@pauluc: 1. The big bang was not a process, but …

Comment on Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution? by Bob Helm.


1. The big bang was not a process, but it was followed by processes. Also, recent measurements of the Hubble Constant suggest that the big bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, not 17 billion years ago. But yes, I think it likely that what cosmologists call the big bang and what theologians call God’s ex nihilo creation of the universe were the same thing. Also, I do believe that God works miracles – sometimes by transcending natural laws, but more often by utilizing natural laws in unusual ways. However, God’s miracles are not magic. They are simply unexplained events that tend to strengthen faith.

2. I believe that heaven is a real place (probably extra-cosmic) where physical beings with bodies of flesh and bone can exist. So it must have material features, as Sean has mentioned. However, I cannot agree that angels are material beings, because Heb 1:14 calls them spirits. Also God is spirit (John 4:24). Perhaps heaven has the dimensions we are familiar with that contain its material features, along with higher dimensions where angels live. That’s just a guess!

3. I do not think there are any intelligent beings besides us in our solar system. However, I do believe that Ellen White received genuine visions from God in which she caught glimpses of intelligent beings living on other planets. And considering the number of extrasolar planets that are being discovered, what she reported sounds very reasonable. Perhaps these inhabited planets are in the Milky Way, in other galaxies, or both. I would point out that some Christians seem to have a hard time with E.T.s, and I do not consider this a doctrine. If someone doesn’t believe it, I will not contest them.

4. Our planet is reported to be about 4.5 billion years old, and I have no reason to dispute that. However, I don’t think that life was produced by processes, because processes cannot produce advanced codes. So I consider abiogenesis to be impossible. I believe that life was intelligently designed on earth a few thousand years ago.

5. Yes, that is what I believe.

6. First, I believe that creation week was a few thousand years ago, but a bit further back than 6000 years. The Bible never says that creation week was 6000 years ago; that is something man came up with. But no, I do not believe that the sun, moon, and stars were created ex nihilo during creation week.

7. I don’t know what you mean by this.

8. No, “asah” cannot be translated as “presented.” But that is a good translation of another Hebrew verb – “”nathan.” In Gen 1:17, we read that God “presented” (“nathan”) the luminaries in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.

9. First of all, Genesis was written in Hebrew, not Greek. The Hebrew verb “asah” has many meanings: do, work, make, arrange, establish, accomplish, institute, bring forth, bring about, produce, etc. But we should not apply these meanings willy nilly; they must be determined by context. However, to claim that “asah” always means “made” whatever the object is false even in the creation account! According to Gen 2:19, the animals were formed from the ground; in other words, they were brought into being. So it is appropriate to say that they were “made” (“asah”). However, when we consider the expanse (Gen 1:7), it was created by God. but it was also put in place by God. So you can say that it was “made” (“asah”), but you can just as easily say that it was “established” (“asah”). This means that the translation of “asah” in 1:7 can go either way. In Gen 1:14-19, the luminaries are appearing in the sky to give light on the earth and to mark seasons and days and years. In other words, they are being established as time keepers. Therefore, I (and many others) contend that in 1:16, “established” is a very legitimate translation of “asah.” “So God established the two great luminaries – the greater luminary to govern the day and the lesser luminary to govern the night – and the stars as well.” That makes perfectly good sense because the sun and the moon were established to govern day and night respectively. Lastly, in Gen 2:3, “God rested from all the work He had accomplished (“asah”) in creation” is an excellent translation. Many translations read “from all the work He had done in creation.” That’s OK, but not quite as good as “accomplished.” But notice that contrary to what you suggested, “made” does not fit here at all. “God rested from all the work He had made”? That doesn’t make any sense! So again, the meaning of “asah” is determined by context, and while “made” can be used in 1:16, as in most Bibles, “established” actually fits the context better.

Lastly, I do not claim that the literal interpretation of Gen 1 exhausts its meaning! This account was clearly composed as a polemic against polytheistic accounts of creation. However, that does not mean that the literal meaning is false. In fact, the New Testament builds its doctrine of salvation on that literal meaning. We call Jesus our Savior, but if Adam and his fall into sin are mythical, why do we need a Savior? How can there be a second Adam if there was no first Adam? Without a first Adam, passages like Rom 5:12-19 become nonsense. You may be willing to live with such contradictions, but many bright young people will not. For them, this is a tremendous intellectual turn off for Christianity, and it will only breed more atheists.

Bob Helm Also Commented

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Mike Manea: Mike, the problem is not a lack of evidence for the creationist model. The problem is the hold that the Lyell/Darwin model has on the scientific community, including all the psychological baggage that goes with it. This is not just a theory; this is a way of viewing all of reality (much like a religion), and for many people, it has great psychological appeal. For this reason, it is naive to think that it can be overthrown in a few years. However, the evidence for the creationist/catastrophist model continues to mount, and those with open minds are willing to at least examine it.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: I think you are correct. Thanks!

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Ervin Taylor: Can you supply us with your coauthor, as well as the publisher. I would also like to obtain your book and read it. Thanks!

Recent Comments by Bob Helm

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
What is wrong with conceding that many claims of scripture can only be accepted on faith?

I fully realize that 21st century scientists cannot perform X rays of Mary’s womb or insert instruments into her womb to determine exactly what took place when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Of course, I accept the virgin birth on faith! My point was that we now have examples of virgin births occuring as a result of modern scientific technology, and since science has now produced virgin births in mammals, if God is real, we have an analogy for how He could have done the same thing. @Professor Kent:

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Darwinist is just short for Neo-Darwinist. While the majority of biologists subscribe to Neo-Darwinism, I would contest your statement that Darwinist=biologist. I prefer “Darwinist” to “evolutionist” because the latter is a slippery term. Even creationists believe in micro-evolution.@pauluc:

Science, Methodological Naturalism, and Faith
@Sean Pitman: Sean, it’s interesting and ironic how churches repeatedly try to become more relevant by accepting Darwinism and other forms of liberalism, but in the end, they always die, while churches that maintain their creationist stance and conservative values continue to grow.

Science, Methodological Naturalism, and Faith
@pauluc: I wondered if you would bring up alchemy. Just because Newton was wrong about alchemy, why try to slur him over it? Even though he was a great physicist, he was human, and he did make mistakes!

Science, Methodological Naturalism, and Faith
@Pauluc: Actually, there is one extrabiblical reference to Jesus’ Resurrection. In his “Antiquities of the Jews,” we have this from Flavius Josephus: “When the principal men among us had condemned Him [Jesus] to the cross, those who loved Him at first did not forsake Him. For He appeared to them alive again the third day. . .” This so-called “Testimonium Flavianum” has provoked fierce debate, with critics calling it an interpolation. However, it is written in the style of Josephus and appears in all the extant Greek manuscripts of “The Antiquities of the Jews.”