I recently found an old college classmate, Rick, on Facebook. We hadn’t communicated for over 30 years, so the first few chats we had dealt with catching up on families and finding out what we are now doing for a living. When I told him that I was the editor-in-chief for Creation Revolution, I asked him to check out the website and let me know what he thought. The discussion that followed took place over a two week period and is posted below. I pray it helps others learn how to effectively defend thief faith in biblical creation.
Rick: Creation? How can you reject everything you were taught? You were one of the brightest biology students I ever knew. I can’t believe you would chuck it all away for biblical fairytales.
Response: Actually everything I was taught about biology and other sciences reinforced my belief in the Creator God of the Bible. The only thing I rejected was evolution. Isn’t one of the principle laws of biology is that life cannot arise from nonlife – i.e. spontaneous generation? Yet the very foundation of evolution rests upon the violation of that law. Evolution requires that life started from non-life and that the first cell was self-organizing, which you know also violates the basic laws of chemistry and entropy.
Rick: C’mon, evolution defines biology. It’s a fact!. Like that Russian guy said, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense without evolution’.
Response: Actually it only provides one interpretation of biology. There is another interpretation that makes more sense of biology and everything else. Besides, what are the facts that prove evolution?
Rick: Facts? What about speciation, intermediate forms, and the fossil record for starters? How does your Bible explain these things?
Response: I’ll give you answers to these questions, but the real point of discussion isn’t the evidence. We could argue that back and forth for ever. The real argument lies with our presuppositional beliefs which govern how we interpret the evidence and the world around us. But first your answers:
Speciation: When you take a close look at speciation, it is the exact opposite of what evolution requires. For evolution to be true, it requires an ever increasing amount of NEW genetic information being introduced into living organisms.
If you recall from your genetics class, speciation generally occurs as a result of a change in the genetic makeup of a daughter population that makes interbreeding with the parent population unsuccessful. It can be a rearrangement of the alleles, or a shift of allele frequency and in many cases a decrease in the amount of heterozygosity. In speciation, no new genetic information is being added. In fact, it is being lost.
From a biblical perspective, I see where God created the animals and plant ‘kinds’ as it says in Genesis 1. In today’s classification system, the kinds probably would fall under Genus or Family. They would have contained a great deal of heterozygosity. As those kinds dispersed in the newly formed earth, populations separated, each taking their genetic traits with them. The more they separated the more different then became from the parent kind, yet they still would be recognized as belonging to that parent kind.
When God judged the world with a global flood, He brought two of each kind (seven of some) to Noah to take aboard the Ark. Note that it was kinds and not species that Noah took on the Ark. After the Flood, all reproductive pressures were gone. The animals would have reproduced, younger, produce more young, and most likely had a higher survivability rate than we see in the world today.
We’ve seen examples of how populations can explode in a short time in an open environment. Examples would be the rabbits and cane toads in Australia and the European starlings in America. Less than 200 years ago, 26 pair of starlings were introduced into the U.S. It was reported that nearly half of them died at the beginning. Today, they are probably the most numerous species of bird in the country.
After the Flood, the same thing would have happened. The first 200-300 years after the Flood, speciation ran rampant without the population pressures that exist today. The Flood also provided the mechanism for the Ice Age which started about 200 years after the Flood and lasted for about 500 years. Many of the newly formed species were not able to survive the climate changes that took place and many went extinct. As the remaining populations grew in number and distribution, population pressures increased, slowing the reproductive, maturing age and speciation rates until it is what we see today.
Intermediate forms: What intermediate forms. If evolution were true, we should find thousands of intermediate or transitional forms in the fossil record, but we don’t. In fact, most of the life forms plant and animal, found in the fossils record appear abruptly. Take a look at the Cambrian Explosion. It’s labeled the Cambrian Explosion because of all of the different life forms that suddenly appear in the fossil record. Problematic for evolutionists is that there aren’t any intermediates found in the Pre-Cambrian.
Fossil Record: If the entire world was covered with a violent global flood, would you not expect to find vast sedimentary layers covering the majority of the surface of the earth and wouldn’t many of these layers be quite thick with little to no erosional zones between them and wouldn’t some of them stretch for hundreds and even thousand of miles? This is exactly what we find. And if the only animals to survive this flood were the ones aboard Noah’s Ark, then what happened to all of the rest of the plants and animals?
Now think of a world that is being covered over with violent flood waters. As you know any flood carries a great deal of silt and sediment. Those creatures living at the lowest levels (ocean bottoms) would have been covered over first, then those living at higher locations and so on. Land animals live in niches, communities and biomes. The flood would have covered those communities closed to the shore first and those in the highlands last. Now look at the majority of the fossil record from the Cambrian to the end of the Cretaceous as a record of how the flood buried the different life zones and communities as it eventually inundated the entire earth.
These are brief answers to your three questions, but now I want to discuss further what I said about presuppositions. Take things like the fossil record and speciation. You and I have the same facts. The only difference is how we each interpreted those facts. I believe the Bible to the inerrant Word of God and as such, I use that as my foundation upon how I interpret the world around me. For you to believe in evolution, you must believe in millions of years and evolution. Those are your foundational beliefs. You interpret the world around you based on those beliefs.
I can’t prove creation and you can’t prove evolution. We can’t observe the past, nor can we experimentally repeat either one. You see, Rick, evolution is not science, but a religious belief in a past. Neither of us can prove our foundational beliefs. They are two diametrically opposed worldviews of origins. Think of them like a pair of prescription eyeglasses. As you look at and take in the world around you, the prescriptive correction of the eyeglasses allows you to focus and see the world through them. Your prescription is evolution and mine is the Bible, but we’re both looking at the same world.
Does this make sense to you?
Rick: What about radiometric dating techniques that prove millions of years. Doesn’t that undermine your young earth?
Response: Do you know the basic concepts of radiometric dating techniques? It’s based upon a number of assumptions that come from a presuppositional belief in millions of years. The first assumption is that there was millions of years. Second assumption is that they know how much of the parent radioactive element was present at the beginning. Third assumption is that the decay rates have been constant since the beginning.
How in the world can you possibly know how much parent element was present at the beginning of time? What if the decay rates have not been constant over time. What if something happened in the past that altered the decay rates? A group of scientists have been looking into this and they have found a number of things that indicate that the decay rates have not been constant,
It comes back to the presuppositions I was talking about before. If you firmly believe in millions of years, you’re going to keep testing and altering testing procedures and equations until you get the dates you anticipate rather than the real dates.
Have you ever seen the inaccuracies associated with radiometric dating? Two layers of basalt in the Grand Canyon. The one at the bottom dates much younger than the one at the top. Or a volcano in New Zealand that erupted less than 100 years ago but gives dates over a million years. Then there is the piece of wood found in a layer of basalt. The wood dated to thousands of years but the basalt around it millions of years. I’ve seen reports where samples taken from the same location yield a wide range of dates. Sometime the date varies from one facet of a crystal to another facet of the same crystal. The list goes on and on.
Rick: Okay, I’m beginning to see your point. We both have the same evidence, you we interpret it differently because of what we believe to be true, right? But couldn’t God have used evolution as His process of creation? Wouldn’t that make both views mesh? I hear a lot of people say God used evolution.
Response: Yes, you are starting to understand about it being a belief system. However, there is no way God used evolution as His creative process. The order of events are different – evolution starts with universe, gases, matter, suns and then planets, whereas the Bible starts with God, light, the earth, plants and then the sun.
More importantly the millions of years totally and completely undermine the entire Gospel message of the Bible. The Bible teaches that after God finished the six days of Creation He pronounced everything as being ‘very good’. The Hebrew is clear that this meant that every part of Creation was perfect.
If evolution and millions of years was true, then there would have been millions of years of death, disease and suffering prior to the creation of man. Then death, disease and suffering would also have to have been very good. If death, disease and suffering were very good, then why did Adam perceived God’s warning about eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as also being very good or a reward instead of something to be avoided.
More importantly, if death, disease and suffering were very good, then why was death the penalty for sin and why did Jesus Christ have to die on the Cross for our sins? The message of the Cross stands on the foundation of Genesis being historically true and accurate. Those people that believe that God used evolution have never thought through the logical consequences of their beliefs. They have a compromised view of Scripture. I hope you comprehend the importance of this.
Rick: Wow, I’ve never heard that before. No one has ever given me answers like this before. I follow your logic and you’ve definitely given me something to think about. Let me chew on this for a day or two and I’ll get back to you.
Response: Rick, let me know if you have anymore questions.
(Two days later)
Rick: Dave, My head’s been spinning the past few days. I’ve been thinking about what you said about foundational beliefs governing the way we interpret the evidence and that evolution is a belief and not science. I guess I never realized that radiometric dating is based on assumptions that can’t be proven and the problems with its accuracy. I also dug up my college cell biology textbook and read the first chapter with was all about the evolution of the cell. As I read it, I couldn’t help but recall hat you said bout the evolution of the first cell defying the laws of biology, the more I read, the more I saw the assumptions the book was making. It hit me like a ton of bricks. To say the least this has shaken me to the core. If evolution isn’t true, is the Bible the only other solution?
Response: Rick, the Bible is the only answer. Let me ask you question. The Bible claims to be the inerrant Word of God and therefore are His words, not mans. He says what happened at the beginning because He was there. Evolution is the word of fallible men. Although claiming to be fact, is always changing. What was true and factual 20 years ago is not necessarily true today. How can that be fact? Which one would you rather believe? Which one would you be willing to stake your eternal soul on: the God of the Bible or man?
Rick: I’ve tried going to church a couple of times but ended up leaving because no one there including the pastor could answer my questions. One pastor told me that God used evolution. The pastor at the other church told me that creation wasn’t important that I just needed to believe in Jesus. Had either of them given me answers like you did, I’d probably still be attending that church. Do you know of a church in my area where the pastor has answers like yours? I think I’m ready to take another look at the Bible and what it says. Thanks buddy, I owe you big time.
This book is a compilation of several of Dr. Bahnsen’s published works on Christian apologetics, including his Apologetics syllabus, articles on practical apologetic problems (like the problem of evil, the problem of miracles, etc.), and an exposition of Acts 17.
Especially helpful: In part five, Dr. Bahnsen lists 5 of the most often encountered attacks against Christianity and offers some great rebuttals to them using Presuppositional Apologetics.
The Immorality of Neutrality
The Nature of Unbelieving Thought
The Mind of the New Man Rooted in Christ
The Foolishness of Unbelief
A Two-Fold Apologetic Procedure
Answering the Fool
Worldviews in Collision
The Ultimate Starting Point: God’s Word
And many more…
An Online Reviewer:
“Many have observed Bahnsen’s ability to debate, and have seen or heard how he has tackled head-on unbelievers in various venues. This work gives us some of the content of what was going through the mind of this notable apologist, whom even John Frame believed was the best debater for Presuppositionalism.
For the astute and willing student, Bahnsen provides the tools in this book to be equipped in their own apologetics with nonbelievers. As one who’s life goal was to “take it to the streets” in applying apologetics rather than just discussing theory, Bahnsen’s insight has also been tested in real debate situation. For instance, his chapter on the problem of evil will illuminate readers as to why he took the approach he did concerning the problem of “evil” in his famous debate with atheist Gordon Stein. His discussion of the problem of miracle and religious language towards the end of the work are also valuable in the apologist’s arsenal, especially for those who take it seriously to be “always ready”, even with the more philosophically sophisticated unbeliever.
The book also treats the reader with a summary of various logical fallacies to look out for which unbeliever typically make, regardless of their range of intellectual ability. Bahnsen’s strength in many of his debates have been his quickness to identify fallacious reasoning, here in this book one can see what these fallacies are for the readers to be conscious of. In my personal life, working hard in applying the lessons found in this book has resulted in some level of fruitfulness in exposing the folly of unbelief.” — Jimmy Li, 2009
About the Author: Greg L. Bahnsen was the scholar-in-residence at the Southern California Center for Christian Studies and an ordained minister iin the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California, specializing in the field of epistemology (theory of Knowledge). He also received M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Dr. Bahnsen was the author of numerous books and published articles and was a popular conference speaker. He was also a renowned public debater as evidenced in his interchanges with Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jews, and atheists. He is perhaps most remembered for his skilled debates with atheists like Dr. Gordon Stein, which gave him the title of being “the man atheists fear most”. In apologetic circles, he was recognized as the primary defender of the presuppositional method.