Re: Introduction

Stephen Jones (
Thu, 20 Mar 97 06:07:18 +0800


On Mon, 10 Mar 1997 17:21:58 -0600, Russell T. Cannon wrote:


RC>By the way, being that I am a newcomer to the list, I should let
>everyone know where I am coming from. I am not a scientist. I
>have only a limited background in the various fields of science,
>but I have read a great deal from many different sources.

In this field most scientists are also laymen:

"Being a scientist is not necessarily an advantage when dealing with
a very broad topic like evolution, which cuts across many scientific
disciplines and also involves issues of philosophy. Practicing
scientists are of necessity highly specialized, and a scientist
outside his field of expertise is just another layman" (Johnson P.E.,
"Darwin on Trial", 1993, pp13-14)

RC>I take the "old-earth creationism" view. It is a belief which is
>based in part on scripture and in part on my limited understanding
>of various scientific discoveries and theories.

Same. It is a fallacy to say that our beliefs about creation rest on
Scripture alone. *Everyone*, including the strictest YEC interprets
Scripture in the light of his views of nature:

"Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible, and we interpret
the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by
science. As this principle is undeniably true, it is admitted and acted
on by those who, through inattention to the meaning of terms, in
words deny it. When the Bible speaks of the foundations, or of the
pillars of the earth, or of the solid heavens, or of the motion of the
sun, do not you and every other sane man, interpret this language by
the facts of science? For five thousand years the Church understood
the Bible to teach that the earth stood still in space, and that the sun
and stars revolved around it. Science has demonstrated that this is not
true. Shall we go on to interpret the Bible so as to make it teach the
falsehood that the sun moves around the earth, or shall we interpret it
by science, and make the two harmonize? Of course, this rule works
both ways. If the Bible cannot contradict science, neither can science
contradict the Bible..." (Hodge C., "The Bible in Science," New York
Observer, Mar, 26, 1863 pp98-99, in Noll M.A., "The Scandal of the
Evangelical Mind", 1995, pp183-184)

RC>I do not believe in evolution, I believe in God;

I like this. It is the reverse of what I said to Loren about the
"tainted" word "evolution". Ask an unbeliever why he/she doesn't
believe in God and he/she will say something like "Because I believe
in evolution". Ask a Christian why he/she doesn't believe in
evolution and he/she will say "Because I believe in God".

RC>but I do believe that God used both natural and extra-natural
>mechanisms that taken as a whole are what some interpret as natural
>evolution and others interpret as super-natural creation.

Agreed. The Christian doctrine of "mediate creation" (Hodge C.,
"Systematic Theology", pp556-557) can easily accommodate all the
"natural...mechanisms" that evolutionists "interpret as natural

>RC>No man is objective. The interpretation that each person makes
>in various areas of study is always biased by his or her beliefs.
>None of us can completely separate ourselves from our core beliefs.
>A belief or disbelief in God either way affects all other
>interpretations and conclusions a person makes.

Absolutely. We must be open about our "core beliefs" and be ready to
lay them on the table at any time. Indeed, our "core beliefs"
should even be open to falsification:

"A.R. VIDLER refers to N.P. Williams' extreme statement of the
vulnerability of his faith:

`If an ostrakon were unearthed at Nazareth which showed
conclusively that Joseph was the father of Jesus, he would abandon
the Christian faith and look round for some other theory of the
universe.' (Williams N.P, in A.R. Vidler, "Twentieth Century
Defender of the Faith", 1965, p90, in Chapman C., "Christianity on
Trial", 1981, p101)

>RC>I am no exception. The interpretations that I make and
>conclusions I reach are going to exist within the context of a
>belief in God and the truth of His scriptures. I will not shove
>these beliefs onto anyone, but they are the fundamental truths upon
>which I build my life and everything I study conforms to them.

I resonate to this. But if they are really "truths" then they are
true for *everyone*. Therefore we must share this "truth" and be
open to others sharing what "truth" they claim to know:

"People who think they have truth on their side naturally want to
share the truth with others and to bring enlightenment to private
enclaves of superstition. People who believe what they are saying
tend to be persuasive in arguments with people who suspect deep down
that what they have been taught to believe is only a comforting
fantasy. A religion that no longer believes it is founded on
objective truth is thus condemned to lingering death, and the death
sentence is just. What the times call for is not a strategy to
preserve a dying Christianity as long as possible, but a dedication
to discover the first principles and premises that will help us to
base our lives, worldviews and communities on truth and not error."
(Johnson P.E., "Reason in the Balance", 1995, p203)

If their "truth" better fits the facts than ours, we should adopt
it, even if it means overthrowing our "truth" - "to abandon bad
ideas is a gain, not a loss" (Johnson, 1995, p92)

RC>Nevertheless, I have had to make many changes to my doctrinal
>opinions due to things that I have learned in studying both the
>scriptures and the sciences.

Good. This only makes our "doctrinal opinions" more in synch with

RC>In all my studies, however, I have never found anything that
>posed a serious challenge to my core beliefs.

Same here. But I think we should not downplay the "serious
challenge" to our "core beliefs" that evolutionism poses. Where
the Church has allowed its doctrines to be `Finlandised' by
evolutionist beliefs, it has become weaker. Evolutionist ideas are
probably the greatest threat that the Church faces, since they
purport to render superfluous the need for a supernatural Creator:

"In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either
need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created, it
evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it,
including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body.
So did religion...." (Huxley J., Tax S. (ed.), "Evolution after
Darwin", 1960, in Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial", 1993, pp152-153)

God bless.


| Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\ |
| 3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \ |
| Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 9 448 7439 (These are |
| Perth, West Australia v my opinions, not my employer's) |