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Recently, my 14-year-old son announced he was leaning toward attending a Christian university, which sounded good to me. But I was troubled by his reason: "I don't want to sit in some biology class in a secular school and be told I descended ...

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Displaying 1–111 of 111 comments

Toby Smyth

December 15, 2013  7:48pm

I do understand that a Christian can accept the theory of evolution as fact without throwing out their belief in the authority of Scripture. However, I find it extremely arrogant (and dangerous) to to say that we should not consider Genesis to be historically accurate because it was written before the "Enlightenment," which seems to be what Carolyn Arends is arguing.

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robert Boe

August 09, 2013  12:27am

Genesis says God made every thing in 6 days .. Genesis also says the sun was created after plants; how could they have survived long ages with no light? Further, we are told birds came before insects (as did plants). If ages occurred how could insect-eaters go without eating for ages?

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JAMES J STEWART

January 16, 2013  2:52pm

I have been a pastor most of my life, and my Dad was a science teacher. Early in our discussions of Genesis and evolution, we realized that science and the Bible approach this issue with differing types of questions. Science addresses questions of what, when, where, and how. The Bible and Genesis primarily address questions of who and why. Scientists tend to be clumsy in their efforts to exegete scriptures and do theology, just as Christians tend to be clumsy in their efforts to glean scientific data from scripture. Theoretical physicists postulate the existence of at least one parallel universe. If indeed the realm of the spirit is a parallel universe, it is not a universe of matter, energy, space, and time. In a sense, Genesis 1:1-2:3 represents the intersection of these two universes. Science is not equipped to explore the realm of the spirit. Is it any wonder that most scientists are skeptical of creationists' efforts?

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THOMAS PECK

January 14, 2013  5:11am

The problem with believing that Genesis 1 & 2 are not literal (i.e. but allegorical or mythical) is that 3 must be mythical since it builds from them and so forth. This is more than a creation story, but the foundation of nearly all Christian theology. Since Christianity claims to be 'True' it would seem odd that God would allow a 'lie' to be its basis.

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Wayne Froese

December 03, 2012  9:11pm

One lie I told myself as a good Anabaptist was that evolution was a world view much like literal Genesis is. I didn't know it was a lie. Eventually I had to confront the science issue. Scientific theories are validated by empirical testing against physical observations. Evolution is a scientific theory unlike my literal Genesis. So where is the empirical evidence? Here is lots: http://www.talkorigins.org/ What about link bones? I had this question too but the question reflects a frame of reference embedded in my assumptions. It assumes that there are directed outcomes, like #1 becoming #2 and you look for #1.5. Instead, know that everything is at version # like 3.1415926... Everything is a link bone. Instead, go to your natural history museum and look at the origin of man. It is a great example of transitions. The best part of all this is that it is a rich, strong gospel that is revealed, not a compromised one. There is nothing to fear from all of God's truth.

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Richard Pheasant

December 03, 2012  9:21am

What I also find disturbing is the suggestion that 'young earth' believers have lost their reasoning. Wayne, you take a very arrogant position by suggesting this - one of course many atheists take. Evolution is a world view - as is creation - it is nor proven, therefore is not empirical. I can also assure you my reasoning is very much intact and I have been reading the case for both sides for many years. Neither do I lose Biology, Chemistry, Geology and so on. Christian creation scientists also have many credible explanations for what we observe in the natural world (and I can assure you it has nothing to do with blaming satan, or believing that satan put the fossils in the ground to confuse Christians - these statements, I agree, only serve to make Christians looks foolish.) Ultimately many in the church have embraced macro-evolution because they have been taught it is a fact and because they do not want to look foolish. Christians simply need to learn more about it.

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Richard Pheasant

December 03, 2012  9:11am

Firstly, where evolution is concerned, there is no empirical data, since you cannot perform it in a lab and prove it (unlike water boiling at 100 deg C etc). Secondly, there is no evidence that evolution across species (macro-evolution) has occurred - go to any natural history museum and ask to see link bones - and there should be thousands - and you won't find one. Neither can you find any ' organism species' that is part way, half way, any way crossing from one species to another - again, if it were true there should be thousands. Macro-evolution is entirely based on species evolving (micro-evolution) which of course occurs, but can equally be explained by organisms doing what they were designed to do...adapt to conditions. Those suggesting that Genesis is referring to spiritual death rather than physical are simply compromising the Gospel. More Christians really needs to start reading some Creation Science books that helpfully reconcile scripture with evidence found so far.

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Wayne Froese

December 02, 2012  11:24pm

Romans 5:14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." Claire, why would the death stop at Moses? "The death" is not a physical reference - it must be something else. The death and the life are the whole message of the Bible but we misunderstand when we read Genesis literally. Jesus said "I am the resurrection AND the life" - two things. "I am the way, the truth, and the life". None of those three items are literal. Jesus' life statements directly refer to the death of Adam. That we now have science which confirms this non literal understanding is just a bonus; people have always known this was not a literal history.

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Claire Guest

December 01, 2012  12:01pm

The NT is clear that death entered the world through Adam's sin. This means there were not deaths for eons before man appeared on the scene. God DOES tell us HOW He created all that exists - He SPOKE it into existence, except for man. And He tells us how He created man. Really, God could just as easily have created everything in six nanoseconds as in six days! It is clear in the context of Scripture that He chose to create it all in six days in order to set a precedent for man to rest on the 7th day of each week. And, yes, those were (and are) 24-hour days. "The evening and the morning were the _____ (first, second, etc) day." Considering all else God has done, including saving the souls of so many of us who were bound for Hell, the account of Creation just as it is written is not difficult for me to accept, at all. Truly, the heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament shows forth His handiwork. GLORY TO GOD!! He is worthy of all praise.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 29, 2012  5:16pm

Roger Mc, you are going to have to figure these things out for yourself in humble prayer to God. The fact is that God planned creation. He is not just the architect of things, but of their outcome (see Isaiah 40-48). There are things that are particularly difficult to understand and nearly impossible when a faithful slave of years of indoctrination. Unless we are courageous enough and intellectually open to explore the nuances of the Word, progress will be slow. I am certain that decades after the flat earth theory was debunked, there were still unyielding hold-outs that refused to accept that the earth was round. Some today dispute that man actually went to the moon. Fortunately you don't fall in those categories. drno0099 at yah. I am open to discussion.

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Wayne Froese

November 29, 2012  5:09pm

What is to fear from accepting evolution's concepts as truth? Nothing I say. It doesn't introduce a problem of evil (I covered this earlier). It still recognizes sin and the old and new covenants. The awesomeness of God's love is even more present. You no longer are the point of creation however. It remains about God. You are not important except that God says you are important to him. It is a bit more of healthy perspective. The narcissism of this age doesn't want to hear it I am sure. You do need to give up science based on a dogmatic position but you do gain Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Astrophysics and many other areas that don't jibe with a young earth. You also get your God-given reason back. But all of these reasons are not the point. Believing items because of how you benefit is perhaps useful at times to your mental health but the best reason to believe things ultimately is because it is true.

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Wayne Froese

November 29, 2012  5:09pm

What I wish to point out is that we don't even have the problem of "how could God's people have been wrong all this time"? (There still is an answer to that question but I point out that addressing it is not required.) God's people have believed in a non-literal interpretation of Genesis even before it was confirmed by science.

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Wayne Froese

November 29, 2012  5:08pm

Finally, I think that we disagree about hermeneutics. (My grades from a Mennonite Brethren institution showed I had some ability anyway.) Genesis is like (and is also different from) a common body of literature that you could call stories of origin. We must ask what would the Hebrew Audience understand this to mean and what in it is relevant to them? Their context was literature that told of the origin of other groups of peoples. Read some - they are interesting in terms of what we learn of God in where they differ from the Genesis account. You don't read Paul's letters and say to yourself "Paul is actually talking to me and he will literally be in the following cities in the near future to see me!" You recognize that these were letters and understand them as addressed to real people. There's all sorts of types of literature in the Scriptures. What I don't see is a modern historian placed in ancient times. I linked to places that showed pre-Christian Jewish thought on Genesis but you dismissed them as leftist.

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Wayne Froese

November 29, 2012  5:08pm

The next point I see you raise is that person X says Y and Z. How can I just believe Y and not believe Z? This is easy. I don't believe person X. If I can verify Y is true (evolution) but I can't verify Z (his dog can do calculus), I choose to only believe Y. Now if you use the "appeal to authority" argument, then person X is a very poor authority. The appeal to authority is a fallacy so we don't use it (don't use it for proof - emotional arguments can be aided though by good name dropping). I also see you also use the "slippery slope" fallacy. If we stop believing in literal Genesis then we will get to the point of rejecting Jesus' resurrection. That really doesn't follow. Here is a good resource for fallacies: http://www.logicalfallacies.info/

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Wayne Froese

November 29, 2012  5:07pm

Roger, I am going to restate your question as "why side with science on evolution but not on miracles". If that isn't exactly what you meant then disregard all of my reply. Science does best when it concerns itself with questions that are disprovable. Otherwise it really isn't science. So in the case where we ask "is evolution true", we have a real scientific question - one that provides for both disprovable and verifiable results. It also provides testable predictions. In both cases, evolution has had unparalleled success. Evolution has quickly... Questions about miracles are not items that fit into science. Science cannot (structurally cannot) disprove that miracles happen. They might reclassify a weeping statue as an effect of condensation but it cannot venture into the area of saying miracles do or do not exist. Same for the existence of God. Atheist scientists can still provide valuable truth in the area of science. It seems self evident that anyone can say something true.

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Roger McKinney

November 29, 2012  12:37pm

Carlos: "That just isn't realistic and God works within the framework of reality." So you agree with atheists that the miracles in the Bible never happened because they violate the laws of physics, so not even the virgin birth or resurrection happened as described in the Bible? Carlos: "Compare the days, the language for each, and the differences." I have, and I see literal 24-hour days. "The 24 hour myth is a myth of our own making." No it is not. It comes from a proper application of the principles of hermeneutics. "To quote Peter, in God's economy a thousand years is no different for a God that works within the framework of eternity than one day..." Sound hermeneutics requires taking the passage in context, which has nothing to do with creation, but refers to skeptics who question Christ's return.

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Roger McKinney

November 29, 2012  12:14pm

Carlos: "The fall was not an accident that caught God by surprise. If the fall was not an accident, then it was intended.?" No. There is an alternative: God created mankind without sin, as the Bible says, good. Adam and Eve rebelled and that caused a change in human nature. In fact, there are suggestions in the Bible that entropy did not exist before the fall of Adam and Eve. God saw man's rebellion and planned around it, but God never intended it. If God intended it then God is the author of evil, which contradicts the Bible.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 29, 2012  4:28am

This article by Arends opens a new window and gives us an opportunity to reassess our views on Genesis. What Arends expresses is something we have been thinking about for many years, but have been afraid to admit. The 24 hour myth is a myth of our own making. My argument has always been that if God just spoke things into being and they sprung up instantly, then what did he do with the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds of each day after he said, for example, let there be light? To quote Peter, in God's economy a thousand years is no different for a God that works within the framework of eternity than one day.And that is not to be taken literally either. However, in the real material world we live in, things take time. I think that with our 21st Century understanding, we can see why the historical record of Genesis and the message of the account was written as it was. That God used poetry and metaphor does not mean the message is less true or historical.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 28, 2012  5:34pm

History is written in many different ways. A sports writer would write history differently than a historian. "He hit his opponent with a solid, explosive right hook that knocked his brains out. The fight was over in a split moment." A historian might say, "He positioned his feet on the mat, bent his knees slightly to maintain his balance, and threw a fast right punch that knocked out the opponent. The fight lasted 19 seconds." Solid, explosive, hook, splattered brains, split moment are metaphors that cannot be taken literally. The repetitive narrative in Genesis supports your claim that when relaying historical information, Middle Easterners "would progress on an issue, return to flesh out details of an earlier subject, then progress some more." That is precisely my point. Compare the days, the language for each, and the differences.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 28, 2012  5:09pm

A bundle of Six 24 hour days is inconsequential. The imagery is intended to categorize the various stages of development of the process of creation. Indisputably, when the account tells us that the earth YIELDED every kind of tree, it can't mean that trees sprouted and grew in 24 hours. That just isn't realistic and God works within the framework of reality. God established rules and laws that govern matter. That includes the process of growth, evaporation, time, space, chemical reactions, and much more. It is evident that God was not in a hurry when He created the earth. God did not build the arc in a day. He did not flood the world in a day. And He didn't complete the work of redemption in one day. In fact, God has taken 6,000 years to consummate His plan. Why not just do it in one day? Wouldn't that have been more efficient? The fact is that aside from questionable language, the events described at each stage (Day), discredit the notion of a 24 hour period for each stage of creation

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 28, 2012  4:51pm

Roger Mc, there is no question but that you are right on most counts. But to specify one thing, man was not the originator of evil, sin, and corruption. When desire grows, the Bible tells us, it produces sin; the act of disobeying and failing to trust God. However,corruption is a natural consequence of creation. Metal rusts, organisms decay, and bad company corrupts good morals. The one and only wise God knew this before He began His work of creation. The fall was not an accident that caught God by surprise. It was a planned event. God's work follows this pattern: God plans, He puts His plan into action by creating exactly what He planned, then He accomplishes His objective. If the fall was not an accident, then it was intended. Clearly then, as reiterated in Isaiah, the advent of evil was not accidental either. What we often fail to notice is that the goodness, justice, and power of God are balanced / controlled by wisdom. For God to end evil, evil had to be manifest.

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Roger McKinney

November 28, 2012  1:56pm

Augustine thought linearly, as did his fellow Romans and Western people today. In the OT, ancient Greece, and throughout much of the world today people, people thought and wrote in a forward moving spiral type pattern: they would progress on an issue, return to flesh out details of an earlier subject, then progress some more. That doesn’t mean the author was writing anything other than history.

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Roger McKinney

November 28, 2012  1:55pm

Carlos: “…man was created for the fall so that Christ could have a body through which to put an end to sin and corruption.” But where did the sin and corruption come from? Either God caused it or mankind did. Carlos: “Clearly, the Bible is replete with metaphors and Genesis is not exempt from them.” No one interprets the entire Bible literally. The principles of hermeneutics force one to distinguish between different styles of writing. However, because the Bible contains some poetry doesn’t mean all of it is poetry. One doesn’t interpret historical passages as one would poetry. Did Moses intend Genesis 1 and 2 as poetry or history? It’s clear from the context that he intended it as history . The inclusion of “there was morning and there was evening, day #” indicate that Moses intended readers to see a 24-hr day. And every other passage in the Bible that references the act of creation takes it to be history and not poetry.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 28, 2012  1:34am

Roger Mc, with respect to the long-standing literal interpretation of Genesis, there is much in the account that cannot be taken literally. Clearly, the Bible is replete with metaphors and Genesis is not exempt from them. The most compelling metaphor in Genesis 1 is that of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. From Revelation, we all know that Christ is the Tree of Life. I am the Vine, He says, and you are the Branches. St. Augustine himself wrote that there is a repetitive sequence to the outline of the 6 days of creation. When placed side by side, you will notice that Day 1 covers the same things as Day 4. Then Day 5 expands on what was covered in Day 2. Finally, Day 3 mentions briefly what is once again revisited in Day 6. That juxtaposition of the days is a convincing argument for rethinking the intransigent stance of a simplistic rendering of a complex thought. The message is not that God created in six 24 hour days, but that only God is the creator.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 28, 2012  1:13am

Roger Mc, I'm not clear on your argument. I don't believe in the evolutionary process you described. My tenet is that God created man with a specific and narrow purpose; a vehicle through which to eradicate corruption and all that that encompasses. The Bible doesn't support the notion that God created man to be one thing and man thwarted God's original intent by sinning. What God has impressed on me is that man was created for the fall so that Christ could have a body through which to put an end to sin and corruption. See Hebrews 10:5, Daniel 9:24, 1 Cor 15:50, 2 Cor 5, Romans 8 and 9 to start with. I know many will reject this simple message, but when Luther nailed the simple message God gave him to the wall, the established church rejected it. We need to pray for a better understanding of Scripture on some issues. I believe we are at a turning point in the history of creation that will carry us to the coming of Christ. Like the Spartans, Roger, we were created to fight (Ephesians 6).

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THE CAPUTO FAMILY

November 27, 2012  5:13am

BTW, i am a scientist. The Bible does not cause us to commit intellectual suicide because we believe the Word of God in its entire, literal statements. There is NO evidence for evolution. Evolution (macro) is a ploy of the devil to eliminate God resulting in what we see today; wide-spread acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, break down of the family, "God" being banned from our schools, public offices and political parties (Democrats). There is however much evidence for a YOUNG EARTH. Check out Ken Hamm or Kent Hovind. This article is irresponsible and misleading. We are to admonish eachother in the faith - be admonished Carolyn. With love...

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THE CAPUTO FAMILY

November 27, 2012  4:23am

Listen, there's only one thing i have to say about this - WRONG! And not afraid to say it. God is not a God of confusion. The Bible plainly states SIX DAYS. And six days it is. The Bible plainly states that all life produces "after their own kind." Not by some bogus evolutionary process. Why do people insist on limiting the power of God. He coulda done it in six milliseconds but has it escaped your notice that we, and the world, have a seven day week. There might be a reason here. DON'T fall prey to what the devil has been trying to do since the beginning, in the garden....get people to DOUBT the word of God. You are NOT doing your children any good by making concessions with the world. If you can't believe the Bible in its veracity at the beginning, then when do you start believing it? And then how can you even believe in its REDEMPTION story? STAND FIRM against the wiles of satan! Take a STAND FOR CHRIST! He did for you...

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Gregory Peterson

November 26, 2012  9:53pm

I don't know what Evangelicals think of it, but I enjoyed "Hebrew myths: the book of Genesis." Authors, Robert Graves, Raphael Patai. Publisher, Cassell, 1964. Of course, a lot of archaeology and research has gone on since then, but I think the core of it is basically sound, though I'm not in a position to state that authoritatively. Genesis One does neatly dispose of the gods, reducing them to a number then vanishing them under God's word. However, the gods' names still echo into our time with the names of the week, such as Monday (Moon's Day, Saturn's Day, Sun's Day etc.) I think that Graves and Patai do point out that maybe "myths" was not quite the right word, myths being the stories of the gods, instead of the story of God. We don't know, and probably can't know, that story. The Bible would seem, at least to me, to be mostly about the story of coming to understand monotheism.

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Gregory Peterson

November 26, 2012  9:36pm

This reminded me of Asa Gray (1810-1888), an evangelical and important botanist who's known as "America's Darwin." It's been decades since I last read a book or two about him...not being a botanist or an historian of science, myself. I see that Gray wrote a chapter titled EVOLUTION AND THEOLOGY (VII) in ESSAYS AND REVIEWS PERTAINING TO DARWINISM (1876). That might be a good place to start if this tidbit of information interests you.

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Roger McKinney

November 26, 2012  11:41am

Wayne and Carlos, I realize it's difficult to respond to every point a person makes, but if I had to choose just one it would be this: why do you accept the opinions of the majority of scientists on Genesis but reject their opinions on the Gospels? Applying your method to the Gospels means that we have to reject the virgin birth and all of Christ's miracles, including his raising Lazarus and his resurrection.

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Roger McKinney

November 26, 2012  11:37am

Wayne:” I am saying that YOU are reading literalness where none was intended by Moses. I gave you evidence why it is not literal history.” You didn’t give evidence; you provided rationalizations for your refusal to use the principles of hermeneutics. The principles of hermeneutics demand that Genesis be read as history that Moses thought was accurate. Wayne: "My view also has a long history, makes sense of the scriptures, is self consistent, and has no problem with science (science from the religious and atheists alike)." Sound hermeneutics and taking Genesis as accurate history has a longer history and makes more sense. Your interpretation contradicts good science (creation science).

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Roger McKinney

November 26, 2012  11:36am

Wayne:”God didn't create us evil but instead has worked to uplift humans who had become moral beings.” So why were we evil, then? We had to be evil or there was no reason for God to want to lift us up. Unless you assume that mankind appeared by accident according to natural selection and God just stumbled upon us. If God had any hand at all in the making of mankind, then he is responsible for our being evil and need for “uplift”. According to theistic evolution, we were animals first, but we don’t consider animals to have morality. Morality is for beings who can choose. Then God told us that the animal traits he had given us were evil and condemned us all to hell.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  11:09am

Thanks Carolyn Arends for an excellent article that takes us a step forward toward a better understanding of Scripture and God's message. Too many Christians fear that there could be a poetic side to the Biblical account of creation, although they shouldn't. We should not put the Bible at odds with science, but we shouldn't fear that by accepting scientific facts we might discredit the Word of God. Clearly, God takes credit for creation and is very protective of that fact. As God has recently expanded my understanding of Scripture, my view of the world, pain, suffering, evil, and our significance in it rests solely on God's purpose for all of creation and mankind. Hebrews tells us that before time began, God prepared a body for Christ to eradicate evil. If that is the case, the human race was designed with the specific purpose of bringing an end to evil. That simple thought gives me a new perspective on life, the meaning of my existence, Christ's suffering and His victory over death.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:37am

My comments start from the bottom posting up. Please read starting with first post - "It is interesting that Christians are becoming more accepting of indisputable scientific realities." Thanks.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:34am

There are no other beings created. There can be no aliens in other worlds if man was created with the specific purpose of ridding all creation from corruption. God rested from creation on the Seventh Day until the battle is done (Hebrews 4:3f). He did not give this task to angels. He gave it to us. We were made lower than the angels, but because Christ entered His creation through us, we became an esteemed spectacle. Once the battle is over, God will resume His creative work.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:33am

Man was not just created as pleasant company for God to stroll with through the Garden. Man was created for the fall so that God could use him to do battle with sin and evil (2 Cor. 5:1-5). So there are at least two levels on which redemption is efficient; it is effective for creation (to include the angels) and it is effective for the instrument of battle, mankind (1 Cor. 15:50). Just because He created us as instruments for battle (Romans 13:12, Ephesians 6:11), an instrument for Christ to inhabit, He did not leave us orphans. He loved us with an everlasting love and has provided a way of escape, that we too might enjoy His eternal bliss in righteousness. Meanwhile, we are destined to suffer as we battle for the eradication of corruption and all evil in the entire universe (2 Timothy 2:3). There are no other beings created. There can be no aliens in other worlds if man was created with the specific purpose of ridding all creation from corruption.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:31am

. The purpose of creation was not to create a righteous race capable of socializing with God. God’s intent was to eradicate corruption, more specifically moral corruption, sin, evil, pain and suffering. To accomplish that God created mankind; soldiers, in a battle against corruption that would provide a “Body” for God Himself to, not just arrest or defeat, but to eradicate evil forever (Hebrews 10:5, Romans 8:20). This Plan was conceived, according to Hebrews 4:3 and 2 Timothy 1:9, before the beginning of time, prior to the creation of angels, the world, or mankind. Because God had to place Himself within His creation to salvage it from the destructive effects of corruption, He designed and created a vessel (Romans 9:16) that would allow Him to function as He is. So God created man, a vessel in His likeness, able to reason, create, socialize, organize, manage, experience emotions, and reflect the image of God in ways that angels could not.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:30am

Likewise, new ideas and a better or different understanding of Scripture are always met with cries of “Heresy” from the modern Christian pulpit. The fact is, however, that God is opening our understanding of old things, just as He did at the different stages of progression in Church history. The creation of the Jews, the liberation of the Jews, rebuilding the Temple, the Cross, the liberation of mankind, the Reformation, and once again we have entered a new stage of development in Christian life and thought. Yes, the message is about Redemption, but redemption at different levels. Over the years the focus has been almost entirely on the redemption of mankind; which is erroneously perceived as a race created to satisfy God’s passion for loyalty and companionship strayed by sin. But contrary to that thought, the Bible clearly teaches that God created the universe to sustain a vehicle, a means, a process through which to abolish corruption, sin, evil (Heb 10:5, 1 Cor 15:50, Dan 9:24).

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 26, 2012  7:27am

It is interesting that Christians are becoming more accepting of indisputable scientific realities. In the 21st Century God is giving us a better understanding of the implications of theological and intellectual intolerance. As the author mentions, there really ought not to be a conflict between the Church and scientific discovery. The Bible, as Billy Graham aptly stated, is a book of Redemption. What we haven’t fully explored is the reason why God created this world, mankind, and a plan of Redemption that predates creation itself. For too long we have advocated contradictory notions of creation by confusing God’s Plan of Salvation with His reaction to an event (the fall), as opposed to His original intent. When Christ stood at the Synagogue and read from Isaiah that God had appointed Him to bring the good news to the captives (Luke 4:16), the Jews rejected Him because the idea contradicted their precise Systematic Theology.

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Wayne Froese

November 25, 2012  7:19pm

"Why not link to a conservative Jewish web site?" I gave instructions how I found my link. I seek to show how the non-literal interpretation is valid and has less issues than the alternative view. My view also has a long history, makes sense of the scriptures, is self consistent, and has no problem with science (science from the religious and atheists alike).

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Wayne Froese

November 25, 2012  6:20pm

" Anyway, Moses was a Jew and he wrote Genesis, so" take a breath and reread. I am sure Moses was an ancient Jew. I am saying that YOU are reading literalness where none was intended by Moses. I gave you evidence why it is not literal history and unfortunately I also speculated on the origin of the literal interpretation which was unnecessary for my argument but something I wanted you to consider.

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Wayne Froese

November 25, 2012  5:53pm

Responsibility for evil in an evolutionary scenario. Let me invoke only some of CS Lewis. In Mere Christianity he observes that the Universe is a dangerous place for humans. The reason is likely a surprise for literal readers of Genesis but a natural consequence of evolution. It isn't about us. All of it was not made for us, not even a bit. We weren't necessary. And eventually when humans leave the scene, it won't stop just for that. All of the evil we do is done by us. The natural disasters are not about us. But in all of this, God loves us. He sent his Son for us. That is amazing. God didn't create us evil but instead has worked to uplift humans who had become moral beings. I don't see a scenario where I need to account for God's role in the presence of evil.

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Roger McKinney

November 25, 2012  5:37pm

Wayne, no you're not honest about my posts and you're not honest about creation science. Good scientists with PhD degrees from top schools have developed the field of creation science for nearly 50 years. You are either totally ignorant of the field or dishonest about it. And why to you link to a liberal web site that doesn't believe the books of Moses are historical? Why not link to a conservative Jewish web site? Anyway, Moses was a Jew and he wrote Genesis, so the idea of the fall of man from innocence is an ancient Jewish concept that predates the Greek philosophers and Christianity. I realize you don't take the book of Genesis as actual history. So why do you accept any of the Bible, including the NT, as historical? The scientists you think have a lock on truth deny the historical nature of the gospels just as you deny it for Genesis.

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Wayne Froese

November 25, 2012  5:13pm

Roger, I am as honest as I can be. I am sure you are too. Meanwhile keep comments like that to yourself; we just disagree. I am not the devil or his advocate here any more than you are.---- For those still reading along, I stand by my statements on "the fall". Google "Jewish thought on the fall of man". You will find http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5999-fall-of-man -- at the top as well as discussions on the doctrine of the fall being predominantly Christian and the ascendant view later. I am not saying that Genesis was written by Roman/Greek authors, just that Christian thoughts are potentially influenced. Instead we see a Jewish interpretation of Genesis that recognizes that at some point humans became moral agents. This is where I make the link with evolution. It also recognizes that at some point we became homo sapiens with that unique conscious ability to debate on internet forums. Next: the problem of evil explained in 1000 characters.

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Roger McKinney

November 25, 2012  1:23pm

Wayne, Moses wrote Genesis long before Greek philosophers were born. The fall of mankind is a Jewish idea that predates most written history. If mankind didn't fall from a state of innocence, then God created mankind evil and God is the source of all evil. That contradicts everything in the NT about God's character. Theistic evolutionists must assume that God created mankind evil, then condemned us to hell for it. Then he sent Jesus to provide a fix for the problem God created. Does any of that make sense?

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Roger McKinney

November 25, 2012  12:58pm

Grace, It would help the discussion if people like you and Wayne would be a little more honest. You debate straw men creationists of your own making, not real creationists. People who follow creation science love science or they wouldn't be involved. It may surprise you to know that evolution is a tiny slice of science. Many good scientists are young earth creationists. Check out creationscience.com for references. You and Wayne do nothing but advertise your ignorance of the works of creation science.

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Wayne Froese

November 24, 2012  7:20pm

Grace, from what I read "The Fall" is only required by a literal interpretation of Genesis. Sin and death are in the Bible but the fall is a construct that Christianity has added to the Scriptures. Perhaps it was the Roman/Greek influence that we all continue to have.

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Grace Duplessis

November 24, 2012  6:32pm

Good article. And a topic that needs to be discussed. I see many Christians who fear that if creation in Genesis isn't the real story, then what else in the Bible is not accurate? And so much in Christianity is based on this particular story; (The fall of man.) It's amazing to me that people are insisting that creationism be taught in science. Or they are pulling their children out of science because they are teaching evolution. Creation has very little to do with science. Do Christians believe in the theory of gravity? Maybe it's the 'intelligent falling design.' Perhaps God is the one pushing things down. Let the theory of evolution be taught in science class and the story of creation taught in religion class.

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Wayne Froese

November 24, 2012  5:53pm

How can young earthers even understand the New Testament's discussion of "the death" if they think it is literal? Genesis is about the initiation of the first covenant. It is the story of the origin of God's people. Just like the flood, it is not a history. It is a common type of origin of a people story from the period. The flood has its secular analogs as well and read together they tell us more about God for how it differs from those not inspired and authoritative. The gospel is about a nonliteral death.

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Wayne Froese

November 24, 2012  5:37pm

" the reality is that no human being actually knows how life began, simply because no one was there when it happened! With saying this, it takes more faith to believe that all life and the creation of the world, planets, stars and universe happened by accident than having behind it all a benign Creator." We can know things about events we didn't attend, (we do this all the time - the resurrection of Jesus is a popular example). Measuring relative amounts of faith required to believe things is fairly hard. Evolution is well demonstrated and God has no spiritual purpose to deceive us with a young Earth. If I have a good reason to read Genesis as something other than a history, then my interpretation requires less mental gymnastics than a young or 6 day creation. I can read all the other 6 day references in Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament as arguments from analogy. The original story doesn't have to mean a literal 6 days.

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Wolf Nelson

November 24, 2012  4:01pm

«I don't want to sit in some biology class in a secular school and be told I descended from apes.». Forst of all his son might not know it but he and every member of the human race are apes. We belong to the family of the great apes and all great apes have indeed a common ancestor. So is his son essentially saying that he refuses to be educated?

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Tim Childs

November 24, 2012  2:41pm

Whichever side of the argument you stand on, be it creationist or evolutionist, or perhaps as we see now a curious mix of the two, the reality is that no human being actually knows how life began, simply because no one was there when it happened! With saying this, it takes more faith to believe that all life and the creation of the world, planets, stars and universe happened by accident than having behind it all a benign Creator. Our faith then does not rest on whether we know or believe how things came into being, our faith should be in Jesus. There are some questions that only in the end God can answer.

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Roger McKinney

November 24, 2012  8:43am

Consider applying the same hermeneutical methods to the resurrection that theistic evolutionists apply to creation: the natural sciences are the sole guide; nothing in our interpretation can contradict what the academy of sciences dictates. What light would physics, the king of natural science, shed on the resurrection? It would say that since no resurrections happen today and resurrections violate the principles of physics then it is unscientific to believe in the resurrection of Christ. The account of the resurrection must be a poetic expression about the apostles retaining the memory of Jesus in their hearts.

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Roger McKinney

November 24, 2012  8:38am

Carolyn doesn't know that God created the universe. She chooses to believe the part that says God did it, but ignores the part that says God did it through a miracle. Why does she think she has the wisdom and skill to separate the true verses of Genesis from the not true, the poetic from the literal? If Geneses is just poetry, then maybe God didn't do any of it and it was all pure accident as the physicists tell us. Those who cling to both evolution and the Bible don't know much about evolution. According to evolutionary scientists, natural processes explain every detail. There is no need to tack on a ghost in the machine. You look as silly to them as they look to us creationists. Accepting God and evolution is nothing but an irrational leap of faith in order to salvage the torn threads of residual superstition.

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Roger McKinney

November 24, 2012  8:31am

Wayne: Roger, your position is that: education is bad..." You should really consider how evil it is to bear false witness. When you don't follow the principles of hermeneutics, you make my posts say things I never wrote nor intended, just as you do with the book of Genesis. The principles of hermeneutics were first written down by Aristotle and refined by many Christian scholars through the centuries. Ignoring them results in bearing false witness. Those who ignore the principles of hermeneutics when interpreting Genesis are bearing false witness against God, for Moses may have penned the book, but God directed him.

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Martin Tampier

November 23, 2012  11:08pm

Sad, sad. You only need to read up on this a little and you will easily see how wrong the author is, even contradicting herself. A great website that goes into all ideas like theistic evolution is www.creation.info. To take up one example from the article: "we must understand what any particular passage meant to its original audience." Well, where does that lead us? Clearly, Moses and Jesus saw the creation account as factual, as can be easily seen from Ex 20:11; 31:17 and Mk 10:6–8. So the 'original audience' is unequivocal on this issue. I wonder, then how the author comes down on such a different position on this question? Second, how does she think 'empirical data' could ever show that information comes out of nothing or that a billion-year long process could be replicated empirically? Empirical data shows that only life begets life. I sometimes wonder why certain articles are deemed worthy of being published here...

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Wayne Froese

November 23, 2012  7:52pm

Continued... Matthew 8:22 NASB But Jesus *said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead." Matthew 22:29-33 NASB But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM , AND THE GOD OF ISAAC , AND THE GOD OF JACOB '? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching. -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died yet Jesus calls them the living. I want you to consider that there is room for us to read Genesis without invoking it as a history where we learn about the start of physical death.

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Wayne Froese

November 23, 2012  7:45pm

People are getting confused by Moses' use of the word "death". God tells Adam that when he eats the forbidden fruit, that day he will die. Soon Adam eats the fruit but he doesn't physically die for years. Did God think that this was no big deal so he just let this death thing slide? No! This death is the whole point of the story. Paul tells us that "the sting of death is sin." Read that again. The sting of death is sin. You must think that I have got those words reversed (find them now). That is because you have been told that things didn't die, eat each other and there were no weeds before the fall. But that idea doesn't come from the Bible. What do you hear in these verses?...continued

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Clyde

November 23, 2012  7:13pm

Thank you. The young earth creationism model not only presumes that earth was created in six 24hr days in 4004BC but that the earth was covered with water for one year in 2348BC--and all mountain ranges and canyons were created after the flood (they would have to be, obviously). Those who spend much of their lives creating these elaborate models ultimately conclude that anyone who teaches standard geology, physics, astronomy, or biology is an agent of satan. And they teach that, so that if a family has one scientist in the family, then a young earth creationist will spend his time calling that scientist satan. It is a lot like saying the "biblical" value of pi is 3. Well, how do you describe irrational number to a normal person? You can't. So the number 3 works pretty well, even the Bible, even if it is technically wrong.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

November 23, 2012  2:37pm

"So far, the only people whom I see trying to make Darwin and Moses into partners are those who no longer accept Moses' account as authoritative." Slanderous lie. No one i making them "partners," we are just letting "Moses" be "Moses." "If God used evolution, then where was God needed?" Silly question. If I use yeast does that mean I am not needed to bake bread? "IF Darwinian evolution explains our existence, then how did death become a part of existence, and why?" Spiritual death came about y man's sin. "Finally, if death, which is an essential part of evolution ("survival of the fittest" includes as a necessary corollary, "death of those least fitted") came because of sin, how did evolution function in the absence of the "sifting mechanism" of death?" There never was an absence of death. Humans were prevented from eating from the 2nd tree.

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Charles Stearns

November 23, 2012  2:09pm

thank you

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DELWYN X CAMPBELL

November 23, 2012  11:59am

So far, the only people whom I see trying to make Darwin and Moses into partners are those who no longer accept Moses' account as authoritative. If God used evolution, then where was God needed? IF Darwinian evolution explains our existence, then how did death become a part of existence, and why? Finally, if death, which is an essential part of evolution ("survival of the fittest" includes as a necessary corollary, "death of those least fitted") came because of sin, how did evolution function in the absence of the "sifting mechanism" of death?

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true creation

November 23, 2012  11:39am

"If you were transported to 1000 BC and had to tell people how God creates each of our bodies in the womb in a way that affirms His authority and gives Him glory, yet was easy to remember and recite, how would you do it? Would you talk about embryogenesis, the blastula, gastrula, development of tissues and organs? Or would you use more poetic, inspirational, beautiful language? Now, if you were transported even earlier, say 3000 BC, and had to tell even more primitive people how God created the universe, Earth, and humanity — knowing that the proces was truly incredibly complex and time consuming, how would you describe it to people who have no concept whatsoever of astronomy, geology, chemistry and biology? Remember, you must do it in a way that they could remember and recite to their children. Would you describe the actual physical processed or use an allegory?" (from http://truecreation.info)

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Paul Bruggink

November 23, 2012  10:49am

Your column is possibly the best summary of the creation evolution issue that I have seen. Well done!! And thank you for having the courage to write it. Hopefully it will inch some Christians in a more constructive direction.

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IVAN ROGERS

November 23, 2012  10:10am

FLAT EARTH? - Pythagoras – (582 B.C.) noted that the altitudes of stars varied at different places on Earth and how ships appeared on the horizon. As a ship returned to port, first its mast tops, then the sails, and finally its hull gradually came into view. Aristotle, who lived 300 years before Christ, observed that Earth cast a round shadow on the moon. When a light is shined on a sphere, it casts the same shadow. The Greeks calculated the general size and shape of Earth. They also created the grid system of latitude and longitude, so that with just two coordinates one can locate any point on Earth. Greek philosophers also concluded that the Earth could only be a sphere because that, in their opinion, was the "most perfect" shape. But the biblical prophet Isaiah who lived 118 years before Pythagoras (700 B.C.) referred to “the circle of the earth” (Isa 40:22). To early Christian observers, it was already a long established fact that Planet Earth was spherical.

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Dave B.

November 23, 2012  9:39am

Excellent article!

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Wayne Froese

November 22, 2012  10:33pm

Roger, I can't find the place in Romans denouncing our higher education system or saying that too much knowledge is bad. It is interesting that systems that wish to exert control over others view knowledge as dangerous and seek to discourage it. Jesus instead needs no such manipulation.

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Wayne Froese

November 22, 2012  10:11pm

Let's look at how science works. People propose ideas and for them to be accepted as a topic in science, they must be testable. Ideology can be proposed as science. Test results are used to validate the hypothesis. It must be testable and reproducible. Scientific thought evolves as less explanatory views are discarded in favor of better ones. Sometimes this process may go off the rail but rarely for very long does an untruth hold sway, especially as one generation replaces the dogma of the last. So we see that sinful atheists and sinful Christians alike may add to science and need not fear the religious beliefs of the other having a permanent influence over science. Fundamentally, science cannot work when it starts by assuming the conclusions. Unfortunately this is where "Creation Science" starts. It is sad too because a literal view is so unnecessary.

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Wayne Froese

November 22, 2012  9:25pm

Roger, your position is that: education is bad, science is driven by personal beliefs and has no mechanism for correction, sinful (others) and fallible people cannot present (God's) truth, evolution is junk science and science as a whole cannot tell us anything because it isn't a person and only people can tell us things. The Bible doesn't ask us to believe any of that and if your Christianity requires it, people will unnecessarily reject the faith because it lacks truth.

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Wayne Froese

November 22, 2012  8:37pm

" Considering all else God has done, including saving the souls of so many of us who were bound for Hell, the account of Creation just as it is written is not difficult for me to accept, at all." I feel that you wish some would take the Bible literally. I must admit the same thing sometimes; Matthew 24:15-16 NASB "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 24:33-34 NASB "so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." It seems that this clearly speaks about the desecration of the Temple, its destruction, an event local to the area and a human generation and it all happened at 70 A.D. at the sack of Jerusalem. At least we have proof all of this happened.

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Roger McKinney

November 22, 2012  8:29pm

PS, It's dishonest to say that science tells us anything. Science cannot speak because it is not human. Only humans can speak and all humans are fallible, therefore scientists can be as fallible as any human. Scientists can be a biased as any person. People who speak of "science" saying something are trying to claim infallibility for scientists. Christians should be aware of this fallacy. Earning a PhD in a natural science does not remove the sin nature from people. Only Christ can restrain the sin nature. In fact, education tends to make people more arrogant against truth and God, just as Paul argues in Romans.

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Roger McKinney

November 22, 2012  8:25pm

Wayne: Instead tell me why I should deny science and reason (both God given) and abandon my reading of Genesis for yours. That's a false dichotomy. Evolution is junk science. It's not a question of science vs the Bible, but of good science vs junk science. And it's a question of history, as I wrote. Natural science can tell us nothing about history. What can the natural sciences tell us about Caesar? Nothing! Only history can tell us about the past. What can natural science tell us about the resurrection? Nothing important. But a lot of natural scientists will claim the resurrection didn't happen because miracles are impossible. Scientism is the ideology that says truth exists only in the natural sciences; and natural science can tell us all we need to know about any other field, whether its theology, philosophy or whatever.

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Samantha Gambon

November 22, 2012  9:37am

I'm not here to argue, just to say thank you. I can tell, from how you speak, that you've researched this pretty thoroughly, as my husband and I have, as well. As college students (and I, majoring in a behavioral science), especially, we've been experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance about this. And, interestingly, I've also adopted the viewpoint of: "I don't know how it happened, I just know God did it." I was just wondering if you could link me to some other sources so that I could read more about the biblical scholars who discuss the Genesis account of creation. Not for proof for myself, but because I really want to explore this further. :)

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Claire Guest

November 22, 2012  3:22am

The NT is clear that death entered the world through Adam's sin. This means there were not deaths for eons before man appeared on the scene. God DOES tell us HOW He created all that exists - He SPOKE it into existence, all except for man. And He tells us how He created man. Really, God could just as easily have created everything in six seconds as in six days! It is clear later on in the Scriptures that He chose to create it all in six days in order to set a precedent for man to rest on the 7th day of each week. And, yes, those were (and are) 24-hour days. "The evening and the morning were the _____ (first, second, etc) day." Considering all else God has done, including saving the souls of so many of us who were bound for Hell, the account of Creation just as it is written is not difficult for me to accept, at all. Truly, the heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament shows forth His handiwork. GLORY TO GOD! He is worthy of all praise.

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Wayne Froese

November 21, 2012  10:07pm

Roger, are you sure that you meant to imply that Carolyn was both deceived by Scientism and reads the Bible as a Post-Enlightenment textbook? That would be quite a trick! I think that would take exactly the type of cognitive dissonance that she pointed out was a problem in some hermeneutics. You see, Scientism, if not used simply pejoratively, might be applied to the Enlightenment but wouldn't typify a specifically post-Enlightenment viewpoint. You needlessly deny science to support a view of the Bible that is unnecessary (and I feel is incorrect). Are all people who disagree with you hypocrites? That seems a strong word for disagreement. A view of your recent posts suggests that many of the nuances of the words you employ have exceeded your reach or that you use them as clumsy clubs. Neither option helps your argument. Instead tell me why I should deny science and reason (both God given) and abandon my reading of Genesis for yours.

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Roger McKinney

November 21, 2012  1:26pm

Carolyn: It requires a hermeneutic more nuanced than reading every genre of the Bible as a postenlightenment textbook. In other words, dishonest. Hermeneutics is the science of honest interpretation. Nuanced hermeneutics is just code for dishonesty. Young people are far more sensitive to such hypocrisy than adults and nothing will cause them to be disgusted with the Bible than such blatant hypocrisy.

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Roger McKinney

November 21, 2012  1:25pm

Carolyn has fallen victim to scientism, not science. Scientism says that the truth exists only in the natural sciences and everything else is just opinion. However, natural science is the least certain path to truth in matters like creation. Reason is a more certain path and revelation the most certain. Creation is not a scientific question. Scientists can only tell us that if the universe evolved then it probably did so according to natural processes we see today. Creation is a historical question and only history can answer how. Genesis is not a book of science, but it does claim to be a book of history. And why does she exclude creation science? Creation science is science as much as evolution is science. Creation science demonstrates the unscientific assumptions and practices of evolutionary science.

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Joell Haugan

November 21, 2012  12:35pm

Carolyn is making a great point. In this day, the biggest stumbling block for our youth (and for seekers in general) is 6000 years old earth theology. Back in my day we argued about this crap and drove people away. The day has come to let the text drive us.. and us not drive the text. Face it Young-earthers... you got duped by dubious interpretation. Mistakes happen. Call it day and move on. The day will come when you'll realize it... (see what I did there... 4 "days" without one of them being a 24 hour day). Yom.

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JAMES J STEWART

November 21, 2012  10:30am

Science seeks to answer questions of what, when, where, and how as it seeks to analyze and interpret matter, energy, space, and time. In contrast, the Christian faith looks to the Bible for answers of who (God) and why. To see creation in terms of all six interrogative adjectives, one has to step back for a broader perspective. Carolyn Arends has done so, as has Billy Graham. I continue to ponder the implications of God's presence in creation. This column is an excellent contribution to that ongoing awe-inspiring struggle.

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K scott Schaeffer

November 20, 2012  6:43pm

What a lot of Christians fail to realize is that a literal reading of the creation account contradicts the traditional creation view of a 6000 year old universe in about a dozen places. I wrote a detailed study of every creation verse in the Bible that explains this and more. You can find it at the biblicalfreedom.com website. I really put a lot of effort into this study, so I really appreciate when people check it out. The whole thing takes an hour or two to read.

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Jim Gustafson

November 20, 2012  2:50pm

I agree that any form of evolution that seeks to interpret Genesis stumbles on the idea of death (failed competition) as the agent of biological development. But the Bible quotes God as saying "in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die". But Adam did not die, not for many hundreds of years. So the death God was talking about was not biological -- it was spiritual. Might that suggest that biological death is morally neutral, and allowed even in a pre-Adamic, not-yet-fallen world; and therefore an acceptable agent of evolutionary change, under God's sovereign guidance?

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Charles Bogle

November 20, 2012  12:28pm

The solution to the conflicts between religion and science is to recognize that they not only deal with different issues and different approaches to truth (despite some overlap at the crossroads of metaphysics), but that religion doesn't really seek truth at all, it merely seeks to impose a supposed truth. The religious argument in the end is always to authority, not to demonstrated truth. In practice the understanding of religious truth is always changing and evolving -- or perhaps devolving. Yet religious authority is always invoked to say "This far and no farther." Authority insists that some religious truth can be known with accuracy and certainty, and insists on defending it. Science, paradoxically, proceeds by assuming that all truth is provisional and faulty, forever open to disproof and change. Recently science had to consider whether the speed of light had been exceeded. It hadn't, but it is the hallmark of science that it had to be considered. The opposite of religion.

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JOANNA FELTS

November 20, 2012  11:59am

I think Carolyn Arends’ question “Couldn't that lead them to leave the church, when the cognitive dissonance between the empirical data and what we're asking them to believe becomes too great?” needs to be seriously considered. When people are taught that the only correct interpretation of the Bible leads to the conclusion that the earth is a few thousand years old, and are then shown convincing evidence that the earth is much older, they are forced into making a choice between the Bible and clear scientific evidence. In these situations, we should expect that many will leave the church, seeing no way to reconcile the Bible and what can be clearly demonstrated by scientific investigation. This insistence on a young earth interpretation of the Bible is a threat to faith. Daniel Felts

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CHARLES STANLEY

November 20, 2012  9:50am

There are many areas of mystery we cannot comprehensively understand now. The subject of this article is one of them. My personal conviction is that there is no conflict between the Bible, properly understood, and science, properly understood. I am currently reading an excellent book I recommend to anyone wrestling with the science/Bible mystery. "Redeeming Science" by Vern Poythress. He has a very strong background in math and science as well as Theology. He is a professor at Westminster Seminary in California. A key point he brings up is that anyone doing either science or theology does so as a fallen, and therefore fallible, human being. All conclusions must, therefore, be held with some humility because our finiteness and fallenness may have taken us to an insufficient conclusion. As finite humans we can know truly what God has revealed of himself, but we cannot know comprehensively an infinite being. We shall ever be enjoying knowing him more comprehensively.

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alvin perkins

November 20, 2012  9:37am

Very well said. All that is necessary for our salvation is to believe in Christ, the gospel. Particular belief about creation, or the Bible in general, are not necessary. Genesis is not science. Science is truth and God is truth; they must be concordant. You correctly point out how misinterpretations of scripture result from mistaken beliefs about what the Bible is. This collection of writings is holy and inspired, but they were written, translated and assembled by humans. The Holy Spirit brings to life the inspiration when the reader seeks truth. What is now known about life on earth and the universe, and what is scientifically known about creation, are even more amazing than what the ancient Hebrews read. God's design is beyond what anyone could imagine.

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JUNE A Maschino

November 20, 2012  9:06am

Has anyone considered the verse Genesis 1:26: "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, ..."? If God created us in His likeness why would there need to be a series of changes to make us into the form we now have?

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Rob dyson

November 20, 2012  9:03am

This seems an odd lead-off story for CT to me. I enjoy hearing others points of views, but this goes beyond that - into poor logic and motives. Several have already mentioned salient points regarding literal days and death. I am a science major, and a lover of science - of what God has done and the laws He has set in place - but this is an obvious attempt at reconciling a man-made theory with scripture. 'Theological evolution' isn't a new concept, it's been around as long evolution. I'd like to ask: Where's the logic in using natural selection, or survival of the fittest, as a method to create. That's making allowance for a lot of 'mistakes' in the process. It's also calling into question the skills of a Creator who isn't able to get a finished product right the first time. God was purposeful in creation and He leaves nothing to 'chance'. I don't get upset about the young earth - old earth intramural debate. I do think we're all in the same camp on that one. But not on this

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JAMES E RUARK

November 20, 2012  8:04am

Carolyn, you have stated things so very well. There are many good books that debate the issues raised regarding science and the Bible, including one by Robert B. Fischer that captures the crucial point in its title: "God Did It, But How?" This debate has been going on ever since Darwin wrote "The Origin of Species," and many people feel that any affirmation of evolution makes one automatically an atheist. That is not true. One problem is that any debate about science and religion evolves (no pun intended!) from discussion of physics and natural science to discussion of metaphysics. In other words, the debate eventually becomes philosophical. It is helpful to know about the American Scientific Affiliation--an organization with a clearly Christian mission and statement of faith, consisting of researchers and professors and others who are involved in science. The debate never ends in the ASA's journal and annual meetings. It will not end until we are in glory.

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Kat McH

November 20, 2012  1:00am

"I believe God created the world and holds it together. Just how he did that is up for debate, but whatever conclusions you come to about the earth's origins, God did it. Okay?" To anyone who understands logic, this sentence is both tragic and hilarious. Hilarious because the author apparently doesn't understands that conclusions are what you get to AFTER studying all the facts, not what you START OUT believing. Tragic because such perverted reasoning is so common among Christians who don't really seem to understand how to think critically.

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Jon Trott

November 19, 2012  11:30pm

J Cox... your point was one that bothered me for quite a while, even as I found myself having to abandon a more literal interpretation of Genesis. But a friend, speaking I think off the top of her head, really got me thinking. "What if 'death' -- the bad kind occasioned by the fall -- was spiritual death rather than physical death?'" Hmmm, sez I to self. And then I remembered C. S. Lewis' Science Fiction book, "Out of the Silent Planet," where an unfallen creature encounters its own physical death not as a sorrow but as a change taking place within an unfallen creation. No, it doesn't answer all the question that you -- and truthfully me as well -- still have. But it might be a starting place.

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Doug Quenzer

November 19, 2012  11:26pm

J Cox. Who said death wasn't part of the first creation? Where do you get that in the Bible? Death was not part of human existence only in the sense that there was the gift of life at the tree of life. And this was only in the garden of Eden which is defined by specific boundaries. Please go back and reread the text. Nowhere does it say animals, plants, etc would live forever. Even humans must eat of the tree of life, which is why they were cast out of the garden of Eden. Only God is immortal, and believers are only immortal by the gift of God.

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J Cox

November 19, 2012  11:19pm

I believe the article as well as many of the comments miss the big picture on this issue. With all due respect to my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am compelled to point out that if God chose to create the world through evolutionary means, he used the mechanism of natural selection. This process, by necessity, entails death. For God to create the world through death and then call the entire process "very good" calls into question the need for Christ's sacrifice. If death is part of the good creation, who needs Jesus? To deliver us from death? Why? That's good, remember? From sin? Once again, why? If the wages of sin is death and death is good... what does this say about sin? If sin is the result of the goodness of death, who needs Jesus? Clearly Paul must've been mistaken in 1 Cor. 15 to call death "the final enemy to be conquered" if death was God's mechanism of creating a perfect world.

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Wayne Froese

November 19, 2012  11:04pm

" Besides, if I believed that the Bible truly asked me to reject the scientific consensus, it would be the end of the debate." Alternatively, we could see this as an opportunity to question what frame is holding us in a contradiction between our interpretations of different revelations. Certainly that is scary but eventually rewarding. @Ivan, humans have the cooties. (blogs.smithsonianmag.com) http://goo.gl/FDGz9 (Admin, I fixed the broken URL)

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IVAN ROGERS

November 19, 2012  10:50pm

I find it much easier to accept the creation story of Genesis than to believe that humanity's nearest relative was a hairy, stinky, slobbering, grunting, knuckle-dragging, cootie-picking primate. Uga-uga.

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Aaron Cavanaugh

November 19, 2012  10:33pm

Hi, Thank you for publishing this article. I have two comments. One is that Answers in Genesis is dogma. That is, mans way of making the Bible less of a guide and more of a rule book. Second "Design" is such a new idea in science that it doesn't have a lot of scientific quantitative data yet. Eventually it will. There are two good resources. Meyer's "Signature in the Cell" and "Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization" by Adrian Bejan and J. Peder Zane. This second book actually argues from an evolutionist point of view, but it makes the case for Design. Thanks. God Bless. Aaron

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Wayne Froese

November 19, 2012  10:26pm

" Couldn't that lead them to leave the church, when the cognitive dissonance between the empirical data and what we're asking them to believe becomes too great?" Amen. Notice here the qualifier "too great". I want to ask "how much belief of things we don't really believe is comfortable?" Could instead we choose to see this as a place where we have the prompting of the Holy Spirit to work on addressing these internal conflicts?

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Wayne Froese

November 19, 2012  10:19pm

This is an excellent article. It provides so many points to discuss. First is the reaction at the start - the desire to avoid a group that has an opposing viewpoint. I know that I waited far too long before I read Dawkins and Hitchens and had merely presented myself with strawman versions of their arguments. We could talk about that for a long time. Next we see a common pattern here - two believers come across a disagreement and one pulls the "I believe the Bible!" That's often a conversation stopper when the person is in a power or one-up position. Next we see an appeal to authority. Every leader is wrong sometime and I can always find one to defend my views. This followed by surprise at the diversity of Christian thought on a subject by a person who previously thought that they simply believe the Bible. I sure have gone through that embarrassing revelation. Thanks to the author for the very real portrayal of how we approach matters of disagreement.

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Chris S

November 19, 2012  9:24pm

@ DONNA STONE: Ms. Stone, history tells a different story. The theories of a flat earth and a geocentric solar system were first scientific theories. The church adopted these and found Scripture to match. It was the influence of science on hermeneutics that led the church to adopt the wrong theories in the first place. Once the church made these scientific positions biblical positions, they were obligated to defend them. Those who, under the influence of science, change their biblical interpretation are more like the church in Galileo's time than they are like Galileo. We can always count on the fact that science is always changing and that science does not know where it is going, for if it did, we would already know what we do not know. It is not a good field to look to when doing biblical interpretation.

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Chris S

November 19, 2012  9:15pm

You cannot examine only Genesis. To say that God chose evolution as a means to create is to say that He chose a method that required animal suffering and pain. This is incompatible with Jonah 4 where God does not want to destroy Nineveh because of the animals and Proverbs 12:10 where we find that a righteous man cares for his animals. If God created by evolution, then he was pleased with the lion pulling the antelope struggling to the ground and eating it alive while it suffered. At this point, we have a hard time condemning dog fighting and cock fighting. God took pleasure in it, why can't we?

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Douglas Quenzer

November 19, 2012  8:29pm

I recommend the book Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer.

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John Holmes

November 19, 2012  8:14pm

At last, some sanity being expressed in the area of how Science and Theology should coexist. God Created! As a both a biologist (Agriculture) and a Christian, I must have a working integrated system which allows me to operate in both areas with integrity. Be careful in imposing rules from one area onto the other. One of the problems I see unaddressed by 'Young Earth Creationism' is just how totally agriculturally centric story of Genesis is. Think 'weeds' in the Curse. That means you must ignore the evidence of the long periods of 'Hunter Gatherer' existence of much of human existence. Bit of a problem in Australia with little or no even pre-agriculture where human relics are dated to at least 50,000 years BP. The Scriptures describe 'Why', Science attempts to determine 'How' it was done. God created the universe as well as the Scriptures so if we create conflicts between them, we had better be very careful about 'Why' or we are just plain stupid. To do this is not Christian.

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Paul Wilkinson

November 19, 2012  7:03pm

A fairly significant number of my friends have been reading a book by Wheaton College professor John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One; in which he would agree with the quotation from Billy Graham, that we are forcing the text to address issues it wasn't intended to address. For me, one of the challenges to evolutionary theory is that we are endowed with a soul. I mentioned this to one proponent, who surprised me by suggesting that at some point up the evolutionary ladder there was a man who "walked with God in the cool of the evening;" sudden compatibility with Biblical text. Like the author in this piece, significant numbers of people are presently finding their views 'evolving' on this issue; but I would caution them about being too dismissive of an organization such as Answers in Genesis, which is producing materials dealing with a broad range of apologetics issues; just because they may advance a position on creationism that you suddenly find yourself disagreeing with.

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James Stevenson

November 19, 2012  6:22pm

Excellent article.

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KEITH E JOHNSTON

November 19, 2012  6:12pm

Carolyn, I totally agree with what you told your son. The same brain that I use to interpret the Bible is the same brain that I use to examine the natural world. I do not know about you, but I am tired of reading blogs by young people, who after attending Christian colleges, end up becoming atheists because they cannot reconcile what they learned in the real world with what they were taught in their fundamentalist Christian college or fundamentalist church. We may not be able to totally reconcile what we learn from science with what we learn from the Bible, but after all, as Saint Paul said "now we see in a glass darkly" Some of the greatest Christian minds in the last 2000 years have been involved in studying the natural world -- indeed it might be argued that science came into being due to a Christian worldview. If God had meant for us to think, God would have given us brains.

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Dee McDonald

November 19, 2012  6:08pm

Karl, it's sad that you can't have a discussion about something without getting reactions such as your comments. Where did the author say anything that contradicts scripture? She's actually leaving the question open, because in reality, she, like every Christian should, isn't going to pretend that she has all the answers about the origin of the earth. You can pretend that you know for certain the processes that God used to create the world, but you, Karl, demonstrate the same ignorance as those who thought everyone was going to hell because they didn't believe the world was flat (still not sure how that example made your point!). You wonder why people think that Christians don't have a mind--it's because so many are like you, where there is no room for discussion without sending them to hell. Again, it's sad. I actually applaud the author for asking the tough questions to her son. That was essentially what she said she wanted all to do--not shy away from these diffcult questions.

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DONNA STONE

November 19, 2012  6:04pm

@Karl Da Silva: "With all due respect, we cannot, as Christians go down this path. When man thought the world was flat he ridiculed anyone who claimed it wasn't.." I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. It turns out that the world WASN'T flat, so all of those ridiculers of science (usually the religious) who believed it was flat were wrong, and proven so. Same with Galileo who taught that the earth wasn't the center of the solar system. He took a lot of heat for that from the religious authorities, but now no one in any church (or at least I hope not) believes either that the earth is flat or that the earth is the center of the solar system. What will science prove in centuries to come that we don't know now? I think we have to be careful when trying to make the foot fit the shoe, no matter what.

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kAREN kNOTT

November 19, 2012  6:00pm

Take courage, Ms. Arends, because without a doubt your post will soon be overwhelmed with negative comments. As a a science enthusiast I want to thank you for stating your case in such a thoughtful, articulate way. Glad to see Christianity Today veering in a direction toward more harmony between science and faith.

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DAVID JAMES

November 19, 2012  5:24pm

If it were just a matter of the correct literary reading of Genesis 1 and 2 it might (I emphasize MIGHT) not be an overwhelming problem in isolation. However, what does one do with Genesis 3? Genesis 5, Genesis 6-9, Genesis 10? And that's just the beginning. What about sin coming through one man? The additional questions that that one question spawns are so incredibly complex and intertwined as to leave the entire Bible a hopeless mess when it comes to trying to understand it in any comprehensive, meaningful way. It undermines the understanding and words of the prophets, the apostles and Jesus himself concerning Genesis 1-11. I find it distressing that a 14 year-old got this one right biblically, only to have his mother potentially undermine his faith in the Word of God to a degree that many like him simply will walk away from the faith. David James The Alliance for Biblical Integrity BSME Rose-Hulman Inst. Tech. MABS Dallas Theo Sem.

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Karl Da Silva

November 19, 2012  5:22pm

Today is the day i unsubscribe from Christianity Today. I've been bitterly disappointed at the articles published here for quite a while now. This article, for me, is the final straw. No wonder athiests are laughing and ridiculing Christians. Evolution and Creation DO NOT go together, however much you want to twist and turn and interpret the scriptures. The bible clearly says in 6 days (not eons) was the earth created. Looking beyond Genesis, in Exodus 20:11, it plainly says "For in SIX DAYS the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them..... If you interpret the word day as meaning eons, then it contradicts the previous verses, 9 - You have SIX DAYS each WEEK for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest.... If you think a day means an eon, then we have six eons to work, and the seventh eon...... With all due respect, we cannot, as Christians go down this path. When man thought the world was flat he ridiculed anyone who claimed it wasn't..

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Erin Z

November 19, 2012  5:15pm

Thank you so much, CT, for publishing such a beautiful and thoughtful article, a piece that thoughtfully and respectfully allows for another point of view. We need more of this.

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JOHN JOHNSON

November 19, 2012  5:14pm

Wonderful article and I appreciate the Billy Graham quote, but might I also consider adding this: Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 writers are expressing somewhat different points. The Genesis 2 story is a limited story of creation, but it shows that in addition to being creator, God (Yahweh, LORD God) loves the humans that God has created (not a concept found in Genesis 1). That theme runs strongly throughout the Yahwist strand of the Pentateuch, including the "exile from the garden."

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