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Is Evolution Compatible With Christianity? The Debate


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#1 gilbo12345

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:59 AM

Here is a debate that I had the opportunity to watch on dvd as a friend of mine bought this on dvd when John Mackay visited my old church, (I have a dvd of a debate about whether evolutionary science is reliable)





I'm happy to have found this on youtube :D
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#2 gilbo12345

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

As you can see the theistic evolutionist guy is making statements based on his own opinions, views and interpretation whereas John Mackay is basing his statments on the Bible... ;)

#3 Salsa

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Gilbo! I've only just started listening, but one thing that strikes me is that the very first thing that Polkinghorne does is attack belief in scripture - in two subtle steps:

1. He tries to raise the status of what he calls the "book of nature" to the same level as the Bible.

2. He tries to lower belief in the Bible by suggesting that it is incorrectly interpreted.

It's the same kind of two-pronged attack that you find in Genesis 3 when the serpent suggests incorrect interpretation, in order to weaken belief:

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

and then offers something else as a substite:

"You will not surely die," ... "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Some things never change I guess...
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#4 gilbo12345

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

Thanks Gilbo! I've only just started listening, but one thing that strikes me is that the very first thing that Polkinghorne does is attack belief in scripture - in two subtle steps: 1. He tries to raise the status of what he calls the "book of nature" to the same level as the Bible. 2. He tries to lower belief in the Bible by suggesting that it is incorrectly interpreted. It's the same kind of two-pronged attack that you find in Genesis 3 when the serpent suggests incorrect interpretation, in order to weaken belief: "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" and then offers something else as a substite: "You will not surely die," ... "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Some things never change I guess...


I wonder if Polkinghorne would mind that his debating for evolution took the same form as Satan in the garden?

Did you see how quickly he was to claim that Jesus is "central" to his life after Mackay's part? ;)

#5 Calypsis4

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:41 PM

Thanks Gilbo! I've only just started listening, but one thing that strikes me is that the very first thing that Polkinghorne does is attack belief in scripture - in two subtle steps: 1. He tries to raise the status of what he calls the "book of nature" to the same level as the Bible.


Right. I am seeing this tactic constantly among the TE's in debates against six-day creationists. They posit the claim that "God would not lie to us through his 'book of nature' as if nature is His Word rather than that which is divinely inspired in scripture.

P.S. the video debate was excellent and John Mckay did a fabulous job. Amen.

#6 Salsa

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:26 AM

I wonder if Polkinghorne would mind that his debating for evolution took the same form as Satan in the garden?


He probably wouldn't. Just as I don't really like making that kind of comparison. But somewhere along the line I think it is necessary to differentiate between the underlying spirit behind what someone says, and the person himself.

If suggesting a connection between Polkinhorne and Satan feels uncomfortable, condsider the fact that I had to do the very same kind of comparison with my own parents, both of whom were mediums, but who sincerely believed what they were involved in was a gift from God. By communicating with what they believe to be the spirits of deceased people, they thought they were plugging into the secrets of the universe, and that by passing these "secrets" on to mankind they were serving humanity and bringing us closer to God.

Their message was exactly the same as Polkinghorne's only clothed in different words.

Did you see how quickly he was to claim that Jesus is "central" to his life after Mackay's part?


Yeah. The sad thing is though, that anyone who wants to believe in an alternative to what the Bible says will buy into just about anything, at any price. The mere collar around his neck is probably enought to convince them that evolution actually is compatible with the Bible, when what he actually says is a direct contradiction of what the Bible says.

You notice that people who try to make the Bible conform to their own views about something, avoid answering things directly, but immediately go off on a big spin, rabbling on about interpretations, symbolism, jewish traditions, the kitchen sink, an so on, until they finally get scripture to say the exact opposite of what it actually says.

#7 Salsa

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:32 AM

Right. I am seeing this tactic constantly among the TE's in debates against six-day creationists. They posit the claim that "God would not lie to us through his 'book of nature' as if nature is His Word rather than that which is divinely inspired in scripture.


As long as the (non-existant) 'book of nature' only contains the absolute truth then I guess they are entitled to the belief that it was written by the finger of God, but between the lines it is obvious that Polkinghorne considers evolution to be a major part of that book.

P.S. the video debate was excellent and John Mckay did a fabulous job. Amen.


He did a great job! In my opinion he symbolizes the refreshing Australian quality of being straightforward and blunt about things that people are often too afraid to mention. Thumbs up for people like Ken Ham and John Mckay... and Gilbo of course! Posted Image

#8 Calypsis4

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:06 AM

Uppsala:

...my own parents, both of whom were mediums, but who sincerely believed what they were involved in was a gift from God. By communicating with what they believe to be the spirits of deceased people, they thought they were plugging into the secrets of the universe, and that by passing these "secrets" on to mankind they were serving humanity and bringing us closer to God.

Oh, my goodness! Uppsala, I had no idea. I've encountered people of a very similar bent of thinking and I know exactly what you're talking about. I will add your parents to my prayer list. Best wishes, dear friend.

#9 Salsa

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:27 AM

Uppsala: Oh, my goodness! Uppsala, I had no idea. I've encountered people of a very similar bent of thinking and I know exactly what you're talking about. I will add your parents to my prayer list. Best wishes, dear friend.


I'm afraid it's a little too late Cal, they both passed away a few years ago, but thanks ever so much for your concern! Sometimes I wish I had come from a normal family with a normal upbringing, but it's pretty much behind me now, and in a way I think it has given me a perspective that not many people have. The idea that satan "mascarades as an angel of light", rather than being the cartoon character that he is portrayed as being, could hardly have been clearer for me. I spent my whole childhood being taught that occultism, new age doctrines, reincarnation, and so on, were things that came from God, and that Christianity was also "compatible" with that. I was taught that the Bible was a "vibration" that was originally God's word, but that had been translated over and over again so that the occult-friendly stuff was no longer there.

It's pretty much the same old story - don't trust ancient literature - something new has come to replace it.

And when you thing about it, the false doctrine of reincarnation is nothing more than "spiritual evolution" giving people the promise that "you will not surely die", but simply develop learning the lessons you have learnt life after life. Because when people reject the real Gospel, they try to replace it will another gospel - one that seemingly has a positive message.

#10 Calypsis4

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

I'm afraid it's a little too late Cal, they both passed away a few years ago, but thanks ever so much for your concern! Sometimes I wish I had come from a normal family with a normal upbringing, but it's pretty much behind me now, and in a way I think it has given me a perspective that not many people have. The idea that satan "mascarades as an angel of light", rather than being the cartoon character that he is portrayed as being, could hardly have been clearer for me. I spent my whole childhood being taught that occultism, new age doctrines, reincarnation, and so on, were things that came from God, and that Christianity was also "compatible" with that. I was taught that the Bible was a "vibration" that was originally God's word, but that had been translated over and over again so that the occult-friendly stuff was no longer there. It's pretty much the same old story - don't trust ancient literature - something new has come to replace it. And when you thing about it, the false doctrine of reincarnation is nothing more than "spiritual evolution" giving people the promise that "you will not surely die", but simply develop learning the lessons you have learnt life after life. Because when people reject the real Gospel, they try to replace it will another gospel - one that seemingly has a positive message.


I see. So sad about that. But I can see that our Lord has taken you through it. You seem to be on the path of the faithful pilgrim and you have come far; pilgrims progress, eh?

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13

#11 MarkForbes

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:42 PM

As long as the (non-existant) 'book of nature' only contains the absolute truth then I guess they are entitled to the belief that it was written by the finger of God, but between the lines it is obvious that Polkinghorne considers evolution to be a major part of that book.
 

 

By book of nature, they mean what can be found and observed (read) in nature. It isn't truth (qualitative), but fact (quantitative and ontological). Reading the book correctly is still a matter of interpretation and you need a truth to begin with (hermeneutics).



#12 Salsa

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:26 AM

By book of nature, they mean what can be found and observed (read) in nature. It isn't truth (qualitative), but fact (quantitative and ontological). Reading the book correctly is still a matter of interpretation and you need a truth to begin with (hermeneutics).

 

Good point Mark! The better your understanding of what the truth is, the better your abilty to interpret facts correctly.

 

Oddly enough, I listened to a debate only yesterday between a creationist and a theistic evolutionist where this "book of nature" idea came up again. According to the theistic evolutionist we can learn about God through both is word and his works. The "book of nature" therefore teaches us about God, just as his Word does.

 

True to a certain extent, but this idea ignores the fact that the Word of God is not fallen, whereas creation is.

 

Knowing that truth effects the way we interpret nature. It explains why many skeptics point out things in nature, such as diseases, deformities, carnivorous behavior and so on, as evidence against the creator, instead of for him. Only by knowing and acknowleding the truth about the original creation and the fall of man, can we interpret the "book of nature" correctly today



#13 Bonedigger

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:38 AM

Good point Mark! The better your understanding of what the truth is, the better your abilty to interpret facts correctly.

 

Oddly enough, I listened to a debate only yesterday between a creationist and a theistic evolutionist where this "book of nature" idea came up again. According to the theistic evolutionist we can learn about God through both is word and his works. The "book of nature" therefore teaches us about God, just as his Word does.

 

True to a certain extent, but this idea ignores the fact that the Word of God is not fallen, whereas creation is.

 

Knowing that truth effects the way we interpret nature. It explains why many skeptics point out things in nature, such as diseases, deformities, carnivorous behavior and so on, as evidence against the creator, instead of for him. Only by knowing and acknowleding the truth about the original creation and the fall of man, can we interpret the "book of nature" correctly today

 

That actually goes back to the idea that Pat Robertson expressed about not fighting "revealed" science. The fallacy is that what human beings interpret regarding nature, is somehow supposed to be comparable to what God has revealed about the history of man and the earth.



#14 Bond007

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:39 AM

Whenever someone says 'the book of nature' they are about to give reasons to reject 6 literal days and accept billions of years no other reason (Hugh Ross says it too).



#15 gilbo12345

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 06:18 AM

Sorry for the late reply. I think shortly after this I went away for a bit :)

 


Yeah. The sad thing is though, that anyone who wants to believe in an alternative to what the Bible says will buy into just about anything, at any price. The mere collar around his neck is probably enought to convince them that evolution actually is compatible with the Bible, when what he actually says is a direct contradiction of what the Bible says.

You notice that people who try to make the Bible conform to their own views about something, avoid answering things directly, but immediately go off on a big spin, rabbling on about interpretations, symbolism, jewish traditions, the kitchen sink, an so on, until they finally get scripture to say the exact opposite of what it actually says.

 

Which makes absolutely no sense ;) 

 

 

He did a great job! In my opinion he symbolizes the refreshing Australian quality of being straightforward and blunt about things that people are often too afraid to mention. Thumbs up for people like Ken Ham and John Mckay... and Gilbo of course! laugh.png

 

:D Thanks :D 

 

 

That actually goes back to the idea that Pat Robertson expressed about not fighting "revealed" science. The fallacy is that what human beings interpret regarding nature, is somehow supposed to be comparable to what God has revealed about the history of man and the earth.

 

I agree, I guess it is testament to the wide-scale scepticism towards the Bible these days.



#16 cheeseburger

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:40 PM

At about 24 mins in John McKay shows a slide with four statements derived from Genesis 2 and 3:

 

  • God warned sin would bring death
  • Adam sinned
  • Adam was thus removed from access to the Tree of Life
  • The first humans couldn't live forever
  • Therefore they died

(I paraphrase based on recollection.)

These are sequentially correct and some bare bones of the Eden narrative.  However, McKay neglects to mention God's first commandment to humans in the bible on the sixth day of creation in the preceding chapter: "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over..." (Genesis 1:28, KJV).  A finite Earth would soon be unlivable and crowded  should immortals multiply so it is clear that these words were spoken to mortals.  If the Genesis 1-3 narrative sequence is taken literally (as with other parts of the Bible) then Adam and Eve would be mortal from first created and the serpent incident would serve to fulfill the destiny of humans to spread out of Eden.

An alternative is that 1:28 was not the first words spoken by God to humans; rather, after the description of the seventh day of creation in Genesis 2:3, the narrative reverts to earlier than 1:28 on day six.  However, Genesis chapters 2 and 3 does not state that Adam and Eve were initially immortal and the text is ambiguous regarding their mortality status.  

God specifies death on the very day of transgression (2:17), yet both Adam and Eve live to see another day - by "surely die" is God implying the onset of mortality as per McKay's sequence? In Genesis 3 the serpent, woman and man are given specific curses but only in Adam' curse is there a hint of mortality - "and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19) - and we do not know if this was already known to Adam and his curse extended merely to toil (which would be comparable with the curses given to Eve and the serpent).  God subsequently  seems concerned only about the man accessing the Tree of Life and drives the man specifically out of Eden to prevent this (3:22-24). The woman made from Adam's rib (2:22) would, according to McKay's sequence, have been as mortal or immortal as Adam until she was the first to eat from the Tree of Knowledge - her status is not addressed in her punishment nor the Tree of Life issue and she cannot have remained immortal so it could be that Adam was in fact mortal during Genesis 2:22 (as supported by 1:28).  If so, might God's promise of death in Genesis 2:17 be interpreted in light of the death:rebirth motif found later in John's gospel?

Genesis 1-3 records a first sin and, arguably, the beginning of death although I see no hint in Genesis of any inherited sin.



#17 Salsa

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 02:10 AM


A finite Earth would soon be unlivable and crowded  should immortals multiply so it is clear that these words were spoken to mortals.  If the Genesis 1-3 narrative sequence is taken literally (as with other parts of the Bible) then Adam and Eve would be mortal from first created and the serpent incident would serve to fulfill the destiny of humans to spread out of Eden.

 

This argument presupposes that God's commandment to multiply would continue even after the objective to "fill the earth" was met. Introducing mortality might not be the only solution to an overcrowded planet. The gospel teaches us that we will receive "resurrection bodies" that are similar to those of the angels, which "neither marry, nor are given in marriage". This may very well have been the next step in God's plan for mankind.

 

God specifies death on the very day of transgression (2:17), yet both Adam and Eve live to see another day - by "surely die" is God implying the onset of mortality as per McKay's sequence?

 

Death is a process. Sometimes it ocurrs immediatly, for example when someone is stabbed or is infliced with a violent physical disease, but most often is slow. There is nothing in the Genesis account that indicates that the process of death would ocurr rapidly. If we accept the fact that physical death is a result of spiritual death then there is no problem with accepting the fact that immediate spiritual death could have take hundreds of years before it manifesting itself physically.

 

Remember, the author of Genesis must have considered these things in the very instance that he wrote them. If such a contradiction was such a genuine argument exposing the fallibilty of scripture, then why would he have continued to write?



#18 cheeseburger

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 04:40 PM

This argument presupposes that God's commandment to multiply would continue even after the objective to "fill the earth" was met. Introducing mortality might not be the only solution to an overcrowded planet. The gospel teaches us that we will receive "resurrection bodies" that are similar to those of the angels, which "neither marry, nor are given in marriage". This may very well have been the next step in God's plan for mankind.

 

Fair point, Salsa.  In Genesis 2:16-17 God allows Adam access to every tree other than the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil implying was then free to eat from the Tree of Life (although we don't know if he actually did -  if the action really took place on day six of creation would Adam have had time to eat from many trees between naming all the animals and the cool of the day (3:8)?).

God sending the humans out of Eden following their transgression because He didn't want the man to access the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24) suggests at the very least that He didn't want them to have both knowledge and immortality.

The ambiguous status of Eve still suggests that Adam may have been mortal at the time his rib was taken.

 

Re: "Death is a process. Sometimes it ocurrs immediatly, for example when someone is stabbed or is infliced with a violent physical disease, but most often is slow. There is nothing in the Genesis account that indicates that the process of death would ocurr rapidly."

 

So "the day" mentioned by God in 2:17 was the day that the process of mortal decline began?  Not sure who would get that from a plain reading of "thou shalt surely die".

 

Re: "Remember, the author of Genesis must have considered these things in the very instance that he wrote them. If such a contradiction was such a genuine argument exposing the fallibilty of scripture, then why would he have continued to write?"

 

Well, the author of Genesis 1-3 does leave doubts about the narrative.

Example: in 2:5-6 we read that it hadn't yet rained and a stream/mist from the ground watered the plants. After several verses in which rain is not mentioned we read that a river flew out of Eden and split into four, one head of which was the Euphrates. A river fed from the ground would be unlikely to follow the same course as the river that descends from the Turkish highlands that we call the Euphrates. Even if it had rained by then surely the topographic and tectonic upheaval of Genesis 7:11 and subsequent deluge would have meant that rivers before and after the flood wouldn't have followed the same courses and maintained the same name.



#19 gilbo12345

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 05:09 PM


God sending the humans out of Eden following their transgression because He didn't want the man to access the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24) suggests at the very least that He didn't want them to have both knowledge and immortality.

 

He didn't want us to have knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve weren't drooling imbeciles beforehand.

 

God didn't want them to have immortality since they were now cursed.

 

Re: "Death is a process. Sometimes it ocurrs immediatly, for example when someone is stabbed or is infliced with a violent physical disease, but most often is slow. There is nothing in the Genesis account that indicates that the process of death would ocurr rapidly."

 

So "the day" mentioned by God in 2:17 was the day that the process of mortal decline began?  Not sure who would get that from a plain reading of "thou shalt surely die".

 

"thou shalt surely die" = it is a sure thing that you will die

 

Where is the time constraint claiming you will die instantly.


 



#20 Mike Summers

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 07:33 PM

God sending the humans out of Eden following their transgression because He didn't want the man to access the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24) suggests at the very least that He didn't want them to have both knowledge and immortality.

Or, God did not want them to live forever and be capable of both good and evil. A "good liar" tells the truth most of the time. That way he will maximize his chances of others believing him when he lies. Also I think it's important to note that God and the Word knew or could recognize good and evil when they saw it. We know from elsewhere in the Bible that God is only good and not a mixture of good and evil. Nor can he do evil. Apparently God does not particularly care for someone who is a mixture of good and evil. He says we have a choice. He commands us to do good only

He respects our choice with few exceptions. That's not say there won't be consequences for our negative behavior.

I agree with God on this one smile.png




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