Underminers: The Self-Defeating Proposition of Compromising Scripture With Millions of Years of Evolution


Imagine you are in command of military forces defending a castle. You have lots of things to worry about. Your enemy will use catapults and trebuchet to hurl rocks, incendiary devices, hornet’s nests and plague-ridden horse carcasses over your walls. They will use battering rams to bash in your fortified gates. They will scale your walls with ladders, hooks and siege towers. They will send swarms of arrows over your walls. They will do everything in their power to reduce the number of defenders and find a way inside.

Most notoriously, the enemy will send sappers, engineers whose sole aim is to dig under your walls and fortifications to either weaken them so that they fall or simply to create a tunnel passage by which enemy troops can invade a castle from within. Counter-sapping measures involve sending sappers to thwart the mining operations of the enemy’s sappers. For example, the castle’s sappers will seek to undermine the tunnels of the enemy and collapse them before they reach the walls. The Chinese were known to dig to an enemy’s tunnel and then use a bellows to blow smoke into the tunnel, suffocating those inside.

Sappers and counter-sappers both had to practice good listening skills. Periodically, work had to be halted so they could listen for the sound of their foe’s mining operations and thereby adjust their digging pattern or even prepare for battle underground. They also had to make sure they knew where they were. It wouldn’t do for defenders to emerge from the earth within the enemy’s camp, since this would afford their enemy a chance to seize the tunnel for their own use and invade the castle from the tunnel’s other exit. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to collapse your foes tunnel if they were already beneath your walls because collapsing the tunnel would accomplish the very goal of your enemy’s efforts: weakening the castle walls to the point of collapse. Imagine the irony of collapsing the enemy’s tunnel and thereby bringing down you castle’s walls!

Rather than collapsing those tunnels, the castle’s defenders should have smoked out the invaders, collapsed the tunnel well away from the foundations and filled the tunnel under the walls with rock and rubble to shore up the damage.

It goes without saying that modern Christendom has a problem with “friendly” forces who nonetheless undermine the foundations of the faith: the Bible as ultimate authority. These well-meaning Christians suppose that they are undermining the efforts of the enemy, but they are blind to the fact that they are undermining the foundations in the process. By compromising the Bible’s ultimate authority with extraBiblical ideas like millions of years [when the Bible plainly teaches the creation of the universe and all living things in six calendar days] and microbes-to-man evolution [when the Bible likewise teaches that God created plants, animals and man, each according to their kind, implying some sort of ultimate limits to biological change], they are accomplishing the work of the enemy.

You see, these ideas are based on the premise of pure naturalism, which precludes the possibility of supernatural agency. While the founders of the science affirmed the Bible and conducted science out of a desire to “think God’s thoughts after Him,” modern scientists do not like to remember God. Rejecting the idea that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, they seek to prevent a Divine foot from entering the door of scientific investigation and knowledge. Well-meaning Christians have ignored the antiBiblical principle of pure naturalism which permeates modern science; supposing that all truth is God’s truth, they forget the presuppositions behind are anything but neutral. Worse, by insisting that we assert the antisupernatural suppositions of modern science as the ultimate authority over the supernatural revelation of Scripture, they undermine Scripture as our ultimate authority.

Of course, many do so arbitrarily. If they were consistent, they would also have to reject the revelation of miracles in the Bible, the virgin birth, the sinlessness of Christ, fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection itself, for modern science chained to the presumption of pure naturalism likewise rejects the possibility of these things. This is why Jesus warned Nicodemus, “If I tell you of earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of spiritual things?” [John 3:12] Those who compromise the Scriptures with millions of years and microbes-to-man evolution suppose that they are making the Gospel more intellectually palatable, but they are actually undermining the ultimate authority of God’s Word upon which the Gospel stands.

One wonders then why such Christians undermine the foundations of the faith? The answer is that they are not listening carefully to the Word of God. Instead they are letting the noise of men drown out the voice of God. If they were more discerning, they would realize the position they’re in. They would realize that they are helping to undermine the ultimate authority of Scripture. But respect of persons is a sneaky temptation. Many well-meaning Christians admire men they suppose are stalwarts of the faith. After all, look at their zeal and effort! Look at their accomplishments! And they are undermining the works of the enemy, after all! But many of these men are false pretenders who have infiltrated our ranks. Many calling themselves Christians cannot even affirm the historical bodily resurrection of Christ, a minimum requirement of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9, and are thus unsaved – so it is little wonder they work so hard to undermine the ultimate authority of God’s Word! Having failed to judge a tree by its fruit, they likewise fail to see that rather than undermining the works of the Enemy, they are actually helping him to undermine the foundations by a twice-deep hole!

We should pray for those who unwittingly undermine the ultimate authority of God’s Word. As Spurgeon noted, it is easier to get on the down-grade than it is to get off and get back on the up-line – and we tend to go much further down the down-grade than we ever supposed we might in the beginning! Nevertheless, as we pray for them we ought also to more earnestly contend for the faith and to name error and compromise where we find it. We should do so in meekness, not for our own glory or aggrandizement but for the sake of truth and grace, which came by our Lord!

-Rev Tony Breeden

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. drlindberg says:

    OK, let’s assume you are right.

    This means that millions of scientists and other scholars in every country in the world, speaking hundreds of different languages, with all different religious and political views (including yours), working at thousands of different universities, studying and researching scores of different fields, are all deliberately wasting their lives (their ONLY lives, if they are atheists!), pretending to find evidence that they are not really finding, writing thousands of false scientific papers, publishing false books and presenting false displays in museums and such, and doing so with the full knowledge and complicity of university and government authorities, but doing so in a way that every miniscule detail in this huge mass of false information agrees with every other miniscule detail. And, at the same time, they are still able to produce enough real science to keep our industry and medical systems progressing faster than ever before in history. Usually these people are competing against each other, often hate each other, and sometimes their countries are at war, but they are still able to ignore all these distractions and co-operate fully in this mass conspiracy.

    Abraham Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” He was referring to ONE person.

    Police take advantage of the fact that it is impossible for TWO people to keep their stories straight in order to find discrepancies and tease out the truth.

    But you say that MILLIONS are suddenly miraculously able to tell the biggest most complicated lie in history, and keep all the details of their story consistent, and the fact of their conspiracy secret.

    All for no plausible motive that I can think of.

    Do you really think that this is more likely than the possibility that you might be mistaken in your interpretation of a document written thousands of years ago in a language you haven’t studied and don’t appear to be interested in?

    Cheers!

    1. Lindberg,

      Stop skimming my articles and start reading them. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “You see, but you do not observe.”

      I’ve never claimed a grand conspiracy was taking place. I do believe that the vast majority of those who promote microbes-to-man evolution and millions of years have simply been duped. They trust the experts and do not wish to appear foolish. Certainly in a day and age where science feels it should protect certain theories with the force of law, independent thought is frowned upon where it concerns these two subjects.

      The answer to you other objection that those who affirm methodological naturalism are “still able to produce enough real science to keep our industry and medical systems progressing faster than ever before in history” is easily answered. Creationists have long pointed out that there is a difference between operational science [which deals with things that are observable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable] and origins science [which deals with beliefs about the past, however reasonable they might appear]. The advances you speak of have to do with operational science and thus are unaffected by the assumption of pure naturalism.

      I should also remind you that the Big Lie is standard methodology where it concerns propaganda, making your final set of objections pretty much pointless.

      Regards,
      revTony

      1. drlindberg says:

        I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. Let me put it this way. If there is a Big Lie going on, it must involve so many people (I’m talking about the people you call “experts” here, who include many Christians) that I am completely at a loss to understand how it can all be coordinated. How can there be a Big Lie without a grand conspiracy – probably the grandest conspiracy in history? Particularly when there are such great awards being offered (ever hear of the Nobel Prize, for example?) to anyone who spilled the beans, and showed that all the rest of them were so wrong.
        I am told to get a flu shot every year because the flu vaccine is constantly evolving new genes and new combinations of genes. This is operational science, but it is also a small part of what you are calling the Big Lie. What I fail to see is what the motivation is. Why would the government departments, with all their budget cut-backs, and insurance companies, with their profit motive, be willing to pay for something that is a fraud? If they are not themselves a party to the fraud, how could they fail to see through it, if it is as obvious as you suggest?
        The “experts” that I know (to use your term – they are far too modest and too aware of all there remains for science to discover to use that term for themselves), people working in labs, doing experiments or doing field work in various of the areas of study that your claims would contradict, give every indication of being motivated primarily by curiosity and a yearning to learn more. It’s hard to imagine anything that would motivate them to be part of something so contrary to their basic interests.
        So what do you say is their motivation?

      2. Lindberg,

        We’re not talking about a grand conspiracy; we’re talking about a commitment to a paradigm. Paradigm shifts typically do not occur because one side presents better evidence than its predecessor, but rather when enough of the Old Guard dies so that folks who accept the new paradigm can replace them.

        It is curious to me that you use the example of a “flu vaccine” which is “constantly evolving new genes and new combinations of genes” as evidence for microbes-to-man evolution. The fact that you parrot this straw man is evidence enough that you have never fully examined the claims and evidences of those with whom you so vehemently disagree. Disagree first and understand later [if at all], right? You are correct in noting that the adaptations of the flu vaccine fall within the realms of operational science, but this is observable horizontal change within a created kind [sometimes termed micro-evolution] and has nothing to do with hypothetical vertical [phyletic] microbes-to-man macro-evolution. Creationists affirm these horizontal biological changes [e.g., speciation, adaptation, mutation, natural selection, etc], but note that there are limits to this variation: a dog is still a dog and recognizeably so, be it a wolf, English bulldog or an Australian shepherd. The flu is still the flu, even if it no longer responds to a vaccine. Incidentally, the flu becomes resitant to bacteria through a loss of information and overall future adaptability, quite the opposite trend from the common descent claim. I’m afraid that claims of microbes-to-man evolution are rather ad hoc and quite unnecessary [holy parsimony, batman!], as a Creation scientist would make the same observations about antibiotic resitance and be able to practice medicine accordingly without the slightest need to refer to fish-to-philosopher evolution.

        As for a motivation, that’s easy: they do like to give God credit because that has consequences. Evolution is the all-natural Just-so story that allows men to pretend as if a Creator did not exist to whom they are accountable. Those who affirm a Creator and evolution do so arbitrarily, as these views are mutually exclusive, and most often do so because they have either not examined the consequences of their worldview and its inherent inconsistency, or they seek the approval of men more than the approval of God. Men will do a lot for something they desperately wish to be true.

        Contrary to your Pollyanna vision of scientific inquiry, what actually happens when someone challenges the existing paradigm is that they are ostracized, denied tenure, research monies and publication in peer-reviewed journals. Sometimes, they are even fired from their jobs. The past decade’s treatment of intelligent design advocates by the scientific establishment should have cured you of such rosy views of what happens when the current paradigm is challenged. If you need a refresher, I suggest you read Dr. Jerry Bergman’s The Slaughter of the Dissidents.

        -revTony

  2. Kevin N says:

    Tony,

    It is interesting that you have such strong words against old-Earth Christians, and then conclude with a quote from Charles Spurgeon, who, as you well know, had no problems accepting the idea that Earth is many millions of years old. Either Spurgeon had caved in to the scientists of his day, or he looked more closely at the Scriptures and came to the conclusion that the age of the Earth just isn’t that big of an issue. Personally, I suspect that Spurgeon based his beliefs more on the the Scriptures than on what geologists were saying in the early 1850s, and still ended up believing in an old Earth.

    I could list the arguments for the age of the Earth being open-ended as far as Scripture is concerned, but I’ll skip that for now and just say that I think young-Earth creationists may be more concerned about the precise meaning of “yom” than Moses was. Moses, after all, used “yom” in a figurative sense at least once in the creation account (Genesis 2:4), and is also the one who wrote “for a thousand years in your signt are like a day that has just gone by” (Ps 90:4 NIV84). Note that the context of the first part of Psalm 90 is creation.

    So it is not that old-Earth Christians have caved in to naturalism. Perhaps some have, but it is equally true that some young-Earth creationists are outside of the bounds of orthodoxy. Many of us old-Earthers, on the other hand, believe fully in the inerrancy of Scripture. To borrow a phrase from Answers in Genesis, we believe the Bible from the very first verse. We believe in a real creation from nothing by the triune God of the Bible, in a real Adam, in a real fall into sin with real consequences for all of humanity, and in Jesus Christ as the only solution for our sin problem.
    There is nothing inconsistent or arbitrary here. We believe in God’s supernatural work in Genesis 1-2; we believe in God’s supernatural work in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We just think that young-Earth creationists have read things into the Scripture that simply are not there (e.g. no animal death before the fall) or that are not clear (e.g. what a day is without the sun and moon).

    Grace and Peace,
    Kevin N

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      At long last, I reply!

      Forgot about this one. Sorry.

      Spurgeon was but a man. Like all men, he had his flaws. He rejected evolution soundly as antiBiblical, but there is tentative evidence from his writings that his full-on embrace of an old earth in his youth was being questioned in his later years. We forget that a man is a process; he changes his mind about things. Nevertheless, just as Paul quoted Greek poets where they spoke truth but did not necessarily embrace every claim those poets made elsewhere, I quote Spurgeon where appropriate.

      I think Moses had the same grasp of communication as we do; the fact that you have to doubt or deny the inerrancy of Scripture you claim is nonetheless authoritative and to likewise cast doubt on Moses’ capacity and intent to communicate effectively with his audience about God himself [when the Mosaic Law’s penalty for disobeying God and bearing false witness about Him is so often severe] to hold your position suggests that you do more to undermine the authority of Scripture than demonstrate it! You argue similes are equalities in your knee-jerk argument from Psalms; you point out the context of the Psams passage while denying context was all that important to Moses in Genesis PRECISELY because the context of the word yom in those passages undermines your old earth argument.

      Thus your position is demonstrated AGAIN to be both inconsistent and arbitrary. You deny the authority and context of Genesis where it concerns the time table of our origins because all-natural, all-uniform science claims otherwise, but arbitrarily claim to believe and affirm the Bible’s authority on supernatural elements and events that naturalistic science likewise denies [the resurrection, virgin birth, plagues of Egypt, etc]. Meanwhile you ignore good Biblical creationist arguments for matters like the two you throw out in your last sentence. Stick your fingers in your ears or your head in the sand; the sound rebuttal of those arguments exist anyway!

      Maybe you would have preferred I waited indefinitely,
      Tony

  3. Kevin N says:

    Tony, you’re ignoring me. Should I take this as “please don’t comment on my blog any more?”

    With respect,
    Kevin Nelstead

    1. Geo,

      As you may be aware, February is a pretty busy month for us here due to our Creation Sunday efforts. One of your comments is actually next on my list. I’m pretty well backlogged and I’ve been getting a bit more troll traffic than usual lately, but I’m trying to get caught up, so please be patient.

      Your comments are always welcome on this site, even if we mostly disagree where the age of the earth affects Biblical interpretation.

      Regards, and God bless,
      revTony

      1. Kevin N says:

        Thanks, and may God bless you as you seek to strengthen the brothers and sisters.

  4. cookie841 says:

    I find your web site a great blessing. One of the many signs we are in the last days is the growing apostasy and compromise in the church. The beginning and ending of the God’s Word is often spiritualized, making any interpretation plausible. I take God’s Word literally. He did not need millions of years to created this world. And as Jesus’ first coming was prophesied accurately so His Literal Second coming to be seen by all is assured.

  5. Cathy says:

    Very true! I am finding more and more that people are not willing or for some reason are unable to be discerning to what and whom they are listening, reading, and taking their spiritual food from. So many ‘pastors’ and leaders who are falling away so they can be accepted as ‘great’, or ‘noteworthy’ and the lay person is no better!…it makes me want to weep. Thanks for this, its a good reminder.

  6. Have you ever read the book “The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins” by Pete Enns? I know you are a Pastor & possibly a teacher but what other credentials do you have to be qualified to make fully informed comments on Evolution or science?

    1. Mark Bishop,

      I have the same qualifications that Jesus’ disciples had – practically none. Nor do I require any. I am an ordained minister and I’ve taken college-level biology, geology and ecology courses, but these things are beside the point. My arguments stand or fall on their own, not on my credentials. I’m simply well-read. I’ve read extensively on both sides of the issue. In fact, I once supposed that God could have used millions of years of evolution, but have since realized this is impossible that the supernatural Creator should have “created” by means indiscernable from the all-natural Just-so story of the universe.

      I haven’t gotten around to reading Enns’ book yet, but it’s on my list. I’ve found his online arguments to be complete and total crap. His position is arbitrary and contradictory. There is no non-arbitrary means for folks holding his view of origins to determine when we should hold the all-natural conclusions of science as our ultimate authority [regarding evolution and the age of the earth] or when the Bible should be it [think: the resurrection, Bible prophecy and miracles]. He’s essentially holding a God-of-the-gaps position which generally leads to “will-o-the-wisp Christianity.” For example, he denies Paul’s authority to make room for his arguments, despite the fact that the Bible states that we are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and Christ.

      Was there something specific in my argument that caused you to question it?

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