Skip to comments.Is Biblical Creation a Distraction to Evangelism? (article)
Posted on 08/01/2013 10:40:10 AM PDT by fishtank
Is Biblical Creation a Distraction to Evangelism? by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. *
The Institute for Creation Research and other biblical creation ministries are sometimes criticized as distractions from the ministry of evangelism. The alleged concern is that the promotion of biblical creation as taught in Genesis creates controversy by derailing the evangelism processdistracting people from learning about who Jesus is and trusting Him as their Savior.
Does teaching biblical creation truth interfere with a proper presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior? Before that question can be squarely answered, consider the context of the controversy. Dr. John Morris addressed this issue:
A student once asked, In your debates, have you ever known of somebody who was saved as a result of the debate? My father [Dr. Henry Morris] and Dr. [Duane] Gish had several hundred debates. One time we ran a request in Acts & Facts to respond to a survey regarding the debates. One question was a salvation question. Many people responded, saying it was a very instrumental point in their journey to Christ.1
Some would argue Dr. Morris was alluding to favorable anecdotal evidencethat he offered no realistic allowance for the individuals who were turned off from seeking God because they were alienated by creation-versus-evolution polemics. Others might fault his report as being too vague. They might say he failed to provide any meaningful qualification regarding how to teach creation. They may question whether teaching about creation in the beginning helps or hurts a seekers journey, his ability to learn about God, and his willingness to come into Gods eternal sheepfold through His only begotten Son.
Clarification about who our Creator God is helps us appreciate Jesus and how He can rescue human souls as the uniquely all-sufficient kinsman-redeemer of Adams fallen race.
What about the value of rescuing one sheep?
Certainly for the one lost sheep who comes to the Good Shepherd, statistics are irrelevant (John 10:1-16; Luke 15:3-7). That truth fits one classroom example, which began with a Christian students desire to show a biblical creation movie in the main auditorium of a North Carolina state universitys law school.2 The university granted permission to show the movie on campus, but the student was inept at using the media equipment provided. Providentially, his best friend and study partner was mechanically adept, and he agreed to run the film projector for the event. Ironically, the technically talented friend was a doubterunconvinced that the Christian faith was truly reliable. The creation movie was packed with scientific information and analysis, proving how purposefully living creatures and their indispensably necessary submicroscopic componentssuch as DNA and RNAare designed and constructed and how they operate.
In the movie, the creation scientist Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith explained the material and informational importance of chiral molecules (e.g., the left-handed amino acids needed to build the hardware of life), as well as the mind-boggling complexity and details of human chromosomes.3 A moderated and emotionally spirited discussion followed the showing, with audience viewpoints voiced by both evolutionists and creationists, several of whom were faithful ICR supporters.
But, at the end of the evening, the creation movies message was not truly over because the helpful student who ran the projector began thinking about how all of his scientific doubts and excuses were resolved. That conclusion was more than academicit had logical implications, including some big questions such as: What do I do with the Creator who has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that He is Godthe Creator whom Dr. Wilder-Smith declared became my Redeemer in the Person of Jesus Christ?
After a time of wrestling with pride and receiving more encouragement to believe in Christ, the mechanically gifted student became a thoroughly convinced believer in the Lord Jesus. The creation apologetics movie was helpful in eliminating excuses that were once barriers to saving faith for that former skepticthrough viewing the movie, he was guided toward becoming a fully persuaded sheep.
Does teaching creation help or hinder evangelism?
Individual experiences may be exceptional cases.4 So the question remains: Does teaching biblical creation with an emphasis on in the beginning routinely help gospel evangelism?
Yesteaching about how God created in the beginning helps us introduce the saving gospel of Christ. In fact, objective evidences in the Bible demonstrate that biblical creation truth is one of the underlying theological foundations for evangelizing unbelievers. For example, consider the role model of Pauls apostolic ministry. Paul began evangelizing Gentiles with an introductory declaration of God as the Creator (Acts 14:15-17; 17:19-34). But there is even a stronger proof of this point in the introduction of Johns gospel, the only book of the Bible that is explicitly written for an evangelistic purpose:
In the beginning. It is significant that the Apostle John began his gospel with the words: In the beginning. He obviously intended that his record should start with the same words as Genesis, that is, with creation. Since his explicit purpose in writing was to win his readers to Christ as Son of God and Savior (see John 20:30-31), he realized the foundational importance of prior belief in special creation of all things by God. People need to know Jesus Christ as offended Creator before they can believe with understanding on Him as sin-bearing Savior and Redeemer. A foundation of true creationism as the only meaningful context for true evangelism is thus revealed through John, under divine inspiration.5
John did not distract his readers by beginning with creation (John 1:1-3; 1:10-12). Rather, his gospel authoritatively presents the evangelistic gospel message by introducing Jesus as the incarnate Creator God apart from whom nothing was made that was made (John 1:3; see also John 20:30-31). Therefore, biblical creation truth is the proper theological foundation for evangelismfor explaining how Christ became our Messianic Savior whom we should believe in.
God chose to first introduce Himself to us as our Creatorthat same Creator God who, as Dr. Wilder-Smith gratefully acknowledged, became my Redeemer (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1).2 And that is how we should introduce Him to others. When was the last time you showed or gave away a creation movie such as God of Wonders?6 This can be a very nonthreatening way to witness. DVDs like this help us appreciate the glory of our Creator, and they can help us evangelize lost sheep who need to be brought into the fold.
Morris, J. D. The Genesis Flood, Lesson 2, page 30. A transcribed lecture from the Institute of Creation Researchs School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA). To learn more about ICRs SOBA (which offers degree programs for M.C.Ed., B.C.Ed., and A.C.Ed.), visit icr.edu/soba. The law school illustration alludes to the use of a biblical creation movie that focuses mostly on explaining creation science rather than providing a gospel presentation. See Wilder-Smith, A. E. 1983. Origins: How the World Came to Be. Origins video series, volume 3. Mesa, AZ: Films for Christ. The movies content matches much of what appears in A. E. Wilder-Smiths book The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution (Costa Mesa, CA: The Word for Today Publishers, 1981; translated from the original German by Petra Wilder-Smith).
The creation science movie featured Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith, a European young-earth creationist inventor who earned three doctorates in the overlapping sciences of biology, chemistry, and pharmacology. See Wilder-Smith, A. E. and B. Wilder-Smith. 1998. Fulfilled Journey: The Wilder-Smith Memoirs. Costa Mesa, CA: The Word for Today Publishers.
Exceptional results may illustrate God producing good results from not-so-good circumstances, or even from human misbehavior (Genesis 50:20; Numbers 22-24). See the editorial footnote by Henry M. Morris for John 1:1 in Morris, H. M. 2006. The New Defenders Study Bible. Nashville, TN: World Publishing, 1563. God of Wonders DVD, available through the ICR online store (icr.org/store).
* Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Johnson, J. J. S. 2013. Is Biblical Creation a Distraction to Evangelism? Acts & Facts. 42 (8): 18-19.
Image from ICR article.
As long as people actively attempt to discredit Christianity by discrediting creation, we have to have apologetics focused on providing a defense of creation.
We don’t have to fear science. That’s the bottom line. Just like we don’t have to fear archeology. We don’t have to fear millions of years. Mt St Helens shows us exactly what those walls are - hydrological sorting that happen extremely quickly in a catastrophic event. Why there are marine specimens at the tops of mountains.
Skeptics will be skeptics. Many truly do not want it to be true, the famous paraphrase of a biologist “evolution doesn’t work, but I stay with it because the alternative is personally horrifying” mentality pervades a great deal of these people. With those statements they have already said they will ignore evidence, they will not care even if it’s true when they know their evidence and arguments don’t work, they are refusing it because they don’t want to accept it - not even as a possibility because it’s too terrible for them to consider.
Jesus said you’ll always have the poor with you. He could have easily said you’ll always have people who will refuse to believe, too. Some people lived with Jesus, knew Him, knew who He claimed to be, saw and heard the miracles, and still didn’t believe. Some of those unbelievers even decided to persecute Him. If some today do the same thing to us when we present arguments and evidence, we must not be surprised.
What did Jesus ever say about Creation?
Why would creation that took billions of years prevent the Christ from being your savior?
If the Bible is infaillable, is the Bible an infaillable doorstop? Of course not, because the Bible should not be used as a doorstop. The Bible should also not be used as a biology textbook.
You have never thought that the purpose of attacking biblical creation is to discredit the source and cast doubt on other areas of it?
God’w Word itself declares there’s no mistakes in its content, that what is recorded is true and has been kept true. God Himself in the book says He will keep His Word true.
Do you not see this is what they are attempting to do? Cast doubt on the recorded historicity in the bible. Relegating actual events to “stories”. Then wherever something sounds too incredible, or unprovable because they were singular-type events, who’s to say these aren’t stories either? How could Jesus be born of a virgin?
I hope you see where this leads, unchecked.
And more so, do you not understand that everything rests on genesis.
God Created everything.
God created mand from the ground. Physically formed him out of earth. Breathed His spirit into him. Billions of years is not the same thing.
God made woman from Adam. Not the same as billions of years.
There was no death in this world until man sinned and fell. Not the same as billions of years (of death).
God reveals that one day He will bring a kinsmen Redeemer to set things right (genesis 3) - a point ahead to Jesus Christ.
Genesis is a foundation of the faith. The concept of billions of years undermines key concepts that Genesis puts down that undergird the rest of a Christians faith. THEY know that and that’s why they attack it. If they can get people doubting it they can make them doubt the bible in other areas.
I am unclear why you don’t see their tactic for what it is. Nor how effective it’s been because we haven’t had people who could respond to someone who’s been exposed to it, by a college prof who has the intent on destroying as many Christian kids’ faith as they possibly can.
Nor should a biology textbook be used as a history book.
But how do you explain away scientific evidence that supports "the concept of billions of years"? For example, there are quasars out in space that are more than 20 billion light years away--that is, it took more than 20 billion years for their light to reach Earth.
Gravitational Time Dilation - per Albert Einstein - seems to be the best explanation for apparent long ages of the Earth and Universe.
There are many things which science can not still fully explain with neither a creation nor evolution basis, but the appointed authorities don’t like to discuss any inconvenient facts.
101 Evidences for a Young Age of the Earth...And the Universe
I will answer your question with a question. Did Jesus grow and ferment the grapes before turning the water into wine? The universe was created through a miracle and with apparent age. Same as the loaves and fishes. The fish were not caught, nor did they evolve first from pond scum while the 5 thousand waited to be fed. The bread was not baked by hand, but was given to feed the 5 thousand miraculously.
excellent book from dr humphreys, i have it and love it, my creation science library is huge and this is always a go to book....
If the apparent age is due to time dialation, then stating any measured age amounts to heresy. All physical measurements will rely on dialted time.
Lots of things appear to be old but are not.
If we had not had video and photographic evidence of Mt St Helens carving out canyons in a day, but appearing exactly like the Grand canyon “layers” tey claim took millions of years to make, but hydrological sorting in a day can make identical canyons with the same kind of layers...
If you look at polonium in minerals, if you understand you can under great pressure and energy make petrified wood in a few days, if you understand the fact that all dating methods assume things that may not be true, such as air and atmospheric temperatures being the same as today, and that there are flaws in dating methods, if you look at the fact they are finding organic material (marrow, blood cells) in animals they claim were dead millions of years - conflicting with their own certainties that that is not possible to have organic tissue and cells surviving in millions of years old remains...
Someone mentioned einsteins time dilation for certain reasons why we can see the universe the way we do.
All I know is that things may appear to be older than they actually are. Given bad assumptions and limitations of dating methods, I am open to the idea there are problems with man’s measuring methods. I believe that a reasonable person can look at the evidence and how the evidence is measured that they can have problems with the measuring and the assumptions that go along with the meadurement methods, and based on other evidence of nature being able to create things that if we did not observe, some would look at and say it took millions of years to do, but in reality took far shorter time to create, I believe it supports the concept that the biblical creation account happened the way it is described.
I thought the purpose of evolution as a theory was to explain changes in animal forms found in geograpical strata.
The oil company geologists have been finding oil for over a hundred years by looking at various fossils, and determining how far down they need to go to find oil. The same sequence of fossil changes keep being found, indicating that the living creatures evolve.
The alternative is a combination of
1. Special creation of each form of creature we find and
2. Special delivery to detect each form where we find them.
Why is it a given that the assumptions are bad? Aren't you simply substituting one set of assumptions for another that has even less supporting evidence behind them?
The standard way of explaining it, is a mature, created-in-place universe...i.e. that light radiating from very distant stars and galaxies was created in place at the same time as those distant objects. Another approach, is not assuming the speed of light is constant...
The most creative method, imho, is postulated by an orthodox Jewish physicist from Israel...which says, since Einstein’s relativity law shows us that time is relative to the observer, one could have 6 literal, 24 hour days pass to an observer traveling at very nearly the speed of light...with 15 BILLION YEARS (estimated age of the universe)passing for others.
So do you believe that dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans? If so, what evidence do you have of that?
Sure. We still have celocanths swimming around. We have every civilization recording encounters with what we’d classify as dinosaurs. Those pics on cave walls weren’t just make believe. These people were recording events. You can’t just say some were events and some that don’t fit my preconceived world view are fantasy or these we’ll regard as actual events and these we won’t because we believe that’s impossible.
Once again folks are distracted into Bishop Usher’s 6,000 year old world and literal interpretation, versus that the time span in Genesis is an allegory to represent time before there was a 24 hour day created by God.
This distracts us from centering Jesus’ the message of salvation for each of us and the guide on how for each of us to live as He taught. we need to center on what unites us as Christians, not internal discussions such as this. To me, God created the universe, world, animals, and mankind. Throw out this center piece over whether or not it was 7 x 24 hour days or millions/billions of years, is doing nothing but giving our enemies arguments against us and keep us distracted from spreading Jesus’ message to the people of the world.
New International Version (NIV)
15 Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar”
The entire Gospel hinges on the existence of the historical Adam, since Christ is the self-proclaimed Second Adam, who by His obedience frees us from the disobedience of one.
As for Evolution, it falls to pieces under close examination. It’s only impressive for those who don’t really understand it themselves.
Evolution seems to hold together to me. In particular it meshes well with chaos theory, where evolution is one of many non-linear processes, leading to ‘punctuated equilibrium’.
Darwin did hundreds of experiments, and it was his work to explain why various species were in some places, and not in others absent human intervention that convinced most people of his day.
Archbishop Ussher predicted that the world was created on October 23, 4004 BC at 9 AM--and we must assume that it was Pacific Daylight Time.
On October 23, 1972, my geology class at Occidental College met at 9 AM, so the geology majors threw a surprise party in the classroom to celebrate Earth's birthday. It made the local TV news.
Darwin was ignorant about the complexities of even the smallest of living cells or even the means of heredity, save perhaps, in the latter case, for a certain friar. It’s easy to imagine a wolf “evolving” into a dog, even though all you really have is a loss of genetic information through selective breeding. The premise of evolution is that new things can be created through random mutation, but when you look at something like, perhaps, the mechanism a cell uses to produce ATP, you’re looking at a complex system of proteins which, if you look at the 3D models, literally resemble a working machine pump all bundled together tightly and, if even one is out of the place, would be rendered utterly useless. Yet the evolutionist glosses over all these fine details to point us toward broad assumptions.
I missed a phrase in that first sentence. It should have read ‘Darwin and the people of his era were ignorant of... save perhaps for a certain friar.”
Evolution does not deny an historical Adam and Eve. In fact, a single man who was the forefather of the entire race is likely.
Humans have one less chromosome than the other great apes. One human chromosome is nearly identical to two chimpanzee chromosomes attached to each other at the ends, through a failed telomere (telomere is the repetitive set of genetic sequences that terminate a chromosome). Because reproduction with dissimilar numbers of chromosomes is much less likely, such a person is even likely given modern understanding of genes. That filtering of genetic diversity through a small number of forbears is one reason why there is less genetic diversity among the entire human race than there is between two chimps in the same troop.
Humans have records in our chromosomes of genetic diseases caused by retroviruses. So do chimpanzees. In fact, there are 16 instances where chimpanzees and humans have identical genetic sequences caused by retroviruses, at corresponding places in the chromosome.
That means that either
(1) we evolved from the common ancestor of both chimp and human after that common ancestor was infected with genetic diseases or
(2) 16 times G-d decided to insert genetic damage from retroviri at identical places in human and chimp DNA to fool us.
If G-d is a liar, then you see no problem.
A lot of the functions would not work as that function without all the parts, but would work as something else.
Example, without a lens the eye doesn’t work as an eye, but it does work as a light dark detector.
Without a flexible lens the eye doesn’t work as an eye, but it does work as a fixed focus imager.
There are fossils of stingless bees. The bee stings evolved from bee genitalia.
“That means that either
(1) we evolved from the common ancestor of both chimp and human after that common ancestor was infected with genetic diseases or
(2) 16 times G-d decided to insert genetic damage from retroviri at identical places in human and chimp DNA to fool us.”
Or, the third option, you’re looking at the same designer making similar things in similar ways, with lots of evolutionist exaggeration pushed in too. As for evolution not denying the historical Adam. Per the scripture, there was no death before the fall (Rom 5:12). Therefore, unless Adam’s ancestors were all immortal chimps, he cannot possibly exist within the evolutionist framework.
Or one could say that God created the apes, but wasn’t satisfied with the result. He then tweaked it a bit and came up with a winner in Adam.
“Example, without a lens the eye doesnt work as an eye, but it does work as a light dark detector.”
A poor example, because even the “light-dark” detector is incredibly complex and cannot form through mere random chance.
“When light first strikes the retina a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within picoseconds to trans-retinal. (A picosecond [10-12 sec] is about the time it takes light to travel the breadth of a single human hair.) The change in the shape of the retinal molecule forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound. The proteins metamorphosis alters its behavior. Now called metarhodopsin II, the protein sticks to another protein, called transducin. Before bumping into metarhodopsin II, transducin had tightly bound a small molecule called GDP. But when transducin interacts with metarhodopsin II, the GDP falls off, and a molecule called GTP binds to transducin. (GTP is closely related to, but different from, GDP.)
GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II now binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When attached to metarhodopsin II and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the chemical ability to cut a molecule called cGMP (a chemical relative of both GDP and GTP). Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the phosphodiesterase lowers its concentration, just as a pulled plug lowers the water level in a bathtub.” (M.J. Behe, Darwins Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1996), p. 46.)
And this is just one aspect of it, as issues such as location, or whether or not the creature can even understand the input, come into play next.
And evolutionists want us to believe, since they cannot find a single common ancestor for the eye, that this fantastic mechanism could be formed independently more than 30 different times in different species.
This conclusion would deny the foreknowledge of God and the perfection of His work.
Oh wow, you win.
Depends on what you mean by death. If by death you mean the end of the living body then you have a theological point.
That would mean that dogs die because of Adam’s sin? Plants die because of Adam’s sin.
Was the fruit of knowledge of good and evil alive even when and while Adam and Eve ate it? Death didn’t exist, so it was still alive, though picked, bitten, chewed, but not yet swallowed? Only after he swallowed did it die, and not because it was macerated, but rather because of Adam’s sin.
So the animals and plants that made the fossils died because of Adam’s sin?
Or does death mean the theological death of a soul, not the physical and local triumph of entropy over self organizing life. Is there a soul without self awareness? If not, then without self-awareness, there may be no soul, and therefore no death of the soul.
So dogs, cats, worms may die without being theologically linked to Adam’s sin.
So was Moses. I didn't expect that Moses took so long on the mountain because he was studying biology.
The eye is made of soft tissues that do not normally fossilize.
you mentioned that structures without one part were completely non functional. I showed that you were wrong, without one part, the eye is functional, just not functional as an eye. That means your argument of irreducible complexity is countered.
Except that it doesn’t.
G-d may have had foreknowledge and been dissatisfied anyways.
Or G-d may have been satisfied with the ape as an ape, but used its raw material and the process of evolution to develop humans with self awareness and knowledge of sin.
Human point of view: random mutations, purposeful survival.
Divine point of view: Foreseen mutations, foreseen survival.
For humans, all processes, even the simple ones have an element of randomness, per quantum theory. For the Divine, with foreknowledge, perhaps less so.
Is G-d bound by the limitations of knowledge associated with quantum theory? He hasn’t told me specifically.
“Was the fruit of knowledge of good and evil alive even when and while Adam and Eve ate it? Death didnt exist, so it was still alive, though picked, bitten, chewed, but not yet swallowed? Only after he swallowed did it die, and not because it was macerated, but rather because of Adams sin.”
You make a strong point, but it imagines that primates, and all the alleged ancestors of man, had no feelings, desires, dreams, and had the same value as a fruit being plucked from a tree and eaten. The principle of evolution is that after many millions of years of random mutation and natural selection (the survival of the fittest), that man eventually arose. Not as a finished work of perfection, but as a self-made champion who rose out of much blood shedding. This then super-human who evolved, then lived for a thousand years, though he should have lived forever, and died, and each human being thereafter died sooner and sooner, as the whole world, from the biblical sense, degraded from its height. And instead of God wanting to free-us from a flesh that, from your perspective, must die, He promises to return us again to our bodies, though made perfect, in the resurrection that will occur at the end of time.
It is much more logical to conclude that death was not just spiritual in the case of Adam, but physical for all the Earth, and that is why death and suffering grows worse and worse on this world. Not because it was initially made that way, but because it was cursed that way.
“you mentioned that structures without one part were completely non functional. I showed that you were wrong, without one part, the eye is functional, just not functional as an eye. That means your argument of irreducible complexity is countered.”
You rambled something about the eye evolving from a light-detecting spot, without remarking about how complex even the light-detecting spot is. I didn’t even bring up the eye originally. I brought up how cells attach the P to the ADP. You didn’t tell me what good a half-made light-detecting spot is, or what good a half-made ATP Synthase is, ignoring even the larger process that that particular enzyme is but a part of. And now you’re telling me that you countered something.
“Human point of view: random mutations, purposeful survival.
Divine point of view: Foreseen mutations, foreseen survival.”
Do you propose, then, guided evolution from the divine?
what happens if you reverse the polarity of the gravity field?
Guided evolution would not be something that we could determine. We are unable to get past quantum mechanics.
Whether it is guided or not would not be something that we could determine.
Einstein: “G-d does not play dice.”
Bohr: “Albert! Quit telling G-d what to do?”
Glad you agree that the eye could evolve from a light detecting spot, and that such a spot could be useful, compared to other creatures that did not have such a spot.
“Guided evolution would not be something that we could determine. We are unable to get past quantum mechanics.”
Did you say that just because it sounds fancy? What does quantum mechanics have to do with whether a light detecting spot will spontaneously evolve on the inside of your ass? Do living cells randomly fly apart because of quantum mechanics at any time, at any moment?
Except that all our evidence is that death has existed for millions of years.
Death is the default condition. Life a rare exception, a gift. If you doubt that, I recommend you look up your great great grandparents.
“Glad you agree that the eye could evolve from a light detecting spot, and that such a spot could be useful, compared to other creatures that did not have such a spot.”
I never made any such agreement at all, or any kind of concession at all on the matter. But, in the same spirit, glad to see that you concede to all my points.
“Except that all our evidence is that death has existed for millions of years.”
But, judging from your responses so far, I think your “evidences” are merely assumptions and various assertions that break down when examined under closer detail.
Yes, quantum mechanics predicts that random things happen.
Light is a wave, or a particle, depending on what kind of experiment you perform.
Schrodinger’s cat is either in the box or not in the box, and you don’t know until you look. when you look, it collapses from the state of it being unknown to either being there, or not being there. Until you look you don’t know.