examinescience

A personal journey into the world of Science and Human History

Tag: Apologetics

Eric Metaxas and the Unprovable Theory

Even the most ardent evolutionary biologist would probably admit that finding that one moment in time where life suddenly happened from non-life is almost impossible. I know a few atheist apologists out there who might be willing to weigh in on the issue in the comments, and if they do, I’ll try to keep up.

I’ve used the argument before that we cannot know when the first cell developed. I’ve also asked the question, “where did the material come from for the Big Bang? Apparently, the answer to that one is that it came from a previously existing universe. Honestly, I can see how that might have happened. Of course, it doesn’t explain where the material from THAT universe came from, but this becomes a pretty circular argument and doesn’t prove creation any more than saying “God did it” and not having a better answer proves evolution.

Eric Metaxas, a writer I trust and enjoy (especially his biography of Bonhoeffer), wrote a piece on Break Point about how evolution is now even more difficult to prove since a discovery in Australia has shed some light on the earliest signs of life. In essence, the article suggests that life started further back than evolutionists currently claim. In Metaxas’ mind, this signifies a problem for evolutionists because it forces them to do two things.

  1. It throws off their numbers, beginning with when things first came to life. If it happened a few hundred million years before they originally thought, then they have to redo all of the other numbers too, and that presents problems.
  2. According to Metaxas, life started too early in the evolutionary timeline to allow for evolution. At the time of these living rocks, Earth was still too hot to really hold life. How could evolution have really happened?

So a few issues. First, evolutionists will quickly point out that life has been created in a lab. I disagree slightly with the idea that this equals life, since it was really a modification of an already existing bacteria. Still, it is life, as it were. Metaxas makes the argument that life cannot be created. That’s a side project in his article, and honestly I wish it wasn’t even there. It’s not relevant to his actual point.

Second, disproving evolution doesn’t prove God. This is something Christians have to stop doing. I’ll give you the atheist answer: We understand that this evidence disproves what we believed was true about life’s timeline. We’ll go back to the drawing board on that note and figure it out. You see, an evolutionist never stops trying to figure out the science of the issue.

Third, proving that life started earlier than scientists first imagined doesn’t prove creation because IT’S STILL HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO! By making his claim against evolution, that it started so much earlier than scientists first thought and that therefore evolution can’t be correct, Metaxas is saying that God created these living organisms millions of years before Christians accept his creation. It’s a horrible circular argument and a byproduct of trying to find the smoking gun against evolution.

Too many Christians think they can find evolution’s achilles heel. There isn’t one. Each obstacle in science merely produces a new direction for research.

Look, it’s hopefully become very clear over the last few months that I’ve tipped my hat toward creation. I am a Christian and I believe God created the world. I believe scientific thought can show us how that happened, not that I need to have it proven by science. Still, it’s so vitally important that we not shut the door to those doing this research for us because we need their research to understand God more. We’ve got to stop thinking that we have the smoking gun, especially when all we end up doing is alienating ourselves.

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Creation, Evolution, and Apologetics Part I

I never wanted this project to be about apologetics. In my opinion, unless a person is already interested in scripture, or completely ignorant of the Bible, arguing (or debating) is just a waste of time. It is idle talk that takes away from the work of the kingdom (II Tim 2:16).

My only real desire for this research project has always been for it to be just that…a research project. I have hoped to bridge the gap between faith and science for me and my kids. You see, I had to know if these two poles were reconcilable for myself, and then I could help my kids see the truth.


Timothy Paul Jones, co-author of Practical Family Ministry, wrote, “Parents need to be trained to equip their children to defend their faith in an increasingly hostile context.”*

As much as I don’t want this project to be about apologetics, it has to be. Of course, that won’t happen until I’ve done the research that proves one thing or the other…and while I’m hopeful that, in the end, this research will prove God created everything (even if I have to reject what I grew up believing in order for it to be true). As I get further along, I hope to show how it’s not only true, but how to defend it in public.

Apologetics means to give a defense. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry  (CARM) defines it at, “Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.”

I used to be afraid of that word because I thought it meant to apologize, and as a young Christian man in a small town in Kansas, I didn’t do that. The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, clears up the issue: “The word, however, derives its meaning from the Greek apologia, meaning a ‘reasoned defence’.”

Here’s why we have to include apologetics, as much as I may reject the notion at first. The world wants me to reject that God created the world and I need to find and defend the answers to that issue.

There is another reason, however, and it’s an unfortunate one. I have to be ready to defend my faith and beliefs from conservative Christians who reject the notion of anything but a 6 day creation and expect me to do the same. So I plan to learn how to do that as well.

Here’s why: the original call for apologetics didn’t come from the church, but from God through the apostle Peter. In 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV), the old man says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

This would seem to include Christians and unbelievers. And why must I be ready, along with my children? Because the attack will come. I can still remember a lecture in my sophomore year of high school where I defended the creation against my biology teacher, who I think acquiesced because of time, not because of my sound theology and logic. Already, my son is bringing home study books dripping with the rejection of Christian faith and filled with evolution. I don’t believe I have prepared him well enough for defending his faith in school.

So the research will continue, and will in time develop into a proper defense, but I promise you sincerely, the defense is to bring Christ to the masses, not to shun or hurt people. We’ll see how it turns out.

*  Practical Family Ministry: A Collection of Ideas for Your Church, Pg 10.

What’s faith got to do with Science?

In my estimation, the average atheist scientist has as much or more faith than the average Christian. 

I’ve been studying the ideas of evolution and creation for almost a year now. My reason for examining science has been many fold, and will be covered in a different post. I’ve researched cystic fibrosis, which is something near and dear to me as it runs in my family. From there I started studying human origins. To that end, I’ve written about Neanderthals and I’ve got a post in the works on Lucy, thought to be one of the first human ancestors.

In doing this research, with what I believe are now proper motivations, I’ve started feeling pretty good about myself. After all, I want to find out how God did it. How did he design the whole thing? Did he use a long time? How did he move one species to another? While sometimes I admit that the process gets me down, overall I’m quite excited about the research.

Until recently when I read Hebrews 11. Of course, as a person who grew up in the church, I have read the faith “hall of fame” many times. Hebrews 11:1 is a verse that (in KJV) I know by heart to this day.

The verse that got me thinking was the third verse: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Suddenly, I was unnerved by the Word of God. I do still believe in the Bible, don’t I? even if I’m willing to admit that Genesis 1 may not be the whole story, don’t I believe in the first verse? As I write this post, yes, I do believe that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Scientifically speaking, this is the big bang. Whether the point of singularity was God-created (for Christians) or a dense piece of matter (evolutionists), the heavens and the earth were created at some point.

But do I believe that it was God? and if I do, isn’t that as far as I need to go? Shouldn’t it spell the end of the blog/research project?

 

I don’t think so, although the situation reminded me to keep this research project in perspective. I do believe it is important, from a purely apologetical perspective, to discover as much about science as we can. But more important than that, studying how this all came about helps us reach the lost. It helps us understand the average Joe’s base mindset going in to a discussion.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, faith has everything to do with it. An evolutionary scientist does not know how everything came about, but he or she believes with great faith that science will betray the answers of the universe in time. In my estimation, the average atheist scientist has as much or more faith than the average Christian.

I don’t mean that flippantly, like some Christian apologists do when they say, “It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does the Bible.” I don’t think that’s a true statement. I mean that, for the gaps that still exist in science (and there are plenty), the average scientist believes with an amazing amount of faith that the answers will be found and that those answers will continue to prove out the modified theory of evolution.

Yet I also have faith…faith that their research will give me answers in my research!

Because I’m convinced that this research project holds value as a tool to understand how God created everything, I will continue it, albeit at a slower rate than I had been going. Human evolution, or whatever it is, intrigues me, as does the overall age of the universe. I expect to learn a great deal while studying these things.

Until next time…

Transition to the next Topic

Your children, as you already know, are inundated with ages of the earth that are astronomically different than most evangelical estimates. This can cause some confusion and leave evangelical children outside looking in socially and educationally in public schools. The goal of this blog is to keep that from happening by arming you with real data in as unbiased a manner as possible.

The central question to be asked in order to combat his issue is this: Can Genesis and evolutionary science reside together? I hope so, but I have concerns that must be addressed. This post attempts to do so while providing a path ahead.

We know, in general terms, what evolutionary science tells us about the “creation” of everything. Most notably, it takes a very, very long time and like doesn’t always give way to like. Creation accounts from Genesis, however, suggest that creation was fairly short, certainly not billions upon billions of years, and that God created everything, “after its kind.”

This is the problem: If God created everything, and evolution says everything happened by chance, how could they coexist?

We must always go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We can debate timeframes later. The important thing to understand is that it doesn’t allow for macro forms of evolution. “Read literally, this precludes evolution of one “kind” of plant or animal to another.”[1]

Genesis isn’t the only place that this occurs. John 1:1-3 tells the same story, but introduces Jesus as the co-creator with the Father. Here is the passage:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

My concern is that both of these passages, if read literally, remove the allowance of any macroevolution of any kind into the mind of the faithful follower of Christ. It probably doesn’t remove the idea of microevolution, as my daughter’s cystic fibrosis (CF) didn’t create a different kind of humanoid, but just a mutation that is at least hypothesized to defeat tuberculosis.

The Bible says that God created all of the “kinds” of animals, plants, fish, etc on this planet and left no place for the creation of one “kind” from another by chance. If evolution were proven correct, then, it would leave little place for the Bible. At best, it would remain as a testament to an older time of myth. At worst, it would be a relic of ignorant fools.

The example I can’t shake is the Mammoth, which is a cousin to the Asian elephant via some ancient, prehistoric elephant. If AiG and ICR are correct, then the Mammoth and the Asian elephant were together on the ark. Presumably the African elephant as well. Genetics suggest a different story.

I read a good book on this subject called How to Clone a Mammoth, by Dr. Beth Shapiro. It’s an excellent book on cloning, genetics, evolution, and extinction. The problem is that it lays out a good case for how the mammoth and other elephants evolved, and that wasn’t even the goal of the book!

The biggest issue is the genetics connection between the mammoth and the Asian elephant. Geographically, it makes sense that the two are related because Asian elephants could have been a natural southern cousin to the northern mammoths. But the problem is that they’re different species, yet have so much concurrent genetic code that we can use Asian elephants (someday) to clone a mammoth (or something close to it).

I don’t want to be too forward in invoking the dad card here, but we’ve simply got to figure out this stuff. First, does the Bible allow for this sort of evolution? I’m not sure it does. Genesis 1:1+ and John 1:1-3 seem to allow only for God in creating actual species. I don’t think the Bible cares how long we’ve been here, but I do think it wants us to know that He created all of the species.

Unfortunately, naturalists have known for a long time that not all species lived together at the same time. As early as the 1820s, long before Darwin sailed to the Galapagos Islands, naturalists and paleontologists knew that different strata in the geological record had different specimens. More than that, the specimens appeared and disappeared, indicating different creations and extinctions.[2] This idea had sprung up around the same time in England with a fellow named William Smith, who, as a canal digger, realized that different strata along his canals contained very different specimens. While Smith never made a conclusion against faith, and as far as we know stayed true to his religious stance, he did realize that something wasn’t as traditionally taught.[3]

But there were no other creations, at least not without a gap theory, and we’ve looked into that and found that theory lacking, unfortunately, though more research is needed.

So I’m going to turn my attention from cystic fibrosis (as a research project) to the fossil record, particularly with the mammoth, to see if I can find an answer to the issue at hand.

Your comments are welcome below, as is your subscription to this blog, which you can get by clicking HERE.

[1] Larson, Edward J. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Random House. New York, NY, 2004. Pg 11.

[2] Ibid, pg 29

[3] Prothero, Donald R. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters. Columbia University Press, 2007. pg 55.

The difficulty of remaining unbiased in Research

I struggled at points in my graduate work because I already had presuppositions about things such as the pretribulational rapture, the role of baptism in the Christian life, and yes, even creation. While I “survived” my graduate work, I did struggle (please don’t look up my GPA!).

That struggle continues as I conduct research in the scientific world of modern evolution science. It started with cystic fibrosis, wherein I noticed a time gap between when cystic fibrosis started to appear and when the causal agent started to appear. My presupposition was that evolution could not have caused cystic fibrosis because its agent wasn’t “available.”

I may or may not be right about that; the research continues. I want to find holes in the evolutionary natural history that only biblical events could explain. That’s my problem. No matter how unbiased I attempt to be, I struggle with my preconceived notions.

I’m certainly not the first person to struggle with this. In the 1700s, natural historians started realizing that the world had to be older than we first thought. Georges Cuvier, the 18th Century French naturalist who conducted a lot of work in the field of paleontology, never left his Protestant roots as he learned more about the development of nature around him. In fact, he remained a Protestant to his death. He reviewed the ideas on evolution at the time (no, Darwin wasn’t the first to think of it), and “found it wanting.”[1] Like Cuvier, I have been reviewing the theory of evolution and have my issues.

And also like Cuvier, I have my biases against evolution. I DON’T WANT IT TO BE TRUE! Is that so wrong? Probably not, but what is wrong is that I claim to want to review the scientific data on its own without my biases so that I can find the truth for my kids. I don’t want them confused in school or ridiculed unnecessarily for beliefs that I have always taken for granted. Yet I struggle hard with these presumptions about evolution and creation which I must get past.

So today we try again. Again we look at science as modern scientists want us to. If anything, I need to see the current scientific study from their perspective, which is the presumption that the theory of evolution is correct and time will give us the answers that we’re seeking (such as in the case of transitional life forms).

I can’t promise that I’ll always be unbiased, but I’m hopeful that I can proceed with the correct mindset. Click HERE to stay on top of the research project.

[1] Larson, Edward J. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Random House. New York, NY, 2000, pg 10.

The Day that God Created the Heavens and the Earth

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The next several verses detail that creative act that takes place, from a literal reading of the Bible, in six days. Yet in Genesis 2:4, the writer says, “these are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

So did he take six days or one day? Traditionalists, fundamentalists, and most evangelicals will believe that an old earth creation is just not possible because God took six days to create the earth, not billions, and that there are generations for only six thousand years or so.

Here’s the problem with that thinking. If you’re willing to read the Bible literally, and I certainly believe there are parts that should be read that way, then you have to decide if God made the earth in six days, as Genesis one says, or in one day as Genesis two says.

I don’t personally see a problem because I don’t think it should be read literally. I think Genesis one shows that God was intimately involved in the creation of the world and everything in it, and I believe that Genesis two is the general brush strokes that show his artistic style.  I think, by the way, that this is another summary statement, much like Genesis 1:1 and 2:1. If anything, the “day” in Gen 2:4 suggests an “age” of creation, which denotes a progression, but I digress.

Also, there may very well be two writers of Genesis, with a second writer expanding on the first. This really upsets my more traditional brethren and sisters because it suggests Moses didn’t write Genesis with his own hand. I’m sure that I’ll write on that at some point, but I just don’t have time at the moment.

The point of this post isn’t to drive a wedge between Moses and the book supposedly authored by him, but to show my fellow fundamentalists that the traditional reading of scripture isn’t necessarily plausible and never was. Genesis tells us that God made everything, but even by chapter two of the first book of the Bible we have word problems.

In closing, I’m not saying that this is a problem. Instead, it is a fresh drink of cool water as it shows us that we can open up the scriptures and take a look at them, and see how God might have used the fossil record to fill in his gaps in creation. I’m very excited for this, and I hope you are too!

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Nature as the Bible Sees It

In giving evidence for why evolution is a fact, and not actually a theory, Cameron M. Smith says in his book, The Fact of Evolution, “Not only do life-forms come from parent generations, but offspring resemble their parents. Not just on the surface but down to the molecule, life-forms are usually pretty close approximations – replicas – of their parents’ basic form.”[1]

I’d say, “duh” here buy the author is basically saying that with his point. His contention is that evolution is actually easy to understand and that it’s so obvious it’s almost too easy. It’s actually pretty good writing

I’ll get to what the Bible says in just a minute, but notice the key point of Smith’s argument, “Why don’t elephants give birth to fish? The intuitive answer is that there are different kinds of life, and each essentially produces its own kind.”

This is not a foreign concept to believers in God’s creation. All of creation was in fact brought forth and told to reproduce after their kind. Like life gives way to like life (Genesis 1).

It doesn’t take an evolutionary biologist, or a prehistorian (like Smith) to know that life produces after it’s own kind. The interesting thing is that evolution doesn’t actually do that. Of course, for several generations it does, but over the course of millions of years it stops doing that and eventually splits off to become “other” kinds, such as the case of the mammoth and Asian elephant, which were supposed to have a common ancestor some millions of years ago.[2]

In this way, it is difficult to accept evolution when one is a Christian or grew up in church. We were taught from the Bible that everything gives life to its kind. This is what the observable world also shows us. Yet we are also to believe that at specific, accidental times throughout history (a very long history), kinds didn’t necessarily give way to like kinds. At some point, variation allowed for a new species to develop. The easiest way for that to happen in evolutionary science is to geographically separate the two species from each other as they develop so that the Asian elephant, for example, in the southern half or so of the Asian continent, becomes genetically different from the mammoth in the arctic.

This means that, according to science, at one time there actually existed an “Adam.” At some point, enough of the gene differences between our common ancestors with chimpanzees actually created two species (the chimp and humans). We actually have some of this knowledge in the form of mtDNA Eve (mitochondrial Eve).

Evolutionists would argue that an entire generation of Adams would have evolved, in order for the beneficial traits to develop, but the point is the same. At some point in time, Adam came to be. He was like his predecessors, but he was also a new species. No one knows yet when that happened. Many gaps exist in the timeline. Actually, I should be more specific in that science traces Eve more than it traces Adam. Maybe you have heard of Mitochondrial Eve? You will meet her and then get to know her more, as well as her husband Adam over the course of our journey.

We have to be careful here so as not to enter into some sort of “God of the gaps” argument. The idea of the God of the gaps is that, since science can’t always (or even mostly) fill in the gaps between two species (an example is the mammoth), then God must have stepped in and accomplished that task.

This is bad theology because it doesn’t actually give God credit for creation in the first place, and renders Genesis 1-3 unusable. It’s also bad science, because it assumes that God is really just a word for “I give up.”

This is why Christians cannot be afraid to research the issue. In my own review of the research on the evolution of cystic fibrosis, it has become relatively clear that at no time has science shown the cause of the cystic fibrosis mutation, nor what caused it. All that can be speculated on is that it showed up around 50,000 years ago, and that being a heterozygote carrier (meaning a person has one mutation and one good gene) allows for some advantage over tuberculosis.

Our God is not a god of the gaps, but an actual, creative being with power and mercy. He will either show us himself through our scientific processes or he will be proven to be less of a god than we think he is. I believe he will come out as more than we think he is…more sovereign, more powerful, and more loving.

If we remain faithful, and look into the research, we’ll probably find that God is in the details. Debate all you need to, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep reading and learning. I hope you’ll join me. Click this link to do so.

 

[1] Smith, Cameron M. The Fact of Evolution. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY. 2010. pg 38.

[2] Shapiro, Beth. How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 2015. pg 108

 

Apologetics, Science, and the Debate between Evolution and Creation

I’m a big fan of apologetics in theology. I don’t debate all that often, but I’m trained in religion (MAR-Liberty) and I can present most theological arguments regarding Calvinist doctrine, theology, fall of man, etc. I’m certainly no celebrity of course. There are far better men and women out there who know way more than me and how to apply that knowledge. Just the same, I hone my skills with periodic debates and I want my children to understand apologetics as well. My wife and I bought our oldest an Apologetics Bible, which teaches him how to defend the scriptures at different points throughout the Bible. Presumably, our two younger children will also be brought up with apologetics.

Before I go any further, a definition is required. Apologetics is not the art of saying you’re sorry. Rather, it is the art of giving a defense. From the Catholic Encyclopedia: Apologetics means, broadly speaking, a form of apology. The term is derived from the Latin adjective, apologeticus, which, in turn has its origin in the Greek adjective, apologetikos, the substantive being apologia, “apology”, “defense”. The fact that I use a Catholic definition is ironic since I often provide a defense for Protestant views against Catholic dogma. Let me therefore use a standard dictionary definition: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine). Essentially it’s the same definition.

Most of Creationism is about apologetics. Read through the Answers in Genesis website and much of what you’ll read is why the flood strata (which, as I gather is the same general strata as the Cretaceous period strata in evolutionary science) can prove that the flood is responsible for the death of dinosaurs and only took a few years to develop. I’m still working on this. In fact, I probably won’t really get to the dinosaur issue until I’m at a stopping point in my research on cystic fibrosis (and possibly other autosomal recessive genetic mutations).

Let me remind you of the ExamineScience Project’s methodology: We are going to look at modern science from its own perspective and determine if it allows for God. Then we will look at Creationism and find out if evolutionary science answers some of the questions that the Bible asks but doesn’t answer.

The key to the first part of this is a massive and lengthy review of the scientific data. Key to the second part is a review of the Bible, which will include apologetics. I believe they will both play a role in my life and research in the future.

However, one cannot be used in debating the other. For example, modern scientific data cannot be used to dissuade someone from believing in the Bible because scientific data cannot refute apologetics. Conversely, presenting a defense of the Bible cannot dissuade someone from believing in evolutionary biology. This was proven out in the recent Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. In a supposedly scientific article on the Answers in Genesis website (first published in the Journal of Creation), the author provides ample evidence as to why apologetics and science don’t mix well.

Here’s a quote:

“For most creationists, the extinction of the dinosaurs, as well as other extinctions, is not a mystery. In fact, the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other creatures has an easy answer—they simply died in the Genesis Flood (except those dinosaurs likely taken on the Ark, which probably died soon after the Flood).”

This is not a scientific argument. The rest of the article discredits the scientific theories of why the dinosaurs died out. Again, this is not scientific, but apologetic. Another example is the ICR’s explanation of old earth creationism, wherein unscientific, apologetic debate is used to counter the ideas of OEC.

By the way, I’m not becoming an evolutionist (at least not in the Richard Dawkins vein). Evolutionists have plenty of apologetic persons as well, Bill Nye being one of them, as well as Dawkins (in his many writings against creationism), and others. I think both sides present a defense for their beliefs instead of letting the science tell the story…a story, I hope, which will lead to the God of the Bible being the creator of the world.

As said in other posts, my desire is to be as non-biased as possible, but the reality is that we will all have to pry through the biases of others and ourselves before we find the truth. As always, sign up at this link to keep up to date with additional research!

Easter and Evolution

Pattaya Day 04 007

Picture of Sunrise Service on board USS Antietam, taken in Pattaya, Thailand. Easter 2009.

Happy Easter! I’m on duty today, but I started my morning with God and it has been a wonderful morning thus far.

I wanted to write today about what evolution means for Easter as I read something about the Scopes Monkey Trial that I found unnerving. William Jennings Bryan, who joined the prosecution in an effort to lend credibility to what was otherwise a small town affair, said the following: “if this evolution doctrine is true, this logic eliminates everything supernatural, and that means they eliminate the virgin birth…the resurrection of the body…and the doctrine of atonement.”

Is that what it really means though? Sometimes I wonder if the answer is yes. I wonder if modern evangelicalism (which replaced, at least in name, fundamentalism of the 1920s) can survive the pressing reality of evolution. I’ve written about it in my book, and I have a post coming about it on this blog, that suggests our faith might be in trouble if Genesis One can’t stand up to the scrutiny of modern science. I’m concerned that Jennings might be right if this is the case.

Yet I’m hopeful…it is spring after all. I am hopeful that our faith in God is stronger than our fears about engaging science. I’m hopeful that God will show us through nature what he planned in our faith. I’m hopeful that we will celebrate Easter in the many years to come as a sign of hope for our coming resurrection, not as a faded memory of a dead faith.

I’m mostly hopeful that evangelicalism as a political voting bloc, will itself fade, replaced by a faith that is willing to engage with science to learn more about the Creator. I think this is possible, and I’m hopeful for that day.

So happy Easter everyone. Praise the Lord for what he has done for us, and may he continue to teach us new things about him every day!

 

 

Creation, Evolution, and Cystic Fibrosis (Part Four)

I have to be careful here about how much to lay out about my research plan because I don’t want to taint a possible research pool in the future because it is my honest desire to discover a way to truly test the Bible someday, just like we test evolutionary hypotheses. That’s for another post. So here, in the best of my limited understanding of science, is how I think cystic fibrosis (CF), and other genetic conditions, came about because of the fall of man.

In the Bible, Genesis tells us the extreme damage to the current creation. Genesis 3:6-8 reads, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

In this one short passage humanity, and really all creation, went from being utopian to being plagued with the reality we face today. It tells us the story of the “fall of man.” Any time I say, “fall of man” (and I say it a lot) this is the passage I am referring to. I’ll write in the future about the apologetic side of this passage, but for now let’s stay on topic. How did we get cystic fibrosis from this?

If the creation was essentially perfect before the fall, and then imperfect after the fall, then no genetic diseases existed before Adam ate from the fruit. Since all we have of the scientific record is scraps of fossilized bone, it is very difficult indeed to know the disease possibilities of the scientific Adam and Eve.

Furthermore, modern science cannot tell us the reason for the cystic fibrosis mutation or how it came to be. Tuberculosis is the most reasonable agent for giving heterozygote carriers a selective advantage in cystic fibrosis, but that doesn’t show how CF started. It only suggests that once cystic fibrosis mutations appeared, they didn’t die out because they provided an advantage to those who had them (as long as you only had one. If both of your CFTR pathways were CF, you died very young).

Let me put something into other words. Modern science cannot, and probably will not ever, show when the first CF mutation came to be or why. I have found a significant time gap in the research where CF existed with no primary agent for its existence. I’ve yet to hear back from a researcher on why that vacuum exists.

What I believe, instead, is that at the moment of the fall of man, when the woman would experience pain in childbirth and the man would have to earn his wages, it affected everything. God may have given these punishments to Adam and Eve, but what also happened is that our very DNA, the core of who we are physically, became an open battlefield. Suddenly changes could be made to the minute pieces of genetic information. This was both good and bad. Good because it allowed humans to adapt to their local environments, for example. Bad, of course, because now cystic fibrosis (et al) was able to develop.

Admittedly, the Bible also doesn’t tell us when the first cystic fibrosis mutation appeared. Neither modern science nor the scriptures are going to be able to say, “Here is evidence of the very first mutation.” The information is lost to history. What the Bible does show is, however, is how the mutations were allowed to occur, and that is because of the fall of mankind through sin.

This is not a closed research project. I will continue this line of thinking over time to develop it further. To keep up with the research, click HERE.