When it comes to maintaining any particular belief system, it’s possible for either side to develop a wealth of arguments in favor of that belief, or against opposing beliefs. In this article I wish to address one particular argument used against creation science, an argument made by a fellow blogger.
The argument is that (supposedly), only evolution can explain the distribution of animals we see today around the world, and that creation science cannot.
But the argument primarily relies on an incorrect understanding of creation science; by building a straw man argument, one can easily knock it over. Evolutionists scoff at a historical, worldwide flood (on a side note, many evolutionists believe in a global flood on Mars, which has no liquid water). Therefore, the idea that animals could have migrated from the Middle East (where they exited the ark) to where they live now seems to be a monumental hurdle that evolutionists pose to creationists.
One particular model creationists use to explain animal distribution is log mats: creationists believe that Noah’s Flood would have destroyed all the forests around the world. This, in turn, would have left billions of trees floating as log mats in the oceans for centuries. Animals, then, may have become trapped on them, and some would have survived perilous journeys to be transported across the oceans to various parts of the world.
Some evolutionists are quick to express their credulity, mocking the notion that animals could use rafts during the great flood, wondering what they would have eaten for the 150 days that everything was flooded, and they suggest that this contradicts the Bible’s claim that everything on the planet that wasn’t in the ark, died.
But this interpretation of the creationist model is a false caricature; creationists don’t believe this representation. Animals wouldn’t have been bobbing around in the ocean for 150 days during the flood, and creationists don’t teach this. We maintain that all the animals not on the ark would have died, just as the Bible says in Genesis 6:
7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
Therefore, if we understand what the Bible says and compare it to the creationist model, what we have is consistent with what we find in reality. All creatures with the breath of life in them would have perished; none of the animals outside the ark would have survived, except for those who met the criteria listed in Genesis. Creationists have long understood that some organisms would have survived the flood, and others would not. According to the Bible, one of the conditions for organisms perishing would be determined by whether or not the animals (birds and creatures that move along the ground) had the breath of life in them. Some organisms, such as insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants, do not have the breath of life in them the same way you and I do. In the Bible, God describes animals with the breath of life with the Hebrew phrase “nephesh chayyah,” which refers to the spirit that man and animals have. Plants, for example, are never referred to in the Bible as nephesh.
Further, fish would not to be included with the creatures on board the ark. And neither would every single species of land animal or bird; only representatives of each kind of animal would have been saved (one elephant kind representing all elephants, mastodons, mammoths, etc.).
According to the creationist model, once the flood had ended, and after all the animals left the ark, then, in the following years, some of the surviving animals would have been trapped on debris and log mats, and those that were fortunate to survive long journeys would have made it to various islands and other parts of the world. In this way, through a series of unlikely events, some animals (but not all) would be distributed to wherever they are today.
But a critic may ask, what did these animals eat and drink while at sea? This is a perfectly legitimate question. And I would suggest that, while we may not know the exact diet, it’s likely that those that survived the journey would have had something to eat or drink while at sea. The iguanas on the Galapagos Islands, for example, probably had something to eat or drink on their way to the islands.
We know that the iguanas and tortoises on the Galapagos Islands didn’t evolve there; at some point they made the dangerous journey from the nearest land, some 575 miles west of Ecuador. Since they obviously survived the journey, they must have had some sort of nourishment; but even if they didn’t have access to their normal diet, perhaps they improvised, or were near starvation, barely clinging to life by the time they reached the new land. No one was there to observe their migration, but we know they’re there, so we can only speculate how it happened. We don’t have to assume they evolved there.
But another very interesting point to make is that, if we examine evolutionist literature, we find that they also accept the theory that animals must have somehow floated across the ocean to colonize the islands. They recognize that animals, including mammals, couldn’t have simply evolved on the islands. They theorize that these land-bound animals were swept out to sea on masses of floating vegetation from flooding rivers, and those that didn’t die along the way would have colonized different islands.
In fact, according to an article published in Phys Org, Darwin himself hypothesized that various animals could have crossed the oceans on vegetation rafts, icebergs, or by hitching rides on birds. This idea was called “jump dispersal,” and there are studies suggesting that he was right. In the end, we just need to use the power of deduction to determine how animals were distributed across the globe. No belief in evolution is necessary.
Consider this scenario: what if two different species of animals were washed out to sea on the same floating mass of vegetation (say a young wildcat and a handful of rats)? The cat could eat the rats, and then resort to eating the vegetation to avoid starvation. If it rained, the cat could drink rainwater, and by the time it reached land it would probably be severely malnourished, but alive. This might be a rare occurrence, but studies allow for the possibility.
As mentioned, log mats aren’t the only way for animals to be distributed all over the world. Creationists also believe natural land bridges would have allowed animals to cross oceans and settle in other regions of the world. Perhaps some of those land bridges would have survived a few decades- long enough for some animals to cross. Both creationists and evolutionists recognize this; after all, we know that the water level on this planet has never been consistent throughout history.
Other animals may have crossed ice bridges during the ice age. And right after the flood, when the continents were at an early stage of separation, it’s possible that they were close enough for the migration of some young, strong predators, such as jaguars. They may have only needed to survive a week or so at sea- not months. Another possibility is that humans may have taken some wild animals with them on their voyages as they sailed to North and South America, or to other locations. Perhaps there are other possibilities we haven’t even considered yet.
There are plenty of unlikely events that would allow for the distribution of animals to where they are now, and evolutionists recognize this truth; they just don’t like to admit that it could happen as quickly as creationists propose. But all we really need to do is understand how animals get from place-to-place today to understand how it could have happened in the past. The important point to note is that we don’t need to resort to evolution. The creationist model best explains the data while maintaining Biblical consistency.
While evolutionists attempt to poke holes in creation science, the evidence only strengthens its credibility.
I wouldn’t disagree with the idea of land bridges or even the raft/mat idea. And as you pointed out, a lot of biologists also subscribe to both of those ideas. I still think that there are a lot of problems with the raft/mat idea, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t feasible. However, personally I think the evidence for that theory would only support short distances–like south america to the Galapagos. Not a journey literally across the globe.
And I think that this is my main problem with the creationist narrative. The likelihood that land bridges and rafts explain how literally millions of different creatures scattered across the globe in sufficient numbers to start a new population seems highly unlikely, even insurmountable. I could buy that it happens every once in awhile over short distances, but not reliably enough to transport literally all the land animals of creation across the entire globe.
To me, it seems much more likely that the diversity of life we see is due to the fact that the majority of animals evolved on the land roughly where they’re found now, with minimal drift.
Your points are well taken. What creationists really care about is how animals could have been distributed in the past. Yes, this is historical science, and since we weren’t there to watch their actual history unfold, we can’t know for sure what happened; we’re forced to make assumptions. We could assume they evolved there (evolutionists are happy with this), or something other than evolution is the answer (creationist view), and it’s this second view that seems most likely (Occam’s Razor). I understand how you might find this hypocritical, but since creationists reject the idea of evolution, there’s only one other possibility, and that’s that animals arrived where they are without evolving there. We can be nearly certain that animals in certain places did not evolved there because those islands probably didn’t exist, and there’s not enough time for those animals to have evolved there, even if one does believe in evolution. So I think it’s clear that both evolutionists and creationists are in agreement that we need to come up with plausible solutions; therefore there’s nothing hypocritical about this type of speculation about historical science. In this case we don’t have a choice but to rely on historical science, while at the same time applying the scientific method to the present. I’ve never said that there’s never an instance where it’s not useful, or that no one should ever resort to historical science. It clearly has its uses, such as criminal investigations. But we simply need to understand and be aware of its limitations. That’s the important thing to keep in mind, and that’s why I’m using it here when I’m a fierce critic of it. And the reason why I’m critical of it when it comes to evolution is because it’s generally treated as fact when it’s not. Evolutionists like Nye are notorious for this, and it reveals their ignorance. But I believe I was very careful in my application of historical science, mainly because the subject matter demands it, and both sides are in agreement. That’s why Darwin and other evolutionists came up with their hypothesis and theories. It actually makes sense and is consistent with what we are able to observe today.
Regardless of how and where we are each individually willing to accept or reject uncertainty, I still don’t see how this evidence supports a creationist model. There are two things that come to my mind.
First, I guess in your worldview the flood of Noah and the creation of life are mutually exclusive, but to others they are not. As I’ve pointed out before, many religious organizations, institutions, and individuals do not need to accept both theories, and also see no conflict between evolution and a Christian god. If the Vatican and the pope’s official position is that evolution is valid, then I don’t think it’s ad obvious as you claim that the creationist alternative is the simpler or better explanation.
Second, while I still find the application of historical science in this situation to be arbitrary and rather dubious, let’s accept it for the moment. Where in the present can we see this happening beyond a handful of examples? If the creationist explanation of animal distribution is indeed viable and reliable, then why have we never seen a grizzly bear float a log down to south africa? Or a kangaroo use some debris to float to japan?
It’s one thing for an animal like a reptile with a considerably lower metabolism than a mammal to make a relatively short journey across open water. But if this explanation is true, then it should be reliable enough and moreover common enough to distribute representatives of each species in sufficient numbers to create a viable gene pool. If this were the case, should that not be still happening? There’s no shortage of debris in the ocean or animals in the world. So why don’t we see large groups or larger mammals doing this in the present day? Why would this suddenly stop happening?
Whether or not Noah’s flood and creation appear to be mutually exclusive to someone’s worldview is somewhat irrelevant. If it’s the correct explanation of our history, then defining it as mutually exclusive isn’t helpful to whoever decides to reject it based on their own worldview. If one cares about truth, regardless of where it leads (as you have claimed), then it’s more important to ascertain whether or not it is the correct view, but doing so would take vigorous investigation.
The problem with the Vatican and Pope’s official position is that they can’t reconcile their position with the theology of the Bible, despite their best tries. Sure, they can accommodate their views, and can compromise, but that’s not what the Bible demands. God doesn’t tell us to compromise His word to accommodate unbelievers or believers that wish to embrace secular worldviews; that’s anathema to the Bible.
The creationist position on this theory is supported by the evidence, and it is a better explanation than evolution, which has never been observed (as it’s properly understood). Why would evolution be the better explanation when it relies on unproven assumptions? Proven vs. unproven. I think the proven position is the more logical of the two. The burden of proof is on you to show how evolution is the better explanation when another theory that is testable, observable and repeatable is available.
Keep in mind that both creationists and evolutionists must rely on historical science. My point remains that we can’t be dogmatic about it. Part of the problem is that evolution is taught in schools and colleges as fact, while excluding alternatives that are probably the correct view. It’s discrimination that’s really keeping it from becoming mainstream.
In your examples about grizzly bears and kangaroos, this poses problems today for vegetation mats because of the great distances. But in the past the distances would not have been as great, making vegetation mats plausible; they also could have crossed on land or ice bridges, or perhaps were taken over by people. While they’re just movies, I can think of plenty of movies where people and animals were stranded on foreign lands after being lost at sea.
You seem to be focused only on the log mat idea, and not all the different possibilities of animal distribution. When we look at all possible scenarios, then we have a very reliable model. We do see these all happening today, so they’re scientifically acceptable.
With due respect, you have not shown that the log mat idea is still viable for anything other than a reptile over short distances. And I’m focused on it because that is the explanations layperson will get if they visit the creationist museum in Kentucky. I haven’t seen anything here that would logically lead one to conclude that because a lizard can make it to the Galapagos that a kangaroo could make it to Australia.
The larger issue with the Vatican idea is that you can’t purport to be talking about “truth” when two different groups see two different truths from the same source material. This is a problem with interpretation, and ultimately I don’t see any reason why your interpretation should be more valid than theirs.
I’m typing this on my phone and it posted that first part without letting me finish, my apologies.
To my knowledge, there is no forward to the bible commanding us to take it literally. If there is scripture that says “everything in this book literally happened” or the equivalent thereof, please let me know. Otherwise my understanding is that the bible should be taken literally because it is the word of God, which in and of itself raises issues of meaning.
But even if it were the word of god, why should that mean we take it all literally? If Jesus can communicate and teach using allegory and parable, why can’t god also do so?
Sorry this is a piecemeal effort on the mobile phone, but I want to get all my ideas out before I forget them lol.
With regard to the bible and the word of god. It would make sense to me that the bible is allegorical and not literal. If God were to give us his literal word, I doubt we would be able to comprehend it. After all, isn’t it impossible to “know” God? It’s doubtful that the thoughts and ideas of an omnipotent being beyond space and time and the physical world could be captured by a human language in a meaningful way, so if God wants to speak to us, he must do so in human ways.
And is not human language and communicable filled with allegory, metaphor, and symbolism? Why wouldn’t God use these things to communicate with us if that is what we are able to understand, how we communicate? Especially if he is talking about things that human beings at the time could not know or fathom–then you’d pretty much have to use symbolism and allegory and metaphor.
“But all we really need to do to understand how animals get from place to place today is to understand how it could have happened in the past.”
Not to put too fine a point on it but the logic that you yourself have used in the past makes this statement hypocritical. You’re invoking “historical science” to validate your belief, something you’ve attacked secular scientists of doing countless times on my blog. I find it unbelievable that when secular scientists “look at today to understand the past” when it comes to geology or evolution or anything else that doesn’t support a Christian narrative what they’re doing isn’t really “science,” but when creationists want to do it to validate the bible, that gets a pass.
Studying the present to understand the past is a cornerstone of mainstream science. However, in various conversations we have had and in what I’ve observed creationists like ken ham saying, that model of knowing is fallible and can never be trusted. But I guess that doesn’t apply if we’re using it to prove biblical assumptions?
Sorry, I don’t mean to sound pithy or trite here. I’m genuinely perplexed at why you would offer that logic in your explanation. Perhaps you could clarify why looking at the present to understand the past is perfectly valid in some situations but not in others.
I’ll do my best to answer your questions, and that’s fine that you made several posts. I just hope you’ll take the time to read and consider my answers.
I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear as I thought I was, but I did demonstrate that the log mat idea is viable for species other than reptiles over short distances. All we have to do is find out what mammals are native to islands and places where we know they didn’t evolve. Mice are mammals, and they can be found on most islands, including the Galapagos Islands, and they were included in one of my original links, and can also be found on the following website: http://www.galapagos.org/about_galapagos/mammals/ Hawaii also has mammals, but many of them were introduced by man, which is always a possibility.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Creation Museum, but I’m sure they provide explanations other than log mats as to how animals (including mammals) get to various islands. They have dozens of articles explaining this on their website, and there’s nothing to suggest that they’re misleading their visitors into thinking this is the only mechanism… unless you know for a fact that they’re doing so and have no other models available to their visitors. I think you were probably misled by other atheists.
And while no one knows with certainty how kangaroos arrived in Australia, we aren’t compelled to evoke evolution. It’s quite possible a land bridge existed for them to cross. And unless you demand that evolution is certainly the only possibility, then the creationist model is just as acceptable to teach.
As for the Vatican, keep in mind that evolutionists also have different models, explanations and truths for different groups. Not all evolutionists share the same beliefs, so you’ve just invalidated your won evolutionary beliefs. I don’t see any reason why your interpretation should be more valid than others. For example, not all evolutionists believe in the big bang or that dinosaurs evolved into birds. So then, will you admit that evolution is therefore invalid?
However, if the Vatican wishes to compromise their faith and defer to secular science, I have no control over that. All I can do is read and study Scripture for myself and come to my own conclusions based on what I believe. I think the Vatican bows to political pressure and secularism when it’s convenient, rather than standing upon Scripture alone. I don’t think we need to compromise our beliefs to accommodate secularists, atheists and evolutionists. But if we defer to God’s Word, then we can’t go wrong. I think my theology is more consistent than what the Vatican believes. As soon as they allow that Scripture could be wrong, then what’s the point in being a Christian at all? Or once they determine that secular science is the arbiter of truth, then they’ve lost. I’m not going to compromise my faith just to appease atheists and not offend secularists. I know what Scripture says, and I’ll stand by that truth for as long as I’m alive. And that’s why my interpretation is more valid than theirs. I don’t have to submit to political pressure, mainstream thinking, intellectualism, and the changing winds like they do.
True, there’s no forward to the Bible commanding us to take it literally. As I’ve explained in the past, we always interpret the Bible in context- not necessarily literally. Some texts are to be read literally, others poetically or as parables, and so on. Texts that are written in historical narrative, like Genesis, should be taken literally. It’s a historical account of the history of mankind, earth and the universe. The rest of Scripture doesn’t make sense if that’s not true because the rest of Scripture, including the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is predicated on a literal, historical Genesis. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament affirmed that Adam and Eve, Noah and his sons were real people that existed, that there was a real, global flood, and that Jesus himself was a descendant of Adam and Eve. The Bible falls apart if we take it allegorically. What’s important for us to understand is that we need to read all of Scripture in context, trying to understand the author’s meaning and intent, and that’s exactly what we have done.
Now allow me turn your argument back on you; why should we take evolution literally? Why not accept that those who believe in it have misinterpreted the evidence and that we didn’t really evolve? Maybe Darwin, Gould and Dawkins were all wrong in their interpretations, and we should take evolution as an allegory or poetically. I don’t think evolution should be taken literally, and you should allow for it to be an allegory.
So it doesn’t make sense to me that the entire Bible would be allegorical and not literal. If it was allegorical, then how could we possibly understand it? We couldn’t. And perhaps that would make a lot of people happy, because then they could believe whatever they wanted and wouldn’t have to obey God and be committed to him. They could lead self-centered lives as they choose. But that’s not what Scripture teaches. God tells us that there’s no excuse for not believing him and his word, and there’s no excuses to disobey him. We can’t tell God that we couldn’t follow him because the Bible was written in allegory, and what human could possibly understand what his intentions were? I hope you can see the futility of that.
This is why we can’t take the Bible as allegory. Further, we can know God because God has made himself known to us. He has given us revelation, which means we can know him. He has also given us the Holy Spirit, which enables us to understand him. What’s important to understand is that God wants us to understand him and has made that possible. God is not incomprehensible just because he’s omnipotent and such. God also became man and made sure that there was no misunderstanding God because he explained God and his Kingdom to anyone who cared to listen.
As for how we humans communicate with each other, whether we speak in allegory, metaphor, symbolism, or literally, we understand the text based on context. When you read a book, you know the author’s intent (at least if the author is any good). And that’s exactly what we need to do when reading the Bible. After reading a book, you’re not left scratching your head because you couldn’t understand whether or not the writer was writing allegorically, metaphorically or literally. So why should the Bible be any different? The only reason why anyone wants Genesis to be allegorical or something other than literal is so that they can adhere to secular big bang and evolutionary theology.
I also don’t agree with the premise that the humans at that time couldn’t comprehend or fathom the truth, so God had to present an untruthful history of the universe in order for them to understand some intangible idea. Humans back then were just as smart (if not smarter) as us, so there was no need for God to deceive us, especially since God doesn’t practice deception. If God created us through the big band and evolution, he could have easily communicated that to us without resorting to mythology.
How could ancient man possibly comprehend anything about cosmology? They didn’t even know what “stars” were other than points of light. They didn’t understand the relationship between time and space. So if you want to read history or science out of bible, you must do so within the context of what man understood at the time. Ergo I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to talk about man would be able to comprehend at the time.
Why shouldn’t we take evolution as an allegory? Because it’s not a written narrative? I don’t understand the equivalency you’re making. That’s like asking why we don’t view math as an allegory. The question itself doesn’t make any sense. Nobody talks about gravity as an allegory or symbolism. The bible on the other hand is a piece of literature. And in fact a lot of the language is poetic rather than straight prose.
And yes, context is important when reading a piece of literature. Especially authorial intent. So who wrote the bible? As far as I’m aware, there are a lot of theories but no definitive answer. So how could you possibly know what the intent of the actual author was? For that matter, how do you even pick which version of the bible to accept?
I suppose one could argue that ultimately God is the “author” of the bible. But in what capacity? Did God actually write the bible? Are they his own words? Did he take a physical form and put pen to paper himself?
Or is it “divinely inspired”? And if that’s the case, what does that mean? Does it mean that the people who wrote the bible just had god in their minds’ eyes when writing it? Did god possess them? Give them visions?
Without definitive answers to those questions, you’re just deriving your own context for the bible. And that’s not a criticism. That’s how any person reads any piece of literature.
Regardless, I still don’t understand some of the premises you’re setting up. Is it really necessary to believe that the earth is 6,000 years old? Is that important to God. Why is the death of Jesus predicated on the flood of Noah? That’s what I don’t understand. I don’t see why the teachings of Jesus matter or mean any less if there was no Noah or no ark, if those are parables.
You yourself said that the important part is that we obey God. Does allegory take away from his commandments and rules? I don’t really see how believing that all of the animals in the world survived a flood on a wooden boat changes accepting jesus as your personal lord and savior. You’re setting up a premise where if one part of the bible is allegory, then somehow the rest is automatically invalid. I don’t see why one would jump to that conclusion. There’s no reason to assume that just because one part of the bible is allegorical that all of it is, especially if the bible was written by multiple people over a large span of time.
Furthermore, where is it written that we must take the parts written as a historical narrative literally? When was that determined? Who determined it? How? Why? Are you saying that if something is written in narrative format, we must always and automatically accept it as truth? Or that’s it’s impossible to write allegory in a narrative format?
I also don’t see what the Vatican gains by cow towing to secularists or politics. It’s not like by embracing science that atheists and secularists are going to suddenly change their minds and flock to the church. And the Vatican is a political force unto it’s own. It’s its own country.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “all I can do is read and study scripture for myself and come to my own conclusions based in what I believe.” That’s perfectly fine. But that means whatever you’re taking away from the text isn’t definitive–it’s simply what you personally take out of it filtered through your own lens and life experiences. I can’t and won’t ask you to give that up. But I don’t think you can assert your own interpretation as fact.
And yes, there are scientists who disagree with evolution. And I’m fine with that. Again, though, I think that some of the premises you’ve set up are incomplete. The validity of evolution is not dependent upon the validity of the big bang. The validity of evolution as a mechanism is not dependent upon birds having evolved from dinosaurs. If that wasn’t the case it doesn’t automatically mean that evolution is wrong. It simply means birds didn’t evolve from dinosaurs, that they evolved from something else. If physical evidence was discovered tomorrow that invalidated it, that would be it and science would move on. I don’t think scientists are as desperate as you think to try and cling to their own theories. Paradigms shifts occur all the time in science. You don’t see scientists clinging to Geocentricity, do you? Scientists go where the evidence leads, not the other way around.
I didn’t mean to imply that the creationist museum was trying to deliberately mislead people. As I’ve said before, I think Ken Ham is more or less a good man and just doing what he thinks is right. So I don’t think they’re trying to dupe anyone or anything like that. I was trying to explain that I was focusing on that particular explanation simply because that’s the explanation they’re offering.
I completely disagree with you about ancient man. They knew about binary stars and knew stars weren’t points of light. With ancient man, you’re assuming evolution; the assumption is that ancient man wasn’t as smart as we are and couldn’t have had much knowledge about the world and universe. But this is false. If anything, ancient man was much smarter than us (they would have had fewer genetic mutations, and wouldn’t have all the mental limitations we have). I’ve even posted studies showing that humans are getting dumber. Ancient man has demonstrated their genius in architecture, maritime navigation, plumbing, sanitation and irrigation, advanced astronomy, mathematics, science, and civilized governments many times over: there’s Potbelly Hill in Turkey; the Egyptian pyramids; Mayan pyramids, Nazca lines in southern Peru; Temple of the Inscriptions, Mexico; Etemenanki Ziggurat; the Harappan Civilization, the Phoenicians sailed the seas and may have crossed the Atlantic; Aztec civilization; Easter Island; Egyptian chemistry and cosmetics; Chinese mechanical clocks (725 A.D); Temples of Angkor; Sphinx of Gizo; Greek and Babylonian astronomy, including “precession” knowledge; the Dogon, Egyptians and Babylonians worshiped binary stars, Sirius A and B; Mayan calendar; the Antikythera Mechanism; acoustics of Chavín de Huántar in central Peru; Puma Punku. So there’s little doubt that ancient man comprehended cosmology. Even Josephus wrote that either Adam or his sons were the first to create the constellations, and astronomers Giovanni Schiaparelli and E. Walter Maunder wrote about the astronomy of the Old Testament and the Bible.
The reason I’m suggesting we should take evolution as an allegory is because it does have a written narrative. Any library will testify to that. Therefore, if evolutionists demand that we take certain passages of the Bible as allegory, then we can do the same for evolution. There’s absolutely no compelling reason to take Genesis as allegory, except to appease evolutionists, and that’s irrational. So, if you don’t understand the equivalency and don’t think it makes sense, then you’re beginning to understand why we don’t take Genesis as allegory- it doesn’t make sense.
We don’t need to know definitively who wrote every passage of the Bible to understand literature, context and authorial intent. Similarly, we don’t need to know the author of modern works in order to understand context and intent. As I pointed out, we can gather that from reading it in context. It’s based on logic, reasoning and human nature. There’s no mystery here.
And there’s no one perfect version of the Bible. There are advantages and disadvantages of each one. The following links provide a good summary and explains how using several different versions are helpful:
God is the author of the Bible, but he used his people to write it. The Bible is the inspired word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Therefore, since Scripture is God-breathed and inspired, we recognize it as infallible; even Jesus recognized Scripture as authoritative and spoke of fulfilling it. Jesus wasn’t deriving his own context for the Bible. Jesus was the Word, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
I’ll stop here for now and hopefully get to the rest of your questions tomorrow.
I don’t really understand how you can claim that ancient man knew that stars were giant spheres of gas powered by nuclear fusion. It’s fine if you want to believe that, but I’m not aware of a single shred of evidence anywhere to support that assertion. Just because ancient man understood math and astronomy didn’t mean that they had knowledge of things which they couldn’t possibly observe. Observing the motion of stars is one thing, understanding their physical processes and conposition is completely different.
I really have to disagree with your point about allegory. Your equivalency makes zero sense. Things you can physically test and observe with your own eyes are not an allegory. DNA mutation is a fact, it’s not an allegory. Physical changes in response to environment are observable fact. There is no reason to even suggest these things be allegorical.
This is the definition of an allegory: “a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.” If you would like to explain how a mutation in DNA is a picture, poem, or story I’m all ears. Or how a DNA mutation is moral or political.
I am also not familiar with any school of thought that says “more mutations = stupider.” That’s not what mutation is or how it works. I’m not sure where this assertion is coming from at all. Getting dumber? Dumber than what? The previous generation? Funny, I’ve seen studies that say the exact opposite, the people are getting smarter. If you could post a link to the studies you’re citing, I would love to take a look at them. This claim seems dubious given the fact that we don’t have any I scores or test results or anything quantitative from ancient man to compare to today.
First, I don’t necessarily believe that the earth is 6,000 years old. I think that’s a pretty good range, but I prefer to give a little leeway, and maintain that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Second, it’s not necessary to believe in a young earth creation in order to be saved, born again, or be a Christian. All that’s necessary for salvation is to ask Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and ask him into our heart as Lord and Savior. That’s it.
The reason why believing in a young earth is important is because the rest of the Bible, including its theology and consistency, are wrapped up in a literal, historical Genesis. Adam and Eve, sin, death, a global flood, marriage, the Sabbath, Jesus, salvation, prophecies and much more are central to a literal Genesis, and tie the rest of the Bible together. And they’re meaningless if this is not the case. Bear with me as I go into detail:
Christians believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and if that’s true, then there won’t be any errors in the Bible, and we can rely on it as our authority for all matters (science, faith, history, etc.). The Bible claims to be a truthful, accurate account provided by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, if Genesis is not an historical account of the universe, then we’ve got a lot of problems. That means that God was either wrong or was deceiving us because he could have explained it truthfully and accurately in a way that ancient man could understand.
The Bible makes it clear that God created day and night on day one, the sky and atmosphere on day two, land, seas, and vegetation on day three, the sun, moon and stars on day four, birds and sea creatures on day five, and land animals and man on day six. God rested on the seventh day, setting an example for us to follow. God repeatedly tells us how good his creation was on each day, and makes it clear that there was an evening and morning. I don’t think God could have been clearer that each act of creation was completed in a normal, 24 hour day. The Biblical authors refer to Adam and Eve as historical persons and affirm a literal Genesis with their writings in Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 11:7-12, 1 Corinthians 15:21-49, 1Timothy 2:13-14, and Jude 1:14. In these passages, the writers explain that death and suffering are the result of Adam’s sin, and that these things are not normal or a natural occurrences that have always existed. They affirm that Adam was literally formed by God before Eve, and that their genealogies include Noah, Abraham and Jesus (1 Chronicles 1:1-54, Luke 3:23-38). In Mark 10:6, Jesus confirms that man was created at the beginning of creation (not billions of years after creation). Hebrews 11:3 confirms that the universe was formed at God’s command (not billions of years after he commanded).
The Bible also makes it clear that Noah’s flood was a global event in which all the highest mountains were covered (Genesis 7), and every living thing on the face of the earth with the breath of life in it died. There’s nothing within the text of the Bible that would lead us to conclude that this is allegory. On the contrary, the rest of the Bible affirms it as literal history. Exodus 20:11 reiterates that God created the heavens and earth in six days. Noah was a historical person, and the flood was global according to passages in Isaiah 54:9, Ezekiel 14:12-20, Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:18-22 and 2 Peter 2:4-5. Jesus spoke of Noah and the flood in Matthew 24:36-39; and there are multiple genealogies confirming Noah’s historicity (Genesis 5 and 1 Chronicles 1:1-3), and again, according to Luke 3:23-38, Jesus is a direct descendant of Noah.
If Genesis isn’t a real, literal history, then God was either wrong, lying or deceiving us, or the writers were completely wrong. If Adam and Eve didn’t exist, and if Noah didn’t exist, then how could Abraham or Jesus be in their line of descent? What’s the basis for our work week? Why was the Sabbath created? Does Satan exist? How did death, disease and suffering come about? Does sin exist? If not, why did Jesus need to die on the cross? If Noah didn’t exist, or if the flood was just a local even, then Jesus and the Biblical writers were wrong about what they were teaching. And if they were wrong about their teachings, then why should we trust or believe anything they say? That’s why this is so important. It’s about credibility. It’s about being able to have faith and trust in God’s authority. If Jesus really is God, then it’s important for him and the Biblical writers to get their facts correct. If Genesis isn’t a literal, historical account, then the rest of the Bible falls apart, and Jesus was wrong, and we can’t be saved from sin and death. If Genesis is an allegory, then why do we need Jesus? And what parts of the Bible can we trust?
But if Genesis is a real, literal, historical account, then all these questions can be answered quite easily: Jesus came to die for our sin and save us from eternal death, which was the result of Adam’s sin.
I don’t think those who believe that Genesis is an allegory (and not literal) can satisfactorily answer any of these questions without undermining Jesus’ authority and credibility. If God provided us with a false history, even though he could have provided a truthful one that could be understood, then Christianity is nothing but a baseless religion that could only be understood thousands of years later as a result of secular science. It only has merit if it’s built upon truth.
Thank you for the clarifications!
You asked, “where is it written that we must take the parts written as a historical narrative literally?” And, “Are you saying that if something is written in narrative format, we must always and automatically accept it as truth? Or that’s it’s impossible to write allegory in a narrative format?”
Firstly, that makes the most sense based on the context. Secondly, Jesus and the rest of the Biblical writers referred to it as literal history, and many of their teachings are predicated on it being literal history. They believed it, and I believe it based on their testimony.
You asked what the Vatican gains by cow-towing to secularists or politics. Well, they probably hope to gain relief, less stress and less criticism. If you were the head honcho of one of the most popular and public organizations in the world, and you were being inundated with demands to change the policies your predecessors believed in, and people were threatening to leave and withdraw their money and support, how long would it be before you caved? Hopefully you wouldn’t cave, but you might. Doing so would make you popular again, and people would love you. Only the old fogies hanging on to old ideas would be bothered, and you’d rather ignore them or put them in their place while appeasing the rabid critics. Plus you’d gain public favor from the media. Make no mistake, the Vatican loves money, popularity and public opinion.
You say that I can’t assert my own interpretation as fact, and you’re right about that. My opinion isn’t definitive. But I do think it’s consistent with the Biblical text, and it’s a traditional interpretation that has been shared by Jesus, the Biblical writers, the church, and many Christian leaders throughout the ages. So I think my interpretation is just as valid as anyone else’s, if not more so. I don’t know of anyone else’s interpretation that is consistent with the Bible and its theology all the way through. Therefore, if you want a different interpretation, you better make sure it’s consistent with the concept of sin and salvation and isn’t something that we can easily poke holes in.
If dinosaurs didn’t evolve into birds, or if a discovery tomorrow invalidated the Big Bang, then that would give a black eye to science and discredit all the scientists that believed in those silly theories. And if they lost their credibility, why should we accept anything else they want to convince us of? Wouldn’t it be better to believe those scientists that could actually do science that worked, like doctors of medicine and engineers? That’s the issue; people invest their trust in scientists and don’t realize that they’re just interpreting the results of their experiments, and that their interpretations could be wrong. Their interpretations aren’t definitive. Nonetheless, the validity of evolution doesn’t depend upon anything. It doesn’t need to be right because nobody can test it to make sure it’s true, but people will believe it by faith anyway because they’d rather not believe in God: “Evolution [is] a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.” D.M.S Watson.
“Why would evolution be the better explanation when it relies on unproven assumptions? Proven vs. unproven. I think the proven position is the more logical of the two. The burden of proof is on you to show how evolution is the better explanation when another theory that is testable, observable and repeatable is available.”
I’m not the one making extraordinary claims that cannot be observed. We can observe physical changes in biological organisms, DNA mutation, etc.
How can we observe the biblical account of creation? We cannot. How can we measure the great flood? We cannot. Repeatable? Did God create the world in six days twice or did I miss something? Is he planning on doing it again for our benefit of observation?
Or are you referring to some other alternative to evolution? Because I don’t really understand how a nonphysical creator deity is somehow more observable, measurable, and repeatable than the physical changes in organisms as a result of environment that we can actually see with our own eyes.