Recently I decided to click one of those (mostly annoying) suggested links proffered to a user while browsing the web. This took me to a short clip taken from the Start Trek television series. It covers a conversation between Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a character named Data, an android officer aboard the space ship. The captain wishes to convince Data to submit to a procedure which would hopefully allow more androids of his caliber to be created, to the greater benefit of humanity.Read More
In this article, I have tried to present the actual mechanism that drives evolution. I have glossed over many scientific arguments and new developments such as epigenetics, but I have written the analogy this way because biology textbooks still teach that natural selection, acting on mutations produced by an unguided process, are responsible for the diversity of life on earth.Read More
My first thought after reading “Old Universe But Young Life?” by Dr. Lynden J. Rogers in the recent issue of Christian Spirituality and Science published by Avondale College was that Mrs. White would be rolling over in her grave if she knew what the school she helped to found in the late 1800s was promoting in its “Christian Spirituality and Science” journal. How can one of our own schools be publishing articles like this that strike as the very basis of the church’s existence? – the very basis of the name “Seventh-day Adventist”? And, how can the Adventist Church continue to be associated with a school that is so willing to publicly thumb its nose that the organized church and its leadership?Read More
In the most recent 2015 issue of Christian Spirituality and Science published by Avondale College (a Seventh-day Adventist institution under the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists) there are three articles, all of which appear to challenge the firm position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the literal nature of the creation week described in Genesis. The authors of these papers suggest that the church should put aside such antiquated 19th century notions and accept or at least tolerate the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of at least a couple billion years or so.Read More
Seventh-day Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson forcefully asserted that life has existed on the Earth for only a few thousand years, not millions of years, as he opened an educators conference in Utah on Friday, and he said teachers who believe otherwise should not call themselves Seventh-day Adventists or work in Church-operated schools.
La Sierra University's student paper asked, “Are we the black sheep?” The theme of the 2013 holiday issue was identity--La Sierra's identity. Criterion editor Jonah Valdez kicked the issue off with a reference to David Read’s article “The failure of the Adventist Accrediting Association." After a brief summary of Read’s arguments, Valdez asked La Sierra students if Read’s critical remarks disturbed or angered them in some way.Read More
On Tuesday night, popular TV show host Bill Nye the Science Guy and biblical creationist Ken Ham (President of the creationist organization Answers in Genesis) squared off in a public debate on the topic of creationism vs. evolution. (As of today, you can watch a full video of the debate here.) I say “squared off,” but in reality, the debaters were actually very cordial, and to their credit, focused on attacking the arguments of the other person rather than resorting to personal insults.Read More
Last week, the board of AAA, chaired by Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, voted to certify that La Sierra University is uniquely Adventist in its identity, and is adequately fulfilling its religious mission. This certification lasts for three years, through 2016. This is an appalling failure on the part of AAA.Read More
La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist-owned educational institution in Riverside, California, received a three-year accreditation through 2016, following a vote by the Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA) board, meeting Wednesday, October 9, in Silver Spring, Maryland.Read More
The Advent Movement was designed to be a cavalry. It was to be fast-moving, hard-hitting, and always on the offensive, taking the three angel's messages to the entire world and calling the remnant out of Babylon. Many of you are like me, you enlisted in this apocalyptic army, summoned by a love for truth and by catching the vision of that great controversy. You responded to the call. And so our spiritual careers are encircled by spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:4). We must fight the good fight and be alert for the enemy is prowling around looking to destroy people (1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8).Read More
Some people certainly seem to have more faith than others. The famed British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking caused a stir once again this week as he made a presentation at the California Institute of Technology.
Individuals anxious to hear him began lining up 12 hours before his lecture was scheduled to begin, the line growing to more than a quarter-mile long. A second auditorium was arranged with a video feed, but still there was not enough room for the throngs that wanted entrance. One man was observed to be offering $1,000 for a ticket, to no avail. A huge jumbotron was set up outside on the lawn, where an estimated 1,000 listeners clambered for a view.
And what did Hawking have to say? The main point of the presentation seemed to be his continued insistence that the universe came into existence without the help of God. He joked about God’s supposed power and omnipresence. He ridiculed contemporary religion’s approach to science, citing Pope John Paul II’s insistence that creation was a holy event, and beyond the scope of observational science. “I was glad not to be thrown into an inquisition,” Hawking joked.
For someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of God, Hawking certainly does bring him into the discussion surprisingly often. As I have read Hawking’s materials, and noted his frequent pejorative references to the idea of God, I’ve been struck with how his conception of God differs so drastically from mine.
To be absolutely frank, I would have to admit that the God that he has rejected, I reject as well. I think if I were to ask him to describe the God that he doesn’t believe in, he would be surprised to learn that a Christian pastor doesn’t believe in that God either. Even in Tuesday’s presentation he poked fun at the idea of an eternally present God with the quip, “What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?”
Unfortunately for Hawkins and many others, their perceptions of God are based upon the imperfect representations that we as Christians have made of him. We claim to be disciples of Jesus, but too often our own spirit and attitudes and ways of treating others are nothing like his.
Through the centuries, traditions and doctrines, sometimes borrowed from pagan philosophies and superstitious deities, have supplanted the Bible’s clear revelation of the character of God, until thinking men and women are led to reject these caricatures, thinking they are rejecting God. But back to Hawking’s theoretical question: Was God whiling away his pre-creation eternity scheming the demise of his detractors or doubters?
Quite to the contrary. If Hawking would only learn about God from the Bible, the written word of God, and from the life of Jesus, the incarnate Word sent to reveal God to mankind, he would not be asking such foolish questions. In fact, the Bible does not present the picture of a God who in the beginning was selfishly scheming to punish those who might doubt or even reject his existence. The God revealed in the Bible foresaw the plight of humanity fallen in sin and proactively planned to save mankind even at a tremendous cost to himself. Rather than being the egocentric God that Hawking’s question presumes, defensive of himself and punitive towards those who don’t appreciate him, the Bible reveals instead a God who unselfishly loved, and unselfishly gave. And who planned to do this if necessary even before the world was created.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)
Referring to Jesus, John the revelator calls him the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8) Not that Jesus actually died before the world was founded, but the decision was made in the heart of God that even should man rebel, God would save mankind at any cost to himself. Rather than scheming the demise of Stephen Hawking (and you and me, for all have sinned and gone contrary to the ways of unselfish love), God was selflessly planning to save mankind at any cost to himself, even to the point of giving his only son to perish in our place (John 3:16).
Does it take faith to believe in such a God? Certainly. But it’s not faith without evidence. There are good reasons to consider the Bible trustworthy, dependable. There is striking evidence in favor of intelligent design. And most of all, the evidence of divine power to work changes in my own heart and in the lives of others strengthens belief in my God and his word. I believe that you and I are here today because a loving God intentionally and intelligently created us (John 1:1-3) and still sustains us (Colossians 1:16, 17).
But it also takes faith to believe in other theories of origins. Hawking’s preferred view of why we are here, as he explained Tuesday evening, involves what’s known as M-theory. It posits that the big bang not only created the universe — it created multiple universes, increasing the odds of a universe being capable of sustaining life. The problem is that the likelihood of an unexplainable event creating multiple universes seems less likely than that of it creating only one. This theory is an admission of the improbability of life coming about on its own through naturalistic means, and in order to increase those odds it assumes even more faith in the accomplishments of the big bang. It’s simply a transference of improbability to an event they make no claim to understand anyway. It’s like they’ve been confronted with the fact that an explosion in a print shop is not likely to form a fully accurate dictionary, and responded with the theory that the explosion must have created many, many dictionaries, increasing the odds of one entry in one of them being accurate.
Some people certainly seem to have more faith than others.
Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership have encouraged me that laymen in the church, especially those alumni with first-hand experience like me, should be actively involved in bringing about change to the crisis at La Sierra University. It is my hope that the following information will enlighten, awaken, and help church leaders and laymen alike play their part in bringing about this much needed change. I will first convey my personal experience as a student at La Sierra University. The following information and corresponding exhibits constitute a factual account of my experience as a student of La Sierra University under the administration of current LSU President Randal Wisbey.
While a student at La Sierra University, my academic freedom and civil rights were repeatedly violated because I exposed the truth about what was being taught in LSU classrooms. I was subjected to multiple unjust disciplinary actions for merely speaking up, stating my concerns, and defending the Adventist doctrine of Biblical Creation.
In February of 2009, I passed out a paper at La Sierra University Church on Alumni weekend describing what was being taught in LSU’s Biology Department. This resulted in a confrontation for which I later apologized. I assumed all was well and registered for classes spring quarter without incident. However, at the beginning of the next school year in September of 2009, the Wisbey administration tried to prevent me from registering for classes by placing my student account on a “Disciplinary Hold.” I was told I would not be allowed to register for classes or attend the University because I had “passed out information” at Church without permission. On September 21, 2009, I wrote a letter to the Discipline Committee asking for the reasons why I was not allowed to attend La Sierra University to be provided to me in writing. (Read more)
This is a letter to Dan Jackson, North American Division president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, written by Louie Bishop's lawyer. [scribd id=134027314 key=key-21719izcc5yg5inucvgh mode=scroll]
First, let me define my terms, and explain clearly what evolution teaches. When I say “evolution,” I do not mean change over time, or even adaptation to new environments. I am referring to the scientific teaching that life came from non-life through random chemical processes, and that all living forms, including humans, evolved by a blind, step-by-step process over vast eons of time. Blind, because the process is unguided. The famous biologist Jerry Coyne had this to say about the philosophical implications of evolution:
Evolution is unique amongst the sciences because it strikes people in the solar plexus of their faith directly. It strikes them at the idea that they are specially created by God, because evolution says you’re not; it says that there’s no special purpose for your life because it’s a naturalistic philosophy; we have no more extrinsic purpose than a squirrel or an armadillo. And it says that morality does not come from God; it is an evolved phenomenon. And those are three things that are really hard for humans to accept, particularly if they come from a religious tradition.
Here, then, is something to ponder: if God does exist and is the Creator, but evolution teaches that we were not created by God, that there is no special purpose to our lives, and that we are not morally responsible, who invented evolution?
One of the most interesting books I’ve read is Roger Morneau’s A Trip Into the Supernatural. After World War II, he was invited to join a secret society of Satan worshippers. After being part of the society for only a few months, God pulled him out, and he was lead to join the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. While he was still part of the society, he had a conversation with the high priest of the Satanists that contained important information regarding the theory of evolution.
Here is the story according to the priest: prior to the 18th century, Satan, through his study of Bible prophecy, came to the conclusion that Daniel 12:4 was about to be fulfilled and that the Industrial Revolution was about to begin.
At the beginning of the 18th century, he called a general council of all of his spirit counselors, and they formulated a three-part plan to take complete control of the human mind throughout the period of change that was soon to come upon the world.
The first part of the plan was to convince the world that he and his demons did not exist. This part of the plan succeeded fairly well. As Michael Schermer put it, “By the 18th century, astronomy replaced astrology, chemistry succeeded alchemy, probability theory dislodged belief in luck and fortune…” This laid the foundation for naturalistic thinking—the idea that God has never, and still does not ever interfere with the world.
The second part of the plan was to gain control of people’s minds through hypnotism. He chose the brilliant German doctor Franz Mesmer to accomplish this task. By the end of Mesmer’s career, hypnosis was a respected tool of the medical profession. Now, television shows and popular songs can hypnotize millions of people at once.
The third part of the plan was to destroy the credibility of the Bible. This was to be accomplished through the introduction of the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley were chosen by Satan to systematize and popularize this doctrine, in part because they had both been hypnotized as children.
One paragraph of the book in particular bears repeating in its entirety:
To my shock and surprise, the priest then claimed that "the spirits consider anyone who teaches the theory of evolution to be a minister of that great religious system, and the individual will receive a special unction from Satan himself. Satan gives him great power to induce spiritual blindness, to convince, and to convert. In fact, he holds such people in such high regard that he assigns a special retinue of angels to accompany him or her all his or her life. It is the greatest honor that Satan can bestow upon a person in the presence of the galaxy."
So where did such an idea originate according to historical sources? While Charles Darwin gets credit for publishing the first fully-formed exposition of the modern theory of evolution, complete with the driving mechanism of natural selection, the seeds of the theory were planted much earlier. Georges-Louis Leclerc and others in the 18th century argued that organisms had changed over time, and that life had been on the earth for much longer than the Biblical chronology allowed.
One of the preeminent thinkers to propose a rudimentary theory of evolution was actually Erasmus Darwin, Charles’ grandfather. Here are excerpts from a chapter of his book The Temple of Nature, published in 1803:
Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl'd Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world; Earths from each sun with quick explosions burst, And second planets issued from the first. Then, whilst the sea at their coeval birth, Surge over surge, involv'd the shoreless earth; Nurs'd by warm sun-beams in primeval caves Organic Life began beneath the waves…
Organic life beneath the shoreless waves Was born and nurs'd in ocean's pearly caves; First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass, Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass; These, as successive generations bloom, New powers acquire and larger limbs assume; Whence countless groups of vegetation spring, And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing…
Thus the tall Oak, the giant of the wood, Which bears Britannia's thunders on the flood; The Whale, unmeasured monster of the main, The lordly Lion, monarch of the plain, The Eagle soaring in the realms of air, Whose eye undazzled drinks the solar glare, Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd, Of language, reason, and reflection proud, With brow erect who scorns this earthly sod, And styles himself the image of his God; Arose from rudiments of form and sense, An embryon point, or microscopic ens!
Piece by piece, the foundation was laid for the acceptance of evolutionary theory on biological grounds. On the geological front, in 1785, James Hutton published his influential work implying a great age to the geological record. In this article, he applied the principle of uniformitarianism (though it wasn’t called that until later) to the earth’s geological history. This was a necessary development for evolutionary theory, because it provided an interpretation of the geological record that suggested that a great deal of time had passed since earth’s formation and the origin of life.
Satan worked so carefully to lay each piece of the groundwork for the theory of evolution that a decade after the publication of On the Origin of Species, evolution had become widely accepted.
Satan’s goal has always been to unite the inhabitants of the earth in rebellion against God. The Satanist priest claimed that accepting the theory of evolution made a person a de facto member of Satan’s kingdom. I am convinced that Satan is overly optimistic about the extent of his kingdom, and that not all the people he claims as his really are (see Ellen White’s comments on the death of Moses, for example). God is merciful and we must never assume that He has given up on a person or does not have a plan for his or her life. Nevertheless, the worldview that accompanies evolution makes some unequivocal claims: God did not create the world in six days, and the creation was not perfect, so the Spirit of God, who inspired the Bible, is a liar. Thus, human reason must be above the clear word of Scripture.
Once human reason is elevated to the place of highest authority in the universe, the consequences described by Jerry Coyne become inescapable. Bereft of any absolute authority, any arbiter of reality, we are forced to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and live a life that has only the feeble, relative meaning we are able to imagine on our own. Our end becomes one of vast nothingness.
The theory of evolution also strips the SDA church of its mission and message, minimizing the consequences of humanity's fall into sin, removing the rationale for remembering the Sabbath day as a memorial of creation, making Jesus’ ministry on this earth of no effect by the outlawing of miracles (such as the resurrection), and ultimately casting doubt on God’s ability to recreate a new, perfect earth.
Many might think that I’m being too hard on evolutionary theory. After all, doesn’t science support it? I have three responses. First, the Word of God is my foundation. The very short section of the Bible that God wrote with His own finger includes this comment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20: 8, 11). Exodus also records the belligerent rebellion of a man who collected sticks on the Sabbath immediately thereafter and was stoned. This should make it exceedingly clear to us that God was referring to literal days.
Second, the theory of evolution retains its status as “mainstream science” only because the media gatekeepers vigilantly attempt to keep any evidence or reasoning that might dethrone evolution out of the sight of the public. Questioning evolution in scientific journals or the mainstream media is absolutely forbidden.
Third, the theory of evolution is not supported by geological or biological evidence. Evolution does not spring from careful scientific investigation. It is, rather, the outcome of assuming naturalism, and coming up with the best possible theory of origins in the absence of a Creator.
What about theistic evolution? In its most basic form, theistic evolution rests on a foundation of methodological naturalism, and does not contradict Darwinian evolution. Methodological naturalism states that God does not interact with the world, and thus, miracles do not happen. The most important miracles in question are the creation of the world by God, the virgin birth, and Christ’s resurrection. The list of forbidden miracles should also include Christ’s second coming, the resurrection of the dead, and the creation of the earth a second time. Very simply, no miracles = no Christianity.
Theistic evolution is an attempt to gain the friendship of the world while avoiding atheism. First, this is scientifically unnecessary. Second, James had some strong words regarding those who advocate friendship with the world: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God“ (James 4:4).
Let us not capitulate to the demands or the deceptions of the devil in any way. We, as a church, will pay for any wavering on this issue in the souls of our children. If we stand firmly for truth, God Himself will fight for us.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) For those who trust in the written record of the Scripture, this verse contains the essence of our belief in the way the world formed. God chose to reveal aspects of creation in His Word that we take at face value because we have faith that what the Bible says is true. Special creation, finished in seven days, cannot be proven empirically because the entire concept revolves around a God bringing forth life and matter, and belief in God always requires faith. Does evolution require belief? One of the psychological advantages employed by evolutionists (including Darwin himself) is to say they base their theories on science and on facts that can be tested and analyzed. They ridicule creationists as ignorant fools trusting in an unconfirmed God. They maintain they can prove everything they say without resorting to belief in the Divine. Is this true, or do they need as much (or more) faith in non-provable assumptions?
In the Beginning For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:9)
According to evolutionists, life began when certain chemicals joined according to the theory of spontaneous generation, in which life arises out of inactive matter. Experiments undertaken in the 1950's to replicate the origins of life are often cited as proof, but they used false environmental conditions (oxygen-free atmosphere; no natural ultraviolet radiation) and still were unsuccessful in generating cell life.(1) Never has life been assembled in the laboratory; thus the entire foundation for evolution is defended as follows:
One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are--as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.(2)
Cells are the basic elements of life, yet the more we learn of them the more complex they appear. When Darwin first proposed his theory he offered this falsification test:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.(3)
Modern research on the structure of cells has revealed an answer to his test. One evolutionist discovered:
As biochemists have begun to examine apparently simple structures like cilia and flagella, they have discovered staggering complexity, with dozens or even hundreds of precisely tailored parts.... As the number of required parts increases, the difficulty of gradually putting the system together skyrockets, and the likelihood of indirect scenarios plummets.(4)
Micro-evolution vs. Macro-evolution
From these extraordinary beginnings life evolved from stage to higher stage until humans finally arrived. But an important distinction must be made that is often forgotten. There are two definitions of evolution that consist of quite different principles. The first can be called micro-evolution and involves changes of color, structure, and behavior caused by external pressures from isolation, climatic change, and other species. The second is macro-evolution and involves the major changes from one class of species to another, such as from fish to amphibians and from reptiles to mammals. This also includes major changes that would result in new families like the development of feline and canine families from some common ancestor. These two very different concepts are often blurred together by evolutionists and misunderstood by creationists. Please note that I am using the original—and correct—definitions for these terms as they were historically understood. Recent attempts have been made by some to change these terms to hide the issues that they expose.
Micro-evolution is occurring all around us in every species of life. Species with extensive ranges show little variety as their gene pool is large and intermingles regularly. But animals and plants on islands or in isolated habitats are different from similar species elsewhere. These differences can be minor (unusual colors; flowers with more stamens), or major (flightless birds; carnivorous caterpillars). In North America, the Mountain Lion is split into populations that no longer connect. Those in Florida have been isolated long enough to be considered as a subspecies that has distinctive behaviors and characteristics from the widespread form found throughout the western states. The two subspecies could still breed together if they ever met now, but if their isolation continues long enough they would eventually be incapable of interbreeding and would thus become separate species. An example of the latter is the two species of Gray Squirrel, Eastern and Western.
Built into all life is the ability to adjust slightly through successive generations to meet the demands of the surroundings they inhabit. Without this there could be no colonization of new areas or survival when unexpected changes occur. It is crucial to note though, that all such changes occur within the strict confines of the same kind of organism. In other words, rattlesnakes develop into different species of rattlesnakes and orchids into different species of orchids. For thousands of years we have bred domestic animals into a bewildering plethora of forms, but never has a dog become anything other than a dog, even though the shapes and personalities nearly defy comparison.
Macro-evolution takes the next step and says that at some point the dog will become something entirely different. It will become a new form of life that will someday change again and eventually be so distinct that no obvious resemblance is detectable between its ancestral form and itself. This is supposed to account for the massive differences between turtles, jellyfish, and humans, and indeed between every life form, since animals and plants come from common ancestors. Supposedly macro-evolution produced everything alive today, but it doesn't seem to be occurring now. It has never been documented in the wild or in the lab.
What mechanism could account for the incredible progression from algae to armadillos? The answer given is natural selection, by which successful adaptation survives and poor adaptation becomes extinct. Evolutionists give natural selection amazing qualities, including a nearly conscious power to propel evolution forward:
Natural selection converts randomness into direction and blind chance into apparent purpose. It operates with the aid of time to produce improvements in the machinery of living, and in the process generates results of a more than astronomical improbability which could have been achieved in no other way.(5)
This places inestimable importance upon natural selection as the key force behind all the variety and specialization of life. Without it evolutionists have no explanation for how things are, so we must examine it carefully.
Every species' offspring has differing traits since no two organisms are identical. If a specific trait helps an individual survive, then it is usually passed on to its offspring. If a trait does the opposite, then an individual has a greater chance of dying and not passing on that trait. As generations proceed the individuals that survive are the ones best suited for that particular habitat. This is especially true when a species is thrust into a new habitat such as landing on an island. Nearly every island in the South Pacific has its own species of gecko, each adapted to survive there. So natural selection can explain micro-evolution. But what about macro-evolution?
If natural selection can produce entirely new life forms, then it should be testable under controlled conditions. But a century of fruit fly studies have not produced anything other than fruit flies with the minor variations of micro-evolution. As for natural conditions, Darwin knew there was trouble when he stated:
There are two or three million species on earth. A sufficient field one might think for observation; but it must be said today that in spite of all the evidence of trained observers, not one change of the species to another is on record.(6)
Since we cannot find living transitional forms, the fossil record is studied to find the links needed between each class because they must be there for macro-evolution to be true. But they are not there. All the fossils found have been members of established classes and the transitional forms needed have not appeared. One fossil reptile was thought to be an answer, but it has more problems than solutions:
(Archaeopteryx) was a small...flying animal with hollow bones and feathers usually described by paleontologists as a dinosaur on the way to becoming a bird. Most ornithologists, however, disagree.(7)
Archaeopteryx is no more a link between reptiles and birds than Pterodactyls (flying, furred reptiles) are links to bats, or Plesiosaurs (swimming, flippered reptiles) are links to dolphins. They share common traits as do many unrelated animals. The search for the "missing links" continues.
There is a theory that macro-evolution is caused by sudden mutations (leading to such humorous conclusions as one day a dinosaur laid an egg and when it hatched, out flew a bird). A prominent evolutionist states:
Obviously...such a process (multiple, simultaneous mutations) has played no part whatever in evolution.(8)
With all these problems, and many more, we ascertain that natural selection could not result in macro-evolution and so the following conclusion is reached (by the same evolutionist):
It might be argued that the theory (of natural selection) is quite unsubstantiated and has status only as a speculation.(9)
Envoy Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. (Hebrews 11:3)
The genius of Darwin was discovering on the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere the principles of micro-evolution. The hubris of Darwin was inventing without evidence the principles of macro-evolution. The duplicity of Darwin was combining the two and calling them both by the blanket term evolution. The grave error of the Church was to oppose everything Darwin said as heresy. Supporters of evolution could then club the church into humiliation with countless examples of micro-evolution in action, and then slip in macro-evolution as the same thing. The church couldn't tell the difference and made claims as inaccurate as the evolutionists', forever damaging their credibility on this issue. Ever since, evolutionists have made the case of science refuting blind faith but the truth is that one form of error was replaced by a different form. To this day, scientists cite examples of micro-evolution adaptation and use them as "proof" of macro-evolution, without ever using those terms.
What we believe we must not pretend to know. Is evolution a belief? Evidence is not proof, as the same bit of evidence can have multiple explanations. Evidence for evolution has always stopped short of proof and is interpretable in a creation framework. Evidence for creation also exists, such as polonium halos in granite,(10) the "mitochondrial Eve,"(11) and the shallow sedimentation of the ocean floor.(12) But creation cannot be proved either. So we are left with two models of the world. Both require faith in different forces, on the one hand God and His controlling hand, and on the other chance and the biochemical predestination of natural selection. The mathematical chances of life existing have been calculated repeatedly and they always show astronomical impossibilities needed. Life's beginnings and its development cause perpetual dilemmas for evolutionists, who have endless theories to explain but no proof to confirm. In essence, evolution has become its own religion in which its disciples trust in miracles contrived by human intellect. And why do they struggle so persistently to maintain an unproved hypothesis?
Because we have a prior commitment to materialism. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.(13)
We are left with the question of what we hold as our authority. Do we believe in the Bible as the written Word of God, or do we place human intellect above it. (See Proverbs 3:5) If the latter, than my opinion is as good as yours or the next person's and eventually we find there are billions of chaotic voices all saying something different. (Welcome to the peace and joy of post-modernism, where 2 plus 2 can equal 5.) There is either one clear Voice or the cacophony of the intelligentsia; either implicit confidence in the vagaries of human reason or complete assurance that God did as He said. Given these options, which worldview really requires more faith?
- Javor, "The Origin of Life", Liberty, Sep./Oct., 1993
- Wald, Scientific American, Aug., 1954
- Darwin, On the Origin of Species
- Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, Free Press, New York, 1996
- Huxley, Evolution in Action, pp. 54-55
- Darwin, Life and Letters, Vol. 3, p. 25
- Behler, Wildlife Conservation, July/Aug., 1993
- Simpson, The Major Features of Evolution, p. 96
- Ibid., pp. 118-119
- Gentry, Creation's Tiny Mystery, Earth Science Associates, 1988
- Science, January 2, 1998
- Nevins, "Evolution: the Ocean Says No!", Ministry, March, 1977
- Lewontin, quoted in Freedom Alert, Summer, 2000
It was April 14, 1912, a moonless, cold night in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Frederick Fleet stared out at the dark horizon from the crow's nest of Titanic, the new, luxurious, state-of-the-art ocean liner of the White Star line. Fleet had come on lookout duty at 10:00 p.m. and was scheduled to go off duty at midnight, in just over 20 minutes. His watch had been uneventful. Fleet and his watch partner, Reginald Lee, had been told to keep an eye out for ice. Despite repeated warnings of icebergs in the area, Titanic raced through the smooth, calm water at 22 ½ knots (about 26 m.p.h.), nearly her top cruising speed. The extraordinary calmness of the sea that night worked against Fleet and Lee, because waves breaking against the base of an iceberg were often the night lookout's first indication of the berg. As Fleet peered ahead into the night, he suddenly noticed a dark shape, even darker than the calm ocean water. Every second, it grew larger and closer. Fleet rang his bell three times to signal danger ahead, and telephoned down to the bridge. “What did you see?” asked the voice on the other end. “Iceberg, right ahead!” shouted Fleet.
First Officer William McMaster Murdoch was in command on the bridge, Titanic's Captain, Edward J. Smith, having gone to bed for the night. Murdoch ordered the helmsman to execute a sharp left turn, and signaled engineering to stop the engines. For several long seconds, Titanic bore down on the iceberg with no apparent change of course, but at the last moment she veered left of the floating mountain. It was too late, however, to avoid contact. The iceberg scraped along Titanic's starboard side for about three hundred feet, punching holes below the waterline. Murdoch then ordered the helmsman to turn right, which enabled the stern-ward two-thirds of Titanic's starboard side to slip past the iceberg without further contact. Then he ordered the 15 bulkhead doors closed, to create 16 “watertight” compartments.
Most passengers experienced the scrape as nothing more than a moderate vibration of the ship; a few went out to play with the ice that had crumbled down onto Titanic's deck. On the bridge, they thought they'd dodged a bullet, but below decks a different story was unfolding. Water was gushing into five of the 16 sealed compartments, the five closest to the bow. Captain Smith consulted the ship's architect, Thomas Andrews, who informed Smith that Titanic was designed to stay afloat with four of the forward watertight compartments flooded, but not five. That the ship would sink was a mathematical certainty. Andrews thought it would sink in perhaps 60 to 90 minutes, but Titanic managed to stay afloat for 2 hours and 40 minutes. There weren't enough lifeboats, and several were launched half full. Of the more than 2,200 souls on board, only 710 survived.
Many experts believe that Will Murdoch's best option would have been to steer directly for the iceberg and ram it. The collision would have fully stopped Titanic in about two seconds, and every person on the ship would have been jarred and tossed forward by the abrupt deceleration. It would have crushed the ship's bow and flooded one or two of the forward watertight compartments; several dozen crew members who were bunked in the bow of the ship would have been killed by the impact or drowned by the flooding, but Titanic would probably have stayed afloat. In 1879, a previous state-of-the-art British ocean liner, SS Arizona, smashed prow first into an iceberg, but did not sink, was able to limp to port, and remained in service of one form or another until 1927.
About nine years prior to the Titanic disaster, Ellen White was grappling with the subtle pantheistic statements and assertions in John Harvey Kellogg's book, The Living Temple. She received a remarkable vision:
Shortly before I sent out the testimonies regarding the efforts of the enemy to undermine the foundation of our faith through the dissemination of seductive theories, I had read an incident about a ship in a fog meeting an iceberg. For several nights I slept but little. I seemed to be bowed down as a cart beneath sheaves. One night a scene was clearly presented before me. A vessel was upon the waters, in a heavy fog. Suddenly the lookout cried, "Iceberg just ahead!" There, towering high above the ship, was a gigantic iceberg. An authoritative voice cried out, "Meet it!" There was not a moment's hesitation. It was a time for instant action. The engineer put on full steam, and the man at the wheel steered the ship straight into the iceberg. With a crash she struck the ice. There was a fearful shock, and the iceberg broke into many pieces, falling with a noise like thunder to the deck. The passengers were violently shaken by the force of the collisions, but no lives were lost. The vessel was injured, but not beyond repair. She rebounded from the contact, trembling from stem to stern, like a living creature. Then she moved forward on her way.
Well I knew the meaning of this representation. I had my orders. I had heard the words, like a voice from our Captain, "Meet it!" I knew what my duty was, and that there was not a moment to lose. The time for decided action had come. I must without delay obey the command, "Meet it!"
That night I was up at one o'clock, writing as fast as my hand could pass over the paper. For the next few days I worked early and late, preparing for our people the instruction given me regarding the errors that were coming in among us.
The pantheistic statements in Living Temple were subtle, and often closely paralleled statements Ellen White had made in answering the deistic argument that God created the world but then left it to fend for itself. Kellogg had drifted into error, but had stayed close enough to Scriptural modes of expression that the brethren were genuinely unsure of whether he had in fact erred.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church today faces a heresy that is not subtle, nor anywhere close to the biblical world view. The heresy is Darwinism, the rejection of the biblical creation doctrine and its replacement with the idea that we evolved by natural processes over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Over the past decade, the church has begun to realize the extent to which this false doctrine has seeped in among us; the faith-science conferences of 2002-2004 were an acknowledgment that many teachers and other thought leaders have embraced some form of Darwinism.
That Darwinism is incompatible with Christianity should be obvious to all. Take away the creation, and every other doctrine tumbles like a line of dominoes. Darwinism makes nonsense of the core Gospel teaching. If there was no perfect creation, there could be no fall into sin; if no Fall, then no explanation for the suffering and death we see around us. If there was no Fall, there is not need of a Redeemer. If there was no first Adam, there is no need of a second Adam to succeed where the first failed. The Biblical view of redemption as reconciliation and ransom from the consequences of Adam’s fall has to be jettisoned. In the place of the story of a ‘Fall’ has come the story of an ascent. “Sin” becomes an outmoded explanatory concept to be replaced by sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.
Darwinism also makes nonsense of the Eschaton. If God was incapable of creating the world in six days, as He said He did, then He is incapable of instantly resurrecting and glorifying the dead of all the ages, and remaking the world. If there was no literal Eden, there can be no Eden restored. In a 2009 sermon, Jan Paulsen said of the resurrection of the dead and the world made new:
All of these belong to the world of miracles. They are displays of God's unfathomable creative power. Those who have problems with the creative powers of God, or a God of creation, they have a problem so huge they don't know what to do with it, because they have no future, they have no --- everything that lies in God's future is miraculous.
Beyond the problems caused to core Gospel and end-time issues, Darwinism destroys the reason for existence of the SDA Church, which is to call Christian believers back to worship on the Biblical Sabbath, the day that God hallowed at the creation. The only universal rationale for keeping the Sabbath is that God created the world in six days and rested on the Sabbath Day. (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11) If that's not true, there's no reason to keep the Sabbath. Without the Sabbath truth, we don't have anything unique or interesting to add to prophetic interpretation; the Sabbath truth is foundational to our interpretation of Bible prophecy, particularly our interpretation of the Three Angels Messages of Revelation 14. Darwinism also fatally undermines the prophetic authority of our founding prophet, who was fully invested in the biblical doctrine of creation, and repeatedly warned of the falsity of evolutionism and long-ages geology.
Taking away the biblical doctrine of creation destroys Christianity as an internally coherent system of doctrines and beliefs. If Seventh-day Adventists compromise on this issue, not only have we lost the only universal rationale for our signature doctrine of Sabbath-keeping, we've given away everything else, as well, every advance in biblical understanding and prophetic interpretation we've made over the denominations that preceded us. We will coast for a few generations on tradition and habit, but we'll soon disappear into the depths.
A century ago on the bridge of Titanic, Will Murdoch's first instinct was to try to avoid a violent collision that would shake up everyone on the ship. But it was too late to steer clear, and trying to skirt the iceberg sealed Titanic's doom. Today, our leaders in the SDA Church seem to want somehow to skirt the looming threat of Darwinism in our ranks, but it is too late. A collision cannot be avoided, and the best thing we can do is to brace for impact, and meet it head on.
A careful look at the probability of Darwinian evolution unequivocally denies the possibility of progress. If God’s works are made manifest in this way, though, how is it that many evolutionists, even those that are good at math, don’t see this as a fatal flaw in their theory? First, they see the action of natural selection as a mechanism that provides them with a loophole. If natural selection is strong enough, according to the theory, it will drive things forward and progress will be inevitable.
There’s a catch, though: the probability calculations show that Darwinian mechanisms cannot produce the proper mutations. Natural selection is simply the process by which those new mutations are fixed in the gene pool. If the necessary new mutations never arise, natural selection has nothing to work with and therefore cannot be the mechanism by which progress is made. (Michael Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution is a must-read for anyone interested in this topic. All of the data ever collected on mutations confirm that the Darwinian processes of mutation and natural selection are subject to the laws of probability.)
Another common objection to the probability hurdle can be demonstrated by the following conundrum: if I multiply out all the statistical probabilities that resulted in the uplift, erosion and current form of Mt. Everest, the existence of the mountain would appear to be a statistical impossibility. This must prove that either statistically impossible phenomena happen regularly, or that statistics can be applied only to events that have not yet happened, right?
This counterargument belies a misunderstanding of the specificity of the arrangement of DNA nucleotides in the cell. The DNA in the cell is more like the form of Mt. Rushmore than Mt. Everest: It means something. If something is complex but not specified, such as the arrangement of blades of grass in my lawn or the placement of the cracks in the rocks that make up the peak of Mt Everest, there is no information present. In other words, when we apply the word “specified” to DNA sequences, we are saying that not just any arrangement of nucleotides will suffice for a given task. It must be a specific arrangement.
One idea kicked around in evolutionary biology is that there are many possible DNA sequences that could potentially get a job done, thereby limiting the specificity required for life to function. This approach doesn’t help, however. Even if there were billions of functional variations of the simplest genome known to science, its development by Darwinian mechanisms would be statistically impossible. A useful analogy is scrabble letters. There may be many ways to use all the letters in the bag to make a meaningful paragraph, but we would be extremely surprised if we dumped the letters out of the bag, and they formed one of those meaningful sequences.
Once the issue of specificity is clarified, Darwinists tend to argue that necessity must play some role in the development of life (1). Necessity, in this context, refers to chemical bonding preferences (2). If you have sodium ions and chloride ions in water, and you boil away all the water, the ions will, by necessity, form table salt. The argument, then, is that the laws that govern chemistry caused living organisms to come together and evolve.
The most basic fallacy in this argument is that chemical bonding preferences create repeating sequences of atoms and therefore cannot create information. Imagine trying to type a message on a computer that only allowed letters to fall in alphabetical order. Written communication would be impossible under such constraints.
Finally, after natural selection has been assigned to its proper place, the role of specificity has been properly understood, and necessity has been deemed unhelpful in information production, the last argument in favor of Darwinism is that science must, under all circumstances and against all odds, adhere to methodological naturalism.
Creationists have often been accused of allowing philosophy to warp their scientific views. When the data are allowed to speak, however, the true dogmatism is revealed. Darwinian evolution—though founded on the negation of God’s action—demands miracle after miracle of incalculable magnitude to succeed.
1. In general, Darwinists deny the action of necessity in evolutionary theory (Michael Shermer, “The Role of Contingency and Necessity in Evolution” in Nature of Nature). I’ve only heard it used in debates as a position of retreat when the idea of the power of natural selection has succumbed and specificity has been correctly understood. 2. Some might argue that I’ve set up a straw man by limiting the argument to chemistry, and that there might be other mechanisms at work on a different level. My reply is that no one has even remotely demonstrated such a mechanism, and conjecture is a poor replacement for data.
Scientific evidence, by itself, will never resolve a worldview dispute. Anyone who claims that scientific evidence proves their worldview right doesn’t understand the nature of evidence or worldviews. A worldview is a network of presuppositions about reality, untested by natural science, and in light of which all experience is interpreted.Read More