The Imago Dei, Evolutionary Dogma, and Human Dignity

“And God created man in his image;

In the image of God He created him;

Male and Female, he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

 

            One of the delights that comes along with my position as Discipleship Director at Rocky Bayou Christian School is that I get to lead 3 chapels per week with different groups of elementary school students.  The setting of our elementary chapels is smaller and more intimate than that of our Academy chapel services, and allows me a lot more one-on-one interactions; our time together is usually one of the highlights of my week.

            About a month ago, I was doing a chapel reflecting on Psalm 128 and the fear of the Lord.  I began by asking students some of the things that made them afraid for the purpose of contrasting worldly fear and the Fear of the Lord.  For most students the responses were fairly typical: spiders, snakes, bats, monsters on TV, having to go to the principal’s office, etc…  Yet, my heart broke when I got to mid-week and I was leading this discussion with the third group of elementary schoolers.  One sixth-grader raised his hand when asked about what he was afraid of and said, “old people.”  That one statement opened up what seemed like the floodgates of similar comments, like “the smell of the places where old people stay, etc…”  My heart was crushed that students from Christian homes in a Christian school would make comments like that.  It also made me aware of how our churches have allowed evolutionary teaching to degrade the teaching of the Imago Dei and thus to redefine, even in our church settings, where human dignity and worth finds its source.  Needless to say we set aside the topic of fear and spent our time talking about the Image of God.

 

The Imago Dei:

 

            The doctrine that man is created in the image of God finds its roots in Genesis 1:26-27.  God, on the sixth day of creation (literal, 24-hour days, thank you), chose to make a creature that would reflect his being, made in his own image, and set into the world to take dominion of it—ruling over the creation as stewards or regents on God’s behalf.  God made this decision within his Triune fullness, for he said, “let us make man in our own image…”  Thus, at the onset, one of the things that we learn is that mankind is made in the image of the fullness of the Godhead—our image does not just represent God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, but in the image of the Triune God, we were made. 

            What, then, does it mean to be in the “image” of someone else?  The Hebrew term that is used in Genesis 1:26-27 to describe God making mankind in his image is ~l,c, (tselem), which refers to that which is made to reflect the image of someone or something else.  This can refer to anything from a statue or an idol to a painting or drawing of another.  In other words, a ~l,c, (tselem) was something that reflected or represented something else.  It is no the original “thing,” whatever that original may have been, and thus was understood to be derivative of the original.  The image is not equal to the original in any way, the image owes its existence to the original, and the image gains any honor that it might have from the original, not from within itself.   It is worth noting that in the Septuagint, the Greek term used to translate ~l,c, (tselem) is ejikw/n (eikon), the term from which we get the English word, “icon,” a word that carries with it many of the same connotations. 

In many ancient cultures, kings would place a symbol or statue of themselves in a public place to represent their authority and their dominion over that particular town or territory.  No human king could be in all places at once, and though the statue was not the king himself, the statue represented the king, reminded the people of the glory of the king, and established that the particular king had authority over the lives of those who lived in that realm.  This very practice is a human example of what God did in creation.  God not only created man and woman, but  he did so for a purpose—so we might glorify him by taking dominion over the creation as his regents (Genesis 1:28-30) and then turn that work into obedient worship (Genesis 2:15-17).  Adam and Eve were given authority over the earth even to the point of naming the creatures (Genesis 2:19-20), a privilege that only belongs to God.  Thus, note, Adam and Eve did not carry with them their own authority, but they acted on behalf of God and in his authority.  Indeed, their sin was an action taken in their own authority (Genesis 3:6-7), and we have paid the penalty for that action, generation after generation, throughout history, and we continue to pay that penalty in this world today.

 

Warped but Not Lost:

            We must note, in recognizing mankind as fallen, that we have not lost the Image of God—had we lost that image, there would be nothing left to redeem.  Instead, the Image of God in us has been bent, twisted, warped, and otherwise mangled.  It is distorted, in some cases, almost beyond recognition.  Not only that, I would suggest that many have sought to further warp and twist the Image of God within themselves through intentional immorality, drug use, and body modification (radical body piercings, tattoos, bodily mutilations, etc…).  It is interesting, when you attend to the various Biblical accounts of demon possession, the primary thing that you see the demons doing is robbing the people of the things that reflect God’s Image—they rob the people of speech, of human contact, and they distort their bodies.  The account of Legion is a typical example of this activity (Mark 5:1-20).  Legion robbed the man he possessed of society and family as he was living in the tombs (Mark 5:3), robbed him of human dialogue as he spent his time howling like an animal (Mark 5:5), and robbed him of a normal physical human appearance as he was cutting himself to pieces with sharp rocks (Mark 5:5). 

            We see people in our own society doing these same things to themselves.  We live in a culture where younger and older generations set themselves at odds with each other, breaking down the unity of the generations that is necessary for a healthy society.  As a result, older generations are not passing down their accumulated wisdom to those who will follow them and younger generations are not seeking to learn from the wiser older generations.  In our culture, we go as far as to glamorize youth, so we have middle-aged men and women who have become obsessed with vanity and pursue a variety of youthful activities (we usually call it a mid-life crisis), rejecting the wisdom of age and maturity for the folly of youth.  We see people not developing their intellect, but instead sitting like zombies before electronic amusements (whether TV or computer games) for forty or more hours a week.  We see youth engaging in drug use, which numbs the mind, and over time, does permanent damage to the intellect that is meant to reflect God’s intellect.  A trend that has been growing in popularity is “cutting,” where people slice on themselves with razor blades, not deep enough to kill, but deep enough to damage their bodies.  Tattoos have become the rage as a form of “personal expression” and some people have been going as far as to have tattoos on their face as well as on the rest of their bodies.  Sexual-reassignment surgery has become more acceptable.  We could go on endlessly, and my purpose is not to decry the ills of our culture, though they are many, but instead to point out that when we pursue these activities, we are doing to ourselves the kinds of things that demons have always sought to do to humanity in the past—in many ways, we are furthering the ends that Satan began at the fall.

           

The Perfect ~l,c,:

            Assuming that the Devil’s goal is to mock God by further bending and warping the Imago Dei within man, then we should not be surprised that one of the works of the Holy Spirit is the restoration of the Imago Dei in those who have been called to God in faith.  We call this process sanctification.  Yet, we must ask what the goal of this sanctification—what the object of the restoration of the Imago Dei—looks like.  For a goal to be a genuine goal, it must not be ambiguous, but must be definite.  With this in mind, Paul reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the ejikw/n (eikon) of God who is unseen (Colossians 1:15).  In other words, one of the aspects of Christ’s redemptive work was to demonstrate to us—in his person—what the goal of our sanctification looks like.  Thus, when Paul speaks of our sanctification, he refers to it as our being made to “share the likeness”—su/mmorfoß (summorphos)—of the ejikw/n (eikon) of the Son (Romans 8:29).  Thus, to set the contrast, all are born into this world after the image of Adam (Genesis 5:3) and after one becomes born again, one is slowly transformed into the image of Christ.  Those who remain in the likeness of Adam stand before God bearing the sin and guilt of Adam; those who are found in the likeness of Christ stand before God bearing the righteousness of Christ.  The image you bear makes all the difference in the world.

 

The Nature of the Imago Dei:

            There is some discussion as to the extent to which the Imago Dei extends within man.  Some would argue that the Imago Dei is limited only to the spiritual/intellectual aspects of a person and then there are others who would argue that the Image of God also extends to man’s physical attributes.  The rationale for the first position submits that man did not come alive until God breathed into him “the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7) thus separating him from the rest of the creatures that God had made.  In addition, this position argues that for mankind to be made into the image of an invisible God, it ought to go without saying that such an image is then contained within the mind and the spirit.  Finally, this position would point to passages like Romans 12:2, where Paul speaks of our sanctification as being guided by the transformation (“metamorphosis”) of our minds, and 1 Peter 1:13, where Peter commends us to “gird up the loins” of our minds.  The strength of this also lies in the diversity of the human race and form and in the fact that the Scriptures reveal almost nothing about the physical form of Jesus while revealing countless insights into his spiritual, moral, and intellectual state.

            The theological ramifications of this first, and predominant, view are many.  To begin with, this view leaves one open to a Greek dualistic division of mind and body.  Also, it denies the unique created beauty of the human body.  If the body is simply an incidental vessel used to house the eternal spirit, what motivation is there to treat the body with dignity so long as the mind is intact?  Such a view has led to Christian asceticism as well as to gluttony amongst believers.  C.S. Lewis develops this idea further in his Chronicles of Narnia and in his Space Trilogy.  In each of these sets of stories, there are creatures of many forms and types, yet all bear the Image of God—in the language of the Space Trilogy, they are all hnau.  Thus, in turn, Azlan can come in the form of a Lion to redeem peoples of various forms and types. 

The great danger of this position lies in the fact that it posits being rational, and not being human, as the qualifier for being an Image Bearer, and this has sweeping social consequences.  What about the person in a vegetative state, is this person no longer in the Image of God because of a lack of brain function?  What of infants and even embryos, do they exhibit sufficient rationality to be declared image bearers?  How do we decide what that mark of “sufficient” rationality is?  Certainly Scripture does not inform us clearly on that matter unless we are to take Jude 10 to imply that as unbelievers act as “unthinking animals,” that only those who are born again believers should be considered Image Bearers.  Does that mean that only believing humans have moral dignity that is intrinsic to their very being?  What if the science-fiction writers are correct and there are races of aliens on different worlds?  What about robots created to simulate human thought?  What of certain animals—certainly some monkeys exhibit more “rationality” than some infants. 

It seems far more theologically and morally consistent to affirm that the Imago Dei is contained within the physical as well as the spiritual/intellectual form of man—our totality being God’s representative upon this world.  God designed our bodies in a particular way, and we look markedly different than any other species on the planet.  God uses human terms to describe himself to us (hands, feet, etc…) and while any theologian worth his salt will point out that this is merely an anthropomorphism, God regularly chooses to use such language to convey meaning when it is not necessary to make his point.  But more importantly, Christ took on flesh not simply to dwell with us in the flesh and to die in the flesh, but to redeem the flesh as well.  And, as a result of that redemption, we will have new, glorified bodies as well in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).  Were the Imago Dei contained only in the intellectual/spiritual aspects of man, what would be the purpose of redeeming the body as well as the spirit?  Thus, for the purposes of this discussion, I suggest it be considered that the Imago Dei rests not only in the mind and spirit of man, but in the flesh as well.

 

The Rise of Darwinism and the Decline of the Imago Dei in Religious Thought:

            We live in an age where doctrine is often considered to be irrelevant to Christian life—a consideration that reflects the woeful lack of understanding as to what doctrine really is and represents, but that is a debate for another day.  More importantly, we live in a culture that is a product of Darwinian teaching in the classroom and that teaches a humanistic and not a Christian worldview.  Sadly, this kind of teaching has a devastating effect on society as a whole, and has even infected Christian churches and Christian schools, as the experience that I shared in my introduction demonstrates.  So, what has happened?

            To understand this, the first thing that one must do is understand the philosophical ramifications that come along with a Darwinistic/naturalistic/humanistic worldview.  To begin with, under an evolutionary model, mankind has risen to a place of prominence in this world simply through a series of genetic mutations brought about by cause and effect—the process that governs all of nature.  It is also assumed that humans are still in the process of evolving, opening the door for a hierarchy within the human race, some people groups being “more evolved” than others.  In the naturalistic model, there is no room for human freedom (libertarian or compatiblist), in fact, there is no will at all—the only thing that there is room for is naturalistic determinism.  In addition, as neither reason nor presuppositions can be adequately explained in a causal world, what we perceive to be thought, willful choices, morality, and meaningful principles is merely an illusion—a figment of our imagination, but then again, imagination itself cannot be accounted for as a result of cause and effect.  Furthermore, naturalism permits no transcendent God upon which ideas and norms find their meaning.  Morality, then (even though it is an illusion), is nothing more than a set of social constraints imposed on the people by the ruling class.

            With no creator to serve and to guide one’s life, the Darwinian worldview leaves one to determine one’s own meaning and purpose.  Thus, if your life is to have meaning and worth, you must create that meaning and worth yourself.  This is a stark contrast to the Christian model, which asserts that our meaning and significance is not self-generated or self-decided, but is given to us by God as bearers of his image.  In other words, the very fact that we are created in the image of God means we have dignity and purpose in our lives.  The answer to the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?” is not left up to us, but is given to us by God, for the answer is that life is given to us so that we might glorify Him with the aim of enjoying Him forever. 

            So, where does that leave us?  Given then, the naturalistic worldview that Darwinism demands, we live in a society where a great many (if not most) people understand the value of their life to be something that they earn by their accomplishments.  What are the societal ramifications of this? 

  1. Abortion is legal and even encouraged in certain segments of our culture.  In addition, many doctors even counsel parents to have selective abortions for high risk pregnancies, multiples pregnancies, and pregnancies where the child has a probability of being born with severe physical or mental disorders.
  2. Partial-Birth Abortion, which is nothing short of infanticide concurrent with delivery, is promoted as an ethically viable action in certain segments of our society.
  3. Children with disabilities are often mainstreamed in school systems and do not receive the specialized attention that they need to master skills.
  4. The poor and homeless are considered second-class citizens and rarely receive the legal and societal support necessary to become self-supporting.
  5. Elderly are often placed in care homes where adequate care is not given.  Elderly in such homes often go unvisited by family. Neglect and abuse of said patients is also commonplace.
  6. Euthanasia is considered a “humane” option for the elderly and severely disabled by some segments of our culture.

The list could go on, but the point is clear: if you don’t have a clear sense that your dignity comes from the fact that you bear God’s image, your view of human worth will be based on what the person produces, not upon whose image that they bear.  Thus, when the value of life is based on production, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, etc… all become reasonable options in society.  At the same time, when you hold to a clear articulation of the doctrine of the Imago Dei, a person has dignity regardless of what they are capable of producing; hence the newest embryo and the most decrepit individual have dignity and worth, for they both bear the image of the divine creator.

 

Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed

            This is a documentary movie that is soon to arrive in cinemas that is designed to expose the way that Darwinistic scientists have been black-listing scientists who would suggest that a designer guided the development of life on earth, not random chance mutations.  The purpose of this movie is not to set forth an argument for Biblical creation nor is it designed to argue for the doctrine of the Imago Dei.  Instead, its purpose is to expose the censorship that is taking place against those in what is called the “Intelligent Design” movement.  To this end, one of the things that the movie brings out is the serious danger to social institutions and human worth that comes from a Darwinian naturalistic worldview.  In particular, the genocides of the 20th century are brought out as a result of consistent naturalistic thought (one race is further developed than another).  This line of reasoning does underline the importance of the doctrine of the Imago Dei, and for that, this movie promises to have great value.  The Christian must be warned, though, that if he expects to see an argument for a Biblical model of creation in six-literal days, he will be sorely disappointed.  Theologically, Intelligent Design is a contemporary version of Natural Theology from previous generations, and while Natural Theology can and does clearly point to the existence of a God, the best description of God that Natural Theology can arrive at is the description of the God of Deism.  Without the Bible, you cannot know the God of the Bible, hence proponents of natural design hail from seemingly every religious background.

 

Final Thoughts:

            We are left asking the question, “What does this doctrine of the Imago Dei mean for me?”  What it means is that first, we must recognize the human dignity that is in others—regardless of their age, their development, their circumstances, or their accomplishments.  We have dignity because we are created in God’s image—from the embryo to the grave (and even in the grave, in terms of the dignity with which we honor the dead).  Secondly, we need to help others understand that they have dignity because they bear the image of God.  Largely this is taught by the way we treat others, particularly those who have nothing in this world.  When we treat the homeless beggar with dignity and respect, that will go a long way to teach him that he has some genuine value in this world.  And thirdly, we who understand that humans bear the image of God, must work to protect the dignity of others.  This third element should lead us to social actions that will abolish institutions and practices that rob people of the dignity that is theirs because they are created in God’s image.

 

10 Comments

  1. Nimravid

    Piffle. I think the evidence shows the theory of evolution to be true, and I’m not scared of old people. Children are quite capable of thinking insensitive thoughts without evil Evolution influencing them a bit.

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  2. preacherwin

    In law, there is a principle called “corpus delicti,” literally, “the body of the offense.” In other words, to prove someone guilty of a crime, objective proof that a crime has been committed must be produced by the prosecution. The scientific method is supposed to be based on this same concept in that the theories that a scientist holds to must be supported by evidence or those theories must be thrown out.

    Here is the point, the evidence does not point to the Darwinian evolutionary model. The fossil records do not support it, the structure of DNA does not support it, the complexity of the cell does not support it, carbon dating does not support it, the astrophysical model does not support it, and common sense does not support it-design implies a designer. So the point is, it does not matter what you think, what matters is what the evidence supports-and the evidence does not support your model of the universe. You can think that gasoline won’t blow up if you put a lit match to it all you want as long as you don’t ever do the experiments and don’t ever look at the evidence, but that does not change the fact that the gasoline will never the less blow up in your face.

    Neo-Darwinianism is humanistic dogma designed to provide a model of understanding the universe without the acceptance of a God. The evidence breaks down, though, and falls apart under scrutiny.

    While I am glad that your evolutionary views have not led you to be scared of old people, but I promise you that you don’t honor and treasure your elders as much as you ought, were you to recognize that these elders bear the image of a loving, creator God-the God who reveals himself in the Scriptures of the Bible. And yes, children are capable of being insensitive on their own-that is the effect of original sin. The point that I am making is that the churches have allowed the evolutionary model of production-based human value supplant the teaching of the Biblical doctrine of the Imago Dei, thus the natural tendency toward insensitive and sinful thoughts toward others is not checked by the truth of God’s word and instead is reinforced.

    Sir, you are the one guilty of nonsense, not I.

    Respectfully,

    Win

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  3. Nimravid

    “Here is the point, the evidence does not point to the Darwinian evolutionary model. The fossil records do not support it, the structure of DNA does not support it, the complexity of the cell does not support it, carbon dating does not support it, the astrophysical model does not support it, and common sense does not support it-design implies a designer.”

    Piffle again. Aren’t you a little outside your area of expertise? Do you have multiple degrees in paleontology, molecular biology, physics, and astronomy? It’s amazing how everyone in every one of those fields is so wrong, yet you know the answer! You must be at least twice as smart as Einstein.

    Levity aside, my blog provides multiple examples of evidence for evolution and an ancient earth. Note that there is no alternative presented by your creationist cohort, because the data cannot be fit into a young earth model no matter how it is folded, spindled, and mutilated. Instead, the evidence is ignored. For instance, you will never in your lifetime receive a reasonable explanation for the millions of reptile tracks preserved in Permian strata from creationists. They are at sea because they think that strata was laid down underwater during the Flood, and thus the making and preservation of these tracks should have been impossible.

    “While I am glad that your evolutionary views have not led you to be scared of old people, but I promise you that you don’t honor and treasure your elders as much as you ought, were you to recognize that these elders bear the image of a loving, creator God-the God who reveals himself in the Scriptures of the Bible.”

    Piffle again! I love my grandmothers just as much now that I do not believe in God as I did when I did believe in God, and my feelings for humanity in general have not changed as well, your sanctimony notwithstanding.

    It’s a pathetic excuse for a human who needs the belief in some supernatural entity to motivate him to love others.

    Oh, and this is more horse manure:

    “It is also assumed that humans are still in the process of evolving, opening the door for a hierarchy within the human race, some people groups being “more evolved” than others.”

    Talk about a basic misunderstanding of evolution. Would you consider some Europeans “more evolved” than other humans because they possess a CCR5 mutation that gives resistance to smallpox and HIV? The continuing process of evolution does not make some portion of a population “better” or more inherently valuable than the rest of the population. This is a straw man.

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  4. preacherwin

    No, I do not have multiple degrees, though I do read widely–both secular and Creation-science materials, technical and non-technical writings. I cut my scientific teeth on the secular non-fiction writings of Asimov, Hawking, Riordan, and Gould, so I am not arguing from ignorance, though I grant that I did not do my graduate work in the sciences as you are doing–God led me down a different path. My expertise is theology and philosophy, but not unlike you, I write on a variety of subjects that cross the path of my expertise. And this subject does cross my realm of expertise, particularly in the realm of the theological and philosophical ramifications of the views folks in your realm propose. And whether you like it or not, your views have philosophical and social consequences that are destructive to society, to morality, and to culture.

    In terms of specifics, you mention for example, the many reptile tracks that were laid down, as you propose, during the Permian era when water levels are suggested to have been lower due to tectonic forces that were shifting the continental plates, forming the continental log jam that is often referred to as Pangea. Thus, as the continents split over the following ages and as glaciers retracted, the seas rose and later covered the already preserved tracks.

    How about an alternate solution? Prior to the flood of Noah, the continents were fused together as one land mass. During Noah’s flood, recorded in Genesis 6-11, God’s judgment caused terrible tectonic activity. Massive volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, geysers of super-heated water from the Moho layer, and torrential rains not only covered the earth, but caused massive continental plate movement. The landscape of the earth would have been radically changed as a result of this activity–some land that was once dry was now submerged and parts of continental plates which were underwater were raised to surface level–some even colliding together forming mountainous sections between the plate joints. Thus, land animals (in your specific case, reptiles) which had left tracks and said tracks preserved, were buried, and some underwater.

    You know, the interesting thing is that you will reject my argument precisely because I am speculating on what could have happened. Yet, the position that you articulate is just as great a speculation as well. You propose an answer based on a worldview that says the universe developed slowly over millions of years, and thus, you seek to describe an answer that fits your presuppositions. My presupposition is that we live in a world that was created by God and that God tells us that he created over 7 days, not millions of years. Thus, I arrive at a different solution to the problem.

    But this is neutral territory. It is your turn to provide a reasonable explanation for your view. How is it that fossils often are grouped together in mass graves and in many of these areas, for example, the fossilized trees are stripped of their bark and all lying in the same direction, and while we are at it, how fossilized evidence has been found with undigested organic material in its stomach or blood cells still preserved in the fossil. This does not make sense according to your model, but it makes perfect sense if these were deposited there during Noah’s flood.

    Oh, and don’t accuse me of setting up a straw man, this is the evidence that is out there. In turn, you are guilty of the error of changing definitions for your words, for your mentioning of CCR5 mutation to provide resistance to smallpox and HIV is not evolution at all but adaptation. You are mixing micro-evolution with macro-evolution. For your position to be carry any weight, you must provide examples of where micro-evolution (adaptation) leads to macro-evolution (true Darwinian evolution). Yet you cannot document even one example of this taking place because it hasn’t, nor are their intermediate forms found in the fossil records.

    Okay, lets bring this back to where I started and where you challenged me, because this is the more important point as far as I am concerned, for my article raises the question of ramifications, not the question of evolution itself.

    Your challenge is that you love your grandmother as an atheist just as much as a believer loves his or her grandmother. It is wonderful that you love your grandmother–you ought to. But what about someone else’s grandmother? What about the decrepit lady that you might see on the way to school, going down the street pushing her shopping cart filled with all of her worldly possessions–do you honor her as much as you honor your own grandmother? I would argue that you probably don’t, and please don’t take that as a personal slight–most people wouldn’t. But why is this? Because we are defining the worth and dignity of another human being in terms of what that person means to us. Taken to its logical end, this mindset leads to racism and elitism within people groups. The Bible presents a very different picture, though. That old lady–whoever she might be–bears God’s image and thus has inalienable dignity that is given to her by her creator. The evolutionary mindset does not bring you to that conclusion–it cannot. If we evolved, the only source for our own dignity is in ourselves, in our family, or in our specific people group. That is not only relativistic, but leaves the door wide open to a host of errors and sins.

    Respectfully,

    Win

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  5. Nimravid

    “And whether you like it or not, your views have philosophical and social consequences that are destructive to society, to morality, and to culture.”

    Did you ever look at Hume? A scientific theory cannot have consequences for human behavior, that is irrational.

    “How about an alternate solution? Prior to the flood of Noah, the continents were fused together as one land mass. During Noah’s flood, recorded in Genesis 6-11, God’s judgment caused terrible tectonic activity. Massive volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, geysers of super-heated water from the Moho layer, and torrential rains not only covered the earth, but caused massive continental plate movement. The landscape of the earth would have been radically changed as a result of this activity–some land that was once dry was now submerged and parts of continental plates which were underwater were raised to surface level–some even colliding together forming mountainous sections between the plate joints. Thus, land animals (in your specific case, reptiles) which had left tracks and said tracks preserved, were buried, and some underwater.”

    See, now this is something susceptible to scientific examination. First of all, is it possible to move the continents to their various positions in a span of some handful of years. No. Major earthquakes result from movement at faults of a handful of meters. Your explanation requires the continents go cruising over thousands of kilometers. That cataclysm would be fatal to all life on earth–you would have thousands of square kilometers of liquid magma exposed to seawater, heating it to boiling and saturating the atmosphere with boiling-hot steam. Everything on the planet would be either boiled or poached.

    Secondly, you have multiple problems with this strata. First of all, most creationists say that all fossiliferous strata were laid down during the Flood, meaning that these strata could never have been above water. Your scenario requires these strata be deposited above water before the Flood.

    There’s a major problem with your explanatory framework when no one who thinks it correct can come up with a consistent explanation for when various strata were laid down.

    The second problem is that these strata are meters thick and preserve footprints in many layers. Since you think that this was laid down before the Flood, that requires a long time period of millions of years to lay down the repeated layers of strata. And why only reptile tracks? No bird tracks? If birds were there at the time, why weren’t seagulls all over the coast of the Germanic basin like they are on every other coast? Again, problems for the young-earth viewpoint.

    “But this is neutral territory. It is your turn to provide a reasonable explanation for your view. How is it that fossils often are grouped together in mass graves and in many of these areas, for example, the fossilized trees are stripped of their bark and all lying in the same direction, and while we are at it, how fossilized evidence has been found with undigested organic material in its stomach or blood cells still preserved in the fossil. This does not make sense according to your model, but it makes perfect sense if these were deposited there during Noah’s flood.”

    Cherry-picking evidence does not a proof make. Obviously some strata were laid down in local catastrophes, if you’ll notice in my reptile footprint article there are traces of scores of earthquakes and tsunamis preserved in the strata–interspersed with undisturbed strata, indicating peaceful conditions punctuated by these local disasters. Geologists do not deny that volcanoes, floods, meteor strikes, etc. have occurred in the past, but the evidence shows that these events were spread over the whole of the planet’s history over billions of years, not in one span of several months (that would have sucked, life would have been eradicated).

    “In turn, you are guilty of the error of changing definitions for your words, for your mentioning of CCR5 mutation to provide resistance to smallpox and HIV is not evolution at all but adaptation.”

    If you’re going to make up a definition, don’t scold me for using the typical definitions if you didn’t inform me first. Evolution is the change of frequency of alleles in a population, CCR5 mutation spreading definitely is mutation.

    Regarding micro/macro, you’re probably not using the real definition of those either. Do you consider all cats to be descended from an ancestral cat kind? Congrats, you believe in macroevolution. Macroevolution as the way it’s generally used means speciation, and creationists accept speciation.

    If you want to see major phenotypical changes going from one lineage to another, please see bird evolution, where we can see feathered dinosaurs (with multiple stages of feather evolution) and a bird so structurally similar to dinosaurs one fossil without the feathers was misdiagnosed as a dinosaur for years.

    “It is wonderful that you love your grandmother–you ought to. But what about someone else’s grandmother?”

    Oh please. You must not know many agnostics. People who don’t believe in God do care about people too. I care just as much about others as any handful of Christians you’d care to grab. In fact, I’m sure I come higher on the scale of caring than some Christians (go to certain places and you’ll find a heck of a lot of racists), and I’m sure there are many non-Christians that fall higher on the scale than all of us.

    “Taken to its logical end, this mindset leads to racism and elitism within people groups.”

    You mean elitism like thinking that people outside your group are so different from you that they can’t possibly value others in the same way people from your group value others? We don’t need a rationale for parochialism, it’s innate. Fortunately altruistic behavior is innate as well, and hopefully we can make that tendency win out in the end.

    Like

  6. preacherwin

    Indeed, I have read David Hume, have you not read CS Lewis? For Hume and the other Philosophical Idealists to posit that scientific theories do not have consequences within human behavior is ludicrous-just look at human history and it it rife with examples that speak the just the opposite. Hume was also wrong to suggest that all we can know is that which we can perceive–that the mind was nothing more than a collection of thoughts which are perceived. Yet this very statement is a result of inference-something that cannot be perceived (only the ideas that flow from the inference can be perceived). Likewise presuppositions cannot be perceived, only the effects of those presuppositions upon our thoughts may be perceived. Yet it was Hume’s presupposition that nothing outside of nature existed that shaped his inference about the mind and ideas. Likewise, it is this same presupposition, one that divorces idea from consequence that caused him, and it appears, you as well, to reject the moral consequences of scientific theory. It is this mindset that leads one to be able to justify moral travesties for the sake of scientific advancement.

    “See, now this is something susceptible to scientific examination. First of all, is it possible to move the continents to their various positions in a span of some handful of years. No. Major earthquakes result from movement at faults of a handful of meters. Your explanation requires the continents go cruising over thousands of kilometers. That cataclysm would be fatal to all life on earth–you would have thousands of square kilometers of liquid magma exposed to seawater, heating it to boiling and saturating the atmosphere with boiling-hot steam. Everything on the planet would be either boiled or poached.

    Secondly, you have multiple problems with this strata. First of all, most creationists say that all fossiliferous strata were laid down during the Flood, meaning that these strata could never have been above water. Your scenario requires these strata be deposited above water before the Flood.

    There’s a major problem with your explanatory framework when no one who thinks it correct can come up with a consistent explanation for when various strata were laid down.

    The second problem is that these strata are meters thick and preserve footprints in many layers. Since you think that this was laid down before the Flood, that requires a long time period of millions of years to lay down the repeated layers of strata. And why only reptile tracks? No bird tracks? If birds were there at the time, why weren’t seagulls all over the coast of the Germanic basin like they are on every other coast? Again, problems for the young-earth viewpoint. ”

    First of all, I don’t deny that you have had more training in the language of this area of science than I–it is evident from the articles on your blog, and I have enjoyed reading them, though some of the technical terms have been a stretch. Yet, your training has been from a particular presuppositional perspective. Part of that perspective is the belief that things always have been the same as they are now in terms of how things form, change, and interact. My presuppositional view is not at all uncomfortable with the position that while things have largely continued the same as they are today since the flood of Noah, that things were very different prior to the flood, hence the boiling of the entire planet as you describe may very well not be a necessity as part of the model.

    At the same time, I agree with everything you said. Absolutely, there would have been massive tectonic activity–earthquakes, magma, volcanic eruptions, etc… unlike anything we have seen since–activity so great that it would have changed the dynamics of the structure of the planet itself–yet guided by the hand of a God who was preserving his world in spite of the effects of the fall. And no, I am not afraid to pull out “the God card” in discussions like this. I am not a deist, I am a Biblical Christian and the Bible speaks of a God who is quite active in providentially ordering all things–even through direct interposition. Jesus turned water into wine–something that was very young, yet would have looked very old to all empirical models–there is no reason that God the Father would not have done the same at the time of creation and/or Noah.

    Indeed, there are no bird tracks along with the reptile tracks that you mention. This raises the philosophical problem of how I could be right that all sorts of critters were walking around at this time. Yet, this seems to raise the same philosophical dilemma for you as well. During the Permian times, am I not correct in asserting that there were also amphibians like the lobe-fin rhipidistian and other early amphibious tetrapods. Your critique of my model critiques your own as well, for even you ought to expect these footprints along with fossilized insects as well.

    “”But this is neutral territory. It is your turn to provide a reasonable explanation for your view. How is it that fossils often are grouped together in mass graves and in many of these areas, for example, the fossilized trees are stripped of their bark and all lying in the same direction, and while we are at it, how fossilized evidence has been found with undigested organic material in its stomach or blood cells still preserved in the fossil. This does not make sense according to your model, but it makes perfect sense if these were deposited there during Noah’s flood.”

    Cherry-picking evidence does not a proof make. Obviously some strata were laid down in local catastrophes, if you’ll notice in my reptile footprint article there are traces of scores of earthquakes and tsunamis preserved in the strata–interspersed with undisturbed strata, indicating peaceful conditions punctuated by these local disasters. Geologists do not deny that volcanoes, floods, meteor strikes, etc. have occurred in the past, but the evidence shows that these events were spread over the whole of the planet’s history over billions of years, not in one span of several months (that would have sucked, life would have been eradicated). ”

    But I am not cherry picking. Were you to be correct, these would be isolated occurrences, but they are not. We find this kind of thing all over the globe–not to mention high altitude aquatic fossils and underwater silt deposits spread across continents. This much widespread evidence is not consistent with localized events, but is more consistent with a global disaster, like Noah’s flood. Even people like Gould are admitting that there is evidence for global catastrophes, though Gould would never attribute it to a Biblical flood.

    “Regarding micro/macro, you’re probably not using the real definition of those either. Do you consider all cats to be descended from an ancestral cat kind? Congrats, you believe in macroevolution. Macroevolution as the way it’s generally used means speciation, and creationists accept speciation. ”

    No, I am using the terms properly. Macroevolution refers to evolutionary changes that take place on the species level or above. While speciation is considered by most to be a form or macroevolution, only a specific form of speciation–that of cladogenesis–the splitting of one species into two parallel species–is accurately a portion of macroevolution. Thus macroevolution covers exactly what I am rejecting–higher level changes that change one species into another and then creating new families,phyla, and genera.

    Microevolution, speciation or even sub-speciation is that which I have no problem with. You are right, God created various “kinds” of animals (you suggested cat, for example) from which various forms of cats have adapted–same with humans. While there is not a one-to-one correlation between Biblical “kinds” and scientific “species” the similarities seem to be close enough that we can use the language to correlate the concepts. In layman’s terms, this could be called adaptation, and that is what we find, not the macroevolution necessary for a Darwinian model–there are not examples of species change either in the fossil records or in our present experience. In fact, in most circumstances, mutations create negative results, not positive ones like one ought to expect were Darwin correct.

    “If you want to see major phenotypical changes going from one lineage to another, please see bird evolution, where we can see feathered dinosaurs (with multiple stages of feather evolution) and a bird so structurally similar to dinosaurs one fossil without the feathers was misdiagnosed as a dinosaur for years. ”

    The feather development has been debunked by more than one scientist, both by creation scientists and others. Also, the bone and lung structures of these reptiles that purportedly developed into birds is so radically different that one cannot demonstrate the change between the two. You have to do better than that.

    “”Taken to its logical end, this mindset leads to racism and elitism within people groups.”

    You mean elitism like thinking that people outside your group are so different from you that they can’t possibly value others in the same way people from your group value others? We don’t need a rationale for parochialism, it’s innate. Fortunately altruistic behavior is innate as well, and hopefully we can make that tendency win out in the end.”

    Hah, look to the history books. Altruism is anything but innate–self centeredness is innate and history shows that time and time again when you remove the moral restraints of religion from the culture morality, human dignity, and civil order go out the window. Have you ever read any of the first hand reports of the French Revolution? Try reading the account by Gregoire, it will open your eyes to exactly my point.

    Also, a note about “elitism.” You are comparing the worst that Christianity has brought up with the best of what atheism has brought forth. That is an illegitimate analogy. If you are going to compare you need to compare the best with the best, and in terms of altruism and grace, Christians have long since outshone anyone and we didn’t even need to have a catchy slogan or a famous celebrity to lead the charge.

    One more note. You criticize me for criticizing folks like Hume as if I think I am smarter than this person or that. You miss the point once again by assuming that very smart people are incapable of making very big mistakes. There are some very smart people who reject Christian teachings, but that does not make them any the less wrong. You are clearly a very intelligent person as well, but once again, that does not make you any less wrong when you hold to a position that asserts your scientific beliefs have no influence on your morals and world-in-life view. They are intimately connected.

    Respectfully,

    Win

    Like

  7. Nimravid

    Your objection to Hume does not change the fact that it is irrational to draw prescriptive conclusions from descriptions of how the world works (gravity pulls things down, ergo I should shove people off buildings?) Additionally, you make another error–an idea should not be judged based upon possible misuses of it, but by whether it is true. You seem to have a utilitarian approach whereby you say that some people might draw bad conclusions from the theory of evolution, so we should go with creationism instead. ?? If we’re just going by “ends justify the means” I’m sure we can cook up something better than that. After all, Christianity is saddled with considerable baggage in the form of an endorsement and justification of genocide and slavery. If truth is beside the point we can come up with some sort of framework that provides the same benefits you see from Christianity without these inconsistencies.

    I’m sure you can see the use of this with your focus upon the value of human life. It rather cheapens the value of human life when your religious history includes genocide and slavery and allows things such as beating a slave within an inch of his life providing he doesn’t die soon after (Ex. 21:20-21) or forcible marriage of POWs after the generously allotted period of one month to mourn their family (Deut. 21:11-13).

    “though some of the technical terms have been a stretch.”

    I’m trying to keep a glossary page to define these things, so if you run across something you think should be included please mention it in the comments.

    “During the Permian times, am I not correct in asserting that there were also amphibians like the lobe-fin rhipidistian and other early amphibious tetrapods. Your critique of my model critiques your own as well, for even you ought to expect these footprints along with fossilized insects as well.”

    We do have additional footprints, but the two examples I covered in the most detail are the most common. I think I mentioned that the reptiles hunted crustaceans, and we have fossils of likely prey that lived at that time.

    The reptiles were most concentrated there because these were salt flats along the coast of a salty sea. Amphibians don’t do so well with salt. I mentioned in the beginning marine trackways are rare and most we have are freshwater based. This is where we find the amphibians.

    “But I am not cherry picking. Were you to be correct, these would be isolated occurrences, but they are not. We find this kind of thing all over the globe–not to mention high altitude aquatic fossils and underwater silt deposits spread across continents. This much widespread evidence is not consistent with localized events, but is more consistent with a global disaster, like Noah’s flood. Even people like Gould are admitting that there is evidence for global catastrophes, though Gould would never attribute it to a Biblical flood.”

    I think you misread Gould. We have evidence of several global catastrophes, not one, and spread out over hundreds of millions of years (billions if you count the Late Heavy Bombardment). We have more evidence of innumerable local catastrophes. We know these were separated because layers of disturbed sediment alternate with undisturbed sediment.

    For example, I mentioned seismeits, layers of rock with a characteristic distorted pattern that show they were struck by an earthquake while still sediment. Seismeits are layered in between even sediment layers. If these were laid down simultaneously, every layer would be disrupted because one would not have time to lithify and escape seismic disruption before the next got struck by an earthquake while still mud.

    You’ll notice that Germany is not now an inland sea. Its elevation has raised since then. We can measure uplift (for instance areas that were once under glacial ice are experiencing constant uplift since the weight of that ice has been removed, while other areas experience uplift from tectonic activity) and know that it occurs. Uplift can move rocks that were once a seabed to a mountain top. Since we can interpret the fossil distribution to tell a coherent story (such as the story of ingress of water into the Germanic basin culminating over millions of years, and resulting in a central sea with marine fossils, coast with coastal fossils, and extensive sabkha with sabkha dolomite) we can be pretty sure that these events took place over a long period of time rather than in one cataclysmic flooding jumble that just happened to move marine organisms here or there. It’s an amazing coincidence to have the Permian fossils fall out like that in Germany (especially considering most creationists think this strata was deposited in the middle of the Flood).

    “The feather development has been debunked by more than one scientist, both by creation scientists and others. ”

    If you’re talking about Feduccia et al (the handful of scientists “debating” this), his argument was worth consideration ten years ago (before we found any feathered dinosaurs) and has become progressively less and less plausible as we rapidly find more and more fossils. The only reason they keep on at this point is loss of face if they throw in the towel, but that’s gonna happen–I anticipate these types of publications will taper off and vanish without much to-do.

    Feduccia’s latest position is some dinosaurs with filamentous feathers did not have feathers and these are collagen fibers, while other dinosaurs with vaned feathers are not really dinosaurs but secondarily flightless birds. This doesn’t do much for creationists since it still involves just too much evolution! It’s also just plain wrong.

    “Macroevolution refers to evolutionary changes that take place on the species level or above. While speciation is considered by most to be a form or macroevolution, only a specific form of speciation–that of cladogenesis–the splitting of one species into two parallel species–is accurately a portion of macroevolution.”

    If you’ll look closer, you’ll see that it is thought that practically all speciation takes place by cladogenesis as opposed to anagenesis, and that creationists are required to believe cladogenesis is possible if they accept the radiation of an ancestral kind into multiple modern species.

    “Thus macroevolution covers exactly what I am rejecting–higher level changes that change one species into another and then creating new families,phyla, and genera.”

    Interestingly we have the very best support for these high-level changes, since they involved more visible change spread over a longer period of time, producing more opportunities for fossilization of intermediates (fish->tetrapod, dinosaur->bird as two key transitions).

    “Altruism is anything but innate–self centeredness is innate and history shows that time and time again when you remove the moral restraints of religion from the culture morality, human dignity, and civil order go out the window.”

    Cherry-picking again? How about those times that religion catalyzed wars? You’re looking at history through some type of reverse of rose-colored glasses. Humanity always has shown altruism mixed with parochialism, and religions have been utilized as tools to advance both of these goals.

    “You are comparing the worst that Christianity has brought up with the best of what atheism has brought forth.”

    Actually I never mentioned atheism. I was thinking Christianity as opposed to every single other alternative that has ever existed.

    Out of time!

    Like

  8. preacherwin

    Actually, my objection to Hume has nothing to with whether my position is rational or irrational. You simply used Hume as a source to suggest that my position was irrational, and the point that I made was that Hume was wrong in his supposition in this area as well as in others and appealing to him as an authority is not helpful to your argument, but in fact, in many ways is harmful.

    In terms of the question at hand, “does my scientific position influence my ethical and moral worldview,” my answer is still a resounding, “yes, it does.” In fact, I would further add that not only do your scientific presuppositions influence your worldview, by definition, they must. That is part of what it means to be rational. The very concept of rationality assumes that you have developed a set of a-priori arguments which undergird and shape the very way in which you interpret all of the data you receive. Men and women are not born Tabula Rassa, but are predisposed to certain concepts and ideas whether you are aware of them or not. As a naturalist, this is something that you should be very much aware of, for part of your scientific presupposition is that all that we do, from breathing to thinking, is purely a biological process driven by causal relationships. As there is nothing outside of the system which we call “nature,” you must hold that even our thought processes (even this running debate) is explainable and causal by definition. Yet, if there are causes that lead me to do “x” over “y,” and there is nothing outside of my realm of experience to influence decisions one way or another, then my actions as a result of those causes must, by definition, be based on certain genetic coding within my DNA or elsewhere. Of course, that DNA must also be a result of a causal relationship, but that is something that can be discussed later. The point is that you are then, in your own naturalistic view of the universe, filled with presuppositions that influence every area of our lives. Given that you are not able to “read” your own genetic code like one might read the dictionary, many of these presuppositions are ones that you may not be aware of.

    Note that (and this is a rabbit trail, but an important one) in the previous paragraph everything that was stated was stated under the assumption of your naturalistic worldview. Yet, here is the rub: for naturalism to be true, the underlying presuppositions that we have must come from the information contained within our physiology, yet our physiology must be explainable in toto and there must not be any left-overs that fall outside of the nature—it is a closed system by definition. Yet, cause and effect (the necessary driver in a closed system) cannot explain the development of presuppositions. On the naturalistic principle of the survival of the fittest, it is presumed that those character traits that aid in survival were those character traits that became dominant in the various species. Yet our presuppositions do not directly feed into our survival, our sense of moral responsibility oftentimes are counter-productive in terms of survival, and as others before me have pointed out, authentic rational thought—me interacting with you interacting with me—has no meaning in a purely cause and effect universe where everything is determined according to nature.

    Now, from the abstract to the concrete—when you say: “Your objection to Hume does not change the fact that it is irrational to draw prescriptive conclusions from descriptions of how the world works (gravity pulls things down, ergo I should shove people off buildings?)” You are using a non-sequitur argument to set up a straw man. First of all, you are confusing the idea of gravity, a verifiable law of nature, with Darwinianism, a disputed theory. Secondly, you make the huge jump from scientific principle to motive. I am not suggesting that science shapes motives for actions, but that your scientific views shape your presuppositions (moral and ethical included) and then those presuppositions shape the way in which you view the world and the culture and in turn act. Motives then develop after the presuppositions. But lets come back to that.

    Using your analogy about gravity, this is how thinking works. Gravity is the law of nature that describes the observable fact that while on a terrestrial body, when you drop something it falls to the ground. Now, whether you want to follow Einstein and argue that gravity is more or less a result of the geometry of space, or if you want to follow Quantum Physics and argue that the effects of gravity are the result of exchanged gravitons between bodies, or if you want to follow the developing string theory which is developing the argument that the nature of strings brings about the gravitational effects (as well as many other things), that does not change the nature that when I drop a rock from a bridge, it falls to the water below.

    Now, this observation that we call gravity does affect our presuppositions and the way in which we behave. For example, when you want to put a book down, you normally put it on top of a supporting object (a table or desk) and don’t simply let go of it and expect it to be floating in the air when you return. When you climb a ladder to trim branches on a tree, you don’t expect that you can step away from the ladder’s support without falling. I don’t know whether you have children, but this basic understanding that things fall, means that you don’t let them get too close to the edge of a cliff or to the side of a river lest you risk them falling in.

    And here is where the science has shaped your morals. For not only do you keep your children from getting too close, but you feel that others ought to do the same. People legislate rules to keep others from going to close to dangerous edges, lest children fall in. People meet with government officials to petition that railings be put into some of those areas. As soon as this happens, your scientific assumptions have not only shaped your presuppositions as to how the world works, but those presuppositions then have shaped your actions and your moral framework about what is right and what is wrong. As soon as you suggest an “ought” you have just proven the point that I have been making. Consistent naturalism that you are supposing argues that moral distinctions are nothing more than chemical reactions in my grey matter brought about by previous causal chains of events. Yet, if you follow this reasoning to its logical end, there can never be an “ought” for the statement, “you ought to protect children from falling off cliffs” is no more significant or compelling than, “I like steaks on the grill.”

    Now, I have argued from your fairly mundane example of gravity, when you move from that of gravity to that of Darwinian evolution, you have upped the anti a thousand-fold. Now, I know that guilt by association is a form of red herring argument, so I won’t argue from the position that evolution should be rejected because it provided the justification needed for the genocides worked by so many wicked men over the past 100 years and change, but it is fair for me to at least raise the question, “if the worldviews of these men were so shaped by evolutionary thought, what are the presuppositional ideas be that evolutionary theory is instilling into our culture?” It is those ideas, that I argued in my original post, lead to the acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, the neglect of the elderly and homeless, and a degrading of the dignity of human life, for in the evolutionary mindset, your dignity—your worth (both self-perceived and in the eyes of the culture)—is based on what you produce or are capable of producing, and not upon the very fact that you carry within you the image of God.

    Now, does this mean that you all are going to be the next JBS Haldane, Adolph Hitler, Sam Bowers, or Jack Kevorkian? No, by God’s grace, he restrains even unbelievers from being as bad as they could or might be. This is what we refer to as part of “common grace.” The reality is that many naturalists do have a sense of morality and “ought” despite the logical ramifications of their system of thought. Yet, just as Hitler’s extreme view on evolution does not mean that all evolutionists are as wicked as wicked can be, that also does not mean that because you or other evolutionists love your grandmothers and oppose infanticide that your system of thought is validated. You must look at the philosophical ramifications and the way said ramifications are played out in life becomes illustrative of the weaknesses, not pillars of your argument. What I have been bringing out to you is that the way you act is entirely inconsistent with the philosophical presuppositions of the worldview you have. As soon as you say that I “ought” or “ought not” do something, you have entered into a realm which naturalistic evolution cannot offer an explanation for and is dependent on a greater being that is transcendent from the natural world.

    Now, you do raise a fair critique of my own worldview that I would be intellectually dishonest if I did not address. What of the genocide not only worked by the Hebrews as they went into Canaan, but authorized and commanded by God? What I am about to say may not be satisfactory to you and it may not be satisfactory to many Christians, but it is the truth as Scripture presents it. God is Holy and he expects those that bear his image to be Holy as well (Leviticus 19:2-4). That is the bar—that is the standard one must keep if one is to “earn” God’s merit. Of course, none of us is capable of living up to that law, which is why God promised a redeemer who did so for us, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. In turn, those who live in unbelief deserve judgment—the wrath of God poured out eternally upon them as retribution for their sins. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities in the surrounding valley are an excellent example of this. In Leviticus 18, God explains the situation in Canaan in the form of a warning to his own people not to fall into the ways of the people of the land:
    Lev. 18:24 ¶ “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean,
    Lev. 18:25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
    Lev. 18:26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you
    Lev. 18:27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean),
    Lev. 18:28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.
    Lev. 18:29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people.
    Lev. 18:30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” (ESV translation)

    In other words, God was using the Israelites as a tool of judgment and retribution against the Canaanites because the Canaanites had acted so wickedly. God continues his promise in Deuteronomy 30:11-20:
    Deut. 30:11 ¶ “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.
    Deut. 30:12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
    Deut. 30:13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
    Deut. 30:14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
    Deut. 30:15 ¶ “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.
    Deut. 30:16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God* that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
    Deut. 30:17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,
    Deut. 30:18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.
    Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
    Deut. 30:20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (ESV translation)

    God gives a promise of blessing for obedience and judgment for disobedience. At times this will manifest itself temporally, but it will have its ultimate manifestation in eternity. All mankind deserves judgment on the basis of their sin and the sin they have inherited from their fathers back to Adam. God chooses, in his grace, to redeem some by the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, that whosoever would come to him in faith, trusting in Christ as their Lord and Savior, would enjoy eternal blessings standing in the presence of God not in our own sin and lack of righteousness but clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ. That, sir, is the good news in a nutshell. You need not perish with those who place their trust in this world, but may repent of your sins and flee to Christ. And Christ has promised as well that whoever comes to him in genuine faith will not be cast away.

    Now, I need to address a question that I expect you are raising in your mind. Are Christians justified to go on jihad today against all non-Christians as the Hebrews did as they entered into the Promised Land. I would answer, no. Why? If one was justifiable as God’s judgment, how is the other not? The answer lies in God’s command. God commanded his people to enact his hand of judgment against the Canaanites, such a command has not been given to believers. The command we have been given is to share the gospel with folks throughout the world, both at home and abroad. Why has this command changed? Christ is coming again, and when he comes, he will bring with him his angels of judgment and work judgment in its finality against those who have rebelled against him by their actions and rejection. Thus, the gospel is a double-edged sword. To those who believe, it is mercy and grace and eternal life. To those that remain hardened of heart, they pile condemnation upon condemnation upon their own heads. Pick this day whom you will serve.

    Two more points briefly as this is getting long. In terms of feathers versus collagen fibers and Feduccia and his disciples. You begin your critique against their thinking with the presumption that they are wrong because their arguments do not fit into your worldview, never interacting with the question of why they could not be collagen especially in light of bone and lung structure of these creatures. You simply argue against it and suppose that those holding onto the position are trying to save face. If you are going to reject a viable idea (even if it does not fit into your worldview), the burden of proof lies with you to pick their arguments apart piece by piece. I don’t have the background to do that on a scientific level either way, what I know is that there are credible scientists within your realm that have raised quite a few telling questions about the feasibility of Darwinian evolution. Granted, Intelligent Design is a long way from Creation Science, but it still is another critique against your view of origins and not mine.

    Secondly, a clarification: I have no problem with cladogenesis as long as the radiation is downward in terms of the development of sub-species (micro-evolution). What I reject is that variation within a species is capable of producing a new genus (macro-evolution). There are lots of examples of adaptive changes, even within our own race. What there are not examples of is one species of adaptive radiation leading to the development of an entirely new species.

    All for now.

    Win

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