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Bryan College Faculty Vote 'No Confidence' in President over Adam and Eve

Trustees defend decision to clarify belief statement. BioLogos: '[We] certainly did not intend to stir up controversy.'
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Bryan College faculty overwhelmingly issued the first no-confidence vote against their president in school history after trustees clarified the creationist nature of the school's Statement of Belief.

The statement, which all faculty and staff ...

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Displaying 1–32 of 32 comments

THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 13, 2014  10:11am

Henry, I agree with you that there are true Christians who believe in evolution, including one of my heroes, C.S. Lewis. However, just because a true Christian may believe something does not make the belief a "Christian" one. Every one of us, including myself, have erroneous views on various issues pertinent to Christianity (such as the multiple theories about "end times," speaking in "tongues," predestination versus free choice, etc.). What I maintain, however, is that ultimately there is in most cases a "scriptural" answer to these debates, difficult as it may be to ascertain what it is. In the case of evolution, having read through scripture many times (as you have), and having at least a rudimentary knowledge of science and evolution-related literature, I believe the correct scriptural answer is that there was no evolution as popularly presented. So, while I am not inerrant, it is my considered opinion that evolution is not scriptural, though some Christians believe it.

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gordon payne

March 13, 2014  5:53am

If one can escape the modernist penchant for a material monism and recognize the Biblical description of flesh and spirit, evolution, as such, can be sustained while maintaining special creation. The only 'spirit' in plant life is that of personification. Likewise, man is the only creature made 'in the image of God', the only creature given a faculty for moral capacity, all others driven by impulse, custom or habit, a routine often confused with man in his 'natural' proclivity to the same. So called 'evolution', so wrapped up in the 'flesh', has yet to get beyond sparks in dealing with personality, much less spirit, much less grace. Its primitive nature is betrayed by its method of proof, limited to a testing that cannot establish a 'fact' emerging from a single occurrence. That is why the Bible is, first a 'writing', then something more than narrative, both requiring a 'spiritual' 'understanding', and there emerging from more than an oral tradition, from Revelation. Science follows.

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Henry Friesen

March 12, 2014  8:46pm

Interesting response regarding the meaning of death, Thomas. Your last sentence, though, is thought provoking. You say that there is a clear choice between believing scriptural views of origins verses the evolutionary one. Indeed. I haver read through the whole bible over twenty times in as many years, am a believer in God's message, and scripture. However, I have also read science, and devout Christians who are scientists, or aquainted with the matter. Are you saying that a Christian has to accept your view of scripture regarding origins, or they cannot be a real Christian? There ares a host of sincere Christians (they believe) who understand that the mechanism used by God to create his cosmos is evolutionary evolutionary science. Earlier on in these posts a list of some of those was made. C. S. Lewis, Francis Collins, John Stott and many others.

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THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 12, 2014  6:24pm

Matheuszik, as to your response to LL N, I think we can easily say that plant "death" is not what scripture has in mind when Paul says, "Since by man came death." Obviously the plants were given for food in the Garden. Also, micro-organisms highly likely have no "consciousness" which can reasonably be said to "die." Almost certainly what Paul had in mind was the death of "sentient beings." As to that, evolution is clearly contrary to scripture with respect to millions of years of predation and "survival." In fact, evolution even has homo-type beings dying hundreds of thousands of years ago. So, there really is a clear choice which has to be made between believing the scriptural view of origins versus an evolutionary one.

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Darren Exendine

March 12, 2014  3:15pm

At times like these I ponder what God really would do if he was sitting here reading these comments. Like wayward children we argue points at which on a cosmic scale we have such limited information. I am in awe at the wonders of this universe, the social challenge of a world just trying to survive. The fervency of science to prove their Hypothesis. Moral teachers working fervency to persuade precious humans to value righteousness. In all our differences, the whole of humanity has at their core the self-preservation desires to take care of only their personal desires. The reality is we are all lost and looking for justification of our existence. In all my years, one thing I have experienced is the inerrant truth of Gods Word. The principals of which it teaches, the results of which can be easily tested, the political self-serving disintegration of government testifies of our need for its truth. Sad to see; the human way is to self-destruct or kill each other then find God. Darren

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W Matheuszik

March 12, 2014  12:19pm

LL N, what is death? Would the life and death of bacteria in our gut count? Would the "Unless a seed die" count? Is the "food chain" a recent development, like a consequence of the fall? Could you explain how an ecosystem might work without "death" as I understand it? Tell me what you mean by "death".

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LL N

March 11, 2014  2:58pm

Just curious, are there any Christian evolutionists (millions & billions years) who would like to explain how death came about during all those millennia before man evolved? Remember the Bible says death came as a result of Adam & Eve's sin in the garden. What do you says was the root cause of the first death?

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robert puharic

March 11, 2014  2:19pm

Thomas I'm not here to correct your obviously inadequate science education. I have an MS in chemical physics which took me years, and alot of hard work, to get. If you're expecting me to correct years of distortions by creationists, your time would be better spend reading the Talk.origins archive on evolution, the Wikipedia article on the development of earth, and Peter Atkin's textbook on physical chemistry, which is the text I used. The fact is, creationism can explain why my tire went flat. It explains why doors slam and cats meow. "God did it" can explain ANYTHING and its opposite, which is why it's not a scientific theory.

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THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 11, 2014  1:14pm

Robert, I guess I am a little confused about the Carbon 14. How would we be able to tell WHAT Carbon 14 it is that, I guess, got ingested into some living thing that died, so as to know what the "start date" is as to any particular thing which is being dated by that method? Also, I don't have the foggiest clue what you are talking about as to "accretion of material." How did that work to get the round planet earth at some 93 million miles from the sun in an orbit? And what about the other planets? What did the "material" of the "accretion" consist of? How did it "proceed," in the instance of the earth, to have everything that the earth has now? (Including, along with the 200+ elements, water, dirt, plants, and animals--the last with all their myriads of internal chemical and biological systems.) And I don't think you have explained about how much of the radioactive material existed at the "start" (excluding Carbon 14), to "date" by half-lives. So, your "explanation" needs explaining.

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robert puharic

March 11, 2014  12:07pm

Thomas, Carbon 14 is created when gamma rays hit nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere so it's continuously regenerated. It has a half life of about 5700 years so can't be used to date a planet that's 4.5 billion years old. The earth didn't get 'tossed from the sun'. It was formed by accretion of material around the sun over a period of several hundred million years. Since some elements have half lives measured in hundreds of millions of years, we use THEM to date fossil strata showing evolution from hundreds of millions of years ago. Pretty straightforward stuff. See how INDEPENDENT methods of measurement from DIFFERENT sciences reinforce the conclusions of evolution? See how there's NO evidence for creation at all? And what is 'fully horses'? That's like saying human beings are 'fully apes'. Certainly we're apes but there are several species of apes. We're just one.

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THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 11, 2014  11:13am

Robert, how "old" is the earth, and what does that mean? Was it five billion years ago, for example, that there was a molten ball which got tossed from the sun? Or when it entered into an "orbit"? Or when it "cooled down" enough to start forming "crusts" of various types? Do you have "scientific" evidence of all this? Also, what dating technique are you using to determine that there are "billions of years of fossils"? Radiometric? Doesn't that assume that there was a certain "quantity" of fully radioactive material at some "starting point"? And when would that "starting point" have been? Was the molten ball from the sun full of radioactive uranium and the other elements? If it was fully of Carbon 14, wouldn't that have all broken down to nonradioactive carbon "billions of years" ago? Turning to biological evolution, where are all the "intermediate" fossils? You point to horses (all are fully horses, not something else "turning into" a horse); what about "lions and tigers and bears"?

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robert puharic

March 11, 2014  6:37am

LLN please don't speak 'for science'. You're simply wrong. We have billions of years of fossils showing death existed prior to the 200,000 year presence of humans on earth. Stromatolite carpets...dead fungi..from billions of years ago show death is just slightly younger than earth itself. And yes, creationism is wrong. There's no way starlight is younger than 6000 years old. Creationism is a failure and so is the literal view of the bible. Scientists are not engaged in war against fundamentalist religion. It's the religionists who make up stories about why the entire world, including many other CHRISTIANS, reject their view of the bible.

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LL N

March 10, 2014  8:12pm

The "millions and billions of years" of the Christian evolutionists (talking macro not micro) present a serious problem with death. If the Fall and death (Gen 2,3, 1Cor 15:21, Rom 8:22) came as a result of Adam & Eve's sin in the garden as the Bible records, then what would have been the cause of death for "millions and billions" of years before Adam??? Remember God called his creation"very good" so death was not a problem on this earth before Adam and Eve. No scientific (or any other) facts dispute or discredit the simple, straight forward account of the origin of all earthly life as found in Genesis. Neither do they disprove a young earth creation as a natural reading of Genesis puts forth. To God be the glory!

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robert puharic

March 10, 2014  4:01pm

If Mary can show me a Christian quantum wave function, then by all means let her do so. The fact Jews are responsible for much of contemporary physics kind of puts paid to her argument that reality is anything BUT secular.

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MARY POPLIN

March 10, 2014  3:27pm

There are five relatively distinct views of the origins of man - one is secular and four are Christian or compatible with Christianity. These include Darwinian/neo-Darwinian evolution, theistic evolution (BioLogos), intelligent design (Discovery), old earth creation model (Reasons to Believe) and new earth creation (Institute for Creation Research). The reality is these are all metaphysical beliefs and there is Biblical support for all of the four Christian ones, or at least room for all of them Biblically. Each of their institutes offer engaging and informative websites. If there were a five member team of scientists working on a section of DNA/RNA and each one held to a different one of these five views of origins, their work would be the same and they would be able to work together or separately to find the answer to their research question. The difference between the atheist neo-Darwinian advocates and the others is they believe reality to be secular.

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robert puharic

March 10, 2014  2:02pm

Thomas ignores the fact ONE example of evolution means creationism is false. And we have many. We have a fairly complete record of horse evolution and of whale evolution, either of which can be read in Wikipedia. Evolution is about the origin of SPECIES and the fossil record for horses shows speciation over 50 million years. There is no comparable record of creation in that time. Evolution is no more about the origin of LIFE than chemistry is about the origin of matter. We can do chemistry just fine without knowing most elements were synthesized in supernova explosions. And Thomas keeps hurling LOTS of inconsistent views out of science in the hopes that one will stick. Evolution has NOTHING to do with the big bang. Darwin's theory was in 1859. Lemaitre's 'cosmic egg' big bang was 1927...and Lemaitre was a Catholic priest!

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THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 10, 2014  1:53pm

Robert & Carlos, first, age can certainly be "apparent" without being "misleading." Example: if Adam was created "full grown," wouldn't a "modern observer" consider him to be 30 years old (or whatever)? Likewise, if God created a "full grown tree" for there to be fruit for Adam to eat from, should he have created it "ringless"? Or the earth--without "strata"? There are plenty of reasons God could have created things with "apparent age" without trying to mislead anyone. Scientists were not "there to observe"-they just "deduce backwards" from what they see now on the ASSUMPTION that there was no "divine intervention." Christians, of course, believe in such intervention. As far as the holes in evolution, where is the "evolutionary chain" to bluejays, rabbits, hippos, etc.? From a "single cell"? And where could that cell have come from with no sponteneous generation? No such "observations," just theorizing. Big Bang is inconsistent with gravity. Too many problems with too little space.

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robert puharic

March 10, 2014  12:36pm

Thomas Harkins says evolution is 'shot through' with holes. Strange, though, that the scientific evidence shows otherwise, for example, Richard Lenski's work on testing natural selection in the lab..a feat creationism has never done. And atheism has nothing to do with evolution. Evolution is still going on today, so yes, scientists can see it happen.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

March 10, 2014  12:19am

Keefe, again, humbly, I submit that science is considerably reliable, but not entirely, given that there is also speculation and theory involved. However, the fact that we don't know is not an excuse not to know. Science can only deal with the observable and it doesn't have answers for everything. Furthermore, science doesn't set the standard, it just follows it.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

March 10, 2014  12:08am

Harkins, if I can submit my humble opinion, no one was there to see, but we do see the record and the record must be true. The notion that God created everything aged could only constitute a deliberate attempt by God to mislead us. He couldn’t possibly have placed fossil bones in millions of years old layers of earth just to pretty up the landscape and give us something to do. If the heavens declare the glory of God, then what we see in the heavens must be true. Of course, scientists aren’t right about everything, but the record they rely on must be true, legitimate, and reliable. We can all be relatively sure that scientific calculations that place the age of the universe at about 13 to 15 billion years, and the earth at 4 billion is fairly accurate. That can only mean that our speculation that mankind is only 6,000 years old is inaccurate. But what are scholars relying on for their assertions other than speculation? Does the Bible specifically limit the age of man and the world at 6,000? The fact is that we don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived before the Fall. We also don’t know if and how many children they had before the Fall. But what is missing from this equation is God’s purpose for creation. If we assume that God just created man as an experiment to see if man would love God willingly, then the idea that man evolved from other species, if that were possible, may not be incongruous with the story of creation; although the Biblical record seems to contradict that when it says God created each within its own species. Evolution may show that there is progression within each genre, but it doesn’t show that a monkey can become a fish or a lizard a rabbit. In any case, what we see in nature with scientific eyes must be true. But if the purpose of this entire creation was to bring about the incarnation of God to eradicate the potential of corruption in the things God creates (Daniel 9:24 and Hebrews 10:5), then we can be certain that regardless of how long God took to set the stage to create the proper conditions for the incarnation of Christ, man is not the product of chance evolution. Man was created with a specific purpose. He was created to supply a body for Christ through which Christ could put an end to evil, corruption, decay, sin, and all their attendant conditions 1 Corinthians 15:50ff. Furthermore, the Bible clearly tells us that God created man out of what already existed, mud. Then He breathed life into him.

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Rudi A Jones

March 09, 2014  9:20pm

The Bible is not clear on whether evolution actually happened or not; I believe it did and that God ordained and started it. I believe that human beings are the culmination of evolution, and that we differ from other life forms in that we were specifically created in God's image, while animals and plants (along with other life forms) were not. I don't see why Christian colleges and churches need to get so technical when the Bible isn't. I guess the real issue is whether or not the faculty and student leaders believe in evolution...

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Randall Laraway

March 09, 2014  7:42pm

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. This ongoing debate of evolution or creation will always be going on. So, how is it that so-called Christians have made this an issue of fellowship? This is NOT what is at stake here. Either the Bible is God's Word or it is not. Plus, with all this gab taking place, where is the import of the gospel in this? Are we as Christians willing to humble out and continue to be faithful servants of God. Either Jesus is LORD of our very life or we are sadly in error and essentially lost. In short, what is the priority here? Is it not to proclaim to a dark, lost and dying world the unconditional love of Christ Who ransomed us via the cross of Calvary? Well, what say you???

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Frank Keefe

March 09, 2014  1:23pm

Ok so Ive always had doubts about Adam and Eve but as Paul said " Now we see through a glass darkly"and one day God will make all things known to us....but here is the danger science says unless things happen which are governed by the laws of nature then they have to be dismissed...so out of the window goes all of Christ's miracles..the Virgin birth..and Jesus resurrection from the dead.Maybe those Christian colleges will sometime in the future give a no vote to those fundamental truths.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

March 09, 2014  7:31am

The tendency has always been to replace Biblical truth with doctrinal interpretations and an uncompromising demand to adhere to those doctrinal interpretations as if they were Scriptural fact. Truth be told, there has never been a clear and indisputable agreement in Christendom on doctrines that are based on scanty Biblical information. The Ex Nihilo assertion that man was created "not from previously existing life forms" is really unknown to us. It is an error to insist that our myopic understanding of Scripture be enforced sans flexibility or doubt. Were Adam and Eve the first of their kind to disobey God, or were they the only ones God created? What does the Bible mean when it says that Eve was the mother of all the living? Must we each insist that our interpretation is the only legitimate interpretation? Then again, whose interpretation; the Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic, Dispensationalist, Amillenial? Isn't it a good thing to question perceptions of facts?

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David Lloyd-Jones

March 08, 2014  12:04am

This "reform" looks to me like people twisting and turning in desperation, arduously trying to keep alive every bit of medievalism and ignorance that they can manage in the face of an always impinging reality. -dlj.

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John Holmes

March 07, 2014  9:17pm

So the earth is the center of the universe. Got a bloke into trouble questioning that. I have a problem where ALL DNA evidence seems to suggest that while there are limited number of human ancestors, the sex linked genes suggest more than 1 original pair. Likewise the recent discussion of the presence of Neanderthals DNA in some humans suggests that our genetic heritage is a bit more complex that some would admit. Surely the issue is exploring 'Why' and 'How'. Otherwise discussions that are all humans not true humans could be contemplated. It could just reopen the gates of racial abuse.

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True Creation

March 07, 2014  8:34pm

Origen of Alexandria, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, B. B. Warfield, Dietrich Boenhoffer, John Stott, C. S. Lewis, Alister McGrath, Bruce Waltke, and Billy Graham: all of these men, being human, have had their own faults and flaws. However, they shared an understanding that God’s Word, which is the Truth, cannot contradict a truth which has been revealed through some other way within God’s own creation. Today, top-ranking Christian colleges such as Wheaton College (Illinois), Baylor University, Chapman University, and Pepperdine University teach the biological sciences using a theistic evolution viewpoint. They refute the “God of the gaps” ideology as both bad science and a poor understanding of the Bible. Christian scientists who hold the theistic evolution viewpoint are generally committed to accuracy and honesty in how they practice science and disseminate their findings. http://truecreation.info

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True Creation

March 07, 2014  8:33pm

Some Christians hold the viewpoint, as I do, that Adam and Eve may not have been the first biological humans who appeared hundreds of thousands of years ago, but they did exist as persons and they were the first ones into whom God breathed an immortal soul, perhaps 6000 years ago, and that they gave rise to the lineage leading to Jesus. Most Christians who hold the perspective of theistic evolution understand, as I do, that the inspired Biblical canon is inerrant in its original texts. We also recognize that, historically, its man-made translation into English and other languages has been fallible. We recognize that its subsequent interpretation within those languages has also been erroneous in some areas. A disciplined study of Scripture and of God’s creation has revealed that Scripture has sometimes been misunderstood or misapplied, especially in Genesis.

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Rick Middleton

March 07, 2014  6:55pm

Ah, Christian college. Even 25 years later, your controversies are exhausting.

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THOMAS F HARKINS JR

March 07, 2014  6:34pm

I am not sure to what extent the language in particular is problematic, but the tendency to discount Adam and Eve as literal people, the progenitors of the human race, those through whom sin and death entered the world, certainly is. Any time a "Christian" college puts science ahead of scripture, they are leaving their moorings. But, in fact, TRUE science is actually more consistent with the biblical account, because evolution is shot through with holes big enough to sink a ship! So, standing firm with scripture is not only spiritually mandated ("Let God be true and every man a liar"), but also more intellectually convincing than the "alternative"--evolution. Why should Christian thinkers follow the lead of the atheists? Their presumptions are radically different, and hence their reasoning from those presumptions cannot help but lead into error. After all, no scientist today was there to see what happened, so it is all "regressive reasonging" from observation consistent with scripture.

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Matthew Stombaugh

March 07, 2014  5:52pm

Let me preface my comment by stating that I am currently a senior at Bryan College. This situation is far bigger than "just" the origins debate. If you would like a different perspective on the goings on I recommend the school newspaper (http://www.bryantriangle.com/). The Administration and Board of Trustees are making an unprecedented change to the Statement of Faith. If they were not, the "clarification" would not effect professors who have been able to sign the statement of faith prior to the "clarification." That is the reality of the situation. The vote of no confidence was about more than just the origins debate. It was in response to years of mishandling of the school by the administration. If anyone would like more information on the context please see this article: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/creation_debate_roils_bryan_college Thank you and God bless, -Matt

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Tim Aagard

March 07, 2014  4:42pm

I'm wondering if these disgruntled teachers knew they were sliding their "science trumps revelation" or "allegorize the Genesis record" views through a "broad" understanding of the original statement even though they knew what the school meant by it? Do these faculty think that if the admin did everything the faculty thinks they should have done and the results were the same, would they have more confidence?

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