BioLogos Debate: Invoking Galileo
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
In Parts 5 and 6 of this blog post series, I shared BioLogos’ attempt to answer my three original questions, and I also shared much of my rebuttal. This final post of the "BioLogos Debate" series captures the third and final part of my rebuttal, along with BioLogos’ brief response. Of those original questions, here is the third question that BioLogos attempts to answer, as shared in Part 1 of 7 of this series:
3. You equate “God’s book of nature” with God’s Word. How can we truly understand nature without first STARTING with special revelation (God’s Word)? In Genesis 3:6, Eve chose to understand the “book of nature” on her own, without first trusting God’s special revelation regarding His warning that the punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge was death. Instead, Eve decided to believe a lie that the tree was “good for food,” a “delight to the eyes,” and “desirable to make one wise.” By already choosing to believe in evolution/millions-of-years, aren’t you making a similar mistake by not starting with the natural reading of scripture?
In Part 7 of 7 below, I respond to BioLogos’ claim that the evolutionary worldview advances our interpretation of scripture in the same way that Galileo discovered the fact that the earth revolves around the sun.
“3. We never ‘equate’ nature with God's Word. Nature is God's handiwork, and science is a way to learn about it. And in those places where science can inform our interpretations of Scripture, it should! It has corrected faulty interpretations in the past (see: Galileo).” If part of your definition of “science” involves the evolutionary worldview, then no, “science” has not corrected faulty interpretations. Has observational science helped us correct faulty interpretations? Yes. Does evolution/millions-of-years qualify as observational science? No. Nobody has ever observed any of the following: (1) life evolve from non-life (2) increases in genetic information/complexity such as an originally-blind organism growing eyes, (3) a change from one “kind” to another “kind,” (4) something come from nothing (i.e. Big Bang), and so forth. Therefore, I agree that observational science can help us make more precise interpretations, but we cannot equate observation with unverifiable conclusions. For example, Eve “observed” the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but there was nothing about the physical appearance of that fruit that “proved” God was lying to her. Her conclusions were unfounded. Similarly, the conclusions of the evolutionary worldview are not founded in any observable evidence. “Also, do you think the earth is round?” If you are presupposing that the plain reading of scripture says that the Earth is not round, then I very much disagree. Isaiah 40:22 and many other Bible verses indicate that the Earth is round (http://www.icr.org/article/circle-earth/). “Do you think the Earth rotates around the sun?” See my final paragraphs below. “Do you dismiss the idea of a solid dome over the earth that holds up a cosmic ocean?” I’ve never heard of this belief, and I don’t know where this comes from. “Because if you do, and if you were to take a time machine to different eras of church history, they would use the exact same arguments against you, accusing you of accepting worldly ideas instead of the "plain reading" of Scripture.” Again, observational science confirmed the correct interpretations. The same cannot be said for the evolutionary worldview. See my final paragraphs below for more explanation. “So what makes you think that your plain reading is better than theirs? And perhaps this history of interpretive mistakes calls for us to reevaluate our understanding of what Scripture can tell us about nature?” Some of those faulty interpretations involved a misunderstanding of phenomenological descriptions, such as that of Ecclesiastes 1:5 concerning the rising and setting of the sun. Galileo used observational science to correct the faulty Ptolemaic view. However, as mentioned before, evolution is not an observable science. With that being said, does the “plain reading” of scripture, along with direct observation, suggest a phenomenological description of verses such as Ecclesiastes 1:5? For anyone observing the heavens closely, even without telescopes (because of the back-and-forth movement of Mars, etc. https://creation.com/copernicus-galileo-evolution) the plain reading would certainly imply a phenomenological description. Even with today’s knowledge and understanding of the solar system, do we not still describe the sun as “rising” and “setting” in our everyday speech? With that being said, by what observable science (and not historical science) should we say that (1) the days of creation were not 24-hr days, but were eons of time, (2) the flood of Noah’s day was local and not global, (3) the earth is billions of years old, (4) humans evolved from ape-like creatures, and so forth? There is none. All of these fall within the realm of historical science, which is not testable, repeatable, and verifiable. Historical hypotheses are best verified by reliable eyewitnesses. God is our reliable and trustworthy eyewitness (Gen 1:1). As for utilizing the “plain” reading of scripture, here’s what the Word of God has to say about that, in the context of true Wisdom: “All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge” –Proverbs 8:8-9 (NKJV) Moreover, if we can’t trust the plain reading of scripture, then what else should we “reevaluate”? Was Jesus born from a virgin, or was He only born from a “young woman”? Did Jesus turn water into wine, or did he simply purchase the wine? Did Jesus physically rise from the dead, or did He only “spiritually” rise from the dead? When the “scientific consensus” says that those things are impossible, do you believe those scientists? I should also mention that the best way to interpret scripture is with scripture. I can write a whole book chapter on how the rest of the Bible confirms the plain reading of Genesis 1-11, but I don’t want to make my response longer than it already is.
Kevin Hadsall thanks for the response. We don't have the staff resources to continue to respond in this thread (especially when there are so many points being discussed at once). I'll reiterate my suggestion to take your questions to our discussion forums at discourse.biologos.org. However, I do want to make one final point. Evolutionary science is not our "worldview". Our worldview is that Jesus is Lord. Science only describes the mechanisms of God's creation.
I did not see a need to respond, especially since BioLogos did not attempt to truly answer my rebuttal. While I can understand their point about lacking “staff resources,” my speculation is that they do not have answers to my questions, and they know it. However, I will consider readdressing this issue with them at some point down the road via their discussion forum, to see if they attempt to answer my questions. I allowed BioLogos to have the "last word" in this debate thread, but I will address one thing in this blog post. They claim “Evolutionary science is not our ‘worldview.’ Our worldview is that Jesus is Lord.” To simultaneously believe "evolutionary science" and "Jesus is Lord" is a contradiction, and their statement does nothing to refute anything I said in my rebuttal. While they may believe that the person of Jesus is Lord, they choose not to trust what Jesus has to say about creation.[i] As Christians, let us allow Jesus to be Lord of every single aspect of our lives, including what we believe about our origins. Anything else is just the religion of humanism.
[i] To learn more, I recommend the following article: https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/what-did-jesus-believe-about-creation/