“I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that the earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old,” writes Rachel Held Evans in a recentWashington Post article entitled “When Atheists and Baptistsagree”.
“This position routinely puts me at odds with two groups of people – atheists and Baptists,” she states. Evans then expressed her deep concern:
“While not all Baptists are young earth creationists, one of their most esteemed leaders recently took a strong stand on the issue. Responding to criticisms that he misrepresented Charles Darwin in a June 19 speech at the Ligonier Ministries conference, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared on his blog that evolution is incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ even as it is in direct conflict with any faithful reading of the Scriptures."
Rachel Evans, who grew up in the “apologetics-driven evangelical subculture of the 80s and 90s”, explains that she believed the theory of evolution “had been concocted by godless scientists intent on undermining the authority of Scripture”. Evans then affirms: “We were locked in a battle with these "enemies of the faith," I learned. Only one side could win, and if it wasn't ours, the Christian faith would be lost.”
This idea was reinforced at the Christian college Evans chose to attend. She describes how “one of the science professors liked to tell the story of how, as a sophomore in high school, he had dreams of becoming a scientist but could not reconcile the theory of evolution with the creation account found in Genesis. So one night, he took a pair of scissors and a newly-purchased Bible and began cutting out every verse he believed would have to be removed to believe in evolution. By the time he was finished, he said he couldn't even lift the Bible without it falling apart. That was when he decided, ‘Either Scripture was true and evolution was wrong, or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible.’”
I had previously read this exact same testimony in the Wikipedia article on Kurt Wise and surmised that Evans must have attended Bryan College where Wise taught prior to joining forces with Al Mohler at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In her article, Evans explains that Wise’s story had such a tremendous effect on her that when she began to study evolution on her own she nearly lost her faith. After learning about the fossil record, DNA sequences, ice rings, and other topics, she found evolution to be a plausible theory which meant that she could no longer ‘follow Jesus’, according to both atheists and Baptists.
Then Evans shares what I consider to be the most important point in the article:
“What leaders like Mohler fail to realize is that they are setting young Christians up for failure. They are inadvertently orchestrating the very exodus that they fear. In presenting faith and science as a choice, the Baptists have essentially conceded that the atheists are right after all, and as a result they are losing some of the brightest young minds in Christendom to a false dichotomy.”
Rachel Evans is a gifted Christian blogger, among other talents, and you can learn more about her this link:
Al Mohler responded via his blog to what he described as Evans’ “glib and superficial endorsement of evolution and its reconciliation with Christianity”. You can find it here. h
Let’s see . . . So Al Mohler, Kurt Wise, Ken Ham, and the dogmatic Young Earth Creationists (YEC) are the ones who get to define Christian parameters. According to them, if one does not embrace their extremely narrow view of creation, then one is not a follower of Jesus Christ (or as Ken Ham would say, “is in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement”)? As I have explained in a previous post, I find it rather odd that Southern Seminary adopted its Young Earth Creationism position a mere four years ago. Now the YECers pronounce to the world what is doctrinally acceptable when it comes to how God created the universe. It certainly sounds to me like they are making themselves out to be gods…
I believe the following passage could be applied to Mohler and Company.
4"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8"Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
9when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
11and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?
12"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
15From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.
16"Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.
Job 38:4-18 (ESV)
On the very same day that Rebecca Evans’ article appeared in the Washington Post, I found a wonderful book in Blowing Rock — located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains (which YECers claim are less than 10,000 years old). The book is entitled Who Made the Moon? A Father Explores How Faith and Science Agree and was written in 2008 by Sigmund Brouwer. This father recounts how he and his family were gazing up at the night sky when his little daughter asked “Who made the moon?”
Inside the book’s jacket cover, Signund Brouwer shares some heartfelt words for why he wrote this volume:
“I began the journey that led to this book because, as a father, I want to see my daughters in heaven. I didn’t want them to be alone as they faced widely asserted contradictions between science and Genesis, especially as they grew older.
Sooner or later, regardless of what you tell your children, they will make faith choices that we cannot make for them. We can only present the truth as clearly as possible, giving them the tools they need to search for answers and find them for themselves.
If we require our children to reject the major teachings of science in order to have faith in God, there is too great a danger that they will turn away from the faith. For Genesis is the foundation of the Bible, and if they can’t trust Genesis, why should they believe what follows?
I hope as you share my journey, you’ll learn for yourself that faith has nothing to fear from science.”
As the book explains, Who Made the Moon “is a guide to helping your child – and anyone else with doubts – understand, through Genesis and science, the first cornerpiece of faith: God created the universe.”
Brouwer explains that although he believes a six-day creation is within God’s power, he (after years of searching) sees the “harmony of science and the first two chapters of Genesis in a different light, without discarding the historical accuracy of the gospel.” (p. 15)
This concerned father of two then expresses the purpose of the book, by writing:
“You and I may disagree on how to view the book of Genesis, but Who Made the Moon? isn’t about you and me. It’s about our children, our common desire to help them come to understand and agree with Dr. Warren (The Purpose Driven Life), so that they too will have purpose-driven lives that lead to eternity with God.
Our children are growing up in a science-driven society, where it is far more challenging than it was for you and me to make faith decisions putting God at the center of the universe. Given that difficulty, could we consent to staking the faith of our children on where we agree on Genesis, instead of where we disagree?” (pp. 155-156)
Brouwer explains in the early chapters of the book that evolution without a creator is mathematically impossible. He painstakingly describes for the unbeliever that the reason why the universe exists is because Almighty God brought it into being. I gave Dee and Dr. Jon a copy of this book, and I’m sure they understand much of the scientific evidence in Who Made the Moon? However, I must confess that I’m an ignoramus when it comes to the information Brouwer includes. It was WAY over my head! I do, however, encourage you to read it.
For those of you who may not know much about Sigmund Brouwer, he is a former journalist and a best-selling author of sixteen novels. As an accomplished writer, he explains the following about God’s Holy Word:
“To avoid misinterpreting the Bible, you must first understand that it is a divinely inspired book, made of a rich tapestry containing many assorted writing genres – poetry, for example. You also need to acknowledge that it was written by a collection of authors from different time periods and diverse cultures to varied audiences in several languages. The most recent writing in the Bible is still nearly two thousand years old. Without an understanding of historical, cultural, genre, and biblical context, many crucial nuances are lost.” (p. 126)
I believe the crux of the book has to do with the Hebrew word for “day”, which is “yom” (sorry, I don’t know how to add the ^ symbol over the “o”). In this regard, Brouwer asks the following question:
“Why are so many respected Christians, such as the Reverend Billy Graham, willing to concede that the six days of Creation in Genesis might be longer than twenty-four hours each?” (p. 133)
Brouwer then explains that the word “yom” has several meanings in biblical Hebrew. He recounts how in the late 1990s the Presbyterian Church of America selected a panel of scholars “to determine the limits of permissible interpretations of the Genesis 1 Creation days under the assumptions of strict biblical supernaturalism, a denial of naturalistic interpretations of life’s history on earth, a belief in creation ex nihilo (out of nothing), and a belief in Adam and Eve as actual historical persons from whom all of humanity is descended.” -“Report on the Creation Study Committee,” PCA Historical Center,http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html
After two years of deliberation, these scholars produced “a ninety-two-page report that agreed with the Westminster Theological Seminary’s position that there are four different views of the Creation days that are deemed to be within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy:
Calendar day: Creation days consist of six consecutive twenty-four-hour periods that are historical and chronological.
Day-age: Creation days are six consecutive long ages that are historical, sequential, and chronological.
Framework: the Creation week is a metaphor to narrate God’s actions in Creation with the days to be understood as topical rather than sequential and the durations as unspecified.
Analogical days: Creation days are analogous to, but not necessarily identical to, human days, that is, broadly consecutive but of unspecified length.” (pp. 133-134)
Brouwer then explains how he was heartened to read what noted Hebrew scholar Kenneth A. Matthews had to say in a Bible commentary published by a conservative press that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention:
“The weight of the arguments favors a nonliteral “day”, but definitive answers to the meaning of “day” and the duration of creation remain elusive.” (Kenneth A. Matthews, The New American Commentary; Genesis 1-111:26, (Nashville: B&H Publishers), 149.
As Sigmund Brouwer brings this book to a close, he writes:
“I cannot say this strongly enough. The science behind the theory of evolution does not state that there is no God. The science of evolution is not an enemy to your child’s faith. The real enemy is evolutionism. If you understand that, you will be much better prepared to help your child understand that science and faith can be harmonized…there are legions of scientists who have made worldview decisions (in favor of God) based on the breathtaking beauty of what they’ve discovered in science. For many, the science behind the theory of evolution has led them to God.” (p. 181)
At the end of the book Brouwer recommends Francis Collins’ book The Language of God. He explains that Collins’ book makes it difficult for an open-minded individual to remain an atheist after reading it.
There are countless young Christians who have been taught a literal six-day twenty-four hour creation PERIOD!!! and when they land in a college science class they are laughed out of the classroom when they share what they’ve been taught in church. How many of these students have renounced their faith because they believed they had been taught a lie by spiritual leaders whom they trusted? We know some, and we’re certain you do, too…
“Like a child”, who commented on the Francis Collins post, was one of those young Christians who could have renounced the faith. (S)he inspired the title of this post by writing the following:
“I had the pleasure of meeting Francis Collins at a conference 8 years ago. To this day, his demeanor left a lasting impression. I think he is saving many science students from faith suicide.”
Lydia's Corner: Genesis 20:1-22:24 Matthew 7:15-29 Psalm 9:1-12 Proverbs 2:16-22