2006). The Creationists, Expanded Edition. Harvard University Press. pp. 373, 379–380

    So your understanding of science is that we must not only assume the existence of a designer but we must also assume that the Designer has the specific nature and identity of God as perceived by Seventh-day Adventists? Or is merely assuming the generic Christian God of the Old and New Testament good enough?

    “But this approach, even if well-meaning and effectively articulated, will not work! It has often been tried in the past and has failed, and it will fail today. The reason it won’t work is because it is not the Biblical method.” – Morris, Henry M. (1999) “Design is Not Enough!” Back to Genesis. Santee, California: Institute for Creation Research. http://www.icr.org/article/859/17/. Retrieved January 1, 2010.

    And what is the Biblical method for legitimate scientific research?

    So basically, the flaw in intelligent design is that there is no saving power contained within the gospel of Christ present. It’s almost as if the argument for ID is avoiding what matters the most—the solution to our sin problem.

    I don’t believe that atheistic scientists will be willing to abandon the historic definition of science and adopt your definition, any time soon. How do you propose persuading them?

    Eugene Shubert
    http://www.everythingimportant.org/science




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  10. Pastor Bohr said:

    Question: Did the sun already exist before the fourth day of creation week?

    Answer: There is clear evidence in Genesis one that the sun was already in existence on the first day. This is proved true by the fact that the expression ‘it was the evening and the morning’ is used for each of the first three days. Mark 1:32 clearly indicates that the “evening” is marked by the setting of the sun.
    “When the Lord declares that He made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, He means the day of twenty-four hours, which He has marked off by the rising and setting of the sun.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 135

    I have never heard of this before. I’m curious as to what his opinion is of Genesis 1:14-19:

    14Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

    15and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

    16God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

    17God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

    18and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

    19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

    It seems very clear that the sun was created on the fourth day.




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  11. Could problems of this nature have any thing to do with why God had Sister White pen this statement?

    GC88 pg. 606
    “As the time comes for it(the third angels message) to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to his service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of his Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them”




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  12. Check one more time. Is it stated that the sun and moon were created on the forth day ? or that God was the creator of them? Without punctuation in the Hebrew or Greek, it is hard to tell.
    I am a ’71 Grad of LLU/LSU and I am appalled that ANY SDA school would do what they are doing. I have dropped all of my support until they make a Christ Centered turn around.




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  13. Dio Rader wrote:
    “Is it stated that the sun and moon were created on the forth day?”
    YES read Gen 1: 14 and 16; When was the last time you actually read the Bible?

    He also wrote:
    “or that God was the creator of them?”
    Wow, a fundementalists who thinks that the sun may have been created by something other than God.

    He also wrote:
    “Without punctuation in the Hebrew or Greek, it is hard to tell.”
    Oh wow again, (rolling on the floor laughing). I’d bet a months pay that he has no questions about the Sabbath Commandment, despite the lack of punctuation in the Greek or Hebrew.

    I get it, that was just a silly poster, but honestly, did it not occur to the moderator to ask Pastor Bohr about his strange assertion. If the fundamentalists get to be flexible in their interpretations of scripture then why is it not allowed for the liberals?




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  14. @Dio Rader:

    Dio Rader says:
    January 4, 2010 Check one more time. Is it stated that the sun and moon were created on the forth day ? or that God was the creator of them? Without punctuation in the Hebrew or Greek, it is hard to tell.
    I am a ‘71 Grad of LLU/LSU and I am appalled that ANY SDA school would do what they are doing. I have dropped all of my support until they make a Christ Centered turn around.

    1. Genesis 1 says that on day 4 God “created TWO great lights” — pretty hard to turn that into “God enhanced two existing great lights”.

    2. Genesis 1 says that on day 1 “God created light” and it points to results indicating the fact that the earth was rotating once per evening and morning near a point light-source, and that this rotation took “1 day”. Interestingly the SAME author reports the summary of this as “for in SIX days the Lord MADE”… thus the time line is “locked in stone”.

    So also the time frame reference for earth’s rotation.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  15. I believe in the bible account of creation I am shocked that our church has
    began to shift our position on the foundation. I am a retired minister.




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  16. This issue has to be dealt with, I fully support that this issue be resolved at the upcoming General Conference if not sooner. Otherwise we completely destroy our movement. It was founded upon a thus saith the Lord, and God’s end time church ever will be… I would advise that all who cannot comply with the standards set by our church, resign from their posts. This is the truly honest thing to do if they insist on continuing to embrace this form of evolution. Interesting note that the Qur’an which Muslims hold as their holy book has at least six verses which say that God created the Heavens and earth in Six days. Then in one specific verse it says the “Night following the day in rapid succession”, not millions and millions of years for each day, but literally 24 hour days each. Amazing isn’t it, that we have this common ground with Muslims. We need to get this straightened out before we can move onward. rudy




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  17. (Please forgive the length of this comment. Pastor Bohr’s post brought many thoughts to my mind. I wrote this and did not post it at first as I was unsure if it was okay to post something so long.)

    Pastor Bohr, Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I applaud your firm conviction to uphold the truths in Genesis in your work as a pastor and to warn parents. I look forward to your next newsletter. (You referred to a newsletter. I’m assuming you will post here, but I will be checking on your website also.)

    Here are some of my thoughts in response to your post. (I’m not trying to negate the need for decisive action. I agree.)

    It is interesting to look back at the pantheism crisis as well as the days of Noah, and see the parallels. There are also many differences.

    For example, as creationists, we have many advocates in the world at large. There are many scientists both within our own church and outside of our church who can effectively participate in the scientific debate. (They also contribute material that we can use.)

    I recently went back to school to train for a second career and took some biology courses at Ohio State University. I was at first afraid that these courses would hurt my faith. However, the more I learned about the complexities of life, the more my faith strengthened. One evolutionist professor spoke openly about the problems with evolution, and said at one point, “evolution is a collection of bad science.”

    This same professor spent some time going over common misconceptions that are considered ‘proof’ of evolution that continually find their way into textbooks. He has made many attempts to have these errors rectified with various textbook publishers.

    You might be thinking he was a closet creationist, but I am certain he was not. He also poked fun at creationists on many levels and pretty much made it known that a true scientist could not believe in a creator. I remember his stating that science is not the search for truth.

    The danger of having evolutionists in our own schools is that our own professors would feel the need to put a special emphasis on separating science from faith. Their presentation of science is peculiarly dangerous because of a combination of their special emphases and their positions of authority.

    I think there may be a danger in separating faith from science. As sister White said in Steps to Christ, “Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man, but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator’s love.”

    Answers in Genesis promotes the idea that pastors and church teachers should infuse creation gems into their presentations of faith. They have developed material that churches can use. My husband has fossils he has collected over the years and periodically uses them in a sermon or creation presentation. This past summer we took pictures (fossil collection there is not legal) of a plethora of fossils on Joggins Cliffs in Nova Scotia. We were especially searching for one of the trees that pushes through many layers that have come to supposedly represent vast periods of time. We were told by a museum official that the cliffs continue to erode and expose more and more of these trees.

    It was such a picture that convinced me beyond a doubt years ago. A Bible worker included a slide of one of these trees in a presentation he gave at the first Adventist church I ever attended.

    So although I agree that there is no sense in those of us who are scientific lay persons to argue with evolutionist scientists on scientific grounds–we do have a fountain of scientific resources created for laypersons by creationist scientists. We are at the end of time where “knowledge is increased.”

    Marketers of health products use simple language in carefully crafted prose to present scientific evidence to sell their products to non-scientists. This method is very effective and has generated multi-million dollar results for many corporations.

    We reason in our evangelistic efforts by using scripture, and by using credible historical references. So in this debate which has science and scriptural elements; I believe that we cannot truly separate the two. They are inextricably woven together (‘Nature and revelation alike…’).

    I was an adult with a well-grounded faith when I attended OSU and sat in those biology classes. My understanding of the Genesis account of creation included a strong conviction that faith and science cannot be at odds. I knew that to find agreement, one must not try to twist scripture or science, but look closer at both scripture and science.

    The closer I examine both, the stronger my conviction becomes. I feel strongly that we must begin to emphasize this strong examination of God’s nature and revelation in our churches, including Sabbath School and schools. The pastors and teachers do not need to be scientists, but can draw upon the work of scientists just as the evangelist draws upon the work of historians in evangelism.

    I appreciate your prayer that “God will give wisdom to those who labor on all level of church organization…” I thought I’d share my two cents. Hopefully, both the current crisis and preventative steps at the local level as you suggested will make the difference.

    To sum up my thoughts, here are the unique aspects of our struggle as compared to the pantheism crisis and the time of Noah:

    -We have much scientific evidence to draw upon as we are in the times of the increase of knowledge.
    -Regarding this particular issue, we have advocates both within and outside of the church.
    -We have resources of technology and knowledge that did not exist then. We should use these to begin educating children early in our churches, not just in our schools and colleges.

    We must emphasize a close examination of truth both in science and revelation. This is what grounds our students. We can meet this crisis now in our church, but we have no idea what our students will encounter later on. Our responsibilities are not simply to denounce what is happening at LSU and to take “decisive action,” but it is also to labor to make it possible for our children to avoid the dangers of the seductive nature of this controversy wherever they might find it*.

    (*There is a trend in our church now toward increasing ministry to children, and ministry on the secular college campus. My hope is that these ministries will be encouraged and funded.)




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  18. I just noticed all the talk about intelligent design. Isn’t intelligent design the thing we have in common with others? That intelligent design is part of our belief, but just not all of it?

    It’s like saying that it is wrong to say that someone painted the Mona Lisa. But maybe the person doesn’t know that Leonardo daVinci painted it. My daughter wouldn’t know, but would she be wrong to say ‘someone’ painted it? Would anyone disagree that a person painted it? It’s a definite point of agreement. Always a good place to begin in a dialog.

    Of course, once you know the painter’s name–you can say who painted it. The idea becomes more interesting. Now you can learn all kinds of fascinating things about the designer himself.

    Maybe there’s something I’m missing?




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  19. @Christiane Marshall:

    Christiane Marshall says:
    January 8, 2010 I just noticed all the talk about intelligent design. Isn’t intelligent design the thing we have in common with others? That intelligent design is part of our belief, but just not all of it?

    Yes – that is correct.

    You find ID in Romans 1.

    You also find it here —

    After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker. {PP 47.3}
    ….
    God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” Psalm 19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator. {PP 48.3}

    As Romans 1 points out — even “barbarians” (Paul’s word) are “without excuse” because the “invisible attributes of God are CLEARLY SEEN in the things that have been MADE”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. Christiane Marshall: I just noticed all the talk about intelligent design. Isn’t intelligent design the thing we have in common with others? That intelligent design is part of our belief, but just not all of it?
    It’s like saying that it is wrong to say that someone painted the Mona Lisa. But maybe the person doesn’t know that Leonardo daVinci painted it. My daughter wouldn’t know, but would she be wrong to say ’someone’ painted it?

    Hi Christiane,

    That’s exactly my understanding of Intelligent Design. Atheistic scientists don’t like that argument because they say its sole purpose is to prove the existence of God and that a “Goddidit” theory about anything doesn’t explain anything about science. I must confess to believing that the atheistic argument against ID is scientifically plausible and perhaps logically consistent. For that reason, I’m persuaded that believing scientists should argue that there is only a probability that the Mona Lisa was intelligently designed and that maybe molecules just magically assembled themselves to create this work of art.




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  21. Christiane Marshall: Our responsibilities are not simply to denounce what is happening at LSU and to take “decisive action,” but it is also to labor to make it possible for our children to avoid the dangers of the seductive nature of this controversy wherever they might find it*.

    I know it seems silly to quote myself! But my husband just found this website. It seems to be a great resource to use with children:

    http://www.thegrandexperiment.com/




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