Re: Schaefer's Book.

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Fri Aug 13 2004 - 12:41:41 EDT

Michael Roberts wrote (11 Aug 2004):

>Schaefer's Book.Sorry to be slow but I have been away , as Schaefer's =
>book will be widely read, it gives me some concerns.
> Science and Chirstianty: Conflict or Coherence? by Henry F. Schaefer, =
>Watkinsville, Georgia: The Apollos Trust, 2003. 179 pages plus appendix =
>and index. ISBN 0-9742975-0-X. ...

Although I haven't yet seen Schaefer's book, I can easily see the
reasons for your disagreements with him. He presumably starts out with
basic assumptions very different from yours. The interpretational points
you raise below need not lead to any conflicts such as the ones you are

If Schaefer sees coherence between science and Gen.1, and you retain the
traditional misconceptions about its interpretation (like "firmament",
creation of luminaries on Day 4, etc.), combined with the belief that it
represents a "broken myth", radical disagreement is pre-programmed. But
such disagreement need not imply that he is the one who is wrong.

> Schaefer's idea of what is in the geological record and its =
>order is vastly different. When outlining his conformance between the =
>Scripture and earth history he has land plants arise before marine life. =
>This is of course backwards.

Is he talking about (a) land plants or (b) plants? And is he talking
about (a) the first marine life or (b) the type described in
Gen.1:20-22? In case (a) he would be wrong, but I suspect he would
present case (b) which is coherent with geology and the fossil record.

Which types of plants are meant in Gen.1:11-12? It's certainly not a
comprehensive enumeration of all, but just a few representative
examples. Couldn't these even stand for all that's green and produces O2
- including e.g. the algae of 1200 Ma, or even the cyanobacteria of 3500 Ma?

We cannot make an analogous argument for the marine animals, because the
most important aspect of their description in Gen.1:20-22 is their being
"nephesh ghayah", "living souls". God speaks to them and blesses them.
All this is incompatible with what we would call "lower animals". A
certain minimal degree of psychological function, at least some neural
activity linking sense and motor organs ("great", "moving", "winged"),
as well as a fluid circulation ("the life... is in the blood") appear to
be implied. Now this would probably bring us into the Cambrian or even

We wouldn't expect the Bible to talk about earlier, small or even
microscopic animals which nobody could see, but certainly about the
large algal plants prevalent and conspicuous along many seashores. So,
plants before marine "living souls" is not that "backwards".

> He also claims that Day 4 was a clearing of =
>the atmosphere, an event for which there is absolutely no evidence.

There are very good reasons from the text itself for this
interpretation. Armin Held and I have presented some of them before in
PSCF and on this list. If you care about them, I could again go into

Furthermore, there is strong evidence for extremely serious ice ages
before the Ediacaran age ("snowball Earth"), and it is still not clear
how a more temperate climate (and with it, multicellular life) could be
rescued afterwards. There are indications that sufficient CO2 for the
greenhouse effect required was hardly available (Pierrehumbert R.T.,
"High levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide necessary for the termination
of global glaciation", Nature 429 (2004), 646-649), such that other
greenhouse gases (like methane and ammonia) might have aided (Hessler
A.M., Lowe D.R., Jones R.L., Bird D.K., "A lower limit for atmospheric
carbon dioxide levels 3.2 billion years ago", Nature 428 (2004),
736-738), producing a permanent organic haze. In this case, the Late
Proterozoic oxygen increase required for the larger and more actively
moving marine organisms of the Cambrian explosion and later would have
produced a clearing of the atmosphere.

> And =
>flying creatures do not arise before land animals, contra this book

Of course, flying creatures [^oph] include insects. You may not have
noticed the recent report of a fossil of a winged insect, Rhyniognatha,
by Engel M.S., Grimaldi D.A., "New light shed on the oldest insect",
Nature 427 (2004), 627-630. Rhyniognatha was found in the Pragian, i.e.
it is older than 390 Ma, which indicates that insects originated in the
Silurian, i.e. before about 410 Ma. The oldest fossils of Amphibia, on
the other hand, are younger than 350 Ma. And remember that it is much
easier for an amphibian to get fossilized than for a flying insect!

> This is serious. Does Schaefer have any respect for geological time or =
>has he simply not studied Geology 101? Many books by types like Schaefer =
>and ID types simply sidestep geology and ignore the age of the earth. =
>That of course placates YECS and unthinking evangelicals (a tautology at =
>times!) and perpetuates misunderstanding
> Michael =20

Schaefer certainly doesn't sidestep geology and ignore the age of the
earth! He certainly is neither a YEC nor an unthinking evangelical.


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Fri Aug 13 13:11:44 2004

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