RE: [asa] Proof (was: Our discourse here)

From: James Patterson <>
Date: Mon Mar 02 2009 - 07:47:34 EST

You know, I've actually just discovered an active discussion going on in the
RTB listserve on this topic, that was looking at this webpage:

Very nice summary of the various viewpoints, and the vast divergence of
opinion, even from within ASA.

Just some comments.

1. I wouldn't hang my faith on population genetics. I made this same point
to the RTB listserve.
2. If you want to find a non-interventionist explanation, God will probably
let you.

And with that, I am going to say that I am satisfied with the "proof"...that
webpage summarizes the various positions well. I can say that I am not #1,
and not #4...I'm in between there, somewhere.



-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 4:06 PM
To: Don Nield
Subject: Re: [asa] Proof (was: Our discourse here)

Don said:
> I would have thought that the answer to your question would have been
> clear from my previous message.

It isn't.

> I regard the whole of Genesis 1 and 2 as being an account of God's
activity. "Natural" and
> "supernatural" are not suitable categories on which to divide the Bible.

That just dodges the question. Either you think a statement or event in Gen
1 and 2 is describable and understandable using the natural, physical laws
as we know them, or you don't.

[from previous email]
> Further, he should be prepared to recognize that most scholars see
> different genres in the Bible, even if he himslf denies that that there
> are different genres.

I don't deny that there are different genres. I think we agree there.

> Genesis 1 is clearly an account of God's activity, but not of the type
that James thinks it is.

Assumptions about what I think could be grossly inaccurate, best not to go

Michael said:
> Genesis speaks of creation by God - whatever that means beyond creating!

Indeed. I would call the Big Bang, singular creation event both transcendent
and supernatural, and consistent with Genesis 1:1. I didn't think there
would be any here that would disagree with that, and so it is unclear and
surprising to me how one can think of this event in Gen 1:1 as either
natural or as "not supernatural". This is of course pre-supposing the
current natural laws that we know and understand. I consider God working
through those laws in ways we DON'T understand to be equally as supernatural
as God working outside those laws, if that helps.

From the origins of the universe to the origins of life on earth 3.8 bya,
how much of it was supernatural intervention and how much of it was
providence is a matter of debate and opinion. Just for the sake of argument,
I will grant that it could all have been done naturally, through God's
providential oversight of the universe during the 10 billion years from the
singular Creation event until the origins of life.

However, when we get to the surface of the planet Earth, 3.8 bya, when life
began, this is where I depart from the naturalists that think abiogenesis
has a chance. We find signs of biogenesis in the earliest rocks - therefore
there was no "abiogenesis". The earliest signs of life found is complex
bacterial life (even if it is primitive cyanobacterica). This is an area of
expertise - I have a BS in Biology, minored in biochemistry, and my PhD was
cell-biology focused. Life did not come from non-life, at least without
God's supernatural intervention. You can work that into Genesis somewhere
between 1:2 and 1:20.

As much as I like Bob Russell's OSP model, you can't apply it here, in my
opinion. You don't have DNA. If you really choose to believe that God did
this naturally, that truly is a choice. I believe it is inconsistent with
what we know about biochemistry, about the length of time necessary, and
with what is written in Genesis 1.

From bacteria to pre-Adam, I will grant, simply for the sake of argument,
God's action through natural means. That gets us to Genesis 1:26-27:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and
female he created them.

About 40 kya we have what is known as the "cultural explosion". Some
naturalists try and pass it off as happening gradually, just like they try
and pass off the Cambrian explosion as being gradually. It wasn't, and
calling it gradual doesn't change it's non-graduality. While skeletal
remains consistent with H. sapiens can be found as early as 100 kya, it is
the 40 kya period that marks the presence of a thinking man, and a spiritual
man. There doesn't seem to be any gradual mechanism in just was.
It doesn't seem to have evolved, but if so, it did so very rapidly. While
one can discuss the natural composition of the human body until the cows
come home, the supernatural creation of Adam and making him imago dei is
just that - supernatural.

So hopefully, that will give you something to reply to...much better than
stating these aren't "suitable categories".


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Received on Mon, 2 Mar 2009 06:47:34 -0600

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