Comment on Silence of the Geoscience Research Institute by Edwin.
The GRI’s position is well known. Their research is not going to change the minds of the LSU faculty who believe that the Bible is mythological and that science has the truth. The issue is not a scientific one so much as it is a spiritual and political one, and I’m sure that the GRI does not want to get involved in the politics. The politics has to do with how much academic freedom a sectarian university can permit without violating its raison d’etre. Accreditation is at stake, and the administration of the institution–and the church–has to figure out how much latitude to grant before it exceeds what the church can tolerate from doctrinal standpoint, or how much restriction can be permitted before it exceeds what the accrediting organization can tolerate from an academic standpoint.
As for the matter of science, there is empirical science and historical science. The study of origins is not empirical science but historical science. The scientists would like to pretend that they are always doing empirical science, but relatively little of the study of origins deals with empirical science. Whenever one is studying the past rather than the present, one is doing historical science, which brings in various subjective elements and presuppositions in interpreting the evidence. The worldview one has will determine the interpretation of the data. If one assumes the principle of uniformitarianism, for example (cf. 2 Pet 3:4), as most evolutionary theory does, including radiometric dating methods, one necessarily arrives at long ages of time. Recent scientific evidence is beginning to challenge the principle of uniformitarianism, but meanwhile one must rely on faith in the biblical record to posit a short chronology. These are difficult issues for scientists. We, as a church, however, must ensure that only people of biblical faith be hired to teach in our schools, or we lose our reason for providing an Adventist education at great expense to the church and to our constituents personally. Ultimately, we believe that science will be found to support the biblical account, but that day has not come yet. Meanwhile, we need to walk by faith, not by sight. (See John 20:24-31; Heb 11:1,3,6.)
Recent Comments by Edwin
A New Endowment Program for Adventist Education
Endowments are not in harmony with our SDA mission or stewardship principles. For every dollar that our schools can use, we have to donate about $100 to benefit the banks that hold the money and loan it out to make money. In this late period of earth’s history, it is no time to be storing 99% of our resources in banks and operating off the tiny interest payments while the banks make big money of off the money that should be in use for our mission. Let’s contribute $10 or more per month, but let it go toward direct support of our educational program, not to support the banks. Instead of having billions in the bank, let’s invest directly in our kids’ education. Would the Lord be pleased to find billions in endowments when He returns instead of being invested in our children’s education. We will have to walk away from our institutions and the endowments will be tied up, as they currently are with many universities that are closing for lack of students. Perhaps we need to set up a committee to study the theology of endowments, but I think if we just think clearly, we will know that it is not the best solution to our problems. We just need to practice good stewardship.
Don’t Change Our Belief on Creation, the Words of Scripture Suffice
There is science and then there is science. True science is open to all possibilities, including God and the supernatural elements that lie beyond the possibility of empirical proof. We can provide evidence for such, but finally faith must be added to the evidence in order to bridge the gap to the unseen elements. If we limit ourselves to only what is seen or testable, we cannot account for the subjective elements like beauty, faith, and love, and we deprive ourselves of another dimension to life that makes it meaningful. There is no meaning or purpose to pure materialism. Religion exceeds the bounds of empiricism and provides meaning and purpose to our existence. Faith makes real what cannot be tested in an empirical setting (Heb 11:1). Faith grasps the unseen and provides hope beyond the limits of the tangible and the observable. If we are people of faith, we cannot accept the limits imposed by materialist and empiricist scientists. Our God instructs us only by observation, but also by divine revelation. We are able to grasp and understand truths that lie beyond the scientist’s ability to observe and test. What a privilege we have to see beyond the limited scope of the testable!
The Bible provides the Creator’s insight into the origins that we can never test or reconstruct through empirical science, or even historical science, which is able to recover only a very limited set of data compared to what is needful for accurate reconstruction of a model of origins. We hypothesize based on assumptions regarding how to accurately extrapolate backwards in time, but this requires assumptions that the operating principles are constant. If we cannot be assured that things that seem to be constant today were always constant in the past, our “scientific” assumptions turn out to be false and our conclusions are false. 2 Pet 3:4 warns us against making such assumptions, assuring us that things were not always constant in the past, that God in fact intervened in history and did some supernatural things that no science will be able to fully account for. If we deny these divine interventions in history, we tend to scoff at God’s revelatory record of how things happened in the past and assume that He will not so act in the future either, because science denies such divine acts in history due to the fact that they cannot be tested and proven. The only safe ground is to elevate divine revelation above the fallible wisdom of men, for the latter is foolishness with God (1 Cor 6-7,12-14). As Paul advised Timothy, “Guard what has been entrusted to you! Turn away from profane, foolish chatter and contradictions falsely called science; in affirming such, some have deviated from the faith” (1 Tim 6:20).
Hope? Slim to none
Ken: The great thing about objective non biased science is that it can radically change one’s worldmview based on empirical observation and testing.
Heb 11:3–By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Heb 11:6–But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is [exists], and that He is a rewarder [judge who holds us accountable] of those who diligently seek Him.
2 Pet 3:3-7–Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation [uniformitarianism, the underlying premise of macroevolution]. For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that they existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.
Matt 24:37-39–But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Should God’s perfect word be trusted, or the limited observations of finite men and women that we call science? What shapes your worldview?
God, Sky & Land – by Brian Bull and Fritz Guy
We ought to be careful about trashing people and stick to the points under discussion. No matter what our personal opinion of these men may be, we are not in a position to second-guess their motives. We can decry the poor scholarship that may lie behind their presuppositions and conclusions, and we may wonder why the church has been so tolerant for so long about addressing this issue (retaining on the payroll those who cannot and will not support the church’s doctrinal positions) more directly, but let us practice Christian restraint in regard to direct attacks against the men themselves. They may sincerely believe that they are doing the church a service in moving us forward into the modern world, even though we may believe that they are badly mistaken. To impute sinister motives or to engage in character assassination is not rightly representing Christianity. Let’s not be like those on the Spectrum and Adventists Today blogs, always attacking their opponents with unkind and sarcastic remarks. Surely we can do better. Let people see that we are truly Christians.