Sean, I think people ultimately have to accept Scripture on …

Comment on Biblical Interpretation and Credibility by David Read.

Sean, I think people ultimately have to accept Scripture on faith. There are several arguments to be made in support of the proposition that Scripture is the inspired word of God, and we should make those arguments. They include prophecies fulfilled, the spiritually elevating tone of Scripture, the elevating effect of Scripture on those who read it, the unity and consistency in the themes and truths of Scripture despite having been written by many different writers over the course of many centuries, the many geographical places mentioned in Scripture that have been verified by history and archeology, etc.

But ultimately these arguments are not sufficient to coerce the skeptic; ultimately one must make a faith decision to believe that Scripture is the inspired word of God. So faith can never be replaced by sight. Faith is a necessary ingredient in the Christian walk, without which it is impossible to be saved.

I’m also a little unclear about whether you regard the recent creation and the Genesis Flood as being verifiable or falsifiable. I don’t think they are of that character. The data that bear on these things are subject to interpretation, and how one interprets the data determines how one feels about the historicity of these events.

For example, the data of the geological column and the fossil record can be interpreted as evidence of the Genesis Flood, or as evidence of the long, slow development of life across immense ages of time. The common genetic language can be interpreted as evidence of common descent or as evidence of common design. One can choose to interpret them either way, and the choice of interpretive filters is essentially a religious choice.

Obviously, the faith choice comes before the interpretation of the data. So if one interprets the fossil record as being evidence of the Genesis Flood, and then uses the reality of the Genesis Flood as evidence of the inspiration of Scripture, one is reasoning in a circle. (Likewise, the skeptic who interprets the fossil record as evidence of slow development of life across long ages–in derogation of clear Bible teaching–and then says “see, evolution proves the Bible is wrong” is also reasoning in a circle; he began with an anti-biblical premise and ended with an anti-biblical conclusion.)

There really is no substitute for faith, which I think is probably why faith is emphasized so frequently in Scripture. (See, e.g., Hebrews 11).

David Read Also Commented

Biblical Interpretation and Credibility
Phil Brantley is unquestionably correct in his attitude toward Scripture. The problem is that Phil’s attitude toward science and science education in an Adventist setting do not build upon, and effectively conflict with, his stated attitude toward Scripture.

Phil holds that naturalism is the indispensable ingredient in science, including origins science. But if, as Phil writes, science and indeed all human knowledge must be tested by, and held in subjection to, Scripture, then origins science should not be naturalistic but should assume the truth the Genesis narrative as a starting point. Instead, mainstream origins science assumes that there has never been any supernaturalistic intervention at any point in natural history.

And yet Phil argues that creation science is “a farce,” and mainstream origins science should be taught at Seventh-day Adventist Universities, which is the exact opposite of placing all human knowledge in subjection to Scripture. It seems Phil is not practicing what he preaches. He preaches the superiority of Scripture to human reason and knowledge, but in practice regards mainstream science as sacrosanct and untouchable.

I don’t disagree at all with Phil’s attitude toward Scripture, but I would REALLY put human science in subjection to Scripture by developing an origins science–i.e. “creation science”–that assumes the truth of the biblical narrative.

Recent Comments by David Read

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@pauluc: “Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened . . .”

Not true, Paul. When science insists on abiogenesis, even though there is no empirical or logical reason to believe that it could happen, science is expressing an extremely strong– in fact absolute–philosophical opinion that if God exists, to exist is all God has ever done. If Science were open to the existence of a Creator God who had ever created or otherwise intervened in nature, science could easily say, “God created the first life forms, then evolution took over.”

But, of course, the entire purpose of evolutionary science is to be able to deny the existence of a Creator God without looking foolish. It has not been entirely successful. Because when people claim that life can accidentally self-assemble, or that the genetic code somehow wrote itself, they look foolish.

LSU Responds to Issues Regarding Dr. Diaz and WASC
@Professor Kent: Jeff, the messenger of the Lord for our time is Ellen White, and you should be familiar with her warnings regarding Lyellism and Darwinism. If not, some of the more pertinent passages are set out in chapter 7 of my book, “Dinosaurs — an Adventist View.”

In promoting an atheistic origins narrative in opposition to the biblical, Adventist view of a creation in six literal days a few thousand years ago, La Sierra is flagrantly disregarding the Lord’s messenger for our time. I should think this would be obvious to you.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@Professor Kent: Jeff Kent says, “Recognizing the error in much of apologetics does not equate to blind faith. Twisting every fact to fit a theory about a supernatural event that cannot be duplicated by the naturalistic approach of science is simply misinformed belief based on a fragile faith devoid of the surety . . .”

But twisting every fact to fit a naturalistic theory is okay? Because that’s exactly what mainstream science does.

For example, everything in human existence, absolutely without exception, shows that you never get a code without a codemaker. You never get music without a musician, writing without a writer, computer code without a programmer, etc. Yet mainstream science insists that we got the genetic code, which is more complex than all of the foregoing, without a designer. That’s what I call “twisting every fact to fit” into science’s philosophy of naturalism.

Why is it okay for mainstream science to twist facts to fit its theories but not for creationist to construe and interpret the data of nature in accordance with revealed truth?

God wants you to be fully converted, in both heart and mind. And it doesn’t matter which is converted first. Some people have a heart experience that eventually results in them changing their views on origins, while others see design in nature and it leads them to the God of nature. Either is okay.

But you seem to be “halting between two opinions.” You believe in God and have a relationship with Christ, but that relationship has not converted your mind or your approach to your profession. You insist on doing your scientific work in a way that effectively denies what you claim to believe. It would be too rude to say you lack integrity, but clearly your Christian beliefs are not integrated with your work life; there is no integration between your faith and your work.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@Professor Kent: “What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation?”

I think it is the genetic code. Coded information–written books and articles, computer programs, musical compositions, etc.–never arises accidentally but always has an author. And the genetic code is a language of such complexity and genius that we’re still trying to figure it all out. I don’t think the genetic code wrote itself any more than I think “War and Peace” wrote itself, or “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” wrote itself.

The second best evidence is life itself. Even single-celled organisms are so staggeringly complex that accidental self-organization and self-vivification would involve a miracle. Science cannot do this in a laboratory much less come up with a generally agreed upon “just so story” (that passes the laugh test) as to how it could have happened accidentally.

The other thing in the realm of biology I would point to is the difference between humans and animals. The gap there is very large, and supports the biblical teaching that man was created in the image of a Creator God, whereas the animals were not.

The fossil record is ambiguous, but the Cambrian Explosion fits the Flood model far better than it fits the Darwinian model. It’s not what Darwin expected at all; he even admitted that the fossil record from the Cambrian on up should be matched by an equally long fossil record leading up to the Cambrian. (This doesn’t directly bear on fiat creation, but does compare Bible history to the natural history Darwin posited.)

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@Professor Kent: Jeff Kent said, “Evolutionists believe there is a designer, and that it’s a random process rather than a supernatural being.”

That’s nonsense. Design implies teleology, intent, and purpose, all of which evolutionists deny a priori. Evolutionists officially believe that the world and its life forms did not require a designer but arose from random processes.

And, frankly, whenever the Darwinists use teleological language like “design” and “designer,” we should call them on it and force them to use language that reflects what they officially purport to believe.