Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Jan de Koning (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 16:45:45 -0400

To start off, I admit, that I did not find the time that is needed to read
all the posts so far written on this subject in the last few weeks. Thus
it is possible that I say something which was said before. Certainly I
will repeat certain statements I made some time ago, namely that much
disagreement arises from the way we read the bible. Here I refer to
Reformational Theology, A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics by Gordon
Spijkman, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids,1992. He accuses creationists and
(Christian) evolutionists of not reading the bible properly, and thus
making agreement impossible, see his chapter on Cosmology and before that
on Anthropology. For reformed people creation and the "ruling,"
"providence" or whatever you want to call it, cannot be separated, See
Heidelberg Caathechism, Lord's Day 9, which refers among other texts to
Psalm 104. That is why I fail to see the importance of the distinction
between Macro- and micro-evolution. (If I sound in the following, as if I
know everything, forgive me. I just try to condense what I want to say.)

Basically I agree with Spijkman, that both evolutionists and creationists
approach the bible in an incorrect way: they want to read it as a
scientific text. Therefor every statement is taken as an "objective"
"true" statement. That is not the way we can read the bible. If we do we
will find many statements whch are not "true" in the modern sense of the
word. As a rule of thumb, read "true" as "faithful," most of the time you
will be closer to the real meaning. How else can you read the words of
Jesus "I am the Truth." Besides, I believe, that Gen.1-11 are written for
a complete different reason, than to tell us how this earth was made. God
made sun, moon, and stars, and animals, many of which were worshipped as
Gods in the countries around. Therefor Moses had to tell the people "You
are wrong." What you are serving as god, is made by God. For that reason,
several theologians say that the Genesis account was written after God
spoke to Moses. Just like Jesus' parables, the idea is not so much to tell
us what really happened, but to tell us something really important about
our relationship with God.

The bible is given to us as a book to show us the way to God. Therefor I
can accept anyone who accepts Jesus as his Saviour, even if I disagree
basically with the way they read the bible. I have to admit that I have
often trouble keeping my mouth shut, like now. For example, I read again a
discussion about "barah." It is used for making too, even if another tense
is used. But why make an issue of it? God did it, and to limit God's
doing to the beginning only is definitely a heresy. God works now every
day in keeping up the world, and in working in our hearts. Since God
created time, we cannot even talk as if God is Himself in time, though He
works in time. These are mysteries which we cannot fathom, and should not
try to fathom.

Because God works in creation, we can know about Him in creation, in
nature, Rom.1. We should not minimize this by distinguishing "natural" and
"unnatural" processes. At most we can say, that we don't understand. I am
often thinking, that we are too sure of ourselves if we want to distinguish
between natural and miraculous processes. Was it not a miracle, that it
did not rain for three years in Ahab's time? I am sure that modern
meteorlogists could have told told that raain was coming, but alll the
same, Elijah had to do a lot of praying. Still, to use biblical language
(used because of our weakness) God had decided that before the beginning of

Yes, time. As our formulas show, time and mass are closely connected.
Thus before creation there was no time. (Thus talking about "before
creation" is impossible.) As scientists we have to learn to be humble, and
not try to get to know things which are unknowable. We may have theories,
but they are only theories, and despite the so-called scientific method, we
cannot prove what happened in the past, we may only assume that God was
faithful in His work and used the same principles in the past as He does
now. Because of that we have to careful how we state our theories. That
is my basic disagreement with "Intelligent Design" Are we going to say,
that God was intelligent? How dare we. We received intelligence from God,
but how dare we say, that God must be intelligent? We must be careful not
to talk about God in a different way than the bible does.

Finally, because of the way the bible is written, we should not use our
measuring sticks to decide what happened in the past. Certain things are
impossible to understand if we read them in the way we usually read modern
works. My uncle wrote about that in 1942 already, mentioning the numbers
in the books of Moses. It struck me again today when I read today in 2
Chron. about the building of the temple. The altar, which was as wide as
the temple was wide, according to the beginning of the description (see 3:3
and 4:1) thus making it difficult, if not impossible to get around it for
the high priest when he had to go into the holiest place. Something is
wrong. And that maybe my reading. I am however inclined to think, that
the old Israelites were not as accurate in counting and telling stories as
we want them to be. Or take 1;6 when Soloman sacrificed a thousand burnt
offerings on it. Either we say, that cannot have been in 1 day though the
text seems to say so, or the word "thousand" does not mean what we think it
means. Or take the 7 times walking around a small (in our eyes) city like
Jericho of 600,000 soldiers (maybe they left their wives in the tents) 7
times on the seventh day. Try to calculate how they must have done that,
and still hear the sound of the trumpet. However, the basic message of
God's grace is clear in all these instances.

Enough for now, I don't really have the time to say more today.

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.