Re: Grapenuts, anyone?

Moorad Alexanian (
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 15:15:32 -0500

Dear Howard,

I agree with most of what you wrote. However, your last statement (5) is
where the rub is. It is true that God could have devised things in such a
fashion that all would develop from non-living to living by natural means.
If it is so, why isn't it so written in Scripture? Scripture seems to
indicate more of an abrupt creation of man rather than a continuos process.
That is my puzzle.

Take care,

-----Original Message-----
From: Howard J. Van Till <>
To: ASA Listserve <>
Date: Thursday, February 11, 1999 2:04 PM
Subject: Grapenuts, anyone?

"Christians who use evolution create a hybrid which is like grapenut,
grape nor nut. I do not think it is reasonable to discuss the content of
Bible vis a vis evolutionary theory. A true evolutionist would dispense
Scripture altogether."

As most subscibers to this list already know, I take a very different
position. Consider the following exerpt from "The Fully Gifted Creation,"
the chapter that I contibuted to the book (just published), _Three Views on
Creation and Evolution_ edited by J. P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999).

"(1) With Christian people throughout the ages, I hold to the historic and
biblically informed Christian doctrine of creation. That is, I believe that
the entire universe (everything that is not God) is a creation that has
being only because God has given it being, from nothing, and that God
continues to sustain it in being from moment to moment. To 'create'
something is to 'give being' to something. If God were to withdraw his
creative word, "Let there be," the creation would, I believe, cease to be
anything and in its place would be nothing, the same 'nothing' that
preceded it. In other words, I am a 'creationist' in the full theological
sense of the term. I see only two kinds of being: God, who is the Creator
(the Giver of being), and everything else, which is the creation.

(2) What do I see when I look at any of the members of the
creation--galaxies, stars, planets, atoms, molecules, cells, living
organisms, etc.? I see things that have been given a being that is defined
in part by their 'creaturely properties'--creatures have properties like
size, color, weight, chemical composition, temperature, form, structure,
etc. But the being of creatures is also defined in a very important way by
a characteristic set of 'creaturely capabilities' to act in particular
ways. Atoms, molecules, cells and organisms, for instance, possess not only
properties, but also the capabilities to act and interact in a remarkably
rich diversity of ways. Those capabilities for acting are essential
elements of their being.

(3) As a Christian committed to the doctrine of creation, I recognize all
of these 'creaturely capabilities' as the gifts of being that God has given
to his creation. A creature can do no more (nor less) than what God has
gifted it with the capabilities to do. And if any one of a creature's
capabilities for action were withheld or withdrawn, it would have a
different (and less capable) being.

(4) From this creationist theological perspective, then, each discovery of
a creaturely capability--including every discovery contributed by the
natural sciences--provides me with an occasion for giving praise to God for
his immeasurable creativity and generosity. In the spirit of this
perspective I am inclined to have very high expectations regarding the
wealth of capabilities with which God has gifted the creation's being. This
high expectation is affirmed each time that the natural sciences come to an
awareness of another entry in the list of the creation's capabilities.

(5) In part, the creation/evolution controversy is a disagreement
concerning the extent of the list of creaturely capabilities with which the
creation has been gifted by God. Has the creation been gifted with all of
the capabilities that would be necessary to make something like biotic
evolution possible? Special creationists are convinced that it has not. I
am inclined to believe that it has. I believe that God has so generously
gifted the creation with the capabilities for self-organization and
transformation that an unbroken line of evolutionary development from
non-living matter to the full array of existing life forms is not only
possible but has in fact taken place."

Howard J. Van Till