Introducing Larry Ingram

As I a part-time observer of science, I have come to the conclusion that many scientists who are Christians are not comfortable with talking about Genesis or the fact that Jesus claimed to be the ultimate creator and designer of the universe.

If we take Genesis at face value, like many sections of the New Testament, namely Colossians, it should point us to the fact that, if Jesus was who he said he was, he did not need a lot of people, philosophers, scientists, to do what he claimed to do. Even more so, who God said he was and did does not depend on scientific discovery.
Scientific discovery should only confirm it, to a greater or lesser extent.

Scientific discovery (or questions) can be kind of like when, at the end of Job, Job asks God a question and God does not answer him. Why doesn’t he answer him? Because he is God and does not have to give a response. Likewise with scientific discovery: God is not always going to provide answer, because he doesn’t have to.

Secular scientists take this and run with it, giving all kinds of explanations for origins that exclude God from the equation, in the process dismissing God, relegating him to a carpenter to said some strange things. But part of this dismissing God, whether we like it or not, is the explanation that how we got here did not depend on God, it was evolution. Therefore it’s nature and man that deserves the credit, not God. And certainly not a God who came to earth as a man and lived as a carpenter. How much more unscientific can that be?

There is an exclusivity to Christianity that I think contradicts much of scientific discussion in regard to origins. What I see today, in popular, secular science (that taught in the majority of secular schools) is that if there is a God, he has to fit in with scientific discovery. What this means is that the next scientific discovery could knock out Jesus and only add to the proofs that Jesus was an insignificant militant philosopher instead of the savior of the world.

An example of this is the questions about how we got here, how the earth got here, how the universe was formed, etc. After reading Genesis, the answer to these questions should be easy: God (Jesus) said it, and it happened. But tell this to a scientist, whether you are a Christian or not, and you will probably get a scornful look, and be dismissed. Scientists are more sophisticated in attempting to explain this, but many scientists who try to explain how we got here sound like these went to the college of science fiction; the ideas are so bizarre that one can’t believe that they are scientists.

Many Christian scientists attempt to backwards engineer Genesis, to hedge their bets. In other words, Genesis must be true because of the fossil record. But what if the fossil record contradicts the Bible? I’m not say this so that we will ignore the fossil record. But much of it is used to ignore the Bible and Genesis. (If you know of a secular university department that does not do this, please let me know).

This is what I would call basic non-objective science, or a kind of science that naturally adds a flaw to arguments about origins. If at the outset, you eliminate one possibility because of a personal bias, then what good is your reasoning. This is why much of what Richard Dawkins says about origins is suspect, because of his basic hostility to Christianity and God. He has an antipathy to Christians who believe in the Bible and think that it negatively impacts in their thinking in regard to science. (Many secular scientists believe that Christians should not become scientists).

It’s important to acknowledge this antipathy, and the fact that it’s not necessarily because of Christians or that they present what may be wrong or irrational arguments. Like in Jesus day, people who should have believed in Jesus did not for many reasons. I see this theme in Christian thinkers today however; it’s popular to bash Christians and say, “Well that’s why they have not accepted Christ or the Genesis account. They haven’t heard the right explanation.”

I think belies history, the facts, and probably even how God is working. Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins are not the first scientists who think that believing in Genesis account to explain how we got here in not objective science, and they won’t be the last. There are lots of secular explanations that are popular but completely irrational, much more so that the Christian explanation that God created. When the Cosmos series was popular in explaining how we got here, it did not consult the Bible. The explanation was that the earth was a microscopic blue dot all alone in the universe, without significance.

[I share that about Cosmos because if you were a scientist who is a Christian in the days of Cosmos, and it did not align with your Genesis beliefs, you very well might have to endure a lot of scorn from the a lot of scientists if you differed with that view. You might even lose you job.

But that’s just one issue that can marginalize Christians from the secular scientific culture that we live in. In many university departments, even floating the idea that macro evolution may not explain how we got here could end your career in public universities. Some professors have the good fortune of being free to disagree, but there are not many departments like that.]

But this is a poor explanation for who we got here on earth. For one thing, it tells us that are lives are pretty much meaningless because we like the very small speck in Horton Hears a Who. The problem is that for secular scientists, there is no Horton to hear us and know that we are here. Neither is there a God. Taken literally, this can mean that are lives here on earth are pretty much pointless.

The popular scientific explanation for how the earth and the universe was formed will never be tested because it’s a pretty big universe. We can look to really smart people like Stephen Hawking, but even his ideas are merely propositions, theories that can’t be tested. One is that the universe expanded and contracted, if I may paraphrase one of them. But what we have here on earth that is as powerful as the force needed to construct a universe is an atom bomb, and it’s not very constructive. And there is really no first cause that we can detect in the universe scientifically.

What we are left with is really no explanation outside of the idea that something greater than what we know about scientific discovery here on earth allowed it to take place, or created it. If we follow the facts, it should at least cause us to consider that a guy who claimed to be God might have done it. But that can be a hard step for many people and scientists who are hardened to any idea that God may have had a hand in it. It may also mean that they should also consider the possibility that he is a loving God who wants to have a relationship with them. Many are simply not ready for that.

In short, I think it’s important for confessing scientists to be real in regard to secular thinking in regard to science and the Bible. If many of the ideas related to evolution and its adherents seek to diminish belief in the Bible and Jesus, let’s be honest about it. Our secular culture, in many ways, simply does not like the exclusivity of the Bible and belief in Jesus.

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Welcome to Peaceful Science @LarryI. It’s great to see you here. Let’s begin the conversation to understand each other.

@gbrooks9 do you have any thoughts?

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Back when I was a Christian, I never had a serious problem with Genesis.

Yes, the cosmology of Genesis 1 has many problems – most obviously it describes the sky as being illuminated independently of the sun, while we know it’s luminosity is due to scattering of sunlight. But I never saw this as a problem. I took Genesis 1 to be an early scientific theory (or pre-scientific theory). And I expect it worked well for the people to whom it was addressed. It simply was not a science text for the 20th and 21st centuries.

I did see the Adam and Eve story, the Noah’s Ark story and the Tower of Babel stories as just fables. So I did not expect them to present accurate history.

For me, Exodus was more problematic. There, I saw God hardening Pharaoh’s heart and then punishing him for having a hard heart. This did not fit with the God of the gospels. And that’s when I started to wonder whether it was man who had created God rather then God who had created man.

Christian’s often argue that Jesus made such a claim. I don’t see it. When I read the usual references, I see Jesus using literary allusions or speaking in metaphors. I don’t see him making claims.

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This is a mistaken way to look at it.

A scientist who is also Christian, is going to take it that God created the world that we, the world that science describes. He isn’t trying to fit God with scientific discovery. Rather, he is using scientific discovery to reveal more about his God.

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Well good news for you @LarryI, I am a scientist, so is @glipsnort, @dga471, @sygarte, and others. I am, for one, am very comfortable talking about Genesis and that all that has been made was made by and through Jesus. These things need not be in conflict.

You might enjoy reading some of we are working through how science fits with Genesis here:

I do acknowledge this.

However, nothing about this is intrinsic to science or evolution. Many “adherents” to evolution are anti Jesus and the Bible. One reason why is because Christians have told them that Jesus and the Bible are not compatible with evolution, something they are seeing for themselves to be supported by an immense amount of evidence. This has created a great deal of conflict, most of which has been unnecessary.

This, actually, is the point. I am convinced there is no fundamental conflict with evolutionary science and the Christian faith, including doctrine about Adam and creation. I’ve spent a lot of time working that out, as have several scholars that are here and elsewhere. One can certainly reject the Bible and affirm evolution, but there is nothing fundamentally dangerous about evolutionary science in itself. We can also affirm both at the same time, and I do.

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Science is not concerned with Genesis and the Bible, by design. But scientists are very interested in both.

I know of no scientific finding that excludes God. It seems you are confusing silence about God as exclusion. This is just not accurate. Turns out that science is silent on these things.

Nothing in science threatens Jesus.

Have you had a chance to read this yet? http://peacefulscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/swamidass-confident-fatih.pdf

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Hi Dr. Appreciate your forum. Just a general essay about my thinking.

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I think the difference here is that I don’t just see evolutionary science, but the thinking and philosophy or paradigm that Darwinism spawned, so to speak. For example, the thinking that if how we got here came by survival of the fittest or the people and races who are here survived as a result of evolution, then we need to keep them, and let go of the rest go so we can improve the gene pool.

So, because a number of secular scientists and our people in our culture like the idea of relying on oneself for one’s morals, they don’t want to give up that freedom, which they would have to do if they were to become Christians. All to say that I don’t think this is the reason why they reject the Genesis account. It’s also because they would have to change their behavior if they accepted Jesus it as valid, and they don’t want to do that.

Whether we like it or not, Darwin and his ideas points back to whether we need a creative, all powerful God like Jesus in the first place. What I read about evolution from evolutionists is that there is a need for them to attribute a God-like quality to it so it can supplant reliance on God.

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I see Darwinism too, and reject it. Darwinism has nothing but a historical connection to evolutionary science, which moved on from Darwinism a long time ago.

It is very true that incorrect science in the past was used to justify racism. You are referring to a falsified theory of origins called “polygenesis.” The good news is that we now know that polygenesis is false, and most scientists care deeply about ending racism.

It is also true that the Bible was used during this same period of history (and after) to justify racism. For example, segregation was defended by white Christians in the 1960’s, most of whom were young earth creationists. Did you know that? They argued that desegregation and the effort to integrate was an attack on Biblical authority. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/is-segregation-scriptural-a-radio-address-from-bob-jones-on-easter-of-1960/

It seems that both evolutionary science and the Bible can be misused and misinterpreted to support racism. We should reject racism, and take evolutionary science and the Bible on their own terms.

Which is why I reject Darwinism, which has very little to do with evolutionary science.

Let’s find a better way.

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@swamidass, thank you for your encouragement.

I guess my question to @LarryI would be to ask Larry what he thinks of your scenario involving a pre-adamite human population, created by evolution, which merges with Adam and Eve’s offspring to create a unified human population… all marked as image-bearers of God?

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I suspect you are using “secular” when you mean “atheist”. As a lifelong atheist, I see secularism as a better solution to authoritarian religious movements than political manipulation and division.

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Secular does not mean atheist. They are not the same thing. Though, in @LarryI’s usage, they do seem to be conflated. That makes the turn here a bit of a jump:

As a Christian, I agree with you. Secularism is exactly this, but it is also supposed to be neutral, preventing overreach from anti-religious communities too. The issue is not opposition to the exclusivity of Jesus and the Bible in personal belief, but the imposition of any groups views on another. The real issue is exercise of coercive power.

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Sure. I view Stalinist Russia as a prime example of totalitarianism taken to such an extreme that it was unsustainable. Though there are parallels how Stalin was presented as some God-like figure almost to be worshipped.

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You may call me Charles. I am a Christian Intelligent Design Old Earth Theorist and a Baptist. Welcome to the group and God bless you. In reference to eschatology, I am a Historic Premillennialist. Like you, I believe in creationist microevolution and do not accept macroevolution. I hope you enjoy your talks with all the members of the forum.

Charles Edward Miller, BA, Old Dominion University ( formerly the College of William and Mary in Norfolk); MAR in Theology, Liberty University School of Divinity

I don’t see that scientists at most state supported universities have moved on from Darwinism. What I see is the complete opposite. I see Darwin and Darwinism as an idea that celebrates man over God, and makes God unnecessary in the whole scheme of life, including scientific discovery and experimentation. I think that for most scientists, how we got here, whether it is a rational or irrational explanation, has no bearing on whether they celebrate Darwin and the Origin of the Species. (They just ignore the racist implications of the second part of the book title). In other words, they may not know how the earth and man got here - it could have been bad or good primordial soup - but we sure know that it has no bearing on Darwin’s ideas.

It’s easy to see this: Professors in the Biology Department at Emory University thought that Dr. Ben Carson should not give a commencement address at the medical school for suggesting that parts of Darwinism or evolution were unfounded or that he didn’t agree with this or that. It was as though if Carson gave his talk, must of which had nothing to do with Darwin or evolution, the halls of biology research would come crashing down. This is exactly how scientists should not behave. Scientists should be open and invite people to disagree and attempt to find the best explanation and test their theories, whatever they may be. Except when it comes to Darwinism.

How did I get labeled as a young earther? I guess I may resemble that attribution. I want to be labeled a middle earther.

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There are no racist implications.

As far as I know, “race” is a technical term in botany.

There are lots of references to the character of God, the qualities that he had. But these are in many ways attributed to Jesus, as he does himself. Many of them are from the letters that Paul wrote to the church. You can look at the first few verse of John: Jesus was the message or the word to the world, but he was the creator God, and all things are here, as life, breath, everything we see because of him. He claimed that he lived when Abraham lived, in essence meaning that he was and is outside of time, or omnipresent. There are other scriptures that point to this. Search for Jesus as a creator; Jesus claims to be God. Jesus also said that he is one and same with the Father, or the creator God in Genesis. Hebrews: 1: 2; John 1: 3; Colossians 1: 15 - 17. But this gets back to Josh McDowell’s question about who Jesus was: liar, lunatic, or savior.

You are now a Middle Earth Creationist. Now you get to tell us, what is a Middle Earth Creationist? I’ll be disappointed if this is merely a Tolkien reference.

What do you mean by darwinism? Clearly it is something other than the meaning we use in science.