Thought for the Month (September 2016)
Genesis and Revelation are apparently the least believed or understood books in the Bible. Nevertheless, to many current day scientists and biblical scholars, they are foundational to the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ and to knowing our origins and future as human beings.
Scientists who believe in the theory of evolution, and/or creation, observe the same facts and living creatures, but place different interpretations on them, depending on their framework of reference.
For example, evolutionists might state that biological characteristics observed both in animals and humans demonstrate that they have evolved from a shared common ancestor over billions of years. Alternatively, those who believe in a supreme Creator God, would state that the common characteristics point to inherent design by the same Creator. An example: both humans and giraffes have seven neck vertebra, but in both are incredibly adapted in each design.
What is the evidence really showing us? There may be confusion between the words "adaptation" and "evolution". With the former, a creature remains essentially the same but with some adaptations in response to interaction with its environment. With evolution, there is the supposition that we change from one creature into many others, including male and female, over a long period of time.
Science now tells us that when there are mutations and changes at a deeper biological level, design integrity can be lost. This therefore actually works against evolutionary theory which assumes that living creatures increase in complexity over a long period of time in a wide variety of ways.
The Theory of Evolution is worldwide, but not scientifically replicable, so remains a theory although taught consistently as fact. Fossil records do not yet show any transitional fossils of one living thing turning into another. Rather, the fossil record demonstrates a rapid emergence of complex living organisms whose designs have stayed the same for millions of years according to many of today's scientists. A veritable explosion of life. This obviously creates a dilemma for evolution.
Fossils are found all over the world in deep layers of sedimentation, indicating massive, rapid burial in a watery deluge (Noah)? even producing fossils of fish giving birth, and another swallowing a smaller fish. Biologists tell us that soft tissue of a dead animal deteriorates extremely rapidly when left exposed to the air. Any living creature would have to be buried very rapidly in an anoxic state to fossilise, as in a massive deluge.
Dinosaurs are believed to have died out up to sixty-five million years ago but some recently excavated bones of these enormous creatures still have soft tissue in them indicating a much more recent burial. There is an actual canyon of dinosaur bones where the area smells as a result of incomplete fossilisation of these massive creatures, presenting a real dilemma to evolutionists. In one instance of bone fragment of a dinosaur was secretly carbon dated at an American university as being only a few thousand years old. (It was not mentioned at the time that the fragment of bone was from a dinosaur otherwise there would have been refusal to undertake the tests)!
The Authorised Bible mentions the word "dragon" thirty-five times and, in Job 40:17 in the Old Testament, a full description of a huge beast is described with "a tail like a cedar". The word "dinosaur" was only used from the 1800s meaning "fearful lizard" and the many worldwide legends and drawings of huge creatures fit into a Biblical time frame denoting that dragons/dinosaurs were around much more recently but dismissed due to the belief in huge time frames. In 300BC Alexander the Great described a great creature, larger than an elephant, with three great horns, coming down to a lake in India at night, petrifying his troops. The description fits a Triceratops. There are Fifteenth Century carvings in Carlisle Cathedral (pictured above) representing two dinosaurs (Diplodocus) with their necks entwined. These could not have been known about unless observed, as archaeological findings of these great bones were not unearthed until the Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century. There are many other drawings and paintings around the world of dragons which fit the description of these great creatures. In fact, many dinosaurs were small but could grow to huge sizes.
It really is a question of the interpretation of the facts we see in front of us. Do we expect what we observe, to fit in with a theory we have been taught, or can we look with fresh eyes at what is in front of us and what the Bible is telling us? Consistently, more scientific findings are pointing us to sound Biblical science, but which is dismissed by those who trust in the evolutionary theory.
There are increasing bans on the teaching of Creation in some schools and in the media. At the same time there is a desire to try to find what is at the base of all living life on our amazing and unique planet by all parties, whilst often wishing to dismiss the incredible design element that runs through every living thing.
Millions of years are not enough to explain our amazing existence. Every plant and variety of male and female creature would have had to "evolve" independently in response to their environment, but research now tells us that even the so-called simplest cell has to have a myriad of inherent building blocks from the start, to function. One part of us cannot function without orchestration of all the interdependent systems which are incredibly complex.
We have, in the Bible, a handbook that explains what we see around us, that we ignore at our peril. In Romans 1:20 it says that "we are without excuse" in terms of recognising a Creator God and His Creation. Many of us, even as Christians, have accepted in part the Theory of Evolution which is presented in all the media, especially in wonderful nature programmes and books.
We constantly see the picture of monkeys progressively transforming into men but many current scientists now accept that this has no scientific basis.
These transitional drawings are actually only artist's impressions, based on archaeological "findings" of a tooth but also elsewhere – a skull – the former was in fact a pig's tooth and the latter – a skull and jawbone combined from a man and an ape called Piltdown "Man", with even a pub named after "him", despite the fact that it was a hoax.
Christ actually states in the Gospels that men and women are made in the image of God and confirms what is said in Genesis about our beginnings. Many of us might think that it is too far-fetched to believe that God took part of man's rib and created woman from it, as described in the Book of Genesis. In fact, we know that scientists have cloned Dolly the Sheep and hundreds of other creatures from a few DNA cells in laboratories.
If evolution is true, at what stage did we turn from a monkey into a human, as opposed to Christ's words that man and woman are made in the image of God? Where would Christ's death on the Cross fit in for our Salvation and forgiveness for our sins? If we are randomly evolved we can set our own agendas at the expense of both the vulnerable young and old as there are no consequences to our actions by a Creator God who, in fact, loves us but who will ultimately be our Judge.
Let us not swallow the Theory of Evolution hook, line and sinker. Whilst allowing "natural selection" and "adaptation", let us take time to study what the Bible says and pray to really know the Truth. Eternity is outside time and a permanent state of being. If there is a God who is behind the teachings in the Bible, would we rather not trust Him in the great design rather than going into eternity with "but I didn't realise ... no-one ever talked about it."
Salvation is not dependent on a decision for Creation versus Evolution, but every individual and, especially, today's young people need to know how valuable they are in the eyes of their Creator, and not here purely by chance happening. There is a plan and a pathway for every single person and we are all "fearfully and wonderfully" made for a purpose. See www.creation.com and www.answersingenesis.com for further information.
Jill Christmas (Rusthall United Reformed Church)
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