Interpretive dance: BioLogos and the Promotion of Evolution| Daniel J. Devine | World

WORLD | Interpretive dance | Daniel James Devine | Nov. 29, 2014.

Creation vs evolutionThis is a significant “exposure” article by World magazine and its reporter Daniel J. Devine on how BioLogos – headquartered right here in Grand Rapids, MI – is pushing evolutionism in the name of Christian science on a broad spectrum of Christian institutions (posted today, Nov.29, 2014).

There are some familiar names given here, many of them with ties to Christian colleges well known to us. The issue of the historicity, accuracy, and authority of Genesis 1-3 (especially), God’s “book of beginnings”, continues to generate heated debate in Christian circles.

But it ought not, if we hold to the clarity as well as to the authority of Scripture. Truly Reformed Christianity posits that God’s Word sheds authoritative light on science and determines how we understand the things that we see (and don’t see!) in creation, not the other way around. We need to continue to keep our biblical “glasses” on straight in order to see the world right.

Here’s the opening paragraphs to Devine’s article; find the rest at the link above.

Just a five-minute stroll from the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., sits the brown brick building that is home since last year to BioLogos, a foundation pushing churches and believers to embrace evolution, and in the process change how they read the Bible.

The brainchild of Francis Collins, who now heads the National Institutes of Health, BioLogos has taken in nearly $9 million from the Templeton Foundation and millions more from other donors. BioLogos in turn offers grants to church, parachurch, and academic leaders and organizations that promote “evolutionary creation.”

BioLogos president Deb Haarsma, former chair of Calvin’s physics and astronomy department, says churches that support evolution will be more effective witnesses in a culture that reveres science, and will help college students avoid a crisis of faith when biology professors argue for evolution. The BioLogos website states, “Genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand individuals who lived about 150,000 years ago.”

Word Wednesday – R.C. Sproul on Words and Ideas

NotaChance-SproulOur last book club title (which we finished and discussed last Saturday morning) was R.C.Sproul’s Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt Against Reason (c.1994 by Baker Book House), recently updated and reprinted after twenty years. At the beginning of chapter 5, “Light and the Light”, Sproul launches into a treatment of words and their meanings, including some references to the Dutch.

So, for our Word Wednesday” feature this week, I will let him tell you about the importance of words and how they relate to the world of ideas – vital for whatever science you are treating, including the “queen of sciences”, theology.

We return now to the complexities of speech We begin with the simple question, ‘What is a word?’ In English we have twenty-six letters in the alphabet. We combine these letters in a huge variety of ways to form discrete units we call words. We use these words to speak and to write. When we write words we use letters. When we speak we use sounds in various combinations. Many different languages emerge using the same alphabet. There are still other languages that use different alphabets. Sounds are more common to broader groups of people than are letters. There are only so many different sounds the human voice can make. Some people master sounds that other people have difficulty with.

The Dutchman struggles (here we go! -cjt) if you ask him to say quickly, ‘Throw those things there.’ The ‘th’ sound is not a familiar sound in his language. Likewise Americans struggle to imitate certain vowel sounds that are easy for Dutchman to speak. We do not infer from this that Dutch babies are born with an inability to voice ‘th’ but with an innate ability to make vowel sounds that befuddle us.

The combination of sounds seems to be an acquired ability. By hearing these sounds often enough the infant learns to imitate them.

Apparently cows speak in different languages and make different sounds (sic). In Holland cows say ‘boe,’ while in America they say ‘moo.’ Not really. Cows don’t say either ‘boe’ or ‘moo.’ Rather they make sounds we seek to imitate in our own respective languages.

Words are composed of sounds and letters. These words are written or spoken representations of ideas. but wait a minute. How can we have ideas without words? Do we not also think with words as well as write or speak with them? The written or spoken word uses visual or aural signs and symbols to express ideas.

Then we ask, ‘What are ideas?’ Is there an identity between ideas of reality and reality itself? This is the old question with which Plato wrestled. Are ideas real ontological entities or mere abstract names used to point to reality?

Though we presently think with words, it is highly unlikely that our thought process began with words. How does language actually begin?

I have enjoyed watching not only my own children but my three grandchildren learn to speak. …The youngest, Michael, only recently learned how to speak. I was involved as a tutor in his learning experience. We played a little game of show and tell. I would point to objects in the room or in pictures and say the name or word for him. I would point to a chair and say, ‘Chair.’ Then Michael would mimic my sound and repeat, ‘Chair.’ We did this exercise daily. Michael was in the process of associating sounds with objects in his field of vision.

What was going on inside Michael’s young mind before he had words to speak with? Certainly he was conscious before he could speak. Consciousness preceeds language. Of what was he conscious (79-81)?

That’s as far as we will go with Dr. Sproul. Is your head spinning? Have you ever thought so deeply about words and ideas? How would you answer these questions? They are important, you know. 🙂

Biologos, Theistic evolution, and the Pelagian heresy –

Biologos pelagian heresy –

“The Aquila Report” carried this powerful article as one of its “top 10” this past week (April 1, 2014), but I also went to the original source, which is (cf. the link above).

creationvsevolutionThere you will find the complete article, “BioLogos, Theistic Evolution, and the Pelagian Heresy”, written by Richard Fangrad, CEO of Creation Ministries International-Canada. Fangrad makes a significant connection between the old heresy of Pelagianism and the “new” one of theistic evolution, especially that part of “TE” that now wants to deny the historical reality of our first parents, Adam and Eve.

I give you a portion of his article here; read the rest at this link.

May Fangrad’s thoughts show us even more clearly why we must reject all forms of evolutionism, root and branch. Not to do so leads one to forfeit the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, it IS that serious.

Today we Christians find ourselves at an interesting place in Church history. Although Scripture has been with us for 2,000 years (and is sufficient for determining how and when God created), we now have decades of research that supports what the Bible has always said. Today we are blessed with mountains of scientific evidence supporting the biblical record of a recent creation followed by a global flood and all humans originating with Adam and Eve. Despite all of this, aspects of an old heresy relating to the creation account are increasingly infiltrating the Church. This is the falsehood known as Pelagianism.

No Adam: no original sin, no need for the cross

The heresy of Pelagianism (see the box below for details) asserted that Adam’s sin had no effect on the human race, that we have not inherited a sin nature from Adam, and that all humans are born with the ability to live a sin-free life. This renders the work of Christ on the cross superfluous. If we can achieve Heaven without any work of God whatsoever (that is, if we have no sin) then there is no need (it is even nonsensical) for God to bear the penalty for our sin. The reality is that at the cross Christ died for us as a substitute. He paid the penalty that we incurred, in our place and simultaneously transferred His righteousness to us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 describes this double transfer. The sinless Christ pays for our sins in our place (so that we don’t have to!), and His righteousness is transferred to us. That single verse is Paul’s simple one-sentence summary of the Gospel. The whole Gospel message is contained in outline in those words and is, of course, detailed throughout the rest of Scripture.

Bible scholars at the time of Pelagius recognized the contradiction between his teachings and Scripture. As a result, Pelagianism was condemned as heretical at many church councils including the Councils of Carthage (in 412, 416 and 418), the Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Orange (529). The intervening 1600 years have merely strengthened and further refined the biblical truth confirming that Pelagianism is heretical. This rich history of the battle for truth is a great advantage for us today. When Pelagianizing tendencies infiltrate the church today we should simply look back at that history, remember the error of the past, and avoid repeating the same error. Unfortunately, Pelagianism is alive and well today. One of its modern forms, mutated and renamed, is called ‘theistic evolution’.

Creation debate roils Bryan College | World

WORLD | Creation debate roils Bryan College | Daniel James Devine | March 7, 2014.

Creation vs evolutionIn a related story (to the quote posted earlier today) World magazine reported (March 7, 2014) on this significant development at Bryan College, a Christian college in Dayton, TN.

Of particular interest is the fact that the Biologos Foundation of Grand Rapids, MI, an organization leading the way in advancing the cause of theistic evolution, once again enters into the picture.

Here is part of World’s report. Read the rest at the link above.

In 1925, William Jennings Bryan defended a biblical account of the origins of life at the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tenn. This year, a statement on the origins of life has triggered a crisis at the lawyer’s namesake, Bryan College, an 84-year-old evangelical, nondenominational institution.

Students and faculty at Bryan are upset at a move last month by the school’s board of trustees to “clarify” that the college believes Adam and Eve were historical figures created directly by God. The board says the clarification does not change the school’s historical position on origins. But some at Bryan believe the board’s action was intended to force out professors who may be sympathetic to evolution, and think it was unfair to do so at a time when faculty contracts are due for renewal.

…Bryan College’s Statement of Belief is an eight-point doctrinal statement adopted at the time of the school’s founding in 1930. According to the school’s charter, the belief statement cannot be amended or changed, and trustees, officers, faculty, and staff must affirm it once a year. The fourth point in the statement says the school believes “that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death.”

Last month, the board of trustees adopted the following “clarification” statement: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

Board Chairman John Haynes told me the clarification is not an amendment to the Statement of Belief, which may not be altered. “We are clarifying one point in the Statement of Belief, which has to do with the creation of Adam and Eve,” he said. “We’re saying this is the intent of that statement.”

Asked why the board felt it was necessary to make such a clarification at this time, Haynes simply said, “There seems to be some question as to the intent of the Statement of Belief. That’s the bottom line.”

An English professor at the school, Whit Jones, said the timing of the clarification had been a “puzzle” to many on faculty, but might have been sparked by recent writings from two of his colleagues: Kenneth Turner, a Bible professor, and Brian Eisenback, an associate professor of biology who graduated from Bryan College in 2002. Together, Turner and Eisenback are writing science education materials under a grant from The BioLogos Foundation, an organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., that promotes theistic evolution.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Creation and Evolution | Reformed Bibliophile

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Creation and Evolution | Reformed Bibliophile.

Yesterday on his books and reading blog Eric Young posted this significant quote from the late Dr. D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the historicity of Genesis 1-3 and the importance of this for the rest of Scripture, especially the doctrine of salvation. It certainly does speak to the on-going debate on creation/evolution in Evangelicalism.

I post the first part of the quote here and urge you to read the rest at Eric’s blog. May the “Doctor’s” thoughts also weigh on our hearts and minds and point us to the truth of God’s Word and of the gospel which we must maintain in our day.

DMLloyd-JonesWe accept the biblical teaching with regard to creation and do not base our position upon theories of evolution, whichever particular theory people may choose to advocate. We must assert that we believe in the being of one first man called Adam, and in one first woman called Eve. We reject any notion of a pre- Adamic man because it is contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.

Now someone may ask, Why do you care about this? Is this essential to your doctrine of salvation? Are you not falling into the very error of over-particularization against which you warned us at the beginning? I suggest that I am not, and for these reasons. If we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must say that about the whole of the Bible, and when the Bible presents itself to us as history, we must accept it as history. I would contend that the early chapters of Genesis, the first three chapters of Genesis, are given to us as history. We know that there are pictures and symbols in the Bible, and when the Bible uses symbol and parable it indicates that it is doing so, but when it presents something to us in the form of history, it requires us to accept it as history.

We must therefore hold to the vital principle, to which I have referred earlier, of the wholeness and the close interrelationship of every part of the biblical message. The Bible does not merely make statements about salvation. It is a complete whole: it tells you about the origin of the world and of man; it tells you what has happened to him, how he fell and the need of salvation arose, and then it tells you how God provided this salvation and how He began to reveal it in parts and portions. Nothing is so amazing about the Bible as its wholeness, the perfect interrelationship of all the parts. Therefore these early chapters of Genesis with their history play a vital part in the whole doctrine of salvation. Take for instance the argument of the apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans 5:12-21. Paul’s whole case is based upon that one man Adam and his one sin, and the contrast with the other one man, the Lord ]esus Christ, and His one great act. You have exactly the same thing in I Corinthians 15; the apostle’s whole argument rests upon the historicity. Indeed, it seems to me that one of the things we have got to assert, these days in particular -and it should always have been asserted- is that our gospel, our faith, is not a teaching; it is not a philosophy; it is primarily a history. . .

How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World – Scientific American

How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World [Excerpt] – Scientific American.

In Christian apologetics (defending the faith) there are some battles that are closer at hand and larger in significance than those involving what secular atheists think about Christianity and how the world began and continues to exist. But when I saw this headline yesterday (March 14, 2014) in the Scientific American “Daily Digest” email I receive each day, I couldn’t ignore it.

It reminded me that we also need to be aware of how the big but distant enemy (at least they seem far removed from our world) thinks and how it attacks our worldview. How well do we really know how the world – and modern science in particular – ridicules our faith and our God and His work? And how would we answer a neighbor or professor at college who espoused this philosophy?

ImagineNoHeaven-StephensPerhaps this article will help us realize where they stand in relation to us and our faith. The post on SA is actually an excerpt from the new book Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World, by Mitchell Stephens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Below I have simply posted the opening paragraphs as found on SA. At their link above you will find the entire excerpt. It will be worth your time to read all of it. With your Biblical glasses on, of course. And then craft an apologetic that answers such a perspective with our sure hope of heaven because of the (one) true God Who gave His Son for blind, unbelieving sinners.

Science’s contributions to the spread of disbelief is the least controversial segment of the virtuous cycle for which I am arguing in seventeenth-century Europe. For science’s methods are clearly troublesome for religion. The devout, to begin with, are not wont to view their precepts merely as propositions to be controverted or confirmed. The orthodox, as a rule, are used to arguments being settled by authority, not experiment. The hope belief offers does not always stand up well to observation and experience: life sometimes works out okay; sometimes it doesn’t. Faith, particularly of the “certain-because-impossible” variety, and reason have long been tussling. Miracles are notoriously miserly with evidence. Revelation does not lend itself to experimental verification. And the mystical, by its nature, fails to produce facts.

What Does A Bee Look Like When It’s Magnified 3000 Times? Check out the Bee Book!

What Does A Bee Look Like When It’s Magnified 3000 Times? | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

All of God’s creatures are incredibly amazing. Certainly the large ones are – from the planets to the great beasts of the earth. But sometimes we lose sight of the little ones – like the insects, seeing them more as pests than as magnificent little wonders declaring God’s glory.

Perhaps this new bee book with its photos and descriptions will help us appreciate more the wonder of this small but grand work of our God. Be sure to visit the link above, or simply go  here.

You’ve probably seen a bee fly by hundreds of times in your life, if not thousands. When it arrived, maybe attracted by something you were eating or drinking, you likely shooed it away, or perhaps remained entirely still to avoid provoking a sting.

Cover of Bee, a collection of photographs by Rose-Lynn Fisher. Image courtesyPrinceton Architectural Press

One thing you probably didn’t do was consider how the bee would look under intense magnification, blown up to 30, 300 or even 3,000 times its original size. But—as photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher has discovered over the past two decades working with powerful scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) to capture images of the insects in remarkable detail—everyday bees feature incredible microscopic structures.

“Once you scratch the surface, you see there’s a whole world down there,” says Fisher, who published her photos in the 2010 book Bee and is having them featured in the new exhibition Beyond Earth Art at Cornell University in January. “Once I started, it became a geographical expedition into the little body of the bee, with higher and higher magnifications that took me deeper and deeper.”

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Why I Am a Six-Day Creationist – T.Challies

Why I Am a Six-Day Creationist | Challies Dot Com.

InbegGodBack on October 11,2013 pastor, author,and blogger Tim Challies placed this post on his blog. It was refreshing to hear another prominent Calvinist defend the Bible on creation. Only one matter of weakness: at the end of his post Challies says he does not make this a “mark of orthodoxy”. But the doctrine of creation is, if it is what the Bible plainly teaches and if it is the foundation to the rest of our Christian faith.

So, don’t fall into the trap of the post-modern, relativist while maintaining this truth of God’s Word. Don’t say the doctrine of creation is true – but only for me and maybe a few others. Say it is true for all, and if you don’t believe it, you are not orthodox but heterodox!

Below is a part of what Challies posted; read the rest at the link above.

I spent a couple of days this week speaking at a conference at the Creation Museum—my first time visiting it. Before I arrived I decided to put a little bit of thought into why I am a six-day creationist. I wanted to affirm in my own mind that I was walking into the museum already convinced of a position.

I believe God created the world in six days—six literal twenty-four hour periods. I believe the earth is young—probably less than ten thousand years old. I have always believed this. But why? As I considered this position, I realized there are three main reasons I hold to it.

The first reason I am a six-day creationist is this: I believe it is what the Bible teaches. There have been endless debates about the meaning of the word we translate as “day” in Genesis 1 and so much of the debate stands or falls right here. There have been many attempts, some of them quite compelling and some bordering on the ridiculous, to make it express something other than “day.” But in the end, I believe a natural reading of Scripture, and a natural reading of the author’s intent in the passage, leads to the most natural and obvious conclusion: God created all that exists, from nothing, in six literal days. This is what the author said, because this is what the author meant to convey, because this is what the author believed, because this is exactly how God did it.

Sci-Fri Video! Camouflaging Cephalopods!

The heavens [and octopuses] are telling of God’s glory | Denny Burk.

This could become another regular “Friday Fun” feature – “Sci-Fri” videos (Science Friday)! I found this one yesterday on Denny Burk’s blog, and I am hooked! Amazing underwater pictures by a marine biologist of camouflaging cephalapods! OK, I will tip you off a little bit – these creatures include octopuses – and you will stand in awe of how God designed and created them!

RCUS Position Paper on Days of Creation – A Defense

A Rationale for the RCUS Position Paper on Days of Creation.

Among the ten “top” news items that Aquila Report included in this week’s emailing was this item about the Reformed Church in the U.S.’s (the true continuation of the old German Reformed Church) position on six-day creation, taken back in 1999 (which you may find at the end of Johnson’s article). Included in that position document was this defense of it by RCUS elder Wayne Johnson.

It is worth posting here, because of its continuing significance in light of the on-going “Genesis” debate in the churches about us, including conservative ones. And because the RCUS is also small, like the PRCA, we can identify with his Johnson’s thoughts as expressed here. May his defense encourage us to be faithful to the Word of God on this fundamental point of the gospel.

Below are a few of Johnson’s thoughts. Read the full article at the link above.

Why does the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) feel it necessary to articulate a doctrine of Creation that may well impose a shadow of separation between us and many beloved brethren?  Are we, as some have suggested, clinging to and/or creating distinctives merely to justify our separate ecclesiastical existence?

That’s a fair question and, in a spirit of true biblical ecumenicity, it deserves an answer.  Let us consider the situation.

 …For Reformed believers, Christ is not only the mediator of redemption, but also the mediator of creation.  He is truly Lord and Savior.  “All things were created by him, and for him.”  There is a purpose and plan to our Creator God’s handiwork that encompasses far more than the fundamentalists’ singular focus on individual soteriology.

Nor is our God, “…who of nothing made heaven and earth and all that in them is, who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence….” [Heidelberg Q.62], the contingent God of neo-evangelicalism. Rather, He is the great “I AM” whose “creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.” {Heidelberg Q.28]  He is a God who “redeems me from all the power of the devil, and so preserves me that, without the will of my Father in Heaven, not a hair can fall from my head, yea, that all things must work together for my salvation.” [Heidelberg Q.1]

What the Bible has to say about the creation, therefore, is vitally important to how Christians are called to live their lives.  Christ is Lord of all the earth, and He has purposed to deal with us in this world according to His good pleasure.  In other words, we affirm not only the sovereignty of God over salvation, but over all things, all events and all meaning.  We affirm the transcendence and immanence of God, resisting the nascent existentialism of modern evangelicalism that presumes a God indifferent to history, (as well as the truncated gospel of the fundamentalists).